Same ol’ same ol’

Pouring rain this morning Girlfriends and I just heard the long wail of the boat whistle.  What am I doing?  Same ol’ same ol’.  MUSICA?  Get ready, it’s a little bit of heaven.  

Painting for the calendar

My world is a bit of a Johnny-One-Note right now, just working on the 2015 calendars pretty much every day . . . in cause you wonder what I am doing, it’s this.  Which is the reason I’m not writing on the blog as much ~ mostly I’m trying to get the calendars done and turned in.  I finished the wall-calendar, the magnet calendar, the purse calendar and I’m working on the big blotter calendar right now . . . only nine months to go for that, then the Mini and I am done!  So my life is pretty much the same thing every day. Up and attem with a break now and then for a trek to the post office or supermarket — smacked joyfully in the face with cold air and snow flakes twirling off the barn in the wind for a good little wake up call. Our neighborhood smells like woodsmoke because everyone is hunkered down.

squirrel time This is when the little things in life are really all there are . . . little things like this squirrel who’s come to investigate our bird feeders . . .

view from my windowLike the peaceful little view from my studio . . .

front windowStorm after storm has come in this winter and our fireplace has been going snap, crackle and pop almost every day . . . In the photo below you can see my inspiration for the painting on the January page of my calendar . . . isn’t that fun?  I love to paint the things around me.


But yesterday was amazing ~ instead of our normal 20° day . . .  it was almost springlike ~ something we haven’t had in a long time.  Most of our snow went away, birds were singing, Joe and I put on our boots and went for a muddy walk down the dirt road to the water.  Thick fog was coming off the pond, warm air meets frozen ground blurred everything.  This morning, when I was getting the photos ready for this post, rain was sheeting down my window panes, but just now, like the flick of a light switch, I looked out and the rain has turned to snow.  Here we go again!

from my art table

I go from my studio, and this view from my art table, to the kitchen to make tea, then out on the kitchen porch to look at the black shuttered houses around us and listen to the quiet in my neighborhood ~ I have to add, it looks exactly like this right this moment … pouring snow and our ground is all white again!

Although I’m working hard, you can see I’m pretty good at procrastination.  I agree with Ellen DeGeneres who said, “Procrastination is not the problem, it’s the solution.” Everything from the gloriousness that is Downton Abbey (Daisy!  What a doll!  Poor little thing), to yesterday’s not-as-Super-as-we-expected-but-the-food-and-the-company-was-fabulous Bowl down at my girlfriend Lowely’s house.  I made French Bread stuffed with Clam Dip (then baked for three hours) from my first book.  Any little thing takes me away, and there are so many little things . . .

Merry In The Winter

Jack wants to play

Hello.  This is Jack’s “Do you have it? Should I get it? Where is it?  Throw it-throw it-throw it!” face.


There it is my little play-boy.  And to him, these are not the little things in life, these are the moments that make life worth living.


The eyes tell the whole story — IS HE NOT THE MOST ADORABLE KITTY THIS SIDE OF THE PECOS?  I MEAN, REALLY!  He kills me.  I have to grab him, roll him about, wrap him in my shawl, moosh him and kiss him.  I am mad about him, even when he steals my pencils and puts his foot in my paint water.  His newest thing is that he climbs into my chair with me at night without me even begging.  Cuddles up next to me, right there, with my hand in his neck fur.


So I do his every bidding. 


Kitty LoveI place the ball at the top of his post and wait while he stalks it, tail wagging back and forth, then suddenly he leaps up and grabs it.  Then we do it again.  Next he will stand on top of his scratching post/playground, his eyes perfectly round and full of concentration; I throw the ball to him, he catches it in midair, then drops it on the floor, I go to it, bend over and pick it up, go back, and throw it again.  And again.  When I get bored, I will do the wild and crazy thing and throw it the length of the room.  He will tear off the post, over the back of the chair, onto the couch, over the arm and across the room to where it fell, then trot back, full of kitty pride, red ball in mouth, to put it somewhere in my vicinity, and here we go again.  It’s a thrill a minute here.

JackWe do this for a while, until maybe he sees something lurking or flitting about outside. . .

the driveway

For a kitty, there’s a lot to see from our kitchen windows.  (BTW, FYI, we don’t keep Girl Kitty locked in a closet somewhere.  She lives on the bed in the Peter Rabbit room and has total access to the rest of the house ~ but most of the time we have to go to her room to give her kisses.  She’s just too shy for the real world and takes no chances.)  MAS MUSICA? 


Our driveway is sometimes lined in cardinals.  Joe shovels a path to the barn so we can get out there to where we keep the birdseed, then he sprinkles it in the path . . . and here they come! Now whenever they’re in the yard when we drive in the driveway — when we get out of the car, they don’t run.  They like us!  I hope this is OK.  I’ve never had turkeys for friends before (uh, maybe one or two along the way come to think of it); I’m not quite sure what to expect.  Is this a good thing?  So far, so good.

turkeysJack thinks the turkeys are exciting, but . . .

here kitty kitty

no where near as interesting as the neighbor’s cats . . . and this one thinks the turkeys might make a delicious lunch, or worse, really a fun toy . . . he’s actually stalking them.

Turkey standoffHe did this for a good fifteen minutes while Jack and I watched . . . we wondered what this cat would do with an entire turkey if he accidentally got one.

stalkingBut that wasn’t going to happen.  He rushed them and they scattered . . .

high alertThat blew his mind, turkeys in all directions, which should he go to first?


I don’t think the turkeys were as respectful of the kitty as the kitty thought they should be but Jack loved every moment of it.

lovely garden

what a wonderful world

hearts and roses

Valentine's DaySo I warm up some broccoli soup while the heat from the furnace vent blows across the wooden floor and wraps around my slippered feet ~ I put bread into the toaster and hang up our favorite Valentine while Frank sings “Hate California, it’s cold and it’s damp!”  

turnip gardenAnd just in case you think we have nothing blooming around here . . . no green things growing, look at this! How can you possibly think I don’t lead the most exciting life!

turnip worldWe have a turnip oops, rutabaga that loves the weather in our kitchen . . . It looks like the earth, isn’t it beautiful?  I don’t think we can eat this even though they are delicious mashed with butter and a little nutmeg or diced and roasted in olive oil on a cookie sheet in a hot oven, then just salted and peppered.  But this one, due to charm quotient, is getting a presidential pardon.

The mail

Another little thing . . . the mail, our connection to the real world.  It came and look what I got!  It’s the January/February issue of the new magazine that has the interview I posted back a few weeks ago.  I hope this lovely effort manages to be successful in this odd transitional period we are going through for things in actual print.  It’s thick (153 pages and no ads), filled with cooking, crafts, travel, how-to’s; the cover is soft and smooth, the paper is nice, the stories are interesting, and the photos are gorgeous.

My articleSo much work.  And here’s us . . .

our book

Six lovely pages of us . . .


There’s lots of Valentine ideas and decor . . .

Celebrating Everyday

. . . and a wonderful sixteen-page visit to Chatsworth House in England. (Jane Austen visited Chatsworth ~ she made it the model for Mr. Darcy’s house when she wrote Pride and Prejudice.)

the cover

Plus the recipe for these cookies is inside too ~ and so much more!

Ah yes, winter. Susan Branch Winter

little things

With love from the Heart of the Home, located right around the corner from I’m OK and So Are You.  Back to work Girlfriends! XOXO

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369 Responses to Same ol’ same ol’

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

    hello Susan, hell girlfriends just popping to say howdy. its a good thing when the turkeys come to visit, we enjoyed our wild ones and I know our tom turkey really had fun with them, he had a harem of 3 females, our domestic and 2 wild one. it was pure pleasure to see them everyday, and we fed them grain and corn …. I think that was the reason they hung around so much. but come spring they were off to other parts of the area and left us. as for now, I’m waiting for ther sheriff to come around, we were broken into over the weekend, not the house, but the shed and they stole some valuable tools, our chainsaws and axes. so I sit here waiting for the sheriff to come and take a report so I can call the insurance company and see if this is covered on our homeowners policy. plus I still have to get out and feed the flock, may just hang my go to the back sign up and go out and take care of that, be just my luck the deputy would show up then. have a great day everyone. stay warm. hugs…… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry! How dare they! I hope you find them.

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        And FINE them too!!!

      • Diane from Poulsbo, WA says:

        Girlfriend….that is such an unsettling thing to have happen….and I am so sorry too! Sending you virtual hugs and comfort today…..!

        • sbranch says:

          Aren’t you a sweetie. Believe me one of those comments means nothing in the light of all of the lovely things we have shared over the years. I won’t let that happen again. xoxo

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Ah Pat,
      So sorry to hear about the breakin, such an invasion….and unsettling. Hope they find the culprits…….soon!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        thank you everyone, it is unsettling, but thankfully no one was hurt and thank heavens it was not the house just the shed/pumphouse. the sheriff has come and gone, took the report and now we wait to see what happens next. Susan you are so lucky to have the turkeys visit, be nice and feed them cracked corn, they will love you for life. looks like a flock of hens, I didn’t quite see a tom in the flock, is there one??? again thank you everyone, I do hope they catch whoever did that, seems to be a thing aound here, 2-3 weeks ago a neighbor across the road and behind the firehouse was robbed and they took his chainsaws.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        thank you everyone, I hope they catch the culprits too, seems to be a thing around here, a neighbor was broken into about 2-3 weeks ago and all they stole were his chainsaws. Susan you are so lucky to have the wild turkeys visiting, wish ours would come back around. feed them grains and cracked corn and you will be loved for life by them. I see a lot of hens, any toms in the flock???

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      ~ I’m sorry Pat ~ they will reap what the sow ~ I hope you are covered ~

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        They sow~ my mom always told me that ~

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          I hope so to, Ed said he would call the insurance company, but I haven’t heard from them yet. the sheriff has been here already. so hopefully they will get the bozos.

    • judi says:

      Dagnabbit!!! What in tarnation is going on!! So sorry Pat…do you have guinea? hens that make a racket when something is afoul?

      We need to bring back those wooden things they put the crooks head and hands in and make him stay in the middle of town for….a WEEK with a sign saying what he/she did!!!

      Get a Clint Eastwood tape that is connected to a motion light that says, “make my day”!!!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        Judi I love that idea. no we have just regular hens, a couple of turkeys ( male and female) and 2 ducks ( male and female). the turkeys attack people in the yard during the day, they make a lot of racket, and unless one of us shows up they sort of round that person up and surround them.

      • sondra fox says:

        Hi Pat A., I always enjoy your farm blogs, but this one was disturbing. My grandparents lived on a farm, out where the nearest neighbor was five miles from them. They always had a German Shepard dog. As their dogs passed, they’d get another, always naming their dogs “Spike.” No one would get within the area around their house without Spike warning us. Do you have a dog Pat. So sorry you had this happen to you. Our house was broken into once, a long while back. We felt so violated. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          thank you Sondra ( Sandy). no don’t have a dog…. YET!!! but I called my uncle who has a Husky/Wolf bred dog named Thorvald ( Thor for short), and since he used to ride with me in my truck on long hauls for protection, I do know how to handle him. my uncle will loan him to us until we get a good dog, and I am leaning towards a Husky and Ed wants a shepherd. i’ll take both of them right now. but first I want them trained to protect our yard and to leave my cats alone. my uncle says Thor will be glad to come around, new territory for him to sniff out. guess so since he has sniffed out most of Minnesota. LOL!!!! thank you again Sandy and we will be all right now that we have Thor protecting us. now if the cats would stop hissing at him, sounds like a snake pit in here. LOL!!! 🙂

          • Rhonda D. says:

            Pat, so sorry this had to happen to you. Susan spends so much time showing us and helping us to make things good, happy, beautiful, pleasant, right with the world, and then things like this have to go on. The culprits need a good dose of this blog to turn their lives around, see what a good life really looks like. Hope you’re not too shaken up and everything turns out fine for you. The dog sounds like a great idea.

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            the dogs have arrived, my uncle dropped them off early this morning, Thor and Viking. both are Husky/Wolf mixes and both are trained to protect and guard us and the property. I feel better already and when Ed gets home is he in for a surprise, 2 puppy dogs. well off to go walk the doggies ( I love that, walking the dogs.) and get them situated in the barn where their beds are, also have some beds for them in the house by the fire so they are comfortable. unfortunately the cats are not too happy with their 2 new housemates right now, but the dogs are not bothering them, they grew up with cats so that’s a relief. for now its let everyone sniff each other and get introduced to each other, show Thor and Viking the barn where their beds are, and their beds by the fire…. and get them fed, watered and out for a walk. they love their walks. I can’t wait to see Ed’s face when he comes home and meets the dogs…. hugs…… 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Thor and Viking, have you ever heard more frightening dog names? You should post them on the barn — I’m sure no one will ever come near you again. I’m sure they are sweeties, but I don’t think I would fool with a dog named Thor.

