By Laura Santomauro, LMFT
The mystery of love has plagued us for eons, a system of trial and error seeking to find the perfect concoctions for lasting love. Until recently, we have leaned on several ideas that have sadly fallen short: Lasting love is all about communication; couples must strengthen their skills. Lasting love is about keeping your sexual relationship free of boredom; couples should learn new, saucy styles. And the list goes on. These strategies do have their place; however, the shortcoming is illuminated when things get messy, as they do in relationships. When we are feeling hurt, angry, and confused, these strategies don’t address the feelings and, therefore, cannot withstand the test of time—and kids, and stresses.
Finally, new research has unlocked the mystery of lasting love! It demonstrates the dynamics of attachment style and how it affects our connections to our partner. A secure attachment to our partner provides us with a sense of safety, the ability to be vulnerable, and the security in knowing that the answer to the question, “Are you there for me?” is a resounding, “Yes!” The tricky part is that sometimes our bond with our partner is not secure. In this instance, we may believe that it’s better to be alone because being alone is less painful and provides greater independence. And while there is truth to that argument, too, it doesn’t illustrate the full picture.
With a secure bond, we actually become more independent by the developed sense of trust and security the relationship provides. Having this secure attachment allows us to depend on our partner and fosters autonomy. “Survival of the fittest” no longer holds true. We are more productive, creative, engaged, and emotionally and physically healthy with a secure attachment. Thus, science brings us into this new age: the Age of Interdependence.
Lasting love is all about communication; couples must strengthen their skills.
Years ago, British psychologist John Bowlby noted the idea of attachment when he studied mothers and children. The most anxious and avoidant children were those who did not have a secure bond with their mothers. The most independent, curious, and engaged children were those who had a secure attachment to their caregiver. They were more relaxed when exploring their environment, fostering the sense that the world was a safe place, they were valued, and that when in need, their mother was there to provide comfort, care, and contact. This same concept applies to our intimate relationships. Bowlby noted our need for security does not fade with age. In fact, connection fosters security from birth to grave.
Dr. Sue Johnson, a leading researcher and couples therapist, highlights the impact of this idea in her groundbreaking book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. “When we feel generally secure, that is, we are comfortable with closeness and confident about depending on a loved one, we are better at seeking support and better at giving it,” she writes. “When we feel safely linked to our partners, we more easily roll with the hurts they inevitably inflict, and we are less likely to be aggressive and hostile when we get mad at them. Secure connection to a loved one is empowering. Securely bonded adults are more curious and more open to new information.”
To back up this theory, a recent 2013 study conducted by Johnson and Dr. James Cohan revealed that our experience of pain is uniquely tied to our relationship. In one experiment, subjects had their pain measured while receiving an electrical shock. The response to pain was high, as imagined, when the participant was alone. When the participant was allowed to hold the hand of a stranger, there was a slight decrease in the recording of the pain experienced. And the pain was close to eliminated when the participants held the hand of their securely attached partner. Conversely, and to further support this theory, researchers tested a group of couples with an insecure attachment. These couples experienced more pain while holding the hand of their partner than when they were alone.
“When we feel safely linked to our partners, we more easily roll with the hurts they inevitably inflict.”
– Dr. Sue Johnson
It is perhaps most easily demonstrated when you observe a mother and child with a secure bond. The child falls, scrapes their elbow, and runs to the parent crying. Once the parent responds with comfort, care, and contact, the child quickly returns to playing. The safety of the relationship and the security of the bond decrease the physical experience of pain. On the flip side, children with an insecure bond will experience more pain, react by avoidance or anxiety, and not seek comfort from the parent. This parallels our romantic relationships.
Interestingly enough, emotional pain is processed in the same part of the brain as physical pain. Therefore, it stands to reason that secure attachment allows us to calibrate each other’s experiences. When life throws us a curveball, we can turn to our partner to lessen our distress through our bond. However, much like a child, an insecure partnership will cause us to turn away, become overwhelmed, and not reach out for comfort. This creates distance, more distress, and stages a terrible pattern where we continually turn away in the moments when we need each other most, leading to a spiral of disconnection.
Luckily, we now know how to exit this spiral, how to build secure bonds, and create lasting love. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples provides a road map for partners seeking to strengthen, rebuild, or perhaps create for the first time this secure attachment in their coupleship.
EFT is the only form of couples therapy that provides empirical data supporting its efficacy. While couples embark on this journey to security, they begin to understand the spiral, or negative pattern, that has taken over their relationship, leaving them stuck in conflict, pain, and isolation. Through the creation of new interactional patterns, they begin to find a greater sense of security, allowing for emotional vulnerability, support, comfort, and care. In essence, once this security becomes the norm, they can then answer “Yes” to the question that, at times, raises fear in us all: “Are you there for me?” tf
Laura Santomauro, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Through her private practice, JH Family Solutions located in Jackson Hole, WY, she counsels individuals, couples, and families.
By Deb Barracato // Photographs by Marlene Wusinich
The do-it-yourself (DIY) spirit flourished in the Tetons long before self-sufficiency became an upscale urban trend. Geographic isolation and a challenging environment required the region’s earliest settlers to make do with materials on hand and a healthy dose of chutzpah. Today, modern residents maintain the tradition with hand-hewn log houses, backyard chicken coops, hardy vegetable gardens, and hunted game for dinner.
For Teton Valley, Idaho, local Dan Heine, that can-do attitude extends to beer brewing. He started about five years ago with a basic setup and beginner’s brewing book. But with his many years of cheffing, he quickly moved beyond kit brewing, investing hundreds of dollars in sophisticated equipment, and built a custom kegerator from an old chest freezer. In addition to his standby pale ale, he typically keeps two or three other kegs tapped at all times, making his house a popular après-ski destination among friends.
Heine enjoys commercial craft beers and appreciates the award-winning products coming out of the region’s several small breweries, but brewing at home allows him to produce exactly what he wants, while keeping the alcohol content lower than the traditional craft beers on the market. “I like to be able to enjoy it while I’m doing other things,” he explains.
According to Heine, anyone with basic cooking skills and a clean kitchen can brew beer. It’s a straightforward process, he says, but it does require careful attention to detail, especially sanitation. Brewers also need patience. While some beers are ready for drinking within weeks, others must be aged or conditioned for six months or longer to achieve the desired result. Heine produces about twenty five-gallon kegs each year, keeping him in constant supply.
A brewer begins by steeping malted grains in a process called mashing. The resulting sugary liquid, called the wort, gets boiled with hops to add flavor and a bitter balance. Fermentation happens when yeast added to the cooled wort consumes the sugars, producing alcohol as a byproduct. (“Yeast,” Heine says, “must have the best job in the world.”)
Novice brewers can skip the mashing by using grain extracts, notes the website of the American Homebrewers Association. The extracts contribute pre-portioned flavor and style according to a pre-determined recipe. Online retailers sell brewing kits that contain ingredients and instructions for specific beer styles, such as double IPAs, imperial stouts, Bavarian hefeweizens, and red ales. Starter equipment packages, containing all of the specialized equipment, range in price from sixty to two hundred dollars.
“It’s a good way to start,” Victor resident Johnny Ziem says, “to figure out how to do it and if you enjoy it.” He started brewing about four years ago with a kit his wife, Katie, gave him as a present. But like Heine, he found the possibilities irresistible and soon invested in more sophisticated equipment, including a three-tap kegerator he keeps by the washing machine. “It can be dangerous to have that in your house,” he cautions, joking that he does his best to ignore its presence during the week. He embarked on a self-study program of brewing science, following podcasts, talking to other brewers, reading books, and perusing brewing sites for information. He also started researching old-world recipes online, such as a 1,000-year-old German recipe with roasted coriander.
For inspiration, Heine, too, looks to historical styles not widely available in this country. He’s done a chocolate stout and a variation with chocolate mint, using real cacao nibs for flavoring, and a Belgian-style ginger saison, which he describes as a refreshing, flavorful summer beer.
While a kit brew can come together in just a couple of hours, a brew day with mashing involved can last from three to eight hours, depending on the complexity of the recipe. Ziem’s six-year-old daughter, Sorayah, likes to get in on the action, helping her dad with everything from measuring ingredients to mixing in the grains to adding the hops. With his increasing knowledge and experience, Ziem experiments with grain combinations, yeast strains, and flavor enhancements. Right now, he’s testing a recipe that could end up on the menu at Jackson’s award-winning Melvin Brewing Company.
Most commercial craft brewers start off at home, like Melvin brewer Kirk McHale. He made the leap from home brewing twenty years ago, before craft beers hit the mainstream psyche. While he doesn’t generally recommend it as a career track—“It’s a really fun job, but it’s really hard work, and you have to be dedicated”—he does think aspiring home brewers should skip the extracts and get straight into working with grains. “Pick a recipe or style you like, and do it over and over and over until you get it right,” he suggests.
Though economics drives many DIY endeavors, neither Heine nor Ziem brew for any perceived or actual cost savings. Home brewers can start small, but brewing on the scale of Heine or Ziem requires a significant outlay of cash. The equipment investment, mail-ordered malted grains, hops and yeast, and the inevitable (though fortunately rare) “oops” can add up to an expensive hobby.
“I like brewing the beer almost as much as I like to drink it,” Ziem says—emphasizing the word “almost.” tf
Get Started on Your Own Brew
“Home brewing is such a nerdy hobby,” says home-brewer-turned-professional Max Shafer of Grand Teton Brewing Company. “Everyone is so geeked out on it, there’s tons of information available online.”
