Joe’s putting on the storm windows; we’re getting ready to leave for California next week and battening down the hatches because it will almost be Thanksgiving when we come back, late Autumn when the winds and rain start to roll over the island with more regularity and all we’ll want to do when we get home is light the fire and put on some MUSICA like this. So, pour yourself a wee spot of something delicious to drink . . . I think I should change the name of this blog to Tea with Susan .

pour a cup tea

M m m m m, please pass the cream.

Joe's working

Joe’s ladder ~ he’s up there fitting the storm windows into place . . .

storm windows

Although Jack considers everything Joe does as entertainment, I think he’s taking mental notes; planning to get himself born as human next time and hoping to be a handy one . . .


He follows Joe from window to window . . .


Before we go, we’re doing our part to make our neighborhood festive, we’ve got the pumpkins up, Casper is in the upstairs window, there’s a fall wreath, and Joe just painted and installed a brand new storm door.

punkin time

Halloween is coming! We’ll be gone, but our friends are staying to take care of the kitties; they’ll be the ones opening the door to the hoards of children that come trick-or-treating through our neighborhood every year.  We’ll be on the train heading for California. What a perfect time of year to travel.  The views should be wonderful.


Casper from the back

Here’s Casper looking out from the guest room.

last of the season

I’ve been outside gathering what I am sure is the last bouquet of the season from our garden.  It’s gotten cold enough that nothing much is venturing forth anymore . . . right in the middle of that bouquet is the last of the “Just Joey” roses . . . a bud.  I hope it will bloom.

fall hydrangeas

These hydrangeas are pure white in the summer but they turn this  color in the autumn.

pumpkins in the garden

We’ve put the pumpkins on the lawn . . .

path in the woods

And we’re going on our walk as often as we can; we’ll only be away from home for three weeks, but we’ll miss it.  I have walked this same walk almost every day of my life since I moved to the island in 1982. That’s over thirty years to the same place! It’s always been the best part of my day.  Here’s our dirt road just after the nor’easter that came through last week.


It smells woodsy, piney, and leaf mulchy out there. The walk is almost three miles out and back, the leaves still haven’t reached peak color yet.


With the twitter of birds and not many other sounds, we dodge the water puddles, wearing hats and rain jackets. In the winter the puddles turn to ice.


There was a really high tide after the storm . . . we love this little cottage out on the end . . .


Here’s a closer view . . .


The tide was so high it came right up to the road where we’re walking . . . it’s cold, raw, salty, dark and moody out there . . .

after the storm

Seagulls cry and dive under black clouds, over the beach grass and the shore . . .


There’s a HUGE crop of bittersweet on the island this year . . . more than I’ve ever seen before.


down to the sea

Tangles of it border the paths to the water . . .


I thought you might like to see some of the little beach houses . . .


They’re old and funky and real, no one has tried to glamorize them (thank goodness), they are perfect just they way they are.

last of the Queen Anne's Lace

This was the only Queen Anne’s Lace we saw out there; the last of the season and perfect.

cottage on the lake

The Queen Anne’s Lace was in front of this little place . . .


This is the other side of the red shingled cottage in the photo above . . .

the pond

And this is the view from that house, overlooking the brackish pond . . .


We followed the road down to where the pond opens to the sea . . . Joe has just found a piece of beach glass . . .


Behind where Joe was walking, if you look to the right, this is what you see.  We owned one of these little places at one time . . . the one with the little peaked roof way down toward the end, you can see a tiny chimney just behind it.  Note how little beach is left in front of these places . . . high tide attacking the rocks and sandy shore . . .


So vulnerable to the elements, but most of them have been here for over a hundred years. Fingers crossed for another hundred.

out to the water

Here’s where we turn around to walk back.

after the rain

past the pond, around the puddles,

through the woods

through the woods . . .

Through the trees

Looking up at the sky through the drippy leaves . . .

the woods

Catching glimpses of the water as we go along . . .

collecting leaves

Collecting colorful leaves to take home.


to tape on the windows in the kitchen.

windows and leaves

Probably the best of all decorations, leaves, and they are free!


Of course Jack sees me with the camera and realizes it’s photo bomb time . . . but truly, he only makes everything better.


I decorate pretty much the same way every year, with just a few little changes now and then . . .

this year

This is how the kitchen looked this morning . . .

last year

And and here’s a photo from a couple of years ago . . .


I love touches of black in our fall/winter kitchen . . .  Which is just one more reason I love that little kitty peeking out behind the quilt. He is the perfect touch of black.

hooked rugsWe keep the kitchen floors bare in the Summer, the hooked rugs come back out in the fall . . . each with a little touch of black so they look good with Jack.


Last night we had Debby and Will (old friends who will be taking care of Girl and Jack while we’re away) to dinner.  It was a spiralizer dinner, so I could show them how to use the “machine” while we’re away ~ I made them sweet potato, parsnip and apple “noodles” — and had fun setting the table . . .


I’ve owned these heavy dishes since the 1970’s, most of them were made by San Luis Obispo Artist Paula Teplitz.  They have images from nature on them, animals and leaves.


This is my audience while I work.  See what I mean about the touches of black? 


We got a new dishwasher last week which meant we had to pull the refrigerator away from the wall to install it, and Look what we found under it! One of Jack’s stashes!


Back to the table . . .


Light the lights . . . set the mood . . .


Time for dinner!

snack time

Speaking of food I wanted to share a new, low calorie, high protein delicious snack I love, which is also gluten free.  It’s rice crackers, hummus, pesto (all of which you can find in your supermarket), and a bowl of rice.


You dip the cracker into the hummus (which is good enough by itself),


Then into the pesto (making it even more delicious),

snackAnd then into the bowl of rice, making it more substantial.  These are wonderful to help us keep up our strength.


Here’s the view from where I sit at the computer every day working on my new book.  I’ve heard from several of you, wondering how the book is coming along.  It’s funny, for a person who loves words, I have a difficult time coming up with the right ones to describe how I feel about this book.  It’s so different from anything I’ve ever done.  There is so much of you in it already, like with my other books, I think about you every morning when I get up and begin work while it is still dark.  My how-to-write-a-book reminder cardSaying to myself “Oh, they are going to love this” or “I wonder if they would like this?”  I’ll wake in the night with an idea, an idea that becomes more and more demanding until I can no longer ignore it. I won’t be able to get back to sleep until I reach over my bedside table and grab the pad of paper I keep there for this purpose.  I pat the top of the table in the dark, going lightly over terrain of water glass, books, lamp, vase, until I land on a pen and start writing as quick as I can before I forget what it was I half-dreamed.  I write maybe five lines per page — I can’t see what I’m doing, but I don’t want to write over the sentences so I leave lots of space.  After the fourth page I think, uh-oh, I hope this pen isn’t out of ink.  I pat the table until I find my bedside clock and push the button on it to make it light up and use it like flashlight to see if there is ink on the paper.  There is!  Hooray!  

I make little screams when I think I’ve written something that works (before I find out the next day that I was in a period of delusion WritingDeskand remove it!). It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it might also be the best; I’ll know when it’s done. The book has gone to the editor, the first half of it is back, she said “LOL” to some things; she also said,”Get rid of these twenty-seven pages” ~ I love her because she is honest and I agree with her.  I’ve been rewriting; the second half will come back to me next week.  I still don’t have a date for publication, but I’m definitely getting closer, the little train that could, or would, or will, or else; I’ll be working on it while we’re on the train, in our room with a view.  Almost as nice a view as the one in the photo above, our own view that says Home, a view I see every day, one that changes with the seasons and never fails to interest me. Do I watch over it, or, after all these years, does it watch over me?

Have a wonderful Halloween Girlfriends, watch for Twitter from the Twain; I’ll be sending photos from the road. If you’re in California, there are going to be two fun booksignings in November, be sure to check out EVENTS at the top of the blog and come see me if you can . . . Batten down the hatches Girls, and have fun with your pumpkins! 


to all trains

Off we go . . . ♥ XOXO

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  1. jan from Princeton says:

    Love the entry, but the music doesn’t play. One day I WILL visit this area. You make it sound like a dream!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Jan . . . I’ve been trying to fix the music. When I go to Youtube the screens are black and say Blocked Plug In … when I click on that, an Adobe screen comes up and says I must re-install, which I’ve done several times now, but nothing changes . . . maybe someone out there can tell me what I’m doing wrong? ♥

      • Denise S says:

        I usually comment on the evocative pictures or Jack antics but today I have to comment on Adobe!! We had a very similar problem yesterday with the re-intall message coming up over and over and over…..Just had to commiserate but I am so nearly computer illiterate that I can offer no solution.

