Happy Sunday from Blizzardsville!

Gorgeous this morning

Here we are at dawn this morning in the kitchen watching the Snow Moon set and the light come up on the house next door.  The weather has been wild the last couple of days.

pinkThe winds were so treacherous last Thursday, the day we were supposed to go off-island, that the boat stopped running and we had to cancel the trip until the next day.  So on Friday, come what may, we had to go —  I put on my seasickness wrist bands and off we went across the water to the mainland because I had a date to be interviewed by Madeline Meile Holt for the Cape Cod Writers Center . . .

me at Books and the World

. . . for their TV show called Books and the World.  So here I am, and Joe’s in the background taking pictures . . .

me and lamb

We brought along our pet lamb but forgot to mention it during the interview.  I wonder what viewers will be thinking about him!  I was on this show years ago, when my first book came out, so it was fun to come back.  They said they’d send me a link to the show in a few days and if they do I’ll be sure to put it up.

The next day, which was Saturday, there were Winter Storm Warnings for central MA, and Blizzard Warnings for the coast and islands.  That was the day we needed to be at Costco.  So up we went, north, just south of Boston to the Costco in Avon, MA.  We arrived amid a flurry of customers rushing to get stocked up before the storm came in.  It was fun.   There was a holiday aspect in the air; Costco would be closing early so their employees could get home safely.  People were all bundled in snow clothes, hats and scarves, some of our Girlfriends braved the storm and came to see me, Twitter friends too, and I signed books for lots of nice Costco employees.  I met some darling children — and while I did that, Joe shopped for us and our neighbors Lowely and John, he filled his basket and packed up the van . . . then we ran for the boat, Joe was sure we could make it before Blizzard conditions took over.

on the way home

I wasn’t so sure, but here we are, homeward bound.  The whole time my chicken gene is telling Joe’s wild wolf gene that this was not a good idea.  Pure icy slush on the road, it was already a deluge and the Blizzard warning had not even gone into effect. But wolfman was not listening.  He was putting on some MUSICA … snow patters the windows like hail . . . wind blows . . . you can’t tell where road ends and sky begins.  Chicken gene has me thinking too much.

on the way to the Cape

I was forced to explain to Joe that there are two of us in the car. One is a victim and one is a wolf.  Snow is slanting into the windshield.  I take my mind off of imminent slide into cranberry bog by taking pictures.  Can you imagine how cold that water is right now.  OMG.

through Falmouth

But Joe was sure, he promised me it would be all his fault if something happened (which of course just made everything OK) and persevered through car-rocking wind blasts, eating Costco guacamole (yum) and Costco “pop chips” brown rice, quinoa, multi-grain chips (also yum), over the Bourne Bridge (arched high over the frozen Cape Cod Canal), down Rt. 28 careening past cars who were going five miles an hour, finally arriving here, in Falmouth, we made the turn to Woods Hole. My chicken mouth quit peeping because “we” seemed to be committed.  (Dad, I tried to tell him you wouldn’t like it!  He howled ow! ow! owwwww!)

through Falmouth

dollface wolfmanAs Joe sings “theres a song that they sing as they take to the highway …” I kept reminding myself that he was born here.  He speaks the language of winter.  He has Joe B.never gotten in an accident.  He can fix anything.  (What has that got to do with it?  I don’t know.)  And then, there’s the sign to the island blurring past, we are getting closer.  But we still don’t know if the boat will be running or not.  It’s blowing snow, visibility isn’t very good, if the boat does go, will the Captain be able to see the island or will we drive right past, lost in the blizzard, on our way to France?  Is he a wolf or does he have some intelligent chicken blood in him?

almost there

Woods Hole, we’re here … and that’s the ocean out there.  Visibility is wonderful.  Perfect weather for boating.  Is the boat even here?  Can we get on when our reservation isn’t until 7:30 and we’ve managed to arrive at 3:45?????  These are the questions.

Yay the boat is here

But yes, there it was, big mouth wide open, almost done loading but there was room for us.  No turning back now.  Thoughts of kitties are what I’m using for propellant because good sense would never allow this.  Wolf packs run the ferry boats.

on board

On we went, wristbands in place. Straight to the bar.


We made it, you know that because here I am.  A happy ending.  My hunny bunny got me home safe and sound just as he promised.  Wolves rule.  If chickens ran the world we might never get home.  I am sense and he is sensibility.  We are so brave.  Jack jumped up and rubbed against me a hundred times.  Girl rolled over for her tummy rub.  We unpacked the van and slept all through the storm and look how gorgeous it is today.


Snowflowers are on every tree, like spring cherry trees in bloom.

lamb cake

Joe’s outside filling the bird feeders . . . And I’m doing this.  Making a lamb cake to take to a dinner party tonight . . . the 1933 version of State Fair is on TV, I’ve never seen it — but it makes good background noise for stove heating and cake baking.

lamb cake

First I grease the pans . . . I’ll save the rest of the story until next time.  Have a wonderful day Girlfriends. 


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  1. Merry G says:

    So glad you made it home safely through these back to back to back events. I was also watching State Fair in TCM and was confused when it came on in black and white. Never knew there were two versions and enjoyed seeing Will Rogers as the dad.

  2. Sue G says:

    Wow, what an adventure. Glad you all made it home safely. I will be interested to hear what kind of lamb cake you made. We make lamb cake in that same cake form every year for Easter, but last year for my mom’s 86th birthday we had a lamb cake palooza celebration. All of her kids (5 of us) made different types of lamb cake other than traditional one for a contest of sort to celebrate. There was German Sweet Chocolate Lamb Cake, Black Forest Lamb Cake, Never Fail Lamb Cake, Cherry Pie Lamb, Guacomole Lamb and even a Jello Lamb. We are if anything creative in our use of the Lamb cake pan. 🙂

    • Beth says:

      Sue, Your family sounds darling! Have to admit I might be partial to that guacamole lamb. 🙂 ~Beth

      • sbranch says:

        I want to know how you get the guacamole lamb out of the mold and keep it together. That would be darling for a spring tea. All green, you could add some flowers.

        • Sue G says:

          The guacomole was actually placed in one side of the lamb cake form, as was the cherry pie one and served that way- the cakes and jello lamb were the only ones served as “standing lambs”.

          • Sue G says:

            I just sent you a “Smilebox” to the email address on your contact information with pictures showing our Lamb Cake Palooza, you may have to check your SPAM though. I use Smilebox often to share photos with my kindergarten parents and my family. It should give you a better idea of how we utilized our lamb cake form.

          • sbranch says:

            I saw them! Too cute, what an event! Thank you for sharing them Sue.

  3. Don’t you just love a good adventure? I grew up on the prairies where winters are hard and cold and last a long time. Now that I live near the west coast (of Canada) I’m one of those drivers speeding past all the locals who don’t know how to drive in snow.

    I’m glad you arrived home safely and woke up to such a pretty world.

  4. Mary says:

    So glad you got home safely!! I’m a chicken right along with you. Love seeing the kitty on the kitchen counter by the yellow tulips watching the snow fall. So sweet! And my heart did a little flip flop when I saw the lamp pan!! I have such fond memories of lamb shaped cake on Easter when I was a child. The cake was always covered with coconut and the lamb had a little neck ribbon and bell. I had forgotten that memory until a few years ago. And then I went on a MAD google search trying to find that pan and I did find one! Then I started to notice them in antiques shops. I can’t wait to read more about that! Stay safe and warm in MV!

  5. LindaH (northern IN) says:

    Hi Susan,
    I can relate to your feelings during the hair-raising drive! My husband and I have an unwritten rule that there is to be no long-distance driving during the winter–although we have had to bend that rule from time to time. It is such an lonely feeling when you’re far from home during dangerous weather, but once you live through it and are safe, so exhilarating! You were a trooper to honor your commitment to the book signing. By the way, was that a jacket or shawl you were wearing on the TV show? It looks so comfortable.

