R A B B I T    R A B B I T   Hello October!  MUSICA



Good Morning, Gypsy Vagabond Girlfriends (and all the rest of you too), Happy October!

this morning

Here’s the view outside our upstairs window this morning.  Rain and blowing leaves for us today.


first fire

Last night, we had our first fire of the season!  



We went away last weekend.  I had a wonderful booksigning and then went up to Exeter, NH (this is our view from the hotel window) to go leaf peeping and graveyard wandering. 


Best of British

pumpkinHere we are, parked in front of Best of British in Newburyport MA. It’s just the most wonderful store ~ the charming owners Bernadette and Bob Williams along with the wonderful people who work there, Cathy, Dolina, Lucy, and Evan — and Wendy Louise who volunteered for the day, made it SO nice for us. (If I forgot anyone, please forgive me!)  The store is in a darling town you should put on your list to see if you are ever in this neck of the woods.  There’s plenty of reason to be here; everything in this area is filled with early history of our country. We went over to Plymouth too, and visited the Mayflower Society House.


They saved us a parking space right out front! (Oh dear, she already has her mouth open!) (Photo borrowed, with permission, from www.karenharveycox.blogspot.com ~ she was there, thank you Karen!)


I signed books for two hours having so much fun because everyone in line was talking and laughing as if they’d known each other forever. It was a Girl Party! Everyone was remembering Joe with the tea bag!  Ha ha ha ha!  We all agreed we have the “best girlfriends” ever!  We even had nuns from the Holy Nativity Convent come to say hello, my first nuns at a booksigning, and they were adorable, you would have loved them like everyone else did.  This is Mother Seraphima.

The Mothers and me

I asked for permission to introduce them to you; they said OK, and so, from left: Mother Pelagia, Mother Xeni, me, Mother Warty pumpkinsSeraphima and Mother Martha, all from the Holy Nativity Convent.  And they’re all Girlfriends on the blog ~ They came because they’re fans of A FINE ROMANCE ~ they drove in from Brookline to have their books signed!  We had such a good time ~ they were so happy and fun to talk to, I was honored (as I was with every person I met) that they came.  They brought me a loaf of amazingly delicious bread, homemade by Mother Effie (who wasn’t with them), which I’ve been eating ever since, feeling very blessed.  

They also brought us these . . .

Beautiful Beeswax

. . . gorgeous, handmade (they make them at the convent) 100% pure Beeswax candles with the delicate delicious scent of honey.  I have one going here in my studio right now, they’re slow burning and don’t drip at all.  And I discovered they sell them on line!  They are so inexpensive I couldn’t wait to tell you about them, what a nice Thanksgiving or Christmas gift . . . only $11 for eight candles! (11 1/2″ long x 3/4″ diameter) . . . Girl Kitty loved them too, here she is this morning,


 . . . wide awake in the holy candlelight at 4:30 am.

Mothers' Bread

I munch this crunchy toast one mouse-bite at a time so it will last as long as possible.  It’s whole wheat with every healthy thing, flax seeds, oats, sunflower seeds, honey and lots more, including bulgur.  Mother Effie sent me the recipe to share ~ I’ll give it to you soon. You will love it! It’s heavenly!


Kale saladOur Girlfriend Martha was also at the signing (I’m sorry to say, we didn’t take enough photos!) and brought me this recipe which I made for dinner last night.  You can print it out if you like.  Lately I’m leaning more and more toward a vegetarian diet, not rigidly, but I like it better, I feel better, so it’s easy to do. So when I saw this HEALTHY recipe from Martha, I said, oh yes, please!

flower border

fresh kale

Here’s how it’s done:  You start with a bunch of kale (try to get organic if you can) ~ wash it and let it dry.


Put the zest of one orange into a small bowl . . .

Kale salad

. . . and mix it with a half-cup of fresh orange juice.

little orange bouquets

Speaking of orange . . . 


Whisk the juice and zest together with the rice vinegar and maple syrup and set aside.


Cut or tear a bunch of Kale into bite-sized pieces . . . removing the stems.


Put the kale in a large bowl, pour the orange dressing over, mix well, and then massage it  ~ (I know, this is a first, massaging greens, but massaging softens kale, takes away the bitterness, and makes it easier to eat) just take each piece of kale between your thumb and first two fingers and give it a good rub. To know if you’ve done it right, taste it, if it’s still bitter, massage some more.  You probably know how GOOD kale is for you? ← Click there if you don’t.



Once the kale is ready (you can even see it’s softer here), add a bag of broccoli slaw, and a half-cup each of dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and sunflower seeds. (Or instead of cranberries, try adding beets and orange segments, and maybe some creamy goat cheese).


