It’s the last day of Spring!  And yesterday, just under the wire to qualify for “spring cleaning,” I worked my little fingers to the bone.  It needed to be done.  Every time we drive by our house, I see the mold that has formed on our front porch railings and it drives me crazy.  I put on some old MUSICA and went after it.

This housework didn’t kill me, but I did sleep well.

Yesterday morning I got out a bucket and filled it with hot water and a little bleach, put on my work clothes (read: not beauty queen) and a pair of yellow rubber gloves, prayed no one would notice the woman crawling around on her front porch at 7 am, which is an impossibility considering where our front porch is, but I told myself everyone would think I was the maid, and went to work.

This is the picket fence next to our front porch.  It lives in the shade under the Linden trees.  It doesn’t show that much from the front of the house, but I can see it and it was too awful to continue on this path.  Our house is old.  It was built in 1849, so it has seen a lot of summers — which aren’t all humid all the time, but they definitely have their moments. Which means mold.  And hardly anything is worse than mold on a picket fence.  Or on the “welcome home” front steps and bannisters to your front door.  We had let this get out of control.

 I’m sorry but green mold means your house does not look perky.

I should have started taking pictures earlier, I had already started when I realized I would need before and after pictures of this!  Mold on rails and bannisters, and especially on that little white painted strip under the doorstep.  Which is about eye level to our car when it comes up the street in front of our house.  Which is why such a little thing drove me crazy.  Was I doing my part in making the world a prettier place?  No.  I needed to do better.

So I went out there, crawled around and scrubbed away, with sponge, brush and toothbrush.

I made it all white and perky again.  I figure I got rid of a good 200 calories doing this so it was a win-win.

I could probably have hired someone, but it came over me yesterday morning that I could not go on another moment without having this done, and NOW was the moment.  I didn’t want to take time to find someone, wait for them to come, explain it to them, make a bucket of water for them, give them gloves, when I could just do it, while Joe was off island (he went off yesterday to look at cars, maybe going to get a new van) and I could surprise him.

Then I hung a wreath on the porch, and voila, we are done.

That felt so good, that I knocked off another hundred calories and washed my good old car with the hose.  I bought this Volvo in 1982, it’s my first east coast car.  When I got here, I looked around to see what people drove in a place where there was snow.  I saw a lot of Volvos, so that’s what I got.  She starts up in any weather no matter how long I leave her alone, and has never spent a day in a garage (or barn, because we like to fill our barns with STUFF and there’s no room). She is a very good girl even if you do have to use your arm muscles to get her windows up and down.  I could never let her go, she knows all my secrets.  After I washed her, I took her to the nursery.  It was a red letter day.

Here she is on a fall day in front of my first house on the island ~ she was brand new.  So anyway, she is clean again!  We went to pick up Joe at the boat last night and he was proud of us.

The other fun thing I did yesterday is join Goodreads!  Do you belong to Goodreads?I really just found out about it.  What a wonderful connective way to enjoy books and to learn about new ones.  During my childhood summers when I lived at the library, the librarians gave us a card where we could record all the books we read that summer ~ oh, I wish I would have saved one of those cards!  It gave me such a sense of accomplishment to fill in that little card. Bookreads is the modern version of that, with all kinds of connections between books and readers and tons of reviews from smart people who love to read.  Here’s my Booklist so far.  I didn’t add any books that I didn’t like yet, there are too many that I do.  But probably the biggest thrill of all was seeing A Fine Romance on the web for the very first time.  I guess it must really be happening!

What else, oh yes, getting ready for the book to arrive, I designed new Beatrix Potter pages for “I Love England” that even includes a reading list (you can see it at the top of this page, just click on I Love England and you’ll see parts one and two). I enjoyed every moment of doing it!

 OK Girlfriends, I must go, but here is your first assignment for today:  go get some thick rich creamy Greek yogurt (we use nonfat Nage — only 130 calories per cup) and a juicy watermelon, because they are sweet and ready now.  And some organic red grapes.  Chunk the watermelon in bite-sized pieces — put a serving into a cereal bowl with a few grapes, top everything with yogurt.  Sit down at your kitchen table, open up your favorite book and eat your breakfast to the tune of the songbirds.  Ahhhh summer.

  Assignment two, oh yes, two assignments from the taskmaster:  This weekend it’s time for the Strawberry moon — and this one should be extra specially big because the moon is as close to earth as it will be this year.  Plan ahead to spontaneously go see it with someone you love and make it an adventure.  Make a little picnic, pack a couple of sandwiches, or a salad with good cheese and fresh vegetables, a thermos full of some special sort of drink, creamy iced coffee, basil lemonade, skip and go nakeds, and go park the car in the perfect moonrise place nearest you because the moon is biggest right when it first peeks above the earth, or the sea, or the field, or over the mountain top.  See it from the car, or spread a blanket somewhere beautiful, even your own back yard.  

Make a wish, say a prayer, count your abundant blessings.

Happy Day Girlfriends! XOXO

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421 Responses to LAST DAY OF SPRING …

  1. Eszter says:

    Dear Susan! I’m so happy that you joined GR. :-)) I am a big fan of Goodreads or rather a GR addict. And, guess who was it who added your newest book to the catalogue… :-DD I had to because I wanted to add it to my “owned but not yet read” bookshelf, even though I don’t have the physical copy in my hand yet. 😀 Anyway, can’t wait to have it in my hands and read it! Wish you a wonderful summertime!

    • sbranch says:

      Aha! It was you! Thank you, that was so nice of you. Such a nice surprise to find waiting for me!

    • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

      I tried joining GR yesterday, but for some reason I couldn’t. Wanted me to join thru FB I guess. I’m always nervous whenever I have to reveal a password. I didn’t know if I could use a new one or if they wanted me to use my FB password. I think I’m making it alot of harder than it should be…LOL

      • sbranch says:

        Just choose a new password. Or use one for everything if you want/can — some sites require 16 letter passwords with “at least one number and one symbol” — there seem to be all kinds of rules out there. You don’t have to join GR through Facebook, I didn’t have to.

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Goodreads sounds like a good thing! Another fun thing to try for book lovers is I have always wondered what I look like driving because I like to hum and sing…..but never thought about how I looked reading 🙂

  2. Andi M says:

    Happy Thursday! Your barefoot library story is the best. I could picture it in my mind. Isn’t amazing how some childhood memories are more vivid than new or current ones. My front porch mold may require a pressure washer, I bet your biceps are plumping after such a work out. I too, washed my car yesterday, I have a robin that is determined to perch on my side view mirror and mess down the side of the door. Birds wonderful, bird poo not so much. Have a great day.

  3. jeannine leonard says:

    We love the library! The book I am reading now is Elizabeth the Queen. It is full of history and I am enjoying reading it very much.
    Your railings look so much better, good job!
    The moon is going to be so beautiful, it always looks so big when we see if out of our kitchen window. With is being so close to earth, we await to see it in all its glory.
    Enjoy your day, the weather is so divine right now.

  4. "Auntie" says:

    Wishing you a lovely Midsummer’s Eve!!!

  5. "Auntie" says:

    Oh and many Congratulations, on all your wonderful work!


    Wishing you a lovely Midsummer’s Eve!!!

  6. Jacquelyn ... Bainbridge Island, WA says:

    Moss…Yikes you have it too! The dreaded yearly moss removal routine has begun. Ours starts out green and then turns black. Nothing is safe from it…lol. Our home has a metal roof which seems to thrive on moss. Several years ago, my dear hubby nearly fell off the roof cleaning and removing the moss. Now he hires someone better equipped for that nasty job. Sue, you did a beautiful job and your porch looks lovely. Also love your Volvo! Thanks for another great post.

  7. Pom Pom says:

    I love your Volvo! THOSE are super star cars, aren’t they?
    Way to go scrub, scrub, scrubbing the mold! Good work! Well done!
    Yay for Goodreads! I love it!
    Off do plant more white petunias!

  8. susie says:

    Susan, That was a job and a half, cleaning the moss. But it all looks so good now. I love the old car. Glad you mentioned the strawberry moon. I am a moon watcher, so I’ll be looking. Enjoy your weekend. xoxo,Susie

  9. You must be reading my mind. This morning I was trying to think what I should make for our “moon picnic”! My husband and I will go down to the river (we live by the Ohio River) to watch for it. We’ll be watching the sailboats too. Good job on the moss, and the Volvo! I keep my old little red VW for no other reason than I love her. My husband and father keep telling me to “sell that thing”. But I just can’t! 🙂

  10. sandy says:

    Good last day of spring morning to you Susan! I am so excited for SUMMER to arrive tomorrow! I’m going to Whidbey Island and spend the night to celebrate. Taking along warm clothes, tho. As usual, I look at all the pix, read a bit, and have to comment because your posts always make me feel so happy, then I like to go back and read everything carefully. I must say, I’m glad to see you get moldiness! My window tracks get sooo cruddy over the winter. When I think the worst is past, I get out all the paraphernalia and clean them up and always feel so virtuous when they are done. Happy blessed Summer to you dear one! xox sandy 🙂

  11. carmel says:

    Great work, Susan! Looks beautiful. This is the first day of my summer break from teaching and you’ve inspired me to get started on my deferred maintenance “to do list.” Thanks for the book website. Can’t wait to look at it. I have a stack of books to read (I love non-fiction!) and look forward to getting to some of them this summer. Your car is great. I keep mine for a very long time too!
    Happy summer to you, Joe, the kittens and all the girlfriends!

  12. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Happy Last Day of Spring!~
    I love the library too!~ Have you ever heard of Little Free Library? I would love to start one here~ It is pricey to start up though 🙁 …I wonder if I could really part with any of my books~ I tend to ” hoarde” them!~ I’m not really a fan of e~books unless I travel and they are just not the same!
    Many years ago I had to part with my dear~sweet~ reliable~ 1978 Chevy Vega~ orange~
    I named ” Betsy”~ She would start up every Wisconsin winter no matter what! ~She got rusty & crusty but I loved her so!~
    ~ I’m so grateful we are finally having some warm weather~ Bring on Summer!!!

