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Moving Schipka Laurel for Rhododendron 'Loderi King George'

Picture it - a 6 ft. tall Schipka Laurel used to stand here (I forgot to take a "before" shot and don't feel like searching for one).  I knew when I planted it that it was probably a bad idea but thought it would be good for a fast-growing screen along the back fence-row. I'm sure all gardeners do this, especially if you have a new garden and are eager for greenery. In all fairness to the laurel, it is a useful plant and I would argue even a beautiful one when nicely maintained. Before I dug this one up, I stood back and admired it and felt the guilt pangs stabbing at my heart.  I removed a much larger laurel than this a few years ago and they are not the easiest plant to dig out. I was determined to save this one and I believe I was successful.  Here is a thought and you can take this to the bank - the pot you choose to hold a plant that you dig up will ALWAYS be too small. Always!  So, after finding the largest pot I could, here it is, after being cut back pretty dr

Happy Thanksgiving

I spent the day in the kitchen yesterday and made our entire Thanksgiving meal. This is unusual for me since I'm not good at multi-tasking. We didn't have any Thanksgiving plans this year so we had a great dinner last night and now we have leftovers!

I posted yesterday on Facebook about my Broccoli Salad and Cranberry Sauce. I will repost those recipes here. I also made dressing for the first time in my life and I made it in the crockpot. It was fantastic! Michael said that it reminded him of his mother's which was the ultimate compliment.

We also made Alton Brown's Green Bean Casserole (with some changes) and it was wonderful. I will have to post that recipe another time since I'm not sure exactly how Michael did it. 

And, of course, turkey.

Slow Cooker Cornbread Dressing

6 cups prepared cornbread (Michael made me some cornbread the previous night. You can also use Jiffy mix cornbread but I suspect it would not be as tasty).
8 slices of day-old bread (I just used regular loaf bread)
4 eggs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 TSP. of poultry seasoning or Sage (I used a combination of both)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 10 1/2-oz. cans of cream of chicken soup
2 10 1/2-oz cans of chicken broth
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp. salt

*Lay your bread out on the counter the night before you prepare the dressing so that it will dry.
*Crumble the breads.
*Add all other ingredients except butter. Salt to taste.
*Pour into a sprayed crock pot.
*Dot with butter.
*Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.

Broccoli Salad - my favorite side dish!

1 head broccoli, cut into small pieces, washed and driedb
bacon (6-8 slices)
1 bunch green onions, chopped (blades)

1 cup raisins
1 cup pecans
2 TBS. cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Cook bacon, cool and crumble.
Toss broccoli, bacon, onions, raisins and pecans.
Whisk together the vingegar, sugar and mayonnaise. Pour over the broccoli mixture and refrigerate.
Chill overnight.

Cranberry Sauce

1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
1/2  cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar
Zest of 1 orange 

1/2 cup water
2 T. Grand Marnier liquor (optional)

Dash of cinnamon (optional)

Plop all the ingredients into a heavy stock pot. Simmer on low (be sure to cover!) for about twenty minutes. You will hear the berries start popping and that is OK. Stir occasionally and make sure heat is very low. Refrigerate. Can be made up to four days ahead.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. It all looks very good! I love my slow cooker and cook everything I can in it. I'll try the dressing.

  2. looks like y'all ate good at your house. enjoy the rest of your holiday!

  3. I see that you and Michael ate royally. It all looks and sounds yummy. I made your Pimento Cheese and served for an appetizer today. Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe. That broccoli salad sounds great. I might have to try that too. It is good that you had such a delicious Thanksgiving. Cheers.

  4. Thanks for the recipes, Phillip. Glad you had such a tasty Thanksgiving!

  5. I love broccoli salad and that looks delicious! Happy thanksgiving!


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