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            trust me Susan, they are good dogs, they will only guard and protect when you tell them to, that will be tonight, they will be out guarding the property. for now they are by the fire and relaxing, they had 2 walks and have had their dinner. soon it will be time for them to do their job.

          • sbranch says:

            Do they patrol the property?

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            yes they do… at night!! during the day they are out and about in the yard or snoozing by the fire. but it comes around nighttime we just let them out for the night and give them the command to guard and protect. well since I am the only one who can speak the command I do that. but they are very well trained and behaved dogs. they had fun yesterday chasing the squirrels round and round and sniffed out every scent trail on the property. they had a good time, and today they are happy, just had their walk and now its time to dry out by the fire. don’t worry about my uncle, he has their big brother…Loki for protection and that dog is huge.

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            thank you Rhonda, we are fine, I figure whoever it was got what they wanted and its over with. but from now on anyone coming over uninvited will get to meet Thor and Viking!!!!

  2. Julia says:

    Ooooooh! Love the views from your window. Thank you for my snow day!
    About the comment – when I think of “Lazy” Susan Branch does not come
    to mind. You are the hardest working girl I know. Just doing this blog
    every week takes a lot of research and time. Thank You. The Rutabaga
    cracks me up! It doesn’t take much to make us happy, does it
    Girlfriends? Now I’ll go back and read all of the words.

  3. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Afternoon ~ Don’t ever feel like you have to apolize for being busy~ we all are! ~ I’m just glad you take the time for us girlfriends! ~ Have a good day! ~

  4. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    Woo-hoo! In the middle of a snowy day and a new posting from our darling Sue! Last night I fell asleep under a fleecy comforter in our sun room listening to the rain. Around 5am I woke up–sort of sleeting–gathered enough strength to snuggle up in my “real” bed. (I know, I know, I should have had the presence of mind to say, “hey, Susan’s up! How about you??” But as you know, it just doesn’t happen in my brain when it is dark.) Woke up later and (just like you)–snow! It is still finely coming down, but Kevin is out with the snow blower.

    Such adorable pictures of Jack! How did you know we needed to have a visit with him?

    And, dear one, Thank You for working so hard on our calendars! You are amazing in all that you do! You get more creative with each passing year! Your borders–swoon worthy!! The artwork of your fireplace in January’s calendar was not lost on me! Never-ever stop painting calendars! I love them during the year. And at the end, I cut them apart and use them for many projects!

    This morning I wrote in my journal–our spruce tree out back laden with snow looks like an evergreen from Susan’s artwork.

    My motto–it’s snowing so just be happy!

  5. Maria Penner says:

    I love the sign in your garden that starts with…”If you have a mind at peace, a heart that cannot harden, Go find a door that opens wide , Upon a lovely garden.”
    Where did you find such a lovely addition….I am going to use the verse in some of my Valentine cards…I just love it!! I so enjoy all your quotes, and pictures of your home , and of course the line up of cardinals!!! thank you for making the world a more beautiful place…hugs from Pacific Grove, Maria

    • sbranch says:

      I bought that sign many years ago from an old nursery in San Luis Obispo. I kept begging them until they gave in and sold it to me!

  6. Ann Jane Koerber says:

    Love how you love your kitties! Love reading A Fine Romance (for the second time)! Love your blog! It all makes me happy and I have you to thank Susan Branch!

  7. Susan, common days are full of simple joys and when strung together they are life’s pearls. My days are full of nothing much, or so it would seem to someone else, but I’ve spent a lifetime getting to this point and save for the name of Jesus, home is the sweetest word I know.

  8. LauraC says:

    Re: Neighborhood turkeys

    Neighbors behind our house adopted a turkey baby and let it grow up with their chickens. (This is a western NY suburb.) It grew enormous and used to prowl the neighborhood sometimes with his chicken siblings following behind. He grew to be very comfortable around humans and would greet people walking down the street-no fear. He especially seemed to like my daughter who walked twice a day to and from the school bus stop. She was terrified of him. There was no getting him to “shoo.” I had to look out each morning before she left the house to see where he was located. She would then make a run for the bus stop. One day she was due home, and I got a cell phone call from her in such hysterics that I thought she was being murdered. It turned out that the turkey met her at the bus stop and was hanging on her every move. I almost wet my pants laughing, but did go out to “rescue her.” A few months ago I heard the second story on This American Life podcast. You must listen to it. “Our” turkey was not too far behind that one.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, you got me laughing so hard about your daughter!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        I know! Hilarious – laughing my head off at your well-told and very funny story, Laura! Where is YouTube when you need them?

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      Poor girl! Years ago I was walking along an old railroad path that had been turned into a hiking trail in North Eastern WI. The state had planted turkeys in our area. While hiking I saw what I thought was a gang of 4 teenage guys coming toward me, but as they got closer I saw it was four turkeys walking side by side. Creepy!

      • sbranch says:

        This is getting funnier and funnier. They ARE big! I don’t know what that cat was thinking!

        • Janet in Rochester says:

          Juvenile delinquent turkeys! This thread IS getting better and better!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            oh my ….. just laughing about your daughter and the turkey, they like that, very nosy and social birds. when people come into our yard during the day and the turkeys are out the turkeys will charge over to them to see who they are and they make so much racket one of us will be out in the back in no time. we tell the people just pet her on the head, give her head a pat and she will shut up and be real friendly to you. of course Miss Nippers is a regular lovebug.

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          probably thought it was something to play with.

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        They were a bigger type than the ones in your blog. Dark and a huge tail feather span. Like I said, Scarry!

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          hmm sounds like double breasted bronze turkeys, those look more females ( in the pictures) and of the heritage breed.

    • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

      Hello LauraC, reading about the fear that turkey causes your daughter made me remember this scary memory when I was probably her age. My Grandparents had a farm and they raised “Bantam” chickens. I don’t know if this is a normal activity of roosters (Pat A.)? but, there was this one Rooster named Henry who was so ornery and it always would come up from behind me and I would hear this fluttering sound and he was coming at my head with those long, wicked claws and literally scared the bejeebers out of me!!! That crazy rooster would do this everyday and I felt like a hostage afraid to go outside. I swear he was like a ninja he just appeared and attacked!! So, I can relate to how scared your daughter feels. Now, I hesitate to mention the plight of the crazy attack rooster but here it goes. My kind sweet Mother was sweeping the porch one day when Henry started chasing me and she took a swipe at him with the broom and the rest is history. Bless his ornery crazy heart.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        hello Debra, sorry to say but that is normal behavior, he was merely being territorial and protecting his hens. we have the same problem with our big rooster, G.W. a Rhode Island Red rooster and believe me this one big rooster. he always sneaks up behind and tries to get me either in the back or on my legs, I have a few scars from him on my leg. I finally just turned around and smacked him one good. and if he tries again I just stomp my feet at him and yank at his tail feathers or the comb on top of his head. he pretty much leaves me alone after that. and yes I have also used a broom when needed, I keep one handy by the back porch, and another one handy in the barn and one more handy by the henhouse. I used to have a banty rooster named George and he was one feisty rooster, he used to whip G.W.’s tail feathers and keep him in line, since the hawk got George, G.W. is head rooster and takes his job seriously.

    • Judy says:

      LauraC, I listened to the Poultry Slam on NPR and found the story fascinating. Could one write such a thing? No, it could only happen in real life. The story of “Tom Turkey” made my day. I have also enjoyed all the replys from people with their own turkey story. Thanks, Susan, for the wonderful post, as always.

  9. Ann says:

    My husband leaves a trail of birdseed too but I hope we never see a wild turkey! For some strange reason I have a phobia about them. Had a hard time even looking at your photos. Jack is such a sweetie. So happy to hear you are working on next year’s blotter. Miss it so much!

  10. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    It seems it is raining all over the world today. My husband said it is flooding in Crete, it is pouring here in VB and I guess in WI it is too cold for rain just some flakes. Oh those EVIL squirrels. Stealing bird food and sneaking around the yard, here too!
    I love the view out your window of the other houses, and I like how you paint the everyday things you see.
    It looks like I will venture up to WI the end of the month, because my mom is in her final days and today we heard that my Auntie is not well either. I am the oldest of the next generation in my mother’s family and I am in my 50s!

    • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

      Margot, if you are coming soon, DRESS WARM! If you haven’t heard, Minnesota and Wisconsin have been colder-than-cold…Sorry to hear what is going on in your family–we’ve been through that several times in the past couple of years and it is never easy…you tell yourself that “this is life” but is still hard…

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        I got the gear! Why do folks have to get sick or die in Winter? My mom told her parents not to die in Winter, but her mom (grandma) passed away mid-January while I was in college.

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      ~ So sorry Margot~ You are in my prayers ~

    • Tisa @ Seattle Retro says:

      Had to laugh, it’s NOT raining in Seattle today, it’s actually sunny–I used to have a joke t-shirt that said — “Seattle Rain Festival–Jan 1 – Dec 31”. For a Cali girl, that’s waaaaaaay too long!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        so sorry to hear that Margot, send hugs your way and dress warm, my family in Minnesota say its colder than the devil’s hind end!!!

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        My parents met in Bellingham. My mom said they used to say, Today we will be having intermitent sunshine, instead of partly cloudy. LOL I heard a few years ago the Seattle weatherman say, We have a new catagory of rain…Mizzle. LOL That is halfway between Mist and Drizzle.

  11. Nicoline says:

    Dear Susan,
    hello again from across the pond:) what a treat to find another posting tonight! I just loved the Jack pictures and so did my 16 year old son..He commented that your Jack is much livelier than our lazy ginger lady….She finds the most comfortable spot to sleep on, and will stay there most of the day.
    Those turkeys look truly amazing! Are they wild turkeys?
    I once saw a piece on the news about a lady who had dozens wandering around her house and street….she was not happy!
    The music you listen to is sweet, thanks for sharing!
    Susan, your stories and pictures are a true joy, so thank you!
    Have a lovely day and stay warm

    • sbranch says:

      Yes they are wild. So far they are not causing trouble! Let’s hope it stays that way!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        just wait until spring, that’s their next mating season. hopefully they will bring the babies around for you to see this summer.

  12. Trudy says:

    Love your stories and your paintings!
    How nice to see the cardinals lined up on your path-in Holland we only can see them in the Zoo.We had also a Kitty who was black and white,with a small stripe of white between her eyes-we called her Mouse.Now we have 2 kitties-one is coming from the Isle of Man and has a very short tail as they have.
    Love your stories about England-we’ve been there many times for holidays,so regonise many of the places,where you’ve been.
    Thanks for the lovely story
    have a good day

  13. Tootles says:

    I’m feeling a bit like a Johnny one note myself as of late. Your post was a most welcome treasure today! It truly is the little things that bring JoY!!
    I adored the magazine and went right to the link to order, but was disappointed to see it wasn’t available In Print form. While I LoVe my IPad, there is something about the print form I just adore~ like you said the paper and color it adds so much to the enjoyment for me.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too. I thought she had hard copies available. I sent her your comment just to see what she says. Maybe they sold out already.

      • Wendy says:

        I was wondering how to get a print copy as well — its looks so nice. There is a link on her site about print but it says $37 and isn’t clear if that is for one issue?

        • sbranch says:

          I just heard from her . . . and now I understand better. She sent that hard copy as a gift to me; I had no idea how much it cost. Her magazine is available on line, but for hard copies, the only way is the very expensive print on demand — which people can get if they want, but yes, that’s how much they cost! She pays for all of this herself, is looking for investors, and trying to make her dream come true. But the magazine is not, as a matter of course, being printed right now.

          • Wendy says:

            Thanks Susan, I understand now and it makes sense.

          • sondra fox says:

            Thanks for searching this out Susan. I too, was wondering how I’d get the magazine. No luck on the listed computer sites, only, as the other GF’s said, you’re able to get the magazine only online. I’m with the others, in that I want a magazine to hold in my hands, not an online copy. The magazine looks so lovely & interesting.(Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

            I wrote the title down and was going to go to the book store tomorrow after walking and see if I could find a copy. Looks to be a very nice magazine. Was very disappointed after reading what Tootles had to say. Wow! $37 for a magazine!

          • sbranch says:

            They really aren’t in stores, that’s the thing. It’s a brand new magazine, being run on a shoestring at this point. But beautifully, just costing the editor a lot to do it. While trying to find investors, she’s selling on-line subscriptions, but for hard copies she is only able to do print on demand, for which she gets nothing, it’s just the only way to get it done and that’s how much the printer charges. Printing one or even 100 magazines at a time is hugely expensive.

