Morning Coffee September 30th…

Another hot cup of coffee and a short road trip north of town.  Fall is quickly starting to pass and winter is not far away.  The weather was not the best for all these pictures but we found a few that we liked.  Waiting for the first snow to get some shots of whats to come.  Enjoy the slide show.

Morning Coffee September 16th…

These are some pics from today and a few from a couple of days ago.  A cup of nice hot coffee and a camera.  Check them out…

Fall Has Arrived – Winter Soon…


There simply are not words as to how fast this summer has gone.  In the Rocky Mountain Region such as the Yellowstone Basin our summers are fairly short.  Fall comes quickly and it is just about here.  The leaves are starting to change and in just a week or two we will be in full blown Fall colors.  A great time for pictures and I do not plan to miss this Fall like last.  The picture above was one of my favorite from the Fall of 2012.  This was taken at Black Tail Ponds and I am traveling up there every couple of days to make sure I get some good pics this year.

Just after Fall comes our long heavy winters and with winter comes some of the animals we see only for a few months each year.  Below is a shot I took during the winter of 2012 – 2013.  The big horn sheep are amazing to watch and this guy was one of my favorite.  They will be arriving very soon and this winter I plan to take advantage of the opportunities to bring you some really cool shots.  Enjoy…


First Place in Accents at Western Design Conference 2014…

Artist Tim Jennings brings home the Blue Ribbon for his presentation of “Ta Tanga Ax Dog”, “Runs with Buffalo”.  The Western Design Conference is held each year here in Jackson Hole and it features some of the finest western designers in the world.  This is the second award Tim Jennings has received in four years in recognition of his art.  Below is the story behind this unique one-of-a-kind piece.

Art presented at the WDC must be fully functional and crafted by the artist themselves.  This is the first time Tim has presented one of his award winning Native American Styled flutes with a functional stand that also doubles as a sculpture.  Both flute and stand were hand crafted over many hours from reclaimed Old Growth Black Walnut.  Harvested from the eastern slopes of the Colorado Rockies – these walnut trees made their way west in the backs of covered wagons during the Oregon Trail days in the 1840’s & 50’s.  They were planted around the farms and ranches in Boulder Colorado.

Please read the story below that was the genesis for this work of art.  This piece is available for purchase and if interested please contact Timothy Jennings at or call him at (307) 690-0427.  If you like what you see please leave a comment or two.


Runs With Buffalo

Native American Styled Flute & Sculptured Stand

“Ta Tanga Ax Dog”
(Assiniboine Translation, Fort Belknap, Montana)

Buffalo Running - “boy-shahn  doo-wyn ching” 
(Shoshone Translation, Wind River Reservation, Wyoming)

“Buffalo” Translations

In Assiniboine (Nakota Sioux)
“Ta Tanga”

In Lakota (Lakota Sioux)

In Shoshone (Wind River – Fort Hall Dialect)

The importance of the North American Bison to the Plains Indians cannot be understated.  Once measured in the millions, the North American Bison (Plains Bison) was hunted almost to complete extinction in the mid 1880’s. The intent was to remove the indians from the territories while at the same time eliminate potential hazards caused by large herds to the railroad which would soon occupy this land.

This presentation is titled “Runs With Buffalo”.  Run’s With Buffalo is a tribute to this magnificent animal that has remained sacred to the Native American’s and today still roams free within the Yellowstone Basin here in Wyoming.  The Native American Styled Flute presented within this functional sculpture is a tribute to the Plains Indians that still occupy many of the lands here in Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas.  The buffalo fetish, or totem that sits on top of this flute is my vision of this majestic animal as it presents itself here in our native lands that surround Jackson Hole.  An attempt to blend the literal while at the same time preserving the whimsical vision I see when I am present with these ancient animals throughout the year.

The functional Flute Stand Sculpture is hand carved from a single piece of Black Walnut trunk harvested from old growth walnut trees found on the eastern slopes of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Not indigenous to this part of Colorado, these trees were originally brought to the area around Boulder Colorado via the Oregon Trail many generations ago.  Hand selected, this crotch piece of wood blends the whiter sapwood with the darker traditional black walnut coloring which are the results of two separate branches coming together.  The two branches coming together represents to me the blending of the fetish and the flute into a single wind instrument completing my vision for this piece.

