Happy Earth Day!

If this was all there was, the full magic of nature here on earth, I would still be amazed and over-the-moon grateful for the gift.

But it isn’t, it’s only the barest beginning, because we are lucky enough to share the planet with a million other miracles besides ourselves and daffodils.

Earth Day is my second favorite holiday after Valentine’s Day.  (Not counting Christmas and Thanksgiving!)  What makes more sense for us to celebrate than this blessed ground we walk on that gives us all we need to survive? 

The sky takes my breath away almost every day . . . when it’s clear, I feel like I can see depths to the ends of eternity.

The sound of the seagulls, the lapping of water at the shore turns my eyes to heaven and fills them with tears of gratitude, because I am truly, deeply, madly

Does this not just touch your heart?  There is no other pink like this.  This is why the word “delicate” had to be invented, for cherry blossoms.  Did you know that Japan gave America 3,000 cherry trees and they are all planted together in Washington, DC?  They are, click HERE to see them.  Did I hear someone say, “road trip?”

Which is what we took yesterday, a mini road trip when Joe came to me, smooshed into the couch, smothered in blankets and kitty fur and said, “Don’t you think you need an airing?”  (I love it that he calls it an airing.)  It’s been a long time since I’ve been out of the house, still getting better from this cold, but I couldn’t quite get up fast enough, get my jacket and scarf and camera and run to the door panting with joy while he got into his hat and coat.  We stopped for coffee at the Scottish Bakehouse, we looked at fruit trees in bloom at Vineyard Gardens nursery and then we went to Squibnocket Beach, where we sat for a while to watch the seagulls and the waves.

We drove under the leafless trees, past the greening meadows along roadsides clustered with bunches of daffodils, puttering along, enjoying the way the curving land brought us close to small harbors, little boats, and water views, heading up-island to Menemsha, a tiny fishing village you might recognize if you saw the movie Jaws.

This is it . . . a sleepy little fishing village.

We wandered around, walked out to the end of the pier, watched boats come and go, checked out the deserted beach, taking pictures of little things … like this boat full of lobster traps.

And this fishing-shack window where someone keeps his lures.  (Lots of reflections in the window.)

And this pile of scallop shells outside another old shack with the Menemsha fishing fleet in the background.

Thoughts of lobster and scallops made us hungry.  We stopped in the miniature half-block-long village to choose something for dinner at the fish market (the one that used to be Poole’s, for you island regulars), the freshest fish in the world I would guess, since the boats pull right up at the pier outside that back door.

Here’s their menu … you can buy the fish raw, take it home and cook it yourself, or they will cook it for you.  The reason they call their lobster dinners the “Sunset Special” ….

… is because of this.  Menemsha Fish Markets are popular in the summer because they’re within walking distance of the beach where you can take your steamed lobsters and clams, raw oysters and cold slaw (bring your own salad, strawberries and wine) and have dinner on the beach, watch the kids skip rocks into the water, swim to remove lobster juices, and watch one of the prettiest sunsets anywhere.

It’s a regular summer pastime here, this gift from God.  For my dad’s 65th birthday, we came here for sunset, brought a table and chairs, and had a feast.

A little too chilly for us on the beach last night so we brought our lobsters home and ate them here.  I’m sure you all are beginning to think that the only things I eat are lobsters and Chicken Soup!  It isn’t true (which is too bad), but those are two of my favorites which I could eat every day.  Especially because, since the minute I got sick, I vowed to take advantage of the fact and change the way I was eating.  I mean, if you’re going to be sick, you might as well get something out of it!  Like the chance of setting a new routine and saying goodbye to a couple of pounds.  (Not from starvation, don’t you ever worry that would happen with me! 🙂 but just from not drinking half and half anymore.)  I only want healthy things now, no more cream in my tea (for now), no more wine (the easy part); I cut out most of the cookies (only one for afternoon tea, a delicious gluten-free ginger cookie we buy at the store called “Mi-Dell” with 24 calories each — I really look forward to that, in case you can’t tell :-)); ice cream Drumsticks, another afternoon “snack” I love, are out, and I guess I don’t even have to tell you about french fries, garlic bread, and potato pancakes.  I doubled my blueberry and pink grapefruit intake and halved the size of my dinner plate.  I’m not going to say what I weigh, but I will tell you that I gained TEN POUNDS during the writing of our book over the winter.  Oh yeah.  Did you do that too?  Joe came close!  So, for example, at breakfast this morning I had three eggs, but only one yolk (watching calories) with minced green onions on top.  And you know what, YUM!  I loved it, and it was enough.  The lobster last night was with lemon juice (from the California trees that the girls sent me for my birthday) and steamed broccoli.  It was delicious and healthy, the kind of food that (as the old commercial used to go) “makes strong bones twelve ways”.  I removed all the animal fat from the stock in the Chicken soup so it’s pure vegetables and protein that just happens to taste like heaven.  I’m going to keep food really simple for now, and combine it with a springtime emphasis on fresh air, movement, and exercise to shrink my appetite a bit, reduce calorie intake and inspire more sleeping time, because I am not going on the road with these pounds on me.  No girls, I need to wear the cute clothes in order to be happy.  Some pounds yes, these pounds NO.  And I’m feeling better every day.  So excited to get to the garden, to walk our walk, to go pick up the mail on foot and watch the roses bloom on picket fences, to enjoy the greatest gift of all, nature, and it’s all starting to happen now.  Pretty soon we’ll have fresh healthy homegrown vegetables, herbs, and strawberries, crisp and juicy from the garden and wild blueberries from the woods.  Ahhhh, girlfriends, here come the glory days. Happy, Happy Earth Day to you all!  xoxo

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600 Responses to THE GIFT

  1. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    O my gosh – I’m reading all the trials and tips to weight loss. I need HELP. Maybe you should write a girlfriend book on this weight stuff. Last year I lost 40 lbs!!!! Now I am back up 10 lbs and hysterical! Why is it so hard to keep it off? I worked so hard to lose it and really did feel so happy and healthy and looked good in my new clothes and now I’ve started slipping back. All of the diet tips are helping me though – and – just knowing I’m not the only one stuggling with this issue. I especially would like to try your lettuce sandwich. It’s cold and white with snow here so I’m still in hibernation mode but I suspect dieting might get easier once spring arrives. Thanks for all the advice. It’s been very helpful to me.

    • sbranch says:

      It quite the roller coaster sometimes. You’ll love the lettuce sandwiches and find out they taste just the same as with bread, just a bit messier to eat! You can do tacos that way too.

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Cathy, you aren’t the only one. I lost a lot of weight on W/W and gradually gained it back. It is such a constant battle–I hate it. Can’t imagine what it would be like to be one of those people who just eat what they want and never gain a pound! And the weather is the same here–during the winter it is hard to walk outside, either too cold or icy roads. No one wants to drive out somewhere to exercise. Besides that, I’ll confess: My favorite “exercise” during the winter is knitting and reading by the fire!!! LOL! 🙂 And, also, that is when Carbs become so attractive–hot soup with bread, roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy, nice treat with a cup of tea, etc., etc. I agree, it is easier to do in the spring/summer but then the summer heat/humidity get to me. Of course, then it is fun to go walk laps of the outer parameter of stores, etc., and not so much fun to knit…although reading on the deck in the warm sunshine is a temptation still…just an on-going battle. But the fresh fruits and vegetables help and it really helps to get the helpful hints and encouragement here and also to not know you the only one battling… 🙂

      • Cathy from Golden, CO says:

        Thank you, thank you – so much for the encouragement. I have felt so badly about my “self-discipline” lately! I just came in from shoveling a lot of heavy, wet snow. Now I think I will be reading and cross-stitching for awhile! Yikes – my elbows hurt! Susan’s blog has helped inspire me so much today with all of the suggestions and support – I have actually eaten quite healthy. Now if I can just get it together on a regular basis!

      • Laura says:

        Cathy…i know…me too. Ten pounds won’t be that hard to get off…don’t let it go any farther….walk briskly for an hour every day…have to amp up your exercise till you’re sweating for an hour…every day, unfortunately!! You will be back down in a month or two and then enjoy the summer in your cute clothes! I will be thinking about you in Zumba class:). Xo

  2. Sharon of Morro Bay, CA says:

    OK….must admit I was astonished by your east coast sunset photos (with MY sun setting in the west ,Pacific Ocean style). I googled it and got my answer for cape cod. Lesson learned today!
    LOVE all your photos!!!When you are in SLO this fall, please come to Morro Bay and have a bite at Dockside. It is our version of your fish market minus lobster. The fishing boats are there along with otters, seals, gulls all trying to steal fish off the boats. Plus live music 7 days a week.
    I must visit your area again . Hope to be on East coast soon. Just beautiful!

  3. Jan says:

    We too, have been working on losing weight. Started in January, eating healthier – more fruits and vegetables, less carbs. More of the good fats. I have lost seven pounds and my husband twenty one. We both have a few more to go, but were doing it! I have included exercise too. And we feel better. Am finally getting warmer weather – 60’s. Am planning on planting my herb garden today. Yay!! Sooo enjoy all of your beautiful pictures. When I was young it was my grandparents most of the time who pointed out all the things of nature – teaching me the names of birds, trees, plants, etc. I think my parents were just busy being parents and it was something my grandparents had time to do.
    We were raised on a farm and brought up with nature, something I love. So glad to know you are feeling better! Have a great week!

    • sbranch says:

      You are doing it! Joe loses weight so much faster than I do … not fair! Thanks Jan, you too!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        I agree–men seem to lose weight so much faster than women! Norm’s body is warmer at night–I tell him he burns calories while he sleeps. My fat layer unfortunately doesn’t keep me warm, it just acts like “insulation” and doesn’t burn calories while I sleep! LOL! 🙂 Have to tell you–we got 7″ of heavy wet snow last night. This morning it is BEAUTIFUL outside! Blue sky, sunshine, temps in 40’s, birds singing like crazy. The plows went through early so the roads are just wet. The snow is hanging in big blobs/globs on the evergreens and is slowly melting off. Spring is officially declared now in Minnesota!!!! 🙂

  4. Sarah Pie says:

    Oh I love the Mi-Dell gingersnaps! I have Celiac so GF is the way for me, but they are seriously the best kind of treat 🙂

  5. Trish K says:

    Twenty-five days until my vacation by the beach! Its been 6 years since my last vacation. I’m so excited, I can’t wait, I want to start celebrating already. Even though I won’t get skinny by then, I can cut back and get a little healthier before then, right?

