Light the Candles and Set the Table

“Traveling is all very well if you can get home at night.  I shell candlewould be willing to go around the world if I could be back in time to light the candles and set the table for dinner.”  Gladys Taber.


going home

What a week!  We had a wonderful time in Connecticut, but it is so nice to be home!  Here we are on board the ferry heading back to Martha’s Vineyard the slow way.  We’ll be home in time to light the candles and set the table for dinner.


the island

There’s the lighthouse and some of the little cottages along the shore . . . Good clues for knowing we’re almost home.



There are a few wooden schooners like this that live permanently in the Vineyard Haven harbor.  So beautiful, love catching glimpses of them under sail. Wind, sea, seagulls crying, more lovely hints that we are drawing nearer. 


When we see the church spires, we know we’re there . . .


And now, here I am bright sunny Monday morning . . . Waking up to the quiet, to the going-nowhere-today, to birds singing and morning sun slanting through the maple trees . . .to a cup of tea and . . .


To the kitties, here’s Jack posing, Girl took off the moment I pulled out the camera. I checked to see what Vanna was doing, and found her bed empty.  She’s not even home.  The nerve of some peoples’ children. There was a note “Be back soon.”  OK.


Then I thought, “Good. I have it all to myself.” First thing I did was walk out to see what grew while we were gone.  We had a good drenching rain storm, so the mock orange (left) and the pink Beauty Bush are cascading over each other and smelling like exotic perfume. 



Pink perfection “Linda Porter” (named for Cole Porter’s wife, he wrote the song you’re listening to) is blooming.

Old roses quote susan branch




I picked strawberries for breakfast . . .


And washed one


Y U M !

small treats

hanging clothes

I got the laundry going and started hanging it on the line. I really wanted to come in and update the Blog, and pick the winners, but would you look at this day! So, you may have noticed, I’m late.

Beauty Bush

I suppose one of these days we will have to cut the beauty bush back, we can barely get through it to get to the back garden, but probably we won’t be doing it today.

GoldfinchesHello to the Goldfinches . . .

So here’s what we’ve been up to since we last talked . . . We’ve been away ~ I was asked to speak and sign A FINE ROMANCE at the annual meeting of the Friends of Gladys Taber, in Danbury Connecticut.  If you don’t know who Gladys Taber is, you can read more about her HERE. But she is an author that I have loved since I discovered her many years ago.  So I was honored and thrilled when they invited me to tell the story of how I found one of my heroes ~ it’s just another odd and wonderful way to find out how connected we all are, even when it is least expected!

Finally.The day before I was to give the talk, Joe and I were invited to see Stillmeadow Farm, and the 1690 farmhouse in Southbury, CT that Gladys Taber called home ~ many of her books are centered on this house. Here I am arriving at Stillmeadow for the first time in my life. I am verklempt. 



Because what does anyone do when they see a fabled place for the first time?  They cry, tears pop out horizontally. I thought I was strong, but the moment I got out of the car, I was mincemeat.  Gladys’ granddaughter Anne had come out that door to greet me and what did she find?  Mincemeat. The moment I saw the house, my imagination jumped to the picture of Gladys and her best friend Eleanor seeing this adorable little place for the first time, and saying, “I’ll take it!”



The house is not a museum, it’s still family owned, and I don’t think anything has been changed or moved since Gladys lived here. For about two hours, Joe and I had the privilege of wandering around Stillmeadow taking pictures, visiting with Anne, hearing her stories, drinking her tea, eating her cake.  In addition to writing books, Gladys raised thoroughbred cocker spaniels and this iron bootscraper on the windowsill is one of the little reminders you notice here and there around the house.

Gladys' typewriter


Some of Glady's books

Gladys was born in 1899, she lived through two world wars and the great depression, and died on Cape Cod in 1980, but despite the turmoil in the world, she managed to carve out a “safe space” for herself, where peace and contentment reigned supreme ~ she stayed happy and grateful her whole life.  She wrote fifty-nine books (all out of print now, but still available in used bookstores and flea markets if you are lucky ~ collecting them is part of the fun), about one a year for her whole writing career beginning around 1925. She also wrote homemaking columns such as her “Butternut Wisdom” for women’s magazines.  She was a hard worker and very prolific, very wise and very funny.

Here I am standing in front of the famous fireplace where Gladys would simmer baked beans and other wonderful things during the wild snowstorms she described in her books.  I was wishing it would start snowing. Snow us right in so we would have to spend the night! “Oh darn,” I would say!


living room

See Gladys granddaughter, Anne, in the mirror?  She is telling Joe how she’s working to upgrade and protect Stillmeadow and the surrounding countryside, and these days that’s not as easy as it sounds.

Speaking of sounds . . . Mas MUSICA?  Something for Gladys.

Christmas in Connecticut fireplace 4

There is a wonderful movie called “Christmas in Connecticut.”  Have you seen it? Because if you haven’t, you have something to look forward to!  Write it down and save it for this Christmas.  You will love it!  One of the most adorable movies ever, starring Barbara Stanwyck and lots of other wonderful actors.    Supposedly this movie was loosely based on the Gladys Taber Ladies Home Journal Column called “The Diary of Domesticity,” started in 1945.  As you can see from my photos, Gladys’ living room didn’t quite look like the one in the movie version ~ she lived the life she wrote about; simple, humble, and very real. 

kitchen window

Here we are in her tiny kitchen where “the cheese melts, the butter sizzles and the cream sauce bubbles.”

kitchen linoleum


You can see, as my sister would say, this is a one-butt kitchen.

kitchen table

Not like the kitchen in the movie . . .

movies and life

house of books

There’s an old spinning wheel and the house is filled with old books. Stillmeadow is not open to the public.  There is no support money arriving from anywhere.  It is just as Gladys left it, not really so long ago. 

everything old

Gladys loved milk glass

We readers of Gladys Taber all know how much she loved milk glass, and here it is, in the corner cupboard, just as she described it.

narrow stairs

Here are the stairs to the second floor, straight up, almost like a ladder, with a rope to hold onto.

photo 8-staircase

Here are the stairs in the movie. I like them both.  


Upstairs, three tiny bedrooms, still in use.

room with a view

With quiet views of a quiet place. The same view people saw here three hundred years ago, when Stillmeadow was new.

upstairs bedroom

I love all these old headboards and footboards, look how beautiful the wood is. Anne spent part of her childhood here.  

Gladys' bed

This is Gladys’ bedroom . . . The daybed (on the right) is where her desk and typewriter were.  

“I suppose I am a sparrow, a stay-at-home-bird.”  Gladys Taber

little birds

Gladys' Bedroom

Her desk was in front of the window on the left.  The books are just as she left them.

Me with Anne

I told Anne that the house reminded me of Beatrix Potter’s house, it was like an English house, and she said, “Well, it was an English house!”  Yes, oh my, she’s right, because in 1690, when this house was born, this was Southbury, England!


Then Joe and I went outside to wander around ~ Anne and her husband David are doing lots of work on the house, working to put it into better shape, the way it was when her grandmother lived here.

good things


These old houses are so “natural” they could be compost within a very short time!

Quiet Garden

This is a famous spot in Gladys’ books called the “Quiet Garden.”  Over the years, the trees grew thick over it and growing things were shaded out, most of the garden has disappeared, but do you see the new posts?  Anne and David did those just recently.  They are bringing it back.  The reason it’s called “Quiet” is because it was fenced in with a gate; it was one of the few places on the forty acres that the dogs were not allowed.



This is Gladys in her glory, and we can judge her heart to be the best.

quiet garden

Thyme used to grow between the stones, roses tumbled over the picket fence, and will do again someday; they are planning to thin the trees that grow around the Quiet Garden. Once the sun shines on it again, it will be fun to see just what comes back on its own!

The well

Here’s the old well.  This was the topic of conversation for Joe and I (our Morning Science episode) for our walk through the woods today.  How was it, we asked ourselves, on a drizzly, icy, snowy afternoon, to pull up a bucket of chilled water from the girl-in-bathwell (because you had no running water in your house so this is what you had to do), fill a pail, carry it inside, then go out (brrrrr!) and get another, and another until you had enough, and then heat it over a fire, and start filling a tub for your bath.   Then go bake the bread for dinner. And make a quilt.   We are baby food compared to our ancestors.  But they had something over us.  They had quiet. Pure, clean, sparkling like stars (and lots of them), deep-breath quiet. Maybe a jingle of reins, maybe a clip-clop of the horses. Church bells. But that was it. No dishwasher noise, no TV, no radio, no cars, no beeping things or phone answering machines, no snow blowers or leaf blowers or lawn mowers or hair dryers, and no, “you’ve got mail.”  

Mountain Laurel

Deep breath . . . Mountain laurel runs rampant around Stillmeadow and the Connecticut countryside in general.

beyond the fence

This is the new fence that David and Anne have been building.

Sanford Road

This is the unpaved street in front of Stillmeadow. Much effort to conserve this area has been inspired by Gladys and taken up by many others who live nearby. In your heart, you look at it and you say, please never change.


Because it’s lovely to take a walk up this quiet road, see the beautiful old houses and red barns and smell the green things growing.


And listen to the water fall . . .



saying goodbye

So now it’s time to go.  There are almost 200 people coming for the Reunion . . . and thanks to Anne, they will all have a chance to tour Stillmeadow.  A rare occurrence, so there’s lots of excitement in the air.

Time to go

We get ourselves together, put our cameras away, and off we go . . . I have to practice my speech!  Two Hundred People, Yikes!  I was not born to get up in front of two hundred people.  I will do it, for the cause, but I am wicked scared.


Me with Susan

The big day has arrived.  Here I am with Susan Turnley, the hard-working editor of the wonderful Gladys Taber Newsletter. girl with hearts(Saving the memory and legacy of Gladys Taber is not a money-making enterprise, no one is paid, everyone does what they do with the fervent wish that Gladys Taber books and wisdom will be around to help in any small way to guide the future. If you’d like to help, you can sign up HERE and receive your very own copies of the best Newsletter I’ve ever seen. Thank you Linda, Carol, Nancy, Vernon, Louella, Paul, and Teresa!)  Susan is introducing me, and giving me a gift, which turns out to be this adorable little children’s book about lambs!


