Cute Livestock

Good Morning . . . let’s go hang out with the cute livestock for a while! MUSICA

I fell head over heels in love with lambs when we were in England.  Now I’m feeling sheepish.

Because while I’m choosing the photos and painting for the book,

I’m with them every day.  (This one looks like he’s up to something.  If he was mine, I would have to go check what he is doing!)

Sheep are everywhere in England, part of the fabric.  I would love to go on that walk in the Yorkshire Dales right now.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  Believe it or not, on the right, just out of the view of the camera, is the 12th century ruin of an amazing castle that belonged to Richard III.  OK, I have to show you, even though it’s not a lamb.

We climbed to the top of the castle, which was sprouting all over with wildflowers.  Not exactly Downton Abbey, but still, it truly told a wonderful story.  Narrow stone stairs worn in the center, huge openings for fireplaces, little slits for windows.

(BTW, My mom used to sing this song around the house! She still won’t get a computer; I may have to phone her and play it over the phone!  She’d be off to dance with the refrigerator door!)

This is one reason that spring is so special in England, besides the wildflowers, these little guys are playing in all the meadows where you can walk right up to them, unless their mom’s call them away!  They are the sweetest!

This little guy was in the buttercup meadow at Hill Top.

So picturesque, they make the countryside beautiful.

 They also keep the whole country looking like a well-tended parkland!  I would like one for my back yard!

So darling.

Little sheep families everywhere.

This one was sure the grass was greener on the other side of the street.

Misty mornings and lamb meadows.  I am standing right there.  It’s hard to believe.

Those tails go a hundred miles a minute when their mom’s let them nurse.

I’ve been painting lambs for a long time — here and there, in calendars and greeting cards.  This pink-cheeked one was originally painted for a fabric design.

Sorry to say, fabric designs are one of those products that doesn’t stay around long… they print it, it sells until it’s gone, and they never print it again.  I don’t know why, but I think it has something to do with that chant I keep hearing . . . What’s new?  They always prefer to make new. But it’s cute while it lasts.  This design is all gone … you probably know that.  I don’t have anyone making my fabric right now, but if I did, I’d have to do more lambs!

Still, I thought you might like to see it. It has little hearts on too, and, besides blue, it came in pink and yellow.

So any way.  Lambs.  I’m painting them in the new book, and they are SO fun to do.  The one I’m just about to paint is wearing the Union Jack as a shawl.  Since they’re on my mind, I thought I’d give us a little retrospective and look at the real things.  Also, several of you mentioned  the pair of white lambs I had on my mantle at Christmas time.  And guess what?  You may not be able to get that lamb fabric, but . . .

I bought a bunch of these lambs for my web store (if you click there, look in the very bottom right corner of the page) — we have some in stock now, and more on the way.  All the rest of my decorations went back up to the attic, but these lambs are year-rounders; I can’t see any season they couldn’t grace!  They look cute every where.  I carried them around with me . . . the kitchen counter, my art table, on top of a stack of books, on the bathroom counter.  Very cute on the tea table!  I have to pass the mantle every time I leave my studio, so there they are, making me happy every day.  They’re actually iron banks, they have a slot in the top, but to me, they’re just a reminder of all that English countryside beauty.  They look like vintage, but the price for the vintage ones has gone to the moon . . . these are bearable.  You can also start saving for your trip to England in them.  Makes a nice gift!

What else, oh yes, Brenda, one of our girlfriends, has recently started a collection of heart-shaped rocks and she wrote to ask if I’d post a picture of mine again, so there they are Brenda!

I found one rock down by the water in the shape of a fish, see it there in the middle!  Almost as good as red sea glass!  See my darling girl?

Lately, food-wise, I have been pure as the driven snowbound groundhog, eating fresh fish, organic chicken, and fresh salads all the time; having scrambled eggs (with only one yolk) on top of steamed spinach for breakfast.  Being a healthy little groundhog.  But Joe just walked into my studio and this is what he put under my nose.  Half an old-fashioned cruller and a cup of chocolate coffee.  I had to get the camera, and then . . . Snarf. Groundhog noise!

It reminded me of the card another one of our girlfriends, Denise, sent me via Twitter.  So I say THANK YOU JOE!  And you, what have you been up to? Have a wonderful weekend Girlfriends!  We have friends coming for Twine today at 4, and Downton Sunday night!  Yay!  xoxo

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469 Responses to Cute Livestock

  1. mary spring says:

    >>>ahh…lookin’ at the photo again and that’s your sweet Girl kitty…NOT Jack…ooops !…major mistake !…how could I confuse the two !?!

  2. Love the photos of the sheep and lambs. Did you know Shetland sheep wag their tails when they are being petted? Carly, my Shetland ewe, is somewhere between 17 and 18 years old and lives in the yard now. She toddles around, voice like a foghorn, waiting for her servant, me, to bring her corn. Carly is such a sweet girl.

  3. Lee Rose says:

    I read two blogs religiously, yours and The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell. Tricia writes about animal behavior and training, but the funny thing is, she has sheep. So of all the blogs in all the world I follow two women who love sheep. It must mean something, maybe I am meant to have them in my life.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it must mean something!

    • Chris Wells from West TX says:

      I had no idea Patricia McConnell had a blog. I read her book at least 3 times. I checked out the blog. Thank you so much. My dear friend that raises Aussies told me about the book, now I will let her know about the blog! Thanks again. Chris

  4. CarolK (NJ) says:

    I don’t know why they call it retirement. Since Ray and I have retired our calendars are more fuller now than they ever were before! I’m not complaining, no way! There more time to do all the thing we love to do and one of the best things is reading your wonderful blogs. Even since I got involved in rug hooking sheep have become my fav. I used to be a frog person but I’ve been frogged to death so now I collect sheep things. My head keeps singing, baa, baa black sheep have you any wool…… After I show Ray your sheep pics maybe he will agree to a few real ones. We could fence in the property and they can munch away on the lawn and he could sit on the deck and watch them instead of riding on the mower. Aww well, I can dream. In the meantime I think I’ll plan a twine party too. Your a peach for putting that idea into my head. Hugs, hugs, hugs from NJ…..

    • Victoria Miller says:

      Yes, isn’t it amazing how much busier life gets when you’re doing the things you love doing! Enjoy, enjoy!

  5. I will have to forward your post to my mom who has loved sheep for years and has a huge sheep collection! I needle felted a pair for her for Christmas, so now I’m hooked on needle felting. Now I think I need a sheep in my back yard so that I can have more wool for my newest hobby! 🙂 Your photo of the road in the Yorkshire Dales reminds me of when my sister and I were there eons ago. We walked 17 miles one day and saw the most beautiful landscape, sheep and even a friendly donkey who tried to follow us! Thank you for the wonderful photos and memories. I can hardly wait to see your book, so you GO GIRL!!! 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Pam says:

    Well done on eating healthily, we’re still finishing the Christmas chocolates!! Only three bars of chilli chocolate and a box of maltesers to go 🙂 Actually I think they can go in the cupboard for a while we’ve had far too many calories lately.

    • sbranch says:

      I feel the same way, it was my responsibility to finish everything up! 🙂

      • Judy Young says:

        I need to go on a diet, but the weather has been so cold and miserable here in Texas. Had 3″ of rain this week too and more forecast for this weekend with arctic temperatures. It made it all the way to 72 today. Magnificent! I worked late today and have been reading your wonderful post Susan. I found three tiny (leftover) pastry bites with Feta cheese and caramelized onions from Trader Joe’s in the fridge. Snarf!!

        • sbranch says:

          Snarf city!

        • Chris Wells from West TX says:

          Hi Judy! You must be in the Metroplex area. Crazy weather. We hit upper 70’s yesterday and tonight down into the 20’s. Would have loved the 3″ of rain but I did get over an inch. For that I am grateful. Will be in Ft Worth in 2 weeks. Really need to get to Trader Joe’s. I am out of wine and dark chocolate peanut butter cups…..oh my! Chris

  7. Sandra R says:

    I love sheep! There is a shop on Etsy called Colin’s Creatures you might like. He makes amazing figurines of all different types of sheep. And you are so correct about fabric. I do some quilting, and one of the lessons we all learn the hard way is to buy the fabric you love when you see it, because it probably won’t be in the shop in a week, and they often cannot get more. The short half-life is very frustrating. Cheerful groundhogging!

  8. Kim says:

    Lovely post Susan…I’ve been checking every morning and every evening for your post…’ve been a busy groundhog! Thank you for the lambs. When you see them gamboling (sp?) around the fields, they always make my heart sing and my face smile! Hope you enjoyed your cruller. And enjoy your “twine”. Ha, ha!

