Part 2, Historic Storm, Martha’s Vineyard, Smallville, USA. MUSICA



The morning after, just before dawn . . .
isn't it romantic

storm door

Yesterday, the morning after/during the historic blizzard of 2015, the first thing I did when I got out of bed was pull back a curtain to look out the window.  The wind was still blowing wild outside and I was excited to see what had happened overnight. I should say I tried to look out the window, but I could see nothing, they were plastered with snow. When I got downstairs I tried again; I started laughing when I saw the storm door in the kitchen.  I tried to push it open, and was stopped by a wall of snow.

watercolor flowers


I couldn’t see what was happening at the bird feeders either . . .



As it started to get light, the view was a little better on the other side of the house.


from the window

But the storm was still going strong . . . terrible winds, blowing snow, cold, burrr…. just like it’s supposed to be this time of year, but hasn’t been.  We wanted it and we got it.



Pefectly wonderful, heat from the furnace streaming across the kitchen floor . . .

cozy at home

We were lucky, we kept our electricity . . .homeJack loves the fire

Inside Smallville, warm and quiet, home is paradise.

oatmeal with apples

Breakfast, Irish steel-cut oatmeal, blueberries, chopped apples & walnuts with cinnamon in my favorite breakfast bowl because it holds lots of milk.

The Duchess

While the storm continued to beat across the island, I painted all morning, glancing up at the TV from time to time to see The Duchess with Keira Knightley (it’s available on Netflix).  What a great movie, all about the amazing, sad, but interesting life The Duchessof Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire, 1757-1806, who lived at Chatsworth (Go here for lots of photos of our visit to Chatsworth); it’s where Queen Victoria went to her first grown-up dinner party when she was a sixteen-year-old Princess and that’s where The Duchess was filmed ~ I recognized rooms. (P.S. SO much history here; Jane Austen visited Chatsworth and it’s believed that she used it as the model for Darcy’s estate Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice.) Amazing costumes in this movie too. 

neighborhood excitement

And while all that was going on, this is what went on outside my studio windows. The first intrepid souls were venturing out . . . getting stuck, digging themselves out. People drive around with snow shovels in the car.  They are smart, as one of our Girlfriends said, this is not their first rodeo. 🙂


The birds had kicked off the wall of snow that was stuck to their feeders, and were going at it.


Don’t you just love red in the snow?

Daddy cardinal

So decorative!

wonderful bird cup

Time for more tea in my bird cup ♥

love birds!

I’m truly a bird person from way back. (Made fabric with letters at one time, I was designing a pillow with it.)


This is the female cardinal . . . she is pretty, but mostly reddish brown, not like her bright red husband ~ Cardinals mate for life,

cardinals kissing

Snow garden

country bootsSoon it was our turn to venture forth . . . I wore the tall cozy comfy “Toggi” boots I bought in England that are impervious to weather. Snow lands on them, they don’t stand for it, they repel it right off; I came in with no snow on my feet! It was 22° outside. Brrrr. I would say, “Girlfriends, you owe me one for this,” but in reality, I probably owe you.  Maybe I wouldn’t have done this if you hadn’t asked, and it was wonderful. So, thank you!  

feeding the birdsw

Look how pretty, I’m standing in front of the barn looking back at my kitchen door and windows.  See Joe’s little path on the porch?  See the red cardinal?

Joes handiwork

Joe did this, up to the barn and out to the street.

front of house

And here we are, in front of the house

fire hydrant

That’s a fire hydrant.

walk to town

The slippery walk to town  . . . It’s not an insurmountable amount of snow, but we do think it’s the most we’ve seen here.


Icicles make nice pictures, we took photos of every icicle in town.


So pretty, sparkly, drippy . . . magical forest type stuff.

downtown vineyard haven

And this is Main Street in The Haven. If you’re familiar with the island you know where we are, up at the end of the street, near the stone bank

Bunch of Grapes

And here is our bookstore, Bunch of Grapes, Smallville, USA, an island tradition since the early 1970’s.

shoveling snow

The guys are out shoveling in full force, like Joe, I think some guys love it.  Joe can’t wait to get out there after a storm — this one wasn’t wearing gloves!  While ME, my fingers are inside leather and on fire from how cold they are.

snow shoveling

I like to take pictures of snow in mid-air.


More snow, more mid-air.

snow plowing

We had to dodge these the whole way.  No one yelled at us, “Get home, get the #@!*% off the street, let us do our jobs,” but I’m sure some of them were thinking it. We ran when we saw them coming.

Main street The Haven

This is in front of Midnight Farm, the store Carly Simon started.

main street vineyard haven

Not too many people going to work!

Main street

Cheryl (Stark) owner of the jewelry store on the left, will have a bit of a struggle before she gets through her door.

drug store

They’ve dug a narrow path to the drug store entrance on the other side of this wall of snow.main street

Which is being moved away by one of our island heroes . . . 

women heroes

Or heroines.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate these intrepid souls.  Late at night, while the wind is howling and the snow is coming down in weather not fit for man nor beast, we hear the muffled sound of snowplows going by, see the beam of their headlights bouncing off the wall, and get exactly the same feeling we had as children after we went to bed and were lulled to sleep by the comforting voices of our parents talking in the living room. Safe and protected under warm blankets because we know someone is up and taking care of things.  Someone brave and strong and selfless, like a hero.

Boston Marathon finish line

Speaking of which, did you see this?  It’s the finish line for the Boston Marathon.  Some unknown person has kept it clear of snow. When I see something like this, it makes me so happy . . .

what a wonderful world

new england in the snow

Walking home through the quintessential New England streets — these houses were all built in the 1800’s. Nothing very much changes around here.

the neighborhood

I had to move here; I was afraid I might never get a house like these and I could not live my life without one.

holly oak in the snow

My first house on the island . . . Little and perfect and all mine.

home sweet home

out and about

She’s going to dig out the Day Care Center at the church.  Look how happy she is!

picket fence

This, my darling girls, is a picket fence.  Upon which gladiolus grow wildly in the summer.

