Summer Already?  How can that BE?  Celebrating Old Cape Cod with MUSICA.

Mmmm, “. . . the simple stuff of summertime.”  And you might say, “Hey don’t rush it, it’s still spring.”  You would say that because you are not on “island time.”  But we definitely are (this is not always a good thing, such as when you are waiting for the plumber to show up) and Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer for us island folk.  Craziness begins to occur, the wide mouth of the ferry yawns open . . . and out they pour, from everywhere . . .

. . . people who love this place just as much as we do . . .

And feel like they are coming home.  They come for the history, for the sea, for the old-fashioned slow way of flip-flop-wearing, rose-smelling, bike riding, picket-fence and shady-tree lifestyle.  Goodbye real life, hello Island. Welcome to 1910.  Bring your picnic basket. 

Our Martha’s Vineyard population goes from approximately 15,000 in the winter, to some crazy thing like 100,000 in the summer. And we’re doing our part — we have two sets of company coming this weekend!  So I’m filling my vases with lilacs, oiling my wooden kitchen table (which right now is shining like a lake), washing towels and drying them on the line so my friends will get a little seaside air in their bath towels. And look what came in the mail . . . this darling summer banner made by my Twitter friend Janie.  It got here in the nick of time, for summer!  But since you aren’t on island time . . . and still have all the time in the world to get ready…

I asked Janie if she would make more of them for you.  It’s totally charming, but what I really love is the little envelope she hand-makes to go with these.  Such a perfect little gift.  I squealed when I opened her package and saw what she sent . . . how could I not!  If you are going anywhere this summer, here is a not-too-expensive housewarming gift anyone would love. ♥

This is what our house looks like now. Joe and I hung the flag after our walk this morning.  On the far left, there on the second floor, I open the screen and lean out that window; Joe goes to the window in the middle. “Here, catch!” he says and throws me a corner of the flag while holding onto the rest of it.  And I catch it, just like every year, and hang the ring on the hook he put there for it.  The parade from the grammar school up the street will happen tomorrow afternoon, just as it has every Memorial Day since around 1870.  Descendants of those same kids, carrying descendants of the lilacs from that same time.  Because it’s lilac time on Martha’s Vineyard, and we will run out to watch them and clap along as they pass buy.  The kids will walk down Main Street, stopping traffic (one of those sweet small town things people get used to around here), past the bandstand to the sandy shore where the school band (which follows them down the street) plays taps with the sound of seagulls and ocean waves in the background.  The children pay respects to the generations that have fought and died in wars and throw their flowers into the sea.  A lovely old tradition.

But that will be tomorrow . . .  Today, we are getting ready to be spontaneous . . . because with company coming, we need to get ready. I’m making a few food items to have in the fridge…

A big bowl of crisp, soft, spicy, crunchy, Cauliflower and Bean Salad . . .

So pretty I had to do two photos of it!

And this Cold Lemon Rice Salad, which is so easy to make.  There are lots of spring flowers perfect for this.  If you grow pansies, they’re edible (as long as they haven’t been sprayed with anything chemical) — you could make a chiffonade from the different colored petals — like confetti. Chive flowers are in bloom too, plus the chives themselves, minced for some green color.  You can also use clover flowers, young dandelion flower petals, apple blossoms, and sweet woodruff. And, for some nice sticky protein, what is more “holiday weekend” than these . . .

I thought you might enjoy a recipe for two of my favorite chewy substantial weekend appetizers.   We’re going to be ready . . .

Our first group gets here tomorrow, so a little while ago, I went outside to gather lilacs . . .

and look who came with me — Mrs. Shy.  Girl Kitty likes to go outside and roll in the dusty driveway, but being out also makes her very nervous, so she hides in the bushes.

Meow.  He would like to go too, but if he goes then I get nervous.

And here they are the lilacs planted by the woman who owned this house from 1940 to 1980 — though she has gone to heaven, she is still making our world smell wonderful.  Thank you Mrs. Bowditch.

. . . and there’s my darling man, making the our world look wonderful . . . Thank you Mr. Hall.

And then, you know what?  The UPS man came.  He brought me this.  It came from my publisher who got it from the printer.   It’s called a “dummy.”  It’s the exact size of our book, the exact size of A FINE ROMANCE.  It has all 260 pages, but they are blank, and it has the ribbon (I got us a ribbon)!  So you can hold the book, and feel it, and ruffle the pages, and you can, if you are me . . . .

play house with it . . . by removing the blank dust jacket and putting on the one Kellee printed for me, and then laying the end papers and the first page on top of the blank pages so you can squint your eyes and pretend it’s real — it looks real, don’t you think? (I put a fireplace in the first picture on the first page, because it will be the middle of September when you get your books, and I was thinking, crisp days, leaves falling, cup of tea, new book to read . . . ♥  We’re going to be so ready!)

Also, I want to make sure you all got your lamb Bookmark — you can click on that and print it out.  So, today is a red letter day.  Everything seems right with the world, all very home sweet home. Wishing you a happy holiday weekend. XOXO

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470 Responses to HERE COMES SUMMER . . .

  1. Karen P - Wisconsin says:

    Oh my, dear Susan, this was worth the wait! My heart stopped and I gasped when I saw “our book!” Really! It is gorgeous! I have my bookmark all printed out, laminated and just waiting for September (is September yet! 🙂 And Janie’s banner….and the yummy recipes (I’ve tried the Bean and Cauliflower one and it’s yummy!)….and the adorable parade with the flags and kids with lilacs! Too, too festive for this wonderful Memorial weekend! I have a lilac question for you since you said you pick them and put them in a vase….this past weekend at my mom’s house, I picked a bunch, smashed the stems and put them in water. By the end of the evening they were a great big wilty mess! What am I doing wrong?!!! xoxo…Karen

    • sbranch says:

      It sounds like you are doing it all right — was the water almost hot? I think that helps too.

      • Cathy McC. says:

        I have the same problem with my lilacs, and I don’t recall that happening with “my mom’s lilacs” when she cut them and had them all over the house when we were kids. I think the type we have here are fancy-dancy or something — but I will try the hot water trick. Made a bouquet last week of lilacs, bridal veil, and lily-of-the-valley (the ultimate spring bouquet), but the lilacs were wilted in no time flat! Fortunately, their beautiful fragrance lingered on.

        • sbranch says:

          All flowers last longer if they start off with fresh cuts and go into at least lukewarm water, but not cold. But things with woody stems, the stems should be split with a hammer and the water should be almost hot.

          • Cathy McC. says:

            Never knew that before but will sure try it. Hope there are enough lilacs left out there to experiment today! Thanks for the tip!

      • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

        Hot? Hmmm….no, it was cold but I’ll try that! Thanks. I knew you’d know! 🙂 xo

        • sbranch says:

          That’s probably it .. the hot water wicks upward into the stem. Hitting it with a hammer was exactly right.

          • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

            Susan, Do yours ever wilt even when you do that (use hot water)?

            I have to admit, like Karen P, I’ve never used hot water–I will try that. Sometimes even after doing the hammer thing, they still wilt (sometimes–not always).
            P.S. Alas, our lilac time is over. But the peonies have popped!!

          • sbranch says:

            Sometimes they do. They are funny. They never last very long — maybe 2 or 3 days if I’m lucky.

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            I also think the “old-fashioned” lilacs lasted cut a lot longer. The new variety, French Lilacs, that are smaller bushes and more lacey seem to wilt so much faster… 🙁

          • sbranch says:

            Ah ha!

    • Belinda Chesser says:

      I am thinking I need to move North from Florida…we just can’t have so many of those beautiful spring flowers down here because of the heat…:o(

  2. Cathy McC. says:

    Somehow you always know when one of the FOSB desperately needs one of your inspirations. Lucy has been my life-line today, and then I came home from my substitute teaching placement and you lifted some of the heavy heart I have. Thank you, friend. And aren’t lilacs just the most wonderful gift from God? Even better, hearing the strains of Old Cape Cod in the background! Have a wonderful weekend with your guests! Can’t wait to share the bookmark with my Lakeshore Lady friends! Always hugs, Ethel

  3. Linda Wattier says:

    Looks like I’m the first one. Isn’t summer fun. Going camping and fishing with our son and granddaughter who is 6. She loves to fish. Will be roughing it. Staying in a tent. Been getting food ready. Of course we have to have smores!Love the smell of bacon frying in the fresh morning. Sounds like your going to have a great weekend also. Happy Memorial Day!

    • sbranch says:

      You will have such fun! Six! Perfect.

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Silly little Winnie the Pooh poem.
      When I was one, I was just begun.
      When I was two, I was barely new.
      When I was three, I was hardly me.
      When I was four, I was not just more. (?). memory slipping….
      When I was five, I was just alive.
      But, now I am six. And I’m clever as clever. So I think I’ll be six forever and ever!
      A. A. Milne

      • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

        I love that poem too and always say it to my first graders. I think that line goes, “When I was four, I was not much more.”

        so cute! My kids always love it!

  4. Jeanette says:

    Oh, Susan!!!! What a sweet, precious, poignant post!!! Thank you as always!
    I love all the patrioticness of everything. I believe I’ll get out my Uncle Sam collection tonight and decorate our fireplace mantel. I leave it up until Labor day, think I need a couple patriotic garlands to accompany it around the house! There. I’ve got creative projects on the docket, just as I was typing to you. You help develop creativity at every turn! 😉
    And, food, of course. I’ve got to plan out the menu. My mind is just a bowl of mush after this intense work week. I can use the delightful four days off ahead of me to capture each moment and savor all the little things. I see some hammock time on the horizon too. Once does “need” to watch the clouds go by…although I believe I might be pelted with raindrops in my eyes here in the mid-west this weekend! Drats. Well, the flowers will be happy! 🙂
    Wishing you the most delightful, memorable, wonderfully splendid weekend.
    Much love. Let’s salute the Red, White and Blue together!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy to do that Jeanette! xoxo

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      I have a Patriotic Collection that I get out too! And with my love for George Washington, I also add the books I have that are about him. I even have a book about his china!!

      • sbranch says:

        I love him too. Thank God we had him first!!

        • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

          And to think that he could sit with us Girlfriends and rave about china and dishware always makes me smile!!

    • Belinda Chesser says:

      LOVE your idea of an Uncle Sam display…if you are on facebook can you post a picture of it for us? Would love to see it!

  5. Yay! Summer . . but what happened to Spring? Why, we have the heating on this evening, and the forecast for this May Bank Holiday weekend . . the one that is supposed to be *THE* BIG weekend that kicks off our tourist season too . . the forecast is for gales and northerly winds and temperatures in the mid fifties 🙁 Bah! Humbug!

    Okay, just a few moments ago I was thinking positive and humming George Harrison’s “Here Comes The Sun” but the only sun is *YOU* Susan . . and my pen friends that I’ve made through FOSB! Gotta love them Girlfriends who put old fashioned pens to old fashioned paper and use the mail box”

    Our Summer Season means the same here, a huge increase in the population. I walk around not seeing a familiar face for ages. When I leave my tiny cottage and arrive in the village square it is like walking into a wall of people and noise as they sit around enjoying their locally made ice creams, buzzing like bees around a honey pot. Once this day arrives I go into the ‘Roll on September’ mode . . when there will hopefully be an Indian Summer (the best) and my favourite season of them all is here . . oh! I wish that Blissful Autumn could last forever! As it is, my Autumn begins officially on August 1st and ends at Christmas (what am I like?)

    The dummy for “A Fine Romance” . . Hurray! This Autumn will be better than ever! I’m stocking up on my favourite hot chocolate and I might even buy a new Emma mug to celebrate too!

  6. Linda says:

    Oh how I love that summer girl with the floppy hat staring out at the sea…its always been a favorite of mine…I have had her with me for many a summers on my wicker rockers out on the front porch (Pillows) and this weekend she will come out again for another one….Happy Summer Susan!

  7. Nellie says:

    Well, Susan. You’ve done it once again! I am filled with longing to come to Martha’s Vineyard! Such wonderful traditions with that parade of the school children. LOVE the flag on your house!

    Oh, my! “Our book” is just beautiful! I can hardly wait!

    Your guests are mighty lucky to be visiting you. Well, first, of course, because you are a kind and thoughtful person (towels with seabreeze on them!), but also because the food is marvelous!

    Yes, that little “boy kitty” would probably head for the first tree he sees and up he’d go! Rescuing a cat from a tree is not my idea of fun.:-)

    I’m sending wishes for good weather for the week-end along to you. For the first week-end in a month here, there is no forecast for rain! We are over 11 inches more than our average rainfall for this time in the year, and our 30×60 vegetable garden spot has not been dry enough to work up for planting yet!

    Take care, and be happy!

    xo Nellie

  8. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    Your town festivities look like fun….and it looks like your house is so close to the street where it all happens that you and Joe can watch out your windows? I love the flag that you hung…and what a wonderful yearly ritual. We live in a small historic town of about 9,ooo …..and we have the tourists every year….but not even close to the amount you have there…I cannot even imagine that many people taking over the place. We are always happy at the beginning of summer to see the boats, yachts, and ppl….but glad to see them leave in the fall too….but I cannot get over how many visitors you end up with, although it is Martha’s Vineyard!
    Your salads looked so yummy and easy that I put the ingredients on my shopping list for this weekend to try out….thank you!
    I am so thrilled about our book!! I almost can’t stand it anymore…so I was happy when I read when it will be arriving …and that it will be the perfect gift to begin a new season. What is extra is that so many of the girlfriends have also purchased the book, and we will all be enjoying it together. How does that make you feel? You must feel such joy? I cannot imagine what you experience!

    • sbranch says:

      It makes me feel so happy, and like we will be the biggest book club of them all! Happy Weekend Diane!

      • Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

        Hi Diane! … and we are almost neighbors! So nice to see you on Susan’s posts! How fun is this..I love everything about what Susan has created…and obviously you do too! Keep in touch, maybe sometime we can meet!!!! susan

        • Linda says:

          Hi Diane & Susan…my Dad & step Mom lived in Kingston..she passed away Monday. We visited those beautiful old homes there. You live in God’s country. Linda from Idaho

          • Jan from Northern CA says:

            Sending condolences for the passing of your StepMom Linda. Sending a prayer for you and your family. Hope your Dad will have you close to help him through his grief. And we FOSB will be here for you. 🙂

          • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

            Linda, I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of your stepmom! I’m sending up a prayer for you and your family. 🙁

      • Can you imagine the effect of that many people sitting down and reading A Fine Romance at the same time?…..because you know we will all drop what we’re doing to read it as soon as it arrives in our mail box! So, how many copies have you sold so far? Will it be in bookstores before we receive our copy? If so, you may end up selling double to those of us who can’t wait for the mail.

        • sbranch says:

          The plan is to ship yours first … I doubt the bookstores will have time to get them in before you see yours. We are going to have to make rules about talking about the book on page 76 while others are still on page 30! 🙂

          • Oooh, that’s going to be hard…..someone will make a comment and we’ll all rush to that page to read what you wrote. I’ll be one of those who will look at the pictures first in one sitting and then go back and take my time to read what you wrote…..I just had a thought, maybe rather than a book tour you should just have a “Book Reading Retreat” where we all gather in one place and you hand out our books and we all sit there and read it together! 🙂 No? I guess 3,000+ people would be too much.

          • sbranch says:

            We’re going to have to think about this!

  9. Lucy says:

    Hello Susan!
    Be still my heart – a ribbon too! Oh, I hope your book arrives on a cold and shivery day, with little reason to venture outdoors, so we can curl up in a warm house, with a favorite blanket and read long past sundown! So much to look forward to!
    XO, Lucy

    • sbranch says:

      That’s exactly what I hope too, a windy crisp fall day. Yes!

      • Cathy McC. says:

        Won’t that be wonderful to read –when everyone starts writing in that their book has arrived? It will be time for celebration, for sure!

        • sbranch says:

          Scary, I better get going on a new one!

          • Pam Fortune says:

            How about a trip to Germany, a country I love. I have been visiting since 1959 when I was fourteen years old and this year I have booked a holiday for myself and daughter Penny and her daughter Robyn. I just love the old customs they have kept more so than we do and I just love the old buildings and lakes and mountains. I especially love the early autumn because they make the most amazing plums cakes. The Black Forest is beautiful. Can I tempt you?

          • sbranch says:

            Since the first time I went to Disneyland when I was little and got on a river ride that was supposedly the Danube and saw all the castles along the shore, I’ve wanted to take a river trip in Germany! Maybe someday!

  10. Peggy Cooper says:

    Liverwurst sandwiches – they don’t seem to be very popular because I never see them on menus, but I love them. When I was little – maybe 4 or 5 – I had my first liverwurst sandwich when my daddy took me to the zoo. They were out of baloney, so he convinced me to try something new. I was so taken with it that I told the people in my neighborhood in Brooklyn what I had, and since I couldn’t say it right, I was from then on known as Peggy Wuverwish.

    We had a late frost here in Southern Colorado, so the lilacs didn’t make it this year. But now we’ve had some beautiful weather and things are starting to bloom and look beautiful. So nice to be able to have the doors and windows open and let in the fresh air.

    • sbranch says:

      We love those Wuverwish sandwiches too 🙂 and they’re always a surprise to our friends when we have them on the sandwich plate.

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Ummm…We love liverwurst sandwiches with avocado and mayo!!! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          And Let-Let as we used to call it, in the insane moments.

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          My grandpa and grandma used to fry it up in a cast iron pan and eat it on rye bread~ I don’t know……..

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          In our family, it’s liverwurst on seeded rye with very- very-very thin slices of red onion, French’s yellow mustard & Swiss cheese. Sehr gut!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            When we are having “insane moments”, we call hamburgers “hamagravers”…think it was what Norm called them when a child… 🙂

  11. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan….. Patti Page…soooo dreamy….after our first visit to Chatham, I searched for Patti Pages’ rendition of ” Old Cape Cod”…found it on utube and eventually bought one of her CD’s….. we were smitten with this whole area from the get go…and are making a trip to MV in June to celebrate 34 years of wedded bliss and our very special birthdays…(mine in Aug and Jerry’s in Sept.).I seem to remember a post from the past that had hotel and restaurant suggestions…did I dream that? But would like to know, if you are comfortable about it, a few places that we shouldn’t miss while on the Island…..making reservations any day now!! I think you hit it right on about the’s their heritage…along with their simple beauty and heavely scent…that I love….really, that so many love!! They are my favorite flower….such a special time of year when they bloom… love that salty air!! have fun!!!! love, cindy ps LOVE the look of the book… exciting..can’t wait!!! book tour schedule? xo

    • sbranch says:

      The best thing to do Cindy, is to go to the Chamber of Commerce web site — because there are so many places and it all really depends on the kind of experience you’re looking for — waterside, country, quiet, bustling — you really can’t go wrong. When you get here, get the local paper — there will be a good list of what’s going on at the time, and you can pick and choose. Remember, it’s an island, you really can’t get lost here!

      The book tour schedule should be somewhat complete in July — we will see, but I’ll put it up asap.

      • Cindy Maulin says:

        hi susan..thank you Susan….great advice and I have already pulled that website up….found two lovely places that I think we’d really like for lodging….. looking forward to it for sure!! Got out my Summer book yesterday…. LOVE IT!! I have read it a zillion times, but it always seems like I find something new each time I read it!! Have a wonderful fun-filled “spontaneous” Memorial Day week-end!! Welcome Summer!!!! love, cindy

  12. Susan says:

    We are spending the summer in Yellowstone working at the Fishing Bridge General Store. It is essentially a volunteer position. It is still winter here. Temps in the low 30s at night and low 50s during the day. The crowds have already arrived and will increase once summer arrives. What fun it is to work with and serve such happy people as everyone is in “vacation mode!” Our RV park is gorgeous and views spectacular! Nature’s Cathedral! (Luckily, we are able to only drive 1 mile to pick up cell and Internet (Mifi).)

    • sbranch says:

      We met some volunteers the last time we went through there and thought what a lovely way to spend the summer!

    • Cindy Maulin says:

      That’s fantastic Susan! We have been to Yellowstone several times as it is one of our most favorite places on earth!!! We thought we’d like to volunteer there also, but the timing hasn’t been just right yet. It’s on the Bucket List……. what a wonderful way to spend the summer… have fun and say “HELLO!” to Yellowstone for us!!!!!

  13. Bev says:

    We are still having frost here in N. CA, but Memorial weekend starts summer for us. Company is coming. Your Cauliflower and Bean Salad looks yummy. It just went on my list for this Saturday.
    Last weekend we celebrated Armed-Forces Day. Real bagpipes skirling, Flags flying, Giving thanks for our freedom and remembering all. The finishing touch was Taps whick left us all in tears.
    We love every season. I would not be able to pick just one. Summertime is so much fun. Time to make great memories.
    Also wanted to tell you we have had so much fun with Joe’s idea on getting rid of Dandelions. We are still laughing, but such a smart idea.
    Have a great week-end. So enjoy reading and always end up smiling and feeling happy after you have posted.
    xoxo Bev

  14. Rae Ann R. from western Minnesota...soon to be back in Michigan... says:

    What a festive and wonderful blog…this will be the first year in over 25 years we won’t be at our cottage in Michigan for Memorial Day weekend…our new forever retirement house is almost ready…painters arrive Tuesday…but the water hasn’t been turned on yet and having no water would be pretty difficult for 12 people aged 9 months to 66 years young…so hubby Dave and I will continue our packing and purging here in Minnesota…getting ready to retire 8-31-13…not that I am counting the days or anything~I am!!!~but I’m hanging a flag or two and I will be thinking about my Dad who was a WWII veteran…it isn’t summer here yet, but it is spring…finally…no lilacs blooming, but the tulips are so we are happy about that…have a wonderful time with your house guests, watching the parade and thinking about this wonderful country we are so fortunate to be able to call home…xoxo…

  15. Rae Ann R. from western Minnesota...soon to be back in Michigan... says:

    P.S…”our” book written by you looks FANTASTIC…think I’ll order another one for a friend…

  16. Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

    OMG susan! To start with Patti Page was a real hit with me!!!! Old Cape Cod is one of my very favorites….On a trip from Bainbridge Island to the Cape was a dream of mine for a long long time….It came true a number of years ago (the first time) and we searched out the perfect place to have lobster, by an ocean view and it was fabulous….We were in Woods Hole for that experience and it was all about Patti Page and that song!!!! one of my fondest memories! I love this post and am so excited to see summer coming….and it does begin this weekend…Our ferry prices rise for the summer tourists and our island starts to see more and more people coming in from cruise ships landing in Seattle…. I love the summer and all the excitement but I love it more in the fall when it all calms down again!!!! thanks for the recipes…sure can use those for this summer…Now your “summer book” will be sitting front and center on my coffee table!!!! It is that time!!!! I too have the flag hanging on the front of the house for this weekend ahead…will also visit our family cemetary with flowers….Lilacs, snowballs, bridal wreath and pink dogwood……so pretty. I know your weekend will be filled with happiness and sunshine smiles…enjoy yours and I’ll enjoy mine…Happy Memorial Day Weekend! hugs! xoxox

  17. Pat Stansel says:

    Jack looks so forlorn—girl kitty is outside and he’s not , poor baby! I know it’s for
    his own good but he doesn’t.
    As I said before, I love seeing anything in your garden. I didn’t realize how huge it
    is until I saw Joe out there mowing the lawn. I’d love be out there & play a little
    Croquet. My idea of a great summer day!!!

    • sbranch says:

      He has never been out, so even when we open the screen door going in and out, he doesn’t really try to escape. I like it that he’s getting a healthy fear of it, like Girl. Next year he’ll be almost three. I’ll take him out and sit with him then. He’ll be old enough not to follow butterflies into the street. Happy summer Pat!

      • Karen Saunders says:

        Why don’t you put a little halter on him. My friend does that with her Siamese and he loves it and doesn’t seem to mind the leash one bit. Just a thought.

        • sbranch says:

          I know him. I take him out on the halter he will bug me night and day to do it again and again. I am already quite rubberbanded out, so I think I will not give him this exciting new venue.:-)

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            You’re right, Sue. My brother & SIL started taking their [male] tabby – a little older than Jack – outside on one of those kitty harness/leash deals – because he always seemed so eager to go out – and now HE WANTS OUT ALL THE TIME. We’ve all become very adept at zipping in/out of their house quickly now – lest the prisoner escape!

          • sbranch says:

            That’s what would happen with Jack. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt me. 🙂

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Joe and Sue’s yard would be the PERFECT place to play croquet!!! 🙂

  18. Susie on LI says:

    Happy Holiday Weekend! Let Summer begin! I’m so ready! I am tickled to hear we will have a ribbon in our book. Woo Hoo! Enjoy your company Susan!

  19. Rita Baker says:

    A week ago today my husband, dog and I were riding the buses around your beautiful island. We stayed in Oak Bluffs for 1 night (wish it could have been longer) and stopped for shopping in Vineyard Haven, where I purchased a darling little watercolor note card of a seaside scene. I asked the proprietor if she ever had any of your things, and she didn’t know who you were! I was astounded that she didn’t know about you and your beautiful work. She said there were a lot of artists on the island, and I believe that. The scenery is so beautiful, both the island interior and especially the shoreline. I loved every minute we were able to visit your little corner of the world!

  20. Barbara F. says:

    Susan, you are the best hostess, always thinking of your guests. I love clothes dried in the sun, especially sheets and towels. I can’t wait to make the cauliflower salad. It looks pretty and delish. Love Janie’s banner, too. My poor lilacs don’t bloom, they are about 5 years old, first two years they did so well, then, less and less and now nothing. Don’t know what to do. 🙁 xo

    • sbranch says:

      Where are you Barbara? I know nothing about the growing of lilacs because this hedge was here when we got here and it just seems to like it … but weather often matters. Try to Google it and see what you can find out. I would guess they need acid soil, so you could add a little something.

      • Susan N. says:

        The trick to making lilacs bloom is to trim the flowers as soon as possible after they start to fade before the new buds set. (Like NOW). Never trim in the fall as you will cut off the buds. I get more and more flowers every year with this method. Wish I had your beautiful book today Susan – another cold, rainy spring day in New Jersey :).

      • Barbara F. says:

        Thanks, Susan, I live on Staten Island, NY. Lilacs do well here usually. I had them at my former home in Brooklyn, NY, which I had planted from bare roots.

      • Diane Harris says:

        Older lilac bushes need thinning; cut out 1/3 of older branches per year to rejuvenate.

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Are your lilacs in the shade? Often that is the problem. They love the sun!

  21. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Awww, lilacs! Reminds me of my grandmother’s house. There was a lovely bush blooming by the sewing room window. :-). Your book (OUR book!) is so exciting to see. I can’t wait!
    We’ll be flying our flag, too….but at half staff for all our neighbors who lost everything including family in the awful tornados here this week. We do what Oklahomans and everyone does in their own places when these tragedies happen. We gather at our churches and with friends to donate money, time, whatever is needed. Pray for these dear families.

  22. barbara miller says:

    there was was snow up on the mountain passes yesterday. and cool here in town but my dogwood is blooming, my lilacs are mostly gone and the rhoddy is beginning to drop its petals. spring is here even though it s rainy. I know…..I am sneezing with my allergies! but I love it all. I think I might make a banner for spring .I will use felt instead. i have a dear friend who might like a tiny banner to remind her I love her. thanks, susan and breath deep of the ocean air for me. I miss it so.

