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. Penny Hoopes says:

    thank you Susan. Another wonderful blog. You always have wonderful uplifting thoughts & things to see & do. Love you, Susan Branch

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Penny Hoopes xoxo

    • D'Anne Paratore says:

      wow – you are not the only one busy – I missed a couple of months – mom, had just asked if I had heard from you – even my cats (Tippy Toes, Samson and Charly) miss me clicking on the computer, c’mon Mom, show us the cats! I too have have been neglectful playing baseball with Tippy – thanks for great pics of the island – Mom is getting excited, her bag is already packed – Yes, her gift was a total surprise – after 2yrs of your sticker of a VW bug on her fridge – we surprised her with a 2014 VW Bug Convertible, yellow of course – well deserved – Happy 80th Mom!!! No, she still will not retire – P.s. Mom asked, what new book – Have a great summer girlfriend – love the garden pics

  2. Michele says:

    Again, THANK YOU, Susan for posting! :0) Always enjoy seeing all the beautiful pictures and you sharing your ‘everyday’

    (and that picture of Jack sleeping….Aaaaaaaaaaaa! that’s my heart letting out a little scream)

  3. Carol from PA says:

    I have missed you soooo much, Susan! I understand completely but I do believe your view of life has become a WONDERFUL habit that I really do miss terribly when there is a slight lag. Look at those beautiful faces of your childhood friends! Friendships like these are the true blessings of one’s life! So very happy for you all! Thank you for making my heart grow and grow today!

  4. Karen says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for another wonderful post. I read this morning on Friends of Susan Branch on Facebook that you had a new post up. So, I rushed over to read and be inspired. When I was a little girl, I wrote to a pen pal. I would rush to the mailbox and see if there was a new letter. Just like your blog, your posts always make me so happy and inspired. Is it the wash on your wash line blowing in the summer breeze? Is it the perfect music that you always choose for each post? Is it your wonderful recipes or the glimpses of fabulous illustrations decorating each page? I think it is all of it, and to know that you are working on a new book is the icing on the cake. Enjoy your 4th of July, and thank you again for adding cozy inspiration.


  5. Mary Whiting says:

    Welcome back, Susan. I missed your touch of “home”. It’s all so wonderful……lucky, blessed you. And so deserved. Enjoy.

  6. Suzanne says:

    So nice to have you back! I’ve missed you! Sounds like you have been quite the busy little lady. It must have been so nice to visit with your friends. Everyone deserves to rest and relax, and meandering through your garden, cutting flowers for vases and giving lots of hugs to your kitties certainly fit the bill. I hope you and Joe have a wonderful 4th of July!!! ~ East Longmeadow, MA

  7. Denise S says:

    Thanks for the picture-filled post! Friends, kitties, flowers and food. Can’t ask for much more. I am concerned with the weather news this morning talking of Tropical Storm Arthur possibly brushing the Cape. I hope this does not end up altering your holiday plans. What will happen to the hollyhocks and flag?! Will you have to do much preparation? Keep safe.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll be OK, probably take the flag in. My girlfriend Martha was having a party, that’s canceled. The Edgartown police department canceled the parade and fireworks on Friday, but they’re back on for Saturday. It’s really only supposed to bring us rain, no winds. But it will be hot and sticky until it goes by. Thank you Denise.

  8. N Dungan says:

    Welcome back ,you don’t know how much you miss tell its gone,hope you know what I am trying to say. Your latest blog maked up for the time lost. Love seeing the girlfriend, my gal pals give me energy. Anyway love reading about everything kitties,vineyard,your work ,Joe,home, keep up the good work girlfriend.
    Nancy D.

  9. Nancy Beardsley says:

    I was married on July 4th 1990, so the day has special meaning for many reasons. My husband passed away in January 1999, but the 4th still is special. Proud to be an American! So glad to see you, your friends and Jack & Girl Kitty back on your blog. Miss you when there is a lapse, but glad that you had such a good time. There is so much beauty around us, thanks for sharing yours. You enrich many lives.

  10. Pat Mofjeld from Minnesota says:

    I think our new pup and Jack would have a merry old time playing. She has two modes: ON (wildly playing with her toys and trying to get Betti to play with her) and OFF (collapsed in one of the dog beds sleeping with a sweet little face). Betti sometimes sits in front of me and gives me a look like “And WHY did we need to add her to our family?” LOL! Happy 4th of July!

  11. Alice Lucas says:

    Dear Susan, Thank you for writing a new blog. I have missed you. Jack looks so cute, asleep on your desk. I hope you and your family have a wonderful 4th of July.
    Your Friend, Alice

  12. Barb from Ohio says:

    I too, like many others, kept coming back here to see if there was a new entry only to be disappointed, but I knew you were very busy and had company coming. So happy to find this new entry when I checked today, and I love the pictures of the kitties and your friends from California as it sounds like you all had a wonderful visit. You’ve certainly deserved a break to take time to smell the roses(and everything else blooming!) Glad the weather has been good for you there, it’s been way too hot here, close to ninety and so humid, but I shouldn’t complain as we all know what’s coming in the winter, and summer is never long enough for me. Have a great Fourth of July and eat plenty of good food(the pineapple cake is calling me.)

    • sbranch says:

      I think my girlfriends took the good weather with them. It’s dark here right now (but the sun is up), deeply overcast, very warm and humid too. ick. I try to like all weather, but I’d much rather have a blizzard then hot humidity! It’s OK, Joe hooked up an air conditioner here in my lair, I am dry and cool and happy.

  13. Love all of your posts Susan and I’ve been checking to see if you had posted again and was so happy to see a post from you here today and to catch up with what’s been happening in your very busy life! I am glad that you had a lovely time with your friends. Lifelong friends are the best. My dad was in the airforce and so was my ex husband so I spend the first 43 years of my life travelling here and there. I am happy to say however that I have managed to maintain a friendship with a couple of gals I went to elementary school with, which required a lot of dedication on our parts as we were all airforce brats, but they are the best friendships ever and I cherish them!

    I have loved seeing all of your summer photos and how your garden is getting on. Your holly hock is well ahead of ours. I expect some blooms any day now however, especially if this lovely weather we are having at the moment continues, but you know how that goes over here! It can change in an instant. Have spent the last couple of weeks enjoying the fresh berries from our garden and the baby frogs which have developed from polliwogs and grown legs and hopping through the strawberry patch. No larger than my baby fingernail! So tiny but amazing! Why they love the strawberry patch I have no idea, but I am sure there is some science behind it!!

    Your salad and cake look gorgeous! I need to remember to plant nasturtiums next Year, so I can eat them too, and those baby patty pan squashes. Yummo!

    “Life stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life.” ~Brian Andreas

    Thanks for sharing your ordinary moments with us and bring a measure of joy into each of our lives. xxoo

    • sbranch says:

      I did require lots of dedication to stay in touch in the past, so much easier now with Facebook and email! Thank you Marie! Have a wonderful day xoxo

      • Jack says:

        Why do the baby frogs hang out in the strawberry patch —Morning Science — maybe cause the strawberries attract baby bugs that the baby frogs feed on , so they can become big strapping frogs and say
        Ribbit Ribbit …..!