I'm glad for gladiolus

a shoveled walk

Some path-diggers cut through the snow like precision jewelers. They say we got 2½ ft. of snow . . . drifts make it deeper in some places, but looking at this, it seems about right.

path to town

Yes, slippery, we huffed and puffed.  It was hard work keeping on our feet!

our house

We walked around to the backside of the house to see what it looked like from the back driveway.

deep snow

For about two seconds we contemplated trying to get to the back door from here . . . but the snow was way too deep to walk through; some drifts would come over our knees . . . we had to trudge back around to the front to get in.

SB Border

me, the threat

This block of snow was lying in the street, I tested it by first kicking it . . . when it didn’t come apart, I thought:  Ooo, perfect snowball.  But of course I didn’t throw it at him, only threatened.

SB Border

having tea

No they are not. Some are just having fun.

Dancing teapots, who can resist!Time for tea

And home, for another cup of tea, more watercolors of clocks, lammies, flowers and written words of love.  All’s well in Smallville.

Home sweet Home

Nothing like coming in from the cold. Worth going out!  It’s cozy wintergorgeous this morning, the snow is so bright in the sun, people need sunglasses out there; still freezing, street still covered in snow, which seems like it may stay for awhile.  We have two more storms on the way.  It’s good.  I have work to do, and now I don’t have to suffer wishing to get into the garden.

flower-border  Oh yeah, almost forgot why I’m here:

Mr. adorable

. . . as cat-picture delivery system.  Everyone needs a purpose, their true calling. 🙂 This is my Raison d’être  (A very useful French phrase meaning “reason for existence.”)

Neatness counts

Other raison d’être. We are keeping busy. XOXO Bye for now, Girlfriends, hope you enjoyed the Blizzard of 2015! 

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435 Responses to

  1. Cecelia says:

    I want to be there ’cause we didn’t get any snow in coastal VA. I do love at least one good layering of the white stuff. BTW, I love you in that hat; going to order one right away!

  2. Carrie in Medina says:

    Wonderful post! Love the excellent photos and the update! So glad to hear that you, Joe and the kitties are safe and sound! Thank you!

  3. Connie from Abilene says:

    Susan, Good morning Love the post, so beautiful, so romantic. I agree with all of the ladies, the pictures are beautiful, the kitties,of course, are so yummy, goes without saying. The snow pics breath taking, my favorite is the one in front of the barn overlooking the back of the kitchen – the little red cardinal, amazing !!! I think it would make a beautiful photo for the 2016 calendar – just saying! So glad that you, joe and the kitties are safe, however, you told us not to worry that you were excited about all of it and look at you – wonders.

    Almost forgot, the white heart garland on your window – I ordered one and I love it! Mine hangs across the Hutch.

    Thank you for sharing with us.


    Happy Trial to all

  4. jane says:

    Wow, my 7 year old grandson and I have just been drooling over your photos. We never, ever get so much snow here (Cambridgeshire, England). He also loves to read and see your pictures of Girl Kitty and Jack, having got one of his own back in Autumn. I have so much enjoyed your winter wonderland – thank you.

  5. Ann says:

    Dear Susan,
    The pictures of your home and the town are just so beautiful and the snow makes them extra special. They make me feel like I’m in a storybook. Thank you for sharing them with us.
    Stay warm today!

  6. Ridgely says:

    Wow, storekeepers shovel the sidewalks in front of their stores???? Out here in the Pacific Northwest, snow is a little unusual and storekeepers pretty much just ignore it…I grew up back East so this seems so odd, and rude, to me! Our town only got snowplows about 15 years ago after we had a huge storm that dumped about 3′ of snow on us and brought the entire county to a complete standstill. We had a week of school closures and people in snowmobiles were delivering emergency prescriptions to people in the county since no vehicles could navigate the roads! Fortunately a Pineapple Express (warm winds from the southwest) came and melted the snow overnight!

  7. Donna C says:

    I loved both ‘part 1’ and ‘part 2’. I hear you’re expecting a couple more snow storms but I know you are prepared and loving it. Take care.

  8. Vivian in TN says:

    You look beautiful and happy in your hat and scarf! And those cats….they should be named Lucky….they certainly have the good life. And Joe…how about all that hard work shoveling snow? That is one of the toughest jobs I know…and what’s more, you said he likes it. What a winter wonderland, everything white. I can understand that your walk called for a cup of tea afterward.

    Thanks for sharing, and getting out in the cold and knee-deep snow to make photos. I enjoyed so much.

  9. Jennie Lou says:

    Thank you for the update! It is clear this was not your first winter storm. Thank you especially for the photo of the red cardinal in the snow, it really made me feel as though I were there.

  10. Becca Green says:

    Thank you so much for the lovely photos. I’ve only been to Martha’s Vineyard in the summer. I can see that it’s just as lovely in the winter!

  11. Susan Cardot Lance says:

    Hi Susan,

    Loved the picture of you and the snowball. Thanks for getting out in the cold and sharing. I am here in Southern California on a rainy Friday. Someday, someday soon hopefully I will live for just a little while where it snows.


  12. marcia says:

    Thank you for the photos, I just love them all. The snow on the windows look magical. What a beautiful photo of you. Keep up that great smile.

