Critters, Springtime and YOU!

Critters, Springtime, a Recipe, A Fine RomanceMusica and YOU. 

I have to say, I am madly in love with my computer.  It’s such a miracle, that’s James Taylor singing right now!  Computers are a magical link to the whole world and the internet just keeps getting better!  From my studio, where I need to be to finish my book, I can go anywhere I want.  I can dream while watching gondolas gliding live in Venice, Italy, or I can go see what Phoebe the hummingbird is up to.  I can get a good laugh along with a taste of ranch life with The Pioneer Woman, or I can go get a little smarter with Brain Pickings. I can watch someone amazing paint a portrait, or I can push a button and there’s Miss Austen Regrets playing in the background while I paint, mood music of a sort.  So great!  All we used to have was Calgon to take us away — we’re finally out of the bathtub!  Big time!

Speaking of the computer, another thing I adore is iPhoto on my Mac.  How I ever lived without it, I do not know!  I file my photos by subject — they’ve made it so easy —  I can click on “Little Vases” and there is every little vase-full-of-flowers I’ve ever taken, or “Family” and all my family photos come up — I have Parties, Friends, Summer Garden, the Train, Beatrix Potter’s House, Old Letters/Books, California, The Walk, Tea, Food, Decorating, just to name a few . . .

Yesterday, I put on my jacket went out back to get a few more photos for my “Spring” file.  I laid right on the cold ground to take this … the smell was intoxicating … wet new green spring dirt mixed with ocean!  Ahhhhh.  They should bottle it!

Up close and personal with the snowdrops, I got muddy knees, but it was worth it . . .  the cold air was wonderful.  It was so good to be outside — Joe loved it so much he stayed out there for half the day, picking up fallen bits of tree limbs, cleaning up.

I’m being good to limit myself to four of these snowdrop photos, I could easily give you the other fifteen! I will need a new computer soon just to hold my photos!  But I do have to say, my very favorite section of my photo collection is called “Critters” . . .

 Which is, of course, filled with 90% This.

And This . . .

and This . . .

And This too; some of you might remember my Man Kitty who went missing a few years ago in coyote-infested California.  I’m still waiting for him. 

 But there’s a whole lot more in my Critter Collection than kitties . . .

There’s these guys; they live in the linden tree right outside our upstairs bathroom window — which is where I went to take this picture — they are a riot to watch. Don’t they look healthy?  That’s because they eat like royalty!

This baby bird fell out of his nest, in the garden next to the porch of our California house . . .  Joe has him in his hand.  I think he looks very confident for such a little critter.  We put him back in the nest and the momma acted like she never knew!

And one of my favorite photos ever, of this little worried kitty we saw at the animal shelter.  It was already spoken for, or it would be MINE right now!  Those little eyes!  Poor baby!

Speaking of eyes, this beauty is in a meadow at the parent’s house of my friend Rachel in Jolly Old England.  I was taking pictures of bluebells and he came running over to see me, right up next to the fence.  Adorable.  Más Musica.

There’s a pet supply business in a barn on Martha’s Vineyard called Little Leona’s (I’d give you a link, but it looks like they don’t have a website).  It’s in Vineyard Haven, you should go there if you come here — my favorite part of it is that they have critters, you can get up close to; this little pony is one of them.

As you know already, my Critters File is full of  photos like this female Cardinal — birds in all seasons taken from our kitchen window.

But you never saw this before!  We think he’s a baby hawk peregrine falcon (thanks girls!). He came to our California house one spring day, sat up on this roof long enough for me to race in for the camera — he just posed and posed, I’m this close to him, no special lens at all … he’s banded too.

Pretty wonderful.

This is wonderful too — it’s Sugahpus, my girlfriend Annie’s adorable cat with the two tiny white teeth I love, she’s in my Critter section too.

Along with these friendly girls who live next door to my house in California.  Every time I go out for a walk they rush up to the fence hoping I will bring them a treat.  You can tell I’m pretty dependable that way.  They aren’t as bright as they look, and they are capable of a very nasty type of spitting, but if you know them and they trust you, they have a sweet streak a mile long.

Even photos like this are in my Critter file.  Just in case you never got one, if you need an Owl Bookmark — here you go! 

Three bunnies at Little Leona’s.   Want.

Back to Rachel’s parent’s house we go . . . their sweet and I mean SWEET, loveable, and very friendly sheep!

And this little chirper, on the back deck of my California house — had to go get the camera when I saw this cutie!

England was filled with these gorgeous wood pigeons cooing all day long everywhere we went.

Iris, or I-I as we call her . . . she is our neighbor’s dog, whenever she gets loose she hightails it to our house.  Me casa es su casa, perrito. 

Where else would you keep this photo of a wonderful page from a vintage children’s book besides “Critters.”

This is an osprey. He’s not at his happiest at this moment, if looks could kill.  He’s being very gently but firmly held by an osprey handler named Rob we met on the island in a meadow next to the dirt road where we walk — we just happened to run into him when he and his partner were banding this guy with a GPS chip so they can keep track of him.  How lucky I had my camera with me that day!  Now I get a regular letter from Rob telling me where they are, how far they’ve flown — so interesting.

I adore goats.  Love them so much.  Even with their scary rectangular pupils, they are the most wonderful critters.

My sister Shelly is a short-dog lover.  Four of these dogs are hers, the dachshunds and the Snoopie dog — the two Jack Russells belong to my brother Brad.   The little boy is one half of my sister’s precious twin set and possibly part dachshund (waiting for his treat like the others 🙂 ).  It’s a wonderful butterball type of pandemonium at her house.

I always love to contribute a very delicious recipe on my blog when I can . . .  I do not have first hand taste experience with these, but I know for a fact they are very popular in some circles.  And healthy too.

So that’s our little stroll through my Critter File for today … hope you enjoyed it!  I am still in the throes of book writing, but the light looms large at the end of the tunnel.

We have A Fine Romance book mockup!  This is how fat it will be!  Do you know how excited I am?  It’s almost twice the thickness of any book I’ve ever done!  Yesterday I designed the pages that go just inside the cover — they’re called “end papers” — It’s really difficult not to show you — it would be so easy on the computer!  But I want to keep it a surprise — which, for me, takes massive determination!  I’m afraid that if I show you too much when you finally get it, possible yawning could take place.  I want you to go “OH WOW” . . . so you have to trust me, you will like them!  And back to book writing I go …. marching to the end.  Happy doing it.  Wishing you the same.   Remember to hug a critter today! XOXO

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680 Responses to Critters, Springtime and YOU!

  1. Susie (NY) says:

    Loved reading about all the cherished critters! It made my day! I have one of my furbaby kitties laying right next to my laptop. They are never far away…

    Enjoyed the Snowdrops. Oh Spring, are you right around the corner? Prey tell…


  2. Marion Rose says:

    Good evening Susan, A nice surprise to find your Critter blog this evening. We had a flock of Robins in our yard this weekend. It was fun watching them pull worms. I think it is fascinating how they find them. You can tell spring is around the corner, so many of us out cleaning up all the branches and twigs. The smell of the brush burning in everyones yard. It felt good to be out working. Our daffodills are up and the crocus leaves are up, so it won’t be long before the crocuses will be in flower. I think I should have a small vase of snowdrops by the end of this week. You are lucky to have Joe out working in your yard. I loved seeing your pictures of critters. We don’t see brown sheep very often, thank you. I never knew goats had rectangular pupils! You always keep us informed about a lot of things. Can hardly wait till your book is finished and in our mail box! Seeing the thickness of it, it will keep us busy reading for a while. I think your artwork will be fabulous! Thank you for the Owl bookmark! Good night my friend

  3. Nancy says:

    Love the pictures of Man Kitty and the sweet little kitty…..and Jack in the tub! I still want to hold Girl Kitty! I surprised my husband with a lemon meringue pie today…..I made the crust from your recipe in Heart of the Home…..the BEST pastry! It is so light and flaky…..thank you…..and Ray thanks you! 😉

  4. I have to say, that little pony and the bunnies are my favourites. We’re animal-less at the moment. Once our little granny of a Yorkie passed away and the turquoise blue budgie went and lay down in the corner of his cage to give up his little ghost a few months later, our house went quite silent. I love the kitten picture and would be tempted too, except that my husband and daughter are seriously allergic to cats, so getting one is out of the question. For now, I’m contenting myself with watching the birds at the feeders outside my window.

    • sbranch says:

      We are kind of surrounded in them, free animal viewing!

      • Faith rose says:

        We are too! One day I was on the computer and I looked outside and there was a huge turkey with its feathers all spread out ! So beautiful ! It was around Thanks Giving too!

  5. Carrie says:

    Just an after thought…Charleston near Lewes in England would have a rather delicious symmetry as a venue for one of your “England” based book signings. Power of + thinking that you will do a book signing in England; this American would travel over hill and dale for that just like the fans (Dead Heads) of the “Grateful Dead”. We would follow your tour on the Island. Annie Leibovitz was at Charleston the day we visited last May as part of a conference. I’m hoping to hear the National Trust jumps to such a great pairing, maybe Cunard will follow.

    • sbranch says:

      That would be a dream come true, Charleston! Maybe Next Spring?? Yikes to even think about it!

  6. Mary from NJ says:

    Such a beautiful posting as always! We are “empty-nesters” as far as the children have left the nest…but my camera is filled with my critters—our own short dog–tri-color corgi named Spencer and our 2 kitties-Muffin (looks like Girl Kitty) and Emily.
    I looked out our breakfast room window this morning to see 2 beautiful brilliant red male cardinals by the birdfeeder—and to my shock—a beautiful female cardinal lay dead nearby on the ground :'(
    I do love your photos of your critters. And family. And flowers. And the moon. And Martha’s Vineyard….xoxo
    Over at the Beekman Boys 1802–they have daily photos of baby goats being born–it’s kidding season! They are so cute!

  7. sue says:

    How do we contact you to do a book signing at our quilt guild? We are a guild of 150 members (with two other large guilds nearby) and are located in the northeast. Please let me know. We would love to have you visit and show your new book!

    • sbranch says:

      Can I email you at the womenscircle address here? I do love quilt guilds!

      • sue says:

        Absolutely email me at my posted email address.
        We would be so excited to have you. You mentioned Nov. or Dec. December would be great. We can turn it into a a High Tea Christmas party! English style of course!!!! I spoke to the program chair for the guild and she is over the moon about having you! It would be great to do other guilds in the area too. I would be glad to provide names and email addresses.
        Contact me! We are about a 3 1/2-4 hour drive from Martha’s Vineyard. Straight on the Mass Pike.

        • sbranch says:

          Are you in Maine or New Hampshire or? I’ll get in touch Sue, thank you for such a nice invitation!

          • sue says:

            We are located in Kingston, NY, south of Albany. You take the Mass Pike to NYS Thruway, 4th exit south. Lots of people from here vacation at the Cape in the summer, so 4 hours should do it.
            It’s the Hudson River Valley, very pretty area.
            There are 3 other big guilds nearby too.
            Lots of ladies in the guild are BIG Downton Abbey fans and love anything English.
            PS: I absolutely adore your books and blog!!!!
            Hope, hope , hope you will come!!!!!

          • sbranch says:

            Such a pretty part of the country! We’ll get in touch, just as soon as the book is finished, I’ll start figuring out a schedule! Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Can I email you at the womenscircle address here? I do love quilt guilds!

    • sbranch says:

      Can I email you at the womenscircle address here? I do love quilt guilds!

  8. Vicki Smith says:

    In my younger years I loved to read Gladys Taber’s welcoming the seasons as they marched so merrily into our lives. You so beautifully do the same today for your readers. Thank you for your insight and your way of allowing us see, smell, and feel the world through your eyes. Love the critters too!

  9. Rachel says:

    Lovely photos! I agree, the first thing I said when I saw your ‘hawk’ is “oh look, a Peregrine falcon!” He is a beauty!
    And the book mock-up… it looks awesome! I am SO looking forward to reading the book 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      That’s one more reason I love this blog — I didn’t know! And now I do — I changed it too — Thank you!

