Two Weeks from Today!

Only two weeks from today until we sail away to England!!! This comment sends butterflies through my stomach.  We are so excited! Still a lot to do to get ready, but there is starting to be a little problem. Someone is too cute to leave behind.  Guess who?

This is what it looked like yesterday when we drove out of the driveway.

Jack, who is my shadow and follows me everywhere I go (when he is not following Joe everywhere he goes!); who, when we are having dinner, has his own chair where he sleeps while we eat; he, who loves us SO MUCH . . .  runs to the window to watch us go.

. . . and I have to make Joe stop the car.

So I can tell the cat how darling he is and take his picture.

And promise him we’ll be back.

He rolls over to say, “Come back in here and get me”…. isn’t that what it looks like to you?  That he is asking to go with us?  It’s all I can do not to go get him.  It is so hard to drive away, and we were just going to the market!!  Now we are going away for two months.  How will we get out the driveway?  What will become of my little petty pet????  This is the last day I’m going to think about it.  In fact, I am changing the subject right now.

Happy Earth Day Weekend Girlfriends!  How appropriate that we on Martha’s Vineyard (and it looks like most of the East Coast),  are expecting a Nor’easter, a huge blowy rainstorm, on Sunday.  Thank you!!!  Everyone’s happy about it because we’ve had no rain for a long time and our trees want the good deep drenching that only Mother Nature can provide.  Are you doing anything special to celebrate?

We’ll probably be inside and make a fire; I can roll some more yarn and read my WONDERFUL book (loving it so much, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton); we’ll do what we do every day now, prepare to go: pack art supplies, get shoes together, pick up sweaters from the cleaners, gather little piles of like things all over the house; plan for mail pickup, clean out the fridge, get the Adirondack chairs out of the barn and onto the lawn; and Joe is still working on the never-ending job of the rose arbor.  (He actually rebuilt one already, but then the other one started to fall down.  He’s now getting to be a professional rose arbor installation person.)

But at least he’s not in it alone.  And, while my two men are busy, I’ve been painting and designing, getting everything the studio will need from me while I’m away, finished and done.  Makes it so much easier when the Jack is not chewing on the other end of my paint brush, walking across my art, or dropping a jingle-ball on my lap!  I act like I’m complaining, but he is the light of my life.  Look at this little baby!

Remember how he looked the first day we brought him home?

And then, there is this little sweetheart . . . the lady of our cat world.  But here I am, back at the kitties, when all I really want to do is wish you a wonderful weekend!  Here’s my favorite piece of art to celebrate the day . . . and here’s just one tiny corner of what makes where we live such a miracle. XOXO


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300 Responses to Two Weeks from Today!

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

    Oh Susan! Leaving the kitties will be sooo hard but. . .ESP to them every day and you’ll all survive! Jack is so people oriented – glad to see he’s attached to Joe also!
    Foggy here at Calif coast this morning – inland is summer-like! Spring is bursting at the seams! Glad to hear that you’ll have rain at last! Celebrate life!

    • Joann says:

      Hello Kerry S. from San Pedro!!! We used to live there!! Daughters went to White Point school and we went on ‘the bumpy road’ (we used to call it) to get strawberries on the hill on the way to Bristol Farms (when Marine Land was over there)…. now bumpy road slid down hill! YIKES!! Anyway, wanted to say hello!!

      Joann from CO

  2. stephanie says:

    It is a little heartbreaking. Maybe you could skype with him?? 🙂

    Just think how much fun you’ll have with him this summer!

    Maybe this will bring the thing that brings Jack and Girl together… they’ll have to lean on one another. She’ll let him know that while you do go away sometimes, that you do always come back!

  3. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Happy “Earth~Day” Weekend Sweetest Sue! all The Photos of Your Jack…He’s Beyond Cute! & Girl~Kitty looks Gorgeous!…Two Weeks & Your Adventure Begins & We All Get to Come Along! Very Exciting Darling~Sue! 🙂 I Can Feel Your Excitement…& Your Kitties will Be okay…just Think of Your Home~Coming….so for Now Savor these two weeks…You & Joe will Be so Busy Preparing…Day By Day…Play with Jack & Girl~Kitty…& then…Your Magical Dream Adventure will Begin…Oh Joy….ok…Enjoy Your Weekend…Kitty~Kisses & Lots of Meows…for a “Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfect” Weekend! Yay! xoxo Poof! 🙂 ✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.

  4. JoAnne Daniels says:

    I don’t know how you’re ever going to leave Jack and Girl. Jack is too cute by half and Girl is so regal in her maturity.
    FYI for cat people — I recently switched my laundry detergent from Tide liquid to the new Tide Pods — my poor kitty broke out in a rash all over her body and lost clumps of her fur when I washed her favorite bed in the new detergent.
    She made a trip to our wonderful vet, Dr. Bladek, and he gave her a shot which made her feel much better in hours and we’ve re-washed everything in our “old” detergent. I’d hate to see this happen to Jack, Girl, or other kitties.
    I guess the moral to this story is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

    • Treese says:

      I agree. I have allergies to my allergies! I have to use Mrs. Myers natural soap after using Tide Free for years. Tide never bothered my babies (Bloodhounds) when I washed their beds, but my little filly broke out in welts when I washed her horse blanket in it. It got bad enough she needed a shot from the vet. Then I started to break out as well so I switched soap. My guy came for the holidays and brought his white cat Leon. Well, Leon enjoyed sleeping in my doggies bed. In a day or two he started to pull his fur out. Yikes. There was white tuffs of fur everywhere! A injection helped, but he looked pretty moth eaten when he was finished with himself. I sometimes shutter thinking of the chemicals we are exposed too.

  5. Jeanette says:

    Susan, What a precious post! Jack is cute beyond words. I know how hard it is to leave when they press their wee noses against the glass and their eyes plead, “please don’t go or please take me with you.” Argh…My three pups with the most soulful brown eyes beg the same. And, sometimes my girl, Jada (precious rescued rottweiler) lets out an emphatic “woof” – which translates, Mom I’m not happy with this!!!
    Thanks for the sneak peek at the art supplies you’re taking. It’s hard to figure out what to take, usually I want to take everything, which is absolutely impossible. I have the same watercolor set, I love the color variety and hues.
    Wishing you a delightful weekend!
    Two weeks!!!! I better get packing too – lots of PG Tips tea and treats to accompany you!
    xoox, Jeanette

    • sbranch says:

      The pile is growing! First it grows, then I get serious, reality sets in, then it diminishes.

  6. Cindy Tuning says:

    No Susan, I don’t know how you’re going to do it. But just think of what you would miss if you didn’t go. I think that’s the hardest part of having pets….when you have to leave them even for a little while. It must make you feel a lot better having someone you trust staying with them. At least they’ll be in the home they’re used to. Stay calm and carry on!!

  7. Cindy Tuning says:

    Sorry, I mean” Keep calm and carry on”

  8. Karen Saunders says:

    Well Jack looking out the screen door….that’s where you say ‘one picture is worth a thousand words.’ We do love that kitty, (how could we not?!). You must get him used to riding in the car with you without a carrier. My Siamese cat Waldo went EVERYwhere with me. To the drive-in…(he would sit on the top of the seat and watch the movie!) To the store, on trips. I would drive out to a mountain road and we would get out and go for a walk. He was my buddy and closest friend after I graduated….and I’m so weird….. Anyway, I would be stuffing Jack in my suitcase he’s so cute!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I always wanted a cat like that . . . but so far mine have never been that in love with the car!

