Morley's Acres Farm and Bed & Breakfast

Simple Farm Life & Backcountry Hideaway in Teton Valley, Idaho


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First Hay Harvest

Hay BalesThe field was thigh high, seed pods swaying in the wind. Tim had harrowed multiple times and fertilized. We moved the pipe religiously every 2 days. 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Our 7+ back field was overgrazed to the nub when we bought this place last summer. Tim researched and we got some tips from some old timers. Number one: Do not water constantly & move the pipe as much as you can. We learned that watering 24/7 is counterproductive. Excess water simply washes the minerals and nutrients right out of the soil. It was scary turning off our water every day while our neighbors never did, but soon our field began to reward us.

Cutting time arrived and Cory drove in with the swather. The machine cut the grass down and laid it into fluffy rows. The weather was good to us, at least for the first day of drying. Tim went out and turned over the heavy spots to get the last moisture from the underlying cut. Cory brought the baler and we were set for the following day. That evening, the clouds roared in threatening moisture and by morning we had a full on rainstorm. We waited 2 more days, hoping the wind wouldn’t take our precious harvest as it again dried to the proper level for baling.

Tim and I couldn’t help but grin as the baler trucked down the rows spitting our plump heavy bales. When Cory finished he gave us the count. 180 bales! More than 6 tons of hay. After we traded out Cory his cut, we still have enough to feed our horses for the entire winter. The loader picked up the bales and brought them around to our barn where we got busy stacking. Just as the last bales were safely tucked inside, the skies again opened. We sat on our own hay and watched heavy raindrops drench the ground. One by one, the animals ran in from the rain and joined us under the roof.

I can’t believe we are going to be feeding our horses our very own hay. Tim popped open a bale and said, “smell this.” Our mutual smiles beamed. All of our pipe moving, rock removal, weed pulling, horse poop harrowing… It has all culminated in a tangible product that will stead our herd of two through the winter.

That same day, we moved the pipe back out. We are going for a second cut, although Cory says it isn’t done around here. Tim and Cory have a bet, a PBR is riding on whether we can get the field to produce another yield. The criteria: Worth cutting.

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Farming and InnKeeping at Morley’s Acres Farm and Bed & Breakfast

It has been a busy time. We had no idea what to expect when we opened our Inn’s doors here at Morley’s Acres. We spent the spring building gardens, rebuilding the pond, revitalizing the hay field, dividing pasture for rotation…. Tim secured a summer job at MD Nursery, only 3 miles down the road and I secured a spot to sell at the Farmer’s Market in Driggs. Then it happened. We have been flooded with guests and have only a few nights left open until September 15th. Tim quit the outside job, I released my market spot and we have been all hands (all four of ours!) on deck taking care of our place and our guests. It is exhilarating, interesting, and engaging. We have joined the ranks of Innkeepers who realize that one must go for the gusto while the gusto can be had (we can rest in the off-season).

Last night our neighbor brought his swather to cut our hay field. The great machine lies in wait for tonight’s job. We can’t wait to see how many tons of hay we produce for the winter from this cut. We may do a second cut if the grass grows back. We are learning every day in our reinvented lives, finally capturing our dream of working together on our land to produce food, hang out with our animals and each other surrounded by stunning mountains.

We have not neglected our much beloved recreation though, as the summer is fleeting here. I’ve been riding the horses almost every day and Tim and our son Jack, hiked from the west side of the Teton Mountains (our side), entering at Fox Creek Canyon, all the way over to the east side where Genavieve and I picked them up at Phelps Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Their journey was about 20 miles. Genavieve and I are getting the horses in shape for a similar trek.

Now for a variety of pictures with more to come of our producing hay field.

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Whispers of Spring in the Teton Valley

chicks3 009Spring, so joyous and hopeful, full of renewal and birth, how much I love you. When one lives at 6200 feet in the Teton Valley of Idaho, the first greenings of spring are more than just a simple delight. The brave plantlets, poking their first leaves into the initial warm days, only to be greeted with another week of frigid temps, don’t give up. They are an inspiration to do my very best as well. My spinach and strawberries wintered over under their fabric frost blanket and are already offering glimpses of a fruitful future harvest. My mind is buzzing with garden plans, oh what to plant and when….

chicks3 018But it is still too early here at the foot of the western Teton Mountains, but it isn’t too early for a new chicken coop. There must be a self-help group out there for chicken addiction, I know that I am not alone. First there was an idea to have a few chickens, then it seemed natural to expand to have enough eggs to feed Morley’s Acres Farm and Bed & Breakfast guests, then it seemed like a great idea to sell eggs to help them earn their keep, now, I’m afraid, it might be chickens for the sake of chickens.

Our babies of 4 weeks ago are now gawky pre-teens and our brand new chicks3 017babies are teetering on their super cute little legs. The presence of 14 new chickens in brooders in the garage means only one thing. Tim must build me a new chicken coop, and fast. He’s a good sport, this husband of mine, and he already has it just about done, despite the fact that our lovely 50 degree weather lasted about 5 glorious days and now we are back to snow flurries and frozen fingers and ear lobes. But we will keep forging ahead just like the emerging tulips, the perennials making definite statements, and the grass of our pastures and lawn greening day by day.

