Let’s Go Outside!

Blank piece of “paper” . . . all mine to do something with . . . what would the girlfriends like today?  Well, one thing for sure, we have to start with Birdsong; and let’s go outside!

It’s getting almost ridiculous around Martha’s Vineyard this year, we’re having the most beautiful spring; every day the sun is shining and all the neighborhoods are in bloom.  Up and down the narrow streets, huge old trees in cottage gardens are dripping in the softest Easter-egg colors of pink, yellow, and white; looking like the aisles of a flowery wedding.

And it’s not just us who are celebrating . . . this is the view from our upstairs bathroom window and that’s the happily married squirrel couple that lives in the old Linden tree.

Had to zoom in to show you how pretty these two are; we really have a bird’s eye view here . . . the ledge of this window is one of Jack’s favorite hangouts. These squirrels play like crazy; round and round that tree they run; up and down.  I would love to get a look inside that nest!!  I always wonder if they have my bird-feeder hanging hook that just up and disappeared a couple of years ago.

We have not been home this time of year for years . . . for some reason it seems like we’ve chosen March and April to go out to California — I’d never even seen the weeping cherry we planted a few years ago next to the picket fence garden (in the first picture) in bloom!  So I’m really enjoying this!  I almost forgot how beautiful it is.  There are wild violets in the lawn!  Makes me remember the quote by John Greenleaf Whittier:

The sunshine seemed to bless, the air was a caress. 

A caress.

Right down the middle of our backyard this deer sashayed, perfectly at home.  The nerve of some people’s children!  So smart, she looks both ways before she crosses the street.  Where’s she going?  I don’t know.

This picture makes me think of the blooming lane in the movie Anne of Green Gables, which really was a big inspiration to me when it came to planting things here.  It’s so amazing to look at something like that and think, “Anne of Green Gables doesn’t own blooming trees, I can have them too!”

And then there’s the forsythia that spatters sunshine yellow all over our neighborhood.  In the back of this photo, near the house, are three tall Linden trees in a row; still no leaves.  The squirrel family lives in the middle one.

We won’t be barbecuing anytime soon!

This is the place to take your blanket, your cardigan, your tea, and your book when a (caressing) breeze begins to blow up from the harbor and the petals start to fall.

Here’s the new dogwood we planted last year.  It’s full of buds now, but not in bloom yet; the lilacs aren’t out here yet either — we have so much to look forward to!!!

Outside our kitchen window we have three bird feeders.  Or should I say, squirrel feeders!  This is Harold.  His tail is a little thin compared to the others, that’s how we know him, and this is how he and his relatives entertain us . . . we don’t make it easy for them, but nothing really stops them.  We sort of like it anyway . . . it sends Jack to the moon!

When we make grilled-cheese sandwiches, this is what we get to watch while waiting for the cheese to melt.  I do wonder how this can be comfortable?  But Harold seems happy.

See the bird on the far right?  He’s skipping over to the next feeder, he’s in mid air.  You know what I love about this?  Anyone can have it.  All this beauty is waiting at the nursery, and year after year, it comes back as a benediction.

And then there is this.  Only about three more weeks until we go to England!  So much to do!  I think about what all I want to show you over there.  Hillsides of wildflowers and meadows of baby lambs; the grocery store, and the knitting store, and the old bookstores, and the houses!  I will bring the spy cam, and maybe get some pictures of English people’s cute shoes!  Table settings and teapots and desserts and linens in tea rooms, and old old OLD churches where people are buried in the floor; dovecotes, and gardens with roses tumbling over ancient stone walls, foxgloves crowding cottage doorways. I can’t wait!  Hope you’re all packed and ready to go.  The clock’s ticking!  

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396 Responses to Let’s Go Outside!

  1. Carol Bancroft says:

    Hi Susan

    Talking of The Cotswolds – do you know the Miss Read books? I am sure you would love them


  2. {oc cottage} says:

    my sister has squirrels in her backyard…
    the babies are a riot! i could watch
    them for hours…her husband is not
    so fond…since the like to nibble on the
    wiring for the lights and sprinklers…
    blab, blah, blah…sprinkler schminklers! ;}

    m ^..^

  3. Cheryl says:

    Susan, I just arrived at work, (in Michigan), after opening up the computer I stopped by your blog, and oh my heart is singing along with your birdie music and beautiful photographs and friendship that you seem to effortlessly pass on to your readers (me). Thank you for making my day brighter!

  4. Tracy says:

    Really enjoyed today’s post (well, I ALWAYS enjoy them …) I love the picture of the happily married squirrel couple! Adorable. Do they have names? And we had a nest in our grill once, too! So funny to open the grill up for the season and see little beaks opened up in expectation of treats. We were going to cook out for Mothers Day, but had to make other plans 🙂 We are indeed having a lovely and early Spring – I don’t remember it being quite like this, well, ever.

  5. Cindy Garner says:

    Oh I do love the pictures of your squirrel friends….and the awesome shot of the deer…..what a blessing of visual wonders you have at your house this new spring day.


  6. Phyllis says:

    I’m curious about the book. Is it titled “The Cotswolds”?

  7. Sandy Schaefer says:

    Oh Susan!
    I cannot wait to visit England with you, via cyber space of course.
    I loved all your beautiful pictures today. Thank you.
    Nothing is blooming in Duluth, MN. yet…..but we have had a marvelous spring as well.
    Have a lovely day.

    PS i adore harold. heart.

  8. Marie says:

    This is such a lovely post…I so enjoy seeing springtime flourishing all around you. The colors are so soft and soothing and then you get that wonderful bright yellow…instant sunshine!!
    My very favorite photos are the ones with the squirrels. The are such fun to watch…Harold seems very inventive.
    I look forward to seeing your lilacs when they’re in bloom…your grounds are so beautiful!

  9. Sylvia says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for the beautiful pictures and description of the beauty that surrounds you. I look forward to your posts and can’t wait to see what you’ll be sharing with us next. Have a beautiful day!

  10. Sonia says:

    What beautiful scenes to enjoy this spring morning! Sweet squirrel couple and hungry birds! I love watching nature in my own backyard and the garden changes everyday with something new in bloom. I love your dogwood tree! I’m getting excited to see your English adventures! Don’t they have the most wonderful gardens to enjoy!
    Miss Bloomers

  11. mari says:

    A beautiful breath of fresh air and sunshine for us today ~ thank you, Susan! Breathing in the flowers, the sunshine…you have the touch for capturing all the beauty of Spring 🙂 Love the squirrels ~ what a cute couple ♥ Three weeks until England? Coming up quickly!! Can’t wait 🙂 Enjoy this beautiful day !!! p.s. ~ and just how do they eat upside down??? lol 🙂

  12. Francine says:

    Good morning Susan! What a wonderful start to my day! Lots of action and colors in your neighborhood! Thanks once again for sharing! I am so excited about “our” trip!!! I can’t wait to explore with you! A very chilly day here! Br-r-r-r!!!!

  13. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    I have seen a squirrel eating like this from the same kid of feeder at “Hawk Mountain”. I am sure they would have a web sight. I go there to watch the Humming birds come to the feeders. They have a lovely building with a wall of glass for visitors to enjoy the wildlife in comfort. It is air conditioned in the warmer weather.
    Can’t feed the birds here as the deer come and butt their heads against the feeders and all the seed is gone by the next morning.
    The photo of the cottage style home ,I thought was a photo of a painting. Then I noticed you at the gate. Wow! I was impressed with its beauty. Looking forward to your vacation photos. Thanks for taking us along.

