Being Lazy . . .

Rabbit Rabbit, I’m back Girlfriends, didja miss me?  I been busy, oh so busy, doing nothing, being lazy . . .  MUSICA bunny-bunny

Hello Everyone

Each day I come to the studio with the intention of writing a new blog post, but the windows are wide open because the weather has been so wonderful and it gets light so early in the morning and the breeze is coming up from the harbor and the garden looks so pretty from the kitchen window so I go look at it, and what do I see, oh my, weeds, so I sit down to pull a few (under that awning they call the sky), and then it’s time for lunch and then I start writing my book and I can’t put it down until it’s time to go for a walk.  I think you get the picture. I needed what Gladys Taber said we all need . . .


 And so that’s where I’ve been.  Taking a long deep breath of home. Peeping through the deep tangled wildwood . . .  

hanging the wash

Hanging the napkins and tablecloth to dry on the line . . . while dreaming . . . 


planting flowers (Calibrachoa) while remembering . . .



Eating lunch in the garden. For those who read this blog, you probably remember — first we went to New York and when we got back I girl paintingneeded to prepare my AUTUMN book for publication, and then it was time to think about the talk I was giving at the Gladys Taber Reunion, and when we got home from that I got everything ready, made salads and plans for my four high school girlfriends who were coming from California for their first visits to the island. So it’s been go go go. And after they left, it was the brown birds and the butterflies that became the problem . . . it was this . . 

I meant to do my work

the garden

I didn’t fight it. I couldn’t, I needed to breathe it in and girl wateringrefill my inspiration cup, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Not really lazy.  So let’s start here, in the garden, and why not, It’s July! We are in the midst of summer.  Summer!   A little of this, a little of that, and we’ll be all caught up again . . . so here we go. Finally the roses are blooming . . .

new dawn rosesNew Dawn roses on the arbor ~ Joe put up the twinkle lights for the girls.


our walk

This is what our walk in the woods looks like right now! I took the girls every day they were here. I wish I could describe how wonderful it smells, all piney and woodsy, leafy and green, I think you can see why I love it so much.  A mile and a half out to the water and a mile and a half back.  Perfect.

out to the water

The reward at the end of the road.


I’ve been bringing the flowers from the garden inside so now I have a cottage garden outside, but my “kitchen garden” is now IN the kitchen.

hydrangeaSheri sent me the new Emma “jug” otherwise known as a “pitcher” ~ so adorable, it’s called “Rose and Bee” and there are matching mugs and tea towels too, I had to carry it around a bit, it’s been in every room in the house, but this is the spot I love it the best. Mrs. Rabbit-Rabbit agrees. We can keep our eye on it here.



guess who

Jack kept his eye on me while I was out cutting hydrangeas. And Vice Versa.  See him?

Just Joey and Just Jack

My first Just Joey rose is in bloom!  And Just Jack Just Loves It!

kitchen garden

 Every time I go outside I have to get out another little vase, I’m going to need another shelf soon.

jack and the birds

Jack keeps his eyes on the birds.



This is how the garden looks as the sun is coming up . . . sunlight brushes the tops of the pickets, and puts a bright spot on the golden cypress.


The delicate yet bold old-fashioned hollyhock.  Take a deep breath of that. (I already checked it for bees, you’re safe.) The crown of any cottage garden. I have two this year but they’re already on my list for next year, I need more, because I am berserk for these. They grow over six feet high and still manage to look very sweet.



Flowers.  The glory of the earth.


clover's in bloom

Even a lawn filled with clover flowers and flitting bees is lovely.  If you’re new to this blog, you might wonder about how my picket-fence garden came to be and if so, here’s my How-To Kitchen Garden.

catching up

You can blame these guys for my absence too.  I had to schmoosh them.  It kept me very busy.

Girl Kitty

Girl Kitty prefers her schmooshing to be very soft and gentle.  She likes to be carried over my shoulder like a baby and have her ears rubbed. Her mantra?

too much of a good thing


Jack would prefer to run and play, have me hold him up to look out of windows, have me bring in grass for him to smell.  His mantra?



They have been patient while I made salad dressing 


counting time


This is Jack, asleep on my art table next to Gladys Taber’s Especially Father book.  He fell asleep waiting for me to throw his rubber band. And then just as he thought he might get me back, I did this!


Lynn, Marilyn, Cathy, and Karen

natural beauty

But how could I not???  SO much fun!  The kitties have been very patient waiting for me to get home!  This is Lynn (above, from the left), Marilyn, Cathy and Karen (Karen I’ve known since I was nine . . . she’s the one I met the Beatles with, everyone else I met in Junior High School) . . . we are, as you can see, at Nancy Luce’s grave in West Tisbury, a Vineyard must-see as far as I’m concerned.  (If Nancy Luce doesn’t sound familiar to you, you can read more about her HERE.  Sometimes she’s known as the “Chicken Lady,” but she’s so much more than that.)


at the Blue Canoe

We had such a great time, dinner on the water and dinner under the arbor; after lunch on the harbor in Edgartown, we walked up North Water Street and looked at the old houses with Widow’s girlfriendsWalks, laughing about being on the drill team, our outfits, the routines, Miss Robathon, making our pom-poms at Marilyn’s house at a slumber party, going to Lake Arrowhead on spring break, boys we had crushes on.  It’s actually quite surprising how little I really knew about everyone. Like if they were the oldest or the youngest in their families.  Or how many brothers or sisters they had. Or something about the lives of their parents.  Things I would think I would know.  That’s because an amoeba has no brain and when I was in high school I was an amoeba, single-celled, as yet unformed. It was so fun to compare memories and meet each other as grown ups.

little necks

We ate icy raw littleneck clams and fresh hot steaming lobsters; we went shopping, we went to the Campground and to the lighthouses and to Menemsha . . . to every spot of interest we could think of.  We sang in the car, windows down, winding on the island roads, old songs, Like this one . . .still my most favorite thing to do in the world, sing in the car with the windows down, and it’s because of these people.  They started it.


