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.