  6. Hi Susan! My cousin used to live on Martha’s Vineyard, and your post reminded me of the time we went to visit her, and she insisted on going to the fish market in Menemsha to bring us home a treat to welcome us to the Island. When she got back, she carted in these long cardboard boxes, and lifted the lid to reveal dozens of beautiful oysters. I have NEVER had such delicious, succulent oysters on the half shell in my life. To this day, many years later, my mother and I STILL talk about those oysters and how wonderful they were. Lucky, lucky to have access to that beautiful seafood. Have the most wonderful day- xoxo Jacqui

  7. Linda Wattier says:

    Thanks so much for the inspiration today. We just had 8″ of snow on Monday, but the sun is shining brightly today in SD. I think spring has returned again. We are thankful for the moisture. We were very dry! I can relate to the weight loss. I joined Weight Watchers and lost 5 lbs. the first week. I like it because it makes you aware of what your eating. No mater what we are still beautiful. Have a great day!

  8. Jeanne Hedin says:

    So glad to hear you are feeling better! The world needs your sunny, happy, healthy self. 🙂 Happy Earth Day!

  9. irene talaasen says:

    Hi Susan,
    Such beauty there!! I want to call every day God’s Day!! and thank Him for the beauty He created. 🙂 Our beauty today in Colorado is snow covered Pikes Peak and snow falling gently and the trees all covered with snow. The sun is trying to peek through it all. Love it!! and thank Him for blessings and some more moisture for our dry land here.
    Enjoy your healthy eating; it is a good thing and so much of it does taste yummy!
    Blessings for your day!
    Irene Talaasen

  10. Angela W in Oklahoma says:

    Hi Susan…I throughly enjoyed this Earth Day blog!!! I only feel like my authentic self when I am surrounded by nature and animals…It makes my heart sing!!! Last evening I sat on the deck watching the world unfold before me (I have 3 acres of land)…2 Doves were on the ground eating birdseed…A humming bird was at the feeder (in the Summer I’ll have 30 at a time)…and I saw 7 bunnies scampering around. My dog was by my side watching with me…I felt something I strive for everyday…Contentment !!!

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

    hmmm love hearing about all these healthy eating tips, and of course my hens eat healthy as well.. they eat what we eat so to speak, and we love mushrooms, and I found a good way to recycle the stems if you don’t use them. normally I would out them in the scrap container for the chickens and feed the stems to them, but I found out that the stems make a good houseplant food so I cut them up and sprinkle them in the plant’s soil and that will feed them for a month or so. beats what my MIL does with the stems, which is to throw them away. just thought I would pass that info along, instead of expensive plant food, use your mushroom stems instead to feed your house plants. they love it. hugs…. 🙂

    • pat addison ( cave junction,OR) says:

      oops meant put not out… hit the wrong key… how embarrassing

    • sbranch says:

      Good suggestion, thank you Pat!

      • pat addison ( cave junction,OR) says:

        to make it easier to feed the plants, you can dry the mushroom stems in warm oven overnight, just turn your oven to 250 degrees, place the cut up mushroom stems on some tin foil or parchment paper on a cookie sheet and place in the oven and let them dry overnight. remove and store in an airtight container or make a tea with them to feed the plants with, just steep them in water, the longer the better and then feed the plants.

        • sbranch says:

          Will try it!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            you’re welcome!! you can just put the dried stem pieces into the plant soil and water the plant when you normally do, its water and feed at the same time. each time you water the stem pieces will release a little bit of the food and nutrients into the soil and feed the plant. now this only works on houseplants, I haven’t tried this on on garden plants yet.

        • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

          Aren’t mushrooms a fungus…?

          • sbranch says:


          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            What??? are you saying mushrooms are a nut or inferring that I am a nut? LOL! 🙂 Just wondered about introducing fungus into soil–won’t it grow MORE mushrooms or is it the spores (seeds) in the tops that would start growing? Okay, ask Joe. Sounds like a good subject for discussion in “Morning Science” sometime to me… 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Me too, he loves questions like that! Gets them all the time, and the look he gives me is priceless!

    • I eat mushroom stems myself, not throw them in the compost. They have a slightly stronger taste to the caps which intensifies the flavour of the dish, and I only trim off the dried bit at the very bottom. Likewise, I also eat the stems of broccoli. Can’t afford to throw out the biggest part of the broccoli when I’m paying for it by weight. If you don’t want to eat them as they are, then chop them up and freeze them to add into soups where they are blitzed up anyway for extra flavour and nutrition.

      • sbranch says:

        We eat all of it too … Broccoli stems have the most vitamins — do you peel them? We usually do, to take off the tougher skin.

        • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

          Thanks for that hint, too! The stems always seem tough but if you peel them, they are more tender and have to be full of vitamins and goodness! And our big thing here is roasting cauliflower after drizzling with a little olive oil and shaking fresh ground pepper and sea salt on it–10-15 minutes in a 425 degree oven, letting it brown slightly. And then, if you want to “gild the lily”, shake on some grated parmesan cheese! (a very small amount if you are dieting…) Yumm! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            How about carrots, have you ever roasted those? So good! I think most veggies are better that way!

  12. Becky says:

    My Earth Day began with seeing 2 ducks swimming in my pool (guess they didn’t mins the chlorine) and 3 baby jack rabbits napping under the trees out by my road….awhhhhh! Don’t we just LOVE Mother Nature!!!
    I ,too, am working on dropping the extra pounds. For me it’s all about protion control, increase my walking, and reduce (notice I didn’t say eliminate because then I think I’m being punished) my sweets and bad fats. I am also getting up at 5:00am and doing 30 mins worth of yoga. I feel so much better during the day, and my body doesn’t seem to miss that extra sleep time. Yay for all of us!

    • pat addison ( cave junction,OR) says:

      ducks don’t mind chlorine, and they swimming in clean clear water, good for baths and splashing.

    • Diane from Poulsbo, WA says:

      you are inspiring me to get back onto my Aeropilates machine in the early am. I always have preferred to exercise before anyone in the house gets out of bed, and I always seem to not find time or have some excuse during the later hours of the day…….lol. I know yoga and pilates arent exactly the same, but it clicked somehow when I was reading your comments! 🙂

  13. Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

    Hi Sue and all you girlfriends! I’m right there with you when it comes to the dropping a few pounds. I’m working on that one too. (who isn’t????) As for the appreciation of nature, all I can do is sigh, I just love it. Sometimes it’s just so moving that I could start to cry. I love looking into the sky on a cold winter day and just breathing in the cold winter air. The clouds add to the beauty and how blessed am I to be the one to behold it. I love just sitting on the beach watching the waves come in and think of all those that came before me taking time out of their lives to be doing the same. I often think of what was going on in their lives that drew them to that spot on the beach. I love, just love it when I can walk down the dirt our cabin is on and pick myself a beautiful bouquet of wild flowers…you know the little ones…along with some Queen Anne’s Lace and but them in a pretty little vase on my night stand so they are the first thing I see when I open my eyes. And then of course we have the beautiful night sky. A heaven filled with stars. I often think about all the other souls on this earth that are looking at that very same moment as I seeing the view my own eyes are beholding. Yes, there is a connection made to someone I don’t even know millions of miles away that only my heart can know. Well, thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts as I spend another wonderful day here in this life that God has given me on this earth. We are so blessed my friends. Take the time to really and I mean REALLY enjoy it! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

    • What a beautiful post, Doreen. I’m right there with you so pass those tissues Girlfriend!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Ladies – your comments echo the lyrics in this wonderful song on Barbra Streisand’s ‘Higher Ground album’ – hope you like it. [I hope this comes through too, I’ve never copied-and-pasted music before]. :>)

  14. Deborah Norling says:

    When I was a kid if I had discovered that huge hill of shells behind that fishing shack….I’d have thought I was in H e a v en ! My fav thing was searching the beach in Santa Cruz for shells….and of course we always explored the tide pools..we never ever took anything from the tide pools we just enjoyed all the amazing little sea creatures that resided with in…..sadly, not everyone was so careful. I must say….I definately want one of those amazing fish sandwiches and an order of those thin and crispy onion rings too !

    • Julia says:

      I, too, go beach combing and love to study the tidal pools for
      all kinds of interesting things. I also look for fossils, especially
      fossilized sharks teeth. Once I found the best thing of all in
      the tidal pool just grinning up at me. Some lady had lost her
      upper plate ! It must have been a lady because they are small.
      I think maybe a wave hit her or she got sick over the side of a
      boat ! POOR THING !

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Julia! Eeeeee-yoooooo! I would have cheesed it away from there so fast if I’d found that! I would have been nervous that there were more body parts lying about…. !!! Thanks for the laugh !! :>)

      • Sherry M. says:

        Julia—That is so funny. But what is even funnier is that my Dad lost his plate in the ocean at Daytona Beach, Fl. in the 1970’s. He spent days walking up & down the beach looking for his teeth! Never found them. Maybe you did! I don’t know where you saw that plate, but it brought back memories. I guess he’s not the only one that lost vital “body parts” in the water!

  15. Clairellen says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! You light up our lives!

  16. Heidi says:

    Thank you for the postings – words and images (the jonquil with the apricot center is a favorite) to comfort, cheer and inspire us. Hugs to Girl and Jack. Take good care. p.s. You very likely know that drinking plenty of water is good not only for dieting, but overall health. Give yourself a day to cheat and eat a favorite food that might not be so diet conscious:) It makes eating healthy the rest of the days that much easier.

