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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

Revisiting Thomas Vetter's Garden

Back in the day when I gazed longingly at photos of gardens in the Pacific Northwest, I would bet that I came across some of Thomas Vetter's gorgeous garden in Portland. I got the chance to see his garden in person three years ago and stopped by again last Sunday for another visit. It continues to inspire me and is one of my favorite gardens.

It was hot and the sun was bright on Sunday but there is a calming and cooling factor the minute you enter. 

At the driveway entrance, a large collection of potted plants greet you.

A pathway leads through the small front garden. His garden is jam-packed with plants, all artfully arranged with lovely combinations and contrasting textures.

 A narrow side garden leads to the back -

The back garden is a dream. 

Underneath a porch are more potted plants and a collection of succulents -

And, back in the corner, a towering locust (Robinia) . A big crow sat in it almost the entire time of my visit.

Thank you again for opening your garden to us Thomas. It is an artistic gem!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Thanks for the photos! I haven't managed to visit Thomas' garden for years, its still looking as wonderful as ever.

  2. Beautiful indeed. The photos provide a sense of an enclave cloistered from the world around it. I'm glad you got a chance to tour it again before the heat descends on Portland.

  3. And thank you for sharing this artistic gem. I can see where you would get a lot of inspiration from this garden. It is beautiful.

  4. Gorgeous garden! Thomas is masterful in layering plants perfectly for hight, texture and color. The covers porch is a jewel. Is it a climbing hydrangea in photo #5?


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