“Having someone do certain things for you is like getting someone to chew your food for you. It might be easier to swallow but it loses all its flavor...” — Ze Frank
By Molly Absolon
Lisa Johnson noticed the fumes within hours of her exposure. She quickly moved out of the caretaker’s house at Independence Mine State Historical Park on Hatcher Pass in Alaska, but the damage was done. A fuel leak under the building had filled it with diesel fumes, triggering a series of subsequent health problems for Johnson. She experienced headaches, vertigo, fatigue, ringing in her ears, and dizziness. Her symptoms intensified whenever she was near any petroleum-based product. She says she can still tell, when she walks into a house, if the owner cooks with gas by the way her body reacts.
Johnson’s exposure, which took place in the 1980s, changed her life. For her health and wellbeing, her homes now have to be chemical free. Since the incident on Hatcher Pass, she has lived in three different houses in the Jackson Hole region. One was an old house in Victor that she and her husband gutted and renovated to accommodate her sensitivities. The second, a home they had built from the ground up in Alta, was constructed with chemical-free materials. And the third, their current house in Jackson, was renovated to remove any potential irritants.
“I react to chemicals most people have no reaction to,” Johnson says. “My duty is to make sure my home is not assaulting me.”
The link between health and home hasn’t always been well understood, but that is changing. Today the World Health Organization attributes 3 percent of all diseases in the world to indoor air pollution, and researchers are exploring the link between indoor air quality and the increase in autism, asthma, and other autoimmune disorders.
What’s INside the air?
“We are now passing on remnant chemicals to our offspring,” says Meghan Hanson of Natural Dwellings Architecture, a regional firm that operates in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. “Babies are born with high levels of toxins in their bodies and there is more asthma and disease among children than there was a generation ago.”
Hanson says it’s not easy to make a causal link between these increases and indoor air quality, but she’s convinced that our houses have an impact on our health. “The green-building movement emphasized airtight homes, which is good for heating and energy efficiency, but not so good for air quality,” Hanson says. “People started getting sick as homes became tighter. You’ve heard of the expression ‘sick-house syndrome’? This made people realize that we need fresh air inside our homes and workplaces to stay healthy.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that, on average, indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. With the average American spending as much as 90 percent of his or her time indoors, that means many people are being exposed to dangerous pollution in the place they consider most safe: their homes.
Indoor air pollution comes from a variety of sources, ranging from cooking odors to cigarette smoke, heating units, cleaning products, woodstoves, and scented candles. It includes off gassing from the glues, paints, and finishes found in our furniture, carpets, and wall coverings, as well as from the building materials used to construct our homes. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the primary culprits. VOCs are found in countless common household products and include a variety of chemicals—such as formaldehyde, benzene, and vinyl chloride—known to have both short- and long-term health effects. Surveys have found that many homes contain air with VOC levels exceeding those acceptable for human health.
The way people react to indoor air pollutants can vary widely. Johnson says she’s the canary in her clan. No one else in her family seems to be affected by chemicals, but she believes that her husband and two sons will also benefit from the lack of exposure to pollutants that make her ill.
What’s IN the Materials?
Larry Thal, of Sunlight Design in Wilson, strives to avoid putting the “bad stuff in in the first place,” but that’s not always easy. “Good indoor air quality, just like energy efficiency, light, etcetera, are all part of good design,” Thal says. He explains that supply-chain materials are not always labeled and that it’s often hard to get plywood without formaldehyde glue at the local lumberyard—you often need to special order it. “That’s not to say it isn’t getting easier to find green materials,” he says. “It is. Now, for example, you can get plywood that has been certified by organizations like Green Guard to be formaldehyde free, but it takes some effort.”
The balance between cost and minimizing toxins in building materials has always challenged builders. Brady Barkdull, project manager for Snake River Builders, says some buyers demand chemical-free products and are willing to pay the price, but he guesses they are the minority. Lots of people don’t even know to ask. “The value is often not visible or tangible,” he says. “We have to educate people [about green products]. It’s not just a sales pitch.”
“We’re under a lot of pressure to keep costs down,” says Barkdull. “It costs more to build here than in, say, Idaho Falls.” He explains that labor is more expensive, materials cost more, and we have more snow load requirements—all factors that drive up costs. “It’s a trade off,” he says. “We encourage people to consider living with less square footage so they can afford higher quality materials, but it can be hard to get some people to pay a premium.”
Jim and Jan Pitsch—self-described “urban refugees from Illinois”—built their dream house in Alta. Jan Pitsch has chemical sensitivities and autoimmune issues, so they aimed to minimize the chemicals present in their living space. Their smaller home design helped them accommodate their desire to have a house that’s as green and toxin-free as possible. “It cost quite a bit more than a conventional home,” explains Jim. “But because of the small size of the house, we were able to achieve what we wanted.”
What Are the Alternatives?
Johnson rates building materials on a spectrum from bad to good. The worst materials off-gas VOCs. She believes these materials shouldn’t be in anyone’s home, especially someone with chemical sensitivities. On the other end of the spectrum, you find materials that contain no chemicals at all. In between are low–VOC-emitting products that off-gas for a few days before becoming inert, or materials that can be sealed so that gases don’t enter the living space. What you choose for your own home depends on your budget and your health.
A good ventilation system that brings fresh air into the house without having to open the windows is also critical to a healthy home. That’s why Teton County, Wyoming, and Teton County, Idaho, have building codes that require mechanical ventilation in new homes. Exhaust air has to be vented directly outdoors, and fresh outdoor air has to be circulated throughout the home at a continuous rate determined by the building’s square footage and the number of bedrooms it contains.
There are a variety of ways to provide ventilation, but the most effective is either a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) or an energy-recovery ventilator (ERV). Both pull fresh air into a home while simultaneously pushing out stale air.
“People [today] are much more aware of indoor air quality,” says John McIntosh, owner of Snake River Builders. “It used to be that we had to bring it up. Now people are asking for it.” But he adds that builders can only do so much. The people who live in the houses also have to pay attention to what they bring inside if they want to maximize their air quality.
Hanson agrees. “A home is only as good as the people who live in it,” she says. “We need to do a better job of educating homeowners. If they don’t follow through on things—if they don’t change the filters on their ventilation system, for example—it doesn’t matter how good the house is. As an industry, I’d say education is one of our weak points.”
Taking the LEED
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, pioneers the way in identifying materials, procedures, and standards to help improve home safety and to minimize the impact of construction on the planet. For a building to be fully LEED certified, it has to meet a checklist of criteria that includes everything from where materials come from, to the building’s access to bike paths, to the use of low-emitting paints and finishes. Full LEED certification can be an expensive process, and many homeowners opt not to pay the extra cost. But the LEED checklist provides a valuable resource for building green and minimizing toxicity.
The WELL Building Standard, which is administered by the Green Building Certification Institute that also administers LEED, is a newer program that measures, certifies, and monitors “features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.” The program focuses its attention solely on the health and wellness of building occupants.
Hanson, who is a LEED-accredited professional, says she doesn’t know much about the WELL Building Standard, but she’s keen to learn more. For now, the information available online is another resource for people looking to minimize the toxicity of their homes and improve their health and wellbeing.
By Lisa Newcomb // Photographs by Ashley Cooper
Adopting a dog is practically a rite of passage in the Tetons. Spend a day in the backcountry or on the river, and nearly everyone you’ll see is enjoying the outdoors with their animal companions in tow. But like in many communities, we still have our share of homeless, surrendered, and even abused animals. And the transient, seasonal population in the Tetons contributes to the overcrowding of local shelters and the need for spay and neuter programs, training, and other local resources.
Fortunately, we have an incredible network of organizations in both Jackson Hole and Teton Valley—each contributing its own service to benefit the dog-and-human connection. “Everybody has a piece in the puzzle,” says Amy Romaine, executive director of PAWS of Jackson Hole. “[Still,] we all have the shared goal of reducing the number of pets in our local shelters.”
PAWS does not shelter animals. Instead, this nonprofit provides grants to local shelters, as well as offering education for community members and training for animals. PAWS’ programs include providing spay and neuter vouchers for pet owners. They also maintain Mutt Mitts stations, stocked with doggy waste bags, along trails and other recreational facilities in Jackson Hole. PAWS offers education and outreach programs on animal training and proper dog-and-owner etiquette in the area’s communal spaces. And they partner with the Community Safety Network to provide a SafePaws shelter on their campus, so that victims of domestic violence can stay with their pets.
The Animal Adoption Center, also in Jackson, houses animals waiting for homes, but works on a model quite different from traditional shelters. AAC does not accept owner surrenders. Instead, they work together with area shelters—including kill shelters—to facilitate fostering and the eventual adoption of pets. “We want to be part of the solution by helping create less homeless animals, on the whole,” says Carrie Boynton, executive director of AAC. Every dog at AAC goes home every night with a foster parent. Potential adopters are required to foster their adoptees for at least one night. And there’s a two-week trial period to ensure the new animal and family are a good fit for one another. AAC also has a spay and neuter program that operates with the help of local veterinarians and which travels across Wyoming, holding low-cost clinics and pet sterilization services.
Traditional shelters also play an important role by housing animals, allowing owners to surrender their animals directly to the facility and potentially saving animals facing possible euthanasia. “If [another facility] is overcrowded, [or vice versa], we try to help each other out,” says Josh Franco, operations manager at the Teton Valley Community Animal Shelter in Driggs. Franco explains that partnerships with area veterinarians are crucial to the spaying and neutering of the animals that pass through TVCAS, noting that every animal adopted from the nonprofit shelter is spayed or neutered, microchipped, and kept up to date on vaccinations.
While these are only three of the many pet-oriented organizations in our area, they help illustrate how animal welfare and adoption is truly a team effort. “I think there’s an amazing network here,” says Boynton. “It’s neat to see different organizations work on different aspects … trying to help animals find forever homes.”
Adopt a pet of your own
- PAWS of Jackson Hole, pawsofjh.org
- Teton County Animal Shelter, facebook.com/JTCAnimalShelter
- Animal Adoption Center, animaladoptioncenter.org
- Dog is My CoPilot, dogcopilot.org
By Jonah Lisa Dyer // Illustration by Stacey Walker Oldham
Selling Edible Arrangements over the telephone was not what I expected to be doing for Valentine’s Day last year. I mean, I knew we weren’t flush enough for a night at the Amangani, but two days of up-selling balloons and plush teddy bears to pair with chocolate-dipped fruit bouquets was not on my radar. But when you are a professional writer with all the accessories of a middle-class life—house, cars, kids, sports fees—sometimes you’ve gotta do whatever you can to cover the bills. So, when my high school friend Reva, who owns all the Edible Arrangements franchises in the entire state of Texas, asked if I wanted to make some extra money doing remote telephone sales during her busiest season of the year, I said, “Would you like ‘I LOVE YOU’ balloons with that?”
My phone rang non-stop starting at 8:00 a.m. each day, as I helped husbands and boyfriends weigh the merits of the Very Berry True Love Bouquet against those of the Pink and Precious Swizzle Berry Bouquet. I brought cash into the family coffers without ever getting out my flannel PJs.
Side hustles have always been a normal part of my working life. Making real money as a writer is a tough gig. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not digging ditches tough. I never break a sweat (unless you count flip-flop sweat from pitching new ideas to big producers); I’m never at risk of bodily harm (though I do sometimes get a nasty crick in my neck when jamming for a deadline); and I can clock out and watch Game of Thrones any time I want (I could stand to do a little less of this).
In many ways, it’s a dream job. But it’s a cash flow nightmare! I regularly take on the kind of financial risk that would make most people curl up in a ball on the floor and weep. I ricochet from relative comfort to abject poverty and back again every two to four years. I frequently invest huge amounts of time and effort into projects that never return a penny. I can go a year, or more, without a paycheck and I’m never certain how long those paychecks will have to stretch. You get the idea—it’s hard out there for a pimp.
I think of personal finances like building a house. You need the big logs to hold the roof up, but if you really want to keep all the wind and snow out, you have to fill the gaps in between with mud and straw. I’ve chinked my financial house with freelance bookkeeping, gardening, CSA workshares, and office temping. In the 1990s, I was a fill-in secretary in the Asia Division of the United Nations. I can say, “I’m sorry, I’m just a writer.” in three languages. I’ve waited tables, fed pets, jazzed up websites, given lectures, and worked retail. (Though the days I spent selling wool at my local yarn shop were more like enabling an addiction.) I’ve even substituted as a middle school band teacher, despite the fact that I don’t play an instrument or particularly like large groups of eye-rolling preteens who think they’ve got a bead on how the world works. The article you’re reading right now is a side hustle!
Taking on small, extra jobs is what I’ve always done to get from one big gig to another. And I’ve gotten even better at it since I’ve had kids. Driven by the ever-increasing cost of their shoes, I’ve found that motherhood is like having a graduate degree in the kind of multi-tasking that makes whiplashing from one job to another a breeze.
I’m not alone. Second jobs aren’t new to people in this region. Because of the seasonal structure of the local economy, there have always been farmers coaching the basketball team, fishing guides hanging Christmas lights, and ski instructors selling bikes. People who live and play in the mountains know a thing or two about taking risks and weathering snowstorms, financially and recreationally.
But lately I’ve noticed that side hustles are on the rise for everyone. Now I’m no economist, but I think stagnant incomes paired with a rising cost of living are feeding this trend. Lots of people with typically stable, year-round jobs are finding it necessary to build secondary income streams. Those new income streams are often built around the ability to instantly connect with people anywhere in the world. We may be remote, but we’ve got crackerjack cellular and Internet service!