  10. I adore this blog because my heart is always opened to ANIMALS. I have always said that the Lord has entrusted us to love and care for his creatures and HE isn’t pleased when one is mistreated. I hug Smokee every single day mainly because he hugs me first…he turns his head sideways when he hears hug which just warms my heart. OK, now I’m not judging but your two squirrels could use W.W.?? just sayin….I agree about goats and I think they just have a wacky sense of humor…once when Angela was a very small child I took her to a greenhouse that had 2 goats and several chickens in the backyard. Well, Angela also a big animal lover and I go out there to show her the goats and all of a sudden this rooster jumps on the back of this old goat. You could tell this went on regularly and I guess the old goat had his fill because he walks out of the shelter and Angela is just giggling well there was this one strand of barbedwire and the goat walked under it and you guessed it….that wire snatched the rooster off and I gasped and Angela was so upset so I’m trying to rush her out of the area and saying “he’s fine honey”??? was he I do not think so!!! I will say the look on the goats face was priceless. Animals only want to be loved and treated with respect and that isn’t to much to ask in my opinion. Susan, if you would of adopted that sweet “wondering” kitten….does that mean that Jack wouldn’t have happened?? I can’t imagine you missing out on not having him in your life and home….can you?? I think everything happens for a reason….Jack always has the look of surprise or amazement on his face….which will always keep him forever young. Thank you for this blog and all the support and love you give to all the creatures we have been blessed with….I was called the “Ellie May” (Beverly Hillbillies) of our small town….I took in every stray (even the scary ones) and you can tell the heart of “people” by how they treat an animal.

    • sbranch says:

      I know it’s probably obvious — but what is W.W. for the squirrels?

      • Kirsten Wichert says:

        I’m just guessing, but I think it’s Weight Watchers!!!LOL

        • Kirsten Wichert says:

          I hope Deborah Heater doesn’t mind that I butted (we were talking about goats) in. I just want to say ditto to her comments. It’s close to what I would have said in my comment, she saved me the time. I guess many of us are kindred spirits! I really did love your photos!!

      • Weight Watchers? 🙂

      • Julie Marie says:

        Hi Susan, I am guessing Deb means “Weight Watchers” for the “WW” for the squirrels!… they are soo “fluffy”!…

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Weight Watchers?

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        By the look of them, my guess would be “Weight Watchers…” :>)

      • Jack says:

        Sue , do you think maybe WW is a reference to “Warm Weather”?

        • Jack says:

          PS — we are getting perfect grape-growing weather right now — like 38* at night and 80+ during the days — this year’s harvest is going to be fantastic for our vineyards around here. They have a number now and even the College planted a huge area below our old house on the hill.

          • sbranch says:

            That will be nice — local wine!

          • Linda Pintarell says:

            Jack – visited the wineries in your area last October. It was a wonderful day! My Auntie Pop and Uncle George are buried in the Clarksdale cemetary and lived in Cottonwood for most of their lives. Visited there too. Lovely area.

        • sbranch says:

          Like it! 🙂

          • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

            80*!!!! Oh wow! How I would love that here in Eureka! Of course, we couldn’t stand the humidity though. But, I’m a warm (hot) weather gal and it’s NOT like that here.

      • I knew when I hit send there “might” be some confusion as to W.W. = WEIGHT WATCHERS!!!! haha I will start listening to my intuition when I write comments after this. Maybe not making their food sources so plentiful will encourage them to get out and forge for their food vs having it served on a wooden platter?? LOL

      • Collette T. says:

        I think WW might be Weight Watchers. : ) Happy, well fed squirrels.

      • Maria in Long Beach, CA says:

        W.W. = Weight Watchers?

        My favorite pics are always of your two kitties. Jack always has that “I’m busted” look on his face. And Girl kitty really, really looks like a girl…i mean in such a human way. She’s beautiful. A cat supermodel 😮

        • Maria in Long Beach, CA says:

          Oh…and my husband rounds up our three cats every(early)evening. Even in Long Beach, the coyotes roam.

          • sbranch says:

            Amazing! Mine weren’t allowed out at night … The last time Man Kitty was seen was 10 am, he was outside, and that’s all we know. But our house is really in the country, no near houses, so … some car driven by a kindhearted person probably drove by, fell in love with his beauty, and now they make him shrimp and lobster dinners every night.

        • sbranch says:

          Her serene royal highness.♥

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Gosh–you mean the rooster was beheaded???!!!!

      • Shhhh….I did go back after I had my Mother watch Angela, and the poor thing was still on the ground so I’m thinking he was seriously injured….but not “beheaded”…honey, you have been watching to many historical movies?? I told the people in the greenhouse what had happened and that they might want to check on the rooster. I’m a little weak when it comes to any blood or an animal being hurt….I’m going to believe that he was “in shock” and lived a good life staying far away from the old goat??

  11. Nellie says:

    Your critter pictures remind me of one of our daughters who has five horses, eight chickens, two dogs, and two cats! She has some wonderful pictures, too!

    I especially like your pictures of the kitties. So precious!

    Most exciting news about the book! I can hardly wait!

    Have a good week!

    xo Nellie

  12. Karen says:

    Thank you Susan for the OWL critter bookmark. A colleague at work has quite a thing for Owl’s so I am going to surprise her with the bookmark has a gift. I’ve printed two and will glue them back to back to make it sturdy and cute from both sides. So fun to find just the right thing for someone, isn’t that true?

  13. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    It made me so happy today to find a brand new blog….and one that was filled with adorable animals! I can’t tell you how heart broken I can become so easily these days about what is going on in our animal world, and I sometimes feel like I have to connect with others who pamper and lavish attention and love and care on their pets…or even those that sit just outside our windows. Thank you for sharing. I live on a cul-de-sac, and all of the neighbors are very friendly and we stop each other frequently to chat, and everyone also has pets. One of the biggest joys is to hear and see our little rascals out and about. Every so often someone’s dog “escapes” and goes visiting….or I will hear that one of my cats has shown up at someone’s door…..or there is a territory dispute. Usually it is “Rocky”…who looks very similar to Girl Kitty. My cats begin to growl and get very grumpy when they spot him lazing under one of “their” bushes or trees. Anyhoo… is a happy place when there are little critters!
    I wanted to reach out and grab the new book when I saw how wonderfully fat it is going to be….I don’t know how I am going to be able to be patient long enough for it to be completed! How can you stand it?! 🙂
    We are experiencing a beautiful beginning for March here in WA….sunshine and clearish skies, and 50’s-60’s. I cannot wait to be able to be outside watering and gardening…..I can feel Springtime in the air!
    Have a wonderful week!

  14. Arlinda says:

    I’m a critter lover too!

    I loved the pictures of ever single one. Especially the one of Jacques (as we affectionally refer to him at my home). He’s handsome and so distinquised with that “moustache.” :{)

  15. Victoria Miller says:

    Oh my, Susan! Another wonderful post. This blog must be one of the most perfect places to visit on Earth! And I agree, how magical is the web! On FB, Col. Chris Hadfield sends photos throughout the day of different places on earth, from 250 miles up in the sky! Amazing! Your critter photos are wonderful, as are the critters. A frog and pony show, with many other guests! A world of critters. Around here we have racoons, opossums, skunks, squirrels, many birds and hummingbirds, and cats stop in and pay visits. One of the neighbors has made a ‘pet’ of a skunk and calls him ‘Skunky’. Working in the yard one day, he felt something brush his leg, and thinking it was his cat he reached down and began petting it. Then he glanced and saw it was a skunk! The skunk has lived in the yard for a couple of years, and is generally congenial. However, last summer it brought friends who proved a bit troublesome. One day I was sitting at the table in the backyard reading a book with my feet stretched out and propped on another chair. I got that ‘feeling’ I wasn’t alone, and glanced down to see an opossum shading itself beneath my legs. I jumped and the opossum took off. Friendly critters around here. It’s hard to believe your book is nearly done and on it’s way. A Fine Romance. And your clip of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers set me off on a watching Fred Astaire films: tonight it’s Funny Face where he partners with Audrey Hepburn. They are renovating our building with us in it, and life is a bit crazy lately, but you can only be cheered by these wonderful old films. And your blog…joy on a page…a nice long lovely, loving page! Thank you for the music, and the critters, and your wonderful book to dream of through these murky pre-spring months. And loved, loved, loved the snowdrops. You could have posted all the photos….

  16. Sarah says:

    Love your hawk pics. I too have a hawk that visits me frequently lately and lets me get right up next to him to take his picture. He is gorgeous. I wish I could send you a picture of him. I’d love to see your artistic rendering of his feather patterns! I hope he’s eating lots of mice and snakes before they decide to get close to my house! 🙂 Looking so forward to your book. 🙂

    • Jack says:

      Our hawk seems to live on quail as I have seen it go after them several times — we have so many, several quail coveys of like 25 or more and many singles coming in to feast on the seed packs. Feeding the birds brings in all kinds but provides a terrific hunting ground for the predators. The quails know when the hawk’s up on the pole and disappear in the brush and rosemary bushes.

      • sbranch says:

        We have neighbor cats who come over to sit under our bird feeders!

      • You think cameras have high powered lenses…nothing to compare to the eyes of the hawks!! The birds, mice, etc. think they are hiding “Mr. Hawk” knows exactly where they are and just picking the right time to swoop down and…..well, we all know the outcome.

  17. Bonnie L says:

    Dear Susan,
    Loved finding your blog today….I am in Iowa to surprise my mother for her 90th birthday and have my computer with me. I arrived this morning from Clearwater where the Robins flew through the end of January! Such fun to watch them…all the while wondering if they know they may be too early up north?! But they seemed determined to keep going! So as I was reading your blog and toward the end you mentioned the large light looms….it’s you and Joe on the train stopping for the book signings! We are thinking of traveling out west this summer so I am hoping and praying that I will be near enough to meet you. But for now just hoping the weather doesn’t prevent me from going on to the birthday party! XOXO

  18. Cindy Holshouser says:

    This is unrelated to this post, but I had lunch at The Secret Garden on Friday and told the owner about your book signing. She (Elizabeth) said that if you happened to come to Sumner, WA she would be honored to host a book signing and said she would have a Susan Branch Buffet with tea:)

  19. Julie Cardenas in Murrieta, Ca says:

    loved all the critters, but mostly was cracking up over “finally out of the bathtub”!!

  20. barbara miller says:

    every critter deserves to have his day! I call my local pair of squirrels fred and ginger because they seem to dance all over the yard together. we had 3 bunnies years ago called marigold, sweet pea and ella fitzbunny.
    I hope you consider a book signing in Portland Oregon. you would be made to feel at home! think about it ,please.

    • sbranch says:

      Love those bunny names! We have Portland on the list too!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        could you put Medford on the list, its closest to where i live instead of a 6 hour drive to Portland???? Medofrd is a great lil town, lots of friendly folks and some good places to see. believe me i would be out there in a heartbeat.

        • sbranch says:

          I did it Pat!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            YAY!!!!! 🙂

          • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

            I would go to Medford as well. Only around a 4-4 1/2 drive from Eureka. BUT, we just heard yesterday that an offer is coming in on our house today. CAN’T WAIT!! Now hoping the offer is reasonable…. not like last time. That being said, Susan, remember when I mentioned Kennewick or Spokane for a book signing? Yes!! OR could even be in Seattle. That’s across the mountians, but hey, it’s close enough for me to travel.

          • sbranch says:

            How’d it go with the house?

          • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

            Sad to say, but the house didn’t go through this time. The guy was looking for a way cheaper one I guess. Some good interest from another showing though. Also had another showing yesterday so things are picking up. The timing will be right when God says it is I think. But still…..

          • sbranch says:

            It will happen, sorry about the one that got away. Just a matter of time . . .

  21. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Thank you for the great pictures of all the beautiful critters. My poor kitty Samantha went to the vet today with lots of matted fur,and came home with the “lion cut”. Good thing it’s not too cold in CA or I’d have to put a sweater on her! She’s a Ragdoll and has a huge, fluffy coat. Poor baby.
    I can’t wait for fall, my favorite season and so looking forward to your book. I hope I can see you somewhere to have it signed.
    Happy almost spring!!

  22. charlotte says:

    Susan, thank you for all the critter pics. I loved seeing them. I come here when I can to see the lovely things you share from your world. I would love to see your part of the country some day. The Snow drops are lovely too. I am, rather impatiently, waiting for spring.

  23. Susan Simon says:

    Good morning, Susan and everyone.
    Loved all the pictures of the animals, and the flowers were beautiful too, but the ones of Jack are just the best. He is Mr. Personality plus, and then some! Those pictures made me smile. I have been in Michigan at my mom’s house; she has been ill with pneumonia and finally improved enough so that I felt comfortable coming home. Please send good thoughts and prayers her way for continues healing. Glad to see all the pictures today; they did indeed make me happy, too.

    Another winter storm forecast for tomorrow; I think the groundhog got his forecast absolutely wrong for us. Oh, well… at least we are getting some of the badly needed moisture to help with the drought here. I think our snowdrops will be a while in arriving!