    • sbranch says:

      Water is so good, whenever I feel cranky I drink a glass of water and it almost always helps.

  17. Betsy says:

    Thank you for the great pictures and a reminder of Earth Day and the beauty that surrounds us. Now I need to bare my soul to all the girlfriends on the subject of food. I have been trying to lose weight along with my dear husband. Last night we had roasted chicken breasts and roasted root veggies. Every night I try to stick to basic good quality food. At heart I am a baker, sometimes doing it for a living. My soul misses the rolling of pie crust, the twinkle in my husbands eyes when he comes in the door and a fresh baked cake is sitting on the counter. I miss creamed soups and hearty roasts with potato’s. Can I begin to tell you how I love Thanksgiving cooking and baking for everyone I love. I get a little sad when I think of what I have cut out of our diet. I’ve tried lots of recipes that say they taste as good but are better for you……most taste awful. All this said I will continue along eating less carbs, sugar and butter because I know in the long run it’s far better for me and my husband but I sure miss the old days. Thanks for listening Susan and the rest of the girlfriends

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve discovered the same thing. Basic, really simple, wholesome foods, not anything fancy, recipe wise, and rarely a baked thing, is the way to go, at least for a little while. Homemade pie crust, is there anything better? I don’t think so. I always think of it as a gift, as sure as any birthday package in sparkly ribbon and paper. When I long to make one, to smell one, I do it and give it away!

    • Sandy Richmond says:

      Betsy, Your comment reminds me of a little joke I saw…
      The Woman’s Diet – If it tastes good, spit it out! 🙂
      It cracks me up!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Oh Sandy, how true! That isn’t even a joke! 🙂 And Betsy, you are not alone–I think the same thing. I love to bake, love a treat with coffee or tea, love to have the house smelling wonderful with something I’ve baked in the oven. But Susan is right–the more simple and wholesome, the better for losing weight. If there is reincarnation, I hope I come back in my next life SKINNY! LOL! 🙂

        • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

          In all seriousness, when I start to mentally “beat myself up” for being overweight, I remember how many sick and dying people there are, and although I am trying to eat healthier, I DO try to not be horribly dissatisfied with my body…everything in moderation is what my husband always says…and I think what a lot of us just need is more exercise after a long winter of being inside… 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            I think you are right Pat! And cute sunglasses, scarves, a little mother makeup (to fight father time) and nail polish. And the heck with the worry! Health, starry eyed, jump up and down health is all there really is!

        • sbranch says:

          Mushrooms have no calories. Think of them that way! 🙂

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            I was having the urge to bake yesterday. Baked banana bars with cream cheese frosting. Okay–before you all start “booing”, I will tell you that I followed Susan’s advice and took 1/3 to an elderly shut-in friend last night and another 1/3 is going to the neighbor and the last 1/3 I have been able to ignore so far. It doesn’t hurt that I put the cake pan out of sight… 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            How are you now?

            (we should check in every 15 min.)

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            LOL! I know! I’m okay–I tell myself that I forgot where I put the cake…tell myself that there is no cake in the house…I baked the cake in a 9 x 13″ cake pan with a solid lid so I can’t hear the cake calling my name…just cut up an orange to eat with my blob of tuna I’m having for late lunch–ugh, I just remember we’re having tilapia for supper. Costco had some pretty good strawberries last evening when we shopped so dessert is a bowl of strawberries tonight. We’ve invited for lunch tomorrow at our friends’–think I’ll bring the last 1/3 of the cake there for a “hostess gift”…good idea? 🙂 Think I should tell you the snow is almost all gone and we are having temps in 70’s today and tomorrow! Where but Minnesota would you get such weather extremes? 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Extreme — that’s for sure, but doesn’t it feel good!

      • Betsy says:

        That is such a great saying….I may do it in needlepoint and hang it on the wall!

  18. Wendy Louise says:

    So glad to be in the same boat with so many friends. I too always gain weight in the winter, it keeps me warm, but this year it is different. I think menopause has something to do with it. So I am walking farther on my nature walks and cutting down on my portions. I’ve decided to cut down on sugar and bread too. Weekends are for treats. My Paulie (husband) and I are doing it together. We are leaving on a rode trip to Virginia in a few days and my job is to pack fruits,veges, yogurts,healthy drinks like low sodium V8’s and water and fizzy waters.Healthy snacks like celery and peanut butter, yummy ! I am going to see things I have never seen. Sky line drive, Monticello, Front Royal and I want to see Walton’s Mountain too. We are on our way to a park that is opening in honor of Paul’s Great Grandfather who is a civil war hero. The history is very interesting, since Paul’s father wrote two books on the man. It will be interesting to see the family homestead that is still standing. We will take plenty of pictures for our grown children to see and some day they may want to explore some of their heritage.
    Glad you are feeling better Susan and isn’t life grand when you can thoroughly enjoy God’s gifts all around us. This earth is amazing and so is my little piece of heaven we have created right on our homestead. Things are starting to pop, the forsythia is just brilliant gold-yellow and the vinca is such a bright blue/purple. It is so exciting this time of year. You are right In Love With Nature ! oxoxoxoxoxoxo

    • Betsy says:

      Wendy, have a great time. It sounds to me like it will be a wonderful trip. How blessed you are to have a family history so rich. My husband and I read anything we can get on the civil war and the brave men who fought with such courage. I loved Monticello when we toured it…..the gardens are the best. I was really fascinated by all the trellises they made out of tree limbs to support the plants and vegetable vines. Best wishes for a safe journey!

      • Wendy Louise says:

        Oh Betsy, Thank-you! Your name is one of my favorite names ! Have you thought of cooking for others in a soup kitchen or a shelter or some churches that provide food for the shut-ins. It might provide you with your wonderful baking and cooking skills. And watching other benefit is a very fulfilling, just a thought. If you want to read about my husbands great grandfather google Hubert Anton Casimir Dilger . He was called :” Leatherbreeches: Hero of Chancellorsville “.1836-1911.

        • Betsy says:

          Thank you Wendy Louise! I looked up your husbands Great-Grandfather so I could read about him. Imagine leaving your own country to come and fight another war! What a sacrifice! And what a distinguished looking gentleman he was. We live in Pennsylvania and visit Gettysburg at least once every year. There is something about that place that is so hallowed. The visitors museum is wonderful. Now that I know he fought there I will surely look him up on our next visit. Thank you for sharing your family history and again, enjoy your trip.

    • Judy Young says:

      I have discovered almond butter! It’s a change from peanut butter and I think better for you. It’s wonderful in celery sticks!!

  19. patti says:

    Hello Susan, I hope you are better. You are alway inspiring me. Thank you, I will too get busy and lose all of this winter weight.

  20. Nellie says:

    Amazing pictures, Susan, of the most beautiful vistas!

    So glad you got out for “an airing>”:-) How I would love to be back for a trip to Menemsha and that wonderful fresh fish!

    After losing two pounds in March (making a total of six since January), I was really encouraged about what April would hold. I have lost NOTHING! Even being on that good WW plan hasn’t brought about a loss this month. We must persevere!

    Though I must say, a diet of lobster and chicken soup doesn’t sound bad at all!

    Reduce, reuse, recycle – our motto for many years! We simply must take better care of our earth.

    Thank you again, Susan, for such a wonderful post.

    xo Nellie

  21. Ruth says:

    OK you totally made me want to pack up and move east!! We are living in Michigan and I thought that was beautiful but cherry blossoms in Washington and fresh seafood on the beach… Yes please!

  22. Audrianne Hill says:

    Cutting out wine! Isn’t it one of the four basic food groups? All kidding aside, a healthy backing away from too much can be a good thing. It took me ten years to learn not to cook like my mom who actually cooked for my football playing brothers. I didn’t need all that food, and all that type of food. Still every once in a while I crave her chicken and dumplings. Once you’re over that cold you be slimming down in no time as you take those morning walks with Joe.

    Today a woman came into the bookstore where I work and we talked about our favorite books and authors, and I mentioned Gladys. I didn’t even have to say her last name and she knew. She is a book dealer and mentioned she once bought a box of books sight unseen at an estate sale and within its contents found a packet of about 20 letters from Gladys. Sadly, she sold them to a Taber collector.

    Continue to heal!

  23. Julia says:

    So many comments about missing grilled cheese. I make a
    poor substitute but it’s better than nothing. I toast a piece
    of whole wheat bread in the toaster, then grate some cheddar
    on it and stick it in the microwave for a few seconds, just until
    the cheese melts. Only about 100 calories.

    • sbranch says:

      An ounce of cheese is 114 calories, one slice of ww bread is 128 calories Julia, not meaning to say no, but that’s almost 250. But much better than when you add another slice of bread and the TB of butter! I prefer your measurement though!

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

    Beautiful photography, as usual. I agree about the delicate pink; a favorite color of mine is the spring green when trees have newly leafed. Hope you totally shake that cold soon!

    • sbranch says:

      I have always (since I moved here) called that color “screaming New England green” — it only comes once a year.

  25. Juliana - Jackson, NJ says:

    Dear Susan, So glad you are starting to feel better – I think our bodies crave the fresh air and sunshine as much as anything else to heal. As always, love all the pictures from this post and the last. I can honestly say, I have become so much more optimistic because of you! I am now always explaining which full moon it is to my kids – make them really look up at the sky! So very much to be thankful for! Unfortunately, not this extra weight I’m carrying around. So I am inspired here to start doing something about it! My son showed me the app on my phone, but I haven’t used it yet – I think it may be time. He has been doing fantastic with it! Looks wonderful, and so healthy! Ok girls, here’s to being healthier!

  26. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    So glad you were feeling better to get out to the ocean. I wish you success on your healthy eating diet. I am trying to gain weight (I know you want to smack me now), and it is hard for me to do. I eat lots of carbs, bread, pasta, cookies but still I don’t gain. Most people would love to have my problem. I am a vegetarian but I eat eggs and dairy, but no meat or poultry.
    I’m sure you will drop those ten pounds in no time and when you do could you send them over to me?

