Hello, it’s our first post from the other side, 2014, the beginning of a new year!  And we did it up right, with a huge snowstorm!  It’s a B L I Z Z A R D out there, so white it hurts your eyes, and big flakes still coming down, every tree branch is covered in snow, every leaf, the pickets on the fence, the bushes, everything.  MUSICA MUSICA (This is double whammy, first click on one, then the other, then come back to blog for ambience perfection.)


This storm makes the January page of my 2014 calendar a premonition!  In case any of you missed it, we still have calendars left if you need them.  We finally ordered enough of something!  We’re all sold out of Janie’s “winter” banners, but she’s making us some different ones for Valentine’s Day and they should be here soon.  We also have my Valentine cards ~ someone asked the other day, and yes, we do have them.  But I digress!  It’s a . . .

snow day


Or, our ancient white house would look like a ship in a still, white sea, if we could see it.  Like a ship in a storm is more like it.

January snow

It was still dark this morning when I started this post.  And look at the windows over the kitchen sink!  We’ve been frosted!

Later on we'll conspire as we dream by the fire

I tried so hard to peek out to see what was going on but the wind had coated everything in ice and snow.  Squeals of delightenment.  We love it!

Merry In The Winter



Luckily we have no place to go, and no desire to go there.  I’m all wrapped up, tee-shirt, two old cashmere sweaters, scarf, thick delicious handmade shawl that I adore, like being a child and having a bankie at all times, and flannel lined pants too.  We have heat, but we augment.


Jack and I have a fire, the heater is humming, the house creaks a bit in the wind . . . I’m eating leftover Mushroom Soup that Lowely made for New Year’s Eve . . .

candles are lit I lit some candles, just in case the lights suddenly go out . . .

 This is our first real snow . . . the last couple of days have been FREEZING cold ~ 28° when we go on our walk.

At the pond

But look how beautiful it is out there.  The way the sun sends rays through the breaks in the clouds.memory

dredging the pond

They are dredging the opening to the pond, something they do here every few years.  See that boat, that’s the dredge.  They are pulling sand out of the channel so that boats can get in and out of the pond without hitting the bottom.  The sand goes out through that pipe to the beach, the opposite of the way a vacuum cleaner works. Erosion steals the sand from the beach daily, exposing the little fishing shacks to storms. So dredging is a redistribution of sand, from one place where it’s a hinderance to another where it’s a blessing.  Ah men.  How smart thou art .


Joe and I have walked this walk almost every day (unless we’re away) since we bought our house in 1989.   We shall haunt it someday, but right now, we just try and go there as often as possible.  It’s my favorite part of the day.

dredge pipe

All this dredging is big excitement at the normally quiet-in-January shore.  Here’s the pipe running along the opening toward the sound.  That’s Cape Cod over there.

to the fishing shacks

Then the pipe makes a right turn to run along the beach — they put it wherever they want the sand to land … they already did this part of the beach, now they have taken it down toward the fishing shacks.

sense of beauty; susan branch art

following the pipe

Can you see how far that pipe goes?  Into the water and back out again.  Here, here’s a better look at it!

See how exciting?  It’s mesmerizing . . . listening to the water roar, watching the seagulls.  But COLD, my fingers are freezing so much I can’t turn the camera off.  Not such a professional ending, but the water is worth it.

sb border

lovely day in neighborhood

Prettiest place in the world.  One of the things I want to remember to do every day of this new year is write down what I did, the basics, not to be Jane Austen, but so I know what I did.  It’s going too fast, a blur.  I want these days remembered.  I want the double enjoyment that memory can bring, even if the memory part has to be helped along a bit.  I want to know I went to see the dredging and I’d like to know what I ate in front of the fire on New Year’s Eve, and now I do.  (Freezing cold iceberg wedge salad, with creamy blue cheese dressing, sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and fried pancetta bits, and homemade Mushroom soup with rye toast star croutons. )



I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it yet.  But I did a new version of my now out-of-print Book of Days!  It’s very much like the old one . . .


A wire-bound book that will lie flat, space enough to write each day, with additional room for notes, just a little bit bigger than the old one. . .


You can use it for any year, and keep them year after year until you have the story of your life.  This scribble below is something I wrote in one of my diaries back in the 90’s, when I was still trying to figure things out (not that I have it figured out, because I don’t.  Yet.  But I’m not giving up).

diary entry

I know the answer to that one now.  They begin in two places.  They read, and they write.  Teach your children well.

first light

It’s getting light outside.  The camera focused on the ice, while I was trying to get it to see the birds at the feeders.

birds in the snow

Outside my kitchen windows, let the magic begin . . .