The perfect thing for me, because I am crazy about lambs!


lamb book

Published in 1931 ~ Just my cup of tea.

“It’s not that I belong to the past, but the past belongs to me.”  Mary Antin

Friends of Gladys Taber

So now it was time to face the MUSICA . . . these people made it easy . . .

Simply The Best

I thought about putting some of my talk here, but the way I discovered Gladys Taber will be in my new book ~ my talk wasn’t short ~ I’ve already kept you waaaaay too long, and I’m not even done yet!  We still have our drawing!  I woke Vanna, she is stirring!


The best part about being here was this lovely group of kindred spirits.  Can you see the little girl  at the first table, she’s looking at her camera (I think) wearing a light pink top and has dark hair? 

Kate, Eileen's granddaughter

Here she is, you might remember this photo of her, her name is Kate ~ her grandmother sent this to show her reading A FINE ROMANCE.  She was there, so you can see, I was among friends!


stopping on the way home

And then, too soon (Susan and I planned to do this a year ago, it’s been in the future for so long), it was over, and we were on our own again, doing what we do best, traveling the backroads in our rolling billboard toward home, stopping at antique stores and bookstores, 


Doing our best to help support the country people by stopping at their darling nurseries and buying flowers for the front porch.

OK, Here we go, Girlfriends . . . the big moment has come!


OH VANNA?  We are so ready honey, come on down! (Still groggy, feet clomping in pink satin slippers, sweeping down kitchen stairs now, she had a big day yesterday, I should start another blog called Life of Vanna.) She’s wearing one of those black satin eye-shaped masks that keep out the light, the ones with the eyes embroidered in pink thread ~ pushed up on her head. But she’s pulling out the names with her normal verve and style, she can do this in her sleep, despite the kajillion names on tiny pieces of paper, like confetti . . . between these last two posts, we had over 4,000 comments.  Yes, dearest girlfriends, this is definitely a record around here!    

Vanna's shoe

OK, here we are, Winner #1, for the unbound proofs of my 2015 wall and mini calendars . . . the winner is . . .

pink border 


Gwyn Whelband! A Girlfriend in Australia!  Congratulations Gwyn!


And now . . . fingers crossed that YOU are the winner . . . behind door number Two, the signed HEARTS and FLOWER quilt made from my Martha’s Vineyard Fabrics goes to . . .

pink border

Hearts and Flowers

Roxanne (the Roxanne with a pie stand in her kitchen)

Congratulations Roxanne!!!


And, here we go, door number THREE, my Tea Party fabric tea ballcollection, including a bolt of yellow bees, the Little Fat Quarters, and the baby fabric . . . (I hate to even announce this last winner, I would so like it to be all of you! But it must be done . . . and we do have small consolation prizes for everyone)  HERE WE GO, the winner is . . . yikes, I’m even nervous saying it . . . 

pink border

Everything but Jack

Linda from Idaho!!!

Congratulations Linda!  And to all of you lucky winners!!! Look for an email in your boxes from me!  Send me your addresses letterso we can get everything off to you!  Thank you to everyone who put their name in . . . I’m determined to keep giving things away until everyone’s got something!  It’s getting harder, but I’ll keep trying, so watch for the next Giveaway!

Now, the consolation prizes, and then you are free to go live your life, in the spirit of Gladys Taber: listening to the birds, enjoying the little things in life.  Little things like this: 


Don’t let summer go by without trying this amazing Lemonade, it’s like no other!  It will cheer you right up!


And for you all, because your creative heart shone through in your wonderful comments (that I will never get over actually), a special BOOKMARK just for my Girlfriends ~ you can print it out on card stock . . . from me to you with love and gratitude.  

And now, on to my next “project.”  Four of my best high school girlfriends are coming from California on Friday for four days!  . . .

Karen and me

Cathy, Marilyn, Lynn, and Karen  (that’s Karen on left, me on right ~ yes, Karen’s the one I met the Beatles with!) I need to get out my old photo albums!  Planning menu, island tour, fluffing bedrooms (throwing rubber bands for Jack, hugging Girl Kitty, my work is cut out for me).  This is their first time on Martha’s Vineyard!  Who’s more excited, me or them?  Has to be me!

Bye for now Girls, Keep in touch!  I hope you have a wonderful day! One more bit of brilliance to cheer your day . . . look at this!  Fred and Eleanor and more Cole Porter. The end is positively spectacular!

All the flowers . . .

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601 Responses to Light the Candles and Set the Table

  1. Jennie Lou says:

    Wonderful to visit Stillmeadow with you, I found tears as well when I saw the kitchen – I will never look at my small, but so much bigger than her, kitchen again! And books everywhere! I wonder that the FOGT dosn’t do some “crowdfunding” by way of supporting the farm and its environs…something to think about. I loved the photo of the schooner from your home-bound ferry, there are Tall Ships in Puget Sound this month, wish you were here!

  2. So, Susan, just about the time I’m thinking…Beatrix Potter’s house…you bring it up. It’s amazing how alike the two properties are but then, as you say, both are English. As to pulling water from the well, heating it on the stove…been there, done that and am Thankful to the Good Lord above for indoor plumbing! Let me tell you…the outhouse is 200 yards too close in the summer and 200 yards too far away in the winter. When Dave and I first moved here, I shoveled snow from inside the house to outside the house. Ah…the stories I could tell.
    Congrats to the winners…well done, Vanna!

  3. Margie says:

    Loved, LOVED the beautiful quiet peace of these photos — sigh. So necessary in this Life! I am watching “Anne of Green Gables” right now, just for the very same peace and beauty. I shall be looking up more about Gladys Taber — thank you for the inspiration! Have a lovely day and thank you again for the respite!!

    From the California Central Coast

  4. Tamara Davis says:

    Thank you for sharing Gladys Tabor!

  5. Jamie says:

    What a wonderful post! I am so happy you shared the pictures of Gladys Tabor ‘ s home that was a real treat. I started reading her books because you shared your love for her writings and that she is a local hero from Appleton, Wi. I dont know why I had never heard of her before but thanks to you dear Susan I’m having fun searching for her books and drinking in every scene she writes about.

  6. Connie Turnbull says:

    Susan, thank you SO much for introducing me to Gladys Taber. I am reading 2 of her books from my local library, Stillmeadow Daybook and Stillmeadow Seasons. I have put my nose smack-dab in the middle of both of these books several times smelling the old, wonderful antiquey-musky smell of old books. (I don’t think I could ever go to an e-reader because I LOVE the feel & smell of the printed books.) Thank you for all the pics of Stillmeadow and the Quiet Garden. The beauty that is there and to think it was there 300 years ago! The house is smaller than I am picturing as I read these books. How in the world did 6 Cocker Spaniels race around the rooms in there with humans? Thanks for sharing all things lovely and wonderful – the Musica, the tap-dancing video, Vanna & her diva life (love your descriptions – I think of Zsa Zsa Gabor). I will look now for Gladys Taber books at every antique store and little bookstore I come across. The bookmark is already printed out – it will go in my library book of Stillmeadow as I read. What a lovely way to pass some time with your blog! Thank you again!

  7. kathy Trivison says:

    I love the mountain laurel looks like tiny umbrellas. Susan, do you have a favorite of Glady’s books?

    • sbranch says:

      I really think they’re all good, but if you’ve never read any of them, I would start with any of them that has “Stillmeadow” in the title. You can’t go wrong.

  8. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Thank you for the beautiful bookmark!!! It printed out just finel, and I will use it to read the two Gladys Taber books I requested through our Dearborn Public Library program that lets you search for a hard-to-find book online, then, it will search throughout many, many libraries throughout the state of Michigan, tons of public libraries, and send them to my local library! I’m found out there are 75 available items under Gladys Tabor’s name…..I am sooooooooooooo happy to be able to request the books in this marvelous service that’s available to library card holders in Dearborn. Ooooooooh, now I have wonderful Gladys Taber books to read all summer long!!! Only a bit sad they have to be returned 🙁 Hope the first two come soon, but next I will request the Stillmeadow titles. (Just wanted to tell you, “when there’s a will, there’s a way”….our librarian is always so happy to help!) And, yes, I will continue to peek in your Vintage section Susan, for any you have to purchase. Bye!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for doing that . . . this kind of request helps to keep Gladys’ books in the libraries. Love your tenacity, and oh boy, you are going to love those books!

    • Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

      Carilyn, I was in Dearborn just last weekend….went to Greenfield Village for the Motor Muster (hundreds of perfect classic cars). I could have said Hi to you 🙂

      • Carilyn Wolski says:

        Hello Barbara! Awwwwww, that would have been so nice!!!!! My daughter works at The Henry Ford during the summer months when she’s home from college, so we are always visiting the Village and Museum. Doesn’t it take you back into time! I love it there, so much history, and so much to see and do! We never tire of enjoying their many events!

  9. charlotte says:

    My goodness Susan. So very many comments on this post. I was delighted in this post and very interested to hear of Gladys. I immediately went to my library’s site and found they had two of her books, which I rushed right over and checked out. I would so love to live a simpler life and enjoy more of the beauty around me. Things move so fast these days. I feel as if I was born in the wrong era. Maybe that is why I quilt. I am a throw back. Ha! Keep writing these lovely posts, Susan, for as long as you can. I love reading them and seeing the pictures and dreaming.

  10. Jennie says:

    I have been looking forward to this post for SO long!! I am thrilled to get to see inside Stillmeadow- absolutely thrilled. I can see why you were crying. I was kinda crying with you!
    You introduced me to Gladys Taber years ago even before your blog 🙂 I noticed so many of your quotes were from ‘Gladys Taber’ so I went ahead and looked her up and found three of her books a few weeks later. I was enchanted! Stillmeadow Sampler was the first one I owned/read. Thank you for connecting us!
    A huge congratulations to all the winners- which is all of us, because being part of a group of kindred spirits is a win-win every time! 🙂

  11. Linda in Glendale says:

    Thank you so much for the tour of Stillmeadow. I grew up in CT and it will always be a part of my heart. I recognized the mountain laurel next to the well before you identified it. As a young girl I’d walk the woods and pluck 2 blossoms, they are sticky on the underside. I’d put them on my ear lobes and had instant earrings! Such fond sweet memories.