  9. Cindy Garner says:

    You are such a strong woman!!! I don’t think I would be able to leave …..I’m sure they will have hugs and kisses for you when you get home♥


  10. NANCY JO says:

    Susan, Hi,
    Yes that was my first thought when you said you were going away. KITTIES! But the trade off is huge, A trip to England. Pretty sure I’m looking forward to it almost as much as you, well close anyway. I will miss the Kitties too.
    Nancy Jo

  11. Terri J. says:

    The picture of Jack on the chair looking out is great! What a precious cat.

  12. Martha Ellen says:

    Oh Susan, it will be so hard to leave your sweeties…I’ve been thinking that they will have fun while you are gone too! I hear that Girl is planning a lovely Tea Party for her and Jack. They will be using your lovely Rose Chintz. Little tuna sandwiches and salmon scones , and fresh cream for drinking—what a wonderful time will be had by all. Of course, Girl will wash and clean up after the party. They are thinking how hard it will be to say goodbye but are looking forward to your return. xoxo ♥

    • sbranch says:

      Like it Martha! 🙂

      • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

        Hi Martha,

        I have overheard my kitties, Tut and Cleo, saying that they would like to be invited to that Tea Party, if at all possible. They read the comments with me sometimes and especially perk up when any animals are mentioned. Cleo is a very girly kitty, usually called Miss Cleo Kitty, or Ms. Cleo Kitty if she is being very brave and going into the dark master bedroom alone at night for her 10:00 bedtime snack. She would love to help Girl Kitty out with the preparations.

        Tut is the reason that Cleo has to be brave. He is her big brother and can be a pest. I’m sure all of us girls with big brothers can relate! We sometimes call him Tutster, which has morphed into Tutmeister, which has morphed again into TutMonster when he is making Miss Cleo Kitty hiss at him.

        I have heard him promise Cleo that he will be on his best behavior if they are invited to MV for the party. I bet he has his eye on Girl Kitty—not that it will get him very far!! And Cleo’s big and soulful golden eyes will definitely distract Jack for a bit. Not to mention her delicate little kisses on the tip of his nose. He will probably be mooning around the house for the whole two months and not give another thought to his Mama and Papa.

        Oh my, kitty love!!

        • Martha Ellen says:

          Kathy, it looks like Girl Kitty and Jack will have guests at the Tea Party. I’m sure Tut and Cleo will have a grand time! They will be serving wonderful tasty treats! I’m sure for entertainment there will be a round of ball fetching by Jack!

  13. Rae Ann says:

    Happy Friday from western Minnesota, Susan, Joe and the kitties…Happy Earth Day weekend…could your house sitter come over and spend an hour here or there at your house before you/we leave for England and play with the kitties???…yes, you will miss them, but remember the adventure you are about to share with us…murmuration!!!…amazing…I remember the first time I saw that and every time I see it, I continue to be absolutely amazed by nature and the earth we live on…thank you for reminding us about this how thankful we need to be for where we all live…can’t wait til I get to Michigan and hear the “peepers”…but snowflakes are flying in northern Michigan today!!!…Rae Ann…xoxo…

  14. Rosemary (Sacramento Vly-Ca) says:

    Sweet, sweet pictures of the special “loves of your life”…I can just see mischief in Jack’s eyes and of course Girl is a beauty. How will you survive the separation? But, oh the reunion will be all the more sweet. Have a great Earth Day Weekend to you and all the GF’s. It’s sunny and warm in California today. -r-

  15. Joann says:

    Oh Susan—two more weeks is NOT that far away! It’s been almost two weeks since Easter and I just found one more teeny tiny little bunny that didn’t get packed away with all the Easter decorations…. my goodness!!

    Earth Day is R’s birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He’s actually not feeling that great today, so we’ll have to play the weekend by ear. I want to take him fishing and have a picnic. I got him a yearly fishing license today- that’s a great thing to do on EARTH day! FISH and throw ’em back!

    and have a picnic and be outside….so today I’m cleaning like crazy and getting things all tidy for the weekend. Got groceries yesterday so I can make him yummy things and it’s pretty outside….

    Blessed!!!!! yes, BLESSED!

    LOVE the kitties—send them to me and I’ll watch them while you’re away! I would even allow them to sleep on my pillow!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday to Rod!!! Hope he’s feeling better and you two can really celebrate…in the mountains with the lake and the fish.

  16. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Happy Friday~
    ~Happy Earth Day~

  17. Tora says:

    Not sure I could leave those kitties, any room in your suitcase? BTW, I too, loved Kate Morton’s Forgotten Garden – lovely story! happy Earthday weekend!!!

  18. Aggie says:

    Susan – it will be the best opportunity for the kitties to bond, though I know you are going to miss them like crazy! It is the hardest part of leaving home – even going to work everyday. They are so full of love and just tug at our hearts ♥

  19. Cathy McC. says:

    Oh, your time is getting close. The “see you laters” will be hard, but what a sweet reunion you will have with Jack and Girl Kitty when you get home. The little corner of the world you showed us was AMAZING!!! I was just getting ready to go to the dictionary and find out what murmuration meant — and the video told me! Glad I was on the River Shannon and not in a scene from “The Birds”. But fabulous video, great music, and perfect for our Earth Day weekend. Susan, you rock! Have fun packing! Ethel

  20. Lisa G. says:

    Oh, dear – but if you take him, you should also bring her, right? And, harnesses for them, too, right? And if you lose one of them in a foreign country, how terrible that would be.
    I’m not very encouraging, I know! 🙁

  21. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ I forgot to say I will be going to some “estate sales” this weekend~ good for Earth Day as well as the economy!~

  22. Barb says:

    Hello Susan, The pictures of your kitties just melts my heart. I say make a little recording of both you and Joe and then have the sitters, play it for them while your away. Keep pictures with you while your on your trip…say wallet pictures you can carry wherever you go.
    I so agree with you on the rain that is headed our way for the weekend. Nature is just so thirsty for some water at this time. We will start off our weekend by watching our Red Sox play the Yankees tonight and start of with there (100th Anniversary Celebration). Then I want to delve into my series of books by one of my favorite authors Anne LaBastille. She was a Pioneer on Conservation and the Outdoors. She built her very own Log Cabin and also another tiny cabin in the Adirondacks of New York. Her tiny cabin was modeled on Henry David Thoreaus
    cottage on Walden Pond. My husband and I camped in Lake George for years and we use to frequent a book shop called Trees in Bolton Landing and I was fortunate enough to get all four of her books all signed. I would read them by
    a lantern at our campsite at night and down by the lake during the day. Just love her work. We will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary on May 2nd. We have chose to do something special each month to honor that. On May 4th you will be leaving for your trip of a lifetime. I am so excited for both of you. I know when we go anywhere really special, I get so Excited…..I can hardly sleep.
    Recieved your Willard, thoroughly enjoyed it, am going to print out the CupCake toppers. All packed and ready to come aboard here. Happy Earth Day! xoxo
    Barb, Ludlow MA

  23. Elaine Thornton says:

    OK Susan – want to see your packing list! – your clothes that is! Can’t wait to read all about the trip as you go along!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve almost got it figured out . . . narrowed down, I will let you know.