I have fully employed friends running Airbnb rentals, building killer multi-level marketing businesses, selling art and handmade goods on Etsy, and making money off their unwanted items through our area’s many Facebook garage sale pages. People are turning connectivity into cash. Myself included. In the past year I’ve sold a metric ton of quality, gently used goods online, including a clawfoot bathtub, leftover patio flagstones, outgrown kids’ clothes, and an entire Lego City block.
All I needed last February to make a fast, few hundred bucks on the side was a phone line, my computer, and gargantuan amounts of patience, as I used my well-honed mom skills to mollify people who’d left a Valentine’s gift until the last minute (in other words, half the men in Texas). I predict more and more people in this region, especially moms, will be doing the same.
Free Valentine’s Day Advice:
Guys, don’t fall for the teddy bear add-on. Grown-ass women don’t want a stuffed animal wearing a bowtie. I promise! Stick to the stuff we can eat, and keep the extra five bucks.
By Melissa Snider // Photographs by Rebecca Vanderhorst
Congratulations, you’re pregnant!
The moment that plus-sign blooms, you enter a maze of decisions: what to eat, how to exercise, and, of course, who to choose as a practitioner for prenatal care and the birth of your baby. If this is your first, you might not realize that there are options other than your regular Ob-Gyn. Enter, the midwife—a healthcare professional who works in partnership with women to support them through pregnancy, labor, birth, and beyond. Midwife care is woman-centered, and treats pregnancy and birth as a normal experience that requires minimal intervention. Remember, the ways to birth your baby aren’t limited to what we see in the movies and on TV. To explore regional options for midwife-assisted births in the hospital, at home, or at a birthing center, read on.
Let’s Talk Letters
What is a midwife—really—in clinical terms?
A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is required to have three to five years of academic and clinical work under her belt to obtain this national certification. Candidates study and serve thousands of hours and are trained in suturing, phlebotomy (the practice of drawing blood from patients), and pharmacology. CPMs are issued a credential by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) after submitting clinical experience for approval and passing a written exam. Idaho and Wyoming require a midwife to earn a CPM credential before she can become a Licensed Midwife (LM) and practice in the state.
Locally, Dani Boettcher-White CPM, LM is licensed in both Idaho and Wyoming. She practices homebirths alongside pregnancy and birth consultant Whitni Nelson, founder of Victor-based Elevated Midwifery. The two also work as labor doulas and can assist in any birth setting in Wyoming or Idaho. And Kathy LeBaron CPM, LM and Christine Garcia, birth assistant and owner of Selah Midwifery, help Idaho women deliver in their homes or in Selah’s cozy two-room birth center and clinic in Rigby.
A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) graduates from an accredited nurse-midwifery program and must pass a national exam in order to practice. The majority of CNMs work in a clinic or hospital setting, under the supervision of an obstetrician (OB). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8.1 percent of all hospital births in the United States in 2015 were attended by a CNM. Regional CNMs include Joanna Sheets at Gros Ventre Ob-Gyn in Jackson, and Theresa Lerch, who practices in both Jackson and Victor. Madison Women’s Clinic in Rexburg and Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls also have CNMs on staff. If you want midwife care, but prefer to deliver in a hospital setting, a CNM may be your ideal fit.
Prenatal Care and Birth—Home Edition
The vast majority of mothers in the United States give birth in hospitals, but some families choose to deliver in their own homes or at a birthing center replicating an at-home feeling. “The core of midwifery and homebirth is low intervention,” says Boettcher-White. That’s why both Elevated Midwifery and Selah Midwifery Center take on low-risk clients without chronic health disorders or other complications. LeBaron believes if you’re not high risk, why should you be treated that way? This question is at the heart of her philosophy of service. “Women need to have choice. We need to look at birth as natural, not a risk,” she says.
Building a positive relationship is a key component to midwifery. “We’re going to be part of a really intimate experience in their life ... we end up seeing these families for years to come,” says Nelson. The relationship begins during prenatal care, when the midwives visit with families in their homes. Over tea and belly palpation, comes education on preventative care and the birthing process. “We see families on the same schedule, same frequency, and offer the same lab tests as an OB would, but in a much more intimate setting,” says Boettcher-White.
During labor, midwives monitor the baby, keep mom hydrated, and ensure she stays rested, when possible. Nelson and Boettcher-White work as a team and check in regularly to monitor all vital signs. “First births can be very long, and it’s important to have support from beginning to end,” says Nelson. Instead of pain medication, women are encouraged to move and use a variety of positions as labor progresses. And if the mother wants to labor and even give birth in a birthing tub, the midwives bring one to the home.
At the Selah Midwifery Center, water births account for 80 percent of babies delivered. LeBaron calls the birthing tub “the midwife’s epidural,” and notes that relaxation and environment are key to a complication-free birth. After delivery, mom and baby stay at the center for four to six hours before returning home.
After a homebirth, Nelson and Boettcher-White stay with the family for an average of four hours, until they’re confident they have “zero concerns.” Follow-up from the midwives includes a phone call 12 hours after birth, visits within 24 to 36 hours, and checkups at one, two, and five weeks. Each visit includes newborn checks and screenings and breastfeeding support, with an emphasis on the wellbeing of the mother. This frequent postpartum care for mom (not just baby) is a departure from OB care, where most women don’t receive a follow-up visit until six weeks after giving birth.
When considering the financial aspects of having a baby, know that most midwife-assisted home or birthing center deliveries will be paid for out of pocket. If you are happy with your OB but want to access a midwife’s expertise, consider attending a class or visit the websites on page 13 for more information. But know that wherever your baby is born, a midwife can help you deliver. “There’s nothing more rewarding,” says LeBaron. “It all comes down to that moment, when the parents are so in love with the baby. That moment is priceless.”
Liz Alvarosa of Jackson has attended more than 200 births in her 13 years as a doula. Her role is to provide a calming, reassuring presence during birth, and to offer suggestions for comfort during labor. “Pregnancy and birth are highly emotional experiences,” says Alvarosa. “[Having a doula] makes birthing feel less scary and out of control.”
Think of doulas as coaches, advocates, and advisors. Whether you’re hoping for a natural birth or are ready to place the epidural yourself, doulas can be invaluable throughout the birth process, at home, or in the hospital. Nationally certified by Doulas of North America (DONA), doulas typically charge $900 for services, which include two prenatal visits; birth support throughout labor; postpartum calls, texts, and visits; and breastfeeding support. “Regardless of how you choose to have your baby,” says Alvarosa, “why not have the experience be a positive one?”
- Dani Boettcher-White CPM, LM, Elevated Midwifery, Victor, elevatedmidwifery.com
- Krista Layne Hays CPM, LM, Victor, 208-881-4042 (Available for birth consultations only, while she is persuing higher education.)
- Kathy LeBaron CPM, LM, Selah Midwifery Center, Rigby, selahmidwiferycenter.com
- Theresa Lerch CNM, C-FNP, Jackson and Victor, 307-733-4585
- Joanna Sheets CNM, Gros Ventre Ob-Gyn, Jackson, gvog.net
- Shayna Barnhill CPM LM, Core Midwifery, coremidwifery.com, (208)881-4565
- Liz Alvarosa, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dani Boettcher-White, CPM, LM, email@example.com
- Jen Fox, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Whitni Nelson, email@example.com
- Andrea Weenig, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Annie Fenn, MD // Photographs by Paulette Phlipot
When I was a young kid, a tall glass of ice cold milk meant only one thing: whole milk from a local cow, poured from a glass jar, brought to our house by the milkman. By the time I was in high school, the milkman had retired. Milk still came from a cow, but was easily procured at the grocery store in three forms: whole, 2 percent, or skim.
Now, alternative “milks” are everywhere. Milk can be made from oats, coconuts, rice, soy, and seeds such as hemp, quinoa, and flax. Just about any nut can be transformed into a milky drink. In fact, my favorite plant-based milks are made from two of the best nuts for brain health—almonds and cashews. Both of these nut milks are a dream to cook with; plus, they satisfy my post-workout thirst unlike any sports recovery drink could.
You can’t beat the convenience of buying nut milks at the grocery store, but I prefer the fresh, creamy taste of homemade. Besides, processed milks usually contain thickeners, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and sweeteners (YUCK!), and the nut content is diluted down to just a few nuts per cup. By making nut milk from scratch, I get to choose the best quality nuts and pack as many as possible into each batch. I also have the option of sprouting my almonds (cashews don’t sprout), or giving them an extended soak for up to 48 hours, which may enhance the absorption of nutrients.
Almonds have long been appreciated for their ability to lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Both almonds and cashews contain concentrated amounts of Vitamin E—a powerful antioxidant known to reduce inflammation in the brain (a process that may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s. And although both cashews and almonds are high in calories and fat, it’s the healthy kind of fat (monounsaturated), so eating them may actually help you lose weight.
Making homemade nut milk starts with choosing the best nuts. But should you splurge for the organic almonds and cashews? While it’s best to use organic to avoid exposure to pesticide residues, the price difference between organic and conventionally grown nuts is substantial. So I usually don’t sweat using conventionally grown, since soaking and rinsing is part of the milk-making process anyway. I reason that most of the pesticide residue will be washed away in the process.
All you need to make my Vanilla Almond Milk are good quality almonds, a powerful blender, a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, and time—it takes eight hours of soaking to make almonds soft enough to be transformed into milk. The Cashew Coffee is even easier and much faster (no soaking required). Just whiz freshly made coffee in a blender with a handful of cashews, a dash of salt, and a touch of honey. Within seconds you’ll be saying hello to your new favorite latte.
Vanilla Almond Milk
Makes about 5 cups
1 1/2 cups raw, unsalted almonds or cashews
4 cups water, plus more for soaking
1 pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or the scrapings of one vanilla bean
2 dates, pitted or 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
- Place almonds in a deep bowl and cover with fresh water. Soak overnight at room temperature or up to 12 hours.
- Rinse nuts in a colander, discarding the soaking water.
- Place nuts, water, salt, vanilla, and dates or honey (if using) into a blender and add 4 cups fresh water.
- Blend on high speed for 5 minutes or until the nuts are pulverized and the mixture is smooth.
- Strain through a nut milk bag placed over a large bowl. Or line a colander with a double thickness of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.
- Squeeze bag or cloth to extract all of the milk from the pulp.
- Pour the almond milk into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Shake well before serving.
Note: Substitute raw, unsalted cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, or walnuts for different flavors. For a creamier texture, add 1/2 cup of raw oats or cooked rice before blending.
Note: Leftover almond pulp can be used as almond meal for baking. Place the pulp on a baking sheet and dry in the oven on its lowest setting for about 6 hours. For a finer texture, pulse the dried meal in a food processor.
2 cups freshly brewed coffee
1/4 cup roasted or raw cashews
1 pinch sea salt (omit if using salted nuts)
1 dash of honey, to taste
- Brew coffee to your liking and pour into blender while still very hot. Add cashews, honey, and salt.
- Blend on low speed for 15 seconds, on medium speed for another 15 seconds, and then on high speed for the last 15 seconds or until the coffee is frothy and smooth.
- Pour into a mug and enjoy. Or, chill briefly and pour over ice for an iced coffee.
Don't Almonds Hog Water
Almond milk has been scrutinized as a water-hogging food because it takes 24 gallons of water to produce 1/4 cup of almonds. While that sounds like a lot, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews actually fall in the middle of the water-use scale—more than some foods, but less than most. For example, it takes 220 gallons of water to produce one avocado and 180 gallons for each 1/2-cup of blueberries. But no fruit or vegetable product sucks up as much water as what is needed to produce meat—an average of 850 gallons of water is required to produce one 8-ounce steak. I don’t stress about how much water it takes to produce my nuts; calorie for calorie, it’s a good use of agricultural water.
You will need to seek out unpasteurized almonds if you plan to sprout them. And since the U.S. Government now requires pasteurization of all almonds (due to a series of Salmonella outbreaks traced back to nut consumption in 2007), even the ones labeled “raw” probably are not. Real unpasteurized almonds can be found online, at some farmer’s markets (small organic farms are not required to pasteurize), and from purveyors outside the U.S. Freshness is key when buying unpasteurized nuts, since they are truly raw and can go rancid within a few months. To play it safe, store them in the freezer.
Cow’s milk is still considered the best choice for children, unless they are allergic to milk protein or are lactose intolerant. Plant-based milks have not been proven to provide as much calcium, Vitamin D, and protein (for growing teeth and bones) as traditional cow’s milk.
By Annie Fenn, MD // Food photographs by Paulette Phlipot
Most of us mountainites habitually get regular, vigorous exercise—enough to stay fit, healthy, and strong. But how often do we think about the fitness of our brains?
As it turns out, paying attention to brain health is just as important as working out. In the past few years, the scientific community has made key discoveries about how the brain works and why its function declines with age. Good news! Learning how to taking care of our brains, just as we have learned to take care of the rest of our bodies, is the first step toward graceful, healthy aging.
All this talk about brain health stems from a simple fact: As a community and as a nation, we are all getting older. The Baby Boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) is entering “older” age in record numbers. And the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease—the most common form of dementia—will approach epidemic levels in the next few decades.
Today, more than five million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease. And because there is currently no treatment to change the course of this progressive brain disorder, they will gradually lose their ability to remember, think, learn, and live independently. By 2050, the number of Alzheimer’s victims is expected to hit 16 million, or one of every two people over age 85. And Alzheimer’s is primed to affect women most, as two-thirds of Alzheimer’s victims are female.
But there’s good news, too. We used to think that cognitive decline was an inevitable consequence of getting older. Not much you can do, right? Wrong! We now know that Alzheimer’s evolves over decades because of the unique interaction between our lifestyle choices and our genetic makeup. Studies show that by modifying certain lifestyle factors, we can prevent or delay the onset of cognitive decline. We’re talking about factors that we actually have the power to change—like how we think, exercise, sleep, cope with stress, and eat.