  13. Linda Pintarell says:

    The full moon will be so beautiful. Leaving on a “road trip” Friday up the California coast. Will be in Grover Beach Saturday evening…so will watch it from Pismo Beach near your old stomp’n grounds. Will continue on to San Jose and then Napa for a farm to table dinner with Outstanding In The Field. Can’t wait!
    Enjoy our weekend, Girlfriends! Did Joe find a new car?

  14. Good morning Susan! I put the sight of you in your work clothes cleaning your front porch up there with your dustbuster episode. 😉

    The next time Joe paints the fence have him add a mildew inhibitor to the paint/stain. After scrubbing my entire white picket fence one year I did this and it has really helped.

    We were staying at a house on the Chesapeake Bay during last month’s full moon. It was considered a supermoon also, but this one will be larger. We were graced with the spectacular scene of a cruise ship all lit up as it slowly moved just underneath it. You can see a photo of it on my Twitter page! Because of your moon bookmark I’ve been inspired to take a photo this year of every full moon. I also captured last month’s moon setting the next morning over the pond behind the rental house. You could see its reflection in the pond! The things we can experience if we just pay a little more attention.

  15. Lina says:

    Susan, your books (and now your blog) have taught me to choose to see beauty all around me, to welcome each day with excitement…and for this, I thank you! And I am totally going to do both assignments! Good job with the cleaning tasks… these kinds of things are my husband’s “love language”…more than anything else, when I clean something he always notices. ~smile~ .

  16. Becky Maggio says:

    Well that surely did bring back a lot of summer memories! My siblings & I always joined the summer reading club at the library. We lived in a little “Mayberry’ish” town so we walked to “town” once a week to Maine Street, of course to get our books and sometimes we were lucky and had a quarter to spend at the Five and Dime store. I was the oldest of 5 and we looked like Mama duck and her ducklings crossing the bayou bridge…lol I could just feel/smell the library as you described it!! I continued that tradition of summer reading clubs with my own daughters and now the grandkids,too. Sadly, they can not experience the simple pleasure of walking to town, as we did, but they all love/appreciate the joy of reading. AND…I still have my cards/certificates from most of those summers! Now I am going to have to pull out the old boxes and find them. Would love to see which books I read back in the sixties. Pretty sure they will mostly be about girls with a Pollyanna/Anne of Greene Gables heart and soul. That is still me today 🙂

    My invitation to you and Joe to visit us in Bayou Country still stands…from one kindred spirit to another. Have a blessed summer!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we had something pretty special when we were young, we were free as birds — ran all over the place barefooted ~ to the drug store (to read magazines in the air conditioning), the dime store, the candy store, the Pig for a glazed donut and a small coke and my mom never had to worry.

  17. Pat Stansel says:

    What a fantastic job you did on the front porch railings !!! So much work, but
    so rewarding. Looks like they’re freshly painted.
    I noticed your new Beatrix Potter updates a couple days ago—loved it. You really
    are full of energy since you wrapped up A fine Romance.

    • sbranch says:

      I’d like to stop all things and go to work on another book, but I need life too, gardens, lunches out, so I will have to wait.

  18. Tana Griffith says:

    Your porch looks great!! I know the work as I scrubbed down my front porch a month ago. I live near Seattle so you can imagine what it looked like. Moss everywhere. It is a large porch and it took me three days. I didn’t work all day, just a couple of hours. It looks wonderful. Now I have to start on the back and side deck. Much larger, but not as bad because my husband and I did this together last fall. I have been using Dawn with Oxyclean. Now I have to get out the paint for the porch and paint the spots that need covering again. The deck is Trex and doesn’t need to be painted, thank goodness.

  19. Maryann says:

    Must sign up for Goodreads….. and thought I was the only one who remembers Seventeenth Summer. I wanted it for my bookclub but our Procurer Of The Books could not get 15 copies. It’s an oldie, but a goodie and I especially love when her father cuts the grass with one of those old push iron lawnmowers.. I can hear the blades cutting the grass like when I was a little girl.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a very sweet story — especially to one as young as I was, enamored with the idea of growing up and trying to understand the mysteries connected to it.

  20. Julie says:


    I am a big fan of author homes and tour them whenever possible; Gladys Taber’s home is high on my list. I find them so inspirational. It would be so nice if your first home could one day be preserved, and furnished with some of your original items, for the public. You so courageously and patiently took the time to discover “you” there, months in deep exploration, reading, writing, meditating, and discovering your unique artistic vision. It was quite a risk for you, the move across country alone (without knowing the outcome), from CA to MV, yet it was the start of a new and wonderful chapter in your life. It would be really be something to see where it all happened. At least for someone like me. Just a thought.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s my thought too. But we will have to see what life wants.

    • I took my mother to Gladys Tabor’s home years ago. Luckily, we got a tour from the sweet renter. Mother knew every inch of the house from Gladys’s books. It is so inspirational to see the place your favorite author calls/called home. Truly a day I will never forget. A stone from the garden still sits alongside mother’s collection of all of Gladys Tabor’s books. Bye–I will be enjoying the beautiful moon at my favorite beach–Hilton Head Island–with my sweet nieces.

  21. Barbara (WA) says:

    Those green railings looks so familiar – living here in Western WA (also on Bainbridge Island, btw) I have to wash my white porch railings every year, too. Everything was freshly painted last summer so we’ll be good to go for the season once I do my washing task. I’ve also washed the white wicker porch furniture in preparation for painting them. New green and white cushions are purchased and waiting!

  22. Arlinda says:

    Hi Susan,

    Great job with the fence. LOL I can relate with the front house work …The working hour for me is 5AM. The family and neighbors are sleeping at that hour. With a cap and sneakers on I go to work (washing door frames, polishing handles, brick steps – how many calories it that?).

    Thank you for turning me and my little one onto taking pictures of the Moon.

    My 10 yr old daughter and I do this together for 2 years now. My husband loves that it inspired her to learn the moon phases and when we’re driving at night, she mentions the phase.

    We’ll be in our backyard looking at the “Strawberry Moon” this weekend and especially thinking of you and the other Girlfriends that are sharing that moment with us.

    You bring so much to our lives. Thank you and may God bless you and Joe. XOXO

  23. Wendy Louise says:

    Oh Susan I am back ! I’m not sure if you noticed me gone but I was away. You see I had to say good-bye to my special love dogs. They weren’t too old just 11 and 9 . Max and Abby our two Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers. Max got sick first and we did the last act of kindness for him and then just 6 days later, Abby got very sick and we had to do the same last act of kindness for her. One was cancer the other was PLE, a genetic disorder. The sorrow and crying can be unbearable, but it is evolving and I am coming out of it. So I Thank-you so much for your support by just you being you and all the girlfriends here too.
    I have a brand new first grand baby coming in a few weeks so there is JOY ! And I am enjoying nature and everything this wonderful world has to offer ! You certainly keep all the ideas coming and one can’t help but get excited. I too did spring cleaning yesterday that made me sleep like a baby. Thanks again you are the BEST ! oxoxoxox
    P.S. Please give Girl Kitty and Jack a big hug, and kiss for me ! OXOX

    • sbranch says:

      I will do that Wendy Louise — I’m so so sorry. Terrible loses for you and both at once. Heartbreaking. You sound good; a new baby will keep you busy. xoxo Sending love to you. And little doggie prayers for Max and Abby, waiting for you in heaven.

      • Linda Pintarell says:

        I wrap my arms around you in a big hug, Wendy Louise. I went through it myself a few months ago…and it took a while. Be patient with yourself and take care.

    • Carol C says:

      So so sorry for your loss, Wendy Louise. We lose our dear girls, both 14+, in the last few months. It still hurts and we miss them terribly but are now beginning to get the urge to start a new family. They won’t replace Ginger and Hattie but I’m sure we will love them as much. Abby and Max con’t be replaced either. Each one is always so special.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        so sorry to hear you lost your babies, that is so sad. here is a place online called, its a healing place for you. hugs to you .

  24. Ruth Thomas says:

    Libraries – what wonders! I lived near one in Newport and I remember getting my first library card and carrying books home – the smell was wonderful and when we moved to California, we lived a half a block from a library branch. I read more books than anyone else enrolled in the summer reading program when I was 12. We even had to write a book report on every book. Books are my passion and I can’t have enough of them – I read EVERYTHING – currently Joyland by Stephen King! CANNOT WAIT for “A Fine Romance” to arrive and thrilled to see we can preorder Yankee Magazine on your website. I need to start my spring cleaning but running off to Chicago to visit my cousin this weekend!!! It will have to wait a few more days.

    • sbranch says:

      It’ll still be there Ruth! 🙂 Stephen King, he was my guy when I hadn’t had time to read in a while. I could pick up one of his books and get back into reading right away. Pet Cemetery, ooooooooooh.

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        For me, it was “Salem’s Lot” which I read in my second year of college, because it was so highly-recommended by the manager of our college bookstore [one of my suitemates’ moms]. It was Fall 1975 and SK was not at all huge yet [“Salem’s Lot” was only his second book, I think]. But she told us “Girls, mark my words, we’re going to hear more from this young man…” Boy, was she ever right!! We still call her “The Book Lady.”

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          I loved Stephen King, Salem’s Lot was definitely my favorite, along with Carrie, Pet Cemetary, Cujo, The Dark Half, and Delores Clairborne. the hours I spent reading those books, and enjoying every chill and thrill…got to love those books!!!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        ever read Needful Things????? ooooh the chills. love Stephen King!!!

        • sbranch says:

          I haven’t — I save him for when I need a push into reading, when it’s been a while. He never fails to get me going!