  14. I am SOOOO ready for your trip. 🙂 I LOVE everything you’ve mentioned. I cant believe its coming so soon. Time is flying. I adored seeing the Squirrles. We too have them in our yard and finally gave up the hanging feeders and my husband built me some seed boxes on poles and shelves around the yard so they didnt keep breaking them by hanging on them. That way everything gets some food even the birds I set out to feed. 🙂 Its quite fun to go out in the morning to fill them I feel like I am in the movie The Birds with all of them up in the trees chittering and waiting while I put the food at each station and even coming down while I am out there to grab the first seed. Enjoy your spring.. its probably the first nice one in a long time and you were blessed to enjoy it.

  15. Carolyn Woolley says:

    Always love your flower pictures. I have been to the Cotswolds and will enjoy seeing it again. Will you give us the instructions for your scarf?

    • sbranch says:

      It’s beyond easy, I’m just a straight knitter — I make it up … I’ll tell you how many stitches I cast on once I do it. But after that it’s just knit knit until you stop!

      • dottie says:

        That’s the same scarf I have going. It’s long, long, long now so have to bind it off and do that button fringe thing I want to try and then I can USE the scarf! Also going to tassel and button a couple of Oopsy-spots that I managed to create — first knitting for a couple of decades and have loved doing it.

  16. Lisa V. from Flower Mound, TX says:

    So lovely to see all the nature around you. We have a lot of wild rabbits in of neighborhood. It so nice to walk around in the evening to see them when they come out of hiding especially the babies. We have sparrows that nest in the eaves bu our front door. They make quite a mess but it’s worth it when we see the babies out for the first time. Loved the squirrels! Thank you for brightening up this cloudy day!

  17. laurie says:

    oh my gosh! The blossoms the blossoms, wow wow wow!!! we have a blizzard today! We had mice make a nest in our BBQ that looked like that!!!You live in a beautiful spot, have fun preparing for your trip! Very exciting indeed!

  18. I’m so pleased your spring is wonderful . . I look out of my window the sun is shining but if I dare to step outside I need to wrap up very warm indeed and I am deeply worried for our plants as our weather, after being so unseasonably hot for a week or more has taken a very backward turn over the weekend and we are now unseasonably cold . . poor little things won’t know if they are coming or going . . I hope they still will come!

    Your birdsong brought a smile, nay a huge grin followed by gales of giggles . . for in the local National Trust shop (where I used to work) the other evening before going home the lovely manager Cathy changed the cd to one of birdsong . . the staff arrived next morning, opened the shop, put the cd player to play and spent the next hour searching even above the suspended ceiling for the bird they thought had flown in from outside! We are all still howling with laughter . . especially as the NT stockman came valiantly ‘to the rescue’ . . . red faces all around . . . and it wasn’t even April 1st!

  19. Country Gal says:

    We also have squirrels, lots of them in our village and our dog Miggy just loves to tree them ! Your photos and home are beautiful as is your town. Have a wonderful day !

  20. Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

    “Caress” is a perfect word to describe the feeling of Spring. The sweet colors of the blooming trees just take one’s breath away…..(sigh…)

    Can’t wait to see The Cotswalds again through your detailed artist’s eyes. Besides The Lake District and Hilltop, that was my fav part of England…..Morton-on-Marsh…Stow on Wold….Bibury…love!!!!! I cannot imagine how antsy YOU must feel just waiting to go. Are you all packed? In the meantime there’s your squirrel family and gorgeous blooming haven to enjoy, right? Thank you for the gorgeous Spring blog today! xoxo..kp

  21. Lisa R (northern Arizona) says:

    Who doesn’t love spring AND Anne of Green Gables!!……. “Other people may call that place the Avenue, but I shall always call it the White Way of Delight.”……..your neighborhood is lovely, Susan…..enjoy this beautiful spring day!

  22. Suzanne says:

    Hi Susan,
    Spring has most certainly sprung here in New England! It really is a gift this year to have such a beautiful spring. I don’t ever remember a nicer one. Your yard looks just lovely, I’ll be heading off to the garden center for replacement trees that we lost in the October storm last year so I can hopefully get some color back in the yard. I lost my huge weeping cherry, 🙁
    I’m so looking forward to your trip, I feel like I’m getting ready to leave as well! Anne of Green Gables was one of my favorites, her description of the beauty of the trees was amazing, “The white way of delight.” Have a happy day!

  23. Cindy Tuning says:

    You live in Paradise! But,I think no matter where you live or what time of year it is,it would still be paradise because YOU live there. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes. “fill her heart to the brim with love. All that overflows is yours”. Or something like that. Thanks for “overflowing” to all of us.

  24. Barb says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful Spring/Nature Post this morning. Like you, we have many birds here to. We just enjoy them so much and we have a family of five squirrels to. Yesterday morning two (turkeys) passed on through they were huge. I loved seeing your deer they are just such beautiful animals.

    I can’t wait to see all the different types of flowers you share with us from England. I have raised flowers every year and never met a flower I did not like.
    So excited for you with your trip to England drawing near and all of us getting to come along via the web.

    Have a Rainbow Day with a Smile on the Side! Barb, Ludlow MA

  25. What a beautiful post, and that shot of the squirrel mid-air is just great, hehe. 🙂

    Every time I say “bird feeder” my husband corrects me and says “squirrel feeder”. You’re so right – nothing stops them. It’s OK though – kitty TV.

    So looking forward to your posts from England! It’s been a long time dream of mine to do an Atlantic crossing. I always assumed the cost was prohibitive, but recently discovered if you’re willing to book at the very last minute (like just days ahead) it’s amazingly low! Something to dream about, *sigh*…

    ♥ Carolee

  26. Marcy says:

    Love all of your wonderful pictures! Georgia is in full bloom, too, and makes you want to be outside all day long. Really looking forward to seeing your pictures of England. We went about 6 yrs ago and LOVED it. Saw so much but still missed a lot. You will see lots of little Westie pups like mine. Give them all a hug for me. Marcy

  27. Susan Simon says:

    Hello, Susan and everyone! I woke up with a miserable migraine, which is finally easing up… and coming here and seeing all the gorgeous pictures is a great day brightener. Love all the squirrel pictures, and seeing how they hang upside down is a universal thing… they do that on our bird feeders, too.

    We are having SUCH an early spring here in Chicagoland…. our lilacs are blooming already! (They don’t usually do that until Mother’s Day or so)… and forsythia is glowing bright yellow all around. Makes me want to get out and plant the garden, but it really is much too early… so will enjoy thinking about it for now. Your Anne of Green Gables comment made me smile. I devoured all those books when I was about 12, as well as some of her others. Emily of New Moon was another one of my favorites.

    Love thinking about seeing the Cotswolds again, and the rest of the sights of England. Thank you for taking us along with you. Take care, everyone, and have a beautiful Tuesday.

  28. Marcy says:

    Thank you for the gorgeous pictures! Georgia is in full bloom, too, and I never want to come inside. Can not wait to see the pictures from England. We went several yrs ago. Saw lots but missed more. You will see lots of little Westie pups like mine. Give them all a big hug from me.

  29. Priscilla says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful post. It is always a joy to watch spring arriving!!! After weeks of warm weather we had a frost early this am in Sioux Falls. But still spring is coming. Can’t wait for the trip to England. Have a great time!

    Priscilla from So. CA. in SD

  30. Lisa Boni says:

    Love this post about Spring! It has all my favorite things in it ~ blooming trees, birds and squirrels! And Anne of Green Gables too! So uplifting! And what fun to be dreaming about your upcoming trip to England along the way!