          • Samantha Walterman says:

            Thank you so much for checking into this magazine. I too was trying to find a way to obtain a print copy, and then I found others were in the same boat. What a beautiful magazine… and the article looks beautifully done. I enjoyed your “interview blog” posted a few weeks back, and was looking forward to the magazine coming out. I may just have to find a way to enjoy the e-magazine…even though I love my “old-fashioned”, hold-a-book-in-your-hand, love-each-page-as-you-read-it mentality!!!

  14. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    It is truly a wonderful world, and you help make it so! At our daughter and son-in-law’s wedding reception she and her dad danced to Louis Armstrong’s rendition of “What A Wonderful World”. That was seven and a half years ago, and I still puddle up whenever I hear it. So, so true, all around us, just waiting for us to see it and recognize it. Making your split pea soup for supper. The kitchen smells wonderful, hubby’s out trying to snow blow the 10 or so inches of wet, heavy flakes that have been sifting down since early morning…we’ve worked on a puzzle most of today, life is good. It’s the little things. Hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds lovely Shannon.

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      Hi Shannon~
      My son and I danced to ” My Mom” sung by Tony Bennett at his wedding~ I told him “Don’t do it” ~ he did~ blubbing fool every time I hear it!! It is such a sweet and touching song! ~ I love Tony Bennett! It is a wonderful world!

      • Tawni urrutia says:

        Hi Lynn!
        We saw Tony Bennett in Stockton in mid-December. He was absolute magic! 5….FIVE encores! Everyone left the theater smiling and laughing and praising the crooner to the stars!

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Hi Lynn!
        Such precious, precious memories of our children’s weddings…even though they make us cry happy tears!

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          That’s for sure! ~My hubby had to dance with our daughter at her wedding~ she chose “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You” by James Taylor~ more blubbing (blubbering)

  15. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Thank you for sharing your snowy day with us and especially little Jack doing what he loves best. I’ve just made Super Skillet Pasta for dinner and now I’m going to make cornbread with bee butter to go with it. I love bee butter! Your turnip is so cute. Do you have a special recipe for turnip? We just peel and cut it up and boil it, then mash with a potato masher and add butter and salt and pepper – my favourite veggie. Its cold and sunny here today but very icy for walking. A good day to stay inside wrapping up a girlfriend’s birthday gift. Such fun to make it special.

    • sbranch says:

      We love turnips too–the same way as you. But I also make a casserole, like scalloped potatoes with turnips and cheese instead of potatoes and it’s yummy — I don’t use a recipe, it’s just layered thin sliced turnips with butter, gruyere, garlic, whole milk, s & P. Then baked until brown and bubbly 20-30 min at around 375.

      • You don’t need to thicken the milk like in a white sauce?

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        That sounds delicious! I made homemade noodles the other day for my chicken soup (just like my grandmother showed me when I was young!), and it was quick, easy and wonderful. I’m with Jack that it’s the little things that make life worth living. Today it’s the sunshine flooding through my new lace curtains in the bedroom, with the beautiful Bella (our kitty) lounging on favorite quilt at the foot of my bed. Just watching her luxuriate in the sun makes me happy.

        • sondra fox says:

          Honestly, I could just sit & watch Jack & you, Susan, playing. I went to the old blogs to find some more of Jack & you. He’s the funniest cat I’ve ever seen, & I’ve had several cats in my lifetime. I’ve been laughing over his antics for half an hour. Must get away from my computer & get some things accomplished around this old house. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Thanks. That sounds good, Susan. Do you need to sprinkle flour on the layers to thicken the sauce or does the cheese do that?

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Sounds good! I just bought some rutabagas over the weekend and was trying to think of a new way to cook them. Will try your recipe this week! Thanks!

        • Jeannine from SC says:

          Sweet Sue, just wanted to throw in another recipe with rutabagas that has become a tradition in our family . . . Boil rutabaga chunks and carrot chunks together in a pot, adding about a tablespoon of brown sugar and a little salt. Boil until tender, then mash them as you would potatoes (leaving small chunks is always good, too!). Serve with butter. Yum!

          • Sweet Sue says:

            To Jeannine from SC……..
            Thanks for recipe using rutabaga and carrots….sounds good and good for you too! I was going to make mashed potatoes for an upcoming family get together yet think I will make your mashed rutabaga/carrot recipe instead and see how everyone likes it. Thanks for sharing! Have a grand day! 🙂

      • That sounds delicious. I grew up calling these turnips as well and am not sure when they came to be called rutabagas. The Brit term of “swede” is less of a mouthful, so to speak. I’ll definitely try cooking them this way. Thanks.


        • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

          Well, the butter, gruyere, garlic, and whole milk would make ANYTHING taste wonderful!!! LOL! 🙂

  16. Donna Erickson says:

    Ahhh…..Winter. We are expecting some today and little flurries the next few days. And then fog! I am so mindful on days like this of the warmth and coziness our homes provide. A reason I enjoy moving to Colorado from Texas. Warm snuggles, Sue and girlfriends!

  17. Nancy says:

    Having just come home from a funeral it was a pleasure to find a new post on the blog! I am so happy you are busy getting that 2015 blotter calendar all together because I am having to use a plain, ugly one from Walmart….no SB artwork….and can’t wait until all is right again in my calendar world and your artwork is back on my (literally) desktop! Enjoy the beautiful snow….we have ice covered trees here today and more “wintery precipatation” expected tomorrow….quite unusual for central Arkansas!

  18. Donna Klein says:

    I loved your cozy post today! So fun to see the beautiful snow without having to actually be in it anymore 🙂

    I so love seeing the kitties. I haven’t been able to have any pets since I moved to the desert, about 5 1/2 years ago now. So fun to see yours, such a personality on Jack! Hope you have a wonderful day.

  19. Vickie in Olympia says:

    I love YOU. Thank you for sharing your procrastination. Sometimes I feel like I put the ‘pro’ in procrastination, but then I remember you told me I was ‘processing.’ LOL So much life happens while I’m putting off doing what I think I should be doing and you remind me to enjoy it. This winter I read The Great Turkey Walk, by Kathleen Karr, It is a very funny tale written for young readers about a little remembered part of American history when people actually walked herds (?) of turkeys from the midwest to the gold rush fields in Colorado. Who knew?
    Have a colorful week!

    • Gloria L. Nugent says:

      Vickie, that book sounds really interesting. I buy books “for kids” all the time to read first & then share with grandchildren. Sometimes the illustrations are just so appealing. Thanks for sharing this tidbit.

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        I do that too~ buy for “kids”….Mercer Mayer Little Critter books are my downfall….they are just so darn cute! I do share them!

  20. Linda Pintarell says:

    Loved the snow pictures, Susan…I can’t remember the last time I saw snow…even seeing rain is a rarity these days in Southern California – we are in such a drought. HOWEVER, last evening I was awakened by a fairly hard rain coming down about 2AM…music to my ears, we need it so badly. But I LOVE the beautiful serenity of the snow falling in your yard…so peaceful. Stay warm and safe girlfriends.

  21. Ginger says:

    We live amidst turkeys, when we are at our lake/river house. When the lake is caused by a dam, it’s hard to know what to call it. Anyway, I think they are charming and watch them strut one way in the morning and the other in the evening. They do leave unwanted bits on the porch though.

    But now…I’m on the ocean side of the state, celebrating our amazing Super Bowl win. I suppose things like that just depend on your point of view.

  22. Michele says:

    Hello Susan,

    How cheery it was to just find your new blog! It is not snowing here yet in So. Woodstock but there is that “feel” in the air and the clouds are just waiting for the right opportunity to open up and cover our lowly looking landscape into a winter wonderland again. We have missed all the recent snowstorms but are hoping for snow on Weds.! However, that evening is our local Downton Abbey support group meeting and I would hate to miss it. What do you think of this year’s season? And, to think that there are only three episodes left!
    Jack is always so much fun to see and such a dear! I can see why you love him so much as all your girlfriends do!
    You make me jealous with all your cardinals! We have a pair but they are so flighty that it is difficult to take photos of them. And, I adored your turkeys! Jack must go crazy watching them.
    Thank you for the info about Celebrating Everyday Life – love the magazine and have a digital subscription and, of course, loved reading the article about you! Fun, fun, fun!
    Enjoy the snow!
    All the Best,

    • sbranch says:

      Oh how great you liked the magazine, Michele! It’s pretty amazing isn’t it! I’ve been loving Downton this season. Not a moments rest do we get, something is always brewing! They’re doing a great job. Hoe fun that you have a support group! It must be hilarious!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        “Downton” has been a real pleasure for me this season. I’ve been watching it with my neighbor/girlfriend. She’s been using her grandmother’s china teacups and making different teas the night we watch it…putting on quite a spread even if she doesn’t feel up to it, God bless her. We’re making memories we’ll never forget. Next week I’m taking my camera so I’ll always remember these days (or nights).

    • Michele says:

      Yes, our Downton Abbey support group is very nice. At my first meeting, an English couple gave us a questionnaire on English jargon which was so much fun. The same couple did the same thing at an English garden presentation but with different words, so am set to hit England with the correct vocabulary!
      “Toodle Pip”, Michele

    • Donna Klein says:

      Oh no, how can it be that there are only 3 episodes left?! It seems like it just started. Love that show, and I had never seen or heard anything about it before I read about it here. Thank heavens I did!

    • sondra fox says:

      I’m a bit disappointed in “Downton” this season. I wouldn’t miss it, but I keep expecting something new to develop in the story line. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  23. Gail Golden says:

    Greetings from sunny central Florida – where it is 80 degrees. (don’t hate me)
    I love this post and especially your kitty. He is so cute with his little moustache!

    I want to ask you a question – and please don’t think I’m being mean or snarky. I’ve had cats before, and I just can’t get over the thought of a cat’s little but sitting on my kitchen counter (which they love to do). I think of how their little paws have been in the litter box, etc. We love dogs, but we haven’t replaced Callie (the cat) who passed away two years ago because of this dread of germs of mine.
    Do you just wipe the counters constantly, or what? Is there a way to keep them off the counter? (if so, please share) Other people can chime in if you want. I miss Callie and cat snuggles.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve had cats forever. They sleep in my bed. I understand what you’re saying and I think I have my head buried because the thing is, I couldn’t really live without cats and there’s no stopping them from going where they want. I’m as careful as I can be, but not perfect. However I am very likely part cat at this time, because I never get anything. I do draw the line at foot kissing. I don’t do that ever no matter how much I want to. They are such clean animals (she says to herself). Honestly, don’t be sad, just get a cat and do your best. You’ll be fine. If you get a kitten, I think you can, if you start at the beginning, tell them NO when it comes to your counters. And I think they will hear you.

      • Sara says:

        Hey, Gail, like Susan I can’t imagine life without my Diddy and Boo, but I know what you mean about their germy feet. My two boys only get on the counters or table at night, so every a.m. before I even get my 1st cup of coffee, I swipe down the counters and stove top with a couple Lysol disinfectant wipes and we’re good for the day. Hope that helps!


      • Gail Golden says:

        Thanks, Susan. You’ve made me want another kitty, so I’ll take your words to heart.
        P.S. Can you do a sequel to Fine Romance? I loved it so much, I want more. Oh, and I love pear cider now. You got me started..(smile)

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        FYI Gail – I think Sue is onto something here. My brother & his family rescued an orange tabby they named Marley when he was about 6 months old, who’d been in another home before. He’s got the sweetest temperament and just loves people. He’s NEVER been on the tables or countertops that we’ve ever seen. Of course you never know what’s going on when the house is empty but we figure if he did it then, he’d do it when the family was home too. Our theory is that he was trained NOT to jump up when he was really little and it stuck. He WILL immediately hop into any chair that gets vacated at the dining table though. [A] He likes the residual warmth and [B] he LOVES to be in on all that sparkling conversation!!

    • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      You really can train cats to stay off the counter. Our one cat Katherine, just is not a jumper, so she is not an issue, but the cat that moved in from the barn was jumping up everywhere. I have a spray bottle with water and every time she jumped up on the kitchen table or counters, she got sprayed. She is much better now. Does she get up on the counters when we are not home? Probably! But the bottom line is, she knows she is not supposed to and for the most part she doesn’t! But it’s life with animals and like Susan, I would rather live with them, than without them. And I have never been sick because of them! Mostly, I catch germs from other humans! LOL.