Mix it well and let it marinate for four hours in the fridge, stirring every so often. Give yourself a hug for making such a healthy salad! It keeps in the fridge for four days.


quinoa salad

and here’s another healthy salad . . . this  delicious Quinoa salad, I wanted to remind you in case you haven’t tried it yet ~ it’s perfect for a fall dinner and would taste just as good even if you weren’t trying to be healthy!

sense of beauty; susan branch art

Some beautiful new things have come into the Studio, Girlfriends ~ starting with THIS 

be an elf!

. . . A brand new dream charm for your bracelets and necklaces!  This one is magic, it says “BE  ♥ AN ♥ ELF” one of my favorite little sayings. These days, elves are more important than ever before.

Be an Elf!

This is it from the side . . . the charms come in a small clear bag, each with a different gift card and message that says it all.


Here’s our other new charm . . . To celebrate AUTUMN from the Heart of the Home . . . ♥


This “I LOVE AUTUMN” dream charm is all about the swirling leaves of fall ~ but I’m sorry to say, there is one problem . . . we only received about a quarter of our order  . . . there was a mixup with the rest of them.  I don’t think what we have will last long, but they take such a long time to make ~ I don’t think we’ll be getting anymore this year since Autumn is racing toward winter . . . so if you like it, go now!


On top of that, our annual Limited Edition Christmas Ornament has arrived! 


Santa in all his pink-cheeked glory hanging from a gingham ribbon!


lady bird

I’m watching a movie called The Merry Widow while I’m writing you  ~ and they just did the most wonderful waltz, I thought you might enjoy it!  It’s Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette Macdonald.  I have more to tell you, but I need to go now ~ I’ll write more soon!  I promise!  xoxo Have a wonderful day! 

Von Arnim Quote

It’s raining, it’s pouring the old man is snoring . . .

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427 Responses to HELLO OCTOBER

  1. OK…I’m now headed to my studio to light a wonderful scented candle, put a little Billy Holiday on Pandora and finish my watercolor painting. You’ve totally set the stage…thank you Susan!!!

  2. Connie T says:

    Thank you, Susan, for always linking us with the most wonderful music and now this Merry Widow waltz was just stunning. My birthday was yesterday, (60 years old, YIKES!!) and I had not heard the “Rabbit, Rabbit” saying on the 1st day of each month until your blogs. So from now on, on my birthday I’ll be sure to say, “Rabbit, Rabbit!” Thanks for the joy you bring me!

  3. Carole Woolery says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you for your wonderful blog…just what I needed after a difficult day! Guess where I’ll be on Sunday? At the Connecticut Chapter meeting of the Friends of Gladys Taber! We are going to share our favorite memories from the June Reunion…having you there made it so very special!

  4. Elizabeth M. says:

    I’ve just discovered your blog, which made me feel warm all over! I’m originally from MA and miss the Autumns, only found there. Washington state, where I now live, is beautiful but doesn’t hold a candle to New England come fall.

    Our all time favorite family vacation was a few years ago to Martha’s Vineyard. We spent a wonderful week there for my nephew’s wedding. My kids, who were raised in Idaho and now adults, were mesmerized by its beauty and charm. They all want to go back together again sometime. You’re so blessed to call it home. Thanks for the pictures, and you can count on me to keep reading your blog now.

    • sbranch says:

      I always warn people before they come to the island, be careful, you could fall so in love you might never be able to extricate yourself! It happens all the time. 🙂 Nice to meet you Elizabeth!

  5. Jack says:

    They better have a ton of those beeswax candles, with all the interest generated here on the blog. I ordered three batches of the Standard, for Jeanie to give the neighbors as little gifts .
    I’m thinking ongoing back to get her a Star pendant Too.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m still emailing with the “girls” — they are very excited about the new orders! Thank you dad. xoxo

  6. Elizabeth M. says:

    I just rediscovered my “SB Homemade Recipe binder.” I’ve lost the direction sheet for printing home recipes onto the papers and cards which come with the binder. Where can I find those? Being totally enveloped by my elementary teaching job has gotten in the way of that project. I’m recovering from major back surgery and thought it would be a great time to work on it.

  7. Oh, Susan, what a sweet celebration of October! Happy Autumn!

  8. Valerie Johnson in Ft. Worth, Texas says:

    So glad October is finally here!! It’s my favorite month of my favorite season!! My family is seriously weary of hearing the words “I LOVE FALL” roll off my lips. So…….imagine my excitement to see the new fall charm……..then……….it’s out of stock? Noooooo! I hope that you will let us know when they are available to order again.
    Thank you so much, Susan, for the beautiful new charms and all the loveliness, both through your words and pictures, that you share with us. Reading your blog lifts my spirits.
    I’ve been wondering, how did you discover Jack’s fascination with hair bands? My youngest daughter Olivia, who is eight, and I laughed ourselves silly reading your most recent post where you included a picture of all the ones you had collected “just from the downstairs”. 🙂
    Happy Fall Y’all!

    • sbranch says:

      I actually don’t remember how the hair bands came to be . . . I feel like Jack taught me. We started with a ball, but then somehow, got onto the hair bands. He’s still crazy about them, he’d like me to make Him my full-time job!