      • Jane says:

        exactly the same thing has happened to me! A mystery.

        • sbranch says:

          I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know I’m not alone! Sorry for you, but I’d hate to be the only one!

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Happened to my Mac too. I’m chalking it up to the new Yosemite system [something always goes flooey when there’s a operating system update]. If you’ve installed it, it might be why you had trouble too.

          • sbranch says:

            I figured it out this morning . . . I had to go to my download file, click on the new download for Adobe, and then it said, “DOWNLOAD” which I did, and voila, it worked. Stupid thing.

      • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

        Have you tried the old “turn-it-off-then-back-on” standby for those of us who are technologically challenged? This works for me about 60% of the time, no matter what the issue is. For the other 40% of the time, I call my much younger nephew — that works 100% of the time!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, I tried that . . . but this morning I followed some directions I found on line . . . and got it back!

        • It must be something in the atmosphere…my email on a Verizon account has died and we spent over two hours on the phone with some nice IT person….that was yesterday, they said they were getting more complaints from other customers and would address it….still no email today, except on my phone..feeling stressed but I may open a gmail account…wish we weren’t so tied to our devices, etc. to keep in touch and informed, but sadly this is the way of the world today…thanks, Susan, for bringing us back to earth and sanity with your blogs…happy travels to California and look forward to hearing of your adventures…
          Nancye T.
          Wells, Maine

  2. Kathleen Burton says:

    Susan, we also are battening the hatches! Last nice day to wash windows, clean gutters, etc. Have a fun trip, sounds great.

  3. mary spring says:

    …oh, susan, how we love how you celebrate Life !.(.no wonder you have such a following ! )…’so excited you and Joe are going back (by your beloved train rides) to be with your family…enjoy every blessed minute…(now to go back and re-read this post again and, probably, again)…with love, as always….

  4. Karen Williams says:

    Hi Susan, have a wonderful trip away from home. Just loved this blog – the beautiful pictures of your kitchen, Jack, Joe and the Hallowe’en pumpkins. Wonderful autumn colours and the black….very smart and not just on the cute kitty! Can’t wait to try your rice crackers-hummus-pesto dip!!!
    Hoping home is safely tucked up now, whilst your away! Happy Hallowe’en to you on your travels!
    Karen xoxox

  5. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    Have a fun, safe trip. What fun to be traveling now.
    Loved all the great pictures
    I don’t think you can ever write a book that we all wouldn’t love!!!
    Apple noodles?? I have never heard of apple noodles, sounds good though
    have a wonderful day Susan

  6. Didi from the Rocky Mountains says:

    Dear Susan, what a lovely fall posting that makes me want to cook your cozy home recipes (yummy Harvest Stew) then snuggle in with a good movie and hot chocolate with whipped cream and a warm and fuzzy buddy. Thank you for reminding us about all the little beautiful things that make a house a warm and comfy haven. From up high in snow country (yup it’s snowing here already).

  7. Sharon in The Carolinas says:

    Have a wonderful trip to CA. Tell SLO ‘HI” for me. Left lots of “hiking and dog walking” girlfriends there. I am in love with East Coast! Fall like I have never experienced before. We have California and Texas company coming this season. Your walk to the ocean looks beautiful and your home is a flurry of orange and black. Kiss the kitties and enjoy the ride!

  8. susie says:

    Susan, I loved taking the walk down the road with you and Joe. I would love taking the train to California. That sounds wonderful. I wish you a safe journey. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  9. Mary Lou Cummings says:

    Love your table setting – especially the wrought iron or tin candle holders! They look really old and interesting. Safe travels to California- It will be wonderful!

  10. martha says:

    Gotta love that Jack! My Annie loves the hairbands, too, and we find them hidden every where. I think she may be a secret prepper….. one day, there just may not be anymore. Oh, my!

    How long does it take you to get across country on the train? (I have a terrible memory; although I have “been” with you on your trips, I can’t keep up with time. It must be the magic…) It looks like such fun!

  11. Sandy Bloomer says:

    Susan, Your wonderful outlook is so infectious and I eagerly await your writings.
    Your home is so lovely and warm and a very happy place. (We have the exact same storm doors on our home also.) Have a safe trip to California and your return home. Best Regards… 😉

  12. mari1017 says:

    Have a lovely visit to California, Susan! You have truly shared what makes for a joyful and heartbreakingly beautiful New England Autumn and Halloween. I must tell you that as I read your post, I got so homesick for New England and the ocean, my black kitty and my “old” life that I got all teary ♥ Being a caregiver for Mom is many days difficult, even in the best of circumstances, and here in central Virginia the leaves have barely changed. But I have no regrets, and we are all decorated for Autumn 🙂 Pumpkins over the door, mums and big pumpkins, Halloween candy bowl at the ready! My friends are bringing the entire Thanksgiving dinner here (from coastal Virginia) as my mom couldn’t do that drive and back in one day. So we are just overwhelmed with all the blessings!
    We both just LOVE your website, your artwork, you! ♥ Have fun & Happy Halloween!!! mari

  13. Dee Dee Osborne says:

    Susan, what a nice surprise to find this posting today! Loved all the pictures, feel like I have really visited you! I will miss your talk in Cayucos, but will be able to attend Sharon Lovejoy’s book signing in San Luis Obispo. Maybe you will be there, too? My husband and I just took a train ride from SLO to Orange County and back last week and enjoyed it very much. I can see why you enjoy riding it all the way across the U.S. Looking forward to seeing your train pictures!

  14. Ahhh Susan, I came earlier today hoping you might be around with some news of your week. All was quiet at that time.

    Then my sister left a Google-note that you were ‘UP’ with a new post. Oh yippee. You’ve made my day purr-fect. It’s grey and bleak and very autumny here in Alberta Canada. Methinks I saw a flurry or two in the air as I went out to pick up some things for supper tonight. Now I ready to light the candles, brew the tea, and when I’ve savoured your post a wee while, I’m off to enjoy my new ‘old’ movie — I’ve been hankering after How To Make An American Quilt. Got the book from the library. Found a DVD online.

    Your post is mucho cozy, inviting, and comforting… today I’m so grateful for blogs, the Internet, and YOU!

    Happy evening…..hugs to you and that little Jack and Girl Kitty too! Joe might prefer a hearty hello… so hello to him too!


  15. Charm and beauty and wild, autumnal scenery —- loved your post today! Anxious for the new book, too.

  16. Patty in Redlands says:

    Hi Susan,
    Love the autumn pictures and the battening down the hatches up-date. Here in southern California it’s not our reality. We were just in your neck of the woods, three days on M.V., and we loved every minute of it. It’s truly a magical place. We enjoyed peak fall colors in New Hampshire first. All a retired teacher’s dream October trip.

    Safe travels across the country! Of course it will be a blessing to visit family and to see some of us on the road too.

    As a little aside, there is some visual confusion with this post. I realize it’s not just my iPad with another comment noting it too. Hope you have a good computer genius on call. (Wouldn’t be me!)

  17. Janet in Rochester says:

    What a wonderful time to travel cross-country – the colors [and sights] you’ll see! I guess you’ll arrive at your destination before Halloween, so have a wonderful holiday wherever you’re at! I don’t worry too much about you having fun, Sue – you can make even waiting-in-line into a good time! Have a GREAT trip and keep us posted.

  18. Janet in Rochester says:

    PS – someday I have to seriously tackle Twitter. I have an account & have tweeted some individuals directly [I think], including you, but when I look again later, my tweets never show up. Doing something wrong, I guess. I’m don’t quite get Twitter.

  19. Lacy Province says:

    Let the winds blow.
    Let the leaves fly.
    Time to bake a pecan pie.

    Have a safe & fun trip to CA.
    If you’re ever up around Portland Oregon stop by & say Hi.

