My Favorite New Word . . .

One of my favorite new words, which I learned while talking to a clerk in a bookstore in Ambleside when I was buying a book on sheep, is “heaf.”  (Yes, I now buy books on sheep! Please don’t let this influence your decision about whether or not to keep reading.)

 To put this word into context, I had to learn another new word: “fell.” A fell is what they call a mountainside in the Lake District area; they might say, “fellside,” instead of mountainside.  “Heaf,” then, is an old Norse word that describes a certain area of fellside where sheep graze. Picture it for a moment.  See the hill?  See the sheep?  (Don’t worry, this has a good ending and stops being like the 4th grade in about one second).  Beatrix Potter (you like it better already, don’t you?) raised a breed of sheep (endangered at the time), called Herdwick sheep.  She especially liked this breed because it remembers its native heaf  and returns to it instinctively.  It’s said that Herdwick sheep are “heafed to the fell.”  Isn’t that great? Heafed to the fell.  Says it all.  I’m heafed too; heafed to my own version of fell, which happens to be this.

H o m e . 

(When I think about it, it’s such a short uncomfortable leap from “heafed to the fell,” to “heifer on the hill!”  I know my dad will try to work in a joke here somewhere — I think I make it too easy for him! )

The kitties were happy to see us (but not as happy as I was to see them!), Girl Kitty cried (my baby)we have been joined at the hip ever since; she has never slept cozier,  next to me! Jack still has his round kitty eyes, he still chases the ball, he sashays back and forth, curling around my legs, saying, in no uncertain words, I’m so happy you are  H o m e !

We drove up the back driveway, to the smell of cut grass and the old boxwood around the kitchen door. Dragged the twelve or fourteen (we’ve lost count) bags into the house, kissed the kitties, and pulled out all the cute things we brought home, arranged them on the dining room table, going Ohhh, and Ahhh, and Remember this?

Woke up yesterday morning in our own bed!!!  First words: Where am I?  Made tea, started a load of laundry, took my cup and walked all over the yard, to see what’s up in the garden, to smell the roses, pull a couple of weeds;  when Joe got up, we walked out through the woods to the pond; how’re the wild blueberries doing this year?; came home, more unpacking, more laundry, and we hung our flag on the house.  Which requires antics on our part, hanging out open upstairs windows.

Last night we walked down to the harbor  to look at the moon and get a whiff of breezy salt air; the outdoor restaurants were lit up and filled with summer people, the terns were swooping and diving into the water, making those little plopping water noises . . . we window-shopped down our little Main Street; stopped for ice cream cones (pistachio and mocha chip in sugar cones), then walked back up the hill; our neighborhood was so quiet; a million fireflies flicked through the bushes around us.      H o m e.

Because we are  H o m e, we have heafed to the fell . . . and the timing couldn’t be more perfect:  Martha’s Vineyard looks and smells like a million bucks.

The whole place is dressed to kill, little straps falling off shoulders and everything.

And now, the Fourth of July!  How perfect!  So what are you doing tomorrow?  I hope it’s something fun!  We’re going to walk across the street, to my girlfriend Martha’s, for a good ole’ barbecue with our friends and their kids.  All-American hamburgers and hot dogs — and potluck for the rest of it.  We’re bringing crunchy White Bean Salad, and cold Lemon Rice salad; made gorgeous with fresh herbs and lots of colorful flower petals; even if you’re not cooking, a look at a photo of this salad is worth it . . . so pretty!  . . . and Joe’s hot garlic French Bread.  How bad can it be?  I Tweeted the recipes today, but, just in case you missed them, here we go again!

America the Beautiful!  God shed his grace on thee.  And us too, please. 

I feel so lucky.  Number One, when you go away, you’re never quite sure you’ll make it back alive . . . but we did!  Out and back, like clockwork!  And number two; we’re Home.  Heafed and Happy.

And we will never, ever, ever, forget the beauty of the Mother Country; the world history that’s encompassed there, and the smart, funny, charming people we met along the way. 

And I will never ever forget how wonderful it was traveling with YOU!  The funnest girls ever!  I have lots more  photos and moments to tell you about; there’s also a very special give-away coming soon, to mark this trip; it was pretty good, don’t you think?  It deserves something special . . . after I get the mail taken care of, I’ll be back!!

Mmmm. Someone just lit their barbecue in our neighborhood  . . . the smell is coming in through the window of my studio.  Two summer smells I love: coconut suntan lotion and a just-lit barbecue.   Happy 4th Everyone! ♥ God Bless America.

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368 Responses to My Favorite New Word . . .

  1. Kathy says:

    Welcome Home! Thank you so much for taking us along with you on your trip! Loved all the photos and stories, and am looking forward to all that you are planning to share! ♥ Kathy

  2. HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO EVERYONE!!! So good to hear you are home and settling in and how sweet that Girl cried she missed her Mama and you know that Jack being the youngster knew you would return sooner or later!! ha I cooked the entire day yesterday so I can enjoy today with my Angel who is back from Europe and I will hug her often today May 21st was the last time I saw her!! We are having BBQ Chicken, Potato Salad, Tri Color Rotini/Salami salad, baked beans, cherry cheesecake, and strawberry shortcake….102 here today and in the 100’s rest of the week!!! We need rain badly and I won’t complain there are others so much worse off than IN. Welcome Back Susan and we had a blast travelling with you and Joe. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!!!

  3. Happy 4th, Susan! There is NO PLACE like home, to quote a certain famous Dorothy. I am a homebody and love love love being home! I love to sleep in my own bed and wake up in my home and just BE THERE. To be in my comfort zone … nothing like it! I’m so glad you got to experience your wonderful England journey and have safe travels to and fro and returned safely HOME again.
    PS – I didn’t post a comment on the day you wrote about Cranford but I also am a fan of it and have the series on DVD which I watch and re-watch. Another wonderful Brit period series I have and love is Lark Rise To Cranford. Have you seen it? It’s wonderful. Have a most perfect 4th!!!