  9. Elaine says:

    Wonderful post and photos . We had sheep on our farm and they are such lovely animals. We had a sheep shearing party every year in the beginning of the summer to celebrate the wonderful wool these animals give us ! Have a lovely day !

  10. Barb, EW ...CT says:

    Hi Sue,

    Such a sweet post with all the cute little lambs, very calming and soothing. I have not had a chance to respond to any posts for awhile. I have had numerous doctors appointments and now have that cold/sinus thing that is going around.
    I hope you have a very fun time with your friends this weekend.

  11. Balisha says:

    I am in love with England. Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife are favorites and books by Marcia Willet and now lambs…I think I will paint something with lambs. Now, pass me that Cruller please.

  12. Kathy Phenix says:

    So glad to read your blog today! We need some cheering up in our house. On Thurs. Chuck, the cat (gorgeous Sealpoint Siamese) was discovered to have several abscessed teeth. Today he had them surgically removed and is spending the night in the Vet Clinic. Everyone (including Wendy, the dog) is missing him. We had no idea he had dental problems until he stopped eating and then became very clingy and wanting to be in laps all of the time. He is normally not a lap cat. Realized his breath was pretty gross when he got up close so off he went to the vet. Poor baby! If you recall Susan, Chuck promised that he would someday visit with you all in MV. Well, his trip is on hold until he is feeling better.
    Seeing the adorable lambs put a smile on my face. Thanks. Kathy

  13. Rae Ann from northern in Minnesota... says:

    Loved the springy looking photos…the darling lambs and greenery…a wonderful reminder of what we have to look forward to…SPRING!!!…we have lots of ice on the roads and sidewalks here in western Minnesota and are under a blizzard warning through tomorrow…I made a huge pot of mushroom barley soup and we have lots of provisions so we should survive the blizzard and below zero temperatures predicted for us this coming week…stay warm and cozy…xoxo…

    • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

      Rae Ann, That sounded so good to me, I went to the store and we are going to have the same thing for dinner tonight:) Thanks for the idea.

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Sounds good to me, too, with our present cold temperatures in Minnesota. Could you share the recipe? 🙂

  14. Kelly says:

    .The lambs are so very cute. All those little lamb pictures have me wishing for our baby goats to be born this spring, can’t wait to see them.

  15. Nancy says:

    Love the lambs……I loved the pictures you posted on your trip so much that I downloaded one of three lambs in a meadow for wallpaper for my laptop! thank you! 😉

  16. Julie Marie says:

    Hi Susan… I left you a big comment this morning first thing… it said it was awaiting moderation… it’s not there… just wondering… did it get rejected or did it not come through?… it was a really nice comment, honest!… xoxo Julie Marie

  17. Phyllis says:

    Your little rock collection is the cutest ever and I think your kitty feels the same. Those lambs are just darling, couldn’t you just look at them all day…can’t wait to see your magazine article, so exciting…I am such a fan…Phyllis

  18. Roxana A. says:

    Seeing all those lambs and sheep reminded me of the time I spent in Napa, California not so long ago…..there was an article in the local paper about a shepherd who rented out his flock to keep the grass cropped in the area vineyards. One day, driving home from Sonoma, we saw the sheep in a vineyard busily munching away, doing their job. It was really enchanting!

  19. Jack says:

    Little boy blue , come blow your horn
    The sheep’s in the meadow ……the’re all hiefed to the fell…..

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! I just had a thought…..can you imagine all the pomp and circumstance if thee JACK joined Susan and Joe for the book signing!!! OH my stars!!!! Women would be gushing all across America!!!!
      The thought of it does make for a HAPPY DAY!!!! 🙂 But…we could….give Susan, our favorite Pork Chop recipe …..and she could pass them on to Jack?!! 😉 OH to be Loved so much!!!! The Dynamic Duo……Jack and Joe!
      but….Susan will always have My heart!!! 🙂

  20. Holly says:

    Hello! So lovely to find cute livestock as the topic today! I grew up raising bottle baby lambs, and knitting, so lambs are on my list of favorite things! There would be nothing nicer to have a view of sheep/lambs in pastures of buttercups and greens.

    I’ve been reading posts & comments since the holidays, all while in bed with the flu. Grandsons will be given a wellness check prior to my next visit! haha~~ But seriously, they are little germ incubators! Thanks again for the cheerful posts!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh dear Holly, hope you are feeling better! I have a girlfriend who could not follow her dream to be a teacher because her immune system couldn’t handle the onslaught!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        No kidding – I can completely relate. The first 3 years I was teaching I had strep throat 18 times! Never had it as a child – a small miracle in a family of 6 kids all under the age of 8 – so I had no immunity & at the worst point the doctor wanted to hoick out my 26-year old tonsils – which wouldn’t have been any fun at all at that age – but then I finally did develop immunity and haven’t had strep since. Plenty of other sneeze-spread things but at least not that. :>)

  21. Karen says:

    Thank you, Susan, for your blog today. Brought back memories of my dear English “Grandmum” who with great love referred to me as her “little lamb” or sometimes just “lambie”. As I write this I can still hear her voice and the memory brings me great joy. Love, Karen

  22. Jennifer D... says:

    What a lovely, soothing post of words and pictures. Ahhh. I was a little bit on edge this evening and now I am relaxed. Thank you. 🙂
    It’s always so fun to visit here. A tonic.

  23. Julie Ball says:

    I was fortunate, because as a child my family raised sheep. We were 4-H kids (just my brother and myself) and I am so happy I was! I absolutely ADORE sheep! I still own the farm sign that we used to hang above our pens at the fairs. I treasure it! For Christmas this year, our oldest son bought me a print that had sheep on it and it brought tears to my eyes. If I could, I would own several now. At one point we owned 32 sheep, three pigs, two cows, a hen house full of chickens and a pair of mating geese. I cherish the memories and am very proud from where I came. I am originally from New Hampshire and am currently living in Michigan. I love your works and reading the blogs and “adventuring” along with you and Joe!

  24. Your post came in later afternoon for me, but it was worth the wait. 🙂 LOVE this post. We can look out our back windows to see sheep in the fields behind where we live. We can hear them bahhhh..I have posted them on my blog. We were going to get some in our own back field but so far it hasn’t happened. boo hoo..It’s sooo much fun watching them frolic about, but would love to have our field kept naturally mowed. 🙂 So looking forward to your book.

    • sbranch says:

      Maybe they will let you borrow!

      • Those were the ones we were going to get.. Borrowed. 🙂 They run about four thousand sheep in various areas around here. Something about trying to get a permit to put more in our area is the last I hear. We offered our field tho so who knows. I was thinking today about how different most of the sheep in England are then here. You have shown so many kinds in that one area. long hair or wool.. with horns, without, thin and really full wool, black legs and faces. I see black faces here but white legs. Its really interesting to see the differences.

        • sbranch says:

          I would love it if two baby lambs and a mom were delivered to my house each spring, and picked up up in the fall! 🙂 There should be a service! I bought a book on lambs in England, there are so many varieties! And they all like different things, different weather, and terrain.

  25. What sweet, sweet faces. I love that they let you go up to them. Gorgeous countryside! Really makes me want to travel there!

  26. Victoria Miller says:

    You didn’t have to go see what that little lamb who looked like he was up to something was up to: he was mooning you! Love the little lambs…Little Lamb, Little Lamb who made thee? always comes to mind when I see a lamb. Loved the fabric. I have a sheep who lives her on my bed with me, day and night, Serendipity. She is a pillow pal; we got one for me and all three grandchildren when I visited my daughter a couple of Christmases ago. My how time flies! Heart shaped rocks and sea glass are wonderful — and so is Joe for bringing you tea and half a cruller. The rule in my house is you can’t live here unless you can bring me tea and coffee on occasion. Very helpful when people want to give me animals. Been there, done that, got a closet full of T-shirts… Now I’m too footloose and fancy free to care for anything but plants, and they don’t necessarily fare all so well… Great to see Girl Kitty. She is such a little lady. And I love, love, loved the music — sang along at the top of my lungs, even when it was just the band!!!! Thanks for the opportunity to exercise the vocal chords and lungs. Singing loud is very healthy! Thank you so much for all your diligent and sometimes hum-drum seeming work on your latest book! YOU GO, GIRL!!!! Rock it out, Susan!!!!! You could take little ‘dance breaks’ where you put on some loud music and dance like crazy to spice it up a bit perhaps. Shake out the ‘sitting too longs’. We should all do that! A very wonderfullest New Year! (a friend of mine used that word recently, and I love it!) Oh, as my daughter was taking ornaments off the tree, my 3 year old granddaughter, Riley, came in and announced as only 3 year olds can, “MOMMY! Why you doin’ to Christmas!” When my daughter explained it was over, Riley started putting ornaments back on the tree, insisting, “No, the twee has to be nice for Santa Claus….” Bless the beasts and the children, and us all, Every One!

