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. jane zamudio says:

    Dear Susan! So fun to see the pics of your squirrels and the deer! I feed many big grey squirrels, and many little western browns, who i might say are very sassy! One evening just a week ago i walked by my patio door and five feet away was a huge doe munching grass! When my hubs saw her, all he could say was “great, there go my raspberries!” Have to love it!!!

  2. Sara Holiday, FL says:

    Oh I just love those fat little squirrels!!! Mine have seem to all disappeared 🙁 I love all teh pretty blooms and all of the beauty that surrounds us!!

  3. Marilyn the nurse says:

    What beautiful pictures Susan. I love them all, we here in Lexington, Ma. ofcourse have had this early Spring also and it its wonderful. Our yard and gardens are also beautiful. We too like so many feed more squirrels than birds some days but what can you do. There is no such thing as a squirrel proof feeded? Will be looking forward to your trip to England and all you send back to us. Have been to England twice and traveled all over, we truly love it but the driving on the other side of the road is so difficult especially as you get older. Think you could get them to change?? Ha!! Ha!! Would love to go back and tour again.

    • sbranch says:

      If I could wave a wand, it’s that wrong side of the road thing that I would change! Thank goodness Joe is not afraid of it. I want to go to the supermarket parking lot here, and practice, but that wouldn’t work since we wouldn’t be on the wrong side of the car like we will be when we get to England.

  4. Lisa G. says:

    You mean the “White Way of Delight”, don’t you? I think that’s what she called it, and perhaps I’m not the first commenter to say it, either! 😀

    Oh, your photos of trees blossoming! Ahhhh! Especially the first one – you should print it and hang it in your home! With the blue birdhouse, it’s just enchanting!!

  5. Margot says:

    I see spring has sprung for you. We were there about a month ago complete with pollen. It seems to me the South has more pollen than the North. At least in my experience. I still don’t trust the weather to plant some things, as tomorrow we will be in the 50s again. Those squirrels!! I have seen some sort of Yankee bird feeder that flings the squirrels away. I couldn’t pull my husband away from the video at the garden center. LOL What is the name of the book in the picture. I wish I could jump into the pictures.

    • Margot says:

      I guess I should use a question mark when asking a question. Anyway, I forgot to mention the moon this weekend. What is the spring orange moon called? AND…in which book is your cold raspberry soup recipe??

      • sbranch says:

        On April 6th, it was the Pink Moon, and the Raspberry Soup with the ice cream “croutons” is on p. 61 of the Summer Book.

        • Margot says:

          I just LOVE the SUMMER book. I was thinking the Cotswolds was the name of the chapter that was open, so I will have to look for that book. I am still reading a Stillwater book. I am so slow…

    • sbranch says:

      It’s just called The Cotswolds.

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Those beautiful cottages are built so that the roof “shoots the rain off swiftly” – love that!

  6. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Oh, I love this blog post soooo much. Just loved seeing Springtime in the Vineyard. It is truly wonderful with all the wildlife everywhere you look. Nice that you finally got to see your Cherry Tree. The squirrels are a particular favorite of mine. Never have seen two get along. The ones that live here are always chasing and squabbling over the bird food.
    Yes, I’m packed and ready to go off to the land of Cotswold and magic!

  7. Vickie in Olympia says:

    For a change our seasons are matching and we have the same trees in bloom! We even have a bit of sunshine to be out in the garden enjoying them. If that darling deer were in our yard it would cataloging all the great snacks we have planted. Soon my apple trees will be bursting with blossoms and young leaves. Oh so tasty if you are a deer. I hardly have to prune. 🙂

  8. Ann Beirne says:

    Hi Susan,
    I had to laugh when I saw your grill because my husband opened up ours last Saturday and saw the same thing! I guess a grill is a warm place for the birds in the winter.
    Here in Maryland, my lilacs are blooming. I think I love the smell of lilacs better than any other flower. That is why I have my lilac bush so high. They grow up to my deck and I can smell them everytime I go out there.
    I think everything is blooming at least two weeks earlier around here, thanks to the mild winter and warm spring. But this week, it has been quite windy, almost like March weather.

    • Janet says:

      The busiest time in my office is beginning of December through beginning of May – and I work a lot of extra hours – so most days during this time I am driving both home and back to work in the dark. Imagine my surprise when coming home – at last – in daylight and discovering – in the wreath on my front door – a bird’s nest complete with 3 little eggs in it!! Just before Easter… I couldn’t believe my eyes! Though it did make sense since the doorway is covered and to the birds I’m sure it seemed very safe, quiet and protected from the weather. Bonus – the mama bird [actually] wove the nesting materials right into the wreath and right at the height of the “peephole” so we got to watch the goings-on… meetings, feedings, chirping etc for about 3-4 weeks – right through the door! Then one Friday afternoon coming home around 5 pm and the nest was empty – everyone had flown away! I actually felt as though “one of my own” had left home! PS – mama birds are construction experts – there was NO WAY to extricate the nest from the [artificial] eucalyptus wreath and I ended up having to toss it out. But it was so much fun to watch and listen to them while they were there.

  9. Siobhan in Santa Monica, CA says:

    I’m ready I’m ready I’m ready! Let’s go now!!! How is your packing coming? How are the new colors working out? How many outfits are you bringing? Are you bringing a steamer trunk, hmmm? These are things I need to know!!

    Love those action shots of the squirrels and the bird! Quite amazing! We’ve just had three nice days in a row of spring here, but I have to say, imagining an island full of your lovely shots and homes and the sea right there…well, I think you have us totally beat!