  20. Ann Y in PA says:

    Safe travels on your train trip…Love that you share it with us and now that is on my list of things to do. Your home looks SO cozy, and it will be so nice and ready when you come home from your adventure. Doing the same here…putting the garden to bed, planting some new burning bush plants that were on BIG sale at he garden center, making pumpkin bread, and enjoying the fall weather. Just changed my tagline on email to a poem I remember from grade school…”October gave a party, the leaves by hundreds cam…” Enjoy the fall in California !

  21. Bev Becker says:

    Hi Susan: Loved the pictures of your walk and can almost smell the Autumn in the leaves and the puddles and the ocean. Living near Lake Erie, I have walked paths near the lake and get that same feeling. Your lovely kitchen table all set for a dinner with friends is awesome. I wish for you and Joe a safe and enjoyable trip with wonderful scenery to watch as you head West.

  22. Barb says:

    I expected to see Jack’s face peeking out from under the black checked napkin in the bread basket. He would have blended right in! Happy traveling!

  23. LynnMarie says:

    It was so nice to share my Sunday supper of leftover stir-fry with you while I read you blog. Here in Northern Indiana, the colors are starting to wane. We had our Indian Summer this weekend and one more day of it tomorrow so we did lots of outside work. Have a grand time in California!

  24. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Just watched the story of tea on PBS! I think I’d be drinking tea, even if it weren’t a camellia! Your cup o’tea is so pretty! Loved our walk to the beach! Your touches of black in your charming kitchen are just right! I;m looking forward to our Tweets from the Twain. Safe travels, & God Bless! Thank you for our afternoon visit with you, hugs, & I’m going to get a cup of tea! xoxo

  25. Barbara Weaver in Hampton says:

    I love seeing Jack “helping” out with the battening and decorating. We moved some bedroom furniture around last week and our calico, Lucy, was helping the whole time! Still pretty green here in VA but I’ve been drying leaves, stringing acorn swags, making soup, and pumpkin bread anyway. It’s fall afterall! Enjoyed your post as always…safe trip to the West Coast!

  26. A penny drops! I had an email earlier and Susan’s Twitter from the Twain was mentioned ~ I thought someone was losing the plot, or there was a new form of tweeting!!! I guess it serves me right for being off line for the day!

    I love train travel ~~~ let the train take the strain! I would love to do the trans continental ~ a friend of mine was dubbed Queen of the Rockies after her adventures crossing America by one of those amazing panoramic viewing trains ~~~ so looking forward to seeing your photographs!

    Hatches battened in Wales too. Not because I’m going anywhere but because the winds are howling like banshees ~ practicing their scary wails for Hallowe’en ~~~

    Waving From Across the Pond ~~~Debs in Wales~~~ xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      “A penny drops” ~ I had to look that one up! I love our different idioms ~ after A Fine Romance, I found out from some Brit friends how many I used that I thought was everyday language! Stay warm and dry Debs!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        “Aye, the penny’s dropped”… I haven’t heard that one in a while. Thanks for the reminder Debs. I’ve been trying to remember all the scottish sayings that my grandparents used and write them down to pass on the next generation. I missed this one.

  27. Barbara from PA says:

    Those hair ties under the refrigerator are exactly the amount that was found INSIDE the stomach of my daughter’s cat. Her hair ties kept disappearing and for some reason her cat ate them. The cat was fine after surgery and all hair ties were kept “under lock and key”
    Our cat loves to play with the ties and fortunately does not find them tasty. Our cat is black and white too and just precious.

    • sbranch says:

      Jack isn’t interested in eating them either, but I’ve heard that other cats are. I definitely keep him away from string, other kinds of rubber bands and plants!

  28. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Have a wonderful cross country journey! We got to go from Chicago to Glacier National Park this summer on Amtrak and it was quite an experience. The views are awesome and there is something so special of the clack, clack , clack all night long. Plus you go through these cute little towns that are in every state. It is indeed a unique and restful way to see the USA~! Enjoy your stay in California and looking forward to your tweets from the train!

    Happy Halloween Too!!

  29. Pam from California says:

    I am SO JEALOUS of your bittersweet! Growing up in the Midwest, we always decorated with bittersweet but now in California we must rely on it being shipped in from the East, & it is very dear, both in price and just overall availability. And to be able to commune with nature every morning on that splendid walk–you ARE a lucky girl!

    • sbranch says:

      I almost decided to go into the bittersweet business! But this is rare, I always know where I can find some, but it’s never like it is this year. I’m afraid it would be a very short-lived business!

  30. Rhonda D. says:

    Every once in a while we can get into a low spot. I turned on the computer and I ran to get my tea. A new post rich with autumnal blessings! You sure know how to turn the day around Susan and just at the right time. (How do you know this?). God bless you. Have a wonderful trip to California. Keeping you and Joe in my prayers for safe travels.

    P.S. Your kitchen positively oozed cozy charm for Debby and Will. I could actually feel it. It’s like the “most wonderful time of the year” everyday at your house. xo

  31. sherrill says:

    Susan, how long does it take to go across country? And, do you get motion sick on it? It sounds lovely. Will you come back home by train as well? Take good care and enjoy yourselves!! By the way, thankfully so much for the new blog!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve done it for years and years, no motion sickness at all, in fact it rocks me to sleep! It takes three days, coast to coast. Yes, we’ll come home on the train too . . .

      • sherrill says:

        Wow! Sounds absolutely wonderful! Do you leave from Boston? I’ve only been on a train a few times;once years ago on a class trip to NYC, so that was 1956. Then in the late 1990’s with my daughter-on- law to be. We drove to Framingham and took the train in to Boston; we were going to a special art showing at the museum of art there. If I recall correctly, it was Mary Cassat. On the way in to Boston I began to feel sick, but on the way home we had a nicer train and it was WONDERFUL! I could even look out the windows, enjoy the scenery and not feel sick!! To be quite honest, I think I’m a bit envious. Tell us all about it,o.k.?
        Have a loverly time and take good care~~ Sherrill from CT

  32. Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    We just got back from a two day trip to Ft. Worth! We are so glad to be home. BB 3 gets a little wild when left alone and the barn cats were happy to get out of the barn and the dogs…..while they love their home away from home, and their care taker, Judy, they are really happy to be back in their own surroundings. So all is right with the world this Sunday night here on Dove Creek, Knickerbocker!
    Did I ever tell you that the wonderful path you have walked every day for 30 years, looks eerily like the path at my friend Laurie’s in Ohio. But instead of opening to the sea, hers opens to a meadow! And just try keeping an Aussie and a Golden Retriever out of those mud puddles! LOL.
    That last Queen Anne’s Lace melts my heart. How I love it….and Goldenrod. Queen Anne’s Lace doesn’t last when you pick it….but for that one day, it is just spectacular.
    I am so impressed. Where are the Dust Bunnies that go along with those ponytail bands? I moved my sofa the other day and there must have been a dozen wine corks, BB3’s favorite toy (she plays imaginary soccer), but oh my……..many dust bunnies were living with the corks!
    It’s almost Halloween, it is becoming one of my favorite holidays. Unfortunately, I don’t get any trick or treaters, I am too remote. But we have been having a wonderful Halloween party at work, with everyone dressing up and great food in every department! Nothing like a day long celebration!
    Happy Halloween and have a safe trip on the Twain! Looking forward to pictures of the train ride!

    • sbranch says:

      Welcome Home Chris. As for the dust bunnies, I had to pick out the big ones so the camera could see Jack’s playthings! We refinished the floor under the fridge a couple of years ago, it could have been much worse!

    • Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

      Hi Chris! So nice you were able to get away for a couple of days! I left another reply to you on the last blog, which I’ll repeat here ( sorry, Susan, hope it’s ok ). It’s a neat coincidence that you’re going back to Ohio in May; we are too, and by the southwest Chief also. Love taking the train! Chris, if you’d like, come visit my FB page ( Susan Thomas Morgon); it’s nice to meet new friends from back home.

      • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        I am so dumb about Facebook….my kids keep after to me set it up, but I just haven’t done it. My friend Anngie is on Facebook, she’ll help me and I will see……..
        I am not sure yet of the exact date in May that I will be in Ohio, but if it ends up to coincide with your trip, we MUST meet and have tea!
        The train sounds like fun! Thanks for the reply Susan and we will keep in touch.