      • sbranch says:

        Me too 🙂

        • sondra fox says:

          Because I love cats too, here’s a discipline trick I used to use. Roll up a newspaper, hit your hand, which makes a pretty loud noise. The cats won’t get on your counter after that. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • sbranch says:

            Good one! My kitties totally understand NO, but I don’t use it often unless of course the foot is going into the paint!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            Gail, there is an article on that very subject on the internet on yahoo. go to: it should provide some help. me, I use the rolled up newspaper and if that doesn’t get the message across the spray bottle.

    • Wendy Louise says:

      Hi Gail, Don’t fret I have had 3 cats in my life ,not all at once, one at a time and they never went on the counters, ever ! You train them from kittens not to and be consistent, you don’t even have to be mean, just firm. Cats are very smart when it come to their people, you just have to give them the attention they demand like Susan does. My neighbor had 10 cats at once and she didn’t mind them on the counter but when her Momma came to visit fron England ( at least twice a year for 4-6 weeks) there were No Cats on the counter not when she was there ! I couldn’t believe it, all she did was say, “NO “and take them off the count and drop them from counter level, it didn’t hurt them they just new she meant business. She loves kitties and snuggles them on the couch and in bed but she didn’t want them on the counter! I liked her a lot but if she told me not to do something I certainly would listen to her! She trained dogs as well and they listened to her too. Go and get another kitty they will learn, the happiness they bring is worth it ! Wendy – Louise

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        I think it is like Susan said, you just tell yourself it is okay or look the other way. Same thing with dogs on sofas or beds…you just choose to not worry or think about it. I’m kind of a “germ freak” otherwise but as far as I’m concerned, our schnauzers are “germ-free”. And don’t even TRY to tell me to worry about what their beards have dragged through, as one of my friends once tried to…I just laughed! LOL!!! Love makes the germs go away…works for me!

  24. Martha says:

    Our property borders woods so we have a lot of wildlife – deer, rabbits, woodchucks, fox. We love having them all around us. Although the woodchucks have devastated my garden in the past and someone eats my Daisys, it’s ok, we don’t get too upset. Then, we had 5 wild turkeys on our property last summer. At first we thought they were cute and fun to watch. They took flight like a helicopter at night up into the trees where they slept, although it looked creepy to see their dark sillouettes up there! The 3 little babies grew very quickly and really enjoyed eating bird seeds on the ground as well as everything our neighbor fed them. Unfortunately, it turned into a problem. They left lots of black greasy mess all over the yard where our Westie plays. She would come across it and as dogs do, smelled it and would throw herself in it! We had to give her a bath right away each time. Our neighbor slipped and fell in the yard from their mess. Then the turkeys would go up on our cars, scratch them and leave more mess there. As another girlfriend pointed out, they are not afraid of people which led them up to our deck, where they pecked at the screens – yep, you got it, more mess left on the deck. I read a lot about them to figure out how to get them to leave. Nothing worked and they are protected by the Fish and Game so they couldn’t be caught and moved somewhere. Thankfully, after 2 months of this, they must have had enough of us constantly shooing them away. We were so happy when they finally flew the coop!

  25. Tricia Debs says:

    Here on the Cape, it was raining until about 8 am and then it’s been snowing ever since. It’s a really pretty snow, and the trees and shrubs look beautiful. The birds have been very busy at the feeder as well. The turkeys have not been around for awhile. They sometimes come right up to our slider and knock on the glass looking for Bill to feed them! Our indoor cats love to watch them from the window sill. I made a lovely bean, grains and vegetable soup yesterday so I can just relax and enjoy this glorious winter day! Thanks for your post. I was missing you.

  26. Claudia says:

    Out here in northern CA we are praying, PRAYING for rain! We watch the rest of the country dealing with too much precipitation and hope the weather changes soon before we dry up and blow away.
    I’m so excited that you’re working in next year’s blotter calendar. Was so sad there wasn’t one this year. I have a beat up desk top, and it is the prettiest way I know to make it look fabulous! Enjoy the snow 🙂

  27. Janet in Rochester says:

    Hey, I think this post is exactly what the world needs a LOT more of right now. Where the most exciting thing going on in a home, at any given moment, is a blooming turnip, a kitty with his foot in the paint water, or a group of wild turkeys who feel comfortable enough to stop by for a bite on the driveway. These ordinary moments are invariably the ones most people always recount as their most treasured and memorable…❄️

    • sbranch says:

      I agree with you. Give me a day when nothing happens. 🙂

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Makes me think of the Fran Leibowitz quote: “Remember that when you’re a teenager is the LAST time you’re actually glad to hear the phone is for you…”

      • sondra fox says:

        I’m a real home body. Just love home, always have. Give me “the road less travelled,” any day. That’s why I love your blog I think. You know that home is BEST Susan. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:


  28. susie says:

    Hi Susan, You cat is so cute. I can only imagine what a cat would act like watching turkeys. You have lots of pretty birds. We had a huge snow and now another is on it’s way, starting tomorrow and going on into Wed. I have to remeind myself that Spring truly is around the corner. Blessings to you and Joe, xoxo,Susie

  29. Audrey says:

    Oh Susan, I know you know this, but your cat is seriously the cutest I’ve ever seen. I am so severely allergic to cats but I look at his pictures and read about his antics in your post and find myself trying to think of ways to make it work. Ha! I love the cardinals on your drive and I’m swooning over those turkeys. For me, the highlight of my day is when our “resident” red-tailed hawk stops in for a visit. She is massive and causes a massive smile on my face! As always, your blog is such a delight and a bright spot in my day. XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      I heard there is a little something you can put in a kitty’s food (that doesn’t hurt him) that makes him non allergenic! I don’t know if that’s true, but if you really wanted a cat, perhaps you could ask your vet.

  30. Terry says:


    I am a teacher so I too am lucky enough to be Home Sweet Home today. However, you make me dream of working from home. Thank you!


  31. Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

    Am I mistaken or isn’t that vegetable shown a rhutabagus, not a turnip? We love both rhutabagus and turnips. We cook the rutabagus like potatoes, mash it, and eat it like a potato–minus gravy, of course! 🙂 We have wild turkeys here, too. I love how your photos showed the irradescent feathers of the turkey’s feathers. Sometimes they look dull brown/black but in certain light they are beautiful. I kind of hate it when they are out in our yard as our schnauzers, who weigh a LOT less than those turkeys, think they are my protectors and go crazy at the end of their leashes…

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a rutabaga Pat, you are so right, I called it a turnip without even thinking. I fixed it.

      • judi says:

        Like Pat, we eat our rutabagus like mashed potatoes w/butter. yesterday i had my first turnip and it is very similar, a little stronger and darker in color but ….yum! I’ll have to try your casserole idea – sounds delish.

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      I was wondering the same thing Pat!!! LOL
      My husband’s best Navy buddy was at the house at Christmas and enjoyed this new found veggie! LOL I tried to share with him our German/Scandinavian traditions. He is Irish/Norweign/Japanese. The guy looks Hawiian!

    • judy says:

      A rutabaga IS a turnip! Both of you are right. JA

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        Hmmmm…not that this is an issue or something to argue about here, more for “education purpose” and to keep the girlfriends who are not familiar with them but decide to try them from getting a rude surprise, but turnips are quite a bit smaller, white and purple outside, white inside, and have a distinctly different taste than rhutabagus (which some nationalities DO call “Swedes”–I think because Swedish people ate them a lot historically). Rhutabagus is larger, sort of golden-yellow inside, and has a much sweeter, less pungent, taste. Both are quite hard before cooking–much harder than a potato! I’m not sure anyone would want to cook turnips and mash them like potatoes–they have quite a strong taste–faintly maybe like radishes? Susan, I’ve never tried roasting rhutabagus the way you described but sure will try it now–sounds yummy! We’re getting kind of “addicted” to roasting cauliflower right now with drizzled olive oil, freshly-ground sea salt and pepper, and then tossed with a little bit of parmesan cheese right after roasting. We’re almost getting to where we never boil vegs now! (Ha–except for mashed potatoes or mashed rhutabagus–LOL!) And everything seems to become a little sweeter tasting by roasting it…

  32. Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

    Incidentally, does the groundhog ever NOT see his shadow??? LOL! 🙂

    • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

      but there were 3 other groundhogs, all around the country who did not see their shadows and called for an early spring.

    • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

      Pat, if you were snatched out of your hibernation nest in the dark and there were spotlights cast upon you…..there will always be a shadow! HA Also, according to the calendar there is always 6+ weeks of Winter left so I vote they forget about this ritual on the 2nd of Feb. because it borders on Groundhog Abuse!!! hmmmm

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        Deborah, I’m laughing at your comment! If I were “snatched out of my hibernation next…”, I’d say ANYTHING to make spring come sooner! 🙂

    • Janet in Rochester says:

      Pat – how are the dogs doing? I can’t remember whether Fanny or Bette is sick – so sorry – but I’ve been wanting to ask and finally remembered today? Hope BOTH are well & take care! ❤️

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        Deborah, I have to agree with that, i always wondered why Phil never bit them or ran away or put up a knock down drag fight to stay in his warm comfy little den.

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        Janet, thanks for asking. Fanny got down to 12 pounds, that from 23! She looked and still looks extremely thin (“extremely” is an understatement). We were a hair from making the “hard final decision” and the vet suggested a trial of prednisone as a last resort. On the prednisone she is eating and has gained a couple of pounds but we won’t know for several months whether it is a “cure” or just improving matters for a couple of months. She has never acted like she is in pain–just quit eating. She acts normally now still–jumps up on the furniture, barks, wants to be in our laps, etc. So we are in a “wait and see” mode…Betti is doing fine although going in to get her teeth cleaned next Tues. so we are kind of nervous about this and will be glad to have it behind us. Fanny was showing symptoms for a week before the teeth-cleaning procedure that set this all off big-time. The vet has explained it didn’t cause the problem but exacerbated whatever is going on in her body–either inflammable bowel disease or lymphosarcoma. If they could only talk…I will say between Fanny’s illness and the weather, it has not been the best winter we’ve ever had…I’m working hard on my attitude! 🙂

        • Janet in Rochester says:

          Hey, Pat. I’m so glad Fanny is doing better. Must have been awful facing that decision about her. That predisone is remarkable – I remember my dad getting it for his emphysema years ago & I’m sure there have been improvements since then. Will be thinking about both your girls – and good luck!

    • Donna Klein says:

      I lived most of my life in Minneapolis. Seemed to me it didn’t matter if he saw his shadow or not, we were still going to have winter at least thru the end of March 🙂

  33. Sweet Sue says:

    Just loved your blog today! All the wildlife right outside your door is amazing….squirrels….cardinals……even turkeys…, my got a chuckle out of watching the neighbor’s cat trying to stalk them and could just picture you and Jack watching the whole thing from your window. 🙂 Just loved the Sue & Joe Happy Vallentines Day decoration. Is that a pillow with decorative dangles? Do you have a pattern for it? Would love to make one that says, Sue & Dusty (who is my sweetie :-)). Here in sunny California it rained last night and it was in the 40’s this morning yet now is in the mid to high 60’s. Crisp, cool and sunny and a beautiful day! Unlike your snowy weather which is always a joy to behold! Have a blessed and beautiful day! Cuddles to Jack who is always so adorable to behold!

  34. Betsy says:

    It is snowing yet again in Pennsylvania! Please don’t think I am a complainer but I need sun, sun and more sun! pansies coming out of the ground…..tulips too! I need SPRING!

    • sbranch says:

      Here is SPRING AT OUR HOUSE a couple of years ago … I hope this takes you away in manner of calgon! Nice wind and bird noises! Weeping cherry, wisteria and magnolia in bloom.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Thanks for sharing Spring At Your House! Loved the Magnolia’s in bloom. Also is that a little country church that we see just beyond your property? Have never been on the East Coast yet will have to go sometime…..spring looks like a good time although really enjoyed your fall photos as well. Bless this day Susan with all the joy each season brings…..winter, spring, summer and fall….all are good!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, there’s a church across the street from us with bells that ring! One of my favorite parts of living here.

          • Sweet Sue says:

            How delightful and what blessing! Martha’s Vineyard is on our list of places to visit. Any suggestions for a good bed and breakfast in the area? 🙂 And what is the best time of the year to come when it is not overwhelmed with tourists? All the seasons look delightful as you have shared them with us yet for travel not sure which route and waht time of year would be best especially if we take road trip from California out your way. We have always wanted to drive across the country and your recent “A Fine Romance” tour has inspired us to do just that.

          • sbranch says:

            Come in the fall, September or October. I’m not the right person to know about bed and breakfasts since we never stay in them and neither do our friends, they stay with us. Look at the Chamber of Commerce … or real estate web sites. Lots of people will rent a house here for a week or whatever. The island is only 100 square miles.