      • Elaine Thornton says:

        We are not going till June and tomorrow I am filling a room with goodies to decide upon! Even that is exciting!

  24. Ginny Sargent - New England says:

    I try to bring my drawing material when I travel too! I also bring along a daily journal for notes, feelings, emotions etc.

    Noted the water color palette you are taking. Is this a palette you prepared? I was curious because I have been thinking about bringing watercolors too, and that palette, well it was calling to me!

    Could you please let me know a bit about it?

    Not that you have loads of time before THE day….. but girlfriends can feel free to ask. 😉

    • sbranch says:

      It’s one of my favorites, but not the only one I’m bringing…can’t bring it all though and this one has lots of colors — and you will love it because it’s at Michael’s Crafts, and very inexpensive.

      • Ginny Sargent - New England says:

        Oh THANK YOU! You are so busy now and I really appreciate you taking the time to answer. I usually get a weekly 40% coupon! Next time I get one I will head on over. Thanks again and have a safe, relaxing (not too relaxing! Hubby thinks we haven’t a vacation if we are not a “little” tired). How nice of you to bring us all your special adventure.

        Oh, remember to send us photos of you and Joe! I bet your faces will be glowing!

  25. Mary S. says:

    Ahhh… your photos of Jack in the window made me cry!! I know that, for me too, the hardest part of going somewhere is leaving my cats behind!! I’m sorry!!!
    The Murmuration video is awesome!! I never knew about such a thing!!
    Thank you!

    from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

    • sbranch says:

      We have mini murmurations here on the island, in the fall, a flock of birds, I think they’re grackles, fly close to the ground, up and over picket fences, around the church steeple and away, like a black cloud. It’s wonderful.

  26. Rita Baker says:

    I’m not going to England, Susan, but I am going to Iowa this Sunday and we’re taking our sheltie Andy with us. He goes practically everywhere we go, so I know how you feel about leaving your kitties. But they will adapt and adjust while you are gone, and so will you. How exciting for you and Joe – I wish you happy times and memories!

  27. I must away to google this Earth Day . . great excitement now, I wonder what it can be! Whatever it is, I think, from your beautiful art work, that it is something to do with the environment . .

  28. So hard to leave the little lovies at home. Seeding the greenhouse on this Earth Day, for our farm, here in Northern Ca. It is going to be 90′ today. Spring has finally arrived:)

  29. Georgie says:

    Oh! That beautiful little face with those HUGE eyes! Simply Precious! He is definitely a ball of love all wrapped in fur! I love the little chair with Jack sitting and watching! I once had a precious dog named Mopsey (Yes… from the Peter Rabbit books) who followed me everywhere. One beautiful spring day I opened an upstairs window and crawled out onto the roof to clear the gutters a bit. I felt someone looking at me, turned around and saw Mopsey looking into the gutter too as if to say, “What are you looking at? Can I see too?” She had climbed out onto the roof too! Yikes! LOL!!!

    Susan I want to find and post the webcam link for the harbor where you will be sailing from. Maybe we can even sail away with you!!! You KNOW we will be there in spirit.

    I logged in at 6:00 am when the new Disney Fantasy first sailed into the New York harbor right past the Statue of Liberty. What a sight that was. It was exciting to feel like I was RIGHT THERE taking part in the fun.

    When is your sailaway time? I will try to find the link and post it!!! It will be fun to wave at the computer screen and say,” BON VOYAGE SUSAN and JOE!”


  30. pat addison says:

    good afternoon susan, everyone, we’re finally warming up a bit and i can open the windows and let in the fresh air, the cats are adoring it, they are in every window that is open and enjoying the fresh smells and sounds. awwww the poor baby, time to start sleeping in that t-shirt for jack to have when you are gone, cats are very big on scents, and your scent withhim will be very comforting while you are gone. we do this with our cats and they are calmer when we leave and happy when we return. we don’t go anywhere too much just once in a blue moon, and the cats hate to see us leave. they get upset if we leave to go to the grange or the to grocery store. so i know how hard it will be for you. just do the t-shirt for jack and be sure the house/kitty sitter does not wash it at all, and leave it for jack where he sleeps. he’ll be fine. well hope you all have a fine warm and sunny weekend. hugs…… 🙂

  31. mari says:

    love all the kitty love ♥♥♥ Very difficult to leave, but remember that they have each other (even to tolerate :)), sleep most of the day anyway, and you have a wonderful pettsitter for them. You can always Skype them (if you have connection) ~ they would love that!!!
    Love the pix – Jack is just the cutest, est, est little guy, and Girl Kitty is just elegant. Can’t believe “we’ll” be sailing away so soon!

  32. Jennie says:

    Jack at the window is the cutest thing EVER! What a sweetheart he is! I’m thinking one of those baby front-packs to carry him in while in England- just fill a pocket with kitty crunchies and when on a garden tour slip away and make sure he gets a ‘potty break’- no one will ever be the wiser! 😉
    Enjoy your cozy, stormy weekend! We’ve had that sort of weather most of the week here in Vancouver, Wa- looking forward to some hoped for sun this weekend so some mulching and spring cleaning can be done- and maybe a spring hike with my little men.

  33. cathy chapman says:

    Who will be taking care of the cats while you are gone? And what will you be up to for 4 months in which part of England? Sounds Heavenly! How are you getting there? …so many questions….tee-hee!

    • sbranch says:

      Two months . . . I wish it was four, but it’s two, and that’s pretty good. I’ll be so homesick by the end of it! We are getting there on the Queen Mary II — you have to watch, I’m going to send videos and photos when I can, when the internet connection allows. We’re all going!

  34. Sue says:

    Oh, Susan, Jack reminds me so much of my Dexter(who got his wings 4 years ago).
    I miss him still….I vowed that when he was gone, that was it no more kitties, but if you keep posting Jack’s pictures I think I might start looking again for a little friend. Dexter used to take walks with us…sometimes we would sneak out, but he would always find us….
    Have a beautiful trip and I will be looking forward to “traveling” right along with you and Joe…

    • Kimi says:

      Dear Sue

      I’m sorry for the loss Of Dexter, I know how that feels! But in saying this you should try and get another Kitty their are so many cats that do not have homes today and sit in shelters waiting for someone like you! and maybe you will find a new Dexter think about how happy you would be and the Kitty that had know home! Good wishes to you….. Kimi

      • sbranch says:

        Great advice…getting a kitty is a win win for everyone.

        • Cathy McC. says:

          Ethel here. I lost my cat of 19 years over a year ago. This past week, I’ve been away from home (getting to know our week old grandson in Kansas City!) and everywhere I’ve stayed there have been cats or dogs. It has made me realize that the time has come to go to the animal shelter and see if a kitty claims me! I agree – total win-win!

          • sbranch says:

            Hooray, get ready for more fun than you’ve had in a long time!!! So happy for you and the new little pal.

  35. Chris says:

    You’re simply going to have to send Jack and Girl postcards. One a week will not be enough for them. Maybe you could Skype?
    We are a close knit family of 2 bipeds and 2 labs (Bryn is yellow and Dolly is black) who are owned by Maui who is multilingual. She speaks/understands human, canine and feline and could easily be related to your b/w kitties. The 5 of us prepare meals together and during dinner Maui has a seat at the table while Bryn and Dolly lie quietly on either side of her. And we all sleep in the same room altho only two of us are allowed on the bed. I swear she trained them that way. They all came to us several months after our Hawaiian trip so I’m not sure how I would leave them for a long time. We do kennel them for an occasional weekend but I get homesick for their soft heads and purring bodies.

