School has started, and the leaves are falling!
The smell of this year’s cranberries is in the air. Termination dust is working its way down the mountains. It is time to put up our fishing and hunting gear start thinking about winter.
With fall and winter come many things to think about, from basic home winterizing to making sure your lawn, flower, and garden beds have the best start in the spring.
Our local Master Gardener, Jeff Lowenfels, recommends saving yourself some trouble and time by leaving the falling leaves behind. Since adopting this policy myself, my summer lawn looks even better than when I went through the trouble of raking and using a winterizing fertilizer. While the yard might look untidy now, a quick mow in the spring will mulch the old leaves into the grass and give our lawn a microbial boost.
Speaking of microbial boosts, this is the perfect time of year to add compost and mulch to garden and flower beds. Not only does the give your soil a boost for the next growing season, but will help protect your plants against cold temperatures until snowfall can insulate roots. Mulch will also help reduce weed growth in the spring.
Don’t forget to take a moment to look at your perennials. Many of our favorite flowers can be invasive. Do any of your flowers such as lilies or iris need dividing? Keeping your flower beds healthy and balanced is surprisingly easy, and you will find no shortage of welcoming homes for perennials.
Make sure to keep an eye on the nighttime lows here at our elevation. Once they start dipping into the 30s, it’s time to disconnect and store your hoses for winter to avoid damage to your pipes. Now is the time to put away cushions and plastic yard furniture to prolong their useful lifespan. Dig out your snow shovels, gravel, and ice melt now, so you are not caught off guard. I also recommend putting up holiday lights while it is still light outside, the temperatures are still warm and before ice starts to form.
The curried carrot soup recipe is fall favorite in our house. I modify the recipe slightly. After sauteing the onions and garlic, I put the rest of the ingredients (minus the coconut milk) in a Crock-Pot. After spending the day outside working, I love walking into a house full of the smell of this tasty soup. Hungry from all my hard work I simply blend, add the milk and enjoy a warm and healthy bowl of soup.
Curried Coconut Carrot Soup Recipe – 3 to 4 servings
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- ½ yellow onion coarsely chopped
- 1 pound carrots slices into ¼ inch thick rounds
- 2 tsp curry powder
- ½ inch piece of fresh ginger smashed or ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, for garnish (optional)
Add olive oil to saucepan and heat to medium.
Add garlic and onion, and saute until fragrant or onions look transparent but not browned.
Add the carrots, curry powder, ginger, bay leaf, and broth. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until carrots are softened.
Once carrots are softened, allow soup to cool for 5 minutes, remove bay leaf. Blend (use either an immersion blender regular blender.)
If needed, reheat the soup over medium heat. Once warmed, stir in coconut milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with flakes of toasted coconut. Best served warm but cold tastes fine too.
Nicole Mercer has lived Alaska for 12 years. She explores nature enthusiastically and seeks out delicious new adventures around every corner. To reach Nicole, email: firstname.lastname@example.org