  27. Kathie says:

    Thank you, Susan, for the lambs. They are so precious. Reminds me of a song my mom used to sing…..Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. I kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you? When we were kids, a farmer we knew raised sheep. He was from England. He taught us how to raise sheep….but we never did. We loved working with the sheep. We even took them to the fair! Great fun for city kids.

  28. Margot from Virginia Beach says:

    Although I do like bunnies, I love lambs!!! Where did you find a cruller on MV??? My mom always gets some for me when I go home to WI. Those days are drawing to an end. 🙁 Now I am in AZ with my sons. Dry as a bone here. I found out that one of my new favorite flowers grows here, but I don’t know it’s name.

    • sbranch says:

      Joe got that cruller at Humphrey’s Bakery. Lucky for you on the favorite flower-find!

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      Hi Margot~
      That’s one of the things I would miss not living here~ the food!~ but then of course, I’d probably weigh “a little” less ~LOL!~

  29. Joann says:

    Dearest Susan,

    I LOVE these animals so much….they are just precious….when we visited MV a couple of years ago, we came across a farm on the island that has sheep, sells lamb in their little freezer, and also sells wool and woolen products, knitted items, and is the loveliest place. It has some stone walls as well. The owner must have had a vision of England a long time ago, because it is so similar and quaint. Have you seen it?

    Your pictures inspire me to visit England….I would love to truly see it from the inside, the little towns and villages and walk in the fields, have tea, see the markets. You are magically able to capture what you see with your art…

    and now your art includes your camera. Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us. I know how much time it all takes; it’s a labor of love.


    • sbranch says:

      Yes, that’s probably Allen Farm you went to — it’s been in the same family since 1762! There’s lots about the island that reminds me of England, like we broke off from them and floated away! YOU would love England Joann! I know you would.

  30. Linda says:

    Boo Hoo!! No little sheep banks for me!! They are SOLD OUT it says to me when I tried to cart them away!! Hopefully more on the way?
    I wish you could see the darling vintage box of carved sheep soaps I have…they are completely carved like real with red bows and a little bell on each bow and in the original box which has their pictures drawn on the box top. I also have some vintage sheep hard plastic from maybe the 30’s. Love this post . The fabric is adorable and I want it so much….find a new fabric company….so many women bloggers designing their fabrics right now but they all look alike….skinny stick type figures etc.,……no sweet lambies!
    During the Seattle Worlds Fair I worked for awhile at a donut stand and got so sick on what we called “French Crullers” from eating WAY too many and then going on the rides that I haven’t touched one in 48 years!! But they were delicious! Now I am addicted to Crispy Creme Donuts…..especially the maple ones.Will you let us know if you get more banks? Thank you for a wonderful post ! Linda from Idaho where it is cold and snow still on the ground!

  31. Joy Woodman says:

    I loved reading about your trip to England. My husband were there in April also. We enjoyed the sheep and lambs in the Cotswalds. We fell in love with the English countryside. I wanted to order a couple of your vintage sheep, but they are already out of stock. Is there anyway that I can be notified when there are more available to order? Can’t wait for your book to come out. Check out this website temple I ordered the London landmarks and the Cotswalds landmarks to remember our trip. Thought you might like them. Also check out the website cat They have a England diamond jubilee dishtowel that you can order. You can cut the dishtowel and frame it in a 12 x 12 frame. I ordered dishtowels for all the major cities or sites in California since I live there. I framed them in 12×12 frames and hung them in my office at home. They are so cute and vintage looking. They have marvelous hand embrodiered pillows too, but I could not afford all of them. Thank you for your creativity and love for life. I love your gentle, easy going, yet fun and carefree ways. All of your creations are filled with joy and warmth. I enjoy them all around my home.
    Joy Woodman, Modesto CA

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t have any automatic way to alert people, but the lambs will be in this coming week — hope that helps! Thank you Joy!

  32. Lynda Lara says:

    Helen and James, in an early episode of All Creatures Great and Small, visited those castle ruins, I’m sure it’s the same place. I loved that series and can now watch it on Netflix, and I love your blog. My mother is from Manchester, I was born in Warrington, my sister was born in Cambridge, so you can imagine how much I love England too. My last visit was in 1982, too long ago, so I especially loved the posts of your visit and can’t wait for your book. I was fortunate recently to find one of your early cookbooks at the local Library book sale. It’s wonderful. You introduced me to Barbara Pym-thanks! Your blog is a bright spot in my life and means so much to me. Thank you………Lynda

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Lynda! Barbara Pym, so wonderful! Glad you are enjoying it.

      • Victoria Miller says:

        Those may also be the castle ruins where Tristan played ghost!

        And Barbara Pym…this is the only place I’ve ever known people who know Barbara Pym, such a joy!

  33. Nancy B says:

    Two very special evenings while my daughter was home, were spent watching season one of Downton Abbey with her sister. I had already enjoyed watching the reruns of season two. It was such fun to share this wonderful series with my two daughters. Loved your post today. I haven’t been to England yet, but the lambs and sheep are a sweet memory of our trip to Ireland five years ago. We have been very cold here in Bakersfield the past few days, in the 40’s. It seems like only yesterday it was 110!!! I’ll have to remember this come July. 🙂

    Have a nice week-end!

  34. Laura B Jenkins says:

    Oh, I do hope that you are painting the photo with the caption “Misty mornings and lamb meadows”…I adore it… now, heading over to your little “store” to take a look-see at the lambs~can’t imagine a better baby shower gift or Easter gift for someone special…yes, I, too, had “Mares eat oats…” in my head…xo

  35. sondra fox says:

    Oh, your pictures of England make me want to go there so badly. I know it will never be, so I check out each & every inch of your pictures, dreaming. The castle is just marvelous. I know if I went there I’d spend an entire day dreaming, walking up & down stairs, & sitting in front of fireplaces imagining what went on within that castle.
    I’ve been looking at your site all week, off & on, wondering when you were going to post some news. Today was my lucky day. Think I’ll search for stone hearts as well. It may be fun to do on one of our beach adventures. We don’t live very far from the ocean & go there often.
    I was wondering if you knew why the lambs are marked in blue on their backs. Maybe I don’t want to know. That’s why my husband says I could never be a farmer. I’d want to keep all the animals forever & ever. The child in me coming out I guess. I don’t want to ever lose that child to tell you the truth.
    Girl Cat’s eyes show the love in them for you as she looks up at you. The eyes of animals are their way of expressing their thoughts, wouldn’t you agree?
    I’m a “Downton Abbey” fan as well. Love the beauty of the clothes, architecture, designs, furniture, & customs. My favorite TV show of all times. Good old Sunday nights! A true masterpiece of a series. “Upstairs Downstairs” also attracted me.
    I love to read & have come across two wonderful historical books that some of you might enjoy. Both books are by Bill O’Reily – “The Killing of Lincoln,” & “The Killing of Kennedy.”
    Thank you, thank you Susan for all your hard work in keeping us entertained. As I’ve said many times, I don’t know how you accomplish all that you do. You are an amazing person. As we say in my Yoga class, “the spirit within ME honors the spirit within YOU. Hugs, (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      They actually had a few people down in an alcove at the castle, dressed in costume; in fact they dressed a man completely in a suit of armor — it did not look comfortable! If you like history, have you read The Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick? Really wonderful! I learned so much! Have a great day Sandy!

      • Charlene H. (S.F.Valley) SoCal says:

        Loved The Mayflower by Philbrick! I was reading it while visiting Boston, Plymouth, and Cape Cod last October! It was wonderful to walk and bike on the very terrain that these long-ago, real people lived and worked to survive. I second your recommendation!

        • sbranch says:

          I was so surprised at how bustling the harbor at Plymouth already was when they arrived …. and about the disease that had plagued the native Americans and made this all possible. And how Martha’s Vineyard figured in, and the intrigue of the only two English speaking natives! A great story!

          • Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

            A great story, indeed! Hate to admit it…I did not know that “Pilgrims” were different from “Puritans” and that they did not get along. Learned later that Cotton Mather, Puritan historian, was a direct line ancestor of Gladys Bagg Taber.
            Susan, I continue to pray that your writing is swift and sure. ❤❤❤

          • sbranch says:

            I know, I think we were taught the fairy tale version of the story … the real thing is so much more exciting. What adventuresome people they were!

  36. sondra fox says:

    Forgot to tell you that I ordered Yankee because of you discussing it. Just love it. I get so many good ideas from you. Thanks, (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  37. Tasha says:

    Super post, Susan! Roll on spring, I can’t wait to see those little lambs in the fields again. The weather forecast here in Warwickshire today is for snow showers so I guess we’ll have to wait a little longer before we see them.