  25. Laura Jenkins says:

    You made me have pangs for my 1984 240 GL Volvo that I bought new and loved until the air conditioner died…guess she was your Volvo’s younger sis…much loved and adored!! I had to laugh~every time I enter the house, be it the front door or French door at the back, I make a mental note to touch up paint, clean the hardware, etc…why do we neglect those areas that we see 10X a day?? So easy, as you’ve shown, with a little time and elbow grease!! Thank you for the motivation!! xo

  26. barbara miller says:

    good morning! love how white your fence is….looks like it was freshly painted! have a lovely day.b

  27. Caroline C says:

    I love that you took the last day of spring to do some “spring cleaning”. You have inspired me. I would like to do a version of your front door wreath. Could you give me an idea of what the greens are and where you got them. My spring flower basket turned into a baby bird nursery, so I am looking to regroup.

    • sbranch says:

      I combined things I bought at Michael’s — a wreath with a long garland of flowers. Yes, 🙂 time to regroup!

  28. Toni Hill says:

    For months I have been wanting to ask if you have read ‘The Cottage Tales of Beatrix potter” by Susan Wittig Albert. They are well-researched and so delightful! (The animals have chapters of their own, as they observe people and try to help solve their problems!)

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve started reading them, I mentioned them on my Beatrix Potter page.

      • Mary Ann says:

        Oh I am so glad you are reading them. They are a perfect balance of cozy mystery, paranormal and autobiography (although its fiction so does it count as autobiography…hmmm). Its been a lovely week here in Long Beach, Ca. Tomorrow I am going to tackle the overgrown garden patch off the deck. Like your railing I just about turn m y head away when I go out there!

        • sbranch says:

          I love the little details you get in the books. Makes it all seem so real, despite the talking animals!

  29. Linda P. Bak, CA says:

    Another great post. Our book club belongs to Good Reads – love all of Kate Morton’s books – finally reading the Distant Hours (its a long one). Another great author is Erica Bauermeister – loved the book The School of Essential Ingredients. Its about a group taking cooking lesson and this author can make garlic seem sexy. I will be sure to add a Fine Romance to my list.
    I love this time of year my crepe myrtles are in full bloom – pink, purple and white. Its looks like cotton candy in my front yard.

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

    hello, good morning Susan and girlfriends. I just love this last day of Spring, and can’t for Summer to begin and of course Fall is just around the corner 🙂 . we must have been thinking alike yesterday, I got out and scrubbed the front porch and steps and cleaned off all the webs and leaves the winds have blown up on the webs. then went and scrubbed the patio porch and the kitchen porch as well. today the bed linens are drying out on the line and for once I don’t have chase after the turkeys to keep them away from the laundry. plan to get out and really clean out the water tubs, scrub them good and refill them and the same for the duck pool. plus clean all the water containers set up for the “barnyard crowd” in the barn. time to finish the spring cleaning in there. got my jeep washed and clean, and cleaned off the carport by hosing the leaves and debris from the winds off the carport and into the yard. think today will be for cleaning the floors and finishing the laundry and finally cleaning the cats’ basket…wash the blankets and freshen up the basket for the Summer. and just may take a break and go sit on the front porch and watch the tractors go chugging by to the gas station. you all have a wonderful last of spring today, get out and enjoy the sunshine. hugs… 🙂

    • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

      whew, good afternoon Susan, girlfriends. been a busy day today, the water tubs are all spotless and clean, and refilled, same for the water containers inside the barn and the duck pool. the cats’ basket is all clean and fresh, the blankets are all clean and fresh, the laundry is done drying and all folded, the towels are still drying but thankfully for one day I didn’t have to chase turkeys to keep them away from the clothesline. dinner is marinating in the refrigerator, the salad is fixed and ready, the porches and steps are all clean and spotless and scrubbed. a good last day of spring, now its time to go sit in the rocker on the front porch, have a glass of iced tea, and watch the tractors chug by on their way to fuel up at the gas station. got to love this country life…. have a great evening everyone. hugs…… 🙂

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Some day, if you don’t mind, I’ll buzz up to sit on your porch Pat, to watch the tractors go by! Cracks me up! Love your comments! 🙂

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          hello Joan, come on over and sit a spell. i’ll have the beer margaritas out and waiting.

      • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

        OK, Pat…. You’ve done such a great job on your place and now it’s time to come to our house and clean, lol. I’m all tuckered out!

  31. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ✿ڿڰۣ ♫✿ڿڰۣ ♫✿ڿڰۣ ♫ Happy Last Day of Spring Sweet Sue! (Love The Musica!…on The Sunny side of The Street)! I Joined The Goodreads too I Rated all Your Books 5 Stars!!!! Cause Every One is Filled with Your Magic! 🙂 I Also Began The Re~Reading of Your Summer Book….Ahhhhhhh….I Love How You Scrubbed Your Porch to Bright White! (Cinderella!) 😉 It does Our Souls Good to Make Everything Clean & Shiny! 😉 so Cool about Your Volvo! 1982 That is The Year My Jonathan was Born on a Hot August Day! gonna be 31 years Old Oh My Goodness 🙂 Anyway a Picnic Under The Strawberry Moon sounds like a Wonderful Idea! It will Be in Our Backyard! Thanks Sweet Sue… So Bye Bye Beautiful Springtime & Welcome in The Summertime! I Hope it’s Filled with Lots of Laughter & Summer Fun! xoxo Poof! P.S. The Greek Yogurt with Water Melon & Red Grapes Has to Be Scrumptious I am going to Have that Tomorrow! Yay & Yum! 😉 ✿ڿڰۣ ♫✿ڿڰۣ ♫✿ڿڰۣ ♫

  32. Debbie says:

    I loved your library memories! I loved going to the library any time, but summer was best. I can still hear the creak of the stairs that went up to the children’s section and the whir of the big fans they had going on hot summer days, and best of all, was sitting under a shade tree in our back yard reading my library book. I love watermelon and have come across such good ideas this year. No watermelon in our Farmer’s market yet…hopefully next week. Happy Midsummer!

  33. Isabel (Orlando) says:

    Hi Susan,

    You MUST be psychic. You always seem to pick a topic for your blog that I am thinking about just at that time.

    I, too, always LOVED reading. I decided that I did not need to own EVERY book I wanted to read, so, 2 years ago, when I retired, I went and got my first library card in maybe 40 years or more. I took out 8 books in one visit and finished 1 every couple of days. It was heaven. And, guess what? On your recommendation, I read Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden. Unbelievable. What a book. I have since taken out all her other books, including her latest one, the Secret Keeper. I always measure a good author when the people become so real, you can’t bear to leave them. In case you like to try new authors, Laura Childs has a great mystery series, one series relating to a Tea Shop. I am a big fan of mysteries AND tea. My friend used to own a tea shop and every so often several of us go to lunch at a Tea Room in an old house.

    Also love your first “island” house. Wouldn’t mind living in a house like that now.

    Have a great day, Susan.

    • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

      Hi Isabel ~~~ I’ve read the whole series by Laura Child’s “Tea Shop Mysteries”. They are so light hearted and you really feel you are in a tea shop and know all the charactors. Are the books by Kate Morton mystery books or what? I looked them up on Amazon, but don’t know what they are about.

      • sbranch says:

        They have a mystery aspect. I think you would love them, they’re well-written and crafted stories.

        • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

          I’ll have to download them when I get finished up with the ones that I’m reading now. With my Kindle, I have a tendency to buy more books than I should at one time 🙂

  34. Anne Branco says:

    The house looks beautiful Susan. Accomplishing a job like that where you can see the results of your efforts is just the best feeling! (Like weeding the garden.) Loved your story about growing up and the summertime reading you did. My library was also within walking distance. I remember coming home with as many books as my arms could hold. I actually would be playing with the other kids and would often “sneak away” to continue the book I was reading. Wonderful memories! Thanks for the Basil Lemonade recipe. I’m definitely going to try it. Sounds yummy. Thanks so much for the strawberry moon tip as well. I’ll be out there too. Happy weekend. Anne

  35. Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

    Hi Susan~~~ OK, you wore me out just reading of all you did! So much energy! I know what you mean about the mold problem from the humidity. We don’t have that much humidity (at least I don’t think so, but that’s not the consenses of most people here). The mold problem is mainly INSIDE of homes. Every home has mold. It can be bad when one is allergic to it… like my husband. He came down with asthma the first day we moved into our victorian. Another big reason we need to move to a dryer climate.

    We’ve been working in the yard alot. Yesterday, my husband chopped down our Princess Bush. The past couple years its been looking worse and worse. Has made the front yard better. Am going to plant new flowers in our containers out by the front porch as well. Was planning on doing that this weekend, but we’re due for 2-3 inches of rain. Can you believe that?! That’ll be a first.

    Enjoy your weekend. Oh, did Joe buy another car?

    Carol M

    • sbranch says:

      Are you in Eureka? Is rain not normal there?

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Carol, you live in a Victorian home in Eureka! Egads, we’ve probably driven by your beautiful home many times! Anytime we’re in that area, we have to drive by all the Victorians and sigh, loudly, & take many pictures. I bet I have a picture of your house!!! 🙂 xo

      • Susan, I lived in Ferndale CA (Just down the road) and it was almost as rainy as Wales. I needed all my wet weather gear and wellingtons too! Just like Wales, it is a very beautiful place and I felt right at home. We were blessed with wonderful, friendly folks, and lots of great places to eat, and some amazing scenery with the redwood forests. I could tell you a tale of my “Surprise” birthday party, but we’d be here all day!

      • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

        Rain is very normal during the winter months. We didn’t have as much rain this past winter so the percentage is only 80%. Not good for the Redwoods. Most winters our percentage is around 150-160%. Not that’s alot of rain! During the summer months we don’t get rain except for the misty fog most days. I believe that Seattle gets a tad more rain than we do.

  36. Pam says:

    Your porch looks very spangley 🙂 and I love the wreath on the front door.
    I hope we get to see the moon on Sunday, we have so much cloud and rain at the moment, as the old saying goes, Rain, rain go away, come again another day. (I should have left out the second bit I think!!)

    • sbranch says:

      Our Sunday, the official full-moon day, is going to be partly to mostly cloudy. But our Saturday, when the moon will look extremely full anyway, is supposed to be clear. Saturday it is!

      • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

        Susan, good luck with seeing the moon on Saturday night. Same here. Suppose to rain starting tomorrow through Tuesday. We have the problem of the fog coming in during the evening usually. Last night as we were coming home around 7:15, I noticed the moon high up in the sky. So, perhaps I will have a chance to see it tonight.

  37. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Am I crazy or what, but I love a good “cleaning” post. Nothing makes me happier than to scrub the front porch so it is nice and clean for my “Saturday morning sit in the rocking chair and watch the sun come up” ritual!
    I am mentally making plans right now to surprise my hubby with a late night “picnic” on the porch to watch the strawberry moon. Thank you for the reminder. 🙂

  38. Jill says:

    I loved your comments about the library! Your childhood summers sound a lot like mine. I grew up in a very small town and the highlight of our week was driving to the “big town” to get library books. I would stay up all night reading that first night and I read in a tree, too! We had a huge mulberry tree in our backyard and about halfway up was just the perfect spot for reading. It had a large branch for sitting on and then one that was just right for supporting my back. I spent many happy hours in my leafy kingdom just reading.

  39. Gin in New Hampshire says:

    Dear Susan,
    I would love to see more pictures and stories about your first years on the island. I have followed you from the early days in Country Living magazine and your happy life is a great inspiration.


    ps…my old Volvo has 225,000 miles! 🙂

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

    Yikes! Sue–I can’t believe the difference you made in scrubbing the mold!!! Never would have guessed you could just scrub it off! You’ve inspired me to try doing that for the moss that grows on the partition wall separating our deck from our neighbor’s. Just water and bleach, nothing else? I have a similar task staring me in the face here–scrubbing the wooden kitchen cupboards. Y’know how they get kind of greasy? Well, I noticed ours are kind of greasy AND dusty. Any girlfriends with suggestions what I could use on them? I’m thinking Murphy’s Oil Soap or even Dawn dish soap–any suggestions???? Need to cut the grease but not destroy the finish on the wood… Will check out the book site. I always accumulate a stack of books on the nightstand–“Summer Reading” or “Winter Reading”. I used to love to go to the library as a child, too, and hauling home an armload of books. It has unfortunately been too hot, humid, or stormy to sit out on the deck to read and, because of the almost every-other-day rain or thunderstorms, the mosquitoes are incredible! It is summertime when I wonder why we live in Minnesota–not wintertime!!! 🙂 So your comments remind me to try to appreciate summer, look for the moonrising, and improve my attitude! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Just put some dish soap in hot water, Pat, that’s good enough. If the grease is strong, then rinse out your cloth in hot water and pour dish soap right onto it. The grease’ll come right off.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        I use murphy’s oil soap, leave the cabinets and cupboards so clean fresh and smells so fresh.

        • sbranch says:

          I always wondered if oil, added to grease, meant “clean” — maybe I pay too much attention to the oil, and not enough to the “soap.”

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            Murphy’s Oil Soap is great! My mom used it so I do too, for just about any wood you need to clean. Not greasy at all [even though you’d think it would be]. Leaves the freshest, clean scent behind & very gentle to wood. An ancient, old standby product – my favorite kind. :>)

          • Janet G says:

            remember chemistry class: “like dissolves like”

          • sbranch says:

            I’d prefer that like cut like. 🙂

          • Tawni urrutia says:

            I recently worked on renovating an old chapel. The wood restorer was lamenting the use of Murphy’s Oil Soap that ladies so lovingly slathered the pews with over the years. He says warm-hot water and soap, then a dry cloth immediately after.

          • sbranch says:

            Interesting to hear — I’m a water person too — that’s all I wash my kitchen wood floors with, hot water. Not even soap on the floor — they’re so hard to rinse, and I don’t want to leave any behind.

          • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

            I make a lot of my own cleaning products and Murphy’s Oil Soap is the base for many of them, especially my Patchouli Wood and Counter Cleaner. It’s a natural product, not made from petroleum. I still have the e-mail from my sister after she cleaned her kitchen cabinets with my wood cleaner and wanted to know “what’s in this stuff” because she couldn’t believe how it cleaned all the grease off her kitchen cabinets. And I told her, remember Mom’s Murphy’s Oil Soap?
            I stopped using chemical cleaners about 3 years ago with the exception of the dishwasher and the toilet bowl cleaner, because of our hard water! Other than those 2, I use all natural ingredients to clean my house. And they work!

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Hi Pat! I see the dish soap brand you chose was Dawn…is that code for….you would like ME to come and scrub your kitchen cupboards?! (;

      • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

        Hi Dawn, it has been ages since you left a comment on here we missed you girlfriend!!! Are you allowed to come out and play now that school is out for the summer?? I know you have been super busy and please take some down time for yourself!!! My gladiolus are up and pitiful if they even produce a single bloom it would be a miracle O:>) Happy Summer!!!!

      • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        Hi Dawn, If you make that trip to Texas, I will let you clean my kitchen cabinets! 🙂

  41. Susan! what have you done to me! 😀

    I came in here today, read your escapades cleaning the white paintwork (a chore that could be done away with if you painted the wood the right shade of green, yes?) {I have a wicked sense of humour} and got totally side tracked over to this Goodreads site . . where I have been for the last hour!!!

    Anyway, just swung by here to let you know that you are responsible for finding me yet *another* online distraction to add to the growing list . . cough! splutter . . I will have to come back again (later) to read today’s post properly as it is now time for tea (the meal) and it isn’t in the oven yet, thanks to Goodreads! I am sooooo easily lead astray . .

    chuckles silently to self . .

    • p.s. if you paint the woodwork the right shade of green you will have more time to read your book list!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, but really, this is such a GOOD one, it’s worth it. You are right, we need the “right shade of green” 🙂

    • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

      Deborah… Don’t feel bad, I’m with ya. I get very easily destracted when it comes to the computer. Lots of mornings I will look at the time, thinking I haven’t been on long and it’s time to fix lunch. Where does the time fly to these days?! It’s after 10:00 now, but didn’t get a very early start this morning and am looking out the window to see some blue sky! Yay!! Looks to be a good day for flower planting.

  42. Nellie says:

    How ambitious and energetic you were, Susan! Much too perky for me before 7:00!:-) I am just completing breakfast preparations about that time, usually.

    My husband has a 1982 Audi which he recently declared an antique, so now it can only be driven on the week-end, and then just around the area.

    I will be on the lookout for that moon! Our backyard is a good place, though the mosquitoes have begun to think we are out there just for them!

    It won’t be long now before A Fine Romance is available for all of us! I can hardly wait!

    xo Nellie

  43. Ann Y. Adamstown, PA says:

    Hey Susan…so glad you joined Goodreads…it it SO much fun to see what everyone is reading and get some good titles for your “to read” list…I need to start reading some of the books on my list! I had to laugh when I read your post and being in your work clothes because I am taking a lunch break in my “work clothes”…painting clothes. Sort of the same thing happened here…could not stand the peeling paint on the mail box post ONE MORE DAY. It looks wonderful now and will soon be dry so I can put the numbers back on. Thank you for the great ideas for the full moon….hope you have a great midnight picnic and enjoy the magic. I am back outside to plant some clematis I found at our local garden center’s ‘parking lot sale” this morning….I did not need it, but now that I have it here at home I am so glad. And bought a pretty yellow/orange kind of daisy called Ruby Tuesday…..can’t believe it since I will be hearing that song this weekend as the Rolling Stones are in concert near here ! Happy Summer, Happy Weekend, Happy GOOD LIFE !

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t imagine what it would be like to go to a Rolling Stones concert these days! It must feel like a giant family picnic! With really loud music.

      • Ann Y. Adamstown, PA says:

        Hey Susan…just back from the concert and it was like a giant family picnic….SO many moms and dads with their kids – older kids and some young ones, too. And you are right…LOUD, and everybody dancing and having fun. The Rolling Stones looked like they were having fun, too. Amazing the memories those songs bring back…and then as we left the concert there was that big, beautiful full moon…and everyone was saying “PERFECT” ! It’s gonna be a great summer…for all of us. Enjoy !

  44. Wow!! Great job! It does feel so good to get cleaned up, doesn’t it? The other night it was so beautiful out and it had cooled off enough so that this heat wimp could go out and water her garden at 7:30pm. Then I just pulled out a few weeds….well, maybe a few more…2 hours later, weeding’s done! Well…it’s never actually done, I just wore out. (I also decided to finally get around to digging a hole to plant my rusted iron garden art sheep my mom gave me and once I get going, I can’t stop!) 🙂 It stays light now until about 10 pm here, so night gardening is definitely doable. I probably won’t be able to see the strawberry moon though because our normal June weather is back and it’s more like the last day of winter here. But everyone enjoy it for me! Happy Summer!!

  45. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Great job Spring Cleaning your porch railing and car!!! Thanks for the inspiration to Spring Clean my bathroom light fixture…’s been staring back at me for a while!!! It’s a beautiful last day of Spring in Dearborn, Michigan! Blue sky, puffy white clouds, birds in the birdbath and my hybrid tea roses finally blooming!!! God is good!!!

  46. Marysol says:

    Susan, Susan, Susan…

    I don’t think the neighbors were as baffled by you – or rather “the maid” scrubbing mold off the rails and bannisters, as they were by the sight of the “cleaning woman,” on all fours, taking pictures of the rails and bannisters at the crack of dawn.

    All I can say is, thank goodness there’s no cure for being adorable.

    Btw, I still love your house.

  47. Ann says:

    What a busy day you had while Joe was away! We had a Volvo for many years. Bought one right before we moved back to the states from Germany in 1987. Brought our last baby home from the hospital in it the first day we owned it and he was the last one to drive it in 2005. We will be enjoying the moon on Nantucket! Vacation starts on Saturday!

  48. Sara D NW Georgia says:

    I love it!!!!!!!!!!!! Mold scrubbing, book reading, moon watching summer! I will be thinking of you and all the girlfriends while I watch that big fantastic moon!