This fully functional six hole flute was handcrafted from the very same old growth black walnut harvested from this same part of Colorado.  Featuring the whimsical buffalo fetish with leather accents cut from a hand selected buffalo hides.  The stone work is a single cabochon crafted from Canadian Jade and bezel set in .999 Silver.   Voiced at the foot of the Teton’s this flute is tuned to the Key of E at 432 Hz (the healing frequency).  This 1 inch bored flute breathes in a deep healing tone.

“Runs With Buffalo”, “Ta Tanga Ax Dog” is a one of a kind piece that brings together the spirit of the plains indians art of sound with the ghosts of the sacred buffalo that once roamed the great plains areas unobstructed and was truly the life’s blood of the Plains Indian People. 

Artist – Timothy Jennings, Jackson, Wyoming
This piece is Available.  Commissions Available. Closed … Closes

Teton_BrushStrokeOnly_70x127Many who know our family know that we have been in the domestic health insurance business for almost 30 years.  Many also know that my passions are taking photographs and building Native American Flutes.  Several years ago we launched as primarily a way to showcase some of the flutes I had been building and maybe sell one or two.

Over time the website morphed into a business where we not only sold some of our art (flutes) but we developed a pretty good little business selling parts to other flute makers both professional and weekend warriors.  In addition we sold lumber to those seeking old growth stock that we had become pretty good at chasing down.

The passage of the Affordable Care Act back in 2010 created nothing but confusion in our health insurance business.  Earlier this year we made the tough decision to refocus our insurance business full-time into the International Markets.  Although we still service some domestic plans our main focus is on the U.S. and Global Expatriates outbound from their home countries.  This is not a part-time enterprise for our family and it takes up just about all the time I am willing to give anymore.

I have reached a point where I no longer have time to enjoy either of my passions and I no longer want to continue maintaining two businesses that are completely unrelated.  So with that in mind we have closed and redirected the domain name to this blog site.  As I complete some flute projects I will post them here.

This winter I hope to start back posting pictures that I am able to take in my spare time.  I plan to spend more time with my family and maybe even get our of town for a week or two.  Come back and visit us here – we will be posting things that interest me here on

We have made arrangements to pass part of the business to some very close friends here in Jackson.  Beginning September 10th the Elledge family will be the ones you need to contact for specialty Old Growth Lumber.

You can contact: Robin or Ryan Elledge at (307) 734-2465 or email them at “” or “” 


Finally thank you to all of our customers who have spent their hard-earned cash with us.  We will miss certain aspects of this business but we are ready and turning the page.  Thanks again!

Morning Coffee in Teton National Park…

I have to apologize as I have been kind of missing over that past winter.  So many things have happened but life is getting back to normal.  Spring is here in the Tetons and it is in full swing.  After a long winter and a pretty wet Spring the sun if finally out.  On this morning I grabbed my cup of coffee from my favorite coffee bar here in Jackson and off I went.

The sun was out and the sky clear.  I was on a hunt for anything that looked like it deserved the lens of my camera.  After getting into the park I turned off on one of the dirt roads I have seen grizzlys on and instead I found these little guys.  I had stopped to take a couple of pictures of some cool looking trees when I noticed this group of varmints enjoying their morning.  I literately sat down among them and these are a few of the shots I got.


Summer In Jackson Hole – Outdoor Risks Abound…


Summer Risks Abound In Jackson Hole

This weekend here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is truly one of the weekends that signal the beginning of  the Summer Season here in the Yellowstone Basin.  When you see the Mountain Man Rendezvous setting up their tents and you know that the town square will be full of antlers then you know Summer has officially begun.  I can’t say this enough  – how beautiful this part of the country is during the next 3-4 months.  Stunning and filled with outdoor opportunities.  People are hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, rock climbing, mountain climbing, fly fishing, road biking, wildlife exploring and just about every outdoor activity one can dream up.