  23. Milanya says:

    What a beautiful tradition for the school children!

    I could smell the lilacs throughout your post. I’ll go cut a bouquet before they are gone.

    I’ll spend some time this weekend–and all summer–dreaming of lovely places such as MV. And, I’ll find some beauty to enjoy right where I am, in Iowa.

    • sbranch says:

      Seems to me, most of the time, all we have to do is look. Happy Memorial Day Milanya. xo

  24. Debra V. ~ Southern California says:

    Loved the Preview of our Book. The dummy book is printed so pretty and I’m glad that we have a dust jacket too. I can hardly wait…I printed out the bookmark today and will have it laminated like Karen P. said she did. I will clip it on the Sept page of my calendar…and I’ll have it ready!
    Meanwhile…loved the photos of the parade children carrying the lilacs and flags. Which inspires me to pull out my flags and banners to celebrate Memorial Day with decorating the house inside and out. Then tomorrow I walk down to the Farmer’s Market and I’ll purchase fresh cut lilacs to fill vaces in the house for the weekend. Maybe make the recipes you are serving, they sound delicious served with sweet tea & mint and maybe a red white and blueberry cake dolloped with whipped cream. Yum! Have a great weekend!

  25. Christine Anderson says:

    Yipee I love seeing the book! so excited that it is closer to its final publication.
    Summer certainly is coming in So Cal. Last 2 weekend s in the 90’s. Now it is cooler! We always get some big heat in May and then a cool down. I think it is so we have a warning summer is coming “get ready”! Check the wardrobe, check the air conditioner, check the patio furniture! Get Ready!!!

    • sbranch says:

      My summer nights in So California as a child were heaven. We could play hide and go seek until 9 pm.

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        I remember that! Getting to play outside til after 9!! But not until I was 10 or so. Before then, we were all tucked up in bed at 7:30 and would have the HARDEST time trying to settle down and go to sleep. The six of us kids would talk between rooms [boys v girls] & my dad would periodically yell up the stairs for us to be quiet. But how could we?? It was still light for another 2 hours!

        • sbranch says:

          7:30 must have been the fashion. It was the same for us when we were little. In bed while it was still light.

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            Probably a result of Parent Desperation – they needed a few, quiet, peaceful [childless] hours of their own in the evening. It was hard on us kids but now of course, I don’t blame them one bit! :>)

      • Karen Saunders says:

        Or kick the can……!!!

        • sbranch says:

          I never learned that … my mom, from Iowa, used to talk about it, but for some reason I don’t remember her teaching it to us.

          • mary spring says:

            …understandably so !!..we had an incredible neighborhood where I was born and raised..everybody was good friends…all went camping together( really…first it was all the dads with the older boys ..moms and babies stayed home…then a few years later they invited the moms and girls..LOL ..we went to Kennedy Meadows.. ) at any rate, our neighborhood was so cool…never had to lock doors…we played hide and seek well after dark..and , yes, kick the can…obviously your mom knew about this…I ended up in the emergency room(my dear dad carried me in )..I played kick the can barefoot !!!..and tore open my toes..good grief !! childhood memories !!have a good holiday weekend…loved hearing about MV>’s traditional parade to the sea…got to remember what this holiday is all about…with love and take care…

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          I loved kicked the can! ~ we always used a ” Hawaiian Punch” can~ big and loud!

      • Christine Anderson says:

        We played hide and seek too. We had no street lights so you could hide in shadows!!

        • sbranch says:

          We had one bright one on the corner. But the shadows were so deep you could stand, perfectly visible, against a fence (we all wore dark colors) — or lay flat in the middle of a lawn, and not be seen. It was summer personified for us.

          • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

            When we had a bunch of friends over, we would play “Mother May I” on the front lawn, but an all time favorite game of my sister and me was a game we made up called “The Flipflop Game”–I know very original name.

            We played it on the swing set and of course you needed to have your flip flops on. It was a “T.V. Show” (ahem) so we made up our own theme song and came running out the side door singing it. Then we would each jump on a swing. The goal was to see who could fling their flip flop the farthest as she would be swinging. The thrill was when your flip flop flew clear across the driveway! I can only imagine what kind of entertainment we were for the elderly neighbors who lived around us.

          • sbranch says:

            If they didn’t love it their hearts were not in the right place!

  26. Judy J. from W.Warwick, RI says:

    Dear Susan,
    Yes, I’ve got my bookmark. I even laminated it and it’s propped up on my bookcase waiting for its book. I was so delighted when I ordered it I felt like I would just pop! It’s so nice to have your lovely book to look forward to this fall.

    Happy holiday weekend!

  27. This adventure with your book is quite a thing I’ll have you know……I have never been so excited to have a book in my hands…..and to have watched and followed the entire process with you has been a bit like watching one of my favorite movies Beatrix Potter! Thank you for letting us come along with you….I believe I can speak for many when I say we will be so proud to own this book!
    C’mon summer!! xo E

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve never been able to share the process of a new book before. It’s been a real pleasure.

  28. Ann Y. Adamstown, PA says:

    Hey Susan – we want to come there for that wonderful Memorial Day Parade…it sounds so perfect and moving. Getting ready for summer here, too…and I just took a break ( waiting for the glue gun to heat up so I can fix the flag wreath for the porch…) and just put my SUMMER book by YOU out on display with my cookbooks, and checked my computer and here you are. I love the photo of your lilacs…how lucky you are. I am having trouble with mine, but I did have two blooms this year. It has been a little crazy here….the washer in the second floor laundry room broke ( gasket ? seal ? gremlins?) and as luck would have it, the drain pan that is supposed to take all that yucky water down to the sump pump was cracked and not hooked to the pipe….and made a waterfall in the kitchen. NOT COMPLAINING because I know my problems are so small – if I threw them in the middle of a table somebody else would gladly trade – but it has been interesting as we have had a company here drying everything out with heaters and fans. It sure was summer….117 degrees one day ! But that is over, new floor comes tomorrow, new washer next week, and I am getting out the flags, and the flowers, and all the decorations for my kitchen windowsill ( kind of like your stove display…) and just cannot wait for the weekend. Made that cauliflower and bean salad last year and think that will be perfect for our weekend, too. Enjoy the parade, enjoy your friends, you will…because you are one of those rare people who enjoy every little thing about LIFE !

    • sbranch says:

      You can go ahead and complain! 🙂 Oh my. Happy to hear it’s almost over … yikes. A new floor will be nice, but sometimes a person likes to plan for it! Enjoy your weekend Ann!

  29. Carolyne says:

    Oh, *Yes* all’s right with the World……even when our little worlds have their problems.
    Thank you for the lovely bookmark♥
    I made one for my Mom (and me) to enjoy as we both anticipate your book release this Autumn. She has long been an admirer of Gladys Taber, even receiving a personal letter years ago. So now, my Mom is also a Susan Branch admirer!
    We are happy to be part of the girlfriends who join you in the waiting……

  30. Sue in Maine says:

    Oh Susan stop torturing us! I can’t wait for my “A Fine Romance” copy to arrive!!! Have a great weekend

  31. Randi Bault says:

    Happy 3 Day Weekend Susan!!!
    The weather is just perfect in Reno Nevada lately. Not hot and not cold. Perfect for getting ready for Summertime. Cleaning the yard, digging out the umbella for my patio table and hanging windsocks and birdfeeders and decorating with flowers on the porch, and twinkle lights. It always looks so “summer-ey” when you get done. This summer I am going to give my poor old mailbox a makeover. It’s in sad shape. I just have to think what I want to do to decorate it up. Any suggestions?
    Have a wonderful time with your company this 3 day (squeal) weekend!
    Much Love from Randi and her wonderful weenie dog Walter –<—@

    • sbranch says:

      “Randi and Her Wonderful Weenie Dog Walter!” If you ever write a book, this should be the title! 🙂

  32. Randi Bault says:

    Ooops, I spelled umbrella wrong! Sorry. 🙂 Randi

  33. Kim says:

    “though she has gone to heaven, she is still making our world smell wonderful.”
    Sigh ~~~ Susan, your posts always have a way of making me feel so good about life. Somehow I believe that Mrs. Bowditch is smiling down from heaven right about now. To know that her hard work in the garden is still being appreciated and now shared with the world … well it just doesn’t get any better than that.

    • sbranch says:

      I believe that too. She loved gardens and left this world a better place than she found it.♥

  34. Marsha MacLean says:

    Dear Susan,
    How wonderful to read this post. I always try to do a little “reader’s theater” with my students about Memorial Day to help them learn and remember that this is NOT just national barbecue day. A cousin of mine is in France today, in Normandy, and he Facebooked about what a moving experience it was to be there, hearing church bells.
    I spent a few moments at the cemetery today, placing some flowers on numerous graves and remembering each precious life, now gone to glory. It always is so peaceful there… And even though those people were not all in the military, it is a sweet time of remembering at this time of year, before the halcyon days of summer set in!
    Speaking of which, I can’t wait to try those yummy recipes, especially the cauliflower bean salad! And, as one dear reader already said, hooray for “our” book coming! It’ll be so fun to be in this wonderful ’round the world book club come September! I love, love, love the music as the end page inside!!! WOW.
    :). Thanks so much for the post today, my dear… Just what we all needed, I know. Love it and all you do!

    • sbranch says:

      Although we had that old sheet music (1936) in our piano bench (because we love that song — no one here plays the piano; we found the music in an antique store; the piano came out of Joe’s childhood home) — I had to write to get special permission to use it in the book. At first they said no, so I had to beg — and they changed their minds! So now that music in our book is my little pride and joy.♥ Everything has a story.

      • Pat Stansel says:

        Seeing you “play house” with the book mock up,I realized that
        We are in for a lot of little surprises. The fine romance sheet music
        Was a brilliant idea.

        • sbranch says:

          I hope so. I do love surprises.

          • Belinda Chesser says:

            LOVE that you took the effort to go the extra mile to get the sheet music in YOUR (our) book. It is those special touches that make your books such a JOY to meander through over and over again!….<3

          • sbranch says:

            It made my day when that lawyer said YES (after saying no the first two times)!

      • Wait a minute!! I had to scroll back and take another look at that end page…my first time through I thought the sheet music was yours and just assumed it was part of your personal collection of momentos you kept with your dummy book – not *THE* end page you had referred to in your blog post!! Are the pen, the flowers and pictures layered over the sheet music to create the end page? I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!! So perfect, Susan! Thank you for sharing your wonderful creativity. This book is so very special. xo, Christy

        • sbranch says:

          Good eye! Yes, I put some of the little things we found along the way on the sheet music we had in our piano bench. I’m so glad you like it!

          • Marsha MacLean says:

            I so enjoy hearing you say… (Or rather, reading that you have written…) LOL that “Everything has a story.” When friends come over to my house for the first time, that’s just what I say!

  35. april says:

    You have shared so much wonderful here, it almost makes grumpy ME look forward to summer…
    love the kitty pictures. Enjoy your guests!

    • sbranch says:

      How could anyone named April be grumpy 🙂

      • april says:

        That may just become my new favorite, post-on-the-mirror quote! Thanks for the reminder. Pretty sure my Daddy named me for springtime and joy rather than grumpiness. It’s so hot here in S. Louisiana already, I just want to go hide anywhere that’s NOT hot yet. Hence, grumpies. Your posts are like little mini-vacays, though. . .can almost feel the breezes off the water!
        Thanks for making me laugh at myself!

  36. Jean Shaffer says:

    Wish I could be on Martha’s Vineyard to enjoy your Memorial Day celebration, what a wonderful way to welcome summer! Enjoy!

  37. Lee Rose says:

    What I miss most about living in New England are Lilacs. They just don’t do as well in the Southern heat, but I do have a small one in my front lawn that I coddle and fuss over and get one or two clusters of blooms in the spring. I just love them.

    Can’t wait for my copy of our book to arrive!!!!!

  38. Lori H from WA State says:

    I’ve never heard of the lilac/flag parade tradition before and I’m so glad it’s still happening….very charming and thoughtful.
    It will be soooo fun to receive a book in September…one that just shows up! I’m going to try to forget so that it will be a bigger surprise :).

    • sbranch says:

      It’s funny, but this parade is never advertised. We just know about it because they pass in front of our house. So to people on the street, here come the kids with their flowers, the flags, and the music, it’s a very nice surprise.

  39. Elaine says:

    Wonderful post and photos I love your home and island one day we will visit your lovely island ! My Lilacs have been blooming since the beginning of the month and I have had lots of clippings from them to bring in the house . It was summer like weather here the past week or so but tonight it is windy and very chilly . The weekend that passed was our Victoria long weekend and Papa and I spent all Sat & Sun planting flowers in our gardens and planters on Monday we sat back and took in all our hard work and enjoyed it on our patio porch ! Thanks for sharing . Have a wonderful weekend !

  40. Thank you for this happy posting, Susan. I just printed my bookmark so I’ll be ready. I may use it now because it’s so sweet.
    I’ll have to try your suggestions when my lilacs bloom. They aren’t quite opened yet, so maybe by Monday they’ll be ready. Summer is by far my favorite season. I love to check on all the flowers as they bloom around my yard. Sometimes I think there’s a fairy for each one. She looks over the plants and checks on the blooms. I know there has to be a fairy for the hydrangeas and roses.
    I always loved Fairy Tales. When I was little, I used to make up my own versions of them…it was a fun way to fall asleep :).
    I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too. Love Fairy Tales. Did you ever see the ones named for colors? Red book of Fairy Tales, Yellow Book of Fairy Tales? These were really old stories, and some of them were absolutely wild.