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Growing Flock at Morley’s Acres

???????????????????????????????Morley’s Acres is officially in the egg business. The first 8 dozen have flown out the door and found their way to various kitchens. Our fall babies are now full-grown ladies and they are proud of their new laying status. Now that it is spring (although the thermometer outside denies this – it is currently about 10 degrees), it is time to increase our flock.

New babies are here. We now have itsy-bitsy Wellsummers, Delawares, and a freebie New Hampshire Red. In a day or so, I will pick up our 4 Golden Sex-Links. The youngsters are happy and warm in their brooding nursery and Tim now has about 6 weeks to get the third coop in place.

Today I let the new layers mingle with the grown hens for the first time. Soon the temporary fence will move over to separate the growing babes. By July, we will have 27 layers. This should do the trick. Between devoted buyers, our Bed & Breakfast guests, family, baking, etc, each and every egg will be lovingly used.

 

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Let’s all Play Hockey in Teton Valley, Idaho – aka: Winter is too Short to Miss Out

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Cole Morley and Jack Pain

My youngest son, Cole Morley, visited from California with his fiance, Kendra Puente. It was perfect timing for many reasons, but one of the most magical occurences was the launching of my new status as a hockey player. All these years, I have warmed the bench as my two sons, Jack and Cole played, and my husband, Tim coached. Now I am a player being coached by Tim. During the week that Cole and Kendra were here, we got to Kotler Ice Arena as much as we could. It wasn’t difficult, since Tim works there almost every day. The fever ran wild through the family. We even had a family game after hours one night. Sure, we did the tourist thing too. We took the lovebirds over to Jackson for some wildlife viewing and to stand beneath the elk arch in Jackson Hole’s Town Square. We ate game meat and drank local beer. We played cards and I made Cole his favorite peanut butter ball cake.

pb cakeBut, my favorite part of the visit has to be the hockey we played together. The combination of Kendra’s encouragement, Cole’s patience as he went up and down the ice, patiently passing to me over and over, and having Jack and Genavieve out there too, was a mother’s dream. All this has springboarded me into being an avid part of our local women’s team and best of all feeling part of my new community in a real way. Tim, Genavieve and I have taken up fitness classes in Driggs at Dreamchasers Outdoor Adventures, where I have run into other women on my team. No longer the stranger, but now part of the Teton Valley Community, I know I have landed in the right neck of the woods.

 

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Tim Morley, Julie Morley, Genavieve Pain, Cole Morley, Jack Pain
photo by Kendra Puente

 

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Cole Morley and Jack Pain wearing their Christmas hats

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Playing at Koter Ice Arena

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Kendra Puente, Genavieve Pain, Julie Morley

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Julie Morley, Cole Morley, Tim Morley – photo by Kendra Puente

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Tim at work


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Guests Flock to Morley’s Acres

guests 001It has been a busy month at Morley’s Acres Farm and Bed & Breakfast. I have learned quite a bit about this new chapter of my life as an inn keeper, and it isn’t just about how to get things done. One the unexpected (or perhaps just not pre-thought) side has been the delight in meeting and speaking with our guests. We have had guests from as far away as New York and as close as Ketchum, Idaho. I so enjoy serving my newest creations (my latest – the long and delicious road to perfecting the homemade croissant) to happy people who are here to simply enjoy the splendor of the Teton Valley. I knew I would love the cooking part, but beyond this, I find that I am thrilled to have the opportunity to converse with the various personalities that have sat at our table.

This past long weekend we had a full house, which for us is only two rooms. The canine numbers almost surpassed the humans (each couple brought pooches). After serving breakfast, the two couples acquainted and chatted. Laughter and animation filled the kitchen. I couldn’t help but grin. Fresh snow would have been the icing on the cake.

Skip forward to this weekend. I have a lovely family of 4, again bringing me to a no-vacancy status. This time, the snow is falling and it looks like it will keep dumping for the rest of the week. Tim zipped home from the ice rink just now to break out the snow blower. The clear drive and paths won’t last long though. It is coming down. Yahoo!!

Oh, yes, and now you know where to stay…

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A New Skater at Kotler Ice Arena in Victor, Idaho

rink 010Frigid temperatures persist, so what does one do in the unrelenting cold? If you are a dog, then you seek out the sun and hope for a cozy blanket to sit on.  My husband now works at the Kotler Ice Arena down the road in Victor, Idaho. I could just bring him hot coffee, soup, tea, anything to warm the innards on a morning that is, no lie, 20 plus below zero. But that wouldn’t be me. Instead, I put on Tim’s old hockey skates and took to the ice.

Day One – I used the granny device, a walker like contraption that you hold on to for dear life and in my case, old limb, as I navigate my way about the too-hard surface. After only a few tours about the rink, I put the crutch away and dared to skate. It was fun.

Day Two – I brought one of Tim’s hockey sticks, just to see. It was an open skate with sticks and pucks, but by the time I arrived, an informal game was happening. I palmed my stick and kept to the boards, less anyone think I was actually going to play. Again, after a few circles about the perimeter, I wandered into the game. OMG, hockey is fun. I dinked around like a spaz and made a few plays. I defended, I even passed. I’m going to join the women’s team. It’s just for fun. Tim says there are beginners like me. Bring on the padding.

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