Transition Time

First off, some favorite Old Musica ♥  It’s transition time, Girlfriends ~ a big change of season is on the way for us!  Nothing shows the conflict between the past and the future, and the exact spot where the line divides, more eloquently than this photograph . . . out in our backyard . . .



. . . it’s a fight to the finish, but I know who’s going to win.  We are!  We’ve had our winter fires, our hot soups home-sweet-homeand grilled cheese sandwiches, we’ve had our dark and cozy afternoons, we are up to here with hot chocolate and wearing four sweaters in the house ~ someday we will want all of these things again, we will pine for that first falling leaf and the smell of woodsmoke, just as right now we are pining to go OUTSIDE and PLAY!  You California girls are already there, lots of you across the country are going outside without a sweater. But in this neck of the woods, we still have a ways to go.  The weather report has us in the 4o’s for the next ten days.  We are not complaining.



One of the ways we know the season is about to make a radical change is the way the sunrise streams through the kitchen windows; the way it plays over the cupboards and stove.  The sun has changed positions, has come around to give us more morning light.  Jack says Hi!  Don’t you just want to grab him?  He will let you.  He will lay on his back in your arms like a baby and turn those green lights on you and then you have to kiss him a hundred times just as he planned, until he can escape.

Jack and daffodils

Because to be truthful? Despite all that love?  The turkeys in the driveway are more interesting than you.  And by the way, probably the very best $10 a person can spend while waiting for spring to arrive ~ we went to Maurice the Florist (we say Mor-eest-the-Flor-eest) and got a bunch of daffodils.   Aren’t they perky?  What snow?

hyacinths for the soul

Kitty Love

Jack reminds me . . .  we have more food for soul:  our charm collection has grown and now includes, from left to right, pink flowers for our “Girlfriends,” green hedgerows for “A Fine Romance,” the brand new tuxedo charm for “Kitty Love,” and swirls of sea foam for “Martha’s Vineyard.”

Kitty Love

KITTY LOVE comes just like the rest of them, on its own gift card.  Jack and Girl have ordered one.  I think they’re giving it to me for mother’s day.


Girl Kitty prefers to use her tuxedo as camouflage.

birdsWe also got in a collection of wonderful birds cut from metal ~ four different shapes This one is made to hang from a window or a cupboard knob; the others stand alone and have stands that can be screwed to a shelf or a fence or a window sill.  Look how delicate this is.  They aren’t in the web store yet, I want to take pictures of them today ~ I just happened to set this one on my book about the wonderful Edith Holden (The Edwardian Lady) ~  it looked so cute I had to show you.

Holly Oak

I’m working hard on the new book every day, we’re not going out much, just working since the weather is perfect for it.  I love writing it, we are laughing ourselves silly reading some of the entries in my old diaries, remembering my first ferry ride when I thought everyone on the boat looked like a Kennedy, the first time I saw this little house in the woods and how sad it was, the first time I ever saw a cardinal land on my birdfeeder,  I’m remembering so many details about coming to the island . . .

Holly Oak

. . . and how I had to figure out how to live in a place that had seasons ~ it was quite an interesting challenge that first year . . . especially winter! It goes from happy home-sweet-homechildhood, to broken heart, to starting over, in scrapbook form, or so it seems right now, lots of pictures (before and afters of the rooms in that little house), recipes, and quotes.  I’ve written 267 double-spaced pages so far. I write, Joe edits, I write some more.  I’ll have to give you some excerpts one of these days.  It’s making me very happy.

And, speaking of  H A P P Y, what are you going to do for our next big holiday?  Any plans?

gummy worms

No, I don’t mean Easter!  This isn’t our Easter dinner.  Our next holiday is April Fool’s Day!  Just around the corner!  Have you done your holiday shopping?

gummy worm

Gotta pick up some gummy worms and figure out where I can hide them this year! (He always forgets what day it is.)  I’ll get them when I go grocery shopping this morning ~ do any of you have a favorite April Fool’s joke?

Tonight I get to go to TGIF at my girlfriend Jaime’s house, everyone is bringing an appetizer, so I’m off to cook and watch Great Expectations on TCM.  I haven’t seen my girlfriends all together for way too long.  I’m in the mood for girl talk!  So off I go now . . .   leaving a little reminder on how to “lighten up” for APRIL!  Byeeeee, Girls!  Love you ~ have a wonderful day! 



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353 Responses to Transition Time

  1. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    You have really been working hard, but it sounds as if it doesn’t feel like work. How great is that? Your little house was so charming! The old cars are the best! I really hope Spring comes soon for all of you that have had such a long, rough winter. You will appreciate Spring and Summer much more than us California girls do. Jack is just so adorable and looks very huggable! Girl Kitty looks like a lion in the jungle! Does she go after your birds? Enjoy your TGIF with your girlfriends!

    • sbranch says:

      Everything gets in the way ~ I’d like to be writing 24-7. But life wants to be lived at the same time — little things like dinner and sleep! Girl Kitty is probably more afraid of birds than they are of her! She just likes to watch them.

  2. Brenda Caldwell says:

    I just loved this post…It reminded me that you can make the best of any season and the weather it brings with it. I have had a rough last few months with losing my sister aka best friend. Your post just lightens my heart…Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t imagine Brenda, I’m so sorry. Sending love and LIGHT for the new season.

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Brenda, So sorry to hear of your loss–a darling/best friend of a sister! Hoping that you get lots of joy from Susan’s lovely messages, artwork, and pictures! (Did you notice her cute yellow wall phone in her kitchen?? Things like that make my heart leap with happiness!)

    • Doreen Strain (Florida) says:

      Hi Brenda,
      So sorry to hear about the loss of your sister/aka best friend. I’m happy to hear your heart lightens up with your visits here to Susan’s blog. When your heart if feeling lonely for your sister, still it and find in the hallows tucked deep inside the memories you and your sister shared throughout your lives together. At first this visits with those memories will bring tears to your eyes. As time goes by, you will find that you want to visit them more often and no longer will tears come with these visits, but a sense of enjoyment bringing a smile to both your face and your heart. Please know we all feel for you. When someone who is a friend experiences a loss like this, it effects our hearts to just knowing you are hurting. Pour yourself a nice cup of tea, relax in your favorite chair and come visit with us for awhile so we can use our friendship to cheer you’re sorrowed heart. F.O.S.B. 4~Ever! ~Doreen~

  3. Joan says:

    I know, I’m putting my gummy worm in his glass of Merlot! Don’t tell.