    Are we leaving yet? 😉

    • sbranch says:

      No steamer trunk since we decided we would leave the servants at home! LOL, very much just kidding. But Joe isn’t carrying any steamer trunks, this is for sure! Maybe they are making them on wheels these days!

      • Margot says:

        Thank God for wheeled luggage!!! You should have seen me running after a train in 1977 in Switzerland with two heavy suitcases. Those trains are on time!

  10. Mia Sophia says:

    Hi Susan Loved the photos…blooming trees and furry fun critters too! Nature is wonderful to breathe in, watch and sit back and enjoy all the entertainment from inside and out. You live in a truly magical place. I am counting down the days til your trip as well! I am enjoying all the anticipation without the anxiety of figuring out what to pack. Exciting times are about to unfold…full speed ahead!

  11. Sandy Richmond says:

    Wonderful photography today!

  12. Cyndi in NC says:

    I love your squirrel couple. My parents in MI have several cottonwood trees that have houses that are always filled with big fat red squirrels with big bushy tails. You can stand in their kitchen and watch them. We have small gray squirrels with creamy tummies. Joining them are 5 does, grey foxes, racoons and whatever else runs through the yard. We have woods and a farm behind us and we love it. Several years ago we had a couple of groups that would come to the back yard. One group was lead by a young buck and three babies. He took such good care of them, I loved seeing them. My dog Rusty thinks they’re big dogs and wonders why we let them in his yard! *L* Our blooming spring trees and bushes are about done blooming and my hummingbirds are back, life is good! Cheers!

  13. Anne says:

    Love those squirrels – they remind me of my Dad – he used to feed them all the time and the same ones always came back. He named them too 🙂 I was just thinking of you Susan ’cause I’m looking at the May issue of Food & Wine (it’s the Travel Issue) – p. 56 is entitled “England – Country Inn Road Trip.” Six of the best little country inns west of London. Maybe you and Joe have already been to these places or maybe you’re going? They look so cozy and beautiful! Please go to the Pig Hotel and tell us all about it!! xxoo

  14. Cocoa Fornelli says:

    Dear Susan,
    How wonderful to share the delights of your home with all of us! And the next best thing is you and Joe taking us with you on your trip! I can hardly wait, the Cotswolds and the Lake District will always have a special place in my heart!
    Only wish I could have brought one of the thatched houses home with me!!!

    Cheers from San Diego!

  15. shelley says:

    Oh Susan I AM SO EXCITED it will almost be like being there I can’t wait to see the pictures of everything thanks for taking us along!

  16. Mrs. Joan Keller says:

    Beautiful pictures of Spring in New England….Thanks.

  17. Jamie says:

    Thank you for sharing the adorable pictures of Squirrels right out of Beatrice Potter. Squirrel Nutkin or Timmy Tiptoes and his wife Goodie. I bet Mr. Jack goes crazy! They are definately the little bandits of our bird feeders who entertain us with their acrobatics, so how can we not reward them along with our bird friends!
    I never thought of a weeping cherry tree how lovely and your right, the scene where Anne is going through the cherry orchard is very magical. I re-read the AOGG series a few years ago and I do not care how old you are, they still have the charm to transport us to a magical place full of discovery and first times.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful yard it made my day and the added addition of bird song was a perfect.
    Cant wait for you to go to England so we can vicariously be there too!
    Jamie 🙂

  18. Mary Pacey says:

    We planted a Linden tree in our backyard last year and the buds are just now opening up. We were amazed to learn from our trip last fall that Lindens are a regular tree in Russia!

  19. Lin says:

    It has been a BEAUTIFUL spring, hasn’t it? Here in NE Ohio we are having a bit of a chill today with a few snowflurries, but they say it will be 71 on Sunday. Our lilacs are budding and even showing a bit of color….the dogwood is at my favorite unfolding, when it’s still that creamy white. The Lenten Roses always bloom but the leaves are usually burned from the winter; this year the foliage is full and I’ve never seen them so fat!
    What fun to see your squirrels in their nest in the tree! We have zillions of fat ones; they’ve fed off the feeders all winter, too, but I don’t mind – they’re so fun to watch. I remember seeing them actually jumping into the air with joy one spring!

  20. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    Dear lovely friend, I am hopelessly addicted to your lovely blog. I have a thing for squirrels so today’s was over the top! Thanks for sharing your joy, again!

  21. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! After seeing your beautiful Springtime pictures I am curious. What type of mother bird laid her eggs in your backyard grill? They surely do not look like robin eggs. Are they duck eggs? A mystery bird? (Our garage light fixture is once again home of a new Robin’s nest this Spring we are so excited!!!)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh no, they are tiny. But we haven’t seen the mother — the barbecue is back behind the barn … not where we generally can see. Smart mom!

  22. cindy says:

    Loved the trees! Our flowering trees are done blooming, but we have had the longest Spring and it has been beautiful. I can’t wait to see your pics when you go to England! I lived there in the 60s when I was 9 years old. I can remember the springs like it was yesterday. We lived in a quaint little apartment and the backyard was like a fairyland. There were flowers, roses, fruit trees, currants, and gooseberries. I wish I had pictures of back then, for it is all in a distant memory!

