This Memorial Day we kicked off summer with our favorite thing to do… Road trip! The anticipation of a road trip unleashes our wanderlust spirit and you can feel the buzz in our household. We start a list of everything we need to pack, now that we have a baby there’s twice as much stuff in the “things for Evie” column and we begin piling our gear two days ahead of time. The camping box gets dusted off and out come the headlamps and hiking packs! It’s the best! Lucky for me Aaron LOVES to pack the car and everything is neatly organized with a specific spot for all the necessities, which honestly makes the trip easier when you’re stopping to change a diaper or find a quick snack.
We headed up to Kelly, WY which is a tiny town about 20miles north of Jackson Hole. My brother Russell, his wife Ashley and my adorable niece and nephew live in a newly renovated trailer with a guest cabin a few yards away. This arrangement is fantastic especially now that we all have little ones, we can put a kiddo down for a nap in one building and bring our monitors over to the other to hang out. Our view dosen’t suck either… Literally nothing stands between us and Le Gran Tetons!
It’s so refreshing coming up here to visit. Russ and Ash are true homesteaders. Their simple yet deeply felt connection to living is contagious. We don’t spend any time watching tv or getting in the car to fight traffic, we just hang out and do the activities of daily living that produce tangible rewards.
Like this morning, we needed eggs for breakfast so we walked across the driveway to pay a visit to the chickens. A hot fresh cup of coffee in our hands and the light drizzle of morning rain on our heads was so stimulating to the senses. The early morning chatter of chickens is a delight to the ears, they flood out of the coop eager for breakfast. We fed them scraps of lettuce, bread and other whole foods that Russ gets free from the local homeless mission. I wondered if Russ had a favorite hen and he shrugged “nah, they are all pretty cool” but my niece chimed in “I like baldy neck” and before I could ask her which one he was, I spotted him. Clever name!
The hens were sweet, they were interested in us and pecked gently at our legs to investigate. I fed Baldy Neck a piece of spinach. There are 30 “layers” (hens that lay eggs) all different breeds and a kaleidoscope of colors. While the hens pecked around the yummy meal we offered, we headed into the coop to collect the fresh eggs. My niece knows how to politely reach under a roosting hen to find the eggs underneath. I learned that fresh eggs have an oily barrier that protects it and that means you can keep it out of the fridge for up to 6 months. When you wash the eggs you remove that barrier and then you need to refrigerate the egg.
The coop is great, it’s basically a tiny version of a shed. It’s a simple design, little nests for the hens to lay and a roosting pole for them to perch on at night. There is a hanging trough for the grain feed and water bowls off to the side. Surprisingly it wasn’t as stinky as people say, and it was 2 weeks overdue for a poop cleaning. I was totally inspired and began dreaming up plans for my own backyard chicken coop. It could be a really fun daily ritual to visit the hens, let them out to range feed and collect their eggs. Plus, you can’t beat fresh eggs!
We made a delicious omelette with 12 fresh eggs straight from the hens that laid them. It felt really good to do that task of daily living for ourselves and the immediate gratification helped too! I see a chicken coop in our near future…