  27. sondra fox says:

    Happy Earth Day Earth! Digging in our garden, was something I’d wanted to do today. As it turned out, I paid bills & organized closets. Bah, humbug. I also thought I might work on the quilt I’m making. All of the things I did today, were “inside” jobs. Bah, humbug. I want to be outside right now, with the birds announcing to the world that the weather is lovely, come on out & enjoy the beauty of this day. Speaking of birds, I saw a Blue Jay take a bath in our birdbath today. He really appeared to enjoy his bath. He’d shake, rattle, & roll. We had all the windows open today with a slight breeze coming through our house. A few days ago, I planted a Gardenia bush to congratulate our wonderful Earth.

    What a lovely surprise to find you here today Susan! You sent us a message on the 19th, then three days later, another message. Such a kind thing to do, to get all those wonderful messages out to all of us.

    When I was growing up, there was a woods across the lane from our house. To live there was to have a natural playground at hand, a playground with a creek flowing through it, with a small pond that froze over in the winter, where we had an animal cemetery (chipmunks & rabbits our cat had caught & mutilated, & a couple of our well loved cats), where we could have fun away from the eyes of our parents. There was a pipe across the creek, that was the site of many a rite of passage. If you crossed the pipe standing up, you were a brave, well respected member of our gang. If you slid across, you were one day expected to stand up & cross. I never did get up the guts to cross that darn pipe. Anyway, that woods taught me so much about nature. We’d come across crawly things that we’d never seen before, or birds with nests in the trees to observe, lots of science projects. As a child, I was enthralled with all those many discoveries. As an adult, I’m still fascinated by the discoveries in nature. We’ve always camped & travelled across country. We much prefer the natural beauty of scenery to manmade buildings & cities.

    Thanks Susan for reminding me every day that I should get outside & enjoy nature. Just being on our patio, I can make lots of daily discoveries that amaze me & draw me into the WONDER OF NATURE. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  28. Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

    I was fortunate to come across a steal – oooohh!!! Girlfriends Together on a used-book website. I actually don’t think it’s used, now that it’s arrived and I’m reading word by word! The jacket has a bit of wear. I think it was in hibernation for me to find! Adorable and such a “help” book with tidbits of advice and cheer. LOVE the Phyllis Diller quote about the messy house! if guests arrive and your house is trashed you cry out: Who could have done this?!! We have no enemies! 🙂 Once I had Halloween decor sitting out, long past Halloween. (once?) and a friend made a comment on it. I simply said: I know, I’m early. 🙂 This weeks’s Michigan weather is still in the Ups and Downs faze. 71 yesterday and high today 45. With delight last night after work I did find a daffodil blooming in the garden!

  29. Cynthia Pfledderer says:

    I am determined to lose 10 lbs too, eating fresh and clean, just like you describe. Lost 4 so far! I think of you when I take my grandson out for Sunday morning wagon rides. We look at dandelion seeds, squirrels, and anything new I can teach him. I realized we were having morning science. 🙂

  30. "Auntie" says:

    Please keep sharing your “ways-to-get-to-a-more-healthy-weight” ideas. Everyone can use them.

    And somehow, it’s helpful, to know that S.B. is living this life style now, too. -smile-


  31. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This post was just perfect for Earth Day! Between your wonderful artwork and photos, the virtual celebration felt so special. I am glad that you are finally getting better and able to get out again to enjoy the lovelies of Spring. And fresh lobsters!! Oh my!!!

    You know, I think healthy eating and weight management is more inspiring in Spring rather than New Years! There is something more motivating to lighten yourself in the face of warm weather and fresh produce. Somehow the cold dark of winter just seems right for comfort foods which usually mean heavier meals and treats!! Your new strategies will pay off and those 10 pounds will melt away while you enjoy being busy outside and filling your plate with all those yummies coming from gardens very soon!!

  32. Diane from Poulsbo, WA says:

    I was very inspired by your blog….love Earth Day and we feel so blessed to have such a gorgous planet to explore. We went to see the Tulip Festival on Sunday and the drive/ferry ride were so much fun…..just being surrounded by nature as we drove through different areas in northern WA was a delight! 🙂
    Yes, we are also watching more carefully what gets loaded onto our forks and spoons and plates these days! It is nice to know we are not alone….this is something we all can encourage each other about. I needed to quit eating so much sugar, and to elimate other things, so I have been working on that and feel better already! What I need to do is exercise more regularly. It sounds funny, but I have a personality that gets distracted too easily….I will begin to clean up a room in my home and then I see something out the window and just have to go see the birds….or I will be just about to vaccuum and then I notice something could use organizing ….or I want to rearrange something….or I pick up a book and begin to read. I have been this way my entire life, so I make lots of lists to keep me focused. The exercise needs to begin to be on that list!!! And it shall!! I am determined to (finally) become consistent in this area….and to hear of other girlfriends striving to be more healthy is such a nice encouragement. I loved that you are keeping your tea ritual with ONE cookie! One cookie can make all the difference in hanging in there with less butter and less sauces. Thank goodness for all of the summer bounty we are about to be able to have. I need to also shed 20 pounds!~ I wish I could feast on fresh lobster and king crab legs every day, but since I cannot….I am enjoying other fresh things. I love artichokes and I throw them into my pressure cooker with lemon pepper and 1/2 cup of water for 20 min…..and that is my lunch! Yum!
    Is Jack going outside this summer? I just got back from a walk with “Muffin” and he followed me around the neighborhood. We did get stuck at one point when he saw an arch enemy cat on the next block, but it ended peacefully. My kitties are so happy that the sun is shining and the weather is warmer. We have a cat door and I leave the back door cracked in this nice weather and they stay in the yard or close by on the porch and just love it! 🙂
    Have a wonderful week and I am glad you are feeling better!!! x0x0x0x0

    • sbranch says:

      I think I’m keeping him in one more summer — next summer he will be almost 3 and maybe (not sure yet) I’ll let him out then — maybe he’ll be more mellow and less twitchy when he sees birds or other cats than he is now! Mmmm, artichokes, I love them too … they have no calories and make the perfect girl-food meal. Joe would need a chunk of man food to go along with it!

  33. Suzanne says:

    Beautiful pictures as always, and I’m with you for dropping a few of these unwanted pounds! I started eating more protein and veggies and less sugar, breads, and pasta. I’ve lost six pounds since the end of February. I know that doesn’t seem much but its those stubborn ten pounds thats always the hardest to lose. I still have an occasional cookie but I do try for fruit first and sometimes its as sweet and good as a cookie! We girlfriends can do it together! Glad you are feeling better too, Spring colds are always the worst!
    -East Longmeadow, Ma.

  34. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Susan — thanks for the mini-tour of Martha’s Vineyard…I would love to visit the island one day soon. Our vacations from NJ have taken us to Cape Cod and Cape Ann. So far, the islands have eluded us (probably because I tend to get sea sick) :o(
    I think I could smell the ocean air and feel the breeze on my face! It’s finally looking more like Spring here in NW New Jersey too.
    I had such a wonderful day yesterday — my coworkers gave me an all-day surprise party because as of April 23rd, 2013 I have worked at the Sussex County Library for 40 years — 20 of those as their Graphic Artist. I joke and say that I don’t know if I deserve a medal or a straight-jacket! I’m blessed to have the best co-workers in the world. They gave me a morning party, a luncheon, and an afternoon party and planned it on the QT for months — right under my nose and I was none the wiser!! The whole idea was that I’ve worked for 40 years and I deserved a day off!! Needless to say, I was overwhelmed
    and I’m still processing it all. FYI — I’ve been influenced by you — I’m proud to call myself a “friend of Susan Branch”. Good luck with healthy eating (I don’t like to use the word “diet”). After the feasting I’ve done, I’ll have to do the same — and walk my dog more!….my friends treated me to younger and thinner pictures of myself — bless them!

  35. Jack says:

    Living back there in that cold, wet, miserable weather is like beating your head on a rock, because it feels so good when you stop! Especially, when you have a house located in balmy, sunny WARM — California!

  36. Jack says:

    Ain’t no violet in the lawn gonna talk me into living where they have violets in the lawn!

  37. Lynn McMahon says:

    Hi Girlfriends~
    As long as we all seem to be wanting to eat better~ and~ get into a healthy shape I thought I’d share an app I found on my new phone~ it’s called Fooducate~
    You put all your personal info in and it gives you your BMI~ scary~ plus you put in your eating habits~ vegetarian, vegan etc. ~ so when you go to the store you can actually scan an item’s barcode and get all the important info on that product~ Health rating~ grade~ calories and so on~ I have been rummaging through my cupboards and refrigerator in search of healthy food!~ I don’t know if any of you use this but I think it’s my new best friend~ in the food department anyway! ~ Heres to our Health!~

  38. Cyndi in NC says:

    I ate like a pig the past five days but I was working it off at a horse rescue I follow. Shoveling stalls, washing out feed bowls and running around the rescue doing this and that. I had a mini horse named Lucy that I fed every two hours while I was there during the day. It was Celebration on Saturday to celebrate the ones that had been born at the rescue and those that had passed on. I loved every minute I was working my tail off or when I was hugging the horses or feeding my sweet little Lucy! If you know of a rescue in your area in particular or find one somewhere else and can send them whatever you can or volunteer to help them out. I have several I support and a wild life rescue I going to see about volunteering at close to me. It’ll make you smile to see how you can help animals who are abused or abandon.