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect spot! Wish I was there!

    • Doreen Strain (Florida) says:

      Joan….for heavens sake make sure it doesn’t find it while he’s standing over the living room carpet!!!!!!!!!!! Wine stains are the worst!!! LOL!
      FOSB 4~ Ever! ~Doreen~

  4. Ann Y in PA says:

    Susan…can’t wait for the new book. Working hard but taking TGIF…good for you ! Busy weekend here planning a farewell brunch for one of my husband’s co-workers. Using flower seed packets as place card / favors….to make us feel like SPRING ! Going to borrow your idea and get some ” daffy down dillys” to really set the mood. Thanks for all the wonderful posts !

  5. Linda says:

    Thanks for a taste of spring, and especially for the Sadi quote. I discovered it decades ago, before I was old enough to drive. I’ve carried it in my heart ever since, and still have the snippet of paper with teenage script where I first recorded those life affirming words.

  6. Jan from Northern CA says:

    April Fools Jokes…..well my Dad used to come in to our bedrooms on the morning of April 1st…..wake us up, and say excitedly…..”Look, it’s snowing outside!” And we’d wake up, jump up and rush to the window……to find…nothing…..we live in the Sacramento Valley in California…….it never snows in the valley, or almost never….especially in April. We fell for it every year… 🙂
    You got to love Dads! I’ll have to think on that gummy bear idea. Thanks.
    Jan from Northern CA
    P.S. We’ve had rain, hail and even a tornado in the last couple days. Wahoo! Put us on the map!

  7. martha says:

    Love the worm coming out of the sink drain! That is worth the cost of the gummies alone! One April 1st, I was sitting in the bathroom “reading” and looked down and a SNAKE was by my foot! Needless to say, I left before my “reading” was done. And when I recovered from falling over my unmentionables, I found the culprit (a young man who would grow up and be an Airman) who was promptly licked on the face! Did you know that is the best way to punish a child? It sticks with them until they are adults and need therapy! Can’t wait to say “Rabbit! Rabbit!” I am d-o-n-e with April!

  8. Jacquelyn - Las Vegas, NV says:

    Love anticipating your new book and cannot wait! It is 75 degrees and Spring-like in Las Vegas. Hope you are able to enjoy warmer times soon. Enjoy your TGIF with your Girlfriends!

  9. Catie Cook says:

    Om my goodness! Can’t wait for the new book! And can I just mention that I had the exact same Volvo back in the day? Same color and everything. Did yours have “fawn” upholstery? Loved that car… it was a beauty and a workhorse. Your little house is charming and I cannot wait to read about it and see pics!!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes fawn, fabric, not pleather or what ever that is. Mine still starts right up, even after all these years.

  10. Cyndi in NC says:

    Jack always makes me smile. I’d love to hold him and plants kisses all over his sweet face! He looks so springy with the Daffodils. I have a pot outside my front door that were just buds a week ago. Of course our weather is warmer, at times, than yours but we did have 25 degrees Thursday morning!! It was a strange sight to see my husbands plane beginning de-iced before he took off at 6:30 am. Thank goodness they could do it here! *L* We’ve had a lot of not often seen things this winter. But my Hyacinths have started going up and the tulips are not far behind. There are many lilies breaking ground along with my Snowball bush. It won’t be long till White Ginger and Elephant Ears join them. Since there is no one here with me but my grand dog Jenna I don’t think there will be any April fools day pranks. I don’t think she would understand and probably think I was losing my mind! Happy Spring ladies!

  11. Dinahsoar says:

    Can’t wait to read your new book!! Looking so forward to hearing your story from back in the day, and how life went from very happy, to very sad and very happy again!! It inspires one to ‘hope’ for the best always.

    Thanks for the fun idea for April Fool’s day…I may just have to get some gummy worms…hahaha.

    Jack and girl Kitty are so very sweet…would love to hug and kiss on them, in spite of being very allergic to kitties. Sadly most of the things I love most don’t ‘love’ me– pop corn, strawberries, nuts, seeds (diverticulitis) yogurt, milk and goat cheese (lactose intolerant). Doesn’t seem fair, does it. My favorite ever breakfast is goat cheese drizzled w/ honey and topped with walnuts and curry powder–BEST EVER, but now off limits. And Lactaid doesn’t work.

    But at least I can eat gluten, unlike my daughter–no wheat, barley, rye or regular oats for her.

  12. Lexy says:

    You forgot to tell us what you are bringing for your appetizer. You have so many good ones. Do tell please.

    • sbranch says:

      We always have plates for the appetizers, so I actually brought a salad, Quinoa, with lime juice and sesame oil and snow peas.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Mmmmm… that sounds delicious. And healthy too. Isn’t it great when it works out that way?

  13. Marian from Orange, CA says:

    Your snowdrops are just beginning to appear, mine have just stopped blooming. I treasure then, because the bulbs belonged to my grandmother. Over a period of 40 years, she moved them from houses in Los Angeles to Gardena, to my parents’ house in Orange County, where she lived the last years of her life. When we sold my parents’ house a few years ago, my husband dug them up for me, and now they’re growing in our garden. It was nice to see them peeking through snow, their natural element.

  14. Lucia Ann France-Bryant says:

    Can wait for the new book!! Spring will be here soon!

  15. CindyK says:

    I loved the snow drops! Those WERE snow drops weren’t they?? Ever since reading The Secret Garden I have wanted to plant them but haven’t yet. But I will!
    Adored the picture of Jack in your well lit kitchen! I wished I could grab him right out of the computer screen! I would cuddle him big time!! lol! (I just ordered the new Tuxedo charm! Can’t wait)
    I don’t do anything for April 1st. I have too many people around here that do that for me! and I’m usually at the other end! I love the gummy worm idea tho, and I just may have to put that to work around here!
    I love hearing how the new book is coming along. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on it! Have you mentioned when it’s coming out?
    Hope you are having fun with your girlfriends! Hope to hear about it, and, what appetizer did you end up bringing????