  9. Pat Johnson says:

    Oh how special to find another wonderful post from our BFF! You have been so busy and I am happy to see you at home for a little while. I am still “out” in the world and the other day someone asked me what my address was and I stumbled because I almost forgot!! I write from my little cabin in the woods of Newport, WA. Should be traveling home in a couple of weeks. My time at Moulton Ranch Cabins in Grand Teton National Park was outstanding and am going back next year. I miss my family but talk to them a lot. Making new friends in Newport and that is good. Feels like autumn right now but should warm up this weekend. Looking forward to the book signing in Cayucos in November. Life is good! XXXXOOOO Pat

    • sbranch says:

      I hear you are going to be happy to be home! We are about to get on the train . . . end of this month! I’m not ready!

      • sondra fox says:

        Pat, So happy that you had a great time on the ranch! It’s nice when our friends let us know the outcome of their adventures. You’re such a brave heart, going on adventures by yourself. I’m proud of you. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  10. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    I think your rain is coming this way today, a cold front is coming thru. Mmmmm kale salad. We grew lots of kale this year in the garden. One of my favorite ways to eat it is diced up (microwave for about a minute to wilt it) then add it to my scrambled eggs and/or fried potatoes! We even dehydrated a good bit of it to crumbled up in soups and roasted butter nut squash. Happy October!

  11. Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    What a lovely post to celebrate Autumn! I have been rather quiet the last few weeks….internet problems. I could read your blog, minus pictures which only half loaded and could not get to comments. How did we get so addicted to internet? It was only yesterday (1999) that Jim’s daughter brought the first computer into our house, this enormous Gateway that took up the entire desk. And I said…..I can’t imagine that we will ever need THIS! LOL!
    Fast forward to present…let’s see….I pay my bills on line, we shop on line, we text with the family, Jim reads every newspaper around the country, there is my friendship with you and keeping tabs on all the GF’s, recipes, weather…..well I do not need to go on. I am hooked.
    I always start my day with you and read all the comments to see what all the girls are doing…and in catching up this morning on old comments…DID I SEE JACK GOT OUT?! As in outside the house? Were you not panicked? How did you get him in? My really strange cat, Katherine Rose will not go out. If you open the door she runs in the opposite direction. She wants no part of it. It is a good thing considering her mental problems. 🙂
    Love the nuns. I hardly ever see them in habits anymore, they all wear clothes like everyone else. I am sure they are happier that way. I have checked out their web site and plan to order candles. My dad kept bees when he was living, and I miss the honey and the candles. Bees are really a fascinating hobby.
    Waiting for Autumn weather here….maybe November! 🙂
    Chris in West Texas where I am very happy to be back on line! Doing a happy dance……….

    • sbranch says:

      We are happy too, glad to have you back! Yes, Jack got out, and it was awful. We actually had him harnessed and on a leash, just outside the door on the back porch. Our first mistake. He was fine for a bit, then he saw Girl through the screen door, must have thought she was an interloper, and had a complete melt down. Went completely wild, like a bucking bronco, we didn’t know what to do — just when we were going to let go of the leash so he didn’t hurt himself, he wriggled out of it!!! He was probably more scared than we were, just huddled down deep in the bushes where we couldn’t reach him. After a long time, he came out, rolled over and let me pick him up. Now we don’t even play around. Forget going near that door Jack, you are NOT going out! I used to walk him around outside, in my arms, no more of that either. Live and learn.

      • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        I’m sorry but that visual of Jack just had me laughing out loud. I KNOW it wasn’t a bit funny at the time. I used to think it was cruel to keep cats in, but as I said Katherine will not go out, we wants no part of it, and BB3 I keep in because she lost an eye and she seems content most of the time. The only time she wants out is when I am outside and then she paws at the door. We all love Jack so much we would be as devastated as you if anything happened….so my vote is “he’s an indoor cat!” He could not have a better life! He is not missing a thing!
        Love ya, Chris

        • sbranch says:

          He has it made in the shade. You should feel his little heart when I take him outside, even if I hold him. Goes a hundred miles a minute.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        No kidding? Jack got out and went ballistic? Oh dear, I guess that’s it for you Jack. You just signed your “indoor cat” contract, son. Sue can’t risk that again. PS – I wonder if it’s a male vs female thing. Girl is perfectly well-behaved outside, but Jack went nuts.

        • sbranch says:

          He’s signed sealed and delivered! Girl isn’t on a leash, and she’s also really afraid so she keeps close to the house. I just don’t trust Jack. He is so buoyant!

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            The little imp! I really thought he would be good if you ever took him out, because you waited so long etc. But it was not to be. You can’t risk it… he could bolt off like lightning at any moment! PS – my niece’s cat Marley [also male] LOVES going outside, lurks near the door when people are coming in and out of their house etc. And he too can easily wiggle out of his harness. Must be a guy thing…

          • sbranch says:

            Imp! What a good word for Jack. I know when I’m not looking he does a happy dance and sings a little “nanny nanny nanny goat” song behind my back. 🙂 “a guy thing.” hahahaha

  12. mary says:

    Thank you, Susan.