    • Hi, Marie,
      I took a look at your blog – very nice, and you have some tasty looking recipes. However, I’d hope to see some photos of the frogs in your strawberry patch, but I found none. How nice it would be if you posted a few. Thanks.

      • Carolyn I am going to be posting some today! Stay tuned! They are such quick moving wee things it was hard to catch one in place long enough to catch a photo, but I finally managed the feat! xx

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      I love that quote!! Must copy it into my journal.

  14. Barbara (WA) says:

    Hi Susan & Girlfriends! I, too, cannot believe it is July already. BUT, it has been a long anticipated month. We have some fun plans for July 3 & 4 with friends and family, the garden is bursting with blooms, our grandbaby is due in 2 weeks, and our other son is getting married in 3 1/2 weeks!!!! Happy July!

  15. marisa grindstaff says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank-you for the wonderful post. So good to have you back and filling
    us in on all that is going on. I am going to use the cake and salad at my July 4th
    party but I was wondering what flavor Paul Newmans you used. I have so many
    nasturtiums they will look great on the table and in the salad. I have all the cookbooks but Summer was my first many years ago and its still my favorite. Have a grand and glorious 4th. m.

  16. Asha says:

    Oh Susan! Thank goodness you were taking some much needed R&R! I was beginning to worry when I would check each day and no blog! 🙂 So many wonderful posts in this one! Thank you. BTW – I love July for three reasons. My birthday is the 11th, my first born son is the 22nd and I retire on the 31st! So many reasons to celebrate July this year, besides Independence Day! Thank you for the wonderful recipes, pictures of Jack and Girl Kitty and you and your friends. LOVE them all. oxoxox

  17. Sheryl says:

    Hi. You always bring me back to the “moment” with your thoughts. Reading them tells me where my mind could be rather than where it may be…with thoughts of work that I don’t want to do. You are a bright light in my life as well as all your fans, I’m sure.

  18. Judy in OR says:

    Your posts are always so much fun to read. No, I do not think you are being lazy I prefer to call it enjoying what is important in life. There is no point to being given all the natural beauty around us if we never stop to take the time to enjoy it and what better time than a beautiful summer day with flowers, birds, bees, butterflies and everything else that comes with that. Seeing your hollyhocks reminded me of my grandmother. She had some dark purple ones and we loved taking some of the green seeds off and pulling them apart and pretending they were coins. It brings back so many memories of the slow days of childhood summers. Hydrangeas and roses are two of my favorite flowers so I loved seeing yours. The Just Joey rose is a beautiful color.

  19. Marian Yeckinevich says:

    Yes, you definitely were missed. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us who follow your blog. Your outlook on the world around you is so uplifting and inspiring. I have been reading some of your earlier blogs and am amazed at all of the things we like the same—nature, flowers, dishtowels,quilts, books etc.. You are a girl after my own heart. However, I am so happy for you that you were able to take a break and enjoy your “California Connection”. When you refer to a “new book” , do you mean a book besides the new “Autumn” book that is coming soon? Thank you for it all!!!

  20. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Your old-fashioned Hollyhocks are so pretty!!! I was wondering how do they stand erect at six feet tall on their own? Or, do you need to support them up against a pole or fence? Girl Kitty and Jack look like they are well adjusted to the lazy summertime mode!!!! Keep up the good work on the book writing! Happy July 4th to you and Joe and the kitties!!!

  21. Karen Saunders says:

    Boy howdy Susan….I for one completely understand just wanting to play ‘hooky’ from life. I don’t see how you do it. I don’t like to be tied down with anything. So kudos to you. I know this blog helps you but I don’t think I could do one. (too time-consuming). Although I must say I do love all the girlfriends and reading about them. I still think it would be so cool to have a convention where all of us could meet. What a day. Have a great 4th. By the way, just curious. Two things…do you have deer on the island? because here they jump that garden fence like it was nothing, and do you ever go in the ocean???

    • sbranch says:

      We do have deer. But they don’t often come into our neighborhood. They are little, swam over from the Mainland, and carry terrible tick disease. But they’re cute when they show up in the yard and I run for the camera — It’s rare enough that they are not pests to our garden at all. I do swim in the ocean maybe once or twice a year… my girlfriend is a surfer who goes every day, I’m not that much of a water person. I am a porch and ice tea person. 🙂

      • Karen Saunders says:

        When we were stationed in Guam during the end of the VN war the base had an outdoor theater made of cement (because of typhoons) and you could sit and watch a movie and look at the stars as well. That’s when ‘JAWS’ came out and that was the last time I ever went in the ocean….. I too am a ‘porch-sitting- ice tea’ drinker…now.

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, Jaws did not help. Just after I saw it we went to Hawaii and I went in the water wearing a mask. I was in such shallow water, maybe 2 feet or something, but under there were a zillion fish, most of them looked like (to my eye) baby sharks. I almost walked on water getting out.

  22. Janet W., Mt. Lebanon, PA says:

    Hello Susan, we’ve missed you. Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts and gorgeous pictures. You do have a little piece of heaven right here on earth.

    You mentioned your rose was New Dawn and I didn’t know if you knew about The Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, TX. They find, research, and grow antique roses and New Dawn is in their catalog. The detail they have about where the roses came from, years, locations, nicknames, fragrances, height, etc., is truly amazing. Often the rose is named after a location where they found it, such as by a tombstone or town, or the person who grew it. I’ve purchased several from them and they’re lovely. My favorite starts off pink and as it gets more sun it turns red. I thought you might be interested in learning the history of your New Dawn rose. You share so much with us, I wanted to share this with you.

    • sbranch says:

      Fantastic source! No “Just Joey,” but everything else and all the important information. There used to be an antique rose seller in Paso Robles, in California. They made a little full-color book with all the roses by category, climbers, ramblers, strong-fragrance, no-fragrance, disease-free or not, etc. They are out of business but I have that book with all the photos and it’s my little pride and joy.

  23. Jennie says:

    Hi Susan, looks like you are doing all the ‘right’ things for summer . . . enjoying the garden, enjoying old friends, schmooshing kitties, making posies, going on walks, eating outside and creating . . . that’s just what July is for.

    I’ve been doing many of those same things myself- and instead of painting a book, I am painting my front door and conjuring magical inspiration as I begin to put together my own workshop studio with the help of my very best friend! It doesn’t get better than two girls on the floor going through paint samples, picking colors and getting all wound up together!

    Oh! and I loved hearing that Girl is a ‘shoulder’ cat . . . my Twister is one too! Over the years my family has found lots of cat fur in their meals as I have been know to cook with a white kitty hanging over my shoulder, drooling down my back!

    Happy Fourth!!

    • sbranch says:

      I type with Girl on my shoulder, and that’s not easy, but sometimes, ya just gotta do what ya gotta do!

  24. Kathy Fletcher says:

    Hi Susan-= i love your pictures- but i want to know- what kind of bread did you use on your sandwich? looks homemade- but i was wondering………..looks yummy!

  25. Ginger says:

    Summer is my favorite holiday!

