Today we’re going to mix it up, a snow walk and a garden give-away all in the same post! MUSICA for slow dancing, Girlfriends. . .
Yesterday, for the first time in weeks, maybe even months, we had a sunshiny, lovely 42º. We scrambled into our boots and RAN ourselves out the door, for the first walk in all of that time!!! Our lawn is still covered in snow, but it’s quietly beginning to melt making a continuous little river down our driveway, joining the slightly bigger river on the street, and heading down hill to the harbor. We weren’t sure what the dirt road that takes us out to the ocean would look like, but we were willing to try, especially when we saw what was going on in the maple tree outside the kitchen window:
The photo isn’t clear, but that’s OK, those orange spots are Robins! If this beautiful day is good enough for them, it’s good enough for us!
so here we go
. . . walking very gingerly . . . It was melting, like a slushy in some parts (the good parts) but there were long lumps of shiny wet ice, and some nice stretches of mud. . . We plot which direction we should fall in case we need to, realizing no one brought a phone, if he breaks his leg, he lays there while I “run” for help. It would be sad.
The birds were singing, Joe’s trying to figure out where the sound is coming from . . .
See him? Way up top in the middle of the picture? He looks white but he’s a goldfinch, he can’t clap his hands so he shows his happiness with song.
The goldfinch has a really nice view! When we walked out of the canopy of the woods, we had our first view of the pond ~ we could see it was still partially frozen . . .
But I have to say, despite how cold it looks, the warm sun on our faces felt as much like spring as breathing into a bouquet of daffodils! Off came my hat and gloves, unzipped goes the jacket. THAT’S how nice it was out there!
I’m always behind him . . . he waits, as the ever-patient guy that he is, hands on hips . . .
Can’t just walk right by this little red fisherman’s shack and not stop for a photo . . . crazy man.
See those broken square-looking things on the ground (talking mostly to the Californians and Floridians right now)? They are giant ice chips. When a car goes through a partly frozen puddle, the ice breaks up and scatters. That’s something you don’t see all the time. See how patient Joe is while I take pictures of them?
We made it to the water, and I have to tell you, it wasn’t easy…. First we had to go through the deep snow in the yard of our friend’s house, then across their deck . . .
And down that very furthest set of stairs ~ see it back there? After that, finding a high-ish tide, we had to climb over each rock-piled breakwater, maybe five of them . . . yes, you’re right, I know what you’re thinking, it was heaven out there. (BTW, while we’re away from home, we had our bedroom windows wide open (for the first time this year); the ceiling fan was on full blast blowing out winter air and exchanging it for fresh spring air, and we knew we were going to sleep like babies after our walk to the sea!)
We discovered that others had been there first.
And then, beach booty! Big piece of dark blue beach glass!
More ice chips. I kind of love them. Like to break them with my toe. Makes a good noise. Two nature things happened out there that I didn’t take pictures of: A.) (Pat, you should probably skip this part.) Because some rather large animal was dead. I didn’t look because in my accidental half-second glance I could see it was all elbows, knees and feathers and other less identifiable furry parts, and despite my well-known interest in science, this was really not my cup of tea. Joe looked, he decided it was a coyote AND a turkey, entwined together on the beach. Wow! We skirt by it, my eyes covered with my hat, and we fall immediately into Morning Science discussion: First off “are there coyotes on the island?” I didn’t think so. Otherwise I’ve been living in a fool’s paradise thinking we had no kitty-eaters on Martha’s Vineyard. So, let’s say it was a deer. A deer and a turkey? “They don’t fight, they don’t eat each other.” So then here’s what must have happened: That thing (whatever it is, but it can’t be a coyote) killed the turkey, then, sadly, but deservedly, choked on a bone, fell over and died on top of it. (I just realized, this is kind of like talking about Downton Abbey.)
Anyway, lovely leaves embalmed in ice. The other nature thing we saw was a pair of birds mating on the road. That was a first, I have never seen birds do that. As a scientist, I had never thought about what those little devils did when we left them alone. We thought they were dead at first, they weren’t moving at all, we didn’t even know there were two of them, till Joe looked closer to figure out which side was up, because this was one weird looking bird. More Morning Science ensued when all of a sudden, the girl escaped! OK, I did get a picture of the chase . . .