  33. Jacquelyn - Las Vegas says:

    Loved your post and pics. We returned to the winter digs from “our” island in Washington State last week. Very Loaded down with the canned tomatoes, pickels, applesauce, and berry jams we make all summer for family and friends.

    Your home looks so comfy and cozy. I look forward to your Autumn pictures each year. Have my copy of the Autumn book handy and ready to go.

    Have a lovely train ride to California, etc. Will be awaiting news from you! Lol.
    xo Jackie

  34. Kate says:

    Happy Travels to you both!

    I read “A Fine Romance” this last May, while languishing on the couch with a dreadful case of bronchitis. And I must say that it kept me delightful company! It kept my spirits up and gave me every excuse to drink tea in soothing quantities! Thank you for that book!

    Two things I wondered about when I had finished it though:
    1.) What were you knitting? You were always knitting, but we never heard what. Goodness, if I concentrated on my knitting like you do, I’d actually accomplish something! Bravo for you!
    2.) Bugs? There was no mention of bugs when you were meandering all over the gorgeous English countryside. (I have not yet been to England. Yet.) But you made no mention of insect spray, or mosquitoes, or checking for ticks. This is probably the oddest

    • Kate says:

      Oops…sent that before I intended. Sorry.

      This is probably the oddest question you’ve ever had. But I’d like to travel to England in the next couple of years, and I react just terribly to mosquito bites, and I’m just curious. Should I pack the repellent, or is England so perfect that it is a bug-less land? 😉

    • sbranch says:

      No bugs, good question, but I didn’t see any. You would think we would, considering all the grass and damp. But no, not a one. I don’t react well either — I’m terrible with no-see-ums. I was knitting a scarf! I did talk about it on the blog . . . and forgot that that might not be quite enough! 🙂 I don’t concentrate on it the way I would like to, but when I travel, I have more time and love to take along a project for my hands to do that will keep me hanging around pubs for as long as possible! Glad the book kept you company through the bronchitis, and that you’re well again!

  35. Lois Rehm says:

    Another remarkable blog, Susan. I’m in full agreement with the
    compliments you received from your friends from around the country and beyond. Your perfect picture of the Queen Anne’s lace reminded me of a portion of a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Portrait of a Neighbor”:

    “Her lawn looks like a meadow,
    And if she mows the place
    She leaves the clover standing
    And the Queen Anne’s lace.”

    Some years ago I had the good fortune to see an entire field of Queen Anne’s lace one summer day in Indiana–all one height, in full bloom and rippling under a gentle breeze. Your picture called forth that memory. Thanks.

    Godspeed to you and Joe as you set forth on your journey westward.

    Lois from Scarsdale, NY

    • sbranch says:

      If we had to mow around the clover we’d have to mow with nail scissors! I’d like that though — love clover. Love Queen Anne’s lace, and love your little poem, thank you Lois!

      • Holly says:

        The clover talk made me laugh! My dad has Alzheimer’s and still stays at home with my Mom & Auntie. One of the odd things he insists on doing is cutting the lawn edges along the sidewalks & driveway with scissors! It used to drive my Mom crazy, but now my Aunt just gets a cup of coffee and joins him. He also gets very mad when the flowers are cut back or just need dead heading. He says those are HIS flowers! He is just the sweetest Dad in the world.

    • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Love the poem, Lois. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Jeanette in Illinois says:

    Thanks for the delightful island jaunt!!! The bittersweet makes my heart go putter, patter…

    Wishing you safe travels and looking forward to following along on another exciting journey!!
    Hugs and love,

  37. LindaH (northern IN) says:

    Hi Susan,

    How did you serve your sweet potato, parsnip and apple noodles? I have enjoyed hummus along with rice, but must try it with pesto as well now. Its also good in wraps with a variety of vegetables and a slice of cheese.
    Enjoy your train ride across the country and please wave when you pass through South Bend!

    • sbranch says:

      I served them hot with a sprinkle of just popped cranberries on top — along with a Quinoa salad and hot raisin pecan rolls we get at our supermarket.

  38. Barb from Ohio says:

    Your home looks so cozy and ready for fall and Halloween, it must be hard to leave it. But you will have a wonderful train trip, I’m sure and get to visit with friends and family in California. I’ve never been on a cross country train trip, but it seems like it would be fun. This is the perfect time for it with the changing leaves. Have a wonderful trip and keep us all informed.

    • sbranch says:

      Always hard to leave, always exciting to go, and even more, to come home! Travel really forces you to live in the present, otherwise you’d cry the whole time!

  39. Moonlit Lake says:

    Lovely post, as always. Thanks for all the wonderful pictures and stories. Safe travels!

  40. carmel says:

    I just had to wish you and Joe and safe and wonderfully adventuresome trip. I was just thinking today how much I would love to visit my former home state (CA) soon. Lovely post as usual. I’ve never seen those pics of your dishes before – truly festive and fun handmade. I thought I was the only “odd” one (you’re not odd!) who made up snacks like that. I’m definitely going to try it. Thank you for the fall walk and trip to the pond and ocean. Your 2 kitchen pics made me go back and forth as if I was doing one of those “what’s missing in this photo” games I find in magazines! Both charming. Can’t wait for you new book!! Will you be visiting your sister and her twin boys? Would love to see new pics of them if you do. It’s nice to see Joe in your post today. Blessings on your trip!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, I have my oddness. My mom gave it to me, she loves saltines broken into a bowl with milk poured over! Yikes! She loves buttermilk too, and also cottage cheese with applesauce. I love that last one too, and add walnuts and black pepper. A bite of both applesauce and cottage cheese on the same spoon. My sister and the boys are coming to my moms . . . maybe other kids too. Thank you!

      • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        When I was a kid if you were recovering from a stomach upset, my mom gave us saltine crackers broken up in a bowl with warm milk on it and a pat of butter. She called it Pap Soup! I have no idea where the name came from. Must ask her about that. To be honest, I remember
        It being very tasty.

        • sbranch says:

          I actually never tasted it! It looked a little too strange to my child’s eyes! She’s from Iowa and I always thought that’s where it came from.

        • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

          I thought it was a Pennsylvania thing. Must ask Kathy from Lancaster County if she has heard of it! Kathy, if you are out there…..let us know!

      • carmel says:

        Great to hear you’ll see your sister and the boys. It’ll be fun to see pics of them and the other kids if they will allow it. Oh my… You bring back some fond memories of family “odd” eating! Now I know where I get it! My grandma and mom also ate saltine crackers IN milk. They also ate cottage cheese with fruit like applesauce. I also eat Gerber’s strained plums with plain non-fat yogurt. And again, have a wondrous train trip and visit with your family and extended family (the terrific web store staff).

      • Becky says:

        Cottage cheese with applesauce is my favorite! Yum…Thanks for the reminder.

  41. Usually so many comments I don’t leave one! But got to your post early this time! I love your cozy, charming colorful style! Love that road you walk ! Maybe I could be inspired to get my daily walk in if I had this beauty close by!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a big help. I really do it for the exercise, which is why I don’t go to different places, this one is perfect. But of course, after a few years, it becomes “your own” and then you fall in love. Look around, see what you can find.

  42. Jackie P says:

    Good to catch up on your news. The nor’easter blew like crazy here and the rain went on for two days. Somehow, we still have some leaves on the trees! (Most are in the yard.) The colors were just so vibrant this autumn. Hard to believe that November starts next weekend.
    My favorite picture is of Jack peeking out from behind the quilt. I might have missed it if you had not mentioned it.
    Looking forward to your book. I wonder if it will have a similar diary layout like AFR? We are all eagerly awaiting it!
    Safe trip.

    • sbranch says:

      It will have pictures, art and quotes too. . . I’ve been collecting everything together, can’t wait to start laying it out! Thank you Jackie!

  43. Nellie says:

    Ah, Susan! I’ve mentioned many times how much I love Martha’s Vineyard. Once more, I feel a touch of homesickness.:-)

    Yay for a new dishwasher! I shudder at the thought of what might be discovered under our refrigerator, though.:-)

    Love that snack idea! Although it is bedtime here, I’m tempted to have a snack.

