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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

August blooms and foliage

There isn't a lot going on in the garden which is typical for August. We have had some relief from the humidity with some really nice days. Next week, however, promised to be a scorcher.

The Sweet Autumn Clematis is beginning to bloom. It always blooms in August. Despite the fact that this vine is in almost complete shade, it does well.


It was a dud year for hydrangea blooms (because of the cold winter) but the foliage is looking great as a result of the recent rainfall.



Rudbeckia and Sweet Potato Vine on the lamppost.


Early morning sunrise


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Your photos do take me down the path and a beautiful one too.

  2. My sweet autumn clematis is starting to bloom as well. It's a welcome site as the rest of the garden starts to fade.

    I did get a Buff Beauty this spring! It's small (maybe 16") and hasn't bloomed yet, but it is putting out new growth, and I'm hopeful for next year. It is having some problems with blackspot, and a good section doesn't look like it will put out new growth. I have two questions for you:

    1) Do you have any tips for blackspot other than spraying and picking up infected leaves?

    2) Where will next year's new growth originate from? I've only grown ramblers, and they just shoot up new canes near the base.


  3. Beautiful pictures of a beautiful garden! My hydrangea had recovered so well. .until a herd of those sweet little deer made a visit! They "only" took the leaves so that shouldn't hinder them from blooming next year....right? Unless the cold weather gets the buds again!

  4. Emily, I don't have many solutions for blackspot. Baking soda is one option that I have heard works well. The new growth comes from both the base and some side shoots. It tends to send out (and up) very long canes.

    Edith, so sorry to hear you have deer problems!

  5. Your garden looks so inviting , I want to see what is down that path ...
    All is looking very fine for so late in the season, I think summer has deserted us here in the UK as it is very chilly and autumnal ... in AUGUST !!

  6. My hydrangeas have been slow to bloom this year too, and I'm sure it was because of the bad winter. But I think they'll catch up, because they are starting to catch up finally. I've fallen in love with Limelight hydrangea this summer, and I've just got to get one. Now where will I put it?

  7. Our neighbor's beautiful sweet autumn clematis just began blooming as well; surprised that it is as early as yours considering we are so much further north.

  8. Thanks for the advice Phillip! I'll look into the baking soda :)

  9. I hope the weather has continued to be good to you! Our garden is shriveling under the past week's high temperatures and lack of rain. Not a drought yet; we are suppose to get rain tomorrow. Your garden looks lush and very beautiful in these photos. I love the early morning shot!

  10. I am NOT an early morning person, but that early morning sunrise over the path would entice me to set my alarm. Your garden is gorgeous, as always.


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