  39. Martha says:

    Hi Susan — Happy to hear that you’re feeling better! I love seeing the pictures of Martha’s Vineyard and Menemsha this morning- I always look forward to my annual summer visit! Is that a picture of a deer footprint on the beach? I know I have seen skunks on the beach in MV — but deer?
    Martha from CT

  40. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I’ve been lovin’ this Earth Day celebration you sent! Thank you! Gorgeous pictures, heartfelt quotes, wonderful writings! I too am on the shed the winter pounds plan…however, my plans are going awry! I’d best work on my plan, it is hot here in NorCal & fewer layers of clothing are a necessity! Ugh! xoxo

  41. OK Ladies, it is time as women that we stand up and say it loud and long to the FDA “it is time to get High Fructose Corn Syrup” out of our foods!!! Seriously, it is in EVERYTHING and it is poison for our bodies. I don’t care if it makes foods taste better it is causing obesity in our society. I read labels not because it is fun because I have to and even in fat free foods there it is…now, how can that be a healthy choice when that ingredient (normally listed first by the way) is staring back at me?? I think people and women in general can make a difference when we stand together and demand change!! If you have children and many of you do we have a duty as a Mom to put the best foods into our children and HFCS is in almost everything that you feed them. It is in juices, bread, cereal, I won’t keep listing you get the message. I already know there have been campaigns to stop putting this in our foods and to date I’m not seeing it being taken out?? So, that tells me that the manufacturers of this ingredient have deep pockets or someone with influence in their pocket and I’m tired of this happening and affecting our lives! Sorry for this rant it just is common sense to me that if something can cause obesity and it is being added to foods it should be stopped what is the problem? I’m not sure if we need to contact a product manufacturer like “Hershey’s” because my husband’s Chocolate Special Dark Syrup has it!!! yes it does…..maybe that is how we go about it although I feel the FDA should have the “power” to make the change and save us all the work in contacting manufacturers of our favorite products. OK, I’m done just think we need to nip causes of weight gain and stop thinking we are at fault 100% for eating the wrong foods which is part of it for sure. We are intelligent people and can make decisions to improve our health we just need support that the processed/packaged foods that we buy are the healthiest products available to assist us in reaching our goals. Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      YOU are right Deborah! You can contact the FDA, but better would be your senator or Congressman — because they are the ones that make the laws that are supposed to protect us from this and make our food supply safe. And they do it using our tax money, to protect us, which makes good sense to me.

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Deborah, you are completely right about the HFCS. YOU should run for Congress!! This country desperately needs more women in politics and other positions of power! :>)

        • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

          I agree! Let’s run Deborah for congress! 🙂 Seriously, I’ve been noticing this, too, since I’ve started carefully reading food labels. Corn syrup is in EVERYTHING! I’ve said that Campbell’s Tomato Soup tastes “different” to me since childhood and I’d be willing to bet that they didn’t used to have corn syrup in it! It is even in crackers!!! 🙁

          • sbranch says:

            I’m noticing more and more on labels “No corn syrup used” — so the message must be getting out there. Now, wheat.

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      You are so right! But the real answer is a return to REAL food. My grocery cart doesn’t look like any one else’s…..because there is no packaged food in my cart. If We want cookies, I make them, cake or brownies, I make them. Then you know exactly what’s in your food, because you put it there. But I agree you should be able to buy a box of cereal or bag of cookies without having to read the label, looking for garbage that has replaced real ingredients. Many manufacturers have returned to sugar, instead of HFCS because of pressure. Stop buying the product and let them know why! Susan’s right about contacting your representatives, some of you out there have good ones. Too many are not listening to us….but let’s not go down that road this early on a Saturday morning.LOL.
      Eat real and eat as naturally as you can.

      • sbranch says:

        I make my own too, we rarely buy boxed or premade things. But now the basics are getting strange, like flour, corn, rice, chickens, meat. It’s harder all the time to avoid poison in our food! A bunch of regular cilantro was $1.29 yesterday — organic was $3.47 a bunch. We should JUST be getting organic and not have to pay so much! Food should not come in classes. I do my best, write my congressman, and try not to think about it! The one thing we could all do that would make a huge difference: Google your senator —- his/her name and the word Contact. You’ll get an email form, so easy to fill out and fast – Boom, you tell them. Once a week. There are so many big business forces working against us, making money and controlling things — and some of our representatives truly believe LESS governmental controls are better for us. We have to be our own advocates because clearly, no one is going to do it for us. Food: basic of life. ♥

    • Joyce Dupont says:

      Not only the HFCS but wheat also. It is also put into everything. I went to Whole Foods Market to see if they carried a wheat free bresd and they said no. Almost all bread I have found has wheat as the first ingredient or close to it. Wheat is added to almost all foods, as it makes us eat more, want more. Start reading your labels. I am reading the “Wheat Belly Cookbook” by William Davis, MD. He calls wheat a “Frankengrain” as it has been genetically changed and we have been advised to eat more of it. I just bought a food mill to try and start using flours from some of the perfect grains that are healthier for us. Don’t know if I can make good bread, but am sure going to give it a try. I like to watch “Fusion Grain Cooking” with Chef Brad on BYU. He really enjoys cooking for health. Very knowlegable.

      • sbranch says:

        Look at Bob’s Red Mill brand of products. I imagine we’ll be baking our own wheat free bread soon.

  42. Carrie says:


    My BFF from London who has taken me to wonderful places in England IS HERE visiting. Where should we go? First leg of the trip is to Cambria, where we’ve been x1 before, visiting Hearst Castle, Sebastian’s for a yummy sandwich and the wonderful moonstone beach. Any must sees there? After that, what are a few highlights that you might recommend? We’re thinking about Solvang and the Queen Mary in Long Beach… ANY ideas are GREATLY appreciated.

    • sbranch says:

      You’re doing good Carrie! Here are a couple more ideas … Across from Hearst Castle and a very few miles north of the castle is a turn out you will see on the road where there are wild Elephant Seals lolling around the beach. Fun to see. In Cambria is Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill, water view for lunch. If it rains, go to The Tea Cozy for tea or for lunch (it’s in the old part of Cambria). Before going down to Solvang, stop just outside of SLO, going south on 101, to the Avila Barn — it’s a big nice farm stand — and if it’s a Friday around 5 pm, continue into the tiny beachtown of Avila Beach for very cute farmer’s market. Or, if it’s closer to lunchtime — go another mile, get off at Spyglass in Shell Beach — and try the Spyglass Inn for a GORGEOUS View — sit outside, have the seafood salad if they still have it, and watch for porpoises and whales. If you go down to the Queen Mary, go 101 to Ventura and then get off and go over to 1 for the rest of the trip. MUCH prettier … look for Paradise Cove on the right, just before Malibu, for snack on the beach, sunny day would send Londoner to heaven. In Santa Monica, for huge LA view, you could go to Getty Center (Google it and see if it’s appealing to you). Not to mention Disneyland … so much to do down there! You can’t do it all, but there are lots of fun things to choose from. Have fun!!

      • It sounds like you have another travel book in you!

      • Carrie says:

        Susan Branch! You are such a doll – with all that insight to the Cambria area and points South. And how did you know that Hwy 1 makes me a bit nervous so I usually go 101 all the way down? Now I know where I can cut over f/101 to 1 -thank you so much! So grateful to you for these tips, many many thanks and from Christine, the Londoner.

        Christine flew over for my niece Janna’s wedding, which is Saturday. I had a bridal “bruncheon” last Saturday for the girls in the family where we had both savory and sweet crepes as well as beignots. The beignots were, in fact, a spiritual experience and I am now a true believer. My sister and I gave my niece a proper bit of fun for her trousseau…it was very pretty and she loved it. Such happy times!

        May the force continue to be with you and yours.

        Love, Carrie

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, and not only is cutting over to 1 so much prettier because you go along the beach, the Santa Monica Freeway is right at the end of Pacific Coast Highway, you run right into it, and it’s about an hour faster (at least) than going the other way when you’re heading for Long Beach. Sounds like you’re having fun Carrie, hello to all from me!

          • Carrie says:

            Thanks Susan!! Just one more question, this span of Hwy 1, does it have sections that have no guard rail and a sheer drop down to the waters? Many thanks

          • sbranch says:

            You’re thinking of Big Sur, which is quite north of Hearst Castle. South, there are no roads like that, you are even with the water, no sheer drops, nothing like that, if you went off the road, you’d be driving in sand — these are all easy and good and for the most part, we find them to be much emptier.

  43. Julie says:

    I gained ten pounds over the holidays, giving in to my cravings, and am working hard to get it back off; lost 3 so far. A year ago I lost 35 pounds, I never thought I could do it but I did – it felt really good. I was over 200 at the time, and the loss made such a difference in the way my body felt. I did it by reading The Beck Diet for Life book by Judith Beck with my women’s group. The exercises, plus our discussions, taught me alternatives to use when food cravings hit. It worked for me. It was a journey. I hope you continue to share your progress from time to time. We all benefit from one another’s successes.

  44. Beth B says:

    Good for you Susan! You and I are thinking alike. I just finished a 10 day cleanse and eating healthy. More importantly, I am down six pounds and feeling great.

    Keep up the good work!! 🙂

  45. Happy belated Earth Day to you, too, Susan!
    Thank you for sharing your amazing day with us. And thanks for the inspiration to begin healthy eating, too!

  46. Carrie says:


    BBF here from London. She’s taken me hither and yon in England; from the obscure and eccentric to the famous and traditional and I would like to reciprocate.

    We previously visited Cambria in ’09 where we toured Hearst Castle and then hoovered the best sandy at Sebastian’s. We are returning to Cambria – any new suggestions? Any “must sees” on the Central Coast? We were thinking of travelling further along the coast to San Luis Obispo but besides the Uni and bubble gum alley and shopping, are there any additional funky places to see/experience? Also considering Solvang and Santa Barbara. I’d love to get to Long Beach for the Queen Mary. We have a week and any feedback is greatly appreciated!

  47. Pat Stansel says:

    Love reading your posts. After I read it over a zillion times, I try to look at older posts.
    Last night I went back to Dec. 2010 —-when was your first blog? My eyes got blurry
    trying to find it . Would you say I’m obsessed ? Actually I only discovered your
    blog last Sept.& didn’t want to miss anything!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve had a website since 1999, forever — but we used to just change it for the season. This actual blog, with relatively continual posts, started June of 2011 — we’re about to celebrate our two year birthday! And my first Willard went out around 1990.