  6. Debbie Mays says:

    You are a girl ( chicken) after my own heart! I’m so glad you made it home safe, and that God has blessed you with your own “wolf man”. I was given one too, what a blessing.

  7. nonnie says:

    Hi Susan . .Proud to say I’m a member of the “chicken society” married to a “wolf”. My “Joe” is named Jay and he drives me wherever I need to go in any kind of weather . .we’ve been married 40 years and sounds like we have the same “car conversations” that you and Joe have. Glad you had a great trip . .enjoy the snow!

  8. Tina Mandeville says:

    Susan, so very glad & grateful that you two had a safe trek! Goodness, we love your adventures, but……..
    I am sure you slept well! I know we can squeeze every ounce of romanticism out of winter that we can but it’s wrath is getting old! But because of, how welcomed the new season’s arrival will be! It will be Spring in 32 days!!!

  9. sondra fox says:

    My husband was Larry Fox, but he really was a Wolf too. He took us to Catalina Island in our 16 ft. ski boat, with very shallow sides. Two other boats went with us. We started out from the marina in calm seas, got over to Catalina, no problem. The guys tied the boats up & warned us women not to shop on Catalina for very long, as it is well known that the wind comes up in the afternoon, making the return trip very bumpy. Well, you know what happened, right. We women stayed later than we thought we would, returned to our boats with our heads hung low, as we knew we were about to be chastised by our Wolf husbands. We headed out with waves going over us, I’m not kidding. We’d go up one wave, down the other, never seeing land, or sky. It was so scary that I really thought we would die. My Wolf, Larry, threw that idea out of the boat. Our daughter said she wanted to go home. I said, “me too.” We had the nerve to invite one of our daughters friends. Imagine, taking a child that wasn’t even our own. Our dog, a blond, shaggy dog, with a beard & lots of eyebrows, sat in the very back of the boat with his head down & water pouring over his head. It was truly horrible. I’ve never been that afraid ever before, nor never again. Our engine stopped in the middle of our journey. One of the boats tied a huge line to our boat & tried to drag us back. The line broke. Another boat thought they’d pass a battery over to us. They went UP, we went DOWN. Finally the boat started up. We were on our way once again. We got home. When we sat down in our house, I told my husband I never wanted to take our boat out in the ocean again. I think he agreed, but never verbally agreed with me. He just stared at me, the way wolves do when they want to attack, eyes intense, body alert. The jacket I wore that day, was one of those old P jackets we all used to wear, very heavy. I put the jacket out on the patio over a chair, where it dripped for an entire week. There was a steady stream of water coming from the jacket, all week long. I tried to tame my Wolf, but after awhile, I decided that our family wouldn’t have ANY adventures without his wild ideas. At least the adventures he took us on made great memories, even though there were times I didn’t think we’d all make it. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  10. Sylvia Johnson says:

    Your trip home reminded me of the Amazing Race! You and Joe won!
    (The Amazing Race is usually in much warmer climates. You had an extra challenge)

  11. judy says:

    I’m just curious–how do you get TV on the island? Cable? Comcast? AT&T? What is “local” TV? Boston? I’ve never known anyone who lived on an island so I haven’t thought much about all of the things that go into such a life and would not have known anyone to ask! Thanks, Judy

    • sbranch says:

      We have Comcast. Yes, I guess you would say that local was Boston, but there are smaller channels on the Cape and even one or two here on the island. Everything the island needs, from gasoline to electricity to building supplies, has to be brought over, or piped in. That’s why we all go off to do “big” shopping at Costco, because we are somewhat held hostage to very high prices here.

  12. Dena says:

    NO WAY !!! me in that weather , im from done south, i hate the cold, hate wearing a coat, we seldom need one , But it does look beautiful from your window,
    but i would never leave the house, i was having a panic attack just looking at your pictures, Soooo glad you made it home safely,

  13. So glad you made it home. I loved how you described the wolf and the chicken. 🙂 I am the chicken too. And I am always saying “Don’t you think we should slow down!” Now I will think of my hubby as the wolf. Cute!!
    Stay Warm!
    xx oo

  14. Laure says:

    omg, my fella has the wolf gene, too, and I am full-blooded cautious chicken! So nice to know I have company! Many times I’ve had to close my eyes just to make it through certain car trips! In fact, when we drive from San Francisco to Truckee, CA, I have no idea what the road between Auburn and Truckee looks like–my eyes are closed the whole time. It’s the only I can keep my sanity and save our relationship!

  15. Barbara Saia says:

    Your adventures are so amazing! I always get so excited when I see your blog post in my inbox. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  16. CATHERINE says:


  17. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Hi, Susan!
    Talk about pressure cooker! Having to go and come back to the island in such harsh weather. You were expected at two events, the neighbors had their orders in for Costco! All I would want to was hide! I’m a way bigger chicken then you! I was coming up 295 in NJ trying to beat the freezing rain and rain smack into it! Cars were hitting their brakes and spinning out just in front of me.. So I slowly made it to the median (Jack! Lol!) and THEN I hit my brakes which made my car spin around to face the opposite direction. Chicken little turned forward and headed home ON THEGRASSY MEDIAN. I only went back on the highway when I had to(due to a bridge or severe sloping. I crawled home. There wasn’t any ice in my home town. I walked inside and hollered to my Mom…’I hope you are glad to see me! I almost died today. I was 22. In two days, on the 18th— I will be celebrating my MAGICAL birthday. I have my calendars at home and at work that you so graciously signed for my husband and to surprise me with when you visited Goshen, Indiana. It is such a treat to see your handwriting saying, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR CHRISSY signed by MY Susan Branch!! Thank you so much for making my MAGICAL Birthday so special! ( hint: NOT turning 50!) xxooChrissy

  18. Catie Cook says:

    OH. MY. WORD. Your pics are positively frightening… can’t believe you think you’re a chicken. I’d say you’re simply sane! Glad you both made it home safely and that your furry children welcomed you appropriately.. perhaps they were looking out the window and thinking “Man, I hope they make it back!”. Here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, it is cold and then colder. But it’s supposed to get warmer next week. Like in the 30’s. Tropical!

    • sbranch says:

      We have gaggles of robins around lately, a dozen or more at a time . . . they must know something we don’t know.

  19. Eryn says:

    It was so nice meeting you yesterday! I feared the signing might be cancelled due to the weather. I think I may have turned my 9 year old Sophie into a SB fan already (of course she will be if I have anything to do with it). After we got home from Costco dhe was going through all of my SB books. Spent this morning snuggled under the covers reading the Girlfriends book to her. Later I caught her sneaking one of the books in her backpack for a sleepover she was going to tonight!

    • sbranch says:

      What a little doll she is! Thank you for bringing her, Eryn, and her little friend. Love meeting the next generations…and the Girl Scout cookie surprise was absolutely perfect. Give her a hug for me. xoxo

  20. Mary A. Brown says:

    We girlfriends here in the Central Valley of California would kill for some of your moisture (not the snow variety but just the moisture). My grandmother used to make us a lamb cake when her grandchildren turned one year old. She said that the innocence of a lamb was reflected in a one year olds eyes. She would be 116 if she were alive today, but I miss her terribly.
    Next time I’m on an icy, snowy road, I want Joe to be my chauffeur….