  23. Susan says:

    Yeah Spring!!! We need spring here. It was a hard Easter for our family. I need to get outside and feel the smooothness of spring washing over me. Thanks forshowingoff spring on the Island. 3 weeks! WoooHooo! I’m busy tracing some family ties to England and am happy to see theties that bind us to that lovely island country. Kiss the Queen Happy Birthday come June!Will you get to see her parades? Anticipation…

  24. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan!! love love LOVE the backyard photos…..I think that I have seen that very talented squirrel that eats upside-down in my yard too!!! Those rascals play havoc on our feeders that’s for sure..I have tried everything I can think of to discourage the squirrels from stealing the seed…everything from getting them their own food to mixing hot pepper type dust stuff into the seed..they just can’t seem to get enough of the seed!!! We LOVE to feed the birds and rather like to watch the squirrels too..but wish the two wouldn’t mix. Anyone have any great ideas on this??? Anyway… the place looks gorgeous..and bet it smells sweet…our honeysuckle is in top form..( and everywhere!)..know you are so busy preparing..tick tick!!!! so exciting…xo love, cindy

  25. M J Smith says:

    Your pictures of the squirrels and the birds (especially the one flying) are amazing! And so adorable! I can’t wait for you to go to England. I know that you will get so many cool pictures for all of us back home. I especially want to see the insides of someone’s home and the stores you mentioned. Oh … and Beatrice Potter’s home!! Yippee!!!

  26. Helen says:

    awesome pictures. It generates happiness & springtime.

  27. Donna Rose Houchen says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your Spring news! Your home is so wonderful–the flowers, the birds, the deer and the squirrel husband and wife…too perfect! I am so happy you’re going to England. The old book you showed of the Cotswold cottage reminds me of the happiest times I’ve spent in England. Enjoy your trip and come back with wonderful things to share with your adoring public!!

  28. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures of the blooming trees. I feed the birds and squirrels also. My squirrels eat in that same position.
    I am looking forward to your England pictures. Do you do art and your writing while you are traveling?
    I bet you will miss your kitties a lot, and they will miss you!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I love to do a little art as I go along . . . this time I’m keeping an illustrated diary that I’m going to publish when we get back.

  29. Janet says:

    We are having a beautiful spring here in Philadelphia, too. Just about everything is in bloom right now except for the azaleas and rhododendrons. They get their own special showtime in about a week. I moved here from Chicago 16 years ago this month and I never fail to be amazed at what a real springtime can look like!

    Susan, what is the name of that book about the Cotswolds with that wonderful illustration? (That is a dream destination of mine – with a side trip to Tintagel to see where King Arthur lived. A few years ago we got to see the Isle of Skye, another dream, and we have never been the same. )

    • sbranch says:

      It’s just called The Cotswolds! I will try to find more of them when I’m over there, but the illustrations are so wonderful, I have a feeling I just got lucky the first time!

  30. EsSuzy (from South Carolina) says:

    Susan, thank you for the beautiful spring photos. When you told us WE are going to England my first thought was THE GARDENS! we will see. I don’t know if you’ll be in the area of Falmouth but Trebah gardens(that’s where my twitter pic was taken) would be gorgeous while you are there. Also The Lost Garden of Heligan. Even if you can’t visit those, girlfriends, you may like to google them and see them online as both have interesting stories behind them. Happy upcoming Birthday Susan! My sweetie-pie granddaughter, Elizabeth will be 3 on Monday! And guess what?? We’ve found out she is getting a little brother-my 1st grandson!! So lots to be about which to be excited!!

  31. Georgie says:

    How I’ve missed being in touch with everyone! We’ve just returned from our cruise to celebrate our 16th anniversary. It was glorious! Explored and swam in an underground river wearing wetsuits and helmets with lights! Now I’m looking forward to traveling with you Susan across the big pond!

    Happy Spring! Love your pictures! There’s so much joy and excitement when the new birth of the seasons arrive. Happy Day All!

    • sbranch says:

      Wow, an underground river! Where was it?

      • Georgie says:

        In an island off of Cozumel. It’s called the Rio Secreto. A magical river found deep below Quintana Roo. http://www.riosecreto.com. It was such a new experience for both of us and so filled with beauty. Their website shows pictures. At first Joe looked at me as though to say… “Georgie, what did you go and do???” But he hasn’t stopped talking about it. LOL!

        I can’t wait to see “your England!”

        • sbranch says:

          Interesting Georgie, thank you!

        • Hi Georgie, my niece and her husband are going on a 7 day cruise next week and Cozumel is one of their stops. I sent your link to her because they love adventure and this looked amazing (not for me I don’t do water or caves) so if they get a chance I’m sure they will check this underground river out.

    • Diane from Washington state says:

      Underground river? wow…that is really an anniversary gift to yourselves to experience that! Happy Anniversary to you!

  32. Patty says:

    Susan, those pictures were beautiful! Enjoyed the pictures of all the wildlife….I have some chipmunks that run around my yard every day! They actually make me laugh out loud! Oh! wanted to tell you that I made the “Fairy Cakes” from your Sweets and Treats book on Easter Sunday! They were wonderful and the lemon custard….well just a delight! You’re right, we had a lot left over to enjoy. So I made a Hot Milk Cake to put the lemon custard on. That was wonderful. Okay, time to take a break from all the sweets. Thanks again for all the beautiful pictures of your beautiful part of the world! Have a great day!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh that sounds very wonderful, the milk cake with the lemon custard!!! Will have to try that. I’m taking the milk cake recipe to England with me! We will need it for tea.

      • Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

        My family loves the milk cake recipe and the vanilla sauce to go with it….so simple but perfectly scrumptious. I cannot believe what a good vanilla-y flavor using a whole vanilla bean makes!