          • Sweet Sue says:

            Thanks Susan for the letting us know what season is best to visit your neck of the woods…..maybe next fall we will take a road trip across the US to see you! And thanks for suggestion to check out rentals on the island …that sounds like the best way to go!
            Have a grand day!

  35. Audrianne says:

    With six more weeks until spring Holland MI has measured 101.4 inches of snow! Our average is 69.3. The weather dudes and dudettes are calling this a “once in a generation” winter. But today the sun is shining and its 23 degrees above 0. I am thankful. There was no shoveling this morning prior to heading to open the bookstore. Your book is promptly displayed in our Valentine section and I have managed to get the staff to push it by showing all of your hard work and efforts; it never fails.

    • sbranch says:

      You are a sweetheart Audrianne, which bookstore is that? Too much snow!!!

      • Audrianne says:

        Reader’s World in downtown Holland MI. It’s an independent bookstore that is two years shy of being in the same family for 50 years. It was my childhood bookstore and since I retired from teaching, now work here!

        • sbranch says:

          I think we were in Holland on our book tour! Too bad we didn’t know, we would have stopped in to say hello! What a wonderful way to spend your retirement, in your childhood bookstore.

  36. Cyndi in NC says:

    I love the pictures out your windows. The snow falling is always so peaceful. I was a bit jealous of all the snow everyone had and then we got some of our own…on top of 2 or 3 inches of ice!! Everyone always laughs at us southerns for going into panic mode, running out to get milk and bread, but you all have to realize that we don’t get much snow like you all in other parts of the country do. When we get snow we don’t have the tools to keep our streets clear and safe. So most of us expect to stay in for the duration. If the electricity goes out you can always eat sandwiches! *L* The few trucks for scrappong and salting our street work over time and work hard to keep the main streets clear. There are always the fools who just have to drive on roads that have no business being driven on except in case of emergancy. They become the emergancies and then others who need them have to wait. Personally I just loved sitting in my chair by the window or stopping to look our the windows at the beautiful site in my yard. Our Cardinals look even prettier on snow with their little ladies. I walked out and scattered extra seeds and nuts on the ground after I refilled the feeders. We live in the middle of about 3 acres with woods all around and it was magical! I did not see our turkeys, 7 of them, and haven’t for several weeks. There is a farm behind us with pine trees right behind us and one of those power line things so there are lots of animals that wonder into our yard. There were lots of feet prints all over the yard. It was fun trying to figure out what they were. We ate comfort food and played games and watched movies. There were also two young 28-30 ladies that tried to find something to slide down the driveway in! Our little Jenna, an English Bulldog lady, did not like the snow at all! It’s tough when your potty is covered with snow and ice. Her little feet were frozen when she’d come in!! Poor little girl. That was our life for two days and I loved it! It stared on Tuesday and by Friday even we were sure it was safe to go out. I expect that is the last snow we’ll see but who knows. Strange thing are happening all over this winter! Anyway you all stay warm, take care of each other, check on your neighbors and drive safely. *S*

    • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

      Cyndi, we in the north go into “storm mode”, too. (or at least some of us– LOL!) It is nice to be inside watching it snow and when the winds whip it into blizzard conditions, it always feels good to have soup or stew cooking and the smell of bread baking. I almost think it is sort of “instinctive”. Did the cavemen stash food for when the weather got bad? Or did they just freeze to death in their caves and not have to worry about starving? I’m amazed to think of how resourceful the Indians were that lived here and how hardy–and then just think of the pioneers who came to this land! On the prairies where there were not trees to build houses or even have wood to keep fires burning–just imagine! (Picture “Little House on the Prairie”!!!) It is hard to think that the soddy houses were very warm in the winters. To lighten things up, of course, if one wanted to play the “glad game” that my BFF Sandy of Attleboro and I always do with each other, I would be saying, “I’m glad for the freezing temperatures because then the snakes don’t drop through the sod roofs!” LOL!!! 🙂

      • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        You and Sandy crack me up. Read in the archives about the time the two of you were going to get all your Christmas cards done in July sitting on the patio, playing Christmas music and drinking lemonade!
        How is Sandy doing. We haven’t heard from her in a long time. I pray for her every night.
        It IS a wonderful thing to have good friends.

      • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

        I,too, have been wondering about Sandy. How is she doing? I have not forgotten her and pray for her. Please tell her I am rooting for her!

        • Janet in Rochester says:

          Me too. Haven’t heard from “Sandy in Richmond” for quite a while. Been in the back of my mind to ask… Sending all good wishes.

  37. miss winnie says:

    Hi Susan,
    Many of us may be envious of your seemingly charmed and enchanting life, but the work you put into making that life happen is so admirable. Thanks for reminding us that that life is the reward of incredible discipline and hard work. You set a great example (although I still don’t want to get out of bed as early as you do — especially in the dead of winter) of a great work ethic. Thanks for the great photos of Jack. Wish we could see Girl Kitty more often, but I understand her desire for privacy! We may get up to nine inches of snow here in Kansas by tomorrow — think I will stay home with the kitties and the puppy for the rest of the week!

  38. Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

    Susan, your garden is so lovely and peaceful in the snow! Thank you for sharing all of the little delights in your little corner of the world! ♡ This afternoon I’m sitting near a sunny window making sweet, handmade valentines. It’s such fun to think about all of the smiles they will bring!
    Heartwarming hugs!

  39. Kate Taylor says:

    How wonderful to see the turkeys close up. They may get like geese, tame and eating your garden and pooping and such but still wonderful to see. I loved the ginger cat, what a brave fellow! Jack is too cute, my boy is 17 now and just sleeps, but he used to love to carry fuzzy balls around the house like prey and leave them for me in the night. I was just glad they weren’t real prey!
    That magazine looks beautiful, reminds me of the old Victorias. I have every issue since the beginning and keep them to drool over. I did check on her print on demand option, good grief, $37.95 plus shipping! So I didn’t order one but I agree with other commenters, a publication like that just isn’t very interesting only on screen.
    I’m glad you are doing a blotter for next year, maybe I could keep my desk cleaned off if I had that to look at! Now its buried in paper, I never seem to have enough space for it all. Snow headed our way again, I just moved and have a back field with lots of geese, I’m so tempted to go out and feed them, but they are a messy pest in the summer. I love being a little closer to wild things. Cheers, Kate

  40. Sally says:

    Good to hear from you. I know you are busy working to bring us joy in 2015 but it is always great to see a post. Such fun to get caught up with what’s happening in your neck of the woods. As for us, we feel “same ol’ same ol'” is a very nice life. Enjoying the everyday is such a pleasure. Retirement is sweet. Loved seeing the cardinals. Such beauty any time of year. Miss them here in Southern CA. Have to be happy with hummingbirds year round. They too are beautiful and entertaining as they protect their food supply. Stay warm.

  41. Tisa @ Seattle Retro says:

    Thanks for the short video of the snow! Since we were raised in SoCal where we rarely,if ever, saw S-N-O-W (a four letter word), doesn’t it feel magical everytime you see it, like it does for me? Even in Seattle we don’t usually get much….so I go out and take photos each time we do, like a happy little kid in my Eddie Bauer down jacket & snow boots, which hardly have any wear even after almost 25 years here! Saw a dusting of new snow on the Olympics today, just breathtaking against the pale blue winter sky. But am off to NYC this week, bet there’s snow there!

  42. Cyndy Szarzynski says:

    Congrats on your ‘Celebrating everyday life’ interview. I am so glad your book, A Fine Romance, continues to be a success. Even reading super slowly, I finally did come to the end. Regrettably. It certainly was the proverbial ‘I wish it would never end’ book.

    The next order of business…making the Hot Milk Cake.

    I had a quart of heavy cream. My 8” round cake pan was out of reach and my tall hubby was AWOL at that moment. But, my 9” X 15”pan was conveniently located on a lower shelf. I decided to double the recipe. Why not? And, good thing I did. That cake was so flavorful and so easy to make. No one could mess up this recipe. Truly, no one! I did not even have to move my heavy mixer into my work space…a whisk worked more than adequately.

    This is definitely my new ‘GO TO’ cake recipe.

  43. Susan in SC says:

    Thank you for sharing your snow, Susan. There is nothing more peaceful than watching a snowfall. And I’m so glad you posted the turnip. I have no rutabagas, but I am off to the kitchen right now to start a sweet potato vine! Have not thought so do that in years.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a rutabaga not a turnip, no wonder everyone is mentioning turnip! I will fix that!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Oh, I thought it WAS a turnip [albeit a large one]. All the rutabagas I’ve seen were darker than this – a reddish purple color [looking more like a big round scruffy beet]. Guess it’s time to play “Name That Veggie.”

        • Sweet Sue says:

          Okay everyone….turnip or rutabaga….cooked or raw…they are both delicious! Today I’ve packed for my husband’s and my lunch tuna with dill and garlic and mustard, cut-up rutabaga (yes, it tastes good raw too!) and peaches packed in their own juice. A well balanced and satisfying mid-day meal! Last night we had sauteed mushrooms with spinach and romaine salad and rosemary shepherds sour dough toast and tonight it is Mahi Mahi sandwiches on Ezekiel sesame toast with simmered sweet onions and cucumber salad. It is all good and we are thankful for such an abundance of choices we have even in the winter season! Bless you all this day with much happiness at the abundance we all partake of!

        • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

          I’m laughing at all of the comments about rhutabagus/turnips. Here is some more “vegetable trivia”: Imagine what we thought years ago when we moved for a stint to Northern Minnesota and saw our first “sugar beet”. Sugar beets are grown there as a main crop and they are turned into table sugar. Now, if you want to see a strange-looking and ugly vegetable that most people who don’t live in the area would NEVER be able to identify and actually you would NEVER see in a grocery store or market, google or do a search on “sugar beet” and read up… LOL!

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      Are you starting your’s from seed?? Mine got so big this summer, that I just let it freeze in Autumn. It was invading the neighbor’s property!

      • Susan in SC says:

        Not from seed. I’m using the tried and true elementary school method of rooting the sweet potato in a jar of water, but I would love to think it could possibly be a colossal vine! What fun that would be for the grandsons. 🙂

  44. Ann Y in PA says:

    Hi Susan….another cozy post! Thank you for working so hard on 2015….something to look forward to for next year ! Turned my calendars to February and love to see the new artwork each month. ANOTHER snowstorm here today….shoveled out once, going out again…it is a heavy snow. Little twin boys from the neighborhood – little boys – out for a walk with their shovels “helping” – adorable. Glad I had homemade cookies ready to “pay” them. Everyone is complaining about the snow and cold….I prefer to embrace the season…enjoy the fire, the soup, the movies, the quilts…….time will come soon enough for mud and sun and spring garden work – then hot summer and the grill and the porch….then fall again, and so on. What a wonderful cycle to enjoy ! Keep warm, and enjoy the cozy !

    • sbranch says:

      You are right, enjoy what we’ve got when we’ve got it!

      • Samantha Walterman says:

        So true!! Take time to smell the roses in the spring… cuddle up and enjoy the cozy in the winter!! (And with 10+ inches of snow coming our way to tonight, there should plenty of time to enjoy the cozy!!)

  45. Diana from Ancaster says:

    love the quiet of snow falling as well. thanks so much for sharing yours…
    we have had a pile of it lately…. and i am not complaining.

  46. Mary S. says:

    What a wonderful blog (of course)!!! Thank you so much for the snowfall video!!! And all the delightful kitty pictures!! And yes, Jack IS the cutest thing ever!!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA (we finally had a little rain!)

  47. Deanna says:

    Hello Susan and friends!

    It’s been lovely to read your chatting here in the comments. I am sorry for the loss of property Pat.

    Susan, I’ve read your newsletter Willard for years and love your artwork. It touches on all the things I love – home, family, tea, British things, gardens, etc…I just bought A Fine Romance after hearing so many lovely things about it. Brenda at Coffee Tea Books and Me highly recommended it to me! Since we are kindreds I knew I’d love it and I do! I am enjoying it in small doses – savoring it, really.

    We are getting lots of snow today – I am in Lancaster County PA too. It’s a lovely winter wonderland!
    Have a lovely evening.

  48. Kathie says:

    Daisy said it all, that’s for sure. Rose is pushing the Victorian/Edwardian envelope. When will Edith tell mom about the baby? There’s chemistry between Mary and Thomas. Anna and Mr. Bates are sort of their old selves again though Bates is dreaming of murder. I love seeing (Andrew Foil) again (even though he’s the enemy); will Downton turn his head? Will Mary turn his head? Is her ladyship’s maid equal to Barrow’s ministrations (Barrow is soooooo tiresome)?So many questions. So little time. We have snow too….then rain…..then snow. It’s rather confusing but that’s how it is when you live kind of close to an ocean (or on the ocean, like you). Stay cozy. Keep painting. Keep…um….throwing (Jack asked me to tell you).