  13. Tawni urrutia says:

    Good morning Sweet Susan!
    Thank you a million for the website link to the Holy Nativity Convent! I ordered candles and went CRAZY for the buttons! Just beautiful! And the picture of their convent reminded me of Nonata’s House from Call the Midwife!
    You are such a conduit for love and hope and kindness and all the best things inside each of us. Thank you for kicking off the most lovely month of October with such panache!
    Tawni Urrutia, in Lodi, Ca

    • Karen Williams says:

      Can’t believe you have watched Call the Midwife over there!
      Karen, Cambridgeshire, England!
      And PS….Downton Abbey started two weeks ago…it’s fab! Yay!

  14. Mary in Phoenix says:

    What a wonderful thing to have the nuns in your life … Talk about sisterhood 🙂 Just think of all the prayers coming your (our) way! Those habits definitely make their faces look angelic. Our kids were taught by the Sisters of Loreto from Ireland. They didn’t wear habits (they were actually quite snazzy dressers) and the JOY JOY JOY they brought into this world was beyond compare! I bet the Sisters of the Holy Nativity are beyond joyful about their candle sales that help them maintain their beautiful convent in Brookline! Thanks for connecting the world and for the taste of fall on your blog. Loved the leaf peeping and cemetery adventuring. I once had a psychic (who came to a class at Long Beach State) ask me if I liked to cook (yes!) … and then told me she saw me over a cauldron as a witch in a previous life! Oh my goodness! I know its hard to imagine with our temps still in the 90’s … but fall is definitely in the air here in Phoenix. Love to you and all the autumn-loving girlfriends. XO

  15. Linda Petersen says:

    Loved this post so-o-o-o much! The nuns are adorable & I can’t wait to order candles. The other recipes look delish~~~I have made the quinoa salad from “The Girlfriends Forever” book to potluck luncheons & it’s always a big hit! Love the new charms~~~hope more will come in~~~~.
    Have a lovely weekend.

  16. Deborah Borne says:

    Hmmmmm…is it just me or does the Santa on you ornament have a remarkable resemblance to another pink-checked gentleman in your life/heart?

  17. Karen says:

    Another lovely post. Thank you for the recipes, I love salad and these look delicious and healthy. Thank you for including a link to my blog and for using my photo. I love Newburyport and that shop is so wonderful. I lived in Hong Kong when it was a British colony and our whole family loves when I visit that shop and pick up favorite biscuits and teas.

    Now I am going to have a peek at that Santa ornament. I know several friends who are fans of yours, who would love a little bit of Susan Branch hanging from their Christmas tree this year.


  18. joann says:

    Ahhh Susan, such a time of year it is!!! I’m running in circles right now with no time to even explain it all, but I wanted to send my love and appreciation for all you do. I didn’t get my ornament in time last year, so I’ve ordered early. Are they still made by Pammy? (love her)

    Love you,

    Joann in CO

  19. Rhonda P in Woodson, TX says:

    Susan, I had to let you know, I’ve been reading The Outlander and I am totally hooked! My daughter found it for me and then she watched it on Starz. We are comparing notes daily! My favorite movie of all time is “Somewhere in Time” so you can imagine how I love the book. Maybe by reading it now, I’ll be able to “keep up” when you travel to Scotland…can’t wait!

    • sbranch says:

      I loved the book too, but they have pretty much (I think) lost me on the series. That sixth episode with 45 minutes of flogging was more than I could stand. Gratuitous was the word that came to mind, and honestly, I don’t really like all the sex either. Or the rapes. I must have skipped over the violence when I was reading the book, I didn’t remember it was this bad. I watched pretty much all of this first season, but with the way it ended, I would say I’m done. Which makes me really sorry because I wanted to love it!

      • Rhonda P in Woodson, TX says:

        Thanks for your insight…I’ll pass on your thoughts to my daughter. That’s what I love about reading, I can “scan” through the rough parts and really enjoy the rest. Thanks again for your comments! Scotland will be such an interesting place to visit now that I’m aware of some of it’s history.

        • sbranch says:

          I think that must have been what I did. It’s been a few years, but I’m sure I wouldn’t have read this in detail . . . books make that a lot easier to do! Joe and I have spent the last two weeks watching a five-part series (each with four episodes) called The History of Scotland. It’s been very interesting!

  20. Ruth Thomas says:

    OH MY, that waltz!!! How did they do that without bumping into each other? Thank you Susan for sharing such wonderfulness with us. The leaves are swirling around here in Muncie, Indiana today – getting cooler down to 39 tonight. My favorite time of year. Can’t wait to get the bread recipe – I live in a white bread family so I need all the help I can get. Glad your trip went well and you get to meet such wonderful people. Keep warm!