  33. Wendy Louise says:

    Good Morning Sunshine, What a wonderful blog this morning, a little piece of Heaven is what you have there on Martha’s Vinyard ! So beautiful Thank-you for sharing your wonderful HOME. I just discovered this week that we have a huge nest in the woods next to our home and it has Mom and Dad and I don’t know how many babies (they are noisey) Red Tailed Hawks ! I watch from my porch the changing of the Mom and Dad, they are very big and beautiful and when they screech everything else around here goes quiet. I hope they don’t eye my gold fish in my little pond ! It’s very snug next to the house so I’m hopeing they won’t come close. I can’t believe how soon you will be leaving on your trip (ours too 🙂 ) I’m so excited for you and Joe, I just love romance, romantic things. Our Thirtieth is coming up soon, May 22. I wonder what my husband has up his sleeves. I do know one thing I will be in England then, in my mind and you will make it some what a reality ! OH OH excitement everywhere !!!!!! XXOO

  34. Oh Susan! I enjoyed the morning stroll around your Marthas Vineyard yard! So glad I waited til this morning to open my e-mail! So nice to read your blog 1st thing in the morning! The bird song filling my room with music, competition for my birds outside! We live right next to a creek and a hill of trees in back, with a view of the mountain a ways away in front! Watching the green creeping up to the top, almost there! The hummers are back here, got my feeders out last Saturday, and one came right away! Early this year along with the rest of spring! Isn’t it lovely? Now you know why you should wait a month to leave for CA! You miss all this! Love the deer! So smart!
    I can’t wait to see England! The gardens! The sheep on the hills! I would love to see their ocean as well! After reading Rosamonde Pilcher books many years ago I have longed to see Scotland! And the shores of England in the Shellseekers! What fun and excitement you are going to have and bring to us! We (your loyal blog readers) are so fortunate to have you in our lives!
    Thank you Susan, you are a blessing to all who enter!
    Happy packing!
    Tweet Tweet

    Oh, by the way you have started me on a whole new collection of birds! I found an old yellow pie bird just waiting for me at the flea mkt a few weeks ago, after seeing one in a shop on line a few days earlier! Had to grab him up! Love it! He is going to sit with my green s&p shakers on my window sill in my new kitchen when it is done! Love them!
    Ta Ta!

  35. Mary Cunningham says:

    Good morning and Happy Spring!!!!! My doggies took me to the woods in our back yard early this morning,my day off, everything is in bloom and quite a bit is finished ,here in Nashville,Indiana. My Lily of The Valley are in bloom,peonies are getting buds and the honeysuckle surrounds us.My back yard is filled with wild violets,and we had to “stinky” spray my hosta and tulips so the deer won’t snack on them!If you “friend” This Is Brown County” on Facebook, you will get to see our artist village nestled right here in south-central Indiana. Everything is in bloom and the first weekend in May ,we have a Spring Blossom Festival and parade…though with the early blossoms happening, they will be gone by then….Enjoy!

  36. Priscilla from Naples, Florida says:

    Happy (Almost) Birthday Susan,
    I’m looking forward to “travelling” along with you and Joe (and all the other girlfriends) to England as you keep us all posted.
    Many happy blessings!
    xoxo 🙂

  37. Terri from Swansboro, NC says:

    Oh Susan what beautiful pictures of your beautiful yard! I am so glad you get to enjoy it this year! I love the weeping cherry and I think I am going to get one for my yard, once I get it cleaned up from the previous owners lack of maintenance for five or more years! I wish you could see how much I have put by the curb in the last two months for the city to pick up! LOL! I always go out to greet them with small goodie bags thanking the nice guys who come to pick up all the tree limbs and bags of leaves, grass etc. My sister said she saw a hummingbird, so I put my feeder out on Monday but I haven’t seen any yet…
    AND do you and Joe have special plans for Thursday? I bet so! Have a GREAT day! Mine is this month too on the 28th… as is my husbands on the 17th!! Once again we won’t be together but he will be here in June… can’t wait to see him! Miss him so! Blessings to some beautiful Spring April Days!!

  38. Cindy says:

    Hi Susan,

    I am so looking forward to your trip to England! I have not been there yet. We did live in Bermuda for 3 years where we had to drive on the wrong side of the road while sitting on the wrong side of the car. It is pretty easy to get used to. Ill be going on a spring road trip up to Pennsylvania in a few days. I love the drive through the mountains.
    Love your photos. We are hoping some Purple Martins will move into the houses we have waiting for them.

  39. wendy says:

    “The sunshine seemed to bless, the air was a caress”. Wonderful quote you chose. Spring is such a welcome, refreshing renewal, but delicate, a caress! Hats off to Harold… we have actual flying squirrels who have found their way into the house and have thoroughly captivated the cats! The squirrels were saved from the cats and safely rescued, freed and unscathed!
    Oh boy, 3 weeks. Can’t wait to see the countryside, thatched roofs, churches and charming table accessories. Teapots galore! Thank you! Hope you’ll be able to stay calm during the next few weeks, as well as the kitties.

  40. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Thank you for the beautiful blog! Now, I can get ready to face the world and do my jury duty, duty today! It’s sprinkling here, hope I can have a window seat while waiting, and waiting, and waiting & the best part is I get to read “The Enchanted April”!! Waiting anxiously for “our” trip to England. Please give Joe a hug for me for inviting us along! oxooxoo

    • sbranch says:

      I will!

    • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

      Joan, I finished reading “Enchanted April” a little while ago. LOVE it! The characters are so interesting and Elizabeth von Arnim’s wit in her writing is “enchanting” (the word of the day!)! I loved her writing so much that I have “Elizabeth and her English Garden” on order. Can’t wait to read it! Have fun reading! I have LOVED the reading recommendations that we find on Susan’s blog!

      Thanks, Susan, for being a channel for all this enlightenment! LOVE it! LOVE YOU!