His go-to sites include homebrewtalk.com, a forum he visits whenever he wants to pick another brewer’s brain; and Northern Brewer, a supply site with archived episodes of the now-defunct online channel Brewing TV. He also recommends the free podcasts from The Brewing Network.
Get online, Shafer recommends. Then, once you get a feel for the process, start to brew. He enthusiastically recommends the Caribou Slobber extract kit from Northern Brewer for your first try. “It’s a great brown ale,” he says.
If you’re hesitant to dive right in, look into home brewing clubs or “beer school” gatherings. Butch and Laura Harbaugh, owners of Rocky Mountain Homebrew Supply in Rigby, Idaho, organize comfortably informal, but highly informational, beer schools in Rigby and, occasionally, at Grand Teton Brewing Company in Victor.
Pointers from the Pros
1. “Start with a pale ale recipe, and brew it twenty, thirty, forty times and get it exactly the way you want it.” – Kirk McHale, brewer, Melvin Brewing Company
2. “Remember that it’s just beer—it’s supposed to be fun.” – Adam H. Chenault, owner and brewer, Roadhouse Brewing Co. in Wilson
3. “Start with any of the traditional American-style ales. You can load them up with hops and cover up subtle flaws.” – Max Shafer, brewer and cellar manager at Grand Teton Brewing Company
4. And, as with any homemade drink or food, “use fresh ingredients,” says Butch Harbaugh of Rocky Mountain Homebrew Supply.
By Brigid Sinram
Once the long days of summer start to dwindle and we feel a chill to the air, the color palette of our outdoor environment also starts to shift. Greens give way to warm autumn reds, dusky purples, and fading yellows, making late September and early October a great time for meandering our region’s back roads and trails.
The Rocky Mountain’s most easily recognized foliage comes from the aspen tree (Populus tremuloides). Aspens are well known for their bright golden fall hues and delicate leaves. While out floating and fishing our local waterways, enjoy the golden yellow colors of the cottonwood trees and colorful willows (Salix sp.). Several native shrubs also participate in the color explosion. Look for Western mountain ash (Sorbus scopulina), with its large clusters of deep orange fruits. The mountain ash’s long leaflets turn red and golden in the fall, and the fruit clusters attract birds.
While it’s easy to admire the large trees and colorful vistas, don’t forget to observe the smaller color changes happening at your feet. Wildflowers like fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) and sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum) show impressive fall colors of purple, deep red, and bright yellow.
Local Spots for Fall Foliage Adventures
- Coal Creek Trail off of Highway 22: mature aspen groves with lovely views of Taylor Mountain.
- Gros Ventre Road and Shadow Mountain Area: aspen groves, hiking trails, and campsites for longer fall excursions.
- Aspen Trail: a short, favorite fall hike that offers a colorful aspen display.
- Big Hole Mountains: mountain biking trails, aspen groves, colorful shrubs, and wildflowers.
- Ricks Basin and Lightning Ridge at Grand Targhee: diverse fall biking and hiking trails through large aspen groves.
How to Make a Leaf Wreath
Spruce up your fall decor with a leaf wreath. This creative way to remember your foliage adventure just may last you through winter. And when the wreath gets dry and the colors fade, revive it with a can of metallic spray paint.
Colorful autumn leaves, stems intact
Wreath form or metal wreath frame (available at craft stores or upcycle an old one)
Spool of thick florist wire
Glue gun (optional)
- Collect your leaves outside. Look for unusual colors and unique shapes.
- Sort your leaves by color and shape. Lay them out on a flat surface.
- Create small clusters of leaves by wrapping the stems together with florist wire. Fan them out. Use small pieces of florist wire to wrap the clusters around the wreath form. Make sure to overlap each cluster for a fuller wreath.
- (optional) Hot-glue single leaves into any gaps or open spaces in your wreath. tf
By Andrea Swedberg // Photography by Paulette Phlipot
The world of parenthood has us scrambling with a calendar of functions, a task that goes hand-in-hand with having school-aged children. And while I wouldn’t trade the chaos for anything, time constraints certainly damper my ability to pull it off flawlessly. We all have the occasional epiphany, “There just has to be a better way!” Only to follow that thought with, “LUNCH! I [still] have to pack lunch!”
As a child, I was a list maker, a bed maker, and a rock collector. I couldn’t tell you why, but I was the only one in the house who didn’t mind folding the laundry, helping mom with dinner, and even diminishing our supply of silverware while clearing the dishes (sorry, mom!). I give huge props to my mother for accomplishing what she did every day with two children and a full-time job.
Now that I’m older, and a mother myself, I am also a clock racer. When the alarm goes off in the morning, it’s a sprint to get Piia (my daughter) to the bus stop ON TIME with the accoutrements for a successful day. My morning checklist includes: clean clothes, brushed teeth, hair—mmm—decent, change of shoes, homework folder, and the pièce de résistance—LUNCH, packed and in the backpack!
Isn’t this the clincher for moms and dads everywhere?
With young palates and hard-to-trick minds, we are plagued with empty lunch box questions. We’re facing the cupboards like a goalie waiting for the puck to come down the ice, deflecting anything that we know will not fly as a supposed “meal.” I ponder the box-packing puzzle: What containers will she be excited to open? Cold or hot? Gluten-or dairy-free? How much time does she actually have to eat? Wouldn’t she just rather eat school lunch?
Lunch building is not about reinventing the wheel. Just add fun! Replace the boring ol’ carrot sticks with flower-shaped, cookie-cutter ones, and then add hummus or ranch for dipping. Make a heart-shaped sandwich to guarantee the lunch won’t come back home. Have your child or teen take ownership by packing her own lunch, ultimately reducing food waste. Write a fun note on a cute card—she’ll just giggle her way through the meal!
Right about now, you might be thinking, “How does one accomplish this madness five days a week?” While it might sound crazy, I make 90 percent of the lunch the night before. I spend ten extra minutes in the kitchen, after cleaning up from dinner, which then gives me ten more in the morning to make breakfast, listen to Piia read, answer math questions, or, even better, hang by the fire and just plain cuddle. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll pack MY OWN lunch.
I am a one-pan chef when it comes to time-constraint meal prep. One of my favorite ways to bring lunch to work is a layered salad in a jar. It’s easy, fast, and marinated to perfection by the time I am ready to eat.
And my better half, Troy—well, he does a great job packing his own lunch. As a builder in Teton Valley, he doesn’t always have a way to reheat homemade food, so leftovers are not generally his go-to. Soups are the exception, however, due to a keen little invention called the “thermos.” And while I would love to be his private, on-site chef, his lunches generally consist of: a sandwich, fruit, rice cakes, almonds and raisins, sometimes a small can of ginger ale, and, of course, a little chocolate.
For those of us blessed with a company kitchen, consider these options:
- Roasted veggies and quinoa, with a homemade vinaigrette (easy nighttime prep).
- Tacos. Use any night-before protein. Requires minimal reheat time.
- Strata. Use the bread scraps you created from making your kids’ supercool sandwiches.
- Random mix: raw almonds, hard-boiled egg, piece of fruit, and half an avocado.
Life is for loving and learning. Not for wasting time pining over lunches. Make your food with love and it will be the best meal of the day!
Mama's Red Sauce
Makes 1 1/2 cups
This recipe suits a young foodie’s palate—simple and uncomplicated. And it assures me she’s eating a fresh, homemade sauce.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb
1 cup home-canned organic stewed tomatoes (sub
Bionaturae aluminum-free organic canned tomatoes,
available at Whole Grocer or Barrels & Bins)
1 tablespoon organic tomato paste, or more, depending on
your desired thickness
sea salt & pepper
- In a medium saucepan, on medium-low heat, heat the oil.
- Add garlic, saute until golden brown. Add herbs, saute until fragrant.
- Pour in stewed tomatoes, heat through.
- Raise heat slightly and add tomato paste, stirring to combine completely. Bring sauce to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Simmer longer if a thicker consistency is desired.
- Remove from heat and blend to desired texture. Season with salt and pepper.
This is a great recipe for bread scraps. It also works as a Sunday prep recipe, to have for grown-up lunches or Monday night dinner.
12 slices worth of bread scraps
3/4 lb. grated cheese (whatever cheeses you like)
1 lb. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 cups cooked bacon, chopped
12 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sauteed onion
1 teaspoon dry mustard
salt & pepper
- Arrange half the bread scraps on the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 glass pan. Layer cheese, then spinach, followed by bread and bacon.
- Top with remaining bread scraps.
- Combine remaining ingredients, and pour over the layered ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Bake pan uncovered in a 325°F oven for 55 minutes or until egg mixture is cooked all the way through.
Salad in a Jar
Makes 2 cups (fills one 16-ounce jar)
The beauty of this recipe is its versatility. Use your favorite salad ingredients to create and re-create different variations.
2 tablespoons lemon vinaigrette
(fresh lemon juice, olive oil, touch of honey, salt and
pepper to taste)
1/2 cup Lacinato kale, washed, ribs removed, chopped to
3 tablespoons garbanzo beans
3 tablespoons diced cucumbers
3 dried Medjool dates, seeds removed, chopped
1 tablespoon almond pieces
- In a small bowl, whisk vinaigrette ingredients until combined. Add 2 tablespoons to a jar.
- In the order listed, layer the remaining ingredients into the jar. Cover snuggly with lid.
- When you’re ready for lunch, toss the ingredients in jar until coated. Plate and enjoy!