    I have ordered my copy of A Fine Romance… and I hope that you will make it to somewhere in the northern suburbs of Chicago for one of your book signings… that would just be the best to meet you in person. Seeing the mockup of the book is great!
    Take care, everyone!

    • sbranch says:

      Glad to hear your mom is better Susan!

      • Susan Simon says:

        Thank you, Susan. It was hard to come home, but our grandson’s baptism was Sunday and I did not want to miss that. It was wonderful. Take care!

  24. Jane Martin says:

    Thanks for the owl bookmark. I made one for my best friend as well as myself. She was the one who introduced me to this wonderful blog. Have you ever made a cat bookmark? I would love one with a cat. Jack would be a great model.
    He is such a wonderful spirit lifter. I am go glad you share him with us.

    • sbranch says:

      I have, but I couldn’t find it this morning … will try and get it into a posting soon.

  25. Betty Marie, Pennyslvania says:

    Oh WOW!!
    Earth tv”Venice”, Painting the potrait(amazing),Miss Austen regrets. I had never seen this movie before. Wish she could have known how successful she became.
    The photos are just wonderful! Loved your analogy of the bathtub. It was my first laugh of the day. Now I will go and start my daily housekeeping schedule with light heartedness because you give so much in your blogs. Thanks Susan .

  26. Penny Hoopes says:

    thank you for the OWL bookmark!!! I love all the wonderful bookmarks you post:) thank you:)

  27. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I wasn’t sure how I was going to complete yesterday’s assignment of “hug a critter”, (we are critter free presently) as I was in a beautiful old building at our Camellia Show. Luckily, Clare (our granddaughter, 14) & her family came in with darling Nunsie, a yellow lab, who is a 5 mo. old puppy-in-training to be a guide dog for the blind. Clare (& family) care for him when his “foster parents” take a few days off. Hugs galore from me! I could see ♥s floating around all over as everybody fell madly in love with him, he’s a sweetheart! It’s amazing how many people stop them & say they’ve trained service dogs – aren’t people just incredible?!!!

  28. maybaby says:

    Love the critters! And oh, the Book, the suspense! My sister gave it to me for Valentine’s Day (by printing out the adorable bookmark and wrapping it in ribbon) so I eagerly await the day it arrives on my doorstep. Happy almost spring!

  29. Debbie in Connecticut says:

    Good Morning Susan,

    I had a great day yesterday! I was visiting some antique stores and managed to find your “Girlfriends” book and a banana dish…the ladies at the store were very happy to find out what those pieces of glassware are used for. I gave you all the credit! Have a great week.

    • sbranch says:

      Lucky You Debbie! Those banana dishes are hard to find!

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      I did the same thing a few weeks ago~ (found a banana dish) and ” educated” the ladies at the thrift shop! LOL!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Gosh Lynn–find ME one!!! 🙂 I looked at antique shops when we were in Wisconsin last fall for one, as well as shops here in town and to no avail… 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I hardly ever see them, I think I’ve only seen three in my life!

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          I found mine in a thrift shop! Someone must not have known what it was!! Lucky me ;)! I will keep a look out!

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            It was only $2.50!~ It is not the fanciest looking one but it is pretty!

          • Judy Young says:

            What does a banana dish look like, I don’t think I have ever seen one!

          • sbranch says:

            Usually they are a pedestal dish (but not always) and they are simply a big scoop, open on the ends, you set a bunch of bananas in the scoop. My favorite are the pressed glass ones, although there are some cute ones in milk glass too.

        • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

          I have a pressed glass one but without a pedestal but didn’t know that was still considered one–Duh… 🙂

  30. Erin says:

    Susan, I am mightily impressed with your CAMERA! Do you mind sharing what kind it is?

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a good one, practically a point and shoot! It’s a Canon T2i — about three years old now, I’m sure there’s a newer one.

  31. Angela W in Oklahoma says:

    This was one of my favorite topics…Animals make my heart sing and I’m so happy to see so many girlfriends feel the same. My two feline children are Lindy and Molly and the tub always has a cherished mouse or ball in it…It woudn’t surprise me if Jack does the same at some point. I’ve always wanted a small flock of goats (all girls) and give each the name of a flower…Rose, Daisy, Violet, Petunia, and so on. Thank you for being the hub of all the Kindred Spirits out there! >^..^<

  32. Terri says:

    As always, thank you for your wonderful, inspiring blog! I have been only following since January. My son gave me a B&N gift cert for Christmas, and I bought one of your calendars. I fell in love, googled your name, and here I am and have added all of your books to my wishlist, to buy as I can!
    I especially love your Gladys Tabor section. I grew up reading her books, passed from my grandma to mom to me. When my mom passed away a few years ago, I received those books and rekindled my relationship with her writing. I truly feel that she shaped my life, when I was young and experiencing life through books.
    So I have had a baking compulsion lately and made your Grandma’s Molasses Cookies and the Eclairs. Wonderful!! But I had to laugh when reading this, as I spent Saturday on the internet looking for a dog biscuit recipe, and here you have one!
    Keep up the lovely work, that is so appreciated!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s like a love story, I love to hear how people find each other! So happy to have you here! Thank you Terri!

    • Angela W in Oklahoma says:

      Hi Terri…Welcome!!!…I’m rather new to the the fold as well. Isn’t it wonderful to know that there are so many others out there with such similar interests and pursuits. Susan has given us a gift in that we can come together and learn and share with each other.

      • sbranch says:

        Welcome Angela, it’s a whole world of kindred spirits here, glad you and Terri have found us, and us, you!

      • Welcome Terri and Angela, I’m not the official “Girlfriend” Welcome Committee Delegate; but, just happy you have joined us we do have a lot of fun here thanks to Susan allowing all of us to chat and get to know one another. Be sure you go to the top of each blog where you can “Shop”, get great recipes, read about Susan’s Journey, you can catch up! Oh, Susan’s writing a new book about “our” trip to England and is taking Pre-Orders even though you didn’t get to go it will be a great book to read. I’m done being your PR gal Susan…hope I didn’t overstep just wanted to welcome the newbies!!!! WELCOME

      • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

        Welcome, Terri and Angela!!
        We love getting to know new Girlfriends. It’s so wonderful how Susan’s talents have gathered us all together in such a lovely place! It’s really quite amazing!
        Big, fluffy snowflakes are falling in the Chicago area today. It looks so pretty! Happy Tuesday to all!

        • Terri says:

          Oh! Thanks for the welcomes! Yes, this is a wonderful gathering of like-minded folks. Thanks Ms Branch! I loved your critters and snow drops, and as we hunker down here in VA for another winter snow event, I want to wish for a lovely spring for us all!

  33. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ♥♫ Hello Again Sweet Sue I Just Flew From Your Book~Tour Blog & Posted a Comment & Now Just Finished Reading This Blog…All Your Photos of These Adorable “Critters” I’m reminded of Doctor~DoLittle! If I could Talk with The Animals…♫ ♫ ♫ (& We All Know That We CAN & They Talk Back!) Yay! 😉 I just Filled all My Birdie Feeders & first Thing this Morning My Cardinal was Chirping Happily…”Thank~You Angie(Tink!)” 🙂 He Really was! Anyway…sending SpringTime Pixie~Dust….& Always Warm Hugzzz & L♥ve! xoxo Poof! 🙂 ♥♫

  34. Andi M says:

    On your blogs you have links to other sites. I am always curious and so I check them out. Thank you for showing me Brain Pickings. I opened it this morning to an article about Gertrude Stein and her wife Alice Toklas. It was spotlighting the cookbook that Toklas had written. I had recently watched Midnight in Paris and after was curious about many of the real life characters that make an appearance in Woody Allen’s story, one of which was Gertrude Stein. Your blog has more than once made connections for me. Just like when I read Peter Mayle’s book and than noticed that you offer it for sale on your website. I can’t get over how often this kind of thing happens. How fun for me, thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Fun for me too!

      • Linda Pintarell says:

        Ditto to what Andi said. Loved Brain Pickings and the Gertrude Stein – Alice Toklas cookbook. Same thing happens to me so I keep a notebook next to my computer just to record the fabulous suggestions of our Girlfriends…books, movies, whatever. Love it!

    • Pam Fortune says:

      I have just recently watched ‘Midnight in Paris’ and thoroughly enjoyed it as I have never seen it before.

      • sbranch says:

        How fun, cute idea isn’t it. I am not a huge Woody Allen fan, I kind of boycotted him ever since you know when, but I broke the iron clad rule for this one.

  35. Melissa Quarles says:

    after a horrible weekend with sadness to the max to see all those wonderful critters made my heart sing….didn’t think that was possible…thanks susan for always finding the silver lining.

  36. Peggy Cooper says:

    Good Monday Morning Susan, I wasn’t on the computer to see this yesterday because we had a glorious sunny day here in southern Colorado, so the outdoors beckoned. This morning I took Miss Katniss Everdeen, my little bitty kitty I rescued from the alley about 6 months ago, to the vet for her spaying. I wonder if Abby the Springer is thinking OH JOY, they got rid of the little pest. Did I tell you Katniss retrieves balls and hair bands just like Jack? Never had a cat do that before. I can’t even get 9 year old Abby to retrieve. She always wants us to chase her to get the ball back. Since you love goats, you should check out The Fabulous Beekman Boys website. You’ll find lots and lots of baby goats there. Happy writing Susan, and though you are busy, don’t take too long to treat us to another post. I know I speak for all the girlfriends when I say your posts are always a highlight of our day.

    • sbranch says:

      OK Peggy, I’ll be better about it the moment I get this book turned in! That’s what’s been slowing me down lately, sorry. Love the name of your Kitty … Katniss, so cute. Hope she’s feeling better today!

  37. Jack says:

    CAMERAS– seems they have developed many new models of Canon Cameras –
    Like Sears shows 14 different models in their AD and the prices go up into the
    Thousands — however there is a model #T4i , rated five stars ,for about $650.00 that
    appears to be something the average camera buff could use to do a great job!

    • Jack says:

      On the News , woman accuses neighbor of training her Squirrel to come over to her yard –“- to destroy her flowers ”
      Dam smart squirrel !

      • sbranch says:

        LOL, I need to get me one of those squirrels! Send him on missions. Grocery shopping maybe.

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          LOL!!! Hahaha! I like grocery-shopping… but I loathe dusting… so I want my squirrel trained to dust. His tail should come in handy for that! :>)

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        I think I need to get one of those smart squirrels, too. I can think of all kinds of things he could be trained to do!!!!

        • sbranch says:

          And so little and invisible almost, easy to slip in and out of tight spaces!

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          I need a “smart squirrel” to find all the things I misplace! ~They hide their stuff and seem to have no trouble finding it!!

          • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

            Perfect idea, Lynn! I’d love one, too!

          • Lynn, then my squirrels aren’t of the smart variety because I’m always pulling baby oak trees out of my flower beds that are nowhere near the mother tree.

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            Cathy your squirrels are blonde! Ha ha~ so am I!!!

          • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

            I saw the cutest cartoon last fall ~ a squirrel was very busy, burying nuts in the yard and leaving post-it notes to remember where he buried them!

          • judi says:

            Lynn, I’d second & third that! Always looking for something:)

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Pam, lay a piece of chicken wire just under the surface of the soil after you plant your bulbs and those squirrels will leave them alone! 🙂 And have you girlfriends considered that the squirrels planting little oak trees are really brilliantly smart as they are simply planting a new crop of oak trees and don’t acorns, which squirrels like to eat, come from oak trees???

        • Ahem, excuse me Pat just found your request for a SQUIRREL (you do know they can wreak havoc) curious; but, a precious kitty has scary eyes and sends fear through you??? Just sayin…..{:~D

        • Holly says:

          First of all let me say I am an animal lover, used to have a herd of goats and herd of cats in my barn, I even think squirrels are cute. But I can’t help thinking they are chubby rats with a bushy tail! Terrible I know. I do enjoy watching their antics on the electric lines though!

          • sbranch says:

            LOL, I think of California ground squirrels like that too .. but these squirrels here, they’re pretty cute. Like Sequoia National Park squirrels, which win for cutest of all!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Holly–our two schnauzers think the same thing: Squirrels are simply chubby rats with fluffy tails!!! LOL! 🙂

        • Hi Pat, I’m responding to your comment further down about the squirrels being smart about planting new oak trees for future acorns (there is no room left to “reply” under that comment)…..I see your point. I guess, then, I have to arrange a “gardening” class for them to show them that the locations they choose are not conducive to survival since THIS gardener (me) oversees what stays and what goes in the garden! While I’m at it I’ll show them where I’d prefer for the daffodils to be, too. I like that the daffodils are getting spread about, but really, my Squirrel’s sense of design is rather scatterbrained! Don’t they know you should plant in groups of three at the minimum?