  48. sandy says:

    this is so refershing Susan. I can feel the lightness and freedom you feel with the completion of your book and the opportunity to turn your attention to other beautiful things. thanks for the tour, you always lift my spirits and put a lovely smile on my face……..blessings, sandy 🙂

  49. Barbara Kuzdzal says:

    I only hope that when Earth Day rolls around next year that I remember to bring in my iPad and share your post with the boys and girls at the school I am subbing at. I am a retired teacher that takes joy in filling in for teachers that can’t be there due to the sniffles or training. Your post said it all regarding Earth Day and I would only wish that the boys and girls will drink in the love and respect you have for Mother Earth and follow in your footsteps. Thank you for the perfect lesson plan for Earth Day! Loved your post as always!

  50. Lori from Florida says:

    Happy belated B. day! Sorry these wishes are so late. We were on a two week adventure on our sailboat. We went to Cumberland Island in Georgia. If you ever get a chance you should go. They have wild horses. I do hope you had a wonderful B. day!

  51. Marsha MacLean says:

    Thank you Susan, for the good wishes and Happy Earth day back to you!

    Speaking of losing weight and eating healthier, I have been buying a product from our fruit and vegetable stand that is a powdered peanut butter called PB. It has all the saturated fat taken out of it and you just mix it with water. I like it a lot, and they even have a chocolate version. (like Nutella)

    It seems to be carried by lots of small stores around the country. Nutrition facts state that 2 T of this is =45 calories vs. 190 calories in traditional peanut butter.
    For all you peanut butter lovers out there! YUM.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you… does it really taste like peanut butter or are you mad while eating it, but resigned?

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Yes – please write back and tell us how good it is [or isn’t]. I love PB but would also love a good-tasting/less fat version if it… Thanks.

    • Sherry M. says:

      Yes, I know a WW leader who sells the powdered PB. I never bought any, but she & several other people said that it tasted just like real PB.

  52. stephanie says:

    My mouth is watering for the lobster. Yet another reason why I want to move to MV and never leave.

    Seasons! I think what I love best about earth is seasons. You capture them so beautifully in your blog – the benefits of each – the anticipation of each season – it’s so amazing.

    • sbranch says:

      My mouth waters for lobster too, which was a very good reason, among others to move here! Thank you Stephanie!

  53. laurie says:

    beautiful sunsets and what a wonderful place to eat lobster! I’m so glad you;re feeling better, nasty cold huh?
    I gained 10 pounds this winter and I don’t even have a book to show for it, lol,
    I have been struggling get a start to losing it, your inspiration may have done the trick!
    I think I can, I think I can, lol, I hope I can, lose these pounds!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I am SO much better. Almost my normal self. It’s so great!!! I know you can do it Laurie, we can do it together! I think I love to eat too much and plan to really try and move around more rather than restrict my diet to the ends of the earth!

  54. Marianne says:

    Enjoyed this tribute to Earth Day with all the beautiful pictures/photos, the seafood shop and the mouth-watering lobster, the images of Squibnocket Beach – what a gorgeous beach! Such a lovely part of the country. My downfall this winter was milk chocolate morsels and butter. I stopped getting on the scale and started eating the morsels during cookie baking time after Thanksgiving and didn’t stop eating them until the beginning of March. And though I haven’t eaten butter for a long time because of cholesterol I decided that a little here and a little there wasn’t amounting to much, was it? It was. I got on the scale a couple of weeks ago after clothes started feeling tight and discovered I’d gained eight pounds. So – no more morsels – no more butter, and no snacks at night until it goes away. And sometimes I have to remind myself that a meat portion is a palm size – and only two servings a day.

    • sbranch says:

      I had chicken soup for breakfast. All veg, bit of chicken, lots of ginger in this one. Could eat it every meal and just might!

      • Marianne says:

        That sounds absolutely scrumptious!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        The Chinese eat soup at every meal, including breakfast. Breakfast really should be the largest meal of the day. I’ve read that farmers used to have pork chops, oatmeal and pie for breakfast – they needed large meals in the morning for the long strenuous hours of work ahead. I lost significant poundage about 15 years ago by reversing my habits – supper is now my smallest meal [through I really try to “graze” throughout the day]. When I AM able to graze, I notice I never really feel that “I’m starved’ feeling either. Because I’m not! :>)

  55. Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    Oh shoot! my computer has been down for a number of days and I just got back online tonight! Hip Hip!!!! Anyway, this blog is soooooo enlightening. I love New England (especially the Cape…my favorite) and your Island…..Earth Day is a special day to me as well….The very first declared Earth Day, I was vacationing in Hawaii…and it was a real EARTH DAY…all the flowers and the perfumed air…the sunrises and sunsets over the ocean….but since then I treasure every year and the awesome-ness of our Mother Earth….in every little morsel to the full grandeur of the highest mountains! So wonderful to be alive and be witness to all Earth’s treasures.
    I belong to the Northwest Watercolor Society and each year we have a “Paint Out” at a Washington State Island about and hour and a half north of Seattle. It is a gathering of 50 artists from the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and California. We gather at a Church Convention Center for 5 days…..Painting, eating and sleeping is all we do!!!!. all the meals are fabulous and prepared for us, all we have to do is get in line!!!! ha ha…………….The cost is minimal for the time there and all inclusive. It is so wonderful. This will be my 13th year going…I have gone every year except the first year…I love the “family” we have established together and have learned so much from so many artists …..and to watch and see what everyone is painting is AWESOME! I personally have been laid up these past 5 months and haven’t been able to hardly get out of the house. I had a pulmonary embolism, passed out and broke my leg in 2 places when I fell…So now, to be able to get out for a trip to Paint and see old friends…It is the BEST!

    Again Susan, thank you for your wonderful Earth Day blog. Those who paint are especially in tune with the EARTH…We are the lucky ones, who truly see with the artists eye, what is there. The color, the light and the emotion…..God Bless You for everything you do and share with us…………You enlighten and lighten our days. xoxo

    • Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

      I have to say….I have two artist friends who are helping me go to the paint out. Real Friends are remarkable and I love them so much for all the help they are giving me….to enable me to attend again this year. They said that they would carry my stuff for me, bring my meals to the table for me and whatever I need. they just want me to be there…Isn’t that just the sweetest……….I love them so much……Wish you could come to a paint out….they are fabulous!!!!! and the scenery there is OUTSTANDINGLY BEAUTIFUL……Looks right out to the San Juan Islands………………………….

      • sbranch says:

        That is the sweetest, friends are kind to each other’s dreams and here is proof positive. You are a lucky girl Susan — it sounds beautiful!

    • sbranch says:

      I read your other comment first, so I wasn’t sure why you needed help. I hope you’re getting better, it sounds like you are, and what a fabulous “coming out” trip after a long cold winter, into the sunshine, with art and friends! Happy for you Susan.

  56. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Just a quick little note to wish you a great weekend!!!! Keep up the good work with your diet!!! You inspire all of us to pursue our dreams this Springtime, no matter how big or small they may be in our hearts!!!!!

  57. nanette from alabama says:

    WOW!!! I just got the three scrapbooks I ordered from your website and they are even prettier than I’d remembered! They are absolutely adorable!

    I especially love the 3-D sticker on the first page of stickers that says “ADORABLE YOU.” That sticker will grace the first page of each of my girls’ scrapbooks……’s just what I want them all to know……that from the beginning til the end, they are my adorable, wonderful girls!

    • nanette from alabama says:

      Oh! One more thing! I was so glad that each of your scrapbook pages is printed on front and back. That lets me get twice as many photos in one book because it eliminates thickness of the book by not having to have two papers in each plastic sleeve. GREAT IDEA!!!

    • sbranch says:

      The perfect mom! xoxo

  58. Simply lovely…but isn’t it the fat in the homemade chicken broth that is suppose to be the healing element for those with colds?? 😉

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t really think so. I think it’s the long cooking of the vegetables and chicken that pulls out all the vitamins and nutrients and distills them into pure healthy get-you-well-deliciousness.

  59. Hi Susan. Great pics as usual. I have eaten at many places on MV and love the casual atmosphere on the Cape and Islands. I miss it so much. I was so homesick but we went west to California this week for April school vacation week and I found a place I love in Coronado that has a similar vibe and then we drove up the coast to Malibu and ate at a place called Malibu Seafood. So I am not so sad anymore

  60. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    So appropriate for this Earth Day post. Last night I got the most excited phone call fom my just 5 year old grandson, Will. Apparently, a robin had built a nest on the window ledge of his bedroom window and laid 4 eggs. He sent me a picture and he was so excited. The eggs were going to hatch and he was going to watch baby birds. Today my daughter-in-law called me nearly in tears. Mommy Robin was gone and so were all the eggs! What would Will think when he got home from school and the eggs were gone? How would we explain it to him? He would be crushed!
    Tonight, I got a phone call from Will. “Grandma, the Robin and the eggs are gone!”
    “Oh no,” Grandma said. “What happened?”
    Will said, “I think it got too hot and the Daddy Robin took the eggs away!”
    No tears, no devastation! Just that the Daddy Bird moved the eggs, because it got too hot!
    Sometimes we way over explain things to children! And he’s good with his explanation!
    No tears necessary! Gotta love simplification! 🙂
    Will’s Grandma, Chris

  61. Barbara in So.Cal says:

    Hi Susan,
    This “best butter” recipe I found in the L.A. Times over 40 years ago. It
    more than doubles in volume, reduces saturated fat, spreads easily and doesn’t compromise taste. Prepare in a small processor 1/4 lb soft good quality unsalted butter.( I like Lurpak from Denmark) 1/4 cup cooking oil. (I use grape seed oil now instead of canola) 1/4 cup water. (I use bottled water and add more just for the heck of it) 1/4 teaspoon salt optional.( I like Fleur de sel from France “ile de Re'” that I grind fine and use sparingly. It is sold at Williams Sonoma.) Pour the prepared mixture into a glass container with a lid and refrigerate. It comes out solid like butter (!) and tastes great. Changing eating habits takes discipline and perseverance and any little diluting tricks help. Good luck to everyone. I hope someone can benefit from better butter.