This is the little father, in hot pursuit! Ah, spring. Quite the adventure!
Tire tracks become puddles . . . Look around, where is the best place to put your foot? Safest would probably be IN the water.
Time to go home . . . so far we have 100% not fallen down!
And we manage to keep it that way! Usually our walk is 45 minutes, yesterday it was an hour and a half. That’s from making sure we didn’t break our necks.
Front row seat to the melting of the snow. (OMG, is he not the most adorable thing in the world?)
So we all know the snow will go . . .
And waiting for us, under all the ice are our little snow drops (these are from last year, this year’s crop is frozen stiff right now, but soon). Because, it’s coming, only another week until official . . .
And in honor of the moment, when we are all teetering on the verge of spring, I would love for one of you to enjoy my favorite garden book of all time . . .
It’s called Kitchen Gardens, an unassuming little book wonderfully written by Mary Mason Campbell with illustrations by Tasha Tudor.
But it’s by far the most inspiring garden book I’ve ever read. There are other books with much more detailed information, and definitely glossier pictures, but no book has ever moved me into the garden faster and happier than this one.
It was published in 1971 and I was lucky enough to happen upon it as my first garden book. “I love how Mary Campbell wrote about the “sunshine, fresh air, and privacy of our gardens. . .”
I thought I would sign this book for you and also add a watercolor bookmark (I’ve been cutting up the bits of paper I use for testing my pen or watercolors and making bookmarks out of them).
If you want to be entered for this giveaway, all you have to do is scroll to the bottom of this post and look for the tiny word “comments” — and leave a comment. Your comment can be just one word if you like; that will be enough to enter you for the drawing. For those of you who get my blog via email, you will have to go to www.126.96.36.199/~susanbs3/susanbranch/ and scroll to the very bottom of this post and find that tiny word . . . “comments” ~ for some reason, they don’t seem to send a “comment” button in an emailed blog.
Last but not least. I told you I finished the new calendars for 2016? I thought I would give you a little preview . . . This is “October” for the wall-calendar, and don’t worry, there are pink pumpkins on the bottom part.♥ For thee, from me. ♥
Something else for thee: click on “shopping” at the top of the blog, scroll to the bottom of the column on the left, click on FREE STUFF! Spring-themed stationery, bookmarks, tags — and computer wallpaper!
And just one more thing I wanted to tell you: My (our, because I’m always thinking of you when I’m writing) new book is being edited even as we speak. That means the writing part is almost done, after that I’ll paint it and add the photos and hopefully we’ll have it in about six months, maybe by the time we make our first fires next autumn. I know the title. But I’m afraid to say it out loud yet. So let me get used to it, maybe next time! You’ll be the first to know!
Until we meet again . . . Love you, love us.♥ XOXO
P.S. Don’t forget . . . St. Patrick’s Day is coming!
Fingers crossed for some springtime joy!
Gosh, I’m a little late to the party, but what a charming book!
Enjoy the thaw and all the lovely walks and birds and things.
Sending some warmth and sunshine from Palm Springs! The golf course was filled with players appropriately dressed so as NOT to receive a pinch! Happy St. Patrick’s day, everyone! Would love to be in the drawing!
You always brighten my day – and love your kitties!
Looks like a wonderful book!
Your blog, your books, all your work makes everyone who reads them feel like close friends. Had we grown up on the same street, our lives would have been filled with friendship antics 🙂 I just saw your post about the Kitchen Gardens book illustrated by Tasha Tudor. . .This is why I would love it . . . As I think about her, I don’t want to hear that she was an eccentric, or a hard-nosed woman. I want my Tasha to be a little lady living in a charming New England home, dressed in authentic 1830’s clothes . . . feet— bare, gray hair pulled under a lace cap or tied behind a scarf set back on her head . . . always wearing a front apron. There is no electricity in her quaint home with low ceilings, small pained windows, wood burning stoves and cast iron pots and pans. Her face is bright— lit by candle light as she prepares dinner, simmering pots hanging over an open fire. She smiles as she pours afternoon tea for you and me in her delicate flowered china cups. Her days are spent sewing, canning, weeding. She begins before first light, goes about her work; pouring hot wax into molds for candles, washing clothes in a tub and hanging them outside on a line to dry. Her larders are filled with home canned fruit gathered from her orchards. She spins wool on an old fashioned spinning wheel. She works hard to keep her copper pots shining and bright. My Tasha gathers pussy willows and tulips. In early mornings, she rows gently across the pond to watch beavers building a dam. She has beautiful wild flower gardens. . . the air is filled with the scent of lavender, honey suckle, violets, and rose perfume. Colors of Spring, Summer, and Fall splash across her meadows in untamed abundance. When winter wraps her world in white, she sits by the window watching bare tree arms hold-up the sky while she paints beautiful water colors, or sketches soft drawings of a fairy-tale life. . . just as you do, Susan . . . and that’s why I would love this book!