  31. Rae Ann says:

    Susan~Good morning from western Minnesota where on Sunday I saw the first tulips blooming and the first robin on the grass…it is 28* here this morning and will get to about 44* today…its a bit nippy to be sitting outside yet, but I do have lots of books stacked up just waiting to be read…we went to Minneapolis over the weekend to see the Princess Diana exhibit…her collections of china animals, school uniform, report cards, toys, diaries, miniature books, beautiful jewels and tiaras, lots of dresses, but the highlight was her wedding dress with the really long train…it was bittersweet to see everything, but very interesting at the same time…the exhibit will be in Minnesota at the Mall of America til June…if anyone gets a chance they really should go see it…I thought about you traveling to England while I was there, Susan…also lots of photos of Diana’s childhood home…it certainly wasn’t a cottage, but a REALLY large aristocratic home…castle-like…can’t wait to see pictures of everything you see while you and your love are in England…have you started knitting your scarf yet or are you saving it for your trip???…latergator…xoxo…

    • sbranch says:

      I’m saving it, I have the yarn rolled into balls!

      • Rae Ann says:

        Good for you!!!…I think/know you have lots to do before you leave…like keeping us girlfriends posted on what you are up to…thank you SOOO much for that…you will have your scarf to look forward to soon enough…

  32. Sandy from New Vineyard says:

    Good morning, Susan!
    Thank you for the wonderful post today. Enjoyed every bit. Things are still a little on the nippy side here, a little overcast, and not much in bloom yet. But you made hope spring up in my heart today and I know it’s all just around the corner!

  33. Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

    Beautiful photos! So glad that you’re experiencing spring at your eastern home!
    Our cats love to watch the squirrels too! Sometimes wonder if the cats think the squirrels are some sort of cats because of the squirrel ears and tails! LOL!
    Happy sunny days! Rain X2 predicted on Cali coast in next 10 days!!

  34. Good morning Susan! You described exactly how it looks driving to work! It is like driving through a wedding aisle. So much pretty pink and white everywhere! Though today it is threatening to sleet and rain on my springtime parade 🙁
    I can hardly wait to board the ship and sail across the pond!! xoxo Debbie

  35. Linda Pintarell says:

    Much to beautiful not to share with others…so I did! Hope they enjoy it as much as I do. Your pictures are so lovely, lovely, lovely. I can’t help it; my favorites are always the ones with the critters, i.e., squirrels, deer…no kitties today 🙁
    Can’t believe spring has sprung so fast this season. Happy Day to all!

  36. Jan says:

    What a wonderful post this morning! Loved all the blooms, and the squirrels are adorable! I really enjoy my bird feeder too. This morning I saw mourning doves, a blue jay, sparrows, chicadees, and red winged blackbirds. Hope you don’t get the cold spell we are having right now. It’s spitting snowflakes this morning, so I’m hoping it doesn’t spoil the fruit trees and lilacs here in Michigan. Thanks for the heartwarming post!! Off for my cup of tea!

  37. Linda says:

    Dear Susan, After seeing the picture of the cottage in the Cotswolds I knew you might like this little devotion book I picked up this year by F. LaGard Smith. It is titled “Meeting God in Quiet Places”, I have loved it. The description on the back reads: In these inspiring parables drawn from his daily walks through the magnificent Cotswolds, noted author F. LaGard Smith shares life-renewing insights to guide you to the very heart of God… Each devotion also has a hand drawing by Glenda Rae and depicts the Cotswolds beautifully! Enjoy!!!!

  38. Oh me, oh my. I am all tingly with excitement.

  39. Linda says:

    Here’s a link to “Meeting God in Quiet Places”


  40. Julianna (New York) says:

    Susan, you are quite the poet. And you punctuate with pictures! Thanks for this. I am particularly enjoying the birdsong. 🙂

  41. Andrea says:

    We have a finch feeder hanging in our Japanese Maple tree and a few years back I was watching the finches enjoying a Spring morning snack when they up and scattered. Then slowly the finch feeder starting moving up the branch, towards the top of the tree. A squirrel had decided it was take-out and was going to take it home with him. We shooed him away and tied a big rock to the bottom of the feeder so it wouldn’t happen again. Very intrepid, those squirrels. Your squirrels probably have a chandelier hanging from your bird feeder hook in their nest.

  42. Rebecca L. says:

    What lovely photos, so different from where I live. I was lucky enough to visit England fifteen years ago; I look forward to reading about your travels.

    Good morning from Riverside, CA.

  43. Lori says:

    It is spring here in Fort Wayne, Indiana too. Loved the phots and the birdsong. Looking forward to “our” trip. Give my best to Harold!

  44. Shana says:

    This post makes me want to run outside and see what’s been blooming around my neighborhood. I love all your animal friends too! And I can’t wait to see what England has to offer either. I hope to one day be able to take a cruise over there too. Thanks for yet another beautiful post.

  45. sandi says:

    cannot wait until your trip…looking forward to hearing about and seeing what all you get to see and do…my hubby and i are going to be married 30 years this october and we have been trying to plan an early anniversary trip for july so that our 7 year old and college age son will be out of school and they can go. we talked about england, italy, or australia, but now think that caliber of a trip is going to have to wait. we are still going to do a trip in the states to somewhere we have never been and maybe make it a road trip where we just get in the car and go for 2 weeks stopping wherever the wind takes us. i am however, going to continue to plan for that bigger trip, so when we do make it we will be prepared. we are leaning towards england, because my hubby says he wants to be able to understand whatever anyone says to him…LOL…i guess that’s as good a reason as any! 🙂 anyway, i am looking forward to getting ideas for our “someday” trip. thanks as always for sharing! so here’s to safe travels for you and joe, and the best trip you can possibly have! sandi in maryland

  46. Sue says:

    Wonderful post today……beautiful trees, this had been a wonderful year for blooming things….the little neighbor girl skipped down the road Sunday afternoon and picked lilacs, oh they smelt so good on the Easter table.

    Did I tell you “I’m coming back in my second life as a squirrel, so I can sit and shake by bushy tail”!

  47. Christie Ray says:

    You and Joe enjoy the same entertainment as me and my Tim! We have all sorts of old mailboxes and birdcages and bird feeders …a shelf with a nail for dried corn cobs…and we sit on the back porch in our rockers and watch the best show in town! The squirrels hanging by their back feet to get the sunflower seeds out of the little holes in the mailbox, lifting the metal flap of another box to get the peanuts, chasing round and round the big hackberry tree…there’s plenty for them to eat, so they don’t bother the bird feeders. I think, now, though, we might just be supplying the food for all the birds and squirrels in the neighborhood…the grocery bill (from the feed mill;) is about as high as ours!! But it’s like your calendar says…a person will be judged by how they treated the animals (well, something like that:) We get excited over each little blooming thing, too…it’s a gift each spring. Even though we “open” it every year, it never ever gets old.
    I have the book Happy England..Helen Allingham…and I just want to go to there! Every little cottage… Can’t WAIT to see how you capture England in photos AND watercolors and your words, which always create pictures in themselves.
    Happy spring day, dear friend!

  48. Sharon says:

    Oh my goodness, Susan. What a beeeeeeeatiful post! I love spending spring with you in Martha’s Vinyard. Thank you so much for sharing it’s beauty with us! And sharing your sense of humor with us, too, Harold’s story and photos really made me smile. And wowza – only THREE more weeks till England! I am looking forward to “our” trip. We just got home from Disney World – England at EPCOT was wonderful. We had fish and chips and toasted you and Joe and your trip top the “real” England! We had an amazing time – family bonding is so much fun. Now back to real life . . .