  21. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Love the pics of Blizzardsville & Jack, & the added treat of seeing our TV Star & Lambie Pie! Pretties, so calm, so poised, filled with trust, smiling at Joe for the camera…sweet! And then….Wolfman Joe (good thing he’s so cute and dashing in his beret!) headed for the barn & Chicken Little barely surviving on snacks and plans to head for the medium (Blog Daddy, that’s New England, maybe they have a different pronunciation) instead of the bog & cuddle up!! Safe at last, on the way home, maybe, on the ferry……and headed to the bar……CRACKED ME UP! LOL! xo Oh wait, P.S. Do all New Englanders rake their roofs? How? Tall ladders? Old guys shouldn’t be on ladders, hazardous, do you need to be young to rake your roof? Enquiring minds on the West Coast want to know…..Please! Thanks! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      That’s a very good question. No one around here rakes their roofs, I’ve never seen it either. I’m imagining it might be done to keep huge sheets of ice and snow from sliding off of roofs and landing in the wrong places (like even the medium).

      • Catie Cook says:

        Typically, roofs with a fairly good degree of slope do not require raking. In the Northwoods, all roofs are very pitched… no raking required!

        • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

          People here rake their roofs to get snow off the lower edges. Otherwise when it warms up and then freezes, ice dams form along the edge of the roofs, the melting snow creates water that backs up higher than the plastic sheets that protect the roof, and we get water in which creates havoc with plaster, etc. There are also companies that come out and use steam heat to melt the ice dams. This seems to be everyone’s big worry this time of the year. Frankly, I don’t remember ever hearing my dad worry about this when I was a kid and our roof was ‘way too high to rake. My BFF Sandy in Boston, who grew up here, too, and I have discussed this. She doesn’t remember it being an issue then, either. Either we just weren’t aware of it or else people took leaking roofs in stride then but I don’t remember us ever having a problem…another one of life’s mysteries that I wish I could ask my dad about but he is gone now…

    • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

      Hi Joan,
      One winter long ago I had to rake my roof. The wet, heavy snow threatened the possibility of roof collapse. So I borrowed a special roof rake from a friend. It had a very loooong handle. I could stand on the ground and pull the snow off the roof. Today we are expecting six more inches of snow in Chicagoland. Maybe thunder snow! Wish we could share some of our moisture with our CA Girlfriends!! ♡♡

      • sbranch says:

        Oh, I wondered if people were actually on top of their roofs in the snow raking them. I’m glad to hear about that long handle!

        • judi says:

          Our home “up north” was similar to a salt box type. VERY steep pitched roof of the front with a deck running the length. I actually loved raking the roof. The roof rake had an aluminum lengthwise shovel about 3′ long maybe 1′ high and a pole attached that was probably 12′ long. It wasn’t heavy. You would keep it above the roof and set it down at the top – then just pull the snow off. Hardest part was shoveling all of that heavy wet snow off the deck!

  22. Jane says:

    What an adventure (nightmare)! And you are here to tell us about it. Thank goodness for the bar on the ferry! Ah!

    Carry on!!


  23. patti says:

    omg Susan, you are too funny. I am definitely a chicken. Although I love watching adventures and reading about them from the safety of my warm bedroom, tucked under the covers w/my m & m peanuts and pretzels. And of course my little miss elsa and bella are tucked right in there with me. We are having another winter storm tomorrow so get ready because it’s heading for you on Tuesday. The winter that just keeps on giving <3 Stay warm and stay out of that ocean !!!!

  24. Chris says:

    Whew! That was like watching the last skier come down the hill racing for the finish line. Oh yes….I have a wolfman, too. If it weren’t for him my life would be in the ‘late’ line. Glad you made it to the ferry safe and sound. Jumping Jack was certainly glad to have you home! Thank goodness for the wrist bands. They’ve saved me on a lot of fishing trips down here. Oh! I was thumbing thru a Wilton Cake Book in Hobby Lobby the other day and found a new way to frost and decorate the lamb cake. Too cute 🙂

    • Belinda Riffenburg says:

      Chris…please do share the new way to frost a lamb cake!! I have never made or seen one of these and would love to make one for my grandchildren!!

      • sbranch says:

        We have the lamb cake molds coming into the studio, hopefully today … I took lots of photos … will show you soon.

  25. Jan from Northern CA says:

    So glad you made it safely! So, what is it about feeding the critters outside? We just feel like we need to help them especially when it’s so cold and snowy. I was out in Colorado about 10 days ago when it was in the minus temps. The morning I was to fly home……it was 11 below, and there I was hauling a feed sack of “cracked corn” out to the Canadian Honkers in the pasture out back. I had put out “bunny buffet” in gallon milk cartons with a hole cut out….and wild bird seed in the feeder house we had made over the summer. It was sooo cold. Now, back here in Northern CA……..we have 6 kitties around and about our house in our neighborhood……we’re a few blocks from the edge of town and rice fields……I usually leave the front screen door open so the kitties can come in from the weather if they choose……and who decided to come in onto the porch last night…. eat kitty crunchies, and make him/her self at home in one of the beds last night…..a nice big possum! He stayed quite awhile….but wasn’t there when we checked this morning. Sooo funny. I’d love to send you the photo…..yes, he tolerated me taking one. His nose is too long for the water bowl, and he knocks it over…..Stay warm and safe out there!!
    Jan from Northern CA

  26. Jack says:

    I’m glad you made it home safe too …….with food costs going up we sure don’t want to lose
    those eggs !

  27. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    So happy you are both home safe and warm. Joe did a great job!
    You are much more courageous than I would be, I would never get on the ferry!!
    Like everyone else, my husband and I, wolf and chicken. I am more like chicken little, looking for the sky to fall before it even happens. Luckily, living in Los Angeles snowstorms are not a problem. But LA traffic can be just as frightening! I think you may have had a few guardian angels watching over you also.

    • sbranch says:

      My favorite is the 405 around LAX where there are like seven lanes of cars going top speed and 747’s landing almost on the roof of the cars. I’ll take a snow storm in two lanes with no planes any day of the week!

    • Carrie says:

      Hi Lisa

      Read your comment and remembered you’re the one with the Diana sweater and therefore a very kindred spirit, particularly as it relates to Diana. Well, this weekend I’m flying to Cincinnati to see THE wedding dress and 25′ train, some of her dresses, family jewels (I don’t think the Spencer tiara but some nice sparklers at the very least) home family movies, hand written letters, school uniforms etc.

      This is a special trip because my sister has been green lighted by her physician to travel by plane, which she hasn’t been able to do since being placed on a transplant list. Secondly, my niece Lindsey is the next generation Anglophile in our family and I could not be more proud. Matter of fact, I’m more proud of that than when she got her college degree.

      One other bit on Diana…I was given the service sheets (there were two) to Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding from 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

      It’s been so fun to think of having that darling sweater all these years. All the best, Carrie

      • sbranch says:

        Have a wonderful time Carrie!

      • Lisa Jorgensen says:

        Hi Carrie, I hope you, your sister, and niece have a great time! How exciting to see all those things, especially THE wedding dress. They had an exhibit like that at the Queen Mary but I never got the chance to see it. I think Susan saw it. I love everything about Diana. How did you get the service sheets from the wedding? What a collector’s item.
        I will treasure my sweater forever, especially since it was a special gift from my dear Dad. Take Care!

  28. Angela says:

    Wow! Being a south-american chicken, from Rio de Janeiro, who has seen snow a few times in Big Bear, that was the ultimate adventure to me :). I think I would love all this snow, but I live in Orange County, CA. All I see is a little bit on the top of Santa Ana Mountains when is “extremely” cold around here… Then I’m the happiest!!

  29. Kathie says:

    I worried about you getting around and getting home okay because I’m president of the West Coast Chicken Club of America. But all is well and so are you and we are happy and glad. Chickens, take heart. The Wolves Ruled successfully (this time). “But what about next time?” asked Chicken Little.

  30. Joann says:

    Oh, I’m so happy you made it safely!!!!! Strangely….I understand completely how terrifying and yet how exciting a big snowstorm is….but how happy I KNOW you were when you were home!!


  31. The Toddster always tells people he doesn’t drive the car, he only steers. Yes, I am a front seat/backseat driver! I have not driven under winter conditions in almost fourteen years now, since I moved here to the UK. I do not miss that aspect of Winter, although your lovely photo of the morning after the day before does pluck at my heart strings and make me wax nostalgic in my heart.