  12. Victoria Miller says:

    Another wonderful and delightful blog: I don’t know how you do it! The visit to Stillmeadow is priceless! Beginning with your return is delightful. And now I know what Mountain Laurel is. Beautiful roses. Great quotes and bookmark. And wrapping it up with the tap dancing. Sigh. I always thought life should come with tap dancing lessons, for times when you are waiting for a bus or just feeling a little happy burst, how nice to be able to just start tapping. Congratulations to the winners of the latest contest, and congratulations to you for yet another wonderful blog. And congratulations to Vanna for making it downstairs to do the drawing.

  13. Anne in Maine says:

    To Linda T. in Maine; you should absolutely make the trip to Martha’s Vineyard. As Susan says, it’s not that far. I’m originally from Massachusetts, not too far from Cape Cod. Even though I’ve spent a lot of time on the Cape I’ve only been to Martha’s Vineyard once. It was years ago; before I met my husband. (And we have been married for a very long time!) I have wonderful memories of a day I spent with friends there. He and I decided it’s time to make our own memories. We’re planning a trip in the fall. I’m very excited! Susan, if I see you, I’ll wave.

  14. Heidi says:

    Congratulations ladies!! The tour of Stillmeadow must have been like travelling back in time. I’m reading “Another Path” and finishing “Stillmeadow Sampler”. I’m finding slowly reading and pondering
    is best for her books so far.

    I agree with you about the quiet. People of all ages need more peaceful quite in their lives.

  15. Pat W. says:

    Thank you for sharing the wonderful story of your trip, as well as photos. What a true gift these young people are giving – restoring the home.
    Congratulations to all the winners! We are so fortunate to have you…you such a generous person.

  16. Anita at the cabin says:

    Thank you for introducing me to Gladys Taber !! I ordered & read Stillmeadow Seasons…..enjoying it thoroughly. It was what I call my “porch book”. I just found your blog recently & love your upbeat posts. It seems to me that your approach is definitely in the spirit of Gladys Taber.

  17. Carol C says:

    Last Saturday was a very special day–Susan B. AND Stillmeadow and meeting so many of the wonderful FOGTs and FOSBs. What a delightful group of kindred spirits! Stillmeadow is exactly how it is described in the books and it was overwhelming to see the house, quiet garden, pond and summer house. Like you, I hope that road never develops or changes! Thank you for being such a sport and signing our books. You signed my Girlfriends Forever to my sister with the perfect words. She is at our dad’s now and has no idea (unless she reads this-hmmm) that it is coming!!! Surprise to the BEST sister! I am also glad to be back in my own little butt and a half kitchen with husband and puppies! But, one more thing. my friend, Georgia, and I spent a couple of days driving in CT after the event and must recommend Farmington, CT. Hill-Stead Museum is fantastic and the town is beautiful. We had lunch at Apricots and it was another special day.

  18. Kathie says:

    I loved the tour. I was amazed the kitchen was so small. Was it in the part of the house that forms the “L”; that is only one story tall? Thank you so much for taking us in with you. I’ve imagined the house so many times and Amber racing around without touching the floor. Now I see how she did that. My kitty, Bodecia, claims to be Abyssinian, but looks like a gray striped tabby with white legs, tummy, chest and nose. Bodecia has “read” about Amber and told me its her Abyssinian heritage that makes her yearn for the high places in the house. I just smile. After all, Gladys WAS trying to inspire us……..and if she can inspire a small tabby like Bodecia, what’s the harm? Seriously, though, I read everything I can find that Gladys wrote…..some of it out loud to my kitties until their eyes glaze over. I love her Stillmeadow Cookbook. I’m not a collector, as such…..I mean I hardly care what shape the books are in; I just want to read them. Recently, I’ve begun reading them for the second and third times. Her book “Especially Father” is one of my favorites. Oh, and the book about Amber. Thanks so much for the wonderful interlude your writing has created today. Kathie, in Odessa, WA.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, the kitchen was the one story part . . . at one time all the cooking was done in that huge fireplace. As you know, there were kennel dogs and “house dogs” — Anne said that at one time there were twenty five house dogs!!! THAT is what I can’t imagine. They must have been everywhere!

  19. Tammy in Colorado says:

    Thank you for the tour of Stillmeadow and yet another wonderful post! I don’t know how you do it. And 4000 comments this time. Oh my! Always LOVE your morning science excerpts. You are a JOY. Joe is a lucky man. When he does his JOeY thing at Christmas it makes we think of both of you. (Hope that made sense). XOXOXO

  20. Ruthie P says:

    Congrats to the VERY lucky winners. Gladys’s home reminds me a lot of yours,very warm and cozy and inviting.The room with the spinning wheel especially reminds me of your office.Thank you for the bookmark and a BIG THANK YOU for sharing your beautiful life with us..XOXO Ruthie

  21. Judy in Ohio says:

    I just love to read your blog, dear girl…I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT…and all of your lovely pictures make it MUCH easier to live vicariously through you!! 😀

    Thanks so much for all of the care you take in your communicating! As Gladys said, words do have color…and so many of yours are PINK…THANK YOU!!

    I have been reading a lot about Gladys Taber since reading of your recent adventures…and I will definitely look into finding some of her books and writings!!
    (Don’t we wish we were friends with her !!?) And I actually thought of “Christmas In Connecticut” and how Gladys reminded me of Elizabeth Lane in that movie before even finishing reading what you had written about it here. Next to “It’s a Wonderful Life” , it is my favorite movie…and for those girlfriends who have not yet seen it…I would not even wait until Christmas !!!…That is just waaaaay tooooo long! …What a treat you have in store!!

    Thanks so much for the bookmark, Susan…and for all you do for our spirits!

    Relax now (if you can!) and enjoy your summer!! 🙂


    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh, I am. Cooking today, nursery — girlfriends arrive tomorrow afternoon. And then? I get to go back to book writing! 🙂

      • Judy in Ohio says:

        Sounds like a great plan!

        And I am sure you will have a great time with
        your “old” friends!! 😀

        Enjoy the moments!

  22. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    I can’t believe I had never heard of Gladys Taber before reading about her on your blog! What rock have I been living under? Thank you for taking us with you on the tour of her wonderful home. What a peaceful looking place to live. I was excited to hear the Christmas in Connecticut connection as that is one of my all time favorite movies (and not just at Christmas.) Love Dennis Morgan, and that house I want to live in!
    Thank you for always sharing your joy with us.
    Have fun with your girlfriends!!

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t feel bad, when I started this, no one I knew, none of my friends, none of my family, knew who she was. She runs under the radar. She’s like a little club.

      • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        Susan, you have done more than anyone to bring awareness about Gladys Taber’s works! There are some GF’s that remember her columns and read her books, but I like the rest of the GF’s found out about this gem from you! I have 7 of her books and like your books, they are meant to be read over and over again… old friends. Comforting, peaceful and charming!
        And the credit goes to you!
        Wish I could have made the reunion… time!

        • sbranch says:

          I’m just one of the many who’ve tried with whatever means to get Gladys’ message out . . . must say, some have worked much longer and harder than me. YES, Chris, I hope we see you next time!

  23. Karen J in Indiana says:

    Thank you, Susan for those beautiful ,fantastic pictures of Stillmeadow. I have never seen it in color and it is beautiful. I have the Stillmeadow Album book with lots of black and white photos but they do not do it justice. I discovered Gladys Taber’s books one fine day at the public library. There was Country Chronicle waiting for me on the shelf. Since then I have acquired a small collection of my own. Both Gladys and YOU are an inspiration to me. It’s hard to feel negative while reading Taber and Branch! Enjoy your time with your high school friends. I had a visit from me best friend from college two weeks ago. We had a blast together!

  24. Jennie L says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that! Gave me a peaceful happy feeling- and felt like I was there! What a special place and special person, Gladys was, and always will be. 🙂

  25. Hi Susan, Martha’s Vineyard looks so inviting and yet a very wonderful peaceful place to live. Joe and you plus kitty’s are so fortunate to be able to live there and enjoy the beauty. I’m looking forward to receiving my Autumn cookbooks, one for me, of course, and the other for my best friend.
    I love to entertain, setting my dining room to fit the season, beautiful dishes and of course candles.
    Enjoy the coming weekend.
    Millie Ellis-Deal

  26. Pamela C Betz says:

    Dear Susan–Loved the visit to Gladys Taber’s home! Went to the library and they have 2 of her books, so I brought one home.
    I have a question? How do you keep all of your “pretties” clean on the shelf above your stove? I am constantly having to wash the plates hanging in my kitchen.
    I too would travel around the world if only I could sleep in my own bed at night.

    • sbranch says:

      One thing is that when you cook on top of the stove, put lids on your pans. That’s a big help. But I still have to clean mine two or three times a year (and hope most people are somewhat blind the rest of the time).

  27. Wendy says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures. I have gone back to look at them several times because that house gives me such a comforting feeling…. just love it. Also, I love the burgundy top that you are wearing. Unique and comfy looking too. Congratulations to all the lucky winners in the drawing!

    Wendy in NH

  28. Mary from Ipswich MA says:

    Between the pictures of the harbor, your kitchen, the mock orange, Jack, and Stillmeadow Farm, AND the recipe for Basil Lemonade…….serenity! 🙂
    Love the Kant quote about animals. Thank you!!

