GOOD MOOD . . . ♥

Hello Girlfriends!!!   I am in such a good mood! Except I miss you!  Musica?  Of course!

It was 60° here yesterday!  Which is ridiculous because it just never happens in January, but we took advantage of it and opened all the doors and filled the house with fresh air.  We hear it will go down to 20° today which makes me happy (in a strange way) because I really hope the first buds of spring, and the finishing of our book, happen at exactly the same time!  I definitely wouldn’t want spring to come first!  I do not trust myself with something like that . . . I might never get the book done if flowers start to bloom!

 This is one reason I’m in such a good mood.  We are getting the book ready for the printer — the scanning of the pages has commenced!  Kellee put together this two-page spread — the first I’ve seen where all the photos I’ve chosen are in with the art (not just xeroxed and pasted on).  I can finally see what it will really look like!  Hope it makes sense to you . . .  it’ll be much bigger in real life!  That doesn’t mean I’m finished writing it . . . I think I still have about forty pages to go, but we are getting so close!

These little guys always make me happy — their colors are spring personified, even in the deepest darkest winter.  They are my muse.  Another thing that makes me happy is the new WILLARD I’m planning.  As you might have noticed, I haven’t sent one in a while . . . this one is going to be really special — it’s exciting to have secrets and surprises for people I love!  Makes me happy!  I’ve decided that it should be your Valentine Present, so look for it around then . . . and be sure to sign up everyone you think would like one too . . . then it can be YOUR Valentine Present too. 

Speaking of Valentines . . . no one could be sad when they have something like this to cheer their day  . . .

Reminds me of me!  I can see this post is going to be all over the place!  I didn’t know what it would be when I started, and now look where we are . . . let’s get out of here!   Let’s see, where was I?  Oh yes.  Happiness.

This is on a page of one of my old diaries and tells the reason I feel so happy right now.  Because I’m getting to be creative!  Each page of  A Fine Romance  is its own little world.  It requires words, sketching and watercolors, maybe a photograph, it needs to be put together, hand-written, with a quote, or maybe with some other little surprising thing.  And that’s what’s so fun for me, figuring it out.  I did a cute page this morning, about tea, with a cute teapot, a cup and a story, with the perfect quote no one has seen before, like the whole book …. all new art and everything . . .  and that alone is enough for me to smile the rest of the day!   Now let’s see if I can find something that will make you smile . . .

Hello birdie!  How about a cupcake?  Or, perhaps a walk out back on a spring day?

. . . to be mesmerized by windblown quilts . . . this always makes me happy!  Love that ocean air . . . the harbor is just two blocks away. 

snow drops . . . right?  Happy?

mmmmmm, a blooming plum tree and soft sunshine . . . can you hear the bees? zzzzzz

 Weather news is reporting that some places in the country are experiencing really low temperatures!  Was it South Dakota where it was something like 40° below?  crazy . . .  I’m thinking . . .

Not that I’m any hurry to move the season forward; I am happy here with my cozy shawl and my crackling fire, truly I am, but sometimes the eyeballs require a little relief, and the nose needs to  i m a g i n e the smell of flowers.  Just for fun.  A little break.  Here we are again in the Sissinghurst White Garden in Kent.  What a day that was, all those wonderful white delphiniums swaying in the breeze, looking a lot like the tower behind them. Lovely to send you Sissinghurst in January — because we have the internet!  Yay!  Makes a person wish she was a bee, just for one day!

Love that this creamy rose isn’t perfect — definitely not from the florist.  Can you smell it?  Doesn’t it look like it’s part gardenia?

Forsythia, I cut from our bushes last spring and forced  . . . still a little bit early for that, but what a wonderful thing to bring into the house at the end of winter!  And to look at, eye candy, free of charge, no work at all, in January.

When the book is done, Joe and I will get on a train and go west to California . . . here is my garden there, on a foggy California morning.  Every time I look at this photo I’m in a little bit of shock.  Must have been a REALLY good day!  Aren’t those yellow-topped golden cypress bushes the cat’s meow?  Their shapes make a good contrast to the flowers.

We can just bring springtime, or a reasonable facsimile, indoors!  If you need more little vases filled with flowers, here they are!

What’s more wonderful than daffodils in the house on a snowy day!?

OH yes, this is more wonderful!  I had to do it . . . Time out from flowers, I just saw this photo!  Remember when Jack saw a bug?  I love this picture!

Is this working, is it making you happy?

Remember eating outside?  Remember lightening bugs?  Remember cricket noises?

. . . remember dinner under the arbor . . . ?

I feel like he does.  So lucky.

Just went to the kitchen to start some water for tea, held Jackie up to the window to watch some robins on the lawn and saw a robin eat a holly berry.  The robin picked the berry up in his beak, flipped his head, and popped it down his throat.

Tea water is boiling girlfriends, back to the drawing table for me.  Love you all, hope life is being good to you.  Bye for now! ♥ XOXO

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

684 Responses to GOOD MOOD . . . ♥

  1. What can I say that hasn’t already been said?! So happy to have found your blog as I’ve been a fan of your calendar and books for years. Through your blog I get to KNOW you the artist and understand why I’ve connected with your art all these years. We have so much in common!! This post just shows that in multiple ways … flowers, cats, Peter Rabbit, warm cozy fires, pictures that make me smile like quilts blowing in the wind, great quotes, and Shirley Temple of all things!! I usually am in a hurry reading blog posts and don’t have time to tap on all the links so I’ve been skipping your Musica link. Oh how I smiled when I heard Shirley’s voice singing that happy little song! And I agree with your other readers … you looked like Shirley Temple in your childhood picture 🙂

    Thank you, Susan, for taking the time to put together such a lovely post and letting us into your world the way you do. Can’t wait to get my hands on your new book!! I have a friend who lives in London part-time and will definitely buy her a copy too. Take a look at her Tale of Two Cities blog if you get a chance at

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha, I do think my mother tried a little bit with me for the Shirley Temple look … my mom and Shirley Temple were born on the same day and she loved her.

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        I remember sitting in the kitchen trying to be patient while my Mom attempted to turn my stick straight hair into a mass of Shirley Temple curls with the help of a Tonette home perm! Do any of you girls remember them? They were marketed just for little girls, if my memory serves me correctly.

        • sbranch says:

          I think we had something called a Toni! VERY curly! That is the very problem you will see in the little photo of me at the very top of the blog, in my Brownie uniform.

        • Shannon, my Mother would perm our hair and I think it was the Tonette one; but, from the pictures I think it was left on way to long!!! I would try my best to pull the curls down but they rolled back up like a window shade!!! UGH All I can say is our Mothers better be happy Shirley Temple didn’t want royalties for “copy cat” hairdos!!!

        • Tawni urrutia says:

          That just makes me laugh out loud! My grandmother would try to give me the Toni and Tonette perms. My hair is stick straight and refused the STINKY potion at every attempt. I would have to sit in the courtyard, towel around my shoulders, cotton strip around my hair line, stinking to high Heaven for the 40 minutes( which felt like 400 minutes) til DING the timer! Ahh, wavey for an hour or so….stick straight by the time my Pop got home from work! Women are so hilarious!!!

          • sbranch says:

            I’m just wondering, maybe my mom wanted to give it to herself but decided to try it on me first ?

          • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

            I just hated those permanents! Kinky curly and hair still did what it wanted to. My hair takes a very long time to get rid of a permanent! As an adult, I really had to want one.

        • Holly says:

          Me too, I already had very wavy hair, but not profuse curls. Why I was given these stinky, burning perms is beyond me! All the girls at Sunday School had the same hairdo too! ~~haha! Does anyone get perms anymore?

          • sbranch says:

            I don’t know! The last time I did anything like that was when I had my hair crimped for a party … but that wasn’t permanent! “Permanent” is the scary word!

          • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

            Holly, I have wavy hair as well. I bet that has something to do with them lasting so long. These days, though, I don’t have to worry….the more gray I get, the curlier my hair becomes. I wear it very short and am always getting compliments on it.