  49. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Aren’t you glad you are at MV this spring!!! Thanks for the beautiful photos. After having the unseasonably warm weather a couple of weeks ago, we are back to “Minnesota normal spring weather.” We had frost last night–so Norm brought in the big pots of hostas from the deck to the garage overnight and we covered the daylilies in the half whiskey barrels with towels to protect them. As Rae Ann said, above, Minnesota is having highs in the mid-40’s and tonight is supposed to be even colder with a “hard frost” predicted. Last night we brought some branches in from the flowering crab tree in the park and have a vase of them on the coffee table–they are so beautiful!! I can just imagine what Jack does with the squirrels–Fanny and Betti, the schnauzers, go CRAZY when the squirrels visit the bird feeder on the deck. I think they just think they are rats with big furry tails! But it does give them entertainment watching them and they take turns doing “squirrel watch” at the patio door and over the sofa back in the living room every morning! I AM excited about your trip coming up–feel like I have a friend going to England who is going to share the trip with me. You make the world a smaller place and it is so interesting to be able to see places through your camera eyes that we would otherwise not be able to see–thanks for sharing!!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I never would have imagined, but as long as we get service for the computer, I think it will be so fun to send photos and share it with everyone! My phone will also send things to Twitter, I think!! There’s a bit of the unknown connected to the computer — we’ve been calling England asking questions, we think it’s all covered.

    • Mia Sophia says:

      My black 6 lb schnauzer Sophie wants to “play” with the squirrels but they run along the fence and race around the trees. Sophie gets her feelings hurt when they leave her behind…so much for being a ratter! She loves playing with cats, rabbits and wants to see our Mourning Doves too.

  50. Carol Maurer says:

    Good happy Spring morning to you Susan,
    Oh, the lovely Spring flowers that are in bloom on Martha’s Vineyard! All the pictures of flowers and animals keep me in the spring mood here in Eureka, Ca, where the rain is falling and the sky is full of clouds. I did buy flowers this past weekend, but am waiting for better weather to plant them. You may want to change the time of year that you and Joe go to California so that you can enjoy the blooming trees each year. They are sooo pretty. The flowering cherry trees here in town are in full bloom…. so thick.
    Have a great rest of the day.
    Carol M

  51. pat addison says:

    good morning susan, good morning everyone. i love those squirrels, so adorable. we have plenty here in our yard and they all get fed at their “table” which is a tree stump but they sit there and enjoy their breakfast while i get mine. we have deer in the back area, so i put hay out every day for them..alfalfa hay as we also give that to the chickens to forage through and munch on, good for them as it gives them the needed greens they crave along with lawn clippings. and all spring and summer they get lawn clippings when we mow the lawns and the hay and leftover veggies from dinner and veggie tops and bottoms .. are they spoiled or what??? i love all the flowering trees and shrubs, but since they make me sneeze i enjoy the view from inside the house. well you all have a wonderful sunny day, i have to get busy spring cleaning. hugs……. 🙂

  52. Audrey Patterson says:

    England, my life long dream, to live a little while in a B&B there and experiience
    that wonderful place. Me mether’s family were from Wales, me fethers from England and I’m from Newfoundland, another island, perhaps thats where the longing comes from.
    I’ve just gotten through re-reading all my Roseamunde Pilcher books an feel like I’ve spent the winter in the British Isles.

    All the best to you as you anticipate your wonderful trip,I’ll be following you all the way.

    • sbranch says:

      I understand that longing, it even hurts sometimes. I felt it about New England before I even saw it!

  53. Marilyn says:

    We’re packed. We’re ready. Let’s go to England! 🙂

    I laughed at the gymnastics that Harold and friends go through in order to get to the birdfeeders. Years ago I had a light weight tube feeder that became a favorite of the local squirrel population. One day, while watching a squirrel munch on sunflower seeds, I was amazed to see him lift the tube feeder up off the hook, and then start running away with it!

    He would’ve gotten away with it too, except he couldn’t lift it off the ground when he got to our 6 ft. fence.

    Love the way you framed your pictures today with fresh Spring flowers! Oh, the joys of Spring!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

    • sbranch says:

      I came into the kitchen this morning after updating the blog — and guess what? One of the bird feeder chains was hanging empty, no bird feeder. I asked Joe where it was; he said he’d moved that feeder over and replaced it with a little cage full of suet, which I never even saw. And it’s now GONE, cage and all. Joe hunted all over in the hydrangeas that grow under the feeders. Harold (or one of his cohorts) got it! Their little ears must have been burning with my post this morning, and they decided to show me what they could really do if they put their minds to it.

      • pat addison says:

        so where was Jack??? isn’t he supposed to watch the feeder and guard it from squirrels???? my cats go bonkers if a squirel comes up on the porch to go after a feeder, thats why they have their own “table” to eat from. wish i could send you the lovely picture we took of the deer that visit our backyard. think you would love them. have a wonderful sunny day. hugs…… 🙂

      • Marilyn says:

        Oh dear….I hope my post from earlier today did not help put the idea in Harold & Co. little heads! 🙂 Those ltiny paws are incredibly nimble and strong, aren’t they?

        Do you have raccoons around you? They are industrious, nimble, strong, bright and can get into anything! Nothing is safe when they descend on your yard.

        Marilyn (in Dallas)

        • sbranch says:

          We do have them, in fact we had a baby take up residence in the well of our basement last year. But he toddled off one day never to be seen again. We don’t have trouble with them, they don’t get in our trash, I’m not sure why!

          • pat addison says:

            we have those pesty raccoons at our place, each spring one comes in under the house and makes a nest and has her babies there, the racket those young ones make and the destruction is unbelievable. finally found a humane solution to the problem, we put moth balls under the porches around the house, they raccoons don’t like the smell and stay away and its not expensive to do, we just keep doing it once a month. it sure beats other methods, and we did find a way to get those pests out from under the house sdo we could block off the entrance, we simply got our leaf blower and stuck in under the house and turned it on full blast, the pests didn’t like the noise or the dust being kicked up by the blowe. worked like a charm. 🙂

  54. Susan says:

    I can’t wait!!!!! Will appreciate all your pictures. Cute english shoes?!! O my gosh! So looking forward to your (our) trip.

  55. Aggie says:

    Loved your pretty post and the crazy squirrels. I watched one attack a tire on my car while parked outside on Easter – that was a first. Since the England trip is for your birthday – can we wish you happy birthday now ? 🙂

  56. Sarah says:

    Susan, I have only been to the Vineyard once, but these images are pulling at my heart’s travel strings. Your garden looks like the place to be. Love the bird songs!
    Happy Spring to you! ~ Sarah

  57. Gert~Iowa says:

    Susan…I’m so glad you are home this marvelous year to enjoy all this beauty! We’re early here in Iowa also…our flowering crabs are finished…and the lilacs are now in full bloom! Our home smells so wonderful with these bouquets of lilacs!

    I envy your bathroom view of those cute little squirrels! They are amazing!

    Have fun packing etc… I’m all ready…smile


  58. lynne neal says:

    Susan, thank you so much for the lovely pictures. I am my nursing my favourite dying aunt,who is from England, Unfortunatly she is blind and cannot see your lovely pages, but we spend the time talking of England and she is convinced that is where we are now ( we are in Toronto,), We have also sailed back and forth from England to Canada a few times.Your blog is keeping me going , thank you. Lynne

    • sbranch says:

      What you are doing Lynne is probably one of the most beautiful gifts you could give; it’s so selfless. Sending love and strength xoxo I hope when it’s my time, I think I’m in England and have someone around me just like you.