  26. Sue Miller says:

    Fun catching up with you! You deserve a bit of a break…hope you have holiday fun planned for upcoming weekend. Enjoy!!

  27. Kathy Cronberg says:

    Oh my goodness, I didn’t finish reading the blog first, I saw the photo of the Emma Jug with your hydrangeas, and clicked on the link to get my very own jug!! I can’t wait to fill it with my own hydrangeas!!! Sooo excited! But then I came back and finished reading your blog post… it looks gorgeous on the island!

    • sbranch says:

      If I would have seen that picture I would do that exact thing. I’m getting the girls at the studio to save me some for Christmas presents for the Girlfriends!

  28. Tootles says:

    Exactly what I am doing! Caring and replenishing me! I dint feel one bit guilty either, why it’s been such a long hard winter and dreary cold spring here in Minnesota. Thanks for the nod my way! ~ hugs !!

  29. Shanna says:

    My best friend in Junior High and High School was named Karen, too. She and I had many adventures, although meeting the Beatles was not one of them 🙁 We did drive over to the newly constructed, first indoor shopping mall in our area to hear Robert Kennedy speak, just days before that fateful day in Los Angeles. That was the closest celebrity moment we had–and we were very far away in a very packed mall.

  30. So good to catch up with you. You’ve been gathering no moss at all!
    July is a month with no “R” in it but you deserve plenty of “R and R” after your hectic past. Take lots of it and squ-weeze those kitties for me!
    Wish I could send you a picture of Poirot curled up on my desk with his paws under his chin- he looks just like Jack from that angle. 🙂 Ah-dor-able!
    Love to all of you and have a gorgeous, happy and safe 4th!

  31. Nettie says:

    Oh Susan, you and your blogs are such a treat……I can’t wait to return to your beautiful island and see the sights and smell the scents.. For now I delight in my own garden that my dear husband and I have created together. Gardening is such joy. Each morning after I walk our corgi, Foxy I say I will go for a long bike ride but the garden beckons me there. Breakfast under the pergola or on our screened porch simply leads to watering and weeding. Some days I get my bike ride in too but every day I get my garden fix so I totally get you. My journal sits by my chair and each day I fill it with thoughts of gratitude for the day……you are in it today.
    Happy Fourth of July….

  32. Thank you Susan for sharing. I always enjoy seeing what goodies you have for us. Enjoy your summer.


  33. Nancy S. Valley Forge, PA says:

    Lovely post from our favorite “Lazy Susan”! We have nearly forgiven you for leaving off July 31 from our calendar…our very first granddaughter’s very first birthday! But we used your “fix” of a little band-aid and it’s all better now!

  34. CarolK says:

    Your garden is looking so healthy and what fun that must have been to have long time friends visiting. While listening to Chard & Jeremy singing “A Summer Song” I read the rest of your blog and started dreaming about the beaches on the Cape. Your musica always leads me down another musical path of blasts from the past. Boy do I love that! We hit 94 degrees this afternoon but it felt more like 104! Now a thunder shower is fast approaching. Time to close the table umbrella and secure the plants before they get beaten up by the rain. Jersey hugs you all………………

  35. Deb in Michigan says:

    I am feeling lazy right this minute!!!! Sitting on my porch with my son and his family watching the swans on the lake, sipping sangria, finishing up A Fine Romance (for the second time) and thinking everything is right with the world. My book club is coming over on Monday and A Fine Romance is the book I chose for discussion. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say about it.

  36. MaryAnn says:

    So glad you took “time to be”. That is a beautiful quote. Happy 4th of July! I love the pictures you post of the American flag you hang on your house.

  37. Stephanie says:

    I have been checking every day and figured you were busy with the book, but when I saw your pictures with your friends, I knew why it has been so long. What a great time spent with “old friends” ! So happy you got to do that. Happy 4th of July to you and Joe and babies (kitties) 🙂

  38. Lacy Province says:

    Ah, what a nice posting. I think it will last me all of July. How wonderful to have four friends to spend time with – you lucky gal.
    I’m going to make each of the tasty recipes, too!

  39. Ruth Thomas says:

    I always get so homesick when I see pictures of the ocean! Glad you were able to get with your bestest friends – having a leisurely visit is the best. I recently found a friend from when we were 12 and 14 years old – found her on Facebook! All those lovely teenage memories came rushing back. I can’t seem to fill my birdfeeder fast enough. Every morning there is a bunny eating the seeds that were dropped by the birds at the feeder. I’m very quiet and just watch them under a huge pine tree – so sweet. Thank you again Susan for an inspiring blog and for sharing with us!!!

  40. Gina P. from NY says:

    Hi Susan! I checked everyday to see if you sent your blog, and really missed it! I am glad you took some time to “rest” and that you are back in action again. How nice to have caught up with your “girlfriends”. There is nothing like it, is there? They understand us like no one else does, particularly the girlfriends we grew up with. I know what you mean about taking some time to catch up and rest. School is out but the office is open. We work shorter hours during the summer, and it is oh so quiet… No bells, no teenagers shouting in the halls (almost 1500 students in my school), no interruptions 500 times a day. It is a time for us to recharge after the hectic end of school. I’ll be off next week and plan to hang by the pool, go to the beach on Long Island once or twice, catch up on my reading, spend some time antiquing in Cold Spring (a local town right on the Hudson River), sleeping in (I’ll try, I’m really an early morning person), and just enjoying a break in the routine.

    Enjoy your quiet time, writing in the book that we all can’t wait to read, and spending time with Joe, and the kitties. Happy 4th!

  41. yvonne b long beach, ca says:

    Yes I was anxious to read your new update to hear about your girlfriend week visit.I’m glad you had a wonderful time. That picture of jack asleep is adorable he’s like the perfect pet so jealous but happy for you. 🙂

  42. Suzanne Alexander says:

    Love your uplifting blogs with your wonderful illustrations and photographs. (By the way, your cats look adorable. My husband and I have two, beloved female cats, Shadow and Spice.)
    Looking forward to making your recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.
    Have a happy 4th of July! Hope Tropical Storm Arthur stays a tropical storm and stays away from your “neck of the woods.” Stay safe!

  43. Mary says:

    Hello, Susan!

    It was so good to see your new blog today! Everyone was getting a bit worried about you. A few more days, and we were going to send in the National Guard to look for you.

    One thing about your blog today, though: the photo of the smiley women standing around a tombstone is just a wee bit odd. You know, just at first glance. I’m just saying.

    Hugs from Mary

  44. Karen says:

    Wonderful, enjoyable blog, Susan. I have a memory of Susan Branch essays that appeared regularly in Country Living Magazine. Is this true ? ( or did I imagine it ?…which is quite possible ). Anyway, due to storage issues, I passed the magazines along quite a while ago. Question: have those essays been collected anywhere ? Please say. “Yes !”

    • sbranch says:

      Country Living memory is right, they were full page recipes, not so much essays. I think some people have them collected and I have all the original art, but I’m not sure there is a “collection” per se.

      • Karen says:

        Well….how about it, Sue ? Although it is probably way more complicated than I imagine…..and perhaps the recipes have been incorporated in your books. I just want you to know that as a bride I had absolutely no interest in cooking but I did enjoy your page in Country Living. And over the years, I have learned enough to keep us alive and spunky.