By Poa Jacobsen // Photographs by Paulette Phlipot
While enjoying summer’s bounty, often the idea of, “How can I make this last?” comes to mind. And while canning offers a great way to preserve goods for use throughout the fall and winter, it can also be intimidating. Luckily, there are a variety of traditional preservation methods that ease storage, maintain food flavor, and protect the health properties of the preserved food. Today, modern conveniences make the process both fun and easy, allowing you to savor food far past its expiration.
The Deep Freeze
Freezing is the easiest and most common method of food preservation. True—it’s both convenient and safe to throw leftover soup in the freezer. But it’s also important not to overlook the quality of the outcome. Freezer air is dry and wicks the moisture from food, leaving that infamous freezer-burned flavor. Make sure food is properly wrapped or stored in freezer-quality paper, BPA-free plastic, or glass to ensure long-term storage and a quality product.
To freeze garden vegetables, first blanch, submerging them in boiling water for a few minutes. Next, quickly cool them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching inhibits the food’s enzymes from breaking them down during the freezing process.
Parched, but Perfect
In dry climates, dehydrating food is a great option. It’s also a space saver and doesn’t require energy use for storage. Electric food dehydrators boast quality and consistency, though solar dryers and open-air drying work well too. Most fruits and vegetables can be dried and transformed into snacks, used in soups, or blended to a powder for flavoring rice or pasta. Like freezing, most vegetables benefit from a quick blanching first. And, to prevent fruit from browning, soak peaches, apples, and bananas in ascorbic acid.
A Little Culture, Please
Fermenting is the oldest method of food preservation and has recently resurged as a health fad. You don’t need electricity to prepare and store fermented vegetables, and the health benefits are amazing! To some, allowing food to sit out at room temperature may be perceived as unsafe. But to the contrary, the process creates a safe lactic acid environment for beneficial bacteria to form. Fermented vegetables, or “kraut,” keep for months in a cool dark space, or up to six months or more in a jar in the refrigerator.
If you’re lucky enough to have a root cellar, basement, or garage that doesn’t freeze in the winter, maintain your fall veggies in dry storage. A root cellar’s temperature should remain at approximately fifty degrees, but a swing by ten degrees in either direction won’t hurt. Store winter squash, garlic, onions, and potatoes in containers that allow for ample airflow. Root vegetables such as carrots and beets do better buried in sand or enclosed in a dirt-laden plastic bag with breathing room. Remove the green tops first, and don’t wash the dirt!
Open-Air Herb Drying:
For flavorful and cost-saving additions to your meals throughout the year, dry your summer herbs. First, bundle herbs by tying them with string at the base. Then, hang them upside down in a cool, dark place for a few days. Once dry, crumble the leaves off the stalk and store in airtight jars.
Spread loose berries, individually, onto a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. When the berries are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Loose berries can be used, as needed, versus thawing out an entire container.
Homemade Kraut with Fall Veggies
Join the hipster craze by making a kraut with fall garden veggies like cabbage, root vegetables, and alliums (garlic, onions). Add spices and seeds for flair (think fennel, cumin, crushed red pepper, or dill). Use your imagination, and toss in any excess finds from your pantry.
Here’s my take:
1 head of cabbage (green or purple), finely chopped
3 carrots, shredded
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger root, minced (optional)
1/2-1 tablespoon sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
Quart-size, wide-mouthed Mason jars
- Run all jars, lids, and utensils through the dishwasher, or hand wash and fully dry before using. Sterilize if you want.
- With clean hands, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, massaging them until the juices begin to release.
- Let stand for 15 minutes, allowing the brine to form.
- Massage the ingredients again before packing them into the Mason jars, leaving 1 to 2 inches of headroom. Vegetables must be packed tightly. Make sure all vegetables are submerged under the brine.
- Screw on the lid, leaving it unturned a half-turn to allow gases to escape.
- Leave the jar on the counter for 3-7 days, repacking it under the brine each day. When it has a nice fermented flavor, transfer to the fridge. Kraut will continue to ferment in the fridge and will keep for months.
Blanched and Frozen Greens:
Store excess greens like spinach, collards, kale, and chard in your freezer. Add to omelets or soups throughout the winter.
1 bunch kale, spinach, collards, etc.
- Boil at least 2 quarts of water in large stockpot.
- Place washed and chopped greens in colander and submerge in boiling water for 2 minutes (collards take 3).
- Remove the greens from the water and place them immediately in an ice water bath for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the bath and press greens to expel excess water.
- Store in airtight freezer bags or containers for up to 1 year. Label and date.
Want to Learn More About Fermentation?
Don’t miss Fermentation Friday on October 10 at the SHIFT Festival in Jackson. Visit the Fermentation Station to learn techniques for making kombucha, tonics, fermented foods, and even gravlax from local trout. For a full schedule, visit shiftjh.org.
Full Circle Education also offers fermentation and food preservation classes throughout the year as part of their sustainability workshop series. For more information, visit their site at tetonfullcircle.org.
By Kristen Pope
For a mountain community that relies on winter sports for both its economy and lifestyle, the impact of climate change can be profound. So, as a family embarking on a summer holiday, how can we reconcile our desire to explore with our passion to protect the planet from climate change?
Work these tips into your mindful vacation planning:
1. Research. Ask about a hotel’s energy and environmental policies and see if they are Energy Star certified. If you’re heading to the beach, choose a Blue Flag beach, which meets strict criteria for water quality, environmental education, management, and other environmental practices.
2. Unplug. Before heading out on your trip, make sure all appliances are off and unplugged, including chargers, microwaves, televisions, kitchen appliances, and other gadgets. Leaving them plugged in drains energy.
3. Pack Light. One study found that for every ten pounds a U.S. airline passenger brings aboard, an additional 350 million gallons of jet fuel is required per year.
4. Reuse. Bring a reusable water bottle (and filter, if traveling somewhere with nonpotable water). Reusable shopping bags or totes will ward off the ubiquitous plastic bag. And pack small reusable containers, instead of purchasing travel-size containers or portions, for toiletries and snacks.
5. Conserve. It’s easy to forget to turn off hotel lights and conserve water while on vacation, but to offset your impact, you need to be even more vigilant than usual. Reuse hotel linens and towels and, if the weather is cool, open the curtains on sunny days to heat the room.
6. Transportation. Enjoy the local culture and go carless. Use public transportation, bike, or walk. Take advantage of bike-sharing and rental programs, available in a growing number of destination communities.
7. Get Creative. Before leaving, purchase carbon offsets. Offered by many organizations, offsets make up for unavoidable energy use by investing in projects that reduce or capture pollution. TerraPass.com and Carbonfund.org both allow users to choose the project they want to support and feature calculators for determining the amount of greenhouses gases used. For example, a flight from Jackson Hole to New York City, with one stop, would equal 1,926 pounds of carbon dioxide, requiring an offset costing approximately twelve dollars—a small price to pay for doing the right thing.
Protect Our Winters
Organizations like Protect Our Winters (POW), founded by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones in 2007, help the winter sports community focus on the impacts of climate change. POW’s efforts include educational initiatives, advocacy, and supporting community-based projects. POW also helps educate kids on climate change, providing them with everyday steps they can take to help. Additionally, the group lobbies government officials to take action.
Jones, frequently featured in films by Teton Gravity Research (a local film company founded by his brothers), created the organization in response to the changes he’s witnessed while traveling. “Through a lifetime in the mountains, I saw a definitive change,” he says. “I realized that—as a snowboarder who is out there every day—skiers, snowboarders, and winter enthusiasts needed to come together to protect our winters.”
When Jones travels, he minimizes his airplane trips, while maximizing his time at a destination. “I definitely travel to snowboard,” he says. “[But] I try to do fewer trips and make them longer. When I’m getting on a plane, I want to get more out of it.”
Check out POW’s efforts, or become a member, at ProtectOurWinters.org. -KP
By Leslie-Ann Sheppard
Photography by Paulette Phlipot
We’ve all attended great parties that live on in our memories. But there are also those where we’ve Houdini-ed out the back door. So what makes a party memorable, and how can you pull it off?
While it can be complicated navigating the party-hosting options, it needn’t stress you out. With some simple tools and guidelines, you’ll be on top of the social scene in no time.
Children often count the months, weeks, and days until their next birthday—sometimes sending you in a tailspin over the “perfect party” details. But take a breath and focus on the essentials. It doesn’t take much for kids to have a good time.
Why not host a home party? Young children feel comfortable in their own digs and are proud to show off their world to peers. Choose a theme that’s centered on your child’s interests. Websites like spoonful.com, realsimple.com, and PBS.org offer creative party solutions from cute DIY crafts, to decorations and recipes. Get ideas, and then source the goods locally.
Kids thrive on structure, so planned activities are the way to go. Projects also assure uncorralled kids won’t run rampant through your house. Plan a simple craft like scratch-art, where children make art by scratching designs into black crayon-covered pages. Several companies manufacture scratch-art items, including the ubiquitous Melissa and Doug. Another low-cost, low-mess activity is making mosaics. Choose a sticker mosaic kit that complements the party theme. Piñatas are also a big hit, and you control the bounty. Fill them with candy, art supplies, costume jewelry, or other little trinkets. And as a mindful alternative to traditional gift giving, hosts can request that guests bring a previously loved item for a party-wide exchange. This way, the birthday child isn’t the only one leaving with something “new.”