  41. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Hello Susan! Your yard looks so pretty in its Springtime clothes! Do you photograph through the glass? I’ve tried and have a problem with reflections.
    We have 4 squirrels that entertain us with their antics while we eat our breakfast…and…last year we had a determined squirrel who wanted his nest
    in the corner of the grill, just like your bird nest. We had to throw out the
    nest 3 times before he gave up — there weren’t any babies — I wouldn’t evict them from their home!! Spring is everywhere here in NW New Jersey. You inspire me to take more photos — how do you ever find the time?! …and getting ready for your trip to England yet! My “armchair bags” are definitely
    packed and I’m ready to enjoy the trip through your generous travelogue!
    Thanks for sharing with us!!

    • sbranch says:

      The squirrels were through the window. I get reflections sometimes, but if I turn off all the inside lights, I usually do pretty well. Try that.

  42. Lori from Maine says:

    Good morning Susan and Girlfriends ~ What a lovely post today! (actually, yesterday) I get quite a few birds on my feeders and have some unusual ones visiting on their way south. My favorite was when I spotted an indigo bunting. Wasn’t he beautiful!!! I don’t have the heart to shoo the squirrels away, but they can be little piggies. If I put out stale bread, I have to hide it under seeds because the sea gulls spot it! Gulls are pretty, but I really don’t want them in my yard. They eat everything you put out, scare the other birds, and (pardon me) poop everywhere. No flowers in my yard yet, but the grass is greening up and my chives are about 4″ tall – time for a baked potato w/sour cream (yum) 🙂
    Off I go…Dr. appt today and I’m running behind. I couldn’t resist looking at what you might have posted. I didn’t get a chance to read the girlfriends comments, I’ll do that later. Bye for now!!
    xoxoxo from SW Hbr., ME

  43. Jean D. says:

    Dear Susan,
    You and I have the same beautiful plant filled, animal crazy back yards! I wish I could snap some pictures to share with you. I have three bird (or squirrel and deer depending on the moment) feeders in my back yard and one in the front. I can’t keep them filled! I recently found a gorgeous Robins nest in an evergreen tree outside our bedroom window. Two beautiful blue eggs fill the nest with mom and dad always near by keeping them warm and safe. There are three pair of Canada geese swimming happily in our back yard pond. So many happy distractions around here, no wonder I rarely get much accomplished. How do you manage to stay on task!? 🙂 Enjoy your beautiful view, and Happy Spring!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve already been out under the tree on a blanket this morning! I’m not that good about being “on task” either!

  44. Carla says:

    O’ Susan, what is the name of the book that displays the picture in the Cotswolds? Your trip sounds so dreamy, I would not be able to sleep, if it were me.

    Cannot wait to see all of the pictures! I have always wanted to go to England, but know I most likely won’t. I love everything British, china, fabrics, houses, literature, afternoon tea, and British decorating magazines, and of course … the beautiful country sides… O’ and Beatrice Potter.

    The squirrels are too cute!

    What an enchanting life you live~

  45. Diane from Washington state says:

    The weather here has been sooo beautiful …everything popping out on the trees and bushes etc…and the sun shining with nice moderate temps…so I whipped out your “Summer” book as I do every spring! I always take out your seasonal books every season, every year! Spring goes right into summer, so I felt it appropriate….and your books add so much joy! I havent been able to write for awhile because we have been re-doing our front yard…new flower beds, constructing walls, new shrubs etc….so it is so much fun to be here again. LOVE the pics of your beautiful home and flowering trees! The squirrels and birds are priceless because they are so adorable. I have a neighbor who sets out almost 10 bird feeders each spring and the amount of birds and squirrels ….! It is so much fun to watch every day, but I have never seen what you have…the married squirrels in a tree! That could be a picture postcard! One more thing….I am soooo thrilled for you to go to England and to take me…us…with you! I hope that you and Joe have the most special trip you have ever had! Have a wonderful week and happy gardening!

  46. Debbie '51 says:

    Good morning, Susan and girlfriends!
    I love the great pictures of the squirrels! (their relatives here are my special friends:) )You have a real talent for photography, as well as all your many great talents! Are you aware that there are many of us, some of us who actually believe we’re somewhat creative, who can’t take a picture worth a darn!?? Your flowers and trees and woodland friends are just adorable and I’m so happy that spring is springing! ♪ tra la ♪ tra la ♪

    I’m also sooo enjoying getting ready for “our” trip to the England. Oh, that reminds me – are we planning on going outside of England and maybe making it to Scotland or Wales? Just curious. I’d love to see it all someday with my very own eyes, but I am sure happy to experience the voyage and the entire trip with you and Joe! Thank you so much for taking us along. You have a wonderful man to share so much with us. Thank you, Joe!

    I think I need to eat – I’m getting giddy! You make me happy!
    Thank you!
    ♥Deb♥ from Buckley, WA, where spring is also springing:D

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll stop often for that when we’re traveling, have no fear! 🙂 Don’t want any hungry girlfriends!

  47. Nellie says:

    Spring has come early here in Knoxville. The dogwoods and redbuds have finished blooming, and our fruit trees have already bloomed. A few anxious hours overnight wondering if there would be frost this morning, but we were fortunate that there was none. Now, we have to repeat those anxious hours again tonight. The prediction is for a low near freezing tonight. We expected that something like this would happen when we have had those unseasonably warm temperatures for weeks.

    No squirrels here, and the deer that once might amble through our property haven’t been seen in a number of years.

    Wishing you a great Wednesday! xoxo

  48. Kim says:

    Hippo Birdie to YOU, dear Susan, and many, many happy returns of the day! Sending happiest, sunniest wishes to you for a day of joy and memory-making with friends and loved ones (and flowers and furry critters, too!).