        • Susan P. says:

          Karen, In regards to the essays, I think you might be thinking of Jo Northrop. She wrote for Country Living Magazine a piece called Simple Country Pleasures. When I stumbled across Country Living Mag. years ago the only reasons I would buy it was…1 that Susan Branch had to have her wonderful work in it. and 2 Jo Northrop had to have an article in it also. She passed on years ago…BUT I did find a book that she wrote (which I did not know existed) called Country Matters.
          Well I guess I will be adding that to my collection. I LOVED HER ARTICLES. I clipped out all of Susan Branches wonderful art work…but I did not clip out any of Jo Northrup….but I hope this book of her will be just what I am looking for…to enjoy her words and thoughts again. Hope this is what you were thinking of. Enjoy the summer…Love, Susan P.

  45. Cheryl Roblyer says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. You’re the best!

  46. Linda Ishmael says:

    I would love to have a Joey rose as my second child was a Joey. Any suggests where to look? I have not seen one locally.

    • sbranch says:

      We didn’t have them on the island either, but Martha knew I loved them and got me two bare root bushes through the mail. We got two foot long dead looking stumps with a couple of roots and a clump of dirt in a plastic bag. Soaked and planted them according to the directions, and a month later, they are going great guns. Google Just Joey, then see who sells them mail order and go for it.

  47. Susan
    So glad you had a great girlfriend visit and a well deserved rest…take Care of you and Joe…Happy 4th of July.

  48. Carolyn says:

    Hi, Susan! Glad you had so much fun with your girlfriends and that summer is in full swing in your neck of the woods. I got the only two Gladys Taber books available at our library to enjoy during my summer vacation. Have finished Country Chronicle and am reading My Own Cape Cod. Love them! I feel like I’m in New England even while wilting in southern summer heat! Her descriptions of nature are glorious–so glad to be discovering her through your blog!

  49. Danella on the Canadian West Coast says:

    Dear Susan,
    Another lovely post! Summer….July….it has seemed like such a long time coming and here it is! Lovely weather to eat on the patio or coffee in the morning. Lovely anytime to read your message to us. Thank you for sharing once again your thoughts and sweet wisdom. Always a treat. Glad you had a wonderful time with your friends. Have a wonderful month of July!

  50. Judy in Ohio says:

    Thanks so much! We have been waiting to hear how it all went with your
    “good ol’ friends” (though they never age, do they?)…And all went just as we
    knew it would!! Great to hear, though.

    There is an Italian phrase,”il dolce far niente” …Have you ever heard it? I heard it a number of years ago…It means “the beauty/sweetness of doing nothing”. It is something I do hope to achieve one of these days as it sounds simply wonderful. I initially thought YOU had achieved it at the opening of this post, but I found that you have actually been entirely too busy, really…We will get there one of these days, dear friend. (Don’t think I want to STAY there, but just get there at will would be really nice! 🙂 )

    Now you can start this next part of your summer!

    Also, watch out…Not too good-looking weather coming your way, I think.
    Stay safe..and dry!!

    Thanks again for all your news…We all so enjoy it…and all your stories!

    And HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY to you and your family… and ALL!


  51. jane says:

    whoops! just tried to pin the photo of your lovely rose-covered arbor + twinkle lights. “not allowed”. so instead, i will tell you via a comment how delightful it is …. hope you had a lovely visit with your friends (it certainly looks like you did!) + happy 4th 🙂

  52. Kathie says:

    Glad to see you’ve finally been able to slow down and relax a little. It does feel soooooo good. We’re looking forward to the 4th and our anniversary after that and some time away for a bit to celebrate. We’ve been home alone all this time while you’ve been out and about or home, NOT alone. A change is as good as a rest, they say. Enjoy, Susan, and give Joe a hug from all of us out here…..we’re changing and resting….the best we can. Summer. Ahhhhhhhh………

  53. Luci from Virginia says:

    Dear Susan,
    Rabbit Rabbit!!! I appreciated your introducing me to the expression or rather tradition in a past blog . I was reading The Butt’ry Shelf Cookbook recently and they had a lovely explanation in there too. A gentleman had loaned it to me because he knew I was a Tasha Tudor fan. It was a signed first edition given to his uncle by Tasha Tudor. He owned an Inn in Pennsylvania where she would come to eat. It is such a lovely cookbook to read and full of good recipes. Enjoyed your blog post and so glad you are back after a very busy month for you. So glad that you squeezed in a little relaxation. It looked like you had a great time with your girlfriends. I am looking forward to seeing mine in October at our 50th High School Class Reunion in San Antonio , Texas. Two days of non stop activities.
    Enjoyed Ella and Lazy. The Gladys Taber quote is a must for the creative spirit. It Is so important to rest after a lot of creative effort and refill the well. Yours always seems to be overflowing but know that even you have to have a rest and a refill. Yes , we have all heard the call of the Brown Bird and followed the flight of the Butterfly when it is more appealing than the task at hand. So glad you had a little break. We girlfriends can be a pretty demanding audience for all things Branch. Your walking path looks so beckoning and inviting . The end of the path at the water is such a beautiful view. No wonder that you and Joe look forward to your walk each day. Your Buds and Bee pitcher with the Hydrangias picture is soooo pretty. The variety of Hydrangia is so unique. You usually see a blue or pink but not a white with blue edges. Your window ledge with all your special treasures is pretty too. The Antique Hollyhock was very pretty and so different from the variety that was in the June blog. The picket fence garden was like something from a gardening magazine, so beautiful. Loved the golden cypress. Just Jack looked so perfect next to the Just Joey Rose. Can’t decide which one is the prettiest. The kitty pictures were adorable of Jack and Girl Kitty in all their favorite places. The ones of Jack watching the birds and sleeping are priceless. We just finished re-doing our front flowerbeds. It was goodby 34 year old Boxwoods, Hemlock Trees and Hemlock shrubs and hello Double Weeping Cherry Trees, Otto Luykin Laurels and Camellia bushes (April Mist, Autumn Sunrise and Goggy). We filled the rest of the space around them with red Begonias. We also added a lovely pink Knockout rosebush. We surrounded the the beds with stacked stone walls. What a difference it made. So happy to have blooming things now but will miss the Hemlock trees at Christmas because they were our outdoor Christmas trees.
    Thank you for the wonderful recipes. Can hardly wait to try them. Pineapple Upside Down Cake is one of our favorites. I always put marischino cherries in the center of the pineapple rings and fill in all the open spaces with pecan halves. I bake mine in a Wilton Daisy cake pan that I bought years ago and it even has the indentations for the pineapple rings. But, there is nothing like what an iron skillet does to the brown sugar when you bake it in that.
    Thank you again for another lovely blog post just full of many good things. Happy 4th of July to you, Joe, the Kitties, your family and the girlfriends. Love the big flag on your house. Happy Birthday America!!! Keep our soldiers serving around the world and their families in our prayers and remember them as we celebrate our freedom as a nation. We will be celebrating by watching the Capitol Fourth on PBS with family and friends.