        • Terri says:

          I have smart squirrels. My inherited cats are “porch cats”. They do not like to come inside, so I have a whole feeding/sleeping station set up on the porch. Well the squirrels love the “kitty crack”, as a friend of mine calls the kitty kibble.
          To prevent territory wars, I put nuts out for the squirrels in another part of the yard. Well the squirrels bring the nuts to the porch and leave the shells in the cat food bowls. Yeesh! Guess they showed me!!

        • Hi Pat, I’m responding to your comment further down about the squirrels being smart about planting new oak trees for future acorns (there is no room left to “reply” under that comment)…..I see your point. I guess, then, I have to arrange a “gardening” class for them to show them that the locations they choose are not conducive to survival since THIS gardener (me) oversees what stays and what goes in the garden! While I’m at it I’ll show them where I’d prefer for the daffodils to be, too. I like that the daffodils are getting spread about, but really, my Squirrel’s sense of design is rather scatterbrained! Don’t they know you should plant in groups of three at the minimum?

      • Hi Jack, if one of Susan’s “chubby” squirrels would go over to a neighbors garden they wouldn’t even have to dig and rip the flowers they could just sit on them and do some damage?? HA I doubt if they would have the energy to come down from their haven to exert that much energy!! Squirrels are just characters I once had one that everytime I would plant flowers and have my garden all setup the next morning the flowers would be dug up and just laying there? I put rocks around them to discourage him and no such luck they were still dug up with rocks moved!!! UGH Nature is their home and we live in their environment so I just try to remember that even when they dig up my flowers. Hope you are well and enjoying your wonderful warm temperatures this Winter!! Blessings

      • Pam Fortune says:

        I have squirrels that live in my small wood and they come into my garden and drink from the bird bath and then dig up my spring bulbs, always with one eye on my patio doors looking to see if I am going to chase them. They seem to have eaten a lot this year as I don’t seem to have many daffodils peeping through. Hey ho!

    • sbranch says:

      I think that’s probably the newer version of mine.

  38. Wendy Louise says:

    What a lovely critter, nature, love, Susan Blog, to come home to from a sisters weekend on Cape Cod. Everyday was full of fun and love and now HOME to reality that is still full of fun and love ! How does it get better than this? Well, SPRING is just around the corner I can smell it, but, I am still under six inches if snow! Then the light outside tells me and day light savings time is next week, WOW ! Susan you are almost done with your book, I bet you are relishing every little bit left to do because what a wonderful labor of LOVE ! What a great thing for all of us to look forward to and it is so thick and juicy, I can’t wait to read it !
    I have bunnies that live under our shed and I see them all the time when I take the garbage out. They made the neatest tunnel thru the snow and made a little place for their potty- good for the garden ! Last year they had babies and we got to watch them grow. The only part about nature I don’t like is, they kinda disappeared and I wonder if the Red Tailed Hawks nesting above in yonder tree had anything to do with it ? 🙁 I like to think they went out on their own and are making their own new homes! My neighbor next door has a pet rabbit “Mocha” and he looks just like Peter Rabbit. When we (my daughter and I) house sit for them we get to go in his room (yes his own room) and sit quietly and he visits us, sits in our lap, sniffs our noses ! Oh he is the best little bunny. Rebecca his owner takes such good care of him. Animals are so great for children ! And grown ups too ! Enjoy every last bit of your book writing, you special, special person ! 🙂 oxox Wendy Louise

  39. Cyndi in NC says:

    I am a critter lover too. The Snowdrops were great. I have Grape Hyacinth in my flower garden right now. I will have to try Snowdrops again as I love them too. I live on 3 acres and have deer and fox and raccoons and all manner of wild animals walk through the yard. I even had 7, yes 7, wild turkeys a couple of months ago!! Jim and I were so suprised and couldn’t get the camera soon enough and then couldn’t get it to focus on them and not the trees. But it was fun to see them. I’ve lived here 12 1/2 years and that’s the first time. I have to tell you also that my daughter and grand dog made it home from Okinawa, Japan Saturday night at Regan National Airport!!!!! They were tired, it was cold and Jenna couldn’t hold it in her kennel so they both got baths/showers at the hotel, something to eat and both felt much better! Thank you to anyone who was my post where I asked for prayers that Jenna make it home with Katie!! I was praying hard myself!! Can’t wait to get the book!!!!!!! I know I will not get much of anything done when it gets here so I’ll have to make sure the house is in order and put something in the crock pot so we’ll have dinner, maybe with left overs for the next day!! *L* Take care all!!

    • sbranch says:

      OH I’m so happy Katie got home — and Jenna too! Together! Wonderful.

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        That’s great Cyndi! Have a wonderful visit! Hope the snowstorm steers clear of you all… :>)

  40. Patsy says:

    Gotta love those critters! My cameras are filled with criter pics, not many humans but that’s okay. Oh, and thanks for the introduction to Brain Pickings. I didn’t know it existed and now I am hooked.

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

    good morning susan, hello girlfriends. sorry i haven’t been around much lately, been sick with a bad chest cold. almost over it just wish the coughing would finally stop and let me rest. love all my lil critters and i’m already out there encouraging the hens to start thinking about eggsitterin’, wants nests full of baby chicks this spring, also want the turkeys to consider eggsitterin’ as well, we have a new turkey in our lil flock. seems our wild one, duchess, is now bringing friends with her and she brought along another girlfriend for tom tom, our male turkey. he is in heaven. and since march thru april and may is turkey mating time, we are encouraging him to get busy and start getting these girls in a eggsitterin’ mood. he is ready, i hope they are. be nice to have baby chicks (peeps), turkeys and ducklings all about the barnyard this spring and summer. looks like me may also be adopting a goat or 2, male and female nubians. they are small and awfully cute. i know the fire dept here sure likes our critters, at least once a month they get the turkey parade and the tractor and lawn mower brigade are starting their springtime runs up to the gas station for fuel. i know spring isn’t too far away now when they start the lawn mower parade each week. soon it will be time to put the rocker out on the front porch and watch the parade go by during the long lazy summer months…..i look forward to it. off to go feed the big birds and check on the ducks…we got them a new pool and its deeper and bigger than the kiddy pool they had, so the ducks are now in 7th heaven. have a great day everyone. hugs…… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      You too Pat! Thank you!

      • judi says:

        Pat, hope you’re feeling better. Love to hear about all your “critters” 🙂

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Me too, Pat! I’m always looking for your name here too – and for more news from your very busy farmyard life… So glad you’re feeling better! :>)

    • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been sick. I was wondering if that were so when I didn’t see you on the blog, as you write in each time. Glad to hear that you are on the mend.

      Take care,
      Carol M

  42. Deborah Norling says:

    Susan…You and Girl Kitty have the same eyes…wise and calm and peaceful….Thankfully…You and Jack do n o t have the same eyes..!

  43. Winnie Nielsen says:

    The critter photo parade was just the best! Animals are so incredible when we get a chance to see all of their glorious details up close. To look into the eyes of anything is almost breathtaking. Very often I find myself caught starring for as long as the critter allows. The colors, the physical details, the faces!!!

    This year, we have a family nesting for the first time in a sweet little pottery birdhouse hanging on our porch deck. For 4 years nobody has deemed it live able . Now, a pair of Carolina Wrens are busy. There is nothing sweeter than to see the little house lightly swinging as they come and go. What a gift that they chose my porch to raise a family this year! Springtime is so much fun and full of surprises!!

  44. Asha says:

    Good Afternoon Susan! LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog! Was sooo happy to see all the animals. I love goats too! Not sure why – they seem to really have personality! Jack is so adorable. My kitty used to climb in the tub to drink after I would shower. I miss that – she is in kitty heaven now. The Snowdrops make me yearn for Spring. We still have about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Won’t see flowers until probably April! Thank you so much for the owl bookmark. I cherish all your bookmarks and print them out as soon as I get them. You are so right about the computer. I would probably never have met you dear friend, if is wasn’t for this blog! You are a very special person, Susan. Thank you! Talk soon!

  45. Love all your animal pics Susan, did I ever tell you I saw a black and white kitty at our local animal shelters web site with a half mustache? He was so adorable! We had just adopted our Sammy, beautiful black like your friends cat only short hair, or I would have run out to get him! Don’t you just love snow bells? Ours have been out for a couple of weeks, need to go out and separate them so I can get more!
    Hugs and blessings,

  46. erica says:

    Greetings Susan!

    Of course with 3 dog critters of my own, and a lover of feathers, fur and otherwise, (but not snakes) this was a great visual presentation.

    Regarding your most accurate reference with computers being miraculous, and the link for the painting….well….oh my gosh! A-mazing! How’d he DO that?

    I can easily visualize you laying tummy down on the damp grass, with your camera focused on the snowdrops…your senses awakened by the ocean air and deep smell of mother earth. I’m thinking I’m in need of such an experience, y’know? I can assume your energy for life and the process of happiness is

    • erica says:

      ooops! I got bumped…so I’ll finish…

      I can only assume your energy for life and the pursuit of happiness is something that needs to be pro-active. Like getting on your belly on the dirt…and everything else you do!

      ahhhh….you’re such a good teacher, mentor …friend.

      Thanks again.
      Much love,

    • sbranch says:

      Wasn’t that beautiful, the portrait, it was like he was making a living person! Yes, find a reason to lay on your belly in the grass, even for a moment, it’s good for what ails you. 🙂

      • erica says:

        I know you’re extremely busy Susan, but would you paint a girlie on her tummy, with her freckled nose in an ocean of snowdrops, camera tossed to the side….critters amongst her …in the tree, under a shrub….at her feet, …..a kitten is opposite her, almost in the same pose as her, cautiously stretched out …..sniffing…..girlie is wearing her “Sunday best” but doesn’t care about damp dirt because it’s all so enchanting to her…. I would like that! LOL. Just foolin’I KNOW you’re busy but it is an image that has been with me ALL week! So has that amazing life-like portrait on the video.


  47. Jennie says:

    I’m SO excited to see a book that thick with ‘Susan Branch’ as author/illustrator! That is a curl-up-with-tea-and-scones-on-a-cozy-afternoon-and-READ read! I don’t think any of us will be disappointed, Susan- not to worry! 🙂
    Your critter file was darling, by the way. I had all sorts of happy there along with you ! My own four-legged kitty critter is not doing well today. Seems to have injured his front paw and is curled up in a little nest made just for him. He’s spent most of the day just sleeping. I’m not too worried though as his appetite seems unaffected. 😉
    Have a very lovely day~

  48. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Loved the critter post! Saw my first bluebird of the season today! My neighbor and I had just been talking about them a few days ago and here they came! Your print of the animals reminded me of pictures in my favorite series growing up….The Bobbsey Twins! Did u ever read those? Such fun….

  49. Kathy Phenix says:

    Wow, this is one of my “favoritist” blogs. I am a critter lover also and each time I scrolled down to a new face, I had to giggle. They are all so precious! Love your sister’s affinity for “short dogs”. But short or tall, I love them all.
    You certainly do have some handsome squirrels in your tree. Multi-colored and everything. Squirrels in FL tend to be all grey, skinny and too rat like to be appealing. (Plus our dog and cat go crazy when the squirrel runs up and down the screens in our sun room.) When we lived in NC we had some lovely neighbor goats that our friends raised. They were so fun. And we once got to watch a mare foul on Derby Day. Very exciting!! Thanks for taking us on a “critter cruise”. Waiting with bated breath for “our” new book. Thick is good. Love, Kathy

  50. Sue (from Michigan) says:

    Dear Susan,
    How I enjoy your blog! You bring the sunshine to an otherwise greyish day (I need either more thick, peaceful snow or a whiff of green spring air right now).

    Thank you for the glimpses of your book – so eager for its arrival! It must feel spectacular to “launch” it into the world.

    Quick question – Do you mind sharing what type of pan watercolors you use? The colors are so beautiful!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sue — yes I’m very excited to send this book into the world. As for watercolors, I use all kinds, every kind I see, I pretty much get. I use Windsor Newton tubes, and other brands too, and even children’s paint boxes — if I like the colors, that’s all I really care about. There’s a very inexpensive set at Michael’s (I think they’re still carrying it) — I love that one and bought 3 so I could have backups. Have a great day!