  49. Kim says:

    PS – Let’s start those birthday wishes one day early, and have ’em go on throughout the rest of your new year of life! xo

  50. Andrea says:

    Dearest Susan…
    Isn’t tomorrow, April 12th, the birthday of someone very special? (Yes, Gladys Taber, too!)
    I hope its a great one. I hope the weather is perfect and I hope your day is filled with Queen-of-everything and crazy pink diamond things. And don’t worry… age happens. Everyone has to turn 30 at some point. I did it…. I cried all day, but I lived through it. : )
    Seriously, girlfriend! I hope its the best birthday yet.

  51. SHARON H. says:

    Susan I want to wish you an early Happy Birthday too, I have been having computer trouble and not sure I’ll be able to get on here tomorrow. Here’s to a beautiful day tomorrow and many, many more. I wonder what Joe has planned for you? Thank you for the beautiful spring pictures. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous is all I can say. And the wonderful little animals everywhere, too. Those little squirrels in the tree reminded me, too, of Timmy and Goody Tiptoes! I am a big Beatrix Potter fan and can’t wait for you to visit Hill Top House. I think I am as excited as you about your trip to England. I feel so lucky you are ‘taking us along’ with you. I have never been to England but I also like the story of the Cotswold Fairies. I know it turned out not to be true about the girls taking the pictures, but I still like to think that they are there. I wonder if they have any kind of monument or museum or other such thing about them in England? The Cotswold areas I’ve seen in pictures do look like fairies would want to live there, and if I was a fairy, that’s where I’d be! Have a good birthday tomorrow Susan! love, Sharon XXOO Florida

    • sbranch says:

      I love that story too, I agree, the Cotswolds are where the fairies should live! — and thank you so much for the Birthday good wishes!

  52. Charlene H. from SoCal (S.F.Valley) says:

    Yes, indeed, let’s send Birthday Wishes one day early…to two talented and insightful women, Gladys Taber and Susan Branch!!! (applause…) From Taber’s own words…”I do not actually feel a year older on my birthday, now coming up on the clock face of time. I only feel a sense of the value of the moments, hours, and days that are yet mine, and now and then a deep and passionate wish to do as well by them as is in me.” Stillmeadow Seasons 1950.
    Certainly, these words must resonate with you, Susan! Your wonder and appreciation of each day sparkles on this blog! A very, very Happy Birthday to you, Susan. May God bless you with MANY MORE “…moments, hours, and days…”.
    Sincerely, charlene
    p/s I am now an official member of the Gladys Taber Club!

  53. Nancze says:

    Absolutely beautiful pictures. Of course I would be outside if I had such a lovely view! Oklahoma we see cattle, wheat and red dirt. lol… Thanks for sharing what a blessing.

  54. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    How totally fitting that tomorrow you and Gladys Taber share a birthday! I’ve “known” Gladys for about 50 years now. I found her Butternut Wisdom columns in my Mom’s Family Circle magazines when I was a teenager, and I eagerly looked forward to them from issue to issue. Time passed, and I’d nearly forgotten about her until I stumbled upon “Stillmeadow Seasons” a few years ago. It is the strangest thing–it felt like a dam had broken in my heart as I read that dear book. It felt like I’d returned home from a long, long journey. I’ve found many of her books since then, and I cherish them. I’ve only “known” you for about eight weeks, and how perfect is it that I found you through Gladys! Gotta be sweet serendipity!! Your blogs bring me such joy, and I’ve begun to collect your books, as well. I truly believe you and Gladys are kindred spirits. Happy, happy birthday, dear Susan, and wishes for many, many more happy, healthy ones!

  55. Holly says:

    Hello everyone! Susan, I loved the photos, birds & squirrels! We too enjoy watching them here in Indiana. I’m hoping the frost warnings are almost finished, as I want to plant the flowers I’m started. Your “bird music” drove my kitty, Moochie, insane! He ran around looking for the birds, jumped up on the window sill, looking…. he checked out his bird toy which sings when it’s played with, still, no new birds! It was very fun to watch. I’ll have to play the bird music more often. Thanks! I don’t know how you’re holding up, with all the spring fever going around, plus a trip to England! The excitement must be too much to contain!

  56. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR SUSAN AND MANY MORE…..tomorrow is your one and only birthday where the date of your birth matches the year!!!! I wish you a Sunny Spring Day filled with pastel colors and a yummy treat for you to make a birthday wish on…..I would say that your trip is your special gift and your party on Saturday the beginning of your Birthday Bash…..enjoy every minute of this Birthday Journey you deserve it. I adore you and feel very blessed that you are part of my life, that makes me very happy.
    C E L E B R A T E this day made just for you!!!! xoxo

  57. Wanda says:

    Dear Susan, the pictures are beautiful! Oh to have a house like that! I must say though, if you do not want the squirrels on your feeders, use safflower seed. I really do not like squirrels and they do not like this seed. They won’t touch it!

  58. Patricia H. says:

    Hope you get to see a red squirrel while you are in England Susan!! xx

  59. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Happy, happy birthday Susie Q – I will be gone all day Thursday but wanted to wish you many blessings, much love and some birthday gifts sprinkled in there too! xoxo

  60. mary from nj says:

    Hi Susan! My favorite part of Anne of Green Gables is that part that you mentioned, of Anne riding with Matthew and all of the beautiful trees in bloom!! I have beautiful flowering plum trees- they just finished blooming. My beautiful magnolia shrubs are very tall now, but I lost all of the beautiful blooms on them last week because we had frost! I was so disappointed! I’m glad Jack likes the squirrels at the bird feeder- I use bird seed with hot pepper mixed in because it keeps the squirrels away. I just can’t afford to have all of my bird seed eaten by squirrels! Thanks for your beautiful pictures! And I enjoyed the bird music! Happy Spring!!