  38. Sue Rideout from Maine says:

    Oh Susan, I just knew you’d be a Downton fan too! My husband and I couldn’t wait to see the newest episode. It’s 5:30 and very dark here in Maine. I lit some candles and decided to see what you have been up to. Your pictures remind me of my 4 1/2 month stay in England, Wales and Scotland …..patchwork hills full of stone fences, sheep and lambs. I was an University Exchange Student and attended King Alfred’s College in Winchester. What a wonderful experience with so many happy memories! I can’t wait to see your book, but it is going to be warmer this weekend so don’t forget to get outside for some fresh air and sunshine 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I have candles lit right now Sue, down here on the island, dark day we’re having, very cozy inside!

  39. Betty Marie,Pennsylvania says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    I find no reason for your fabrics to come to an end. Here is my reason: Cranston plaid in the indigo blue is a classic. It has been on the market for years. I know this for sure as I buy it all the time. I started when I was in my thirties and now I am in my middle sixties.There is no reason the lambs can’t be the same in sales. Children are being born everyday and who wouldn’t just LOVE to have this print for curtains, for blankets, bumper pads for the cribs,wall paper and borders, it is just like a “Laura Ashley” print, but better, as we are your girlfriends.
    Also why can’t your cook books keep being printed. I am sure there is a market for these. Wedding showers happen all the time, year round and many are kitchen showers. Perfect gift for the bride to be.
    Then have you ever considered selling on Q.V.C.? I have been with them forever. I have only returned 2 things in twenty some years. They are a great company.
    Goodness maybe in time you can be in Macy’s with all of this and even childrens clothing.

  40. cecelia says:

    Darling lambs! I hope the blue markings on them don’t mean they are destined for someone’s dinner plate 🙁

  41. Leslie-Anne says:

    Lovely little lambs. They sound as good as they look.

  42. Georgie says:

    Happy Saturday Susan!!!

    Love the lambs! They look so clean and pure and cuddly! I’m still remembering when you shared your trip to England announcement last year! WOW! And now you’re capturing it in the journal for us to relive forever and ever! It will be a treasure for ALL of us girlfriends. We are cheering you all along the way to the finish line… and your book tour!!!

    With all the talk of Downtown Abby, I am feeling I MUST try to pick up the first seasons so I can start at the beginning!

    I am welcoming the weekend! Mom made it through her first 4 radiation treatments!!! Just 20 more to go!

    Thanks as always for brightening our days!
    xoxo Georgie
    Yardville, NJ

    • sbranch says:

      xoxo hugs to your mom Georgie! She might like Downton Abby too, a nice diversion!

      • Susan says:

        We almost caught up before last Sunday’s first episode of season 3. It is well worth it. There is so much going on in each episode; they can almost stand alone. We watched seasons 1 & 2 sequentially from Netflix.

  43. Darlene says:

    Good morning Susan and everyone! The pictures of the lambs are so beautiful and I’d love to wake up each day to a sight like that! I must also add that Girl is stunning in this shot! What a gorgeous face!! xoxo

  44. Georgie says:

    Oooops! I’m too late… no more sheep banks 🙁

    Perhaps they will be restocked??? I hope so…


  45. Gloria Dotzler says:

    My good friend Sue and I took a trip to England four years ago to celebrate our 60th. birthdays with a friend in Surrey. We did a day trip to Brighton and while shopping “in the lanes” I bought a darling little figurine of a Cotswold sheep. It is always right on my window sill above my kitchen sink reminding me every day of our fun trip. It would be so nice to go back this fall and celebrate 65, keeping my fingers crossed. X

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds perfect!

      • Sue U. says:

        Hi Susan, this is the Sue who went to England with Gloria for our 60th birthdays. It was a dream come true. Never in my life imagined I would be there. Now I see my other friend, Cathy McC is checking in on here, too. Mercy sakes, it’s kind of a small world. Happy Monday from chilly Minnesnowta!

    • Judy Young says:

      I lived in England for half of my life and your mention of ”
      The Lanes” in Brighton brought back so many memories, I used to love to shop there for my “hope chest” when I was about 17. They had the best stuff. Susan have you ever been there? You would love it! I hope it hasn’t changed.

      • Gloria Dotzler says:

        Hi Judy, my friend in Surrey told me to look for “the lanes”. I’ve never seen anything like it here. I also bought a little teapot charm in one of the cute little shops, another reminder of a wonderful trip to England.

    • Cathy McC. says:

      Hi Gloria — can’t believe we are now meeting as FOSB — isn’t this wonderful? I know you and Sue had such a good time in England. We simply MUST all sit together after Susan’s book comes out and just pour over the pages and you guys can share some of your stories with me. Hugs, Cathy in South Bend, aka Ethel

      • Gloria Dotzler says:

        Oh I can’t wait for Susan’s book to be published. We will have ourselves a little tea party with scones with cream and jam, of course a pot of tea to go with them. Susan B. come to Minnesota on your tour and join us for tea.

  46. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Oh Susan, the lambs are just too precious. Here, in Colonial Williamsburg, we have a Rare Breeds program. We have Hog Island Sheep and my absolute fav, Leicester Longwools… they are pure sweetness. I wish I could take you, and the Girlfriends, on a walk through our pastures in the Spring…it’s quite unique.

    Thanks for sharing during your most busy time.

    Happy cozy weekend everyone!

    Marie xo

  47. Terry says:

    Hi, Susan!

    I love the little card, ” Count your blessings out loud.” Yesterday morning I wrote in my journal, “Be grateful – out loud.” I guess we are both on the same path of abundant gratefulness. My words came to me after reading about an 80 year old woman who, at her birthday party, gathered all those attending around her and told each and every person there why she was so grateful that they were in her life. Can’t you just picture the complete joy in that room?

    Susan, I am so grateful that God brought you, through your work, into my life. Thank you for saying yes to your soul’s calling. You bring me joy through your work.


    P.S. I could not get a copy of your calendar on your website, because they were all sold out. Now that is a wonderful thing! I did get one on Amazon. Which is also a wonderful thing. It is hanging in my kitchen by the entrance to my laundry room. I go into my laundry room a lot! It brings me joy every day. Thank you!

  48. Marcia A. Sherman says:

    to Rosanne (my daughter’s name too!) in Oregon –

    THANK YOU! I went thru many of the comments to find out what ‘twine’ was!
    when googled it comes up as ‘the world is not enough’, a video game.
    and I did not think that was right…just cannot see Susan and company playing a James Bond video game ?

    Marcia in Sewell, NJ

    • sbranch says:

      No, it’s a kind of modern tea party: tea first, then wine. When my girlfriends come over. I made it up, which is probably why it can’t be googled! 🙂

  49. Nanci says:

    I was in the lake district in May and saw all the babies and their mommies calling to each other and it just made me so happy. I collect sheep and imagine my disappointment to go to your store and your stock of iron sheep banks are gone already!! in Just less than 24 hrs! Please get some again very soon.

  50. BONNIE SHUCK says:

    I am so excited, I had to comment! Just finished with new paint, carpet, windows and counter top in our master bedroom. Now the fun stuff! Putting up pictures, setting my perfume bottle collection in just the right spot, new bed linens, mixed with vintage keepsakes!!!!!!! Oh, today is a fun day!!!!!! Loved the little lambs. I hve pictures of mountain goats and baby from CO trip last summer. I want to put a picture of the baby in my room. My wall color is Airy Blue and the trim is Cottonball. Can you imagine how pretty that is?????????????

  51. jane zamudio says:

    Susan..the pictures of the lambs just stole my heart!! My aunt had sheep when i was growing up. I loved them so!!, they look like clouds in the grass! Thank you for the memories once again! When I read your posts I often wonder..where does the time go and how Im lucky to have a person to help me remember!!

  52. Lee Ann G. says:

    Awww..those little (some big) lambs are adorable.

  53. Sharon Byars says:

    Love the lambs but I am obsessed with finding heart shaped rocks. I live on the beach of Morro Stand just north of the bay. I have found some but far and few between. Guess that is what makes them so wonderful. Can hardly wait for your book to come out! Will use it someday for a trip to England. Looking forward to seeing you out here on the “left” coast. This weekend seeing Les Miserables and of course Downton Abbey!!

    • sbranch says:

      East coast beaches are just more often rocky than California beaches … I don’t think that’s too much of a generalization. Big help when looking for heart shapes. You’ll have to come back here to hunt!

  54. Andi M says:

    Where did you find the Mt. Rushmore mug? I love it. I haven’t visited there yet but I will some day. That larger than life piece of art carved from the mountain just amazes me. Can you imagine being the creative mind that came up with that idea and then the fellow (he wasn’t alone) that pulled the whole thing off. Hope your weekend is going smoothly.