  51. Randi Bault says:

    Hi Susan,
    I have made your Dog Biscuits several times and I have yet to meet a dog that doesn’t love them. That’s 5 woof-woofs – which is the highest praise a dog can give you!
    Randi —–<—-<–@

  52. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    Sue, you are SO good at surprising us. I started out thinking “Oh good, more Girl and Jack pictures…” And then what appears but squirrels [chipmunks?], alpacas, wood pigeons, an anxious little kitten, a [temporarily] homeless baby bird, sheep, goats, horses, a pony, bunnies, a frog [toad?], an osprey, a peregrine falcon!. And of course, my favorite 4-legged girlfriend, Iris. Whom, I’ve decided, must have been mine in a previous life. Either that or I was her dog [you never know]. The pony at Little Leona’s reminded me of Merrylegs in “Black Beauty.” Or at least what I imagine Merrylegs looked like. What a wonderful book – and first in a long line of many that’s made me cry. Cloudy, dull, cold day here in the Finger Lakes but all weekend long the weather guys were cautiously-promising slightly-above normal temperatures for this week. All I can say is ‘sign me up!” I am completely ready for Spring to start… but I’ll need to see a robin first because according to my mom, it’s not officially Spring until you see a robin. I remember exactly when she told me that, a windy, warm March day, on the sidewalk in front of our house, waiting for the kindergarten bus… Have a great week Sue and Girlfriends… :>)

    Mar 3 – Nat’d Cold Cuts Day. Mar 4 – Nat’l Pound Cake Day. Mar 5 – Nat’l Cheese Doodle Day. Mar 6 – Nat’l White Chocolate Cheesecake Day [wow – this thing is really getting specific]. Mar 7 – Nat’l Cereal Day. Mar 8 – Int’l Women’s Day!! Mar 9 – Nat’l Crabmeat Day.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s National Cheese Doodle Day? Wow. I don’t even think I know what a Cheese Doodle is! So happy to surprise you Janet, Love to do that when I can!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        What they are is Yummy! You can check out Cheez Doodles at

        PS – I wish I could say I don’t know what they are! :>)

        • sbranch says:

          LOL, I knew they sounded like something dangerous.

          • I just read an article about watching “Fats” in our diets and the advice from the Author was this….”If it taste good…spit it out”!!!! So very true. Janet, my Grandmother loved “cheese curls” what we called them and they had to be the “puffy” ones (Cheetos Brand)…..I think Dad enjoyed the crunchy ones. Now, they come in reduced fat….my experience with fatfree snacks is this….when the fat is removed they load it down with sugar to help with the taste!!! eeww Just eat the regular foods in smaller portions or like the “author” said….spit it out!!!! ha

  53. Dear Susan,
    Oh, I do HOPE you will respond to me as I am new to your WONDERFUL WORLD!! I feel like I have been given a treasure chest and I can open it each day and retrieve new special gifts!
    I wanted to tell you a story about one of my two cats. HE is a boy, like your Jack. One day I was sitting on the floor sewing a hem in a dress, and I dropped the needle with the thread. Sam, the cat, had been watching me though I did not know it. He crept up and pounced on the threaded needle and took off with the thread in his mouth! I chased him and by the time I caught him, he was SWALLOWING the needle!! I took him to the vet and they
    took an X-ray. There was the needle and thread in his tummy! SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS
    later, I brought home my cat recovering from surgery and a plastic bag – inside was my needle with the thread still attached to it!

    • sbranch says:

      Cats! LOL. OK, Jack has a new trick. It’s a really fun one that he has now performed three times. He nuzzles the kitty water I keep on a workbench in my studio, just above my art table, until . . . he knocks the whole thing over, and it goes sliding down all over my table. So far he hasn’t hit anything more valuable than the little scraps of paper I have hanging around, but what a mess it makes. I have to stop every time and spread all the wet paper out to dry. I put away the water, but then Girl Kitty wants some, I put it back out, and try to remember to get it put back away, but I forget. And then BOOM! I think though, I like this better than your cat’s needle swallowing trick! Nice to meet you Jenny! Welcome to the neighborhood!

      • Susan,
        Thank you for responding to me! Jack is a mischievous delight!
        I have always collected your books and wondered about YOU…thank you for sharing your HEART with us!
        I have already ordered a rug and pillow from your shopping site and am looking forward to their arrival.
        Blessings to you and Joe!

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you Jenny! And I’ve always wished for a way to connect with readers/girlfriends, so this is just perfect!

  54. LOVE the photo of your Sistah and the dogs…perfect! I’m betting those doggie treats taste pretty good…human ingredients and everything I’d eat -grin-. I used to have two Pygora goats…Agatha and Esmeralda, The Amazing Goatini Sisters. They were fabulous! I wrote little stories about them…one day, first year we lived here and had no walls (only clapboard) or windows (removed to re-hang the weights) I came into the kitchen, carrying bags of groceries…the screen door didn’t slam shut behind me. I sat the groceries down on the table, turned around and there stood Agatha and Esmeralda in the middle of the room. Their little heads were turning around and ’round…”WOW, Sister, would you look at this? What an incredible barn our Mom has!” I laughed harder than Dave; I think he was afraid I was going to say, “Awwwww, can we let them live inside with us?” -wicked grin-

  55. Mary S. says:

    Thank you sooooo much for sharing your “Critter File” with us!! I love animals of every shape and form and your photos are all so wonderful!! Especially Jack, of course, and the bunnies!!! Oh, my!!
    My sister-in-law used to have goats. There was one baby goat that she bottle-fed on her lap, and even after it got big, it still wanted to get on her lap (I think I told you this already)! Oh, well…
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t had all that much experience with goats, just one who used to live next door to me, but he loved me! Which made me love him back. He had as much interaction with me as any pet I’ve ever had!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        I only have one goat story – but it’s pretty cute and absolutely true. One of my brothers used to keep goats. Once, at our annual Fall clambake, I was sitting inside his renovated barn yakking it up with family over coffee when from outside in the “barnyard” I hear my very excited 5-year old nephew yelling out a sentence I never EVER expected to hear in my lifetime. “Aunt Janet, there’s a goat on your car!!” Mary – the baby goat – was learning to jump… :>)

  56. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    I posted yesterday but it isn’t here. This is what I said in part.
    OH WOW! Earth tv(Venice), painting the potrait(amazing),Miss Austens Regrets. Had have never seen this movie. Wish she has been able to know what a success she became. Plus all the wonderful photos! Loved your analogy of us women fineally getting out of the bathtub. That was my first laugh of the day. Just a wonderful blog. Now I can go and start my daily housework routine with a light heart. Another wonderful blog. Thank You, Susan.

  57. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    Oh my goodness my computer isn’t letting me post . This just a test to see if it will go through now.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes Betty Marie, you are posted!

    • Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

      It did….
      Good morning Susan, I will post what I said yesterday.
      Oh Wow! Earth TV(Venice),painting the potrait(amazing)Miss Austens Regrets, wish she had been able to know how successful she became. Plus all your wonderful photos. Loved your analogy of us woman finelly getting out of the bathtub. That was my first laugh of the day. It felt so good to be able to go and start my housework with a light heart.
      Thank you Susan, it was a wonderful blog.

  58. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Here is what I found about the Robins:
    The vast majority do move south in the winter. However,some do stick around in the northern locations. Robins migrate more in the responce to food then tempature. Fruit is the Robins winter food. Then in Spring they switch to earthworms and insects. While the Robins may arrive when the temps are at 37 degrees,this is because their food becomes avaible,not because the Robin needs warm temps. Robins sing when they arrive on their breeding territories. Sometimes Robins sing in the winter flocks due to surging hormones as the breeding season begins.

  59. Beverly Brewer says:

    Love the sweetest ever animal photos! I used to work with a lady who owned a horse who was “buddies” with a cat. She showed me photos of the kitty on the horse’s back strolling around the corral or the kitty was on the fence post and the horse was nuzzling—so cute. The lady told me that she didn’t think animals judged each other by size or looks, unless it was predator/prey. We have service animals come to the tea room where I work and they are the best behaved “guests”! The owners usually let us pet them as they are leaving, but only after the dog is officially told it is “off-duty” by the owner. I am awed by these wonderful animals that provide such significance, independence, loyalty and 100% love and devotion to their owners quality of life.

  60. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Loved all of your critter pictures!! Your photo collection could be your next book…….a coffee table book of your favorite photos!!! You are soooooo talented with your camera!!!

  61. Sherry Palla says:

    You are very good with the camera Susan! Loved your photos of animals! We have a SNOW DAY off from school today…maybe I’ll go out with my camera too! it’s soooo beautiful. Congratulations on your New book! Keep up the good work! xoxo

  62. Christine DeGraves says:

    Love the picture. Of your friends sheep. What great color haven’t seen one like that what kind of sheep is he? I’ve been. Needlefelting some sheep this Winter and his colors would make a super cute one! Bet he didn’t. Know he would be a Internet sensation. Lol

  63. Deb Surman from Illinois says:

    Good Morning Susan,

    It’s far from spring here in the Chicago area where we’re expected to receive around 10″ of snow. I made sure to take care of all the outdoor critters this morning before the flakes started falling, filling all the bird feeders up and putting out suet cakes for our woodpeckers and starlings. The squirrels are happy with their roasted peanuts and my big 30 lb. black and white fur bag is happily at the picture window, watching the antics of the menagerie and glad he’s a pampered indoor cat ( and only child ) The flakes here are huge and coming down very, very fast and I’m so glad I got the marketing out of the way yesterday. I’ve decided this is pot roast weather, so that’s what we’ll be having today – a beautiful chuck roast simmering with potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, turnips and green beens along with homemade cornbread. Is there any better way to enjoy a snowstorm? I think not. Hope you and Joe are keeping warm – I hear you’ll be getting our storm in a couple of days!

  64. Hi Susan,
    Thank you for the post.
    I love critters…I love your photos.

    I ordered some note cards and A Fine Romance from your site. Great site, very easy to use.
    Thank You!!
    I love your posts.
    I agree, computers and internet…oh, so much fun!

    Thank you,

  65. Jackie Bienemann says:

    Thank you Susan for your critter pictures! So cute, I love taking pictures of birds and deer and we have some very fat squirrels also. How great that you can see them up close and personal. Can’t wait for the book, it looks great! Thank you for the snowdrops also, it is snowing here in Illinois so those looked great to me.
    Have a great day!


  66. Susan Roubal says:

    Such a fun post, loaded with fun pictures. I especially loved the pictures of Spring in your yard! It’s still a long way off here in Marquette. At least 4-6 weeks. The musica is one of my favorite parts, too! It usually always draws in my husband to see what I’m doing. 🙂

  67. Kathie says:

    Fangs are relative. I always chuckle when I see my kitties’ little fangs hanging out a little. They look so ferocious, yes, indeed. Bodecia (our female kitty) stalks around muttering, “I’m a cougar, I’m a cougar. See how my shoulder blades loom up at every fearsome step? I’m a cougar.” I’m reading Taber’s book, “Amber, A Very Personal Cat” and have decided Bodecia is part Abyssinian. I’ve been talking to her about this, telling her I now understand why she “washes” in the water bowl and cleans constantly and loves the high places. You might want to ask Jack about HIS Egyptian ancestors…..that bathtub thing is a clue. Right. Thanks for the critter pictures. We’ve an old abandoned relic house on our block that harbors falcons from time-to-time. They like to show up at the football games in the fall at sundown and fly-by the field a few times. Show-offs!

  68. Jan says:

    Enjoyed your critter pictures. Have many bird pictures I have taken this winter. Warmer here today, mid 40’s. Nice after a very cold weekend. I have some white flowers like the ones in your pictures. My Mom gave them to me, but she called them Snow On The Mountain. Wonder if they are the same thing. Will have to check them out closer when they come up. Thanks for the owl bookmark!

  69. I completely agree with you Susan about the internet. I’m finally embracing it…:). You take the most lovely pictures. Thank you for sharing. Jack in the tub is adorable. ps. Tell your neighbor in California to get alpacas instead of llamas…they don’t spit at you!! 😉

  70. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Hi, Susan~
    Thanks for the tease of the snowdrops! Aren’t they so cute? Little messengers bringing us hope that Winter will indeed give way soon to Springtime. I’ve been trying not to rush the seasons and to enjoy each day, full of beauty of its own….but I think I’m growing weaker…March is such a long month!
    Your blog gives me so much to do while I wait…thank you! I love that I’m learning so much about art and artists! Like John Singer Sargent…Wow! Such detail in that close-up photo of Lady Evelyn’s wrist in a previous posting…that just made me gasp in awe…so, so beautiful! And to think…I hadn’t ever even heard his name before! And the link to David Gray painting a portrait…Amazing! …at least to me!
    Thank you for opening me up to this wonderful, creative, awe-inspiring, artistic world that you live in. It’s really fun to be learning so much..even at my age!