      • Janet OC says:

        I have seen them, but never read any. My mother bought a collection of books called The Home University Bookshelf when I was very little. (Copyright 1948) I would look at them every night at bedtime; read what I could; play school with them; study them. They have Fairy Tales, Myths and Fables. I still have two volumes out of the three or four original books. They were my first inspiration :).

        • sbranch says:

          Oh yes, I’ve seen those too, I must have read them somewhere along the line. I couldn’t get enough of that. How lucky you still have them!

  41. Jackie P says:

    Oh, I remember those ✯Memorial Day✯ weekends on the Cape and the Vineyard. Excitement in the air (temporarily forgetting how hectic it becomes in the middle of the summer when you want to quickly pop into town and get something at the store– then realize the traffic and crowds will slow you down — especially if a President is visiting . . . ). Yes, Memorial Day weekend is still the unofficial official begining of summer for me (even in land-locked New Hampshire). However, not the same as being oceanside!

    Loved seeing the mockup of the book. It is a reminder that it will be here soon. And how thoughtful of you (❤) to open with a roaring fire (knowing that tea would be a great complement to sitting fireside with our book!). Have a wonderful weekend!

    • sbranch says:

      I used to live around 2 miles from town, far enough so I needed a car. Since moving into town, we can walk everywhere. On the rainy summer days when people all come to town (because the beach is no fun), we walk — to the market, the bank, the fish market. Such a difference to be able to walk past the line of cars looking for someplace to park. On that first page, I thought of us all sitting down together, a cup a tea, a fire, welcome to our world.

  42. Judy Young says:

    How exciting! To get a “dummy” copy of the book. It looks magnificent; we can’t wait for our copies to come in the mail. Love the RED ribbon, it’s perfect. Glad we had the chance to pre-order because, by the look of it, they will fly off the bookstore shelves! Nothing else out there like it either.

    My heart goes out to Jack who is not allowed “outside”. I know it’s safer for him, but still!

    Susan, I’ve been meaning to ask you if you have seen the English magazine “English Home”? I love it and to my mind it is comparable to the British Country Living magazine. Our local Barnes and Noble carries both. Have a terrific Memorial Day girlfriends!!

    • sbranch says:

      I have seen it, and I recently got a subscription. One more reason to look forward to the mail!

  43. Mary Pat says:

    Oh! I think I enjoy reading all the comments ALMOST as much as reading your delightful blogs! Thank you for lifting my spirits this rainy, thundery night. Our weekend will be with our delightful almost three year old grandson! He is a little dynamo, so it’s good he has Papa AND Grandma to play with! We switch off playing silly games and putting our feet up! “The baby” just plays nonstop! We laugh every minute with him. On a different note, our lilacs (Western Massachusetts near Springfield) are just about gone. I chop off a big batch every other day and just BREATHE beside the vase! Mine have never lasted long, but we enjoy them anyway! enjoy your visitors this weekend. The Vineyard is such a lovely spot! Thanks for another nice “armchair visit”!

    • sbranch says:

      Beach roses that grow wild out where we walk in the morning began blooming this week. We stopped, like you do with the lilacs, to breathe in the fragrance. Happy weekend with the dynamo!

      • Mary Pat says:

        Thanks! He’s 35 months old today, and we’ve loved him since the moment he was born. Since our son ( his father) was in Iraq at the time, my husband and I were at his birth. We always tell him that we have loved him his entire life, and REALLY mean it!!!!

        Take a sniff of those luscious beach roses for me! Oh! I am jealous now! (Tee Hee!)

        • sbranch says:

          35 months old! How lucky for you to be so close to him. Be sure, on this weekend to thank your son for his service from me.

          • Mary Pat says:

            I will do that. We are proud of him. He’s Air Force Reserve stationed with Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, MA. So, he’s not far away. He’s done two tours in Iraq and we don’t expect him to be deployed again any time soon. We have a Service Star in our living room window, and the two happiest days in the last five years were when I took the yellow ribbons down from the tree! He got home safely, thank the Good Lord.

          • sbranch says:

            Thank the Good Lord. xoxo

  44. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Love your big beautiful flag hanging proudly on your home. Hung my new bunting out and then it rained and the red bled onto the white :-(. Not sure how I will fix this blunder! I am going to make the salad this weekend, thank you for the recipe. Have a great time with your guests. Happy summer and Memorial weekend.

    • sbranch says:

      One of the things that attracted me to this area is how many people fly the flag year round — all through New England, on barns and old houses.

  45. sondra fox says:

    Wonderful Susan, you made my day. I opened up my computer, & found a brand new blog! Oh, happy day, oh, happy day.

    Yesterday, I was outside working on our gardens (all around the house), concentrating on how to make things even prettier than they already are, BUT, how can you make a really red rose prettier, or an azelea more wonderful? I shouldn’t say I was “working,” as being in our garden is one of the fun things I do. I stopped to rest, & there among the bushes, just like your Girl Kitty, was Blackie, Kitty, Sister, & Bootsie. They all love to watch me work while they lounge among the flowers. When I say hello to them, they look at me with lazy eyes, sort of acknowledging me, but not fully awake. They’re in their dream like state, in a place they thought they couldn’t be seen. I know how you feel about letting Jack outside though. I wouldn’t let him out for another year. He’s way too curious to remain in your yard. Perhaps when he becomes an adult cat, he’ll get so he’ll just stay around your house. I’ve always been an overly protective mom to my kids & my animals.

    You are the reason I want to visit Martha’s Vineyard. I remember how you wrote about the Illumination Night when everyone puts lights all over their houses. Also the night when you all get together to have a group sing. Sounds so wonderful. My kind of people! I think you should get paid for being a Public Relations person for MV. You make it sound so wonderful.

    Annnnnndd your book. Please don’t tease us by showing us what it looks like. I just can’t wait! I know I’ll LOVE it. I have all your books. I put the Summer one on the coffee table every Summer, the Winter one on the coffee table in the Winter. You are always a part of our family Susan.

    Can you believe I’m working on a Winter quilt? I’ve been working on this particular quilt for several months now. It’s coming along nicely. There are embroidered snowmen performing fun acts (sledding, throwing snowballs, making candy canes, etc.) in the middle, which I’ve completed. I’m now making several different patterns of blocks that go around the snowmen. Maybe I should say “snow people,” in order to be politically correct? No, they’ll always be snowmen to me. Perhaps I’ll get the quilt completed by this coming Winter. z]

    Descanso Gardens in La Canada, CA has Camellias all throughout the garden. They also have a portion of the garden planted with Lilacs. One man has even grown a Lilac that will grow in So. CA. Descanso had a birthday party for the Lilac one year. A friend & I even had a piece of cake to celebrate the So. CA Lilac. I bought a Lilac plant for our daughter, she planted it, & “Walla,” she has flowers on the Lilac every year. Lilacs are usually very difficult to grow in CA. Don’t you just love the smell of Lilacs? Heavenly. I stick my nose right in the blossoms, regardless of how many bees are in there. The bees sort of get drugged from the fragrant smell of the Lilacs & they never sting me. They’re in a really good mood!

    As I read all the places the Girlfriends are from, I think to myself, “we ought to all have a Susan Branch Reunion out here in CA. What a hoot that would be!
    (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      I have to tease you about the book, since I am being teased, are we not in this all together? 🙂 I think I’d rather think about it than not think about it, so these little hints are welcome. Remember we gave one pre-publication copy away a few months ago — in a giveaway on the blog? That copy shows up here around the middle of June. Right off the press, and all done. Yikes, it’s scary exciting to me! But then we have all summer to wait for the rest of them.

      • Julia says:

        Wonder if the girlfriend who won the pre-copy will
        make copies for us!!!!!!!!!!!! Why did they send a blank
        book? I don’t understand that if they’ve already
        sent some pre-copies. I can’t wait for mine either.
        I might even book a trip to England for the fall. I’ll
        certainly be in the mood. I just love you and your blog.
        I go back to the days of Country living and have a
        folder of your beautiful recipes that I saved.

        • sbranch says:

          They haven’t sent any pre-pub-copies yet, that comes in June. Just the blank so far, so I can see what it will look like. Those pages you saw there were printed out individually by Kellee in my studio. But they are only printed on one side and not bound. Thank you Julia!

    • ArlineLA says:

      Hi Susan – Descanso Gardens is another reason to come to La Canada, CA for a signing. My favorite bookstore (Flintridge Bookstore) is just blocks from there and their author coordinator promised that she emailed your site for consideration. You would just love this area and the gardens are there for before or after the signing. Wouldn’t it be fun to take the train from SLO to Glendale? Let’s see, what else can we use to entice you ………

      • sbranch says:

        She did! As soon as Kellee gets in on Wednesday we’ll send her all the information and see what we can set up. Perfect location, thank you Arline!

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

      Sandra — I had never heard of Descanso Gardens but I’ve been thinking it’s time for my annual trip to the wonderful LA Arboretum. I think I’ll do both this year, thanks for your tip! And can’t miss a visit to Flintridge Bookstore, another place I wasn’t aware of; how I love bookstores — thanks Arline! I love how we Girlfriends all share good ideas.

      • Arline in LA says:

        Marianne, be sure not to miss the big modern contraption in the middle of the store. You can actually have your own book printed and hard-bound. Enjoy your visit!

      • sondra fox says:

        Oh, I wish I’d thought of saving alll the old Susan Branch recipes from Country Living, like you did.
        (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  46. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    How exciting it must have felt to hold the dummy “A Fine Romance” in your hands for the first time!! Even though the “innards” are there yet, it must make it feel as though it’s really FINALLY happening! It looks beautiful – and SO THICK! I – can – not – wait! Looks like it’s going to be hardcover too. Yay! For me, being rich would be having ALL my books in hardcover. Incidentally, last Monday the mail brought me a book too – “The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook” DI-rect from ‘Bunches of Grapes’ bookstore. So glad to be able to support a small business – especially one that has been so good to my friend. And within minutes of settling in with it, it became clear there is more than one talented cookbook author in your family. Please tell Joe for me – WONDERFUL BOOK. I have over 250 cookbooks [most modern, a few “vintage”] and read them the same way I read fiction, history, biography etc. This was a thoroughly-enjoyable read if only for the stories, the history and the anecdotes about the Island, the restaurant, the staff, the customers, the local vendors – the fact that it also contains mouthwateringly-delicious recipes and photos was a colossal bonus! I sincerely hope Joe has another cookbook in him at some point: the lad has talent! How about a “Joe and Sue” book? Anyway I really just wanted to say “terrific book” and thanks. Have fun this weekend as the Summer People descend and the festivities start! And Happy Memorial Day to GFs everywhere! :>)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh how nice of you to get that from Bunch of Grapes! Joe wrote that book, along with our friend Elaine Sullivan who will arrive Sunday from California! I will tell them you like their book! Thank you Janet.

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        My pleasure entirely. Made me a little sad though. I missed my chance to visit while Joe was at the helm. Sounds like MY kind of restaurant. Open kitchens [I LOVE open kitchens] that welcome customer questions, comments, suggestions. Seasonal menus [no tasteless, orange tomatoes in January]. Creative techniques with fresh local ingredients. A retail bakery so you can take favorites from your meal home with you. And so important – loyal employees who’ve been there for years. That’s a real sign of excellent management in a restaurant, turnover being what it is in the hospitality and food service industries. I hope it’s still the same but I have a very good college friend [native Bostonian] who never fails to mention that “oh, the Black Dog has changed…” whenever it’s her turn to host our every-other-year reunion [October] and we try like the dickens to get her to plan something on the Island. I’m guessing maybe more of a little of its wonderfulness was due to Joe’s leadership. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit of course. :>)

        • sbranch says:

          It has changed. It used to be everything you say, but then the money people came in, all the people are gone now, it got corporate, and you know how that goes. But we have years and years of amazing memories, as do many islanders, with our little home away from home, which is what the Black Dog used to be. Blizzards, feet in front of huge open fireplace, crackling fire, food smells, homemade bread. It was heaven, the island’s version of the Algonquin Round Table! Now the way to feel it best, a little taste of what it was, is simply to walk past the windows on the sand next to the water. You can smell food, hear the same scratch of chairs on wooden floor, and almost know how it used to be.

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            Oh, you must be just sick about that, especially Joe. Working so hard and then watching it all slip away. I’ve always wanted to have a special neighborhood place where I was a “regular.” Where you walk in and the staff knows to bring you a whisky sour straight-up, that you don’t like mushrooms so you never see them in anything you order [even though you don’t need to ask]. Where the staff just loves what they do and loves making people happy, comfortable. When you really LOVE what you do it makes such a difference. It must have been the most fun in the off-season when things are SO much quieter – you must have spent many many whole evenings in front of the fire, sipping coffee, tea, nursing a drink – solving the world’s problems. The Algonquin Round Table like you said. How you must miss it!! It’s beginning to dawn on me that I really don’t like change very much – I’d prefer for things to go on as they always have, like the ticking of a clock. Not realistic of course – everything changes – but sometimes I think maybe Realism is a little overrated. End of Soapbox :>)

          • sbranch says:

            We did, many hours, and we never really had to make dates with our friends, they all came there too! Joe ran the place for 25 years and I got in on the last thirteen or so. It was good.

      • Susan Joy says:

        I’ve had that beautiful cookbook for years and often wondered if the recipe for Sue’s Luscious Lemon Squares was from the “Sue” we all know and love. Thank you for the beautiful blog. Your home looks lovely. There’s something so special about old houses with American flags!
        P.S. We went on a little outing to Essex Ct., talk about beautiful old houses!