You described her perfectly Candy!
Love your blog, photos , water colors and the way you make me feel like I actually know you.
Wishing you beautiful Spring!
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. Spring is just around the corner!
Looks like copies of this book are on Amazon for $800! Wow!
What a world!
Reading your blog is like eating comfort food. I love it! Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.
A sure sign of spring… Pansies for sale at the garden shop! I bought a tray and will spend tomorrow planting the boxes on the porch rail! Oh joy, the daffodils are poking their greens up through the mulch and a few have been so bold as to wink a bit… Dare they open up and say, “Hello spring!” before it is official on Friday?
‘Tis a season of mystery… The coyote and the turkey? Will the warm breezes put and end to our chances of a snow day? Will those yellow cupped daffodils be brave and show their faces before the “official” start? And who will be the lucky winner of the drawing?
Good thing I have a recipe for a cup filled with Irish cheer to bolster my nerves as I await the answers! Thank you dear Susan.❤
I’m so glad spring is reaching you! Thanks for entering me into the drawing for that darling book.
Excited for Spring! I too am missing my Sunday nights with Downton Abbey!
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! We love all your beautiful artwork! With lots of love from Dylan n Little Jake ( my house bunny). Thank for your sweet blog. It is my very favorite one!
Would love this! (Commented on St. Paddy’s Day post…is that a no-no?)
Absolutely delightful in every way! It’s a lovely book with charming pictures that would make me happy beyond words to call my own.
I probably DO stand a better chance of winning the lottery, but, here I am. I would be thrilled if Vanna picked my name. Thanks for the unending inspiration!
I enjoy your blog so much. It always brightens my day when I read your what you have written and to see the pictures of your home and cats. Thank you for all the inspiration provide.
Love reading your blog! I’m in Nova Scotia and anxiously waiting for spring too. Instead we’ve got another blizzard on route tonight wth 30cm snow. Ugh.
Love what you share!!! Thank you from my heart!!!!!
The look of the book is lovely. Love Tasha Tudor.
Good Evening Susan
Emailing a comment from Colorado, where the green is just beginning to pop out of the fields revealing a sneak peak of the beauty getting ready to surround us on all sides. Good thing Mother Nature paints such a lovely canvas, because my green thumb is pathetic and could use some inspiration. I cannot think of a better way to help my thumb find the right shade of green than to start with such a cherished memento that helped you find your garden path. Take care Susan and enjoy your spring transformation.
Betty Crocker and Tasha Tudor in one book! Count me in! I love both of these ladies and would love to get to know Ms. Mary Mason Campbell as well. I treasure vintage books. Thank you for this opportunity to win her book. By the way, you have adorable kitties! My “McKitty” is solid black. He is purrrrfectly precious to me. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
So much fun to read your writing. Can’t wait to read what you’ll be up to this spring!
Thank you for your wonderful blog posts. It’s a place I come to lift up my spirits and find inspiration. I would be thrilled to find a big blue piece of beach glass like that!
Your writing eases my mind into such a peaceful state. The walk was refreshing…almost could smell the fresh cool air and the sights made me feel that winter is ner over as the sun shines and our next season will begin to bloom shortly. Thank you for sharing this walk with the two of you. You waiting “furry friend” waiting by the window was a perfect ending to your walk as he was getting ready to welcome you both home.
Vanna, pick me, girl! Susan, I absolutely love your blog, books, and heart!
What a lovely book!
What a wonderful book! I would love to win it!