If the idea of a dozen energetic youngsters roaming your house doesn’t excite you, consider one of our local venues. The Local Galleria in Driggs is available for parties at a very reasonable rate. Owner and local artist Teri McLaren, once a daycare provider, formulates events for budding young artists. She organizes activities like fashion and clothing design, jewelry making, and, of course, painting and drawing. The Jackson Hole Children’s Museum is a good go-to for Wyoming parents. With plenty of hands-on stations and intriguing installations, there is nary a bored child. Axis Gymnastics in Jackson and TISA (Teton Indoor Sports Academy) in Driggs are great alternatives for active bodies. Visit their websites for details, including pricing and party size limits.
Golden Milestones Party
A special “round number” anniversary or retirement provides yet another great reason to celebrate. Commemorate your, or a loved one’s, golden milestone with an unforgettable party. Choosing a Jackson Hole venue like the Calico, Local, or Sweetwater allows everyone to relax and mingle—even the host. The friendly management teams make the party go off with ease and can work with different budgets. On the Idaho side, treat your guests to the magical ambience of the Linn Canyon Ranch, the Teton Teepee, or the Wildwood Room.
Invitations are a big deal for a golden milestone party—especially if it’s a surprise—as they set the tone for the entire event. Be clear about the occasion (is it a 40th anniversary, a 50th birthday, or a retirement party?). And keep in mind, the more formal the event, the more formal the invitation. While the old-school way of sending a fancy creation by mail still reigns, you can also opt for sending invitations via email. It’s inexpensive, creative, and green.
For a special presentation, ask attendees to bring a photo of the guest(s) of honor, or draft a story illuminating them. Organize the photos ahead of time and arrange them around the party room. Guests can mill about, checking out old photos and reminiscing. Or invite guests to share a toast. With a little pre-planning, photos and stories can be compiled into a slide show, or a photo album can be presented as a gift. Technology makes this fairly simple; generally, a laptop and a projector are all that’s needed, and many venues will accommodate.
Girls' or Boys Night Out
Time and time again, friends intend to gather, but fail to make it happen. Family and work responsibilities vie for attention, and social opportunities often don’t make the cut. So use the arrival of spring a good excuse for a portable party.
For the ladies, nothing beats a spa day! Round up your girlfriends and enjoy catching up while indulging in a massage, facial, mani, or pedi. Stillwaters Spa at Teton Springs in Victor caters to groups. Soak in their outdoor hot tub, inhale the eucalyptus steam bath, and sip wine in their relaxation room. In Teton Village, Hotel Terra’s Chill Spa provides an equally suitable venue with their rooftop, slopeside tub!
If spas aren’t your thing (if that’s even possible), how about a wine-tasting event at Bin22 in Jackson? Or consider a visit to Vom Fass, if you prefer spirits to grapes. You can explore and taste any of their wonderful products, including specialty oil concoctions and other gourmet food items.
For the “bro” spa day, visit The Whiskey Barber in Jackson. Guys can meet at this throwback spot, get their domes trimmed, and grab a nearly extinct straight shave while throwing darts and sipping whiskey. It’s BYOB, so come prepared.
Tastings can also be done man-style at Grand Teton Distillery in Driggs, Grand Teton Brewery in Victor, or Snake River Brewery in Jackson. Afterwards, catch a live show at the Pink Garter Theatre, offering an impressive lineup of national acts.
And since Teton men tend to be active, don’t limit yourself to a nighttime affair. Disc golf at Grand Targhee Resort, or regulation golf for that matter, are good options before the trails dry out. A camping weekend or group float down the Snake or the Teton rivers always assures good camaraderie. Pack a portable barbecue and fly rod, and put away the phone for the day. (Just make sure to answer if your wife calls.) -LS
A Children’s Perspective ...
By Mollie Flaherty
People from all over the world flock to our majestic snow-capped mountains every year to ski, hike, explore, and take part in the Teton lifestyle. While most of us are “implants,” as my Jackson-native boyfriend likes to say, we were drawn inland from the coasts—often chasing snow. Soon after, our ski bum existence segued into a summer river guide position, which then amounted to “staying put forever.” Days turned into months, months into years, until eventually we had a family of our own.
So what about our kids? Do we ever pause to ask them why they like the mountain life? This past summer, Teton Family Magazine reached out to local children. We recruited kids at festivals, family events, and the playground, asking them what they love about life in our small mountain towns. This beautiful artwork depicts their responses ranging from “the wildflowers,” to “skiing at Jackson Hole,” to “dancing at Music on Main in Victor.”
Every once in a while it’s important for us to reflect—through a child’s eyes—on the beautiful place we call home. After all, it was our inner child who originally led us here to play. -MF
by Kristen Pope
photography by Paulette Phlipot
From early cave paintings to ancient Egyptian art, humans have long embraced the use of colorful paints. In some cultures, certain colors were believed to have magical healing properties. Ancient painters sourced an amazing array of colors from plants and minerals. Today, modern artists can experiment with color by creating their own paint using common kitchen and backyard items.
Creating Nature Paint
Step 1: Gather the materials.
Have a natural materials scavenger hunt! Decide on colors and search for natural items in those shades. Be careful to gather only non-toxic plants and materials that won’t irritate the skin (use a field guide if you are unsure).
Step 2: Make the paint.
There are several ways to extract color from natural materials. But creativity and patience are key, as the process of extracting color can be unpredictable. For instance, berries collected from the same bush may produce very different colors—from a deep purple to a light pink or even a sky blue. Two common methods of extracting color from materials include applying heat and pulverizing.
Heating materials helps bring the color out. To do this, combine approximately a half of cup non-toxic natural material with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately half an hour. Be sure to keep a close watch, adding more as needed and stirring regularly. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the solids and use the colored water as a watercolor paint. Or, paint with the softened solids (try it out!).
Some materials can be crushed, ground, or pushed through a sieve to extract color. Experiment with crushing and grinding hard materials, such as whole spices, with a mortar and pestle. Run softer materials through a sieve. Some materials, berries included, can be crushed between your fingers. Drier materials must first be pulverized and then combined with a binding agent (see below) to create paint.
Adding a binding agent:
Binding agents help transform powdery source materials (dry soil, chalk, soot, or ground spices) into a spreadable paint. Historically, egg yolks were used. For this method, slowly mix a small quantity of well-beaten egg yolk with the powdery source material, stirring until it reaches the desired consistency. You can also use milk by applying a few drops to the powder in the same fashion.
Adjusting the shades:
Natural materials can provide an amazing array of colors. It is fun to experiment and see how many different colors can come from one material, whether it is a berry, a spice, or even a handful of dirt. Here are a few ideas that produce different shades of color.
- Add vinegar: Stir in a few drops for different shades.
- Mix and match: Some colors, like green and gray, are difficult to extract from natural materials. To make these shades, gradually mix two colors (such as yellow and blue to create green) until the desired hue is reached.
- Layer: For richer and deeper colors, consider applying several layers of nature paint.
Step 3: Create!
Brushes and applicators:
Experiment with different types of applicators, including fingers, paintbrushes, straw, grass, leaves, and flowers. Make patterns with cotton balls and swabs.
Try painting on different types of canvases, including paper, finely grained sandpaper, and muslin or other fabrics. Try painting on rocks, sticks, and other items. Notice the color differences between the mediums.
Accent your painting with other natural objects, including leaves, straw, grass, pine cones, pine needles, bark, flowers, feathers, seeds, nuts, and berries. Use tacky glue to attach.
Natural materials (see below)
Small bowls or containers for mixing
Mortar and pestle (optional)
Canvas materials: paper, muslin, light fabric, etc.
Applicators: paintbrushes, cotton swabs, cotton balls, sticks, etc.
Egg yolk or milk
Old towels or paper towels
Newspaper or table covering
- Purple/pink/red/lilac/blue – Berries (including blackberries, strawberries, huckleberries, chokecherries, elderberries, raspberries), beetroot
- Brown – Soil (collect soils from different areas for a wider range of colors)
- Red/orange – Paprika, chili powder
- Black – Soot, charcoal
- Gray – Wood fire ash, charcoal and chalk mixture
- White – Chalk, talcum powder
- Yellow – Turmeric, onion skins, dandelion heads
- Green – Grass, leaves
Additional Nature Art Project:
Instructions: Arrange natural materials on canvas to create an image or pattern and affix with tacky glue. For more art projects, visit tetonfamilymagazine.com.
- Always supervise children.
- Do not eat the materials.
- Wear old clothes (some items will stain).
- Perform all activities outside or cover surfaces indoors.
- Make towels available for messy cleanup.
By Kristen Pope
During the summer, many mountain families pack their bags and hit the road. Whether heading to the coast to get your beach fix, back East to grandma’s house, or even to an international destination, the gadgets described below will help make your getaway fun, safe, and comfortable.
