Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

The projects, chores, and life of a family-owned, Northern Wisconsin resort.

Browsing Posts published by Jennifer Gibson


Yes Mack I know it is cold.  People want pictures of the lake lets go!  Alright you stay at the top of the hill and I will see how fast it is I can take pics in the cold



Chair on the Perch hibernating


Boats covered in a blanket of white


Ice skating trail.  The vote was it was too cold to snowplow.  They are clearing the rink tomorrow when it gets warmer


Cold sunshine and frozen fingers taking pictures


Time to dash back up the steps where a smart dog is waiting at the top for a pig ear to chew on by the wood stove




It is with a very heavy heart I write about two passings this week 

Yesterday we tragically lost Buck Cass.  Buck was married to Dawn who long time resort folks will remember watched us kids in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  Dawn and Buck married just before Troy and I.  They settled in Hortonville with their 4 boys.  Their 4 boys all looked a lot a like and were affectionately known as The Buck Boys by the 4th of July group and my boys.  Eventually they bought a family cabin in Crivitz but Buck and Dawn returned every summer to throw horse shoes with the crew.  Buck won the tournament a few times.  He will always be remembered for his booming laugh, good nature and being a great father and husband.  Our hearts go out to Dawn, John Molly), Tony, Nick (Danielle)  and Phillip and 3 grand daughters


We also lost Tom McEwen from Hilltop.  Tom and MaryEllen bought Hilltop 30 years ago from The Lueth’s.  Tom battled for many months  with a brain tumor but the battle ended on Monday.  Everyone who spent time at the bar with Tom running it always had a good time.  Tom was an awesome resort owner who kept the traditions alive at Hilltop.  He was a people person who really enjoyed what he did.  He provided an environment everyone felt welcome in.  You will be missed by many!


Happy New Year from the Cliff.  New Years morning bright and shinny

We had a busy week with guests in the cabins.  Sorry not a lot of pics as we (me) had a virus this week that kept me down and out on the couch.  Not a lot of pictures got taken.  The 2022 summer letters were about the only thing besides cleaning cabins that got done this week   Happily we (me) are all on the mend and not COVID!


Path to the beach cold and snowy this morning.


We did have a surprise guest at my door Eric and Alaina Snodgrass.  They said hi from a safe distance.  Glad to see their happy faces.  See you for the 4th!


Steve feeling much better than me shared these pictures on the ski trail with Bella.  He reports the ski trails in great shape


Bella has been on the ski team but this year choosing to not ski.  She is still fast and would beat her aunt down the trail 


Come on Aunt Jenny, I am ready to smoke you down the trail..  Get off the couch!

If you are looking for a winter get away give a call.  Escape the worries of the world for a few days and head north!



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Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


We gathered our family for our annual Christmas Eve hockey game. 


With fog rolling in it quickly changed to our new favorite game Kubb


A Merry Merry Christmas from the lake

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Where should the ice rink go is the question for Steve?

We had some great snow come down Tuesday really making it feel like Christmas


Steve and Troy took a test of the ice quality.  They were happy to see nice ice under the snow.  All that rain last week has now frozen and it looks like we will have some great skating for Christmas as soon as the guys get the rink cleared off after the snow


I left them contemplating 


Mack was not interested in going down the steps.  He turned 12 earlier in the month and is much more interested in the fireplace warming his old bones

We still have a special on Muskie for Christmas if anyone needs to escape the white north.  Wigwam is open from the 26th to the 30th.  Holiday is open up to the 28th and we have cabins that open up on January 1st


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They warned us for days it would be a hell of a storm and it was.  High winds, rain and lightening.  Thankfully we have power and no trees down.  Many more in our state can not say that today.  12,000 without power in our county this morning.  We are very thankful.  The biggest casualty was our beautiful snow.  Some areas are bare and some in the woods are covered but icy.  Winter Park is assessing their trails with their groomers to see what they can do

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Our woods trail across from the resort.  Snow but it is icy.  


We do have light snows in the forecast for today and Saturday. 