    • sbranch says:

      Oh great, now Jack is working the computer behind my back! Chemistry between Mary and Thomas???? If I was writing that in handwriting all the letters would be squiggled. Really? That’s plain scary. You mean that sneaky nosy downstairs guy who’s dangerously handsome but completely out of the question? I think she’s got chemistry with the mean man staying in her house trying to decide what’s going to happen to the beautiful estates (is that Andrew Foil?). Right now they hate each other. But that’s the way writers like to make their characters.

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Downton gets confusing with Thomas (the sneaky one downstairs) and Tom (Sybil’s widower). I think Kathie meant the second one!

      • Kathie says:

        It’s probably just me. Wanting everything to be tidy; wanting Downton to grow into a modern farm like Beatrix Potter’s with Thomas and Mary running it together and their two children growing up as brother and sister, almost, and everyone working hard and being happy. I don’t suppose Julian will write my plot, though. Barrow and Mary? Argh. Barrow was almost tolerable for a while there, wasn’t he? I, too, shiver when he starts his machinations. We’ll see…..

        • sbranch says:

          One of these days Downton Abbey will end. Everything does, I’m steeling myself. And I pray there will be a Happily Ever After ending. Maybe the two children will grow up and run the big house as a set for an English soap opera!

          • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

            I keep wishing Downton Abbey was from a book I could go ahead and read! I know, I know–one can buy the series on DVD but I’m resisting peeking ahead…There is so much going on that the hour goes too fast! and the episodes are written so we always have a bit of a cliff-hanging ending to the episode and can hardly wait for the next week! I was never “into” soap operas and I’m suspecting Downton Abbey is a bit like one but we are really enjoying it!!!

          • Samantha says:

            Downtown Abbey is one of my favorites of all time! What would I do if my husband had not twisted my arm to watch the first episode?!? I was hooked after the opening sequence!! I too am bracing to hear the words “series finale”… but sure am enjoying the ride along the way!

            Have you ever read the book “Her Father’s House” by Emma Sinclair? It is out of print, but a very enjoyable (if you can get your hands on a copy) saga of an aristocratic family struggling to work through inheritance problems, too. The romantic Cornwall, England, setting doesn’t hurt the imagination either! If you happen to be a Rosamund Pilcher fan you’re sure to enjoy this treasure… especially on a cozy, snow day!

  49. Mary Duke says:

    Susan, I know you love lambs, and I know of a young woman you should check out. Her name is Shannon, and she and her husband raise registered Jacob Sheep just outside Eugene, Oregon. Their farm is Kenleigh Acres, and you can find her on FaceBook or her web page. It’s Kenleigh Acres Farm & Fiber Studio (she makes the most darling felted dogs you ever saw!). She is posting pictures almost every day of her newborn lambs, and they are so cute it hurts. I suspect you get recommendations every day for Blogs and websites to investigate, but if you want a serious dose of lamb-cuteness, you have to check this out. And I’m so jealous of your cardinals. Such gorgeous birds that we don’t have here on the West Coast.

    • sbranch says:

      They’re polka dotted! How adorable. I wish I lived next door!

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Thanks for sharing about Shannon and Tony and Kenleigh Acres Farm & Fiber. Love the wool custom created dogs and the sheep are great! We love shelties and collies so may order one from Shannon! Thanks again for introducing us all to Shannon and her creative beautifully made dogs!

  50. Peggy Cooper says:

    I was amused by your writing turnip and then changing it to rutabaga. Growing up my mother always called them turnips, and it wasn’t until I started shopping on my own that I saw the sign in the supermarket calling them rutabaga. My mom was from New Hampshire, so maybe that’s what they call them in New England? I’m sure it’s in the turnip family, just orange instead of white.

    Lovely post, and lovely Jack. Our evil kitty, Katniss Everdeen, still loves chasing the ponytail bands, especially on these cold days when she doesn’t want anything to do with going outside.

  51. Vicki (in Cincy) says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you for posting today. The turkeys were so pretty in that 1st picture that I didn’t think it was a real photo at first. The orange kitty had no idea what he was up against, I think. Loved seeing Jack, making me still homesick for a kitty!!! I’ve been bugging Jerry, like a little kid, to get a new kitten and he wants to wait til we move to his house. I might have to sneak a kitty in, I know he would melt like our snow did this weekend! Anyway we have sun today and we actually can see the driveway and our deck! Saturday it was 50ish and I had 1 layer on LOL, I felt so light! This wearing 3 layers stuff is getting old!! BUT, it is pretty and we might be getting more tomorrow night. Don’t work too hard, but thank you for all of your wonderful art and calendars! Love you Girlfriend!!

  52. I loved everything about this post! (Come to think of it, I always feel that way when I visit your blog!) Your little video of the snow is so sweet. Those wild turkeys are beautiful; we have them here on the farm, too, but they are rarely seen this close. I think ours are shy. They pose nicely for our wildlife camera that we strapped to a tree, though.

    Your beloved Jack reminds me so much of my late, great Buckwheat Elizabeth. She was quite a girl.

    I don’t have to wish you a blessed rest of the day — I know you are already having one! Sending a hug from here.

  53. Cris says:

    Loved the post. We had Turkeys up till December. In 2012 we had a Tom and two hens. In spring of 2013 we had a Tom and ten hens. By December we had twenty Turkeys climbing over all our roofs chasing our chickens and the birds away. Three Toms in that mix. I loved them but it was costing a lot to feed them and there were irate neighbors complaining they were ruining their roofs so they called the Fish and Wild life people to come for them. They safely trapped them and relocated them before our gun threatening irate neighbor shot them as he promised. By Spring we would probably have tripled the count. So be careful. I felt sorry for them when we got below zero for a couple weeks and fed them. Would do it again too but we did lose all the pretty birds for awhile but it was fun and they are finally coming back.
    On another note i have a question…Do you have a hint on how to clean a teapot that is all tea stained? I have tried everything I can think of and it’s still stained and is ruining my favorite teapot.

    • sbranch says:

      Have you tried powdered cleanser, the kind you use in your sink? Or even the gentler liquid kind? Those things should work. So far no turkeys are flying. They hop-fly, like when the cat rushed them … but we don’t see them in trees or on roofs. Maybe they aren’t that kind.

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Hi Cris, I’ve had good luck removing tea stains from china cups with a little bit of salt and water to dampen. The salt acts as a gentle abrasive and doesn’t harm the surface of the cup. No, your tea won’t taste salty. Hope this works on your teapot.

        • Elizabeth says:

          A little paste of baking soda and water should take the tea stains right off.

          • sondra fox says:

            Fill the cup with warm water. Add a few drops of bleach. Wipe around. Rinse. Or, if the stains are really bad, let the solution sit for awhile. WALL-AH! (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            I’d try the above plus [if needed] a salt & baking soda paste made with a little lemon juice & vigorously applied with a mesh scrubbie. If stains persist, a little bit of Bon Ami would be my next try. Be prepared though, because depending on how old the piece is & how long stains have been there, damage could be somewhat permanent. But overall the above ideas should make a major dent overall. Good luck.

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        I have the ANSWER to cleaning the bottom of teapots … Magic Erasers! They are truly MAGIC … you won’t believe it … SO easy and no chemicals!

      • TJ in VA says:

        Baking soda works every time…make a paste of baking soda and hot water…or soak for a while in a solution of baking soda,white vinegar, and hot water. Baking soda does not scratch surfaces so it’s safe to use.

    • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

      Baking soda removes tea stains…and doesn’t scratch. You have to dampen a paper towel, shake on some baking soda, and rub! Also, you can try shaking in some dishwasher soap and pour in boiling water and let it sit–that helps, too…

      • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

        I LOVE hearing everyone’s advice. In the “olden” days, when generations got together, that’s how women passed on their knowledge. How wonderful that we can “gather” here on Susan’s blog and share our tips and experiences; and well as our questions and frustrations and know that there is a circle of “womenfolk” ready to offer comfort and advice! Thank you, all of you Girlfriends! I deeply appreciate all of you!

        • Cris says:

          Wow, thanks everyone. I tried the salt and baking soda and it helped a lot but there’s still some stain inside my cute little white two cup teapot that I can’t get my big fist into to get. 🙁 I will try the bleach and dishwasher soap, and I wonder if they make the magic sponge on a bendable stick.. 🙂

  54. judi says:

    Love your snowy pictures. You will be a Costco soon…right??? There is a Costco in SW Florida too, hint, hint!!
    You two are so fortunate to have so many cardinals at one time. Only once whilst living “up north” did we have 2 pair and we went thru a 50# bag of black oil sunflower seeds and a large bag of safflower seed every three weeks. We were happily rewarded by the wonderful variety of beautiful birds:)
    Just finished 9 little valentine chocolate holders (Ghirardelli Dark & Sea Salt Carmel – UFF DA heaven) for a get together tomorrow. There were 10 in the bag:) so one for me – plop – gone:))

  55. Christine D says:

    We also have lots of turkeys in our subdivision. I’ve counted as many as 14 at one time they never seem to hurt anything they just walk around like they own the neighborhood. Lol wish we had a snow melt our is piled so high its buried all the Christmas decorations! Lol no time to take them in between snows lol and more snow expected tomorrow. I’m just dream of Spring I know I’ve already bought 3 primrose for my stove top and I’m forcing 3 tulips things are getting desperate! Lol

  56. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Not to sound like the Cookie Monster, but…Me want heart cookie!!!

    • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

      I’d say, “Come on over, Margot, and I’ll bake you some and we will have tea!” but you would look at our weather report and respond, “No Thanks!” LOL! Maybe I should offer to come visit YOU and bake some for you??? LOL!!!

  57. Holly says:

    Oh my!! I want the view from your windows! The cardinals are so lovely, but those turkeys & the orange kitty are just magical! Everyone here is hunkered down too. We both work from home, both have separate creative endeavors, so we work when we want, sleep only when we are tired. I actually get quite a bit done during these dark winter months, but life is definitely ‘the same old same old’ day after day and will be until there is more sunshine and less snow.

    Your sweet boy…. I’ve never petted him, or rubbed his tummy, but I do love him! Our 3 kitties keep us in stitches here. They play, chase each other, and keep us in stitches watching their kitty games. The older ones let the tiny 3.5 lb. year old kitten boss them around. She is part Siamese, a talker, and has run the show here since we brought her home last year. She likes to play fetch, her favorite “fetch” toy is a small crumpled piece of paper. She will do this until she is actually winded. Today I had to run to the market and when I got home, I couldn’t open the door very well. It seems I had left a drawer open on the entry cupboard, just enough for Pippa (the little one) to figure out there was a BIG bag of catnip in the drawer. Well, it was all over the floor, up and down the hall, all 3 cats had it plastered to their fur, it was everywhere. The bag it was in actually had kitty saliva all over it! They had the wildest party of their lives today! And the look on their faces…. priceless, like actual children doing something naughty! You just have to love them. They’ve been sleeping it off all afternoon.

    • Janet in Rochester says:

      OMG, a kitty bender! That’s hilarious.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        LOL!!! ROFL!!! sounds like my cats, every Christmas a dear friend sends me a box of presents in the mail. instead of the packing peanuts and whatever else is used, she uses bags filled with catnip, so you can imagine the sniffing and pawing that goes on around that box and come Christmas day the cats get into the box, they wait until its been opened and they have one big catnip bender. we are talking drunk kitties here. LOL!!!

        • Janet in Rochester says:

          What a great idea! Bags of catnip instead of air. Nothing for you to dispose or recycle, so it’s good for the environment. And bonus – a party & presents for the kitties too! Very smart. ✨

    • judi says:


  58. Jackie P says:

    Hi Susan,
    Just popping in to say hello. Check your blog every day. Snow flurries in NH today — we are waiting for the big one on Wednesday . . . keep warm!
    Jackie P

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

    You’re almost making me miss snow – almost! It is lovely when it falls so peacefully, isn’t it? And in the quiet, you can actually hear it falling. Such a gentle sound. I loved the video; thank you for it. About Celebrating Everyday Life – where is the print edition available? Maybe you’ve answered that somewhere and I will go look (I do so many things after the fact ), but asking first and looking second is more my style ( I might forget, otherwise! )

    • Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

      …..aaaand I found the answer about print on demand. Thought I’d tack this on so you wouldn’t type it all out again. If she could somehow get that out in print form another (translate that ‘less expensive’) way, I’ll bet she’d have quite a following!

  60. Kimberly Allen says:

    Thank you! love to read your blog.