  4. Gail in the Garden State says:

    It’s always good to be back home….no place like home!
    Thank you for so carefully recording your trip to England for us each day,
    it was delightful. Favorite blog was Emma Bridgewater’s factory, also Hilltop.
    Relax and have a great Fourth of July!!!

  5. Doreen Strain - Florida says:

    Welcome home to America Susan, land of the free and home of the brave. I so enjoyed our trip. You did a wonderful job with your journaling. I must say I felt as if I was really there with you. No need for me to have to spend the money and go myself. I was there with you seeing it through your eyes and what beautiful sights they were indeed. Enjoy your day with your neighbors and friends. My husband and I just had a conversation about how wonderful the summer holidays are up north in the New England area. There is definately a difference of how they’re spent here in the south. They just seem to be a more cozy, old fashioned experience up north. Maybe it’s just me but I really do miss it. The white houses with their black or hunter green shutters, the mailboxes covered in morning glories, the Queen Ann Lace growning along side the roads with the Black Eyed Susans…..yes, summer in New England….nothing like it anywhere else in America! Thanks for sharing your trip with us…we’ll now have a lot of memories to share! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  6. Sharon says:

    No matter how wonderful a trip is, there is nothing like being at home! Happy 4th of July. As noted by a few other Canadians, I celebrated Canada Day on Sunday. We are all so blessed to live in the countries that we do.

  7. Kimberly says:

    Thank you for taking us on your wonderful adventure. It made my every day so much more exciting to see where you were going to be taking us! The lambs, the beautiful lush green countryside, the cozy rooms, you friends and family, the tea!
    Oh what a glorious adventure I have had. Thank you dear Susan.

  8. Francine says:

    Welcome home Susan and Joe!!!! Looks like your yard is no worse for wear with you being gone! In fact, it looks beautiful! Everything here is like straw, due to the lack of rain. No fireworks because of the dryness! : – (, and very, very hot! I still cannot get over you sharing your trip with all of us. I just enjoyed it so, so much. Thank you again! Have a great day. I have made cupcakes, start shaped sugar cookies and patriotic popcorn. To take to my mom’s assisted living place, and to my daughter’s girlfriends house – she invited us over for a bar-b-que late this afternoon! Your favorite smells are mine too! Have a great day, and welcome home!

  9. Lois Pearsey says:

    Glad you are home safe and sound. Happy INdependence Day.

  10. zinnia patch says:

    Good Morning Susan! you can count me “heafed and Happy” that you had a safe trip home…. Thank you again for all of the wonderful!!!!!!! and Happy 4th to you and all our girlfriends!!!!!

  11. Jack says:

    My goodness you’ve been out walking a lot haven’t you !? And window shopping ….Hmmm Anyway, regarding your new word “Heaf” — the Heaf Test is the name of that diagnostic test you get when you are about 13 or 14. Remember? They scratch your left arm with needles and check it after a week ……it shows whether you have been exposed to Tuberculosis if the arm festers up at the scratch. As a kid, I was so worried my arm was going to show positive ……they did the test in the Girls Gym — we thought that was also weird, to go in there, at the time!

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Jack, not to contradict you BUT I did medical transcription for 18 years. Now that I’m “retired”, the name escapes me but I’m almost positive it wasn’t “Heaf test”… are you sure you aren’t mixing it up with “Hoof test”–to test for Hoof and Mouth disease??? LOL! 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        It is a Mantoux or PPD test… 🙂

        • Jack says:

          Yes you are quite correct …however the Heaf Test also known
          as the Sterneedle Test and was the name used in the United Kingdom until 2005 . At which time the procedure was changed from the multi-needle scratch test to an Intradermal
          Injection of exactly 0.1 ml. of PPD tuberculin.

        • Cindy in South Carolina says:

          Jack is right – google it. It seems that the test is no longer used, but it definitely was widely used for 100 years until 2005 when it was replaced with a more accurate Mantoux test. It was named after UK physician FRG Heaf. The Heaf gun and the Tine test (which I had administered to me when I went to college in 1980) both insert PPD into the skin. It seems the Heaf test was used in the UK and the Tine in the US until replaced by the Mantoux which inserts PPD into the skin with a needle.

        • Jack says:

          Additionally , I’m sure you know the test for Hoof and Mouth
          Disease is performed by Vets . It is a blood test given to groups of 100 animals to determine if the virus exists in the herd .
          Now , if you are referring to tests for the human virus involved
          in “Hand Foot and Mouth Disease ” while this condition is generally recognizable by Doctors –that test involves a throat swab or stool analysis performed in a lab .

        • Dena says:

          You are ALL right…
          The Heaf test, a diagnostic skin test, is performed to determine whether or not a child has been exposed to tuberculosis. Also known as the Sterneedle test,[1] it is administered by a Heaf gun (trademarked “Sterneedle”)[2] which is a spring-loaded instrument with six needles arranged in a circular formation…what an education I’m getting today! =)

      • Jack says:

        P.S.:Congratulations on your retirement …..I’m sure that was a good thing !

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Thank you! Yes, although it means facing the inevitable fact that age is creeping up, it is SO wonderful to be retired and have time to not only do the things I LOVE doing, it also means finally having time to attempt to catch up on 18 years backlog of things I never had time to do! I just feel a little puzzled on how I possibly could be “retired” as I don’t seem old enough for that… LOL! 🙂

  12. Ann Y. (Adamstown, PA) says:

    Welcome Home ! “Home”…is that not the BEST word ? Thanks for taking us on your wonderful travels, and for enchanting us with all that makes HOME, too! Wishing you a glorious Fourth – we were invited to a Burger Bash cookout last night ( your choice of cheeseburger, lamb burger ( which I almost did not want to mention after reading this post..sorry!), and salmon burger – my choice and delicious. Everyone brought a salad or dessert…a good mix of people, and a visitor from Japan so we had to tell our traditions and history. Perfect evening, relaxing Fourth, enjoying the “blessings of freedom”.