    • sbranch says:

      Your new garden sounds wonderful — that hydrangea in the Emma vase — that’s how the flowers look when they are just born, soon they will all turn very bright blue, and then fade again to a blue grey, called Nikko Blue, very common.

  54. Lorna Schreck says:

    I did miss you, but I filled in the time knowing how busy you were and keeping busy with my own bit of thinking and writing and catching my breath.
    I am a night owl, and love learning how you see the mornings. When I’m up before 10 am, I still don’t feel awake until 2pm. I am usually just heading to bed as you are putting the tea kettle on to boil. After reading your post, I often consider those that love the mornings and those that love the night. Both ends of the day & night are quiet and provide reflective time for creativity and wonder. I only wish I lived close enough to the ocean to take moon walks before I settle in to sleep.

    It was nice to see you with your long ago school chums. Your smiles and outings seemed delightfully ideal for the start of the summer. I know how much you will cherish your memories of the week. Thanks for taking us along for the visit.

    And thank you for sharing the Lemon Rice Salad again. I have it on my to do list and was planning to look up the recipe – its such nice happenstance to find it in the blog just now.

    Enjoy your Independence Day celebration!

    • sbranch says:

      I have night owl friends in California, I can email them when I get up and they’re right there … they can call me at 5 am, and chat before they go to bed! It’s funny! I like it!

  55. Lynn Cunningham says:

    How could we begrudge you quiet moments ~ you give so much to us! And yes, I can dig it! I just bask in the pictures you share with us ~ thank you so much for every whimsical thing.

  56. Girlfriend in CA says:

    Dear Susan,

    Happy to hear of your nostalgic romp with the vintage girlfriends. Pictures speak volumes.

    However, I can’t help but wonder if I sense a bit of yearning for some true down time, “taking the summer off”….

    If this should have anything to do with a girlfriend who may have “led you down the garden path” so to speak, feigning some sort of mock-illness or “syndrome” if you will when all they were looking to do was have a laugh and maybe offer just a wee bit of subliminal encouragement, please disregard immediately. Rest assured, I have it on good authority that soul is free of affliction, right as rain and moreover wishes you and yours nothing but a care-free summer, even if that were to include going off the grid for the rest of summer ’14 off.

    “Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?”
    ―Sterling Hayden

    “Anon. /No Name Girlfriend in CA”

    • sbranch says:

      It’s the book, it calls me, it says, come, let’s play! As for the garden path and the girlfriend, I’m not sure I understand . . . but I know YOU Carrie, so it doesn’t matter. 🙂

      • Carrie says:

        The garden path reference was regarding my previous “anonymous” comment I posted about hypo-brancherian syndrome – this girlfriend didn’t want to have misled you (down the garden path) about any hardship your recent absence from the blog may have caused. It was meant all in good fun but then as I’ve been reading this post/comments, I was slightly concerned that just maybe you would push thru even if you were a bit knackered, on behalf of the “girlfriends.”

        Because of the inordinate amount of time, energy and resources you put into this blog I thought perhaps I may have sounded unappreciative and even demanding. You mean so much and I selfishly want those fingers to remain nimble and your neurotransmitters to keep firing up that gorgeous and inspiring imagination of yours as long as I roam this earth. Just wanting the very best for your health and well-being because what you do, who you are and your generosity of time and spirit does that for us girlfriends exponentially.

        You are such a treasure, thank you.

        • sbranch says:

          I loved every moment of the hypobrancherian syndrome, it was adorable, as are you. xoxo Everything is working so far, fingers are nimbly crossed, neurotransmitters, uh, well, I think they’re good. 🙂 Thank you Carrie!

          • mary spring says:

            hah !!…I just knew that was you, Carrie !!! (‘what a treasure YOU are !! )…’always love reading your comments !!!

  57. Therese says:

    I would rather have you ‘be’ and ‘dream’ and enjoy your life than feel under some obligation to check in with us on an arbitrary schedule.
    Keep gathering the wool to spin into new beauty to share with hungry us. Thank you!

  58. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Yes, I “come & got my happiness”, right here on your blog! Sighing with pleasure catching up with you my dear! GFs visit looks very fun, happy that you could all get together! Good timing the GFs left before the storm! Hope that storm whisks its self out to sea & all are safe. Thank you bushels & bushels for sharing yourself with us…… maketh my heart runneth over with happiness, God Bless! xoxo

  59. Linda T. from Maine says:

    Hello Susan, Yes we have missed you, but do understand it is SUMMER! After the long cold winter we had I am like you. Off I go to the oceanside. It just lures me to seaside to see what is out there. Like the seagulls flying, the seals are playing, the stripers are jumping out of the water on the incoming and out going tides just teasing the fishermen. I love the mild warm ocean seabreeze kissing my face in the early am as I walk along the oceanside. I live for this. It’s in the blood and there is no getting away from it. But then again who would want to. If I am feeling like I need to get away I take off to the beach. Just walking the beach would clear your mind and let you see things more clearly. You stop and think how lucky it is to be alive and you never think about anything else. It’s such a peaceful feeling that comes over you and makes life feel so alive. It’s kind of like when you play with your kittens. Love your little garden and I was wondering how it was growing this year. Thanks for taking us around the Island today. So beautiful. I still have this on my bucket list of things to do. Yours is getting closer and closer. You call Quahog Clams…Little Necks. Here in Maine we call them Quahogs. I make jewerly from the shells and I just love how beautiful it looks. I make my own so I can where it in the summer time. So pretty purple and white. I never ate them cold and raw. Thanks for taking a little time out to share your summer with us. I do know how it is. I love the ocean and summer is only so long to enjoy. So we forgive you and we still will check in to see if the blog is new. I love your The blog today and have missed it each day. I seemed so long since we last heard from you, but understand fully. I check in to see anyhow. I am addicted to the SB Blog and your books. So, go and have yourself a lovely 4th of July with Joe and friends and we will talk to you again soon. Love,Hugs,and Kisses to the Both of you.” You just make my whole world so complete.” Thank you !

  60. Jack says:

    As Sue’s Dad, I’ve been trying to figure out why we all love this blog so much (well I know why I do, but I mean ALL of us) — I’ve got it boiled down to this: we all know that the special beauties of life are best appreciated and understood when shared with another person … AHA … Shared is the key word …she shares her feelings about life’s little specialties, and because she does, we do too! No matter how small or insignificant-seeming — with anyone and everyone — her sharing includes all us Girlfriends out here in a special, oh so easy to be a part of, return of loving appreciation and recognition of the joy of sharing ….
    Have I got it? or do you gals have other feelings about it?

    • Jack says:

      Also —This counts as , morning science!

      • Marie (Long Beach, California) says:

        Yes Jack, you’ve got it! Your daughter is one extremely rare and special woman. She finds the good in everything and expresses her feelings so perfectly. I feel so blessed to be a part of Susan’s group of girlfriends. Thank you Jack, aka Blog Daddy, for your wonderful insight! ♥

        • You nailed it, Jack. Thanks so much for producing such a wonderful friend for all of us. Also, thanks for just being you. Your commentary is always fun to read.