    • sbranch says:

      I made my Quinoa salad from the Girlfriends book instead of an appetizer . . .I don’t know when the new book will be out. I think after I get started with painting it I will know more.

  16. Donna says:

    Here’s an easy April fools joke. Write “April Fools!” on a small sticky note. Place underneath your husband’s (or whoever) computer mouse, making sure it does not stick out around the edges and that it covers the little light. When he goes to use the mouse it will not work. He will eventually look underneath and find the note. This is more fun if you are around to watch the reaction.

  17. I love the sign on the tree – Holly Oak. I went to Glassboro State College in South Jersey and lived in Oak Hall. The president’s house was called Hollybush, site of a spur of the moment summit between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Kruschev of Russia in June, 1967. That sign brings back memories of happy times when I was very young. Looking forward to your new book…and can’t believe you still have that Volvo – pretty amazing!

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t let it go, it knows too much!

    • Dawne says:

      Nancy- Glassboro graduate also! Class of 1980 with a BS in Special Education…been teaching in MA for 20 years…just retired! I lived in the Edgewood Park apartments but had many friends in Oak Hall.

  18. Peggy Cooper says:

    Noooo! Run Joe Run! She’s going to make a fool out of you! This is one holiday I do not like. I think it’s mean. Maybe because I was usually the one on the bad end of the joke, so the whole day makes me nervous. Sunny and 70’s here in Southern Colorado. But that’s just mother nature playing her own joke on us, because there will certainly be several more freezes ahead, just to keep us on our toes. Looking forward to some excerpts.

  19. Elizabeth M says:

    Hello, new to your blog, and I just had to come and visit it. I just read your delightful book, A Fine Romance, and I fell head over heels for it and the two of you! I too have traveled a lot in England (and Scotland) and it was magical and wonderful to read a book by a fellow American who feels about the dear old place the way I do! I can’t tell you how many times during the book I placed a fervent hand to my bosom and exclaimed, “Oh, yes, exactly!”

    For instance, I’m so glad you discovered my dear Ellen Terry’s cottage. I feel about Ellen the way you do about Beatrix (although I rather worship Miss Potter as well!) I did my degree 10 years ago in Victorian History and Costume Design, and her sense of style and her aesthetic dresses were a great inspiration for me.

    Oh, and I think I and my spouse stayed in the same hotel you did in York, because we too were right across from the Minster and the “Bells, bells, bells, bells…” It was glorious and at the same time a bit deafening!

    Also, I think I knew every single song you quoted in the book, and I’ve seen all the movies you recommended, they’re all great favorites of mine and are sitting on my DVD shelf! Enchanted April is one of my all time favorite films ever. Also a big fan of Fred and Ginger, together and separately!

    Sorry, this is a bit of a “mash” note, but I really felt such a connection with your enthusiasm and your love of all these places that I love too.

    I was going to ask, I went to Knole back in 2002, and then the old 17th century rooms upstairs hadn’t been at all restored, the fabrics were just as they’d been left etc. Have they been restored now, or is it still sort of dusty and dusky and atmospheric up there? Big fan of Vita, also because of Portrait of a Marriage.

    Anyway, sorry to be going on in your comments like this, but wasn’t sure where else to write. By the way, up here in southern Vermont, I have crocuses at the front of the house, which has a southern exposure. So happy to see them poking their little heads up!

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful book. I shall keep it and read it whenever I get “homesick” for my dear England!

    • sbranch says:

      So nice to hear from you Elizabeth … thank you for all of your comments. I can’t be sure about Knole since I only saw it the way it was, but I would say that I didn’t see anything I remember as being less that any other part of it. My guess is that they’ve been restored. It was fascinating, the furniture especially, actual thrones with original coverings surviving from the 1600’s. Happy springtime in Vermont!

  20. Nancy B says:

    Hi, Susan. Love your sense of humor! Gummy Worms? Too cute. 🙂

    Happy Writing!

  21. Jaime says:

    I love seeing your kitties! Pretty afternoon here in Oklahoma today and my girl-kitty Madeline escaped while the door was open. She is a tuxedo cat too. We coaxed her back inside with sardines! When I first came to your wonderful blog and saw your cats and Beatrix Potter and your stove (grew up with an O’Keefe and Merritt) I knew we were kindred spirits! Now I see we both have an appreciation for Volvos as well- ’98 s70 in in my driveway. Love it. I cannot wait for your next book!!!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I bought my poor old girl in 1982 and she is still going strong. Never spent even one day in a garage either, always out in the elements ~ and even when we are away for a long time, she starts right up.

  22. Ruth says:

    I love Jack. And I love the yellow wall phone in your kitchen! Looks just like the one I had in our kitchen growing up!

    • sbranch says:

      I’d like to tell you that phone is yellow, but it’s so old now, what was white has turned to “cream” — and in some photos, yellow!

  23. Laura Anne says:

    Hello, Susan! What is the best practical joke you’ve ever played on Joe?

    • sbranch says:

      It’s definitely the gummy worms. He never expects them. And for the one brief shining moment, his expression is priceless.

  24. Lauren Naudain says:

    Hi, Susan. I have wanted to join in the fun here for a long time, and so when you asked for April Fool’s joke stories, I knew the time had come. When I was first married, my husband and I lived in the middle of 80 acres in a little cottage he built. Every morning, we woke to a gorgeous herd of elk in the yard, and each time, he missed getting a picture because they vanished before he got his camera. The last few days in March he set his camera by the front door, but no elk. Sooooo . . . when he got out of the shower on April 1st, I yelled, “Elk! Elk!” He came flying out of the house completely naked and – this is the best part – PUT ON HIS COWBOY BOOTS and ran onto the front porch, down the steps, and into the yard looking wildly around and yelling “Where are they? Where are they?” He turned and looked at me standing in the living room, doubled over and holding onto myself trying not to laugh and I shrieked, “APRIL FOOL’S!” then ran for my life! Best April 1st ever!

    • sbranch says:

      You are so bad! That’s just too funny. Did he try to get you back?

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

        Lauren…LOL at 4:18am in Insomniac, So. California. Thanks for sharing!