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Oh Janet, you lucky dog you! How did you know about that book? It sounds wonderful…….perhaps they have more? Hmmm…….must check into that today. 🙂
      I have this wonderful Martha’s Vineyard Houses &Gardens book I bought a few years ago when I felt I needed to escape. And the very first house in the book belonged to “you know who!” I almost fell over….
      We are cookbook fanatics here also….everyone in the family loves to cook! I think it’s because we also love to eat:)
      Have a happy weekend!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Hey, Chris! Well it seems you & I are kindred spirits too. I’ve been a mad fiend for cookbooks since I was really little [used to read my mom’s all the time]. Isn’t it a happy sickness to have? Found the book after clicking on the “Bunches of Grapes” link in one of Sue’s posts. Browsing around, I found a section devoted to Island books/authors and Joe’s book was on the first page there. I’m thinking, “What are the odds? It MUST be Sue’s Joe.” Speaking as an amateur cookbook reviewer I highly recommend this book. It has the Cookbook Grand Slam. Not just recipes but wonderful stories, well-written. Exquisite photography. Yummy recipes. Nuff said. And one heck of an ad for the Vineyard too – I can’t imagine anyone putting down this book and NOT wanting to high-tail it for MV. Hope you are able to get one from B of G – we need to support American small business! Have a great weekend! :>)

        • sbranch says:

          Love that Janet — I sent your comment to Bunch of Grapes, it will make their day!

        • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

          Thanks Janet,
          I am on my way to order the book!

          • Belinda Chesser says:

            I just order it for myself…looks delightful…can’t wait to get it…It will be a wonderful stand in while waiting for OUR Fine Romance…:o)

  47. Chrissy Thrower says:

    I wasn’t even thinking that this is the weekend that kicks off summatime! I guess I’ve been too busy getting ready for the end of the school year and closing down the clinic!
    It is! It is going to be summatime! And, I have it off! So many plans to make! My garden isn’t even planted yet!
    I loved seeing your dummy book! It looks real enough for me. Saving up my Hot Cinnamon Sunset Tea from Harney and Sons to savor whilst delving into ‘OUR BOOK’!
    But, really and truly, I do very much NEED summer first! The GREEN of it all is what I live for..and all that comes with it!
    Enjoy pampering your guests. It all sounds so lovely. Our guests come the following weekend. I’ll take some tips from you to make their visit comfy. XXOO, Chrissy
    Do you mind if I make your Pineapple Upside down dessert? 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Go for it! Happy end of the school year Chrissy! The kids must be going wild! And you have a garden to plant! Bees to outwit, butterflies to contemplate!

  48. Toni says:

    Hello Susan
    I really loved your blog today. I will be getting my Uncle Sam’s out, and get my dollies dressed in their red, white, and blue outfits to begin the patriotic holiday celebrations. I used to live in a small town that did a parade for Memorial Day, too. It was always very special. Your life on the island always seems so wonderful. Have a great start to your summer celebrations!

    • sbranch says:

      I suppose these things are going on in little and big towns all over America — I like to think so.

  49. The beauty of Martha’s Vineyard never seizes to amaze me- it is truly heaven on earth! What beautiful pictures, and such an exciting post… Summer is on it’s way! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      One of the reasons I love it when people come, we go on “island tours” — up one side, down the other, stopping along the way whenever we see an “Open” sign!

      • Julia says:

        I do the same thing when friends come visit on my muddy
        little island. That’s when I get out and do the touristy
        things. Love it. Got an email from a couple last week – they
        want to come back. Well, I told them that they’ve already
        seen everything – unless we get a traffic light!!!!!!!!!!!! I love
        company and sometimes I even put them to work, helping
        with things I can’t do by myself!!!!!!!!!

        • sbranch says:

          Right, we’re good for one trip per set of visitors!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Funny–that is what we do when we go to Door County–up one side and down the other! And then go back and forth on the little county roads exploring… Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your company!!! 🙂 We’re having beautiful weather today but rain and thunderstorms predicted for all holiday weekend. Makes me sad for those who went camping or to cabins for the weekend… 🙁

          • sbranch says:

            Rain showed up for us too, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing anyone down!

        • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

          It’s fun being a tourist in your own stomping ground, isn’t it?

  50. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ✻✿✿¸.*✻ ✻✿✿¸ Here Comes Summer…!✻✿✿¸.*✻ ✻✿✿¸ OMG Sweet Sue I Just came in from Twirling Under This Huge Bright White Full~Moon….& I Flew to Your Blog! Oh Joy! First The “Dummy” Book….Heavenly….& Your Playing House with It & Just Thinking about it in September 🙂 ✿(Goosebumps…Beyond) 😉 Mind Boggling Really! Summer Begins & When Autumn Arrives We’ll Be all Tucked in Warm & Cozy All of Us Reading “OUR” Book!!!!! Sweet Sue You are Amazing & Thank~You for The Lambie Bookmark Bahhhhhheutiful! I’ve Gone Mad with Excitement I Need to Breathe whew…ok so With Your Clean & Shiny House All Decked Out with Your Old Glory Flag Ready for Your Memorial~Day Weekend Guests…I Must Wish You & Joe & The Kitties & Your Guests a Festive Joyful Beginning of The Summer Celebration! A Toast to All Of Us….May We Have a Safe & Magical Holiday Weekend! Love & Joy as We Twirl into The Summer Fun! I Love You Sweet Sue! xoxo Poof! ✻✿✿¸.*✻ ✻✿✿¸ P.S. Janie’s Banners are Scrumptious! 🙂 !✿

    • sbranch says:

      What a living doll you are Angie, and a credit to your race of twirling magical fairy people. Have a wonderful weekend, love to the Herbster! xoxo

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        ✻✿✿¸.*✻ ✻✿✿¸ Thank~You Sweetest Sue 🙂 Herbster Says “Hello Sweet Sue” 😉 We Grilled Burgers & Hot Dogs & Italian Sausages Yesterday Today We’re Grillin’ Ribs Yummy! Have Fun with all Your Holiday Company! Hot & Sunny Here is it Chilly on Your Island? (Sending Some Florida Sunshine Your Way!) Love to You Joe & The Kitties & Your Friends! Yay! Red White & Blue Pixie~Dust Everywhere! xoxo Poof! ✻✿✿¸.*✻ ✻✿✿¸ 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          We had 69 glorious degrees yesterday. A slight chill with bright sun and the smell of spring. It was wonderful, and looks that way again this morning. xoxo

  51. Heartsdesire says:

    Oh, it’s so exciting, but it will be a long wait until September. I’m so looking forward to our book. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the rest of spring, and soon, summer. It’s still quite cool here on the south end of Vancouver Island so no picnics just yet. Hopefully things will warm up soon and I’ll be able to try your luscious recipes. Lots of flowers blooming however, and a few small sprouts in my balcony garden pots. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with your friends. Hope the kitties don’t get out. It could be quite scary for them with all the celebrations. We always leave signs around the house when we have company to remind everyone not to leave the doors open and let the cats out.

    • sbranch says:

      I do that too! If it gets too busy, I lock them upstairs.

      • Jack says:

        The people or the cats?

        • sbranch says:

          Just because of that ONE time Dad? Now I live with it for the rest of my life? :-0

          • judi says:

            Ah, you locked your DAD up??? I duct taped my grandson to a chair one time when he was 11 or 12 – he NEVER sat still – pretty funny, undid him after a few minutes. We still laugh about that and he is now 31 with 2 kids of his own – payback time:)

          • sbranch says:

            No I didn’t, LOL. just kidding him. But you duct taped your grandson to a chair!!! LOLOLOL Kids would love that.

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Too funny!!!…. 🙂

          • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

            Hahahahahahah you two are cracking me up! And it’s bedtime! Jim says I’m laughing so hard he can’t sleep!

          • sbranch says:

            🙂 But you will, laughter’s the perfect insurance for sweet dreams.

        • sondra fox says:

          You’re so much fun Jack! I know where Susan gets her fun, creative personality from. I’m sitting here laughing at the two of you bantering.
          (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  52. Brenda says:

    I love the bookmark … it’s your prettiest one yet.

  53. sandy says:

    I love summer! it can never start too early, and Memorial Day is officially it. Even if the weather doesn’t know it yet. Your celebration sounds wonderful. I’m sure your guests will be blessed. I love the look of our book! Will be so fun to share it with everyone here. Have a lovely weekend! xox thanks for giving me a fine start to the season of sun.

  54. Barbara (WA) says:

    What an utterly charming Memorial weekend tradition there on MV! Sometimes it’s no fun to live on the much younger West coast 🙂 Have a fun weekend with your friends and thank you for the bookmark.

    • sbranch says:

      It is young. I know what you mean, but there are very nice things about that — a kind of innocence and a lot of happiness.

  55. Carrie says:

    “A Fine Romance” has already won me over…the dust jacket is so charming! The end pages with the Cunard pen, QEII stamp; perchance are those dried Hilltop roses? (no, those were pink, right? hmmm) and whatever the corner/tip of the black and white photo you tucked in there is…glo-re-us (glorious).
    260 pages of pure unadulterated bliss! NIRVANA!

    Your lilac bush looks very robust, do you import soil from Sri Lanka or something? 🙂 The house must smell divine with the sea air and lilacs.

    The tradition of honouring and remembering those who have fought and died in the war with the school children tossing the lilacs into the sea is very moving.

    So tonight, I am marinating on the quote from Sandburgh that you cite on your first page…”Because nothing happens unless first we dream” – Carl Sandburg

    Happy Memorial Day!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s a good way to marinate. ♥ The wisteria is also in bloom here Carrie. It’s like Gladys Tabor said, “Spring in New England is like first love.” She actually said April, not spring, but I am taking liberties because it isn’t just April. The roses will start to bloom in about 2 weeks. Each of the three pages of the end papers has different things on it, all on the Fine Romance sheet music. Did I have fun with our book or what? xoxo

      • Carrie says:

        Thank you for sharing this intimate and, what must have been almost a spiritual experience, with us this past year. Wonder if it isn’t a first where an author was so interactive with her readers while composing? (Maybe Guinness should be contacted, not the beer folks, but the world record ones 🙂 It has brought enormous joy to this England-Loving heart from the very start. Thank you Susan, thank you!

        Wisteria, yummmm. And the roses, just about the same time Charleston burst forth in absolute glory last year!

        And yes, I’m thinking you had nothing short of a ball writing our wonderful book. You said how you kept thinking, what would the girlfriends like today and by gosh by golly, you have made it so. The wait is delicious.

        **Are you following the 100th Chelsea Flower Show? I visited it in 2005, heaven on earth**

        • sbranch says:

          I don’t know if other authors have done this. But for sure the computer has made a huge difference in the way we can share each other’s experiences. I need to check in at the Flower Show!!

  56. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    What a beautiful place to live! I bet you love it when it’s fall and all the “summer people” go home.
    How exciting to see the cover of your book. Can’t wait for Autumn (my favorite season) to read it.
    Does Jack wonder why Girl Kitty is outside?
    Enjoy your friends and have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

    • sbranch says:

      Every season is wonderful here, but fall, that’s the one for me! Jack sees Girl outside as a stranger-interloper. When she comes in, he gets very excited and chases her around for a moment, before his eyes change and seem to say, “Oh. Her.” 🙂

  57. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    Although… was time to retire for the night….I opened your blog and “surprise” we are celebrating the beginning of summer!!! How did this happen! I am still in the Spring mode! Time gets by me so quickly and I fear that I will miss something along the way. Thank heavens you are keeping me in the parade of life. Still at the cabin – a bit cooler – but still beautiful. They have clouds in Washington state that we don’t get in California – what’s with that???? A lot of people think that a cloud is just a cloud – and they are wrong! Spent the day with my son (40ish :)) and I so love that – just the two of us driving through the countryside. Life is good. He is a “Jr.” and reminds me so much of his father – we both speak of him often and miss him so. I think Jr. is trying to get me to buy a bigger house here so I will stay close and the family from California will come visit. Jr. is such a wonderful guy! My lilac bush has been blooming and I just love the white lilacs – and purple & white smell differently – didn’t know that! Once again the dandolians are sprouting once again. You have a terrific visit with your friends. Am sooooo excited about the book. Wish I could have printed out the book mark but I don’t have a printer – boohoo. Happy Memorial Day and celebrate SUMMER!!!! XXXXOOOO Pat

    • sbranch says:

      I love seeing my grandmother’s face when I look in the mirror. It’s good, we have these wonderful reminders of people we love. Sounds like red letter days for you too Pat xoxo

      • Debra V. ~ Southern California says:

        Hey Pat,
        When my printer was down, I went to my local Library and used their color printer and printed the bookmark. It’s an idea if you want the bookmark. You can then have it laminated to give it some substance. Enjoy!
        Debra V ~from So Calif.

        • Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

          Thank you Debra. I will try that.

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            And I followed Gert from Iowa’s tip to put clear wide packing tape on the front and back and then cut around it and it makes it “laminated”…works great!!! (Thanks, Gert!) 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            So smart!

  58. peggy says:

    so I just have to tell you as I am printing out your book mark, I am going on a Train tomorrow!!! hee hee, my two daughters, Megan and Natalie, and I are off to London to the Chelsea Garden Show!!! I think you said you watched it on the tellie while here, WELL! my husband got me tickets to go this year for my birthday. Love him!! so I will be taking my journal for ideas and taking loads of pictures. Wishing the weather was as nice as your place, it’s windy, raining and very cold , YUCK. a little sun this way please….
    Anyhow we are leaving England next month so this is a good fairwell.
    I love your towns parade for Memorial day, so adorable! wish I was there.
    Have a great weekend!

    • sbranch says:

      Share your best new thing when you get home! Have fun Peggy!

      • peggy says:

        I got so many ideas to do when I get a garden. I really enjoyed the roses, there was a display totally of Roses! it smelled like heaven. So many flowers that I wanted to take with me, but I took loads of pictures and got loads of ideas, lot’s of rusty old fences and white washed rod iron decor for the garden, I love an old rod iron bench that wraps around the trunk of a tree., gotta get one of those. anyhow, a lovely day, it didn’t rain, there was even oprha singers, it was just nice. Then we ended the day in Harrods and got a piece of chocolate, yum!