It couldn’t have been better, but too soon it was time to

saying goodbye

say goodbye, waaaah.

wave bye bye

flower border


. . . and suddenly it was quiet and we were alone with no place to go . . . it took some adjusting . . .

clover garden

I could almost hear the clover growing.  It’s a very lovely sound.

whistling cup

 You can also blame my new book for my absense.  Because as my inspiration cup is filling, I wake up full of dreams, I make my tea and then I start to write and sometimes I can’t seem to stop. Every day a new detail gets added, a phrase, word, painting, photo, thought, remembered conversation, or song — I don’t want it to end. (“Reaching for the infinite.” GT)

BUT . . . here we are, hard to believe it’s already 


The fourth of July

Now it’s time to hang the flag . . .


I found it! And celebrate the birth of our nation.  I’ve been saving this to show you . . . I found it written in crayon on the back of an old Christmas Carol book.  This seems like the perfect time for it!

red white and blueTime for the red white and blue.

ending the night with a BANG

Time for fireworks . . .

Packing for the fireworksTime for a picnic . . .

cold rice salad. . . and all kinds of wonderful picnic foods . . . What are you bringing? . . . How about cold Lemon Rice Salad with lots of flower petals, delicious AND beautiful — here’s the RECIPE. 

Pineapple upside down cake

or the best picnic cake of them all . . . tender and moist, not too sweet . . .


 Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with a sticky brown-sugary edge and vanilla bean sauce.  Yum!  Here’s the recipe for that…

Picnic Squash Salad

Or, fresh from the garden, Squash Salad with Nasty Nasturtiums.  Easy, quick, delicious, the squash stays crisp, like pickles.  Try it!

squash salad

Before I go, in case you haven’t noticed, if you have my wall calendar hanging somewhere in your house, something is hideously girlartmissing from it.  You’ve probably figured it out, but if you haven’t, try not to look for July 31 because it’s just not there.  I have a weak, limp excuse and/or reason, and here it is, it comes also with a strong, forthright FIX . . . so go there to read more and add that little something to your calendar that all calendars should have.  The last day of July.

And one last little reminder for all of us
As Jack would say
Love you XOXO GO US
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407 Responses to Being Lazy . . .

  1. Luci from Virginia says:

    Dear Susan,
    Just got around to making the Rice Salad, Squash Salad and the Pineapple-Upside Cake for dinner last night. They were all delicious!!! Which Newman’s Own dressing do you use for the Squash Salad? I used the Family Recipe Italian in the Newman’s since you didn’ specify. What kind of rice do you use? Mine was very sticky and when it was cold it was one big sticky ball. The flavor was great but the rice grains weren’t separate like yours in the picture. The Pineapple Upside-Down cake turned out perfect with the vanilla sauce. The recipe I have used for years came out of an old Dole recipe booklet. It calls for 1/2 cup of butter to 1 cup of brown sugar . I place pecans like you did the walnuts and put marischino cherries in the center of the pineapple slices. You take one cake mix and make up according to package directions ( I have used Duncan Hines yellow, butter recipe or pineapple supreme cake mixes which gives it a lighter and fluffier texture than traditional recipes) . Bake at 350° 45 to 50 minutes. They also suggest adding 1/3 cup of coconut and using macadamia nuts as an alternative. They used a 9″ X 13″ pan, but I use a Wilton Daisy cake pan which makes it pretty or I have used an Iron Skillet. I always look forward to your recipes. I have all your cookbooks, but I like your picture instructions too. It gives you a little more incentive to make it when you see a picture of it. Yum Yum! Thanks for sharing. XOXOXO

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Luci . . . When the Summer Book came out, there weren’t any choices for Paul Newman’s Salad Dressing — there was only one. But I think you chose perfectly — it was a very simple vinegar and oil dressing. As for the rice, one thing I did not put in the book is that I rinse the rice. I always do, but many people say no. It’s a personal preference, so I thought I should leave it up to the person doing the cooking. But I was wrong, I should have put that in. When the rice is done cooking I rinse it in cold water very well and let it drain for a while. I never want all that starch on my rice. This salad also looks wonderful with lots of flowers and petals on top, edible of course, and unsprayed.

  2. Gail Hallen says:

    I have been a long time fan. Your books are wonderful-as is this BLOG-and all the creative things you do. Every year I look forward to your new calendar. However, just this week I realized there is an error in the 2014 one. Perhaps you have addressed this already and I have missed it.

    I had to reschedule an appointment over the phone. The receptionist suggested
    Thursday, July 31st, and I (mistakenly) said, “there is no July 31st”. She insisted there is and I had to admit, time did seem to jump from Wednesday, the 30th in July to Friday, August 1st. I did make the appointment for Thursday the 31st even though there is no such day on my (your) calendar. We both thought it was funny-I believe I will bring the calendar in to show her next week.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I’m so sorry, but the way you said that made me laugh. You probably have to bring it in so she won’t think you’re crazy. Yes, I have written about this missing day . . . if you go HERE, you can read my pitiful but heart-felt apology and there’s also a fix. It doesn’t affect the rest of the calendar, thank goodness! And we checked the 2015’s with a fine tooth comb!

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