  59. Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

    Oh my, Susan! Your squirrel duo is so precious. How nice that you have broad window sills for the kitties. That is something that should be on every home buyers’ list of requirements who also owns kitties. Old homes seem to be great for broad window sills.

    We had the same experience with our feeder. It was so much fun watching the squirrel (I think it was only one) learning to slide upside down down the feeder and stick his tongue in the little opening to grab a sunflower seed. Eventually he learned to eat continuously instead of one seed at a time, and was not giving the birds any chance at all. Darling to watch but really not our objective in hanging the feeder. We finally had to shut down the all-you-can-eat-for-free buffet.

    We also have white squirrels in Brevard….not albinos. They have dark eyes and a little gray on the tops of the heads, down their spines and their tails. They have been here for decades and have emigrated to other communities now. Brevard conducts a white squirrel count every year.

    We love grilled cheese sandwiches too which I too grill in my cast iron skillet. We like them best with tomato and basil soup, an upgrade from our childhoods. Did all the girlfriends’ mothers serve them with tomato soup, and if so, how did they all come up with the idea? Was it a Campbell Soup marketing campaign, or some kind of serendipitous thing, or what? My mother had a great two-sided, hinged griddle/grill similar to today’s indoor griddle/grills.

    We love the old movies too and the classic holiday movies are some of the best. I discovered the young Bette Davis about a year ago and I just can’t get enough of her movies.

    Well, I have spent a good bit of time writing this little note because I have been skipping back and forth between hear and Phoebe’s nest so I better post this now. I have much to do today and it is getting away from me.

    Have a lovely day everyone,


    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Kathy!

    • Diana - Highland, IL says:

      Count me in on the tomato soup/grilled cheese for lunch brigade!! I too wonder where that came from. I know they also served it in the school cafeteria as well, although I always took my lunch! :-).. .what memories! ‘

  60. Laura Croyle says:

    Ohhhh….thanks for sharing the Loverly photos of all your trees in bloom! So Pretty!! Since our Spring has been so cold here, (western WA) none of our trees are in bloom yet. We finally took down our bird feeders when we couldn’t keep the squirrels out of them. They made such a mess and chewed all the plastic ones to pieces! They even got stuck inside my friend’s “squirrel-proof” feeder!! LOL! They Are fun to watch and chase each other around, however. Such shenanigans!!
    Your wonderful descriptions of England make me drool! I can hardly wait to see it all through your eyes!

  61. Cathy Gilleylen Schultz, Braddock Heights, MD says:

    With the birdsong in the background I felt I was looking out your window with you at that darling squirrel couple! I’ve never seen squirrels in their nest together like that–a very special treat, indeed.

    We have a herd of deer that walk through our property all the time and one dared come into the front yard and ate 12 of my just-bloomed tulips!

    I’m starting to get excited about your trip as you talk more of where you’re going. If I ever get to England one of the places I want to go to is a used book store to look for children’s books. I’m eager to see what treasures you find.

  62. Darlene B (NYC) says:

    Hi Susan, thank you for sharing your beautiful spring with us! I’m glad that this year you are there to be a part of all the magic. Spring has arrived here too and we’ve had such a nice stretch of warm days. It really has been beautiful! Can’t wait to board ship with you!!! I really am so excited for you and Joe, and all us lucky friends to be able to see the beauty through your eyes…. as always,you’ll know exactly the right things to share with us!!!! Kiss sweet girl kitty and adorable Jack for me! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      First I wrote back to Doreen and now it’s Darlene, I feel like I’m on the Mickey Mouse Club! Finally! My dream! 🙂

      Kissing the kitty for your Darlene!

      • Doreen Strain - Florida says:

        Don’t laugh Susan but that is where my parents got my name from…..The Mickey Mouse Club!!!!!! Way back in ….let’s see….yup…it’s way back there in 1957! Who’s the leader of the band that’s made for you and me…M I C K E Y MOUSE! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  63. Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

    Isn’t bird watching such a simple thing but yet one that gives so much pleasure. I love to see all the little birds flying in and out of the yard like their at an airport! Thanks for the post today Susan. I loved how you used the word “caress” for how spring feels. You have seemed to hit the nail right on the head with that one. I can’t wait to use my new teacup for our afternoon teas while we’re in England. I’m going to make myself a cup of tea each time I come to your blog here so I can connect via the enjoyment of the whole experience and the way you’ll share with us your little treats of different places and “things”. FOSB 4~Ever! ~Doreen~

    • sbranch says:

      FOSB 4~Ever Doreen!

      • Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

        A cyber tea party! Love that idea. I’m sitting here at the moment having a cup of Earl Grey with lavender tea and one of those scrumptious carrot cake cupcakes that I made for Easter…can you believe that I even have some left over?? I can’t! It seems that there were people who either don’t like raisins, or coconut, or cream cheese frosting, or nuts…..craziness! I love EVERY SINGLE part of those cupcakes……more for me! 🙂

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Hi Karen P. in Wisconsin! I’m sitting here having one of the same-recipe cupcakes leftover, too, with a cup of Lady Grey tea as I read this!!! 🙂

          • Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

            Ladies, so much sharing can be done over just one cup of tea. It has a way of bringing friends closer. Don’t you think? I just love sitting in the stillness of my day and enjoying something I know my mother and her mother enjoyed as well. Doesn’t matter if I’m sitting in front of the computer….I’m still in your company and what wonderful company it is!!!!! (Said with my pinky in the air, holding my teacup to my lips taking a wonderful sip of my tea!) xxoo!! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

          • Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

            Pat! Too funny….. and we’re practically “physical” neighbors, too! We could have met up for tea…called Susan, Doreen and Cathy and had ourselves a nice little tea party! Next time! xoxo….kp

        • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

          Yep – CRAZY – I would love a cupcake too! Mmmmm – – My S-I L made them also but she’s in NY so I didn’t get one! I would love to make them but then I’d be eating way more than one but someday soon I’m gonna have to find a special reason to make them!

  64. Terri says:

    I love England – only been once, but would love to live there, so you know I am already packed. I do, too, love to see sights from MV. The deer!!!! You must walk around with your camera to get so many candids. Somehow your squirrels are more interesting than ours, even though we have a skinny tailed one, too. And you captured a bird mid flight! Love your blog!

  65. NANCY JO says:

    Hi Susan,
    Yes a page in your new travel book, ‘SHOES IN ENGLAND”. You just can’t miss with that one. Its the little things like that, that we women are interested in.
    Sooo anyway back to your house, do you have any pictures of the house from waaaaay back and the people that lived there? Did you ever find anything in that interesting basement or in the walls or buried outside? Well you know not people. I’m almost packed for England, just can’t decide on which shoes to take.
    Nancy Jo

  66. Pat says:

    I am not packed but ready for the trip. This is a beautiful time of the year with Mother Nature in all her glory. My early Lilacs are just about through blooming and the flowering crab apple is now in full bloom. It must be that we had such a mild winter but everything seems to be flourishing this year.

    I have many squirrels in the yard as I have 4 Black Walnut trees and they love them. I do not let them in the bird feeders as they are pigs and will not let anyone else feed so I bought a squirrel proof feeder a few years back. Today I am going to make my Baltimore Oriole food as they will be coming back soon and I want them to stay the summer.