    I am looking forward to “Twitter from the Twain.” You will be very busy with preparations for that trip this week.

    Take care!

    xo Nellie

    • sbranch says:

      I’m doing one last party for my girlfriends tonight, and then it’s packing! Yes, moving large appliances is always a scary thing!

      • Jack says:

        Sue we got long flat extension nozzle that goes on the portable vacuum hose — just poke it under the appliance you want and suck up all the bunnies , cherrios or dog food pieces ….if an item is too big
        It will suck on to the nozzle and you can get it that way

  44. Barbara (WA) says:

    How can it be time for this again, huh?! Battening down the hatches, indeed. We rode the ferry to our island during a wind storm last night – the boat sure rocked in the middle of the sound but otherwise the ride was pretty good, whew. And we had power when we arrived home, yay! Oh, and your kitchen is my dream kitchen, especially the table by the window. So cozy.

    • sbranch says:

      Not much counter space considering, but it’s a nice trade off for the table! Glad you got home save Barbara! Islands can be so iffy!

  45. Kathleen Hirst says:

    Hi Susan, my yard looks like a carpet of gold, orange, yellow leaves. Here in Upstate NY the leaves this year were beautiful. I have to tell you that your bean soup is always a hit in our house. We are expecting snow on Halloween night. Suppose to be pretty cold for the Trick or Treaters here. I love your house all decorated for autumn. I have my pumpkins, and witches out just waiting for Halloween. Love Jack and Girl kitty. My husband was playing with our kitty Cheddar this evening. He was totally worn out and needed a nap. Have a wonderful trip home. Always enjoy reading your posts. Bye!

    • sbranch says:

      I love how the wind always seems to come up for Halloween, gets scary and rustles the leaves in the dark corners of the street!

    • Jackie P says:

      Susan’s bean soup is a hit in our house, too. I made a pot of it just last week. It warms the soul!

  46. Candice OHIO says:

    Susan you are so fortunate to have access to all that wonderful bittersweet, I would adore seeing it growing like that! My Grandmother always had a pretty gold bowl that she would fill with bittersweet every Autumn, so I have a special fondness for it. It is rare to find it here in NW Ohio anymore, farmers have cleared out the hedgerows and fences and with all the pesticides I think it has died off. I did come across some bunches for purchase at our Apple Festival last weekend and I purchased two. I asked the young couple who were selling it if it grew on their property and they said yes. Lucky them!
    I love this gorgeous Fall colored blog and Jack is so photogenic (and so is Joe)! We enjoyed a gorgeous sunny, cool and breezy day today, hoodies were needed but so glad to see the sun, the last couple of weeks have been so gloomy, gray and rainy. We were finally able to enjoy a weenie roast with all the fixins’ at my sister in law and brother in laws. Have a safe journey on the Twain, looking forward to seeing your pictures and reading about your trip! HUGS!!

  47. Hi Susan! I adore your morning walks through the woods to the water! So peaceful and educational (with ‘Morning Science’). We also spent the weekend getting everything ready for the cold weather. I’m certain that our plane will pass over your train as we head to the southwest to celebrate my parents’ birthdays! Hugs for your Mom, Dad, and Jeannie! They will be so excited to see you both!
    Safe travels!

  48. Kit in Montana says:

    Have a lovely time! I look forward to your posts from the train. 🙂 Tomorrow I am going to tape some leaves to my windows! Now why did I never think of that!?…LOL Kit

  49. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Loved the pictures of your walk to the beach. Thanks for the high protein meal idea of rice crackers and hummus – I’m on the hunt for this kind of thing to maintain my 45 pound weight loss since January 🙂 Love the starry pumpkins too. Yesterday my daughter brought me a carved Cinderella pumpkin and souvenirs from her recent trip to Paris, all of which I loved, but I may have to carve one of my own with stars to keep Cinderella company. Wishing you a very pleasant train journey. Looking forward to posts from the road or should I say tracks.

    • sbranch says:

      Forty five pounds! You good girl! You must feel wonderful! Stars and Cinderella sound alike a very good mix to me! xoxo

      • Sylvia in Seattle says:

        I do, believe me. I can have cottage cheese now and I’m going to try your Mom’s combo of cottage cheese, applesauce, walnuts and – Maybe – some pepper. I’ll give it a try. I used to love it in buttermilk.

  50. Nancy B says:

    Hi, Susan. I just wanted to wish you safe travels and to tell you how much I have enjoyed your last few posts. Your leaf peeping trip had such beautiful pictures. I can’t believe it has been almost a year ago that I was privileged to meet you at Suzanne’ s store. That was such a fun-filled day! I don’t know whether I’ll get over to Cayucus while you are out here or not, but rest assured I’ll be thinking of you and Joe. Have a wonderful trip! Oh, and I’m really looking forward to your new book. I know I’ll have a blast reading it. 🙂
    Warmest wishes,
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

  51. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    I bet you hate to leave those sweet kitties. You are fortunate to have nice friends to stay with them in your house. I can’t wait to read your new book!
    Have a wonderful, safe train trip. Happy Halloween!!

    • sbranch says:

      The hardest part is always the kitties! But then, I get to go hug my mom and Blog Daddy, so it all seems to even out. Happy Halloween to you too Lisa!

  52. Kathie Ferko says:

    Good morning,

    What a nice day to start a new week…a new blog from a favorite person!
    Your house looks so beautiful and inviting. The new recipe looks so good, can’t wait to try it…I love all the ingredients.
    Have a wonderful and safe trip…Happy Halloween!

    Kathie from Limerick

  53. Fan in California says:

    Have a great trip!!! Will miss seeing you in Cuyocos (sorry if I mis-spelled it). Stopped by that charming town many years ago; would love to have the opportunity/excuse to see it again to attend your festivities but, of course, there is a baby shower for a new grandniece in Portland on the same day. Always happens that way, doesn’t it!! Not that I would miss the baby shower (the first child of one of my favorite nephews and niece-in-law) but also especially since my two sisters will be flying in as well!!

    As always, thanks for your delightful post with all the GORGEOUS photos!!!

  54. Dinahsoar says:

    LOVE your new storm door! And each fall season, I love seeing your traditional decorations…Casper im the window especially. What a treat for passers by. Your walk in the woods to the water is wonderful and I enjoyed all the pictures you posted today. Jack is as always, the bees knees… adorable kitty, as is girl kitty. Autumn is the bestest time isn’t it. from the hills of TN.

  55. Doreen Strain from Florida says:

    Hi Sue,
    Enjoyed this post a lot. Loved the colors and the whole aura of preparation for the upcoming end of fall and winter. Have a safe trip and hurry home for you can never ever forget….Home is Where the Heart Is! F.O.S.B. 4~Ever! ~ Doreen~ xxoo!

  56. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    I love the pictures of the path most traveled. 🙂 Whatever you wrote will be fine with all of us. I like the doodles too.
    I am here in CA, but I will have to fly home Nov. 6th. Headed to see my cousins tomorrow. They live near Sacramento. Hopefully I can see you sometime in the future.
    I love the water. While in La Jolla last week I met a woman who wrote a book called “Surf Angel”. Girlfriends~if you have young daughters or grand-daughters I highly recommend this book. The little angel takes care of the sea life while children are sleeping…AND there is a disc narrating the story by…wait for it…the REAL Gidget!!! I also got the book Gidget signed by HER. I am missing my Autumn, but I am loving my Ocean…

    • carmel says:

      Hi Margot, I didn’t know there was a real Gidget! I grew up with the Sally Fields “Gidget.” Wow, what a find!

  57. That was a lovely post full of Autumn and the sea and your invitingly charming home.
    I am so excited about your new book. One of the nicest things about you is that you do not hesitate upon your creation. You just go girl. It keeps us happily in your wake, always anticipating the next bit of loveliness. Thanks so much for adding to the joy. <3
    It must be so hard to leave the kitties – glad they are in good hands. Missing makes us glad for the return.
    Travel safely, return to us safely and enjoy your trip! xxooxx

  58. I loved taking the walk with you as I sit here with my breakfast cereal — such a lovely fall stroll. What a beautiful place!

