It’s a beautiful day, blue skies, a brisk little wind — I opened the front door to get the paper off the porch and did not dawdle!  Scurry would be the right word for what I did getting back inside! Brrrr.  MUSICA

Even though I’m trying to stay focused and finish our book, I couldn’t help a little decorating for Valentine’s Day with my old Emma Love cup and the garland I made a couple of years ago.  (I got the things to make it with at Michael’s crafts, btw; you can see how easy it was to put together, in case you are feeling crafty.) Secretly (because I know it’s a kind of blasphemy not to put Christmas first), but Valentine’s Day is truly my favorite holiday.  It has been ever since grammar school when we bought those wonderful little boxes of Valentine cards and gave them to all our classmates.  There is magic in a holiday that’s all about love.

And especially, because of sweet little things like this!  Simple little words of love that let your people know you are thinking of them.   Joe found me this postcard in an antique store and I put it on our kitchen shelf every year.

Probably the very best thing we have in this house, besides the things with the beating hearts, and my Beatrix Potter figurines (:-)), is this set of windows in our kitchen.  When we brew our tea, wash dishes, or cook dinner, the seasons knock on the windows and say, “Hey, look how beautiful I am!”  They show us what’s going on within ten feet of the kitchen sink. Every thing we need to know is right there, they put on an amazing display.

Right now we need to be sure the squirrels have enough to eat, and Joe makes sure they do!  In the winter the windows are tightly shut, and outside, our garden friends visit regularly, for the seeds and apples we put in the driveway, and of course for the bird feeders.

We see it all from those windows . . . we can watch the garden grow, the snow fall, the wisteria bloom, and then there’s the wild turkeys, skunks, and bunnies grazing on the lawn.

Jack loves the windows too.

Especially for his new friends.  This is one of our “regulars” —  the little gymnast.  Poetry in motion . . . Here he is in technicolor ….

He’s here so often that he and Jack are almost friends.  Jack is very calm looking at him and vice versa.

But here is someone new and Jack is anything but calm with this very special kind of woodland critter, wearing her winter fur-coat-camouflage!  She was here a couple of days ago — we’d never seen her in the wisteria before … isn’t she adorable?

She must belong to one of our neighbors. I’m sure she’s here to try and ambush the birds, but they are too smart for her.  She looks like she’s expecting a squirrel!

Such a little doll.  She stayed out there a long time, looking darling the whole time.

I wish she would live here forever.  Is that not the sweetest face in the world!?  See why I love my kitchen windows?

So then, we woke up the next day, and everything had turned white! It was beautiful, but only around 23°!  Rather glorious.  Joe’s been making us fires every day.  We are completely hunkered in for winter.

The view is especially nice from the kitchen windows.  You have this to look at while you make a grilled cheese sandwich to take to eat in front of the fire — and everything’s right with the world!

Jack of course is fascinated by the change of seasons, by anything that happens outside.

The feeders suddenly got very busy — we stopped everything to watch.  Joe went and put a zoom lens on his camera so he could take some closeups.

He got really close, it almost doesn’t look real.  This is right outside our window!  It’s like having a fish tank you don’t have to do anything to but stare at.

And she is waiting for her sugar daddy to bring her a bite to eat — she waits, off to the side, on a little branch.  Isn’t she pretty and fluffy?

Jack’s eyes never get normal, it’s all too exciting. His head whirls from one side of the room to the other, one set of windows to the other.

And why not? I’m excited too!  Isn’t this wonderful?  By far the best photo we’ve ever gotten of a cardinal.  I would like to feel that little topknot on his head.

Look at that face!  This must be where punk rockers got the idea for their hair.  Right?  Everything from nature.

Then Lady Bird got tired of waiting for him to bring her a seed and came to get her own.  Feeling very liberated.

Jack doesn’t limit himself to the kitchen window . . . he is at every window in the house.  I sneak up on him and put my mouth next to his ear and he rubs against my cheek and we talk about what we are seeing out there.

 Joe doesn’t limit himself either, he was so excited with that lens that after he got done with the birds he went to take pictures of the hibiscus!  You must be wondering where we would get a hibiscus!  At the end of the summer, Joe brought a big pot of hibiscus in from the porch and put it in an upstairs window.  Look what it’s doing for us in January!

Joe is a wonderful photographer!  Surprisingly, hibiscus does well here, indoors, in the winter.  So many things don’t, it’s funny that our dry heat doesn’t seem to bother it.   It blooms all summer too.  And they come in so many pretty colors.

Joe planted yellow ones in the same pot.  This light comes from the back lawn, reflected off the snow!

So now you know what Jack’s been doing, what the birds and squirrels have been doing, what the weather’s been doing, what Joe’s been doing, and here’s what I’ve been doing:

I’ve been painting little pictures in our diary.  I just realized it’s our anniversary on February 6th . . . it was just a year ago we got the brilliant idea to drop everything and run away to England.  I wonder what we will think up this year!

I told you I wanted to paint lambs, and I have been!  Fat cute thing with wagging tail!  Yes, girlfriends, I am having fun. xoxo

Today I’m going to paint a new page about tea.  With Beatrix Potter figurines and English teapots for my muses. Happiness.  Nothing really going on at all around here; just another regular day in paradise.  But here comes Valentine’s Day.  I’m not sure if you have ever tried my recipe for chocolate eclairs?  The little two-bite ones? They’re delicious and so easy.  And so romantic.  Make them for someone you love.  Make them for the man at the post office, or your child’s classroom at school; have a girlfriend’s Valentine tea party.  But be sure to hide a few for yourself!

And that’s all for today my friends.  Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!  Downton Abbey tonight!  Yay!   I have to tell you, just this moment, Jack’s paw came up in the narrow space between my art table and the desk this computer is on. I didn’t hear him, it was just that little paw, feeling around. I look down, there’s a rubber band on my foot.  Too much.  Gotta go.   XOXO

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566 Responses to BLUE SKIES, BEAUTIFUL DAY in Birdland

  1. Mama Bear says:

    I enjoyed the look out your window….our anniversary is February 10…..46 years, wow! Where did the time go? Such a pleasure to visit with you.
    Mama Bear

    • sbranch says:

      Happy anniversary Mama Bear!

      • Judy Young says:

        Happy Anniversary Susan and Joe…what special things are you planning? My mother’s birthday is on February 6! The chocolate eclairs sound divine and I must make time to make some of those before Valentine’s Day. I made my desktop background the photo of Girl Kitty (the close-up) and I have a 24″ monitor, she’s lifesize and sooo pretty!

        I have looked everywhere for bird feeders like the phones you have photographed in today’s post and they look so practical. No-one around here seems to have anything similar. Do you have a mail-order source for those that you would share??

        It’s is blue sky and sunshine here today in Plano, TX and temp is supposed to reach 65. My hydrangea is budding out too!

        • sbranch says:

          Here is one place for the feeders …. I think maybe I answered this before, not sure what might be going on with the gremlins, but hope you get one of these!

          • Judy Young says:

            Thank you Susan; I did check the site for the feeders, they are perfect. I don’t have any trees in my back yard, I’m wondering if I can hang it from the arbor over my deck. The picture on the site didn’t show the hanging “mechanism” in the photo.