    I had bought some of those sea bands last year as we had been going on a cruise, which sadly we had to cancel. I have yet to use them, but am hopeful that one day I will have the chance!!

    Glad that the Wolfman was able to get you both home safe and sound. I can well imagine how happy the kitties were to see you! East, West, home IS best! xxoo

  32. Rosie (from Illinois) says:

    What a great adventure story! I’m also pretty much a chicken, and since I do the most driving, I hate winter driving. Don’t mind the snow and such, just so long as I don’t have to be out driving in it. I putz along, looking for bits of pavement between the snow and slush – I think I’ve become one of those people Joe would definitely fly around – and he wouldn’t have to fly all that fast to get around me, hahaha! And I hate four-lanes in winter, those big trucks nearly wash me right off the road, and slush my windshield, yuck!

    We live in a river valley, and pretty much have to go up some big hills to go anywhere from here – it’s always a debate in my mind which route is likely to be the “flattest”, have the least drifting across the roads, and therefore be the least scary. Thankfully I work just down the block in our little bitty library, (it’s a little bitty town!) so I no longer have to go farther away to work every day and can plan my big trips for the best road conditions. Plus we’ve become very good at sending out for stuff instead of having to go ourselves – thank goodness for braver folk than I who venture out even when it’s bad. 🙂

  33. Gladys Marie says:

    Oh! You make Me and My heart Smile!!!

  34. Maria Touet says:

    Wow, sounds like a fun/scary trip home. Glad you made it back safely.
    I love the winter–the cold, the light, the snow but even I’m getting a little bit of cabin fever with all this white stuff surrounding me. I live just north of Boston and we dodged the last storm with only a few inches, still…thank god for whomever invented the snow blower!! Rabbits and skunks are sitting in driveways and running thru the street because the snow is so high they can’t get over the piles. Think spring, think spring…
    I’m a new follower, I joined after reading your latest book. Loved it so much I’ve shared it with friends who have also loved it and gave as gifts to other friends. 🙂

  35. Marcia A. Sherman says:

    Monday 2-17-14
    Good morning intrepid travelers!
    Your on-the-road stories are the best, Susan. Here is one you may appreciate…
    yesterday I ventured forth from sleepy southern NJ to wide-awake NYC. My companion – KBW a wonderful girlfriend who also belongs to the ‘wolf’ pack, but the female of the species, so not QUITE as daring. Car to train station, train to NYC, cab to restaurant, walk to theatre…for the matinee of Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Broadway. Two and 1/2 glorious hours of song and dance and Fran Drescher’s laugh – yes, she is currently playing the step-mother, ‘Madame’. Many reviews of this musical have been written. Suffice it to say it was all I hoped for and more, the seats were great (specials and discounts going on now – take advantage!), audience filled with (well-behaved) princes and princesses of all ages. Enchanting is the perfect word, naturally. After the show was the daring and wolfish part…not a cab to be found, woe to us! However, look at the line of bicycle taxis, hmmm, do we dare? Well, better than standing around, we have a train to catch. KBW haggling with one driver when another swoops in and offers a better price and his taxi looks newer, cleaner. Think updated rickshaw – perhaps just a little more sturdy? In we go and off we go, all zippered in and tucked in with a (rather nice looking) fleecy red blanket. OMG!! Within one minute we are laughing too hard to be cold or scared. Potholes are one thing in a car…I think I do not even have to finish that thought. These drivers are agile, fearless, CRAZY. Amidst all the vehicle horns and sirens and sounds of the city, one can hear the tinkle of the bicycle bell – and cars stop! Up Broadway, hey is that a red light?, thru Times Square, hey we are BIKING here!, I see Madison Square Garden, YES!, we made it. We shook his hand and thanked him for a ride I hope never to repeat. Can cross that off the bucket list, wait, was it even on the list? Not really, it was a little too close to the bucket, oh well. Down the steps, down the escalator, train to car, and car to home. Eat, stagger off to bed, and here we are. A day full of fabulous memories. I highly recommend it to everyone.

    Marcia in Sewell, NJ

    • sbranch says:

      OMG, that sounds pretty amazing Marcia! It’s always so much fun when you actually survive something harrowing, gives you a thrill and that sounds very thrilling!

    • Beth says:

      Marcia…what an amazing story! So glad Cinderella was enchanting and your rickshaw made it! ~Beth

  36. Janice says:

    Ha ha! Love your description of yourself as a chicken and Joe as a wolf. That is my husband and myself to a “T”! Never thought of it that way but I won’t be able to forget it now. I’m always overly (impractically many times) cautious, he is a take-charge, take-care-of-the-situation guy who can figure out how to deal with what seems to be impossible situations. Glad you made it home safely!

  37. Janet G says:

    WOW what an adventure. I would never go out in the snow and ice if I could help it. Thank goodness we have these brave wolf men to take us chickens around. I just sit there with my eyes shut… :0)

  38. Darlene says:

    Welcome home Susan! Looking forward to seeing your interview and thanks for sharing all the beauty of your island in winter. Love it all!! xoxo

  39. Winnie Nielsen says:

    What a nail biter of a trip. OMG, I would have been so chicken!! Kudos to Joe for knowing winter and the difference between can and can’t do in such weather. I would have been traveling with my hands over my eyes grabbing a peek now and then to make sure we had not ended up in a ditch somewhere.
    I am so lucky to have my Mom’s beautiful lamb cake mold. Every Easter she made an orange date nut cake with cream cheese icing and dressing our lambie with jelly bean eyes and nose and a pretty bow around her neck. She always sat in green coconut “grass” that had extra jelly beans or small chocolate covered eggs nestled about. Our lamb cake was the favorite of Easter dinner dessert options and we always started at the rear end because nobody had the heart to start with the head!! Glad you made it home. I am joining Maria with you……THINK SPRING!

    • I was wondering about that! It sounds like such a cute cake – BUT … I don’t think I could actually cut into it! I know, I know, I just personalize these things waaaay too much! LOL!

      • Winnie Nielsen says:

        Hahaha Karen! You are so right. We all personalized it waaaay to much EXCEPT for when big brothers just wanted to show off that they weren’t sappy like we girls!!!

  40. I can imagine one of the scariest parts of this adventure for both you and Joe was not leaving when you’d originally planned. I know how you like to be early to scout out the area. Having to arrive the day of the interview must have made your palms sweaty even in that weather. As terrifying as these trips seem at the time, they certainly make for great stories (and blog posts) later. I join the rest of the girlfriends in welcoming you home safely. Please take care – you are a national treasure!
    xo Suzanne

  41. Sreekala says:

    Aren’t you glad that you have a wolf-man in your life! So glad to know you got back home safe. My DH and I are kind of the same when driving – last August we were driving back after celebrating Onam at his family home. It was the heaviest of monsoon showers, most other cars were pulled up by the side of the road with blinkers on and we drove 150 km back home with me going “Be careful” and “Slow down” every km!!! I’ll never forget that drive!!!

    The best thing is that we trade off on the chicken-wolf thing. When he switches on his chicken thing, I go all wolf!!! 🙂

  42. Jack says:

    And the second telephone pole past the MARTHAS VINEYARD
    Next Left. —- Sign. arntcha glad it’s
    Falling on that house , instead of on the road !?

    • sbranch says:

      I think the poles just look like they’re leaning due to careening of car!

      • Jack says:

        Well, isn’t that a relief to know “it’s not the pole falling it’s simply us tipping over,” in the van, duh.

        • sbranch says:

          What? You think this makes your point? I think it makes my point. Could our points actually be the same? A meeting of the minds between a chicken and the biggest wolverine in the pack???