You may be wondering, Am I too young to be worrying about my brain? After all, everyone misplaces keys now and then and struggles to retrieve someone’s name. Isn’t Alzheimer’s an old person’s disease? Consider this: Researchers are detecting the earliest sign of Alzheimer’s—the build-up of amyloid protein—in the brains of 30-year-olds. Amyloid is a key pathological feature of the disease, as it forms plaque that kills brain cells and slows information processing. The deposition of amyloid is thought to be the first indication that Alzheimer’s is evolving, long before any obvious symptoms of dementia begin. Taking care of our brains now—whether we are 35 or 75—will help prevent cognitive decline later in life.
So, are you ready to cultivate a healthy, resilient, dementia-free brain?
Some people are taking their brains back to school by enrolling in the Brain Works Boot Camp, offered by St. Johns Medical Center in Jackson. This course, created by cognitive health specialist Dr. Martha Stearn, MD, is a crash course in all the evidence-based ways we can take care of our brains. And there’s a bonus! The same strategy that prevents Alzheimer’s disease can help your brain function at a higher level right now. Want more mental clarity and a sharper short-term memory? Want to be more rested, happy, and calm? Brain health—it’s definitely the latest, greatest fitness trend. And here’s what to do:
PRIORITIZE SLEEP: As many as one in three Americans are not getting enough sleep. Getting adequate REM sleep—the deep, dream-producing kind—is especially key for Alzheimer’s prevention. While we are dreaming, the “gray matter” (i.e. toxins and plaque) actually shrinks as the brain’s lymphatic system expands. This is when the brain clears its toxins in a process called autophagy. A recent study published in the Journal of Neurology found a strong association between quality of sleep and markers of inflammation in the brain, in particular amyloid plaque. The more disrupted their participants’ sleep patterns were, especially if they were lacking in REM sleep, the greater their risk of dementia.
Bottom line: Strive to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
Brain Works Tip: Set an alarm on your phone to go off half an hour before you need to be in bed. Then, turn off your phone and all electronic devices and stash them far away from your bed.
GET A HANDLE ON STRESS: People with chronically high stress levels are more likely to develop early dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Cortisol, the primary hormone released in response to stress, floods the brain’s hippocampus causing neuron cell death and dysfunction. Alzheimer’s prevention is all about maintaining a healthy hippocampus—the region of the brain that houses memory, knowledge, and emotion. Meditation is one of the most evidence-based tools to reduce stress and change brain chemistry. Brain scans of people who meditate show enhanced cerebral blood flow; and some may actually form new neural circuits that bypass amyloid plaque.
Bottom Line: Find a way to incorporate a stress-reducing activity into your daily routine.
Brain Works Tip: If you are new to meditation, start by sitting for just a few minutes each day to let your mind rest. A phone application like Headspace can help keep you on track. Or try Kirtan Kriya, a chanting yoga meditation proven to improve memory, sleep, and mood, and diminish stress. Learn more at alzheimersprevention.org.
FEED YOUR BRAIN: Numerous studies show that following a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, and chronic diseases, while enhancing longevity and quality of life. Now we are learning that many facets of the Mediterranean diet can reduce Alzheimer’s risk, too. One recent study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s and Dementia showed that eating from the MIND diet (a variation of the Mediterranean diet) reduced Alzheimer’s risk by 53 percent in nearly 1,000 participants over five years.
Bottom Line: Certain foods enhance brain function and are being studied as a strategy to prevent Alzheimer’s.
Brain Works Tip: Check out the MIND diet’s 10 brain-healthy food groups, and the five groups to avoid. (See sidebar or check out brainworkskitchen.com for more information).
BUILD YOUR COGNITIVE RESERVE: A healthy brain needs to be constantly learning. That’s how it maintains its neuroplasticity—the ability to make new connections.
Bottom Line: Go beyond doing crossword puzzles to really challenge your brain: learn a new language, pick up a musical instrument, take a dance class, or sign up for an online brain training program.
Brain Works Tip: Be aware that many computer programs are marketed as ways to enhance brain function, but only one has adequate data to back it up: BrainHQ.
EXERCISE SMARTER: Keep up with your aerobic workouts. We know exercise that’s good for the heart is also good for the brain. Add intervals and resistance-training to enhance brain function. And mix it up with mindfulness-based exercises, like yoga and Tai Chi.
Bottom Line: Physical exercise is good for the brain; a combination of aerobic efforts, strength training, and exercise that incorporates mindfulness is even better.
Brain Works Tip: Try taking a different route when you head out to run, bike, or hike—just switching up locations is good for the brain.
Oven steamed salmon with cilantro chutney
For the salmon
1 2 1/2 pound Pride of Bristol Bay wild sockeye salmon filet
- Preheat the oven to 275º F. Place a large saucepan on the lowest rack. Place another rack up high in the oven.
- Rub a thin baking sheet with enough olive oil to coat lightly. Place the salmon on the sheet.
- Dry the salmon with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
- Bring a teakettle of water to a boil and carefully pour into the pan in the oven. Place the sheet pan of salmon on the uppermost rack. Close the oven door.
- Oven-steam the salmon for 20 to 22 minutes.
- Test for doneness with an instant read thermometer: 110º F for rare, 115º F for medium-rare, and 120º F for medium.
- Remove immediately.
* Recipe adapted from Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life
For the chutney
1 packed cup cilantro stems and leaves, washed, dried, and chopped
2 ounces raw, unsalted cashews
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 small, fresh green chiles, deseeded and chopped
- Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
- Pulse until smooth and pesto-like. Add water, if needed.
- Add more lemon juice, salt, or honey to taste. Add an additional chile for more spice.
- Serve it atop, or as a side to, the warm salmon.
Note: Store leftover chutney in the fridge in a small, airtight container for up to five days, or freeze for up to three months.
Moroccan Forbidden Rice Salad
2 cups forbidden rice (black short grain rice)
4 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can, drained)
1/4 cup scallions, white part only, minced
2/3 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced, plus 2 sprigs for garnish
Freshly ground pepper
- Rinse rice well and shake dry.
- Bring water to a boil with salt. Add rice and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered for another 20 minutes. (Can also be made in a rice cooker.)
- While the rice is cooking, zest the lemons, cut them in half, and juice.
- Whisk together 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/2 cup olive oil. Set aside.
- Fluff rice with a fork; transfer to a bowl. Toss with lemon juice and olive oil mixture. Fold in remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
- Let stand at room temperature until ready to serve.
- Adjust seasonings and garnish with cilantro sprigs before serving.
Brain Works for Dementia Prevention
What: Brain Works is a dementia prevention class created by cognitive health specialist Dr. Martha Stearn, MD, of St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson.
Who: Brain Works is for anyone who wants to learn how to reduce dementia risk using the latest evidence-based science.
How: Students build cognitive reserve using BrainHQ, a computerized brain-training program that challenges processing speed in a way that enhances neuroplasticity. Brain Works Kitchen cooking classes teach students how to choose the most brain-healthy foods, and how to create easy meals using modern techniques. Training in meditation teaches students how to effectively rest the brain. Movement classes incorporate exercises shown to enhance cognitive function, such as Tai Chi and Kirtan Kriya. Lectures cover topics such as how to sleep better, which medications to avoid, and how to cultivate a brain-healthy lifestyle.
When: Contact St. John’s Hospital’s Cognitive Health Department for upcoming dates and to register. (tetonhospital.org)
Do's and Don'ts of Brain-Healthy Food
EAT MORE of the following foods to reduce Alzheimer’s risk:
- Berries: at least two 1/2-cup servings each week.
- Vegetables: daily intake of colorful, cruciferous veggies.
- Leafy greens: one generous serving every day.
- Beans: four or more servings each week.
- Nuts: one 1/2-cup serving, at least 5 times each week.
- Fish and seafood: one or more servings each week (not fried).
- Chicken and poultry: two or more servings each week (not fried).
- Whole grains: three 1/2-cup servings each day.
- Olive oil: use as your primary cooking oil.
- Red wine: one 5-ounce glass per day.
EAT LESS of the following brain-unhealthy foods:
- Red meat: up to four 3-ounce servings per week
- Butter: less than one tablespoon per day
- Cheese: less than a 1-ounce serving per week
- Fast foods and fried foods: less than one serving each week
- Pastries and Sweets: up to five servings each week
By Christina Shepherd McGuire
Snow falls amidst your tiny sphere
Awakening nostalgic memories.
A big cityscape.
A chilled skating pond.
Shushing down the mountainside.
I shake you up.
You snow some more.
Life seems simple in your bubble.
What’s it like inside that dome?
Is your bed cozy?
No money woes, I’m sure.
Or schedules. Or rushing.
In fact, you’d bump into a glass wall,
Should you vacate your scene.
You live in a captured moment,
Void of outside interruption.
Like when winter days are
For you, it’s simply
Snow angels on the ground.
Walking your dog on a leash.
Sitting under a flickering streetlamp.
Beneath a snowy sky.
In a protective bubble.
And so with each shake of the globe,
I go there too.
By Deb Barracato // Photographs by Ashley Cooper
Jeske Gräve pulled up to work one morning with 700 pounds of bananas in her car, but it didn’t faze her coworkers. At Hole Food Rescue, they expect this sort of scenario. To celebrate the bounty, Ali Dunford and Hannah Cooley donned the organization’s signature banana suits for an impromptu dance to Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.”
“This $%*√ is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!”
But the festive atmosphere in the office and sorting hub off South Park Loop in Jackson belies the seriousness of what Hole Food Rescue has accomplished in the past five years. Dunford and Gräve, co-executive directors, recently published their first impact report and the numbers added up to clear success.
On average, they collect 20,000 pounds of food every month, enough to fill four Westbank Sanitation trucks or feed one person three meals a day for 15 years. The 25 organizations they supply with food, and the estimated 1,000 people they reach each week, may be the obvious beneficiaries and the organization’s primary focus, but the effect on the entire Teton community goes much deeper.
Perhaps it’s no surprise in a looks-obsessed culture, but ugly produce rarely sells, which leaves tons of edible and nutritious food picked over and destined for rot. Additionally, arbitrary expiration and sell-by dates on canned goods and packaged products leave stores legally unable to sell still-safe and palatable food. Each year, Hole Food Rescue collects and distributes more than one million dollars’ worth of excess nutritious food, primarily fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and artisan breads, with much of it going to vulnerable children and seniors.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 13 million children in the country live in food insecure households. A lot of those children have working parents with incomes above the poverty line. Yet, for many families, basic nutrition needs fall behind monthly bills and unexpected expenses. In Jackson Hole, 13.5 percent of the county’s residents often or sometimes wonder when and where they will get their next meal.
Since 2015, Hole Food Rescue has eliminated some of that uncertainty for students in Teton Literacy Center’s afterschool program. Laura Soltau, the organization’s executive director, says the fresh fruit and vegetable snacks provided by Hole Food Rescue make it possible for students to focus on their academic tasks, with a notable improvement in concentration. The success of the partnership and the obvious benefits to the children led to the formation of additional partnerships with other local youth programs, allowing Hole Food Rescue to directly feed more than 250 kids each week.
A shocking 40 percent of all food produced in the United States gets wasted, squandering an estimated $161 billion each year. Globally, unconsumed food accounts for an estimated 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere annually. Hole Food Rescue diverted 608,826 pounds of food from the local waste stream between June 24, 2013, and December 31, 2016, preventing the emission of an estimated 451,073 metric tons of carbon dioxide—roughly the same amount 481 million pounds of burning coal would generate.
By intercepting the food that 23 local grocery stores and restaurants, and various vendors at the farmer’s market, don’t sell before it goes into the dumpster, Hole Food Rescue also saves the county the cost of trucking it 100 miles to the Bonneville County landfill in Idaho, plus the fees for disposing of it there. “In a way, we’re really a waste management organization,” Gräve says, explaining that food is the single largest municipal waste source, adding that anything they collect but deem unfit for human consumption becomes animal fodder or compost.
The banana bonanza inspired a menu item at the organization’s third-annual awareness event, the Million Pound Party, this past August, where attendees made their own smoothies using the Hoback Sports bike-powered blender. The event fed more than 350 people with rescued food and created less than one can of trash. About 15 staff members and volunteers showed up in banana suits the following weekend at Old Bill’s Fun Run, proving that this bunch takes to heart one of their core values: Always have fun.
Hole Food Rescue relies on approximately 100 volunteers who spend more than 3,000 hours yearly picking up, transporting, sorting, weighing, logging, and distributing food seven days a week. Hole Food Rescue hosts weekly volunteer orientations that give prospective volunteers an overview of the process and the opportunities to get involved. Visit holefoodrescue.org for more information.
In Teton Valley, Idaho, the Community Resource Center operates a food rescue program with a similar mission. With the help of about 18 volunteers, they currently redistribute around 2,000 pounds of unsellable food per month from Broulim’s, 460Bread, and Big Hole Bagels to the Family Safety Network, Seniors West of the Tetons, the Teton Valley Food Pantry, and the Hispanic Resource Center. Contact Megan O’Brien, the executive director of CRCTV, at email@example.com or 208-354-0870 to inquire about volunteer opportunities.
By Christina Shepherd McGuire // Photographs by Camrin Dengel
Just the other day I was talking to my son’s third-grade teacher about spelling. I was wondering when they were going to do the typical “learn word, study flash card, and regurgitate material” spelling tests that I became accustomed to as a kid. Mrs. Madsen explained to me that the best way to learn spelling was by tackling it authentically. Now, I know what authentic means (and also how to spell it), but in this context, I was a little unsure. She explained that teaching spelling in conjunction with writing—where kids edit their own work and adopt spelling principles by applying them to the task at hand—is an authentic way to learn, problem solve, and develop a life skill.
Okay, I get it. It’s about putting purpose into everything we do. Not just because we need to spit out a bunch of words on paper. Spelled correctly.