          • sbranch says:

            Ours is hanging from the arbor over our kitchen windows! You just screw a hook in up there, hang an “S” hook, or a chain, and hang it from that, just low enough so you can reach it for refill. Really easy. FYI, they may make a bit of a mess on your deck, be aware of that — you could also get one of those arm mounts that come off the side of the house, you could put one of those near the front of a window and hang it there.

  2. mary spring says:

    …my heart always races when you post a new post.. and I always want to jump for joy and say “thank you, dear Susan !!”…you always know how to lighten and brighten our days !!…now, to go back and re- read your letter to us…again and again !!…thank you,dear Susan !!

  3. mary spring says:

    P.S. …my dear, sweet daughter was born on Valentine’s day night so you can imagine this day holds a special meaning to me as well !!!… <3…(that was supposed to be a pink heart, LOL )…have a great Sunday !!

  4. Andi M says:

    Dear Susan,
    The red cardinals match your kitchen so nicely. Wisteria inside blooming in January, fabulous! I am going to give it a try. The anticipation for your England book is growing like mad. I hope you will have many set aside just for your blog followers. Enjoy your Sunday.

  5. Kati says:

    Who could resist a cute face (or paw) like Jack’s?! Jack’s little “girlfriend” in the wisteria is precious! I would love to stick my hands into that lovely, thick fur. All of our cats are short-haired so that luxury can’t be had every day.

    Your birds are so pretty! I love seeing birds in the snow. Their colors show up so much more vividly in the snow. Especially those cardinals. What did Mr. Squirrel think of all that snow?

    OH! Chocolate eclairs sounds heavenly. I might just have to make them. 🙂

    Happy painting today! Tea things are lovely things to paint because they are lovely items. My hands are itching for a warm cup of tea now!

  6. judi says:

    Oh, what fun. I agree a nice window above a sink hold you rapturous for the wonders nature has for us…for free:) Our sweet kitties lived in our windows too. They were friends with the chipmonk who would come unto the deck where I had spread out sunflower seeds in a line next to the patio screen. Our kitties were on the inside with both their tails twitching. The chippy would come right along, just inches from them, with the screen inbetween…so funny. Yes, I think they were friends and looked forward to the adventure.

    Oh, the snow! It is gorgeous isn’t it. And….I LOVE how your wild, lovely, delicious imagination has painted the adorable sheep, a juicy smack on the head of that guy with his union flag:) You get a A+++++

    Working on valentines myself:) Have a great creative fun giggly day (all of YOU)! judi

  7. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Our visit with you and your family this morning is a wonderful Sunday morning treat! Thank you! Great photos Sue & Joe! I wanted to carefully pet the cardinal! Love this blog, your break from our book , & the little sneak preview! Happy Sunday all! xoxoxo

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

    What an exquisite posting for Sunday! Joe’s bird photos are just wonderful! I agree – want to touch the topknot on Mr. Cardinal’s head! Your windows do create a kitty paradise for enjoying all the wildlife!
    Your long-hair visitor reminds me of one of our neighbor’s cats – he is the same color but had aqua eyes! I’ve never seen a cat with such beautiful eyes! With his brown coat he’s a striking cat!
    I’m working on Valentine’s mini banners for friends and family today! Want to get them in the mail so they have time to enjoy them!
    BTW Barbara Cheatley (in Claremont) and I had a great chat about you and Emma Bridgewater! Barbara said she can’t keep your books in stock! Then my friend Joan who owns Stamp Your Heart Out (also in Claremont) told me about you and Susan Rios! Small world! We decided that there must have been a wonderful art teacher at that elementary school you attended! Your ears should have been burning but it was all good and filled with love and admiration! 😉
    Always love your nature postings and today’s doesn’t disappoint at all! Many thanks! Have a wonderful week!

  9. Julie Marie says:

    Ooooh Susan, this post just made my day!… love love love your video of your own “Squirrel Nutkin”!… how adorable!… if I lived in your house, I would probably be at your kitchen window 24 hours a day, watching all of the goings ons… new kitty is just beautiful too!… I hope she has an owner?… if not, she will (you!)… your Cardinals are so gorgeous, what stunning photos!… also love the photo of tall Jack on the couch looking out… and Joe’s hibiscus, so pretty!… you have me adding to my small collection of Beatrix Potter figurines… I recently got Foxy Whiskered Gentleman and Jemima Puddleduck… can hardly wait to see them in your book!… thank you for the chocolate eclair recipe… I have always wanted to make some… looks like you are cosy and snuggled in for the winter… we are here too… tons of snow and bitter cold, but warm inside… only go out to take Tessy, our English Pointer girl out for business… and to feed our birdies and critters too… by the way, Tessy loves Jack!… and Girl Kitty… Tessy is such a kind and gentle little stray we rescued who came to us and her forever home last February… oooh, and how adorable Jack just brought you a rubber band!… no wonder it’s time for you to go… play time!… love to you, thank you for sharing a most beautiful day on Martha’s Vineyard… and especially the view from your kitchen window… “the heart of the home” of course!!!… xoxo Julie Marie

    • sbranch says:

      The two Beatrix Potter figurines are two of my favorite, they are here in the studio with me right now!

  10. Joan Lesmeister says:

    …..and P.S. Joe the hibiscus pictures are wonderful too. How clever of you to have hibiscus winter & summer!

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

    P.S. Highclere Castle featured on CBS Sunday Morning – where Downton filmed! Story of the family fascinating!

  12. Susan says:

    A large cold front coming through (for the next week) is making our birds get fattened up. They are coming in and cleaning out my feeders to get ready for the storm. The temp outside has been dropping all morning and the wind is up to 60 mph gusts. How these jewels from heaven make it through a blustry night, I dunno. It’s great to read about other people taking care of birds (and squirrels, cats). The pictures were just fun to go over. The outdoor visitors are just as charming. Thanks for all the photos. Somehow, lots of birds drop by onto the fly-thru feeder I have; seems birds like seeing the seeds while they fly by. A covered fly-thru feeder keeps a lot of the snow off the seeds when it gets to blowin’ here. Aren’t we lucky we liketo see the birds outside our windows?

  13. Ellette says:

    Love the photos out of your window. Good job Joe! So nice to see the photos of the cardinals. When I lived in Arizona we saw them all the time but haven’t seen them in Montana- I’ll have to look it up to see if they are here. I’ll have to try your recipe for éclairs, I usually make Linzer sandwich cookies with homemade raspberry jam for my girlfriends in fact I use Annie Hall’s sugar cookie recipe. Have a wonderful day.

  14. SusanY in NE Atlanta says:

    Thank you so very much for the pictures of snow.

  15. Julia says:

    Sunday is bird feeder fill-up day at my cottage. They all hang in a big
    cedar tree just out from my front porch. This morning it looked like a
    big Christmas tree with all of the different colors. Thank Joe for me.
    I got to see the cardinals “close up and personal.” Also, loved the
    fuzzy baby album last time. So cute and the birds and flowers are
    fantastic. Thank you so much for every blog of inspiration. Going to
    be a day of quilting for me. It’s not work on Sunday, it’s playtime for
    the big girls !!!

  16. Laura says:

    Love you Susan! Xoxo

  17. Andi M says:

    Oops! I meant to say hibiscus, not wisteria. What a room that would let a wisteria grow?!