  43. I saw your Beatrix Potter figurines on one of your posts and loved them. Historic week here as the birthday I dreaded for 65 years is coming so I now am the proud owner of 5 figurines. Mrs Rabbit is from 1951 and Floppysy, Mopsy and Cottontail 1954…….so happy!

  44. Lorraine says:

    Well… Do you think Bates will get away with it??? We KNOW he did it (or did he have someone do it?). And which of Mary’s suitors will win her heart? I’m leaning towards Mr. Baxter instead of Lord Gillingham. Any man who willingly takes a crying baby wins points in my book. And what about Edith’s situation? Oh my…. And, weren’t you just so proud of Daisy? Bless her heart.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know. Are you thinking he pushed him into the road? Proud of Daisy, proud of loving Dowager to help her granddaughter. Both those suitors look pretty good to me. She should figure out who loves her the most and go with him.

      • Lorraine says:

        I’m not sure how he managed it but it just seems too coincidental if Bates didn’t have anything to do with his demise. Fingers crossed that he gets away with it…

        Yes, the Dowager proved to be very understanding and compassionate. I loved the scene where both the Dowager and Mrs. Crawley received flowers from the visitor (can’t remember his name) – but Mrs. Crawley’s flowers were much larger than the Dowager. Maggie Smith is such an amazing actress. Her facial expressions are priceless. Yes, I hope Mary, Edith, and Rose all find happiness. I’m kind of like that – I thrive on happily ever afters… As always, I’m looking forward to the next episode.

  45. katherine says:

    So glad you are home safe and back in the kitchen! Love the wolf/chicken illustration, that is my husband and me for sure. Anxious to see your lamb cake..I need some inspiration and will dig out our lamb pan. We should celebrate our barn full of lambs. We have 28 lambs now- should have had more, kinda rough last week for us. Anyways we are blessed. More snow coming our way tonight in PA. My kids love it as they are skiers and winter lovers. One of my 3 daughters is a wolf daughter and she always amazes me (college senior, volunteer ski patroler and firefighter) I try not to let my chicken rub off on her! Enjoy your kitties and your cozy safe home!

    • sbranch says:

      We took my 11 and 12 year old nieces under the water through the Channel Tunnel from England to Paris — I had to mash my chicken blood down so they could not see it. It’s the least I could do. Let them form it with no help from me!

  46. Sreekala says:

    Oh Susan, I forgot to tell you! I had a wonderful surprise in January when I was searching in the biography section of our venerable State Library. I found a copy of Margaret Lane’s The Tale of Beatrix Potter!! It was a lovely find. The book was very old – it was a 1960 edition and still in good condition!

    One thing I found sad was once Beatrix Potter married Heelis and settled down, her literary output dwindled and died out. But I guess it’s alright because she already had made so many beautiful books and was directing her creative energies to preserving the district she loved.

    • sbranch says:

      Lucky to find that book! It’s a beauty. I thought it was sad too, but when I read the biography about her (Linda Lear, Life of a Victorian Genius), it felt more like transition, the way life goes sometimes, that at one time you are a certain kind of person, and later as your passions and interests change and you mature and become braver, you might have a wider understanding of what matters to you, and you might become another person. She had this sort of compartmentalized life … passion as a scientist for a while, then as an author and artist, then as farmer and conservationist — she put her genius into each of her passions and they have endured — but always, always her love for nature was reflected in everything she did.

  47. Carla Ludwig says:

    So glad you made it home safely!! It’s always fun hearing about your adventures. I am heading to Boston this Thursday to visit my Daughter, I was disappointed to hear you were going to be in Costco a week before my arrival; however, I am glad I missed that lovely weather. Stay safe and warm…..Spring HAS to be hear soon!! 🙂

  48. Ginger says:

    That was so exciting and I loved this whole post. Here in the south we’ve had our share of weather events in the past few weeks and I could share a tiny bit of your apprehension on facing that road. I could not have done it so I’m glad you had the intrepid Joe to get you home. And home looks so welcoming to us. Thanks for your story.

    • Angie(Tink!) says:

      Sweet Sue I Just Tweeted You! See My New Pixie~Dust Is Actually Wiping Out My Comments! It Happened on Your Shirley Temple Blog Too…Guess I Need to Use My Regular Pixie~Dust Here On Your Blog! Anyway I Am Happy You & Joe are Home Safe & Sound….Home Again Home Again Jiggity~Jig! 🙂 & Oh How I Love Your “Snowflowers on Every Tree”! 🙂 & Jack Gazing Out The Window Next To Your Yellow Tulips Reminding Us That Spring is Truly Around The Corner! Yay! 🙂 & You Look Very Cute At Your Interview…xoxo Poof! 🙂 P.S. I Hope We Can Watch The Interview on YouTube! 🙂

  49. Sherry Winchester says:

    I absolutely love your writing style!…A bit tongue-in-cheek…as if we were just sitting and having this lovely conversation….tales of a grand adventure!…Thanks so much for sharing it, Susan! And so glad you’re home, safe and sound…… ^..^ ^..^

  50. Cathy from Golden Co says:

    Oh gosh! I thought of you and Joe all weekend, especially as terrible reports of bad weather on Cape Cod kept coming in. I couldn’t imagine you two on that ferry in the middle of a raging ocean. What an adventure! So glad you’re home – warm and safe! Now I hear another storm is on its way!!!

  51. Rosemary says:

    How long of a ride is it in the Ferry from the mainland to the island? (sorry if this has been asked already, and I missed it.)

  52. Lynn says:

    You are brave! I can remember being on the old Islander with my dad (a merchant marine by background) and I am sure the ferry was rocking so deeply that we were looking at water then sky then water then sky. Old salt (my dad) was completely wolf-like. I, the chicken. I was grateful that the ferry captain was experienced and smart. Glad you are safely home.

    • sbranch says:

      We know our ferry captains too … I look deeply into their eyes when the weather is bad. Hoping to instill, through osmosis, because I can’t say anything, good sense.

  53. Carolyn Stanley says:

    Oh, Susan,
    What a ride! I’m so glad you got home safe and sound. As for hubby and me, we were on the Norwegian Breakaway headed for NYC and then home to CT. There were 22 foot swells, and even on that massive ship, we could feel them. 24 hours later, I still feel as if I’m rocking and rolling, especially when I close my eyes. It’s called Mal de debarquement. It’s not really bothering me; it just feels a bit strange. At least, neither one of us got seasick. I’m not sure we would have fared as well on that ferry!
    They were so nice to us on the ship. They helped us celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary by providing a light, lucious vanilla cream cake, and our steward surprised us with a pair of towel swans kissing and surrounded by rose petals. I will try to tweet a picture later.
    Your pictures of Sunday morning after the storm are glorious. It was lovely here in CT when we got home around noon, but we were both so pooped that, except for filling the bird feeders, we did little more than unpack and rest.
    Today is our actual wedding anniversary. 41 years ago on a blustery, -15 degree day, we were married in a small Lutheran church in Westbrook, Maine. It’s been a lovely ride.
    Anyway, so glad your book signing went well, and I’m glad that you have a wolf gene in your coupling. “All’s well that ends well.”
    I also wanted to comment on your post about Shirley Temple – wonderful.
    You and I, my dear, are only a few weeks apart in age, and I, too, was enriched by growing up with such lovely, inspiring, hopeful “old” movies. I feel we need more of those today!
    It’s a bright sunny day, and despite the rocking and rolling sensation, we are going to go out to the bookstore and maybe lunch to celebrate the actual anniversary, even though we’ve had a memorable celebratory week.
    Hugs, Carolyn

  54. Deborah T. Norling says:

    Loved reading the week end adventure… I was holding my breath your whole way home…my fav part when you are home safe and Jack rubbed against your legs 100 times and Girl Kitty rolled over for tummy rub….they were feeling your adventure too, I’m absolutely sure they always “know” !