        • Ricki says:

          We need her beauty and encouragement so badly in our stressed out world I hope we bring her the same. She is truly loved.

          • Karen Stefanelli says:

            Lovely Jack! Yes …you are right. She is wonderful and special…as you are too! To be able to see her talent and personality shared with all of us girlfriends this way …is a true treasure!

          • Cindy Maulin says:

            yes!! and I have seen where she gets it from!!..

        • Deborah.T.Norling says:

          I have a feeling..that the little Susan Acorn…didn’t fall far from the Big Jack Oak !!

      • Susan P. says:

        Jack, So well said…I was thinking along the same lines..but I couldn’t put into words what I felt or thought. You just did that for me. I really believe Susan, that you have a very special gift..Your art, your books, your thoughts and words to us all. Help so many of us…we come home from any day…and click on the Blog…and there we go to our Happy Place. You have that gift of creating a world that we all, can slip into for awhile and just enjoy and remember how it should be or even could be. The trick is to learn how to live it and to enjoy all that is around us….even the small things…My small thing from this weekend…I made the Pineapple Upside Down Cake. OH YES IT CAME OUT WONDERFUL. I got my “old” and beautiful plate and put it on with out it falling on the floor. Then I took your picture of your cake…and they looked the same. YES I did it. Thanks for everything, you have encouraged me more than you will ever know. Love, Susan P.

      • Gert~Iowa says: are so right, she is such an amazing lady! And such a dear and caring friend to all of us girls! Thank you Jack for being her “Blog Daddy” and HER Dad!

      • judi says:

        Yes, the warmth and naturalness of Susan comes through right away. A fun, comfortable friend that puts all at ease to share their thoughts too.

    • carmel says:

      Yes, Jack, you got it! And I’m sure her dad and mom has something to do with it too. What a childhood you both provided for your children – not hard to find the great and beautiful in all things. Sue’s heart and mind did the rest. 🙂

  61. AngieTink says:

    ✫*¨*.¸¸.✶* Welcome Back Sweet Sue!!! YES We MISSED YOU! 🙂 I Love The Lazy Song! 🙂 & Now We Really are in These Lazy Hazy Crazy Dayzzzz Of Summer! I’ve Read Your Blog & Re~Read It…..Ahhhhhhh Thank You Sweet Sue Every Word… Each Photo… All Your Magical Art~Work…There Is A Huge Smile On Me Pumpkin~Face….. 🙂 A Wonderful Way To Start The Day! Your Beautiful Friends On Your Island I’m So Happy You All Had Such A Fabulous Time! 🙂 I Wanted to Wish You & Joe & The Kitties A Delightful 4th Of July! We Are Gonna Eat Drink & Be Very Merry! & Wear Our Red White & Blue! Happy 4th Of July To Us All! Yay! Summer Pixie~Dust Everywhere! xoxo Poof! ✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*

  62. patti says:

    Hi dear Susan, Love reading your blog 1st thing in the morning, makes for a good day with a good attitude. I will keep the faith and I look forward to the day I own my home. You put it into proper perspective, “Home.” What a wonderful place. I hope people know how lucky they are if they are homeowners !!! I’m going to have a glorious garden. And my Kitchen is going to be where my soul lives and my heart beats. <3

  63. Pom Pom says:

    I’m glad you’re having so much fun writing that book that we can’t wait to read! The kitties like summer, I see!
    Happy Fourth, good Susan!

  64. Anne in Maine says:

    Really missed your blog, but I’m glad you took some time to relax and visit with friends. This one is another wonderful, beautiful blog and definitely worth waiting for. Your roses are gorgeous. Beautiful hollyhock as well. That happens to be my favorite summer flower. I went back and read your blog about Nancy Luce. What a wonferful soul! I want to visit her grave and bring her another chicken when I visit in October. Happy 4th of July!

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

    welcome back Susan, missed you but glad you had some fun. hello girlfriends, and Happy 4th of July. its been busy here with the new baby ducklings and baby turkeys. we move them out to the playpen during the so they can enjoy the sunshine and move around and play, then they comeback in at night boy do they sleep. its so quiet at night I forget they are even in the house. we do have shade for them and a tub for the ducklings to splash and learn to swim in, a very large tin foil roasting pan will do the job for now. the porch is all decorated and ready for the holiday and tomorrow we start off the fun with tractor races down the road, this is going to be fun. my hubby and my neighbor Pete have been tinkering with his tractor to speed it up, so this is going to be interesting to watch…. how do you speed up a tractor anyway??? have to finish with the laundry and get it out on the line to dry and then get busy and make watermelon sherbet for tomorrow, goes well with hamburgers and hot dogs and potato salad. well I had better get busy. lots to do today. Happy 4th of July everyone, hugs…… 🙂

    • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Hi Pat,
      Hope your 4th of July was wonderful. Who won the tractor races?

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        it was a wonderful 4th, loads of fireworks loved watching the tractor races. I can safely say that Pete didn’t win, his tractor chugged up to the starting line and then it pooped out, so much for tweaking that beast to go faster…LOL!!! the local fire chief won the tractor races, but does a fire engine qualify as an entry in a tractor race???

    • judi says:

      Sounds like a fun nursery school you have going and watermelon sherbert, yum. Happy July!

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Wish I could have been with you over the 4th! Watermelon sherbet–sure sounds refreshing!

  66. Marie (Long Beach, California) says:

    Yes, I missed you! But it makes my heart so happy you’ve actually taken time for yourself to decompress from everything you’ve been doing. This post explaining how you’ve been refilling your inspiration cup is inspiring for one and all. Enjoy the summer and take time for yourself, Joe, Girl and Jack. I’m happy to wait between blogs, because, I know you’re doing what you love… writing a book, painting, gardening, walking, and plain loving life! Thank you Susan for all you do, you’re wonderful! ♥ Oh I almost forgot, the picture of Jack, asleep on your art table is priceless! 🙂

  67. Liz says:

    Your blog always makes my day. I live in Maryland but spent 9 years in Sacrborough Maine and your blog always takes me back to that place that I love and miss so much. Such a wonderful place, amazing friends, and beautiful memories. Happy 4th of July !!………
    Happy Summer!

  68. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    So nice to hear from you again, but I’m happy for your fun times, and that you have given yourself the gift of time to breathe in the beautiful life around you. You are filling your inspiration cup, which then fills ours! I also had a lovely June – a mountain resort weekend with my best girlfriend who flies out each year from IN for our annual retreat, then a week of perfect joy with my daughter and darling grandkids visiting from AZ. We rode the tram through the lovely Oregon Garden, with a stop in the Children’s Garden while I watched my 6 yr old granddaughter discover the magic, planted a rose bush together (It’s called Love Story), ate fresh berry shortcake at a farm stand, saw my 10 mo old grandson walk for the first time, and pull himself up to my husband’s wheelchair and grin up at him adoringly. Life is grand, is it not?!

  69. Tisa@SeattleRetro says:

    Good thing I already had breakfast before I read your blog 🙂 Plus, have you ever wondered if Emma B. and Beatrix P. are related? The jug looks perfect next to those figurines, like B.P. designed it herself!