        • sondra fox says:

          Yes, yes, yes, I remember those permanents!!!! My dear mother gave me one in the third grade. I wouldn’t go to school, until she forced me to go three days later.
          Sandy from Chihuahua Flats

          • judi says:

            I actually gave all three of my daughters a perm IN ONE DAY when they were young. I thought I had lost the ridges in my fingerprints by the time I was done. In their school pic that year they look ‘pretty darn good’ – even they 🙂 say that.

          • sbranch says:

            You were very energetic!

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

            YES! I had the very same Toni perm! Thank you, Tawni, for the accurate, vivid description of the perm process down to the “cotton strip”!!! One of my mother’s favorite memories is when I came home from elementary school to report to her that my teacher (a male!) had asked, “Why does your hair smell like it does?” Thick, course, straight-as-a-stick, Asian hair was a challenge for those childhood Shirley Temple-styles of the 50’s. Yet, my mom worked her magic and I have the proof in elementary school photos with a head of curls!

          • sbranch says:

            And by the time we were in Junior High we lived in total jealousy of that thick beautiful hair!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            I had naturally curly hair which my mother insisted I wear short. When I was in high school I SO wanted long straight hair. Mind you, it wasn’t until after I was married that I grew my hair “long” and after I did, I decided it didn’t look good on me and also I wasn’t “into” fussing with it and now always wear it shorter!

  2. Cheryl says:

    Oh Dear, I forgot to ask..what are those plates in the photo eating under the arbor?

  3. Mary Beebe says:

    It’s been spring like weather here in Louisiana for the last couple weeks. We light the fire at night and put the windows up all day. So nice but I think winter is officially over for us. Not much of one this year. Oh well!
    I love that picture of Jack and the bug. Makes me laugh. Have a great one!

  4. Rosemary says:

    So many things to comment on….wonderful! Yes, we are starting to think spring here in day it is 25* and the next 80* so we are a little “mixed up”but the husband went just today and bought 11 replacement shrubs for those that didn’t make it through the drought last year…always hopeful!
    A Fine Romance….I am loving the snippet you presented in this post. A little art, some photos, lovely quotes, and wonderful narrative so can there be any more anticipation going on here? I am hoping you land in North TEXAS somewhere when the day comes for the book signing extravaganza. OMG…a chance to meet you in person?
    With all the loveliness you share and all the spirits you raise…thank you. Thinking of Mary Pat and others who are having some struggles right now and are uplifted by the words you write.
    Look forward to Willard. BTW…my bff gave me the covered tea cup with the bird on top for my birthday! Love it!
    Have a nice weekend.

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful BFF! Happy Birthday Rosemary!

    • Holly says:

      Susan, I forgot to mention how wonderful the pages on Kipling are. If you made Kipling so much fun to read, I can’t wail to see Beatrix’s pages! The whole book is a work of art and a work of love. Everyone on my Christmas list next year is getting your book–and they will love it–I know already. ttfn

  5. laurie says:

    I was happy when I came but I’m even happier now! The new book is so exciting, I can hardly wait, I love Jack, I just love him!

  6. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Happy (Almost) Groundog Day~!
    If he has any sense he will stay in where it’s warm!~ but is that a good or a bad thing?????

    • sbranch says:

      I think we don’t want him to see his shadow so maybe you’re right!

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        He won’t see it here today~ we FINALLY are getting measurable snow~ about 3″ so far~ And double digit temps ABOVE normal~
        ~Oh happy day!~

        • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

          My ever optimistic WI friend.

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            You have to be when you live here! ~Who ever thought we’d ask for snow here? ~And cooler temps?
            ~Miss it a little don’t you Margot?~
            Sunny today and warmer~ which means snow tomorrow!
            Have a great rest of the week 😉

  7. jeannine leonard Germansville, Pa says:

    We are truly blessed by Mother Nature! From the snow covering pine trees, and ponds frosted with Ice, to the tree blossoms and spring flowers, and the roses of summer, and the wonderful fall colors of the leaves, and pumkins.
    I wait in great anticipation of the Williard, as I feel we all do who love receiving this wonderful treat from you.

  8. Penny says:

    Flowers make me happy ANYTIME! and I have a wonderful husband who grows me beautiful ones here in north San Diego county! Thank you for another love filled blog!

  9. Maria M. says:

    Your blog posts are such a delight to all of us, AND THEY MAKE ME SO HAPPY! Love all the floral pics. I brought some flowers home from the store today just to put in cute little vases all around the house. This week’s warm weather was such a pleasant respite and now we’re back in Winter again. Ugh! But I’m keeping busy too. Using your website’s pattern, I’ve been sewing up the most darling aprons for me and my daughters. One is even done in your wonderful “tea” fabrics and I am so pleased with myself. I just want to drink and serve tea all the time now. And you are right–that apron looks great on everyone!
    Thank you for sharing the new pages from the book. Judging just by those two pages, this book will be amaaaaazing! Can’t wait. C’mon Spring! xoxox

  10. Nellie says:

    Yes, we are having weird weather. Your snow didn’t hang around very long, did it? Our January was the wettest it has been in over 130 years – over 12 inches of rain! We are almost nine inches over the average rainfall for this time of year.

    Jack just gets cuter and cuter all the time. How can you keep from playing with him all the time?

    I can hardly wait until that book is available for purchase!

    Now, it truly is time for tea! I wish you were here to join me in a cup!

    xo Nellie

    • sbranch says:

      Our snow rarely sticks around too long, which I’ve always appreciated. I like it best when it’s falling, but after it stops, stay one day, and then, please go!

      • Sandy Richmond says:

        That is what I love about southern New England! We always have a taste of winter, but not too much. I think I had those same saddle shoes. I kind of wish I had a pair now. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I actually do have a pair! 🙂

          • Cathy McC. says:

            Are they leftover from “the day” or can they still be purchased. I remember when the white and black ones were “in” and then later, the brown and black ones were “the deal”. Such fun memories!

          • sbranch says:

            I’ve had mine for so many years — but look right here . . . saddle shoes!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            You actually have a pair of “big girl saddle shoes”??? Oh, I well remember saddle shoes…and weren’t the “saddle” part sometimes brown and sometimes black? And, being that I’m from Minnesota and we are getting more snow today, do any of you remember those snowboots with a zipper up the front and fur around the top? And how about muffs for our hands? I used to have a little stuffed velvet mouse that I would sneak to church clutched in my hand, hidden in my fur muff. It would peek out at me during the service and I would get a frown from my mother… 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            I do have the shoes, I also have a pair of the old-fashioned looking snowboots with the fur around the top … no zipper though, but they are slip on pull-up kind of boots. Love the idea of the mouse in the muff!

          • OK Ladies, enough with the saddle shoes that I was “forced” to wear for several years to try and straighten my one turned in foot so I have horrible memories of them!!! Now, bless my parents hearts it worked and now I have no problem because they bought me a sturdy shoe. I think they look cute when the girls wear them with their plaid skirts!!! I think my nieces had a beige pair with navy sides that were really cute!! Memories

        • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

          Now I know what to get my BFF Sandy for Christmas next year!!! 🙂

  11. Monica says:

    Oh those daffys made my heart dance, Susan! Thank you!
    You know, I’m a March girl and I do love daffodils (any spring flower actually… well, any flower actually :)!). One of the (countless) things I love about England is that in Spring you see hundreds of daffodils everywhere! Oh be still my heart.
    Your book looks amazing. Even just from the monitor, I can truly appreciate all the time, passion and heart you put into it. I will buy it and it’ll be treasured for sure!

  12. marybeth says:

    thank you from the bottom of my heart. these blog updates are a bit of joy in the day. thank you for scattering joy! (emerson)

  13. Faith rose says:

    Susan Thank you so much for this post, i was feeling a little down and you cheered me up [like usual ].I love your quote that says ain’t life grand, Yes It Is!!Thank you for using your mood to cheer us up!I’m baking carrot cake right now and its making the house smell wonderful!But id better go because its beeping ! Thank you agian for cheering me up! Faith

  14. Sharrieboberry says:

    It IS a lovely day! Blue skies, mild temps and flower bed to play in. In north Texas it’s been in the 30s at night and 60s during the day.