    • sbranch says:

      We do things when it gets out of hand. We’ve cut up water bottles, slid them over the chain, done all sorts of crazy things. But sooner or later they ease back into the sweet spot!

  61. Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

    Happiest Birthday, Susan!! May your special day be filled with as much joy as you bring to others!! Today we will all be celebrating YOU… and all that you do!
    Warm hugs,

  62. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Have a Happy…Delightful…Fantastic…Birthday…Today Susan *

    On this 12th day of April, I come wishing you Happy Birthday!
    Make a wish! Celebrate!
    * P.S. *
    I loved “going outside” with you and the girlfriends in your recent blog. All the photos you took (and a very nice job doing that too, I might add) of your beautiful flowering trees, as they framed your lovely white house, are breathtaking!
    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

    • Lori from Maine says:

      Hi Dorothy Ann~ I figured out an easy way to exchange e-mail (and snail mail) addresses. My last name is Rand and my zip code is 04679. Our town is so small, you don’t really need a street address. Hope to hear from you soon!
      p.s. The Springsteen concert was amazing!!! He’s 62 years old and performed nonstop for a little over 3 hours! They did a lot of songs from their new album (I still call them albums 🙂 ) and all the old ones you ever wanted to hear. It was an 18,000 person singalong!! 🙂 Yahoo!! It was one of the best concerts hubby and I have ever been to and the third time we’ve seen Bruce.
      Boston was fun. We stayed right near the concert venue ~ never took a taxi the whole 3 days. Ate at an Italian restaurant in the North End ~yum~, found a highly recommended bakery and bought/ate wayyyyy too many canoli’s (sp?). We walked it all off, checked out Paul Revere’s house (I could easily move right in), gardens, this and that. Fell asleep on the bus ride home and woke up to a snowstorm about halfway through the trip. We did some slipping and sliding back to SW Hbr.! Wonder what our next adventure will be? It’s hard telling with us! Byeeee!

  63. Cathy McC. says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FRIEND — I’m thinking special thoughts of you today, and I hope all of your animal friends come out and wish you a happy day, too. Even though it’s chilly today in northern Indiana, I’m heading to the lake to celebrate YOU and GLADYS being in my life, as well as my 80+ year old lake neighbor, who has a birthday today, too. (I’m taking him a wonderful book by Hal Borland called “A Countryman’s Flowers”. Do you know it? Fabulous!!!) Life is good — enjoy!

  64. Vicki says:

    Happy Birthday! Put on your tiara and a full skirt, (so you can “twirl”) all day long! Hope you feel pampered and loved every minute of your special day….because that’s how you make us feel with all the great sharing you do!

  65. mari1017 says:

    Happy Birthday, dear Susan!!!!! Enjoy your special day today:-)

  66. Natalie (Washington, DC) says:

    Best Birthday Wishes to You Today. Enjoy your special day!

  67. Gert~Iowa says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!! I hope you will celebrate in style..doing all the things you enjoy, with those you love! ((and don’t forget to eat lots and lots of cake!!))


  68. Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

    Good Morning Early Bird and Happy Birthday Darling Susan!!



  69. Patty says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan. And to Gladys Taber and my Godmother, both gone now but not forgotten. Enjoy a beautiful day!

  70. Cindy Tuning says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Hope you take the entire day off and do something crazy fun! No packing, planning, painting,writing, or moderating. We can all hear from you tomorrow while you enjoy your day with many more to come. Cheers!!

  71. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Susan~you and Agnes are in my sunny thoughts today. ***Happy Birthday***

    May all your birthday-candle wishes come true.

    Marie xo

  72. Sharon McKnight says:

    Happy, happy to you, as my granddaughters like to say. Both you and Gladys Taber have touched and enriched my life. Thanks for sharing your work and your life with all of us. Wherever the next year takes you, hope you enjoy the ride.

  73. Margot says:

    A belated Happy Birthday to you Susan! What kind of birthday cake did you have?? I hope it was a fantabulous (new word) day!!!

  74. Janie Phillips says:

    Happy Birthday, dear Sue! I see the island has decorated itself for your birthday, and only three weeks to go until you step into your biggest gift! Sending you much love and wishing you a wonderful day … xoxo

  75. Chris Wells says:

    If you don’t post today (and I don’t blame you), I wanted to wish you Happy Birthday! I hope this is the happiest of days! You are such a blessing to us all.
    Love you!

  76. Mary Spring says:

    …we all wish you the happiest birthday ever, dear susan….I write as if you are already a dear friend to me…you give us all so much inspiration…all your work- play is just simply amazing !!…once again…thank you!!! with love

  77. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    Happy Birthday, Happy, Happy Day! (Be thankful that you can’t hear me sing off key to you!!) You deserve everyday to be wonderful, but ESPECIALLY your Birthday!! God love you and bless you Susan Branch for you have a special place in the hearts of thousands (no,millions… make that gazillions!!)

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxooxoxoGet the idea we love you?!!!!

  78. Martha says:

    Wishing wonderful you a wonderful birthday!!

  79. SharonS says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan. We are all so blessed to have you in our lives. Enjoy your day.

    Sharon from Calgary, AB Canada

  80. Addie says:

    Thanks for sharing so many wonderful things with us … your blog just makes me so happy!! I hope you have a wonderful birthday!!!

  81. Susan Simon says:

    I just saw Peg’s post on FB and wanted to be sure and wish you a very Happy Birthday, Susan! May this day and the coming year be filled with what makes you smile the most and give you memories galore to treasure and cherish. All the best to you from one of your longtime grateful readers!

    Love seeing all the birthday wishes to you from everyone… we are all so glad to have you in our lives.