  18. Lisa @ My Ordinary Country Life says:

    Sigh……I love the view from the window. There’s nothing on t.v. or the movie screen as glorious as God’s wonderful painting that he creates for us every single day. And the cherry on top is the wonderful creatures (like your babies or the birds and the squirrels) that he gave us to enjoy this with. Thank you Susan……:))))

  19. {oc cottage} says:

    oh, i thought your last post was should be nominated
    for a Purrlitzer Prize! i could read about that little
    man with the mustache every day! but this one is
    RIGHT up there too!! that gorgeous green-eyed
    fluffer who appeared in your tree! oh my gosh!
    what a doll face! and wild turkeys? i had no idea…
    i hope they are less noisy than the wild parrots
    we have! holy molly! ;} thx for all the cuteness!

    m ^..^

  20. Marsha MacLean says:

    I’m back home in California, now, dear Susan, and Scotland is but a memory.
    No snow for us… It is supposed to reach 80 degrees today, can you believe it?
    Thanks for sharing all the wonderful pictures of Jack and the birds…
    Yesterday when working in the garden, there were so many birds, including the prettiest robin who allowed me to be very close by while she had a drink from the fountain!
    They are sweet little messengers! So lovely.
    Thank you…

    • sbranch says:

      How was your trip?

      • Marsha MacLean says:

        Absolutely wonderful! I am already dreaming of going again in two years or so, but as I have been three times at Christmas, and only once in the summer, I think it might need to be a summer trip next time! I love Edinburgh and this time made it to St Andrew’s, with its gorgeous ruins and famous university; and Perth, with its own castle, Scone castle. (That’s where all the Scottish kings were crowned on the Stone of Destiny.).
        We also ate fish n chips at Wills favorite shop in Crail, Kingdom of Fife. And it was fun to take the Kate and Wills walking tour in St. Andrews! ( We went in to the stationery store where he bought her a Valentine! <3 ) Sweet.
        You'd love it… There are sheep everywhere!

  21. Janice says:

    I love the views from your windows. You have put me in the mood for Valentine’s Day. I think I will start getting the hearts etc. out of storage today.

  22. Sherry M. says:

    Love Joe’s bird pictures–especially the cardinals. They are my favorite birds, but I guess I am partial to them because they are the state bird of N.C.. my home state! Say a big Thank You to him, for me. The snow scenes are so picturesque, too, they make me want to curl up by a fire with a mug of hot chocolate, an afghan, and a good book! Oh well, today we have gorgeous blue skies and warm temps, for January, and I love that, too. Happy Sunday!

  23. Wanda says:

    What joy! What delight! just to see the lovely bird pics! And ofcourse, Jack admiring threw the windows! How cute! We are now seeing some of the sweet birdies that you probably see in the summer. The are taking their winter “holiday” (British for vacation, one my favorites! : ), down here in Louisiana. February will be here in a flash, thanks for reminding us to start thinking ahead. I plan to try your eclair recipe. Sounds yummy. BTW, my husband & I have started making our plans for London/Paris at the end of May.
    Lots of fun planning ahead!! Have an awesome day!

  24. Misses holly says:

    What a glorious post!!! I looked at the sink and thought hey…that could be my sink!! I have mrs tiggy winkle….my fav I think…that kitty….what a sweet face….I have said…oh I wish you could live here too and now I have…….9 kitties!!!!!!
    So excited about the snow…we again missed it….:( I’m just dying for a good snow storm…
    Now my question is….your dear little tea pot….I just adore the pattern…I think you have plates too??? Anyway…what is it…I so love it…every time I see it I want to do an embroidery of it…it reminds me of some of the liberty prints….gosh I love your reading a great magazine…Happy day to you lovely lady…..xx

    • sbranch says:

      You too Misses Holly … the tea pot pattern is Johnson Brothers Rose Chintz, Happy day to you too!

      • Judy Young says:

        Rose Chintz is one of my favorites too. A few years back I lucked into a set at Tuesday Morning of all places. Now I want the teapot too! Sooo pretty!

  25. Miss holly says:

    Oops supposed to be miss holly…makes me sound like two Holly’s !

  26. Becky in the mountains of West Virginia says:

    Loved your post today! Wanting a kitty so bad but keep talking myself out of it. Can’t believe you have wild turkey. Awesome!

  27. Jane says:

    What a treat to look out your windows and see all of your feathered friends (and kitty friend! Eek…call the Fire Department). I’ve always wanted a lens like this for my camera, Joe is doing a great job! No snow for us yet but it is freeeezing out! Sunny though, so I’m happy! Those eclairs look super yummy, I think I’m going to dig around in my cupboards for some chocolate! ;-D

    Jane From Chicago

  28. Lisa from CT says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post Susan. I’m having a quiet morning and your post really made me happy. Thank you for being you!!! Lisa

  29. peg says:

    Love the wild kingdom photos, Susan! There are squirrels, birds and stray cats in our garden, too. No snow, though!!! Love your Valentine banner. I made one this year….I may post it on FOSB. You’ve got me making all sorts of banners! Too fun!!! Well, I won’t keep you…I know you have pages to paint and kitties to play with. Thanks for the new post!!! xoxo

  30. Linda Pintarell says:

    WOW – the cardinal picture was fantastic! Birds are so beautiful. Could not believe the number of gorgeous birds on my Africa trip this past summer. So lovely that I printed pictures and made cards for people as gifts – wanted to share the beauty of it. With all the other fantastic animals around us – the cats, the elephants, the giraffes – which were glorious – I was kind of drawn to the myriad of beautiful birds.

  31. Annelies says:

    Another delightful and beautiful post. Oh Downton Abbey….my heart flutters. I was blessed to get copies of the third season, but now I can’t wait til season FOUR!!!! Keep Kleenex close by ( I hope that wasn’t telling to much).
    We are taking Oma to an Organ Concert in the park today….will enjoy the sunshine on our back, since San Diego has been very cold. But secretly I have LOVED it!!!
    Hugs to you, Joe and the furry children. Can’t wait for the book. Oma and I were chatting about it over tea. We are both so excited!!!! XXX

  32. Jeanette says:

    Hi Susan, Thanks so much for the lovelympost, as always!!! Fabulous photos from both you and Joe!! I adore cardinals and those photos are simply fabulous, you know God must be an artist, who can create such wondrous creatures and all the beauty of nature.
    The snow looks lovely, we don’t have any here in central IL, we thankfully got ridmof the ice we got last week, I detest ice. So treacherous to navigate for us and our pups. Now I’m ready for an enveloping blanket of whiteness…
    I too love Valentinr’s day, always have, always will. How can you know with hearts and pink and red??? I’ve got to get out my decorations. I have a few counted cross stitch Valentine pieces I did years ago and I smile each time I put them out. Do think a garland is in order too.
    I’m almost caught up to season 3 of Downton Abby, absolutely captivating!!
    Cozy, fleecy, warm hugs and chocolately heart love!

  33. Gill says:

    We love to see our birds at the feeders too, but my cats are not allowed up on the kitchen counter to watch them. The littlest cat, Smudge (she has a dear little black smudge on her nose) has found the honeysuckle vine an excellent place for observation though, rather like your elegant visitor! Emma’s Sampler Tea for one set is tempting me madly at the moment…my beloved is not a tea drinker you see.