  59. Tracy Jones says:

    Dear Sue,
    I have your picture of the young girl going to the beach as my desktop picture for the summer. I have used it for a few years now!
    While teaching my second graders about Memorial Day, I was also trying to explain to them about the beaches opening and the lifeguards, and how for me, it is when summer truly begins! They didn’t get it. For them, summer begins June 21nd when school is done. I tried. 🙂
    Rain here for the weekend but I have put my cloth flag buntings up and am ready to celebrate! Have a wonderful weekend with your friends! Tracy

    • sbranch says:

      Probably true, summer starts when they go free!

      • sondra fox says:

        Do kids sell yell, “no more teachers, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks,” as they swing through the school doors to the outside world of freedom, on their last day of school? I’m sure you weren’t one of the teachers that passed out dirty looks. (Sandy of Chihuahua Flats)

  60. Michele says:

    Susan, 38 degrees, here, in Kenosha, WI. But woke up to a whole new nest of baby birds chirping away for breakfast. And Mama bunny and Baby bunny on the patio!

    STILL can’t wait for “our” book! :0)

  61. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    It’s raining, Susan!!!! It’s raining. Still dark out so I don’t know how much we got, but it rained most of the night. What a glorious weekend it is going to be! We still have a chance of more and we’ll take it!
    I think I miss lilacs more than any plant from my Ohio life! My other love Sweet Annie will actually grow here, but alas not the lilacs. But I have this wonderful lilac candle, by McCall’s Candles, it is closest to the real thing, and I will burn it this weekend!
    The salad is definitely on the menu. Quick question. Do you just blanch the cauliflower a minute or two and then do you put it in ice water to stop the cooking? It has been so hot here, I am so ready for more veggies!
    Love you Susan and Girlfriends…have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day Holiday!
    We got rain.:) !

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t rinse it, I just cook it til it’s almost done. I don’t do it because I think it helps if it’s warm for the flavors to blend.

  62. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    The official rainfall for Knickerbocker, Texas @ the Ridge/Wells household….for the Lipan-Kickapoo Water Conservation District, rain gauge # 67 is…….drum roll please….
    1.9 inches!
    Life is grand!

    • sbranch says:


    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Oh, my, Chris,
      I am so H*A*P*P*Y for you and the rain you are receiving. We, too, are getting a lot of rain, but I am looking forward to a drier Saturday and Sunday b/c my DIL’s baby shower is going to be at my home–outside!! I have a lot to do to get my gardens ready and looking their best!

      I made that Cauliflower Salad–it is the best!! I followed Sue’s directions and her pics were very helpful too. All the flavors merge together into a wonderful taste!

      Have a great weekend!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Great news, Chris! I hope y’all in Texas get enough rain to set off a mildew alert! Good luck & happy weekend! :>)

  63. Julie Marie says:

    Good morning Susan… and Happy Summer to you!… I don’t live on an island, but I love what you call being on “island time”… so, I am now officially going to be on island time too!… how fun you are welcoming Summer with friends this weekend… love all of the wonderful traditions you have described… I love keeping traditions… and your home looks so pretty with your beautiful flag out… is that your front door?… I am used to seeing your long driveway up to your home… I wish I was going to be one of your pampered guests… you are so sweet getting towels ready for them with fresh ocean air and everything!… I was just thinking this morning, wow, it is almost June, and only three months until Susan’s book comes out… I don’t want to wish the Summer away… but I can just picture in my mind sitting with my cup of tea and lingering over A Fine Romance this Autumn… much love to you and Happy Memorial Day to you, Joe and Kitties, xoxo Julie Marie PS We ate our FIRST strawberry of the season from our garden yesterday!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, that’s the real front door, but we use the kitchen door — the front door, we save for Halloween! I better go check on my strawberries!

  64. HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY EVERYONE. I’m trying to get into the spirit in spite of allergies and terrible sinus headaches!!! I too have family coming on Sunday and I’m hoping to find the energy to make it a special time for all of them. It is hard to think Summer with our temps in the low 60’s?? Memorial Day should be for remembering our dearly departed loved ones and all Veterans….this year we need to add Oklahoma/Texas and all States that have suffered through Tornado damage. My sidekick Smokee went to the Vet yesterday to get his 1st Allergy Shot and he was amazed by all the dogs who were so interested in him (he adores dogs)….he met “Annie” a beauty of a Golden Retriever who’s humans said she loves riding in their classic convertible wearing “pink goggles” and when people see them they tell the man how lucky he is with 2 blondes….haha So, the Vet said he is seeing more and more animals with allergies and with a kitty they get so stuffy and sneeze and just do not understand why they can’t breathe (I even swipe his nose with a Puff tissue) which he truly does not like….so, even our furbabies need our love and attention. My Jim is off to go fishing this morning for blue gills and I’m thankful I am not going this time because they are going to keep them and filet (GASP) for a future fishfry….ok Jack on this issue I am truly a Girlie Girl and will try to “man up” in the future and realize it helps thin out the pond and is the natural law of the Angler!!! Happy Holiday Everyone and Be Safe.

  65. Angela W in Oklahoma says:

    Hi Susan…Seeing Jack peep out the screen door reminds me of my two girls. They do not step a toe outside but like to sit in the window getting a whiff of the great outdoors. This is the time of year they start begging me for one thing every time I come in from outside…GRASS!!! If I forget, they plead with me until I get the scissors and cut them some fresh grass to nibble on. I’ve always wondered if Jack has the same request??? Enjoy your beautiful weekend!!!

    • sbranch says:

      He hasn’t — maybe because he doesn’t know about it — but Girl Kitty went right for it yesterday.

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        My SIL plants a special type of grassy-looking plant in one of her flower beds for their cat to munch on when they let him out.. on a LEASH if you can believe it? I never knew they had harnesses and leashes for cats now! Is that the kind of grass you guys are talking about??

        • sbranch says:

          Girl Kitty likes the greens that grow under the bird feeders from the dropped seed. I’ve read that if your cat is eating your indoor plants it means he needs grass! I think I will bring Jack some grass today and see what he thinks.

      • Jack says:

        Animals need grass to assist with digestion …’s their only source of
        natural roughage ! Even dry cat food doesn’t do it for them like grass

        • sbranch says:

          I’m getting that now — thanks Dad… I’ll go get Jack some grass! He must be starving for it!

          • When I caught my cat eating dust bunnies I looked it up and found out she was craving roughage. Dried catnip was suggested. I found a can of organic catnip at MOMs and she loves it! I sprinkle it on her wet food every so often. It also is calming. I gave her some the day we left on our vacation. I could tell she could tell we were leaving and it seemed to help her settle down.

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          When I was little, our dogs would sometimes eat grass, just a little bit, and some adult relative of mine said it meant the dog didn’t feel well – that grass was “dog medicine.” ???

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, I think it’s the other way around, the animals need it to help digestion.

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Our dogs used to eat grass and then throw up–we thought they did it if they had a stomachache and they instinctively knew it would make them feel better…

  66. Susan Simon (in Illinois) says:

    Good morning, Susan and everyone! A lovely treat to find a new post… all about lilacs, summer, recipes, A Fine Romance !!, Girl Kitty and Jack… some of my very favorite things! (Now I have that song running through my head with Julie Andrews singing…). Our lilacs here in Illinois are starting to fade, although the French Lilac in our front yard hasn’t bloomed yet; it is always later than the ones in our back yard. I’ll pick some of those when they bloom and use the split stems and warm water to help them last when I bring them in. The lilacs out back are SO loaded with blooms this year… that sweet spicy scent has been wonderful. We had to cover our plants again last night, but hopefully the unofficial start to summer will kickstart the weather!

    Have a grand time with your guests this weekend… sounds like a very special bunch. Our house will be pretty quiet this weekend, but that’s okay… we’ll cookout with our neighbors and have some wine that I got for a birthday present on Wednesday; hopefully we can enjoy that outside. I think that I’ll make that bean salad… that would be perfect.

    Our dogs were outside this morning, and I heard a squirrel chittering at them and scolding them so they’d leave. Ha! Our little dog’s mission in life is to keep our yard critter free… he loves chasing them out of the yard. The birds ignore him most of the time, but not the squirrels. His unending squirrel patrol keeps us laughing, that’s for sure. For some reason, his attitude makes me think of Jack… I think Jack probably has that kind of attitude sometimes, doesn’t he?

    Love the parade idea… it’s a great way to celebrate and say thank you to all the men and women who have helped keep our country and others safe. Thanks for sharing that with us. My dad was a vet from WWII; Memorial Day always brings back sweet memories of going to parades with him and him saluting when the flags would go by.

    Thank you again for a wonderful post, Susan… I think I’ll see if I can get a copy of that book that Joe wrote! It would be grand to have one from you both. Have a wonderful weekend with your friends.

    • sbranch says:

      Try Bunch of Grapes in Vineyard Haven for the Black Dog Cookbook, I can usually find it there. Happy weekend Susan!

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      I bought mine from a Goodwill store on eBay~ I’m happy to support Goodwill as well as local stores. ~ Alot of my books come from Goodwill (stores ) and shipping is usually free! Everyone wins!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Oh, thanks for that tip, Lynn! I didn’t know that. Plus another great organization to support… :>)

  67. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Good Morning~
    What a difference a day makes~ 90 on Monday and high winds, rain and barely 50 yesterday~
    At least the sun is out today~will be going outside later to pick up the saturated mess~
    Hurry up Summer!
    My lilac bush~ tree is just about to bloom~ thank goodness the wind and rain didn’t harm it.
    I wish I knew exactly how old it was ~ my mother~ in~ law was born and raised in our house said she remembered it being here forever~ she died almost 3 years ago at 92~ It’s amazing to me how resilient that bush~ tree is!~ year after year of snow, rain, drought and wind and it just keeps going!
    I too am readying the house and yard for Memorial Day~ We will go to the parade and honor all our service people who gave and give us all so much~ especially the gift of Freedom!
    ~We live in a Great Country~ God has truly blessed Us~Happy Memorial Day!~
    P.s. Cannot wait for the book~ looks Perfect!

  68. I am ridiculously happy about the RIBBON! Thanks for insisting on it!

    • sbranch says:

      There is just something about a ribbon! 🙂

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Oh yes. The ribbon makes it even more special. My husband and I both worked in publishing and sometimes we would be given a “dummy” book. He uses them as a journal to record every day happenings and fills them with his sketches. He worked in the art department and I worked in the editorial department and that’s how we met over 37 years ago now. September will be here before we know it and we must all enjoy the sweet anticipation of the arrival of your book. Happy weekend to you all.

        • sbranch says:

          I keep my dummies too — they are perfectly empty little hard-cover books just right for journaling in!

          • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

            It would be the MOST perfect journal to bring along on your cross-country book signing tour. You could fill it with all of your favorite memories, Susan! Wouldn’t that be an amazing treasure?
            Enjoy this weekend with all of your guests!

  69. judi says:

    Just have a few minutes so no time to read all the comments – later. As one of the “girls of summer”, I love your girl with the hat! Will put my SUMMER book out too – feel so lucky to have one. Happy full flower moon by the way to all.
    In high school my husband (I didn’t know him then) was Sno King and Patty Paige sp? was there and he got a kiss from her. He was thrilled 🙂 never forgot it.
    When I first saw Joe in the yard I thought, ….a PUSH mower???… duh, then realized it must be a fertilizer thing. He would be 98# if that was a push mower:) with your sized lawn. Lovely post as usual and the BOOK – alluring. ttfn

    • sbranch says:

      You are right, fertilizer — I can not talk him into a push mower. In fact I can’t talk him into mowing at all, someone comes on a ride-about and whips over the lawn in about 15 minutes!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Good think I don’t live on MV, I’d have to persuade you to hire me to mow with a handmower! Think of the good exercise!!! I really miss mowing the yard–in the townhouse now it is done with a crew and power mowers. No wonder I was thinner then…or less “not-thin”… LOL! 🙂

  70. Michelene Thomas says:

    Just finished reading your post. I always look forward to Fridays when I can sit down with a cup of tea and visit with you. I am on my way to the grocery store with a list for making the Cauliflower and bean salad. It will be perfect for our family picnic this weekend. I can almost taste it now. Yummmmm! Your lilacs are beautiful. The lilacs in my area (Philadelphia suburbs), are already done blooming. I don’t have any lilac bushes, but there is a house on the way to my gym that has a “fence” of them along the road. I always slow down, open the car windows and breath deeply. AAAH, Heaven.
    Can’t wait for my “A Fine Romance” book arrive. Hope it arrives before I leave for vacation to Maine in late September, meanwhile, love reading your posts. Happy Memorial Day! and give thanks and blessings to our armed forces.

    • sbranch says:

      I think the book should just make it. It comes in Sept first (if all goes as planned, which it should) and we begin shipping right away — it’ll take a few days to get them all out to everyone, but I can’t imagine it won’t be there by the middle of Sept or so.

  71. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    Dear Susan and All,
    So much to be thankful for! What a great country we live in with an amazing history! Our heritage is rich, indeed! Our little village usually has a parade, but not this year although we will still walk to the neighborhood cemetery and the children will put flowers on the graves with flags to honor those who have died for freedom.

    Sue, thanks for reminding me about that Great cauliflower salad. So Yummy!

    And about your book–well, I think all the words of excitement have already been used by everyone else. Suffice it to say that, I am So Glad you are a visual Gal b/c I loved looking at the book (our book), seeing what it will look like and enjoying the ribbon(!). What you like is what we like, sweet Sue.

    My dear husband got me a new (colors nice and bright) flag for our front porch. I love to see it waving!