  13. D'Anne Paratore says:

    Thank you for sharing the island after the snow!
    Love the pictures of the birds, and let’s not forget our forever friends – what was the word you quoted? Our reason for existence?
    Tippy, Samson and Charly were asking about their friends on the island, and wanted to see their picture. I had to make a copy and put it up with their wall of friends and family. (Yes, my cats have their photo wall)
    They are laying by the fire, one on his back looking up at the snow blowing againstthe window – we are in for – “cold” the next few days. If it reachs above zero, we are having a heat wave and closer to spring.
    Do you have an Cat computer wallpaper to download?
    Stay warm and safe

  14. Martha says:

    So glad to see you survived the blizzard! We were expecting as much snow in my area – but didn’t get it (only 6 inches – and I’m happy for that). Vineyard Haven looks especially beautiful covered in snow!!
    Martha from CT

  15. Cindy Conaty says:

    Oh Susan I love all your blogs and especially love seeing you enjoy the snow. Can you please tell me the pattern of your favorite breakfast bowl? I would love to get one and think of you every time I use it! So glad you are all safe and sound and warm!

    • sbranch says:

      It has nothing on the bottom except a tiny indented stamp mark that says “wood.” It’s pretty old, I would guess. Thank you Cindy, us too!

  16. Charlene Hisayasu (S.F.Valley) says:

    So thankful to know that you and yours are comfy and warm! I have to admit, I stared and stared at that 1st photo for the longest time! I could not figure out what it was! Confessions of a native Southern Californian! I didn’t see falling snow until my late 20’s!
    Your photos are a delight! It seems like a fairy tale land! (My Detroit-born husband gave me a quick reality-check!) Thank you for sharing your joy (as always!). I just bet you’d even make taking out the trash a heap of fun!!! Stay warm and safe! ♥♥♥

  17. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Thank you Susan for the absolutely beautiful snow pictures ever!!! Oh my goodness, you and Joe deserve an award for venturing out and photographing all of these winter wonderland sites of Martha’s Vineyard!!! At any moment I thought, oh,oh, will she fall into a snowbank? I just love your adorable scarf!!!! Are those furry pom-poms decorating the edges? Did someone sew/knit it for you? Please tell, as I would love to make one like that. You are always dressed so cute Susan, I like your style!!! (We had a little bit of snow yesterday in Dearborn, Michigan. Today is VERY cold, but very sunny! A good day to dust, with the sunshine pouring through the windows!) Take care of yourself and TGIF!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Carilyn . . . no one knit it for me, it’s just one I’ve had for a while . . . I like it because it’s soft and not itchy! Yes, there are little pom poms edging the ends. I would think it would be really easy to knit.

  18. Pat Johnson says:

    Girlfriend, you did exactly what I would have done! Venture out and enjoy… how could you not! Thanks for all the pics and letting us know all is well your way. I know how much you love this part of the world – it is yours!!!!

  19. christine lelacheur says:

    Susan, Our daughter lives in Falmouth,they have been out of school since Tuesday,not so happy as a teacher though she said they will be getting out later in June. We live in Littleton(Little Town) and had close to 3 feet!!!! but only missed 1 day of work. Glad you and Joe were safe and warm.

  20. Love, love, love this post! Oh, by the way—When are you thinking the book about you moving to the island is going to be published???

  21. Tina Mandeville says:

    So glad all is well on the island, Susan! Worried about our Nantucket, but this too shall pass and she will restore once again. Your posts are like a big hug, always highlighting the joys and loveliness in all times and circumstances. It was quite a storm that Snowmaggeden! We survived and made the most of it, too!
    P.S. There are only 49 days ’til spring! #JustSayin

  22. Dearest “Snow-Globe” Sue! 🙂

    You make a darling snow angel; I think blizzards agree with you!

    Hoppy trails to you!

    Bunny XO

  23. Judy in OR says:

    I am so envious of your beautiful snowstorm. The only storm we have ever had here that came even close was when I was a kid and that is too many years ago to count. Your pictures are so gorgeous! Thank you for braving the cold weather and snow to take them. I hope to some day be on the east coast when a big snowstorm hits. My son who lives now in Connecticut may never come back to the west coast as he just loves the snow in the east. He was very disappointed that they didn’t get as much snow as predicted.
    I agree with your comments on Miss Bunting. It seems in very bad taste to accept the dinner invitations to Downton Abbey and then go out of your way to antagonize your host. I find myelf always thinking, when she opens her mouth, that she needs to stop talking while she is still ahead. It does make the show very interesting though.

  24. Lisa (#1 volunteer) says:

    Wow – it’s amazing to get to see everything via your camera lens. I’m so glad
    you all are fine and didn’t lose power. Our New England family is ok, but I feel badly about the people who lost their homes to flooding and other storm damage.
    I think I heard that a baby was born on Nantucket, with the power out?!
    Now come storms Kari and Linus – I hope they behave themselves. Continued well wishes to all of you brave and hearty souls up North…

  25. Lisa aka Jessies mom says:

    Hi Susan!
    Thanks for the great photos and tour of the big blizz! What a fun way to live! We recently went to Whitefish MT when they had their epic snow storm the week after New Year. We loved it and did not want to leave!
    BTW I owe you a big thanks, I purchased a pair of Toggi’s a few years ago, after reading your blog post, LOVE these boots so warm and cozy! I could not find a retailer near me or one in the US, so Syd’s mom brought me a pair when she was in England…great boots. Thanks again for all the wonderful pictures, I have been wondering about you all on the East Coast…we had 3 drops of rain out in So. Cal today..I’m surprised we are not on storm watch LOL.. but we will take what we can get…Enjoy the wonderful snow and cold weather, so cozy and romantic!

    • sbranch says:

      You got those boots . . . is it not a small world? Where there’s a will there’s a way! How are the girls these days? xoxo to Jessie!

      • Lisa aka Jessies mom says:

        Hi Susan! I sure did get Toggi’s, I love them! I remember Rachel texting me from England saying they have the boots, do you want them, what size…I was a nervous wreak, but they fit and I do love them! Feet warm and dry!!
        Jess is doing great, she wants you to know she is learning cursive in school. 🙂 makes me happy! We are having our annual “Tea Party”, a post Valentine day bash for the girl friends. This year will be Downton Abby theme…Jess wants to be Daisy and so does Syd…as long as they serve us they can both be Daisy hee hee. Love your posts! stay warm, keep writing and doing all the good you do for this crazy world, we need more Susan Branches! Thanks for reply!