  61. Sherry Palla says:

    Susan, I love your Winter Wonderland photos! My pre-school students also love our new snow, and today we got to go out and play in it twice for recess! It has been an awful winter here in MN and I haven’t been able to take them out much….too many below 0 windchills, and our school has closed 4 different days! So today all of the students in our school rejoiced, as it was a whopping l9 degrees….seemed like Spring to me almost! Happy February!

  62. Gloria L. Nugent says:

    Because I was fortunate to have a wild turkey visitor to my birdseed I’m HOPING you PAINT one of them. Pretty please! Also, when I was around age 9, I grew a vine one winter from a carrot top. Loved that thing! On another note, since Jennifer from “Celebrating Everyday Life” is new AND she featured YOU….I bit the bullet & paid for the hard copy. (sigh) Everybody keep safe & warm out there. Going to get another storm in my part of Pa. tomorrow night.

    • sbranch says:

      You must have just made her day Gloria! I learned that she does this magazine AND has a two year old! Pretty amazing.

  63. charlotte says:

    Susan, your same ol’ same ol’ sounds delightful. I could spend hours watching cats and birds. Jack is indeed handsome. We used to have a tuxedo kitty too. The neighbor cat with the turkeys is so funny!

  64. Matty says:

    I have Jack’s sorta sister, Annie. She is a rescue, being born at a local cat rescue and never having home home until now. She has an Eeyore that she carries around, puts in the litter box, food bowl, and water dish. She tucks him in bed with us at night before she will curl up to sleep. If I am gone too long during the day, she will collect every stuffed animal in the house and line the house from door to my chair so I will have “present” when I get in! Who could not love kitties?

  65. Dear Susan, I received your 2014 calendar and was surprised to find there will be no July 31st this year. Troubling to me since it is our 38th wedding anniversary! Still, your calendar is my favorite each and every year! Love, Penny

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, Penny, you are so right . . . I did a post about missing July 31st and also posted about it on Facebook, but I’m sure not everyone has seen it or heard. But here, this is a link to a place where there’s a feeble explanation and a fix you can print out for your calendar that will put July 31 back in its proper place. I’m so sorry.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Good Day Penny! Enjoyed what you shared ….my husband and I will also be celebrating our 38th Wedding Anniversary this year as well although ours is in May. May you both be as blessed as we are in all that you share and do together. Our time here on planet earth is so short compared to eternity yet to have been given the opportunity and blessing to share so many years with a husband truly given to me by God is a cherished and priceless treasure! Enjoy your days together!

  66. Oh, Susan, I am just so jealous of all of your winter weather. Our drought is getting scary. We are supposed to cut our water usage by fifty percent, here in our little town. I don’t know how to do that. I’m trying…
    I am so envious of your cardinals, too. It’s just not fair. They are so beautiful! We have an infestation of turkeys too, and I googled them. I read that they can destroy a garden. I don’t think it’s a problem in the snow, but keep an eye out in the spring! Bye for now girlfriends!

  67. Sharon C. says:

    Susan, I love the turkey and kitty pictures! They made me smile–thank you!

  68. Mary Lou Cummings says:

    Thank you Susan for such a wonderful blog. We’ve had the same snowfall here in Conn. and expect the gamut as the week continues — ah, snowy February. You are so structured in setting aside your work time, but then, you have a full plate to tackle! The kitty tales and photos are adorable. Your blog makes one feel as we’ve been invited by an old friend to come and spend some time together. Thank you again!

  69. Laurel says:

    Susan, I just had to write and say that the squirrel in your photo is at such angle that he looks like he’s wearing a sweater. I hope it’s not just me that thinks this and if it is, well he looks pretty darn cute. Stay warm and many thoughts of Spring to come hopefully soon.

  70. Barbara (WA) says:

    Oh, oh, Susan “not-as-Super-as-we-expected” – us Washingtonians are THRILLED – we haven’t had a championship team since the Sonics in 1979!! The whole state came together, everyone from tiny babies to the elderly wearing Seahawks gear, parties galore, cheering. It has been SO fun!!! We were shocked it wasn’t a nail-biter of a game and so, so, so happy at the outcome. I wasn’t even a football fan until the last few games of the season, either! I keep saying that now I hope the Mariners will win the World Series in MY lifetime, haha! Anyway, that’s how we are feeling out in Western WA.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I just meant that it wasn’t much of a “game” — not that I wasn’t happy for the Seahawks and everyone in Washington — that was fabulous, but that it was such a rollover. I’d heard that the Seahawks were the underdogs, so I was for them! Even though I have three brothers in Colorado!

  71. Nancy B says:

    Oh how I loved your video…loved hearing your voice again! How sweet of you to go outside and film that beautiful scene. We are finally having some colder weather here and have been able to enjoy a fire in our fireplace. We aren’t always able to have a fire due to bad air days, but we have had several days recently that we could. I think your fireplace is so warm and inviting. Thank you for all the wonderful pictures you share of your home.

    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

  72. Sara says:

    Amazing how your same ol`same ol’ can bring such joy to all us girfriends, Susan! By the way, I really like looking out of your windows! You can tell about as much about what a person is ‘made of’ by what they put outside their house as what they put inside their house, don’t you think? (Oh, and thanks for the spring walkabout.)

    I had an artist friend who lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home on beautiful Lake Wawasee. But what she really loved looking at and painting, she created around her little glass-walled studio in one half of the garage at the far end of the lot. Surrounding the three sides of the studio were beautiful plantings of perennials, flowering trees and annuals carefully chosen for the paintings ‘in Betty’s head’ that always found their way to her canvas. She gave each of my daughters one of her garden paintings and one is ‘on loan’ to me because I love it so. It represents so much more than Betty’s talent, which was considerable; it reflects the passion she had for the garden she loved.

    I love your work for the same reason, Susan. You paint the things you love, because you love the things you paint! (There’s a lot of ‘love’ in those sentences!)
    Your pathway full of cardinals took my breath away. How clever of Joe to sprinkle the seed along the path. (My, Susan, that man does love you so!) I do think that you need a tiny sign that says “Cardinal Crossing” though.

    I like Ellen’s thought about procrastination, but I would add that it’s really important to strive for excellence in everything you do, including procrastination. (I have achieved a modicum of excellence because piddling around makes me happy, but you, my dear, have taken it to a whole new level because you make thousands happy with the stroke of your pen and brush and the snap of your camera.)

    Smiles of gratitude, Girlfriend!


    • Sweet Sue says:

      Yes, I love the photos of all the cardinals that come your way there in Martha’s Vineyard! I agree a little “cardinal crossing” sign would be great and Joe is so thoughtful to clear the walkway and then leave “seed” for the cardinals. You don’t see cardinals too much here in California yet we do have Blue Jays which are colorful yet totally different personality than cardinals. Maybe you could write a children’s book someday Susan featuring the wildlife right outside your door….I am sure it would be a big hit. It could feature a cardinal and his friends.
      I would be happy to try my hand at writing the book if you could illustrate it. I have spent many years working in the field of child development with young children andjust love beautifully illustrated story books. Just thought of another idea for a book about Jack and his friends just beyond the window. Now that would be a good story line as well. I could even see a series of children’s books and ideas are just popping into my head as I think about it. What say Jack? Would you like to be featured in a series of children’s books? 🙂

  73. Lee Rose says:

    This is the time of year my mother used to have dinner parties for friends. Not Christmastime when everyone is busy and has family and parties to enjoy. Not in the Spring when everyone starts to get giddy and has Spring fever and couldn’t be anything but happy. Now–when everyone feels like every day is a matter of putting one foot in front of another, when the snow seems like it will never end and the warm days will never arrive. As with so many lessons I learned from my mother, I didn’t understand them when she told me, but I sure do appreciate them now.

    • Janet in Rochester says:

      Very smart mom you had there, Lee. Much as I adore picnics in the Summer, I think I love the comfort-food-around-the-fireplace kind of parties you can have in the Winter even more. Maybe because we seem to NEED them more now…

  74. Margie Terry (Lancaster PA) says:

    Susan, I would love to pick up a copy of “Celebrating Everyday Life” but the local Barnes & Noble does not carry it!? Do you have any suggestions as to which store carries it? Since it snowed here all day long (at least 7 inches
    this time – two weeks ago it was over 8 inches) and I’m originally a California
    girl that retired to PA in July 2012 – I am not driving on the roads for a few days……………….I wish you weren’t so busy because I really look forward to reading your blog……………Take care and stay warm………

  75. Your photos look like you are living inside a snow globe! So pretty! I just love your Jack…the two of you make me snicker out loud. Stay warm!

  76. Hello Susan! I so look forward to Monday and your weekly Blog. But imagine my surprise to see the orange kitty stalking your turkeys!! When I am on the island, the kitty is in my yard stalking the moles in my gardens! I have wondered where he came from as he just appears and seems to know when the moles are having a little garden party. I have to keep my big, furry dog, Henry, inside as he would ruin the entire stalking and those darn moles would takeover my yard. Don’t you just love watching nature playing out under your own window? And thank you for all of your lovely snowy pictures. . . Makes me appreciate my own snowy back yard here in Michigan. Stay warm!

    • sbranch says:

      I saw him coming from the direction of the yellow house the other day. I’ve tried to make friends with him, but he’s having none of that. I don’t know who he belongs to but he’s definitely being fed and seems to have the run of the neighborhood. Stay warm Lee!

      • No, he is not a friendly kitty at all, probably because he is so focused on his hunting activities. Several neighbors have reported seeing him, so he certainly does get around. Hope he stays warm on these cold, snowy days!

        • sbranch says:

          He seems smart enough to know if it was really cold he might just knock on the door and get inside somewhere.

  77. Karen says:

    Dear Susan. Oh how I wish we had snow! We do have a National Football team though, just sayin’. Anyway, I have a favor; feel a bit awkward asking but here goes. We are USA flag flying folks BUT we like to put the flag out/bring it in on “flag holiday days” (except for Memorial Day – Labor Day when we leave it up 24/7.) Our ritual helps us to better remember and honor those special days and people in history. Each year, I go through my SB calendar and put a flag sticker in the corner of the day that is a flag holiday. Might it be possible for you to paint a little flag in the corner of those days? I know it can’t be just for me 🙂 and it is a little USA centric instead of Global but hoping you can give it some thought. Hugs (and kisses too!) Karen

  78. Paula Cutchey says:

    Speaking of rutabagas, I’d just like to mention a wonderful book I read called “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”. It was about surviving hard times during the war and oh so much more!

  79. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    Susan….how wonderful to have such a beautiful view from your studio! I would love to look out those windows when I needed to stretch my legs…. if you find the time to go out for a bit, all bundled up of course, go see the movie Labor Day. The Mr. and I saw it today, and love, love, loved it!!

  80. sondra fox says:

    Hi Susan & GF’s! How I love hearing the antics of Jack!! He’s such a comic. I’ve been wanting to get an inside cat, but I’m cautious due to my dog, Jack, who would perhaps terrorize a new cat. Jack is a Wire Haired Fox Terrior. If you know that breed, they have a streak in them that tells them they “must” race after little critters & animals slower than them. He already chases a neighbor cat that I adore. The cat comes to my house for breakfast each morning. He’s my neighbors cat. His name is Gilbert. Isn’t that an adorable name for a big, fluffy, cat? Gilbert looks like he should be a she. Gilbert has all this personality. He’d love to live with me. He shows me every day when he comes inside & wanders around for a bit, before he eats his breakfast out on the porch. I just don’t want to upset Gilbert by letting Jack inside. My instinct tells me that it’s best if I don’t get a cat. I’ll just go outside & pat the three cats I feed each morning. Gilbert loves me to pat him. Anyway, I sat here laughing at the things you told us about your Jack.

    And, your neighbors cat stalking the turkeys was funny as well. What would that cat do with that huge turkey?

    Loved all the Cardinals on the path as well. I like watching birds at our bird feeder & all around our yard. If anyone is interested, there’s a bird count event that you can get in on. It’s from the 14th – the 17th of this month. It’s sponsored by the Audobon Society (I think). You observe birds in your yard for fifteen mins. on the designated days, then record them & send them into the people who count the birds. Sounded like fun to me, especially when the results are tabulated from all over the country. If you’re interested, you can get the details online at “Great American Bird Count.”

    Your Valentine hanging in the window is very special. Also the video you made of the snow was so lovely. The quiet when it snows is what I always enjoy about the snow. I swear I could hear the snowflakes falling in your video.

    You said you’re a procrastinator? I don’t think so. How could you get so much done, as you do, & call yourself a procrastinator?

