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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

Huntsville Botanical Garden haul

The Huntsville Master Gardeners visited our garden yesterday (unfortunately there is no fall color yet and very few blooms but aside from that, I hope they had a good time) and then Michael and I headed to Huntsville for the Fall Plant Sale. Of course, I had only planned on getting a "few things". Ha! Famous last words. Just last week, Michael had to trade in his Pathfinder for a new one due to electrical problems so here I go dirtying it up. He read somewhere to keep a shower liner for such purposes. It worked great and I don't think we got a speck of dirt anywhere.
We came home with:

Cherrybark Oak (Quercus pagodifolia)
Chinese Chestnut (Castanea species)
Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
Cypress "Carolina Sapphire"
Winterberry Holly 
Yellow-berried Holly
American Beauty Berry
Azalea - Flame (R. calendulaceum) 
Azalea - Confederate series
Azalea - Aromi hybrid
Virginia Sweetspire
Sunflower Helianthus maximum)
Fire Pink (Silene virginica)


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Your garden always looks so full I don't know where you could put anything else! But I know how it is. We gardeners always need just one more plant! Happy fall! Carol

  2. What a haul. I am green. They all sound marvelous. Tis the season for this kind of planting. Have fun. Michael rocks with his shower liner tip.

  3. Carol, my garden is full, especially for trees. These plants will go on my mother's property, where I'm hoping to retire one day and start a whole new garden!

  4. Nice haul indeed! You will love the 'Carolina Sapphire' ... mine gets more beautiful each day!

  5. The shower curtain is a great idea.
    Nice plants.

  6. We have three vehicles... one is for the really big hauls (pick-up truck) and the other two are never without old blankets as standard equipment for going anywhere... since there is always a nursery and frequently many nurseries!! Congratulations on your new plants! Larry

  7. My goodness Phillip, for someone who only wanted a few plants, that is quite a haul! My favorite garden center hands out sheets of plastic, and I have several in my trunk for plant purchasing. But I sure like the idea of a shower liner. I've just added that to my shopping list!

  8. Great haul!! Envy your sourwood, that is my next tree to acquire and put into my woods.

  9. How wonderful to have an additional property on which to garden and think of as your retirement residence. Hooray for a fabulous haul!

  10. You really did get a great haul! I never thought about a shower liner for the car - smart thinking! I'm definitely going to get one for the trunk of my car!

  11. I still have potted stuff to get in the ground. I knew if I went to the sale, I'd be bringing back a truck load. I've got to move some daylilies and iris from a spot that's gotten too shaded so I can plant the hydrangeas.

  12. It's a good thing Michael got another Pathfinder and not a car instead:) I always carry plastic sheets from our local garden center in the back of my car, but a shower liner sounds like the perfect solution. Happy planting!

  13. The Nyssa is a nice tree with great fall color and a nice natural shape and habit.

    I see some other favorites on your list too. Good luck with all the new stuff.

  14. I love their sale as you can get plants you don't find in nurseries. I have a lot of potted things that I got in this summer and with the 100 degree temps and potted them and put under my shade tree nursery. I didn't need to add a truck load to the collection.

  15. That's a few plants indeed. lol I think that haul can fill your whole garden. It looks always full.
    pet shops

  16. Great haul! We are yet to see much color and as usual, leaves are falling before the color appears. Sigh... We too keep plastic sheets and old towels in the trunk for such dirty finds. We sold our 18 year old Pontiac with the trunk looking brand new! After many craft faires, plant finds, dirt hauls, etc...

  17. Wonderful plant choices! I wondered if these were for your retirement property! g


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