  26. Kathie says:

    Susan, every time I read a blog, I am struck by how lovely and clear your photos are! They transport us to Martha’s, so thank you very much. When I need a lift on a day, I read the blog.

  27. Genie in N.C. says:

    Loved the photos of your home and town in the snow. I live in NC now, but grew up in Wisconsin where we had long, beautiful winters. Your descriptions were so vivid that I could almost hear the snow crunching under your boots. I LOVE the bird mug! How adorable is that?! ♥ We have plenty of ‘birds’ in our home (including the metal rust-patina-ed ones from your store) in our bedroom bay window. We feed the birds outside too — sunflower hearts, wild seed, niger, and Squirrel Chow, as well as a hanging peanut feeder (no salt, shelled peanuts) which is popular with the downy woodpeckers, the titmice and nuthatches. Shortly after the hummingbirds leave in the late fall, the snowbirds (Juncos) arrive. They stay until Spring, and leave when it is time for the hummers to return to our feeders. It’s magical. The snowbirds have such a lovely soft high “peep” and we can hear them from inside the house if it is very quiet and the dishwasher is not running. : ) Thank you for sharing your world.

  28. Judy H in FL says:

    Half the time I think “wow I’m glad I don’t live up north any longer” and the other half says “wow how beautiful!” And I remember walking through the snow covered streets and countryside. I skied, skated and sleigh rode through all kinds of winter weather when I was young. I loved it then. It was the love of a special someone that took me away from it all and I don’t regret that for one minute. Thanks for showing me the wonder of it all though your eyes.

  29. Julie says:

    Oh, it looks like something happened to the background on your blog. I’m not able to read your text because the background print is competing behind it. (so sad.)

  30. Tammy in Colorado says:

    Love the photo of you with the snowball! You look so happy and pretty!

  31. sondra fox says:

    Oh, what fun you & Joe had traypsing (is there such a word? I think not) around town in your marshmallow world! If you play Scrabble, I’m warning you, don’t use the word “traypsing.” It isn’t a real word. I’m so jealous of you living in all that snow. My husband used to drive us (me, grandkids, dogs, cat) to Mammoth to ski & enjoy the snow. Since my husband passed, no more snow trips. I grew up in PA & love snow. I’ll just have to close my eyes & remember the good times we had in the snow. That picture of you with the huge piece of snow, is just so adorable. You look so healthy with your pink cheeks all aglow. And the pictures of your darlings, inside, enjoying the warmth of the furnace. Just precious. My Sheba has shown signs of wanting outside. I feel bad not letting her go outside, but I’m just afraid to let her out. Her fur would get weeds in it & I’d never be able to comb them out. She makes this weird sound when she sees a bird. I love to hear habits about birds, such as the one you told of Cardinals mating for life. Geese do the same thing. Such tender hearts. I pray for animals, as well as humans, as I know animals have tender hearts & gentle spirits, & need God’s loving hands to keep them in His care. Ever since I can remember, I’ve adored animals. I remember one really bad storm we had in PA. Must have been around 1948. Someone shoveled a path from our street to the small, corner grocery store, where the only items left were cookies. No more bread or milk left. That skinny, single, path was well utilized for several days. What great memories of growing up in snow country. A nearby street that was hilly, served it’s purpose to let gravity take over & propel us down the hill on our sleds. Sometimes we’d hang on to the back fender of cars, with our bellies on our sleds, getting a free ride back up the hill. This practice was frowned upon by adults who wondered if we’d make it to the age of twenty.

    Here in CA, we had a rainstorm this afternoon, which produced thunder & lightening. Jack, our Terrior, barked & barked at the sky. He isn’t used to hearing thunder! (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Janet in Rochester says:

      Sandy, you’re ready for “Jeopardy.” There IS such a word – it’s “traipsing…” To move wearily, reluctantly, needlessly or casually. :>)

    • Linda says:

      there is such a word except it is spelled “traipsing” ….you used it in the right context as well!

  32. Linda Kidd says:

    Susan – Love the blizzard pictures! Glad y’all are safe and still have your power.

  33. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    One word – beauteous!! I loved the snowed covered window with the candlelight reflecting, but I so enjoyed “our” walk (with our fav-or-ite girl) Dean Martin talk, lol. Can’t help but think of that song!! Anxious for the next installment (Part 3), til then put on that pot of tomato soup & a yummy melting with cheesiness grilled cheese!! Love & Warm Hugs to you, Joe, Girl & Jack. xoxo

  34. Debbie Noyola says:

    I love that you share your world with us. You are so kind. I love that you feed the birds. I have a feeder right outside my kitchen window & I love to watch all the different birds feasting. We have Stellars Jays here in the Pacific Northwest. No Cardinals, unfortunately. The snow pics were fun. I just wish everyone had a cozy warm home to be in when its so cold outside. Keep us posted on your weather & stay safe & warm.

    • sbranch says:

      One thing they have in California that I haven’t seen on the island (although I hear they do exist) are Bluebirds. Cutest little Walt Disney Bluebirds live in California.

      • Rhonda d. says:

        I saw those cute little bluebirds when visiting in Tennessee a couple of years ago. The trees in my aunt’s backyard were full of them, along with male cardinals. A sight to behold. One of the fabrics I’m getting ready to sew is red cardinals. I’m so excited I could bust or something. (Could there be something wrong with this picture??). My yard looks like Disney world today….in the midst of another snowstorm and there are birds everywhere, just flying helter skelter, blown around by the high winds. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Very magical.

  35. Jo says:

    Hooray, for snow and your lovely show and tell.

