24K Yum!

Carrots and onions

As promised the pics of our gardens are going to start rolling in. The raised bed closest to the center of the shed is our carrot and onion bed.

This year we’ve combined our carrots and onions in one raised bed. The thinking behind this companion planting is to naturally deter pests. We have concluded that for us, this has been a very successful combination! Nice big first crop with absolutely no pest problems. As you near the vicinity of the bed, the aroma of fresh onions is quite powerful and can only assume an excellent bug repellent.

Scarlet NAnte   yellostone     Red Core     onions

The three types of carrots that we’ve planted are Scarlett Nantes (nice mild flavor although a wee bit hairy), Yellowstone (kind of deformed looking as well as being the most prolific) and Red Core Chantenay (which are stalkier with broader shoulders),  In the same bed are red, white and yellow onions which need to mellow in the earth for awhile to sweeten their flavor.

There’s only so much mirepoix you can make for the freezer. What else can you possibly do with all those carrots, you ask? Buckle up kids, cause here’s a recipe for the ages!

carrot cake

24K Gold Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbl. ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of cooking oil
  • 4 cups of grated raw carrots
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, grated
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

1. In a large bowl, beat eggs, until foamy. Slowly add the oil.

2. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a bowl. Add to the egg mixture.

3. Mix in carrots, apple and nuts.

4. Pour into 3 greased and floured 9″ rounds cake pans. Bake approx. 25 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup toasted coconut
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add in sugar, one cup at a time. Add vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.
  2. After you frost the cake, press the toasted coconut around the sides for a truly delectable touch!

Throw a couple of these in the freezer for fall/winter consumption and you will be able to enjoy your homegrown carrots year round! They also make great cupcakes.

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Where have you been?

Spartans
We’ve gotten some lovely inquiries as to where we have been lately; as in why aren’t we posting new articles. The answer to this question is simple. It’s summer and our garden work has increased exponentially. Seriously, it’s up at 6 ish with the littles and go, go, go from there. If it’s not yard work/wondering why the heck our beans aren’t growing yet, picking at locals farms/canning and preserving the abundance of our labors or working on our top secret project (more on that later), then it’s rushing off to the e.r. to have a crayon extracted from our two-year-olds sinus cavity. By the end of the day we are wondering whether we’re on foot or horseback. Exhausted much? Um, yeah.

As with all of our produce this year in Oregon, the blueberries arrived early and with a bang! Great, big, juicy, sweet Spartans had the savvy locals out in force picking like starved animals. Okay, that was just me. All the other folks are really quite friendly chatting each other up as they slowly fill their buckets. I appear to be the only truly competitive harvester, possibly hip-checking old ladies and tripping the physically able in order to as many blueberries away from them that I can. I explain this behavior as neurological disorder that presents itself as gluttony. As a start to my penance, I donated six garbage bags full of stuff to the Salvation Army with more good deeds to come (as berry season is far from over).

Added to our busy schedules are all the girls summer lessons. I’m wondering why I’m not wasting away with all this hard work, but then I remember eating my body weight in fresh berries. Oh well, at least I’ll live to be a hundred and seventy-two with the sheer volume of antioxidants that I’m filling my body with. The true definition of fat and happy.

I promise to start posting pics of our fabulous raised beds. The lettuce garden is beyond abundant and we are currently supplying our neighborhood with salad greens. The Spotted Trout Back seems to be a favorite (as disgusting as it sounds). The spinach is a huge disappointment so now we need to figure out why. It’s not the slugs or earwigs so could it possible be that spinach doesn’t like goat manure? We’re like Sherlock Holmes on the prairie.

Half the turnip crop rocked socks and the other half appeared to be eaten from within. The snow peas and blueberries are getting eaten almost before they make it inside. The tomatoes look very promising indeed and the rhubarb is going gangbusters. Sadly the apple tree will hardly produce anything this year as we had a frost after the apple blossoms has begun to bloom. The carrot and onion garden is looking great and the watermelon and pumpkins go in today.

We’ve come to realize that if we have to rely on our healing garden for medicinal help, we’re in trouble. We are truly novices in that arena and are hoping that all the preventative medicine will keep us out of trouble until we can figure our tinctures, brews and ointments. We continue to scour the countryside for teachers and will keep you posted on what we learn.

How’s that for an update? No time for our top-secret project now, the raspberries are in!