  62. Carrie says:

    Thank you Susan for your time providing me with some great tips on travelling down the Central Coast to Long Beach! Greatly appreciated!! This will be my first time travelling down Hwy 1 since now there are no worries about the Hwy. I will give Arroyo Grande a shout as well as SLO!

    It’s wedding day and I will forward your greeting to the bride (my niece Janna) and fiancee John as well as my sister and her husband!!

    Happy happy times, Carrie

  63. Christie says:

    Love you and the wonderful work you do….

  64. linda tiller says:

    I come to you for inspiration and motivation; to fine tune my “nature” eye, and encourage me to treat my home with TLC and rejoice in the comfort of nesting. Thank you for sharing yourself with us so thoroughly and authentically. I am sure you will succeed in fighting the bulge of winter fight! I want you to fit into your awesome linen pants from last summer, too because we need to see an adorable photo of YOU in them!

  65. Romy Silvester says:

    Dear Susan, I look forward to your blogs so very much. I then send them on to some really great girlfriends of my own. I do not have any of your books. When I read your blogs, it’s like reading a really good book anyway with such natural beauty everywhere. I just love the pictures of all the flowers, trees, wild violets (which I haven’t seen since I lived in Iowa). Do you have wild sponge mushrooms(Morels) there on the Vineyard? My Dad and I would go out into the woods in the spring and pick them and my Mother would sautee them in butter and sometimes with a little white wine. I can still remember that wonderful taste. And I would fill the house with cherry blossoms, peach blossoms, apple blossoms and always violets. To this day I still miss the beauty and smell of spring. And of course, that Jack is just the cat’s meow. You are such a fortunate lady to have Joe and, your furry kids, family and so many friends. When I get your uplifting blog I read it over and over. It makes my day.
    With that being said. I know your days are always wonderful. God bless for giving so much happiness to so many. Romy Silvester and Little Buddy Bear, my crazy cat.

  66. Lisa Georges says:

    Love your photos. I think I can smell them here in Ohio.

  67. Julia says:

    It is still very brown and gray here in Alaska, but the blue skies are straining to bring forth their green companions. I’m so jealous of your glorious flowers and gorgeous grass.

  68. Cynthia says:

    Hi, Susan! As usual, your blog and pictures are a delight! I love the glimpses you give of your life on Martha’s Vineyard and of your adorable cats! Thank you for sharing with us!

  69. Liz says:

    It’s always so refreshing to receive your posts.. Just loved seeing all
    the pics from England.. and of course Marth’S Vineyard..

    Well wishes…
    Liz V

  70. Nicki Anderson says:

    I would love to be considered for you book. I love reading your blog too. I think you have more color than we do here in Texas. Ours is coming though, I’m sure of it.

    I’m glad your book is done. I know it is a relief – and a load off your mind. Can’t wait to read it .

  71. Carla Boucher says:

    Dear Susan
    I love who you are and am grateful to God for all the gifts (talents) you bless me and so many others with!! Jack is my “Hercule Poirot” of the kitty world.
    I am anxiously waiting for my advance copy of A Fine Romance.
    Stay well
    Carla from Connecticut

  72. Nancy Dunn says:

    Hello Susan,
    Happy Spring and Congratulations on finishing your book! It must be a huge relief to be able to relax and enjoy the beauty of the island spring, and know you have produced another amazing work of art. I live on Cuttyhunk Island 8 miles from you and teach here in a one-room schoolhouse. My 2nd grade student loves to paint and I have recently introduced her to your blog which we are following, and more importantly to painting with watercolors which she absolutely loves! In her own words, “it’s like a whole ‘nother world!” She started her own watercolor portfolio and hopes to bring it over to show to you one day. 🙂 We have a blog as well called “Cuttyhunk Island Schoolhouse” if you would like to check it out sometime. I would love to be included in your give-away as I have been getting much more interested in cooking all kinds of new things lately (out of necessity) and your books are just gorgeous! Thank you for your kindness and adding joy to the world!


    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been to Cuttyhunk, oh my goodness, do you live there year round? You must! Amazing place. Your second grader speaks my language! Your blog is adorable, Toby is adorable, and your two children are adorable. Hello to Gwen and Carter! Do you grow a garden in the summer?

      • Nancy Dunn says:

        Hello Susan,

        Thank you for all of your kind compliments, your quick reply, and for posting the link to our school blog on your great blog! I hope that others will share it with the children in their lives. Gwen and Carter say “Hello!” and Gwen was so excited to receive your response. She wants to write more to you about coming over to meet you one day. She is busy writing and illustrating a book right now that she wants to publish and sell on the island, and her watercolor portfolio grows daily! 🙂 The children are thrilled to have the school blog to connect with the greater world. They have connected with many older alumni of the one-room schoolhouse which has been very interesting. There is so much history here on the island.

        I do actually live on beautiful, serene, Cuttyhunk for most of the year – late August through the end of June. I return to Mashpee on the upper Cape with Toby for the two summer months though, as my teaching position here provides a winter rental at the moment. I am so lucky to have a gorgeous waterfront location and I love to watch the Aquinnah lighthouse blinking its red and white lights every night as the fishing boats motor slowly around the Sound with their work lights glowing. I spend a lot of time watching the amazing water world with my binoculars!

        I absolutely love the island in the off-season and I’m not sure I would as much in the height of the summer with droves of sightseers coming off the ferry every day – I know you hear me! 🙂 Don’t get me wrong – I love people! – but there are so few of us here we tend to become somewhat of an “odd curiosity” by the day-trippers. I will come back over a few weekends this summer to visit my friends and experience the “busy” season.

        I do enjoy spending the summer in the BIG city on the Cape, going out to eat in restaurants, shopping in actual stores, going to movies and live theatres, and of course being able to see my 89 year old Mom – especially when she takes her afternoon nap in her reading/knitting chair with Toby snuggling alongside each day. I am truly blessed and very grateful for all that I have in my life. Of course, I would love to have a partner as loving and supportive as your husband is to you but I’m sure he will come along soon! 🙂

        We are beginning to plant some vegetables in a neighbor’s garden plot near the schoolhouse. We are looking at purchasing a small greenhouse for next year too. How long ago were you on Cuttyhunk? Was it during the busy summer or the peaceful off-season? Come on over anytime and visit!

        Happy Spring Susan!
        Nancy and the Cuttyhunk Kids 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Oh yes, I do hear you! 🙂 I always feel so lucky we are an island and people have little use for us in the winter. This place is worn to a frazzle by the end of the season, so in winter, up goes the “Keep Off” sign — let the healing begin! It actually works really well! I hope you get what I got, a surprise man, waiting right there for you on your own island. Be sure to write “him” down, it was a big help for me that I asked for a 6’2″ Leo who could cook since that’s what I wanted and that’s what I got. I came to Cuttyhunk with a friend on a boat, only for an afternoon years ago. I will say that the ocean/sound between here and there, which I was told was called something like “Dead Man’s Curve” (not that, but you get the meaning) was terrifying that day! Really deep, dark, choppy, scary. We made it, but so far I haven’t ventured back! I know how your kids feel, being able to connect with the outside world. It’s quite the little miracle, this Internet. I feel a lot like they do! Please give them hugs from me! They are so lucky to have you! Hard to believe you are brought over for only two children, what a great great thing! Have a wonderful day. Could you please teach them to cook? Or do they already know how?

          • Nancy Dunn says:

            Thank you Susan, I feel very lucky to have my two unique students to teach and such a wonderful place to live and teach! I know you and I are definitely on the same page as far as “writing our dreams down”. Last year, I worked as a substitute on the Cape as I wrote down and waited for a teaching position that would be near the water, have autonomy and creative freedom, a short commute, be in a small community, have a peaceful waterfront home, have somewhere my dog could possibly go to work with me, and that he may be able to run free. And here it all is right here on Cuttyhunk! 🙂 Also, I am the School Principal and didn’t have to go back to school again for yet another Master’s degree. Each day I’m reminded that I’m living my dream as I make the one-minute, amazingly scenic, “commute” to teach in an historic one-room schoolhouse. We are the last operating one-room schoolhouse in Massachusetts. My teacher friends are still incredulous, and all of them said that they never knew a position like this even existed. I have always been a huge fan of Anne of Green Gables too – have read the whole series.

            So now I just have to take your advice and put my focus on finding my soulmate, my “Joe”. Tall, and able to cook – most definitely! …. and able to work from home too – tell me why a Leo?

            Yes, the children have been taking a weekly cooking class all year, taught by a neighbor here. They prep, plan, measure, follow recipes, cook, bake and clean up after. They have made everything from salads and chili, to cookies and birthday cakes. Their favorite ingredient is chocolate chips! They love to cook, and we are keeping detailed notes and photographs each week so we can write a “Cuttyhunk Kids Cookbook” soon! Gwen wants to do all of the illustrations in watercolor – after she completes her current book of course. 🙂 She wants her book to be as “pretty as yours”. She loves seeing the pages of the books on your blog.

            I made my first trip ever from here over to the Vineyard this past Saturday on a friend’s boat on a sunny and warm spring day. We stayed in the Sound right between MV and Naushon and docked in Oak Bluffs. The water was calm and blue with barely a bump and no wind. I think it was the ideal first voyage and I really hope you get to come back here to visit on a beautiful calm day like that sometime!

            We had three watercolor horses in various positions added into the Portfolio today…I’ve never been so happy about giving a child a set of watercolor paints in my life!

            Going to get started on my soulmate list now…
            Have a most beautiful day – this sunny, spring weather is gorgeous!

          • sbranch says:

            What a great story! Making a difference in such a wonderful place. How many people live on Cuttyhunk year round? And now, forever, you have “School Principal” on your resume! The Leo was because I’m an Aries and I read somewhere that we work well with Leo’s, plus my dad is a Leo. Joe’s mom was an Aries. Leo men, at least as far as my dad and Joe are concerned, can fix anything, and are true blue. What more can you ask for! They’re very forgiving of the faults of an Aries too!

