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Homemade Pretzels

I haven't made homemade pretzels since we were in Alabama and I had forgotten how easy they are if not a little time consuming. I made these last week for Oscar night. They keep a long time in an airtight container. 1   (.25 ounce) package   active dry yeast 1 tablespoons   brown sugar 1  teaspoons   salt 1 ½   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 3   cups   all-purpose flour 1   cup   bread flour 2   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 2   tablespoons   baking soda 1-2   tablespoons   butter, melted 2   tablespoons  kosher salt Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Place the yeast, brown sugar and salt in the 1.5 cups of warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in the flour. Knead for about 7-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let it rise for an hour (I place mine in the oven with the light on). Combine the two cups of warm water with the baking soda in a square shallow pan. After the dough has risen, cut it into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each section into a

Winter wonders

Well, today's weather made me eat my words from my last post. It was sunny and reached 60! The ground was too wet to do any garden work so I picked up sticks and other debris from the wind storm we had a few nights ago and looked at plants. Do you wonder if people who are non-gardeners notice the beauties in the winter landscape? I got my camera out and took a few photos:

The Chinese Holly 'O'Spring' is always beautiful, no matter what the weather is like -

I wrote about the Winter Daphne in a previous post - it just gets prettier!

If you want winter fragrance, plant Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) - it is such an unexpected pleasure to catch a whiff of this in the dead of winter.

Viburnum 'Spring Bouquet' -

Abelia 'Francis Mason' -

I only found one camellia in bloom - 'Governor Mouton'-

Mossy bricks in the vegetable garden -

I have a fear of bamboos - this is the only one I have (Pleioblastus viridistriatus) and it is in a pot.

What would we do without pansies for the winter?

One of my favorite trees - the River Birch -

The holly fern hanging on -

Nandina berries -

Awaiting spring -

We still have some herbs to enjoy, like parsley -

and Santolina -

Ruins -

Winter birdbath -

And one last showoff, Isabella, who finally stopped rolling around on this bench long enough for me to snap a photo -


  1. Beautiful photography. I could almost smell the daphne!

  2. Sunny and 60 sounds so nice. We got to sunny and 35 and I thought that was pretty good.

    There is certainly a lot of winter interest in your garden.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  3. Thanks for the inspiration Phillip. I hate this weather, I can't even make myself get outside and pick up sticks. I had all these winter projects planned, I take one step outside and back into the house I go. In the spring and summer you can't stop me, now I'm having a difficult time getting just the slightest bit motivated.

  4. Love your pics. It's supposed to be 78 here today. 32 tomorrow. Ah February and March, the changeable months. I found you thru Blotanical.

  5. Isabella is beautiful - your Winter Daphne is striking in bloom. I wish I could grow Camellias. Your 'Governor Mouton' is lovely. The Nandina berries are such a brilliant colour.

    I've never heard of Winter Honeysuckle. I imagine it has a wonderful fragrance.

    Your winter landscape stands in sharp contrast to mine!!

  6. I'm going outside right now to look for pretty stuff. I get so bummed out in winter I forget to do that. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Phillip
    Obviously you are taunting us poor Canadians under our 4 feet of snow.
    I'm too jealous to say how gorgeous your pictures are .. so there !
    Isabella is beautiful .. cat people appreciate these little souls no matter thier owner (haha)
    Very nice blog !
    Joy (disgruntled in the snow, Canuck) : )

  8. Your Chinese holly looks great in your photo, Phillip, but in the wrong place those leaves are like knives - to get from the drive to the garden gate I have to pass two of them and they're out to get me!

    I'd like to find out what winter honeysuckle smells like, and the ruins are awesome!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  9. How sweet is Isabella! I am in love with the holly, sharp leaves or not. There are spots here under the mature Lobolly pines where few things grow well, but the hollies thrive. I will have to look for that one.

    Frances at Faire Garden


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