  13. Diane Harris says:

    Dear Susan and Joe,

    Thank you both for taking all of us on this exquisite journey of a lifetime. We’re all so fortunate to get off work and travel so effortlessly for two months! I’ve always wanted to explore England’s countryside in the spring and now I have. You saved me a lot of $ but now I’m thinking of going for real. England should send you commission checks for each of us that travels over there because of your beautiful blog! Thank you for taking the time on your trip to write, draw, paint, photograph everything! It’s been a privilege to be with you all!

    Group Hug ((((((All of Us)))))


  14. Marva says:

    I agree, also the smell of fresh cut grass and sliced cucumbers. Oh…summer!

  15. Susan says:

    Welcome home, Susan, and Happy Birthday to all Americans. It’s a glorious day here in Spokane, WA, and we just celebrated with 2 huge Moose strolling down our street. All the neighbors came out in pjs to marvel at the beasts. What a way to begin our July 4th celebration.

    Your trip was so wonderful and it was so kind of you to share it. I think you have started a new travel guide business for us to preview places before we go. But your love of all things English surely sells tourism there.

    Thanks for the cute picture of Jack. I wondered how the kitties would react to you being HOME. And I love the picture of your yard. Like you, I love to take my fresh cup of coffee, my dog and wander around the garden, smelling the freshly opened roses, checking on the length of my zucchini and just marveling in the beauty God created in nature.

    Enjoy your neighborhood bbq and we will wait patiently for your travelogue diary. You give so much for us to enjoy. Thank you!

    Suzi in Spokane WA

    • Victoria Miller says:

      Wow! Moose walking down the street! I’m a huge Northern Exposure fan and I love the intro when the moose comes sauntering along and walks past the cafe sign. What a treat! Thanks for the wonderful image!

  16. Jack says:

    Cottonwood Arizona — small town parade …. lotsa horse riders –have the biggest and best Fireworks display around — pulled pork BBQ sandwiches for dinner with a big bowl of cut up stuff and dip ….then out on the deck with friends coming over to watch the fireworks show ….. eating Diary Queen Blizzards (Heath Bar) while singing God Bless America! So, that’s our Fourth here in the middle of nowhere ….. Hoping the Monsoon doesn’t rain on our Parade !

    • sbranch says:

      I love the “big bowl of cut up stuff!” 🙂 Sounds great Dad! xoxo

      • Karen D says:

        Hey…! I don’t remember a pulled-pork BBQ sandwich recipe in your book, Susan.
        Or mexican pop-overs, for that matter… You holdin’ out on us, Jack?!

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      hApPy 4th of July Mr. Jack!!! Funny…..I’ve been wanting to go to
      Dairy Queen too ! Ever since Susan talked about “heaf” I have
      been thinking about a “heath” bar blizzard! And I’m very happy to say,
      that on this HOT 4th of July…..we may just get our WISH! : D

      • judi says:

        MN is HOTTER than FLORIDA:)

      • Jack says:

        Smashing success , Monsoon cloud cover darkened the brightness of the moon and offered a bit of breeze , so we sat out in 80 degrees –guzzling iced tea -eating spicy Mexican Popovers – and wrapping it all up in Blizzards –and again the City outdid themselves with this exciting fireworks display–and we did sing God Bless America . I led it off but was quickly drowned out by the group — good thing , right Sue?. So now it’s onward and upward and wishing a happy 5th to everyone ! You can drink it or live it …….

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, Dad, probably a good thing, considering, but you did lead off, which is what every party needs.

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Hmmm…is there a recipe somewhere out there for spicy Mexican popovers??? Sounds good! 🙂

      • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

        You’re a girl after my own heart, Dawn. “Heaf” to “Heath” is a jump that I would make too! We finished our 4th picnic off with Peach Crumble topped with Peach Cobbler ice cream—Oh My!

    • Margot says:

      Good Morning Mr. Jack!
      God Bless America, the Dairy State, and Dairy Queen. The big three for this girl are the Heath Bar Blizzard, the Peanut Buster Parfait, and a Moolatte! Ah…Summer is good.
      My sons are in AZ too. My oldest told me he found fresh cheese curds in a factory near Mesa. You can take the boy out of the Dairy State, but you can’t take the dairy out of the boy! LOL

  17. Heartsdesire says:

    Welcome home, Sue and Joe. Dorothy said it best, “There’s no place like home.”

  18. Linda Pintarell says:

    Welcome Home, Miz Susan and Mr. Joe. The island looks wonderful – and just in time for the celebration of AMERICA. ENJOY!

  19. Chris Wells says:

    Happy 4th to EVERYONE. May you have the safest, most memorable day. My deepest appreciation to those who have to work today, may the day be kind, your duties light and I hope you can enjoy some of the festivites. I’m glad Susan and Joe are home. What a vacation. Can’t wait to see more. You did a masterful job of making us really feel as if we were there. My day will be quiet…NO WORK. Just time with my love, my puppies and our cat, hopefully with much porch time.
    Chris (West Texas)

  20. Rebecca L. says:

    Welcome home! It’s always good to have your own stuff around you.

    Will be watching “John Adams” today; “1776” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” are also favorites.

    Pistachio ice cream…yum.

    Happy 4th of July!

    Rebecca (Riverside, Ca)

    • Karen D says:

      Pistachio is my fav too. Although it does run a neck-in-neck tie with butter pecan.
      Uh-oh… I feel a fluffy attack coming on!

  21. Karen Menominee, MI says:

    Thank you Susan for the Trip! You are special….

  22. Ruthie P says:

    Thank you Susan so very much for the wonderful trip to England,I loved every minute of it.I said this before but its worth repeating….how generous of you to take the time on such a special trip and share it with us!!! I can not wait for the book.I honestly think my favorite part was seeing the kitties again,I missed them.Precious Girl Kitty crying,bless her heart,and of course sweet little Jack.I am so glad you and Joe are home safe and sound.I love the Vineyard though I’ve never been,its nice to know you,Jack and the kitties are there.Have a wonderful 4th,you and Joe,and thanks once again for all the joy you give!~xoxo Ruthie

  23. Sandy Thornton says:

    Welcome home!!! And such a beautiful welcome it is!!! Thank you, ever so much, for the glorious trip! It was everything I thought it would be. I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures, videos and the writing that made everything so real!!! I can’t wait until your book becomes available. I will be on the waiting list for sure!!! And I will read it and say, “Oh, I remember when we were there!”. I can’t believe how quickly the time flew by. I hope you enjoy your picnic and the joy of being heafed to the fell!!! (I love that!!!)