    I planted several irises in the “new” garden. I’ve been visualizing and planning this garden for 3 springs and just got it prepared to go last fall. It will be interesting to see what transpires this spring. Roses and roses and more roses are in the plan!

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t it exciting, knowing its already there? We put in about a hundred new daffodils last fall… can’t wait to see them!

  15. Carol says:

    Witch Hazel is forcing lovely here in Western NY but it is early.
    Lake effect snow means there is none in some areas and inches and feet in others.

  16. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Are you sure that isn’t you in those sweet little saddle oxford shoes? You are having weather like us. It was 60 degrees Tuesday and today it is 8 and snow and more on the way tonight. I am so looking forward to waking up to snow in the morning. I have plans to get up early, make a cup of tea and snuggle up on the love seat with a blanket. I love this time of year, just for the slow coziness of it all. But I did love the glimpses of spring you provided. I was thinking about cutting pussy willow branches last week to force inside, but I will wait a few more weeks. 🙂

  17. Patty Craddock says:

    Is there a date yet for your book to be for sale? I am so looking forward to reliving your delightful trip. Patty

    • sbranch says:

      The printer is going to take forever (I know that’s how I will feel anyway) and we probably won’t see it in person until September. But we are planning to do a pre-sale here on the blog fairly soon … so that when I order the books I will get enough for everyone to get one … if we run out, it will take 4 months to get them in again, so I figure if we know ahead, all our blog girlfriends will come first! I’ll be sure to let you know Patty!

  18. Laura says:

    I think everyone should make a happy list. 😀 I just added reading your blog to mine! Thanks for sharing your talent and love of life with the rest of us. You truly are an inspiration!

  19. Jane in Pennsylvania says:

    What a lovely post from you on a freezing, snowy, windy day. The book looks just beautiful (not to mention all the things I’m learning along the way). Can’t wait for it. yaay
    P.S. I’m loving your new calendars & the desk calendar.

  20. Marianne says:

    I love your blog. The photos and the cats. Just love Jack and his little black mustache and Girl and her pretty face. I look forward to seeing what’s happening on MV and how the book is coming along. Can’t wait to hold a copy in my hands and devour all the wonderful artwork and try all the wonderful recipes. Susan thank you soooo much for just being you!
    Your blog is such an inspiration to me.

  21. Kirsten Anne from So. Cal. says:

    Oh, the blog today was great. But I was already in a good mood because my package from the Susan Branch Store came today!!! The brown bird cup is so pretty in person! And because I finally ordered the heart muffin pan, I’m now ready to make heart shaped scones for Valentines! The package arrived so quickly. So I would like to say a special thank you to you and whoever did such a good job!

    I can hardly wait for the book to be finished!!! I am excited at the thought of holding it, reading it, and taking the trip again! Only thing better would be getting it signed by you at a book signing! Keep up the good work, please.

  22. Eileen Engel says:

    Eileen says–Try living in Wisconsin (the frozen tundra). Take a guess what city I live in. We just set a record for the most snowfall in 24 hrs, (9.5 inches). Believe me, the snow was really coming down. I wish I could go to sleep for 2 months and not wake up until April. I can’t wait until spring. Thank you so much for the beautiful spring pictures (considering with the wind chill factor it is 34 below zero here). Try walking outside and breathing. It takes your breath away. I enjoy your blog. It makes my heart very happy!!!

  23. Annette McD says:

    Loved your pictures of flowers and dining outdoors. In the mid-winter it is nice to remember the good things to come in the coming seasons of spring and summer. Thank-you so much, Susan, for the happy reminder. Good choice of music also . Vintage Shirley Temple, that gives me reason to smile.

  24. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Hi Susan * Keeping in Touch…

    There are so many wonderful reasons to be in a “good mood” after reading your new post, “Good Mood”. First, of course, is the musica, reminding us all to “come and get our happiness”.

    That’s it…the best word to describe your post is…it’s a happy post!

    Happy times to recall, happy to know you are getting the book ready for printing, happy flowers, especially the rose, it’s perfectly pink petals posing for your camera, and happy to know, with February now here, spring cannot be far away.

    Speaking of February, I am happy to have your Susan B. wall calendar this year.
    OMyGosh! I thought January pages were awesome; February is a delight!

    And…wide-eyed adorable Jack. Oh yes, I remember that photo! So cute!

    I love your froggie, he’s happy where he is sitting. I have one almost like yours, except my frog has his hands clasped together in a little prayer. I tell my friends that he is indeed praying…for sunshine. Here, in the Pacific Northwest, we need all the help we can get.

    Stay true to your course, dear Susan, you’re almost there! How exciting for you (and for all of us as we await your finished book) and I am happy to hear that very soon…we will be able to have our names on a pre-order list.
    Thanks for the sweet update-post.

    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  25. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan hasn’t this been a strange winter? We have had some erratic temperature swings here also! Very low (below zero temps) then extreme highs! We too had our windows open at one time in January, loved hearing the birds singing…..but by the next day..we had to have the fire a blazing! smile…But I’m like you I love winter’s snow and refreshing cold! Sounds like you are doing amazing with your book!! Can’t wait!!


  26. Maureen says:

    How fun it was to turn my “Susan” calendar to February! I make a point to not look ahead so the first of the month is a treat!

  27. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    It is a happy sunny day here in England and I have just returned from my first long walk after being really ill. I walked along the canal bank and saw all the ducks and white geese from a nearby farm on the water and I then descended into a nearby village and had the famous Yorkshire Fish and Chips, absolutely delicious. I then walked back home to my little cottage and tuned into your blog which made me happier still. I definitely want to pre-order your book so I shall look forward to your announcement.

  28. judy says:

    This is totally the wrong time of year for my suggestion, but have you ever considered doing your own water-color illustration of Clement C. Moore’s THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS? It would be lovely, a real collector’s dream come true with your island landmarks and your home as the setting. The kitties could be pictured, along with you and Joe–Oh! Please think about it!
    (The beautiful snow, in Nashville, got me thinking along this line!)

    • sbranch says:

      That’s funny because I’ve been thinking about drawings for a Christmas book!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Ooohh, Judi – what a great idea! :>)

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        You could do a Winter book and include Christmas! Think of all the Winter-type recipes you could put in there. And it would be a challenge for you, as a watercolorist, doing all of the shading, etc., to illustrate snow…probably more of a challenge than painting other times of the year though perhaps would save paint? (all the white on the pages with the snow–LOL!) Snowflakes, snowmen, sledding, skiing, ice skating, etc., etc. We got more snow last night so the evergreens are beautiful again today. I told Norm that if we are going to have winter, we had just as well have a little snow every day to keep it looking pretty! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Now that I think about it, for the paint saving alone it would be worth it! LOL!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Yes, it could be a little like a picture of a white kitty sitting in a snowbank… Just think about how different the color of the shadows are on the snow, depending on the time of day or if the sun is out, etc. 🙂 But then the contrasts of color would be so much fun to work with! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            I could be an “artist” like Andy Warhol — show you a white card, and say, it’s a white kitty in the snow, please, that will be 5 million dollars.

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            I have an idea for that same picture/painting Susan~ only it is of a polar bear in a snow storm!
            ~ Another 5 million~ !LOL!

          • sbranch says:

            I have been going about this all wrong! 🙂

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Or, write an entire book about a white kitty out in a snowstorm, walking through a snow-covered forest of trees in the winter, hiding in a white house (minus the black shutters like your house!), drinking from a white bowl of milk, etc.
            Okay, I need to get off this subject! It reminds me of the first meal I had at my Norwegian in-laws home: White tablecloth with white plates with lutefisk in a white sauce, mashed potatoes, and cottage cheese, white rolls, and one spot of color on the plate: green peas! (thankfully frozen peas, not canned!!!) I do not jest! Norm and I still giggle about it! (Mind you, this was in California–NOT snowy Minnesota!) 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            And I have a brother-in-law that would starve, he, for some strange reason, will not eat “white” food of any kind. I have no idea why. I don’t think he would eat the peas either. He would be no fun to cook for! Cream of Rice cereal is a favorite around here, with apple and orange pieces in it.

