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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

Rain and a bit of fall color

Miscanthus sinensis 'Little Miss' in the foreground and Calamagrostis 'Karl Forester' in the background

Rain is finally arriving in the Pacific Northwest and cooler temperatures as well. At noon today, we've had a slight drizzle and a whopping .02 inches. Hopefully more and heavier rain is on the way. It is sorely needed.

Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' (Blood Twig Dogwood)

Fall color so far has been scant but there is some to savor.

Sumac 'Tiger Eyes' (Rhus typhina) is the star of the show at the moment.

The leaves fall quickly and another sumac in a pot has already lost most. The rain will most likely ruin these leaves but they have been beautiful for many weeks.

Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica) is the most colorful tree at the moment. In the foreground is Smoke Bush 'Golden Spirit' (Cotinus coggygria)

The Serviceberry (Amelanchier grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance') has been rewarding and a wonderful view out my office window. 

Betula 'Trost's Dwarf' (Birch)

Dogwood 'Celestial Shadow' (Cornus kousa) and
 Japanese Maple 'Bihou' (Acer palmatum)

Redbud 'Flame Thrower' (Cercis canadensis)

Catalpa bignoinoides 'Aurea' with
Parrotia in the background and 'Karl Forester' grass in the front

Some color from heathers outside our front window

Hopefully, more fall color is on the way. So far, no hint of it on the ginkgo but leaves on the sassafras and black tupelo are slowly beginning. 

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Lovely fall color, more than we get over the entire fall.winter season. Two one-hundredths of an inch is all we got during the most recent storm but I hope you'll be lot luckier over the course of the weekend. I also hope the rain will be sufficient to get the area's fires under control.

    1. My heart goes out to you Kris - I know lack of rain is tough and you have it much worse than us. So far, almost 1/2 inch at 10pm tonight. I'm thankful but it has been a long time coming.

  2. Sumac is so reliable and truly unmatched with its brilliant fall display: it never cease to take my breath away.
    Miscanthus sinensis 'Little Miss' is gorgeous. I should give this dwarf variety a try.

  3. Lovely - that Tiger Eye is just phenomenal!! I just planted a couple of Little Miss in a client's garden. Seeing your photo made me so happy I took a chance on them!


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