    Happy 4th of July,

  24. Kathy Phenix says:

    Glorious 4th of July wishes!! So glad you are home safe and sound BUT what a wonderful trip. Thank you so so much for taking us ALL along. Please give an extra kiss to Girl Kittie and Mr. Jack. I know they are just so glad to have you back. It’s wonderful to come home to a home with kitties. Thanks again. Kathy in Melbourne

  25. Anna Robinson says:

    Welcome Home! How wonderful to have you back to the States. Happy 4th of July to you both. It’s my favorite holiday. Ashland, OR has an amazing parade and a full day of events. Better get going and join in, but just wanted to add my note to you that I am happy to hear you are back!

  26. Annie from Sydney Australia says:

    To all my American girlfriends and boyfriends I’d like to say from Down Under; “have a very happy 4th of July !” I loved the English trip with you and I’m really, no Susan, I mean really, really, looking forward to the next one – all aboard! xxx

  27. pat addison says:

    hello susan, WELCOME HOME!!!! just popped in to wish you and joe and the kitties a very Happy 4th of July!!! so nice to have you home and in time for the 4th of july, jack looked adorable playing with the flag. hugs and kisses to the kitties from my kitties, Happy 4th of July!!! hugs…….. 🙂

  28. Diana - Highland, IL says:

    Phew.. what a trip!! It was all so very exciting! When traveling I always seem to be in another world!.. I look around and think that all these people and happenings are going on around me in this new place, as they would be if I were still at home!! Crazy!!.. but it is almost like I am spying on the new people!! LOL.. It makes me see my own home in a new way after coming back and loving the safe in the arms feeling of sleeping in our own bed,,hearing the familiar creaks and clocks, etc. seeing my three little squirrels that play outside my window and keep me company as I work from home… Am working today, but when I am off.. we will be grilling burgers and hotdogs, making some baked beans, corn on the cob, stir-fry some zuchini, and a red, white and blue dessert of strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream.. and those that are of a mind to can throw a twinkie in there!! LOL.. just looking forward to chilling and will watch the Capital Fourth on PBS tonight and maybe catch Boston too… it is soooooo hot and dry here that many small towns have cancelled their fireworks due to fire hazards and so will also watch the late fireworks from St. Louis riverfront on tv tonight…oh, and watch the Cardinals play on TV!!!! safe in my comfortable (thank God for a.c.) home!!! YAY America.. God bless us every one and especially those that are in the military!!! 🙂

  29. Kate G. says:

    Happy July 4th, 2012!
    Glad to see you’re home and getting settled. I’ve so enjoyed your posts throughout your trip. Thank you.

  30. Julie H from Michigan says:

    Welcome home Susan and Joe! Thank you again for sharing your travels with all of us. It was such a pleasure to read your blog and follow along with you in England.


  31. Carol Maurer says:

    I’m so glad that you are home ‘safe and sound’! What a trip you had! You’ll be sharing memories for a long time to come. So glad that the kitties were happy to see you once again. I bet they missed you both sooooo much! We have high fog, which is so usual for the north coast of California! It’s suppose to burn off in time for the fireworks tonight. We’ll see. Have a very happy 4th! and, yes…. God Bless America!!! <3
    Carol M

  32. Alison Eisinger From Virginia says:

    So glad you are home safe Susan and Joe! What a wonderful trip and memories you will cherish for a life time! I’m looking forward to seeing many more pictures and hearing more stories! {{{{hugs!}}}}

    My July 4th recipe to bring to our potluck: Independance Salad ~ Red Leaf Lettuce and Spinach torn in a large bowl. Add strawberries, blueberries, walnuts and feta cheese. Serve with a garlic herb dressing! YUMMY!!

    • Carol from Connecticut says:

      Dear Alison,
      Your salad sounds delicious, refreshing, and oh so summery! Do you have a recipe for your ‘YUMMY Garlic Herb Dressing’ ? Thank-you.

      • sbranch says:

        Sorry, which recipe was that?

        • Carol from Connecticut says:

          The ‘garlic herb dressing’ used with the ‘Independence Salad’. POST: Alison Eisinger From Virginia says:
          July 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm

  33. So glad that you and Joe are heaped to your fell! And what a beautiful fell it is. I am a little misty-eyed thinking about Girl Kitty crying when you arrived. It is so hard for the fur-babies to understand the goings and comings. Your trip was so wonderful to read about. I feel blessed to have this blog to heap. Happy Fourth!

  34. Shannon Stark says:

    Hi Susan! I’m so glad you and Joe made it back safe and sound. I was wondering if the storms had any affect on your cruise across the atlantic? My husband plays guitar and sings for our church and today he got to be on a float in the Lake Forest 4th of July parade! How fun would that be? Have a happy 4th of July!!!

  35. Victoria Miller says:

    Visiting this blog just makes my day. I come by while having breakfast: this morning in honor of the 4th, I have a bright red cup full of lovely dark coffee, a bright blue plate with a wheat bagel with cream cheese, and a little white bowl with some rasberries, blueberries and strawberried — my patriotic breakfast!

    The visit to England, traveling there and back on the Queen Mary II (QM I is just right across the harbor from us), all the wonderful photos and details of your adventures were magic moments, and we loved living in the magic spell you wove. Now, good to see you home (as magical as where you’ve been!), good for us to be back there ‘with you’ in the virtual world here, and lovely to see Girl Kitty and Jack again, who clearly hasn’t lost a beat in his mischief! Great to read about all the different experiences shared by the girlfriends. I’ve never been much for crowds, but this one here is a great one!