      • Lauren Naudain says:

        He tried to get me back for years, but finally admitted he couldn’t top it. It pretty much ruined him as victim on April
        Fools Day for me though. He never forgot what day it was again!

    • Debbie P. ~ Weedsport, NY says:

      Oh, Lauren!
      I read this and LOL. I tried to continue reading the other comments but my mind kept coming back to your story! I hope he was a good sport about it…I will be LOLing for awhile 🙂

    • Wendy Louise says:

      Lauren, Thank-you so much for this story, it was like a little play going on in my mind and I am still laughing all day ! You are a winner ! ox. Wendy-Louise

    • Annie in IL says:

      How totally hilarious!!! I laughed and laughed. My husband is a photo nut, too, but we live on a highway, so I’d better not try that trick!!

    • judi says:

      That is SOOOO funny. he,he…seems we can ALL visualize it. Whenever I need a laugh I will think of your joke. THANKS for sharing!!!

  25. Carol S. says:

    Love all the new charms in your collection…they would look so pretty tied onto a bright contrasting ribbon to use as a bracelet, anklet or necklace. I enjoy reading your blog pages…you bring bits of Springtime into each entry.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m waiting for my Kitty Love to arrive, but the other three are on a chain I wear around my neck (it’s gold too and looks great even though the cores of the charms are silver) — I find I fiddle with them (Captain Queeg-ishly) — they make a nice noise too.

  26. Chrissy says:

    This is not an April Fool’s joke, but the favorite one I played on my Dad. We did not carve the turkey at the table at Thanksgiving, but my Dad went to the kitchen to perform the surgery. One year I baked a Cornish hen (and the turkey) and placed the hen on the platter, covered it with the roaster lid as Mom called him to the kitchen to cut up the turkey. The look on his face as he lifted the lid was priceless. He graciously allowed me to snap a picture of him holding the big platter with the skimpy bird.

  27. Pat Johnson from Paso Robles, CA says:

    It was so good to open your blog & see a new entry – made my early morning (before bed!). You go, girl, on that wonderful book – can hardly wait until I have it in my hands. I know you are looking forward to the sun shining and good walking weather – even if you do have to bundle up some. You are right – there is sun here & it is warm. I should be extremely pleased, considering the weather around the country – BUT WE NEED RAIN – WATER, PLEASE! Oh well, I may as well settle down & realize that the lawn is going to die this year and flowers are going to be at a minimum. Drought is the name of the game! I am making plans to tear out the west lawn & put in a wonderful patio that will be used to watch the sunsets each evening & enjoy the oak trees in the park across from my house. The other plan is to get the heck out of California for a while & journey up to my cabin in Newport, WA. It has been alone for far too long. And I await the arrival of another grand-baby in April. I love all of the ideas you send our way – it is very fun to think about what I can do differently around the house or the cabin. Keep up the good work, girlfriend….you inspire us all!! XXXXOOOO

    • Danella on the Canadian West Coast says:

      Wishing I could send you some of the rain that we get here on the Canadian west coast. My sister lives in California and we know we can always count on sunshine when we visit. Blessing for us as visitors but we know you really need the rains to come. We too are expecting a new grandchild in April. So exciting! This will be number four. It is fun to read Susan`s blog isn`t it. I know I love it. Enjoy a change of scenery and the green of Washington. It`s lovely. Congratulations too on a beautiful new grandchild.

  28. Mary S. says:

    I am INCREDIBLY excited about your new book!!!!! I can hardly wait!!
    Gummy worms! What a great idea for April Fool’s Day!! I think I’ll put one in the bottom of my husband’s coffee cup! Oh, wait! Will the coffee melt it?
    Thanks for the pics of Jack! He’s such a sweetie baby!!!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

    • sbranch says:

      Slip it into his cup after he’s been drinking it for a bit. I used cold coffee to “dye” my orange one to make him look a little more real.

  29. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Morning ~
    The weather here in Wisconsin may be breaking ~ near 60 tomorrow and Monday! ~ The Red Winged Blackbirds and Robins are back and singing so Spring truly can’t be far off! ~
    The best April Fools joke was one my daughter~in~ law and I played on my oldest son~ he LOVES Oreos so I told her buy a package and we would switch out the cream filling for toothpaste ~ I know I’m naughty ~ he did not take a bite out of it ~ he put the whole thing in his mouth and exclaimed ” What the heck( not heck the other h word) is WRONG with these?” Needless to say he did NOT eat it! ~ My daughter~ in law laughed and ratted me out! ~ My son has a really great sense of humor so he did appreciate the joke~ this year…….maybe Caramel Apple Onions….no that’s way too mean! ~
    Happy Saturday & Enjoy the Weekend!

  30. Carol (Daisy) says:

    Susan, I seem to learn something from each and every post. This time it’s the gummy worms for April Fool’s Day!! This is going to be so much fun!! Gummy worms will rule the day. I’m all 🙂 🙂 just thinking about it. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

  31. Gina P. from NY says:

    Hi Susan: Well, I’m glad to hear about your Volvo, and how long it’s lasted, because I am the happy owner of a two year old Volvo S60, and plan to keep it a long time! Love it, and it has gotten me through the rough winter like a tank – no problems at all. I am so looking forward to the tales of your cottage on the Vineyard and how you got there. I especially am a lover of cottages. Any magazine that has anything about cottages on it, gets put into my cart. Cozy, small, quaint, comfortable, uncomplicated (and less space to clean). What more can you want from life? We are going to have a fairly warm (50s), but rainy weekend. I am off to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC today with some good friends. They are treating me to a day at the Museum, lunch in the Member’s Dining Room, and a tour or two, as a birthday gift (my b’day is tomorrow). So no snow for now, and hopefully not until next December! Funny, my mom used to always tell me that the day I was born, March 30th, there was a snow storm going on… she watched it from her hospital window! Not this year! Enjoy your weekend Susan!

  32. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Calling all UK Girlfriends and Anglophiles: Does anyone know if tiddley-boo is a British slang word, and if so, what does it mean? Not tickety-boo, which means everything’s okay, but tiddley-boo.

    I know this is off the subject, but I need help, please.