    Your creative process sounds so exciting. And I know what you mean about a good editor; they are worth their weight in gold. It must be fascinating to do what you do, and be both a writer AND an artist; two such different ways to create. Best wishes for the work and for the trip!

  59. Susan Joy says:

    I remember when you owned that little house. I still have the Romantic Homes magazine with all the beautiful pictures of it in it. It was so cute! I hope you have a wonderful trip.

  60. AngieTink says:

    Tea With Susan ♥ Shall I Pour? 🙂 Good Morning Sweet Sue We’ve Tweeted Today & My Wings Are All A Flutter with This Blog~Post & All The Magical Photos! 🙂 Jack Watching Joe…..Adorable….& Your Ghosty~Boy… Casper in The Window…. Watching Out For Ghouls & Goblins & Witches……Spooktacular! Booooooo! 😉 You Know I Am The Happiest Pumpkin Cause I LOVE Halloween to The Moon & Back! 🙂 All The Fun & Frolic & You Can Simply Feel All The Magic…. I’m So Excited about How Your New Book is Coming Along…. I Just Wanted To Wish You & Joe A Safe Wonderful Train Trip…..You Will Have The Most Exciting Three Weeks….With Your Family & Friends…. & Jack & Girl Are in Such Good Hands with Debby & Will…..I’ll Await Your Tweets From The Twain….. & We Shall Be Twick~or~Tweeting on The Twain OMG! 🙂 Love & Hugzzz & Kitty~Kisses….My Bags Are Packed Sweet Sue! Everybody Ready? All Aboard!…..xoxo Poof! & A Booooooooooooooooooooooooooo! & A Chooooooo~Chooooooooooo! 🙂 P.S. I Think I Need A Cat~Nap….. 🙂 ♥. ♥. ♥. P.P.S Have A Scrumptious Dinner Tonight With Your Glorious~Girlfriends! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Cat Naps are my cup of tea! 🙂 Thank you sweetie Angie Tink!

    • Doreen Strain from Florida says:

      Good Morning Angie girl! I have my bags packed too. I’m sure we’ll see lots of the countryside in all it’s glories of Autumn. Sue & Joe did an excellent job last time we went on the train ride with them to Cali. Sue…wave hi to everyone in Albany for me as you travel through!!! Have an extra spooky Halloween Tink! Love ya! xoxo

  61. Judy says:

    I always love seeing the little vignettes in your house. Everything always looks so cozy and comfortable. Today I was struck by your hydrangea bouquet. My daughter just celebrated her third wedding anniversary, and her wedding flowers were the antique hydrangea blooms that only show in autumn, with their muted mauves, blues, purples, and golds. They suited the Edwardian garden theme of her wedding, and were perfect with her ivory ruffled gown and beautiful oversized hat. Every time I see them I am reminded of that wonderful autumn day.

  62. jamie hopkins says:

    Safe travels. Again I love all you home stories and walk stories. It makes me do more at my house! I Love Jack! He is the cutest photo bomber ever! I’m in Bakersfield so I welcome you to California. Can’t wait to see all the train pictures.

  63. Carla says:

    Hi Susan! Once again, such a cozy post! Your meal sounds so interesting and yummy. I have been hearing a lot about those spiraling machines, may have to look into them. Save travels to you and Joe, can’t wait for Twitter on the Twain!

  64. Jack says:

    Can’t wait to see you and Joe , also to see how this Tea Party goes …quite impressed that the daughter is traveling in from Washington State just to be here for that . Jeanie’s two girl friends , Donna and Georgia are calling and jibber jabbing on the phone , this far in advance . I guess
    we’ll have to get down our best teapot and put a leaf in the dining room table , for this deal!

  65. Kerrie Foley says:

    Hi Susan! Love the ocean and surrounds in the Fall. It’s so rugged and strong!! Jack is just the cutest. I have to tell you that since I started including Jack and Girl kitty in my story telling (on our way to Nursery School) with my grandchildren they have become favorites. I always have to include them in the stories about their kitty, Henry, and Molly’s doll, Baby. They have been sailing out from Wickford across the Sound to Martha’s Vinyard and getting into mischief with Jack and Girl and then scooting home just before anyone gets home to catch them. Today, when I pick them up from school I promised to show them pictures of your kitties on your blog. They were squirming with excitement. I have a sister who lives in Berkley and I have always been interested in taking the train across. Is there a link you know of for info on that? I hope your family visit is wonderful and can’t wait to hear all about it. Hugs to Jack and Girl and you…from Maggie and Molly and me!!

  66. Rob says:


    Your cross country train rides fascinate me. I love how you have described them in the past. I especially like rereading the parts where you admire holiday decorations, imagine scenarios inside cozy little houses etc… On this trip, I hope that you plan to decorate your train window in the Halloween spirit and report on all the shadowy scenes and harvest displays you see along your route. I would love to know how the rest of our country is marking my favorite season. Please continue to do what you do so exceedingly well… help us to see the beauty and celebration in the people and places we see every day. Safe travels.

  67. sondra fox says:

    THERE you are Susan! Thanks for taking me to your wonderful area, where your daily walk is your familiar friend. The beach cottages are so charming. I put myself on the front porches, having lunch, or just sitting looking at the water. Glad they’ve all sustained themselves. I respect the ocean a great deal. Living on the west coast will do that to a person. I’ve had some dealings with the ocean, while in our little boat, that have taught me that the ocean is to be respected. Then, while on our cruise this past month, we had two days of the North Sea letting us know her strength. WOW, when a huge cruise ship can be tossed around, you know that the sea is greater than any old ship. Two people were eating their dinner beside us, when they were tossed into the aisle, with their entire dinner on the floor, & the table & chairs they were sitting upon, were thrown askew! Two days of hanging on to railings as we made our way around the ship. There were bags beside the elevators, for those that had tummy discomfort.

    I’m wondering why you come back to CA each fall & only stay for a little while? None of my business, I know, but since you’re one of my special friends, we tell all, eh? Your wonderful life in the Vineyard is such to keep one captivated the entire year, or to my small mind, at least.

    The pictures of your cat, Jack, are so adorable, especially the one with him peeking out from behind the quilt. And, the ones where he’s watching Joe! Oh, I could go on & on about his “adorable-ness.” Just love him.

    By the way, that little Wired Haired Fox Terrior door stop by the door in your kitchen, looks exactly like my little, wonderful, Jackie dog. He’s been sick since I came back from my cruise. After three trips to the vet & lots of meds, $500.00 worth, he’s finally better. He’s sure in need of grooming. Didn’t want to take him to be groomed, for fear of other animals getting what Jack had.

    Enjoy seeing your folks. Enjoy the passing views. This wonderful country of ours is to be enjoyed to the fullest. We’ve been on three cross country trips in our motorhome, so I think I know for certain, that this land is such a wonderful, vast place, beautiful to the fullest, a land to be PROUD of, a land to cherish & take care of. Safe journey Susan & Joe. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      My mom and dad, sisters and brothers and old friends are in California, my roots there call me back . . . My biggest problem in life is that I can’t be in two places at once!

      • sondra fox says:

        After reading your comment Susan, I had a “FLASH BULB” moment. I miss old friends in PA, & my Sis-in-law in OH, so much. I’m feeling like a Salmon wanting to swim to it’s birthplace. After a horrible time on planes (this past month), & in airports, I’ve decided to look up a train ride across country (like you do) to OH. I think riding the train would make a journey very interesting & comfortable. You’re such an example, dear friend. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • sbranch says:

          It’s soft and gentle. And human. Things don’t always go right, but at least those things are on a human scale.

  68. debbie says:

    Happy Travels!! Just wanted to let you know your cute star pumpkins are now a tradition at my house too, especially with the cinnamon lids! Mmmmmmm 🙂 xoxo

  69. Evelyn Hill says:

    Happy travels to you and Joe! I’ll be eager to see your pictures as you cross the country. Love your fall decorating; I stopped along the road just yesterday to pick up some luscious maple leaves. I was delighted to see you had some sassafras leaves in your hand. Don’t you just love them?!? I get a thrill from collecting them with my grands, especially the mittens. My grandmother used to make us a pot of sassafras tea…I can still smell that delightful aroma!

    Happy Halloween!