Hello Susan and everyone,
Great blog! I love the sea glass, the pics of the snow and of Jack! I hope I win with this very late entry lol!! Good Irish luck to all!
Sorry I thought I wrote something here and it brought me back here! Lol hope I win! Love the sea glass! Good luck to all!
I enjoyed taking the walk with you. Thank you for your gentle sharing. I need some new adventures in my life. I would enjoy your book
A Belated “Happy St. Patrick’s Day”…….:)
I so enjoyed this post……its so exciting to see what you discover on your walks.
Woke up a tad earlier then usual this morning and to my delight……..had some wildlife company in the back yard…….Seven Deer! 🙂
I am happy to see I still may have a chance at the wonderful garden book by Tasha Tudor…:)
Hugs & Smiles
Have a Rainbow Day with A Smile On The Side
Barb…Ludlow, MA 🙂
Hi, Susan! Am I still in time for the garden giveaway? I’d love to take part in. Awesome book!!!
You’re right on time!
Thanks to your blog, I have started reading about Tasha Tudor and her works.
What a fascinating person!
The best medicine for this brutal New England winter is to get back into
the garden. Although, I still have 24-30″ of snow that still needs to melt before that happens (sigh). One can dream of Spring as one can dream of a new garden book. Where would we be without our dreams? I think I’ve read that somewhere before.
Thank you for taking me with you,on your walk.I enjoyed seeing the highlights through your eyes.
It looks such a lovely book, an asset to any gardening shelf. Hope your snowdrops find their way soon.
thanks for a great giveaway. Looks like a lovely book, love the illustrations! I need the inspiration for soon, i will be pulling pigweed and onion grass from my flower beds! Love spring in the Ozarks!
I am so late in commenting! Very busy with my new job and family but OMG, I so love the garden book. You introduced me to Tasha Tudor and now I can’t get enough of her work. In hopes that I am not too late.
It’s almost 3000 comments now for your great giveaway! I love it!
Happy Spring, my favorite time of the year! That Betty Crocker cookbook looks divine and trying out it’s new delicious recipes- thank you!
Good Morning :0) Thank you for yet another wonderful giveaway Susan! Please include my name for the Garden Giveaway! Have a lovely day today .. ~ Marge ~
I am so looking forward to Spring!! We didn’t get as much snow as you all did in MA but it seems that everyone here in PA is done with it all!!
I sure hope it’s not too late. Susan, you are the best!! Thank you!
thankyou for the chance! Spring is here! Wheeeeeeee
Wow! I’m a Tasha Tudor super fan, and I’ve never seen that book! My girls and I are working on starting a garden right now after a few years of gardening in containers. I would love to win it – thanks for the chance! I love the kitty page with Girl and Jack – purrfect! So glad winter is breaking up for you – oh how I would love to be able to walk to the ocean – it is so beautiful there.
Jack is the CUTEST!!!!
Well, now, it’s a good thing I enjoy your posts with or without the chance of a generous gift. Sheesh, what a lot of people have popped by here!
I am writing to be entered in your garden book drawing and to say “Thank you for you blog.” It’s so inspirational. My aunt (a very talented Alabama artist told my 89-year-old mother (an artist and author of three books – her latest one (at 89) “The Trials and Triumphs of Growing Older”.) about your blog. Mom loves your art and your site and that’s how I became a follower of yours. You inspired me to clean out my Koh-I-Noor pen and get back to drawing and now that the weather is improving, I’m ready to get out and garden, too.
Please give my love to your mom, and thank you Julianne.
Never stop dreaming! I love that you are so giving of your time and talents! Sending Love and Springtime Warmth!
Amazing pictures! I want to be there!
Susan Branch and Tasha Tudor, what a wonderful combination. Artistic love, talent, kindness
And a giving heart. Thank you for being you. Melinda
Lovely. Simply lovely. I adore your blog and soak up all your writings. Thank you. Bethie
Wow! 2,939 comments so far! Thank you for such a lovely contest. I would like to enter on behalf of my dearest friend’s birthday. It would make such a lovely gift for her 60th birthday. We live far away from each other now, but when we do connect it feels like we just saw each other yesterday. I started a birthday box for her that I keep adding to as I find just the right things! I know she would absolutely be thrilled to add your wonderful book to her collection. Warm Regards, Lisa Smith in Lake Oswego, Oregon 🙂
This must be a lovely book, Susan.