    Your excitement has many of us bubbling about your trip. Sailing on The Queen! (read happy-for-you sigh) Get packing!!!

  36. Kimi says:


    Don’t be sad! Your kitties will remember you that’s what so wonderful about cats they just don’t forget! One day you will look back and see that doing what you need to do just has to get done! fun or work. “Hey isn’t that what scrap booking is for? from you last blog? Right! well you need to do things in order to put it all in a scrap book! and then sit down and show Girl Kittie and Jack the cat look what we did!!! Go have fun XO

  37. Judy says:

    Girl kitty will more than likely learn how to play – and Jack “may” learn patience and tolerance … their love is unconditional and for sure they will double appreciate you both upon your return. That’s pretty wonderful because they are so adorable. We are all getting pretty excited to be included in your journey and nothing could be better than England, IMHO. Remember to breathe – Judy

  38. sondra fox says:

    Susan, I’ve I’ve already told all of you, we too have a Jack, BUT, our Jack is a darling, peppy Wired Hair Terrior, that we would never part with, “except” on a trip where he wouldn’t enjoy himself. I can’t see your kitties going along with you to England, dear Sue. I think you mentioned there would be a friend living with your kitties? I’m sure they’ll be fine with someone in the house. When we travel in our motorhome, with Jack along of course, our kitties stay at home. We have a wonderful pet care lady who feeds them, then pats them for us. We recently had to put our old kitty, Sarah (twenty years old), to sleep. Sarah was a traveller. She went everywhere with us in our motorhome. As a matter of fact, she travelled with us to the east coast (we live in CA) on a three month trip. We miss Sarah kitty. Jack doesn’t miss her though. He enjoys all the attention. Have a wonderful trip. I know your kitties will be fine.

  39. Leave a treat a day for the cat-lets and, because, you’re leaving them at home, they’ll be fine because they have their order, routine and your smell on everything. It’s *you* who will be a mess -smile-!
    We’re expecting snow…oh dear…winter’s last grasp; thank God I’ve not yet turned off the heat nor sheared the sheep!

  40. Dale Worness says:

    I just love the pic of Jack and your pretty lace curtains. It will be hard to leave both kitties but it will give you something extra special to return home to. Animals love you unconditionally and won’t ask “why didn’t you bring us with you?” (If they do, you’re REALLY in trouble!)
    Yes, there’s nothing like a good Spring rain. We had a thunderstorm here in FL yesterday and I was so happy to be inside reading a good book and listening to the rain. What more could you ask for?
    How old is your barn? It sounds neat.

    • sbranch says:

      1849 … old, it has a big huge basement, without stairs though, dirt floor, granite walls, I think they kept hay there at one time, but I don’t know how they got down there! I always thought it would make a good wine cellar, and an even better place to do a Halloween story!

      • stephanie says:

        Was it a root celler?

        It sounds awesome… we’ll be needing a blog on that post-trip! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          It might have been, without stairs, it’s a little hard to know. There’s a heavy square piece of the floor we can pull up by the attached iron ring to get to it.

  41. Julianna (New York) says:

    I am amazed by the murmuration of starlings! Reminds me of a school of fish but out of the water and in the air!

    • sbranch says:

      Aren’t they just beautiful … wouldn’t that be amazing to just be in a canoe and have that show up!!!

  42. I know how you feel! We leave for London on May 5th and our dog, Nigel will be alone for the first time without dog siblings. We lost our sweet old lab, Lily about 3 weeks ago, Even though he will be staying with his 3rd favorite person in the whole world, I just wish I could explain to him where we are going and when we’ll be back. Last weekend, we took him on his first road trip ever and he was so wonderful and had so much fun that he gets excited every time I pick up a tote bag. I think I’m going to be packing on the sly, so as not to raise false hopes!
    Your sweet kitties will be fine and so will our Nigel, but oh, it is so hard.
    Hope your trip is amazing and wonderful. We are flying and only staying a week, but so excited just the same! Bon voyage!

    • sbranch says:

      I hope it’s harder on me than it is on them, that would make me happy. I hope they don’t care at all!

      • Janet says:

        You have the best attitude about it and you’re right. It’s always harder for the Moms – no matter what species their “offspring” are. Here’s hoping young Mr Jack will react like every five-year old I’ve ever seen in 34 years of teaching kindergarten [sniffles, tears, quivering lips while Mom is still in sight, then perfectly fine about 30 seconds after she leaves]. An adorable/pathetic little face peers out at you with “how could you even THINK about leaving me?” reproach through the window on May 4. But once the car disappears from sight, he’ll start poking around looking for his jingle ball, then spend some time window-watching the birds in your yard, then have a lovely nap on the fax machine. Or is it Girl that likes to sleep on that nice warm fax?

        Enjoy your indoor time this rainy weekend! It is April after all, everyone! April showers! Bonus! One of our favorite poems in kindergarten – from that children’s writer extraordinaire Jack Prelutsky:

        When it’s raining, get a book, settle down & take a look!

  43. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh…you’re breaking my heart! However…I know you have a wonderful “kitty sitter” and they will be fine while you are away!

    What a sweet blog! Love…those kitties of yours…wish I lived closer…I’d enjoy kitty sitting! smile…

    Sure hope you get some of that much needed rain….our grass looks soooo green thanks to the rain we’ve been getting!


  44. Ann says:

    Oh my, he is too cute standing on that chair watching Joe! Thanks for the Girl Kitty pic, too. Don’t know how you find time to update us, but happy that you do. Sounds like you can get a lot of packing done on Sunday.

  45. Suzanne says:

    How many of you think that Susan will actually make it out of the driveway in two weeks…cough….cough?

  46. Nancy Mosley says:

    That is just the sweetest thing that he watches you out the window as you leave. I know that will be incredibly hard to say good-bye. But I’m so excited for you and your adventure and that you are taking us along too. Can’t wait!!!! I’ve always longed to go to England and look forward to sharing it from your viewpoint and sketchpoint too! Blessings!

  47. Betty says:

    Hope that you have a lovely cruise to England and great fun while on vacation. We will also be in England in exactly 2 weeks to visit our daughter, her husband and our toddler grandson. Perhaps we’ll see you at Hill Top!

  48. Karen P - Wisconsin says:

    It just melts one’s heart seeing those pics of Jack staring out through the window! And I love the pic of Joe working on the rose arbor….love to see my hubby when he’s working outside on a project for something that I love as much as flowers in the garden! ….. Happy Earth Day weekend!

  49. Jack is sooooo cute. Especially standing on that chair looking out at Joe. 🙂 I was going to suggest making a tape of your voices so he can hear them while you are gone. Your Kitty sitter will help spoil him while you are gone. Our Friends just got back from a month in Europe and they left their dog with the house sitter. They are back and its like they never left to him. Just don’t look back as you drive out of the driveway. 🙂

  50. Patricia H. says:

    I do think we’ll all miss Jack as well! No pictures of our little buddy for 2 months! Maybe Jack and Girl can do a couple guest blog posts while you’re gone……..xx

    • sbranch says:

      Good idea, when I’m busy!

      • Jackie P says:

        Yes, I agree with Patricia H. — my black and white Springer, Bentley, will miss Jack almost as much as you (and we) will! I have to show him older posts of Jack when he is not in your current blog! As soon as Bentley hears the bird singing, he rushes to the computer to see if Jack is there. It is a true love affair!