          • Judy Young says:

            Hi Susan, You just absolutely HAVE to do the WINTER book!! I can’t think of anything I would like better (after I have my hands on A FINE ROMANCE of course!)!!! Pretty please?

          • sbranch says:

            I have a breakfast book almost half way done, I’m make sure to put some winter in it! 🙂

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            We like Cream of Rice, too, but shake cinnamon/sugar and sometmies lingonberries which makes it sort of like rice pudding w/o the custard. Will try apples chopped up–sounds good! 🙂

  29. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Just wanted to let you know, on this most special of holidays, that……
    Thinking of YoU Susan-Branch-a-Babes! XoX

  30. Oh Susan! So excited! Only 40 or so pages left, oh my! Then your train trip to CA? You are going by train, right? I see the Beatrix family is prodding you along there at the kitchen sink, saying yea, we’re going to be in another book, together! WooHoo! Don’t you just love sewing cards? Couldn’t wait to find some for my granddaughter,(we have 2 boys), I found some wooden ones that are just perfect for little hands. Oh! The picture of you clapping your hands is so precious! I bet you were singing and playing with all your younger sibs! Jack is just to funny eyeing the bug, did he catch it? Your roses and garden pics are an enticement of spring to come, but I do want some snow this year!
    Happy drawing and writing Susan,
    Chirp chirp!

  31. Susan says:

    What a delightful entry. I look forward to the articles, since they always bring a smile to my face. Jack reminds me of my own cat, and they are so nice to cuddle with on a snowy day. My Golden loves chasing the falling snow, and rolls in the snow as if to say she is having her bath so she can skip going into the tub for a proper bath.
    I do have one question. Who is the maker of the china and what is the pattern name? It is perfect for spring and summer.

  32. Jack says:

    As you feel the bits and spritz of warmness in the air be consoled that Puxatawney Phil
    successfully exited his winter burrow without seeing his shadow– now if that Bear in
    Serbia can do the same trick , coming out of her cave , we can all be assured that an early , warm Spring is just around the corner!
    Here where we are — at about 3500 ft. , we have a swing from 32*@ night to as much as 70
    during the day – perfect for growing Grapes. It’s soon going to be Napa , Sonoma ,Mendocino and Cottonwood in the ads – our local Yavapai College has planted acres of grapes and plans to market and teach winemaking

  33. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    What a joy-filled blog! Your happy, loving spirit is just contagious…I’m smiling as I type!
    Especially love when you post your garden photos…the delphiniums are my favorite!
    Happy weekend, Sue, and all!

  34. carol says:

    Way to go girl friend! I do feel very happy today, but we have snow here in Sepherdsville, Kentucky.

  35. Sharon from Alberta, Canada says:

    Hi Susan,

    Happy Groundhog Day!!. Thank you for the beautiful reminder of spring.

    We have had a roller coaster week of weather. In the last couple days we have had a temp swing of approx 50 degrees. Tuesday it was a bitter -9F plus wind, today +43F. It was only really cold for a few days but that was enough. Today, I am going to pick up a bunch of daffodils at the supermarket. No matter what the Groundhog predicts, Spring has sprung at my house.

    Thank you for another peak at your book. It gets more exciting each time you let us have a glimpse!

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  36. Susan,
    I am so excited for your book to come out, it looks so special given the glimpses we’ve had. I hope you will consider Columbus, Ohio as part of your book tour….I would love to meet you in person!
    Kathy from New Albany

  37. Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    Well, it looks like SPRING is on the way…Old Puxitawny Phil didn’t see his it shouldn’t be long and the blooms will be popping out of the ground….Paint and write faster, Susan….SPRING is on it’s way!!! Yippee!

  38. Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

    I agree with you Susan….. life is grand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Good morning to you. I’m watching a robin up in the tree next door. For some reason they like this particular spot. I love to watch them, as they are just here for around 3-4 months and then off they fly further up north.

    I just had to look at you ‘vase’ blog! All those cute little vases were so charming! I love vases as well. My girlfriend gave a tea a couple weeks ago for our tea group. She had small, victorian vases at each of our places. Oh, how cute they were. Think I’m going to start a collection of those.

    I’m very happy that it’s February now. Winter is my least favorite season…. love the snow, but we don’t get any here on the northern coast of CA. Just rain! I’ve always felt that when February gets here it’s like reaching the peak of a mountain. All is downhill to spring! But, I need to concentrate on my exercising for I really do want to get back into my capries from 2 years ago 🙂

    Having a super bowl party here tomorrow so must be off to get things ready. Also am baking your chocolate cake this morning and using my new Christmas tree bunt pan. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! Am sharing it at church tomorrow. So………………….

    Have a great weekend,
    >3 Carol M

  39. Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

    Forgot to tell you that another reason why I like February is that it is birthday month.
    Carol M

  40. Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    The photo of the daffodils…..I can smell them in my mind and they are so SPRING!, like the smell and feel of the soil when you begin planting in the early spring….such “soul therapy” in all of this..WELCOME to SPRING, very soon!

    Also, the photo of the set table under the arbor: Are those plates a Spode pattern…They are lovely….What pattern is this…I love them. All the things that you say, paint, photograph are so thrilling to me, when I open up your site….You are like a breath of fresh air in my daily life….thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Those are Vernon Kilns, Mayflower pattern …happy to have you here, Susan!

      • Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

        So happy to be back….My leg is healing and the blot clots in my lungs are slowly going away…still on a walker for 4 more weeks…but other than that…I am painting again and my heart and soul are into it so happily! I spend a part of everyday painting. As long as I am still housebound, I might as well do what I love to do BEST!!!! I am so excited for YOU and all the work that you are doing on your latest book project….I do know, how much work that is…but when it is your passion, it isn’t work…it is your life and the air that you breathe! ♥

        • sbranch says:

          You are so right Susan, that’s how I feel about it. I am really happy you are healing! And doing what you love! xoxo

  41. Judy Young says:

    Blue skies, abundant sunshine, Susan’s website on my computer, Dirty Dancing on the TV (just my favorite movie of ALL time!), some homemade vegetable soup and one of Susan’s grilled cheese sandwiches. Now that’s what I call a great Saturday afternoon. Thank you Susan for teaching us how to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures in life; like watching a squirrel dancing on the fence, fat little doves waddling around our deck, pansies with their smiling faces, the promise of Spring, good books to read, great recipes to try and above all, I’m just walking around with a smile on my face because I am happy! Absolutely cannot wait for “our” book to be printed and ready to purchase. Thank you and all the girlfriends for making my days just wonderful!!

  42. Sherry Palla says:

    Thank you Susan, busy bee, for sharing your flower shots! They make me feel chipper, and the sun is shining too, although it’s only l8 degrees here in MN. Things are looking better for this week with 20’s and 30’s!!!!!!!!!!! And tomorrow is our annual Super Bowl party!!!! Yippeeeeeeeee! God bless!

  43. Marion Rose says:

    Oh Susan, I thought of you today when I was out picking up sticks in my yard.
    With all the wind lately I had a lot to pick up. I went to pick up a stick by my
    Holly Tree and was surprised to see Snow Drops growing, about an inch high!
    I loved seeing your picture of Snow Drops, but didn’t know if they are this years. Spring is just around the corner!!!. Maybe a little more snow before it gets here. I wonder how these little plants survive the cold. Did you know you should put your vases of Snow drops on a mirror, then you see their pretty little faces. Look forward to your new book, keep writing! Marion

  44. Debbie says:

    A wonderful post. Made me happy to be in this cozy time of winter and able to dream about the spring to come. If winter ‘s here can spring be far behind? Don’t know if you’ve ever seen it but I came across a wonderful site murmuring cottage on tumbler. If you get a chance check it out. Incredibly beautiful. I couldn’t stop looking and scrolled all the way to the end. Thought all our girlfriends would appreciate it. Thanks for sharing your days with us. Can’t wait for the book!