  33. Susan P. says:

    Good Morning Susan,

    We are still here after the big SHAKING AND ROLLING. It is bad enough we are in a drought but do we really need the earthquake too? I hope no one here in California that felt the quake had any damage. So nice to wake up to your blog and feel so good after….. As I was leaving in the early morning yesterday I noticed something pink in my garden….??? I don’t remember planting anything pink…. that is my red and white garden. When I arrived home at night there were TWO “PINK” TULIPS…… I took a picture….I planted Tulips……7 YEARS AGO….I guess the drought is good for somethings. We all had a good laugh at my green thumb. Because I could not get all those tulips to grow before so I just stopped planting them in the fall. Spring is coming…It will be there….Enjoy the day and thanks for a calm morning. Love, Susan P.

  34. Debbie P. ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Good morning, Sue~
    The snowdrops…tell me…you didn’t get down on your belly in the snow, again, to take this picture? I’ve been waiting for my pussy willow branches to pop….they’re just coming. Honestly, I like Spring to come slowly and coolly (is that a word?)..the flowers last longer. And I have more time to do Spring cleaning before getting out to “play in the dirt” 🙂
    Thanks for the April Fools topic…I’ve laughed so hard already this morning at the gf comments! In our family, I’m known as the April Fool Queen but have to say that, after being on the other end of a couple practical jokes last year…I may consider toning my pranks down a bit…lol. Does that mean I’m finally growing up? (hope not)
    So happy that you’re enjoying your writing and reminiscing…I have a feeling this will be your most-loved book ever!….so much of YOU in it!
    Have a wonderful weekend, Sue!

  35. Martha Jean Starnes says:

    Good Morning Susan-Once again, I have been catching up on my favorite blog this morning! The weather is suppose to be a little stormy in upstate S.C. today, but next week it is suppose to be be-yoo-ti-ful..sunny and in the 70’s! I even checked the weather for Holden Beach, NC where we a little cottage (we were simply in the right place at the right time about 20 or so years ago and lucked up on it) and it is suppose to be the same. The Girls (my two kitties) and I might be making a quick road trip! I’m starting to feel sand between my toes…:) I love the Kitty Love charm! I just ordered one and The Fine Romance charm. One thing about them that is special to me is that fact that they are crafted in the style that is used on the island of Murano, Italy. About seven years ago when my son was a junior in high school, he played in the strings orchestra and his teacher organized a school group tour to Italy during spring break. I knew this would be the trip of a lifetime with my son, so I saved my pennies and went as a chaperone. One of the places we toured was the island of Murano and actually saw the art of glass blowing take place. It is fascinating! I wish that I could post a picture of the glass necklace that I purchased….it is a heart and one of my absolute favorite treasures! Every time that I pull it out to wear, I think of my son and our trip. (Maybe I’ll tweet a picture.) We also went to the island of Burano, Italy which is known for it’s handmade lace…you would l-o-v-e it! Shhh…don’t tell, but I purchased a pair of lace dresser scarves and have saved them. Whenever he meets the right girl and they marry, I plan to give them to her for a gift. Well, thank you for another wonderful blog post! I hope y’all begin to thaw up your way! Have a great weekend! Martha Jean

  36. Jack says:

    The one I remember that stands out for April 1 was played on my friend Chuck by his wife, Carol — She stitched the fly of his jockey shorts together!

  37. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I am jumping for joy that you are starting a new book! AND so thrilled that you are waking up with ideas, running to get paper, reading diaries. Oh, the excitement of helping you write a book! 🙂

    One question: when you began to actually write the book, did you start at the beginning? did you know what the beginning was going to be? Or did you start at a place in time, just to get started, knowing that later you would know what the beginning would be?

    I know it sounds like a crazy question, but I am inspired to write a story about the little private school that I have taught at for over 35 years. A lot has happened during those years. I have already made a list of Susan Inspired Ideas to get started–(like, pile all your resources together; start writing any memory you can think of; draw inspiration from your diaries; keep paper everywhere b/c you don’t know when an inspiration will come.)

    Thanks for finding time to write to us! I’m so happy that your blog GFs are important to you! You are sooo important to us!

    • sbranch says:

      I began at a turning point and then filled in the before and the after. Remember, nothing is set in stone. The trick is to get started, and then you can change it (a hundred gazillion times until it’s forms up into what you want, which you will know by then, God willing and the creek don’t rise).

  38. Pigeon's Mom says:

    I can’t wait to read your full story… And then, to see the movie 😉

  39. Annette McD says:

    I agree with you, Susan…here in Washington we’ve had nothing but RAIN with an extended forecast for more of the same. I want blue skies and birdsong. I want tulips and daffodils. I want to feel the sun on my face, I want to dig in my garden and plant something new. I am longing for it to finally feel like Spring!

  40. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Hi Susan! It’s cold and pouring down rain here…yuck! But I just talked to my son in Rochester NY and they are supposed to get 6-10 inches of snow tonight. So I will stop complaining lol. Love the charms (?), cute, I need to collect all of them. The book is bringing you such joy and I’m so glad to hear it. This is your true calling Girlfriend (not that you needed me to tell you that). How wonderful that what you love doing brings such joy to others and we love what you do!! Spring is trying to get here and I just sent one of your magnet calendars to my daughter in Chicago, I love spreading your cuteness 😉 Take care and hug those kitties! <3

  41. Anna says:

    Hi Susan,

    I love your sense of fun. Have you seen the film Amèlie? It’s french and has subtitles but it’ll make you laugh. Your blog is one of my “happy spots.” All the comments from the girlfriends are wonderful to read too.

  42. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for reminding me to get out and display my spring and Easter bunnies and chicks. The rain and dark days do need to be brightened by all of the spring colors, I will do that today!

  43. Deborah.T.Norling says:

    I l o v e the Tuxedo Kitty charms…all the charms are gorgeous !…In every photo I’ve ever seen of Girl Kitty she really is the Supreme Queen of Serene..her face is absolute perfection..and her serene and calm and gentle…she really is a special girl!

  44. RuthButters says:

    Just finished A Fine Romance, loved everything about it! I have never been there but am planning to go someday.
    One thing (among many) that I took away from it was, just the everyday things that we enjoy doing ourselves speaks joy into others lives when we share it with them.
    How every special!