  36. Steph says:

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful pictures, it makes me wish we had snow here in the PNW but we havent gotten the snow like we used to. I get to live through other peoples pics and adventures for now which I love to do anyways. I am glad everyone is safe and warm in smallville.

  37. Vicki says:

    What a treat to see all of your fabulous photographs! Glad you made it through the initial storm in good shape. We all of course later read that Cape Cod got hard-hit (amazing you didn’t lose power like Nantucket!) whereas NYC and some of upstate NY skated thru with a much-less-significant amount of snow. When I did read that, I thought, ‘oh boy, I bet Susan Branch got slammed’ but we also knew that you were well-prepared for the onslaught. I’ve never been around snow EVER in my life and this is a white world I cannot imagine. It’s really very beautiful to look at…and to see a spot of red (cardinal) in all that white is a marvel. The cardinal was a mascot at one of my schools when I was a ‘youngster’ but it wasn’t a bird known to me or ever seen around ‘those parts’ so it must have been in some school founder’s imagination. I’ve loved seeing your wintery pics and the one of you with a snowball should be framed; you look adorable, like a pink-cheeked kid in one of those illustrations from early-in-the-20th-century greeting cards…like a Valentine!

    • Vicki says:

      I need to understand more about birds, but how on earth do those tiny little things survive a blizzard and snowy winter? (Or any of the wildlife? Bunnies, possums, reptiles, etc. What is their shelter? How can they find food or water in a frozen environment? I have such ignorance about it, but how do any wild creatures stay warm and alive in that cold, white stuff? I need to read up on the subject!) Amazing to me. Nature; it’s a wonder.

    • sbranch says:

      xoxo Vicki!

  38. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    I’m sure it was a little scary being in the storm, but how beautiful it was the next day. I can understand why you had to live there. Those brave birds out in the snow. They are gorgeous! We don’t see those here in California.
    Keep the image of that beautiful winter scene in your mind to remember in the middle of summer.

  39. Susan, I loved every bit of these two last posts about the snow storm. My family in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI also enjoyed this storm. (Have you ever been to “The Maritimes?” If not, you really should go. They’re fabulous, and I am not just saying that because they are my home. It’s true, especially PEI. I was born there!

    Back to the snow and your lovely photos. You captured everything that is to be loved about being all cosy and warm during a snowstorm and the wonder that follows! We finally got a bit of snow here in Chester the other day. Not much, just a light dusting, and it didn’t lay . . . although people north of us in Lancashire, Cumbria and Scotland got tons!

    Glad you managed to stay safe and warm! And the kitties and Joe too! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve always wanted to go there, it’s close too, relatively. Will have to do that one day! So many countries, too little time!

  40. sylvia faye says:

    I love Girl Kitty…such a sweet disposition……

    Thank you for all the pictures and the trouble to post them for us.

    My daughter on Cape Cod sent me blow by blow pictures of her home and yes, her windows looked just like yours and she was unable to open any of her doors but had arranged to be snowplowed out as she has a long driveway and a car snowed in as well.

    Blessing on Smallville…….

  41. lin rader says:

    Our winter in Michigan last year was a reflection of yours yesterday. We were spared the deep snow forecast, but oh, it has been cold. We snuggle under our quilts and “feather tick” as my husband, Jay, calls it. So cuddly and warm, who could mind the Klondike cold outside. The teakettle boils and the aromatic smell of Earl Grey tea beckons us to momentarily creep from our bed to savor England’s favorite pastime. Oh, how I love New England…our Michigan is a close second these past few years. The beauty of your home is there for us all to enjoy through the beauty of your heart. Thank you, Girlfriend, for sharing your heart and home with all of us. P.S. A sweet hello to the “kids”, Girl Kitty and Jack.

  42. patricia says:

    I enjoy so so much, when I read you… its like opening a window.
    I am from Spain and I admire you so much, your work and the way life is for you, thanks for sharing all this <3

  43. AngieTink says:

    ♫❄☃☆♡ Good~Morning “Snow~Queen” Every Photo is Delightful….48 Degrees This Saturday Morning Here 🙂 I’m Sipping a Cuppa Peppermint Tea It’s Dark & Quiet….Shhhhhhhhh….. 😉 & I’m Enjoying Every Wonderful Word & Photo Sweet Sue….With a Huge Smile on Me Pumpkin~Face 🙂 Thank~You! 🙂 Jack’s Face…..OMG! 🙂 & Girl’s Photo….Purrrrrrfectly Sweet……& All Your SNOW !!!#Blizzard2015 & We’re Walking in a Winter~Wonderland….♫❄☃☆♡ Sending Warm Hugzzz & Kitty~Kisses & Winter Pixie~Dust & Always Lots of Love! Stay Cozy & Warm & Savor These Magical Winter Dayzzzz & Thank~You For Sharing Them with All of US! Yay! xoxo Poof! ♫❄☃☆♡♫❄☃☆♡ 🙂 P.S. Sweet Sue I LOVE The Photo of You All Bundled~Up & You Look So Cute & Happy! 🙂

  44. Linda Metcalf says:

    Beautiful snow! I’m childlike when it comes to snow. I remember breaking off icicles and chomping on them. The town looks so pretty and everyone with smiles on their faces. It’s a New England Brigadoon!

    • sbranch says:

      I never ate an icicle! I guess because I see too much “roof” in them now . . . not having the pleasure of doing it as carefree child!

  45. Sue says:

    Hi Susan!

    Great to hear that you survived the Big Storm in such “fine fettle.” It reminded me a lot of the Blizzard of ’78 when I still lived in northwestern Ohio and got snowed in for five days. We fared just fine, the way you’ve done, but I was just 25 and madly in love, so being apart from my sweetie for so long was traumatic. LOL. (We ultimtely parted ways, but are still good friends after all these years…) Now, as a Houstonian of long-standing, I’d PAY to be snowed in for five days — which, down here, would take about an inch of snow that actually stays around for longer than five minutes.