    I look forward to going on your trip to Ireland with you and yours.

  67. I hope you and Joe had a very happy Easter, Susan! It was a quiet one for my husband and myself. We enjoyed lovely weather and it was good to rest after a very busy week.

    Your budding tress are so gorgeous –I’m glad you are having a chance to enjoy them! I enjoy watching the squirrels in the park when I walk in the morning. A friend of mine has trouble with them trying to nest in her attic. They gnaw right through the rafters! She captures them in a “have a Heart” trap and then releases them in a park, hoping they don’t find their way home” .. LOL!

    I’m so excited about seeing photos from your trip to England. I have never visited England, although I’ve traveled to Ireland many times and loved the people there as well as the scenery.

    Enjoy Spring!



  68. JCurrie says:

    We have had a most amazing and beautiful Spring here in North Carolina – loved seeing your Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel – we have a “widow” Mourning dove who lost her mate last year and we loved watching them – usually late in the afternoon. She still looks for her sunflower seeds but has not taken another. Our squirrels longer can get the seed because when they jump on the squirrel-buster feeders, the perch goes down so they have to wait for the birds to drop sweet morsels. Love to watch and see how often they try – perserverance – good for them. Warmest wishes.JC

  69. Gill says:

    Hello Susan, oh, you are going to make me SO homesick! But I shall be in England in June myself so I shall look forwards to it even more with your tempting journeyings here 🙂

    I wanted to recommend Arthur Mee’s books describing each county in England. They are vintage now, so are out of date, but contain such charming descriptions of each little village and town. Some of the county names changed a little in the 1960’s, so you need to know the old ones. The series is called “The King’s England” and there are lots very cheaply on Ebay (UK) and they are worth searching out in those little old secondhand bookshops too. I am slowly building up my own collection of the counties I love.

  70. Sue D. says:

    Thanks for sharing what spring looks like in your neck of the woods. I live in Florida so we don’t get those beautiful spring days like this, but we seem to have something beautiful blooming year round. I loved seeing the squirrel family. Just like something out of Beatrice Potter. They are so cute. I think your readers are getting almost as excited about your upcoming trip as you are because we know you will share some glorious things with us. I believe you have a birthday on Thursday so I wanted to wish you a Very Happy Birthday. I hope it’s filled with joy through and through.

    Sue in Fl.

  71. Claire says:

    Thank you Susan for being so generous in sharing your trip. There are lots of us who would dearly love to go in person , but for many sundries reasons cannot do so. Armchair travels will have to suffice. But this trip is a delight to look forward to!

  72. Paulie says:

    Hi Susan!
    What a beautiful photographed blog today. I am just oohing and aweing over the pictures, the trees in blossom, the birds, and those adorable squirrels, you are so far ahead of us here….it’s a joy to see what is coming for us later on. Loved the deer…..and that got me to thinking, maybe they are all gathering for an important birthday on Thursday of a special friend we know there. Hope the day is a beautiful one for you. Have a happy birthday lady Joy!………..filled with many blessings. Got my suitcase sitting by my door ready to board the ship with you….and looking forward to it now esp. since I can finally see now. Had cataract surgery….so glad it is now behind me……..I can see I can see I can see!

  73. Ann says:

    We name our squirrels, too! What a beautiful yard you have. Thanks for sharing with us today. I’m going away for a long weekend and I’m hoping the hydrangeas and lilacs don’t decide to bloom while I’m away. It has cooled down quite a bit here, though.

  74. Kimi says:

    Hi Susan

    You know, this is better then going to the ZOO! Can you just love the wildlife right in your yard the squirrels are so cute I love them! most folks don’t but I do! and a nest of bird eggs and your own deer boy are you blessed. Do you know Susan what kind of bird is in the nest? would be fun to find out? The yard looks like its coming together and looking more and more like spring. Here its just at its peek! goes so fast so enjoy. Have a great day and thanks for the pictures of your zoo! XO

    • sbranch says:

      The barbecue is on the porch behind the barn, really out of sight, so we haven’t seen it yet.

  75. Mary Ann - Central Highlands of Mexico says:

    Another beautiful blog! Flowers, flowering trees, birds and squirrels. All perfect. Thank you! And thank you ladies for two new authors to add to my Cotswold reading. Miss Read and Barbara Pym.

  76. jeannine leonard says:

    Oh, how I would love to see pictures of old churches, something about the history, and imagining how familys and pastors or priests worshiped.
    Squirrels are fun to watch, esp when they are trying to get birdseed out of a feeder. We have a groundhog in the back field under some old apple trees. I have told him, that as long as he stays out of my garden, we will leave him alone. So far so good. He is so cute to watch, he bobs up and down like he is playing hide and seek with us. Thanks for the beautiful pictures of your neighborhood.

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Jeanine, when I was growing up, we had a woodchuck in our yard that had a burrow under a shed in our back yard. My mother was afraid of it but it was more afraid of us! I know what you mean about them peeking up–apparently they have bad eyesight and stand on their haunches to look around and that is what makes them appear to be peering at us! They usually do mind their own business and are fun to watch!

  77. CindyK says:

    What a wonderful spring post! I simply adored the squirrels!! Don’t know if you remember Susan, but I am the one who rescues and raises orphaned infant squirrels, then releases them. These squirrel photos are soooo sweet! I especially loved Mr. and Mrs. up in the Linden tree. Aren’t they sweet! They are lucky to have a nice house in a tree! You don’t see to many of those around here. It’s usually leaf, grass, and twig nests, and some of them have blown down in the high winds we have had. I wonder what the poor things do when they’re homes have blown away! The bird in flight is awesome! All the spring blossoms are sooo hopeful, as here it has been cold! Even after some 80+ degree days last month, we are getting freezing temps now!! Have a very happy spring!!

    • sbranch says:

      I would love to rescue a squirrel, if I could find one that needed rescuing. Actually, kitties are a substitute for the fact that I have never been able to get my hands on a squirrel (although I sure tried!). I even call Jack “squirrel!”

    • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

      I love watching squirrels! I know a lot of people really can’t stand them but they are part of nature and I enjoy them. My father feeds them. He keeps a bowl of mixed nuts by the door for when they come to the window, peer in and beg for them! They have even crawled up his pant leg although that kinda creeps him out. He says they have “very sharp” claws but are gentle when picking the nuts out of his hand. It’s really precious to watch as he’s so gentle and sweet with them. He’s 90 this year.

      • sbranch says:

        My dad will be 90 next year, but you would never know it, he’s such a go-getter. I hope I grow up to be just like him.

        • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

          My dad too! I’m hoping it’s in the genes! He’s so young looking and goes, goes, goes. I’m very, very proud of him! I just wish he had more friends. He has lost many of them and I think he’s really lonely for them and for my mother. We are traveling back to Iowa with him this June so he can visit with his childhood friends and attend a family gathering. Many are older than him!!!!! It’s fun to listen to all their stories of each other way back when. Very enlightening!!!!!!!! (Although it never surprises us!)

          • sbranch says:

            He sounds wonderful! Is he in Colorado? My mom was born in Iowa too.

          • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

            Yes, he’s in Colo. He lives about 20 min. from me. I try to stop in and say hello and bring him some home baked goodies or a home cooked dinner a few times a week. We also see him every weekend. I can’t stand the thought of him by himself day after day but he keeps busy. One day when I pulled up he was on his roof cleaning the gutters! I just had to fuss at him!! I have 3 brothers but they live in different states.