  29. Trisha K says:

    I’ve read Stillmeadow Album, the only book I have found so far, and I’m hooked. Today is my 40th Birthday, (its just a number right?) maybe I should treat myself to some more Taber books! Thank you so much for taking pictures and sharing them here, it really is so exciting to see color pictures of everything she describes. The milk glass! The dish with the hand and the emerald ring! I can only imagine how you felt visiting there and getting to meet Anne! I wish it had snowed so you could have stayed. I know I want to live in a Susan Branch/Gladys Taber world! *sigh* I hope you have the BEST time with your high school friends.

    • sbranch says:

      You are about to go into my favorite decade (although that is a very tight race) … Happy Birthday!

  30. Charlene says:

    Susan, how I love this post. What a thrill that must have been for you to go to Stillmeadow. I have been introduced to so many wonderful people and places by you. And congratulations to the lucky winners. I have lots of your fabric which I just adore. I have your Language of Flowers which I bought when you first released it to have a full size of the hat quilt made. I don’t sew but wanted to find someone to make it for me. When I saw the pictures from Strawberry Patches Quilt Shop, I thought that maybe they would know someone who would make it for me. And they did! I am mailing it all out today and cannot wait to see how it turns out. I’ve certainly been waiting for it long enough! You have your Beatrix Potter room and I have my Susan Branch room! Thank you for all the joy you add to life.

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

    Good morning to you Susan ~~~ I thoroughly enjoyed this post! Gee, I’m going to have to start looking for Glady’s books! Her home is really nice and I absolutely loved the look of her home and the area around. I just love the small towns and the looks of outlying areas. My family is from Upper State NY and I still have cousins up around Watertown and Alexandra Bay. The few times that we’ve gone back to visit, we’ve gotten the grand tour of the rolling hills, the places that are famous around there from WWII that involved my relatives of the time. Like you, I go back in time in my mind’s eye and love it!

    Until next time….
    Carol M

  32. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan!! There is something indescribable that happens when a long-time dream comes true….your words were terrific, but I can really see the joy on your face while at Stillmeadow…and sometimes it takes a while for everything to sink in…..I know this is something that is etched in your mind forever….so very happy that you shared your adventure with us….I had only heard of Gladys Tabor through the quotes that you’ve used in your books and calendars, but when I joined your blog, I really got her essence…In the back of my mind I felt like I had seen a book or two of hers somewhere in my life, so I dug out the books I kept when we cleaned out mom and dad’s condo and there is was!!!! SPRING HARVEST!!!! my heart literally skipped a beat as I realized that mom had known of and obviously liked her!! thank you thank you thank you dear susan…. another wonderful connection…. I am reading it and intend to read more of her stories…. love it!! have fun with the high school gang…can’t think of a better way to spend a long week-end on MV!!! love, cindy

    • sbranch says:

      Positively etched in my mind forever Cindy, and you’re right, it does take a while for it to really sink in. Spring Harvest, what a special thing to find in your mom’s books!

    • Cindy, I can feel the thrill that you must have felt when you found the Gladys Taber book in your mother’s collection. There’s something about books that connect us to other people. Just think how it will be for future generations, Susan, when your books will connect people in this way. ☺

  33. Mary S. says:

    As usual, your photos are so beautiful! I LOVE the wooden schooner! And your flowers!! OMGoodness!! They’re amazing!
    I think the kitchen at Stillmeadow Farm is my dream kitchen!! I adore it!! Thank you for sharing your photos of Stillmeadow Farm – I love them!! I have yet to own a Gladys Taber book, but they are on my “wish list”!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  34. Mary S. says:

    P.S. I am still excited for you to read SONG OF YEARS! I think Bess Streeter Aldrich will become one of your favorite authors!

  35. Lindy Munday says:

    I was so in happy to get my first Gladys Taber book in the mail this week “Conversation with Amber” it has a cat on the cover. I will take it with me to Lake Tahoe next week and read it by the lake, can’t wait.

  36. Linda K says:

    My husband and I had the privilege and pleasure of attending the fabulous FOGT Reunion last weekend. We are the parents of Ginny from California whom you so nicely acknowledged with a Father’s Day message from Ginny to her dad. Needless to say, we were thrilled to hear that message from you. It will go into our collection of “happiest parent memories”. Thank you, Susan.

    Prior to the conference we spent 10 days traveling through western New England. One of the highlights was a tour of Tasha Tudor’s Corgi Cottage in southern Vermont. The beauty and solitude of the setting, the quaint charm of the house and furnishings, the weathered barn complete with the goat milking station used by Tasha, and the old-fashioned tangled, tumbling garden . . . an experience difficult to put into words. Then, our visit to Stillmeadow the very next day . . . Heaven two days in a row!!

    I so enjoyed reliving the FOGT Reunion weekend via your blog. And your photo of the delightful Hickory Stick Bookstore in Washington Depot! We were there a week earlier, having been referred to it by Books on the Common, another delightful independent bookstore in Ridgefield, CT. Just like you and Joe, Alan and I brake for small, cozy bookstores!

  37. Jan says:

    Congrats to the winners! Lucky ducks! Enjoyed the pictures of Gladys Tabers home. What beautiful surroundings! You must have been so excited. After reading only one of her books, it’s funny how it kind of comes to life when seeing the pictures. Thanks for the recipe and bookmark. Noticed your rabbit cake pan above your stove – so cute. Today is my husband’s birthday. Made him a homemade cherry chip cake – his favorite. Must go frost it. Enjoy your time with your girlfriends. Sounds like great fun.

  38. Luci from Virginia says:

    Oh happy day! I made your Stuffed Eggs and your Peanut Butter cookies to surprise my husband with his dinner tonight. They are delicious! Oops, I guess I am confessing that I sampled. I also got 5 Gladys Taber books in one auction for $43.00 today on Ebay . My first books of hers. Now I can start getting to know her.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my, five for $43. Love it Luci!

      • Luci from Virginia says:

        It gets even better. Three were First Editions and two of those were signed. I felt really blessed for my first time Gladys experience. My first book that I chose to read is “The Book of Stillmeadow” in which she describes life at Stillmeadow with a chapter for each month of the year. I am just three chapters into the book and I already see the similarities between the two of you and why you like her so much. You both have a remarkable talent for seeing the details of life that many people overlook and are able to express it in such a beautiful way. You have the extra bonus of great photography and art. Of course I can’t leave out your inspiration…….two cute Kitties and your family. I am so happy to have your pictures and descriptions of Stillmeadow to enhance my reading. Just know you must have had lots of fun with your girlfriends. Welcome back! xoxoxo

  39. Jeanne in New Zealand says:

    Congratulations to the winners! ♥ And oh, how we have ALL won with that sweet little bookmark, thank you, dearest Susan!

    I enjoyed reading about Gladys Taber, whose works are nowhere to be found so far here in NZ. All the beauty you described out of her world reminded me strongly of the English writer, Elizabeth Goudge, and I was wondering if you have fallen in love with her yet? I am just so sure you will LOVE her – even though her works are also out of print and hard to come by. Her sweet children’s book, The Little White Horse, is probably the easiest to find, but it is her adult books that really grip me: The Herb of Grace, The White Witch (about herbs and gypsies) … packed with such gentle, rich descriptions, these books all create a sense of safety and deep contentment. So alike your blog here, I am sure you are kindred spirits, too!

  40. Barb says:

    Susan: Sounds like you had a delightful weekend and that you triumphed in “speech giving 101”!! Went to the Farmer’s Market today and found……(you won’t believe it!)…..Heart of the Home! The lady said she had just put it out and along I came. I am so happy to have your book, Susan and try some of these very tempting recipes. Barb

  41. laurie says:

    I enjoyed this trip so much, I love that green smell too, congratulations to the winners,

  42. Janet in Rochester says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the exclusive “tour” of Gladys’ Stillmeadow. No kidding… what-a-spot! I completely understand your “verklempt” ness. The 12-over-8 windows, the huge open fireplace & cooking hearth, the gorgeous furniture. What I wouldn’t do for a Windsor chair like the one in front of the window in Gladys’ bedroom. I’m keeping a copy of that photo for reference [just in case]. And the stairs! Those old New England houses DO have the steepest stairs! They really do go just about straight up. Friends of mine are slowly renovating a farmhouse built in 1830 near Woodstock [in the Hudson Valley/upstate New York] and the stairs just inside their front entry is nearly identical to Gladys.’ PS -I never knew “Christmas in Connecticut” was based on Glady’s homekeeping column but it does make sense now that I know it. The scene in the beginning when Barbara Stanwyck is reading back to herself what she’s just written about toasting veal cutlets in her cheery kitchen while she looks out on the snowy landscape of her Connecticut farm sounds just like Gladys’ domestic columns, the ones I remember reading in my mother’s “ladies” magazines when I was just a kid. PPS – many congrats to winners Gwyn, Roxane and Linda on their wins – what lucky girls. And have a super time with your teenage girlfriend reunion this weekend – here’s hoping for good Island weather!

  43. Jody says:

    This was so fun for me. I’ve been a Gladys fan for a long time and when you showed the pictures of her home, I thought to myself, “That’s just as I imagined it.” So thank you for confirming what I only knew of in her books. Now I need to go grab one of my Stillmeadow books and read through the month of June. Congrats to the winners. What lovely prizes.

    Your home and grounds are looking so beautiful just now. One day we will be reminiscing about “Susan Branch’s” home and all the lovely things you’ve shared with us through your books and things. Maybe you should start on a book about your home and surroundings there. “Another Fine Romance!”

    Love you!

  44. Jody says:

    P.S. I am SO making that Basil Lemonade this summer. Thanks for the recipe!

  45. Paulie says:

    Hi Susan:

    Sorry I am a tad late but had to let you know this was one of the best of the best posts. Loved the tour. Have almost all her books…….noted interesting things in the house. Little matchboxes in the kitchen like my parents had in theirs – was curious about the headboards and footboards on the beds. I always thought the highest was the headboard and not the other way around as shown in your photos. How interesting……….just loved everything about this tour that I would never have seen and now can visualize when I read more of her stories on life there again……….thanks so much for this memory! You are a treasure!