  49. Cindy Tuning says:

    Good job on reviving that stairway! It always feels good when there is something that you see everyday that bugs you and then after a a while it finally registers somewhere in your busy brain to get rid of it . I don’t know how it is at your house but here when the man isn’t home I get SO much more done. He goes to breakfast every Wed. morning with his other retired friends and I swear I get more done in those three hours than I do the whole rest of the week!!!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s like that here too. I must use him as an excuse to be lazy, but when he goes away, I make hay!

      • I have painted every room in our house over the years, some more than once, but I don’t think my husband ever saw me do it. He was always away on a business trip. No wonder he doesn’t appreciate half of what I do! He only sees the end result!

  50. KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

    Nice job there, Cinderella, scrubbing your porch with brush and bucket! Looks lovely! I love the brick steps. My hubby and I spent last night staining our deck only to find that this morning it’s all fuzzy because of the cottonwood “fairies” that decided to stick themselves to our wet stain! Ugh!!!!

    Can’t wait for the super moon this weekend! Love your “make it special” suggestions! xo….Karen P.

  51. Norine M. says:

    Your blog today took me back to a time long ago. I read every one of those books you mentioned and I especially LOVED One-of-a-Kind Family and Pollyana. In fact, I loved them so much that in recent years I’ve been purchasing many of my childhood favorites just to have them and re-read them! Imagine, at my age!! 😉 Did you read Catherine Wooley’s Ginnie books?
    Thanks for reminding all of us of special times.

    • sbranch says:

      I have books of my childhood here too, to osmosis their goodness into the house. I don’t remember Ginnie books — I may have read them, but it’s not ringing a bell.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        remember the Nancy Drew books???? you ever read any of those??? those were the books of childhood summers, the Hardy boys, Nancy Drew, and Black Beauty.

        • sbranch says:

          I think for some reason I was “too old” for Nancy Drew … perhaps I read them, but they didn’t hit home — I read the Bobbsey Twins a little bit. They came in the same box of books as Pollyanna, from my great aunt. I loved Peter Pan, Thumbelina, stories like the Princess and the Pea, The Little Princess, The Secret Garden, The Yearling, Anne of Green Gables.

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            and don’t forget the prince and pauper, the adventures of tom sawyer and huckleberry finn, the king of the wind, and my favorite 2 stories which were about horses…the black stallion and big red.

        • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

          What about the Bopsy (sp) Twins?

          • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

            The Yearling! I didn’t read the book or see the movie as I didn’t want to see another sad dog dying. Remember Old Yeller? I cried and cried over that one. Loved Pollyanna

          • sbranch says:

            I read it when I was young and could never get through it today — it wasn’t a dog, it was a fawn, a deer, just the saddest thing!

          • Diane says:

            I Loved the Bobbsey twins!!! There were Bert and Nan, the older twins, and Flossie and Freddie, the younger ones. I think they had a housekeeper, too. That was my favorite series in second grade. I don’t know anyone besides my sister who read them.

          • sbranch says:

            Really? For some reason I thought those were as popular as Nancy Drew!

          • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

            Susan, you’re right….. The Yearling was a fawn. I knew if was very sad.

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, and so many dog-sadness movies in those days too! I avoid Lassie like the plague.

          • Susan, you might love the 2006 “Lassie” filmed in England (director: Charles Sturridge). I promise you it has a happy ending and is set in the beautiful English and Scotland countryside.

          • sbranch says:

            I’ve only seen the older versions — the endings are all good, it’s the middles I’m not so sure about!

  52. Susan Montgomery says:

    Your Volvo really takes me back! We had a hunter green Volvo sedan, fondly known as the “Green Hornet”, for 15 years. It was the first NEW car we ever bought and it had a stick shift and a sunroof. I loved driving that car! (Ever since, my two requirements for a car are a stick shift and a sunroof 🙂 It took us many places, including numerous trips to Maine and to Nantucket, and served us well. In my opinion, all cars should last us as long as yours has.

    • sbranch says:

      They should, and be as good as this one has been. Knock on wood.

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Here’s to old cars! The Volvo looks terrific. I like that the folks at Volvo have barely changed the design since then. I’m not much for “new and improved.” Classically-perfect is my preference. I had a Chevy Cavalier for 12 years, a Saturn for 14 – and both were literally only days away from final collapse before they were replaced]. 26 years of driving with only 8 years of payments too! Whatever happened to keeping things until they wore out? Another good lesson we can take from the Greatest Generation!

  53. Hi Susan, the porch looks great – all that hard work really paid off! Hope Joe surprises you with something fun and new to drive. We just replaced my husbands Toyota Rav4 after his 2003 was totaled in a crash 3 weeks ago. The other car came at us @ 50 mph, right into my passenger door. Thank God for that door which kept me from getting killed. They had to use the jaws of life to cut me out and after a bumpy ride in ambulance to the ER flat on my back on a board with neck brace, after scans and X-rays, we were releases with scripts for muscle relaxers. We both were convinced that his SUV saved us, that and God watching over us. We were truly blessed and decided we were going to get another Rav4. It’s red. Fully loaded and has that wonderful new car smell – not to mention the 44 mpg’s it gets on the highway. So, I hope you and Joe find something as safe and economical as we have found. Happy cruising!

    • sbranch says:

      I think, after that harrowing experience we should ALL get a Rav4!!! OMG Deb! I am so happy it’s all OK!

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        WHEW! We just bought a RED RAV4, so happy to hear your story Deb, and you’re OK! Amazing! xo

        • sbranch says:

          Lucky you Joan! I went right to the Internet to look at it. Toyota of course. I have a Highlander in CA which I love.

          • Joan Lesmeister says:

            We even pretend it’s a convertible (something my hubby always wanted) & open the moon roof! At Tahoe it was fabulous to look up and see the beautiful skies & towering trees! Have discovered we have to wear visors though, on a sunny day it’s blinding & a word to the wise – moon roof open only under 45 mph because of the whoosh!

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            ~ I have a 2005 Toyota Tacoma and LOVE it!~ I pine for 1969 Toyota Landcruiser~ they are kick ” butt”!

  54. Jude says:

    I live in the DEEEEEP south, so mildew is ever present. One of my earliest smell memories is bleach and/or Pinesol. (I love it.) It’s instant gratification to clean up things and make them beautiful. When I was growing up, I loved to read, but in the summer I didn’t have access to books. (We lived VERY rural.) My project each summer was to read the World Book Encyclopedia…all of it. (They were the only books in the house.) Consequently, I always win at Trivia Pursuit! I love your blog the best and have a file where I keep most of them. Happy Summer! Jude

    • sbranch says:

      LOL! It’s coming in handy! I lived in a house in Mexico City for a couple of months when I was 19 — they had nothing in English except for James Bond books! I read them all! Too bad it wasn’t the Encyclopedia!

  55. Barbara Weaver says:

    I thought I’d match your Louis Armstrong with a Dave Brubeck. Equally as useful for outdoor scrubbing! Enjoy!

  56. gurian6 says:

    Hi Susan – Just wanted to say I really enjoy your blog. Also to keep the mold away, try Shock Wave. We use it in Rapid Response Disaster Relief for mold amelioration. Bleach only kills the surface and makes things look white – Shock Wave kills the spores and even bacteria. Hope this helps keep things looking bright and white.

  57. Esther says:

    I am solar-powered and am thrilled that Summer Is Here! My husband does not like the heat, so I suggest movies that I would like to project on the shop doors some evening…like our very own drive-in movie. We would park one of our hot rods in the drive and watch a yet-to-be-agreed-upon movie, under the stars. Today’s assignment two has inspired me – I think I will pull out the Cabriolet (the top is down, in “ready-for-summer” mode), park it facing moonrise and suggest that we take our dessert out to the car and watch that Strawberry Moon. Thank you, Susan!

  58. You leave your scraps of artwork in library books?! I wish I’d known that when we were on the Island last year. We visited the Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven libraries while we were there. I would have gone through all the books on England and gardening to see if I could find anything! 🙂

    I don’t remember reading much as a child, but recently I came across my diary from 8th grade and I mentioned several books I loved reading. I read mostly non-fiction once I became an adult (how-to books on marriage, parenting, etc.), but about 10 years ago I started reading fiction and have logged more than 800 books onto my Reading List (I use Excel to keep track). I have to refer to it before I get a book to make sure I haven’t already read it! That’s why I keep track. 🙂

  59. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Summer is just so perfect for a book reading list and lots of watermelon! I am planning on doing a lot of both myself. I read once that on Mid Summers’s Eve, which would be tonight, the fairies come out and dance! Seems perfect to me! I wonderful if we will have clear skies tonight( rain in forecast) for fairies to dance under the light of the moon in y backyard??? Have you seen them in yours???

    • sbranch says:

      Out of the corner of my eye, I’ll see a little pointed shoe go around a tree. Once a long pink trasparent scarf. Oh yes, they’re there.

      • Winnie Nielsen says:

        I knew it!!! I knew it!! So far the rain has held off and there might be some moonshine come the midnight hour. We should have an “all watch girlfriend alert” to see where they show up tonight. Whose backyard will be the lucky one???

  60. Carla says:

    I just love that you still have your first East Coast Car! That’s what I love the most about “New Englanders”, they preserve things! I am a New Englander at heart……the older something is the more I love it!
    Happy Weekend!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I just said to Joe today, “Did you ever think we would make our own antique car?”

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        we have 2 antique cars a 1930 ford pick up truck, looks like the Walton’s old pick up and a 1929 ford coupe. we have tons of fun with them during the summer.

        • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

          Hi Pat,
          When I was growing up, my dad’s hobby was restoring a 1930 Model A Coupe. My brother and I had so much fun riding around in the rumble seat! We would travel across the midwest to all of the Model A Ford events. What great summer memories!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            we have a ball with ours, unfortunately we have had to store them over at my in-law’s house and they just plain neglect those cars. every time we need to get those cars going for an event, its a pile of work to get them going, and then decorating them for parades like the Memorial parade or the 4th of July parade. we like to put patriotic flags and bunting on the cars.