There are two times of the year here when all this fun comes with risk.  Risk that can bring unexpected expenses as a result of an accident causing injury.  There are so many ways to get hurt that it would be ridiculous to try to list them.  In a post Affordable Care Act environment where premiums for health insurance have sky rocketed to the point of being just silly, many American’s are choosing to go without major medical coverage because of cost or they simply missed the Open Enrollment period this year.

Many people here in Wyoming, especially the younger crowd are going without medical coverage.  Trust me – I get it!  I see premiums that are so unbelievable that it makes me wonder what morons are coming up with all this??  But that does not change the fact that most of us will not let this stop us from enjoying the outdoors.


accidentfixedbenefitMy point here is that it is still prudent to protect yourself from unexpected costs with a product that will provide a blanket of coverage all at a cost that is sustainable.  Here in Wyoming we are blessed to have a few products to choose from that are affordable.  Assurant Health offers their Accident Plan products here in Wyoming and for a cost that can be as low as $15.oo per month.

This is not the answer to having major medical coverage but it is one answer to providing an umbrella of protection in the case of medical bills sustained from and accident or injury.  There are no limitation to the total benefits and no limitations as to how many accidents the plan pays benefits for within a single year.  There are other more comprehensive options but if cost is a primary focus than this is a great value and appropriate for anyone living within the Rocky Mountain Region.

Rates are reasonable and the application process is quick, easy and done completely online.  Coverage is available for you, your spouse and dependent children.  And, Assurant Health’s Accident Coverage can be applied for IN addition to other individual or group health insurance you may already have.

Protect Yourself Assurant Health Fixed Benefit Accident Coverage:

  • Financial protection from the unpredictable costs of accidental injuries
  • Immediate benefits over and above what policyholders receive from other plans
  • No Deductibles
  • No Network restrictions
  • No waiting period
  • Choose you own doctors and hospitals
  • Benefits continue into recovery, including follow-up treatments and physical therapy
  • Coverage is portable and guaranteed renewable
  • Benefits are paid directly to you and you choose how to utilize these benefits
  • No medical exam required to apply
  • No lifetime limits

Take a moment and listen to the presentation below.  See how Assurant Health’s Supplement Accident Coverage can help protect you & your family.

Assurant Health Supplemental Accident Coverage

Quote and Apply Now

Call or email us with questions.  We are here to help!  (307) 690-0427

Jackson Hole Wyoming – Health Insurance Options

TNJ_pages_1I have been a health insurance broker now for almost 30 years.  Wow seems hard to believe but it is true.  During my career I have seen many changes come and go but for the most part these changes were fairly predictable.  Now we have the Affordable Care Act and nothing is predictable.  I want talk about some of the challenges people are facing when it comes to insuring their families in a post January 1, 2014 environment.  And today I want to talk about my own backyard – Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the majority of friends and new acquaintances  I talk to daily here in Jackson are even more confused that I had originally thought.  The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make everyone’s lives simpler and at the same time provide insurance for all those individuals and families that needed and wanted health insurance coverage.  Truthfully the jury is still out but I am not seeing the results that have been promised or advertised.  It seems we simply traded one demon for another.  The demon of yesterday most will agree was the issue of un-insurability due to ones health status.  This actually has been eliminated by the passage of the Affordable Care Act.  But at what cost?

Which leads me to my second point – the new demon we all now face is the cost element.  It really does not matter what your political views were when it came to the Affordable Care Act nor does it matter what your views of it are today.  The bottom line is that regardless of how we feel about it – it looks like it is here to stay, at least for a while.  One thing that is crystal clear is the with the passage of the law came increased costs – across the board.  Today the battle that is being waged is the one of financial sustainability.  It was not that long ago that you could provide major medical coverage for your family for less than $4,000 per year.  Today with the new law I have seen premiums as high as almost $30,000 for a single family.  The average premiums we are seeing today is around $800.00 per month and in most cases that is for just two people.  A far cry from the premiums of a few years ago.

What to do?