            I think I know which day you came over — we were out walking and I said to Joe, what a perfect day for a sail! That had to be the day. Nice to meet you Nancy. Wishing you all good things! xoxo

  73. Bea says:

    Love opening my email and see your post, especially when feeling down. It never ceases to lift my spirits and bring a smile to my face. Thank you.

  74. C. says:

    What a walk down memory lane these photos brought forth for me! I was raised in a small village in the NorthEast where lilac bushes, lilies of the valley, daffodils and tulips all heralded the beginning of Spring. It also meant that Spring cleaning time had arrived which meant putting away the woolens and bringing out the lovely cottons. It was like coming home from a wonderful shopping trip. Everything seemed like “brand new”!

  75. Tammy says:

    Oh happy dance with my tea as I read your post. So glad you are feeling better. I love the pictures. Spring has not quite decided to stay in my neck of the woods…so your pictures brought joy. I too am trying to be good with what I eat…funny how in winter I seem to gain it without thinking I am really eating at all…hahah I would love either book…I love your work …you make me smile Have a happy Sonday and many blessings

  76. Suzanne says:

    Dear Susan,
    Love everything you do. Love your talent. I also am trying to eat healthy and walk more. It is gardening time in Pa. so I have been busy with my flowers and vegtable planting. Glad you are feeling better.


  77. Dede in Kansas says:

    Hello Susan and Hello Spring! Today it finally feels and looks like spring in NE Kansas. We have had such and up and down and mostly downright cold spring! Of course the next couple days will be 70 – 80 then back to 40’s and 50’s! What is a girl to do in this kind of weather! I am enjoying the green, green grass and the blooming shrubs and trees. Hoping May will be more “normal” this year. Last year we went from fall to summer without much winter or spring. More snow this year and below normal cool weather in March and April….go figure. Mother Nature has been quite fickle. Looking forward to your new book!

  78. Barbie Prince says:

    This is my first time doing this so I hope it is right. Just wanted a chance to win one of Susan’s books. I love everything she writes because it is so lady like and comforting. Thank-you!!!

    • sbranch says:

      You are in the right place Barbie. I like that lady-like comment, thank you, it reminds me of my Grandma who, we all (in my family) agree, was the perfect lady.

  79. Martha says:

    Love the vitality of your Spring pictures. Our 4 seasons thrust us into a sense of new and bright beginnings if we take the time to appreciate them. Your posts wrap us girlfriends into, as ee Cummings said, the ” mudluscious and puddle wonderful” world we have here in the NE! ❤

  80. Kay Bennett says:

    Hi Susan! So glad to hear you are feeling much better. Thank you for sending us an uplifting blog on Sunday when we can take time to sit down and enjoy a wonderful conversation with all your friends. Of course your photographs and quotes on your blog are always a bright spot in our lives. I just came inside after clearing leaves out of my flower beds and cutting roses. It seems our roses decide to explode with color all at once so as a result, our house is full of those wonderful beautiful signs of Spring.

    I am traveling to a small town in Kansas next week to visit my daughter and her family and to help my daughter sell her wonderful pastries at the local Farmers Market. It is a wonderful place to live and to raise their daughter in a small town atmosphere. It reminds me of what America was years ago. Speaking of diets, since my daughter moved, I have been able to lose 15 pounds. (With the help of Jenny Craig). Her little family lived with us for 3 years and during that time every day there were wonderful smells coming from our kitchen, so of course, it was my job to eat some of her wonderful cookies, cakes and other sweet treats, resulting in my weight gain. After they left and beginning January 2nd, (after the holidays) I began my dieting. It feels wonderful to be back to a “normal” weight again. In my case, I found that weighing myself every morning gave me feedback and the desire to keep going as I watched the numbers go down. Good luck to all of you. Just stay with it and you will be

  81. Julia says:

    Don’t know if I’m leaving this on the right post of not.
    The pictures are beautiful. Just as soon as I’m settled,
    I will plant dogwoods, magnolia and others. Jack is such
    a doll. How do you keep the kitty babies out of the flowers?
    This poem is for you:

    Duty makes us do things well
    Love makes us do them beautifully.
    Phillips Brooks

  82. Linda Lee Miller says:

    Susan, I am getting so excited to receive my copy of “A Fine Romance.” My husband and I visited England a few years back. I look forward to another tour vicariously through your beautiful book! Your appreciation of God’s glorious gifts inspires me.
    . Again, glad to hear that you are feeling like yourself and enjoying all that nature offers.

  83. Jan Jasper says:

    I would be thrilled to get Girlfriends Forever and The Summer Book, Susan! I have given a few of my friends Girlfriends Forever, but I think it’s time to win an autographed copy for myself! In addition, I do not have a copy of The Summer Book, and am delirious at just the thought of winning an autographed copy for my home library. Regardless of the occasion, I know for a fact that a Susan Branch book is the perfect gift. Thank you so much for your time and talent. You have made me look so good to my friends and family when they spread the word about how I give the best gifts, ever!!

  84. Meg Werby says:

    I would be thrilled to win the drawing! Just in time to give to my bff for her June birthday.
    Thank you so much for brightening my days and sharing your heartfelt thoughts in times of happiness & grief.

  85. Janyce Beyer says:

    Hi, Susan! I would love to register to win your books. The last few months have been hard on me since I have had kidney cancer and lost my best friend of 40 years. I think the books would make a nice gift for her daughters. Thanks! Janyce

    • sbranch says:

      Too much at one time Janyce. I pray things are getting better for you. There is a quote that goes something like this, “There’s no way make up for the loss of someone who has loved you.” xoxo

  86. Becki Smith says:

    I have loved your books since my mom gave me “Summer” for my birthday many years ago. I think I might have all of your books. “Little Dinners”, the smallest is on the top of the stack! Just love them all.

  87. Cora Maldonado says:

    Hi Susan,
    This is my first time to write a comment. I discovered your cookbooks a few years ago and fell in love with your artwork. It is so joyful and makes me feel happy. Can’t wait for the new book and would love to win one of the books you are giving away.Thanks for sharing so much beauty and joy.

  88. Oh, Susan … I so love your site! and today was extra special. I “smelled” so many yesteryears! The aroma of the budding plants … the fragrance of quilts after flapping in the wind! the fun of sifting flour! the aroma of the ocean! hearing the songs of the birds and Jack’s and Girl Kitty’s purrrr! The aroma of a book with wet ink! What an afternoon of wonderful memories. Thank you, Susan! and my
    Pink Hugs to you!

  89. Gwen B. Slade says:

    I have loved your work for years and your blog helps me see WHY! Just love this post! It is like having the wedding reception over, having the baby potty trained, graduation, the day school starts again, and the day after Christmas. Congrats on your lovely accomplishments! Thank you for making the world more beautiful.

  90. Kimmie says:

    Hi Susan,

    As always, I enjoyed your artwork, lovely Spring photos, and uplifting story.
    Thanks for being our ‘Ray of Sunshine’ !


  91. Pam Blass says:

    I wish I lived in Susan’s world but because of her blog, I do. You always lift my spirts and I am transported to your wonderful home.

  92. Diane C. says:

    My sister connected me to your website and blog. If I were to win the books, I would give them to her as a thank you. Your photos are inspiring.

  93. Jo-Anne Daily says:


  94. Doris Nollman says:

    So glad that you are feeling healthy again…..and getting healthier with each day by exercising and dieting (ugly word……..rather eating healthy!) I adore “visiting” Martha’s Vineyard with you. Last year 20 of my high school classmates met in Boston and went on out to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard for a week. Beautiful. I’m from that “flyover Midwestern area” and loved the smell and feel of the ocean. The food……….mmmmm can taste all the freshness. Thanks for making all of us feel good with your blog.

    • sbranch says:

      I love the Midwest — my mom was born and raised in Iowa, and the people out there truly are the nicest of all!

  95. Connie Stewart says:

    We lived in Iowa for 45 years and Grandma worked during the summer at Martha’s Vineyard while a student at the University of Iowa so we have these links in common with you. I would love to win one of the books to have on my coffee table to pick up and just read a few pages when I take a break from everyday life. Whenever I read your email I feel transported for a few minutes to a lovely place. Thank you.

  96. Julie p says:

    I just ordered your Summer book and am trying to read just one or two pages at a time in order to stretch out the enjoyment. It’s just so beautifully written and illustrated. You have a gift. Also loved seeing all the beautiful spring flowers you just shared with us. Glad you are feeling better!

  97. Mary Burton says:

    Dear Susan,
    It has been a long Sunday, and I’m so tired, but your beautiful pictures and you touching prose was so special. I’ve only actually read 3/4 of the post. I’ve been cooking for a neighbor whose husband just came home from the hospital. I’m going to bed shortly.
    But,,my day started in a very special way. I had Brunch with seven friends at a beautiful restaurant in historic, downtown Charleston, SC. If you have never been to this beautiful, little coastal town,,,come for a visit. You will love it.
    I would dearly love to be the lucky person to receive your books. Many years ago I had one of your early books. When I sold my house in Richmond, VA I gave away many books,,,many I wish I had on my shelves,,,yours is one of them.
    Please continue to send us your beautiful picturs, they make my heart sing with pure joy.

  98. christy says:

    I’m relatively new to your blog but not your books. My personal favorite is the little Christmas book, “Christmas Joy”. I look forward to your inspirational blog and lovely photos!
    I’ve been a fan of Beatrix for years and can’t wait to see “A Fine Romance”. If you’ve never read Linda Lears biography, “Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature” I highly recommend it!

  99. Carol Cooley says:

    Loved reading your blog today! And you inspired me to get back on the treadmill! Spring is here and I can’t wait to wear cute little sundresses, so I’d better get walking! Love your trees and flowers, but mostly pics of Jack! And my close girlfriend has a “Boy Kitty” (that’s his name!) that looks like Jack! Happy Spring!

  100. Jan Mercer says:

    You have brought such joy….moments of “ahhh” and pure delight to me. Thank you for sharing photographs of your beautiful and joyous home and life (and thanks to Joe, also). The visions you bring brighten my days. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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