  55. Daena in NJ says:

    Beautiful photos, as always, Susan. My grandmother came to the U.S. from Wales when she was 9 yrs. old so I’ll bet she saw plenty of lovely lambs. I wonder if your mom would find an iPad comfortable to use. Thanks much for sharing your thoughts, photos, and stories with us via the blog.

    • sbranch says:

      I tried. But so far she very strong in her opinion. She used them at work too, Macs, so she knows how, just doesn’t want to!

      • Chris Wells from West TX says:

        Jim’s daughter reminds me that when she bought us a Gateway computer and set it all up at our house, years ago, I said, “I can’t imagine WHAT we will need a computer for!” LOL. even I have to laugh!

  56. Faun says:

    Susan, don’t avoid egg yolks – that’s 1990’s thinking! The yolk has an incredible amount of dense nutrition – see here:

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I don’t really avoid them, so much as calories, just lately…so I have four protein stuffed eggs, and only one yolk. But I have no problem with eggs in real life!

  57. Charlene says:

    Cute little lambs! Thanks for sharing your love for them. I adore your rock collection. Makes me want to go out and scour for hearts lol! I’m not near a lake or the ocean so it could take me a while 🙂

    • Linda says:

      I have quite a few heart shape rocks that have all been found in mountain creeks…..the water is so clear they are easier to spot wet so go to a mountain creek and have a look-see!!

      • Donna Ray from Hamlin, NY says:

        Or come to the south shore of Lake Ontario! Enough here to make the search fun. I’ve outlined our 10x20ft Welcome Garden with large ones. Must admit, though, that I interpret the heart shape rather broadly! 😉
        As always, DonnaRay

  58. Miriam Glen says:

    What a lovely reminder that Spring is on the way!! Here in Cumbria where I live the sheep have to be really hardy to live on the fells (and the farmers too to be lambing in the cold and snow!!).

    Thought you might like to know that we call the little money boxes ‘piggy banks’ here in England (though of course they can be lambs too!!)

    • sbranch says:

      I am in Cumbria right now…in my dreams, writing my diary … that’s the locale of for what I’m writing. It’s so beautiful there. Especially around Esthwaite Water. xo

  59. Deborah Norling says:

    The lambs and sheep are darling..but I have to say…my favorite pic is “Girl Kitty”….she is looking up at you with pure love ! She really does have a most beautiful kitty face.

  60. Melina says:

    Nothing cuter than lambs frolicking…unless it’s baby goats…or baby rabbits. And there’s chicks, um, and kittens. Oh wait, bulldog puppies, they’re as cute as, er, lambs!

    • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

      no i think baby ducks and baby chicks are cute as lambs. as for goats, well…… i do love lil bunnies, and pups and kittens ……ok they are all cute!!!!

  61. Annette McD says:

    Dear Susan, Thanks for the lovely trip to the English countryside. My father’s family is originally from Somerset. A trip there is on the top of my bucket list for sure. Also loved your choice for music today; it started an all-morning long festival of music from the 40’s. They don’t write songs like that anymore. We have such a treasure in the American Song Book from that era. I can’t help but sing along. Heck, I might even invite my refrigerator door to dance with me. Love it! -Annette McD

  62. Sharon from Alberta, Canada says:

    What a wonderful taste of spring. The lambs are so cute.
    We are currently digging out from 8″ of snow that fell on Thursday. The temp is cold (10F). Great weekend to catch up on your blog as well as prepare for Downton Sunday?

    Have a great weekend. YOU GO GIRL!!!!

  63. Frances Fowler says:

    Adorable! Adorable! And it explains why, vegetarian that I no longer am, lamb and veal have always been off the menu, quite literally. I just can’t do it! I’m always amazed that the English countryside, which seems so expansive, is contained in a country roughly the size of Louisiana. My state of Georgia is perhaps the size of the entire United Kingdom — then again, there are vast portions of Georgia that I’ve never seen, having always been in the tiniest section in the north. It’s a shame that fabric is here one day and gone another. I would love to have your precious lambs for a sewing project 🙁 The views of the castle are ah-maaazing. Imagine living around that! Can’t wait for your book on England. Will it have any recipes in it also? Whenever it’s finished and I’m waiting for it to arrive in the mail, I will make plans not to pick it up until such a time as it’s a weekend, and I can have a lengthy session replete with tea and scones to browse to my heart’s content. Inspirational and sheer delight it will be!

  64. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    I have enjoyed looking at all your photos of lambs in areas near to where I live, I suppose, because I see them all the time I take it for granted so thank you for reminding me that I live in a beautiful area. My daughter Fleur is enjoying her time in Palm Springs and they enjoyed being at the Film Festival but she hasn’t found my brown bread in a tin yet, nor Yankee magazine but she says she will keep looking. You ask what we girlfriends have been doing and I am afraid that I have been ill all week, I have Lupus and sometimes it takes over my life. However, I am slowly emerging and taking life very slowly. I did manage to complete 21 blocks for my quilt that I am making but I am afraid it is on hold until I get my strength and concentration back. So here’s hoping for a healthy and happy week for myself and all the girlfriends and yourself. Bye for now.

  65. Paula in AZ says:

    Lambs galore, how lovely and sweet they are. I especially liked the little one with the black markings on his face and his two black knees. Special, like your Jack, don’t you think? Freezing here in Phoenix this morning…a thin layer of ice on the pond in our community. Have fun breaking away from all that healthy food when you have Twine. Downton Abbey and the thoughts of your new book…warm inspiration. Thank you!

  66. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Lambs and lush green pastures…….. They are balm for the blahs of January!! There is something so innocent and soft about their furry faces that is just hard to resist. The english landscape looks so lovely with the rich green and wildflowers everywhere. I “remember” some of the scenes we enjoyed last summer which I am hoping you have captured again in the new book. There is something so beautiful with the green against the grey stones of the countryside rocks, walls, old buildings that is unlike anything I am used to seeing. Just Lovely!!

    Downton Abby! How I love this series and we are off to such a intriguing new season!!!

    Joe had a stoke of genius with that surprise pastry and coffee! Every work day needs a little unexpected “inspiration”, don’t you think?

  67. Monica says:

    So cute! Sheep are one of those things you can’t help but notice in England!LOL Love them, I almost always scream to my hubby- stoooop! I just have to take a pic!:)
    I have just started a collection of heart shaped rocks too, can’t believe you have heart shaped sea glass! Lucky girl you!

  68. Hello Susan/Girlfriends, we are having temps. here in IN in the high 50’s?? the downside to this is 2-5″ of rain which melted all of the Dec. 26th snow finally and now we are in a swamp!!! eewww I adore lambs (my Aunt had one named “Hollie Hobbie”), and I think that one pic of the mama/baby was right about where Dawn/myself fell into the creek and Pat had to come and rescue us??? such wonderful memories…, the heart shaped rocks are so interesting to me (you know how I long for beach glass)…now add heart shaped rocks to that dream!!! I have always loved rocks of all shapes/sizes and do not understand how people paint rocks here in the city we would NEVER think of doing that on the farm? I just love rocks in their natural state and I have a very flat rock with a perfect circle hole in it…haven’t found any heart shaped ones to date!! Susan, you seem to be on a creative roll with your book just want to thank you for checking in and giving all of us a taste of what we have to look forward to. Blessings

    • sbranch says:

      I really do feel like I’m on a roll… just feel go go go all the time. Soon soon soon! 🙂

    • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

      yep that was the spot!!!! LOL!!!

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      oh Deborah! I never did find that shoe!!! 😉 …I have only found 2 really “true looking” heart rocks and about 7, that if I use my imagination….could pass for a heart! Want to hear something amazing?!! Well, my Dad died in the month of April …..later that spring we were doing yardwork….and outside the bedroom window where he passed away…was a big big rock….and it had always been just a plain-old big big rock……that is… until that first spring (my Mom’s favorite season) when it became a Miracle!!! It changed from a plain-old big big rock ….into a big big rock with a big imprint of a heart on it!!!! And now, I call that rock……Dad!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        That is definitely a sign. Your Dad is letting you know he is OK and happy. How precious… :>)

      • Hi Dawn, how special that rock must be to you…and about your shoe look in your luggage in the zippered pocket?? I think I felt it while we were stuck in there on the way back across from the Pond?? just sayin….hope you and your family are well and the “flu” is behind all of you….it is rampade across America and the real season is suppose to be in February…we got our shots in October so I’m praying it will be enough. If I hear anyone sneezing in the stores I’m moving along and don’t look back!!! I think the news said a sneeze can spread 15-20ft. YIKES….stay well and many blessings my friend.