Here is the reality on the ground (so to speak) today.  Almost everyone will agree they would prefer to have Major Medical coverage for their family – not to mention the Federal Government now mandates that you have it.  For some here in Wyoming they qualify for the Advanced Tax Payer Credit (tax subsidy) based on their income.  For those that do a portion of your monthly premiums will be partially paid by the tax payer.  But there are few choices in states like Wyoming via  And, the Access to Care issue becomes a real monster to wrestle with.  Being able to seek out your own medical provider can now be a challenge depending on where the Insurance Company networks are.

Then there are those of us who do not qualify for the Advance Tax Payer Credit so we must bare the entire burden of the monthly premiums ourselves.  Unless you have enough discretionary income to meet the financial requirement to maintain the coverage then what kind of option is that?  Especially in the younger age groups – they simply can not or they are not willing to pay the high cost of insurance as for many it would leave them short for other life expenses.  This is no joke – more and more people I talk with tell me that they simply do not have it in their budget.  Regardless of the Federal Mandate or desire to acquire the coverage.

For those who have the ability to sustain the monthly cost for the insurance you have some really great choices.  In Wyoming and especially Jackson Hole it is all about who you can seek for your medical services.  This requires you to seek out an insurer that offers the ACA Compliant plans coupled with access to great National Networks.  In Wyoming we are in luck because companies like Assurant Health offer their Major Medical Plans that are ACA Compliant and they utilize one of them most comprehensive networks in the country, the Aetna Signature Network.  If you are seeking a free market insurance plan that is ACA Compliant and backed by a National carrier than this is our best choice.

I can’t afford it – now what?

This is quickly becoming the question of the day.  When the cost of the insurance exceeds ones ability to pay then the choice is already made for them.  And, the cost for the ACA Compliant coverage is being reported to increase later this year by as much as 18% making it even more un-affordable.  Well this is no rocket science – if you cannot afford the insurance you have to look at what alternatives exist if any for you to consider.  I have for several years continually asked the insurers “what good is the insurance if you cannot afford it?”.  Troubling to say the least.  But we now have choices and for those like us who live in states like Wyoming – we have more choices than people living in other states.

So what options do we have short of having no coverage at all?  There are several types of products that are available each focusing on specific needs.  These types of plan are actually pretty good and they can be combined to come up with a solution for your family although it will not be a major medical solution nor will it be ACA Compliant.  But if you cannot afford the Governments Mandate and you want to provide some level of protection for your family then these are the next best options to consider.

assurant_logo_rbIn Jackson Hole and the entire state of Wyoming we are blessed to have a comprehensive portfolio from Assurant Health to consider.  Assurant Health offers plans from their CoreMed Major Medical Plans to their standalone Dental Plans.  Depending on your budget and needs maybe one of these options will work for you.   Below is a list of several plan types that can all be purchased as a stand alone product or you can purchase multiple product together to create an umbrella of coverage that is in many cases pretty good – and – it is affordable.