          • sbranch says:

            My dad’s cleaning gutters and lifting rocks too, it’s in their blood. Probably what keeps them young!

  78. Diana - Highland, IL says:

    I am packed and ready to go girlfriends!!! What beautiful pictures Susan!.. I work and home and my office window I can watch two squirrels play all day long.. they go back and forth across the street.. which makes me nervous, but are very happy fellows! We had gorgeous weather here the last few days. It is a little nippy for some people but I enjoy the crisp air and sunshine.. perfect combination!… Ahh.. Anne of Green Gables.. loved the books and the shows! I wanted to move to PEI after reading those books!… I think maybe I have packed too many shoes and magazines, but that is just the way it goes for me! Can’t wait for “our” adventures!!

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t use Kindle, but right about now I can see the use of it . . . my book stack is getting a bit ridiculous (and heavy!).

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Susan, I have to laugh reading your comment! When we go to Door County in the Fall, Norm looks at my canvas bookbag and the canvas knitting bag and usually asks me if I am planning to be “snowed in” for a month or two!!! But I never can decide and HEAVEN FORBID I run out of books to read or knitting projects to work on while we are on vacation!!!! 🙂 LOL

        • sbranch says:

          I get this totally. I am trying to stop myself. We will see what sneaks through the blockade!

          • Diana - Highland, IL says:

            But you just never know what you will be in the mood to read or in my case, crochet…. glad to know I am in good company with my indecisions!! LOL!!!

  79. Jennie says:

    It is madly beautiful in your neighborhood! And luckily I can say it is in mine too! The stuff of spring is so exciting- each morning new things pop up in the garden. Right now my newly planted (last fall) tulips are opening up and surprising me with whatever color they are. I love the ‘mixed bag’ of color surprises!
    What amazing pictures you got of your ‘squirrel-y neighbors’! I especially like the happy couple in the tree. 🙂
    And I can just picture Jack’s enjoyment of their activity! ;)- certain kitty traits are rather universal, aren’t they?
    I’m so happy to hear others enjoy the “Miss Read” books as well . . . in fact, I am currently reading “Tyler’s Row” which I found at the thrift store in perfect condition for only two dollars. A good book to get lost in is such a treasure right now! I had never heard of Barbra Pym, but I will certainly be checking her out too- this is such a special community! Enjoy the day Susan and ‘girls’!

  80. Barbara H. says:

    Hi Susan! I love that you have an artist eye when you paint AND when you snap photos with your camera. Thanks for sharing the beauty around you! (Here in Nashville TN it looks pretty good this time of year too.) Blessings!

  81. Mary S. says:

    Oh, how beautiful!! I LOVE all your Spring photos!! Spring is so exciting to me – I can hardly stand to be inside! Altho’ that’s exciting, too, because I am starting a new stained glass project!

    ” I would love to get a look inside that nest!! I always wonder if they have my bird-feeder hanging hook that just up and disappeared a couple of years ago.” – ROTFL!!!!!

    I am so excited to be going vicariously to England with you! My dream trip!!! Someday maybe my husband and I can go in person!

    Love and blessings from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  82. Mary S. says:

    Oh, how beautiful!! I LOVE all your Spring photos!! Spring is so exciting to me – I can hardly stand to be inside! Altho’ that’s exciting, too, because I am starting a new stained glass project!

    ” I would love to get a look inside that nest!! I always wonder if they have my bird-feeder hanging hook that just up and disappeared a couple of years ago.” – ROTFL!!!!!

  83. Terri J. says:

    Ok…just have to say….your post makes me happy!

  84. Rosinda says:

    Just beautiful! I always love popping in on your blog – so much “scope for the imagination”, as Anne (with an “e”) would say! I’m so glad Spring has sprung where you live! We’re a bit behind here in Ontario, Canada. Sending love and hugs.

  85. Melissa Leathley says:

    OHH…I love the squirrels that you get to watch out your window and the birds. I love that photo with the bird in flight. I am a nature photographer…certainly not at all professional, but the photos I love the most are of all the wildlife that surrounds my home and where I live. I have a “squirrel bungy” hanging where I can see it from my crafting room. It’s on a long spring and we put dried corn cobs and it and watch the squirrels hanging and bouncing from it. That corn is gone within a few hours this time of year. We have 3 squirrels that come to it all the time. One of them, once the corn is all gone, tries to carry the cob up the tree with the bungy still attached. It’s so funny when it won’t go any farther and he puts all of his might into trying. He never learns and does it each time.
    Thank you for letting me write my novel here!! I can’t wait to see what you bring us from your awesome upcoming trip. I will probably never go on a trip like that so it’s going to be exciting to see everything.
    Thanks for all you do. Makes my day!

  86. Anna says:

    I hope you are packing a great hat for tea time! Can’t wait for your trip. I don’t know who is more excited you or your fans.

  87. Gail Buss says:

    Dear Susan, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”………remembering Mr. Rogers and singing the song in my head while looking at your lovely Spring photos. My best surprise when I clicked on “England” was the picture of the lovely stone cottage you might be staying at again! I know you will have a wonderful time. I have read some of the Miss Read books which I enjoy. I also enjoy the author M.C. Beaton who writes Agatha Raisin books that take place in the Cotswolds. She also has a series about Hamish MacBeth that takes place in Scotland. I will also be looking up Barbara Pym books that I never knew about. Even thought we live in Florida in a nice neighborhood, this area is very country-like with lots of trees and shrubs. We are on the gulf coast side. There is a black bear in our neighborhood and we have been warned to watch out because he goes after the birdseeds in feeders so perhaps some animal like that took your suet. Now on to grilled cheese which I love but my Joe doesn’t….(I don’t think his Mom made it)……try it with cooked bacon on it or even slices of tomato…….yummy (but be careful not to burn your tongue on the hot tomato – give it a chance to cool a bit). Yes, M.V. looks absolutely delightful………enjoy every minute of Spring there until your epic journey. Will be following it closely ~ Gail & Joe, Fl

    • sbranch says:

      Thank goodness we have no bears here, this is way too small a place to have bears in it!! I saw your bear on the news, but they got him! And didn’t hurt him! Poor guy.

    • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

      I just love Agatha Raisin—-she is so endearingly flawed and I can identify with her in so many ways, sorry to say! Hubby and I both look forward to M.C. Beaton’s latest books in that series and Hamish MacBeth.

      • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

        P.S. We actually live a few miles outside of Brevard in a mountain community. Black bears are not such a rare sight around here and they are sometimes spotted right on the other side of one’s window out on the deck. Bird feeders must be brought in at night or they will attract the bears.

  88. Joy Pence says:

    Oh Susan…how beautiful. I love spring, it is my favorite season. The bird nest in the grill (how sweet). One year some birds built their nest in a wreath on our front door. My husband set up a saw horse on the front walk with a sign letting visitors know to come around to the side door, so not to disturb the “family”. Here in Ohio, the lilacs have been blooming for 2 weeks and the dogwoods as well. There may be no dogwoods blooming for our area’s annual dogwood festival! Have a beautiful evening!

  89. Dinahsoar says:

    I too love Miss Read! The squirrel couple are soooo cute. I love what you said: . “All this beauty is waiting at the nursery, and year after year, it comes back as a benediction.” The island is lovely–it must be very hard to leave it. Three weeks will be here in a blink…look out England, here we come….tee hee…love that you have a spy cam.

