Thoughts from Friends: Barbara Sayre Casey

“So, shall we come to look at the world with new eyes”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

From the towering Tetons to the rapidly rippling Snake River, the beauty of Jackson Hole stuns the senses every day. One never grows immune to the magnificence of its mountains nor the openness of thousands of acres of green grassland ranches. I have had a home here for 25 years, but it is only this year that I have lived here fully and found myself looking at my world with new eyes each day.

One not only admires nature from vistas near and far, but one is keenly aware of living amidst nature. Moose, deer, foxes, elk, wolves, and bears traverse your yard routinely, calmly eating your trees or berries and leaving vestiges of their visit behind in tracks or scat. This summer, a pair of foxes lived under my deck. They were quite gorgeous to look at, but quite noisy at night when they tussled with prey and played with skunks, often chasing me out of my bedroom when a skunk launched a counterattack. One morning, as I savored my latte on the front porch swing, the red fox climbed on the porch with me, seeking a private dining room to enjoy the squirrel it was holding in its mouth. After eyeing me for a few minutes, it decided it did not want to share breakfast with me and went around the house.

Often moose will decide to take a nap in my yard, sometimes a mother and calf or two teenagers, and will block the exit from the house. In Los Angeles, you learn to look left and right for cars. Here you must be careful to look right and left to make sure there are no moose nearby. One chased me into the garage on a day that I wasn’t careful to look. I have had my car surrounded by a herd of bison on a back road, so you learn to stop carefully, turn off the car, appreciate the beauty and size of the beasts and take a deep breath because you are not going anywhere until the herd decides to move. Before taking the deep breath, you must be sure to roll up your windows since a herd of bison carries a powerful smell!

Just this past summer, a mama grizzly bear decided to take her four cubs from their home in the Grand Teton Park to south of Jackson where hunters had left a veritable feast of elk leftovers. This was an amazing undertaking, a 20+ mile trek through civilization, going through many neighborhoods including mine. The entire town followed the trek each day via social media, and when the bears returned to their home safely, there was a collective sigh of relief. Living with wild creatures causes you to marvel at their uncanny abilities, such as those of the mama grizzly, and slow down your pace to keep an eye out for things that move in the landscape and smile.

You also live with nature’s highs and lows in Wyoming. The sky is generally a brilliant blue throughout the year, and the sun shines warmly, even in months when the temperature is freezing. What we have found is that 30 degrees is not cold when the sun is shining. We call that a heat wave and go out in our t-shirts! When it is very cold at night, it is fun to keep warm with lots of outerwear, colorful hats and faux fur. Summer temperatures generally range from the 50s at night to 80 or 85 degrees in the daytime. To me this is ideal, with cool nights always making for good sleep and warm afternoons for outdoor adventures. Explosive rainstorms do pass through in the summers. Mountain rains are fierce, fast moving, and noisy with lightning and thunder, but they move very quickly from one end of the Valley to the other. And Jackson Hole is a Valley, a “hole” ringed with mountain ranges.

The seasons change, not imperceptibly, but with an intensity that startles. The aspens and willows burst into flaming colors to hail the start of fall, but are gone almost within the flash of an eye. Sometimes the snow falls when least expected, as it did one September day this year; it delights, then disappears. The snow gets serious in late November and through December. We can’t remember a Christmas without snow. Summer, of course, is greatly welcomed and celebrated.

There is one less popular season -- mud season in April when the snow melts, and its runoff mixes with frequent rain. That’s a great time to be in Los Angeles!

Post by Barbara Sayre Casey
Friends of Robinson Gardens Member

Lemon Risotto with
Shrimp and Arugula

(Serves 4)

By Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member
Dana Reston Lyons


I first had this dish at Da Paolino on the Isle of Capri and fell in love. As soon as I made it back home to Beverly Hills, I had to recreate this elegant summery risotto dish. It is one of my favorite dishes to make for friends, especially during the summer. Serve with an elegant side salad of endive, radicchio, goat cheese, and walnuts. Top it off with a light splash of champagne vinaigrette. (I make my own.)