1. The Manduka eKO SuperLite Travel Mat is perfect for workouts on the go. Coming in at a scant two pounds, this mat is foldable and packs tightly into any suitcase or travel space. The mat is made from biodegradable natural rubber that won’t fade or flake. Restore after a hectic day of travel, or bust out a downward dog or sun salutation anytime and anywhere with this little number. Check out Manduka’s products at Inversion in Jackson. (MSRP $40)
2. Keeping peace during long drives in the car is simple with the Nabi Tablet, available at Kmart in Jackson. Designed as an educational tool, with numerous parental control options, the Nabi Tablet has models for kids ages 3 to 6, 7 to 10, and 11 to 14. It features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, age-appropriate apps for homework, social media tools, educational games, and more. It also has a drop-safe bumper to protect the device from breakage. Kid-safe headphones, with an ear-protecting sound limit of 80 decibels, are also available. (MSRP $99.99-$289.99)
3. Traveling parents know the frustration of changing squirming babies in the backseat of a car, atop a campground picnic table, in a grimy bathroom, or on any other quasi-flat and almost-sanitary place they can find. Luckily, the NapSac by Lilly Gold, available at Backcountry Baby in Jackson, works as a diaper bag, changing pad, and Pack ’n’ Play. This foldout contraption converts to a sleeping area with four padded sides, a waterproof plastic bottom, and two sheets—one for changing and one for sleeping. (MSRP $124.99)
4. Spooky campfire stories are always better with eerie, flashlight-under-the-chin illumination. Just use the sun’s energy to charge the Verilux ReadyLight Solar Rechargeable Flashlight on a car dashboard or picnic table by day, so it’s ready for evening fun and late-night trips to the loo. This eco-friendly LED flashlight provides up to four hours of continuous light and features nightglow strips so you can locate it in the dark. (Verilux.com, $29.95)
5. Mom—keep your documents protected in style, when traveling domestically or abroad, with the Pacsafe Slingsafe 250 Handbag. With a slashproof strap, this organizer stores passports and credit cards in an RFID-safe (radio-frequency identification) sleeve, protecting you from any sketchy encounters. The turn-and-lock strap hook allows you to secure it to an airport or restaurant chair, and the wire-reinforced slash guards, inner key ring, and locking smart zipper add extra layers of security. Open it up to reveal a pretty printed inner liner. (Zappos.com, $85) -KP
By Christina Shepherd McGuire
Photography by Paulette Phlipot
So your kid wants to skate, and he wants you to teach him?
The first thing that may come to mind is, “Shoot the duck? Easy. I’ve got that dialed!” Then you quickly realize, after seeing his cross-eyed expression, that he means “skateboard,” not “roller skate.” Oh.
You begin dating yourself, recalling the, um, early ’80s, when you’d session your neighborhood cul-de-sac with your plastic-wheeled Kmart special. You’d craft ramps out of plywood scraps and hit them over and over while your BMX posse stared wide-eyed. Soon enough, and after many failed attempts at the ollie, you abandoned the sport for something more practical like, say, soccer.
Nowadays, you prefer to session the groomed trails or take your road bike Around the Block. You may favor the safety of the football or field hockey sidelines. But skateboarding? At this age? Well, it might just be time to hit the pavement.
To some, skateboarding carries an outcast stigma. True—skateboarding’s unique attitude, code of ethics, and style of dress and conduct are not always accepted by the mainstream. And, unlike its sister sport, snowboarding, skateboarding is less standardized and structured. But still, skaters pride themselves on their beliefs, their knowledge of where to skate and when, the branded product they endorse, and even the music they listen to. Skating very much embodies a lifestyle—one that can help some children in their journey of self-identity.
It’s natural as a parent to be squeamish about an activity that goes against the grain of convention. There’s a level of uneasiness in thinking your kid may be sneaking in a skate sesh on forbidden ground. But luckily, we live in an era in which skateboarding, with its X-Games sensationalism and mainstream push, has transitioned to the forefront of typical youth culture. And with it comes a commitment to designing designated skateparks in both cities and small communities like ours. Not only has skateboarding become a competitive sport, it has also become a healthy recreational outlet for children and adults alike.
Dee Elle Bupp, a local mother and creator of Dragon Lady Teas, explains that, for her sons (Canyon, 15, and Arrow, 10), skateboarding is a great self-esteem builder, because the boys are always challenging themselves with harder tricks. She says that skateboarding supports their bodies and minds, making them “amazing role models and mentors in the skateboarding community. They support one another, no matter what age.”
Skateboarding really isn’t that intimidating, if you take things slow and methodically. In fact, it’s a great way to bond with your child. Learning together shows him that you’re up for something new and interested in his likes, and it fosters a type of connection that may not happen by simply kicking the ball around in the backyard.
So before you head to the BoardRoom for a spiffy new pair of kicks, here are some “suggestions” that will help you ease in.
Let’s first start with the lingo.
Anatomy of a Skateboard:
- Deck: the main part of a skateboard, the portion you stand on.
- Grip Tape: sandpaper adhesive affixed to the top of the board.
- Trucks: the collective name for the front and rear axle assemblies.
- Hardware: nuts, bolts, and screws that hold the trucks, bushings, and base plate onto the deck.
- Longboard: a skateboard measuring over 33 inches long; used for cruising downhill and carving snowboard-like turns.
Basic Trick Terminology:
- Ollie: a jump performed without the aid of a takeoff ramp, executed by pushing the back foot down on the tail of the board and bringing the board off the ground. The basis of most skate tricks.
- Kickflip: an ollie in the middle of which the skater uses the front toe to kick the board around in a circular motion, in the same plane.
- Fakie: rolling backwards when the rider is in his normal stance.
- Shove-it: a trick performed by spinning the board 180 degrees beneath the feet without the skater spinning.
- Carve: to skate in a long, curving arc.
- Grind: scraping one or both truck axles on a curb, handrail, or other surface.
Skateboarding 101: Maneuvers
Pumpin’ tranny helps you establish your balance point on the board, and it’s a fundamental skill for skate park riding. It’s also an awesome workout! Start slow, gaining speed and height on the wall as you become more confident.
- Start in the bottom center of a concrete or wooden halfpipe (hit up the Jackson or Driggs skatepark).
- Choose a direction and, facing that way, place your front foot on the front bolt heads of your deck. Push off with your back foot, placing it over your back bolt heads. Bend your knees, center your weight, and roll toward the tranny [transition].
- As your board climbs the wall, keep your body weight centered and slightly lean into the wall.
- Push off your feet and bend your knees deep to gain momentum, as your board hits its apex.
- Roll over to the other tranny, and repeat the steps.
- Pump back and forth on the tranny, gaining speed and height, to establish your balance and technique.
Dropping in on a ramp or bowl is a beginner skateboarder’s nemesis, but with a centered balance and a little courage, you can master this crucial trick. Strap on your pads!
- Stand at the top of the bowl with your foot on the tail of your board and your board resting on the coping (metal bar at the top of the ramp) or the edge.
- Place your other foot on the platform of the ramp. Make sure your wheels are on the ramp-side of the coping. The nose of the board will be in the air.
- Bend your back knee deeply; turn your shoulders parallel to the board, and place your front foot onto the front bolt heads of your deck.
- Bend your front knee, center your weight, and drop into the ramp.
** Tip: Grabbing the nose of your board keeps your center of gravity low and prevents you from moving your weight back, causing the board to shoot out from underneath you.
Skateboarding is a super convenient and relatively cheap way to have fun with your kids, once you get the hang of it. Both Jackson and Driggs have great outdoor skateparks. And, when you become proficient at carving the bowl or mastering the Targhee switchbacks, the smooth concrete can be as addictive as riding powder. I swear! -CM
By Annie Fenn, M.D.
When my husband suggested we head into the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming for a week of backpacking, I was reluctant at first. Hike steep ridges wearing the same outfit for eight consecutive days while being swarmed by mosquitoes? Consume a week’s worth of dehydrated one-pot mystery meals? Drink really bad coffee and snack on gorp? And potentially give up my glass of wine with dinner? Not exactly my kind of fun.
Besides—let’s face it—when was the last time I’d hoisted a hefty pack on my back and headed into the wilderness for a week? Let’s see—it was long before I had children (now taller than me); before my midlife episode of chronic back pain; before I banished processed foods from my pantry and started cooking everything from scratch; and before I had become rather, uh, persnickety about my morning coffee.
My husband persevered, promising me great food, plenty of dark chocolate, good coffee, rum in my cocoa, and the chance to catch a golden trout. How could I say no? It would have been foolish to pass up a backpacking trip to the Winds—a remote, hundred-mile-long mountain range known for its magical high-country walking—for fear of bad food.
As I dusted off my 1990s-era backpack, I had two goals for a successful trip. First and foremost, in order to save my back, I would learn to pack like an ultralight backpacker, taking only what’s necessary to be warm, dry, and safe in the mountains. Secondly, the food would have to be as good as the home-cooked meals made in my own kitchen. I would need to devise a menu of calorie-dense foods that would fuel long days spent traversing the mountains and bagging peaks. Meals had to be practical to pack, easy to cook, and utterly satisfying.
Determined to prove that a whole foods backpacking menu could still be lightweight, I turned to my husband’s repertoire of backcountry meals. After all, I married a wilderness veteran who never cooks at home but is somewhat of an expert on cooking in the outdoors. All I needed to do was give the recipes some pizzazz, ditch the processed ingredients, and amp up the nutritional value.
Since frequent snacking on the trail is crucial, I created a “goodie bag” for each of us—a quart-sized Ziploc stuffed with enough snacks for the entire eight days. My homemade backcountry bars were our favorite—wholesome and filling—but most snacks came from the supermarket. A peek into my bag revealed dark chocolate almonds; roasted cashews; Kate’s Real Food bars; dried apricots, cherries, and figs; pocket-stuffed dates; and Chocolove mini chocolate bars (including a few laced with crushed coffee beans for an extra boost).
For breakfast, we alternated between our two morning meals: homemade granola and muesli, packed into single portions. We included Nido whole milk powder and luxe additions of toasted hazelnuts, crystallized ginger, black mission figs, and dried wild blueberries to keep us from getting bored with our breakfast routine.
Starbucks Via instant coffee mix had me soon forgetting my coffee worries. And, like a true backcountry barista, I added Nido and a teaspoon of sugar for a tasty, ultralight option (on shorter trips I still swear by my plastic French press and ground coffee). Sipping strong, hot coffee, while gazing at the morning sky and surrounding granite towers, truly made for the best part of the day.