    • sbranch says:

      How great, I just love finding something new to fall in love with! Lucky you! I remember I used to look at his paintings and try to dress in updated versions of the clothes the girls were wearing in them. He is so fantastic, there are lots of his paintings at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. If you can ever see them in person, some of them are HUGE, full sized people, his brush strokes are breathtaking.

      • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

        We actually have been considering a side trip to Boston this summer on our way to the cape. I put the museum on my list! Thanks so much for the info!

        • sbranch says:

          You could go to Louisa May Alcott’s House, and to John and Abigail Adam’s house too, also Plymouth Plantation, Plymouth Rock. Just a couple of other ideas.

          • Sandy Richmond in Attleboro, MA says:

            And ride The Swan Boats in the Boston Public Garden

          • sbranch says:


          • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

            Wow! I feel like I have my own travel service right here at my fingertips! Thanks, everyone! Sandy ~ one of my favorite children’s books is “Make Way for Ducklings”…I would LOVE to ride on a Swan Boat!

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            Beacon Hill, Harvard, Quincy Market, the North End, the gorgeous Boston Public Library, Newbury Street… – OMG, you could stay a solid month and just scratch the surface! Favorite place ever – except for home. I MUST have lived here in a past life… :>)

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          I thought David Gray’s work in progress was also Amazing!!! The girls looked SO very real… that at times it almost felt odd to me… and I would remind myself…this is not a magic trick! I took the link to the Boston museum also…and who did I see? But, John Singer Sargents….Madame Gautreau aka Madame X… her violet powder could cover every aristocratic pale inch of skin…..except for her ears, always not pale!
          Quite the scandal Madame X created! And not because of her red ears! How lucky you are Debbie… Boston and the Cape! I was young and in love when I went to Boston….loved every bit! Wish that I could remember more names of places…but…..well….I was young and in love! Someday!!!! I’ll be back….and well…it looks like I may be old next time….and probably won’t remember names of places…but if I am old and in love….well… 😉

  71. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Rhonda D. ~ I’ve been thinking about you and praying that you’re surrounded in a warm embrace of love and support. I will continue to pray for good news as you face your upcoming test.
    xoxoDebbie P

  72. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Hi, Sue Sue!
    Well you brightened my day, I say! Snowdrops are gorgeous! Loved seeing all the critters! Makes me feel Springy and right this minute we are in the middle of a snowstorm!!!
    You know we just cannot wait for “A Fine Romance”! It makes it so very special for all of us Girlfriends that you are planning such surprises and delights for us all! Your enthusiasm in making this book dream come true will always be remembered very warmly by those of us who traveled in your suitcase and walked in single file behind you and Joe along the footpaths and took a little extra time in all the little gift shops!
    Thank you for all the wonderful fun times!
    Better get prepared..looks like you are going to get a storm of your own!
    Cheerio, mate!

    • sbranch says:

      Do you remember that Joe never hurried us when we were in the gift shops? xoxo

      • The dear man had the patience of Job, and the nerves of Steel driving on those thin, curvy roads…..we all greatly appreciate a man that can travel with a very large group of women and remain a Gentleman!!!!!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Yes, he was good that way. Norm is the same and it is a much appreciated trait in a husband! 🙂

  73. Jody says:

    The snowdrops are beautiful! I’d love to see and smell them up close. We’ve been busy lambing at our ranch so there have been lots of critters to tend to. Next up are the baby calves. Spring is fun and busy here.

    Can’t wait to see the book endpapers.

  74. Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    I love this blog, as well as all the others and I do go back and reread..So fun and heartwarming! I have a tech question for you about your art work…When doing your lettering in your books, calendars and such; do you actually use a paintbrush or do you use a pen and if you use a pen, what kind….I understand for the larger text you paint, but what about the smaller text….I would like to know, what you use…..very interested in what other artist use in their work….So fun to exchange art ideas too!!!! Thanks Susan…you are a doll! xo

    • sbranch says:

      Anything in color is paint brush — if you see black ink, that’s pen.

      • Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

        Oh thanks Susan for the “art” information!
        Just want to say also….this critters page is so wonderful..I am a dog and cat lover….I have had dogs in my life forever and most of those were Black and White springer spaniels. I have had 5 over many many years. They are loves. The last one, “Sadie” I lost about 5 years after a long long life with her. She was my best friend….Now I have a cat, Dinah, and she is a love. She is the one, who hears the bird flying over your web page and comes running to see the screen!!!! I think she is in love with Jack!!!! Anyway…my life has been filled with critters..domestic and wild….I have 2 squirrels that live here and they bring their extended families into the Garden…they love the horse chestnut trees….I have named them Fred and Ethel…they are overly fat and healthy now…so fun to watch. But I have to say, the advertising for the abused rescue animals on the television, I have to turn off…I cry everytime I see an abused animal..I can’t stand it because my heart is breaking for them. those big eyes that are searching for someone to love them….Oh dear……..
        Enough of that…again thank you for your comment and I am now going back to work on my latest project…children’s book.
        Children and classical music……. So excited about your book and the tour..I certainly hope that you can make it to the Pacific Northwest..hopefully the Seattle area…Would so much love to see and meet you….. Loves from my island to yours! xoxo

        • sbranch says:

          Love to meet you too Susan, I’m pretty sure we’ll get up your way. We both want to. Joe’s never been, so of course that’s added incentive.

        • Hello Susan E., I so agree with you about those ASPCA Commercials set to the sad songs….I watch them because if we don’t I feel their message will be lost. I joined their club years ago and then here came pictures of abused animals and I wrote the President of the ASPCA and told him I am aware that animals are abused and did not want to see more pictures that was why I was contributing to their cause. I also told him that the money he was spending to send out these pics could be used for the animals, and if he didn’t stop sending them I would cancel my membership. Well, they continued to come and I did cancel although I still contribute to causes for abused animals. I was at our local grocery store standing in line for a prescription on Monday and I see this precious kitty on a clear container asking for donations for it’s friends (Humane Society), and I’m sure my husband is thinking “Oh no here we go holding up the line while Deborah is hunting for money” (which I was) so as I’m telling the girl my name etc. I’m depositing money to help the little critters. Oh, during Christmas here in IN the commercials for the ASPCA was set to “Silent Night”…it is instant tears looking at all those sad eyes and shaking bodies….Bless their little hearts.

          • sbranch says:

            Those commercials are unbearable.

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            Oh, those ads ARE the worst, aren’t they? Just awful but you’d feel bad turning the channel because – as you said – then the message is lost. They’ve been extra-awful in the past few years I think, or maybe I’m just getting to be an even-bigger tub of goo in my old age. Anyway, they got my old car when I finally had to buy a new one [14 years old and a sunroof that did not leak, it poured!]. And Girlfriends – please consider doing this when you get a new vehicle!! I never in a million years could have written a check to the Humane Society for the same amount as my car pulled in as a donation. A painless and so-helpful way to donate more than you ever thought you could… They even come and fetch the thing! A Win-Win situation for all & especially all the animals… :>)

  75. Marilyn S. says:

    Reading about the squirrel as a duster made me laugh out loud! I love this blog – not only for your wonderful postings but for all of the comments from the “girlfriends”. I usually read each one and enjoy them so much. When we went to Mt. Hood, Oregon, last year we wandered upon a little alpaca farm with the cutest alpacas. I’d never seen one before and they are so friendly – just like jostling shoving children, trying to get to the treats in your hand. Then to buy their wool for knitting – it is just heaven to work with. Snow is finally melting here after two months of not seeing the ground. Spring on the way!

  76. CATHERINE says:

    Dear Susan,
    thank you for your great site. The black and white dog next to the child is a Basset Hound, not a Dachshund. Maybe it’s a mix, but I know my Basset’s ! Just wanted Barney to get included. My father once told me, “they are the only beings that never judge you.” Basset puppies are beautiful, how can you resist those long, velvet ears? Thank you for loving animals!
    On March 5th , we are actually going to get six inches of snow!!! Hooray!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, the Basset is what I call the Snoopie dog, — but his actual name is Schmoopy!

      • CATHERINE says:

        DEAR SUSAN
        thank you for Schmoopy. Out of all the Snoopie dogs they sure drool the most. But worth it. Remember SB fans, one is waiting for you at the Carolina Basset Rescue. (CBHR) Make it a great day!

    • judy says:

      Cathernine, I thought the same thing when I saw the pic. We have a basset–had a beagle/basset–and all of the characteristics are there! Judy

  77. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    More and more you are influencing me to adopt a cat, I always had a house with a dog, two cats, hamster, two budgies, stick insects and a goldfish called Timothy whilst bringing up my three daughters. Now there is just me and I go visit friends and family throughout the year and so I would have to keep putting it in a cattery which is expensive as my neighbours don’t like cats but I am seriously thinking of moving and downsizing so maybe this year I may have a four legged companion to live with me who wouldn’t have to go into a cattery. Loved your blog and all of your photographs and seeing ‘A Fine Romance’ as a completed book. Wow! What’s next on the agenda? It is so kind of you to keep all the girlfriends entertained.

    • sbranch says:

      I still have a few more days before the book is done, can’t begin to think about the future yet! Having cats and traveling is very hard … we are going to have to do that at the end of the year. We have a single guy friend who will stay here with them, the hard part is how much we miss them! But I figured even if we traveled 2 months a year, what about the other 10? No kitty? And that’s what did it for me. My house would not be home without them.

      • Julia says:

        I’m with you, Susan. I travel, too, but I’m home a
        lot more and a house is not a home without my fuzzy
        babies. I just figure it out when I can’t take them
        with me. When I rescued Dolly Rose (beagle) she
        needed a home and I needed a buddy. Good Luck, Pat !
        Maybe you can find one like Worried Kitty – oh, my
        heart ! Want him so bad !

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Most pets get farmed out to kennels, families, friends etc when their “parents” are away. I think it’s great that you have someone to come to your house so as not to disrupt the kitties’ lives any more than necessary. They already miss you, wonder why you’re not around etc. Lucky too – lots of people would love to pet-sit but wouldn’t want/be able to stay at your house too. What a bonus! :>)

        • sbranch says:

          We’re usually gone too long for a kennel. They need to sleep with someone at night is the way I look at it. Someone suggested last time that we leave clothing that we’ve worn, tee shirts and jammies, on chairs and things, so they’d know we were coming back. Not sure if it worked, but it made ME feel better. 🙂

          • YAY!!! I remember giving you that suggestion (or one of them), and it DOES WORK…..I told my sister to do that over the Holidays when she came here to visit for several days…..and her kitty was laying on her tshirt when she went home!!! I think it is your scent that gives them comfort and your kitties know that you will return someday…..I agree the months you are home is so worth having pets in our lives. I have a kitty laying across my lap as I try to type this will my laptop way out on my knee?? ugh she is a creature of habit and has to do this every morning, and has to lay on Jim’s lap as he tries to read the paper!!! Precious…..

          • sbranch says:

            Brilliant idea Deborah … thank you, it gave me comfort knowing I’d done that …. whether they liked it, they aren’t talking, but I did!

        • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

          Same thing here–the image of them curled up in a little ball in a kennel somewhere about kills me. They sleep with us, follow us around, sit and watch us when we are working around the house, and interact constantly. We wouldn’t enjoy being away thinking of them in a kennel… 🙁

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        That is exactly what we say when our friends say they don’t want a dog or cat as they “want to travel”. How many days out of the year to they really travel compared to the joy the pets give the rest of the days when you are home. And having someone come dog-or-cat-sit is a good idea–keeps them in their own home environment and schedule instead of being terrorized being boarded. Norm takes it one step further and says maybe if we can’t take the dogs somewhere with us, we don’t really need to go there. Hmmm…I want to do some more train traveling someday, though, so will need to find a dog-sitter then. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          OR, perhaps, your dogs are designated guide dogs. You can actually do that, and from what I understand, its kind of easy, unless they’ve changed the rules. You don’t have to have any kind of visible problems — you just have to not be able to live without them! That should be easy… slightly crazed without doggies. Then they can go on the train. Not sure if they would think two was one too many or not!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Well, I have a couple of friends who might tell you that I am “slightly crazed” with or without the dogs–or maybe ABOUT the dogs! LOL! Then there would be this problem of teaching them to use the toilet on the train. Oh gosh, you have me sitting here laughing just imagining the whole thing! 🙂 I suppose Norm and I could EACH say we needed our own private “service dog”…Actually, did I ever tell you? When we got Fanny, I used to take my vitamins and BP meds in the morning and then give her a piece of my cereal. She seems to think this cereal is the best treat on earth! So now, if I get up and don’t immediately go take my meds, she “dings” at me (pawing at me, staring making quiet woofing noises) until I think, “What is wrong with that dog?” and remember I need to take the meds! So, she REALLY IS a service dog, right??? LOL! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            That’s right, you’ve got it! 🙂

          • Pam Fortune says:

            Thanks to you all for your feelings, my house goes on the market next week so maybe soon I shall have a new home and a new little companion.