Options to Consider

  • CoreMed ACA Compliant Plans – CoreMed from Assurant Health is a cost-effective ACA Compliant plan option that provides protection for both everyday and catastrophic needs. CoreMed offers you many options for controlling your premiums – without giving up benefits. With CoreMed, you have the freedom to use any doctor or hospital – and when you use PPO network providers, including the new Aetna Signature Network, you get advantages like discounts on covered services, no claim forms and fewer out-of-pocket expenses while maintaining your access to care via a broader Provider Network. Click here for more info…
  • Health Access - Health Access from Assurant Health is designed for individuals and families looking for a new option to access affordable health care that delivers real value.  The increasing high cost of major medical insurance is driving people to look for alternatives they can afford.  Although Health Access is not a major medical plan it does provide benefits to you in the form of a cash payment.  Health Access has no deductibles or copays.  Benefits start right away, with the plan paying a set cash amount when you receive services like doctor office visits, prescriptions and hospital stays.  Health Access gives you convenient access to health care, help finding affordable providers, network discounts on a wide variety of health care expenses and assistance in negotiating medical bill.  Click here for more info…
  • Accident Coverage – CASH benefits to help pay the unpredictable costs that come with accidental injuries.  Whether an injury is yours, your spouse’s or your child’s, it can mean spending money you didn’t plan to, worrying about where you’ll get the cash for medical costs or worse yet, lost income.  With Assurant Accident Coverage, you get cash benefits for treatment of injuries and they’re benefits paid in addition to any other coverage you may have.  Best of all, it’s cash in hand you can us any way you choose, which helps you and your family focus on healing.  Click here for more info…
  • Accident Medical Expense - With Accident Medical Expense coverage, you get help paying out-of-pocket medical expenses, up to your selected benefit level, in the event of an accident. No matter what sort of medical insurance you have, Accident Medical Expense coverage provides extra security by helping to pay your medical bills when you need help most.  This plan works great with a high deductible major medical plan.  Click here for more info…
  • Critical Illness Coverage - Critical illnesses no longer come with the assumption of a life shortened. Medical technology has dramatically increased the changes of surviving and living long beyond recovery.  However, the costs of fighting and surviving a critical illness could be far beyond what you can imagine… and far beyond what other plans cover.  Critical Illness Coverage pays CASH right to you!  And you can use the cash any way you need, helping you replace lost income and pay expenses other plans don’t pay.  Click here for more info…
  • Dental Coverage – Assurant Health offers Dental Coverage in most states throughout the U.S. Assurant Health offers three dental plans to choose from to best meet the needs of you and your family. The dental plans from Assurant Health are affordable and easy to apply for. And now you can apply for any one of the Assurant Health Dental Plans as a Stand Alone product or you can add it to your existing or new Major Medical Policy. Check out the benefits of the Basic, the Intermediate and the Plus plans for your family.  Click here for more info…
  • Short Term Coverage - There are times in one’s life where the need for Short Term Coverage provides a perfect solution for those in between times. Are you changing jobs, graduating from school, waiting for permanent coverage to begin or traveling. Or if you find yourself outside the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment window these plans help fill gaps in coverage for individuals and their families in times of uncertainty. It is important to note that Short Term Plans are not designed to replace permanent coverage.  Click here for more info…

I am here to help!

If you are looking for options for your family consider giving me a call – (307) 690-0427.  If you would like a quote on any of the products listed above complete the information below and I will email you a quote.  There is no cost to you unless you enroll.  If you want a quote now click on the blue “Get A Quote” button below.


Port Orford Cedar Native American Style Flute Key G 432Hz…


POC_75_432G_10_13_2_ebayAs many of you know we love everything about the Native American Flute.  A very special wind instrument with healing powers.  Jackson Hole Artist Timothy Jennings recently completed another Port Orford Cedar flute winner.  The working qualities and finished product Tim produces always makes us smile. This little flute is no exception.  This six hole Native American Style  flute is now one of my favorite flutes we have produced.  Completely hand crafted with a 3/4″ bore and tuned to the Key of G @ 432Hz – we love how this flute plays and sounds. Simple elegance is the best description we have come up with.

POC_75_432G_10_13_3_lgThe Otter fetish also crafted from Port Orford Cedar sits atop his new drop step design.  On many of Tim’s new flutes he is adding a drop step just in front of the windway that gives really nice aesthetic effect.  This step is completely created by hand and the results is a sleeker taper through the barrel of the flute.  There are no added accents to this flute other than the hand cut black Elk hide lace.  Overall length on this flute is 23″ measure tip to tip on the top of the flute.  Playing holes are spaced for comfort and the bottom 3 holes are 1 1/8″ on center. The top three are 1 1/26″ on center with a 1 1/4″ spacing between the #3 and #4 playing holes.  This little flute is a real joy to play.  Signed by artist Timothy Jennings and priced to be affordable.

This flute ships with a protective bag and the price is $285.00 plus freight.  This is the lowest price flute Tim has offered in quite sometime.

Tim Jennings says that “we want everyone to be able to afford one of our hand made flutes and this is a best effort attempt at making this possible”.

Currently Tim has several Port Orford Cedar flutes finished waiting for a home.  Two smaller flutes similar to this one are available with inlays to the cutting edge.  Check them out when you get a chance.  To hear a sound sample of this flute click the link below.