    Tonight visiting friends Victoria and Dan (my best friend is also a Victoria) and her brother Louie, and Dan will grill and Victoria will have marvelous appetizers and we’ll catch up and watch fireworks. Actually, from my apartment, I can see four different firework shows, although much of it is marred by the many amateurs here who want a part of the action.

    I’m thinking of making and bringing some of the White Bean Salad as a surprise — it looks so wonderful. A very joyous 4th of July and happy, happy summer to all. For those where there is drought or worse — I wish you rain that you need. Life is a celebration in awareness, and this is a great place for participation in that celebration. Thank you so much Susan and Joe (and the kitties, of course!)

  36. Victoria Miller says:

    Oh, and I loved the photo of the rocker and the comment about “…straps falling off the shoulders and everything…” Susan, you are a delight and a half!

  37. Brenda McBride says:

    Happy 4th of July, Susan. I have enjoyed every blog you have sent and all of the beautiful photos. So much so, that we will go to Great Britian in the future. Thank you so much for taking all of us along. Love, Brenda

  38. Ann says:

    Welcome home and Happy July 4th to everyone! Still settling in back home from our vacation. Your mind must be swooning with all the new things you saw and learned. Quiet holiday here in MD with just my husband and I, but we did get the most wonderful news last evening that our daughter-in-law is expecting a girl! Since we have 3 boys this is truly a gift from God to us. I can finally buy Susan’s Grandmother book!

  39. Denni from MN says:

    What wonderful memories traveling with you to a picture perfect place! Can’t wait to see all the shots! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for bringing us along with you and Joe! And, welcome back, safe and sound, to celebrate the 4th of July. May your night light up with glorious fireworks as the moon shines brightly above. Have a Happy 4th of July!!!!

  40. Kimi says:

    “God Bless You Susan, and I mean that from the bottom of My heart!
    Happy to see you both home with the kitty family.

  41. Ann Beirne says:

    I think one of thebest parts of a trip is returning home! It makes me appreciate my home a little more.
    I love the smeill of coconut suntan lotion too! Some people I know have to have suntan lotion with little or no smell. Not me..the coconut reminds me of the tropics.
    So who had the pistachio ice cream…you or Joe? It is absolutely my favorite kind, but I cannot find it very often here in Maryland like I used to in New England. Of course, I will only eat it if it is green. I do not like the natural white color pistachio ice cream, I know that they taste the same…but I want mine to be that pretty spring green color!

  42. Shanna says:

    Happy 4th to you and Joe and Girl Kitty and Jack! I really enjoyed our trip to England–thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  43. Ahhhhh, always thought you were good, now you’re pert near dang perfect, what with you buying books on sheep, learning the lingo, etc. -smile- If you take a notion, I’ll send you a book on raising sheep…you’re getting closer to that, doncha know? If President Harding could graze sheep on the White House lawn, surely you could do it on your lawn…?
    Glad you’re home safe and sound; Happy Birthday, America…God bless us, each and every one!

    • sbranch says:

      I would love that…. we live in the goldang historical district! I will look at their lovely book of rules.

      • Carol from Connecticut says:

        Susan – with a grazing herd of sheep in your yard, you would never have to cut or fertilize your lawn ever again ! :o)

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          But you also might not want to go barefoot in that yard or put your lovely quilt down to read out there, either… 🙂

  44. Kim says:

    Susan, you are heafed to the heart of all of us girlfriends! Happy Independence Day, to one and all!

  45. Lori says:

    Welcome home Susan…enjoyed every single moment of “our” trip. Can’t wait to see more pics and some of the treasures you found along the way…so happy to have you back in the good old USA…..Happy 4th!

  46. Nellie says:

    Well, it’s always good to return home safe and sound! I’m so glad you and Joe have made it back to Martha’s Vineyard and are getting back in the groove.

    This was a most amazing journey! Now I am wishing to go on one myself. I simply must start saving my money.:-)

    Yesterday I prepared lunch for our adult day care participants/staff at our church, and “your” potato salad was on the menu! Since I found that in your Summer Book in 1995, it has become a favorite here. Strange how it has the very same ingredients I had been putting in my own potato salad for years, yet there is something about your recipe that makes it different. I’ve decided it is how the eggs are mashed first in the bottom of the bowl before anything else is added in.:-)

    Our celebration for today was having one of our daughters, son-in-law, and two grandchildren stop by for lunch on their way to visit another daughter. We will more than likely spend much of the rest of the day indoors. Perhaps things will cool down a bit after the sun goes down.

    Happy Fourth of July!

    xo Nellie

  47. Linda W says:

    Welcome Home

  48. deborah says:

    Welcome home, what a great adventure, can’t wait to follow along as you tell us all about everything, even tho we shadowed you, we don’t want to miss anything! I also, enjoy the terms you are using, I came across them reading Beatrix Potter’s Cottage Tales, cozy mysteries, there is even a small word glossary in the back of the books to describe all of these new and cozy country words indiginous to the English countryside. Fell, trippers, trice, stook, seed wigs (small cakes like tea cakes) off comer (stranger from far away) goosy. I like: beck (small stream) brow ( small outcropping over the edge of a cliff) Toff ( a well to do person !! so quaint, love it.

  49. Jane from Florida says:

    Welcome home! Just in time to celebrate the independence of our great country…AMERICA. I too enjoyed all of your pictures and articles of your stay in England. Beautiful countryside. Enjoy this special day!

  50. Carol in KS says:

    Home Sweet, Sweet Home! Thank you for the beautiful photographs from your entire trip — looking forward to many more and your wonderful stories!! Happy 4th to everyone!

  51. Welcome home. Susan and Joe! Glad you made the trip back safe and sound and will have a wonderful 4th of July holiday to get you both back into the swing of things. I know how happy your kitties are to see you both!
    I have a lot of catch up to do on your trip … summer has had me out and about with less computer time so I saved up a lot of your posts to read all at once like a little book while I relaxed this holiday…my treat after doing lots of work in my garden and house the past few weeks.