    The magazine you’ve been talking about looks great. I couldn’t order it the first time you mentioned it in your first blog about it. For some reason, it was very difficult to order. I’ll try again, now. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  81. Pam says:

    Hi Susan, thanks for sharing your snowy weather with us. So many nice things in your post, love jack and his games, love the cardinals, and love the sprouting swede!! However, I don’t think you can beat me at procrastinating. I’m still in my dressing gown and it’s mid morning. Have been waylaid by so many things this morning. I’m off to get ready and am hanging my head in shame 😉

  82. Wendy Louise says:

    Great Morning to you Susan ! What a delightful post, I can reread it over and over and never get tired of it. We live in a lovely world just looking in the right places. I so love the birds and your Turkeys are just like mine, they have a want to be turkey catcher too. My neighbors Kitty is always stalking them, now they know just to flap their wings at him and he is a big chicken-lol . Does your orange kitty friend have a tail for some reason it looks like he is tailless ? If he doesn’t I wonder what happened ? I just love orange kitties, second to the tuxedo kitty of course ! We just had a beautiful dusting of pure white sugar and everything here looks magical. I will be getting prepared for tonight’s big storm with lots of snowman making snow, I love making snow people and animals. I have made horses, ponies, doggies and kitties ! I will have so much fun doing them with my grandchildren now that my children are all grown-up ! Have another beautiful extra ordinary day, it’s going to be terrific ! oxoxoxoxox ⛄️❄️

    • sbranch says:

      He is tailless. I wonder why, but I try not to think about it. Usually, at least in my experience, orange kitties have tails. But maybe he’s part Manx, the part that doesn’t include the fur — looks like they come in all colors.

      • Wendy Louise says:

        Thanks for the link, it is wonderful ! I love looking at all those kitties with no tails,they are cute. I wonder if they are as balanced as ones with tails? Maybe you don’t have to worry about the turkeys, the kitty might not be able to corner well!

  83. Amylisa says:

    Hi Susan, I am in Massachusetts too and I was surprised to read about your rain. We had all snow, all day. My husband works for the town he grew up in and he’s been gone since he left for work yesterday morning. I won’t see him until Thursday night I think, since we have more snow coming tonight. Are they forecasting more snow also for Martha’s Vineyard? I love all your posts about Jack. We had a girl kitty who looked a lot like him, several years ago. She is living in a mansion now with her brother, our youngest son is Very allergic to cats unfortunately. I really miss having them here and your posts make me smile as I read about your Jack. Sounds like your Girl Kitty lives in luxury too, having her very own bedroom to lounge in! With Peter Rabbit décor no less! 🙂 I am reading A Fine Romance right now and was so happy to discover your videos on Youtube. I watched a bunch this past weekend, so much fun to be able to peek into your world, especially your trip to England! You inspire me a lot! I also love my new calendar. Do the mini calendars have different art work than the wall calendars? I will have to get another one. I wanted a purse planner but I see they’re sold out. I will order one early for next year. Thanks so much for all you do!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, more snow is coming for us too. I went out and took pictures this morning! All twinkly wet sparkly dripping gorgeous in the sun rise. So happy you’re enjoying everything .. and yes, each year all the calendars have different art in them. Thanks for being here Amylisa … pretty name!

  84. Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    What a delightful post Susan. Full of just everyday ordinary life. The neighbor’s cat stalking the turkeys was so cute. I wish I could have taken a video of the day BB1 ( the world’s best barn cat) was holding off a herd of deer. I had put out the corn and I have a regular group of 6 that come to eat. Well BB1 laid down in a crouch position in the middle of the corn and the deer gathered around and they just stared at each other. Jim was astonished that the deer were hesitant to move in and eat. It lasted quite awhile, and finally the cat turned and ran back to the house and the deer moved in to eat. But it was quite a sight.
    Your rutabaga is just lovely… need to paint it….maybe for Earth Day!
    For those of you still covered up in snow, stay warm! But think how green your spring will be from all that melting snow!
    Chris……where it is cold, then warm, then cold……but no rain!

  85. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Susan, this Florida Girl loved your little video of the snowy morn! It just brings back a flood of memories from childhood. You are so right. The quiet. The beautiful quiet that fills the yard with a lovely white outfit for a time. And those turkeys! I love that they come so close to the house to enjoy the feed and you can see all of their beautiful feather details. My kitty, Bump, would be glued to the window if he had a yard full of them. No wonder Jack spent 15 minutes at the window over the sight! He is the most adorable kitty with his clever fetch games and that black and white face. Who could ever resist that look?

    It is always fun for me to “come to the island” and see all of the beautiful seasons you experience living there. The thing that most attracts me is that Martha’s Vineyard is truly beautiful and rich in all 4 seasons of the year. Not every location can boast such diversity and build life activities around each segment. The sameness of the deep South, while pleasant in winter, never offers the rhythm that only distinct seasons can offer. This is why I love it when you post these little videos during different times so that people like me can see the magic happening right outside your door!

    • sbranch says:

      I know what you mean, that’s how I felt living in CA — dependable sunshine is wonderful but it doesn’t really have a rhythm. It’s a song that never ends, one long forever song. We get four songs.

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        We have 4 songs in Phoenix too … early summer, summer, late summer and next summer 🙂 We do have 4 seasons up north … did Cottonwood happen to get any snow this past weekend Jack???

  86. Amylisa says:

    p.s. The Mansion I spoke of is a big old Victorian house in our neighborhood. The couple who live there adopted our cats and they treat them like royalty. Holy cow, after I posted I realized by using the word “mansion” it might have sounded like I sent the cats to kitty heaven because of my son’s allergies! I better have coffee before I post next time. Sorry about that! 🙂

  87. Anne says:

    Hi Susan,
    I love the quote today from Abraham Lincoln; between him and Mark Twain, it’s hard not to see the joy (and humor) in life. I was wondering, do you have a place on your website where you keep all these little quotes and sayings that show up in your blog and calendars? They make great ‘soundbites’ to share in letters.

    By the way, I’m a fellow Anglophile and have been lucky to live in England for the past 3 years (over here with the Air Force) and really love all the Englishy stuff you write about. I know there are people out there equally in love with Italy or France, but I pinch myself almost every day to be living on this cold, gray, wet little island (this precious stone set in a silver sea). I love coming in from walking my dog to pull off my wellies and put the kettle on. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

    Thank you so much for such a lovely, cozy, homey blog/website – it’s one of my favorite things. Take care!

  88. Pat says:

    Hi Susan, just found your blog via A Cuppa Tea With Me ……..
    My dear, I haven’t had such a good laugh in ages, Your kitty games are just like in our house, with my husband as the pet to our cheeky Boston Terrier Layla. She is a champion Frisbee finder/catcher. He throws it, she catches it and brings it back and lays it gently on his shoes! or on his lap! or against his book or his mug …. and she can play for hours!!! That’s our Princess Layla. So lovely to read your delightful blog, I am a fan forthwith!!
    I live next to a park and a little river in Randburg South Africa. We have so many beautiful birds that we hear day and night, ducks and geese, sweet trilly birds and real squarkers, a delight to just sit and be still and listen to all the calls and the river shooshing over the rocks nearby.
    Looking forward to your next post enormously
    Pat xx

    • sbranch says:

      How nice to meet you, so far away!

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Hi Pat!
      Good to hear from someone in South Africa! I used to work for an organization based in Pietermaritzburg South Africa and just loved working with folks from such diverse backgrounds as South Africa has! Thanks for sharing about the sounds of the birds and river near where you live. How delightful! Do you have any recipes that you could share with us all? Have a beautiful day!

  89. katherine says:

    Susan…I just shared Jack’s antics with my daughter Laura…she loves her kitty, Isabella, with the same smooshing intensity that you feel for Jack. She just can’t get enough of her kitty – it is a love so sweet! By the way, we have 5 baby lambs in the barn and hopefully 30 plus more to come this month! Laura usually names then all and by the end of lambing season she knows all the lambs by name and runs through the barn scooping them up and loving them all. As the saying goes…”the outside of an animal is good for the inside of a child” and I think we can add good for adults too! Have a wonderful winter day!

  90. Reading your sweet blog always makes my heart smile! xoxo

  91. Sharon in Morro Bay, CA says:

    You are such an inspiration to me! Living here in SLO county and about to make the BIG move to Chapel Hill, N.C. Thinking of your move and how you have embraced your life there is a big motivation for me. Our son, daughter in law and little grandson are there, Reason enough but we have lived in other states before and love the thought of having “seasons”. Miss those cardinals too! Thanks for all you do and say.

  92. Robin says:

    “if you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find your life without it. but if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.” Frank Lloyd Wright…….susan, I ran across this quote today and immediately thought of you. your work remains a great influence in my life …..thank you.

  93. barbara lassiter says:

    I love it when it snows during daylight hours and I can watch it. I’ve had lots of opportunity this winter to see it and we’ll have another go tomorrow. I think three times this week will be the lucky number. The quietness is another thing I love as the world gets wrapped in a blanket that helps muffle the noise and everything seems more peaceful! Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures and the “sounds” of snow at your home. And those turkeys, my goodness!!! Oh, and I’ve been reading STILL COVE JOURNAL by Gladys Taber and enjoying it so much. How I missed reading her work before, I’ll never know and I thank you for putting me in the know.

  94. Classified Name, please says:

    Your kitties are soooooo cute!

  95. Vida Howard says:

    Winter is a blessing…for awhile. I count on the indoor time to give me a break and some reading time. Glad you are warm and cozy.
    The magazine and your article were great. I have it on my iPad so I can go back while I watch our snow fall. Springtime is in our hearts so who cares what happens outside. And it will be all the more sweet when it gets here for real!

    • sbranch says:

      It will be so exciting!

    • Sweet Sue says:

      I agree when you have “springtime” in your hearts it doesn’t matter what the weather is outside. I think the same thing about having joy in your heart that overflows and brings happiness to all you have contact with. Thanks for sharing positive thoughts from a grateful heart! 🙂

  96. Hi,
    Loved your post today about Jack. He is a sweetheart. I like how you both watched your neighbor cat stalk the turkeys. Fun. 🙂

    Enjoy the snow.

  97. Sharon Penney-Morrison says:

    By chance…would that be a Turkey unthawing in your kitchen behind Jack? We are having a snow storm here in Kansas too. It is beautiful outside.
    Thank you for sharing your day. Hugs..

  98. Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    Had a great weekend seeing my family. Went up to Spokane to see my son and the twins…. stayed the night this time around. They, the twins, are so active! They will be crawling one of these days. On Sunday, we went to Wenatchee to see my daughter and grandson. They had asked us to come up to watch the Super Bowl game with them. We were so happy to see the Seahawks win the game. We spent the night and came home yesterday. I think the whole state is still celebrating their win.

    Very cold out this morning…. was loving the pictures that you posted. It had snowed just a bit in Wenatchee. I was excited to see the snow. I think it may be the only snow I see this winter, lol. The good thing about that is we can still see family. The road are clear and dry.

    Carol M

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Carol, Enjoyed what you shared about visiting your daughter and grandson in Wenatchee. My husband and I took a road trip one year driving from So California all the way up to Bellingham, WA and across the state to Spokane. We stayed in Wenatchee and just loved it! Visited Ohme Gardens, took a tour of the Aplet Cotlet factory and had the most delicious cherry cider that we have every had. It is a beautiful place and often overlooked by those who had not had the joy of being able to visit there. Any good recommendations of where we could order cherry cider from by mail? Have a blessed day!

  99. Sharon E says:

    It was good to hear your voice. It was just as I imagined it. We have so many similarities. Looking out my window is like looking out yours. We in Michigan have seen snow every day since December. We also have wild turkeys, only ours are bigger. I wonder who is feeding them. I have playful cat named Jack, only he is a Maine Coon, and thinks he is a dog. He barks.
    I started reading your blog, and it caused me to take up embroidery again. I’m actually embroidering old fashioned towels! Love the music. It’s my favorite.

    Also was sad when I finished your last book. I will have to reread it.

  100. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    I’d like to add my recommendation to “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”. Set in the Channel Islands I believe. I listened to the audiobook. Anyone who likes stories about Britain and WWII days would like it.
    All the “big bird” adventures reminded me of my own. Many years ago now — I would arrive at my piano teacher’s house having walked about a mile and, waiting there was a big obnoxious goose patrolling the yard, nearly as tall as me and strutting, honking, and hissing back and forth in front of the stairs to the porch and front door. He/she seemed really to be trying to keep me out. I’m wondering now, how many students just plain got scared away and gave up on the whole thing. I stuck with it for a while, long enough that I could read the sheet music of the day — including A Fine Romance :-).
    Love all the snow pictures and kitty pictures. We are getting some COLD weather here so that the welcome home parade tomorrow for our Champion Seahawks will require lots of extra bundling up for those cheering them on. I’ll watch on TV :-). I’m hoping for some snow by the weekend, I hope, I hope, I hope.

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