    The highlight of our weekend will be a baby shower for my DIL on Sunday. Her 4 other sisters–all lovely and creative–will be coming on Saturday to do some decorating. My part is to make the gardens look lovely and make some of the food. And pray for a good Sunday so we can be outside!

    Have a wonderful weekend! Lucky friends who are with you!

    • sbranch says:

      What a nice party you are planning! Have fun and congratulations on your new baby!

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Hi Linda! I hope I get all the rain and it stays dry for you, especially for Sunday. I’m sure it will be wonderful, rain or shine, to be with family and friends for such a wonderful event.
      I have always loved how everyone displays the flags on holidays back east. We will hoist the flags up the flag pole tomorrow…..although no one will see them but the two of us, maybe an occasional plane will fly over! We are having a really low key weekend, just the two of us this year….and that’s okay.
      Hope you have a warm weekend, my son says he has freeze warnings tonight in NE Ohio. yikes!
      Oh by the way, made the Cauliflower/Bean salad tonight for dinner…..oh my! You are right…it is awesome. There is just enough left for lunch tomorrow….it is definitely a keeper.
      Take time to enjoy your party and your family. Happy Memorial Day! Chris

      • sbranch says:

        Just the two of you and bean salad, so that’s a baby celebration all by itself! 🙂

  72. Nina says:

    O Susan do you really live in Heaven? I think you do!
    Hope you have a great Holiday weekend with your friends and of course tell us girlfriends all about it please!
    The Sun is trying its hardest to shine here in the middle of England but it is so cold for may and the forecasts are pretty crazy too! Still it could always be worse and maybe it will make for a really hot summer! We can but hope lol! xxxx

    • sbranch says:

      I think of you all the time over there, and hope for a little ray of sunshine to come your way very soon. xoxo

    • Gaynor O'Connor says:

      Hi Nina,
      Raining here in New England too! So excited to see your name!
      Love, Gaynor xxxxx

      • Nina says:

        Hallo you! Well at least we are sharing something at the moment! lol I miss you xxxx

        • Gaynor says:


          Well we’ve shared so much over the years haven’t we! So nice that we can meet up here in Susan’s wonderful world! Miss you too!


  73. Janie Phillips says:

    I haven’t been to the ocean (which I love with all my heart) in several years, and when you write about your beautiful island I feel my chest expand with longing. I’d gladly swell the MV summer population to 100,001 if I could, but I seem destined to have a long distance relationship with the sea. More about that later, but first I’ll tell you a story.

    Sometime back, you wrote a blog post about the power of intentions and dreams and keeping a dream book. I’ve always believed in the power, but haven’t kept it in sharp focus. Your post inspired me, as usual, and I made a dream book. My plan was to look for images of things I dreamed of so I could paste them in my book, but the only images I had handy at the time (that I loved enough to put in a dream book) were the ones I’d saved of my banners on your blog. (It’s always been such a thrill to see one there, I have to save it.) After being inspired by your books and your beautiful water color world for all these years, you posting images of something I made was a dream come true for me. So I put a picture of the bon voyage banner and the spring banner in my dream book as a reminder that dreams come true and to prime the pump, so to speak. Then I set my dream book aside and forgot to add any more images. It sat silently for months and months, seemingly doing nothing, but here’s the kicker: The image of the spring banner that I put in my dream book was one that was in the background of a picture of the cute chick cupcake toppers that were for sale in your web store. So the magic is, even though I didn’t think to dream it consciously, my dream book was percolating all the while, and a year later the spring banner was being sold in your web store! And now I’m seeing the image of the summer banner on your blog and in your web store and I’m in awe of what a dream come true it is, which brings me back to the ocean …

    If my dream book could dream a bigger dream for me than I could dream myself, then think what it could do if I help it along a little more! So I’m going to start collecting these images of Martha’s Vineyard that are pulling at my heart and put them in my dream book. I’m pretty sure it will get me there one of these days 🙂

    I can never thank you enough for what you’ve been to me all these years. For so many years you’ve inspired me with your books, your Willards, your art. Anything Susan Branch spoke to my heart and you felt like a friend, even though I knew you’d never know I was out there. Then one day there was Twitter! … and your blog! … and the world became simultaneously larger and smaller. You’ve given me so many wonderful moments, Sue, and I thank you for all of them. I’m one of the legions who can’t wait for the new book. There will be many cups of tea consumed in September.

    Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! I’m busy getting ready for a visit from @emsovich and family 🙂 Love you always … xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Oh you’ll be here Janie. You are on your way. It happened like that for me too, first little dreams and they made be try for bigger ones. I love the way you said your world became “simultaneously larger and smaller.” That’s how this blog was for me. You are a dear to write, it makes me so happy to feel your joy. We love your banners, they are darling and reflective of YOU. xoxo

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Janie, I adore your little spring banner…it hangs along the top of my hutch…and I was delighted to see that you’ve made one for summer, too. I ordered mine yesterday 🙂 Here’s hoping you do them for autumn and winter, as well! Hooray for dreams come true!!

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Janie, what a lovely sweet comment – especially that second-last paragraph! Made me cry [because that’s exactly how I feel too]! Keep those darling little banners coming & have a wonderful weekend! :>)

          • Janie Phillips says:

            Thank you, Janet! I know there are a LOT of us who feel this way about Sue, and I love that we’re able to come together here! I’ll be very happy to keep the banners coming 🙂

        • Janie Phillips says:

          Oh Shannon! It’s wonderful to hear that. Thank you for telling me and thank you for ordering the spring and summer banners. I appreciate it so much, and I hope I can add autumn and winter, too!

      • Janie Phillips says:

        Thank you, Sue! I think you’re going to have to add to your title: Artist. Author. Inspirer … xoxoxo

  74. Kathryn from CA says:

    The book looks so wonderful, I can hardly wait!! I have fond memories of taking tea with my English grandparents… something I do now with my kids. Love, love, love anything English, and can’t wait to sit down with your book and a cup of tea!

  75. Rachael Bott says:

    I LOVE towels dried in the breeze! I have a question? Are your towels “crunchy” (as my husband calls it) or do you use something to keep them soft. If so, what is it? I am soooooooo excited for your new book to come out I can’t stand it! We are currently saving money for a trip to England. Hope you have an awesome day! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t used to dry towels on the line because I was afraid they would be stiff and scratchy — crunchy as your husband would say 🙂 quite rightly — but in one of the cottages we rented in England, they had them — it changed my mind completely — I liked it. I love it when they are crunchy — they seem to stay fresh longer, and they smell so good. I love that you’re saving your money for England! xoxo

      • judi says:

        Same here, always dried my towels. Now hang most of them on the line 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        We like “crunchy” sheets, too! Really miss being able to hang sheets out to dry–in the townhouse we aren’t allowed to. I really miss that crisp crunchy feel and smell of line-dried sheets…

        • sbranch says:

          Something very “real” about them.

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            I miss hanging laundry on a clothesline so much. When I first got my own place, my mom offered to let me do my laundry at home to help me save $$ and I used to bury my face in the towels when I took them off the line each time. No comparable smell in the world! Now I live where each apartment has its own little laundry room/pantry and clotheslines are strictly NOT allowed [we’d probably get “written up” or get demerits or something if we hung towels on our porches or balconies]. And my mom and dad are gone so I can’t use their clotheslines either. So surprising how much such a little thing can be SO missed…

  76. peg says:

    YIPPEEEEEEE! You got the ribbon!!!! So very exciting!!!!!!! It’s the ‘sprinkles’ on the frosting on the cake!!! Can NOT wait!!!!

    Have a marvelous weekend, Sue! ♥ peg

  77. Ann says:

    I can’t tell you how excited I am about “the ribbon”. I think it makes a special book even more special. So excited that summer is peeking over the horizon, even though it is cold and rainy today in MD. In one month I will be next door to you in Nantucket, recharging myself and enjoying the company of family and friends. Happy Memorial Day Weekend, Girlfriends.

  78. Danella says:

    Hi there! Hope you had a wonderful weekend and great time with your company. We celebrate Victoria Day here in Canada and a long weekend is always welcome. Another lovely message from you and one of my favourite songs to sing along with as I read. Our beautiful lilacs are already done but they were spectacular this spring. Thank you again for sharing your life and loves with us. Such a treat to open the email and see your name. Have a terrific day!

  79. Jennie says:

    Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend with all your company!

  80. Sue in Fl says:

    Loved seeing the mockup of “our” book. I’m very excited for it to arrive. I laminated my bookmark and have been enjoying it for weeks now. The island festivities look wonderful. I know what you mean about being glad when the tourist leave. Here in Fl. summer is our time to be glad when all the snowbirds have gone home. We live on the Gulf Coast so we get quite a few of them. We also have lots of visitors from Canada and Germany. We have to remember that they keep our economy going here in Fl. Today is our 44th wedding anniversary so that is how we will begin celebrating our Memorial Day week-end. My husband is taking me for a surprise dinner and overnight stay somewhere. This is the first time he has done anything like this so I am very excited. Hope you and Joe enjoy your week-end and your visit with friends.

    Sue in Fl.

  81. Wendy Louise says:

    Hi there, You sure know how to get someone excited about life and this wonderful planet we live on ! Cape Cod stirs so many wonderful memories from vacationing there in Dennisport every summer with my family. My parents loved it so much they are retired there in Harwich. The sea and salty air is the healthiest any where. I am so excited for “A Fine Romance” ! Seeing you live a fine romance and me too ! How lucky ! Your great summer salads and other recipes come at the right time. I am having a Pink Baby Shower Tea/Picnic and I am serving the cauliflower and bean salad ! Along with Waldorf Salad, Brioche rolls, Fruit salad in a watermelon carved into a bassinet, Vege Pasta, deviled eggs that look like little chicks peeking out of there shells, and much more. The Cake is a strawberry short cake. I can’t wait, but, I have lots to do before next weekend. I am going to sit back and relax on this one and enjoy the rain showers we need. My garden is almost all planted, I am going out in between rain showers and planting. Hopefully, my peonies will be in bloom for the shower, they are all shades of you guessed it…..PINK ! Have a marvelous weekend with your Love ones on Marthas Vineyard. Jack and sweet Girl Kitty look so content. Happy Memorial Day, everyone ! oxoxox

    • sbranch says:

      I love your menu! I’m not sure if you want to serve alcohol, so please forgive me, but this brought to mind my “Skip and Go Naked’s” which is perfectly bubble gum pink and looks darling served in smaller (ladylike, girl-party) glasses. They’re so easy to make. Here’s the recipe — this makes two drinks, so you’ll have to figure it out for a crowd. You need 2/3 c. cold beer … 2/3 c. frozen pink lemonade concentrate …. and 1/4 c. vodka. Fill your blender half-full of ice, pour in all ingredients; blend well and serve. It’s in my Summer Book. Pink pink pink! Have fun!

      • Wendy Louise says:

        That sounds fantastic ! I will make them ! I have just the right smallish vintage etched glasses and it will be perfect.I am serving pink lemonade and limeade too,along with sun tea ! They will love the “Skip and Go Naked’s”. My other daughter in-law is planning on some fun games like guess the inches of my pregnant daughter in-laws belly. We have fun pink gifts and I bought everyone Pink Cosmos’s to go home and plant, I just love that flower. I planted plenty of them in my garden all shades of pinks and white, they are such a fun cutting flower for the home. Oh, I wish you could come ! I believe we would be great neighbor-friends ! Love you so, oxox

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        So I’m reading more in the ‘Black Dog’ cookbook & am curious. Is the entire Island dry? Just Vineyard Haven? Do Summer people basically have to BYOB? Do locals have to stock up when on the mainland? Or have it shipped? Though I know there are excellent reasons to be “dry”, it’s surprising to find that characteristic in a resort community. :>)

        • sbranch says:

          When I came here the only “wet” towns were Oak Bluffs and Edgartown — you could buy liquor in those towns and in those restaurants, the rest of the island was BYOB — and groups of people had NO problem bringing a BAR with them to dinner! No alcohol was sold on Sundays, except in the OB and Edg restaurants, but no liquor stores. There’s never been any alcohol sold in island grocery stores and that hasn’t changed. It was old-fashioned and quirky but we liked it–everyone got used to it, and planned ahead. However the laws recently changed here — you can buy alcohol in most island restaurants now with just a very few exceptions.

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            How interesting… the Vineyard must have had a lot of Pilgrim descendants living there for the “dry” tradition to have been continued for so long… So if you wanted to have beer on hand for a picnic or something, would you have to go to a liquor store – like in Pennsylvania? In NY it’s sort of divided. For beer, hard lemonade etc, you go to the grocery store. For champagne, wines, hard liquor, you go to the liquor store. :>)

          • sbranch says:

            Oh yes, lots of history on this island. Revolutionary War stories too.

      • Cathy McC. says:

        Oooh, and this FOSB can attest that they are divine!!! (And Lucy will, too!) Ethel

  82. Sue says:

    Can almost picture myself there. Your guests are in for a delightful weekend.
    The rice salad is almost too pretty to eat, but I’m sure it’s delicious too.
    Thanks for finding some time to share with all your preparations for the weekend keeping you busy.
    The book looks wonderful. I’m sure many of us can hardly wait to add it to our collections.
    Wishing all a great start to the summer season.

  83. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Loved your recipes! The cauliflower and bean salad sounds delicious, I must try it soon! Also, the sandwiches look so pretty wrapped in wax paper with the sticker. That is a brilliant idea, leave it to you!!! Have a great week-end and enjoy your guests~

  84. shirley burt says:

    Sweet Susan, How delightful were the glimpses of your life on the island. And “OUR” book ! How fabulous is that and knowing the hot Texas summer will almost be over by the time-our hot lasts much too long. Then we can hold the most longed for book ever in our lap, caressing it’s cover and hardly breathing as we open it to the very first page. How delicious that moment will be for all.
    Now, I am going to get out more of my patriotic things—you have inspired so many of us in so many ways.
    Love and bunny hugs, Shirley

  85. Terri says:

    Hi Susan,
    Just wanted to thank you for the bookmark. I made one for my sister, too. She and I started out as Lamb kids and now are a Zeidl and a Johnson.