  21. Carol says:

    After reading about Wm. Morris’ wall paper in your book, I saw some on the walls of an historic house on Jekyll Island last week.

  22. Rachelle Pattershall says:

    Thank you Susan for writing such a lovely blog and sharing great photos, art, and music. I have found my smile at the end of a long day by visiting this “happy place” as I told my boys. After they are in bed, if they hear the little bird chirp, they say “Mom is visiting her happy place.” Thank you.

  23. Mary in Phoenix says:

    One more thing: I know you asked about making baked kale chips … they’re so easy! Just place kale leaves on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Spritz leaves with nonstick spray or drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 5-8 min until crispy. They’ve been likened to eating potato chips but I’d say they are an acquired taste … and one that is definitely enhanced with this yummy Hungry Girl “hot couple” dip: Stir together 2/3 cup salsa with 1/3 cup Greek yogurt. Tastes sinfully delicious 🙂 Enjoy!

  24. Marge says:

    Once again, you’ve managed to capture my interest with your wonderful narrative and interesting photos and promises. You are a blessing in my life, and I’m certain in other folks’ lives as well. Thank you! Memarge 🙂

  25. Joan H. says:

    Hi Susan ,
    About your comment ….”…leaning more toward greens & vegetarian lately , not strict tho” …..I’ve also begun to feel that way too ! I prefer fresh pea pods dipped in a red roasted pepper hummus , more than a steak these days . I’m leaning toward a semi-Asian style /vegetarian style diet of my own construction. Whatever looks good, fresh & healthy ! Thanks for mentioning that & take care ! Best, Joan H.

    • sbranch says:

      I have lots of friends leaning in our same direction . . . love the hummus with almost anything dipped in it, carrots, rice crackers, red peppers ~ filling and yum!

  26. Laura says:

    Hi Susan!
    Can’t wait to try making that delicious looking bread. You will have to tell us if it’s hard to make. I am not very successful with bread making, but I have to try that one…..yummm!

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t made it but Lowely did. I haven’t had to because not only did I have Effie’s loaf, Lowely gave me a loaf too! It takes some kneading (Lowely says), incorporating the dry ingredients sounds like it takes patience, but her bread turned out perfectly.

  27. Janet G says:

    I have ordered my candles from the nuns and can’t wait to get the bread recipe. It looks delicious! I would love to see you come to a bookstore near me. Have you ever had contact with the William and Mary College Bookstore in Williamsburg, Va? They do many book signings throughout the year and draw large crowds. You and Joe would love the town. It’s very peaceful, especially in the fall and winter months.

    • sbranch says:

      If you’re in there, ask them if they’d like to have me. Customer requests always work best! Thank you, would love to see you there someday!

  28. Sara says:

    Gosh, Susan, you must feel really ‘blessed’ having four nuns show up at your booksigning! What a wonderful surprise! Did you have a fascination with Sally Field in The Flying Nun? I sure did! And Hayley Mills in The Trouble with Angels was a hoot!

    I really appreciate the healthy recipes. They all look scrumptious. I haven’t ever had quinoa, but I guess it’s time I try it. Do you like it better than couscous?

    I love the Christmas charm and the 2014 ornament and purchased them both this morning as soon as I saw them. I can hardly wait to add them to my necklace. But the bad news is, I didn’t see the fall charm until they were all sold out. 🙁 So, I’m a bit sad and wishing they could make more. I can understand why they went so fast. They are truly exquisite!

    It was 41 last night and today my daughter and I are making applesauce again from our trees. We are blessed. It’s been a fruitfall fall. I have some carrots to can, and that will be it. Yay! Best to you and Joe, Susan. ~ Sara ~

    • sbranch says:

      I do like it better . . . it’s also quite a bit healthier than couscous. Happy Birthday and Happy Applesauce-making, Sara!

  29. Frances Fowler says:

    There are various fall pictures circulating on Facebook that say “October is my favorite color”and it’s so true! Today in North Georgia is sunny and breezy with a below average high temp of 65, just perfect to usher in our school’s week of fall break. Oooh, so much to get done in this gorgeous weather! I absolutely throw down all but the most vital outdoor chores sometime in July and don’t pick them up again until late August or September. Heat — ugh! But today, Christmas music is on, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” is ready to go in the DVD player, and the first batch of bedding and nighties are about to go flap in the sunshine and brisk wind. And boy, do those recipes look good! We’ve not been big meat eaters for absolute ages, and I actually lasted for an 18 month stint as a vegetarian — not even chicken stock! But, as always, I fell off the wagon when faced with smoked October bbq. I think the current term is “flexitarian”; or, as someone said, what a vegetarian is when no one is looking ^_^ Finally, I just love it that the sisters are fans of your book — and their bread looks scrumptious!