  45. Jennie says:

    Lovely, happy post! Your joy is infectious in a very good way.
    I’m feeling quite happy myself today. Balmy weather for winter, lots of possibility on the horizon. Enjoying some watercolor time . . . and decorating. How blessed we are when we really look around and see it! Oh, and I’ve been sleeping well . . . sometimes that’s all the difference between ‘happy’ and ‘very unpleasant’! 😉

  46. Jane says:

    Ha…Ha…what a memory! My Mother used to give me Tonette perms when I was a child and I absolutely hated them. She thought I looked so cute…I thought I looked like a poodle! I have not had a perm since I was able to say NO!!! As always Susan, I have enjoyed your blog…..thanks for sharing.

  47. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    This is my “Happy Place” to start my day.
    I know I would be like Dorthy of “The Golden Girls” when she meets the president. Not her topic of course, but the fact she is speachless and can’t get a word out, that would be me meeting you at your book signing. LOL!
    Maybe I could squeek out, “How is Jack”? Most likely I would forget my name. 🙂
    Sharing: “The Golden Girls”, are on today for a marathon starting 11:00 am here on the east cost, on 185 the “Hallmark” channel.
    And yes Susan, your Spring blog is working. I dreamed of Spring last night. I don’t recall ever doing that.
    Susan, you getting the photo with Jack’s eyes like that, is a once in a life time photo. If there is ever a contest for pets, I hope you enter,and of course I think you would WIN!

    • sbranch says:

      That is so funny, I promise it would get very easy, very quickly! One time we were in the same restaurant as President Clinton and we knew he would come to our table, because it was Joe’s restaurant. We were already there, having dinner when the advance people called to say he was coming for dinner and everyone should just stay in their seats. That was so hard. Elaine, our friend who worked there too, wanted run and get more flowers on the tables, Joe wanted to clean the bathrooms. All I did is say, over and over, “so happy to meet you, so happy to meet you.” Because I KNEW I would be too tongue-tied to say anything normal without practicing the very basic. Joe should have practiced too, because he asked the president, “How’s your golf game?” and Joe doesn’t play golf, so when the president goes into birdie-bogey detail, no one knows what he’s talking about!! We lived through it though. I said my little part and never another word! Happy day Betty Marie!

      • Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:


        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          How exciting! How long did you have to stay seated before he got there? Not more than an hour, was it? Do you remember what he ordered? We’ve had former Presidents [Bush Sr and Clinton] deliver Commencement addresses and that’s always a fun little buzz around campus while the advance work is going on and the guys “with suits and shades” are here. Never personally met a President though… I know I’d be a tongue-tied toddler if I did. :>)

          • sbranch says:

            I think it was about a half hour before they got there … He was at a table across the room, I don’t know what they ordered, probably lobster like 80% of the rest of the summer people in there! They brought a man with a black suitcase that was said to have poison antidotes in it. I never knew if it was true, but you are right, there’s a LOT of advance stuff that goes on.

  48. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan hasn’t this been a strange winter? We have had some erratic temperature swings here also! Very low (below zero temps) then extreme highs! We too had our windows open at one time in January, loved hearing the birds singing…..but by the next day..we had to have the fire a blazing! smile…But I’m like you I love winter’s snow and refreshing cold! Sounds like you are doing amazing with your book!! Can’t wait!!


  49. Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

    if anyone is a fan of the series Anne of Green Gables, today starting at noon, a channel called INSP is running a marathon, back to back, all 3 movies. Cannot wait to brew up some tea and start folding laundry while watching Anne. I look forward to that!

    • sbranch says:

      INSP. I wonder what that is? Sounds like my own personal best possible way to spend Superbowl Sunday! (I know, blasphemy!)

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Ha! Here, too! We’re watching “Return to Cranford” until, of course, Downton Abbey comes on! 🙂 (It took me 34 years to find someone as uninterested in sports as I am…LOL! Our friends talk about this game or that and I have to ask, “Is that football, baseball, or basketball–or hockey?” 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Having four brothers, we had tons of it at home, I actually know how it’s played — maybe I’ll watch more when I’m older. My grandma loved it!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            We had it at home, too. And my 94-year-old aunt in Iowa never misses a football game! I think I missed that gene when it was being passed down… 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Maybe you just have to be 94!

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Well, Pat – you have met one here! Howdy! To steal a line from TV’s Frasier Crane: “You’d need an electronic microscope to locate my interest in that topic…” [i.e. football]. The [only] reason I look forward to the Super Bowl each year is because some forward-thinker at some station is always smart enough to plan a really great attraction for non-football types likes us. Yesterday PBS in Rochester ran all the “Downtown Abbey Season 3” episodes to date which was perfect for a dreary winter Sunday afternoon. :>)

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        After telling you how we are not into sports at our house, now it is Joke Time: Sven and Ole died and went to hell. It was hot there and the devil asked them how they liked it. They both said it was wonderful as the Minnesota winters had been so cold. So the devil turned up the heat more and then asked them again how they liked it. They took off their parkas and answered, “Oh, it was wonderful after the terrible cold Minnesota winters.” So the devil thought, “I’ll get them–I’ll turn off the heat and turn on the cold.” So he did that and there was ice and snow everywhere and all was frozen. The devil asked Sven and Ole how they liked it NOW. They were jumping all over the place, cheering. Sven answered they were thrilled as it meant the Vikings must have won the Superbowl!” (the Vikings are Minnesota’s football team) LOL!

        • sbranch says:

          I don’t get it.

          • Ahem, not that I like to brag (2012 Winners of the Fantasy Football League) with money and a trophy we keep for 1 year. I’m telling you this because I do enjoy sports of all kinds and we are watching the Super Bowl right now and there is a delay because the lights went off at the Super Dome. Susan, when a team doesn’t have a chance to win a game in Pat’s joke the two men when the Devil made them in a frozen tundra….they had always said “The Vikings have a chance to WIN when Hell Freezes Over”!! Hope this explained Pat’s “funny”??

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, I am getting it now, sort of. 🙂 Must have been scary when all the lights went out in there!

          • Cathy McC. says:

            I think it means that the Vikings will win the Super Bowl when hell freezes over — figure of speech. (I’m a MN native, never a Vikings fan, and just endured the Super Bowl for the commercials. My dad was a farmer, so the Paul Harvey tribute to farmers brought tears to my eyes, as did seeing the Clydesdale foal.) 🙂 Ethel

          • sbranch says:

            I loved the Paul Harvey tribute too, I still believe it.

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Are you kidding?–I’m not sure if you are or not… The Vikings have apparently never won the Super Bowl–so there are people who say the Vikings will win when hell freezes over…Get it now?

          • sbranch says:

            I do get it, I just do not know one thing about the Vikings. I didn’t know they’d never won, I think I basically glazed over. Don’t you love it when people don’t get your jokes? I am a TERRIBLE joke teller.

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            The proverbial “cold day in hell” – I think… :>)

          • Julia says:

            When Hell freezes over. Just a wild guess.

          • sbranch says:

            That’s two of you braniacs! 🙂

          • Linda in Texas says:

            You know, Susan, they’ll win when Hell freezes over. 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Oh LOL!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            I’m LOL’ing, also! So much for jokes about the Minnesota Vikings…(football team in Minnesota) LOL! 🙂

          • judi says:

            UFF DA!!! real ly? 🙂

      • Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

        I think – Inspiration Channel. they have things like Little House on Prarie, Dr Quinn Medicine Woman.

        • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

          Susan, you say you are a TERRIBLE joke teller? I will tell you the ONE joke I remember–and it would be a good one for you as it is a TERRIBLE JOKE! (Norm says he wishes I would forget it! LOL! ) There is the story of the kid who was born, only a round head, no arms or legs. His parents loved him anyway and every day they would pick him up out of his bed and put him on the windowsill where he would sit and watch the children playing in the playground across the street. (see, there was nothing else he could do without arms or legs…) Then at night they would put him in his bed. Every day that was the routine as there was nothing else he could do…Well, one day he was sitting there on the windowsill wishing he could join the other children and a big tear ran down his cheek. He thought and thought and PING–out popped two little arms! He was so excited! He thought and thought and PING–out popped two little legs! He was overjoyed! He jumped down off the windowsill and ran out the door, heading for the playground and children across the street. As he crossed the street, a car came along and you guessed it–hit and killed him–squished flat as a pancake! The morale of the story? “Quit while you are a head!” (do you get it? I know, I know–it is quite a sick joke but it is SO BAD I never forget it…) Have a good day! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            I do get it. Are you proud of me? 🙂

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Yes! 🙂 (Well, I realized after your comment about the other one that you probably had no idea who or what the “Vikings” were–so I felt bad that I had unwittingly set you up to not “get it”.) Norm told me he couldn’t believe I sent the head joke–it is so bad. I think that is the only reason I remember it, because it is so bad!

          • sbranch says:

            I only know one joke too, and it’s so much worse than the head, I would never ever tell it unless I was related to you! Joe knows it too, it’s the only joke he knows, and sometimes we tell it together, and royally mess it up … it’s the worst. Don’t ask, because I won’t tell it. 🙂

  50. judy says:

    I was really hoping for a response to the “Night Before Christmas” post that was made yesterday and is still awaiting “moderation”–You are busy. JA

    • sbranch says:

      What happens is the newest comments come on top of the older ones, so when I go to approve comments, I end up doing the newest first, and the oldest slip back until I get a chance to go through them all at once . . . I will get there Judy — Sorry!

  51. Donna from Stony Brook, NY says:

    I have some very exciting news! This years theme at the Philadelphia Flower Show is “Brillant!” A romantic walk through Great Britain!! Have you ever been to the show? If you have then you know how amazing it is and if you haven’t then you must go!!!! My husband, daughter and I go every year and it is awe inspiring. You’ll feel like you’re back in your beloved land of the “Fine Romance!” There’s going to be a life size replica of Big Ben, but it will be covered in flowers.!!It’s March 2-10. Plus right across the street is The Reading Terminal Market. It’s the most amazing indoor farmers market specializing in Amish baked goods!! Who doesn’t love a good whoopie pie???
    I just thought of you immediately when I found out the theme would be everything British! I hope you can go. It’s such a beautiful experience!
    Love to you on this winter wonderland kind of day! xo Donna

    • sbranch says:

      I’m supposed to have the book done by the end of this month, but I bet I will still have extras to do on it — but that sounds like something I would just LOVE!

      • Judy Young says:

        Susan, that does sound like something you shouldn’t miss…the book can wait for a couple days while you take a break and visit this show. How can you NOT go? It’s right up your alley! Of course, it’s a shame the book is not going to be available to buy at that show, it would have been the perfect venue! Hope you get to make the trip!!

        • sbranch says:

          It’s so scheduled, if I turn in the book late, the person who edits it might not get it done in time for the printer to make his deadline . . . and I think you can see where this all ends!

    • Tawni urrutia says:

      Thank you Donna for the introduction to the Philadelphia Flower Show! I live in Ca, and had never heard of it. I checked it out online…WOW! The photos of last years springtime in Paris were remarkable! And the seed link they have is really terrific.
      This is one of the many reasons I just l❤ve this blog, the infomation sharing is marvelous!!!

  52. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Hi, Sue Sue!
    Winter wonderland here in Indiana. Just enough to be pretty. The birdies are out there quietly chattering!
    We are all in awe of “the book” and cannot wait until it is completed. Loved this beautiful summertime memories post! Yes, indeed, I found myself smiling!
    We are in BIRTHDAY season around here for the next 4 weeks! Trying to find fun creative ideas because I always decorate for our ‘just us’ family parties. My oldest turns 30 next week! ( I’m getting old!) Any good ideas for a 30 theme, anyone?
    Stay cozy, Chrissy. XXOO!

    • sbranch says:

      I always think “baby pictures.” But I think that for 30 or for 80. It’s not very “30’s theme!”

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Hi Crissy, for my nephew’s 30th I found a penny for each of the 30 years (it did take some searching and checking every penny I got in change) but I did find one for each year. I glued them to a piece of poster board and beside each year I wrote a highlight or memorie from each year. It was fun to do and everyone enjoyed it – especially the birthday boy. Not really a theme but just a fun idea. You could also have a photo from each year, as well.

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          My youngest sister was really having a hard time with the idea at the idea of turning 30 – whereas for me it was barely a blip on the geiger counter of Life – so when I saw a big coffee mug in a store that read “lots of people over 30 lead useful, happy lives…” I just HAD to get it for her. Maybe you could all bring a gag “old person” gift – denture adhesive, ace bandage, BenGay, prunes, Preparation H etc etc? Could be a lot of laughs… :>)

  53. Jen from Sebastopol says:

    I am really looking forward to your book release. Watching your ship sailing away, our trip in England and back, I feel like I am a part of it. It’s been a fun adventure!

  54. Gloria Howard says:

    Loved this entry Susan! Thanks for lifting my spirits and making me feel happy too.
    I saw several robins today amidst the snowflakes in Wakefield MA and wondered do they fly South anymore? What is happening that the robins are here on Feb. 3?

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve had really large flocks (?) of them on our lawn during the last couple of winters! We do have a weather problem!

    • Chris Wells from West TX says:

      Gloria, We had a really warm week/ also incredible winds, but yesterday while I was outside I swear I heard a barn swallow! I am no bird expert, but barn swallows are my very favorite bird and I let them nest all around my house, the back porch, under the eaves, whatever makes them happy. I never could catch sight of it, but it kept up it’s chatter as if waiting for a reply from another barn swallow. This is way early if indeed it was a barn swallow! I can’t imagine what other bird could sound like that. I always keep track of when the hummingbirds come back, so that will be interesting too. If I see the barn swallow I will let everyone know.

  55. Julie Marie says:

    YIKES!… I am really happy now Susan… I just came back to browse your shop and you got the Emma Red Fox cups in!… I wasted NO time in ordering mine!!!… I have wanted this one for so long… now I will have two, this one and the Robin… love them and love YOU!… Happy Sunday… xoxo Julie Marie

  56. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, I’ve just hung up my Valentine garland. It says ‘Sweetest Heart” I stole that from Mary Englebreit. I made one for my friend, and next door neighbour that says “All you need is love” and we all know where that came from. Thanks for the inspiration for the garlands. I’m so looking forward to your Valentine Willard. Thanks, sweetest heart, for all you do to keep the girlfriends happy.

  57. miss winnie says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for the beautiful Springy pictures! I am curious — when you are enjoying life on Martha’s Vineyard who keeps up your beautiful California garden?

  58. Carolyn says:

    Thanks for the gorgeous flowers! Here down south our daffodils are blooming–too soon–but love the hints of spring. Saw the Beatrix Potter exhibit at the Morgan in NYC–made me think of you and the forthcoming book–can’t wait!

  59. Bettina (Berlin 42) says:

    Good Morning Susan,

    thanks for the glimpse into your new book. I really like this two pages and looking forward to the published book.

    Take care, enjoy your tea. Could I get one cuppa?

  60. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    Happy Monday, Sue & Girlfriends! Wait… do “happy” and “Monday” make an oxymoron? I think so… Haha! :>)

    PS – quick catch-up plus the week ahead:
    Feb 1 – National Baked Alaska Day
    Feb 3 – National Carrot Cake Day
    Feb 4 – National Soup Day
    Feb 5 – Chocolate Fondue Day
    Feb 6 – [no notation here]. Pick your own favorite I guess…
    Feb 7 – Fettucine Alfredo Day
    Feb 8 – Molasses Bar Day
    Feb 9 – National Bagels & Lox Day

  61. Amy Lynn says:

    Dreaming of Spring… but enjoying the winter as well….. Just wish it was a wee bit warmer!
    Have a wonderful day Susan & all you girlfriends!

  62. Karen says:

    What a glorious post, and of course the Shirley serenade adds just the right soundtrack. I can’t wait for your new book. Love the photo of you, and your beautiful artwork.