  55. Have you ever had to fly off or onto the island because of the weather? That’s how we got to Block Island the first time we went for a long weekend the end of October. We’d taken the train up and spent the night at the motel at the ferry landing only to find the ferry wasn’t running because of the rough sea. We went to a pay phone (this was in the 70’s) to call the B&B about our delay. There was another family there calling the airport which was 30 minutes away to see if there was a flight. They heard our dilemma so they offered us a ride to the airport in their station wagon….4 adults, 2 children and a dog and all our luggage made a very mad dash to catch the next flight. There wasn’t room for us, so we had to wait for the plane to return, but it was totally worth it! Most of the seats were folded down to hold all the supplies that were be transported since the ferry hadn’t run for several days. If my memory serves me right, we were the only two passengers on that trip. Flying over that little island for the first time was a sight to behold. The sun came out that afternoon and we had a wonderful weekend!

  56. Rita Baker says:

    Was thinking about you this past weekend and am happy you made it home safely. Those photos are memories of our trip to the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard this past May. Right now another snowstorm is bearing down on us, so far over 60 inches this winter. And while I enjoy seeing nature in its snow covered beauty, I’m ready for it to ease us and let spring come. Anyway, glad you’re safe and keep those photos of your beautiful homeplace coming.

  57. Beth says:

    Aren’t you so so lucky to have a wolf alongside for the ride?? I think I might be the wolf in our pair and he might be the chicken…or maybe we switch and he’s a wolf in certain instances and I’m a wolf in others. Either way it’s wonderful. 🙂 So so grateful you made it home safely and all stocked up. Snuggle in and enjoy the view for the next few days. ~Beth

    • sbranch says:

      In our house, it just depends on who’s driving. When I drive, Joe conveniently switches over to chicken with lots of advice like “use your blinker” and “do you see that truck” 🙂

  58. Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

    Oh, good grief!! Terrifying, yet I’m laughing at your story. Now I know, thanks to you, what the phenomenon is called when I’m white knuckled in the passenger seat and my husband is calmly forging ahead (and I live in California….major chicken genes in this household!) So glad you made it safe and sound. I’m anxious to read your next post. My mom has a lamb cake mold (made from HEAVY metal) from the 50s. I’ll need to go dig it out of her cupboards! Stay warm and cozy!

  59. Audrianne says:

    My chicken would have taken over and I think I would have out-wolfed the wolf. It looked horrible. Still, you gotta believe when I guy you love says, “We’ll get there!” and you do, it just took some white knuckles to do it. Glad you are home safe and sound. Our next storm starts this afternoon.

  60. Bobbi says:

    What a shame that your big day at Costco was snowed on, and snowed on, and snowed on! It certainly has been a challenging two months for many of us. I’m very glad your adventure had a safe, sound ending.

    Cozy in…a little more is coming!


  61. Charly Fowler says:

    I love your lamb cake pan! My Mother had one and we have lots of fun family memories and jokes about how his ears fell off, or his nose fell off and we had to repair the damage with many toothpicks and lots of coconut frosting! I think my brother has the lamb pan now, but would love to read your recipe! Happy Spring!

  62. Linda T. in Maine. says:

    So,O, glad you both made it home. I’ve been on the lobster boat trying to get home on Chebeague Island, Maine in weather simlular to that one time. I don’t care for it much at all. I have lived around the water of the coast of Maine all my life. Sometimes the weather is so nasty. It pays to be prepared and get all your food and supplys in when the weather is calm. I lived on the Island for four years. Winters are rough, but beautiful. We stocked up lots for winter. a We also had a huge chest freezer. At the time, {we had the 2 boys}, In the 80’s milk was high to buy on the Island also. So, we used to buy 8-10 gals of milk at a time when we went to the mainland with our lobster boat. We brought the milk home, always saved extra milk jugs, and poured a 3rd of the milk out of the jugs and put cap back on and set them up right in the freezer. We let them stay in the freezer till we needed more milk. We would by our meat at the meat market and repack it to the size we needed and freeze it also. We bought about $500.00-$600.00’s worth of meat. Alway had plenty of fish clams, lobsters and mussels to eat. Bought frozen bread dough and made bread fresh when we needed it. In the fall we would by bags of 50lbs of potatoes. 25lbs of onions, 25lbs of carroes and all other veggies we could freeze up for winter. Never went without. Life is good. Islanders will always tell you when summer comes you will be glad you live there. Winters are not to bad. Just have to be prepared that’s all. It’s so peacefull, and beautiful. I live on the mainland now.Near the ocean where the wind just houls in the Nor’Easter like today, But I still always get an hankering to go back now and then. So glad you and Joe{wolfman} got home ok. But you gotta admit you wouldn’t live anywhere else once it’s in your blood. So just hoping that you and Joe had a wonderful Valentines Day together. Stay warm. I have the bad cases of cabin fever and wishing for SPRING! Love the yellow tulips. ade my day as allways. Keep that blog coming. Look forward to your next one.

  63. Anne in Maine says:

    Hi Susan. You absolutely had me in stitches reading your account of driving in the snow. (Even though it is not at ALL funny when you’re going through it.) I can so relate because we have made the ride many times although going in the other direction, from southeastern Mass. back to Maine. And I have used the “I’m the victim here” line on my husband as well. But God love those husbands. They get us home safe and sound. As you said, it’s good only one of us has the chicken gene. And good for you as well. You took pictures. I usually have my eyes closed! Isn’t it just the best feeling when your house comes in to sight? Makes you want to kiss the ground. I’m so glad you had a safe trip. Anne

    • sbranch says:

      From now on, after reading your wonderful comments, when something like this happens, it WILL be funny to me while it’s going on! The only time I couldn’t take pictures was when we were going over the Continental Divide out of Aspen Colorado. Forget about opening eyes. OMG. Never go there!!! Complete drop off, no guard rails, narrow road straight up to the sky through frozen tundra and not even trees to break your fall, and actual buses sometimes.

  64. Tricia Debs says:

    All I could do was laugh through the description of your ride to the boat; I must have married Joe’s twin as I have been through similar rides. And our boys always get us home safely. One time my Dad and I were driving to Cape Cod from Florida. He wanted to take the ferry from Delaware to Cape May, New Jersey. We had about 10 miles to get to the ferry, which of course was the last one of the day and Dad didn’t want to miss it. There is nothing to do in the area and no place to stay. I’m driving and he’s telling me to drive faster! Go around the big trucks! Use the shoulder of the road, that’s a lane! I’ll give you $100 to get us to the ferry so we can gamble in Atlantic City. I thought he had lost his mind. But I did get us to the ferry and we a good long laugh. More snow tomorrow!

  65. So glad you got home safely intrepid adventurers! I do think it’s great when our natures complement our lovies and we have both sense and sensibility. 😉
    Hunker down now and be safe- can’t wait for the lambie cake.
    I got a book called “Dinner with Mr. Darcy” by Pen Vogler for valentine’s day- just know you would love it. Thinking of you as I drool through the pages. 🙂

  66. Carrie says:

    Had to message my friend in Goshen about this post. The way you recounted the harrowing tale of the wolf and chicken was inspired. Thought for a minute you may have been taking creative license with the “cranberry bog;” never heard of it but what a visual. The Father/Daughter repartee on this particular post was classic, keep it coming Jack!

    The winter wonderland pics are breathtaking. We need the great weather equalizer; here in the Central Valley of CA I’m doing a rain dance nightly, which in and of itself has dangerous repercussions of seismic proportions 😉

    Downton. Keen mustard, that’s a new one. Too many suspects. Bates is just too obvious but there are a slew of others: Mary, Mr. Gillingham, Mrs. Hughes if by mitosis, Lord Grantham and Burrows even or how about…Anna herself?