Lunch on the trail was pieced together with some high-calorie staples: bagels with lox for a special first-day lunch, rolled tortillas with almond butter and honey, and Wasa Crispbread with hunks of dry salami and hard cheese.
Supper was the biggest challenge—I knew we would want to tuck into a satisfying bowl of real food at the end of each day. Only two small canisters of white gas were allotted to fuel our MSR Whisperlite backpacking stove, which is fast and light, but not a great choice for foods that need to simmer. Ideally, dinner had to be prepared quickly and all in one pot.
My gourmet renditions of the dehydrated one-pot meal, like Capellini with Porcini mushrooms in a creamy tomato sauce, replenished our depleted calories and kept our taste buds happy—especially when topped with slices of artisanal truffle-infused hard sausage. We had no problem repeating a polenta version of this meal later in the week. Thai chicken curry was another favorite one-pot wonder. Red curry paste, parceled into a snack-sized Ziploc and combined with a can of coconut milk (not exactly ultralight but ultra-essential to the flavor of the dish), made a quick sauce. Dried peas, shreds of pre-zested lime, brown sugar, fish sauce, and a shelf-stable foil packet of real chicken completed this dish. Instant couscous provided the perfect vehicle for soaking up every last drop of curry.
Later in the week, the couscous would take on a Moroccan flair with the addition of currants, almonds, turmeric, and cinnamon—perfect for pairing with the foil-wrapped trout we were hoping to catch. Thoughtfully, I packed two squares of foil, half of a preserved lemon, and a small stash of Herbes de Provence in preparation for the big catch. And for dessert—spicy Mexican cocoa with a splash of rum (as promised).
I found that eating well on a backpacking trip was not impossible. Our meals were tasty, hearty, and delicious. And as I was hiking out through the brilliant wildflowers carpeting the ground of an old forest burn, I vowed to dedicate part of every summer to a new backpacking adventure.
The next time I headed into the mountains—hiking up and over the Death Canyon Shelf in Grand Teton National Park and coming out in Teton Canyon on the west slope of the range—my twelve-year-old son and friends came along. I upgraded my ancient backpack to a spiffy new, lightweight, lava-orange one—fitted to my torso and weighing in at a mere three pounds, twelve ounces. With the weight I saved, I was able to cram in a few luxuries: my Kindle, a pillow, the makings for Italian S’Mores, and a PlatyPreserve, a lightweight, packable wine preservation pouch, filled with my favorite vino.
- 1 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 1/2 cups crushed whole-wheat
- cereal, rice cereal, or granola
- 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts,
- currants, chopped dried figs,
- crystallized ginger (optional)
- 2 ounces chopped dark choco- late or chocolate chips
- Cooking spray
1. Mix peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat. When the mixture starts to bubble, stir continuously for about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
2. Add crushed cereal (fill a large Ziploc with cereal and crush it with a rolling pin) or granola, and any optional ingredients. Mix well so all ingredients are uniformly distributed throughout the peanut butter base.
3. Pour onto a 13 x 9-inch rimmed baking pan sprayed with cooking oil. Press evenly throughout the pan. Cover the top of the bars with wax paper and press down with a metal spatula or pan. Remove the paper.
4. If topping with chocolate, microwave chopped chocolate or chips on low power at 15-second increments until melted. Stir to smooth; swirl over the top of the bars.
5. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes and cut into 2-inch bars.
Pocket Stuffed Dates
- Medjool dates
- Firm blue cheese
1. Cut a lengthwise slit in each date and remove the pit.
2. Place 1 teaspoon blue cheese inside and press closed.
3. Bake at 375ºF for 10 minutes. Cool.
4. Pack as a trail snack, or wrap in foil and warm over the campfire for an appetizer.
Maple Syrup and Olive Oil Granola with Ginger and Figs
- 5 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup dried black mission figs,
- stems removed and diced
- 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, diced
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Place oats in a large bowl.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, almond, and vanilla extract (warm maple syrup in the microwave for ease).
4. Pour the liquid over the oats and mix well. Sprinkle with salt and mix again.
5. Spread the granola evenly over a large baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
6. Bake 20 minutes and turn the pan. Bake another 20 minutes. Toss the granola from the edges into the middle of the pan and spread evenly. Bake until golden brown, but not burnt.
7. Once cool, toss with the ginger and figs.
8. For trail mix, add a handful of chocolate chips.
Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix
- 2 cups natural unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch processed)
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground habanero chili (if you like spice, add up to 1/2 teaspoon )
1. In a blender or food processor, add cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and chili. Blend until mixed.
2. Break the chocolate into pieces by placing it in a plastic bag and pounding it with a mallet.
3. Add chocolate pieces to the mix in the blender and process until smooth. Small chunks of chocolate in the mix are okay.
4. Place 3 teaspoons of mix and 3 teaspoons of Nido in a mug. Add hot water and stir vigorously.
Capellini with Porcini Mushrooms in a Creamy Tomato Sauce
- 6 ounces Capellini (angel hair) dried pasta
- 1/2 ounce dried Porcini mush- rooms
- 1 tube sun-dried tomato paste (about 4 tablespoons)
- 4 tablespoons Nido
- 5 sun-dried tomatoes, in strips
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3-4 slices of hard sausage (optional)
- Bacon dust (optional)
1. In 3 snack-sized Ziplocs place: mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, grated Parmesan, and Nido.
2. Break pasta in half and place into one pint-sized baggie.
3. Place all ingredients into one quart-sized baggie and label.
1. Fill pot with water and bring to a boil.
2. Place mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of hot water. Cover with a lid and steep while the pasta is cooking.
3. Cook pasta in the remaining water until barely al dente, 2-3 minutes (allow more time at high altitude).
4. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water in the pan.
5. Place the pasta in a bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add sun-dried tomato paste to the pasta water and mix with a fork, forming a sauce. Sprinkle Nido slowly over the sauce while stirring vigorously. Add mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, along with half of the steeping liquid, to the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes.
6. Add pasta and stir to warm through. To thin, add more steeping liquid.
7. Divide into bowls and top with Parmesan cheese and slices of sausage or bacon dust (optional).
By Kristen Pope
Enjoy the summer season with live, local, music in Teton Valley, Jackson, and Teton Village. Catch up with friends and neighbors and dance the night away to nationally acclaimed acts and local bands. To make it even better, many of the events below are FREE!
Music on Main, June 26th-August 14th
FREE EVENT conducted by the Teton Valley Foundation
Enjoy the festive atmosphere, music, and food at this annual series in Victor City Park.
June 26 – Mandatory Air, John Wayne's World
July 10 – Young Dubliners, Brain Maw Band
July 17 – Paper Bird, Maddy & the Groove Spots
July 24 – James McMurtry, Alta Boys
July 31 – The Motet, The Deadlocks
Aug. 7 – Hayes Carll, Screen Door Porch
Aug. 14 – Elephant Revival, Black Mother Jones
Targhee Fest, July 18th-20th
Tickets range from $55-$175, hosted by Grand Targhee Resort
The 10th annual Targhee Fest promises three days of great entertainment from bands like: the Royal Southern Brotherhood, The Wood Brothers, Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola, Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, The Hard Working Americans, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, Trigger Hippy, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and the Hooligans.
Targhee Bluegrass Festival, August 8th-10th
Tickets range from $55-175, hosted by Grand Targhee Resort
Celebrate world-class bluegrass under the Tetons at the 27th annual Targhee Bluegrass Festival. This year's lineup includes: Town Mountain, Jayme Stone's Lomax Project, Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott, Nickel Creek, Haas Kowert Tice, New Reeltime Travelers, David Bromberg Band, Jeff Austin with Danny Barnes, Eric Thorin and Ross Martin, Leftover Salmon with Bill Payne, Sam Bush Band, Chris Jones and Night Drivers, The Travelin' McCoury's, and Greensky Bluegrass.
Jackson Hole Live, June 22nd-August 13th
FREE EVENT conducted by Jackson Hole Live Music
Take part in the third season of Jackson Hole Live at the Snow King Ballpark.
Shows start at 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 22nd – Anders Osborne, Black Mother Jones
Thursday, July 3rd – JOHNNYSWIM & Playing for Change
Friday, July 25th – Craig Campbell & The Black Lillies
Wednesday, Aug. 13th – Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Sneaky Pete & The Secret Weapons
JH People's Market, June 18th-September 17th
FREE EVENT at the Jackson Hole People's Market, base of Snow King Resort
Every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. enjoy live, local music, while shopping and dining on locally produced products.
JH Farmers' Market, July 5-September 20th
FREE EVENT at the Jackson Hole Farmers Market, Town Square.
Shop with local farmers and listen to live music every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon.
July 5 – Brian Ernst
July 12 – Kenny Hadden
July 19 – Good Medicine
July 26 – Ben Winship and Friends
Aug. 2 – Cary Judd
Aug. 9 – Vince and Mindie
Aug. 16 – Tim Fast
Aug. 23 – Lauren Conrad
Aug. 30 – Slip n' the Jigs
Sept. 13 – Hoot All-Stars
Concert on the Commons, July 13th through Aug. 17th
FREE EVENT conducted by the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Sunday concerts are a blast at the Village Commons!
Grand Teton Music Festival, July 3rd to Aug. 16th
PRICES VARY, check out GTMF.org for more info
GTMF's summer season begins June 3rd at the Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village.
With strong roots,
With a steadfast center,
The time is now
To free your sleepy soul.
To skip, play, and revel
In springtime’s gift.
Don’t hide behind safeness.
Change waits for no one.