    In the words of Bob Hope…”thanks for the memories…”
    Sue, in Houston

  46. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Hi Susan, I was worrying about you from all the bad news on TV about your neighbor Nantucket during the Blizzard. I am happy to hear that no real harm was done and you never lost electricity. The photos of the event are beautiful with the drifts and piles everywhere, but those roads look treacherous! Whew for this Florida Gal!!

    • sbranch says:

      They’re better today, a front loader (I think that’s what you call them) scraped the streets, we can see asphalt again!

  47. Bernie says:

    Love that you love all the snow. I would love it for about 2 weeks. I suppose it makes a difference if you go out because you want to, or because you HAVE to, to dig your car out and go to work.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, that is a huge difference! We got another little bit of a storm this morning, a little more of the white stuff to add to what we already had, but now it’s windy, cold, blue skies and white clouds, very pretty.

  48. Lynn McCormack says:

    Good morning! Hope you are warm and toasty in Smallville! Have you seen The Great British Baking Show? It is on Sun. night, before Downton Abbey on PBS. I think you will like it.

  49. Coraleen Rawls says:

    I love your blog, it always brings me peace. Thank you for sharing, it may be a simple thing to some, but your paintings, the words and the photos make it great food for the soul. Please know that you and Smallville hold a special space in my heart. I have been to MV, my daughter and her family go every year (in the summer) and just love the island. Stay warm and keep us posted.
    Oh, you are dead on about Ms.Bunting (I believe that is the spelling), you love to hate her. I believe you can express your beliefs, your opinions, etc in a way that is not offensive. But really in someones home, after you were told, by Tom that he loved them for who they are, nothing else. It will be interesting to see if they get together. Hummmm, not sure how I will feel, but until then, on to next Sunday for the drama to continue.

    • sbranch says:

      Waiting along with you!

      • Rhonda d. says:

        What do you suppose life would be like at Downton Abbey if Ms. Bunting and Mr. Barrow got hitched up? It scares me to think about it…..unless of course Thomas is changing for the better. But then does a leopard ever lose its spots?

  50. pat says:

    A most entertaining post as usual, thank you Susan, for making me smile xx Pat

  51. Joan says:


  52. LJ says:

    I see trees of green, red roses too; I see them bloom for me and you…and I think to myself, What a Wonderful World…
    My husband was sad here in Iowa when you guys got all that lovely snow and we got none!!! But he has hope that the prediction of snow for later today and tomorrow will allow him to use the snowblower and shovel…:) Yep, men are much the same everywhere when it comes to snow!
    Thanks for sharing your world with us.

  53. Gail Buss says:

    Dear Susan, I love, love, love this blog. So beautiful with all the snow. Love seeing it. I think the thing I love most is your little town with all the shops that you can walk to. So delightful and reminds me of when I was growing up in NYC. That sounds crazy probably because everyone thinks of NYC as the downtown area with lots of traffic and people. But my neighborhood was similar to yours with all the neat shops we could walk to and just window shop even if you didn’t buy anything. Of course I loved the book store where I could purchase Nancy Drew Mystery Books for $1 and when they went up to $1.25, I was so crushed. Then when I got engaged, I remember I loved looking in the window of the store with all things for the kitchen, bathroom etc. Such cute little dish towels and things. Life sure was simpler back then. And, yes, I do miss the snow but not shoveling it. Must say I love your beret which matches your jacket perfectly. Such a great color on you. Thanks for all the neat pics. Just love them all. Hugs, Gail xo

  54. Oh my!

    Lovely big snow, lovely photos, lovely house, lovely town and lovely kitties!

    We only had a few inches here in Lancaster County, PA, and truth be told, I felt a little ripped off. But winter’s not over yet, and I’m still hoping the Snow Queen bestows at least one gorgeous, big snowfall on us this year. (I can say that because I don’t leave the house for work either, hehe). 😉

    Thanks as always for sharing a glimpse into your cozy, creative world.

    ♥ Carolee

  55. Karen says:

    It’s a treat to spend a little time reading something that extols the wonders and beauty of winter. Thanks, Susan!

  56. Ericka says:

    I truly love seeing splashes of red in a snowy landscape, too – cardinals in the snow are perfection. My winter coats are always black or grey, and then I wear red hats/scarves/gloves with them.
    Have you tried putting homemade cinnamon applesauce in your oatmeal with some milk (I am currently digging unsweetened coconut almond milk)? It’s so delicious – I call it apple pie oatmeal! The best way to warm up on a cold morning for sure.
    And I’ve really been appreciating all the kitty paw pictures. Keep ’em coming!

  57. Terry Jansen says:

    I keep thinking your posts can’t possibly get any more special than your previous one but they keep getting more ‘specialier’! You touched my heart when you wrote ‘I had to move here, I was afraid I might never get a house like these and I could not live without on’. There is a cottage I gave loved for quite a few years and it’s actually for sale…but I can still dream!

  58. Terry Jansen says:

    One lol

  59. Kathleen Hirst says:

    Hi Susan-we are under a Winter Storm Warning here in Upstate NY. Expecting 8-14 inches. I get excited when a storm is coming. I’ve been like this since I was a child. I made sure all my bird feeders are filled today. I love watching the birds through my kitchen window. My kitty, Cheddar, loves watching them too. Glad to see that you made it through the storm ok. Nothing like a cozy house on a stormy day. Made a big pot of chili so we are all set! It is only going to be 9 degrees as a high on this coming Monday. Stay warm and toasty. Give Jack and Girl kisses and thank you for sharing all the wonderful photos that you and Joe took of Martha’s! Can’t wait for Sunday night and Downton Abbey. My husband Michael and I love watching it. Stay warm Susan-Your friend in Upstate NY Kathy!