  34. Ruth E. Rupp says:

    Hi Susan, Wonderful post!! LOVE the birds (I’m a bird painter), the squirrel, the darling cat in the branches, the turkeys (great photos, Joe) – – and especially Jack watching everything and everyone so intently, Have to back up to Christmas Eve and tell you the cranberry apple crisp recipe with bowls, recipes tied with ribbon to the wooden spoons, ingredients, etc., for several family members, went over in a HUGE way!! They were so pretty setting under the Christmas tree, and all the married girls were thrilled with them. I spent quite awhile talking about you. Were your ears burning?? 🙂 Now you have new followers reading your blog. And my daughter-in-law, whose birthday is today, is getting your Autumn book from me. I know she is going to love it. Reading about toasted cheese sandwiches (one of my very favorites) made me hungry. Have you ever tried adding very thin slices of corned beef with the cheese? The guys here love it, and I bet Joe would, too. Eagerly awaiting “our” trip to England book. Thank you for another very special post. It’s going to be 20 below wind chill here in Minneapolis tonight!! Brrr! Perfect for toasted cheese sandwiches and tomato soup by the fire. Ruthie

  35. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan..just when ya think it can’t get any better…there you go again!!! I love the very best picture of that bright red cardinal..just beautiful and since we are st. louis people and live in “Cardinal Nation”…how appropriate!!! After taking down Christmas and everything looking rather bare….I too have been inspired to start on Valentine’s Day..your “Love” book already graces my piano and I have (unfortuntely) already bought my favorite candy conversation hearts…..and opened them!!)……geesh..won’t be any left for Feb. 14!! Speaking of our Cardinals..please let me make mention of our collective Cardinal loss in the passing of Stan ” The Man ” Musial….a beloved Cardinal and a national treasure…a true gentleman..age 92… Thanks for the wonderful post and have a cozy Sunday!!! xo love, cindy

  36. maryb says:

    Your kitchen window reminds me of our dog Beau! he’s a huge yellow lab and sits on the couch in front of a window with a bird feeder right in front of it. it’s like he’s in a trance watching the birds and also the squirrels on the ground under the feeder. he hardly moves and only twitches his ears once in a while. we call it Beau’s TV! thanks for the great music and the grilled cheese reminder! mb

    • That is so funny! We had a BIG black lab that would sit out on the porch next to the bird feeder. All the little birds would fly to and from the feeder right over his head, as if they all knew nothing could hurt them as long as Martin stood guard! LOL! When we would brush him outside, there would be big soft tumbleweeds of dog hair blowing about, which the birds would collect for their nests. We used to laugh about mama birds telling their babies stories of “Martin the Protector”. :0D

  37. Anna from Herefordshire says:

    Hi Susan,
    The view from your window looks very much like ours today only we have pheasants instead of turkeys. We have snow for the first time in over a year and it’s magical to look out the window and see everything in pristine white snow, it’s almost as if it’s sugar-coated.
    Valentine’s Day is one of my favourite holidays too. I’m making valentines for family and friends.
    Thanks for the lovely post!

    • sbranch says:

      I saw my first pheasants in England. Beautiful, a lot prettier than turkeys! My girlfriend in Tetbury sent me a photo of her cottage in the snow today . . . so beautiful, made me yearn a little bit!

      • Anna says:

        I have a beautiful view of the garden from my kitchen window and every afternoon, one pheasant in particular, rushes by down the path to the old oak. I’ve taken to calling him “The Parson” because the white ring around his neck looks like a starched collar. I often wonder if that is how Beatrix Potter wove her fanciful tales, standing at the sink, elbow deep in suds. We also have a resident mole who oftentimes pushes bits of pottery up to the surface.

        • sbranch says:

          I’m almost sure she did. The quiet they had around them in those days surely added to the fairy tale!

  38. Heartsdesire says:

    Wonderful, wonderful photos. What great inspiration you have right at your doorstep. The sweet kitty in the clematis looks very much like my Maine Coon, Daisy. Unfortunately, she’s to old (almost 19) now to climb into the clematis, but she does like to look out the bedroom window to see what’s going on. I’ve a lovely kitchen window too, and I love doing the dishes by hand (I keep my plastic bags in the dishwasherlol) and watching the birds. Right now, there are lots and lots of robins and some very tiny, tiny birds flitting around. I live on Vancouver Island and my window faces south, so I have a great view of the huge Olympic Mountains on the coast of Washington state. Do wish we had some cardinals, their bright red colour would really brighten up our dull, dreary days. Spring soon, I think. There are snowdrops blooming and I saw, yesterday, and early blooming rhododendron, a lovely pink. Hope you get a chance to get out into the snow and enjoy a winter walk today.

    • sbranch says:

      You have snowdrops blooming? You make me want to run out in the backyard to check ours. But, it’s just way too early here (I hope!)

  39. Gail from Hingham says:

    Dear Susan,
    Our wedding anniversary is February 14th! I too love Valentine’s Day. It’s a lovely low-stress holiday. I have left my Christmas garland on the mantle and put pink and red sparkley hearts all over it to commemorate the upcoming holiday.
    Kitchen windows are wonderful places to enjoy the changing seasons. Thanks for the peak outside yours. Have a wonderful day. xoGail

  40. Lisa from CT says:

    p.s. i love your lamb!!!

  41. Kathy Phenix says:

    Loved seeing the cardinals. Since moving to FL we really miss the Carolina cardinals we had in abundance on our “mini farm” in NC. We get more exotic large birds here like Ibis, Storks, and Heron but I still miss cardinals. (They are in FL but not our yard.) Once again the cat photos are my favorite. Your visitor is adorable!
    Falling in love with your sheep art. What a beautiful little creature, wearing his patriotic scarf. But the last “image” of Jack’s little paw, summoning you for play time—truly priceless!!! Love, Kathy

  42. KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

    Love the creature photos! Joe really DID capture some great shots. That new outside kitty is absolutely darling. I’m sure Jack will be watching for him/her every day! Cutest sheep painting!!! Yay! Was hoping for sheep in our book. The page previews you share are always such fun to see! You and Joe ina rowboat…dreamy. Downton tonight!!!!!! Stay cozy! xo

  43. Christine Anderson says:

    Thanks for the window view. Nothing can compare to watching the birds right outside and be cozy inside! Thanks everyday for your fun blog and website!!

  44. Lynn says:

    Wow – Joe is quite the photographer. Loved his bird photos – they are amazing. And of course I adore your Jack stories. My Buster keeps an eye on the neighborhood and runs wildly from window to window when something comes to call, especially another cat. I had bluebirds at my feeder a couple of weeks ago – something I have never seen before. Wish I’d have had Joe’s camera! Enjoy a cozy Sunday and chilly week ahead.

    • sbranch says:

      Bluebirds are my favorite. We have them in California — the same kind Cinderella had! But I have never seen any around here. Just Jays in the blue department.

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

    OOHHH…so many reallyreallyreally good things in your post today…birdies…my hubby keeps the feeders here full too…he just got back from getting a new feeder…the weather here has been sooo very cold~the bird seed actually froze inside the feeders and one feeder got broken when he dropped it in the snow…grilled cheese!!!…a favorite here too~do you dip the toasty edges of your sandwich in catsup???…we do…actual snippets…hints…of your new book…I think…loved seeing you and Joe in a canoe under the moon and stars…and your fluffy sheep all decked out in the British flag…trying to read the narrative~but you sneakysneak!!!…you only give us a taste…but thanks for that!!!…all hunkered down here in western MN…tomorrow the HIGH temp is suppose to be -12* and that is the actual temp…not the windchill!!!…xoxo…

    • sbranch says:

      I know, I can’t give it all away, I want you to be surprised!! Believe me, it’s hard, because I am terrible about keeping secrets.