    Also do you have a supplier for the Judi Dench reading of Pe-tah Rabbit? I would love to own one as I love her voice and what a story!

    Thank you for letting us join in on your “Fine Romance”

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sorry don’t have a source for that, I don’t even see it on Google. Thank you Ruth, I’m so happy you enjoyed the book!

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        I think Judi Dench did a part in the reading of House at Pooh Corner. Maybe that’s what Ruth was thinking of 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          While in England, I went into a hotel in Ambleside in the Lake District and instead of music in the bathroom, they had a recording of Judi Dench reading Peter Rabbit!!! You can tell by the exclamation marks I’m still not quite over it. It was so surprising and adorable to find in that particular location I wrote about it in A Fine Romance.

          • Mary in Phoenix says:

            Oh, I would LOVE to hear that too!!! I love her voice and her acting. She was amazing in Philomena … great movie! Happy 90th day of the year today 🙂

  45. Connie Turnbull says:

    Your title, Transition Time, and the dahlias on your windowsill remind me of my 88-year-old parents in MN. They will be married 63 years on Monday and dahlias were their wedding flowers. Two days after they celebrate 63 years together Dad is going into a nursing home due to many medical problems. His mind is as sharp as ever, just the body is giving out. This will be a major transitional time for them both. Mom will be visiting him a lot but it won’t be quite the same for them from now on. I will be keeping them both in my prayers as they go through this new stage in their marriage. Love & hugs to you, Susan, for seeing the beauty & joy everywhere and for sharing such a wonderful blog & website with us all. I’m looking forward to your new book!

    • sbranch says:

      In my prayers too, very tough for them. Happy anniversary ((((hugs))).

    • carmel says:

      I will remember your mom and dad in my prayers. I understand. They are feeling the loss, but what your mom can remember is that he will be physically taken care of and be safer. Hopefully, it will give her some peace of mind. In the meantime, it’s a great blessing for him to have a sharp mind. They will bond in more ways and still have opportunities for good times and good memories together. Sending hugs too.

  46. Elaine Corbley-McGuire says:

    Hello Susan and all the wonderful ladies! It’s 4:24 PM, 43 degrees cold, dismal, gray and raining cats, dogs and elephants too here in my little corner of the Garden State.
    But the sun is shining inside my house, and I am wearing a big fat smile! Why you may ask? Our mailman just delivered a package for me and HIP-HIP HORRAY, OH HAPPY DAY, ZIPPITTY DO DAH it has arrived! Thank you, thank you, thank you Susan for Gladys Taber’s wonderful book, The Best of Stillmeadow. Thank you for the lovely bookmark, thank you for the inscription, thank you for being wonderful you.
    I promise to treat this book with great tenderness, read it, read it and read it again. And in the same way I treasure all your books (including the one you are working on now) I will treasure this wonderful book always! thank you again! Elaine

  47. Melody says:

    Hi Susan, How very exciting that you are writing a new book! Something new for me to look forward to!!!

    Your daffodils are beautiful. I think I need to get some too! Spring is slow in coming here in the Midwest. But, I am sure looking forward to it.

    I always enjoy your blog posts so much. They are filled with fun ideas. I may have to get some gummy worms too….

    Did you get hit by the no’ester that arrived on Nantucket last week? That looked fierce.

    Happy book writing.

  48. Christine Aschbacher says:

    Love the snow fall on the fresh spring flowers, I am tired of cold and snow too, but the image is beautiful! I have already had vases of daffodils, they are such a mood lifter! I am ready to get my Easter decorations out. I am waiting for my bunny garland to arrive! Tomorrow is my dog Laci’s second birthday, so I am busy getting preparations finished for her big day!

  49. Jane says:

    Susan Hello! I so enjoyed the home sweet home light touch. An ahh moment for me! I saw the weather report today and wondered if you were in all that wind? Take care. Girl kitty is such fun too!

  50. Danella on the Canadian West Coast says:

    Spring has sprung here on the Lower Mainland. The lilac bush in front is budding and our grass has been cut twice already. The cherry blossoms welcome us as we come into the neighbourhood. Lovely! The hay fever I`m suffering is not welcome however but this too will pass! I love the picture of Jack on your kitchen counter! Our kitty isn`t quite that agile but is a cuddly sweetie as well. Love your blog as usual. Can`t wait to see the new book. Please don`t work so hard that you don`t take time to smell the daffodils. Have a great week!

    • sbranch says:

      I figure I’ll take advantage of the “no sun” and work, and then when the rain stops and it starts to turn green again, out I’ll go! I have a best girlfriend coming tomorrow night to stay for a week, so playtime is in order.

  51. Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Susan and GFs,
    I know this is the winter that just won’t go away, but like Pat, if this drought doesn’t end, we might be joining you! I will look for daffodils at the grocery store this morning and if they have them I will buy a bit of yellow sunshine for my table, so I know it is spring. It is already WARM. We have touched 90 and the wind has been fierce. My family was here from Ohio and we had a great visit. My son did some household repairs for us and some Xeric landscaping, the place looks great! But the landscaping meant a lot of digging, dirt and rock hauling and I am worn out! But it was all free for the searching and we had a great time.

    Sweet, sweet Girl Kitty. So demure! I could just snatch her up and smother her in kisses, but have the feeling that is not the proper etiquette in the presence of royalty. 🙂
    Jack, on the other hand…….kisses kisses kisses!

    I cannot wait for this book, but I know the process is what it is. I just hope we are able to pre-order and get on the waiting list!

    April is almost here…besides April Fools Day (you girls are so bad!), lots of birthdays that month…..Susan, Gladys Taber, grandson Will turns 6, and my mom 91, still gardening and taking care of her chickens! She is like the energizer bunny!

    Happy Spring wherever you are! No matter the weather it HERE!
    Chris…from the dry lands of W. Texas.

  52. Mary L. says:

    I can’t wait until your little metal birds are in your shop! I know several people that will be gifted with them.

  53. MaryAnn says:

    Hang in there-Spring and hope are on the way! We had snowdrops blooming recently right after a snowstorm–it was like they waited until the snow was on the ground to pop up! It is nicer now here, with daffodils abloom and hyacinths, too. Thank you for putting in the quote about hyacinths. It is a favorite of mine. I’m so glad you are having fun with the new book–we will all enjoy it so much. You give us such delightful things to look forward to!