  61. Pam G says:

    oh Susan I applaud you on a job well done with your porch-it looks gorgeous and what a nasty job. Looking forward to the strawberry moon-my elder daughter was born June 22 and as always loved strawberry pie as birthday cake. Alas, she is never here on her special day so no longer has a birthday pie.
    I have spent many weeks “redoing” gardens that we hired guys to do for several yrs. They did a terrible job soooooo I have been digging away, spending lots of time outside doing hard work and hoping to burn those calories!

  62. nancyjo says:

    Hi Susan,
    I would suggest a power washer next time for the mold, you know with a bleach solution, but looking cute with your old work clothes on is nice too.
    Yes a day with out a book?Well not pretty good. I have read a lot of the ones on your list. I buy a lot of books from a site called “thrift books”, used books free shipping. As always, love reading your blog.
    Nancy Jo

  63. Dorothy says:

    Loved this blog Susan!! It brought back so many memories of my childhood
    Your Volvo is amazing!!! I totally get ‘bonding’ with a car.
    How many miles does it have? It looks great!

    Dee in Pennsylvania

    • sbranch says:

      It’s getting rusty underneath, but it only has around 65,000 miles on it! It’s a very little island!

  64. Victoria Miller says:

    “…even if you do have to use your arm muscles to get her windows up and down….” But, Susan, that’s more calories being burned, plus some arm muscle toning! Free, no having to go to the gym arm workout! The roll up and down windows are infinitely superior because it’s much less expensive should they need repair, and they don’t rely on the car’s electrical system! That said, YOU GO GIRL! With the sponge and scrub brush and toothbrush! Occasionally that cleaning bug bites me, too, and I really accomplish some things. But I’m highly impressed that after that big chore you took on washing the Volvo! No doubt with kitties at the windows clamoring for you to come back inside and play with one and admire the other. Admire both, actually. Cats seem to thrive on being admired as they pretend they don’t notice and aren’t interested. The original flirts. Joyous Solstice with promises of a most wonderful and amazing summer, ushered in by that awesome Strawberry Moon! Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime….YAY for Summer! (My favorite season, if you couldn’t tell.) Happy Summer, Girlfriends!

  65. Deborah Winter says:

    Dear Susan,

    Just read your latest and wanted to mention that if you put vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on mold the mold will disappear! It worked on my deck anyway, was ever so much easier than scrubbing! You may want to give it a try but keep in mind that my deck was painted/stained with a taupe color; haven’t tried it on white yet!

  66. Diane says:

    Hi Susan,

    I love today’s Musica! I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Louis Armstrong song I didn’t like. I spent most of today cleaning out one of my mother’s closets. She lived an hour away from me. Sadly, she died in April and getting her house ready to sell has been a chore I’ve dreaded. It would have made the time pass easier if I had taken my laptop with me instead of cleaning out her closet in silence. Tomorrow, I’ll remember to take it and listen to Satchmo!

    I did find a sweet old frame in one of Mom’s closets and so now I think I’m going to stitch your little verse “God Bless This House” to go in it, thanks to you.

    Your old Volvo is a beauty. I’d love to take a ride in her. Sometimes I drive our old 1950 4-door Plymouth Sedan and that always makes me smile. I don’t mind rolling windows up and down in it either. My husband dragged her out of our neighbor’s field, cranked her up, changed her oil and we’ve been driving her for a long time now. The clutch pedal makes a soothing thud whenever your let off to change gears. I love that noise. Oh, and we have air conditioning, too! There is a little vent on the cowl that you can open and close to get outside air, plenty good enough if you also roll down the windows and aim the vent windows toward your face. I feel just like June Cleaver.

    Susan, I love your blog. Your writing never fails to bring to mind some of my very best childhood memories, having been born in 1946. I’m a baby boomer. Thank you so very much for the warm and fuzzy feelings your words give me.

    Love from Diane in North Carolina

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your mom Diane, I’m sure cleaning her house must be a difficult job. So many memories, wonderful but sad too. xoxo

  67. Judy Ann from Georgia says:

    Housework when done correctly can kill you! (Love that line!) That’s why I am a a good lookin ripe ol’age butt kickin mountain gal of 64….Just get the edges… and leave the rest till next Spring….Ha Ha….LOL No really…..Have you not heard of a pressure washer? I just pressure washed my very large entire deck…every board and got rid of all of the green mold and buildup just like on your railing. It was so much easier than a bucket and brush. I also put a little bleach in with the cleaning solution. It was a hard job, but It looks like a new deck! But it beats a bucket and a brush! Now I am going to do the whole house which is all cedar and clean off the same dark mold that has accumulated over the years and it will brighten it up tremendously. You just regulate the sprayer…..Just a thought to help make it easier for you Susan! A pressure washer is a great investment! Great for washing driveways and your porch bricks would look spiffy too! I never miss your blog! Love you Susan!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Judy Ann. I’ve never used a pressure washer … I’m worried it might blow the paint off everything around here! Especially the little fence, it’s fragile, probably really should be replaced soon.

  68. Mary Cunningham says:

    Hi Susan… glad I’m not the only one with “green” stuff outside….I found a contraption (bottle) with solution to spray on the muck by hooking it to your garden hose…I’ll let you know how it works….as a cleaning lady. I sometimes venture outside on the porches and decks of my friends I “sparkle” for and clean their stuff as a special treat for them….wish I lived in your neighborhood…I’d love to “sparkle” at your house…..can’t wait for the Strawberry Moon! Happy Summer! Mary……Barefoot Sparkler

  69. Hi there,
    Your porch and car do look lovely now! Love the wreath. I love it that you kept your car because it “knows all my secrets” 🙂 I read the part that said that you had a “Red Letter” day and it made me think of my dear daddy….gone since 2008 from Parkinsons. Whenever he had a great day, he would say that it was a “Bluebird day!” (hence, my site “Bluebirds and Butterflies.”) May the “Bluebird” of happiness always fly your way! Love ya and enjoy your blog, Susan! xoxo

  70. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    You always know when there is a special moon coming 🙂 I will have to go and see this one, sounds dreamy
    We live at the beach and get tons of mold, tons!!! here is what we do with our railings and siding on the house. My husband fills one of those containers that have a sprayer on it, he fills it with bleach and water. He goes around and sprays anything with mold on it. Then waits like 5 minutes and hoses it down. I used to clean it the way you do until we discovered this way. Try it on something that has mold, you will be so happy
    Have a great weekend Susan

  71. Patricia from Philly says:

    Hi Susan! I loved the story of your mold-mania morning!
    One of the first things I did when we moved into our first house in 1978 was to get down on my hands and knees with a bucket of water and bleach, and taking scrub brush in hand, scrubbed the mold off of the brick front steps!
    Whilst feverishly toiling away, sweat dripping off my brow, a car drove by, and with my back turned, the occupants hollared out “hey, are you for hire?” as the car slowed to a crawl… I nearly died! I explained to them that I had just purchased the house, that I was not willing to do this for anyone else! Haha!
    But I have to tell you, we have a white wooden picket fence that surrounds our property. Every three years or so it need the “mold-go” project and a fresh coat of Cabot’s Oil Stain in white (no peeling paint with this product, it just sort of wears off with the weather!). I decided to take the easy way out a few years ago, and borrowed my brother-in-law’s power washer. Never do this! That machine was so powerful, that when I aimed the stream of water on the first picket, it ripped it to shreds! We had to REPLACE several pickets due to the power of the power washer! So, the old-fashioned, tried-and-true method is the best! Just throw in a bit of elbow grease, and you are good to go. (Sadly, this is the year we have to do this project again, and we have not started it….)
    Enjoy the first day of summer, and the weekend’s Strawberry Moon!
    p.s. How many miles are on your “Green Grasshopper” Volvo?

    • sbranch says:

      Only about 65,000. After I met Joe, the Volvo rarely left the island. Funny about the guys trying to hire you off the street! Thank you for the power-wash warning! LOL!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Power washers are seriously great, no kidding. But common sense is needed. Like any power tool, no one’s first experience should be tackling anything important or $$$. Won’t take long – but you do need to how to adjust the Pressure for the Job [this can be done sitting in your backyard in a lawn chair]. I’d say the force of the spray runs from “very light” to “peels the paint off your house.” One of my brothers has one & it’s definitely his all-time favorite Big Boy Toy. He uses it constantly around his own home and enjoys it so much he offers to do projects [big and small] for his 5 sibs and neighbors too.

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

    Indeed, you have the happy gene!!! I love how you can take the most mundane, have-to-do task and make it seem absolutely enchanting. I’m glad that I was not walking by at 7am…or ala Tom Sawyer and the white picket fence, I might have been scrubbing mold from steps and banisters!!!!
    I am taking an afternoon break to read your new post…then tackling the task of moving my winter wardrobe out and my summer things in. I can play the thankful/happy game here, “Gee! I can still fit in this from last summer!” :D. Thanks for this moment of cheer, Susan! ♥♥♥

    • sbranch says:

      Enchanting? I don’t think so, but I like your attitude Charlene! Thank you … back to the clothes shifting, I’m working on that one too!