  46. Shanon says:

    Our anniversary is February 21st, we are at the 3 year mark! Love the pics of your outdoor kitty friend, she looks just like my cat Molly. We also have an outdoor kitty visitor, who happens to look just like your kitties. We’ve been leaving out food and water for him since we’re not sure if he’s a stray and it’s been very chilly here. He stops by every day, much to the delight of my own kitties. We named him Marius 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      He has food, he has water, he has a name, he has friends. Something tells me, he has you! 🙂 Happy Anniversary Shanon!

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

    I forgot the vintage valentine~love them…I have some I put out to enjoy…forgot the darling kitty in your tree!!!~what a sweetie…forgot the hibiscus!!!~green thumb for sure…forgot Jack leaving the rubber band at your foot~I think he is human…forgot your eclair recipe/thanks!!!~I’ve printed it and will try it for my honey…thankyouthankyouthankyou…xoxo…

  48. nancy jo says:

    Hi Susan,
    Nice post with great pictures. Thank you Joe. Good job.
    The new book looks to be a real charmer, so excited to own it one of these days and add it to all my other Susan Books. I can draw stick people, they are very nice. Thats it.
    Nancy Jo

  49. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Thanks for sharing your birds, the wildlife, the cute kitty in the wisteria , the recipes, and, of course, JACK! We have a kitty that comes into our yard occasionally and I think she must belong to a neighbor — I just hope she isn’t homeless! We feed the squirrels and the birds too. My lab likes nothing better than to burst out the door and give those squirrels a run for their money!! (it’s the way around, really) :o)
    You might be interested in this story — I work at a library and years ago we were sitting in our Staff Room looking at a Woman’s Day article about chocolate chip cookies. We thought, wouldn’t it be fun if we all took a recipe home, tried it, and brought in the delicious results? And so we did, and our Annual Chocolate Chip Day was born — held every year on Valentine’s Day — ummm yum! Anything and everything made with chocolate chips… and the BIGEST chocolate chips of all — “KISSES”! What a nice way to celebrate the holiday of love.
    May you and Joe have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and Happy Anniversary!
    JoAnne, in rural NW New Jersey

    • sbranch says:

      What a fun party! What’s the best recipe you’ve seen so far?

      • JoAnne Daniels says:

        The best so far? That’s a tough question because we have a library of good bakers. It’s hard to narrow it down to one so I’ll share a few recipes with you and the girlfriends:


        1 bag (9oz) Hershey’s Kisses
        1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
        1/3 cup sugar
        1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
        1 teas. vanilla
        2 cups all-purpose flour
        1 cup Hershey’s mini chips semi-sweet choc.
        confectioners sugar

        Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove wrappers from chocolate kisses. In large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Add flour, blend until smooth. Stir in mini choc. chips. Mold scant tablespoon dough around each kiss, covering completely. (the dough will be crumbly but the heat of your hand will help mold the dough)
        Shape into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Cook slightly and remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
        Cool slightly and pop one in your mouth! THEY ARE THE BEST WHILE THE MIDDLE KISS IS STILL MELTY! They are also wonderful cold and your friends will be asking you for the recipe!

        For those girlfriends watching their weight (and who isn’t?)
        here is a recipe you’ll love:


        2 egg whites, room temperature
        2/3 cup superfine sugar
        1 teas. vanilla
        pinch salt
        1 cup (or 6 oz pkg.) semisweet choc chips
        1/2 cup chopped walnuts

        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a large cookie sheet with foil and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add superfine sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Mix in vanilla and salt, then fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on foiled cookie sheet. Put in oven, then TURN OFF HEAT and leave cookies at least 5 hours, or overnight, without opening the oven door. Cookies will be very light brown in color and very light in calories too — only approx. 45 calories apiece! Store in airtight container if you haven’t eaten them all right away!! I like these as much as regular chocolate chip cookies but don’t make these if you need an immediate chocolate fix — these are delayed gratification!

        The last recipe I’ll share is right on the back of the
        Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Choc. Chip bag! These are THE BEST if you like your cookies to stay soft. A yummy addition would be to add dried cranberries to the chips and walnuts — I always make them this way and they disappear fast!

        Enjoy your new addictions and Happy Valentine’s Day.

  50. Sharon - Ohio says:

    Oh my what a nice suprise to hear from you today. Snow looks nice, we just have bitter cold coming for a few days. Joe’s bird pictures are fabulous. I see how excited Jack gets, my Maggie is the same way sitting by the window for hours. Love your Main Coon visitor, she is beautiful. Bet you are having a grand time socked in painting. You will be finished in no time. XOXOX

  51. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    I just love to look at your photographs; you have such lovely surroundings and such interesting views out of your windows! I hope to have the same in my ‘Someday House,’ but for the time being, I am surrounded by concrete. My favorite picture today is the one of Jack standing up to look over his yard. I amguessing that he talked you into a few minutes of the rubber band game. And oh dear, but I’d have to go out and get acquainted with the Little Miss who dropped by for a visit!

  52. Barbara (WA) says:

    Please thank Joe for photos – to see the cardinals so closely! And Susan, your artwork just gets better & better. I don’t know quite how to say it since I’ve always loved your work but the glimpses into our book just put me in awe. Thank you for sharing so much with us! I will be buying multiple copies of our book for gifts, for sure. Christmas gift check list will be easy this year. Hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      Practice is SUCH a good thing when it comes to painting!!! Makes all the difference! Thank you Barbara!

  53. Carol (Daisy) says:

    I really loved this post. You’ve given me two great ideas. . . the Valentine banner gracing the front of my black bowl rack and the ECLAIRS to take to some wonderful ladies that I used to work with for Valentine treats!!!! (They still work… I’m retired). I laughed at the thought of the rubber band tactfully placed on your foot to announce playtime! Thank you for brightening this day. We have 7 degrees here in our location in Wisconsin so I have apple bread and muffins in the oven right now. They warm the kitchen and us.

  54. Susan Martin says:

    What a great blog; not just today’s, but the whole thing. I love coming to this “home on the web” and seeing what’s here.
    I too, love Valentine’s Day – it’s my anniversary, and it will be 33 years this year. Boy, did that time fly!
    Loved all the kitty pictures on the previous blog too, Susan. Such dolls!
    Have a wonderful day!

  55. mari1017 says:

    Valentine’s Day and snow…cardinals and squirrel and Jack…hibiscus and Beatrix Potter…you always work so many beautiful things in each tapestry post you write for us! ♥♥♥ Thank you for all the inspiration!!! We had a little snow in Virginia, but it melted quickly as it usually does. Enjoying a beautiful winter and soooo looking forward to Valentine’s Day and then Spring!!!! Noah, the big black knight of a cat, is chasing something around the living room. I have the slow cooker on with a fish stew for later – football Patriot’s kickoff!!!! 🙂 Enjoy your afternoon!