    Happy 4th of July!


  52. Nanci says:

    Can you post what book you ended up buying on the sheep? I wish now I had thought to buy a book on the Lake District sheep, as I am so smitten with them.
    Happy Homecoming!

  53. Carmen Wyant says:

    So glad you are back safe & sound. And thanks so much for the Jack picture, I’ve been going through serious kitty withdrawal the whole time you have been gone! As wonderful as the posts & pictures were, the one of Jack in your arms is a more wonderful sight.

  54. Pam - Mtn Home, Idaho says:

    Welcome home Susan & Joe! And Happy 4th of July! Loved ‘our’ trip to England. If I ever have the chance to travel overseas, England & France would be my destinations. Happy you made it Home safe & sound!

  55. Frances Fowler says:

    Welcome home!

  56. Bonny ~* says:

    I too will be “heafed to the fell” on Sunday after 2 1/2 weeks (dog, turtle and house sitting) in my hometown of Alexandria, VA. It’s been a fun (and hot) visit down memory lane. It’s no longer the small town it was when I was a child. I can’t wait to get back to our (new to us) house in Tennessee and get back to unpacking and getting settled. I’ve enjoyed my “two trips in one”…here and in England with you and Joe, but it’s time to get home to the hubs, house and gardens. There’s no place like home!!!! ~*

  57. Terry says:

    Welcome Home Sweet Home!

  58. Terri J says:

    Sounds like the best kind of happy heafcoming – er, homecoming. I like that term, I might have to adopt it too. Seems appropriate somehow since we live on a hillside. I’m wondering if that’s where the other meaning of ‘fell’ originally evolved from (hmm, Jack and Jill fell down the fell…maybe not – oh well!).
    Happy Fourth of July!

  59. judy dow says:

    What a wonderful day to celebrate a homecoming: July 4!!!! Thank you for all of the details and photos of your trip. I actually feel like I was with you. I am however the supreme “heafed” girl. There is no place like home. Enjoy your kitties. Welcome home.

  60. Debby Moreau says:

    Welcome home Sue and Joe. What a wonderful trip. I just had to comment on what you said about Girl crying when she saw you. My heart was absolutely flooded at the thought of her little heart and soul thanking God that He sent her mommy and daddy back to her. It makes you wonder what goes through our little animals minds when we’re not around. Give her an extra squeeze from me will you?

  61. Susan says:

    Happy Birthday, America, and welcome home Susan and Joe!
    Enjoyed tagging along with you guys and experiencing a vicarious vacation. So glad you are safely home and back in one of my favorite places, MV!
    The wildfire here in Waldo Canyon is 80% contained and all evacuations have been lifted. We are moving back to our summer campground on Saturday. So grateful to the firefighters for saving our beautiful forests!
    Thanks again for a wonderful experience!:)

  62. Cathy K says:

    Welcome Home! I pictured the very same moon last night from Easton Beach in Newport, and magical it was! (we were there for 2 days of vacation) I wish I were clever enough to post it here. Thanks for sharing your trip

  63. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Welcome Home, I know it’s good to see the kitties. You know they are thrilled to see you! No matter where you roam there is no place like home. It always is good to come home to your stuff, your bed, your baby cats. Hope you have a happy 4th!

  64. Gail Buss says:

    Susan, its so very nice to travel but actually when you come back……..there’s no place like home…………..HOME SWEET HOME! Thanks for the wonderful trip with you abroad. Happy Independence Day to all. I LOVE OUR COUNTRY! Especially at this time, GOD BLESS OUR NATION…………….GOD BLESS AMERICA – THE HOME OF THE FREE AND THE BRAVE! Happy July 4th! Hugs, Gail Buss in Fl

  65. Wendy Louise says:

    Welcome back to New England from Joly Ole’ England ! So glad you are HOME SWEET HOME, where you belong !!!!! I’m so happy you had a wonderful trip and are safe and sound where you belong. Give the kitties an extra squeeze for me and celebrate your beautiful HOME ! A home is what we make and definitely where you feel the most comfortable. I can’t wait to hear more about your trip and to get more of your wonderfulness in this blog. Happy 4th of July. Off to my picnic………..OOXX

  66. Carol from Connecticut says:

    Dear Susan,
    I had a case of warm fuzzies seeing you safely at home where everything is fine and where the kitties were waiting for you. That short period of time immediately after returning home from a trip is kind of magical. You have
    to re-absorb home while at the same time you’re reflecting back on what you experienced. I always feel like I’m floating in those just-returned-home moments. From New England to England and back to New England in time for the 4th. Jolly good heafing to the fell !
    On the White Bean Salad page, what is it that you have spread on the ‘almost’ sliced bread loaf that is being held in a circle in the photo? What are the baking instructions?
Looks beyond delicious!
    Many, many thanks,
Carol tra-la

  67. Jan from Northern CA says:

    There’s no place like home……..and what a sentimate that is. I have to be away for the next three weeks, and I already miss home. Your Jack looked so happy and I can imagine Girl Kittie was also estatic to see you home. I have an older girl kittie, and 3 boys…..and they all have their personalities to miss.
    Thank you again for the wonderful vacation. Taking us with you was so wonderful and generous of you both. The photos were the best, the places you visited so wonderful. Now I have numerous new places I would like to visit someday soon. Well, Happy 4th of July to you both. Your flag is awsome!!
    Jan from Northern CA

  68. Rita from MN says:

    Welcome home, dear Susan (and Joe)! I have missed your postings and look forward to more now that you don’t have to worry about connections on the ship. My niece is traveling in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland as a People to People youth ambassador. I hope she enjoys her travels as much as you did.