Play Sample of Port Orford Cedar Flute Here:

Price:  $285.00

Teton Marketing Completes 3 New NAF Flutes…

From time to time we step outside our own box as far as species of woods we will use to craft a new flute.  There are so many great species available right here in North America.  Some of our favorite species that make some really nice flutes are Russian Olive, Sycamore, Black Locust, Maple, Russian Elm, American Red Elm and others.  We use all of these species to craft flute with 3/4″, 7/8″ and 1″ bores for flutes in various keys.  Many of the flutes will include various inlays and inset stones.   These are three of the latest flutes to be completed by artist Timothy Jennings of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  All three of these flutes are simple elegance in design and very simple in their appearance.

Russian Olive NAF Flute – Key of F# 432 Hz – 307 Series Flute

One of our favorite woods to build flutes out of is Sassafras. We really like the tonal qualities of this wood but it is not very spectacular to look at. A wood that is similar in its characteristics is Russian Olive wood. Some people tell us they consider this a junk wood but I suspect this is because there is not a straight branch or trunk in the entire tree. Well we have found a somewhat available source for this species. You must look hard to find the right piece to get your flute blank out of but when you do you are on your way to a really nice flute.

This six hole flute with a 7/8″ bore features our Teton Spike fetish design and both flute and fetish block are hand crafted from the same piece of Russian Olive. We have hand crafted a step just in front of the windway area and finished the flute with more than 25 hand applied coats of glossy lacquer. This is a very nice playing flute and not so long that you can easily pack it with you when you travel as it measures 23 1/2″ measured on the top. Tuned to 432 Hz makes this a very pleasing flute to listen to as well as play. We have added nothing other that some very humble leather to connect the fetish to the flute body. The rest of the flute shows off the beautiful grain patterns and contrast that Russian Olive has. A very nice flute ready for a home. This flute ships with a protective flute bag. Stand not included.


Sycamore NAF Flute – Key of F 440Hz – 307 Series

Six hole Native American Style Flute made from old growth Colorado Sycamore. Tuned to the Key of F, at 440Hz at 6500 foot elevation. This flute was built with a full 1″ inch bore and measures 24″ long from tip to tip. Although this a 1 inch bored flute it has a very pleasant mid range tone and it is very easy to play. Completely hand crafted, this flute features our signature step in front of the windway. Inlaid into the top of the flute body is a squarish piece of Oregon Picture Jasper, set in a sterling silver bezel.

The fetish on this flute is of our Otter design and it was crafted from a metal stained piece of Black Walnut stock giving it a very dark chocolate brown with some black streaked grains. This happens when the tree grows around a piece of metal such as barbed wire over many years. The fetish seen here in the pictures is attached with hand cut elk leather that is brown in color. This flute was completely crafted by hand and finished with more than 25+ coats of semi-gloss lacquer and rubbed to a soft finish. The inside of the flute has been sealed prior to gluing helping with moisture absorption. Playing holes are average for this mid size flute and they are spaced at 1 1/8″ apart. Ships with a protective flute bag. Another nice flute and it is available now.


Ash NAF Flute – Key of A# 432Hz – 307 Series

This six hole Native American Styled flute is hand crafted from Old Growth, 1st generation cut American Ash from Colorado. This flute measures 19 1/2″ long (measured on top) and features a 3/4″ inch bore give this A# a nice bright tone. Completely hand crafted and this flute features our signature step in front of the windway. Simple in design we have added our Otter fetish block which is crafted from a piece of Wormy Chestnut. Leather accents are hand cut Bison and is Black in color.

This flute like all of our flutes has been sealed on the inside of the flute to help against wetting out. This is a very easy flute to play and it allows you to blow soft or hard and not loose the sound. Tuned to A# at 432Hz at 6500 foot elevation, the 3/4 inch bore gives this flute a very bright voice. The focusing channel on this flute is a bit narrower than most giving this flute some nice comfortable back pressure. I personally like playing this flute. If you are looking for a smaller bore flute that you will love to play this is one to consider. Playing holes are average for this smaller size flute and they are spaced a little closer together at approximately 1 1/16″ apart. Ships with a protective flute bag.


If you have any question please email us at or call us at (307) 690-0427 with questions…  Or visit our website at

Gateway to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, The Forever West State


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