  56. Susie (NY) says:

    Another beautiful post to savour! Thanks Susan! Cardinals are my very favorite and they always make me hold my breath just capturing their beauty. I am now reminded, ever so gently, to go out and feed the birds. I saw a note today that is is 58 days until Spring and it made me jump for joy. Reading your posts keeps me in seeing the beauty in each and every day, no matter what the season. Have a lovely day.

  57. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Happy Sunday Susan! Just when I think I am totally freezing, you show me the snow. If it’s got to be cold, I would rather have some snow to make it worth it. 🙂 It’s been relatively warm (40s) here and today is the first day of typical January weather for a while. Joe really does have a photographer’s eye. The pics of the birds and flowers are great. And Jack is hysterical. Thank you for your beautiful post..I always enjoy hearing from you. xoxo

  58. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Ever since you first mentioned placing a feeder outside your kitchen window I made sure we put one outside our window. It has been wonderful and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves birds. Thanks for suggesting it. My kitten Tad goes crazy when the squirrels come up to the door and look inside. We have been feeding them peanuts and they come everyday. Very cute little cat in your tree. Hope she has a home where she can get warm and something to eat. Looking forward to reading your book when it is finished and admiring all the cute pictures you are painting for it. Will be wonderful! Wishing for some snow here in Philly area. You got quite a nice covering, so pretty.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Sandy, yes that kitty definitely has a home, not to worry. I’m not sure which one is hers but we are in a regular neighborhood where every animal belongs to someone … never see any strays, otherwise I’m sure I’d have more cats!

  59. Liza says:

    Okay. I’m ready to try it but can’t find your recipe for a breakfast smoothie. I think the final ingredient was something healthy. Did I give you enough clues?

  60. Nancy Paine says:

    Susan, thank you SO MUCH for posting the fabulous pictures! I do so miss snow falling, the magic of it, it is like nothing else, and the frosty fairyland it creates for our world! Living in the Phoenix area for almost 10 years now, I have only seen snow fall once in all that time, upon arriving to our vacation destination in Breckenridge, CO, at 10:00 o’clock one night, in LATE MAY! We were driving in, and hooting and hollering, my hubby and two kids and I, loving it! Anyway, thanks for sharing your lovely world, Susan! And as I said on your FB fan page this mornig, your little banner from 11/29 was up while I have been making mini banners the last couple days! 🙂 Nancy, the “Snowflake Lady”

  61. Pamela Jewett says:

    Love your new kitty friend. What a face. Also enjoyed the bird photos…..we don’t have cardinals here. They are gorgeous. Thank you for all of the photos and news you post. It’s a pleasure to drink tea to!

  62. Belinda says:

    I was so excited to see you had a post…ran to make my whistling tea kettle a brewing and to enjoy it with my cup of tea! Thank you for your posts about the SNOW, the beautiful birds and “THE ENTERTAINER”, Jack. What a true delight. It just does not seem like winter here in Florida…although things are to get a bit cooler in this coming week! Woo Hoo……jumpin for joy at the prospect. Thank you for the reminder to get started on my Valentine’s Day banner. You are such an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day and book writing to remind us to slow down and take delight in the little things around us. They do add sooooo much JOY to our day! Happy Anniversary!!

  63. Sue G says:

    What wonderfulness that goes on through your looking glass window, how fun! Love the photos and your Valentine preparations. I haven’t had the heart to take down my Christmas tree, so instead, took off the Christmas ornaments and now I have decorated with vintage Valentine cards, ribbons and hearts and of course left up my pompom garland that was inspired by you. No snow here in my corner of Wisconsin but bitter temperatures. Thanks for the update.

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t heard of a Valentine tree before, but I think it could catch on!

    • Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

      Maybe a Valentine tree is a Wisconsin thing! I have a little silver tinsel one that I change seasonal decorations (Christmas, Fall, Valentine’s Day, Easter, 4th of July) and I decorate my ficus tree in my entryway on occasion. Great minds think alike here is Wisconsin, right Sue! We have a bit of snow but -5 right now in NE Wisconsin!

      I like the pompom idea…Susan B, did you have a blog about pompom garland? Don’t remember that one.

  64. Pat Stansel says:

    I thought I was early putting my Valentine decorations out. I got your decorative flag
    Last week & couldn’t wait to hang it up! Thanks for another cozy comfy post!

  65. Mary says:

    What beautiful views out your windows! I love the last one of Jack standing on the sofa! He is just Mr. Personality Plus!

    Have a wonderful day! Go PATS!!!

  66. Elaine McCallum says:

    Thank you Susan for that lovely post . I was feeling a little bit “low” but you made me feel so happy. God bless you .

  67. M J Smith says:

    Gorgeous pictures of your feathered friends and the neighborhood cat … simply adorable!! Thank you for sharing! Now … you need to take a break and play “Catch the Rubber Band” with Jack.

  68. Jackie says:

    A winter’s day with Jack, a window and gorgeous cardinals…my day is complete!

  69. Juliana - Jackson, NJ says:

    Hello Susan and Girlfriends! I have been catching up on old posts as I recently lost my mom, and my dad’s health has declined as well. They were married for 66 years, both sharp as a tack, so you can imagine his loneliness now. The last thing I mailed her was one of your note cards with the “Faith is the bird…” quote and she absolutely loved it! Your posts are so wonderful, and such a mood lifter! I was inspired to ask for a bird feeder for Christmas and am so happy for it! My little cat Sophie enjoys it too! As of yet, the squirrels have not figured out how to get into it, but I’m sure they will. 🙂 The day my mom passed, my dad was in a different hospital, as I entered it, out came a new mom with a little pink bundle and I thought – the circle of life goes on! You cannot know how much your art and this blog lift my spirits – I just love reading it and all the girlfriends comments. I know you must truly enjoy it, for when you love something, it shines through in all that you do. Thank you for being you!

    • sbranch says:

      So beautiful Juliana, the circle of life. Touching and meaningful. I’m so sorry about your loss and your worry for your dad. It’s not fun, but it is life, in all its terrible beauty. Sending love and prayers, to you and Sophie and some for the easing of pain in your dad. xoxo

    • Darlene says:

      Juliana, I am sorry for the loss of your mom for you and your dad. What you shared is beautiful and I am glad for you to be able to come here and have your spirits lifted. I feel the same way, take care xoxo

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Juliana – all my sympathy too. I think losing your mom is harder than you ever think it will be. I lost mine 14 years ago. Seems like 14 days. Still [and will always] miss her so much. Still think to myself “oh, gee I need to ask Mom about…” etc. Hope your dad feels much better & very soon… :>)

  70. Jennifer D... says:

    And I’m oh so jealous of that kitchen window. I have one over my sink, but not that BIG window that I have always dreamed of. My great-aunt had one and it, for some reason, fascinated me so. She was the aunt that had a little cozy cooking kitchen outside and she grew strawberries, peaches and other fruits and she would cook out there in the summer. A grown up play house. She worked very hard and loved to cook and her kitchen, inside and outside, demonstrated that. I now have her kitchen chairs and some her dishes. Lovely, lovely memories.

  71. Jane S. says:

    Jack makes me smile! I don’t even know him and I love him. 🙂

    The cardinals are beautiful. We don’t have them where I live so seeing such close-up photos is a real treat. Thanks for sharing!

  72. Taylorsoutback says:

    Striking cardinal images – just beautiful. We don’t usually see them in our northwoods – a little too far though with global warming maybe they will venture farther afield? Although today we are at zero with more cold yet to come.