          • sbranch says:

            That’s a lot to look forward to Pam!

        • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

          Of course, we’d have to come up with something for Betti who is oblivious to the cereal/meds going’s-on. She is too busy watching at the patio door for the squirrels at the bird feeders. Hmmmm….I could say she reminds us to fill the bird feeders??? Service dog??? LOL! Have a good day… 🙂

  78. Georgie says:

    Dear Susan! I have NOT forgotten about you and your sweet blog. Critters are sooo Cute! I think I need your help with organizing all of my pictures!

    I think the most precious critters of all this Fall with be the dear little English Lambs in A Fine Romance.

    The mock up of your new book is making me want to reach right into the screen and start reading!

    Keep Painting Girlfriend. We are cheering you on with “Cheerios”
    xoxo Georgie
    Yardville, NJ

  79. Carrie says:

    Good Morning Susan,

    Looks like Phoebe’s other egg is no longer viable in the next, at least that’s what the chat to the right side is reflecting : (

    Just curious, of the many virtues, what is the one most important in a friend? I know there are many but let’s say you had to pick the # 1 most important, what would it be?

    • sbranch says:

      Did you happen to see it the day the lizard came into the screen? THAT was a nightmare. If I was the owner of that nest, I would have flown out of the house to get that critter away, but the attitude is to let nature take its course. Probably the right thing, but it was hard — he looked like a prehistoric monster!

      • Jack says:

        As to your “friend” question — how’d you like “Rapport” for a one word important relationship virtue? Here you have harmony, loyalty and trust — equal values regarding life and all it engenders………

        • Carrie says:

          Thank you Jack. I particularly like, “Here you have harmony, loyalty and trust — equal values regarding life and all it engenders………” Loyalty and trust are essential I’ve found, otherwise it’s like a house built on sand.

          Susan, you are so fortunate to have your copesthetic father to go to for such discussions as well as all the fun and laughter. I’d love another hour with mine.

    • sbranch says:

      The most important virtue I look for in a friend is loyalty.

  80. Sharon Byars says:

    love, Love your blog and especially these critters. Yesterday, our dog walking ladies walked the Bob Jones Trail at Avila Beach. Every Tuesday it is a date. The animals make me think of the Avila Barn open now with lots of baby animals. Next visit taking my camera. So many great photo ops. The photo you took of the falcon is incredible! There are 2 couples that live on each side of our Morro Rock. They are endangered so very exciting to see them alive and well and making babies here. Thank you again for all these wonderful posts!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve walked that many times, past the club over the top to Avila. Eat, go home. Nicest walk.

  81. Mary in Phoenix says:

    Loved, loved, loved the critter post and thought I’d share what I see out my kitchen window here in the desert southwest. I have a quail block on our back wall that attracts a lot more than quail … although they are probably my favorite to watch. Quail mate for the season and stay together to raise their brood ♥. Its so cute to watch a covey of little quail following in a line behind mom & dad. We also get eye-catching cardinals (which is appropriate here in Cardinal football country), hummingbirds, woodpeckers and even roadrunners through the yard. The other morning I woke to see a large owl in the tree staring back at me … and at night we see bats. We have a wash behind our house that is home to coyotes, snakes, frogs, fat chipmunks, desert tortoise, gila monsters, and the cutest cottontail bunnies who come in our yard to nibble the grass. Our 80 degree weather this week is the icing on the cake 🙂 So thankful to be able to share in your critter joy and so blessed by computer “magic” and “connectivity”. Woo-hoo on the book mock-up … how very cool, and how very proud you must be. “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” ― Oprah Winfrey

    • sbranch says:

      My dad lives in Arizona — Cottonwood, you might know, and when he calls we talk about his quail, and all the other things you mentioned, plus, wild pigs! And the hummingbird nest in his garage. You have so much wildlife out there!

  82. Bethany says:

    My critter is a collie who follows me around all day long. She turned this cat-lover into a dog-lover! I’m so excited to see your book almost finished– waiting here (im)patiently for my copy! It’s funny that you mentioned Ree Drumond because her blog and yours are two of my “happy places” and I’ve needed you two a lot these past couple weeks! Thank You!!!

  83. Jenny says:

    I loved every single thing about this post. James Taylor’s voice is like butter – so smooth and delicious, I can never get enough. And then, those snowdrops, and all those sweet critter pix. AND THEN the sight of that book – I cannot wait for mine to arrive in the mail. It won’t be long now!

    Thanks for making me smile.


  84. patti says:

    hi susan,

    just love your blog, it’s so inspiring. makes me stop and look closer at everything and appreciate the beauty everywhere. what a gift you have. thanks for sharing it.

    i have a question that i’ve been meaning to ask. is there a way to search on your blog for older posts? somewhere to type in key words? i often think of something that you have posted and i would like to reread it. thanks for the help.


    • sbranch says:

      I should write this down. Since I never do it myself, I forget how it’s done — sorry, silly I know, but I know there’s a way to do it — and one of our girlfriends will be able to tell you!

      • judi says:

        I have just typed in my search bar, “Susan Branch blah, blah, blah:)” i.e. carrot cupcakes, and it comes up:))) Think you may be able to do it by blog date too.

      • Holly says:

        The way to search on a topic: Into the address bar, behind type + sign, then type subject, then press enter. For example,
        will get you entries about Jack. If the searched for subject isn’t there or can’t be found, a page stating that comes up, and it has a search bar on that page to use for your next search.

        I have to give my incredibly wonderful, geeky husband credit for teaching me that trick!

        • sbranch says:

          I’d like to give him a little credit too! I never heard of that before. One more reason to love the computer, and your brilliant husband!

        • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

          This is awesome, Holly! Thank you (and your husband)!

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            You rock, Holly! I spent at least an hour trying to figure that out last night. Google was more confusing than helpful [I gave up]. But that’s an immensely-helpful tip to know – thanks for taking the time to “comment” it for all of us. And especially thanks to your brainiac husband – you’re awesome too, Mr Holly! :>)

          • Holly says:

            Mr Holly says thanks! He’s just smiling…. 🙂 If I told you how this man has “wired up” our home you be amazed.

            It’s a really cool trick to know, it works on all websites too, making information easy to find.

            I’m happy you all could use the tip!

          • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

            Holly’s hubby, you are the MAN!!!!! Thank you!

  85. Julie Marie says:

    Hello again Susan… just wanted to let you know that my Emma Bridgewater 2 cup heart teapot just arrived and I am in LOVE!… my Jack bought it for me as I had a couple of bad days with my fibromyalgia, and told him I wished I had a teapot (I have a tea kettle but not a pretty teapot) so I could just sit and sip my tea and try to relax… then, he said order it, from him to me!… now, I have four of her cups and my beautiful new teapot!… you ship so fast, I just can’t believe it!… if any of the girlfriends are thinking about ordering anything of Emma’s, I just want to say they are beautiful and so well made… I will cherish my little set now forever!… and I can’t wait to set up my little teapot of Earl Grey and read “A Fine Romance” in the Fall!… don’t want Spring and Summer to fly by, but Autumn is my very favorite time of year, and now for even another reason… your book!… xoxo Julie Marie PS Even the little box covered in hearts is a keepsake!…

    • sbranch says:

      Oh good! I think I know how you feel because I got one too. Pretty darn gorgeous! What a doll Jack is. Please tell him I said that. Oh yes, the Box! Isn’t that funny, I loved that too! 🙂 Sending little winged prayers for you to feel better xoxo

    • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

      Aren’t the Emma mugs precious? I have four now, and want to add to my collection! They are just beautiful. Hubby and I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Tuesday….the theme this year was “Brilliant”, and featured all things British. It was outstanding! One section of the convention center where it was held was called British Village…it was promoted as a British shopping adventure, but sadly, there were only a handful of vendors. I hoped that maybe Emma products might have been featured! But it was a lovely experience…Susan, you would have loved it, but I know you’re putting the finishing touches on our book 🙂 One especially fun aspect of the show was a make-and-take project room, where, for $10, you could design your very own fascionator. Participants then wore them the rest of the day… cute, cute, CUTE!
      Julie Marie, I hope you are feeling better. I discovered your blog through following Susan…although I never posted, I truly enjoyed it and am sorry to see it end, although I understand completely your decision to let it go. I am happy to read your posts here. Have a wonderful spring!!

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      What a pretty tea set that must make!! I’m not much for great honking silver tea sets – but china or ceramic, that’s a whole ‘nother story. Now Emma needs to make a sugar and creamer to go with it! Just beautiful… :>)

    • Terrie from Atlanta, GA says:

      Julie Marie, I don’t know if you will get this message, as I am writing it so late. But I wanted to say HOW WONDERFUL that your husband “treated” you with an Emma Bridgewater teapot! Lucky girl + lucky guy. As a sister-in-suffering with Fibromyalgia, I know how difficult those bad days can be . . . having something to comfort your body and take your mind off the pain (hot tea and a good book) is truly invaluable. Enjoy the gift and your husband’s thoughtfulness!
      ~ Sending you {soft} hugs & prayers . . . Terrie xo

  86. Sandy Forbes says:

    I’ve always had dogs (Shelties) and I’m allergic to cats, but I will say it…I do love your cats! Irrisistible little noses! And my heart skips a beat every time I think about your new book. I’m an endpaper girl…often just as good as the cover! Can’t wait to see yours!

    • sbranch says:

      There’s a really good story that goes with them too, because I had to get permission from a copyright owner for a part of it, and at first they said the very dreaded word, No.

      • Carrie says:

        Could we coax a wee bit of a hint out of you on the endpapers? So glad you were able to obtain permission!

        Still think a return visit to England sounds like a winner, I mean, there must be thousands of National Trust properties left for you to peruse!

        • sbranch says:

          There are! SO much we haven’t seen still, what a treasure trove of a country! Endpapers. Hmmm. Hint. Hmmm. Nope. can’t come up with a hint that won’t give it away! Have to wait Carrie! 🙂

      • Jack says:

        Wow , here I thought end sheets or endpapers were a part of the binding
        Process providing a base for the sewing to hold everything together .

        • sbranch says:

          Maybe it is, or maybe when books were made by hand it REALLY was. Not sure why they have them, sort of something to “frame in” the book I guess.

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          That’s just what I thought too, Jack! Now there’s a tour I’d like to take someday… a printing or maybe book-binding plant [something tells me books are probably not printed and bound at one location anymore]. ?? But wouldn’t that be interesting – start to finish? The metamorphosis of a book, from the moment the author turns in the finished manuscript – to the packing of the printed and bound books in boxes – on their way to bookstores. I LOVE seeing how things are made [translation – I am SUCH a nerd]… :>)

      • Beverly Brewer says:

        Is it a wallpaper pattern? It’s fun to think about and imagine all the pretty possibilities!

    • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

      I always point out the end papers to the children when we read a story! They know that the endpapers hold a clue as to what the story will be about. I can’t wait to see what you chose, Sue!

  87. Ruth Thomas says:

    I am so glad that you let us pre-buy that beautiful book! It must be like having a baby and then sharing him or her with friends and family. I can’t wait to sit and read and look and read and look. Thanking you for sharing your beautiful world with us – your girlfriends!!!!

  88. Debbie Young says:

    I make the doggie treats each year at Christmas…..our puppies just “know” when I’m making them. In the afternoon they come into the kitchen and sit in front of the counter where “their jar” of dog bones are! They are a favorite and a definte tradition!

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

    I put this accidentally on an older posting but wanted to share it with you, Susan, and the rest of the girlfriends who love birds and birdwatching. I tried a new recipe today–for homemade bird suet! Melted lard mixed with chunky peanut butter, oatmeal flakes, cornmeal, flour, and birdseed. You place it in a foil-lined 9 x 13″ cake pan and chill or freeze. (I put it out on our deck!) Then I cut it into squares to fit in one of the little green wire suet feeders. I wrapped the rest of the squares and stuck them in the freezer. Norm hung one out on the deck tonight–will report how the birds like it. Hopefully they won’t all be sitting there tomorrow chirping, “Oh ICK!” LOL! 🙂

    • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

      Let us know if the birds like it. Sounds like a fun project with the grandkids someday.


