On our way to our next back yard, we went through Little America in Wyoming. I’d always wondered what it was exactly, and I’m sure since Covid-19 has changed the face of pretty much everything that we missed a lot, but it was like a really nice truck stop. They had some tourist items and we found two that fit Jillian like a glove. Ethan makes chimpanzee sounds, Jill’s sense of urgency sometimes aligns with a sloth’s.
In our setup of all this adventure, some of our inspirational bloggers/YouTubers recommended a membership for a thing called Harvest Hosts. Harvest Hosts is a network of farms, wineries, breweries and golf courses that allow you to stay on their property free of charge as long as you support their business by being a patron of their wares.
The drive to Shumway Farms was so beautiful. The clouds blanketed the snow capped peaks of Bridger National Forest, the green grass and flowers wrapped the hills and the sunlight that occasionally peeked through the clouds played with its spotlight. Joe drove the entire way, earning several of his remaining drive time hours to get his license, so I was able to sit back and enjoy the scenery.
It was a rainy, cold, and muddy setup at the farm, but we did it to the chorus moos, neighs and oinks.
Playing with the baby cows was incredible, and I was giddy. Their ages were days to weeks old, and they stay in their little pens until their old enough to join the others, generally about a month. They were so sweet. The three most talkative babies kept saying “Moo”, “Meh”, and “Mow”.
We went to their little store, purchased some ice cream and enjoyed being on a farm. Their ice cream is outstanding which is bittersweet because we wish we had access to buy it often! The locals were in and out of the store all day, I wonder how many of those people moved near Shumway to have access to it all the time?
The next day, we saw the chickens skipping their bouncy tail feathers around the farm and a rooster escort parading next to them. I got my obligatory pictures of a brown chicken and a brown cow, Jillian made a bright yellow dandelion bracelet, Ethan sat frustrated on the steps simmering about having to spend time outside while I worked, and Eric explored the different buildings and equipment on the farm.
Gabe saw me doing dishes and sweetly offered to help by drying and putting the dishes away. My heart beamed. He could have spent time doing something else, but he chose to help and spend those moments making a household chore a bonding experience.
That night, we watched how the farmer cleans and milks the cows and bottle fed the calves. They drank their milk so quickly we had all the calves fed in minutes. Joe sported his sense of humor by wearing the shirt, custom made by my friend who owns Riley Black Designs https://www.facebook.com/RileyBlackDesigns, with the quote from the movie Anchorman, “Milk was a bad choice”, while feeding them.
Then we looked over to see a pig outside its pen. The three farm dogs took a break from their tireless game of fetching and dropping rocks for us to throw and attempted to herd the pigs back into their home. One of the pigs headed for the road, one went over to the full-bellied calves, the quick one ran to the freshly milked cows, and the last one just ran around in circles seemingly confused by the dogs. Mr. Shumway calmly commented that they’d never been out before and devised a plan to get them back into their pens. The farmers grabbed the pigs’ bucket of milk and dropped the handle a few times so it would get the pigs’ attention. It worked, and all escapee pigs followed eagerly to get their milk trough filled.
We had a great time on our first Harvest Hosts adventure and we definitely will do more of them. The family was hospitable and kind and their raw milk, raw chocolate milk, ice cream, eggs and skyr were incredible! Here is their website if you are ever in the area (near the Tetons) and want to stop in and support them! http://www.shumwayfarms.com/