  54. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Such Beautiful photos of Jack and Miss Girl Kitty. Love seeing your kitchen. I am a kitchen lady. Just found your “Country Living Magazine” recipes from years ago. Here they were in a folder in a draw, that I haven’t been in for some time. What A nice surprise.
    This past fall in a thrift store, on a display shelf, was your book, “Girlfriends Forever”. It is my first of your books. It is in excellent condition. So nice to find your new blog today. Was thinking you wouldn’t post again till the first day of April. Rabbit ,Rabbit, day.
    Sounds like your having even more fun writing this new book. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I am, but I miss the good old days when writing the book meant tramping through England with all of you!

      • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

        Ah, yes!! Those were great days! So much fun! Last night I was watching an old Agatha Christie Poirot movie with Kevin and they were driving down a narrow windy English country road with the hedgerows on either side and I thought, “hey, those are the kinds of roads we traveled on with Sue and Joe!” And all of us GFs got so close–being in those suitcases, stuffed in the back of your car, trailing behind you at Beatrix Potter’s place. Oh, my! But, dear Sue, I know you will find ways for us to be “involved” with this book also! I am so excited! Could you include some maps?? I love maps! And maybe some excerpts from your diary? I am just so thrilled that you are working on a book so soon after the last one!

  55. Sharon says:

    Susan, your words always bring my heart comfort. As I grow older it seems there is nothing I long for more than the friendship and kind words of other women. Thank you for that.
    Now, let’s get on with it SPRING!!!

  56. Sarah Maldonado says:

    I think the gremlins stole my comment made soon after your post but that’s ok! I also wanted to say I loved the Jimmy Durante song. I have it on my playlist as I downloaded a whole album and used his “I’ll Be SeeingYou” in a photo montage of my mom’s family for a DVD I made. It was so lovely and that entire album makes me smile! My best April Fool’s joke? I wrote down the number for the local zoo and had my best friend, a Speech Pathologist, call it for “Mrs. Fox”, who was in need of services. The zoo figured out the joke before she did!

  57. judith waller says:

    As you are heading into the warmer weather we are heading into the cooler climate. Not today though,expected temperature 31degress C.(87F). I love Autumn and the cooler weather.I always look forward to Easter because we have warm days and cool nights,perfect gardening weather.We don’t get snow where I live so I really enjoy looking at your photos of the snow.Enjoy your day.

  58. Amylisa says:

    I love the photos of Jack and Girl. I wish I could have some kitties! But my youngest is Very allergic unfortunately. It is a treat to see the photos of yours. Also enjoyed The Light Touch, it will probably be a little while yet before it’s warm enough here in MA. to put those tips to use. But I will when the time comes! It is so nice to look forward to!

  59. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    We had snow yesterday and then today temps in mid 59’s. Talk about crazy 🙂
    I started some flower seeds in little indoor garden trays. I started some stocks. I have never grown them from seed so I don’t know how well they will do. They smell heavenly. Best or worst April Fools…my husband used to work maintenance at a nursing home. I told him that work called to report that someone had locked themselves in a room and he needed to go back to work to get them out…so he drove back into town; when he arrived at the “locked” door, there was a huge April Fools sign on the door! Ha ha, glad he is a good sport!

  60. Carol C says:

    One reason I am so happy in retirement is that I no longer spend Apr.1 shrieking because there’s a spider in my hair, on my shoe, shoulder, back,face, book etc. The kids literally lined up to tell me and each time I had to be tricked. They were adorable but it was always the longest day of the year. Luckily my husband never thinks of it, whew!!

  61. Deborah.T.Norling says:

    Season 3 of “Call the Midwife” is tonight ! I wasn’t expecting it so soon !. sooo happy !…..hopefully east coast and mid west girl friends who enjoy it are watching it right now.. west coast gf’s…it starts at 8 pm.

  62. Janet Hundley - Grafton, WI says:

    My sweet and wonderful mother-in-law/other mother would have been 88 on April 1. She was no joke, though, just an amazing woman doing things that set the stage for her amazing children and grandchildren. We celebrated today with a family meal of some of her kids’ favorite party foods…chex tacos and spammies as well as some of her favorites, plates of fruit and mini Dove bars. What a meal. What a woman. April Fool’s Day changed forever for me when I met this special, giving woman.

  63. Kelly from eastern PA says:

    Good morning, Susan!
    Well the wind is still kicking up here in PA, but our weather guys says we may see sunny skies & 50 degrees today. I cannot wait until the world “greens up” again! Thanks for the terrific blog post. It always makes my day 🙂 I’m also looking forward to your next book! How exciting for you & for all of us girlfriends as well…Take care & happy writing!

  64. Anne in Bradford, PA says:

    Just had to join the April Fools with a few of my Dad’s favorites. The best one was that he put a rubber band around the handle of the kitchen hose so that the first person to turn on the tap got a face full of water! Another trick was to switch the bags of cereal so that the wrong kind of cereal poured out of the box for breakfast. He also jumbled up the silverware drawer so that reaching for a spoon produced a fork. All very kidish but he was the biggest kid in the house!

  65. Donna says:

    Gummy worms! I haven’t used those before for April Fool’s Day, just may have to pick some of those up. I haven’t done anything for April Fool’s Day in a long time, but I feel something brewing for this year. One year I did play an April Fool’s joke on my co-workers. I like to bake cakes and one year I made an exquisite looking 3-layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting but I also made a matching 3-layer cake made from celluloid sponges that was also frosted with cream cheese icing. I placed the “fake” cake in the break room and watched to see who would try to cut it first. The look on the poor victim’s face as he tried to saw his way through those sponges was priceless. He drew a crowd with the very loud comments he was making about the cake being made of “rubber.” He was relieved to see that we had an actual cake for him to slice and eat. My co-worker’s always checked for a “fake” cake after that.