  46. mary says:

    Hi there,
    The saturday morning spent with you and other kindred spirits was a treasure! You are a charming and sincere person and i thank you for all the efforts you make for your girlfriends.
    While you were so graciously signing my 3 books, i mentioned how much i love your teas and also about the tea infuser that i use. Its from and can be found in many malls. Mine was a gift. I am looking forward to drinking the tea you thoughtwas so good, the apricot decaf blend. I ordered it as soon as i returned home.Once again, thank you for a most memorable day.
    Your friend,

  47. Barbara (WA) says:

    Living here on the very young west coast of the US, it was startling to me to realize the house was built before we became a nation, in England!

  48. Mary in Phoenix says:

    Loved EVERY detail of this post. You follow in the footsteps of Gladys and mentor us like she mentored you 🙂 “Come get your happiness” this weekend with your girlfriends. We watched you with them as Remnants closed last fall … singing, laughing, chatting. Nothing quite like a girlfriends reunion. I had one at my tea a few weeks ago. Still basking in it. On a sadder note … just found out John Harney died. Such a nice man. Started Harney & Sons in Salisbury, CT at age 53 before tea leaves were popular … and before his sons were involved. He just knew people would love it … and we do! I feel blessed to have met this very fine gentleman. Have a cuppa in his honor today for all he did for tea lovers of the world ♥ and enjoy your special weekend! xo

    • sbranch says:

      We drove around the island singing . . . we had a wonderful time. Thank you for the salute to John Harney.

  49. Kit says:

    Wonderful photos of Stillmeadow. I just kept looking and looking. So great that her grand daughter is restoring it. Now when I re-read her books, I can imagine exactly where she was. Thank you! Kit

  50. Pat Mofjeld from Minnesota says:

    I have a strange question: In the photos of the bedrooms, it looks like they have the taller headboards at the bottom of the beds and the lower footboards used at the top (by the pillows). I can see why in the one photo where the head of the bed is located where the roof slopes down but in the other one?

  51. erica says:

    Hi Susan!

    Your comment on how your tears went horizontal and that you felt like “mincemeat” had me chuckling. I must say, that you look adorable in front of the Gladys Taber fireplace! So sweet.

    Not too long ago, I found a GT book in a shop and now I absolutely must read it! I’m thinking that while things were physically more labour intensive, a whole day could be taken up doing the wash and hanging it to dry and making dinner. Today, our lives are consumed with multi-tasking. You know….not being “in the moment” because of the other 5 things that must be done. I think having a bath was probably a rare event, with most people washing up with a basin of water and some soap if they were lucky. Washing hair? Well, probably just as rare. And, were there not bath-houses back then, because most people did not have running hot water?

    I don’t know….are we better off than our ancestors? Happier? Are our lives easier? There are pieces of me which would love to go back in time….to live like that. But because I know what I’d be missing, the comforts of home which I have, it would be challenging. For them, such as Gladys, it was all they knew….all they had. Perhaps too, all they wanted. That being said, I NEED to read her books to know.

    I can’t figure out where I’ve seen that carpeting on the stairwell. I keep looking at it, and just know I’ve seen it somewhere before! I like how the patchwork design makes some of the squares look like hearts. See it?

    Congratulations to the winners of your latest giveaway. I’m happy for them….I’m content to win another time. hahaha. Have a blast with your girlfriends!


  52. joan danaher says:

    Loved the weekend in Danbury. The visit to Stillmeadow was incredible-to be really there in the house as it actually was!! The wonderful people I met that are
    part of the FOGT. Meeting you and having you sign my 2 books – Wow!
    And I will weave those threads you spoke of and weave a new life. Slow but sure.

  53. Kelly G. says:

    Thank you so much, Susan, for this lovely post. I enjoyed visiting Stillmeadow along with you. Just thought I’d pass this along — I was looking at a book today I got from the local library. The book is called Farmhouse Revival by Steve Gross and Susan Daley. And there on page 68 is Stillmeadow Farm! There are several pages of pictures, and a little bit about Gladys Taber. It was fun reading both your post and the pages in my library book, too.

  54. Eileen R in Pleasant Grove says:

    I love the visit I feel I just had with you. The tour of Stillmeadow was wonderful. I, too, love the simple things in life. Thank you for the music, the lovely photos and art work, the wonderful quotes and writing. And for sharing your life and yourself with those of us who admire you so much. Love, Eileen

  55. Holly Barnes says:

    So much loveliness! Best wishes to Anne and David on their labor of love. What an enchanting setting.

  56. Nina From England says:

    Congrats to the lucky winners Susan! And thank you for sharing Stillmeadow with us, so cute. It so reminds me of the houses here in England which on the whole are so much smaller than your side of the pond. I remember growing up with an outside WC although we never used it thankfully there was an inside one too! It must have been hard work too fetching water from the well but knowing what we have read about GT I bet she took it all in her stride!
    Hope you have a lovely time with your girlfriends! I can’t wait to hear all about it. xxxx

  57. Judy Harvey says:

    I just finished reading A Fine Romance, and I so enjoyed traveling along with you via the words, photographs and paintings! I did not want it to end. Your blog is amazing, too. Now I am on the hunt for Gladys Tabor books. My sister and I travelled to Cape Cod and had a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard two years ago. I loved the ferry ride.

  58. Michelene Thomas says:

    I loved seeing Gladys Tabor’s Stillwater . My Mom was a huge fan of hers. She had several of her books. Sadly, she left them to a friend of hers when she passed away.
    I also love all they quotations you include in your posts. Where do you find them? They are always so perfect for what you are writing about. Do you just remember them all from reading them or do you have a secret place to find them? I started about 10 years ago keeping a little book that I write quotes and poems that I like in. I made a book for my BFF with quotes about friends, but I needed more and didn’t know where to find them. Any good source you could share would be greatly appreciated.
    Have a lovely day. I always look forward to your posts.

    • sbranch says:

      I have collected them in notebooks for years, many I’ve had so long I’ve memorized them by osmosis. I always read with a highlighter nearby! I love to find them when I’m reading . . . it’s like finding beach glass in the sand. You can buy machine-made beach glass but it’s more fun to find the real thing in the wild!

  59. Janice says:

    Thank you for introducing me to Gladys Taber. Christmas in Connecticut is one of my favorite movies – how fun to find out it is about her! I plan to look for her books…maybe I’ll be lucky enough to find one during one of my thrift/flea/antique shopping trips. What a treat for you to visit her home, and it is so nice to see Anne and David lovingly preserving and restoring the farm.

  60. Gina D. says:

    Hi Susan! Loved the blog post… especially the adorable roses, Stillmeadow china displays & big old dreamy beds! I have a Gladys book now and plan to indulge soon! But an English menu request… I am planning a roast leg o’ lamb w/mint sauce supper to celebrate our recent trip to England & Scotland. Can you please recommend some side dish ideas that would be traditional? What would you serve with it, and would you use rosemary & garlic to flavor the meat? I have all your cookbooks if there’s something in there that is just right. Hope I can find some pear cider here in Virginia…. thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Mmmmmm. Let me see, really “traditional” would be roast veggies (or minted peas) and mashed potatoes, for a “lamb roast.” For me, Rosemary and garlic are perfect with lamb.

  61. Liz from Michigan says:

    Thank you so much, Susan, for such a fun post!!! “Christmas in Connecticut” is absolutely one of my favorite movies!! My husband, John, and I have it memorized! I really appreciate the history behind it’s making – especially since I have become a fan of Gladys Tabor through your books and artwork. Can’t wait to share with a dear friend who also enjoys the movie so much! Writing from my own “Quiet Garden” and still looking forward to seeing your illustrations in British “Country Living” someday! I am pretty sure I mention that each time I post a comment!!!

  62. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    all I could keep repeating to myself was 1690! oh the joy of a house that old. Mine was built in about 1950? (not sure, although we put on an addition in 1989). My kitchen is old and cramped and people who know me, but not my house, are shocked when they come here for the 1st time and say – how do you cook and bake in that tiny kitchen? ha! we improvise! I pull out a drawer and lay my cookbooks over the silverware, I lay my cutting board over the sink, and as my husband or daughter walk by I quite often will say: Can you hold this? (a bowl, or a canister of flour, or whatever…) After seeing Gladys Tabor’s sink I will never secretly curse mine again 🙂 When I was a child my mother had a dear friend that moved out of state. Once when we went to visit her I took delight in her “new” home (it was ancient!) and told her: it’s just like a museum!! She used to make/sell hooked rugs out of wool strips and had the most fabulous workroom! Throughout her home were all of her beautiful braided wool rugs, including the wooden stairs. She told my mother she always cherished that comment I made about the museum. I am not acquainted with Gladys Tabor, but love that movie!! 🙂 I will now keep my eyes open for G.T. books.

    • sbranch says:

      Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and your kitchen sounds like the perfect example!

    • Julia says:

      I also have a small cottage kitchen. It took some getting used to
      because I had a huge kitchen before. Thanks for the tip about
      the cookbook. When I have over 10 people for dinner, I put a
      tablecloth over the stove (flat burners) and use it for my buffet
      table. I also had shelves put in half of the coat closet for the
      larger serving pieces. Works great! Now I must go visit Stillmeadow

  63. Mim Pepper says:

    Thanks so much for the photos of Stillmeadow. It was almost like being there. What a beautiful place. I thought I had most of Gladys Taber, but I only have 36. Is there a complete list?