    • sbranch says:

      We really do drive right by the cranberry bogs Carrie … there was a little river in one of them, ice-crusted, dripping icicles on both sides, black and shiny and thick with cold and winding through the snow covering the rest of the bog — a long white flat space of clean snow — but I knew, there was ice and water under there! Not a good landing strip!

      Trying to remember who was away that day the creature died… I’m so glad he’s gone. He really had to go.

      • Carrie says:

        Not doubting your veracity one ioda; just didn’t know cranberries had their own blogs, no joke… thought you were the only with a blog.

  67. Frances Fowler says:

    I did chortle away when I read this, thinking of how every fiber of your being must have been on full alert while Joe, perhaps not so secretly, was enjoying every minute! Did you make a hole in the floorboards while “braking”? Indeed I would have made my way straight to the bar also, though a pot of tea in one hand and perhaps a gin and tonic in the other would have done nicely! We had our snow in north Georia, but it seems the northeast and upper midwest have gotten one winter lashing after another. However, I guess before long you will be posting pictures of early spring buds and blooms, though they may be surrounded by beautiful white snow. Enjoy y’alls latest bout of winter by the fire with kitties and your special wolf 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      It won’t be long Frances, we’re all ready!

    • Carolyn Stanley says:

      My mom used to say she had accordion-pleated toes when she rode with my dad, and that was even on the best of road conditions! 🙂 and yes, probably a dented floor board as well. 🙂

      • sbranch says:

        I always felt that Wilma Flintstone had it the best … she had the same braking power Fred did! Yabba dabba doo!

  68. Georgeann from Texas says:

    Oowww. I married a wolf also. And I definitely cluck. Love the snow pics.. First thing I looked for was Jack’s response. What a fun guy!

  69. Elaine in Toronto says:

    All this talk of chickens – made me hungry. So I just put a chicken in the oven with lemons, garlic and rosemary. It is beginning to smell so good. Green beans and your baked sweet potato recipe will round out the meal. Just watching the figure skating at the Olympics. Kudos to U.S for Gold, Canada for Silver and Russia for Bronze. So beautiful to watch.

  70. Rebecca W says:

    Your latest travels (or is that travails) had me in stitches. How can Joe go from being a wolf to a hunny bunny in one simple trip? I too fall into the chicken category, when driving in the winter time and have a husband that is not fazed by bad driving conditions.
    So love your stories, now time to return to watching the Olympics. GO USA.

    • sbranch says:

      Joe’s just a complicated guy 🙂 — You take it all, the whole package. And you know what? He loves to cook, he makes us fires, and he cleans the cat box. So, that’s my wolf. GO USA is right! The ice skating!

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        I think that describes most men. Norm is the same way. When I get put out about something he does or doesn’t do, though, I remind myself how patient he is with me and how he puts up with me when I am crabby. They definitely are “wired” differently! Have any of you read that book “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus”? 🙂

  71. Kathi Sanoba says:

    I join the others in being glad you got home safely! I thought about Martha’s Vineyard when they were talking about blizzard conditions on Nantucket. But…I must comment on your pot holder in the last photo! I used to make those when I was a kid, and the ones I still had are getting worn out (after about 40 years LOL)! You can still buy the looms and loops (I know my original one is still around somewhere, but…) so last fall I bought a new set and made myself some new ones…..! Don’t think the loop quality is as good, but what is these days. But I had to chuckle when i saw that in the picture!

    • sbranch says:

      That was a gift from a sweetheart! They’re wonderful because they really work, thick enough to keep the heat away!

  72. Your posts always bring a smile but this one had me nodding up and down in agreement.

    We were under a winter weather advisory with the actual winter weather warning ending at the county just a few miles from us (as if the weather knows the cut off line). So… Hubby had an appointment this morning and told me not to worry and that he would be home before the snowfall was bad at noon.

    Instead he ended up running about five or six errands after his appointment, most of them on the other side of our county (which is like… the size of Massachusetts!). When I would call and remind him he needed to get home immediately as the storm was raging, he reminded me there were thousands of people having to get home from work… ????

    I guess if chickens ruled the world, less would be accomplished. Sheesh.

  73. CarolK says:

    There’s no place like home, there’s not place like home, there’s no place LIKE HOME…….

  74. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Thank you for sharing your harrowing trip in Blizzardsville. I, too, possess the chicken gene. My husband definitely has the wolf gene. On two separate occasions we managed to have a restaurant all to ourselves because of a raging blizzard outside — while wiser souls nested at home. On the first occasion we had only begun to date. I’m sure my mother worried fits until we got back home but Dennis (my then boyfriend) had no fear of driving in the snow and wouldn’t be put off taking me out for a quiet pre-Christmas dinner. And quiet it was, with he and I being the only ones in the dining room — the best table by the fire with an attentive waiter hovering in the background and a glowing Christmas tree at our elbow…very romantic! The 2nd time we talked a neighbor into accompanying us in our craziness; a lodge-like restaurant in the middle of the Delaware Watergap National Recreation Area, miles from anywhere — the snow coming down 2 inches an hour with howling wind. But the fire was crackling, the restaurant cozy, if not empty, with a very attentive waitress. Our trip home was fraught with frequent stops to clean the ice and snow build-up off our windshield wipers…but, I’ve lived to tell the tale! (Our neighbor is a wolf too).
    I’m thinking that living on an island, the roads are quieter, without the worry
    of other motorists speeding down the highway. So glad you didn’t slip into a bog!
    Tomorrow we’re holding our annual Chocolate Chip Day at the Library so I’ve spent the day baking chocolate chip cookies (of course) and heart shaped butter cookies, frosted in red and pink icing. YUM! We will need it — we’re expecting 3 – 4 ” of additional snow tomorrow morning—is Spring ever coming? We have so much snow, I despair of ever seeing my lawn again. This is the time I usually clip some forcythia and force it indoors — think I’m going to need hip boots to
    find my bushes! Thanks for your blog, it always puts a smile on my face!

    • sbranch says:

      There is something SO romantic about a blizzard, when you are safe and it’s cozy. xoxo Yes, hipboots for the forsythia!

  75. Marilyn says:

    oh my! you had me on the edge of my chair, even though I knew you made it.
    scary and adventurous all at the same time.

  76. martha says:

    Yikes! What an adventure! I don’t like the bridge in sunny weather! I can’t imagine doing it in snow and wind!! Ack! And the ferry?? Yes, the bar… but I would have had to crawl because I would have either gotten so scared my legs wouldn’t work or I would be so seasick there would be no UP in my world!

    Glad you are home safe and sound! And, you had the proper greeting! How cool is that?

    We birthed babies, babies, babies in the blizzard here! Total: 17!

  77. Charlotte in Kentucky says:

    Suggestion for your new book: Mrs. Branch’s Book Of Household Management…a modern day Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management….I can just see it now…all of your hints, tips, organization, crafts, shopping, gardening, recipes, pet care, budget, laundry room etc etc with your artwork. Oh, I want it now!!!!!

  78. Marianne in Mo. says:

    So glad you made it through the weekend, I was thinking of you the whole time!

  79. barbara lassiter says:

    I was reading a magazine on the day of the latest storm and came across this quote from Edith Sitwell. “No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” I would just like to pass it on to all who are feeling somewhat inundated by snow, sleet, ice, freezing rain and bitter cold.
    I think we will all be more appreciative of spring this year.
    Oh, and thank goodness you boldly went where many would not go because you made it home safe and sound.

    • sbranch says:

      When I first moved here, winter would blow and snow for so long I would think (inside my California non-season-understanding brain) maybe spring would NOT arrive … but the miracle always happened it always came and I’m pretty sure it always will. (Note: “pretty sure” — still not quite sure! But having faith . . .)

  80. Penny Harrison from Oceanside says:

    Thanks again for the awesome pictures (especially the beautiful powder puff tree branches and blue sky day after) to go with the nail biting adventure – we are not having winter in southern CA – please send us some rain!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I will do my best but you know, I usually only blow hot air. (Ok I just had to do it — sorry!)