  82. libby says:

    How delightful, Susan, that your birthday is enhanced by dreams of England. Last June, my husband and I went to Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Shropshire– my first time over the ocean. Surprised myself by tearing up as we began to see green, green fields outlined by hedges and stone walls! We were lucky enough to be invited to stay with the grandmother of our new son-in-law, who proposed to our daughter at Ludlow Castle three years ago. We went to Ludlow– what a place! Catherine of Aragon spent her honeymoon there; the castle is magical, but the whole town is spectacular and known as the slow food/local food center of Britain. Open air market has lunch offerings such as chicken and apricot pies to eat out of hand, or homemade wild crayfish sandwiches, just to name two. ludlowcastle.com
    With your love of china, will you go to Stoke-on-Trent, center of Staffordshire’s pottery district? Wonderful museums! Josiah Wedgwood helped fund the Trent and Mersey Canal, in order to get his wares safely to market (you can take a ride on the canal); Spode, Royal Doulton, Minton potteries also originated here.
    And do you know about Well Dressings? historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Well-Dressing/ We went to Tissington’s (May 18-23 this year) and loved it.
    Wherever you wander, you know you’ll have a ball. Happy Birthday!

  83. Deb from Dixie says:

    Happy Birthday Susan….Wishing you a day filled with laughter, fun, happiness and a big piece of cake!!!
    Today is a celebration of wonderful YOU!
    ….Happy Birthday to You
    Happy Birthday to You
    Happy Birthday from all the girlfriends…
    Happy Birthday to You….
    And many many more!
    As we say in the South…..You are one “precious gift” to us all.
    Sending Birthday Blessing to you!

  84. Linda Pintarell says:

    Have a beautiful birthday, Miz Susan, filled with much joy and fun!

  85. ♫ ♪ ♥ Happy Birthday Susan!! ♥ ♫♪
    If the happiness that you give to all of us should come back to you.. I just don’t know how you could handle that much happiness! Thank you for taking time to let us go on the walks and trips with you, learn something new from you, or just be happy along with you. Looking at the world through your eyes is so inspiring, I wish you many Blessings!

  86. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Happy Birthday to you Susan Branch!! As you like to tell us:
    “You are what you eat — so eat something CUTE”!
    I hope you have fun plans for the day!!!

  87. Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

    “Happy Birthday, to you…..
    Happy Birthday, TO you…..
    Happy BIRTHDAY, dear Susan…..
    Happy Birthday, to YOU!!!!!!!!!!”

    We’re all joining together today to sing Happy Birthday and wish you the best day ever! xoxo…..kp

  88. Sandy Richmond says:

    Happy Birthday Susan Branch! Wishing you many more…

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

    Merry Birthday to you Susan!
    Hope that you have a scrumptious day!

  90. Risa says:


  91. Sarah Powell says:

    Oh, the BIRTHDAY is out of the Bag!
    Have a HAPPY HAPPY DAY! Love, Sarah

  92. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday Dear Susan, Happy Birthday To YOU!!!! Have a wonderful, special, well deserved, day off! All your adoring fans, aka girlfriends, will be here when you get back! Blessings to you for a great year!! Love & Hugs, Joanie

  93. Carol says:

    Thanks for the encouragement…I just made myself go outside to sit awhile…listening to the chickens squawk and watching the barncats snooze!

  94. Priscilla says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!!

    Priscilla from So Ca in SD

  95. Christie Ray says:

    You and Gladys Taber…on my mind all day:) Hoping you’ve had lots of sunshine to play in ..it is a glorious day for a birthday!
    Blessings and hugs,

  96. Lori from Maine says:

    Happy, happy birthday sweet pea!!!! Do something fun and fattening 🙂 !!!
    xoxo from SW Hbr., Maine

  97. Kathleen O'Connor says:

    Happy :)) Happy :)) Birthday Susan!! Hoping that you are having a wonderfully enchanting day with your Joe!! You SO deserve it -that is for sure!!! Wondering if you will be in England in mid-June? I just learned that Van Morrison is performing there in Mid & late June. In case you are a fan! I have not heard about him touring in quite sometime . I really enjoy his music! (& to see Van Morrison is on my list of things I would like to do!) I am just hoping he will come across “the pond” so I will have the opportunity:) Ohhhh Birthday Girl ~ have a Wonderful Birthday!!!!
    Gods Blessings!!

    • sbranch says:

      I think we are going to be out far away from everything in mid June, my guess is that he will be in London? How fun! They can do a moon dance!

  98. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    “HAPPY BIRTHDAY !” dear Susan……..
    First a card for YOU…
    And now for a little somethin’ somethin’……..
    Yep, you can open it….I know, I know…a brown paper package tied up in string
    ….well, you are one of my favorite things..:D! Uh huh!…it is…it’s a little
    glass bottle with a cork in it! It’s to catch the ocean breeze on a moonlit
    night… as the “Queen and her King” sail away humming and dancing…
    Perhaps to this……..
    and when the little bottle is filled to the tip-top with memories…
    quickly put the cork back in and Waa-Laa!!! A memory created…a bit of magic…
    happily tucked away inside a tiny glass bottle… forever and ever!
    And that is what I wish for you…a Life full of many “Happily’s” and
    “Memories” to last Forever and Ever!!!
    With many “Birthday Wishes” wished for you,
    And dreams of delicious cake eating!!! : .} XoX Dawn

  99. Martha Ellen says:

    Happy Birthday Dear Susan! Sending you all the best that our world has to offer! Your give so much to so many and I thank you dear friend! XOXO ♥

  100. Susan Craft says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan!!! I hope you have had the happiest birthday ever and that you will have many more to come. You are wonderful and you deserve the best.
    Love and Hugs,
    Susan in Wilmington, NC

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