  60. Janie Osborne says:

    What a delightful post! The picture Joe took of you with the snowball is now my favorite one of you! That hat, the playfulness in your expression and the joy in your heart comes through perfectly! Keep having fun Sweet Sweet Susan! Love you and your cheerful posts!! Janie

  61. Diane says:

    Hello Susan,

    I’ve been waiting to hear how things were going with you and the storm. I told my husband that I do believe you are the most optimistic person I know. A lot of folks would be wringing their hands with worry over such a big storm, but you – you revel in it!! Your part 1 post reminded me to pick up some of that wonderful Boston brown bread. I tried it the first time you mentioned it and can’t believe I haven’t eaten it since…on my way now to pick up some at the store to eat with honey and nut cream cheese. Wish I were there to to enjoy the snow with you. Most magnificent pictures!!

    Love from Diane in North Carolina

  62. Joan Lesmeister says:

    You’ve “got your love to keep you warm”, good thing, brrrr, on Martha’s Island! I’m still listening to Dean, love him, love you for all you do & sharing your gorgeous Island with us, so pretty in white! I’ve been poppin’ in on you these last few days, makes me feel all warm & cozy although it was almost 70, 🙁 ,here yesterday. Huge, giant thank yous, & warm hugs to you & Joe for your lovely pictures! Rabbit, rabbit! xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      We have another storm coming. I just turned on the news, but haven’t seen exactly where it’s going yet. Rabbit rabbit Joan!

  63. Pam says:

    Cozy, Cozy, Cozy!!!!! I just wanted to mention a show I think you would LOVE. You probably already know about it………….The Great Brit Baking show? Perfect for snowy day watching (or anytime for that matter:)

    • sbranch says:

      I do like it, but I would like it more if they showed us HOW to make those amazing things they make. I know it’s a contest, but I hate it when they send someone home!

  64. Maria says:

    Susan – you and that cloche were made for each other! You are so stinkin’ cute!

    • sbranch says:

      You should see it on my walk when it’s really cold out by the water, first I put on the hat, then a hooded sweatshirt over it! Quite lovely, perfect for Vogue!

  65. Donna says:

    I settled into the couch to watch “The Duchess” and was disappointed with the scenes showing the woman’s behind and the kissing between the two women. Oh, how I wanted to like it. I turned it off without finishing the movie. 🙁

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes I have a movie on while I work ~ not really watching, but listening; I probably should have some sort of rating system before I suggest something; I’m sorry, Donna, I just didn’t think of it. I more or less loved it for the history value, as it is a true story, a very sad one in many ways.

  66. Lois Rehm says:

    Thanks for the account of the big storm. The pictures were wonderful, especially the stellar one of the cardinal in the midst of the snowy branches. Here in Westchester County, NY, we were prepared for the worst but
    thankfully received much less. Now we’re gearing up for another storm tonight and tomorrow.

    I’m sure we are all eagerly awaiting the next DA episode. Loved some of the girlfriends’ comments about Ms. Bunting, Lord G., Lady Cora ad the art historian, etc. I have one about Thomas and his mysterious problem. Could he be a diabetic trying to inject insulin? Remember the conversation Violet and Mrs. Crawley had at Violet’s house with the local doctor about a new treatment for diabetes? Violet was not especially interested, but the others were. As “they” say, stay tuned tonight!

    Thanks again, Susan, for the tour you and Joe took earlier this week and sharing it with us. You concluded it cozily with the furry friends waiting for your return. Your blog anchors us to the important and valuable things in life.

    With appreciation and best wishes,

  67. Glenda says:


    Love this blog! I have been a part of snow storms like this for years and what a blessing it is. You have captured so many of the things I enjoy too. Thank you! 🙂 By the way. I want to see a picture of the barn……:)

  68. First of all…my dear….that photo of you! Playing in the snow causes years to melt away, leaving one with the face of a little girl… You look absolutely darling, you sweet one!
    Secondly…it is no easy task to venture out into the snow and cold. That you and Joe went the distance? I bow to you both! Huffing and puffing…I’m still impressed. They’d have me on a stretcher with an oxygen mask, for sure!!

    To see snow, of this quantity, in front of that bookstore…..well, my goodness, there are no words!

    Thank you for snapping the gorgeous pics, and if you could just direct one of those snow blowing snow scooping snow shoveling trucks to deposit a goodly amount on top of our little town here in Tennessee, we would be much obliged;0

    Stay warm and know we’re sending happy thoughts and prayers of thanksgiving for electricity in smallville:)
    Always always,

  69. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Hope you are well and doing fine this Monday morning!!! We are digging out today from 16.7 inches of snow that fell all day yesterday and through the night, in Dearborn, Michigan. Does that qualify us to be a member of your “snow club” Susan???? My tea pot will be whistling while my knitting needles are clicking!!! Take care, as I heard you will be getting another bad snow storm, too!

  70. Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

    More snow for you???

  71. Maureen MacKenzie says:

    Jack is just so stinking cute in that picture. Girl Kitty is as demure as ever of course. 🙂 I don’t know what weather you are having today, but we had another snow day (2nd grade teacher) and now it’s raining ice. Be careful out there…staying cozy inside today.

  72. Renee says:

    Dear Susan – Thank you for your amazing photos. Love the picket fence winter/summer! How can it be? My husband and I were wondering yesterday. Chicago received over 19 inches, and we were in blizzard conditions too. We are now digging out. Wish I could share photos of bobcats and backhoes, semi trucks being loaded with tons of snow and then dumped into the river. Not exactly a pretty sight but very practical for traffic purposes. Can you imagine? I know you can! Thank you again. Renee P.S. Love your kitty photos too.