    • sbranch says:

      If you read A Fine Romance — something I found out after I finished the book, Emma and Nell, the woman who owned Gifford’s Circus — they are sisters!

  70. Jean Burns says:

    I recently finished reading The Goldfinch. You mentioned that you were reading it too. Do you or any followers of your blog have suggestions for
    books they have really enjoyed? Jean 🙂

  71. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Gladys Taber…. WOW! Could you see the pond they played in as children? Ann is just as I thought she would look. Seeing you there in the house made it better then having the “Still Meadow Album”, which I have and love. It was more real, hum I know that sounds funny.
    I think I would be pinching myself and have to take deep breaths to get through a walk through. I have a typewriter very much like Gladys’s.
    Now I thought behind the lovely white picket fence was a vegetable garden. Flowers?
    Your Blog was beautiful as always. It has filled my cup with wanting to keep busy in my garden. Planted a poinsettia and I am watching it every day to be sure it will flourish. I have had them re-bloom, but never tried to extend it’s life out side. It will have to come in, in the fall, if it doesn’t grow to big.

    • sbranch says:

      I actually was almost in shock! Kind of could not believe it. It’s taken me all this time to say, yes, that was real.

  72. erica says:

    Hello! I knew you’d be back as soon as you missed us!

    Just a comment about the font change on the blog. I’ve noticed it during the past 6 or 7 blog posts. (but not on the comment section) Are you getting our eager eyes trained for the NEW book? xo

  73. Audrianne says:

    Your latest post was worth waiting for – just like a present! I loved the descriptions and hey, I think sometimes we expect too much from you! You have a life…as we can see… and we shouldn’t be so selfish to expect you to drop everything and tell us all about it. Sometimes we are just like Pooh, wanting to be sure of you, that’s all.

    Happy 4th of July!

  74. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan..we have missed you, but am so glad you had such an amazing time. Love all your pics of Jack and Kitty! Aren’t they such a blessing in your life? Your flowers are gorgeous! And the garden is so pretty, every so often I’ll see one like it, with the white fence and I want to go up and knock on their door and ask them if they know you!! smile…

    Thanks for getting us caught up on your life!

  75. judi says:

    Hoping you and all of our girlfriends along the east coast stay safe from the storm. I feel so badly for the merchants on the coast with this their BIG weekend. May the storm move quickly away.

  76. Sue says:


    Happy Independence Day! I know we don’t have to remind you to “stop and smell the flowers…”

    I loved reading about your girlfriends’ visit. I just got back from a seven-day cruise to Bermuda with my three high school girlfriends (one I’ve know since first grade and been best friends with since third). Since we’re close to your age, I’ll let you do the math when it comes to how far back we go. We had a fabulous time and — as with your girlfriends — there was lots of good food, wine on every table, and lots of memories shared while we made new ones to add to the list. There’s something extra-special and oh-so-precious about friends with whom you share such a lengthy history. I’m glad that you had a good visit; I know my group certainly did. AND — if you’ve never been to Bermuda, I reccommend it highly: turquoise blue water that’s crystal clear, friendly people, beautifully lush plants and trees, and neat as a pin. Our cabbie told us they have severely heavy fines for littering, so the streets and roadsides are spotless!

    Enjoy this wonderful holiday as we celebrate our nation’s birthday!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been there too, how about the colors of the houses … weren’t they wonderful?

      • Sue says:

        They were fabulous! Our cabbie said that no two families can have the same color house in the same neighborhood unless they’re part of the SAME family. I loved the roofs that were stacked like blocks…all of limestone, which purifies the rainwater so it can then stored in cisterns at the home.

        Did you try their national drink when you were there…a “Dark and Stormy?” Wonderful, as was a proper British tea at the Fairmont Princess in Hamilton. Wish you could have been there.

  77. Jack says:

    I can be reached at “awaiting”

  78. judi says:

    Hope you check in asap once the storm is past (just a tiny post:) to let us all know you are alright…and give other girlfriends on east coast to post too. Hugs & prayers to you all.

    • sbranch says:

      I will . . . it’s really not supposed to do too much here. Just rain and no fireworks until tomorrow night. But we’ve got our eye on it!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Hope this storm by-passes you Susan. They are calling for as much as 90 to 130mm of rain just north of here in the maritimes tomorrow. That’s a boat load for this area. I don’t think I’ve ever seen numbers that high for rainfall around here. This was a beautiful summer post…I hope your lovely garden, flowers, and you all stay safe. Happy July 4th for whenever you get to celebrate.

  79. Paula says:

    Hope Arthur does not pack too much of a wallop on the island! Stay safe and dry.
    Happy 4th.

  80. Susan Fracker says:

    You had me at “World Without Love” – wonderful post!

  81. laurie says:

    ILOVE these big juicy long posts, so much to see so much to read, I am so glad you had such a great visit with you pals, friendships need to be nourished, your furry friends melt my heart, I have your calender, I never noticed, lol, take care, enjoy listening to the clover grow,

  82. Ginene Nagel says:

    We have lots of things in common, like loving clover lawns and Beatrix Potter, Gladys Taber and calling ourselves lazy when we are just working on something else, but, Girlfriend, I have to tell you…I wouldn’t eat one of those clams if I was starving! Oh, my gosh!

    • sbranch says:

      Clean, icy cold, fresh, light flavor (until you put the spicy cocktail sauce on them), chewy (not squishy) — yum. No calories, pure healthy protein. Best eaten on an island in the cold Atlantic.

  83. Becky says:

    Hi there and happy 4th!!! Wonderful post!!! The photos are beautiful and I am anxious to try your Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe. I usually make mine in a cast iron skillet and the sticky gooeyness is divine!
    We just returned from your CA neck of the woods…Arroyo Grande/Central Coast. It was beautiful, windy, crisp, re-invigorating and relaxing at the same time. The bougainvillea is wildly blooming in the most vibrant colors and is set off so dramatically by the color of the Pacific Ocean. Sigh……gorgeous! Each time we’d go to the coast, I used to always head first to your store (when you had it) but now I always go to “Ron’s.” Have you been there? I can always find some little bit of beauty and inspiration, and I am addicted (in a good way) to succulents and his supply and variety is huge. Anyway, I found a lovely little book called,”Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From a Little Golden Book.” It is just precious and I have one for you. Let me know how I can get it to you, and I’ll send it your way.oxoxox

  84. Stephanie Bowe says:

    Dear Susan,
    I have just finished A Fine Romance and cannot wait to visit England for myself. The book is like no other travel narrative. The combination of text, photos and your amazing art was such a pleasure to read. I was flying through it, and purposely put it down to attend to other things, just so I could savor it a bit longer. I hope there are future travel plans in your and Joe’s future. Maybe France or Italy?
    Thank you again for such a beautiful armchair travel experience!
    With gratitude,

  85. Pat Mofjeld from Minnesota says:

    Okay, I know I’m squeamish, but I’m sorry–those raw little neck clams you said you ate look kind of like a half-developed baby chicken from a too-early cracked egg. I think you must have to develop a taste for them but I think I’d have to develop a taste while blindfolded. I can’t quite imagine the taste or texture but I don’t think I want to, either… ugh, am I the only one that thought that when I saw the picture? I do love lobster (but I carefully ignore the little legs–in fact, just tell myself that they really aren’t legs) but I think it is a good thing I live far from the ocean… 🙂

  86. Jayne says:

    How lucky you are to have four friends to catch up with. It is so wonderful to share your history with good people that stay in your life!