    • stephanie says:

      Great idea Patricia!

  51. Pat says:

    My bags are “almost” packed and I am “almost” ready to go. I have my embroidery gathered and ready to put in my carry-on case. I can’t wait until our trip begins. I will miss seeing your pets too but will enjoy the blogs about them when you come back home again. “Happy Earth Day” Skypeing your cats would be a great idea. LOL

  52. K. Ross says:

    Sure seems like Kitty Jack gets more video coverage than Kitty Girl. Hope she’s not the jealous type. He will long for your return, but hopefully Kitty Girl will keep him assured of your love. 🙂 Before you leave, put a garment that you’ve recently worn in the kitty bed or some place where the cats like to sleep. They will smell your scent and feel comforted until your return. Your video reminds me of Marianne Robinson’s book Housekeeping with the two girls alone in a boat on a remote body of water. Kind of eerie (but a great story). Keep us posted on your preparations!

  53. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Awwww, sweet kitties! Your men are working fast to finish that arbor before the storm! Batten down the hatches! I thought those birds were a storm & those girls needed to high tail it out of the water – absolutely amazing sight! Thank you! I like the way you pack – almonds, watercolors, orange shoes, books! It was nice to come home just now, & have shrimp salad with you – (sorry Jack, I know you could smell the shrimp!). Happy Earth Day Weekend to all too! Love your drawings & your quotes dear Sue, thank you! xoxoxo PS & ♥ the tunes!

  54. Dorothy says:

    Dear Susan,

    Jack is precious and so is Girl Kitty!! We are big cat lovers and have a tuxedo cat too named Bunky, who also watches us leave from the window. We are leaving tomorrow for a week to Florida and I am going thru many of the same emotions as you. Plus I spent time in my studio today choosing art supplies to take along too. So I loved your photo of your table covered with art supplies!! I am so excited that you are taking us along with you. I am toasting you and the trip with my teacup from Buckingham Palace. Was there last year. I love England!! Bon Voyage and xoxo…Dorothy

  55. jeanne hedin says:

    Love all the sayings and verses about our beautiful, amazing earth! About the kitties, I understand how this will tug on your heartstrings. When my husband and I would go on longer trips, and would call home to check on the kitty or puppy dog, we actually spoke to them on the phone (my husband won’t admit this :-)). Our wonderful, loveable, spunky, quirky schnauzer would listen, then “woof” and turn in circles when he heard our voice. Your kitties will do just fine because you will be leaving an extra helping of love with them when you leave.

  56. Holly says:

    I am SO glad I’m not the only one fretting over leaving her kitties! I’m just going on a 4 day quilt retreat and I’m really sad at the prospect of them staying home with just my husband! It’s really hard to think about leaving them. Hopefully people who don’t have pets, won’t think we’re nuts. It’s almost the same as I felt when leaving my kids with a 15 year old babysitter! The pics of Jack are so cute, they make me want another black & white kitty. One of our shop cats is black & white and so sweet in a very manly tom cat way.

    The storm is just now hitting Indiana. Temps dropped about 20 degrees and wind is whipping it up. I have baby zinnias coming up and lettuce I hope don’t die or drown! Happy cozy weekend all.

  57. Linda in Texas says:

    Jack is just heart-breakingly cute, and I know it will be hard to leave him (and Girl Kitty). But as so many have said, they will be fine. You? maybe a bit hard for a while, but Oh, the homecoming! My husband’s theory is that animals don’t have much sense of time–“Uhmmm, was that two minutes or two months you were gone? But man! I’m glad to see you now!”

    Did Willard come out this week? I didn’t get mine. I hope I didn’t get dropped from the list. (Or did I remember wrong about when it was coming?)

    Have a wonderful two weeks preparing for your two months in England.

    • sbranch says:

      It did come out . . . check your spam folder and make sure it’s not there. If you don’t find it, you should let me know, and sign up again. Thank you Linda!

      • Linda in Texas says:

        Thank you, Susan. I don’t know why I never think to check my spam folder. You were right–there it was. (How dare they think your Willard is spam. I set them straight about that!) Whew! I didn’t fall off the list.

  58. Lisa R (northern Arizona) says:

    You come up with the cutest pictures, but then you have an awfully cute subject.~ Love seeing all your art supplies, and those nuts remind me that I have to look for them when I go shopping tomorrow!…..Your Earth Day art work is wonderful, love all the quotes. My 25 year old daughter and I always go see the new Disney Earth Day movie together. Loved African Cats last year, and now it’s Chimpanzee! We’re just like little kids still, we get so excited! LOL Enjoy your weekend Susan.~

  59. Awww….so cute. Don’t forget to leave some article of clothing or something of yours in their beds so they have your lovely scent to remind them you are still there in spirit. My husband says my dog goes to his crate and just lies there until I come home whenever I go out for a few hours. Maybe your friend could play your YouTube videos so they can hear your voice if they get too mopey! 🙂 Perhaps, Stephanie is right about Jack and Girl Kitty bonding. Then when you get home you’ll get the royal let’s-ignore-Mom treatment just to show you how much they really missed you.

  60. Carolyn (SoCA) says:

    Susan, leaving my pets, over the years, has been the main source of “vacation departure anxiety.” It doesn’t help that every cat we have owned (or should I say has owned us) has decided to curl up in the suitcase as we try to pack. I had a knot in my stomach just reading about your distress. It sounds as though you have enlisted trustworthy kitty/house sitters, so everything will probably be just fine once you finally leave!

  61. Kathy Phenix says:

    Love the Jack pics! Boy is he ever photogenic. As much as they both will miss you, I trust you know they probably will be a bit standoffish when you do return. We usually get the big “We’re ignoring you” attitude whenever we leave our kitties for an extended time. Our cat sitter always reports that they were fine while we were gone but they treat you like they were “tortured”. They are quite the little actors. But sooo cute!! Have a fabulous time. Looking forward to the trip very much. Kathy in Florida

  62. jeanette from Oklahoma says:

    Oh, I feel your pain, Susan, about leaving your kitties–that is always so hard for me to do too! but having such a wonderful trip to keep your mind off of them will ease those thoughts. Am so excited to hear about your travels! have a wonderful two months and be assured your darlings will welcome you back!

  63. Jessica says:

    Leaving our beloved fur babies is always the most difficult part of travel…whether to the store, or half way around the world…I wish we could talke to them and share what’s going on, I think then, it wouldn’t be so hard, plus, you could talk to them on the phone while away too…that would make everything better!
    Happy pre-trip two weeks…
    xo J~

    • sbranch says:

      We traveled cross-country a couple of years ago, bringing Girl in the car with us, from CA to MA. It was SO fun to have her in the motel room every night. She did really well.

      • Jessica says:

        That’s wonderful Susan, and the fact that she enjoyed herself is fantastic! I wonder if she remembers the trip? We stayed at Doris Day’s Inn at Carmel a while back…it’s a beautiful, pet friendly place. Our kitties were too old to travel by then, but it’s a dream of mine to go there again with a furbaby or two in tow…dog or cat, it doesn’t matter!
        Have a spectacular weekend…
        xo J~

  64. Deb from Dixie says:

    Looking at Jack in the window I had big tears in my eyes…I know those pangs that pull at your heartstrings when you have to leave……… ah, so hard to do.
    But I think Jack’s eyes say……
    “Thank you Susan and Joe for loving me so, so, so much, for rescuing me from uncertainty and giving me a home any kitty would be blessed to find, a home filled with warmth, fun and happiness. I am a lucky little guy. lucky that you picked me to love…….and I will always love, love, love you!”