  64. Mo'a says:

    Congratulations to the winners 🙂 As one of your readers said we are all winners that come here to read you lovely posts and receive gifts of your stories and photos and extras like bookmarks and other delightful gifts.
    I was there at the reunion…way in the back a small blond headed dot on one of the photos that you posted…but near enough to drink in the loveliness of you and your talk. I even caught a glimpse of the Fine Romance Chariot.
    What a delight it was to see the wonderful Stillmeadow…I was…as many of my fellow travelers…amazed at how small it is…it felt even smaller as we were at least 25 in each group touring the house 🙂 I loved every minute of our tour and it was a delight to hear the reactions from my fellow admirers of all things Gladys Taber. As I re-read her books I can now imagine myself there.
    Anne and David certainly have a big job ahead of them. I am sure they are doing all they do for the love of it…and the history of Stillmeadow…quite a responsibility.
    I love your photos and story about the house and Gladys…you have photos that I wish I could have taken…I am grateful that you shared them here. Thank you, thank you.
    I did not get meet you this time…there is always a possibility in the future 🙂

  65. Wild Dingo says:

    Hello! I had to leave a comment that I loved your dishtowel post! I couldn’t leave a comment there. This one is lovely too. But I googled for “how to fold a refrigerator dishtowel” because I like having a dishtowel on my fridge too keep wet prints on stainless steel to a minimum. I like your idea of using dishtowels as a art display! I like dishtowels too, but with all the “matchy-match” themes going on in decorating today, I always felt like I was breaking some rule if my dishtowels didn’t color-coordinate in my kitchen. Yet I love their art. I think it’s a splendid idea to use them as art displays and handy too! Now I may have to add dishtowels to my growing list of things to collect for the home. 🙂

  66. Cynthia Linck says:

    Susan, The Twin Lambs is a delightful book. It is in my collection. I have 29 Helen Fuller Orton books and counting. She was one of my favorite authors growing up.

    Enjoy the Lambs.

  67. Tara Baker says:

    Dear Susan,

    I’ve read your blog for years and I’ve never written. I think it’s because you’re my hero. I love everything you… your home, your blog, your books, your calendars… I love it all! I suppose I’m afraid that if I write to you here I’ll be too close and you’re up there… on a pedestal… really you are. Do you know what? I cried at the end of ‘A Fine Romance’… yes, I actually cried when I finished it. Really, I did. And then guess what I did? I closed the book and turned to page one and started again. The second time I read it more slowly. Sigh… how I loved that book. Your books are my little happiness. I read your ‘Summer’ book at the end of spring each year to get inspired. I’ve preordered ‘Autumn’ and have all of your others. The darling little banners you sell are all over my house making it charming and cozy. Do you know what Susan, I’ve fallen in love with my old house since I ‘met’ you here in this amazing blog of yours. Instead of seeing, Oh I wish my kitchen looked like that picture in a magazine, or my bedroom was this way… I think about making it cozy, warm, and filled with love. And I just wanted to thank you for that. Thank you for all you do, how you inspire, and just how you make the world a better place right here on this blog. xo, tara
    PS~ Can I ask you a question? I’ve been looking through your archives trying to find the posts when you were having your kitchen floor refinished and Joe was busy painting the wall. Your kitty was up on the ladder and you had to move tea to another room. We’re about to take apart a few rooms and I’d love to reread those posts for well… inspiration on how I can ‘get through’ that messy week. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks so much, and happy summer! tara

  68. Cindy Holshouser says:

    I went to a house warming last weekend and there was beautiful mature landscaping. One flowery bush caught my eye and no one knew what it was. One gal said “I think it’s an East Coast thing”…I took a picture and sent it to my gardening expert friend Nancy and she said – that’s Mountain Laurel. The next day her friend just happened to have dug one up that had been neglected. It’s mine now! I hope to get it back to the point where it flourishes. So beautiful:)

  69. jane says:

    thank you for the tour of gladys taber’s home. what a treat! hope you’re enjoying your “girlfriends” weekend. xx 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      It is so fun! I’m sorry I’ve been away from the blog, but I’ll be back soon. Tomorrow is their last day! 🙁 I’m so fat, they really do have to go. Must go cut the polenta cake for breakfast! 🙂

  70. N Jean says:

    Such a lovely post. I love the long posts with lots of pictures. You introduced me to Gladys Taber and I love her, so glad you were able to visit her home and glad you had a wonderful time.

  71. Carole Woolery says:

    My first Gladys Taber Reunion was made all the more special because you were there. You have written about your apprehension with public speaking, but no one would ever know! Your words were inspired and spoken from the heart. You SO connected with your audience. And your photos of Stillmeadow are beautiful..WAY better than mine! What a treat to relive that magical weekend through your blog. I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it to the Reunion because our oldest daughter and her hubby was expecting her first baby…well, guess what?? Her little girl arrived on the first day of summer! Two amazing weekends in a row…it’s just incredible…my heart is so full…I just had to share! After this, I will return to my oh so brief “I love it!” comments!:)

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, well I’m very happy to hear about your newest baby! Congratulations . . . the first day of Summer, how nice.

  72. Martha says:

    I LOVE all of your photos of Martha’s Vineyard and Stillmeadow!! I guess the long winters in New England are well worth the wait for glorious spring and summer days!! Now that summer is here we are counting down the days until our annual trip to MV! Glad you had a nice time in CT — is Stillmeadow open for visitors? Would love to go.
    Martha from CT

    • sbranch says:

      Not at this time Martha, but maybe someday. And yes, the winter just makes spring and summer even better.

  73. Nese says:

    hello! I used the last of my garden strawberries today to make your Strawberry Ice Cream from the Summer book. I don’t have an ice cream freezer so I just put it in a covered bowl in the freezer and gave it a good stir every half hour or so. I could die of happiness! Sooo good!!!!

  74. Lynn Etling says:

    Gladys Taber has been part of my life for many years and now, over 30 years after her death she has lead me to you. I found your blog from the Friends of Gladys Facebook page and what a delight it has been! I started at the beginning and have spent the last three days reading every post. Now onto the Willards and the rest of the site.

    Thank you for sharing your trip to Stillmeadow. It is my dream to go there in reality as I have been there in my heart multiple times.

    Your blog is a delight and I thank you for it. Please add me to your list of loyal readers.

  75. Ruth Thomas says:

    I absolutely LOVED this blog!! I just bought my first Gladys Tabor book at the local Goodwill Store! How I miss New England – seeing the ocean as you approach home and the church steeples and then Stillmeadow! I’m going to start reading the book right away while I am inspired from your blog. Thank you again Susan for bringing such brilliance to my day.

  76. Linnie says:

    This is on of the BEST posts ever!!!! I will have to go through it again and again!!!!

    But SUSAN!! I’m going to see RINGO tonight!!! My daughter just saw his BUS!!!
    Got any inside pointers!!! Can I drop your name??? Should I burst in some where (I know the back roads) and say “Hey Susan sent me… and and she saw John’s undies”!!!! Will you call him for me and tell him you sent me??? Hee… Ringo… I’m going to see Ringo… he’ll probably be a dot but.. RINGO!!!!

    Hee! Hugs Linnie…Ringo!

    • sbranch says:

      How fun! Yes, by all means, drop my name, I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten 🙂 Tell us how it was!

      • Linnie says:

        Ringo is sooooooo CUUUUUUTE!!!
        What a great show (Lewiston NY Art Park outside)
        His All Stars were FANTASTIC ; Todd Rundgran,
        Steve Lukather, (Toto), Richard Page (Mister Mister),
        Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey) WOW!!!

        After holding our position in front in baking sun…… THUNDER STORM!!! told “go take cover”!! Daughter “demands not budging”!! I demand “I’m with her!!”Sardine people start singing “We all live in a Yellow Submarine….” Rain poures… BUCKETS of WATER… drenched….singing “Yellow…. Chanting “RAIN-GO-RINGO.. RAIN-GO-RINGO”… soaked shoes purse, shirt. underwear… “we all Live in a “…………………………. rain stops sun peeks…chant song changes “Here comes the Sun Little Darling….” a hush……….. when suddenly: it’s it’s RINGO!!!! (did I mention how CUUUUTE he is)?
        …forget I’m wet… wave wave “Wooo Hooo Ringo over here”!! He looked at me!! Yes right there one fleeting glance…..ok ok so there were other people yelling “woo hoo over here” right behind me but I know the glance was mine…. ok ok so he had sun glasses on..still I just know Ringo and I exchanged a starry eyed split second that he will never remember…but I always will! Hee!! ..Sigh…. Warm Hugs and Blessings
        PS (I would like to post a pic and video of Ringo from last night on FOSB Face Book can that be done?)

        • sbranch says:

          I think it can Linnie, please try, we would love that!

          • Julia says:

            While in the UK we went to the Beatles
            Museum in Liverpool and I wore my huge
            RINGO FOR PRESIDENT button that I
            have had in my jewelry box for 50 years.
            It came with a Beatles record from Decca
            records. Did I feel like a fool? NO
            Because I knew I’d saved it for something!

          • sbranch says:

            That’s just wonderful! I’m sure everyone was jealous and in awe!

          • Linnie says:

            ( I couldn’t get it to work kept posting on my own, drove all my friends nuts I’m sure ..
            ……..not computer savy)

  77. Wendy Louise says:

    Dear Susan,
    Aren’t we having a lovely summer ! I have to tell you that seeing you and Joe and all the kindred spirits at the FOGT reunion was such a wonderful day. Just the most exciting thing to start the summer. They did such a great job and it was so wonderful to be back visiting the area I grew up in. Oh, to just go back in time and visit with Galdys at that wonderful homestead, I truely felt her spirit there, did you ? I think she would have loved to see us all too ! Anne was a lovely hostess, I hope she can accomplish all the things that she wants, we need to see more loved old homes preserved and cherished.
    Your little talk, little, it was an hour or more, I could have listened all day, you spoke to us all with such ease. You did it with such Love and it showed my dear ! When I start a parenting class I’m sure I feel the same as you but once I get started, well, I could go on and on ! When you love something and do it with heart, it’s magical ! You give so much, I am so glad you love doing it, we all benefit so much ! You and Joe, well, what can I say, are a one in a million couple ! Thanks ! I hope you had a fantastic time with your girlfriends and then get back to your passion…… Art, Joe, Kitties, Domesticity, and all of Us ! Love you, Wendy Louise OX

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Wendy Louise — it was such fun when you said your name and I knew just who you were! We had a wonderful time, it could not have been more fun!

  78. Stephen says:

    I hope you had a marvelous week-end with your guests.
    Have you ever made book-marks? My first Gladys Taber book arrived this afternoon, Stillmeadow Sampler, and I think a book-mark drawn by you would be perfect!