This fall, I was on a mission to seek out those who make an authentic, purposeful living—individuals who took a hobby or stumbled upon a trade and made it their craft. What I found was an interesting array of people who pepper our community with artisan goods, supporting both families and lifestyles. Whether you’re a farmer, a woodworker, a potter, or a painter, living authentically seems to be in our mountain blood. And, just like creating prose with pen and paper (spelled correctly, or not), this is how we get it done …
We Solve Problems
Sam and Jenny Dowd, of Dowd House Studios, have an uncontained curiosity for “stuff.”
“We are such makers,” says Jenny. “My dad built things and my mom sewed. [At a young age], I learned from my parents that you just make stuff.” While the couple defaults to clay as their medium, Jenny explains that they are constantly learning new tactics by working with all types of materials. “I’ll try something in metal,” she says. “And then I’ll get frustrated and try it in paper or clay.”
As the manager of the ceramics and multipurpose room at the Center for the Arts in Jackson, Sam also knows a thing or two about working with different media. He has more than dabbled in everything from sculpting to pottery, and from welding to mold making.
It’s the couple’s multidimensional skills, and their complementary MFAs, that allow them both to approach their careers as utilitarian potters with a problem-solving attitude.
It started in 2008, when Jenny, who was teaching for the Art Association of Jackson Hole at the time, was approached by one of her students to make water pitchers for the Four Seasons’ guest rooms. At the same time, The Wort Hotel approached Sam for a similar gig. Together, they carefully crafted hundreds of pitchers with handles that would bear the weight of both water and pitcher, while also allowing them to pour correctly. Jenny and Sam got good. Real good.
Today, Sam’s “parachute career” in art admin and his biannual Teton MudPot Sale have allowed the couple to continue solving problems for others with their craft.
“We do this all very organically,” says Sam. “Wherever the rabbit hole goes, we follow it. And there are going to be all sorts of U-turns.”
Most recently, Jenny’s pottery can be found in area restaurants, for which she creates pieces that jibe with chef requests for certain dishes. She enjoys being part of the locavore movement—local food being served on local art—and acknowledges that chefs were the missing link to her success. Sam’s role at the Art Association and his creation of Jackson’s staple pottery sale also solves community problems, as he nurtures budding artists and enables them—just like he has done for himself—to earn an income from their craft.
We Find Our Voice
Growing up as a homeschooler in Alaska taught Alex Paliwoda, The Backcountry Blacksmith, about the specialness of place. This self-professed mountain goat, as the touchmark logo on her pieces suggests, fell into the art of blacksmithing while searching for a medium that represented the ruggedness of nature. A welder since age 14, Paliwoda believes metal mimics the wilderness because “steel is really hard, but it’s also incredibly forgiving.”
After graduating from Montana State University Horseshoeing School, Paliwoda hauled her blacksmithing setup—which then fit into the back of her pickup—into the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (her new home), and completely immersed herself in both nature’s wildness and her craft.
With a burning need for people to hear her through her work, she decided to take her hobby more seriously. So she packed up shop, moved to Colorado, and landed an apprenticeship in Salida. “I spent hours making piles of junk until I got good,” she explains. “Production work just makes you better.“ Her big break came when she submitted a horseshoe trivet to UncommonGoods and they bought it. That year, she made 4,000 trivets.
Eight years later, you can find Paliwoda in her shop in Driggs, surrounded by impressive equipment—a propane forge, two anvils, a tumbler, and a power hammer. She now has three employees, including a welder, a finisher, and a packer. Together, they continue to make trivets for UncommonGoods, as well as Paliwoda’s other signature pieces like her Copper River Knife (a traditional Ulu Eskimo knife), her Higher Ground Belt Buckle, cheese knives, leaf hooks, platters, and other custom items for both home and business. (Check out the porch railing at the Royal Wolf in Driggs the next time you drop in for a burger.) Last year, the small shop produced over 10,000 items that shipped worldwide. “When people from Australia, to Texas, to England actually liked my story, I was blown out of the water,” she says, beaming.
Every piece Paliwoda makes reveals her commitment to nature and the environment. From her eco-friendly finishing practices, to her recycled packaging, you know you’re getting a little slice of something created by someone making a difference in this world. “It’s exhilarating,” says the once-shy kid from the Alaskan bush. “I’m proof that someone can pursue a dream if they really try and can make what they love to do their job.”
We Chase a Lifestyle
When the graphic design industry tanked in 2013, textile designer Lisa Walker, of Lisa Walker Handmade, bought herself a sewing machine, taught herself how to sew, and turned her graphic design talents into a home-based business. A Bozeman, Montana, native who moved to New Jersey at age 9, Walker’s childhood was a melding of New York City suburbia and mountain culture. But she was destined to come back to the West someday. So, after a career stint at Hallmark in Kansas City, she figured out a way to be in Jackson, make money, and travel with her kids, Niko, age 8, and Kai, age 6.
All of Walker’s hand-drawn designs—turned fabric masterpieces—are reflections of something she’s seen in her travels. Every one of her intricate screen-printed garments and accessories are designed, cut, and hand sewn by her (no Butterick pattern needed). Each year, Walker turns hundreds of yards of hand-dyed fabric into coveted wraps and scarves; signature tea towels for Persephone Bakery, Picnic, and Aspens Market; and iconic wraps, embellished in mountainscapes, ravens, and buffalo.
Walker says she’s living her own version of the “Jackson authentic lifestyle.”
“I like to be outside, but I’m not this extreme athlete,” she says. “I make items for our culture—they are warm, breathable, and can withstand the elements. You can hike up Snow King [in my creations], and then come down and go out to dinner.”
At the end of the day, the great room in her downtown Jackson loft represents the perfect coexistence of work and life. It’s a gathering area for her family, it’s a gallery for her wears, and it’s a workshop that feeds her soul. “I like that my kids see me work hard,“ she says. “If you work hard at what you love, it will bring you your lifestyle. I want them to go out into the world knowing that.”
We Are the Real Deal
Jim and Sue Berkenfield, of Packsaddle Road Woodworks in Tetonia, never make any item of furniture twice. “The most stimulating part of the project is coming up with a design,” says Jim. “Once the creative aspect is over, it becomes more tedious, and then I don’t want to make [the piece] ever again.”
It’s a sentiment many artisans express, and something many clients desire, as they know they’re getting a one-of-a-kind piece. And that’s exactly what the Berkenfields deliver, with heirloom-quality pieces made from a mix of hardwoods like walnut, cherry, and maple, and crafted using traditional joinery techniques.
You could say that the Berkenfields somewhat tripped into their profession. While living in San Francisco, Sue, a New England native with an affinity for 18th century furniture, began dabbling with wood. Simultaneously, Jim’s work with a dotcom startup dried up, and he took a job, cold turkey, with a local cabinet shop. The trade came quickly and easily to Jim, as he wrapped his head around built-ins and kitchen remodels. But their serendipitous “trip” became a path to a full-time gig when Sue applied for and was accepted into a craftsmanship program at the North Bennet Street School in Boston.
Furniture making is a series of sequential processes that mimic the way the Berkenfields have approached life. In 2004, the couple moved back to the Tetons, eventually settling in Tetonia; they rented a shop space in Victor and became their own bosses. “But it wasn’t all rainbows and lollipops,” says Sue, alluding to the economic crash in 2008 that coincided with the timing of their growing family. The couple needed to diversify to manage the cash flow (a concept not foreign to many mountain-town residents), so they bought the drive-up coffee shop in Driggs known as “Coffee on the Fly.”
Today, the couple has moved on from being baristas. They’ve built their own shop out of a Quonset hut on their property, and they see their custom cutting-board business as a way support themselves in between the income windfalls.
“You get a [furniture] down payment and then it’s time to buy tires and take the kids to the dentist,” says Sue. But it’s all in an effort to sustain a type of freedom—one that many mountainites carve for themselves, while others look on in awe. “It’s about how you structure your own time,” says Jim. “As long as we’re getting product out the door, we have more quality time to spend with family.”
Sue elaborates on the feeling of purpose: “Any town that I want to call home should have an independent bookstore, an independently owned movie theater, a coffee shop, and a bevy of craftspeople that you are proud to say make up your community.”
To be able to methodically carve out a niche, and to also pull yourself up by the bootstraps when you need to … well, to me, that’s the real deal. And it represents the overarching authenticity that folks in nontraditional communities like ours aim for.
Holiday Shopping Guide
Dowd House Studios dowdhousestudios.com
- Old Wilson Schoolhouse Holiday Gift Show, December 9th, Wilson
- Cocktails & Creatives at The Rose, December 20th, Jackson
- Penny Lane Cooperative, Jackson
- Market (in Vertical Harvest), Jackson
- Workshop, Jackson
- Made, Jackson
- The Wort Mercantile, Jackson
- Healthy Being Juicery, Jackson
- Raven Lunatics Art Gallery, Alpine
The Backcountry Blacksmith backcountryblacksmith.com
- Guchiebirds, Driggs
- Driggs Art Tour, December 10th, Driggs
- UncommonGoods (uncommongoods.com)
Lisa Walker Handmade lisawalkerhandmade.com
- Art Association of Jackson Hole Holiday Bazaar, December 9th, Jackson
- Workshop, Jackson
- Picnic, Jackson
- Persephone, Jackson
- Aspens Market, Wilson
Packsaddle Road Woodworks
- Online at packsaddleroad.net
By Judy Allen
As an ardent gardener, I meet fall with mixed feelings. While I am ready to relinquish the tough work of gardening, I miss the marvel of watching things grow. I love our Rocky Mountain winter—both its blizzards and bluebird days. But by March, when dirty snow piles linger into dreary days, I’m longing for the green foliage and colorful blossoms of spring.
Short of a tropical vacation, the next best way I’ve found to get an early dose of spring is to plant, in the fall, pots of bulbs for indoor bloom from December through April. The horticultural term for this process is called “forcing,” but I prefer to think of it more gently, like “coaxing” or “encouraging” a willing species to bring forth its flowers for my admiration, just a little early.
The bulbs I’ve been most successful with include those grown only in winter, as well as those grown in warmer climes for outdoor spring displays, such as South African native amaryllis, a Christmas classic, and paperwhite narcissus, a not-so-hardy species of daffodil. Recall the Greek myth of handsome Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection in the pond. When he died, daffodils sprang up where he had lain. Paperwhite blooms are just as gorgeous, and fragrant, too. Other bulbs I “coax” are crocus, hyacinth, iris, and tulips. While hyacinth blooms only in warmer zones, the other three grow here outdoors. But crocuses and tulips—especially the latter—are relished by rodents, so indoor pots ensure a showing.
Amaryllis and paperwhites are easiest for beginners, as they require no winter chill and will grow their full cycle in your home. More experienced growers may seek the challenge of crocus, hyacinth, iris, or tulips. These require a cold period to simulate a winter spent outside. You will need to find a spot to overwinter these pots for a specific length of time.
Purchase bulbs at local nurseries or through online catalogs, which often offer a broad selection. For winter-chill bulbs, look at packaging or catalog descriptions for the species of each deemed suitable for forcing. My preferred choices are listed in the chart. Order early while selection is good, and hold your bulbs indoors until it’s time to pot them up.
A Winter Home
Choose colorful, unique, and/or sentimental containers to complement your vibrant flowers. Be sure your pots have drainage holes, with a saucer underneath to catch watering overflow. (Paperwhites are the exception; they thrive without drainage in soil or pebbles—recall Narcissus at the pond—so you can get creative and use a glass or galvanized container.) Since bulbs store all the food necessary to bloom, they are not particular about soil. Any well-drained potting mix will do.
After the outdoor garden is put to bed, around the middle to the end of October, I pot up my bulbs. I usually pot amaryllis individually, while grouping paperwhites and others. To plant amaryllis and paperwhites, cover them with soil up to the shoulder (the widest part of the bulb). Water until soil is soaked.
To plant crocus, hyacinth, iris, and tulips: position the bulbs, nearly touching, around the soil surface for a dense display. Push into the soil until tops are just covered. (Hint: use gloves when handling hyacinth bulbs, as they can cause skin irritation.) Water thoroughly after planting, letting the soil absorb moisture until it is evenly soaked. Label each pot to help you remember what to bring out when.
South African amaryllis benefit from some warmth. Keep them in a sunny window or on a shelf above a heater in full light. Paperwhites prefer cooler temps and indirect light.
Timing Isn’t Everything
For bulbs requiring a chill, determine where to overwinter your pots. This entails putting pots in a cool place for a specific number of weeks, mimicking time spent underground in an outdoor planting. I land my potted bulbs in my root cellar, where temperatures remain close to freezing. One gardener I know puts his pots on the bottom shelf of his refrigerator. I’ve even heard of avid bulb forcers who dedicate a fridge in the garage exclusively to potted bulbs. Be wary of using a crawl space—it’s often too warm and may attract critters that’ll relish a meal of your delectable roots. A protected shelf in the garage might be a better solution.
Begin the countdown when you rest your pots in their overwintering home. I record this on my calendar, bringing them out in a succession from the end of January to the end of March. Note the chilling period for each bulb on the “Chill Chart” below and keep an eye on soil moisture, watering occasionally as needed.
When hibernation is done, bring each pot first into low light until shoots appear. Hyacinth especially needs to be shielded from bright light until the blossoms clear the foliage, to prevent too early of a bloom. Then locate pots where they’ll receive ample light, watering as they dry out. During bloom, be sure to keep pots well watered to avoid early wilt.
This winter, your barren pots will greet you with an explosion of green shoots and a rainbow of blooms. My favorites are the tiniest: my grandmother’s Delft pottery cradling nests of yellow crocus, a miniature harbinger of the glorious spring yet to come.
Reblooming Amaryllis: Dedicated gardeners only!