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

    I so love to wake up in the morning and find a new “letter’ from you…it just starts my day off fine. Satchmo was the beginning and it just got better and better!..You put me to shame with scrubbing at 7 am!!! I am the night owl and would be out there in the afternoon with the pressure washer…I have a great little garden that is surrounded with a white picket fence, under the old gravenstein tree that overhangs the area where my table and chairs are..they are all destined to the “mold routine”….but the pressure washer does the job perfectly! Just don’t get so close that it takes the paint off!!! ha ha the vegetable and flowers are mostly in the sun and my childhood playhouse serves as my garden shed….( Ha! I painted it pink with white shutters!!!)
    I LOVE Goodreads….it is such a great website…One of my favorite local authors now, got me on to it…Sarah Jio……great little summer reads ..I love her books.. BUT the one I am holding my breath for is yours..I am so excited and impatient to not only read, but see what you have created for all of us…This is epic! hee hee…
    The Strawberry Moon will be a special night on our island…Bainbridge was noted for its stawberries..Marshall Strawberries… They were even ordered special by the Queen on England to have on her private table!!! This was in the late 50’s. they are the sweetest berries, not very big BUT red all the way through! There were many berry farms on the island then..but sadly progress took over and the farms began to disappear over the years…BUT now, the farms are beginning to come back..we have vineyards, and farms raising veggies, fruits and meats…Our Farmers Market on Saturdays are filled with vendors of all kinds AND kids, dogs, families, grammas and grampas, tourists, but mostly the islanders…It is wonderful to see this happening….So, I will raise a glass of the bubbly to the Strawberry Moon and MidSummer’s Eve. I was in Norway in 2006 for the midsummer Celebration and the big fires that everyone dances around and enjoys. It was fabulous…It happens every year on June 23, which also was my Mom’s birthday..So that is a really special occasion for my family….
    Well, darlin’ I will be thinking of MV under the Moon this weekend..maybe will round up my Grandgirls and take them in their jammies to watch the moon come up over the sound…It will be spectacular….Will bring along some lemonade for a little girl “toast”!!!! HAPPY WEEKEND!

    • Jacquelyn ... Bainbridge Island, WA says:

      Our wonderful strawberries are getting harder to find but think that just makes them better … Saturday Farmers Market … One stop shopping.

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      Oh, Susan! You have Gravenstein apples? You lucky duck! Do you use them? Is the tree still producing?? :>)

      • Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

        Oh yes! the tree is very old and it produces apples, every year…It is the standard Gravenstein with green/yellow apples. It overhangs one edge of my planted veg/flower garden….It also is one end anchor, for my hammock that everyone fights for, to take a summer nap in!..And right next to THAT Gravenstein is a Red Gravenstein apple tree and those apples, like the other tree are absolute heaven to eat! I can hardly wait for the first apple to get ripe enough to take that first bite..there is no taste like it…….and they make the best applesauce and pies….num num! In the Green Gravenstein tree, I also have white twinkle lights for in the summer!

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Twinkle lights in your Gravenstein? That is perfect! If I’m not mistaken, they’re now considered heirloom apples [like Russets are here in New York State]. Do you know if there are Gravenstein orchards in WA? Yes, there’s nothing like the first fresh taste of your favorite apple in the Fall. For this loyal New Yorker, it’s a toss-up between Cortland, Crispin & 20-Ounce. And I wish Granny Smiths were grown in NY because I love their tartness so much. :>)

    • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

      I’ll be there in spirit!!!

  74. Patsy in Nixa says:

    This is a Roses and Thorns comment:

    You get Roses for putting goodies in the books you pass along. I buy used books at the library book sales (and other places), and I’m thrilled to find little treasures between the pages. A librarian in California had an entire collection of bookmarks she found in returned books. I’ve found some wonderful ones myself; plus receipts from the original purchase of the book, articles cut from newspapers, business cards, etc. Always fun to look in on someone’s tidbits of life.

    Sorry, you get Thorns for having such a wonderful and loyal friend for so many years, who is still referred to as “she”. My cars are always white and always have a girl’s name which starts with “G”. I’ve had Gwendolyn, Guinevere, Gwyneth, Gigi and currently I have Ginger.

    You simply must find a name for “her” as soon as possible. Poor little thing. Maybe the Girlfriends could suggest something. She looks green in the photos, but sometimes the color is distorted by computers. Perhaps she’d like to be “Erin”, because what’s greener than Ireland? Or “Emerald” because she’s been so precious to you? Or “Jealousy”, now that you’ve found Joe and have a van? If she’s not green, we need to rethink this. Hmmmmmm!

  75. marianne says:

    WOW! What timing! I just came in from giving my house railings a fresh coat of paint, plopped myself on this sofa to take a break and here I read your blog about
    you cleaning your house railings! My husband power washed ours and just did not do the trick, so now, beautiful white newly painted railings are in order!

    thanks for the post!

  76. Frances Fowler says:

    A 31 year-old car with only 65,000 miles? That is AMAZING! Then again, who would want to leave the island that much? I wonder if the current Volvos are good enough to last that long. I have to scrub a bit of mold off the white deck rails before repainting with white satin exterior. I read the tip about spraying and leaving, but having just stained the new deck boards barn red, I wouldn’t dare! The wreath on the door is beautiful. Happy summer!

  77. judi says:

    Living in FL a spray bottle of Clorex cleanup spray is under every sink and the laundry area. Mold is like dandylions down here – it is everywhere. Just cleaned the vinyl windows in the porch (lani) with white vinegar and water – that worked great too. Nothing beats a little elbow grease tho 🙂 Happy Summertime everyone! (Love your car)

  78. Cindy Tuning says:

    Good job on reviving that stairway! It always feels good when there is something that you see everyday that bugs you and then after a while it finally registers somewhere in your busy brain to get rid of it. I don’t know how it is in your house but here when the man isn’t home I get SO much more done. He goes to breakfast every Wed. morning with his other retired friends and I swear I get more done in those three hours than I do the whole rest of the week!!!

  79. Congrats and your scrubbing and hard work looks just marvelous…WELL DONE. At the farm our home was surrounded by trees and we always get “Moss” which you call mold and it is a job to get if off. I too decided to get out and get busy (finally felt well enough to do it), I worked 5 hours yesterday and 1.5 hrs. today cutting/digging/scratching the earth around all my perrenials and fertilizing each flower. Once the ground was worked and weeds removed I spread Preen (first time to use this product) to PREVENT future weeds?? Really…I’m so praying this product does what it claims!!! So, I’m exhausted but feel good about what I got accomplished before the heat hits IN and also before SUMMER COMES. Where did the Spring go?? I have an update about the 15 Gladiolus that I planted in May….well, 10 of them made it and I’m not expecting fabulous blooms because like I told you when they were planted I think the bulbs were too small and the work to plant them was in vain. So, next year I will go for the larger bulbs and try to remember where I planted these since the ground should be ready for them!!! I sure hope we get to see the Strawberry Moon although we are suppose to have rain which means clouds!! 🙁 Happy Safe Summer to Everyone.

  80. Mary Pat says:

    Wow! Sounds as if everyone is busy, busy, busy these last days of Spring! We are as well here in sunny, warm Western Massachusetts. We’ve removed a batch of long neglected shrubs that decided to overspread into our neighbor’s side yard from our side yard! It’s one of those things where we’d look at them and say to each other,” We REALLY should do something about those shrubs!”. And then, we’d go do something else that was easier to do. So now, we’re almost finished removing the oldies, planning a nice fence, and a garden in front of the fence! Your energy amazes me! At 7:00 AM, I was on my first cup of coffee, trying to ignore the side yard. Cannot wait to show the full moon off to my family! I will be the wise one knowing its name! Thank you for another grand visit with you!

  81. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan!!! talk about kindred spirits….we are getting ready to put our house on the market ( dread dread..) and so it has been clean-up/spruce up time……big-time painter arrives sunday..but all of the touch up and small areas we are doing… like you…donned the proper clothing because where there’s paint, there’s trouble… at least for me!!….and off I went..first to scrub and then to paint…..cuz after I cleaned..most of the paint came off too!! Looking most presentable now… 🙂 There’s no smell like the library smell…. I just love it to this day. We used the library practically daily as it was located right down the street from my dad’s real estate office. We used it for all kinds of things…hide and go seek, fresh water from their water fountain, heat relief, bathroom break and sometimes…even a book or two….no really…my mom was the complete reader…read to us…read to herself…talked about the books she read..never without a book…so we came to the love of books naturally. I still love to have someone read me a story….. I am in a book club, but I am looking forward to joining “Goodreads”…, about that spiked up lemonade!!! The first time I ever knew about the concoction, I was a summer YMCA camp counselor (circa 1968) and one of the more daring ( and darling ) male counselors smuggled the brew into our last campfire of the summer…..only he called it “Strip and Go Naked”….actually I like “Skip and Go Naked” better…… a little more innocent!!! Well….. we tried it, got scared and ran to the safety of our tents and worried for the rest of the night that we’d be in huge trouble…… no guts…no glory!!! ….but no trouble either. So…when I first saw that recipe in your “Summer” book ..all those years ago… took me back and we have been enjoying that summer beverage ever since…. thank you for a most special post…. I always think about how many Girlfriends are sitting at their computers smiling while reading and replying to you through this wonderful blog… very special….. a toast to you Susan…..may you always enjoy “Skip and Go Naked” with those you love!!!! Cheers!! love, cindy

  82. Michele says:

    Dearest Susan, Loved your wonderful reminiscences about visiting the Library, and so exciting that you have a page at GoodReads! Somehow I don’t think we’re surprised that you currently have a Beatrix Potter book on your bedside table! 🙂

    A Note to Jacquelyn from Bainbridge Island~ and others who love islands!~ wondering if you’ve read the charming novel that takes place on Bainbridge, “The Violets of March” by Sarah Jio. I thought it was a great story!

    • sbranch says:

      What a good suggestion Michele!

      • Jacquelyn ... Bainbridge Island, WA says:

        Thank you, Michele.
        I haven’t read it but just ordered it for my Kindle. Can’t wait to get started! Island living … 😉

    • Jacquelyn ... Bainbridge Island, WA says:

      Hi Michele,
      Yes I have read it and it is a wonderful story! Thanks so much. Island living!

      • Jacquelyn ... Bainbridge Island, WA says:

        I had it confused with another story they made into a tv movie. Oops…lol

    • Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

      Have read all of her books and a new one coming in the fall…”Morning Glory”.. I work with Sarah’s cousin and she introduced me to Sarah’s first book “Violets of March”…then the Bungalow, Blackberry Winter, The Last Camellia and soon Morning Glory…She is now working on book Seven…She is amazing and has been on the NY best seller list……Anyone: please look up her books and enjoy a good summer read!