    • Stephen says:

      Sorry! I mean book-PLATE, not book-mark.

      • sbranch says:

        Ohhhh, I have small bookplates, I think we have them in our webstore . . . not the large “plates” exactly, but small decorated stickers for signing your name.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I’ve made lots of bookmarks . . . you can go here to print out free bookmarks, among other things . . . there is THIS ONE for the summer . . . and I often put them on the blog. Enjoy Stillmeadow Sampler!

  79. Congrats to all the lucky winners. I’m over crying now….only kidding. Like someone else already said, we are all winners just being girlfriends! Loved seeing your pics at Stillmeadow. The kitchen was indeed cozy and I loved the steep carpet covered stairs with the roping. Simple and effective. I have Stillmeadow Road and savour each page. Seeing Joe walking down the country lane ix so picturesque. I love quiet in all ways. Glad to hear you have been enjoying special times with your girl friends Wishing you a great 4th coming up.

  80. Pat Stansel says:

    Seeing the pic of you with Karen in the Lake Arrowhead photo booth ,reminded me of a pic of me & my daughter Karen same place about the same time, I’m about nine years your senior & you looked about 16 there—my daughter was about 7—I’m 20 years older than her. We could have crossed paths there—silly I know but that’s the way I think!

  81. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Your Summer bookmark is so “easy-breezy”! You artwork always makes me smile… sunshine!!! Thank you very much!!!

  82. Jack says:

    What I find interesting are these hundreds of personal contacts existing in your
    ongoing discourse with so many of your friends and girlfriends —coming to be actual
    hand shakes and hugs during your signings and talks. —compared to the more remote relationships to the world exhibited by the likes of Beatrice Potter and Gladys Tabor……
    Both you and your work is getting to be known on a national and international scale around the world ….what’s your grand plan for this build-up…. Do you want to start a Church or just seeking simple Sainthood as the world’s most admired lady , with good St. Joseph at your side

    • sbranch says:

      Things have changed haven’t they? I don’t think Beatrix Potter ever did a book signing or made a speech. In those days lady writers didn’t do such gauche things! (In fact they barely wrote books!) But no matter, Gladys and I do have something in common (more than the obvious) we both run a little under the radar when it comes to the corporate “branding.” The handshakes and hugs are my favorite part of the “writing” business, right up there with helping kindred spirits find each other and sharing our simple home-loving, little-things-in-life message. We are the happiness spreaders . . .

    • erica says:

      I feel a connection of sorts – and have anchored myself to the philosophy and belief system of these wonderful women. Susan has been the gateway by introducing me to Beatrix (you should see my collection of little books!) and Gladys (one book so far!) Thank goodness for that, because Susan has taught me, probably as they’d taught her, that domesticity, however mundane it may appear to me at times – is in fact an ART. That I can create, see, experience, beautiful things, in the ordinary! Not to mention the God given talent with her art to express this philosophy and for being, for lack of a better word, “ordinary” and humble enough to feel encouraged by a hug and shaking our hand!

      How fortunate we all are to be able to connect (now) with the world of the internet which has made the world smaller and more intimate. So, much so that the good news that is shared across the continents, travels as fast and far as the bad. The “grand plan” is unfolding everyday – I believe that God chose Susan and Joe to share it with us – and just think, BD you are part of it too!

      Much love and respect,

    • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Where’s the ” like ” button! We need one on this blog!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        We have the books and memorabilia of some the great lady writers such as Gladys Taber and Beatrix Potter. But you know, we have the real you Susan! That’s amazing! It’s hard to believe that we’re actually walking through this life with you. Sometimes I feel like pinching myself to see if this is real. We are so blessed.

        Such an honor to see the photos of Gladys Taber’s homestead and to walk through there with you for the first time. I know you were just over the moon. We got to witness this, so we’re over the moon too. My goodness, the winners of the give-away got some lovely gifts this time. They are so lucky.

        • sbranch says:

          We’re planet mates! And because of the Internet, we can actually share our lives!

        • Rhoda, I feel the same way you do. I missed out on seeing Tasha Tudor on one of her house tours while she was still living because I didn’t make the effort. So I made the effort to see Susan at the FOGT Reunion, and am so glad I did. Having this connection with Susan on her Blog does make us feel like we’re real FOSB friends and not just honorary friends. Thank you, Susan!

          • sbranch says:

            I missed out on seeing Gladys, AND Norman Rockwell who was still alive when I moved to the island (living in Western MA).

    • Lynn Etling says:

      Sorry, just have to point out your error. Gladys Taber had very real personal contact with her fans. Many actually showed up at her home and she would pose for pictures and visit with them. Like Susan, remote relationships were not part of Gladys’s relationships with her public. The warmth and sweet kindness radiates and radiated from both of these talented, generous ladies.

      • sbranch says:

        Very true, Gladys was always welcoming to everyone. I think when my dad says “remote” — he’s not speaking of anyone’s personality, but just comparing the “remoteness” of the old days to the connections we can have via the Internet all over the world.

  83. Alan says:

    Yes, that tap sequence with Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell IS probably the finest ever recorded. The movie in which it appeared, Broadway Melody of 1940 is a two DVD movie in my video cabinet; I usually purchase a duplicate of truly favorite films….just in case! Probably one of the few times Astaire ever had to “kick it up a notch” just to keep up! She was the best woman in tap shoes….ever. Thanks for spreading the word.

    • sbranch says:

      I ADORE Ginger Rogers with Fred, she was amaaazing in more ways than one — but of all the dances I’ve seen Fred do, this one is my favorite. They are positively on fire!

      • Alan says:

        I love the tune, as well – “Begin the Beguine,” by Cole Porter. The classic big-band rendition by Artie Shaw in 1938 was a smash recording hit, so much so, that it literally caused Shaw to walk away from the music business for a time, complaining that he was tired of playing that song over and over again. The song and the Shaw rendition of it remain one of the great big band numbers of all time. Fitting accompaniment to the genius of Fred and Eleanor!

  84. Julia says:

    Just got back from my UK trip. It was wonderful and to come home and
    find a few words from Blog Dad and the G.T. story! Made my day. Have
    my days and nights mixed up. I had your F.R. book with me all the way
    and saw lots of things that you described. The cider was so good and
    so was Sarah’s gingerbread. I’d like to go again but not on a tour. Too
    confining! I shared my book on the bus and the ladies were really impressed
    with it and I know they will have to get their own copy. Highlight of the
    trip for me was leaving the hotel in London, going to Windsor by tube,
    train and foot to see Windsor Castle and Queen Mary’s doll house. I’m with
    you about being thankful that the English have preserved everything
    so well. Your book inspired me to “step out of the box” and just DO IT!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s wonderful — and now you have the lay of the land, can see how easy it all is, and maybe next time strike out on your own! Welcome home!

  85. Barbara Ellen says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I hesitate to send a public “correction” of sorts, but perhaps other folks might like to know as well.
    It may be popular usage to term a purebred animal a “thoroughbred” but technically the Thoroughbred is the name for the horse breed most often used for racing.
    So you can have a purebred Thoroughbred or a purebred German Shepherd dog, or purebred English Springer Spaniel dog, and so on, but not really a thoroughbred dog breed or any other animal breed.
    With apologies if any of the other hundreds of posters to your wonderful blog have explained this already, but on the other hand, if you don’t wish to post my message and just keep it to yourself, that’s “OK by me” (as Fred or Ginger might say).
    All the best to you and yours,

  86. Sweet Sue says:

    Just want to send a BIG THANK YOU to you and your wonderful staff! I checked your “Free Stuff” area on your store website the other day and what a plethora of goodies. I saved all your new screen savers and am enjoying a new one every day. I printed out your summer bookmark and laminated them and will be giving them with 4th of July cards and little books to friends, printed out both the camping and rose postcards and assembled them. Then got postcard stamps and sorted them into sets with a ribbon. The camping ones will go with littler journals to friends who love to camp out and the rose ones to my Aunt in Arroyo Grande who loves roses and to others along with some other rose items. You made my day and it gives me such great joy to give “Susan Branch” gift packages to others! You blessed me indeed so I could be a blessing to others! Have a most wonderful day! Looking forward to a blog about your “girlfriends visit” and how it went. The best to you and Joe and of course, Jack, Girl Kitty and last us not forget Vanna! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sue . . . I second that THANK YOU to Kellee and Sheri — they are the best! So happy you are liking all the little freebies we put up.

  87. Sufferer of Hypo-Brancherian Syndrome says:

    Yo, yo, S.A.S, you’ve got some girlfriends suffering with the very rare condition of hypo-brancherian syndrome, which can only be remedied by throwing said girlfriends a bone, a Branch bone. A sentence, one word or a single letter, but make no mistake, it needs to be a real doozy of a letter. No pedestrian vowels, no, it needs to be a charming and cozy consonant, only be-fitting of its author…

    **The above is said with massive amounts of ‘cheek’ and humor.****

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I’ve been waiting for this comment, you poor sick girl. Ha ha aha. I know. I’m very late. But with all the excitement of my girlfriends coming, Gladys Taber, New York, and some looming deadlines, I’m waiting for my inspiration cup to refill. I’m breathing right now, I’ll be back soon! I miss you too xoxo

      • Sufferer of Hypo-Brancherian Syndrome Admitted to Blog General says:

        It had been reported on Friday afternoon a well-rounded (literally and figuratively) 50 ish, ahem, y/o female was admitted to Blog General with a very rare syndrome, Acute Hypo-Brancherian Syndrome.

        The syndrome is known to have an insidious onset, usually due to a lack of Branch exposure and the girlfriend begins to develop an itch that can only be relieved with clicking refresh on the SB blog. As the syndrome progresses when said clicking offers not a bit of SB news, the girlfriend often develops twitches, most often manifested in the eyes but has been known to cause other spontaneous herky-jerky movements of legs and arms flailing about without intention.