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

    Welcome home! We celebrated our 32nd anniversary yesterday – had fun watching the Thunder Moon on the way home from dinner – fog sweeping across it like it was Fall! We went to Hollywood Bowl on Monday and enjoyed the wonderful music of the LA Symphony & Barry Manilow plus fireworks!! Anniversary eve celebration!!
    Wishing the Rocky Mountain western states and Midwest rain for the next few days!! Raining like crazy in Vegas today – hoping its moving East. Friends in Mt trying to keep up with plans for a family wedding this weekend on a ranch that is in the midst of the fire in Eastern part of their state! Just knowing that California will be having our turn with fires soon isn’t fun either!
    We’ll be watching the Capitol Fourth on PBS for our fireworks tonite as the fog isn’t lifting today! Got our favorite salads & chicken from Whole Foods deli counter as I’m currently overwhelmed with planning kitchen pickup for the remodeling start on Monday!
    Hoping all safe & sound with friends and family nearby and sharing lots of yummy goodies!

  70. Barb(Ludlow, MA) says:

    Welcome Home……..Susan&Joe…….Happy Fourth of July Everyone!
    Enjoyed this great post on the fourth……..Thank You.
    Hugs & Smiles

  71. Cyndi in NC says:

    I’m sorry to see your (our) trip at it’s end. I loved seeing all the pictures so much. I’ll really miss the sheep and lambs. I know you all had a blast but are also happy to be home again. I know your fur babies are. Thanks for taking us along. I’m sure Petey will be happy to go back again at some point. If me magic ball is telling me correctly I think I see a return trip at some point. I don’t see how you can not go back. *S* Happy 4th of July to all.

  72. Jane Bidinger says:


    A very HAPPY 4th of JULY to YOU…and where to even begin with the ‘thank yous’ for all your blogging of the trip abroad? I LOVED EVERY MORSEL you posted of it in word and picture and sound! BLISS!, I tell you, PURE BLISS! :oD

  73. Pam G says:

    Happy 4th to you and Joe-perfect time to arrive home-I enjoyed “our” trip immensely but Home Is Best-who said that anyway? Can’t wait to hear any other tidbits you have to offer from merry old England

  74. Oh! Welcome home Susan, Joe, Petey and all the rest of us gfs! My husband said last night “well, I guess I have to find something else to read, I didn’t get your e-mail from Susan Branch”! Yes I forward them to him! So excited when I pulled this up! I am surprised to know that one of my fears is shared by others! I am finding out more and more that I am not alone out there in alot of things! I love getting out of the car when we get home from anywhere!
    I knew the kitties would be so glad to see you that they wouldn’t leave you alone! Jack looks so cute all curled up in the flag! Glad you had such a nice 4th with neighbor friends!
    All I can say again is welcome home! Can’t wait to see all the rest of the pictures! I always forget to tweet, not to sure about it.
    Tweet Tweet!

  75. My daughter was on vacation in England on my birthday (July 28) three years ago.

    She waited to call me to wish me Happy Birthday until they arrived at Ambleside so I could spend my birthday there vicariously.

    I’ve been spending another vacation there vicariously through your words and pictures. 🙂

  76. Linda Joan says:

    I’m just so glad you’re back home all safe and sound!

  77. jeanne hedin says:

    Happy Susan, happy Joe,
    Happy kitties, too.

    Happy memories, happy homecoming,
    Happy 4th of July to you!

    Welcome Home! 🙂

  78. Theresa says:

    Welcome back home! I’ve so enjoyed your sweet trip! Thank you for your American tribute, I’m so proud to be a citizen of such a blessed nation. I live on a small farm in small town America and I love it! Your blog is the sweet stuff on a delicious slice of life! This is my first comment to your blog ( any blog) Happy trails!

  79. Melina says:

    I just wanted to express how much I’ve enjoyed sharing this trip with you. I’ll probably never get to England (or Ireland where I REALLY want to go) but your travelogue has been the next best thing. All the pictures, videos and commentary have made everything come alive.

  80. Susan says:

    Welcome home Susan and Joe (and Petey)…
    We missed you and knowing what a wonderful adventure you experience, it still must be comfortable to be back home with the kitties. The fact you arrived from England in time to celebrate the Fourth of July is some how appropriate 🙂

  81. Jenny says:

    Welcome Home! There’s no place like it, is there?

    I so loved traveling with you.

  82. Nancy B says:

    Welcome home! Just wanted you to know I made your yummy potato salad today for our little 4th of July meal. Hot dogs and Susan’s Potato Salad! Delicious!
    Looking forward to more blog reading later. Must go out back and look at fireworks…..

  83. Susan says:

    ….”Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home….” Welcome home and happy 4th of July!! Thanks so much for sharing awesome words and images on your fabulous trip! When we get ready to go on a big trip, I get SO excited, but the funny thing is… I think I get even more excited to come *home*. Can’t wait to hear even more about your adventure!! 🙂

  84. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    Happy 4th!!! I hear the fireworks as I write this. What is it that Dorothy said? “There’s no place like home!” However, England was pretty darned fabulous as well! To take this trip with you filled my life with glee and I shall never forget how special you are to have taken us with you. The best part is that we didn’t have to cart 12 bags from place to place!!!! I realized that my days would not be the same without my friend, Susan, sharing her English adventure with me. That part is sad because that trip was special for me right now. When you live alone and your husband is in a nursing home, life just doesn’t seem happy all the time. You completed my life! Just about every day I think about someplace special that you went and how wonderful it was. I sat and watch “Miss Potter” the other night and loved loved loved it! Awww – live can be grand! Enjoy your walks together and settling back into your wonderful home – Susan & Joe,you are very special people! XXXXOOOO

  85. Home!
    It’s a great place to come home to! Love that Jack! I’m smiling that your Girl is not leaving your side!
    Thanks again for the fun! I almost have all the wrinkles out. There is still a crick in my neck though. I’m too old to tuck into suitcases any more >(smile)!
    Happy 4th of JulY!

  86. Debi W. in SoCal says:

    Love your description of coming back home and soaking it all in again. It is always fun to travel for a long period of time so you don’t feel cheated when it’s time to return home. Then, coming home is so welcome.
    Thanks for sharing the sights, smells and sounds of Martha’s Vineyard. That is one place I would like to visit myself.
    Hope you had a great Fourth.