    • sbranch says:

      Smells wonderful! The other thing we have out there is wild native bayberry . . . another wonderful fragrance.

  70. Mary says:

    Perhaps Jack is so interested in Joe’s outdoor chores because of the ladder. I seem to remember a post when you and Joe were doing some work in the kitchen and had some feline “help”. Wouldn’t Jack be atop that ladder the second Joe came down? Didn’t he take naps up there and want his treats brought up as well? It’s easy to see that he’s a Very Good Kitten. (Quite unlike my kitty cat Toast.)

    Safe travels!

  71. Arlene says:

    If you get homesick for the East Coast, just head to N. CA (Mt. Shasta) the Fall colors and weather are very similar to Mass. Have a wonderful visit!

  72. Anne D. S. says:

    Here in western NY (Rochester) we are on the verge of the most lush crop of bittersweet I’ve ever seen—growing right in my back yard! The beach views are beautiful. Your photos have captured the slate chop of the sea, the marshy shoreline, and the weathered cottages on a classic fall day. New England in autumn just can’t be beat. Happy Travels!

  73. Chris Morgan says:

    Dear Susan
    Loved the posting. Fall is my most favorite time of the year. The colors are fabulous this year. Love your dishes. I would love to find some of these. I am a sucker for beautiful dishes. Can’t have too many! Have a wonderful trip!

  74. Glenda says:


    I really really love “sharing” autumn” with you. Just love all the things you share with us.

    October had been so beautiful in CO and we have had company visiting us. My girlfriend, Dianna, and her husband visited and she brought me the largest box of “everything pumpkin” goodies from her Trader Joe’s. (We have one her now). I was so delighted and overwhelmed too. So much fun! It has been such a fun “pumpkin” sort of month for me. My daughter, Crystal, gave me a basket of lots of “pumpkin” lotions and scents for the room too. Guess you can tell I love anything “pumpkin” can’t you? My family is beginning to wonder if I am going to turn orange any day now! 🙂 Speaking of pumpkins, I just can’t wait to get your new “pumpkin” book. Any target dates yet? 🙂 No pressure though.

    Also, I hit the jackpot again, well at least I think so. I found four Family Circle magazines from 1960 and 1961 and Gladys Taber’s “Butternut Wisdom” articles are in all of them. Now I will be on search everywhere I go! I will look forward to finding them as much as I do reading your Willards. 🙂 I would also recommend that if anyone has her book, Country Chronicles, there is a wonderful section on autumn.

    With my daughter, girlfriend, Gladys, you. and all of the beautiful colors of fall, well let’s just say this has been an exceptional AUTUMN for me! 🙂

    Enjoy your special time in CA and thanks so much for the “autumn” ride. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      No target dates, just pushing forward . . . but when I know, I’ll be sure to tell everyone. Hello to Crystal, have a pumpkin kind of day Glenda!

  75. We’re supposed to have a nice rain storm on Friday, and maybe a little snow on Saturday morning. I’m so excited, with loads of knitting projects to work on.
    Really looking forward to the Twitter from the Twain! Do you still have the link from a few years ago on how to travel by train? I had it saved on an old computer, but it’s no longer here. I would love to save it again if you still have a link.

    Happy travels!

  76. Christine says:

    Looking forward to your train trip! We love the train and a view of the backyards of America!! Can you go straight through to California or do you need to change trains, maybe in Chicago? A wonderful way to travel! Your home looks lovely for Autumn. Happy training!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Changing in Chicago . . . it’s how we’ve gotten to know that wonderful city over the years . . . doubling our pleasure!

  77. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, enjoy your train travels. It must be wonderful to fall asleep listening to the wheels of the train on the tracks. Your family will be as anxious to see you and Joe as you are to see them. I remember this time last year I was on the hunt for the December issue of “Yankee Magazine” and yes I was lucky enough to find it. We just came from voting in our municipal elections. Travel safe.

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

    hello Susan, and girlfriends. we are battening down the hatches here.. again. we had a big storm move over Saturday with strong winds and sheets and sheets of rain, and we have another one moving for later this afternoon, so its get outside and get any outdoor chores done that you can and batten down the hatches again. I love this time of year, all the trees are starting to turn color, you can smell the wood smoke as folks light fires for the evenings, I can see plenty of pumpkins out on folks’ porches and in the windows. its definitely my favorite time of the year. just wanted to wish you a safe and happy trip to California, its a beautiful time of year to travel. off to go get some of the outside chores done, especially sweeping off the porches and carport and getting the leaves out of the gutters, Happy Halloween. hugs…. 🙂

  79. Jane Franks says:

    Oh, Susan, this is just what I needed~!! I just saw the notice that a new blog was posted! I have SUDDEN news! I’m going to be on the Island — yes, YOUR island next week!! I’ve been so busy getting us ready for multiple travel types (auto/air/bus/ferry), that I haven’t even looked at Twitter! It all happened suddenly and it’s a long story! Basically, what began as a much needed getaway is turning into a partial business trip! We leave tomorrow (Tues. 10/28) to drive to Indiana, and then Gene will stay with my sister, and I am flying to Boston on the 31st — I know, HALLOWEEN!! I’ll be staying at Madison Inn in OB. We will probably be passing like two ships in the night!! I’ll message my cell, but don’t expect to connect!! It is a VERY short trip for me. I’ll be coming back, but only 2 nights this time!! Ron Miniken is giving me a tour on Saturday (11/1) and I’ll look for your the ghost and your pumpkins if we drive by!! I’ll have my lap top and phone and be watching for your travel updates! Have a GREAT journey to California! I know you will!! One of these days. . . . !! 🙂 xo

  80. Verla says:

    Wave hello, (if you’re awake) when you go through Newton, KS. That’s where I catch the train at 2:30 or 3:00 am when I go east to see my daughter. It’s a horrible time, but otherwise the train is definitely the way to go. I always loved flying, but now, I much prefer the train.

  81. Dot from Illinois says:

    Happy Monday Susan,
    What a wonderful surprise to have another wonderful blog from you today. Here in Illinois we are enjoying our last day of 70 degrees for the year. Coats and gloves will be needed by the middle of this week. The colors in the area were just fantastic over the weekend. I so adore the season. Enjoy your trip across the country on the train and savor the weather ahead as you visit family and friends on the west coast. It is wonderful to go away but as Dorothy has said in the Wizzard of Oz there is no place like home. I love to go away but I sure love coming home again. Safe travels and blessings to you and Joe.

  82. Cindy Stierhoff says:

    Oh Susan, you will have to bring your Fall Glory on the train with you to California, its late coming…Hydrangea’s in many areas are just now coming up, flowers first then the leaves and pitiful leaves at that. Never seen a red shuttered home, hmmmmm maybe my shutters could go red…Stay safe you two.

  83. Debbie says:

    I loved seeing the Bittersweet! It made me homesick for the Catskill Mtns. of NY where we always had Bittersweet at this time of year. I haven’t seen any in the part of IL where I live. I hope you have a wonderful trip to CA…it should be beautiful this time of year!

  84. Claudia says:

    You just made my day with this post. What a blessing it is to live in a beautiful place in a cozy home. If we can say that, we have it all, don’t we? Love you, Susan

  85. Pat Johnson says:

    30 years on the island!! And with the man of your dreams!! What a fabulous thought~conjures up paradise!! I am still in Newport, WA – lots of rain – no snow (thank God cause I have to go home – love to sit and watch snow but not drive across country in it). I love my little cabin so much that I wish I could stay here forever – BUT I love my kids and grandkids and Greatgrandkid. I miss them so much. I will make my decision to stay in the Inland Northwest at another time perhaps. Thanks again for all of the wonderful pics you share. Gives me the feeling of being with you and Joe. Happy Trails my dear! XXOO

  86. Carol D. says:

    Hi Susan, I have the exact same rug of the little farm scene! I did buy it on Martha’s at… Midnight Farm is it? Many years ago, about 1998 I think. Do you know anything about who the artist is? I’ve always wondered, but the person who sold it to me didn’t know anything. I have it hanging over the mantle in our bedroom. I’ve never tired of it in that spot. It always reminds me of Martha’s Vineyard! Have a great trip to California. We’re finally getting some wonderful weather. Right as you’re leaving on your trip, we’re leaving on our road trip up the coast, ending in Portland to see our son. Really looking forward to some beautiful scenery, from Pismo to Big Sur to Ashland and more! Be safe and have a ball!