    Absolutely smitten with your little sheep and that touch of the Union Jack!!

    Stay warm & cozy

  73. Laura B Jenkins says:

    Wonderful post…what a wonderful window to the world! That cute gal visiting Jack with her Maine Coon heritage looks like our cat…maybe she is looking for a valentine? xo

  74. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Love the little lamb in the Union Jack kerchief, and am enchanted by the kittie in the wisteria. We had one who looked very much like her years and years ago, except her beautiful green eyes were crossed. Our daughter, who was seven at the time, named her Mouse. Sweetest kitty we ever had!

  75. Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

    Hi, Sue ~
    A lot of my day is spent in front of our kitchen windows, too. We have 3 in a row, also, looking out on the back yard. “Everything we need to know is right there.”…love it. Nature…the garden, the birds, the squirrels, the cats, the light and the dark…all give us what we need. The close-up of the male cardinal…WOW! I can almost reach in and touch him!
    Thanks, again, for sharing your wonderful life with us.

  76. Barbara F. says:

    What fabulous photos of one of my most favorite wild birds! I think I am going to get myself an hibiscus, and in early fall bring it indoors and place it in one of my bedroom windows. I also want a grilled cheese sandwich and an eclair, too, but I will calm down! Always fun to stop by. Your cat is so cute. xo

  77. jeannine leonard Germansville, Pa says:

    You got nice, we just got a little on Tues, but most of it has melted away. Looking out of the window and watching the birds, is so relaxing, I have the same birds at my feeders as you do. Love Mr and Mrs Redbird, and the Junco’s that visit. Had a bluejay but haven’t seen him lately.
    Emily says if that kitty in the tree needs a home to let her know…
    I am going to make a valentine banner today. Like the ones you showed us at Christmas, but with the Valentine theme. Just love your idea. I could live in your home, I think we all could if you’d let us.
    Cannot wait to watch Downton Abby tonight, always with a cup of tea and a scone. Makes me feel like I belong.

  78. Beth Keser says:

    I love the view from all of your windows, but especially the kitchen window! Joe’s bird pictures are wonderful! I love to watch the birds from my front porch rocker, but I have to resort to window watching this time of year. I love how you even love the cold winter, and enjoy it for what it is. A time to stay warm and cozy at home and enjoy the slower pace of winter. Thank you for sharing today -it always brightens my day 🙂

  79. Martha Ellen of VA says:

    The view from your kitchen is just wonderful! I love the photographs you and Joe have taken to share with us. The cardinal one is amazing!! We have a Florida room in our home that has eleven windows. We have great viewing to enjoy all the antics at the bird feeders and the squirrels and cats and occasional doggies. Last week we had a magnificent red tailed hawk on the fence. As beautiful as he was, I was happy to see him fly off without one of the little birds! xoxo ♥

  80. Jane F. says:

    I love Valentine’s Day, too! In fact I have my little wooden hearts and my candles with red ribbons (left over from Christmas!) scattered around the house. But even more, my birthday is in February, too!! The 27th. I think it is why I love snow and winter so much! Thank you for your lovely photos! It is like a mini vacation.

    • Diana - Highland, IL says:

      Hi Jane!! My birthday is February 27th as well! I am a strong believer in the month of February and love wintertime too! I also had my youngest son on my birthday, so it is a double-fun day!!

      Susan, this post is such a feast for the eyes! The pictures, drawings, recipes and the way you print your script is all lovely art!! I am getting back into my crochet since the holidays are over and think it is the perfect time of year for that!.. Also, will be watching Downton Abbey.. can’t wait!!! I know that I will feel all the FOSB girlfriends in spirit as we get together for our weekly fix!! I will be having wine though!! :-)…just the thing don’t you think! Thanks again for all you do! Have a wonderful rest of your weekend.

  81. Elaine says:

    Wonderful photos ! It is really cold here with roaring winds and snow squalls . The temps are – 13 °C or 9 °F . We feed the birds and critters all year long , I love watching and photographing them as well . Oh that kitty in the tree is soo pretty . Hope she has a nice home to get cozy in ! Jack you are a cutie . I do love your big kitchen window . Nothing like having blooms in the house during the winter months they are lovely ! As always your craft is beautiful ! Have a good day and stay cozy !

  82. patrica says:

    dear Susan, thank you for sharing a bit of your heaven , your home is lovely and spending a little time with Jack is such a treat. the weather here in L.A. is going to be warm so all my windows are open and in my small patio I can hear the hummingbirds, we had eight last night, drinking from their feeder WHAT A JOY thank you for inspiring a sweeter,better life. And to you and Joe Happy valentine. XOXO

  83. Victoria Miller says:

    Just this morning I stopped using my Christmas mug and took out the Valentine’s mug. Must be something in the air. What wonderful views from your kitchen windows. I would be on top of the dishes all the time if I had such a view! Wonderful bird and flower photos by Joe! I think that’s the closest I’ve ever seen the lovely birds! And what a beautiful squirrel! And Kitty Visitor! Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos and video of your friends, and Curious Jack! Loved Julie and Julia, too. Nora Ephron was wonderful. Sleepless in Seattle is one of my all time favorites! Snuggling up by a fire with your yummy grilled cheese sounds lovely; but it is in the low 70s here in SoCal today (after a couple of weeks of very low temps!) and I am going to do some yard work and snuggle up with a cup of tea and Disturbing the Universe by Freeman Dyson, a most wonderful book (and I’ve only just read the first chapter!) A wonderful Yay! Day to all…but every day is a Yay! Day! And, Susan, you are an inspiration with your diligent work on the book (which looks even much yummier than those tiny eclairs!) Many thanks, and YOU GO GIRL!!!!

  84. Krista Wilson says:

    Beautiful pictures of snow and birds! I really laughed at the end as I pictured Jack’s little paw coming into view, and the rubber band on your foot 🙂 Kitties can have such fun little personalities, can’t they? Enjoy your winter wonderland!

  85. Sarah Lutz says:

    I am definitely going to try your eclairs. I was also wondering where the pineapple was in the Ground Hog Pineapple Spareribs. Am I missing something? They sound yummy as well. I too enjoy the abundance of birds at the feeder especially on the snowy days and doesn’t the red of the cardinals look so much brighter next to the snow? Thank you for sharing the kitchen window views and the great photos of Joe’s close ups they are wonderful. I too like the rest of your followers look forward to your posts my friends always ask what my friend Susan is up to now, because I have to admit I talk about you all the time. Big hugs to you 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Read to the bottom of that post, the PS talks about the pineapple, I think it’s 2 cups of pineapple juice I forgot to write in! Sorry, Sarah — it’s delicious so do try it. We don’t have flowers, no color at all this time of year, but the cardinals go a long way making up for it!