While most potted bulbs are reluctant to rebloom the following year, it is possible to convince your amaryllis to do so. Once the blossom has faded, cut the flower stalk at its base. Allow the huge, sword-like leaves to grow, watering as soil dries out. Water monthly with a fertilizer solution for blooms. Come late summer, give your plant a dormant period by placing it in a dark closet. Withhold water and allow the leaves to die back. Continue for three months. (For ease of recall, I put my pot in the closet on Labor Day and bring it out on Thanksgiving.) Then return the pot to a warm spot and resume watering. My Christmas amaryllis has bloomed annually for a decade, producing multiple flower stalks to greet the new year.
Recommended Species: Any
Chill Period: None
Recommended Species: Nir and Ziva
Chill Period: None
Recommended Species: Delft Blue
Chill Period: 12 weeks
Recommended Species: Cream Beauty
Chill Period: 16 weeks
Recommended Species: Harmony
Chill Period: 16 weeks
Recommended Species: Single Early
Chill Period: 14-20 weeks
By Tibby Plasse // Photograph by Rugile Kaladyte
Looking back on my childhood schedule, I see that I was at tennis before school and lacrosse after school (followed by countless hours in the horse barn). I couldn’t wait to leave team sports! And I was so relieved when I finally went to college and could just go on a bike ride for fun.
Then, a few years ago, my friends found out I could hold a goalie stick. And there I was, lacing up my skates for the first time in two decades. The locker room smelled the same, but the workout and the team play were so much more enjoyable than what I remembered.
When it comes to kids and team sports, nearly any middle school teacher will comment on the energy level of that age group. Ironically, though, instead of embracing the vibrancy of growing children and changing hormones, our culture tends to funnel young athletes into competitive channels based on long-term goals and skills, with, or without, fun included.
I connected with coaches from four different sports—soccer, ice hockey, kayaking, and baseball—to see how the equilibrium is kept in check. In the process, I learned that most coaches want the fun and the experience to override the competitive aspect of sports.
Cathy Thomas of Teton Football Club soccer told a story that reminded me of how important the support of a team is: One of her team’s strongest defensive players sprained her ankle last season. With this key player sidelined, the other team members were nervous heading into their next game. Cathy gathered the girls before the match, went over the lineup, and told them, “This is your chance. At any time, someone can get hurt. We need to step up and support each other.” The girls went on to win the game. “Through their confidence on the field, they found a rhythm and trusted one another,” Cathy explains. “With twelve-year-old girls, their peers are their biggest critics, and also their [biggest] cheerleaders.”
The Push to Be Pro
Critics and cheerleaders come in all forms, including parents. Veteran youth coach Brady Johnston explains that parents who didn’t, or don’t, participate in the sport their kids are engaged in don’t ask the same questions or apply the same pressure as those who did, or do. Johnston, who has coached for the Jackson Hole Ski Club, for the Jackson Hole Kayak Club, and at Fort Lewis College, is the founder of the nonprofit Teton Rock Gym in Driggs.
“These [non-participant] parents would only ask, ‘What did you learn?’ or ‘Did you have fun?’,” Johnston says. “On the flip side, those kids who do have their parents’ push, go farther.” He says that, because of the strong drive coming from the athlete’s support network, about 20 percent of the kids could be Olympic bound. Yet out of that 20 percent, only about one in ten actually enjoys what their athletic ability enables them to do.
The journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness published an article by Dr. Joel S. Brenner on pediatrics and sports. “Overuse injuries, overtraining, and burnout among child and adolescent athletes are growing problems in the United States,” Dr. Brenner wrote. “The goal of youth participation in sports should be to promote lifelong physical activity, recreation, and skills of healthy competition.” This sobering analysis underscores that all too often the child’s goal is skewed by an adult’s goals (either those of a parent or a coach). And as more athletes play competitively at younger ages, there is more pressure to grab a piece of the “professional pie,” with college scholarships or Olympic dreams on the line. Dr. Brenner’s article also reveals the slim chances of going pro: Fewer than one-half of one percent of high school athletes will go on to achieve professional status.
Your Mind, Your Body
In order to be a strong team player, you need to intuitively know what your teammates’ next move will be. Certified mindfulness coach Michelle Visser calls this “attunement.” Visser works at the elementary school level as an outside provider, and is also on the staff of Teton Valley Community School. “If you’re watching a soccer game, you can see the players are not always using a dialogue to communicate with other players, but are working with a knowing awareness of their teammates, their strengths, and their reactions,” Visser says, adding that any successful team that makes it from the beginning of the season to the championships is playing mindfully.
How does this happen?
First, athletes must allow themselves to enjoy the sport. “You need to return to the actual physical movement of what you’re doing and what you love about what you’re doing,” says Visser. “Being able to notice a difference [in how you feel] at the end of a season versus the beginning—when your mind feels good and clear—gives recognition to the physical response.”
When teaching mindfulness to a student, Visser begins with the breath. Notice the quality of the breath. If it’s short, you’re anxious. If it’s deep, you’re finding enjoyment. As the practice furthers, take a body scan. Create more ease and quality breath, as you check in with your body. Really focus on all areas of your body: legs, jaws, neck, etc.
Sounds like yoga, right?
Well, yoga is a mindfulness practice and can help anchor, or “ground,” your body. “In yoga, there’s an opportunity to evaluate where your body is in space,” explains Visser. And as this awareness of one’s foundation develops within the individual, the team’s awareness will grow at the same time. “Awareness comes through demonstration and affirmation,” Visser says. “A teammate can say to another, ‘I see what you’re doing. What do you see yourself doing?’” This kind of attunement practice can change how the team members interact with one another.
Life Skills: The Ultimate Takeaway
There’s no question that enhanced communication, shared workload, and a support network are ingredients of a successful team environment. For many adults, their teams are in offices. Yet, unlike in the business world, playing on a sports team fosters life skills that take precedent over revenue.
Mike Sullivan coaches baseball and hockey and plays hockey in Jackson’s adult men’s league. “I grew up in Queens and played street hockey, basketball, whatever we could with 120 kids on 156th Street,” he recalls. “I don’t think that culture exists anymore. No one can just go shoot hoops.” Yet he extols the power of youth sports. “It gives kids the ability to handle adversity and deal with conflict resolution. Kids need to figure it out and—sure—sometimes it’s going to be awkward.”
Adults, like kids, also need the opportunity to play together. As an adult athlete, Sullivan plays because he loves the people he plays with. “They’re really good guys, not just hockey players; that’s why I play. I get to play hockey at a high level and I play because I love it.”
Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe wrote an essay for Rolling Stone magazine in 2015. In an honest confession, he opened the door to the NFL locker room, admitting that it is the only thing he misses about professional ball. “Inside an NFL locker room, you will not find a sole collection of meatheads smashing their skulls into each other until blood streams from their noses. You will not find an isolated gathering of erudite scholars discussing the latest findings from NASA, and what that might mean for the global economy. You will not find just a quarrel of rednecks discussing fishing lures and shotgun merits, nor only huddled hunches of nerds debating the merits of the latest AAA video game release. You will find every single one of these, and many more besides, because the interior of an NFL locker room is made up of individuals, none of whom are easily crammed into a single box, save one: The common trait of football aptitude.”
You can take a sport with you for life. And returning to a team sport gives you a little hiatus in which you can forget about everything that’s off the field. To just enjoy being in our bodies, playing and breathing, is what it’s all about. Besides—my hockey ladies have me laughing from practice to game to carpool.
Tips for Athletes
Meditation: Practice meditation before a game, workout, or race. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Focus on your breathing, taking slow, deep breaths through your nose. Fill each area of your body with breath, starting with your feet and working up to your head. Rest in this relaxed state.
Visualization: Before a big race or game, use visualization to help with confidence. Imagine all the aspects of your upcoming event: what you’ll be wearing, the smells, the feeling in the air, your teammates, and the opposition. Then, imagine yourself performing your best, while feeling strong and relaxed.
Legs Up the Wall: A great restorative yoga move for post travel to or from a game! Lie down face up, with your butt against a wall and legs fully extended up the wall. Relax and breathe deeply, allowing the blood to flow from your legs and replenish them upon standing.
Mantras: Find a word or phrase that resonates with you. Repeat this to yourself during a run, game, or workout. Write it on your hand or post it on a mirror. For every negative thought during your event, repeat your positive mantra. Combat one negative thought with one positive mantra until you’ve changed your perspective.
* Tips adopted from CoachUp Nation
By Melissa Snider // Illustration by Stacey Walker Oldham
I’m a crier, a fact well known to friends.
Last fall, after two years at home with my daughters, I jumped at the opportunity to return to work as an elementary school librarian. While thrilled to rejoin a profession I truly love, the shift back to full-time teaching resulted in more ugly crying than I thought possible.
My husband and I worked hard as a team to meal plan, read books at bedtime, and remember to bathe our children. We often finished washing dishes after 10:00 p.m., still with laundry to fold. I felt overwhelmed by the demands made on my body, my patience, and my time. (If you’ve ever referred to living through a normal day as “surviving,” you know what I mean.)
This fall, my older daughter goes to kindergarten and my younger daughter attends preschool. And as our kids get older, I’m beginning to recognize the symptoms of a “mama meltdown.” They go something like this:
1. Constant crankiness: Sarcastic and snappy; difficulty relaxing; sense of humor MIA.
2. Excessive emotion: Chronic weepiness; easily overwhelmed and frustrated.
3. Exhaustion: Foggy head; hard to listen, remember appointments, and find keys and phone.
However, I’m determined to nip it in the bud.
As a Teton County Wyoming School District employee, I enrolled in the Worksite Wellness program offered by St. John’s Hospital in Jackson. At my first appointment, my wellness coach, Natalie Stewart, and I discussed my three-month “vision of wellness” and set a first-week goal to cross-country ski twice and write 1,000 words in my manuscript-in-progress.
When I easily met that goal, I enjoyed a surge of confidence. Life was once again under control.
Week two was a different story. I had a flare-up of reality and didn’t even touch my stated goals. Frustrated by my perceived failure, I hesitantly admitted everything to Natalie, wondering if she ever dropped clients. She listened compassionately, and then asked, “If a friend told you everything you’ve just shared with me, what would you say to them?”
Obviously, I would wrap that friend up in a hug and tell them it wasn’t the end of the world. So, why was it so difficult to say that to myself?
Part of the problem was I didn’t know who that “self” was anymore. I had been so immersed in the tropical storm of giving birth, raising newborns, and getting back to work that I’d left key parts of who I am at the door marked “mother.”
“It has been my experience that mothers, especially working mothers, are so hard on themselves,” Natalie explained. “A common theme I hear is that they feel over-extended and [like] they’re not doing anything right.”
I related to this 100 percent, and realized that if I was going to thrive rather than just survive, I needed to take self-care more seriously. According to Natalie, “A mother who feels that she is at her best self has more personal resources for her family and job.” We began brainstorming ways to help me feel restored.
One of my major goals has been what the wellness folks call “sleep hygiene.” I know my kids’ sleep needs and always try to keep them on a schedule. But I’m a night owl and I thrive during this rare quiet time. Then when morning comes, I pay the price. Natalie encouraged me to practice similar sleep habits to those I try to instill in my kids.
Know how much sleep you need, start winding down ahead of time, and put yourself to bed as dutifully as you do your children. Like me, I predict you’ll find that when you’re well rested, you’ll feel the difference on every level.
Exercise is another essential component of my wellness goals. Planning to and getting to exercise are two separate things, however. You’ve probably experienced the thrill of taking your kids for a walk, moving at a glacial pace for one-tenth of a mile before one of them has either 1) a bathroom emergency or 2) an unhinged tantrum.
I decided to join Training to Be Balanced, a private fitness center in Jackson—as much for the sake of my pelvic floor as for my sanity. Their coaches high-five me every time I drag my exhausted butt into the gym, whether I’m ready to reach new heights or just want to run for five minutes without peeing my pants. They hold me accountable and cheer me on. And no matter how tired I am when I arrive, I always feel energized after a workout.
Natalie once offered me this visual: Dive into a body of water. (Muted sounds; the sensation of being held; solitude and peace.) Now, picture the surface. “There’s a storm, and you’re getting tossed by every wave,” she said. “You’ve got to go deep.”
I started making time to journal, a method of processing I had abandoned when life got full. Now I keep my journal on my bedside table and scribble down lists—things I don’t want to forget about, worries, groceries, etc. Lifting even mundane things from my brain and laying them down on the page helps me sink into that calmer place. Dedicating time to creative efforts like writing, and restorative activities like reading, also help me relax and experience that slow drift through my mental sea.
What’s your diving bell? Maybe prayer, yoga, ceramics, or salsa dancing? Make time for things you want to do, not just what you have to do, by distancing yourself from that churning surface.
As a mom herself, Natalie says she has learned self-care isn’t selfish, but that “self-care is vital and necessary for motherhood.” Caring for myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually has enabled me to become a more focused teacher, more loving partner, and more caring parent ... most of the time. I’m still learning to give myself the compassion I try to give others and to remember that this is an ongoing process, not a one-time fix.
So, all you tired mamas—I feel for you! Give yourself a hug and a high five, and call a friend for a walk. We’re in this together.
By Mel Paradis // Photographs by Paulette Phlipot
As the heat of summer begins to dissipate (wait, what?!) and the cool days of autumn sneak onto the calendar, it’s time to shift our eating habits. Salads filled with greens from the garden sound great in August, but, come late September, our bodies start to crave the warm comfort of slow-cooked foods. Still, we need not abandon our gardens and farmers markets when the first frost hits, as the natural sweetness of roasted vegetables is exactly what our bodies desire.