    • sbranch says:

      I think I got mine at Bramhall and Dunn . . . it’s not signed so I’m in the dark too. Thank you Carol!

  87. Barb says:

    Susan, that’s it!!!!! I’m moving in with you!!!!! I’ll be very quiet and you won’t even know I’m there!!!!! And I can babysit kitties whenever you and Joe are away, so that’s an added bonus! LOVED your post with all of its fall lusciousness!! Hope you have a great trip – going by train sounds so wonderful and romantic! Happy Halloween!

  88. CarolK says:

    Broken saltines with milk. My mom made that for us when we were little. Back then there weren’t many boxed cereals on the market so we got things like oatmeal, or cream of farina, pancakes in the shape of animals or the saltines for breakfast. Weren’t we just so lucky to have Mom’s that were so adventurous when it came to food. What a perfect time to be taking train travel across the country too. Can’t wait to see all the “Fall Across the Country” pictures you’ll be taking for us. Have a fun, safe trip. I want to come too. Waaaaaaaaaaaaa….. NJ hugs to you, Joe and the furry kids

  89. Starr miller says:

    Hey Susan,
    Thanks for showing us a slice of your life again. Such beauty and wonder. It’s even better because you appreciate it so. It sings from your heart. You have so many gifts- thank you for taking the time to share your home, your kitties, Joe, recipes and the world around you.
    I’m buying my first little freezer soon. I’m a bit afraid this means a few extra pounds? Will all my baking delights be content to stay in their cold nest?
    I love leaving small surprises on my neighbors doorsteps. A tin of a few cookies or slices of quick breads. I wonder if this counts as a hobby. People often ask me about my hobbies, I guess they are suppose to be different when you retire?
    Ok- enough of my ponderings. Can’t wait to read your blog about your next traveling adventures with Joe. Enjoy your family. There is never enough time but we can make those loving memories last until the next time.
    Best to you and yours!

  90. Carolyn in Medina says:

    Love, love, love the pumpkins above the door! I just think that looks so charming. I also can relate about walking the same path on a daily basis. I do the same thing. Some people look at that as being boring but if you pay attention to your surroundings instead of putting on your earbuds and your blinders, you will find that the path actually changes on a daily basis. I don’t know about you Susan, but I have a couple of very special trees that I pass and I have named them and say hello to them. I think plants and trees need a little TLC, too!

    • sbranch says:

      We know where families of squirrels live and also special holes in trees where there are baby birds every year. Gotta love it!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        We live in a lovely country subdivision. My neighbor was out for a walk early one morning and thought one of the trees looked funny, something just wasn’t quite right with that tree. The next morning she saw the same thing, stopped and looked a little closer, and it was raccoons sleeping in the tree. She could see their tails. You just never know what nature is going to show you. New surprises everyday.

  91. Karen P. - Wisconsin says:

    I love seeing your Autumnal decor! Your Autumn book was how I first “discovered” you and became hooked right away because it is such a beautiful book and full of such wonderful ideas to make my favorite season even better! Have a wonderful trip! Will be watching for your Tweets from the Twain. Tea with Susan is VERY appropriate for this bunch of tea-loving Susan Branch girlfriends! ♥

  92. Nancy says:

    Love Jack peeking from the quilt! Happy travels!

  93. Jean Shaffer says:

    Have a fun trip and hurry back! Looking forward to the new book-keep writing!

  94. Karen Saunders says:

    I like your Halloween decorations…

  95. jennifer farnes says:

    wish oh wish oh wish i had some of that bittersweet growing outside my cottage here in the pacific northwest. i want some so badly. i was at a very high-end market the other day and found bunches of it that i THOUGHT were marked at $4.98. i had every packaged bunch in my arms until my friend looked at the tag again (thank goodness for that!). it was $34.98! for one bunch! i promptly put them all back into the container and walked away. imagine that. what grows wild and unappreciated and even cursed in the eastern part of our country, makes all of us sigh with desire on the opposite side of you. even when i got wholesale flowers for my business, an entire floral bunch cost me that much about 15 years ago. one time i bought it. it was a splurge, an indulgence. i saved that bittersweet and brought it out every year until all those lovely little berries shattered. i saved the seeds, i thought. but cannot find them. wish oh wish oh wish i had arms full of those beautiful autumny bunches decorating the surface of everything in my cottage here. you are so lucky!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, it’s so gorgeous. When I’m out in CA I have to settle for — is it pepper berry — that tree with the pink peppercorns? Which is REALLY quite wonderful too, and also free.

  96. Sarah says:

    Susan, you are solely responsible for my newfound Spiralizer addiction. 🙂 After your last post, I immediately got one, and my daughter and I have gone insane with this thing. We have eaten something spiralized every night since. Sunday night we made a huge salad with spiralized zucchini and yellow squash, cherry tomatoes, arugula, and parmesan curls. My husband even said, “This salad looks so professional!” This week, we are already planning to spiralize some Honey Crisp apples, cook them in butter and cinnamon, and wrap them up in phyllo dough for a delicious dessert.

    We have officially lost it. 🙂 I’m sure my neighborhood is wondering who the zucchini “shelf clearer” is in the grocery store. I am buying so much zucchini it’s not even funny!

    Thanks for the tip. We LOVE that thing! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I’m right there with you sister! 🙂 I’ve had three small dinner parties this week and everyone of them was spiralized!

  97. Sue Graham says:

    You’re such a sweetie – I love your blogs! Because you had a personal encounter with the Beatles, I wanted you to know about this new book, it’s wonderful!:

  98. Connie B says:

    If you ever get your “musica” working again this would be a great tune for showing some of your wild sea pictures: It’s Michael Nyman’s “The Heart Asks Pleasures First” from the movie, The Piano. Beautifully haunting melody.

    Connie B

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

    good afternoon Susan and girlfriends, we’re battening down the hatches here…. had one big storm move through on Saturday and now we have another one moving later this afternoon/evening. definitely a good time for warm fires and warm slippers for one’s feet. I have a Fall casserole I love to make in the Fall, but I also make it year round, its easy, quick and no fuss. I use on box of Kraft’s macaroni and cheese, 2 cups diced ham ( I use a ham steak and one large ham steak just about does it), 2 cups chopped broccoli ( I buy a bag of frozen chopped broccoli for this) 2 cups of grated or shredded cheddar cheese ( you can buy the cheese already shredded and in a bag if you wish, I grate my own)and 1/4 -1/2 cup of bread crumbs or panko. preheat your oven to 350, cook the mac and cheese following the box’s directions, I usually add a bit more butter and milk like instead of 1/4 cup milk I add 1/2 -2/3 cup of milk, and instead 1 TBSP of butter I add 2. thaw out the frozen broccoli ( I run it under warm water for a few minutes) and add that to the pasta cooking, about the last few minutes. chop up the ham and drain out the pasta and broccoli. return to the pot, add milk and butter and water according to the package directions along with the cheese sauce mix and make the sauce, add mixture to a casserole dish and add the ham and 1 1/2 cups of cheese, mix together and top with the remaining cheese and panko or bread crumbs. put in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the crumbs are brown. serve . a great and quick dinner to make when you need to feed everyone and are in a bit of a hurry. enjoy!!! I never worry about leftovers with this casserole. 😉

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you — that sounds like perfect snowstorm stick to your ribs comfort food!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        its good for any cold weather, and I forgot to mention salt and pepper to taste as the ham is pretty salty. I often use lemon or garlic pepper for seasoning and you can throw anything else in there you want, I chop up an onion and microwave it for a couple of minute and add it. enjoy!!!

  100. Elisabeth Olijnsma says:

    We’ve been back in the Netherlands since the 22nd now… and I already miss beautiful New England and the Vineyard! It was the perfect place to visit during our vacation. We felt we had the island almost to ourselves, as everything was closing up after Columbus Day. I hope one day we will be able to come again, stay a bit longer and do nice walks like you! But… the Vineyard was definitely on my wish list, and I’ve been there. I’m a very lucky girl!

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