  87. I just have to say I totally agree with you about the hollyhocks! When I was young my mom had a handful of these seeds and planted them in the alley behind our white picket fence (next to the burning pit!). What a way to “pretty up” an alley! I think of them as an old fashioned flower, but yet I see them everywhere. We were in Amsterdam a couple of years ago and I couldn’t believe how many I saw growing within the city. There were almost as many hollyhocks as there were bicycles 🙂

  88. Gini says:

    Susan! I just watched your video, “How to sift flour.” That’s exactly how MY mother taught me too, with the 2 sheets of waxed paper! Love it! Gotta try that pineapple upside down cake!

  89. Cindy from West Chester says:

    Girlfriends are the best. I gave your book to my girlfriend of forty years, Esther, and she loved it! She said she wants to go to England so badly after reading the book. Many, many years ago you came to the Chester County Book in West Chester and you signed one of your cookbooks I was buying for her as a gift. I remember when I gave it to her she was so excited because she never had a book signed by an author before.
    Glad you and your girlfriends were able to get together. I bet your sides ache from all of the laughing.
    Thinking of the Fourth of July, I was wondering if there could be a red, white, and blue charm in the future? I love all of my charms and can’t wait for new ones.
    Happy July,
    Cindy from West Chester

  90. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    While you were doing ALL that, I was in WI cleaning and staging my childhood home with my 3 sisters. The property was homesteaded in 1848 by our Great-great-great grandfather. They first built a small log home. Think “little house in the big woods”. After our great-great grandfather returned from the Civil War he built the big house (also log) , and in 1914 his son, our great grandfather, added a huge kitchen and indoor bathroom (woohoo!). This was the house we grew up in. When we moved in in 1967, it still had a cookstove in the kitchen and the two seater was still behind the house!!!
    We are tired and a little sad, but we all live out of state and the house needs some love, so…it is the end of an Era. No one to carry on the sir name for three generations either.

  91. Karen Stefanelli says:

    Hello Susan,
    It was so much fun to see you at the FOGT reunion. My friend Marie and I had a great time!
    You were wonderful, funny and just such a pleasure. We met some lovely people and shared some sweet stories at our tables. You stated you were not done…so much more to do…. !
    Such an inspiration…we thank you. Your blog is a breath of fresh air and a deep sigh. Again thank you.


    P.s. Susan..both you and Joe are so kind and warm to everyone! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  92. Lisa aka Jessies mom says:

    Hi Susan!! I am so delighted you got to reconnect with your girl friends. When we were is SLO waiting to see you at the book signing, we got to chat with a few of them, what a great bunch of gals! (Hi Gals!)
    Keep getting inspired! Fill that cup.
    Hope your 4th was wonderful, we spent ours at the Rose Bowl watching a spectacular fire work show and started our day with our home town 4th of July parade, it was a magical day! Thanks for all you do!! Jessie says hi and she LOVES the kitties

  93. Joan S says:

    As always, refreshing as a summer breeze. Thank you.

  94. Georgie says:

    Oh Susan! I’m still here. Sometimes there’s just too much business in life 🙂

    Showing your Girlfriends YOUR special Martha’s Vineyard for the very first time must have been a dream come true. I remember when I first set foot on the ferry! My heart was so excited.

    Thank you for sharing in your wonderful Blog. You must know we all devour every word!

    I’m smiling at your journey through memories as you write your new (not so little) book. Judging by the wealth of information you’ve shared so far, it will take a backpack to carry it home with us 🙂 You will be hand lettering right up to infinity… and BEYOND! LOL!

    In the early morning I find myself thinking of your beautiful walk to the sea… and wishing I were there too, munching on one of dear Rachel’s Sugar Moon Brownies!

    Enjoy your Summer 🙂
    XOXO from Georgie in NJ

  95. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    Of course I missed you!! But I was thinking of you and what you might be doing with your girlfriends. This week (Wednesday-Friday) 5 of us (we all used to teach together and got very close) are going to a cabin to relax and unwind. The owner, Cheryl, used to be a travel planner so she has already sent the itinerary–menus, plans, meal assignments. OOH–it has me so excited! A day at the lake; a craft fair; evenings lazing in her screened in porch. (Chris, if you are reading this, I will send you pictures:)). I love to look forward to things so I love having things like itineraries!!

    I loved seeing your New Dawn. It looks lovely. I must honestly say that mine outdid itself this year, arching nicely across our fence. And because of our cool weather, it lasted a long, long, time.

    In between some hot days, we have had refreshing days with gentle breezes. I clipped some seashell chimes to my curtains (in the living room so I can see and hear them on the front porch; and in the bathroom upstairs).

    Oh, I ate my first cherry tomato from my garden. One of the Thrills of Summer!

  96. Maureen Modl says:

    What did I ever do without you? Every time I read a new entry in your blog my whole heart fills with happiness! Thank you Susan.

  97. Jan Monson says:

    You have never been through a Hurricane or else you would have not made light of your “damages”.

  98. Gail Grant says:

    I just love Girl Kitty. Of course I love Jack too — how could I not? But Girl has such a serious look about her, just ever-so-slightly disapproving (must be of the picture-taking because she couldn’t possibly disapprove of you, dear Susan :)). She is the elder stateswoman of your home. I’m glad to have read recently that she has moved past tolerating Jack to playing a little bit with him. These things take time. When I got my girl, Cassie, years ago, she spent the first six months she was with me mostly under my bed. SIX MONTHS! But she now happily takes full charge of the entire house (unless I’m using my ceiling fan, of which she is terrified.
    At any rate, thanks for sharing your life with us. Hugs to you, Jack, Girl and of course, Joe.


    • sbranch says:

      You said that just right, she is ever so slightly disapproving! No, I don’t think she disapproves of me because she cuddles with me too much, but she’s more or less disapproving of everything else. She has also chosen a new much more gregarious perch (or as we have learned to think of it, throne) … in front of an open window where she can keep her eye on the garden. We’ve never seen her go there before. But now she’s been there several times … that’s what I love about cats. They just up and become all new people every few years.

  99. Thank you, Susan. Every comment I left has been recovered. In addition, I clicked on the post from Marie Rayner to you and have been enriched by reading some of her blog, as well. Your blog offers us friendship from you and so much more. We love you!
    Now I really have to make an attempt to post more often to my blog. I just finally broke down and joined Facebook, and that’s keeping me busy, too! One of my joys in joining Facebook is to follow your Friends of Susan Branch postings.

  100. Sharon Nelson says:

    Just received your book “A Fine Romance” in the mail yesterday & thoroughly enjoying it! Would love the chance to experience all the wonderful things you have, what a blessing that would be! When I read the part about Ellen Terry, I couldn’t believe the resemblance between her and Glenn Close. Maybe an ancestor – both being actresses…never know! Thank you for sharing your fun life with us!

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