  86. sondra fox says:

    I go on your site each & every day, looking for your happy thoughts. Today I needed your happy thoughts & pictures more than a lot of other days. One of my best friends called me as I was waking up this morning, to tell me her husband had just passed away. He’d been fighting cancer. We’d been helping each other cope with cancer as each of our husbands had cancer. I’m afraid to tell my husband that our friend passed on, for fear that my husband will feel that “he’s” next. As I gather up courage (before my husband awakens), I went to your site where I found the happiness of LIFE. The kitty in the tree looks exactly like our Sarah kitty who lived to be twenty five years old & travelled with us cross country twice. She was such a love. A very feminine kitty. When we’d talk with other travelers in campgrounds & they’d find out we had a traveling kitty, they always wanted to come into our coach & visit Sarah. She loved having visitors.
    As we all say, “life has it’s ups & downs.” I’m in a “down,” right now, but you’ve brought a ray of sunshine to me today Susan. Today’s blog is one of my favorites. I love feeding birds & squirrels as well, although our one kitty, Boots (bet you can guess why he’s named Boots), has found the feeders. The birds are too smart for him though. Boots is also a Tuxedo. Our one feeder is just right for the squirrels to stand on, but you ought to see the branch sway & lower with all that weight. It doesn’t bother the squirrel. I love that they come to our feeders.
    Thanks for sending us all a delightful message. I depend upon you for your wonderful messages. I didn’t think I’d find one from you today, as you’re such a busy lady, but there you were, when I needed some form of hope & happiness. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Sandy from Chihuahua Flats

  87. Lori says:

    I just love your homey pictures and your adorable cat. Home is definitely where the heart is and you make being at home such a good thing. We need that in this crazy, mixed up world, a place of beauty and peace. Thank you!


  88. Karen Saunders says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a squirrel as fat as that one. I think it’s really nice that you are not prejudice and every living creature is welcome and invited on your land. Most people don’t like the squirrels eating the bird food and go to great lengths to keep them away, or out here the blue jays are not well liked at all. I can understand that because they are pretty predatorily when it comes to other baby birds, etc. BUT….I like em all and love seeing all the animals that God has provided and love seeing them around. Joe should send his pictures into ‘Birds and Blooms’. They’re very good. That’s a wonderful magazine for reference as well.
    Now…..I’ll try not to embarrass you, but you have such a knack for composition and color in your paintings. I also noticed you are not writing but printing. I love to print. Question….. when you’re doing a page and it doesn’t please you, do you do it over?

    • sbranch says:

      I definitely would … I’m kind of sure of what I’m doing before I do it, so it doesn’t happen often, but if it did, I’d definitely do it over! 🙂 I’m printing, it seemed more diary-like than my cursive! And sometimes I do quotes in the cursive. Thank you for that nice compliment Karen!

  89. Denise Jose says:

    Thank you once again for brightening up my blustery afternoon. I just filled my bird feeders and suet cage. Hope to be entertained by our little flock. The seem really busy: must be snow coming tonight,

  90. Patty says:

    Love looking out your window, that is all I have done here today, too cold to go outside! This afternoon I have been enjoying a cup of tea and watching the new season of Downton Abbey which I had taped for the past 2 weeks. Time to get back and watch Edith’s wedding now so that I am ready for tonight’s episode!

  91. Arden says:

    I love the song… makes the day! Thanks……arden

  92. Ruthie P says:

    “the seasons knock on the windows”…. you are amazing! I am getting so excited for the book.Maybe a stop in the Pittsburgh area or eastern Ohio,or Maryland,I WILL travel 🙂 Please give that sweet Jack a hug and a kiss from me (girl kitty too) again and again,thank you,thank you,thank you.Oh and Joe…great photography!!! xoxo Ruthie

  93. Beautiful birds…Joe got some wonderful close-ups! The birdies have been visiting my feeder a lot these days, too. I’ve noticed my male and female cardinals almost never feed at the same time. I wonder if they keep watch for each other. Your snow is so pretty, Susan and your furry visitor was beautiful! Hope she/he comes back again. I know Jack does, too! 🙂

  94. Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    Hi Susan! I haven’t been able to write in the past couple months due to a health issue. I had a massive pulmonary embolism that caused me to pass out and during the fall on the kitchen floor, broke my leg in 2 places….was out like a light for a couple hours and 10 hours later, my son found me, laying on the floor…went to hospital …rehab,,,total 18 days and am home now on the recoup! I am feeling wonderful..boot on leg but will have to remain home for the next 2 months…no work….so, I am putting all my energies back into my art work and I love having this time, uninterrupted during the day! I too have a tuxedo crazy cat that won’t leave my side…she curls up on my art table as well!!! They just love us so much! it is the constant dusting of cat hair!! hee hee!……….I love this website so very much…it is inspiring, motivating and just plain wonderful to wake up to in the morning….Every entry you make, makes me feel so connected to your world and your world and my world are so similiar…..unbelievable at times, the things you say and talk about, as if they came out of my pen or my mouth! So much to be said about growing up in the 50’s and 60’s…….. we are connected girlfriend…
    After going through this embolism thing and almost dying, I have learned what truly is important in this life….LOVE…family and the the ones you love and love you, being passionate about what you love to do (art) and smiling everyday, but most of all being thankful for all that you really do have………Love you and thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my Susan, what an experience. You sound wonderful. Like new life! I’m so happy you’re home and safe, back with kitty and with 2 months of creating in front of you. Nice to have you back, love what you said about what you learned. xoxo Thank you, hope your leg is better soon!

  95. Cindy says:

    Dear Susan,
    Just this week I collected my Valentine supplies in a basket. I am ready to make a banner and Valentine cards. I must tell you that last week I was “treasure hunting” in a thrift store and found a Royal Albert Benjamin Bunny!! He is so cute and I love his hat! Thank you for letting me peek out your kitchen window. The birds seem to be well fed down here in South Carolina. We put feeders out but don’t get many customers.

  96. Pam T. says:

    Indeed…too much. Aren’t they though. Just when we are being all serious about what we “must” do, they remind us the only must is enjoying the simple moments. Fling that rubber band once (or…a lot) from the girlfriends! and a special nuzzle for Girl too. I’m sure she has her own way of asserting what must be done as well…very genteel-ly I would expect.

  97. Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

    I enjoyed looking at the photos. Jack Frost has been busy decorating our windows and we can’t see out most of them. We are having subzero temperatures today–feels good to stay inside! We haven’t even had many birds at our feeders–they must be huddled deep inside trees to be out of the cold wind. The dogs don’t spend a second more time outside than necessary! 🙂

  98. Susan says:

    Your Jack reminds me so very much of our kitty, Ta-Da! – personality plus and never a dull moment~ Ta-Da! got her name by the way she enters a room 😉

    My heartfelt thanks for your blog posts, Susan. They are always a joy to read!

  99. Joann says:

    Love it all Susan…. this is an absolute requirement to me—-a kitchen window by the sink since it’s where I spend a good portion of my day!!!!!

    And maybe, just maybe….I’ll have some creatures of my own to see once again!!

    In the meantime, I’ll live vicariously through your window…


  100. judy c says:

    I so enjoy the view from your window and the Cardinals are so gorgeous during the winter and against all that white. This has been a glorious week here in North Carolina – last weekend the kids were here for my birthday and the temp was 75 degrees and they planted over 200 Spring bulbs for me in the new yard. Turned brisk again and now a real cold front is coming – no snow predicted however and I love snow so much. Stayed up to midnight one night this week because the weather man said chance of flurries – but, no snow. DH thinks I am crazy, but then again he worked as a policeman in Colorado for 25 years. No wonder he does not share my view on snow – I loved living there. Your grilled cheese sandwich recipe is my go-to method for sure. Have a warm and snuggley weekend for sure. Judy C

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