        The syndrome’s most critical phase manifests with a girlfriend’s vacant stare, white knuckling any SB remnant, book, calendar, Beatrix potter figurine, etc, inarticulate mumblings about Jack, Joe, Martha, Susan and a Haven, and culminates in mini-fits, seizure like activity. The latter is treated with an IV bolus of all things Branch and then a maintenance dose of branch-isms. The prognosis is usually very good when the girlfriend is once again exposed to a steady diet of Branch blog posts.

        **Clinical Update: the girlfriend was discharged from Blog General on Sunday at 4:09 a.m. Pacific Time after receiving a liberal dose of Branch words. It appears the girlfriend has made a full recovery without any permanent untowards side effects**


        • sbranch says:

          Adamdorable. I’m so sorry, I will try to keep you well at all times, bouncing from happiness and joy. That was so cute, I read it to Joe. xoxo

  88. Linnie says:

    This is such a GREAT post!! It is the kind that needs to be visited again and again!
    What a great experience that you have brought us along on! So many thoughts and beautiful photos that all tie in together so joyfully!
    I only have 3 of her books (so far) and I loved reading them! I am always on the hunt for more though 🙂

    I loved the photo of your rose and foxgloves! It’s a prize winner for sure! (and the strawberries too)!

    But what a delightful prize for you to visit Stillmeadow Farm! I am so happy to see these pictures and put them together with the reading memories! Wonderful wonderful wonderful !!! And you look wonderful in that beautiful blouse!
    Thanks for giving us the BEST!!!! 😀 (and thank you Joe for taking pictures too)
    Many many warm BLESSINGS, Linnie

  89. Debra in So CA says:

    I wanted to ask you about that darling Greeting Card box you offered with some of your designed greeting cards too – do you still offer it? I have a need for it now and couldn’t find it shopping on your website? Also what about the new book “Pancakes” when is it coming out? I just love your stuff! Can you shed some light on this for me? Thanks, truly.

    • sbranch says:

      For the box, it’s under “stationery” ~ look HERE — Pancakes is on the back burner again, while I write the book I’m working on now. But I’ll get there. I need some more hands!

      • Debra in So CA says:

        Thanks Susan. It’s lovely, I’ll order it right away. I’d also like the Daisey box because I thought it was like a file to keep cards organized. Do you still have that one too? Couldn’t find it. Thanks so much. Oh, and I look forward to Pancakes coming out. I love all your books.

  90. Sweet Sue says:

    Just finished readying “Autobiography of Mark Twain” that I purchased from you back in April for my birthday and really enjoyed reading it. I found a greeting card with a Mark Twain quote so gave the card with the book to the Dean of Language Arts here where I work for him to enjoy as he is also a Mark Twain fan. Thanks again for a gift that not only blessed me yet also a colleague! Have a most wonderful day!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so glad you liked it Sue … I feel in love with him through that book. Brilliant man.

  91. salve says:

    Susan, thanks for the pretty Bookmark!
    And Barbara Ellen – thanks for the Thoroughbred “correction” – we always learn something new everyday! Specially in Susan Branch Blog! Salve

    • sbranch says:

      Deep in the dark recesses of my lazy mind I thought, wait a minute, thoroughbred is for horses — but I skipped right over it with the other deep thought “they know what I mean.” 🙂 So I add my thanks to Barbara Ellen! It’s better to be right than fast!

  92. Lorraine says:

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this post and looked at the photos of Stillmeadow more than once trying to soak it all in. Thank you.

    Congratulations to all the prize winners – I’m sure there were squeals of glee when they found out they won!

    I’m late with my comment – so I hope you HAD a wonderful time with your friends.

    • sbranch says:

      I could hear the squeals from the other side of the emails I sent to each of them. It was a very fun giveaway — I thank everyone for their part in it! I did have a wonderful time with my friends, but with them, Gladys, and before that New York — I suddenly have had a lot of things to catch up on. In case anyone is wondering where I’ve been! See you all soon!

  93. Jack says:

    We may be getting adopted by a feral cat that comes up out of these bushes and brush
    On the hillside leading to the golf course below . It is scruffy gray and does not like men at all. Departs

    immediately if it sees me but will tolerate Jeanie a little bit ….she is trying to set up a meeting by putting out cat food ….early stages —Not a very impressive looking
    Kitty , rather small head and scrawny body –totally wild .. So we will see where this not so warm relationship ends up . We did have one other cat join us for a while , huge big brownish guy , liked Daisy ….more than Daisy liked it . It came out of those bushes too so
    we named it Brush and we let it come in and go out as it pleased using Daisies doggy door
    While it was here it would be found anywhere in the house , spralled
    out on the kitchen floor , like a bear rug , or up high atop the cabinets and when it would jump down it made a big thump, he was strong and heavy.,but peaceful and pleasant . Would be a handful for a Coyote to handle.
    After a few months it simply stopped visiting …. Must have found a dog it liked better.

    • sbranch says:

      I would like a vote from the Girlfriends as to how many think that my Dad and Jeanie go Immediately to the animal shelter and pick out 1. old dog who needs a home and someone to love, and 2. a 6 week old kitty to keep everyone laughing. A guy with a new heart valve has earned himself a doggie and a cat. Please vote HERE! I VOTE yes!!!

      • Julia says:

        I vote yes to both. They will be very lucky fuzzy
        babies! Can’t imagine my house without dog hair
        and cat fur!!! Helps with the cozy feeling!

      • Carrie says:

        A robust, absolute, enthusiastic, encouraging and resounding YES!

      • Sharrieboberry says:

        Yes! To senior adoption!

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        yes vote here!!!!!!!!!

      • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:


      • Karen C says:

        I vote Yes !!

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Yes, and YES!!!!

        • Pat Mofjeld from Minnesota says:

          My vote is YES. We just had a 10-month-old mini. schnauzer join us as a friend for our other mini. schnauzer after we lost Fanny due to cancer early this spring. She is keeping us hopping but pure entertainment. Happily, she and Betti get along very well. Betti is an angel and sort of mothers the new kid. Jack, you and Jeannie would be entertained constantly! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            That’s what I think, the entertainment value is boundless. No matter what other things a person has to do, the joy of a pet keeps the balance.

        • judi says:

          I love dogs, always had them whilst raising kids but, I would have to vote in favor of 2 house cats:) yes, go immediately to shelter and pick them out (short hair, calico or Jack like would be ….purrrfect!)
          Sweet Susan, so glad I checked the comments…I have been hyper worried that you have been MIA for the longest I can remember. HAPPY to hear you have just been catching up:) XOXOXO judi

        • Luci from Virginia says:

          Yes!!! Now where do we send the gifts for the pet shower?

      • Arline in LA says:

        Definitely, definitely a “seasoned” dog. Some of them end up back in the shelter and just give up hope, but they are the best because they know how good home can be. And a little kitty to perk everyone up!

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Definitely yes! We plan to adopt an older cat after I recover from my hip replacement surgery and that is fast approaching, kind of like how fast Christmas comes when you’re not ready. Happy Canada Day and Happy 4th to everyone.

      • Luci from Virginia says:

        Yes!!! Now where do we send the gifts for the pet shower?

      • Trish K says:

        I vote yes! Every home needs some cuddly comfort in it! So many pets need homes! Especially older dogs, and I think young kittens need a playmate! Side note: I also think Jack (Blog Dad) should be an author as well.

      • Toni from Sylvania OH says:

        I vote YES:-)))

  94. Sharrieboberry says:

    Oh! Thank you so much for taking us with you on your tour! Absolutely lovely and absolutely fascinating!

    I was reading in a previous reply that you have a lot of the quotes memorized and that you read with highlighter in hand. Do you also write them down? If so could you share that with us? A pic or two? A sentence or three? 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I promise to do that. I don’t write them prettily though, I just get them down so I don’t forget.

  95. Jack says:

    Awaiting moderation . Com !

  96. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    I vote YES to BOTH! A home is not a home without a cat, (or doggie)! They say you live longer too with pets, and they lower your blood pressure to boot! Please get them, they need YOU! Good luck on your feral gray boy too.

  97. Julie Waters says:

    We have just spent the last several hours together and I really enjoyed your company! Your website is charming, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading almost all of it. Thank you for taking the time to write all these things for us. The world needs more cats and people who love them. Thanks again for the lovely evening.

  98. Jack says:

    Well we’ve got a name for the new feral – Confederate Gray- -a Connie for short ( M or F)
    But last night … No show— Hate it when that happens …. But this one is really spooky
    So we will just have to put out fresh food again and see if it shows…..

    • sbranch says:

      You are waiting for a ferel and this is good and fine, but this whole time a loving little UN feral is waiting for you. Not to mention, domesticated loving doggie.

  99. Jack says:

    Yesterday Jeanie wanted to do an old fashion croc- pot roast w/carrots . Potatoes and gravy
    My orders were to buy a nice tender “small ” roast . Nothing but big hunks so I told the butcher what we wanted and he came up with a prepackaged , pre spiced piece about
    3″x6″x2″” thick . Jeanie cooked it all for 6 hours or so and added raw onion during last hour
    IT WAS FANTASTIC …. Meat and gravy had just a hidden zap of spicy heat , onions
    were crunchy cooked and no waste on tender , pull apart meat….plenty for two , with
    Left-over for hash…would work for you and Joe ….thought you or GFs might seek out this goody some time when in the mood for traditional.

  100. I just reread your blog and noticed that on your way home from the Gladys Taber lecture you stopped at the Hickory Stick Book Store in Washington, CT. I’m wondering if by chance you ever visited Hollister House Garden located in that town? The gardens are wonderful and they are an interpretation of English gardens such as Sissinghurst, Hidecoat etc. It has the paths, the walls, the hedges and wonderful plantings that you so adore and would be well worth your checking out their website. It’s a very interesting, quiet and serene property….kind of a well kept secret…..and is only open to visitors with set hours on Saturdays. I can picture your delight and Joe’s too (taking photos) as you walk through this enchanted place.

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful looking place . . . must put that on our “to go” list for the next time. Thank you Janice.

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