    My kitty sitter told me once that cats do not sense time as we do…….they just know that you are gone for a bit……and then you return……so a day, week or month may not seem as long to them as it does to us. I hope that is true because it helped me through times of seperation, maybe it will help you too.
    I also, keep photos of my kitties in my calendar, so everyday….when I am traveling, I start the day looking at their sweet faces… helps too.

    The adventures in England will be wonderful, so exciting, time will fly by and before you know it, you will be back home giving kisses and tummy rubs to the cutest moustached kitty ever…….and big sis. Girl. ♥

  65. Jane says:

    The butterflies have spread to my stomach now! The time has flown by since you announced your trip! I am SO excited to read your posts from England. And don’t have any fears that Jack will forget you, our pets are so adaptable. We, the humans, are the ones that need help trying not to worry about our babies!

    Enjoy you Nor’Easter! We needed rain here in the Midwest and we got it today…and the cold. It finally feels like spring! 😀


  66. Kathy says:

    Susan, thank you so much for sharing that incredible video…murmazing!!!! Truly an awesome planet we live on…..Earth, you rock!! And I love, love, love the kitty pictures!!!!! Hard to leave behind but what a wonderful reuniting with those furry lovebugs await you upon your return!!!! Cheers!!

  67. Country Gal says:

    Thats part of why Papa and I dont go on trips one because we are true home bodies and two our dog Miggy suffers from separation anxiety and has to be in a cage when we do go out for a bit and I cant stand to leave her for long periods of time she is my baby , my companion when Papa is at work, my best buddy . We pick places we can take her even if it is just to go grocery shoping she doesnt mind being in the van watching the coming and goings of people keeps her busy whilst we arent there ! I take it you have someone coming in to feed and check on them ? If so they should be fine ! Have a good day !

  68. Georgie says:

    Oh My! Both of my posts got deleted or dropped 🙁 They were awaiting moderation at 3:00 pm…

    I had promised to look for a link to webcams where we could all watch you sail out of the New York Harbor next weekend! Here is one which is looking good. I just saw a ship sailing by right now. Sometimes the camera follows the ship out. If your QMII is leaving from this harbor, we can wave to you 🙂

    I just love the little chair you have for Jack to watch what’s going on outside. My little dog Mopsey (yes… from Peter Rabbit books) just had to watch everything I did too. What joys we pet lovers have!

    Enjoy the spring rains this weekend as you look to your dreams!

    • sbranch says:

      That looks like the Tappan Zee Bridge, and the ship goes right under it!

      • Deb from Dixie says:

        Thanks Georgie……
        That is really cool……and under the webcam is a map of the harbor that identifies every ship that is currently sailing in the inlets and harbor……on their way to the open sea!

  69. Wendy Louise says:

    What a wonderful teacher you are ! Thank-you for that clip showing a murmuration,you learn something everyday, about this big beautiful planet we have the pleasure of living on. We must do everything we can to take care of her. So we are planting our garden this weekend, the fence went up and it is beautiful, now the fun begins……planting ! Onto the small creatures of this wonderful planet, Jack will be fine. He will attach himself momentarily to his new caretaker and have a ball, but watch out when you get home, he won’t leave you alone for one instant ! From now on it’s like Christmas the anticipation and then WOW your Christmas will last for two months….YEAH ! I can’t wait ’cause your sharing it with us all !!!! OOXX

  70. Fran Sigdestad says:

    Oh Susan it brought tears to my eyes to see that pic of Jack looking longingly out the window. I have left kitties behind and it is so hard. I think they do that just to make us think about them the whole time we are gone. Loved all the pictures and I am so looking forward to the pics of your trip. I’m getting my tea and snacks ready. I bet girl kitty is thinking here we go again. They sure do recognize the packing after a while. One time our kitty got in the suitcase and was determined not to get out. That was so hard. The best part, knowing they are waiting for you when you get home. I bet England will have the cutiest kitty toys to bring back with you. Have a great weekend by the fire.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I’m sure Girl recognizes the suitcases that are all over the Peter Rabbit room, and the clothes hanging from all the doorknobs in the bedrooms! It’s wonderful to come home to the little critters you love. Those last 10 miles never seem to end!

  71. Terri J says:

    Oh those cute furry faces are so hard to say goodbye to – though I do think it may often be harder on us, than on them. I think they may have FESP (furry ESP) that lets them know where we are and that we are coming back…at least that’s what I tell myself ;-). Love your illustrations for us, today. Wish we were getting some of that rain this weekend too – but they’re predicting 90 F. weather, just in time for our local Flower and Garden Show. Whew, not quite ready for that much heat, yet…Time for lots of sunblock and iced tea, out here in California.
    Happy Earth Day!

  72. Peggy Cooper from Pueblo, CO says:

    I got The Forgotten Garden at the library, so I’m reading along with you. Our weekend is supposed to be beautiful, so instead of in front of the fire, I’ll be reading on the front porch or back patio. That is after I do some more gardening. Have strawberries and asparagus to plant in some new raised beds. And some hostas for under the peach tree. Still going back and forth on getting a kitty. Seeing Jack and Girl Kitty tugs at my heart strings. Love them, but my springer is soooooo jealous. She even gets upset when I talk to the chickens.

    • sbranch says:

      Well it’s good you’re thinking twice . . . a kitten is so delicious you won’t be able to help but give it lots of attention (I’d like to wear Jack!) and that might be hard on your doggie.

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        You just have to give equal time to both and make a conscious effort to pet both at the same time–no pushing anyone away. We tell our schnauzers that that is why God gave us two hands–one to pet each one! 🙂

  73. Cyndi inNC says:

    I know how hard it is to leave the furry kids. Even if I’m going to be out for the afternoon I worry about my boy. It was a little easier to do the when he had a friend, my little Mia. But then she got sick and she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Now my boy Rusty is all alone when we are not home. At least he has a little girl friend who he goes and stays with when we have to go out of town. So now your kitties have each other. I’m afraid the Princess is going to have move of Jack them she might like. But I think she’ll be ok and may even give him a little cuddle cause you all aren’t there to see!! Enjoy the bad weather, frankly I hope we do get rain, we need it. So hunker down and enjoy your fire. I’m sure you’ll make something yummy to eat!

    • sbranch says:

      Girl Kitty has become gentle with Jack for the most part, touches noses with him, and only bats at him when he tries to jump on her!

      • Cyndi in NC says:

        I figured she come to tolerate him and be a good big sister. I bet while you’re gone she will take good care of him. But she has to let him know when he’s crossed the line. *L* After all he is still a baby.

  74. Oh, England sounds like a grand time. I was fortunate to visit England while I was living abroad in Germany years ago.

    Who’s going to take care of your sweet kitty cats w hile you’re away?

    Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂 🙂 🙂

  75. Sally Bennett says:

    I am so happy and relieved to see a picture of your Girl Kitty. I hadn’t seen a picture of her for a while and was wondering if she is okay. Maybe I just missed a picture recently. I know how hard it is to leave them when going on a trip, but they will be fine, and think how happy you all will be to see each other when you get home. Have a *wonderful* trip in England. Looking forward to your pictures and trip diary.

