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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

Idaho Botanical Gardens, Boise, Idaho

The Idaho Botanical Garden is right next door to the Old Idaho State Penitentiary. It was once the farm and nursery for the penitentiary. When the prison closed in 1973, the grounds were unused until the botanical garden was established.

The garden comprises 50 acres (15 of which are in cultivation) in the Boise foothills and is divided into garden rooms and individual areas. There is an English Garden, xeric demonstration garden, alpine garden, children's garden, rose garden, meditation area, water garden, etc. Most of the plants in the garden are donated by industry and corporate partners  throughout Oregon and Idaho.

Parts of the garden run along the stone walls of the prison, giving a castle-like background to the plantings. 

The outer-lying areas of the garden are dedicated to native plants and wilderness trails. The Lewis & Clark Plant Native Plant Garden, opened in 2006,  commemorates the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark Expedition (1804-1806). This garden’s goal is to display 145 plant species collected during the expedition between Great Falls, Montana and The Dalles, Oregon. 

The fall color was astounding, especially with the vivid yellows and oranges of witch hazels, ornamental grasses and trees and bright red berries on pyracantha and hollies. 

The gardens also feature garden art by local artists.

The Rose Garden with the prison tower and walls as background.


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I love the wild feeling of this garden.

  2. So beautiful!! The colors are incredible! Thanks for sharing this trip!!

  3. We visited the Idaho Botanical Gardens in 2002(ish?), looks like a lot has changed and I would love to go back soon.

  4. Love the Switch Grasses (I believe) in the 4th photo. Mine looked kinda like that this year. Lovely.

    Aren't pyracanthas great? Wish they were a little less thorny, as I am an accident-prone klutz sometimes. I hear there are thornless (or less thorny) varieties, but apparently they are hard to find...

  5. Beautiful Phillip! Makes me want to go so bad. What a wonderful trip!

  6. I love all the sage and tawny tones.

  7. I love the shot of the pumpkin patch with the fall colors in the background, and the last one with the sculpture.


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