Your watercolor paintings and books are like a breath of Spring. Being an Anglophile, your book “A Fine Romance” is my absolute favorite. We have a lot of those pesky coyotes around here – they give me the willies! I am so glad that my kitty is too afraid to sneak outside…
oh to have a fun new little book…..love…..I do think……thank you……
Wonderful that spring is almost here! We have brave little daffodils poking their heads up and turning their faces to the sun.
Love your blog, as usual. So comforting (which we all need after this winter!)
Love your blog, books, calendars-thanks for all the inspiration they provide!
What wonderful giveaway! I love Tasha Tudor – she’s an interesting person.
I hope there’s still time in join in. We have been traveling on the Central Coast, your old stomping grounds! It’s been such a beautiful trip, everything is green and the wild flowers are in bloom.
Oh spring….where art thou?
I love to read your take on your walks.. so relaxing and lovely pictures! thank you !
Traveling and spending most of my time with friends and relatives, has caused me to forgo the pleasure of reading your BLOG, Susan. I actually “stole” a moment to just catch a refreshing peek at your BLOG, so I have not read it all yet. I have to sign right off in order not to hold up our hosts in executing our plans for the morning. So, I will sign off, eager–very eager-to return again and read and savor to the fullest!
I see that your snow if finally beginning to melt. We are here in Lake Tahoe, California, visiting family who are on a ski vacation and there is less snow than I have ever seen here at this time of year. What a contrast to your heavy snow!
Love and blessings and happy spring to you, dear Susan–and Joe–and Kitties!
Enjoy your time, we’ll be right here when you get back!
I’ve always loved Tasha Tudor’s illustrations — the book looks happy, even across cyberspace. 🙂 Bring on spring!
What a lovely book! I love all things Tasha Tudor so if I don’t win I’ll have to go on a treasure hunt of my own. One thought about your mating birdies…reckon they’re twitterpated? Those who’ve watched Bambi will get it.
Hi, Susan, this may be way too late for you to read, I didn’t want to vie for the book, nice as it was, I have too many now, but I laughed so hard at your comment about the animals and Downton Abbey that I am STILL chuckling as I write this days later. Too funny. I haven’t read all that day’s replies, but wonder whether anyone else “got” it and had their funny bones tickled.
Thanks for the laugh, I will think of it every time I watch Lady Mary and her beaus!
A couple of people did mention it Jennie! It’s all about the intrigue! 🙂
Tasha Tudor was a lovely person and an inspiration. So are you.
Thank you Lisa.
Happy first day of Spring and it snowed today in massachusetts. Love reading your blog and seeing the Vineyard through the seasons. Nice to see someone who takes all of natures bounties as little blessings and appreciates the little things. After this winter everyone in New England will appreciate the warm – yes 40 degrees is warm – days we are blessed with.
I have your book my mom gave me on my wedding day – Wedding Blessings – would love to be entered into the drawing so I can give my mom a book since she loves you as much as I do and probably as much as the other 3,000 people that responded.
Love TashaTtudor’s art and I have Mary Campbells Herb Book illustrated by Tasha. Love simple artwork and a touch of watercolor.
Love Tasha Tudor’s and Susan’s art. simple forms brought to life with watercolor paints. I have Mary Campbells Herb book and love it. This is a keeper too.
Love Tasha Tudor and Susan Branch’s artwork. Simple sketch’s brought to life with watercolors. Something else they fail to teach in school these days!
I have Mary Campbell’s Herb book also with Tasha’s sketches throughout. A nice addition to anyone who gardens.
I just bought Heart of the Home and love it!! Which book is the one that has the story of the dark night?
Which dark night are you speaking of? I forget.
I love reading everything you write…feel like we are best friends.
Thank you Jan xoxo
Fell in love with your works from the 1st time I came across your stickers. I now look
For any new items you put out. I love watercolor art work. I dabble but not very good.
I love water color art work-esp yours. I dabble but not very good
Well, I can speak to what 30 years of practice will do for a person! xoxo