Some people have fish tanks, I have bird feeders.


I just peeked out the living room window, there is Joe, shoveling the driveway . . . he LOVES it out there.

joe shoveling

I knocked on the window . . .

He sees me

He saw me . . .

He throws snow at me!

A threw a shovel of snow at me! 


Jack said, “What’s going on?  Pick me up!  Showmeshowmeshowme!”  Which I did; we stood at the window watching Joe do all the work.

This is my chosen entertainment for today.  Howard’s End.  I’m just going to slip it into the video machine. Perfect for diary, snow, fire, kitties and popcorn because really, what else can we do.  Nuttin Honey. (If you’re looking for something new to read, I highly recommend the book too.)

old movies

Hope you have a lovely day wherever you are!  “Thank you” doesn’t seem quite enough to express all I feel when reading your wonderful comments.  It’s such a pleasure to know you!  Here comes another year!  I wonder what will happen next?  Let’s make it good!  xoxo

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502 Responses to BLIZZARD!

  1. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Oh my goodness! I had tucked away my “Days” book after I ordered it and forgotten I had it! I had some of your other daily books, wrote in them sporadically, but love seeing what I wrote now! Thanks for reminding me to get it out as I also wanted to just write a line or two everyday. One of those smiling moments I’ll jot down happened in WalMart yesterday. I was in the cereal aisle buying my oatmeal when I saw a half dozen little birds hopping down the aisle with me! Then they flew up and perched on the signs right by me, chirping all the way. So cute! I was glad they found their way into the warmth! I’m a bird feeder/watcher from way back when I saw my dad’s childhood Thornton W. Burgess bird book. I still have it. You’d love it! Thanks for the post! Stay warm! Love you!

  2. amy says:

    Just wanted to let you know that there’s a grammatical error on page 250 of your new book – “lay under the tree” should be “lie under the tree.” I’m surprised your editor didn’t catch that. Perhaps it can be changed in future editions.

  3. Diana Everett says:

    Susan! Greetings from snowy Ohio! W hat a treat to have our blog entry appear today, when it is absolutely too freezing to go anywhere. A cup of tea, my computer, and thou, LOL!! Anyway, I must say that I personally am THRILLED that the calendar had an error. It reminds me of the old days in which an occasional quilt had a “humility block”, which is what it was called when the quilter made an error. We are all human….nobody is perfect….and while we strive to be perfect and it is to no avail, it was nice of you to give us permission today to just keep on keepin’ on, imperfections and all. 🙂 By the way, that soup is my favorite. I made beef stew.

  4. Jo says:

    Hope the weather is getting milder for you, though the snow is beautiful and you seem so-o-o content.
    Just rainy here in Oregon but the birds are hungry and squirrels need outwitting.

  5. Jo says:

    Forgot to ask, don’t you soak the beans overnight?

    • sbranch says:

      The main reason people soak beans is to cut down on the cooking time. But since my recipe calls for four hours cooking, soaking isn’t necessary.

  6. Mary S. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your snow, frost and freezing weather with us!! I LOVE Winter, and here in Fresno we aren’t having much of one. Highs hovering around 70 and the third year of draught.
    I am so excited for you to read SONG OF YEARS!!! Please let me know when you do!! xoxox
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  7. Sharon says:

    Thank you for going out and freezing to take the video and pictures of the dredging. I found it so interesting that I shared the link with my family.

  8. chris consentino says:

    well, just read “a fine romance”…I cried and I laughed (I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed harder than when the clothesline did its collapsing-trick!!!!)…long story, I do have a “thing” for clotheslines…but I have to say….this was THE best, most lovely, most heart-warming book I have ever had the privilege of enjoying. thank you. oh! thank you!!! I am of English ancestry…all my grandparents “came over” in late 1890s and, I’ve always been quite besotted with all things English…and this was just the BEST!!!!!!!!!!! now, we have to go there as well. going to be hard to do as I’m terrified of water cause I can’t swim, but…we’ll just have to do it somehow. my husband will get me thru it. and, then, we’ll go to the land of his ancestry…Italy. mmmm. fun to dream of at any rate. again, thank you. when I count my blessings, I truly count you twice.

    • sbranch says:

      After seeing that big ocean, I don’t think there would ever be an instance where swimming would do you any good at all anyway. PLUS, big plus, the lifeboats on these ships are huge, they hold like a thousand people, they have tops, they have engines, they are heated, they have food! No swimming would ever be necessary. So, there you go. One worry down. Off you go Chris! 🙂

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