  87. Linda says:

    Happy 4th of July! Thanks for the nice post! I cried when I read about Girl Kitty –I never go anywhere on the 4th because my doggies get so upset with all the firecrackers going off alllllll daaaaayyyyyyyy and nightttttttt! I wish people were more considerate with the celebration. It is in the low 90’s here so very comfortable…..fires have been a big problem so hope these fireworks don’t cause anymore than we are already getting……the air is pungent with the smell of fires. Glad you are home safe and sound . Thank you for a wonderful trip! Greetings from Idaho.

  88. Sandy Perry says:

    WELCOME BACK TO THE U.S.A!!!! Happy 4th of July it’s still the 4th here in Ca. I enjoyed our trip so very much Thank you for taking all of us along. I can’t wait for the diary on our trip to England<3 I know all of my "Girlfriend" penpals are excited to see your new book<3 Sandy

  89. sondra fox says:

    WELCOME HOME! I’ve been looking & looking for a message from you. I just knew the kitties would welcome you both with open paws. My favorite thing of all is to hear how your Girl & Jack are behaving. Did they bond while you were away? We had to give our Jack (Wired Hair Fox Terrior) a tranquilizer tonight, as he just goes bananas when he hears loud sounds. Shakes uncontrollably. When we returned from watching the fireworks, he was shaking very slightly. Thanks for a wonderful English trip! Love, Sondra

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Sondra–please google “Thunder Shirt” and watch the info. We were told about these by a friend whose sister works for a vet. One of our schnauzers is terrified of the fireworks and thunderstorms so we decided to try it. It worked GREAT!!! It was startling to see the difference. You just put it on like a doggie jacket–not really tight–just wrap it around. The theory is that it is like swaddling a baby. We put it on Betti–instantly she stopped panting and shaking–she walked over to her bed under the edge of the piano and laid down–all was okay in her world. Actually, we don’t even use it all of the time now. I don’t work for the company and have no connection to it but I am happy to share the news about it as it really helps! 🙂

  90. Karen Z - Victoria, Australia says:

    Sweet Sue how lovely to be safely “heafed” ? home. A couple of the girlfriends mentioned last night’s moon. Wasn’t it amazing? It’s winter here and we live in a rural area near the sea . It was a frosty misty night and the moon so bright. Just beautiful! I also must tell you we have SHEEP! and their babies are starting to arrive. So far we have twins who are 3 days old. Why does “Mother Nature” decree that they should arrive in Winter?
    Many thanks to you and Joe taking so many of your friends on you holiday, and Happy 4th of July to America! LG 🙂

    • Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

      Karen! Twin baby lambs! How special. Wish I could see pics of that! Enjoy your new babies…and your winter! Sounds wonderful!

  91. Rosinda says:

    What a lovely post! Welcome home, Susan! No matter where we roam, home is always home. Happy 4th of July! How pretty the photo of the harbor is, with the Thunder moon in the background! Thank you for sharing all the beauty that surrounds you. You feel “closer” to me already. It’s nice to have you back!

    Rosinda xo

  92. Kelly J. says:

    Welcome Home!! Love this post! Can’t wait to hear more of your adventures, but glad you’re back for summer in the U.S. So enjoyed your travels and look forward to these cozy “home” posts as well! Kelly in Eastern PA

  93. Karen V (Connecticut) says:

    Welcome home! Even though we all had a great time in England (and thank you for all of the pictures, videos, and posts!), it’s really comforting to see those pretty pictures of the Vineyard…it’s great to have you back!
    I love those summer smells too! Also, fresh cut grass and the smell of blacktop on the road when it gets hot, weird, I know, but that always reminds me of summer…
    Enjoy settling back in with the kitties, hope that Petey didn’t have jet lag!

  94. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    Welcome home to the USA! How patriotic of you to make it in time for our nation’s birthday!

  95. Erin Stroud says:

    Susan, I actually got a lump in my throat and a mist in my eyes reading your previous “saying goodbye” post. Would SO love to live in such surroundings. But a million thanks for virtually taking us with you, and welcome home to the good ol’ USA. Perfect timing, too!

  96. and God Bless you, too, Susan! Happy belated 4th of July to you!!! And thank you so much for sharing your photos, story, everything, with us!

  97. Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

    OK, I am naming our home here in Western North Carolina “Heafed to the Fell”.
    It is the MOST appropriate name there is and I have you to thank for it Susan!!
    Our house is on the side of a hill on the South Slope of the Appalachian Mountains. If our home wasn’t stuck like glue to the hill we would slide down the hill and be on the road, if not across the road and into the woods, or across the road and through the woods and into the lake—YIKES! I am going to ask Larry for one of those expensive brass house signs for a Christmas present.

    • sbranch says:

      What a perfect name for a house, I never thought of it!

      • I know someone who was in the military their whole life, moving all over the world, and when they retired and bought a farm they named it Dunrovin. We live on a ridge of a mountain (a molehill actually) west of town and our address has the word “Ridge” in it and because I have a West Highland White Terrier we’ve named our place West Highland Ridge. What would you name your home if you gave it a name?

  98. Heidi says:

    Welcome Home!
    The pictures from the Vineyard are a cooling, soothing sight of what we hope summer will be, not the excessive heat, drought, storms and wildfires that are affecting so much of the country.
    Thanks for sharing your good times with us.
    Hugs to Girl and Jack.

  99. Margot says:

    Being heafed to the home is good. Welcome Home!!! Back in the garden, enjoying the sun and our coastline. Life is Good!!! I was gone too, for 6 weeks in all. Glad to be back in my own kitchen. Planning a white been salad to take to the boat.
    God Bless America, Land that I love…

  100. Dena says:

    Were I living next door to you, I would have had the Home Sweet Home Yankee candle burning for you upon arrival, with a WELCOME HOME! note tucked inside a wicker basket filled with fresh fruit from the Farmer’s Market, scones (or maybe you’ve had your fill??) and a lovely new flavor of tea – all to welcome home my neighbor…
    Heafed to the fell – must be said with an accent; however, my English accent wants to defect to be Scottish – must keep practicing!

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