  76. Pam G. says:

    now that we are retired we hopefully will begin to travel a bit BUT we have 2 adorable dogs (shitzu-maltese) that are our babies. I hate to leave them too. They even mope around and act very sad and sit staring out the window when hubby is home and I have gone to the grands for a few days-less than a week-it is very hard but they will survive and be oh so happy when you return.

  77. Marilyn says:

    My husband and I are getting ready to take a 3 week US road trip and I am thinking my Joey (cat) will forget me. I even asked my husband if Joey could go too, but you know he wouldn’t be happy away from his home and he hates the car. Oh sad kitties! and their owners! Happy travels !

    • sbranch says:

      We have to do what we have to do. I know some people who travel don’t have animals because of it. How hard that would be! I would hate to have to choose between them.

  78. Judy from Oregon says:

    Oh Susan! I knew it was going to be hard for you to leave your kitties especially Jack since you have never left him before. He will be lost without you. I was going to say you could skype with him but see others have suggested it also. At least he will have Girl Kitty to be there with him. I love that picture of Jack standing on the chair watching Joe.

    • Judy from Oregon says:

      Sorry I meant to say since you have never left Jack before for such a long time. I do remember you had Jack when you took your trip to New York but it was a short trip.

  79. Karen Z @ Victoria, Australia says:

    Ooooh Sweet Sue, I can empathise with you. So hard to part from the ones we love! Your other Girlfriends have given you some good advise. You are going to have a wonderfull trip and I’m looking forward to going along too. OXO

  80. Karen R says:

    Love your “Next door neighborly” Blogs. I have had cats in the past and seems to me, if I remember correctly, they both will be very angry , and ignore you as punishment for a couple of days. mine always did. might be different with ca friendly cat sitter in the house. I just know your trip will be everything you are hoping for. Bon Voyage!

  81. Carol Deiber says:

    I picked up your address book today~ can’t wait to fill it in!

  82. at T. says:

    You are taking the trip I dream of often – it will be fun to follow along with your adventures! Can’t imagine a more beautiful time to be there.
    Love Kate Morton’s books – all of them. They will keep me in England until that someday when I can actually see it.

  83. Pat T. says:

    oops – that should be “Pat T.”

  84. Paulie says:

    I think you should rename your kitties Jack and Jill for Girl Kitty who by the way is as gorgeous as Jack is cute! What fun……oh they will be fine but they may well get even too while you are away or wait until you get back to do that. They have a way of doing that ………..which has been my past experience. Have fun and think happy thoughts for those kitties and all will be fine……We are all so excited about this trip…….so you are bringing a lot of happy thoughts with you as well ….xx

  85. OK, now I want you to listen to me as I know of what I speak….YES….Jack is going to miss you terribly because he is a people pet; but, I would suggest that when you do leave for your trip have your sitter be somewhere other than the window that he watches you from….and don’t make a big goodbye just leave. I had to leave my cats at the farm for a year every other week when we had Jim’s Mother and were staying in two homes and it was horrible. Our princess lost her hair and was so distraught which made us feel terrible. Our cats are with us now and Mystee’s hair is all grown back and she is happy. I think if my memory serves me well once you return after two months you are leaving again for CA to visit your parents?? Now, that will be rough but by that time Jack will probably be use to it so that is a positive. I feel the same way about leaving my pets and it has kept me from doing things over the years and as long as someone is with them that loves them and feeds them they will be just fine. Maybe this will make it easier for you, think about all the service men/women who leave for 18 mos. and recently on You Tube they showed the dog that jumped out of the car when the lady said there is daddy, and the dog just went nuts when his master came back. I also want to say how beautiful Girl is with that left eye looking like an eyeliner was applied. This trip is for you and Joe and when you return you will be so excited which will make Jack and even Girl happy to see you. I do think that Jack would be a pet that you could travel (in a car) with and he would love to travel?? As long as your sitter plays ball with Jack and stays close to your routine and if you can Skype and he can see you from time to time he won’t forget you!!! Enjoy the next two weeks with them, and there isn’t a formula for leaving pets behind your lifestyle includes trips away from home and the kitties will be waiting for you when you return. *Absence makes the heart grow fonder*

    • sbranch says:

      All you say is true. It’s going to be fine. I love those videos of the returning service people and their dogs!

  86. Christine Anderson says:

    What am I doing for Earth Day? Celebrating our 46th anniversary. We were married before there was an Earth Day!!!

    We will spend 5 days in Oceanside , CA in beautiful, warm weather!

  87. Pat Mofjeld says:

    That Jack is SO CUTE–he “supervises” Joe the way our schnauzers “supervise” Norm when he is working on a project! The face at the window–we used to have that when we went out the drive–noses pressed against the front window glass with sad expressions on faces…almost made me cry every time I looked towards them! When they started getting into mischief when we were gone–unravelling balls of knitting yarn all over the living room floor, shredding magazines off the coffee table, chewing on corners of books, etc., we decided to gate them in the kitchen when we are gone to the store, etc. Makes it easier for us to not see the faces pleading, “Take me along, too, pleeeeeaaaasssseee!” They would look like they thought we were abandoning them! As someone suggested above, whatever you do, don’t look back at that face when you leave on your big trip…and remember that they are safest and happiest at home in their own setting. 🙂 And also remember that they have no concept of time–so it won’t be like they are ticking off the days while you are gone…It will be interesting what they do when you return…

    • sbranch says:

      Usually when I return I get the cold shoulder from Girl, but not sure what it will be with Jack, I just want to make sure he gets that ball thrown for him every day! Both need lots of kisses.

      • Sandy Richmond says:

        My cats always gave me the cold shoulder when I returned from a trip, sitting with their backs to me just to make sure I understood how mad they were. It never lasted long, and they were purring in my lap! Always a happy ending! Looking forward to your voyage!

  88. Kristin in San Diego says:

    I adore the kitty posts!! Although I have puppies… One is a small black and white Boston Terrier who does exactly what Jack does when we leave the house! It is so precious, his little face saying “don’t leave me mama!”. You will have something to look forward to when you are done with your amazing trip …. That precious face.

  89. Helen from Brentwood CA says:

    I think you should just make the most of the experience of leaving……feel the love:)….take pictures of Jack in the window, cry a little (or alot:)…..make sure to keep looking at him as you drive away……and then let the excitement of the boat engulf you……Feel it all! Its all good! When you are blessed to have this much love in your life…..all these mixed feelings go with it….you lucky girl:). But having said all that….I don’t believe in “luck”….you and Joe have created this life along with some help from above…..don’t miss a minute. Let the countdown begin!

  90. Betty Marie says:

    Hi Susan, Here is a tip for the kitties. Leave a shirt and blouse out that has been warn by you & Joe.(do not wash) Girl kitty loves being on your bed leave one there, and where ever jack likes being the most. That way they will know you are comming back. It is a comfort for them. You can even do this for dogs. Can’t say they wil be in perfect shape when you return. Your kittie sitter can let them hear your voice if you record something or if your are going to have international phone service you can talk to them everyday. I think by now you know I am a cat lover.