And predictability only lands you in a rut.
With limitless boundaries.
And turn heads,
With the energy you emit.
Don’t follow the trail of the masses.
Be the exception.
By Kristen Pope
Warm summer nights are the perfect time to lay back and explore the wonders of the night sky. And why not get started THIS summer, as 2014 is set to be a stellar skygazing year!
Pick a clear night for your skygazing excursion – if it's cloudy or raining, you won't be able to see much. Also, a new moon is ideal for stargazing – when the moon is full, its light makes it difficult to see some stars. Pack warm blankets, comfy chairs, snacks, protection against mosquitoes, and binoculars or a telescope.
Here are a few not-to-miss heavenly displays on tap for summer:
June 7: Mars and Moon Conjuncture. Take a peek soon after sunset to see Mars offset only a few Degrees from the moon.
July 28-29: Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. With only a thin crescent moon keeping the night sky dark, this year's Delta Aquarids will be spectacular! The shower runs from July 12th through August 23rd, but peaks July 28th and 29th, when up to twenty comets per hour are possible. The comets will appear to be coming from the Aquarius constellation, so grab your star map.
August 10th: Supermoon. This full moon will come closer to Earth than any other full moon in 2014. However, it won't appear to be much larger than normal – take a peek or set up your telescope and see if you can tell the difference.
August 12-13: Perseid Meteor Shower. This annual favorite peaks overnight on August 12th and 13th, with up to 60 comets per hour. But the shower itself runs from July 17th through August 24th. Unfortunately, moonlight may interfere with peak viewing this year, so keep your eyes peeled through the duration of the event.
August 18: Jupiter and Venus Conjecture. Look into the sky before sunrise to see Jupiter and Venus very close to each other, less than a quarter Degree apart. Before sunrise is the best time for viewing.
For even more skywatching spectacles, check out Sea and Sky's astronomy calendar.
LOCAL STARGAZING EVENTS:
This summer, join local nonprofit, Wyoming Stargazing, for their free, public events. These events are held on clear nights only; rain or thick cloud cover will cancel.
Wednesdays: On clear Wednesday nights, head to the Stilson Parking Lot (at the junction of Highway 22 and the Moose-Wilson Road) half an hour after sunset. Wyoming Stargazing will set up telescopes at the far northern end of the parking lot, behind the bus stop (the side closest to Teton Village). The event lasts for approximately three hours. They will also have iPads with the Star Walk application to explore the skies while waiting your turn on the telescopes.
Tuesdays: On clear Tuesday nights, beginning June 10th, head up to the Colter Bay Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park. Telescopes will be located at the shores of Colter Bay, close to the outdoor amphitheater. Programs begin approximately an hour after sunset and continue until midnight.
A grant from the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium helped fund these free, local events. For more information, visit WyomingStargazing.org.
by Dondi Tondro-Smith
Photography by Paulette Phlipot
Traditional homeschooling offers a curriculum-based education outside of the public or private school environment. Traditional homeschoolers use a curriculum, complete with textbooks, teachers’ guides, tests, and worksheets.
Eclectic homeschooling combines different philosophies or styles. Parents select the materials and methods they feel best fit their children’s learning style and adjust them as necessary. Parents create a unique homeschooling atmosphere based on their children’s needs, interests, and learning style.
Unschooling, or the life learning” approach, offers a non-curriculum-based, experiential, interest-led model in which children learn what they want to know, when they are ready and willing to learn it. They’re constantly learning without being taught in the traditional sense.
Online academies are primary or secondary education programs that utilize online instructional tools. Programs can be free or fee-based, accredited or unaccredited.
Our daughter just turned three. In the near future, we’ll have to make a major decision: Should she attend a public or private institution? Will she be homeschooled or unschooled? Or, should we start looking into online academies? What will her educational journey look like? And what form of schooling will be best for her individual and academic growth?
When I first began writing this article, I was surprised by how reticent people were about publicly sharing their families’ individual educational philosophy. Having already started down the road less traveled (keeping our daughter home in lieu of starting preschool), I wasn’t the only one feeling challenged by our decision to approach education from a different angle. Anonymity became key when asking people to discuss their unique, and seemingly private, educational paths. While some of the names in this article have been omitted, their stories demonstrate the evolution of alternative education from theoretical terms into practical and effective application.
The face of education is rapidly changing. Technology and the Internet have amplified our access to information. Remote classrooms, educational video games, and Google’s instant answers to everything have forever altered how we learn. The challenge for a new generation of parents and educators is to assess our children’s holistic needs and give them adequate access to the newest tools necessary for success.
That said, how do we choose a platform of learning that’s best suited to nurturing children’s strengths and identifying unique learning challenges?
From tots to teens, various forms of education are revolutionizing a formula that suits both students and parents. This article aims to unveil the schooling options in the Tetons—both in Idaho and Wyoming—and to explore a new world of educational choices, no matter where you decide to call home.
One of the first rules for making a sound schooling decision is this: Consider all financial and parental time constraints. Not all of us are in a position to facilitate a homeschool or life-learning environment. So first, network with other parents who have children slightly older than yours, to learn what has and has not worked for them. Then, select a schooling option that won’t induce financial or familial strain.
Rule number two: Learning and schooling do not have to be linear or fixed. Children’s needs change and so do those of parents. Don’t be afraid to design your own unique educational plan, and then give yourself permission to change your mind based on how your child is responding. What works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow, and nothing is written in stone.
Rule number three: Check your state’s education laws to see what rules apply to home-based education. According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, Idaho homeschooled students can dual enroll in a public school—offering them the ability to participate in public school programs and post-secondary programs, including nonacademic activities. A homeschooling parent must produce an annual standardized test score or portfolio that demonstrates grade-equivalent knowledge.
But, different states have their own sets of policies and criteria. Wyoming state law allows parents to send their children to school for a portion of the school year and homeschool them the rest of the time. Elementary schools (K-3) in the state must maintain a sixteen-to-one student-to-teacher ratio, with or without part-time students. And high school students are required to complete five out of seven classes in the classroom. If you comply with the individual policies, a nontraditional approach can work. When parents communicate clearly and effectively with their school district and educators, the combination of public schooling and homeschooling can be seamless.
“Homeschooling, and, in particular, unschooling, are both wonderful opportunities for parents to utilize individual resources to meet a child’s needs. It is important for parents to know they have choices,” explains Pam Shea, Teton County (Wyoming) School District superintendent. “If college is your goal [though], you still must test in,” adding that whatever program parents choose, they must know their child’s needs and communicate with educators to establish the central goal of student success.
A family in Kelly, Wyoming, that wishes to remain anonymous, has done just that. By combining public and home education with trips abroad, they’ve created their own unconventional formula for education. Their son attended Kelly Elementary School from kindergarten through fifth grade, then homeschooled for sixth and seventh grades, and is now back in public school for eighth grade. Their daughter went to public school from kindergarten through fourth grade, spent five years being homeschooled, and then started at Jackson Hole High School in 2013.
A Kelly teacher recognized the learning differences of their daughter when she was in kindergarten, sparking their alternative journey of homeschooling two children with different learning styles. When I asked their mother about her children’s public school years, she replied, “The public schools here in Jackson are like private schools in other places ... special needs are taken seriously. I am thrilled with the individual attention our daughter is getting. We are so lucky to have access to so many resources.” Currently, she adds, public education works best for both children, but homeschooling still remains an option. As the past has dictated, different forms of education have worked best at different junctures in their lives. “If you are lucky enough to homeschool, it affords you the time to know your children on a very intimate level and to identify their specific needs.”
So what does a typical homeschool day look like? “Our school day lasted from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but we never stopped learning,” explains this Kelly mom-turned-home-educator. We would observe phenology [the seasonal study of plants, weather, and life-cycle events], journal for a half hour, and read out loud … If we looked at the pond, we would talk about the ice and fish, create a poem about the frost, then feed the chickens, talk about grammar over breakfast, and move on with our schedule. There was an hour for meals and an hour for physical activity. [Even] when we were skiing, we were still observing the world around us. We spent months on one book … we found an English curriculum that was already laid out … we used video lectures and the Khan Academy.”
Enter this popular online academy founded by hedge-fund analyst Salman Khan in 2008. His vision of a global, one-world classroom began when he started tutoring his cousins remotely via YouTube videos. It worked! His cousins were receptive and, later, so were other international students who posted enthusiastic comments about his videos.
The Khan Academy is now a nonprofit online school that provides a free education for anyone, anywhere in the world. It covers a wide range of subjects, from basic math to college-level biology. Khan Academy offers free online educational materials that support a personalized curriculum and, in the past two years, has delivered more than 330 million lessons and 1.6 billion exercise problems. Currently, Khan claims ten million users per month. Kids in Timbuktu, for instance, with an Internet connection can tutor kids in Buenos Aires and vice versa.
Not only have homeschoolers benefited from Khan, but public schools have implemented this tool as part of their curriculum. Khan collaborates with several nationwide classrooms. These pilot projects give students an opportunity to learn math, for example, at their own pace via quantifiable data the teacher accesses in real time. The teacher’s class time is freed up to interact one-on-one with students who need extra help with grasping concepts. Children can be tracked as they gain more skills, from teacher to teacher, year after year, providing measurable data for educators to better assess their comprehension. The system is designed to promote mastery before a student moves on. And anyone can access the Khan Academy site to become a student or mentor—adults and children alike.