  69. Nancy says:

    Girl Kitty looks as if she’s watching over her fish-shaped rock….perhaps guarding it from Jack. 😉

  70. Sara NW Georgia says:

    Ok, so I know this is from the last entry… but I keep thinking about it and I have to ask 🙂 If you get up, singing, at 3am…. what time do you go to bed? LOL

  71. Stephanie says:

    Such a great post as always. You’ve inspired me to want sheep for the meadow I’ll have someday! As a knitter I keep looking at the pics and thinking about yarn!

    Have you ever been to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival held every fall in Rhinebeck, NY? It’s like visiting mecca for a knitter. It’s two days of sheep and all things wool and knitting. I’m going this fall (on the list for 2013!) but everyone who has gone has LOVED it. There are many blogs and youtube videos covering it.

    I am so excited about Downton Abbey too! I’m going out to get wood today so I can have a fire tomorrow night while I watch! Light the candles and make a snack and ENJOY! I thought last week’s 2 hour episode was pitch perfect – my expectations were high and they were exceeded. After visiting England with you this year, it’s even more fun. Wasn’t Mary’s wedding dress divine? Wasn’t Shirley Maclaine delicious?

  72. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, your little heart-shaped stones are so cute. One Valentine’s day I needed some wrapping paper for a small sized gift for my husband. I photocopied and enlarged the definition of “love” from the dictionary and used it for wrapping paper. I tied it with narrow red velvet ribbon and added a tiny heart-shaped stone. It looked “lovely” – pun intended. Funny, I don’t remember what was in the package but I remember the wrapping, lol. Have a wonderful weekend. We just finished taking down the tree. Can’t understand why it isn’t as much fun to take down as to put up. Girl kitty is beautiful.

  73. Barbara (WA) says:

    Well, now I am in love with sheep and I really want to go on long walks in England! I used to be a homebody but something is getting into me 🙂

  74. Debra V. ~ Southern California says:

    I wanted to thank you for the “Punxsutawney Pudding” recipe. It was really delicious! Like carmelized scalloped onions and rich savory walnuts, just delicious. I substituted mozzarella cheese for the swiss, since my family doesn’t like swiss. I also made “Pineapple Chicken legs with thighs” since we don’t eat pork and I didn’t have any other ribs in the house that day. Wow the recipe for the sauce was great! I’m going to try this recipe again using beef ribs I know it will be wonderful. I’ll make the Punx. Pudding again every chance I get. It’s wonderful – try it with mozzarella cheese sometime with the Parmesan instead of Swiss, you might even like it better.
    PS: Loved your lambs…they are so sweet!

  75. Randi Bault says:

    Hi Susan,
    Every time I see “lambys” I think of my best friend and her childhood Easter. She was so disappointed when her brother got a stuffed bunny, and all she got was a crummy ol’ stuffed lamb. Her father sat her on his knee and told her how all the other toys got picked at the store but poor ol’ little lamb was all alone sitting on the shelf and he knew she would be a friend and love it when no one else would, and that was why he bought it for her. “LAMMY” she cried and hugged it and loved it ever since. Such a cute story I had to share it. Much Love, Randi

  76. Judy Young says:

    I am so excited!!! I was out shopping this afternoon and ran across the book “Where Women Cook Celebrate” that features Susan and her “Kitchen Table Tea”. I glanced through it and hugged it to me, what a find! Cannot wait to sit down with hot tea in my bird toile mug and some lemon tart from Trader Joe’s and look through this fabulous book. This certainly makes the weekend extra special!

  77. Such a lovely post – I am looking forward to your new book with great delight!

    Oh the lambs! One of the reasons my parents moved to rural Maine long ago was to raise sheep (and children…) – I remember bottle feeding an orphaned lamb in our kitchen, one spring.

    When my husband and I got married (on an island we love) we painted our names on a big heart-shaped rock and hid it under a spruce tree on the edge of the meadow where we exchanged vows, overlooking the ocean and a bay full of other islands. We go back and visit once in a while. Wonderful memories.

  78. Star says:

    Hi Susan,
    As always I enjoyed your almost daily check in with us. You mentioned your mom still wouldn’t get a computer. Get her an IPAD. I have a couple of friends that felt like mom. They were given ipads and are now emailing and just about everything. It isn’t so scary for them. Hope this works out.
    Keep painting and telling us special stories and things about where you live. And of course Joe, Jack and girl.

    Cypress, CA

  79. Annie from Sydney, Australia says:

    Thanks for all the sheep pics – I adore them and their kind faces. I had to do a double take on the pic where the lamb is feeding, and someone may have already mentioned this; I thought it was feeding from a ram! I’m assuming the mother (ewe) had her head down and the ram is standing in front of her! Anyway, it gave me a laugh and I’m thankful for that.

  80. Chris Wells from West TX says:

    Since we are talking about animals, I thought I would give everyone a quick update on the 3 feral kittens I adopted over Thanksgiving. Two of the three have come around. But oh my, it has been a slow process and at one point was more than a little discouraged. The littlest kitten, that I thought would be the first to tame is the stand-offish one. I can’t touch him or pick him up. The one who was the most scared, was the first to tame. See how much I know! The other two are almost normal domestic cats. They are currently residing in a guest room….so no more than one overnight visitor to our house please, until “The Bad Boys”
    (One is a female) are spayed and neutered and move to the barn and I can reclaim the bedroom! I could not have done it without the wonderful website CAROL’S FERALS. they are in Western Michigan and very dedicated to the cause of feral cats. A great organization that depends on donations. So anyone who is looking for a cause, I highly recommend that you check out their site. Lucky Michigan to have them!
    And any crazy notions that I may have entertained about letting them be house cats…was quickly ended by our resident cat, Katherine Rose. She saw them one time in crates in the laundry room and promptly went in my bedroom and peed on my bed! Katherine knows how to train her owners! So all are doing well and I will have 3 lovely barn cats.

  81. Betsy says:

    Dear Susan, I am not one to wish my life away but I am counting the days until your new book comes out and your home appears in Yankee Magazine. I decided I had better find a creative way to keep busy until the book and magazine appear. Yesterday I went to a class open house at my local Quilt store. I guess everyone had the same idea! The place was packed! I signed up for a machine quilting class that you do on a regular sewing machine. Once I got home and sat down with a cup of Earl Grey (de la creme) I realized that my old machine that I love has none of the extra parts you need to do the class. I was wondering if any of the Girlfriends have ever made an attempt to quilt using an old machine with none of the bells and whistles. Just to be sure I also signed up for a pajama bottom class that will teach me how to measure correctly and choose any fabric (perhaps something with lambs). Keep working on your book, we are all out here supporting your efforts!!! Enjoy Dowlton Abbey tonight.

    • sbranch says:

      Pajama bottoms! That would sign seal and deliver next Christmas for me! You should go on line and google “labels” and have your own made … they cost almost nothing to get a bunch of them! I used to make quilts with sewing machine and no bells and whistles, I can’t imagine why a person would need them, but I know for sure that one of our girlfriend quilt experts will have better advice for you!

    • Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

      My sewing machine is my mom’s (handed down) and she bought it just before her wedding in 1941. It goes forward and reverse and nothing more. I have to add machine oil every now and again and that little Singer runs like a top! I have used it to make quilts (but it doesn’t zigzag). I have tried using other sewing machines but this old gem works the best for me and I wouldn’t trade it! 🙂

      • sbranch says:

        I know how you feel. Look at all the quilts that were made in this world on machines just like yours!

    • Diane Byrum says:

      Hi Betsy, you don’t need a fancy sewing machine to do machine quilting. If they were telling you about the different feet for the machine, there are ways to get around that. Like for a quarter inch foot, just put a strip of masking tape on the throat plate to mark for your quarter inch seam. I don’t know if your machine zig zags, but you can zig zag for applique too. As far as quilting the quilt with the quilt top, batting and backing, there are long arm quilting machines and you don’t need one of those either. Most quilt shops have one and charge a nominal fee to do it for you. Then all you have to do is put the binding on. I’d be glad to cheer you on or answer any questions you have. I am a Martha Pullen certified and licensed heirloom and sewing teacher. You’re going to love quilting. Such satisfaction and they are beautiful works of art when finished. Sew on, girlfriend!

  82. Betsy Goertzen says:

    I have just gotten back from moving my “Sweet Lamb”, Hope, to K-State to start the next chapter in her life. And while helping her unpack I saw her Heart of the Home cookbook! I had to smile thinking about her making Chicken Enchiladas. This morning I needed this blog and alittle cheer to make the house seem alittle less empty! Thanks-BG

  83. Taylorsoutback says:

    All your sheep made me smile this morning – what could be happier then little spring lambs romping in the pasture…we have Shelties and I think they need their own little flock. Our girls love to herd the snowblower, lawnmower & 4 wheeler – sheep would be so much more quieter:o)

    Love that fabric! As a a former quilt shop owner I knew that if you didn’t get the yardage in a timely manner it was gone forever….