  90. Judy says:

    Was delighted by your spring squirrels and flowering trees,,spring is so pretty there right now,,also surprised to hear some else loves Miss Read books,,just wish there were more of them,,just finished one last night,,reading her has always made me wish I could visit the Cotswolds,,enjoy your visit for all of Miss Read fans

    Judy in S.Cal

  91. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    BEAUTIFUL! The “birdsong” is wonderful with the pictures. I can almost smell and feel spring in your gorgeous yard. What a beautiful driveway and yard! Must be hard to leave it but wonderful to come back too! Our lilacs are blooming – everything is blooming early here. I’m happy for warm weather 🙂

  92. Christine Anderson says:

    Lovely, just lovely! we were just in Elsah Il visiting my grandson at school and spring had sprung!! Being from So Cal I don’t see Dogwood pink and white, Red Bud, Lilacs in every shade of pink and purple along with white, white daffodils, and Cardinals! What a wonderful visit we had, so beautiful. We enjoyed seeing where he lives while away at school!!

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect time of year for that visit!

    • Diana - Highland, IL says:

      Oh Christine, Elsah is a beautiful village! I don’t too too far from there but just enough for a wonderful drive. We go up that way in the winter to watch the eagles and I hope you took sometime to visit around in the area. so many lovely shops, parks, and just looking at the river is a wonderful way to spend the day! Magic, I say!!

  93. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Afternoon Sweet Sue…My Bags are almost Packed… & I am so Ready for This Very Exciting Journey…. & Springtime on Your Island is Heavenly….I Know You are Breathing in All The Magic….Enjoy….what are Ya going to do on Thursday?…Celebration wise….? sending lots of L♥ve & Glittery Sparkly Pixie~Dust! xoxo Poof! 🙂 ♥

    • sbranch says:

      There’s a little Party for me Saturday night with all my best girlfriends and their guys.

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        🙂 Hooray! A “Little~Party” for You Saturday Night…Ya Know We’ll All Be There with You & Your Best Girlfriends & Their Guys in “Spirit”…May I Begin The Birthday Song?….Happy Birthday to You…ok I’ll wait until Thursday! L♥ve….& Friendship….Always! Yay! Twirling into Birthday~Bliss! xoxo Poof! ♥ 🙂 P.S. Do Not Forget to Make a Wish when You Blow Out Your Birthday Candles! 🙂 ♥

        • sbranch says:

          You never have to worry about that! 🙂

          • Angie(Tink!) says:

            ok…so Now it’s One More Day Until Your Birthday…so Here’s More of The Song…♥♫ Happy Birthday to You…Happy Birthday♥♫ Dearest Sweetest Sue…to be continued… 🙂 Have a Dazzling Day My Dear! xoxo Poof! ♥♫

  94. Hi Susan 🙂

    I’m finally able to post. got off work early today. Spring is definitely taking it’s time here. I think it keeps PEI for last every year! argh. All the more to look forward too 😉

    You love Anne too *sigh* me too, but I think you knew that lol I think anyone who knows me knows that little tidbit about me lol

    love allllllllllllllllllllllllllll your pictures!! Spring has sprung for you!

    Denise of Ingleside

  95. Chris Wells says:

    Love the pictures. After reading all the posts, I must have the world’s best behaved squirrels. They never get into the bird feeders. Maybe all those pecan trees around make the difference. Although my love and I are arguing because he believes the squirrels are chewing up his hammock. He has threatened them with bodily harm. I may have to hide the guns:)
    I am ready for our trip, I am so excited….only 3 weeks! Looking forward to the post on your scrapbooks, too. Thanks for making the day sunnier.

  96. Irene Keating says:

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful blooming trees and wildlife. Spring is my favorite time of year and I feel renewed. Your beautiful blogs and wonderful narrative bring me joy every time I read them. It’s a blessing to have you enrich my life. I feel as if you’re a long time friend as I read your blogs.

  97. Carol K (Flemington, NJ) says:

    Miss Read?? What am I missing! I’ve never heard of her before. What are some titles of her books. I have to add them to my “Must Read” list. Susan, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful all those flowering trees. Our crab apple is just starting to bloom so I’m going to be ready with my camera to grab a shot or two because it’s going to be loaded with blossoms this year. And guess what, my sweet sister brought me a bag of gladiola bulbs for Easter. She reads your blog too. LOL so guess what I’m going to be doing the next few days. Happy, Happy Birthday Baaaaaby…….remember that song? You have a good one. Hugs from Central New Jersayyyy….

    • sbranch says:

      Thannnk you Carol!

      • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

        Miss Read is the nom de plume of Dora Saint. Most of her novels, of which there are many, make up two different series. Each revolves around village life, in either Thrush Green or Fairacre. If you look her up on Wikipedia, you will find all her books listed. I have found a lot of her books in the local libraries where I have lived. They are filed in the catalog system under Miss Read.

        She was born in 1912 and I see on Wikipedia that they have her date of death as April 7, 2012. I have’nt been able to find a corroboration on the Internet of that.

        • sbranch says:

          How strange, that would be only four days ago, and not to hear anything.

          • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

            My, you do get up early, don’t you Susan? a 4:45 am posting time? Or did you never go to bed? I know it must take you a lot of hours to read all the girlfriends’ comments, and then respond to as many as you do. I am staying up way past my bedtime too just to see what everyone has to say in the comments. Or is the 4:45 am posting time just an arbitrary server time?

            Yes, it is strange that there is nothing else on the Internet. BTW, her year of birth was 1913, not 1912 as I wrote.

          • sbranch says:

            I get up really early, but I go to bed early too, so it all works out. Plus she would have been 99 years old. That’s worth remarking on; I think it must be a typo.

          • Carol K (Flemington, NJ) says:

            Kathy, thank you for the great info. I’ll check her out. Our library is quite good at carrying old titles too. Hugs…..

          • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

            Hi Carol,

            You’re very welcome. Well, I have been sitting here trying to write a little review of the books for you and I am at a total loss for words—alas I am not our own darling Susan Branch! You’ll just have to read a couple and you’ll understand.

            My very favorites are “Miss Clare Remembers” and “Emily Davis”. You will get the whole big picture. They meet at school when very young, before World War I, and remain lifelong friends, eventually living together during retirement.

            All the books are excellent books if you are feeling in need of a little gentle care and comfort, and this is what the friends and neighbors of Thrush Green and Fairacre provide to each other just as a matter of course. Least said, soonest mended, and all that.

            Hugs back to you,


        • Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

          Oh my!!!! That’s correct. I found an article on the internet that says she died just 10 days before her 99th birthday which would have been April 17, 2012!!

  98. Linden bloom honey is soooo wonderful! We’ve had an early spring as well but the wind takes payment in the form of blossoms although the lilac tree/bush is protected and giving her all this year. The wind seems to be always howling here on the farm reminding me Mother Nature and Father Time shall have their way.

  99. Carolyn (SoCA) says:

    Springy greetings, Susan
    It is difficult to contain the joy that Spring brings, whether it is from your pictures or from stepping out my front door. Since I am hungry, that grilled cheese is calling my name. We have a local eatery that serves a grilled cheese on sourdough bread with cheddar cheese, bacon, and thinly sliced fresh apple. Yum!

  100. Oh my gosh, the squirrel couple! I can’t stand it! Sooooo sweet. Those guys can really be pests, but there’s no denying how totally cute they are. Our squirrel buddies climb up our window screens to get to the bird feeders. Quite entertaining!

    So looking forward to sharing your England trip with you!! Last night I had a dream that I was in Europe with my mom. I’m not sure where we were during the dream but I kept asking Mom if we could go to London, Paris and Amsterdam. I’m a world traveler in my dreams!

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