  63. Karen says:

    Susan, I thought I would stop back to say…in the 90’s our family lived in Hong Kong. I was so homesick for western life at Christmastime, and a good friend sent me you Christmas cookbook. As a watercolor artist, I adored your book. I cherished it all year ’round. Little did I know that someday I would be blogging with the very artist who surely saved my life in China.

    Thank you for being you.


  64. Jo P says:

    Can;t wait for the book to come out. It sounds amazing.
    Any chance you can get the moon names bookmark again to download. It was great last year knowing which month was the “blue moon, the wolf moon, etc. I shared it with a co worker and she really enjoyed it, too.

  65. Tracee Stewart says:

    Love your pictures this week! Yes, a bit of springtime! But I,like you, do not want to rush the season! I love the snow. Just wish we’d get some here in NC far just a teasing with a few days of flurries. Last week I cut some Yellow Bell (Forsythia)branches and brought them in. They are in full bloom now! Love to look at them! sounds like you are coming down to the wire in your new book! So exciting! Looking forward to it! Stay warm and keep the tea flowing! smiles!

  66. Marianne says:

    Our daffodils and crocuses started peeping through the topsoil on those days that were around 60 degrees, but then we dipped into the teens and twenties and have stayed there, so I’m hoping our plants are sturdy and hardy enough to make it to Spring. Puxatawny Phil says an early Spring is coming and so I think they’ll be all right. I love the Mark Twain quote about himself and Rudyard Kipling. My daughter and I chuckled as I read it to her while she was sitting at the table having a cup of tea. We are tea people (I also like coffee, though, too) in our Emma Bridgewater mugs. I’m so looking forward to your book about England. Am I reading your blog right? It will be on sale on your website in the Spring? Or is that hopeful/wishful thinking?

    • sbranch says:

      It won’t come in until fall, it’s going to the printer at the end of March. I know. I want to wiggle my nose like in Bewitched and have it here now.

  67. Judy Bartholow says:

    Yes, it was -40 degrees or so on January 30th here in South Dakota, BUT, the good news is that our newest grandbaby was born that night. Yippee!!!

  68. Martha says:

    The book looks beautiful — can’t wait! With these long, cold days of winter dragging on – it’s so nice to see your lovely spring photos – just the thing to cheer us up!!

  69. Susan and Girlfriends, I just wanted to check in before I leave on a short trip to FL with my daughter to go and visit my parents in Venice. Of all things to happen I started a sore throat/ear infection over the weekend and called my Dr. and he called me in a Zpack so I’m praying it helps by Friday?? I will be off the blog from 5th-13th so don’t have to much fun without me!!! OK go ahead and have a ball I will catch up when I get back!!! I’m sure I will have things to share we always have fun with Mother who loves to laugh so will be back in one week. Blessings to ALL……

    • sbranch says:

      Hope you have a wonderful time Deborah!

      • judi says:

        You’ll love it here now – weather’s perfect.

        • The weather was just perfect while we were there and the “locals” were complaining about the breeze and we thought it was just right. We enjoyed our visit and Susan I did go out and look for “sea glass” and even asked a young man because Angela had located a beach in Venice that mentioned it and he looked at me like I was a “foreigner”?? So, that is still on my bucket list. Dawn, the chewing gum didn’t work I think because of my infection my ears were popping like popcorn and actually hurt pretty badly. It is strange how just a few states away the landscape is so tropical and the highways are scattered (alive) with armadillos, alligators, wild pigs, and cranes with their own road crossings….I think we lucked out with the perfect weather because this week it looks like FL is having temps. in the 60’s so that means my parents will be “freezing”?? The flowers were so gorgeous and Angela commented on how much she enjoyed our Seasons and waiting on the first warm day in May when everyone breaks out in their shorts vs Floridians who wear them year round. It was a very nice distraction for the middle of February minus the hectic routine at the airport and having strangers pat you in places that should be illegal….one young man asked me to empty my pocket (kleenex) I showed him and he said it means everything so while I had it out I decided to “use it” then looked at him and he did smile and said to me “now you just hold on to that and don’t lay it down”….hmmm did he think I was contagious?? haha Angela was afraid they were going to contain me had I not found someone with a sense of humor!!! who wanted me through their area quickly….ah the flu season has it’s perks!

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Oh! Deborah!!!! Have So much fun!!! And the Zpak will cure just about anything from A to Z !!!! Do you have your flight distractions ready and packed?! 😉 You are SO LUCKY! If you get nervous on the plane….you can imagine me shoveling and trying not to fall down the hill! It seems to keep my neighbors entertained! Just teasing, but then maybe I am NOT!!!!
      Take care and chew gum! 😉

  70. just cats says:

    Jack and the bug. What a wonderful photo.

  71. I see on my calendar that tomorrow is your Happy Anniversary!..So, in case I am busy and/or you go off for the day… I want to thank you and Joe for showing the girlfriends, and some of the guys too, a peek into your loving each other…
    Happy – Happy Anniversary Susan and Joe!!!!
    God Bless You with many more happy, healthy years together!!

  72. Jan says:

    Received my Susan Branch order and have to say, I love the little ” Christmas Joy” book. ( First edition and signed! ) Read most all of it the first evening. Had wanted to get it at Christmas time but had to wait. Am so looking forward to your new book. The spring pics were refreshing and beautiful. Am still enjoying the winter and snow – my time to get things done inside. Once spring comes it’s hard to stay inside and work. Have a great day!

  73. Beverly Brewer says:

    Dear Susan—when do you and Joe plan your book signing itinerary and is it flexible as you cross country? PLease consider coming to the pretty tearoom where I work in Carefree, AZ. (Carefree is located on the NE edge of Phoenix and Scottsdale). It is the English Rose Tea Room, and is owned by a lovely English lady from Hampshire, Joanne Gemmill. Seems like an ideal place for the wonderful book-to-be, and Joanne also owns the adjacent gift shop which is British themed and full of all the England-y things we love! Check the website when you have time— The shop next door is called Jo London. We serve tasty meals, including Ploughman’s lunch, quiches, entree salads, beans-on-toast, formal afternoon tea, and scrumpie, bouffant scones with authentic Devonshire clotted cream, as well as Taylor’s of Harrogate and John Harney loose leaf teas. We all wear pretty aprons and tease our customers by saying how much fun it is to dress like “girls”! I am so proud to be associated with this beautiful tea room and you, my dear, would be the perfect guest!

    • sbranch says:

      It sounds wonderful! If nothing else, I would just love to have tea there! My dad lives in Cottonwood, so it’s very possible. Thank you for the thought!

    • Jan says:

      What a wonderful place to work! Would love to be able to work in a place like that. It must be a pleasure to go to work. A place to visit if I’m ever in the area.

  74. Elizabeth from Pasadena, CA says:

    That picture of Jack looking out the screen door is the cutest thing ever!

  75. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    hi Susan!
    I am making my Bret his Valentine using the song quote,
    “I can’t see me lovin’ nobody but you….for all my life”
    and well, as I am humming along…I get to the Chorus part, and all I can think of is YoU…..and what made you SO Happy in England……and then You&Joe….and your Happy Anniversary tomorrow! Perhaps, the Chorus is a sign? And tomorrow you could toast Joe with the part that says,
    “the only one for me is you, and you for me….so happy together”
    Or…..perhaps YoU singing the chorus might be more fun!
    Oh yeah! The song is….
    Happy Together Anniversary Susan+Joe XoX

  76. Sooo cute…love the buggy picture with Jack. No bug is safe in your house! 🙂 Looking forward to the next Willard!

  77. Mary E Osborne says:

    Lovely, lovely post just when I needed it, as I was having a frustrating day. Love it, love it! Yep. Living in SoCal (San Pedro) I can tell U the weather has been spectacular! I grew up in Southington CT and sometimes miss the snow, but not much – don’t think I could go back, but I love your pics! luv and happiness always, MaryO

  78. Sarah Powell says:

    Great Post – Again! The BEST part is you are coming to the Central Coast which is which is now bathed in Emerald Green with smudges of Yellow Sour Grass, and the Orange Poppies are just starting to peek out to watch your train roll into town. YEAH! We are once again airstreaming it in Morro Bay, migrating further south to Mexico. Will return here the end of March. Come Home. xoxxo Sarah

  79. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Happy Anniversary To You Both – Susan and Joe *

    “All you need is Love…Love is All you need “…the Beatles.
    Have a Wonderful and a very Happy 26th Anniversary celebration.