  91. Frances Fowler says:

    I so understand the heartbreak when your Jack is looking out the window as you….leave him. My precious pitbull mix, Linus (who I often remind that his adorable black and white Snoopy markings, along with a lightning bolt of white above his bandit eye, have covered a multitude of sins) is my absolute baby. The worst thing is to see him up in his chair looking out the window with that look of hurt on his face when I leave 🙁 But your kitties will be well taken care of when you are in ENGLAND! I love the poem by W.B. Randsl it’s the last poem in my cherished Bumper Book from childhood. I looked up The Forgotten Garden on Amazon, and now absolutely must have it! My dad says the roses in England are so beautiful that when he comes home he feels like cutting all of his to the ground! I don’t know about Martha’s Vineyard, but roses in the Southern humidity, even in far North Georgia, suffer from a host of plagues, leaving many a gardner to plant hardy varieties. Love Jack’s “baby picture.” Happy weekend!

    • sbranch says:

      We have the same problem with roses on the island . . . although climbing New Dawn does fairly well, but nothing like England!

  92. Julie H from Michigan says:

    Susan, when we left for a two week trip, my wonderful friend checked on my cats everyday and gave them wonderful attention. However, when we returned, my oldest cat, Barbie, would not give me the time of day. It was as if she was put out by me not being there and she was going to make me pay for it. She would hardly come by me for the first couple days we were back home. Cats sure can be manipulative when they want to be. Ha!! (Or at least they think they are.) Ha!

    I have to ask where did you get your lace curtains? I love lace curtains and have them in every window of my house. They are pretty old but in good condition yet, but I cannot find any to replace the ones I have should they finally give out. I bought them at JC Penney about 17 years ago and I believe they were called “Lyla” or “Sherry”. The pattern is not made anymore. I know of a company called heritage lace, but those curtains are much heavier than the ones I have. Just wondering about yours.

    Have a great trip! Looking forward to sharing the adventure with you!


    • sbranch says:

      You are going to love this, lots of lace curtains . . . Country Curtains has them. I have also cut up tablecloths to make lace curtains . . . in case all else fails.

      • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

        I have been buying from Country Curtains’ catalog since the 70s. I loved the way the late afternoon sun streaming through the lace curtains in our living room would make beautiful motifs on the wall. Soon I will be buying their Dotted Swiss curtains for my two guest rooms.

      • Julie H from Michigan says:

        Susan, Thank you for the heads up on Country Curtains. I now have a source to go to for lace curtains. Thanks again, Julie

  93. Anne says:

    Oh, how I feel your pain Susan – I can’t handle leaving my little doggie either. Our little furry children are just so sweet and loving! A very wise animal person said to me once when I was going thru what you are now….heart-wrenching over leaving my “baby”……that they adjust when you’re gone – as long as they are being feed and taken care of in a loving way – they are fine. I really think it’s just us -the parents – that are a mess! Think how wonderful it will be when you come home and walk thru the door and see them after 2 months – you’re sweet little kitties! What a great feeling that will be for you 🙂

  94. Sue says:

    You are going to have a wonderful trip, my cousin is leaving tomorrow for 10 days in Eruope….she is leaving behind a very spoiled damalation.

    The kitties will be fine, they will be spoiled by your friend and miss you even more when you return……have fun!

  95. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan and Happy Earth Day to you too!! I loved the video of the starlings..had to quick my husband to come see…what a sight…another head-shaking moment of nature….thank you for posting it…wow..only 2 more weeks until departure…the anticipation of it all is about killing me..I can imagine yours…I can feel yours!!! We love to travel and get excited about a 45 minute drive to a pretty little winery down the road…I am not sure I’d survivie the trill of an ocean voyage to one of my favorite spots on the planet!!! Betting kitties will be fine…they have each other too.. : ) happy week-end!! xo

    • sbranch says:

      I am beside myself, and as of today, it’s one week and six days, but who’s counting!!! ME!

  96. Kirsten Anne Wichert of So. Calif. says:

    My calico kitty, Nani, always punishes me when I leave to go anywhere! She’ll hide somewhere (inside) and not come when I call her. She’s very clever and carefull not to move because she has a bell on her collar. If I’ve been gone for very long (hours) she won’t come out for at least 1 hour. As soon as my other cat, Tigger, pays me attention , she comes running!
    Those photos of Jack pining for you at the window are so precious! It makes me want to pick him up and love him. He’s so darn cute! I can imagine how happy he will be when you return. Girl Kitty will probably say to him “I told you she’d be back!” Then Jack will shower you with all his toys.

  97. Susie says:

    Hi Susan When my husband and I go on vacation (we never go far) it’s usually cut sure or quickened so we can get home to the rest of the family (4 cats and a dog). I’m sure looking forward to going to England, but it’s always so nice to get back home! Also, I’m seeing a picture of Jack that would make a great pillow. It would be the closest thing to having him curled up on your lap. I won’t make it (unless you asked) . . . I’m just saying. Susie

  98. Diane from Washington state says:

    We are “cat-sitting” for the neighbors across the way from us and all I can say is that I do hope that you have someone who will practically LIVE with them while you are gone for such a long time? I think it must be much easier on kitties who havent been rescued out of horrendous circumstances…like your Jack and GK, so you wont have to be worried too much about them. Your kitties will more than likely throw a few fits and miss you and then they will light up and spring back to the old routines just fine when they see you again. The rescued kitties just dont do well once they find a kind home and routine. boo hoo….but enough of that….see…we all DO have to concentrate on the joys set before us…and that is “OUR” trip to England! Yay! I dont know how you can stand the wait….I am so excited myself! lol. I seriously cannot wait to be able to share your trip with you since I have never been. You are going to have so much fun and ……ROMANCE! I am so happy for you! Have you started packing yet? Who am I asking?! lol…you are the perfect packer who remembers every little detail to make travelling comfortable! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, our Kitty Sitter is moving in for the duration. He’s a doll, and has stayed with them before. As for packing, I just bought us a little hand chopper for onions and garlic, you just push on the top and the blades come down and chop — I’m sure you’ve seen them. I love it so much, first thing crossed my mind, shall we take it along? It’s little. 🙂

      • Diane from Washington state says:

        What a wonderful idea! I hadnt even considered that “we” will be cooking while we are there for TWO WHOLE MONTHS! Will we be fixing some real English dishes? What is so funny that I have heard is that so many british people there nowadays just adore to eat curried food…you will have to let us know if that is true or not! ( I am soooo happy to know that your cat sitter is living in your home while you are gone…whew! I had forgotten that you mentioned that before. ) (sorry)……

  99. Becky says:

    As always, thank you Susan for the internal “lift.” I have to share my kitty story with someone, and who better than Susan and the girls. I have 4 chickens and ocassionally one gets out and has made a nest for laying her eggs in my front planter, on the ground, under my dining room window. Very sweet! Today I went there to gather any eggs, and there were 3 beautiful, orange baby kittens about a week old sleeping soundly with the chicken eggs. I knew our mama cat had had them, but she has kept them hidden from us until today, when she apparently moved them to ……the nursery:) It’s the little things isn’t it, and my heart is full. Don’t we love our critters! Happy earth day and life weekend!

    • sbranch says:

      Lucky you! What a wonderful thing to find! That’s what I call the perfect Earth Day gift!

    • Diane from Washington state says:

      awww that is such a sweet story! I love it…and how funny about your chicken too!

    • Mary S. says:

      OMGoodness!! That is one of the cutest things I have ever heard about!!! I hope you took a picture!!

  100. Chris Dowd says:

    Wow! “one tiny corner” was awesome! Wish I could have seen it in person.

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