The snow on top of the lake melted over night.  I am hoping the ice is strong enough with some cold temps for some skating.  We love skating at Christmas when you can skate over the lake.  Going to have to watch and see what the ice fishermen say as to the depth of the ice


The ice did retreat a bit from shoreline with the rain.  Cold temps will repair this just hoping in time for Christmas skating

I will post more pictures as conditions change.  Fires in the fireplace and quiet time at the resort those have not been effected.  Lots of puzzles and games to play in the forecast for our family

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We have new friends at the resort.  Nattie and Jake are from the WINGS program at our high school.  They and others are learning skills to transition them into the working world.  The WINGS program has a store close to Arby’s in town where they sell coffee and other crafts.  The students in WINGS are high school students up to 20 years old.  

Nattie and Jake and other students are making fire starters for our fireplaces out of egg cartons, paper and candle wax.  They brought me the first shipment of 200 fire starters.  I will be putting 4 in a bowl on the fireplaces in the cabins.  They are 50 cents each and you put the money in the bowl for us to collect.  I will also have more fire starters in the shop to purchase if you want more.  100 percent of the proceeds will be going right to the WINGS program

Nattie and Jake and the WINGS program appreciate any donations of paper egg cartons and candles that have seen their better days.  Bring any along with you and I will get them to the students

We love supporting programs like this in our area.  Nattie and Jake say thanks! 

I know Jake is looking forward to the next delivery at the resort when he can say hi to Mack again.  Mack has a new friend


You might have heard we got a little snow over the weekend…  10 inches of fresh snow

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Nothing looks better than fresh snow on the Christmas trees


The snow in the pines is the best enjoy the pics!



Walking around taking pics, Mack got stuck in the snow





Before the storm hit, Troy headed down to drill a hole in the lake to see what the ice measured


10 minutes later with a dull auger we cut through 6 inches of ice.  We decided a new auger is in order. 

I did put Muskie on special up to Decmeber 27th if anyone is looking for a Christmas escape.  It has 2 rates, one for big groups and one for up to 4 people


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Our first bigger storm of the season blew through


The wind blew and the trees and cabins got plastered on the lake side





I borrowed this picture of the end piers from Vicki Moore.  Thanks for going down the cold steps and snapping the picture


Mack wondering if we are done outside yet and ready to go in


Much happier inside with a pig ear from his buddy Barb.  Mack loves pig ears!  He will not leave Barb’s cabin without one in his mouth.  He is known to refuse to leave just staring at where he knows she stores the ears


I put a couple of new Christmas balls in my shop.  I call these Icicles



My last Christmas stocking of the year headed out the door this weekend.  I will take orders for 2022 if you want to be on the list pick your design and let me know.  Most stockings this year were by order 


We had a snowy start to Thanksgiving.  It piled up more than we expected


But it made for great pictures


The lake froze over during the weekend


I took my usual walk around the resort taking pictures of the families in the resort making their dinners.  I caught most of them.  The Urbankiak’s perfecting sweet potatoes


The Mann family enjoying a fire and keeping a little one entertained was exhausting


The Walstad crew was doing what they do best watching football and cooking a turkey.  They have relaxing for the holidays down to a science


In between eating turkey and football they headed to the woods for a little deer hunting.  


The Rudatt family was happily not out of the PJ’s and enjoying the day by the fire


Best table decorations went to the Tornetta family.  They had the cabin decked out enough to make Linday Hoadley proud of her cabin


Down in Norway Joey and her family were keeping the fires burning while the turkey cooked

The rest of my families were snoozing when I walked through which is what being in the Northwoods for Thanksgiving is all about


Our own family all made it home as well.  Aunt Debbie gets photo credit for taking the picture of all of us.  


Friday followed the tradition of getting the outside lights up on the tree as the beginning of the Christmas season of decorating and getting the resort ready for Christmas families


I finished my final craft fair of the year Saturday.  The sock machine is happily headed to the house not to emerge til spring on the deck.  

I just uploaded my new Christmas socks for 2021 on my website

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