With so many varieties of vegetables available, you can serve a different roast vegetable each night of the week. While potatoes, yams, winter squash, and root vegetables come immediately to mind, cruciferous vegetables—such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts—are especially delicious roasted. Serve them as a side dish, toss with pasta, top off creamy polenta, or puree and add to soups or desserts.
General Rules for Roasting Veggies:
- For even cooking, cut vegetables into uniform pieces.
- Avoid steaming by not overcrowding pieces on the pan.
- Use a high-quality cookie sheet. If you don’t own a restaurant-grade sheet, buy one.
- Fall vegetables are not porous like eggplant or summer squash, so they won’t need as much oil. Still, give them a good toss in olive, coconut, or walnut oil, as well as a pinch of salt and cracked pepper.
- Round out the flavor with herbs, like rosemary, thyme, or sage.
- If roasting a medley of vegetables, cook in stages, with harder vegetables (such as beets) going in the oven or on the grill first. Add less-dense vegetables (such as broccoli) later.
- Keep an eye on your vegetables while roasting to avoid burning.
Three Favorite Roasting Methods:
Cut ’em up:
This method is the quickest and simplest route to a crispy outside and soft inside. However, vegetables prepared this way lose their moisture, so cook more than you think you’ll need. For roots, potatoes, garlic cloves, cauliflower, and winter squash, roast at 425°F. For broccoli or Brussels sprouts, roast at 500°F. Stir at least once while cooking. Cooking times will vary, but start checking at 20 minutes. Denser vegetables and larger pieces may take up to 40 minutes.
When less moisture loss is desired, this method produces stunning results. Par-cook your cut-up carrots, parsnips, or potatoes by first boiling in salted water. When they are easily pierced with a knife, drain, toss in oil, season, and spread onto a preheated baking sheet. Roast carrots and parsnips at 375°F and potatoes at 500°F. Flip only once or twice to allow the side touching the pan to get crispy. Total cooking time is 30 to 40 minutes.
Roast ’em whole:
Sometimes a soft texture without the crispy outside is desired. In this case, roast veggies whole (or for winter squash, cut in half). For roots like beets, carrots, and parsnips, cut off the greens and wrap the root in aluminum foil. No need to peel the skin—it will slide off once cooked and cooled. Place on a cooking sheet. For squash, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the cut side with oil and place it on the sheet. For a whole head of garlic, cut off the top (exposing the cloves), drizzle olive oil into the cavity, and wrap in foil. Roast all of these at 400°F. The cooking time will vary depending on the size, so start testing after 25 minutes for smaller vegetables and 40 minutes for larger ones. They are done when a fork easily pierces the flesh.
A Medley of Flavors
Roasted Idaho potatoes are a quintessential cold-weather side dish. John Hoggan of Grand Teton Organics grows more than forty varieties of certified organic seed potatoes on his Canyon Creek farm in Madison County, Idaho. Locally, Cosmic Apple, Snowdrift Farms, and Teton Full Circle Farm all buy their seeds from Hoggan. The best roasters, according to Hoggan, are the fingerlings. “They have a nutty, buttery flavor and cook thoroughly and quickly,” he says. Hoggan sells a fingerling mix that includes up to eleven varieties like purple, red, and pink-fleshed taters. If you can’t grab his fingerling mix from one of the above farms, seek out other unique varieties to create a mélange of colors for your feast.
Roasted Parsnip Cake with Spiced Pecans
This cake recipe by Lisa Hanley of Forage Bistro & Lounge in Driggs is similar in texture and flavor to carrot cake. “I tried a few variations with raw parsnips, but found that roasting them adds an extra touch of sweetness,” she says.
2 cups pureed roasted parsnips (3 to 4 medium-large parsnips)
Butter for pans
2 sheets parchment paper
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups coconut oil
- Roast parsnips whole, wrapped in aluminum foil, at 400°F for 25-35 minutes (depending on size). Once cooled, pull off skins and place in a food processor. Blend until evenly pureed.
- Reduce oven heat to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans. Cut to size and line bottom of pans with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, sift all dry ingredients together. Using a mixer, whisk eggs and oil, and add parsnips.
- Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, but don’t overmix.
- Pour into pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Then, remove from pans and place cakes on cooling racks.
For the Frosting:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- Melt brown sugar and heavy cream together in a saucepan over low heat. Let it cool.
- Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and then add butter. Add brown sugar mixture and vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar. Mix until blended.
For the Spiced Pecans:
1 egg white
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon orange extract
Pinch of salt
2 cups pecans
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
- Spread onto cookie sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour.
- Once cool, spread frosting on the top of one cake and the bottom of the other.
- Stack layers, then spread frosting on top and around the sides of each cake.
- Decorate with spiced pecans.
Photos and words by Camrin Dengel
Scattered around mountain towns and the surrounding rural landscapes are outbuildings, many of them standing like historical pillars. The local traditions of ranching and farming, combined with the urge to connect with the land, has modern Teton dwellers creating a new legacy of buildings. From coops to silos, some are homegrown, some professionally engineered. Yet, each is a unique expression of how we interact with our land, our food, our vistas, and the space around us. For many, outbuildings promote a deeper connection to our rural lifestyle. But for the modern homesteader, outbuildings cultivate a special relationship with food and the outdoors, one that supports a self-sufficient existence.
Fox Creek Coop and Greenhouse, Victor
Mark and Kristi Fisher, like many, have a collection of outbuildings on their Fox Creek property in Victor—their chicken coop and greenhouse being the highlights. Their coop features bottomless galvanized cans that are turned sideways and tucked into the south wall as nesting boxes. The lids give easy access to the desired laying locations and make egg collecting simple. Zoe, age two, insists her mother not check on the chickens without her, even on mid-winter days when bundling up is a necessity.
Owen, age five, loves to help plant and harvest the greenhouse. “We love eating right from the plants—especially the cherry tomatoes,” says Kristi. Getting their kids outside and in touch with their food justifies the extra effort required by the Fishers to maintain these additions.
Barreled Roof Sleeping Trailer, Felt
Denise DelSignore and her family of four lived in a sheep wagon while their cabin in Felt was being built. Just over 100 square feet and constructed by her husband, Justin Ayer, and friend, Tim Henderson (Tim Henderson Construction), the wagon still sits on their land, acting as a guest bedroom and a place for the kids to play. But a run-of-the-mill sheep trailer it’s not! With copper clad, steam-bent oak bows for the roof and a custom metal-worked countertop, this little art form enhances the surroundings of their off-the-grid homestead.
More than just a Grain Bin, Drictor (Halfway between Driggs and Victor)
Ginny Robbins and Nate Ray of Winter Winds Farm in “Drictor” always liked the looks of a grain silo. A cheap Craigslist find, the extra storage space fit perfectly on their land already lined with functioning farm buildings. It was cheaper than building a shed and a much better option for keeping the “local flavor” alive. With a desk tucked inside, Nate created a space that doubles as a workbench and bike fix-it station. Next up at the Robbins-Ray farmstead: a shipping container that will function as a shelter option for their goat herd. Or, they’ll just bury it to serve as a cave for aging their goat cheese.
Founded by Casey Eason and now owned by Mike Hudacsko and Todd Stout, GROWhuts was created with the intention of supporting sustainable Teton lifestyles. The structures—able to withstand the area’s winter and summer storms—consist of prebuilt and custom multifunctional outbuildings. Custom structures can be built onsite and include anything from benches and shelving to intricate hydroponic systems. Well-known for their original design, each GROWhut features polycarbonate paneling that lets light in and provides UV protection and insulation, and automated roof vents powered by a gas-activated chamber that pushes the vent open when temperatures rise. Additionally, as stewards of the earth, GROWhuts’ owners source their lumber from dead standing timber.
Full Circle Sustenance, Victor
Erika Eschholz and Ken Michael at Full Circle Farm use their outdoor kitchen as a way to keep them close to the farm. Instead of buzzing home for food prep, the two-door, nicely vented outbuilding next to their irrigation creek allows them to keep tabs on farm goings-on while enjoying a break. The windows and the semi-transparent siding let in natural daylight, well into the summer evenings. Eschholz and Michael grow hops off the south side of the kitchen for an added décor of greenery and shade, as well as a quick, tasty topping for salads.
Tropical Mountain Haven, Jackson
Liz Brimmer inherited her father’s orchid collection—a family tradition passed down for generations. Her dual-chambered greenhouse, sourced from British Columbia, Canada, allows her and her husband, George, to grow their own seedlings, vegetables, and precious orchids year-round. With its climate-controlled tropical zone, Liz loves spending time in the greenhouse mid-winter. It’s a beautiful way to honor the memory of her father, and the orchids add joy to her life.
By Christina Shepherd McGuire // Portraits by Ryan Dorgan // Recipe photography by Paulette Phlipot
Every August I feel like I just might turn into a tomato. This began when I finally started developing a taste for tomatoes in my early teens. For the entire month of August, my mother would buy beefsteak tomatoes from the “vegetable lady” and fresh buffalo mozzarella from the local Italian deli. Long before farmers markets, heirloom varieties, and fresh-off-the-vine golden snacking tomatoes were en vogue, my family would eat caprese salads (tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, and imported olive oil) every night for a month. It’s what was in season at the time; and my mother knew that, very soon, the cold New England winter would deem fresh produce a thing of the past. We savored every moment.
“I think of food as medicine,” says David Hugo, the village chef at Grand Targhee Resort. “You always want to put the best stuff in, which is usually local, fresh, and close to the source. The closer to the source you can get it, the better the flavor and the more nutritious.” Hugo stresses the importance of eating with the seasons—a theme I’m familiar with and one that persists throughout conversations with Hugo and three other local chefs, who all use fall farmers markets to acquire the raw materials from which their masterpieces take form.
David Hugo, Village Chef at Grand Targhee Resort, Alta
Growing up on a farm in Vermont, David Hugo learned to cook with what was available in the garden. Harvest time consisted of eating corn and making cider. His extended family would gather at his parents’ orchard to pick apples and make gallons of cider—some to drink, some to ferment into hard cider, and some to freeze for use in winter. He explains that the way his family ate back then was very different from the way most of us eat today.
“Today, people look up a recipe, then go out and buy all the ingredients,” Hugo says, explaining that a more historical approach is to develop a recipe that highlights the crop du jour as the main ingredient.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Hugo traveled to France and Italy to cook and experience cultural eating. But upon returning home, he realized that he wanted to concentrate on American cuisine and regional cooking. “Haute cuisine was cool, but I had to bring a big toolbox to work to make elaborate meals,” he says. It got him thinking … What really is food? Why do people eat? And what kind of food do you want to put into your body? To the Vermont native the answer was easy: local and seasonal.
And no farm in the nation does “local” better than Shelburne Farms in Vermont, where Hugo spent twelve of his cheffing years. The 1,400-acre working farm, established in 1886 on the shores of Lake Champlain, now operates as a nonprofit, complete with four historical buildings, an inn, and an on-site restaurant. The operation shares its working farm and historical property with the community, which uses it as a campus for learning environmental, economical, and cultural sustainability practices.
Hugo came to the Tetons directly from this locavore hub, creating menus for Grand Targhee that feature regional food, such as 460Bread and produce from Clawson Greens (a hydroponic farm in Tetonia run by Dave Ridell and created out of a full-size shipping container). His downtime spent with his wife, Lauren, and son, Olin, consists of visiting the local farmers markets and tending to his family’s small garden, just like he did growing up.
Jarrett Schwartz, Private Chef and Restaurant Consultant at chefjarrettschwartz.com, Jackson
As a private chef, Jarrett Schwartz cooks a little bit of everything—from raw fish to Asian-influenced fare to local cuisine. Most of his repeat clients give him free range to create dishes from foods like Colorado elk and bison, local Lockhart Cattle steaks, and the summer’s freshest farmers market finds. “I’m there [at the farmers market] early to get first pick,” he says. “If I see turnips and carrots that week, that’s what’s on the menu. If it’s green tomatoes, I incorporate them in salsas and vinaigrettes.”
A long-ago transplant to the town of Jackson, Schwartz has pioneered nine restaurants—including Mizu (now Sudachi) and Blue Kitchen (now The Kitchen)—most of which are running strong today. He serves as a consultant for several local restaurants, including Sidewinders, Persephone, and Picnic, where he develops seasonal menus, organizes kitchens, and trains staff. He explains that every year the farmers markets get better and better, and this influences his summer menus.
“When I do a menu change, I think of what’s in season,” Schwartz says. “Maybe it’s lightening up a fried chicken sandwich at Sidewinders with pickled veggies, or incorporating fresh peas and pea sprouts into summery salads at Persephone.” When asked how he takes part in our sustainable food community, he has this to say: “I contribute by buying local produce and spreading the word, as a one-man-show, to clients and restaurants.”
Schwartz always looks forward to fall, when the farmers markets are stocked. “It’s like our summer,” he says. “Fun things come out, like endive, radicchio, and broccolini.” He also looks forward to getting over his August hump and spending more time with family to cook his favorite fall recipe, Lela Soup, named after his three-year-old daughter. This traditional chicken soup incorporates joys of the harvest, like Lacinato kale, turnips, carrots, onions, garlic, and bone broth made from chickens raised in Alta. Schwartz is proud that Lela will eat whatever he cooks, and that she participates in the process by salting her food to taste and cracking eggs. “Rarely does she get an organic Amy’s frozen pizza,” he adds—especially at this time of year.
Christian Hanley, Chef and owner of Forage Bistro & Lounge, Driggs
For Christian Hanley, being a restaurateur is a family affair. “There is zero separation for us,” he says. “Food is what we do all day long.” Hanley and his wife, Lisa, bought Forage in January of 2015 as a way for the family to relocate back to Driggs, where Christian spent his time ski bumming in the 1990s. A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Hanley had cooked regionally in the Tetons before meeting Lisa and opening three restaurants in Arizona for a private family.