  30. Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    While we are talking healthy, let’s not forget your White Bean Salad. Cannellini beans, cauliflower, kalamata olives, garlic, parsley, sage, vinegar and olive oil and NOT A DROP OF SUGAR. It is my MOST favorite. Even taste tested approved by the employees of the company I work for…..and that’s saying something! Lots of picky, poor eating habits in that bunch! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Mmmm, you are making me hungry for it. I made bean soup last week, which I also love — I put rice in it to make it even “more” — I bet you could put a little wild rice in the White Bean Salad . . . beans and rice for protein.

      • judy young says:

        Or use quinoa. Here in Texas we make chili quite a bit (usually wthout beans) and eat it over baked potatoes, rice, or spaghetti. My latest favorite is over quinoa with a little lite Mexican shredded cheese on top. Delicious!

  31. LindaH (northern IN) says:

    What a delightful post, Susan! That looked like such a fun book-signing, with the sweet nuns. Reminds me of the Goshen, IN book signing you graced us with last year at this time! I am still in touch with a fellow girlfriend that I met there. I am looking forward to seeing the bread recipe courtesy of Mother Effie. And also trying the kale salad recipe–sounds wonderful. I became a vegetarian almost 40 years ago, and have never looked back. I wasn’t much of a meat eater, though, so it wasn’t difficult. We each have to decide what makes us feel best. There are so many scrumptious vegetable recipes out there! Happy Fall! I know that its the favorite season for many of us!

  32. Karen says:

    Autumn is my favorite season and I missed out on the leaf garland, the acorn garland AND now the I Love Autumn dream charm. Please, please, please say these items are on back order?

    • sbranch says:

      I’m checking . . . it takes time to get them made and we might be in Christmas by then!

      • Karen says:

        Thanks for checking Susan! I don’t care if it IS Christmas when they come in. I will buy them, tuck them carefully away and treasure them next Autumn and each thereafter. Fingers crossed!

  33. Janet in Rochester says:

    Oh, October, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 1/Needing lights at supper time again. 2/How good it feels good to wear socks and boots and my older-than-I-care-to-disclose LL Bean field coat. That darn thing is like sterling silver; the more it’s used the more beautiful [and comfortable] it becomes. 3/Love driving around the Fall countryside wearing my flannel Indiana Jones slouch hat [tis a sight I am] with the rear car windows down, getting boatloads of fresh crisp air and admiring the farms and of course the leaves. 4/Love stopping at roadside stands for pumpkins, veggies, jam and the last tomatoes of Summer [soon to become “freezer” tomato sauce for Winter meals]. 5/Love coming to little towns with old houses and enormous even-older trees ablaze with color. 6/Love seeing little churches in those towns with homemade signs inviting people to their annual Fall roast beef dinner or chicken pie supper or turkey party. 7/Love seeing how people decorate their homes for Fall and Halloween. Though I’m very traditional and almost always like “the old ways” better, this I think is a real improvement over my childhood when decorating for Halloween was virtually not done at all. 8/Love driving home from the fruit farm with a gallon of apple cider on the seat next to me [sometimes a couple of frycakes in a waxed paper bag too] smelling the incredible apple scent and anticipating that first taste. 9/Love planning and cooking meals again, and NOT having to be concerned with whether it will overheat the kitchen. There’s much more of course but I’ll stop here… LOL. Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful Fall!

  34. Janet in Rochester says:

    PS – that Santa face on this year’s Christmas ornament looks might familiar. Wink wink! ❤️❤️

  35. Susan and Martha, too…
    I am officially a kale convert, thanks to the delicious salad. I made it last night and have been enjoying it today with cubes of fresh mozzarella and strips of smoked turkey added for protein. Delicious! And the massaging definitely does the trick as far as removing the kale’s bitter taste.
    Nancye T.
    Wells, ME

  36. Georgie Bonsanto says:

    Susan! What a fun journey into Fall! Your first fire of the season to usher in the coziness of shorter days and thankful gatherings… The wonderful candles, new beads, and new recipes… The view from your upstairs window looking down at your soon to be Marshmallow World… Ah, pure bliss.

    I’m counting my blessings and you in the girlfriends are right there too!

    Love you, Georgie from NJ XOXO

  37. Lynn Cunningham says:

    What a lovely post!!! Hard to say what I enjoyed more ~ it was all delightful. The book signing looked like so much fun ~ even though you’re away from home, it has to be comforting to be amongst people who really are kindred spirits. The nuns faces radiated the joy of just being there with you, and I love knowing that, in the end, we all find comfort in the same kind of things. Can’t wait to get that bread recipe; it looked amazing! And thank you for the kale salad recipe ~ and telling us about how to “massage” the bitterness and stiffness out of kale! I love kale, but had never heard that and I can’t wait to try it! I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years (started on that path when I was the educator for our local humane society, and my research for programs I presented made me look at stuff in a different way), but for the past year, I started eating some fish. Not sure why I felt I needed to do that!