    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  80. judi says:


  81. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Good morning, Susan!
    Just popping in to say Happy Anniversary to you and Joe! Hope you have a wonderful day….reflecting on all the reasons you fell in love in the first place…and wishing you many more years of wedded bliss!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you girlfriends!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Happy belated Anniversary to you and Joe. Wishing you many more years of wedded bliss. Checking out the weather for your area tomorrow. Not looking so good. Hope you and your area are spared too much trouble from this large storm. We’re in the storm line-up for Saturday as well. Hope everyone stays safe and warm!

        • sbranch says:

          I’m pretty sure we will lose our power, we usually do. But I have my computer battery reved up, and lots of candles, Joe has oil lamps, the stove is gas, and we can moosh through the snow to Lowely’s house if we need partners for game playing, so I think we are going to be fine. I hope everyone gets to stay in, I think they are pretty much closing down the east coast for this one!

  82. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    Happy Anniversary, Sue and Joe!! PS – hope I’ve got the right day! :>)

  83. Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

    Wishing you and Joe a lovely anniversary celebration! Truly a fine romance! ♡♡
    Have a wonderful day!
    Warm hugs,

    • sbranch says:

      It is . . . and so far, it’s a pretty good 26 years today!

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Happy 26th Anniversary, Susan and Joe! Raising my glass to the next 26, and wishing you a wonderful day.

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Happy Anniversary Joe & Susan! Sending prayers & best wishes for the next 26 years! Love, Joanie

      • …and he remembered w/o you hinting…? 😉

      • Hey, Susan,
        Happy Anniversary! My hub and I will celebrate our 40th on February 17. We were married in Maine, and, as I recall it was 15 degrees below zero – or maybe above. I was in such a daze, I never felt the cold. It’s been great – 40 years with my lover and my best friend.
        I had to get caught up on your past few blog posts. I have to admit to spending way too much time in the past few weeks watching Korean dramas (with subtitles) on HULU. It’s been our bonding time. We’ve watched Faith, City Hunter, and Boys Over Flowers, all starring Leeho Min. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed them. If you ever want a new experience, give one a try.
        Anyway, I loved all your posts, but I was especially taken with Jack and Girl Kitty sharing the same space. And Joe’s new camera is terrific. I loved the bird shots – that shy little black-capped chickadee is enchanting. I’ve been watching the birds from my kitchen window, as well. I’ll tweet out a picture of my cardinal soon.
        Also, I have been making a fabulous oatmeal/flaxseed muffin that is very moist and delicious and healthy. What is the best way to share it.
        Blessings on you and yours. It looks as if New England is set to get more snow starting Friday.

        • sbranch says:

          You could just put the recipe here Carolyn, if you like, everyone loves a good recipe. Happy anniversary to you too!

  84. Carol (Daisy) says:

    Good Mood . . . Susan I think if the phrase ‘I am in such a good mood’ would be in the dictionary, there would be a picture of your happy smiling face!! You always seem to convey a presence of being in a good mood . I get to pick up our girl scout cookies this morning so I am really in a good mood!!

    • sbranch says:

      That would make me happy too! I think we will be getting ours soon too — we ordered them a while back!

  85. Deb from Dixie says:

    Happy Anniversary Susan and Joe!
    Cheers to 26 years of love and laughter….and all the adventures
    that lay ahead in the years to come!
    Happy, happy, happy….Happy Anniversary !

  86. Sharon from Alberta Canada says:

    Happy Anniversary, Joe and Sue!

  87. Tawni urrutia says:

    Happy Anniversary to you Sweet Susan and Joe! In the past year and some, I’ve so enjoyed seeing glimpses of your love story in your blog. I’m talking about the meals he prepares for you…the way you cover him with warm clothes…the wreaths he makes for you…the tea you bring to him…brilliant! I admire your team work. And I sure appreciate Joe’s kind nature in sharing you and your time with all of us. I hope the two of you have a wonderful day.
    Tawni Urrutia
    Lodi, Ca

  88. Jan says:

    Happy, Happy Anniversary to you and Joe!! Best wishes for a great day!

  89. Elaine in Toronto says:

    To the sweetest hearts, congratulations on your 26th anniversary. Let Jack and Girl make dinner, lol.

  90. Marsha MacLean says:

    Happy Anniversary, Sue and Joe!
    May you have many more of them and may every day bring you joy.
    Love IS all you need., as Dorothy Anne says. 🙂

  91. mary spring says:

    dear Susan..just wanted to wish you and Joe a very Happy Anniversary !.. ‘hope you both have a wonderful celebration !..once again, we’ve been missing your letters to us…but know how immersed you must be with, well, LIFE… a little bird told me that we might be expecting your Willard very soon !!. YAY !! …also , I hear that you all will be finding Nemo this week-end…what fun…with lots of snow ! you, I love the anticipation of snow and when it’s like magical… but after awhile it is time for it to melt!..(lol)…can’t hardly wait to hear from you again…as always, take care…

  92. Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    Yesterday, Feb.5th, I had my 6 year old grandaughter here for a visit and we watched “The Secret Garden”…the 1993 version with Maggie Smith…so wonderful and so “Downton Abbey-ish”….I adored this version…I remember as a child seeing the original version with Dean Stockwell…There is something so alluring about this story….For all us Downton fans, maybe one of you would like to see this too! I loved it!
    ALSO: Happiest of Anniversaries today, February 6…..may the next years bring you much more happiness, tons of laughter, good health for you both, many many friends, safe journeys, quiet walks together, and inner peace for both of you..
    Happy Anniversary Joe and Susan! xo

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, she’s going to learn to love old movies! And secret gardens! I’ve never seen that version … love Maggie Smith so it must be good!

  93. Susan from the Cape Fear Coast of NC says:

    Happy Anniversary Sue and Joe!! Wishing you many more happy years together.
    Have a wonderful day! I hear there is a winter storm coming your way. Take care and stay warm and safe.

  94. Doreen Strain in Florida says:

    Happy Anniversary Sue & Joe! Batten down the hatches Sue!!!!!! Fill the bird feeders, put the shovel on the porch and put the car in the barn then stock up the wood pile! According to the weatherman down here in Florida….you guys are in for a heck of a blizzard come Friday into Saturday. So… much for all those flowers, there are going to be under two feet of snow by Saturday afternoon. Start getting everything ready and the house all cozy for the big snow storm! What kind of soup are you going to have on the stove? Make sure the down quilt is on the bed and you have your heaviest winter jammies available. Get the flashlight out and make sure you have lots of candles. With that much snow, you just may lose your electric. Good luck! Keep in touch and stay safe! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  95. Joan says:

    Is there a price set yet for the book? Just so we can start “saving our pennies”. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Funny you should ask, I was just talking about that with my publisher. We decided we’re going to do a special price for the pre-sale book, because it won’t be for sale anywhere but here, so that means it’ll just be for our blog girlfriends! I’ll let you know the moment we do!

  96. judi says:

    Looks like you are in for some interesting weather?!

  97. Cheryl says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all the pics! Our daffodils are already peeking through the ground! They always make me smile, I just can’t help it. If I may ask, what is the name of the plates on the table in the picture above “under the arbor”? I love them and would love to find some! Thanks for always cheering me up with your posts.

  98. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Looks like a major round of hunker-down weather is headed your way…stay safe, sweet folks!

  99. Pam G says:

    Happy Anniversary Susan and Joe! Watch out for that storm. I really hope the brunt of it misses you as 85mph winds are not funny and 2 ft. of snow? keep safe

  100. Mary Baynes/ Indiana says:

    Loved…loved your Blog today! The Fire looked like I was right there! Congrats on your Anniversary! Can’t wait for your new book so I can feel like I went to England with you and Joe! Be safe and warm from the Nor’easter.

Comments are closed.