The couple’s two children, Maddie, age 8, and Ollie, age 6, don’t know life without food at its very core. The kids help out in the kitchen at home by making their own breakfast and preparing their lunches for school. They also take the bus to the restaurant after school to help with kitchen prep (after homework is done, of course). But for their parents, it’s less about having the kids participate in family chores and more about engraining in them an appreciation for everything “food.”
Throughout the year—and especially during harvest season—they take a family night to prepare and cook a dinner together at home. “The point is to make something from scratch that came from the earth, seasonally and locally,” explains Hanley. The family’s menu revolves around what’s available in a given week. “I’m a big fan of autumn,” he says. “When the ingredients begin to change, my style of cooking changes, too. That’s when I start to incorporate braising, and cooking with stronger flavors.”
Along with stronger flavors comes new taste sensations for the kids. Hanley believes they need to see a food three times before they’ll try it and enjoy it. The first time, he’ll introduce it on their plates; the second time, maybe they’ll push it around with their forks; and on the third time, they are expected to take a bite to at least try it. “We call it a ‘thank you’ bite,” Hanley says, “to give thanks because we made it together.
As a person who acknowledges that he is constantly “taking from the system,” sustainability weighs heavily on Hanley’s mind. He believes that maintaining the local food economy is something that will come into question as the population in the Tetons increases. Improving on efficiencies is something he tries to take part in.
“Linking us all together [farmers, ranchers, and restaurants] is an efficiency in itself,” he says. And conversations are beginning to happen. This summer, Hanley partnered with Snowdrift Farms in Victor to provide weekly farmers market specials made from the farm’s harvest. “This [planning] gives us a full outline for June, July, August, and September. That’s four months that we are in the circle!” But he still ponders a long-term solution, one where restaurants of a certain size will need to create their own food supply. And with two bright young stewards at their side, there’s no doubt the Hanleys will be leading the charge.
Joshua Governale, Partner and executive chef at Cafe Genevieve and Orsetto Italian Bar and Eatery, Jackson
Joshua Governale grew up in Orange County, California, right next to a pumpkin and corn farm. During the fall harvest, the field mice would evacuate the farm’s property and relocate themselves in neighboring homes. As a “thank you”—or more specifically a condolence gift—the farm would leave a large bag of fresh produce at the Governales’ doorstep every autumn. Governale remembers his mother’s pumpkin bread, his grandfather’s pumpkin ravioli, and minestrone soup, for which the family utilized the “kitchen sink of veggies” that came available each fall. (As for the mice, well, they got the raw end of the deal, often meeting their demise during a run-in with neighborhood cats.)
Today, Governale blends his Sicilian roots with a slight Cajun flair, stemming from his Italian grandfather’s New Orleans upbringing, as he crafts dishes for his two Jackson restaurants, Café Genevieve and Orsetto. At Café Genevieve, he creates affordable home cooking with a Southern flair; at Orsetto, his moderately upscale Italian fare incorporates family recipes and the old-school flavors of his youth.
Similar to Hanley, Governale stresses the importance of efficiencies within the local food system. Conveniences—like the proximity of Vertical Harvest to his restaurant—help him participate in the culinary circle while cooking up to 1,000 covers a day at Café Genevieve. At Orsetto he uses Vertical Harvest’s tomatoes, micro greens, and micro basil in dishes like panzanella, preordering two weeks out so he knows exactly what he’ll be getting. Governale meets weekly with Nona Yehia and Sam Bartels of Vertical Harvest, giving them feedback on what they can do better to accommodate his restaurants.
When Governale grants himself a pause—which are few and far between—he continues to contribute to the food circle by tending the 17-by-17-foot raised garden bed at his Rafter J home. And while his novice gardening skills have nothing on his professional cooking prowess, he finds it important to take time to connect with his fiancé, Jennifer, and his daughter, Delilah, as together they learn what grows best in a climate more suited to making gelato than to growing a juicy beefsteak tomato.
Bison Short Ribs with Sauteed Rinbow Chard and Ancho Mashed Buttercup Squash
By David Hugo
As a child, Chef David Hugo’s favorite squash was buttercup because of its sweet taste. And slow-cooked short ribs are always comforting on a cool autumn night.
For the Short Ribs:
4 eight-ounce pieces local bison or beef short ribs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
4 cups brown veal stock (can sub beef or chicken stock)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
5 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Place oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 250°F. Pat beef dry.
- Heat oil in a wide (12-inch-diameter) heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown beef on all sides, turning with tongs, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Add carrots, onion, and garlic to oil and cook uncovered over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and wine and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sauce reduces slightly, about 8 minutes.
- Add veal stock, thyme, bay leaves, vinegar, and remaining salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Skim fat from surface, then add beef along with juices and cover pot with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer to oven and braise until tender, 6 to 8 hours.
- Remove short ribs from liquid. Skim fat from surface, discard thyme and bay leaves, and blend the sauce. Adjust the seasoning.
While the beef is braising …
For the Squash:
1 medium buttercup squash
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cream or milk
2 teaspoons Ancho chili powder
- Cut squash in half and remove the filling and seeds.
- Place honey, salt, and 1 tablespoon butter in cavity of each squash half.
- Roast squash skin-on, facing up, at the same temperature as the ribs, until soft and scoopable (approximately 5 hours).
- Remove halves from oven and cool.
- Carefully scoop the flesh away from the skin and combine it in a mixing bowl. Discard remaining skin.
- Add remaining butter, cream, and Ancho powder, then mash squash with a potato masher until smooth. Add salt to taste.
For the Chard:
2 bunches fresh rainbow chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
Pinch of dry red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds (optional)
- Rinse chard leaves. Tear or cut away stalks from the leaves.
- Cut stalks into 1-inch pieces. Chop leaves into 1-inch-wide strips. Keep stalks and leaves separate.
- Heat olive oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat. Add garlic slices, chili flakes, and coriander seeds (if using) and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add chard stalks. Turn heat to low. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add chard leaves, and toss with oil and garlic in the pan. Uncover and cook 3-4 minutes more. Turn the leaves and the stalks over (you may need to add water) and cook until al dente.
To serve, place a scoop of squash down first, top with a mound of chard, layer with short ribs, and finish with sauce.
Grilled Endive Salad with Warm Tomato Vinaigrette and Salsa Verde
By Jarrett Schwartz
Serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side
Chef Jarrett Schwartz’s vegetarian dish is totally balanced, complemented by the bitterness of the endive, the sweetness of the vinaigrette, and saltiness of the feta.
For the Salad:
8 heads Belgium endive
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Za’atar spice (Mediterranean spice blend)
Pinch of salt
1 slice hearty German rye bread
1 head butter lettuce, picked into large leaves
4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/2 fresh lemon
1 ounce feta, crumbled
- Slice endive in half lengthwise, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, Za’atar spice, and salt. Grill on hot grill, 2 minutes per side.
- Tear bread into small pieces. Heat remaining oil in pan until hot and fry bread until crisp, approximately 2 minutes.
- Reserve remaining ingredients for the salad.
For the Vinaigrette:
8 quarters roasted tomatoes or 3 ounces sundried halves, packed in oil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, diced
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons sage, chopped
Saute tomatoes in 1 tablespoon oil until warm. Add shallots to pan. Deglaze with sherry vinegar. Remove from heat and add a pinch of salt, sage, and 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix to combine.
For the Salsa Verde:
1 bunch Italian parsley
2 ounces fresh dill
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 pinch dry red chili flakes
1 teaspoon capers
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons sea salt
Finely chop the parsley, dill, and shallot. Combine all ingredients to meld flavors.
To prepare the salad, arrange butter lettuce on a plate. Top with endive, warm tomato vinaigrette, feta, and toasted pine nuts. Finish with a squeeze of lemon, salsa verde, and fried bread.
Homemade Harvest Lasagna
By Christian Hanley
At Forage, Christian Hanley and his wife, Lisa, love lasagna because “the fillings can change with seasonality and mood.” This is their harvest rendition.
For the Dough:
16 ounces all-purpose flour
10 egg yolks
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons milk
- Mound flour in a large mixing bowl and form a well in the middle.
- Pour remaining ingredients into the well.
- With fingers, swirl wet ingredients gently in a circle, incorporating the flour slowly. Be careful not to let wet ingredients flow over the top of flour well.
- Once wet ingredients are incorporated, the dough will be sticky and look flakey. Turn out onto a floured work surface.
- Knead dough in a forward motion with the palm of your hand and then reform into a ball. (Unlike bread dough, you are not folding it over on itself.) Continue to knead and reshape for 15 minutes. When dough is smooth and springy, you are finished. If not, keep kneading. You can’t overknead!
- Cut ball of dough into 3 equal parts, sprinkle with flour, wrap in plastic, and let rest on counter for 1 hour.
For the Filling:
2 eight-ounce packages mascarpone cheese
2 eight-ounce logs goat cheese
2 eight-ounce pieces Manchego cheese, grated
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of cracked pepper
1 tablespoon marjoram, chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 parsnips, peeled, cut, seasoned, and roasted
1 butternut squash, peeled, cut, seasoned, and roasted
2 summer squash, cut, seasoned, and roasted
1 bundle spinach, washed and julienned
- On a floured work surface, roll dough balls into 3 thin pasta sheets the size of your dish (9-inch-by-13-inch).
- Combine eggs, cheese, and salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk together. Combine roasted veggies in a second bowl, and herbs in a third bowl.
- In the bottom of your baking dish, spread 1 tablespoon oil. Place 1 sheet of dough on the bottom. On top of dough, spread 1/3 cheese mixture and 1/3 herbs. On top of the cheese, spread 1/2 roasted vegetables and 1/2 julienned spinach.
- Continue layering in this fashion until you reach your last piece of dough. Place it on top, spread on 1 tablespoon oil and the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with rest of herbs.
- Cover with foil and bake covered at 350°F for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes for a crispy top.
- Let rest 30 minutes before cutting.
Crawfish Beignets with a Spicy Remoulade Sauce
By Joshua Governale
Serves 12 (can be scaled)
This recipe adopted from Chef Governale’s grandfather features (in true harvest fashion) a handful of corn cut fresh from the cob.
For the Beignets:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
9 teaspoons baking powder
6 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups milk
18 ounces crawfish tails, shelled and cut into pieces (can sub shrimp)
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
3/4 cup poblano peppers, finely chopped
3/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons garlic puree
1 handful of corn, freshly trimmed from the cob (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
1 32-ounce bottle Spectrum sunflower oil or other high-heat oil
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large metal mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until frothy; add milk, crawfish tails or shrimp, and Cajun seasoning.
- In a third bowl, combine peppers, onions, garlic, and corn.
- Incorporate all ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix to combine. (The mixture should look like thick pancake batter.)
- Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Place oil in a large Dutch oven and heat on stovetop to between 375°F-440°F or heat oil in a FryDaddy®.
- With a small ice cream scoop, scoop and drop the batter, one by one, into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove beignets from the fryer and place on a paper napkin to drain.
For the Sauce:
Makes 3 cups (can be scaled down)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup capers, drained and chopped
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
3 teaspoons red Tabasco sauce
4 celery stalks
1/4 cup ketchup
Salt and pepper
- Puree all ingredients in a Vitamix® or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until served.
- To serve, place 1 or 2 beignets on a small serving plate. Top with a dollop of remoulade.
By Jonah Lisa Dyer
Just like going on a run, catching the first tram, or weeding the garden, the hardest part of getting outdoors with kids is taking that first step—getting everyone’s shoes on and walking through the threshold of your own front door! Once you’re out there, the fresh air and serotonin do the rest. Still, many of us struggle with maintaining an outdoor lifestyle once we have kids.
Using other people’s successes as your inspiration can be the perfect antidote for feelings of apathy on days when the pull of inertia is particularly strong. Here’s a roundup of some great outdoor family blogs that will inspire you to lace up and get outside with your kids.
Outdoor Families Magazine
Despite being relatively new, this online magazine and community is like the wise old grandma of outdoor family blogs. They cover everything from trail snacks and gear reviews to camping bin organization, geocaching, and even “doing the backcountry” for those with Type I diabetes. It’s where family and nature unite. Check out their fabulous 101 Series. outdoorfamiliesonline.com
Go Adventure Mom
These two Utah moms aim to create the next generation of children who love the outdoors by offering easy-to-replicate exploration ideas, product reviews, family travel tips, and a great podcast that feels like listening to a couple of close friends. The layout is crisp and clean and the info is solid. goadventuremom.com
Tales of Mountain Mama
This small Yellowstone-centric blog packs a big punch with tips, tricks, and gear reviews for family adventurers. Mountain Mama fully understands the struggle of being a stressed, overwhelmed multitasker and takes you along as she uses nature as her remedy. talesofamountainmama.com
Mountain Mom and Tots
Outdoor inspiration abounds on this blog that implores families to explore rather than hike. Their seven-week road trip along the National Park-to-Park Highway—encompassing 17 national parks and monuments—is well worth a visit. Look for great camping and winter sports resources as well. mountainmomandtots.com
An amazing resource for the camper crowd. This family writes about their experience of downsizing to an airstream and traveling the country with their school-aged kids. Look for great gear reviews and information on specific trips that can be accessed by year, state, or national park. currentlywandering.com
Born to be Adventurous
Living to our north in the Canadian Rockies, this mom has wonderful tips for hiking with the baby and toddler crowd. She’s full of great ideas and encouragement, including her 52 Weeks of Nature challenge. borntobeadventurous.com
By Christina Shepherd McGuire
I have to admit that having someone else build a campfire for me was a bit unsettling. I’ve always been a do-it-yourself kinda girl, especially when it comes to fire building: Trim logs with hand axe. Crumple paper into ball. Make sturdy teepee with kindling. Light match and throw it in. Poof!