    You had to be sick with fear when Jack “escaped”. I’ve been there, and it isn’t good. I am SO glad that it had a happy ending. You were doing all the right things ~ but Jack (like all kitties) had his own agenda. I always feel I acquire a few more gray hairs when things like that happen!

    Have a sweet and wonderful October, full of only good surprises!

  38. Debbie Sowards says:

    I ordered the I Love Autumn bead As. Soon. As. I. Saw. It and it is beautiful!
    I just got it today and it is wonderful!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m glad you got one Debbie! I asked the manufacturer about getting more, and the news was bad. They want to charge MORE for them, and I would have to buy three times as many as normal. Why? I don’t know. They’re probably mad at themselves about all the bad ones.

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        That is bad news 🙁 How much more? Would preordering be an option? Anyway, love, love little Penelope. How’s she doing?

        • sbranch says:

          We’d have to buy 600 of them. We are much smaller company than maybe most people would imagine and that’s a huge number. They also want to charge us a dollar more per bead. Penelope? She’s good. Cute as a button. Perky!

          • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

            Show of hands, girlfriends….how many of you would be interested in purchasing the Autumn charm at $35? I think shipping would be free, if there were no more items in your order. I purchased the Be An Elf charm last night and there was no cost for shipping. 🙂 🙂 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, shipping for the charms is free. They’re so little!

  39. Mary S. says:

    LOVE all your Autumny pictures and stuff!!! Autumn is my favorite season and unfortunately, here in Fresno, CA we are hardly getting one this year (third year of drought, as I’m sure you know).
    I love the windmill mug behind your “There is something in October…” sign!! Maybe you could post a picture of the whole thing sometime?
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  40. Gina D. says:

    Hi Susan! Love your canopy bed! How hard was it to find the oddball bread ingredients? I do want to try the recipe. Also, is it too much to ask you to (someday) post a floor plan of your darling old house? We So. California girls who grew up in NON-historic homes would love a chance to see where all these cool rooms are! There must have been some additions along the way, right? Loving these Autumn days…. thank you for celebrating them!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll do that one day . . . Also, you can find the oddball ingredients at your health food store. xo

  41. Rosemary DeMarco says:

    Every year I order a pocket calendar from you. I LOVE your artwork and lettering. (I will also confess that I order my desk calendar from Mary Englebreit, another favorite artist who I think is very similar to you.) As I prepared to process my order, I came to the final checkout step, where I saw that it would cost $7.95 to mail my $5.99 calendar. I used to work at the USPS……there is no way something that small weighs enough to warrant that expensive a postage. So, sadly, I cancelled the whole order. I will look elsewhere for as pretty and heart warming a calendar as yours was. (I don’t care for Mary Englebreits pocket calendar) Because of crazy postage. I thought you might like to know this.

    • sbranch says:

      I do know it. It’s so complicated, the way the shipping companies work things these days. We’re small, so they base our shipping on an “average” — so if you order just one thing, you actually pay more shipping than if you ordered more things. It’s so bad that we decided to pay the shipping ourselves for the small charms we have. I couldn’t bear to ask people to pay what they were demanding of us. I feel the same about this. But each time we do something a little different, outside the box, it’s a detail that slows everything down, and we only have two employees doing everything. It’s a real conundrum that we try to deal with as best we can. Shipping is so expensive, but we don’t add on to our prices to pay for it as some other companies do. We lose money on shipping every year. In other words we pay more out to the shipping companies than we charge to our customers. It’s like a balancing act, when it comes down to it, our goal is to stay in business, that’s our bottom line. If more goes out than comes in, we won’t make it.

  42. Linda P says:

    Hi Susan…. Ever thought of adding a search box to your Web Store? It would make things a bit easier to find. I just noticed some new soaps ( Lavender Tyme and the set of 3) but that was quite by accident…. Just an idea

  43. Judy in Ohio says:

    Thanks, Susan! That “Why Go Veg” site is wonderful. 🙂 So much great and useful information!! There really are so many great sites nowadays in this “Information Age” that regular ol’ folks like us can practically handle our health ALMOST by ourselves. I have been a diabetic for almost 10 years and I have not been on any medications for it yet! One CAN handle these situations with diet…but it has to be the right diet for the individual! (And one more incredible thing about being a vegetarian/vegan is (especially for a diabetic) that it is one of the BEST things we can do for our kidneys!!)

    You are absolutely right: Money, Money, Money! Very sad, but true.
    But we are getting closer and closer to our food being cleaner and our choices being more defined…It is just a matter of folks just getting more educated…and more alert and proactive. (And getting our food labeled is a good idea too!!)

    You are indeed helping A LOT by talking about all of this right here the way you do!! 🙂

    ONWARD and UPWARD!!!

    Have a great weekend!!


  44. Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

    Oh my! So much loveliness in one blog! Thank you for sharing those recipes! That bread looks “heavenly!” I’m sure the sweet sisters from Holy Nativity are praising God today for the referrals for their candles! I hope they can keep up with the demand from all the fellow girlfriends who’ve ordered them! LOL! Loved the new charms! Oh my!!!!! xo…Karen P.