Online academies can complement classroom learning. Amanda Johnson, a graduate of Teton High School in Driggs, enrolled in an online academy her junior year when teachers encouraged her to take online classes that weren’t offered at THS. By her senior year, most of her core classes were online, and she began to enjoy the college-like freedom of picking classes and designing her own schedule. “Some of my classes were offered at the high school, but I wanted to learn them in a different way,” Johnson says. “You still had a live teacher, but there was less distraction … and it was easier to focus. In speech class, for example, we were required to make three video-recorded speeches for the teacher to watch. Then, the audio recordings were reviewed by other students in the class.”
For Johnson, transitioning to online enrollment offered her greater flexibility to balance school, work, and play. She enjoyed the mix between her social life and online classes. “I had more time for a part-time job,” she says. The experience taught her to watch her spending and allowed her to save enough money to pay for her online education. This early responsibility helped define her professional direction. Currently, Johnson attends cosmetology school in Rexburg, Idaho, and plans on moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in special-effects makeup.
Another family in Victor, which also requested anonymity, is taking a “life-learning” or “unschooling” approach with their three young children. More than a decade ago, the mother worked with an unschooled family—an experience that sold her on this style of education. “I was twenty-three years old at the time and lived with a family in California for six months,” she says. “Their children were eleven and fourteen. What I noticed most was how authentic the kids were, how they were never pressured, and how they explored their interests in their own time frame. They were their own people; they weren’t labeled or peer pressured. They chose their friends and, consequently, had very genuine relationships.”
Unschooling has become a way of life for this family, cultivating togetherness and independent spirits. “My family is the center of our lives—not school or a schedule, with the demands they create,” the mother explains. Unschooling suits this family’s entire ethos, one which a traditional path wouldn’t satisfy. “Unschooling fits with my job of creating harmonious relationships in my house and works for the collective of our family.”
Even as parents, we are forever students in a world with a shifting intellectual paradigm. And we all aspire to expose our children to every resource and benefit possible. The future of education is uncertain, but the tools we have to educate our children—in new and exciting ways—are more inventive and accessible than ever. Whether these tools are supplemental to a public or private school classroom, or primary to a home learner, we must remember that the most important thing is education itself—one that will enable our children to reach new and unimaginable heights. -DS
Logan LaPlante, “Hackschooling Makes Me Happy,” Nevada University
Wendy Priesnitz, Life Learning: Lessons from the Educational Frontier, The Alternate Press, 2008
Alison McKee, Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves, Bittersweet House, 2002
Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko and Carlo Ricci, Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014
Full Circle Education: farm visits, educational gardens, sustainable living workshops
Teton Botanical Gardens: farm-to-school curriculum, garden visits, volunteer opportunities
Friends of the Teton River: Water Wise community education, watershed curriculum
National Museum of Wildlife Art: Art in Action, internships
by Jenn Rein
photos by Kisa Koening
Erika Eschholz knows the dirt in Teton Valley. After all, she’s been digging in it for sixteen years– eleven at Cosmic Apple Gardens and five at Snowdrift Farms.
Today, Eschholz and partner Ken Michael are digging into a new endeavor that will feed their passion for organic farming and foster education and growth within the community. Full Circle Farm, a stone’s throw away from the Victor Cemetery on the former Blue Flax Farm property, is now up and running. And the property is getting the full treatment from Eschholz. On a recent bluebird morning, I found her on a tractor, slowly working the soil and applying a practice that, long ago, became second nature.
But this agricultural foundation—certainly a lifestyle choice—would mean little to Eschholz if she could not teach the benefits of organic farming to others. So, in 2006, she started Full Circle Education, a non-profit organization that teaches sustainable living through the cultivation of organic produce and farming methods. The children taught through the Full Circle program are exposed to different methods of farming in order to obtain a global perspective of how food lands on our plates. “Having the [new] farm will ensure that the kids will always have a place to learn…” Eschholz explains.
Full Circle Education has built a strong rapport with local schools on both sides of the Tetons through their offerings of ag-centric educational programming. In the past, Eschholz was able to partner with other local farms for her the curriculum needs. But now, the Full Circle Farm will provide a backbone for the program, while Eschholz continues to foster her relationship with area farms.
Full Circle Farm has barely dipped into its first season and is already a success. CSA shares were sold-out by mid-April. The average consumer, however, can obtain Full Circle’s yield at the People’s Market on Wednesdays, at the base of Snow King. And for those who want to get down and dirty, workshare opportunities still exist. “…This isn’t your average workshare,” Eschholz explains. The farm needs people who are dedicated to learning the finer details of biodynamics and organic certification.
Farm workshops will be offered in the coming months and opportunities to “shop the farm” include weekly egg pick-ups. You can also arrange a farm tour through their website. Or, if you happen to be near the peaceful parcel that is the Victor Cemetery (Eschholz refers to them as “the quietest neighbors on the block”), stop by to say “hi”. Odds are you may learn a thing or two.
Jenn Rein has lived and worked in Teton Valley since 2006 in a variety of different roles (she recently added baby chicken-sitter to her resumé). You can read more of her writing at http://jennrein.com.
by Marilyn Quinn
After a long Teton winter (Can you guess I'm not a skier?), I get plenty excited when I finally turn the calendar page to May.
Did you know that the celebration of the first of May--also known as "May Day"--is an ancient tradition that honors the earth's fertile season? May Day's origins date back to the ancient Roman festival of Floralia, which honored Flora, the goddess of flowers. Back then, children made small baskets and filled them with wild flowers to hang on the doorknobs of the homes of folks who couldn't attend the party. How sweet!
When my twin sister and I were kids, we always made May baskets. And, our deliveries were not necessarily located close together in our rural farm community. So mom would pick us up after school and drive us around. Out of custom, we would hang the basket on the door knob, knock on the door, and then run away, leaving an anonymous token.
Making May baskets is a fun and creative project that instills tradition. I like to make my May baskets out of simple recycled containers: tin cans, jelly jars, or anything else that you can add ribbon or twine handles to.
Another idea is to cut a triangle out of colored poster board and staple it together, forming a cone. Then, add trim or ribbon to dress it up. Next, wrap the stems of fresh flowers or spring greenery in wet paper towels enclosed in foil (or a baggie) and insert them into the cardboard cone. This technique keeps the flowers moist and the cardboard dry.
Due to our fickle mountain weather, fresh cut, outdoor flowers may be in short supply around the first of May. Instead, purchase blooms from Jackson Whole Grocer or MD Nursery. Or buy a pony pack of pansies or violas and cut the plastic container into small units to place inside the basket. Crafty types can try making flowers from construction or tissue paper (a great art project to do with kids). And, if available, don't ever underestimate the beauty of dandelions picked by a child!
Really--anything goes while making May baskets. There are no rules! Candy, cookies, and homemade muffins provide an extra sweet offering. These days, it might also be a good to include a card that explains the tradition of May Day or add a tag that says “Happy May Day,” since not everyone is familiar with the occasion.
Of course May baskets can be given to anyone, but delivering them to elderly residents in nursing homes or hospitals is especially thoughtful and provides a good project for kids clubs. Older folks love seeing the smiling faces of children, while the act of giving fosters benevolence in the kids, too.
Marilyn Quinn lives on two wooded acres outside of Wilson, Wyoming where moose, flying squirrels, and fox frequently visit her yard.
by Marilyn Quinn
Since pagan times, the ancient tradition of decorating eggs in the spring has symbolized renewed life. At my house, I color eggs around Easter time–which often lands in the month of April. And while it would be a lot easier to use a store-bought Easter egg dye kit, I love the challenges that come with using natural organic dyes. Plus, I prefer the subtle earthy tones of the organic dyes to the neon candy-colored outcome. The rustic colors satisfy my crafty and creative side. And so I set aside a morning, every year, for egg dying—even though my son is grown and long gone from home.
So if you’re like me and prefer the organic technique over the packaged version, here’s a quick and dirty (yes, do plan on using an apron) how-to:
Ingredients for the coloring baths:
· Pink - fresh chopped red beets (these have to be fresh; canned beets will produce wimpy colors)
· Yellow brown - yellow onion skins
· Robin's egg blue - chopped red cabbage
· Gold - ground turmeric
· Light brown - coffee grounds
· Light pink - red onion skins
** Note: This method is not an exact science. Don't worry about specific quantities, but do err on the side of more (rather than less) coloring ingredients when creating the dyes.
Step 1: CAREFULLY fancy up your eggs by drawing designs with crayons or wax on the eggshells before dyeing. To create stripes, place rubber bands around the eggs. You can also leave some plain.
Step 2: Put each dye ingredient in its own pan and pour in enough water to generously cover 2 to 3 eggs. Add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the mixes.
Step 3: Place the eggs in the dye baths and bring them to a boil. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes to cook the egg thoroughly.
Step 4: Transfer the eggs and liquids to bowls and leave them in the fridge overnight, letting the colors deepen. The longer the eggs are in the dye bath, the better the colors. This is especially important for making blue eggs. The resulting purplish water from the boiled red cabbage will stain the eggs a beautiful blue once it sits (there is some sort of chemistry lesson here, but I'm not sure how it works).
The dyed eggs may come out mottled, streaky, or blotched. They are somewhat unpredictable and I love that!
Once dry, I use a dab of glue to encircle some of my colored eggs with ribbons. You can also rub the dyed eggs with cooking oil to give them a glossy shine.
Keep the hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator until it is time to hide them or give them away. A basket of organically dyed eggs makes a perfect centerpiece for an Easter breakfast and will give people plenty to talk about!
Marilyn Quinn lives on two wooded acres outside of Wilson, Wyoming where moose, flying squirrels, and fox frequently visit her yard.