  83. Carol C says:

    I just spent the afternoon cleaning our white painted porch swing and rocking chairs and the mailbox and its post. Tomorrow it will be the white chippendale railings all around the deck. My tip is Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges. I used to spend days scrubbing all of that stuff and now just the hose and a ME sponge and the mold just wipes off. I’ve used the scrub brush/toothbrush method and the power washer. Promise that the Eraser sponge makes the job sooo much easier! It takes several but the ease makes the cost worth it. About Goodreads… a friend signed me up but I can’t figure it out. Like the earlier Girlfriend, it wants my fb password and I don’t like to do fb. How do you get on without it?

  84. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Great music, terrific blog, good cleaning job, & I’m so proud of you knockin’ off those calories! Books – I could spend all day reading, & sometimes I do! It’s like a holiday, to read all day! I’m not sure, but I think I like reading better than scrubbing, except for the wonderful feeling of satisfaction scrubbing gives you…maybe it’s a toss up? 🙂

  85. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh my, weren’t you a busy girl? I bet your little arms are really sore! smile… Yes, I’ve always loved books…I can remember laying in bed, staying up almost all night I’d get soooo engrossed in the story I just couldn’t seem to put it down…lol There is just something about getting lost in a book isn’t there?…smile…

    I hope there aren’t any clouds, as I want to see that moon!


  86. Megan Hyatt says:

    Well I already knew I liked you, love the cats but now I see your Vov… oh how lovely, I have a 1994 940 Estate, LOVE it Olaf Ovlov does everything asked of him, he’s a dear. Oh and he is barely run in only 500,000 kilometres and nothing replaced so far!

  87. Susie says:

    I’m impressed! You did a fabulous job getting rid of all the mold and perking up the homestead. My sister and I were just this morning discussing the north side of my cottage, where precious moss is taking over! I’ll soon have an English cottage! My sis (bless her) wants to take a cleaning to the molding gutters on that side. Now about that moss….any suggestions?

    Have a lovely day.

    • sbranch says:

      The moss we have here, in the woods, is very pretty. But that’s not what grows on our house! 🙂

  88. Jan (MI) says:

    Hi Susan:
    Thanks for the library memories – ours was a veritable sandstone castle in downtown Saginaw, Michigan. My mom was such a reader that we went every week, so I took out as many books as I could, especially those by Lois Lenski.
    Joining “Goodreads” was a natural progression. My daughter in Florida uses it, and we can share our favorite new finds. Generations of readers, right?
    I loved your stack of favorites, too – especially “West with the Night.” My book club finally agreed to read it at my prompting and they were amazed.
    I’ll be moonwatching, too, with one eye on the strawberry moon and one hand in the basket of Michigan strawberries I just purchased at the farm market.
    There is nothing that can compare!!
    Thanks for prompting these memories and sensations – life’s beauty abounds!

    • sbranch says:

      It does. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall listening to your book club after reading West with the Night.

  89. Rachel says:

    I had to show my husband your car, because his first brand new car was a 240 Volvo too! He absolutely loved that car, and was salivating over yours 😉 So we understand your emotional connection to her!
    I shall have to try the watermelon and yoghurt dish, it sounds yummy!

  90. Jeanette says:

    Susan, Another wondrous post!! Your front porch looks glorious! Bleach does wonders, not so much for my cleaning clothes, but it really does the job. I’ve got to make another summer wreath for the front door, time to transition to summer – I see a project this weekend!
    Going to check out Goodreads, very interesting!
    I can’t wait for the full moon this weekend. Here in central IL there’s nothing obstructing our view so we can watch it rise right out our back deck, which in plan to do!!
    Wishing you a summer of gracious warmth, enough rain to keep the green and flowers blooming, magic of fireflies and delightfully splendid memories!!

  91. Sarah Maldonado says:

    I love how you celebrate those full moons! Sounds like a great idea to me! Awww, childhood library memories. My mom took us often and when we couldn’t make it to the big library, she’d walk us to the Bookmobile! I loved climbing into that big bread-looking truck back in the 50’s. I can still smell the book page smell…
    And I have my very own bunny hotel in my yard! Found a nest, my ‘Joe’ helped build a protective fence so the bunny could get out but our dog and mowerman couldn’t disturb. Tonight the first baby (don’t know how many are there) came out to see the world! Peter Rabbit himself, me thinks!

    • sbranch says:

      If you get a little one, you can make a pet out of him — if you want to. Beatrix Potter’s pet bunnies came right out of the woods, she tamed them and made them her pets.

      • Sarah Maldonado says:

        And I SO would do that if my dear English Cocker didn’t think they were for chasing. 🙂 She’s been eyeing him from the window.

  92. Elaine says:

    Susan, we are planning a trip to England next May. I wondered what guidebooks or reference books did you use? Of course when your book arrives that will be my main source ; ). I am using the Internet for a lot of research but wondered what you could recommend. We plan a week in London, then Bath, Cotswolds and Wales. Visited on tour a year ago and can’t wait to explore on our own. Thanks ever so much!

    • sbranch says:

      I put it all in A FINE ROMANCE — but even more, I’ve been working on an interactive Appendix for the book ~ Actually, two! One will be according to page number referenced in the book itself, and another is alphabetical ~ they’re almost done. They’ll have links to everything — from places we stayed and loved, web sites to find cottages for rent, the rules of the road, how electricity works, it’s all there ~ including videos and photos. When the book comes out, the Appendix’s will go up under I LOVE ENGLAND at the top of the blog. ♥

  93. Maria in Long Beach, CA says:

    You were born in Long Beach, Susan?! What street did you live on? LOVE Greek yogurt. Try it with frozen blueberries. It temporarily freezes the yogurt so you feel like you’re cheating and eating ice cream.

    • sbranch says:

      1921 Park Avenue. Below Signal Hill. Went to kindergarten at Minnie Gant grammar school. Yogurt blueberry concoction sounds good!

  94. Jeannette says:

    I’ve so enjoyed reading all the comments of the girlfriends & your replies! Now I must join Goodreads. By the way…I loved “The Violets of March” as well as all of Sarah Jio’s books! Happy reads girlfriends:-)

  95. Jane F. says:

    Hi Susan: Your porch railings look great! I know how you feel getting them clean! That’s how I felt after I got all my drawers and cupboards cleaned out this spring! It’s lovely to sit back and look at everything DONE!! Thanks for the reminder about the Strawberry moon. We’ll be looking for it! Maybe we’ll take some strawberry shortcake out to watch it!! Jane

  96. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Thank you for another entertaining update on your magical life!
    You did an amazing job cleaning that fence.
    I have a 1988 Ford Mustang that is like brand new, my husband has a 1966 Corvette that was his Dad’s car when he was little! There is something special about old cars that these new ones just don’t have.
    Do you still own your cute little first house?
    I will try the watermelon with the Greek yogurt tomorrow.
    Enjoy that beautiful Strawberry Moon.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t own it, but on my wall is a photo with me in front of it, and under it, it says, “I want you back.” I’m a big believer in writing things down. The only thing is, the owner now LOVES it and has built on to it. So if I got it back, I would probably have to take all that off and put her back the way she was, little and sweet.

  97. sondra fox says:

    Spring went by way too quickly, with lots of family activities wanting attention this year. I’m hoping our summer will be a mild one, not too hot. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking.

    I’m concerned about the life of libraries. There’s a brand new library not far from our house, which is just so large & beautiful. This is the age of computers, with young people reading books online. I’ve always been a lover of books, but am now even reading online. My Ipad brings me any book I desire to read. I’ve yet to find a book that I can’t get online. I’m saving gas by not going to the library, plus I don’t have to wait until a book I’d like to read comes into the library. I always enjoyed visits to the library, but must admit that I haven’t been in a library for over a year now. When the new library was built, I wondered how the powers to be could justify spending all that money on a new plush library, when the computer trend is here to stay.

    Give me a bottle of Pine Sol & I’ll clean anything. The fresh smell makes me feel our house is spotless.

    Your front porch is so inviting. Everything all in white. Your wreath looks perfect as well. ( Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Elaine in Toronto says:

      Sandy, yes the computer trend is here to stay and the libraries are richer for being able to offer this service to their patrons. But a library offers so much more than computers can. Books, movies, magazines, reading clubs, children’s programs, settlement workers, YAG (youth advisory group), book sales, homework clubs, summer reading club for children, to name just a few of the services offered in a library. It is a warm and welcoming environment to everyone. And, here in Toronto we have access to the resources of all 98 branches plus a marvelous research library downtown. Whenever I am in a small town for the first time I often seek out the library and pop in for a visit. Computers and libraries make wonderful partners and both will be around for a long time.

  98. sondra fox says:

    P.S. This is the time of year in CA when Black Widow Spiders hide out under patio chairs, in nooks & crannies of doors, everywhere they feel safe. I was washing our front porch off the other day, when this big old Black Widow tried to reach safety from the hose. No way. That Widow didn’t last long. I have to wash down the front porch about every other day there are so many spiders around. Most aren’t Black Widows though, but they do make a mess. Some days it looks like we’ve decorated for a Halloween party. Be on the lookout GF’s for Black Widows that will bite you. They’re very slow, so it’s easy to send them off to Black Widow heaven. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  99. Hi Susan!

    I also lived a few blocks from our local branch of the NY Public library when I was a child and I spent many a summer afternoon reading, as you did. It was a wonderful asset and opened the doors to so many “adventures.”

    I became your fan on GoodReads! Glad to see you there!

    Your front porch looks very bright and clean! Where I am living now, on the front range of Colorado, it has been extremely dry. The rain actually evaporates before it hits the ground! So mold is scarce here but unfortunately fires are not. The car of choice here in CO seems to be Subaru. I have two friends who had Volvos and loved them–they are sturdy cars!

    Happy Summer!


  100. Mary S. says:

    I just now joined Booklist, just because of you!!

    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

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