  45. Annie says:

    Oh Susan, I wanted to tell you that I started your new book two nights ago. And I’m enchanted! Only I’m still in the “love story” part!!!! I must tell you that for me and my hubbie, we also had a “love at first sight” story, but ours was in reverse of yours and Joe’s. It was me who fell in love at first sight! And we just celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary last month. We got engaged about 8 weeks after we met, and about 6 months later, we married – and have stayed “happily ever after” since. Fairy tales DO come true – as you and Joe know! AND funny thing is – HE is YOUNGER than me TOO! GRIN!!!!!
    Love the book! You write so well and I love the detail. I spent some time today trying to figure out where I could find a Laura Ashley slip – not made any more (boo hoo), but I probably can just make one myself anyway. I am looking forward to more reading tonight. Thank you for telling your story. The pictures are great! Love Beatrix Potter of course.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Annie! Don’t you just love love stories! Yes, all you need is a nice wide piece of eyelet!

  46. Wendy Louise says:

    Hey there darling Susan,
    I made the kale salad for a family gathering and it was a big hit ! All gone and I made another batch while they all watched. I felt like Julia in the kitchen with a live TV audience ! It was so much fun. Have you thought of your own TV show in your kitchen on the island ? How darling would that be, on a small scale, just Joey the camera man ! 🙂 😉 . Thank-you sooooo much. We had to break down and put the heat on this am 58 in the house a little too chilly. Bread making next. oxoxoxoxox Wendy-Louise P.S. Have a great Sunday ! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We are! We’ve been wandering across MA, staying off of freeways and looking at the outstanding foliage! We’re in Westfield tonight. Glad to hear the kale salad worked out for you Wendy Louise!

  47. Jane says:

    Hi Susan! As I write, I’m on my first rise of the bread. Oh, my! Yes, it does take a bit of work to get everything incorporated but once it happens, the “tackiness” as you described is there. I’m only confused about the bread pan size. Is it the large pan — as a typical loaf of bread — or a bit smaller? The photo leads me to believe it’s smaller. I’m going to wait until the first rise is complete and try to decide. I may go smaller and then watch closely not to overbake. Happy, happy Autumn. I write from Seattle, watching grey and drizzle from the window over the bay, slightly churning and oh, so cozy inside. I just love it! We’re coming to Nantucket for Christmas Stroll. December 5, 6, and 7. I noticed you are in Falmouth on the 6th (my 65th birthday!). Any chance we’d get to see you there on the 5th? I would just DIE!!! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Tell me how the bread came out and which size pan you used, Jane. We will likely take a boat from the island the morning of the 6th to go to Falmouth, so we don’t have to get a hotel room . . . or a kitty sitter! What a wonderful way to spend your birthday!!! We will be passing ships!

  48. Linda White says:

    Thank you for the kale and quinoa salad recipes. I made them both and we really like them (with the substitution of coconut aminos for soy sauce since my husband is allergic to soy.) Had them at the same meal, and when the two kind of got mixed on my plate, I liked them even more! I couldn’t see me massaging every leaf of kale, so after pouring the dressing on, I just kneaded the kale like bread dough. Worked great! Thanks again for the great recipes.

  49. susan…..
    Can I tell you that you make my nights and health problems easier to endure??
    Often when it seems too much, I have looked at too much of the news, or ran endless errands, your blog brings me back to a peaceful place.
    One day, after seeing your posts, I was able to get up and make some home-made soup for my family. They were so grateful.
    I ordered your book and after reading and looking at the first TWO pages I was immediately wisked away into my own creative ideas. I wrote in my journal. I pulled out my crafts and started doing home=made projects.

    I ordered your cards and made little frames out of yarn then put some of your pictures in them. Perfect Autumn gifts for friends. Love, love your art. Your calming presence on the internet….

    My grandmother was over and loved your Autumn book. She said: ‘Mandy, are these very expensive?’ Nope, I said! And I am back here to get one for her.
    She has Parkinson’s and has endured so much. Her home cooking has brought the 7 kids and all her grandkids and great great grandkids around her small kitchen table many times.

    Thank you, thank you.

    It was your stickers that helped me find you online.. Those stickers motivated me to start my own blog 5 years ago. Idaho is getting cold so I love to wrap myself with all the things I love. And you are at the top. Can’t wait for the new book. Keep it up. You keep us going!


    • sbranch says:

      I can’t begin to tell you how happy that makes me. Thank you so much Amanda. I love being inspired myself, my biggest joy is to do it for others. Please take good care of yourself. I loved hearing about your grandmother. She sounds wonderful! Hug her for me. xoxo

  50. Laura S. says:

    Ooh! I love, love, love that autumn bead! Time to go shopping!! My granddaughter will love these beads for their Pandora! (how many exclamation points can one use in such short space?)

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