  86. Melissa Leathley says:

    All I can say is, Thank you Susan for sharing your life and making my dreams of the Island closer than they will ever be. You live my dream life and I love reading about all that you do during your days there. You have made my day bright and happy.
    Thank you, Melissa

  87. Melissa Leathley says:

    Your writing touched my heart. It was as if I was reading my own life and dreams! I too have a dream book and the Vineyard life is all over it’s pages as is Susan’s art work and quotes. I am so blessed to only be a few hours from the sea but it’s the Pacific Ocean in California (which is near Susan’s California home) and it’s not the same. I LOVE it and go often but the Atlantic sea seems to have a magical calling on my heart. I won’t ever get there because I can’t travel so the dreams and realities of other people keep me connected. So thank you too for sharing. I pray that one day you will get to go to Martha’s Vineyard and fulfill that dream of yours.

    • sbranch says:

      Be very careful girlfriends. I had that dream too, felt pulled to New England without ever seeing it — because of all the history and the old houses and the seasons, and when I did see it, I was a goner. But it’s dangerous to fall in love with two places, because then there is always a little part of you that is homesick no matter where you go.

      • Janie Phillips says:

        I can imagine how you feel, Sue. There’s just never enough of us to go around. I’m always torn between wanting to experience living in many places and having roots in one place. When you make a choice you always have to give something up, and it’s hard because, as Robert Louis Stevenson says, “The world is so full of a number of things …” And how can we not want them all! xoxo

        • sbranch says:

          I know, it’s not like, let’s not do this terrible thing — it’s more like, which of all these fabulous wonders do we have to give up!

    • Janie Phillips says:

      Thank you for this lovely note, Melissa. Your words touched my heart as well. Susan gives us so much to dream about, it’s the next best thing to being there. Thank goodness we can be armchair travelers! I’d love to be near your beautiful Pacific ocean and I hope to visit it again one day. Just being near the sea makes me feel more alive, and here I am living about as far from it as possible — really bad planning on my part ;). It was so nice to get your note, Melissa. I hope you see my reply.

  88. Judith Mellenthien says:

    Thank you again for the beautiful pictures and words on your current blog. The weather is beautiful and your house with the flag hangin in front is awesome. What a wonderful scene with the children parading in front.
    Since childhood, I have wanted to visit the New England states and promised myself that I would when I retired but my husband became ill two years ago so that dream is on hold. He is my most important gift from God, so I will take care of him and give his healing to the Lord and hope it won’t be long before we can travel there together.
    Meanwhile, your blog has kept me updated with the most wonderful pictures, drawings, stories and news and I really appreciate them and you.
    Happy Memorial Day to you and Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      Blessings on you and your husband — I hope you get that trip to New England very soon! Fall is beautiful around here!

  89. Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

    Happy Summertime Susan and Girlfriends! Memorial Day always makes me think of kids running around on front lawns with empty mayonnaise jars with holes punched in the tops catching lightening bugs! Hamburgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob and macaroni salad. Yes, the good old summer time. And I must admit…New England does a fine job of making the scene even more beautiful. Love the flowers and all the wild flowers that can be gathered for those pretty vases we can put on our nightstands so when we wake up in the morning…that’s the first thing we see. Happy Memorial Day and thank God we live in the “Land of the Free and Home of the BRAVE ” because of all those men and women who gave their lives to protect our freedom. FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  90. Jane F. says:

    Oh, Susan! Opening with “Old Cape Cod” and Patti Page! Growing up in New England, that was one of my favorite, favorite songs! And I have such wonderful memories of my dear Dad, gone to heaven 3 years ago, and how he loved the ocean! He was full of life and fun, and took us kids to the beach so often. He taught both my sister and I to swim in the waves off the beaches of the North Shore and Cape Cod. I nearly have tears of joy in my eyes thinking of how much I love the New England ocean and all it meant to me and my family. I am so blessed!! I forgot this was Memorial Day weekend, too, until I saw the traffic today and the signs in the stores! I’ve been soooo busy cleaning every nook and cranny of my house, garage and yard, and now I’m DONE!!! My Mom and sister and brother-in-law are coming to visit us on June 2nd, (I’ll be sure to say Rabbit, Rabbit on June 1st!) and I’m going to be so ready for this visit!!! Never have I done so much. It’s been great fun. And now Summer! What perfect timing!!! I ran and hung my flag, too, when I read about you and Joe hanging yours! Mine is on the side of the house just above my fully blooming Knock out Pink rose bush! Makes me think (a little!) of the lovely wild roses that ramble over the sand dunes there! And the lilacs!!! My grandmother in Reading (a little north of you) had several beautiful, huge lilacs — purple, lavender and white!! I can still smell them!! And the book!! I can’t wait!! I have my bookmark printed and sitting here on my desk in a prominent spot to remind me that it’s coming!! Thank you for such a nostalgic and wonderful blog. Such a great way to begin Summer!! I can hear the waves and gulls and smell the salt air now!! Blessings!!

    • sbranch says:

      Nothing like company to get your house all tidy and perfect for the season! Yes, the wild beach roses, they are just coming into bloom now. We stuck our noses in them the last time we were out there, just breathing them in, what a beautiful smell. Have a wonderful time Jane!

      • Jane F. says:

        Thanks, Susan. It is such fun to be on this blog. I do not have time to do a lot of blogging. This is about the only one. But it is great to feel like being part of community “out there” who like the same things! You are doing such a great job. I admire your drive and enthusiasm. Happy Memorial Day!! I remember MD in Reading. My uncle marched in our little home town parade in his WW 2 uniform, and always smiled and waved at us kids! We thought that was just the most exciting thing!! Then we went up the hill to the big cemetary on the square beside the quintessential white Methodist Church with the clock tower, and different officials read proclamations and “Logan’s Address” and taps were played by soldiers. A member of the Daughters of the American Revolution laid a wreath at the war monument. It was all very quiet and respectful. Then by great contrast our afternoon was filled with great fun as a huge church picnic was held in a large park with food, games and a much-anticipated baseball game between the “married” and “single” men of the church! The cricket match between the “house” and the “village” in Downton Abbey, reminded me of it! Memorial Day in New England holds great memories!

  91. Kathy, Orange CA says:

    Oh those lilacs look beautiful. I’ll have to check the garden places in town to see if they have some for California growers. May parade in Orange has stopped for many years. It’s sad, I used to take my kids when they were young. We would sit in front of our hundredyear old drug store and purchase sodas and watch the parade. What fun. I should write our city counsel to see if we can bring it back. Love, love, love the Old Cape Cod song. I can almost smell the salt air just hearing it. On Memorial day here we have 4 different types of fighter planes fly over in formation over several cemeteries. The are from WWII. Quite a site to see. They fly over my house. Have a great Memorial Day everyone.

  92. Janet G says:

    Can’t wait to get my hands on that book! I pre-ordered so it’s like waiting for Christmas to come. Have a great weekend everybody–I think we will have a cool one here in Maryland. It’s all good! Don’t forget to thank a Vet!

  93. “island time”…how I miss island time. We used to live on Maui and loved that laid back aloha island time. mahalo for reminding me.

  94. Mary S. says:

    What a great Memorial Day tradition The Island has!!!
    And your book!! Tears came to my eyes when I saw it!! I am soooo excited!! And coming in the Autumn is perfect – my favorite time of year!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  95. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Due to a cousin’s illness (and death), I’ve made three trips to CA since the first of the year. I was away from home for sixty days by the end of April. I was all gung-ho to get started on the New Year and do wonderful things, but Life sometimes doesn’t get the memo. Then I came home to snow in May – can you believe it? Well, I felt as if I totally missed spring (my bulb flowers came and went while I was gone) and have been feeling sorry for myself. Hectic things going on right now. I was sorely in need of an SB inspiration.

    Tonight I came home and there you were! Yippee! To heck with spring – bring on summer. I’ll start tomorrow. I’m going to scrub the patio, bring out the furniture and give it a coat of paint, fix the screened patio with new plants, turn on the fountain, plant annuals, pull weeds. By Tuesday I’ll be ready to wash windows and clean carpets and organize the garage.

    Clean up the barbecue, get out the picnic basket, put a new flower on my straw hat, plan an afternoon tea, go through the books and find some light summer reading, plant some annuals, it’s not too late for planting some veggies, try some new salad recipes – Okay, Summer, here I come!

    Thank you, Susan. You’ve done it again. Life’s so much nicer with you in it.

    • sbranch says:

      Love it! But I think you might have had it in you all the while. To begin again fresh! Happy Happy summer Patsy!

      • Patsy in Nixa says:

        I’m on it. Have four lunches, dinners, teas planned by June 14th.

        I’ll be searching my SB Summer book for recipes and ideas. Still eagerly awaiting the Spring and Winter books.

        And, speaking of books, I hope my Fine Romance isn’t scheduled to arrive the first part of September. I’m going to the Outer Banks September 5th and I’ll be so antsy to get home if it’s coming before the 14th that I won’t enjoy the trip.

        • sbranch says:

          Well then I just won’t tell you when it’s coming! That way you can just not think about it. Probably won’t get there until October. 🙂

    • Jane F. says:

      Good for you, Patsy! I did all that cleaning, fixing, painting and planting inside and out the last month, and it feels sooo good to be on the other side of it, and then admire the clean house! Hang in there! Better days ahead!

      • Patsy in Nixa says:

        Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve already scheduled an overdue dinner for some friends on the 5th, a birthday dinner for my brother on the 8th, an afternoon tea for the Relics (my ladies group – can you guess whether we’re seniors?) on the 12th, a birthday lunch for a friend on the 13th, and thankfully, our regular Relics lunch is being held at a restaurant this month on the 17th.

        This should get me hopping. Nothing like entertaining to get that vacuum fired up.

  96. Faith rose says:

    Susan ,I love the old cape cod music! It was so beautiful and makes my heart jump up and down with joy !Thinking of summer ,ocean breezes,and how much God loves us to give us this beautiful world! To a wonderful summery weekend! I love ya Susan God bless!

    • sbranch says:

      So glad you feel that way about the song — I do to — could play it over and over — I put it on the blog as often as I can!

  97. Dolores says:

    I so enjoy your wonderful photos and drawings of your lovely island. I have always wanted to visit Martha’s Vineyard and hope to some day. But I adore the kitty pictures! Especially Jack pictures! I have a Jack too but he is a fluffy black and white and I am afraid to let him out too. My husband is always saying why are you so worried, where would he go? But that’s what I’m afraid of, Where would he go! Ha! And the the “book”! I literally squealed when I saw it! It is so big and beautiful and I can not wait to read every single word. Enjoy every single drawing and remember ever picture of the wonderful trip we took with you and Joe! Just the little we have seen here and there, tiny little snippets as you worked early in the morning (and all through the day I’m sure) on it has been amazing. Like a trip to all the magical places you always wanted to visit! It has been so fun following along with you, sharing your joy, not only on the Trip but the whole creative process of your book.
    Thank you so much!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve enjoyed having you along — it made it much more fun — like writing a long letter to a friend!

  98. Hello and Happy Memorial Day,
    Enjoyed your post. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing so much with us.
    Have fun with your company.

  99. Linda says:

    Patti Page is one of my favorite singers…..I remember listening to her on the radio when I was little and Cape Cod was always my favorite song. Your home is so beautiful and the flag ritual sounds like fun! The parade with the school children would be so precious to see! I planted a lilac bush 3 years ago when I moved here but I don’t get lilacs……it has tripled in size but no flowers? I was so looking forward to them this spring but zero, zilch, nada.
    Poor little Jack…..he looks so woebegone! Doesn’t seem quite fair for him not to go out but I can understand your hesitation….kind of like not wanting to send your children to school as it would be admitting they are growing up.
    The book tease was exciting…….it looks so grand!!! Weather in Idaho is so wonky…90 degrees and then 50 degrees….air on one day heat on the next!!! ACK! I still have all my annuals to plant and a few new perennials but not till it warms up—lows in the low 30’s at night!!! Summer? Not even Spring yet!!!
    Have a wonderful weekend with your company–sounds like a blast! Linda from Idaho

    • sbranch says:

      We had the same problem with our lilacs a couple of years ago — they had stopped blooming. The answer for us was that our garden trees were shading out the lilac. Lilacs need full sun to bloom, at least 6 hours a day (we had our trees trimmed). And I doubt you’re pruning yours, but if you are, stop, because they are particular about what kind of pruning they like and it’s easy to trim off new buds without knowing. BTW — I’ve read that it’s normal for a young lilac to take three years to bloom. Also, watch your lawn fertilizer — if it gets into your lilacs, they may be getting too much nitrogen which makes leaves and not flowers. Good luck Linda! Happy Weekend!

  100. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Hi Susan and Girlfriends…Happy Summer! I love Summer, but I know exactly what Deborah is saying…Autumn is my TRUE love, as well. Deborah, I too, start thinking of Autumn on August 1 and it “officially” ends in my mind on Dec. 1st.

    Yes, lilacs are a gift from Heaven, no matter how long they last.

    Enjoy your house guests, Susan!

    Marie xo

    • Oh! Marie, you are in Williamsburg. I’ve spent many a happy day in Colonial Williamsburg, such a magically historical place (I lived in Virginia Beach) and it was one of my favourite places to visit as often as I could. Christmas at Colonial Williamsburg . . sigh . . I bought one of my all time favourite tree ornaments there . . a pewter stag. I treasure it dearly.

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