  73. Mary S. says:

    Susan, I just finished reading your book for the second time – I love it soooo very much!! I guess I am drawn so much to England because it’s in my blood. My mother’s side grandmother’s maiden name was Ely (there’s an Ely, England), and my dad’s side grandmother’s maiden name was Hereford (there’s a Herefordshire, England)! I tell people that I am Landed Gentry!
    I just noticed that there is a quote from Bess Streeter Aldrich in your book – she’s the author of SONG OF YEARS! 😀
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA (in Loveland, CO right now)

  74. Linda Thomson says:

    Thank you for taking me on a walk with you!

  75. Jan says:

    Enjoyed the peek at your town and all the snow. Beautiful pictures! I, too, have feeders and like watching, feeding, and taking pictures of the birds. Just finished the book, “Beatrix Potter” by Linda Lear that you had mentioned. Has taken me a while to read – filled with so much information. What a wonderful lady! She was so talented, giving, and involved; a very inspiring woman. Really enjoyed the book. We have had snow here too and more possible tonight. Must stock up on groceries as will be keeping five of our grandchildren for a few days. Stay warm and have a great week!

  76. Sonya Hewes says:

    We sure would love some snow up here in Alaska! Very strange winters the past two years. Here in Anchorage, we’re lucky if we have three inches and now it’s very cold, so it isn’t going anywhere, but would be nice to have some more. We’ve got ice fog here today.
    I also was wondering why kind of camera you have. I enjoy seeing your pictures. I have a Canon t3i and I just upgraded and got a 7D. So excited to see how it works for my daughter’s volleyball tournament this weekend. I also take a lot of action shots for my son’s hockey, so I think this 7D will do the trick. 🙂

  77. Marie Atkinson says:

    Lovely pictures of your paradise. Thank you so much for sharing!

  78. debra sewell says:

    I love your post on Downton Abbey. I am new to it so I am watching new series but catching up on first 4 Seasons. Like a Abbey Marathon. I love love the hats shoes and all the beautiful lamps and jewelry. I hope it has many seasons to be. I always lived Upstairs Downstairs too. Im thinking spring. bought a new gardening book at my librarys used book cafe section. im in heaven♥♡♥♡♥

  79. debra sewell says:

    im confused. i watched Downton Abbey last nite but Lady Marys sister is still alive. Hes not a widower. so how could mary end up with her sisters husband. so i must have missed some big event? help

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, quite a while back, Mary and Edith had another sister named Sybil. She was married to Tom. They had a baby, but Sybil died. Then Mary married Matthew, they had a baby too, and then he died. Hope this helps!

  80. debra sewell says:

    well. i finished Season 3. amazing. sad and wonderful. So poor Tom and his beautiful baby girl. So i need to watch all of Season 4 so ill be ready for the regular next episode. think spring in Downton

  81. Jack says:

    Well by golly I think if you All had your way the Abby show would be a lifeless glob with
    Everything just too sweet— an nothing worth commenting about……and secondly , I would like you to paint a picture of Jack with squinty eyes for a change…….!

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t get the wrong idea, Blog Daddy, we LIKE the troublemakers (in our own way) . . . they give us something very juicy to gossip about. As far as Jack is concerned, I paint ’em as I see ’em. He doesn’t have squinty eyes, they are permanently wide open, round, and concentrated on his main adventure in life . . . “shoot the rubber band!”

  82. Pamela Gunther says:

    I just purchased my second copy of “A Fine Romance.” I loved it so much and read it cover to cover many times. I have always wanted to go to England and was thrilled to be able to travel there through the pages of your book. I felt like I was right there strolling along beside you. After reading it almost a dozen times I decided to pass it along to my best girlfriend. Interestingly enough…she had just gifted hers to another friend and was quite remiss that she didn’t have a copy for her collection. She was thrilled to receive it and I too just had to replaced mine. I just can’t do without it. Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventures!!! You are a calm respite in this tumultuous world. Thank you for being the ray of sunshine all of us Girlfriends need. Much gratitude to you. …Pamela

  83. Christine Cerniauskas says:

    Hi Susan! I just love your 2015 mini calendar! I have one request would it be possible to have a more Christmasy scene for the 2016 mini calendar? You are my very favorite illustrator. Your blogs are amazing! I hope you do another British book soon. With fond regards, Christine

  84. Susan, Thank you. You always make my heart warm and contented. “And I say to myself, It’s a Wonderful World! Teresa

  85. Jennifer says:

    I think it can be so easy to dislike January, but you’ve touched on the good things: time to read and nest and enjoy the silence and stillness without the outside obligations. Well, other than shovelling, but you’ve got a willing hand for that so life is good!

  86. dewena says:

    Hello Susan, Glad to know you, Joe and kitties are all safe and warm. The winter photo’s are beautiful and hope this week is a good one. I am sitting here in my chair listening to the wind and rain pelting the windows. We are having a big rain storm here in northern california. I am writing to ask a couple of questions. Have you ever watched Miss Marple or a show called Rosemary & Thyme? I have been watching the old reruns. Beautiful scenery and houses,love the accents. But mainly where did I see the pics of Joe and the tea bag hanging from his glasses? I thought of it the other day and laughed again. That was the cutest, sweetest, funniest thing ever. I know you must have laughed till your sides hurt and wanted to hug him all at the same time. I would like to look at it again, but forgot where and when.Thank you for your time, cannot wait till your new book comes out! Happy Valentines Day to you and yours.

  87. Verla says:

    I was wondering if you could make the Valentine’s bookmark available again for printing. I missed that one. Sure would like to have it. Thank you!

  88. Jack says:

    PS- Yes , I do know they are birds….

  89. Debra in So CA says:

    Brovo! Wonderful…as always. Loved the views of snow in your area of the state and the photos of your kitties too. Loved that you held the snowball but didn’t throw it at Joe. As always I am so inspired by your blog. I feel like I just came home from a visit with you. Now I’m ready for a cup of tea and to cuddle up with my blanket and a good book. Thanks for a fun visit, stay warm.

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