It was only natural for me to think it would be “business as usual” around the campfire the night we stayed at Conestoga Ranch in Bear Lake, Utah. But nothing about glamping—other than being in the great outdoors—mimicked our typical family outing. No truck crammed full of stuff. No night of compromised sleep on a less-than-cushy camping pad. And no DIY fire building.
Instead, as dusk began to fall, a camp host swung by in his golf cart, lit our fire with his propane blaster, and we were good to go. That explains it, I thought. At check-in, we had been given a burlap bag filled with individual s’more fixings—marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, and a wooden skewer. Now, with our fire appearing almost miraculously, it was time to roast!
Everything about the ranch, right down to the Conestoga sleeping wagons, symbolizes the Western outdoor experience. Conestogas were used in the nineteenth century to haul the goods of settlers migrating across America from east to west. These transporters were pulled by teams of six horses and could carry up to eight tons of produce and manufactured goods. The Conestoga Ranch sleeping wagons, modeled after these historical masterpieces, feature one king bed for couples, or one king bed and two sets of bunks for families.
“The wagons and tents [featured on the property] fit the interest of those who come out to visit Bear Lake, while combining a luxury resort feel with the wonders of camping,” explains co-owner Tom Hedges. The sleeping wagons can be set up ahead of time into circles around fire pits to accommodate large groups with multiple guests.
On our stay, my family of four was lucky enough to experience one of the ranch’s Grand Tents. And believe me when I say this isn’t your typical wall tent. It came furnished with a king bed, four twin beds, an en-suite bathroom, a mini-fridge, and a deck with a picnic table. The sturdy canvas structure had zip-down screened windows and partitioned rooms with western furniture, bringing an indulgent feel to our weekend camping trip. And no camp cots here! Each bed was furnished with pillowtop mattresses, down comforters, and Pendleton wool blankets. The rustic bathroom—with its shower tub made from a galvanized water trough—provided an ambience way different than that of a traditional five-star hotel. However, the comfy accommodations are perfectly suited even to those not versed in camping.
When we arrived at Conestoga Ranch, we parked our car in the lot and then biked up the hillside to our lodging aboard provided cruiser bikes. A camp host loaded our belongings onto a golf cart and delivered them tent-side. There were no cars, no family pets, and no camp stoves allowed at the private accommodations. While this may seem restrictive, it added to the natural feel of the property. “This quiet and private setting allows people to reflect on nature, rather than be interrupted by the distraction of headlights or noises,” says Hedges. The only noises we heard on the property—other than crickets and singing birds—were the delightful squeals of children as they biked around the loop, played at the ranch’s playground, and practiced lassoing the bull dummies. Moms and dads, meanwhile, enjoyed daily yoga classes just up the hill at the yoga tent.
A trip to Conestoga Ranch, or Bear Lake in general, isn’t complete without a meal at the resort’s Campfire Grill (open to non-guests). Housed in an enormous timbered, canvas-covered pavilion, this American bistro-style restaurant sets itself apart from the typical Bear Lake eatery. We enjoyed Waygu beef burgers and gourmet pizzas from the wood-fired oven; and, for breakfast, homemade granola and brioche French toast.
I have to admit that I left my days of backcountry camping behind when I graduated from my twenties. And while hardcore car camping is still my family’s “thing,” I always relish returning to my cozy bed once the weekend is over. But I got used to my luxurious stay at Conestoga Ranch (after I warmed up to the fire-making procedure) and really came to understand how a non-camper could thrive there.
“We were excited to develop something totally unique,” says Hedges. “Camping can be an unbelievable experience. But take camping and combine it with a luxury resort, and it can be even more amazing. It’s something to talk about [after you return home], whereas a traditional hotel, maybe, is not.”
The 2017 season at Conestoga Ranch runs from May 19 through October 1. Check out conestogaranch.com.
You Better Glamp Around
Can’t make the trek to Bear Lake this fall, but want to experience luxury camping at its best? Hit up one or more of the following three neighbors for a nearby staycation or mini-outing.
Fireside Resort in Wilson, Wyoming
Fireside Resort puts you in touch with nature, while offering “the intimacy of a boutique hotel, the atmosphere of a wooded campground, and the ambience of your own cozy residence.” firesidejacksonhole.com
Moose Creek Ranch in Victor, Idaho
Moose Creek Ranch’s cabins provide a luxurious glamping experience at an affordable rate. You also have direct access to trails, Teton Pass, and the lodge’s recreation facilities. moosecreekranch.com
Yellowstone Under Canvas in West Yellowstone, Montana
Just ten minutes from the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone Under Canvas’ luxury Safari tents and teepees offer a restful reprieve after a long day of playing or sightseeing. Their secluded location and on-site restaurant offer an upscale way to connect with nature. undercanvas.com/camps/yellowstone
By Andrea Swedberg // Photographs by Lara Agnew
When grade school let out for the summer, my dad would pick my brother and me up in our sunny yellow Ford F250. We’d go home, grab our stuff, and head straight to the lake. On the shores of Baylis Cove on Clear Lake is where my grandparents retired—a homestead of sorts that my great-grandfather staked out in the early 1920s. An amazing little oasis, really, that to this day I feel very fortunate to have had in my life. It was so much more than just a place. It was a portal to many worlds of adventure, creativity, and spirituality. Water (and summer) does that to a child’s developing mind and soul—it nurtures beyond imagination!
That was 1985.
Now that I am forty-something, I realize nostalgia is just that: nostalgia. But if given the chance, I’d go back for those long summer days, talking on the pier with my grandpa, waterskiing sun up to sun down, sleeping under our sprawling fig tree every night, staring at the stars and listening to the lake’s waves lap upon the pebble shore until my eyes … just … shut. I’d also relive the shady-porch sessions of creating a summer token that I could wear—like a badge of honor—all year long, reminding me of my time at the lake.
An innumerable amount of DIY crafts existed in the 1970s and ’80s that didn’t take long to make. I’m willing to bet a bunch of ladies (and probably some men) would agree that a few of these rainbow-embellished projects are worth a redo, now that we have kids in our lives. Because, let’s be honest, as a parent it requires discipline to step away from the rushy-rush of life and just sit down with our little ones and create. It’s all about that one-on-one time together, the checking in with one another, and the listening to our child’s latest joke or what seems like a never-ending story. It’s in these moments that we, as adults, can also learn from them. And it reminds us that adventure’s hidden portals can exist anywhere, even in crafts.
That’s why there are the DIY crafts like the mystery braid; or the East Coast harbinger of summer, the sailor’s knot bracelet; or the quite fashionable way to represent your youth soccer team, the ribbon braid barrette. With a strand of leather or other sturdy material, your young Nellie Charlie needs only a place to chill out and just weave or knot.
So, in the spirit of living in the past, yet looking forward to the future (wheels turning in my head with ideas and with an overflowing craft-basket of potential materials), it’s time to climb upon Falkor’s back, glide through the universe, and head toward this season’s renditions of throwback DIY crafts. Below are instructions for two kid-approved crafts that you can help create with the young minds in your world.
For ages 3 and up, accompanied by an adult
When my daughter Piia was three years old, we had fun creating our own version of a decorated barrette. Piia would come up with the design and I would carry out the final steps. While our original designs had me hand-sewing tiny bits of felt together, I eventually changed my ways and used the crafter’s favorite tool—the HOT GLUE GUN!!
Snap hair clips (Goody brand preferred)
Colored felt sheets
Hot glue gun
Needle, thread, and small buttons (optional)
- Gather supplies and plug in the hot glue gun.
- To make the backing for clip: Open clip, insert one color of felt. Close clip. Trim felt, using the clip as guide and leaving a tiny bit of an edge (for gluing top felt to bottom felt). Leave felt in clip, and clip closed.
- To make the top of the clip: Lay the clip (with the bottom-felt still closed inside), top side down on another felt piece. Trim felt around the entire clip, using the bottom-felt edge as guide.
- Hot glue the edges and center of one side of the top piece of felt. With top-felt’s hot glue side facing up, place closed clip (with bottom-felt piece closed inside) onto glued top piece. Make sure both top and bottom felts are secured by glue to the edges. While glue is still warm, gently squeeze felt edges and center together to ensure they connect. Trim edges with scissors for a clean finish.
- To decorate the clip: Cut out felt shapes in other colors. Hot glue your design to the top piece of felt. Optionally, use needle and thread to add designs or buttons to the top piece of felt before attaching it to the bottom. (Search the web or Pinterest for various design ideas.)
- Once cooled, the clip is ready to doll up your favorite girl’s hair!
For ages 8 and up, accompanied by an adult
You can make this craft into a bracelet, belt, or keychain, using different lengths of leather. The bracelet option makes a not-so-dirty-and-stinky (after continued wear) alternative to the old school sailor’s knot bracelet.
Strip of leather, pleather, or other vegan material, 1” wide by 14-18” long (available at craft stores or online)
Needle, thread, and button
Sharp pocket knife
- On the backside of your leather, 1/2” in from both the top and bottom, make two evenly spaced dots, dividing the strip into thirds. Using your ruler and pen, connect the top and bottom dots with straight lines.
- Start a slit with the pocketknife on each line until it’s big enough to cut with scissors. DO NOT cut farther than the dots. The material must remain whole, with three strips lining the center.
- Number the strips 1, 2, and 3. Mark the back of strip 1 and 3 with a simple pattern, so they can be distinguished from one another while braiding. (Optional)
- Start your braid by placing strip 1 over top of 2 from left to right. Place 3 over top of 1 from right to left. Place 2 over top of 3 from left to right. Take the bottom of braid and pass it through the back of strip 2 and 1, from left to right, pulling it all the way through and down. (At this point, you’ll have a braid at the top and a mess at the bottom. Don’t worry about the mess!) Next, pass 1 over 2. Pass 3 over 1. Pass 2 over 3. Take the bottom of braid and pass it through the back of 2 and 1, from right to left, pulling it all the way through and down (same as before). Repeat the braid pattern from the beginning, until you reach the bottom.
- Adjust the braid so that it is evenly distributed over the length of the strip.
- To make a bracelet, use your pocketknife to cut a small slit on one end of the braid, just enough to allow a button to pass through.
- On the top side of the opposite end, hand-sew your button. Put the braid around your wrist, pass button through slit. Boom, done!
* Note: For a clean finish, be sure to end the braid with the left-right-left pattern, passing the bottom through the left loop.
* Directions adapted from: fabdiy.com/diy-perfect-magic-braid/
By Jonah Lisa Dyer // Photography by Bradly J. Boner
Visitors from many other parts of the country are shocked to discover that most homes in the Tetons don’t have central air conditioning. So, when the temperature spikes in the mountains, we go old school: open the windows, turn on a fan, and grab a frozen treat! And here’s where the grabbing is best …
In the Hole
Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream can’t be beat in the state of Wyoming. Literally! Moo’s Wild Huckleberry ice cream holds the title of “Best Dessert in the State” by Trip Advisor, Business Insider, and The Food Network. Moo’s uses over 20 gallons of wild, handpicked huckleberries each season. You can find their homemade ice cream at their parlor on Jackson Town Square, in various Jackson restaurants, and in the freezer case at nearly every local grocery store.
Liberty Burger has milkshakes for the entire family. The kids will love the Nutella and Graham Cracker shake or their top-seller, Sticky Situation, a decadent blend of peanut butter, chocolate, and caramel. But the real treats at this joint are the adult milkshakes WITH A KICK! The Ice Cream Sandwich milkshake contains Oreos and Bailey’s Irish Cream and the Orange Julius is made from orange juice and citrus-infused vodka.
Remember the ice cream truck? Well, in the Tetons we have the Nom Nom Doughnut Truck instead. Nom Nom serves ice cream in a doughnut cone that is so good you’ll be driving all over town looking for them. Catch their truck on both sides of the hill at Music on Main (Thursday evenings in the Victor City Park), The People’s Market (Wednesday evenings at the base of Snow King Mountain), and at every Jackson Hole Live music event.
Sophisticated palates enjoy CoCo Love’s handcrafted gelato and sorbet made by the Gelato World Cup first-place winner, Oscar Ortega. His coconut gelato is a local favorite, but he’s currently perfecting his chocolate, in an effort to retain his title. Coco Love also serves the perfect frozen pick-me-up: a traditional affogato made with stracciatella (vanilla gelato with chocolate drizzle) and espresso.
The Eskimo Bar at the Snake River Grill is the piece de resistance of Jackson frozen treats, so popular that the The Food Network featured it on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” They start with a layer of Sharffen Berger chocolate brownie, add a layer of housemade vanilla bean ice cream, then dip the whole thing in chocolate sauce that hardens to a thin, crispy shell. Top that with a side of warm, rich caramel sauce for a treat you’ll never forget!
In Teton Valley
Old-fashioned soda fountains are the way to go in Idaho and, luckily, you can pick from a pair. At the Victor Emporium, their World Famous Huckleberry Milkshake has been putting smiles on faces for over 25 years. Locally handpicked huckleberries and Idaho Falls’ own Farr’s vanilla ice cream make this treat worth your time (and time again). And their extra thick straws ensure a huge burst of berries in every sip. In Driggs, the classic Lime Freeze has topped the menu board at Corner Drug since the 1950s. But don’t ask Sally for the recipe. It’s a well-guarded secret.
Yelp rated Forage Bistro in Driggs “The Best Restaurant in Idaho” in 2016 (rightfully so). Chef Lisa Hanley’s homemade artisanal ice cream and vegan sorbet surely helped win that spot. Lemon and lavender, fig and honey, and vanilla and orange, with bits of chocolate, all make up the amazing flavor combinations you’ll find on their seasonal menu.
Whether you’re visiting from out of town or are a longtime local, there are plenty of choices for edible ways to beat the mountain heat.