  84. Agnes says:

    Don’t you still have your fabric line? Is there someone we could write to about it?:( Will you be getting another, if the last one was discontinued?

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t have a fabric line right now … and there are no plans, but maybe someday! I license my designs and artwork to manufacturers — which is why I don’t have much choice about how long a fabric stays on the market. I need to find a new manufacturer, which I will do one of these days, after I’m done with our book.

  85. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! So nice to see your lovely photos of all of the little lambs of England! Your fabric is so pretty, too!!! You are soooooo disciplined writing your book even during the cold gloomy months of winter! You bring “springtime” to us all !!! Just trying to recover from this nasty flu the past five days……your blog site is my best medicine!!!!! You bring good cheer into my day! Thank you soooooooooo much!!!

  86. Oh, I am in love with those sheep! The English also love their hedgehogs. What a lovely country! (“Downton Abbey” again tonight — I’m excited.)

  87. Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:


    Um…. what is ‘twine’? I started watching Downton Abby last Sunday as well. Not used to staying up until 11:00, but just couldn’t miss the last half of the show! I’ve seen all the rest of the seasons on Netfilx.

    Went to a women’s retreat this weekend from our church. It was held at a vacation home here in Eureka. About 30 some women went. I came away very refreshed and happy.

    Woke up to bitter cold this morning. A very heavy frost with clear skies. Definitely looking toward springtime.

    All those cute little lambs…. very English. Just love all the stone fencing as well.

    Until next time. Was so happy to see your new blog!
    <3 Carol M

    • sbranch says:

      Twine is what I call my 4 o’clock Tea parties with my girlfriends. First we have Tea, and then . . . wine! Twine.

  88. Carrie says:

    Oh dear, I hit post and then my system shut down. Sorry if this is a duplicate…

    Sheep dotted along the verdant hills and valleys of England, it is the Land of Hope and GLORY to be sure!

    While perusing thru old blog entires, I see a shot you took thru a Roman wall, stone and looking thru a corner pub where you were to have lunch. Any chance that may have been in Pevensey, just near Pevensey Castle?

    You are rockin’ the pages of A.F.R.!!!

    Rule Britania!

    • sbranch says:

      Now that’s what I call a good eye! That’s exactly where we were, the first place we stopped after we got far enough out into the country that we weren’t afraid to turn off the road (because perhaps we wouldn’t be able to figure out how to get back on!). How did you know?

      • Carrie says:

        Because I’ve stood in that same spot….in 2002. I was in England for the Golden Jubilee. My friend took me to her cousin’s country home in Herstmonceux (Sounds French but be sure, it was in gorgeous Sussex countryside). We visited Battle, Battle Station, Senlac, Heathfield, Rushlake Green, Bateman’s where I saw my first dog “creche” with a happy white pooch as resident (did you know Kipling’s wife was named Carrie, an American from Vermont?, Maybe there’s hope for this American 🙂 ); we also visited Alfriston where I was treated to a wonderful lunch at “The Star” (you had a picture of this in one of your entries). Alfriston was so quaint and beautiful, we visited the Clergy’s House. I’d like to return some day.

        We drove into the village of East Dean where I learned the English sometimes refer to the flower, impatiens, as “Bizzy Lizzies”. We drove to Beachy Head and laid on our bellies at the cliff’s edge – yikes! We then drove thru Eastbourne and found ourselves in…PEVENSEY! The castle was right in the midst of town. We had lunch in the back garden of a pub (may have been the one your were at). From this vantage point we were able to look over at the Castle. We visited Pevensey Church dating back to William the Conqueror.
        Then we went to the castle… in my journal I sketched the stone archway into the grounds (your photo) which transported me righ into Norman times. A subtle moat surrounded the Castle remains. Sorry for the long answer but I thought it was nothing short of serendipity that you stood in the very spot where I did 10 years ago!!!!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, and I think we were in the same pub, just across from the castle ruins, and it did have a garden too! I love how, in England, you can just be wandering along, minding your own business, and suddenly a thousand year old castle pops up.

  89. Cheryl Egan says:

    Hi Sue!
    This is all I could think of after seeing your latest post: Now it’s stuck in my head.

    Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?
    Yes! Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?

    If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey
    Sing “Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy”

    Oh! Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you-oo?
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Hmmmm…I think you need to google the song and read the REAL lyrics…you don’t have it quite right…:-)

  90. Gill says:

    Just dropped in to mention that today, Monday, is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and that if you are able to find BBC radio 4 on the internet there are several interesting programmes this week to celebrate, including Open Book, broadcast from Chawton, and Book of the Week, which tells us more about Jane Austen from the artifacts she owned. I thought you might be interested, Susan 🙂 Guess which movie I shall be watching tonight! Greetings from Norway, Gill.

  91. Jack says:

    Not one single “Black Sheep” — doesn’t anyone like black sweaters over there? “Bah Bah Bah….! Says the Master, the Dame and the little boy.”

    • sbranch says:

      There was one black lamb amongst the little flock at Beatrix Potter’s — but we didn’t get a great photo of him, he kept moving too fast!

  92. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I think you said somewhere that “our” new book will be printed on MV? Just want you to know, I think that’s wonderful that it will be printed at “home”! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      No Joanie, there are no printers on the island. There’s a publisher, but I’m thinking she works overseas. I’m not sure where it’s published to be honest, I asked her to please get estimates from American printers. But that part is usually not something an author gets any say on.

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Aha! Thanks! Wherever, we’ll love it & I can hardly wait! 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        We will all be patient and it will be well worth the wait. I personally think it will be good timing as, if it was available sooner, we would all be buying it and giving it to friends, etc., right away. Now, with the timing it sounds like, it will be just in time to make a good Christmas present!!! And besides that, Susan–it will be a more pleasant time for you to take your book-signing tour across the country, especially if we have another overly-hot dry summer… So, enjoy the time you are working on it because that should be part of the process, too… 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you Pat, all good and wise advice. I sure don’t want to try to make time go faster! But it’s hard not to hurry!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Well, I suppose it is one of those things that it will be a relief for you to be done, at least with this stage, and move on to the booksigning, etc. When you are at this stage in writing a book, does it become sort of a “magnificent obsession”? 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Completely. Totally Obsessed. But I think that makes the book better. I hope!

  93. Donna Ray from Hamlin, NY says:

    Two more pages!! I guess you know, Susan, that you are whipping up an already frothy excitement for your book. The lambs….”homemade” everything…..the recipes….Beatrix’s garden……Jane’s little writing table……..the Joe&Susan LOVE STORY…….good gravy!! I’m normally quite a patient person, but this is getting painful. What’s a realistic time line?
    We’ve had a big snow melt here which uncovered two bricks sitting there by the garage…..lightbulb….. I’m making Joe’s brick flattened chicken for supper tonight! 🙂 As always, DonnaRay

    • sbranch says:

      Realistic is so long I dread mentioning it, because I’m in as much of a hurry as you are. It takes 4 months at the printer!!! That’s the big problem. So I think maybe the end of August, but really, the way the world works, I will be happy if it’s the end of September (not really happy, actually, but accepting!) I tell you, I couldn’t be hurrying faster than I am, I’m excited about it every day! You’ll love that chicken! xoxo

      • Donna Ray from Hamlin, NY says:

        Chicken……delish! Timeline……just about right from my selfish point of view……my birthday is Oct 8! All smiles now. I think I can wait because it’s going to be so special. Anticipation is pure pleasure when you settle down.
        As always, DonnaRay

  94. Denise Briggs says:

    Rose Chintz and Mount Rushmore!

    OMGoodness!! My Great Grandma B gave me, the Eldest Great Granddaughter, her well loved Rose Chintz China. There are many pieces, but what is left is a full set of 5, with a tea pot….well loved and used. Then being from South Dakota, I went WOW, when I saw your Rushmore Cup! That was the first time I have seen that style of cup for our dear Route Mushmore….(as my daughter called it as a child…along with flutterby’s/butterflies). What was the treat you were eating????!!

    Beautiful Blog site. Thanks for sharing.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a donut, called a cruller … long finger shaped, like a plain donut with a crunchier crust. Fantastic about the Rose Chintz!!