  66. peggy says:

    Hi Susan!
    thank you for the pick me up! I have been feeling down and stressed lately, we are making the big move from Washington state to Massachusetts in May, can’t wait to start this new venture in our lives as our 20 years in the military comes to an end, but moving can be taunting, I sort of feel like you did when you moved to the east coast, not knowing whats to come. I am sure it will be fantastic. Of coarse I am not alone in this move, my husband and 6 kids and one needy lap dog will be doing the move as well. But to add to the stress I went to the doctors and found out I have something wrong with my liver! so I have been really watching what I am eating and going gluten free. which is really challening because I love to cook and bake!! rrrr, I am trying to convert what I like to make into gluten free recipes.. (if any other bloggers have any suggestions/recipes I would love to hear it!) been doing it for four days now and I must say I don’t feel so bloated. Anyhow, just had to let you know I appricate you and your blog because it makes me feel “happy”… have a great day and think of how hot it’s going to be this summer! cold winters mean hot summers they say…. hee hee

    • sbranch says:

      You will love the salad I just posted Peggy, it’s gluten free! Breathe, don’t forget to breathe . . . you will love MA. There are so many historic things to see.

  67. I have been noticing the same thing about the light coming in the rooms differently. I have dutch lace curtains in my dining area and on the two windows in my study (the room I took over when my son left the nest). The morning sun is beautiful coming through those curtains in Spring and Summer.

    I’m afraid I’m the one that always forgot it was April Fools Day and would get thoroughly fooled.

  68. Georgie says:

    Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty… beautiful black and white charm for my bracelet. Where are you?

    Please reorder for a Girlfriend in NJ who has missed out on the first shipment 🙂

    I am in love with your picture of the snowdrops! Such struggle, such determination… such an entrance! Did you get on your belly for that picture too? Brrr.

    Your new book will be such a delight. Sharing memories is such a special part of being girlfriends!!!

    Happy Spring dear Susan!
    XOXO Georgie from NJ

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t worry Georgie, we actually ordered quite a few, but most of them had a design flaw and were sent back. They’ll be replaced in about a month. No belly. I have my limits, just a low hunch! Happy Spring!

  69. Dianne Roper says:

    I just tried to order the kitty charm and it is out of stock!!!!! OH, NO !!!!!!!!!! will you get them back in????? thank you, Dianne

  70. Jayne Parsons says:

    Hi Susan,
    I went out and took a picture of my snow drops for my scrapbook.
    They are such a blessing after the winter we had. I was so surpsrised at how many there were this year. I even found a few in a flower patch I have by my front door. Squirrel tranplant I guess.. Thanks for the Irish Soda Bread recipe. Can’t wait to try it.

  71. Allegra Bridges says:

    Diego, my adorable black lab, will be 11 on April Fool’s Day. We’ve been together for 10 perfectly wonderful years!

  72. Nora Egan says:

    Susan, I just had to add a comment about dear, expressive Jack sitting on the counter next to your stove. My tribe of Siamese are much the same, if it’s walkworthy they’ll walk across it. So much so that I’m going to have a plaque made for my kitchen: “Everything tastes better with cat hair in it.” Perhaps in Latin? No, French! Tout goûte meilleur avec des cheveux de chat en elle. Happy Spring, Girlfriends!

  73. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨`*.✫*¨♥*¨`*.✫*¨* Rabbit~Rabbit Sweetest Sue! I Love The Kitty~Photos! Meowy & Purrrrrrrrrr! Twirling into April A Very Sweet Month! Counting Down To Very Special Birthdays! My Taylor on April 7th! (Turning 10) 🙂 & Gladys Taber on the 12th 🙂 & Yours Sweet Sue on April 12th! 🙂 & Easter & Passover & Spring in Full Bloom! I Truly Adore The Magical Month of April! xoxo Poof! ♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨`*.✫*¨♥*¨`*.✫*¨* P.S. I Have No April~Fool’s Joke! Yikes! 🙂 P.P.S. I Have Your Calendar on My Kitchen Wall & Every Day When I Take A Look You Are With Me! 🙂

  74. Sharon C. says:

    Hi Susan–I love my Girlfriends charm! I was wondering if the Martha’s Vineyard charm will be re-ordered? I missed out on that one!

    • sbranch says:

      Possibly. But they require us to order so many that I’m more or less waiting to see if there’s lots of requests for it.

  75. Barbara says:

    Loved this post. My favorite April’s Fools joke was turning the volume up to high on our sons alarm clock radios. It literally blasted them both out of bed on the first. They hated it…….

  76. Sonya Hewes says:

    So I never had tried quinoa before, so I decided to make your recipe and it turned out good, however, it’s a bit tangy, so I just wonder if maybe I could use less of the rice vinegar. Do you think that’s what gives it more tang? Otherwise, I think it’s good. I ate some warm, but refrigerated the rest, so I’ll see how it tastes tomorrow after everything has had a chance to soak in. The lady at the grocery store this morning was pleasantly surprised when I pronounced it correctly! lol

    • sbranch says:

      It’s good for you to make it just the way you like it…the tang also comes from the lime juice and the zest. Hope you liked it cold too! It’s a dryish salad, nice to have with roast chicken or pork too.

      • Sonya Hewes says:

        I did make a new batch and actually make it with some low-fat chicken broth and added some spices and had it with chicken. Delish! 🙂

  77. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Freezing back home in WI again! One very ill mom, 4 sisters and a big old farm house to clean. We are tired and sad…
    Spring means new life.

  78. Candy N. says:

    Hi Susan! I’m so excited that you’re writing another book! (I don’t know how I missed that blog entry, but just found it this evening while I was looking for directions on how to make the forsythia wreath–never found that…) ANYway….
    I am reading The Goldfinch right now, and I am exactly at the place where you were the day you wrote your blog entry. I was reading that part where that new character comes in and found myself all agitated and upset! I had to tell you…
    Well, I’m going to go figure out how to make that wreath on my own….
    Love to you, dearie! –Candy in California

  79. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Happy Wonderful Birthday Tomorrow Dear Susan, Happy Birthday To Youuuu!!! Pretend I have a beautiful voice singing in front of a fabulous orchestra……..! Thank you to your parents for their gift to us, and to you for sharing your life and talents with us, & Joe too, you’re all so generous, loving, & kind. God Bless, love & hugs, ♥ Joanie

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