      • Penny Harrison from Oceanside says:

        hehehe!!! Your “air” is lovely to listen to – but what we need is more like buckets and buckets of tears – HAPPY tears! 🙂

  81. Gail Marie says:

    We were out driving in that mess on Saturday too. Craziness! Wolf & chicken = perfect.

  82. Audrey by the sea. says:

    Ok, I just have to say it, “can you possibly get any more cute?” Those two pictures that Joe took are fabulous. And speaking of fabulous, I saw a picture of you in the archives with your black tam on, pulled low, scarf up high around your face and you still look…”cute.”
    Ok, Joe looks pretty cute in his black tam as well! I wonder if he will like being called cute.
    Ok…four cutes in one paragraph is enough.
    Loved your adventure story.
    Beautiful, Our Susan.
    From a fellow chicken.

  83. Cora says:

    Hi Susan,
    I love it– the Chicken and the Wolf genes. It is so comforting to know that I’m not the only chicken that worries about all of the what if’s. Of course, my hubby is a Wolf who doesn’t worry about anything stopping the mission! Like your Joe , he succeeds!

  84. Paula says:

    Wow! What a trip you survived! Joe sounds so much like my husband (and from what other ladies write, he sounds like so many other husbands); I believe driving in conditions like you described, and making it safely, is actually fun for them. They were made to conquer! 🙂 We can really be thankful for them, even though they sometimes scare us “to death!”

    We had a big snow storm in our “neck of the woods,” and in the middle of the night, we got stuck at the entrance to our fairly long driveway–took an hour and a half to inch our way into the garage. After it finally stopped snowing, our son came over and used our Bobcat to clear our driveway, one half of our road, two neighbors’ driveways, and when a lady asked him to please clear her 80 year old parents’ LONG driveway (these are dirt or gravel driveways), he did that as well. My hard-working wolf-man did a lot of shoveling on our walks, and then within a few days, we got rain–and now, except for the huge piles of snow heaped in parking lots around town, one would never know that we had such deep snow only a week ago!

    Even though winter can be a chore sometimes, I love experiencing the seasons. 🙂

    As always, I enjoyed your blog, Susan. Thank you for being your authentic self, so we can all relate to you. Thank you for bringing beauty into our days in your very lovely way.

  85. Kathleen says:

    Always love reading your blog, I check every day to see if there is a new post. Having lived my whole life in Michigan we are accustomed to snow (this year in particular), but until reading your blog was not aware of wolf gene/chicken gene, hmmm that explains a lot 🙂

  86. Julie W. says:

    I have my grandmother’s cast aluminum lamb cake mold–along with her recipe and photos of me as a tot in front of the cake. Lots of fun memories!

  87. Beverly Brewer says:

    Hi Susan—your drive home recently reminded me of the old “Keeping Up Appearances” car scenes where Hyacinth was always telling her husband how to drive ( not that you were instructing Joe ). “Mind the pedestrian, dear” she’ll say and he, exasperated, says “But the pedestrian is on the sidewalk!” Or, “mind the other car, dear” and he’ll clutch the steering wheel and yell “But the other car is parked by the side of the road—it isn’t even moving!” Too funny!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m more of the kind that says “you’re running me off the road” rather than the polite kind that says “dear.” 🙂

  88. Donna C says:

    “No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it’s turn.”…Edith Sitwell. Found this in the March/April issue of Victoria magazine and it sure is comforting.

  89. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Joe gets “the Gold” for his Olympic blizzard driving skills!!!! So relieved you arrived home safe and sound from your snowy travels! Ohhhhhhh, your lamb cake mold melts my heart! Will we see your finished cake soon? And Susan, is there a hint that YOU will be offering the lamb mold soon for us Girlfriends to buy? Happy!!! Happy!!! Happy!!! (Another 4 inches of snow fell last night in Dearborn, Michigan…….winter is still here…..!)

  90. Jillian says:

    Hi Susan!
    I had the pleasure of meeting you at Costco before the snow rolled in on Saturday! Of course, I was at a loss for words and extremely nervous when I met you which meant I wasn’t able to say thank you for all of your amazing work! I admire you as a person and an artist and through reading your books and following your blog, I have come to appreciate the simple things in life that I had often overlooked! Your cheerful watercolors always leave me with a smile on my face. I am thrilled I was finally able to meet you and look forward to what you have for us in the future! Thank you again (and again)!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for coming Jillian .. never be nervous with me because you should see by now how normal I am. xoxo

  91. OMG Downton moved so fast…lots going on now!!! Did Bates kill that valet???? I think Anna thinks he did. If he goes to jail again I’ll have to stop watching…way too stressful for me! Maggie Smith is hysterical, her looks and quick wit cracked me up more than once.
    We are just inundated with snow and ice here in central Ohio. It’s going to be bad when it all melts, we’ll all need rowboats to get to work! I have such spring fever right now and I think we are getting more snow on Thursday. I am a chicken, but have to be a wolf when driving in the snow if I want to get out of the house!
    What ideas do you have so far for your new book Susan…sorry if that has been asked and answered already, whatever it is I know it will be worth the wait! Hang in there girlfriends, spring WILL be here…eventually!!!

  92. Jesse French says:

    Oh my goodness, I am cracking up! I’m a native Californian too so I totally understand that chicken gene when it comes to snow! Good thing you have your super wolf! Enjoy being nice and warm and safe and cozy indoors, you’ve earned it! 🙂

  93. No place like home, especially for a storm. The chicken gene vs. the wolf gene. Wow. I love the way you can turn everything into a great story! Well, there goes my theory. I always thought you two would stop along the way if weather got a little questionable. Now I know the wolf prevails. Go Joe! Go Joe! Stay warm and cozy.

  94. Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

    I’ve been debating whether or not to ask…..The worst you could say is what my husband says to me, in the nicest voice: “That’s not going to happen.” Here goes…..I FINALLY got (through ebay as Amazon finally told me, well, “It’s not going to happen”) The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook! Is it possible to get Joe to sign a paper that I could glue into the cover? I can’t believe I’ve asked you this. I could be opening a flood gate that you have happily dammed up all these years. My fingers are hovering over the “post comment” button. Okay, here goes, if it’s no, it’s no and I’ll totally get it. Here goes nothin’!

    • sbranch says:

      The way to do that is for you to come to a book signing and corner him! 🙂

      • Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

        Well, aren’t you clever! Should have tried sooner to get my hands on it since I was at Remnants of the Past to see YOU! Haha! Autograph or not, it is happily on the shelf next to your books so tell him I LOVE IT! Great pictures, great recipes. XXO

  95. I am reading Stillmeadow Sampler and it is really a delight. It just goes to show how time connects us all and that wisdom and history are meant to be shared. I thank you for introducing me to Gladys Taber ~ she is wonderful.

  96. joy lynn says:


  97. Pam says:

    Thank you, Susan, for the Gladys Taber quote. When I came to your book signing in Grand Rapids, MI last summer, you told me about the event planned at her home. Perhaps I will see you there!

    • sbranch says:

      That would be great … it’s going to be very special I think. We don’t often get to tour Gladys’s house, and I never have!

  98. Rachael says:

    I live in Utah, and it usually looks like this. We have been hit by a heat wave! It has been in the 40’s.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the sheepie cake mold. I just had a birthday and my husband made me a super cute one!!! You are so talented! They will love your sheep! (We always laugh about eating the face!) We make sure it cut it so you can’t tell it was once a happy creature. LOL

  99. Beth in SC says:

    Oh my gracious you are so brave!!! I’m not sure my nerves would have taken it as well as yours. Hip Hip Hooray for Joe and his wonderful driving skills! (If it were me, I’d still be stuck at Costco! haha)

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