      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Chris, thus far the squirrels are being driven CRAZY but they can’t reach it! They would inhale it with all the peanut butter. I’ll report on the birds after the weekend…

        • Excuse me Pat, would it be possible since you have a freezer full of “homemade bird suet” that you could possibly find a container that your squirrels could get in where they could taste your homemade goodies?? Driving a squirrel any more crazier than they already are could have horrifying results….just sayin!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Deborah, we have a bird feeder called “The Flipper”. Already have a squirrel that repeatedly throws itself on and goes flying off after spinning around a couple of times. We figure the word is out in “squirreldom” that “The carnival is at Mofjelds now!” So, can’t see providing them refreshments with their rides!!! LOL! 🙂

          • judi says:

            Ha, sounds similar to a potion I used to make. Would spread it on/in big pine cones and hang them on the tree:)

  90. judi says:

    My, you sure have had your share of “interesting” weather this winter. Just checked your forecast and yikes, high winds…and more. Hope you two are with power. Hugs, judi

  91. N. Jean says:

    Happy to see this current blog, the animals are so cute. Have a wonderful day creating.

  92. Anne says:

    I just LOVE Iris’s eyes! They melt this girl’s heart….soooo sweet! Love all of the critters – Thanks! xxoo

  93. Janet from Toledo says:

    My son and I are allergic to cats too yet my daughter was begging for a cat. My husband suggested calling a vet for a suggestion. We apply a few drops of a product “allersol” on our cats food everyday. The vet mixes it up for me. It works beautifully. I was congested a bit the first week or so then no reaction. It is such a blessing having this product. It is only $12 for a 3 months supply. I hope you ask your vet about it. It really works.
    Susan I live in OHio and would like to fly out to San Luis Obispo for the Remnants of the Past show in November to see you. What airport would I fly into and could you suggest someplace to stay for the 2 days? Thanks so anxious to see a book signing. Love your blog and all your books. Own just about all of them.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes Janet, just fly into the San Luis Obispo airport. You can fly to Phoenix first and get a nonstop to SLO from there, which we think is easier than flying into LA or SF (Phoenix is a bit smaller) and then to San Luis Obispo. Here is a link to the Remnants website, look on the right side for “Plan your Trip” — Judy has listed all kinds of good places to stay, and she knows better than I do. If you haven’t been to the area, you are in for a treat, it’s so beautiful.

      THRILLED about your allersol. I have a girlfriend I want to share this with. Is it OK for the cats? And it makes them so people are no longer allergic? What a miracle!

      • Janet from Toledo says:

        I have used “allersol” for 6 years on the cats and they show no ill effects and my son and I are showing no signs of allergies. It is truly a blessing to have such a product then friends who are allergic can visit us with no problems. Thanks for the airport info I will get on the website and plan to see you then.

  94. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    Having so much fun playing with my new MacBook Pro – first stop after doing all the boring registration/setup things just HAD to be here – my virtual home-away-from-home! I think [actually I just hope] I’m picking up things faster than I thought I would… I talked to a lot of Mac owners and they all said the same thing – you will wonder how and why you ever used anything else. Which is EXACTLY what I’m thinking now… :>)

    • sbranch says:

      That’s what I thought too — so much easier than I expected!

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        Love my Macs! And my iPad was one of the best gifts ever from my family~ I can make the type size how ever big I want!!!

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          It’s so much fun I’m on my way now to have a “Mac night” with my 17-year old Mac-expert nephew. We’re going to transfer all my pictures, documents, contacts, music etc – install some new stuff and learn all the shortcuts! And the first bookmark that’s going up is! I want the little heart at the very top of my list! :>)

  95. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Hello Susan * Friday, March 8 @ 12:50 AM

    I’m delighted to be back online and catching up with your lovely posts and of course, the always sweet comments from the girlfriends.

    Hello Everyone!

    I’ve been a bit “under the weather” as the saying goes, with a virus cold infection, and all the usual suspects, sniffles, sneezing, sore throat and sleepless nights. I live on Cougar Mountain, but I’m close enough to Seattle, to say I’m “Sleepless in Seattle.”

    Your recent posts, which by the way I enjoyed, are wonderful…”Chatsworth House”, full of grandeur…”Book Signings for A Fine Romance”, so many exciting suggestions from everyone…and now “Critters and Springtime”, a delight! My favorite photo is Jack in the Tub, who was probably thinking…”a little privacy please”!

    Getting back to your booksigning post…Heidi Rose of Issaquah, lives very nearby, as I am just minutes from Issaquah Village. It’s where I do all my shopping. Cougar Mountain is surrounded on one side by Issaquah and the other by Newcastle. Anyways, Heidi Rose suggested Pickering Barn. I agree, wonderful suggestion. I truly hope the Pacific Northwest will be on your list for booksigning locales.

    My suggestion is: The Country Village (425-483.2250) in Bothell, Washington.
    It’s a quaint and charming country village with many shops, similar to what you’ve told us all about on Martha’s Vineyard. There are meandering trails, waterfalls, duckponds, restaurants, little crossing bridges and it’s home to The Courtyard Hall, where receptions, events, booksignings, dinners, art shows and more can be hosted. The phone number is: 425-402-9818. E-mail:
    If there is anything I can do to help with the contacts, don’t hesitate to ask.

    Your plans to organize and schedule your booksigning events are so exciting.
    So “can’t wait” type of exciting, especially because you and Joe took us along on your England adventure to “A Fine Romance”.

    Congratulations Gail… in California. I’m happy for you.
    What a very lucky girlfriend, to win a 1st copy of “A Fine Romance”.

    Have a sweet weekend, Susan.
    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

    • sbranch says:

      So happy to hear you are feeling better Dorothy Ann! Nice to hear from you! Thank you for your suggestion … we are really going to try to get up to your neck of the woods. As soon as I turn in my pages, we’ll start settling down to map our course. Not long now!

      • judi says:

        Hope you do get a big wall map of the USA and use post-it flags or??? to map out your route. Would love to see a picture of that on your blog when you two have it figured out?)

        How much snow did you end up with? I can’t see your twitter dealy anymore:( if you put any info up there. Hugs. p.s. Dorothy happy you’re feeling better TTFN

        • sbranch says:

          It’s been coming down all day, big flakes and lots of wind, but it’s not sticking … no accumulation. You can’t see Twitter? Did you go to dearsusanbranch?

        • Dorothy Ann says:

          * Hello Judi *

          Peeked at your post to Susan…Thank you for your sweet added post to me…I love getting little side-comments from our girlfriends. I don’t know where you hail from, Judi…are you an East coast, north coast, south coast, mid west or a west coast girlfriend?

          Hmmmm, by the way…what does TTFN translate into?
          You ended your post with those letters.
          Must be some sort of texting code.

          Have a wonderful weekend.
          * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

          • judi says:

            Hi Dorothy, Now in SW Florida fulltime but a Minnesota girl thru and thru. Honey, I don’t text so ….TTFN is my whole kaboodle:))) it means…ta ta for now, :)!

            Susan, twitter wants us to join, etc. now to see anything 🙁 I don’t think the file drawer in my head has any memory left.

      • Dorothy Ann says:

        * Dear Susan *

        Right back to you with my thank you…for your “feel better”
        thoughts. And, I do…feel much better…

        I have a cute magazine article I recently read and I’ll share it with you and all the girlfriends, about Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts.

        It’s about the ArtCliff Diner. It seems that the editor of “O” magazine, Gayle King, was on the hunt for a great restaurant breakfast to write about in her column. She found it! She wrote that she discovered a cozy diner right there on Martha’s Vineyard. The ArtCliff Diner serves the best cranberry-coconut pancakes, that are “so delicious and spectacular that you want to order them and then ask for an order to take home”. And that’s a quote!

        ArtCliff Diner owner gave Gayle the recipe and it’s posted on Sounds yummy.

        So, in charming Vineyard Haven, home to Susan Branch, and all that she is charming for, is an equally charming home-style diner.

        Susan, Have you sampled those special pancakes?

        * Hugs from Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

        • sbranch says:

          I haven’t had those, but I do love the Art Cliff. It’s gotten so popular and it’s the size of a normal bedroom, so waiting is the name of the game over there. The name Art Cliff: Originally there were two guys, Art and Cliff! 🙂

          • judi says:

            Oh, how cute – Art and Cliff:) I figured for sure if those pancakes had coconut in them, ha, Susan must have given them the recipe, yah.

  96. WendyO says:

    Oh! I was coming onto the website to tell you that is a Peregrine Falcon, once an endangered species, but I see that you’ve already discovered that! What an exciting visitor to your home! I saw my first ones at Morro Rock close to your California home. Love those birds! I visit them every time I’m there. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your critters!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I “discovered it” because we have such smart girlfriends here, and they told me! 🙂

  97. Sandy Richmond in Attleboro, MA says:

    Happy Birthday to my wonderful BFF, Pat Mofjeld! My friend of almost 50 years!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s Pat’s Birthday? Happy Birthday Dear Pat!!!

      • Many, many MORE…{:>D

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          HAPPY of Happiest Birthday’s to YoU dear Pat!!! Please snuggle in, on this cozy rainy Minnesota morning, with a generous slice of German Chocolate Birthday cake on a cute china plate….and… : .} smile!…..always knowing that….you’ve got a friend! … and on Susan’s blog….you have so many dear friends!
          James Taylor You’ve Got a Friend…

          I hope you can hear him sing ….and me humming for you!
          xoxox Dawn “ain’t it good to know” 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Thankyou. That piece of German Chocolate Cake and the wonderful dinner we had this evening almost made it worth being another year older! 🙂 And Sandy–how POSSIBLE can be almost 50 years?–but it is…strange how fast time goes by…and other than arthritis sometimes, I don’t feel at all older! LOL! 🙂

  98. Barb from Ohio says:

    I enjoyed all the pictures of the critters past and present. We don’t have any pet critters just now, our dog Katie has been gone for over a year, but we have lots of birds around the bird feeders right now. The robins have returned, though they won’t go to the feeder of course, but the bluebirds are back and the goldfinches. I put out dried meal worms for the bluebirds and got some thistle seed for the finches along with the usual birdseed. I guess spring is really on it’s way, temps are supposed to go to fifty this week, but snow might be back next week. Glad to see the book is getting done and am looking forward to getting my own copy in the fall. Hope you didn’t get any damage there on Martha’s Vineyard; I saw on the news some homes collapsing along the coast from the last storms up your way. What a shame! Anyway, Happy Spring and Daylight Savings Time begins tonight.

  99. Karen Saunders says:

    susan…when is judy’s show in november?? i want to make reservations for a place to stay. you are going to be there to sign books, right??

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it’s the 9th and 10th, I’ll be there both days. Hope to see you!

      • Karen Saunders says:

        I’m going to put a bubble around you so you stay healthy!!!! And I am SOOOO excited to meet you….finally. One more small question. Will the books we pre-ordered arrive at our homes so we can bring one to have you sign it? If not, I don’t have a problem buying another. Is Joe going to meet the girlfriends…?

        • sbranch says:

          You know how you never get sick until you have time? That’s what I’m afraid will happen after I finish the book. I’ve been healthy all winter. I wouldn’t actually mind a little cold, go to bed, be cozy, drink soup.

  100. SPRING FORWARD LADIES…..don’t forget to change the time on your watches too!! Now, for all of you over a certain age who do not sleep very well or are up/down throughout the night just look at losing an hour of sleep like this….you now have 1 less hour to lie there awake!!! See always a silver lining. For you “youngsters” just go to bed an hour earlier…..hmmm

    • I thought I’d wake up this morning when my body woke up yesterday, but NO. I woke up with the clock! So I’m functioning on less sleep today. I’m sure I’ll make it up tonight when I go to bed an hour earlier because of being so tired. I didn’t particularly like having to wait so long this morning for the light. Personally, I’d much rather have the light in the morning instead of the evening. Maybe those of us who feel that way should petition Congress??

      • sbranch says:

        I do love those summer evenings though — I can truly go either way. Let’s do both!

        • I did, too, when I was a child in the 50’s when we could be running around the neighborhood until dark. But don’t you have to go to bed in the summer while it’s still light outside since you said you’re in bed by 9:00? That would be hard to do I’d think.

          • sbranch says:

            It’s usually dark when I go to bed. Trying to think when it gets dark here — I think it’s around 8. I was amazed to see it stay light in England until after 10!

          • Ah, that’s because you’re so much further north than we here are in the mid-atlantic. It doesn’t get dark here until after 9:00 at the height of summer. Perhaps they should split up the country into different sections–like Arizona–ha ha!

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