1 cup Arborio rice *(Make sure to use this strain of rice.)
1 ¼ pounds of fresh wild caught shrimp, peeled, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces. *(After shrimp is peeled and cleaned, you should have about one pound of shrimp.)
½ of a 5 oz. package of fresh organic baby arugula
2 lemons
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic or ¼ of a shallot
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable broth or water
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon water
Salt and white pepper to taste

  1. Zest the lemons, or I prefer to lightly shave the lemons with a carrot peeler to create lemon flakes.
  2. Put the lemon zest in a small cup, and add 1 teaspoon water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir and place in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften and sweeten the lemon rind.
  3. Squeeze both lemons. You should have approximately ½ cup of lemon juice. Set aside.
  4. Add ½ cup dry white wine to the lemon juice and set aside.
  5. Mince the garlic or shallot and set aside.
  6. Melt the butter and olive oil in a pan on medium low heat and add the rice. Make sure not to burn the rice. Coat the rice, and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic or shallot.
  8. Slowly add the lemon/wine mixture a little at a time while stirring, and add more liquid every few minutes as the rice absorbs the liquid.
  9. Add the shrimp to the pot.
  10. Add the vegetable broth or water to the pot a little at a time as the rice continues to absorb the liquid.
  11. Add the lemon zest and continue stirring. *(If dish is too tart for your liking, add another ½ teaspoon of sugar.)
  12. Add salt and white pepper to taste -- about 1 ½ teaspoons of salt and 1/3 teaspoon of white pepper.
  13. Start folding in the fresh arugula. *(You do not need to use the entire package, but you will find that the arugula quickly wilts, and you may want to keep adding more greens.)
  14. When the rice is nice and tender, add ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and stir.

Once the rice is soft, pour into bowls and serve.

"Raising Kayne" in Santa Monica

Friends of Robinson Gardens Member
Suzanne Kayne's Santa Monica Garden
Garden Design by Wirtz International
Installation by Lisa Zeder
Artwork by James Turrell
Photos by Marion Brenner

FRG Patron Suzanne Kayne and her husband Ric have re-done their Santa Monica garden several times, and it has been featured on the annual Garden Tour. The Kaynes have also generously hosted the FRG Membership Luncheon. The most recent renovation, after a concept by fabled Belgian green landscape architects Wirtz International, was realized by designer Lisa Zeder. The challenge? To complement an amazing sculptural environment by one of America’s most exciting artists – James Turrell.

Part of Turrell’s skill is to incorporate the lifestyle requirements of his collectors. The Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors chairman and founder Ric Kayne, whose daughter Maggie introduced Turrell to the family, found that he and his wife Suzanne could use a skyspace over their outdoor dining area.

Turrell came over one evening and sat in their Santa Monica yard. “I told him I wanted the space to be both social and yet could be meditative and experienced by one,” Ric Kayne explained. “He proposed three concepts, and I loved them all,” Suzanne enthused. The winning piece can be raised and lowered hydraulically to function as a skyspace as well as a dining area that seats 12.

Turrell ended up also designing the new Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery in Los Angeles. Suzanne and Ric both feel “his vision is epic beyond most contemporary artists and thinkers.”  The Kaynes have traveled to many places to see various Turrell installations. Here photographer Marion Brenner shares the experience of how the Turrell changes the setting as the day goes by.

6 Responses

  1. Sydney Tanner
    | Reply

    This is a wonderful addition of the Newsletter ~ from beginning to end. Thank you for all the work it took to send this to us all.

    ~ Sydney Tanner

  2. Krista Everage
    | Reply

    So very inspiring and delicious! Love the Kayne garden and can’t wait to make Dana’s dinner! Jackson Hole now a destination on my list~

  3. Marcella Ruble
    | Reply

    What a spectacular sculpture by James Turrell, and the design of the garden is sublime. Thank you for sharing

  4. Kerstin Royce
    | Reply

    Love to visit Jackson Hole one day, and see the Tetons. What Beaty!! So great to see the Kaynes Garden and the Turkell incredible art work/ installation. A treat! And what about the Lemon Risotto. Perfect for a covid down day. YUM!

  5. Patti Reinstein
    | Reply

    Cannot wait to make Dana’s Lemon Risotto with shrimp and arugula! Yum!! A big thanks to Barbara Casey for her article about her life in Montana. Life at its uncomplicated best in wide open spaces where animals rule. And Betty…. your message is inspirational as always! I am so grateful to all who work so hard to bring “Happenings” to us every month.

  6. Julia Klein
    | Reply

    As I’ve been so removed from my Robinson Garden life, reading these messages makes me nostalgic for the Gardens and the Friends. I feel like I know the gardens so well from all the walking, running (Garden Tour!!!), and studying of the plants and landscape during our Botanical painting classes. I hear that Tim has supervised many improvements on the property. I look forward to returning. The messages written by Betty, Barbara in Montana, the Kaynes, and Dana are inspiring. It’s been quite an unusual year, in so many ways.

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