  95. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    BRRRRR hello and good morning susan and girlfriends, it is cold out there….20 degrees!!! had to go out to open up the henhouse and barn and let all the birds out, well they can come out if they want but for now they prefer to stay on their warm nests under the sunlamps. went out to break up the ice in the duck pool, and the water tubs, and to go feed the deer and the squirrels and the cat across the road, by the time i got back in i literally could not feel my fingers and i have been hugging that woodstove ever since. and i still have to get back out to break up the ice again in the pool and water tubs and to get the kittybox out on the porch and clean it out. definitely a good day for baking bread, and putting a big pot of stew or soup on the stove to simmer all day. hopefully i can get the hoses thawed out and get fresh water into the water tubs, and the and the ducky pool. we did it, we made it through the past week and the weekend with no more dead chickens, now its time to work on replacing the hens and looking for another set of ducks, and get them all busy thinking about nests full of baby chicks, turkeys and ducklings this spring and summer. off to start the laundry, and busy with the bread dough, and start the soup simmering. plus go get some extra firewood on the back porch for the woodstove. you all have a great day today, stay warm. hugs…… 🙂 ps those sheep look nice and warm about now. and i can use a new pair of mittens. 🙂

  96. Rhonda D. says:

    So refreshing to see your springtime lambs here in the middle of the snowbelt in January. I fall in love all over again everytime I see them. What are the pink and blue marks on them? This is probably so very far out in left field, but maybe they are marked male and female (lol)?? Loved the green and the purple wildflowers growing all over the castle ruins. Brings out its beauty even more. That is one on my all-time favorite looks actually…complementing the old, the rustic, the vintage and antique with something very beautiful. What am I up to these days? I designed a Cinderella baby quilt for our niece and I drove to Nova Scotia to have my Mom help me finish it. I think it turned out quite nice and is now off being quilted. I know she’ll be very happy with it. She planned her baby’s nursery around a Cinderella print she picked up at Disney World and had no idea what to do for bedding. So I stepped up to the plate with the idea of a Cinderella baby quilt. I heard no complaints, and they’re anxiously waiting for it to be finished. Hope everyone finds something to do that makes them happy during these last days of winter. Hope your book is coming along just fine Susan.

    • Rhonda D. says:

      P.S. Would love to see someone making your fabric designs. It is such a loss if no one is doing that. Your designs are so beautiful. We need to have them (says the fabricaholic).

    • sbranch says:

      It is Rhonda, and your quilt sounds wonderful!

  97. Nellie says:

    Lovely post, Susan. What is sweeter than little lambs?

    Major computer problems here. After a ten year life, repair costs are more than the machine is worth – if parts can even be located for the repair! Now, how to maneuver around Windows 8 is something else again!

    Rain, rain, and more rain here – two inches in the rain gauge overnight, and rain is to continue through Tuesday.

    That snack is very tempting. I believe it’s time for a cup of tea here.:-)

    xo Nellie

  98. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    happy monday Susan! Where in England are you…today? Yesterday, Bret and I sat snuggled in the corner of the couch and started watching Downton Abby…..Loving it! Loving it! Loving it! Except one lady (downstairs) scares me a bit! We have always wanted to watch it, but didn’t get started….and now we are trying to catch up! I was showing him your Sheep and when we got to your “snack” ….I asked him what he thought it was….and he said some sort of bread doughy donut thing…..and I told him he was right, and that it was called a Cruller….but, he didn’t hear me right away…..he was too busy laughing at me…..for I thought you were snacking on some fish! I love thinking of you painting at your desk by the window, humming to musica, thinking of us thinking of YoU!!! It makes my Monday a lot more smiley!!! Stay HEALTHY….stay 🙂 ….stay YoU!!!
    So excited to see “A Fine Romance”…’s gonna have your HEART all over it!!!! How fun is that?!! XoX Humming now myself ….and thinking of Fred & Ginger, YoU and Joe, and Fred’s cousin…Petey!

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Looks like I mispelled Abbey in my comment….and here I thought, I had it all figured out….for I wasn’t calling it, Downtown, anymore!

    • sbranch says:

      Today I took a boat ride on Lake Windermere! Thank you Dawn! You are so sweet. I know just who the scary woman downstairs is. She’s trouble! 🙂

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        oH Lake Windermere! I so love Lakes! When I was growing up we would swim and sunbathe at Lake Nakomis and hike around Minnehaha Falls. When Bret and I were dating we would walk around Lake Calhoun, canoe on Cedar Lake, and sit on the shores of Lake of the Isles with the Sunday paper, coffee and puppy dog tails…a doughy twisy version of a cruller! 😉 Now, our (MY) most favorite favorite place to walk is Lake Harriet. If you could spend a day in Minnesota I would surely like to walk with you there…..and picnic at the bandshell…complete with puppy dog tails! Very very lucky that some Minnesotan’s had a vision and created and preserved the Chain of Lakes! But, the OCEAN…..oh my, how lucky you are! Looking at the water and it’s sun sparkles feeds the soul and imagination doesn’t it? Sweet Dreams Susan….as I think you are tucked in bed now…..and don’t let the downstairs scary lady wander into any of your dreams! And when you wake up…..I will be sleeping that last little bit before…..I start humming! Well, maybe I don’t hum every morning 😉 Hope You have a great day and sending warm thoughts…..well as warm as Minnesota thoughts can be in the winter 🙂 But, like Grandpa Miller used to say, “Cold Hands….Warm Heart!” XoX

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Dawn, I hate to admit it but at first glance I thought it was fish, too. Maybe it is because we live in Minnesota, the “Land of 2000 Lakes” or whatever the number is…and have fish and fishing on our brains…plus we are having cold weather right now and it is probably affecting our eyesight or brains slightly…y’know, fogged-up glasses, etc…. Now, have I done a good-enough job of “covering” for you thinking it was fish, my friend? 🙂 LOL!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Whoops, I’ve been corrected! It is “Land of 10,000 Lakes”…again, frozen-brain syndrome… 🙂 LOL!

  99. Terri says:

    Yes, that sheep definitely looks like he’s up to something! Have you ever seen any of the British ‘Sean the Sheep’ claymation series? The sheep are Always up to something… We got the dvds originally for our grandkids, though I put them on every now & then just for me – and one of our cats, ahem. He never pays attention if we watch anything else on the tv, but he will sit smack in front of the set, watching intently, if we put on Sean. I think part of the attraction is the sound of the ‘baa-ing,’ as he runs over to watch, once he hears that first sound of them.
    Love the sheep bank.
    p.s. Wondering if the sheep with the blue paint the ones who need shearing? Or are those the little boy blues? 😉

    • Terri says:

      Just saw the answer to that question, above. Knew I should have read through the earlier comments more carefully!

  100. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    hello everyone, i’m back. been busy hauling hot water out to thaw out the water tubs and the duck pool and finally they can get water to drink, and the ducks can have their bath as the pool is thawed out and open. got soup cooking in the crock pot, laundry going, and the bread dough made, now it has to rise. had a fun adventure yesterday, went to home depot all on my own and picked out a kitchen faucet, hubby has a project tonight….replacing the old leaky kitchen faucet with the new one. he was a bit mad at me for going to home depot and buying it without him, but if he had come along he would have bought the exact same cheap old faucet and we would have had to replace it by sometime next year. he is also mad as it did cost more, but i figure you get what you pay for, this is a much better faucet. cost me $80 but it was a much better faucet than the $30 cheap one he always buys, ever since my FIL told him that was the one he always bought, hubby buys it for our kitchen and we end up replacing it every year. i figure we’ve spent close to $210.00 the past 7 years replacing that leaky faucet with the same make and model and that maybe if we had asked and gotten some advice (not FIL’s) we would have a nice faucet that works in the kitchen. well i went, got the advice, asked questions and explained things and got what i wanted. also got some hook rails to put by the back door for hanging up jackets and caps as i am tired of the stuff that is draped over the chairs, and his ball caps all over the house, time to get organized and picked up. so i have my project which is to put up the hook rails and remind him to do the kitchen faucet tonight. i figure a hot crock pot full of soup, and a pot pie in the oven will convince him to get the old faucet off and the new faucet on so he can eat. LOL!!!! hopefully this faucet will last manyyears and we don’t have to go through this again. off to empty the dryer and put in the last load and go check on the soup and the bread. have a wonderful afternoon and evening everyone. hugs…… 🙂

    • Home baked bread and a pot pie sound delicious, and what man could resist a bowl of hot soup on days like today??? You know how to make faucet replacement worth the cost to your hubby! 😉 Cold day here in Michigan country too–(sure glad I didn’t have to go outside and thaw pools of water) Did fill the bird feeders though, and scattered last night’s left over popcorn for whatever wildings that might like it. Just a dusting of new snow to brush off the car before a trip to town today, but more forecast for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day—
      Glad to hear that the mayhem in your chicken house has ended–nice to look forward to new hatchlings in a month or two. Love the idea of the hook rails for jackets and caps, never too many places to park them. Now it’s your job to train him to find those hook rails. 😉 I know all about that after 53 years with my Mister. (grin)

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