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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

Time to Cover Plants & Bring in the Hummingbird Feeders Again

After an extended stretch of mild weather, we have two nights of sub-freezing temperatures. No snow or ice, just cold, in the mid twenties tonight and teens tomorrow night.

I cover three or four plants including the loquat and a eucalyptus that was planted late last season.

We usually bring in a few of the hummingbird feeders and put them back out early in the morning. 

For the other birds, I have a heating device inside the urn fountain. I recently received this little heated bird bath that you just plug into the wall. This is the first time I've used it. I'm not crazy about the color but if it works, that is all that matters.

In the meantime, much interest is to be found -

Cotoneaster dammeri -
either 'Lowfast' or 'Mooncreeper' - anyone know the difference?

Euphorbia characieas wulfenii

Camellia 'Nuccio Bella Rosa'

Heather (Calluna vulgaris 'Firefly' and 'Multicolor')

Hypericum 'Pumpkin' (St. John's Wort)

Vinca minor 'Illumination' (Periwinkle)

Asian Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Ogon Nishiki')

Pieris 'Little Heath'

Stay warm!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. That's a very pretty Cotoneaster! You've got a lot of nice color ro see you through your cold snap.

  2. Not familiar with 'Mooncreeper' but I know 'Lowfast' is really what its name indicates - very low unless you give it something to climb on - in which case it will totally head upwards. It's probably fast, too. Those heathers look so good with the river rocks - yummy!


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