Snow Walk, and Garden Giveaway

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. . . 

Martha's Vineyard

go outside and play

birds in the snow

Yesterday, for the first time in weeks, maybe even months, we had My House in the Snowa 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!


birds in the snow

 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 . . .

Yellow Bird

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 pond

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!

Are you coming

I’m always behind him . . . he waits, as the ever-patient guy that he is, hands on hips . . . 

Fisherman's shack

Can’t just walk right by this little red fisherman’s shack and not stop for a photo . . . crazy man.

a garden

flower border

mud is better

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?  

the sound

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!)

sea shore book

someone was here first

We discovered that others had been there first.


And then, beach booty!  Big piece of dark blue beach glass!  


ice chips

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?  girlart“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.) 

iced leaves

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

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.

Loving the Day

Front row seat to the melting of the snow. (OMG, is he not the most adorable thing in the world?)

hearts and flowers

winter garden

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 . . .


Kitchen gardens

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 . . .

flower border

Kitchen Gardens

It’s called Kitchen Gardens, an unassuming little book wonderfully written by Mary Mason Campbell with illustrations by Tasha Tudor.

Kitchen gardens

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.

flower border

Tasha Tudor illustration

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. . .”

flower border

To plant a seed

Kitchen 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).

flower border

Kitchen gardens

flower border

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. 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. 
October 2016Last 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 from me to you with lovepumpkins 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!


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2,987 Responses to Snow Walk, and Garden Giveaway

  1. D Villa says:

    Thank you for giving us another chance for one of your treasures. I’ve never heard of this’s wonderful !!!

  2. Vanessa says:

    So enjoy your delightful blog. Only recently discovered your charming books. Purchased a copy of, A Fine Romance, after seeing an advertisement in one of my magazine subscriptions. I can’t wait to read your new book. Happy Spring, everyone!

  3. Laurie G says:

    1971,the year I graduated from high school. Seems like Karma that I should win the book 🙂

  4. Lynn says:

    The forsythia, flowering quince, daffodils, and wild violets are blooming in my yard today, but your post made me miss upstate New York and walks along Lake Champlain in early Spring. Love to see the struggle between ice and green on St. Patrick’s Day.

  5. Phyllis Harper says:

    I can’t even imagine the thrill of having this sweet little book to call my own.

  6. Amy Lee says:

    How lovely you are to share your walks with Joe. We don’t get near as much snow here in Oregon but when we do I love to take my little dog on a walk through the woods. I noticed a few of my bluebells are opening up this morning, I love all the spring flowers too. Wishing you sunny days enough to welcome Spring to your home.

  7. Sharon Stafford says:

    I love your books so much that I always give them as gifts and now, you have lots more fans!

  8. Christine says:

    Count me in. Can’t wait for the new book!

  9. Elaine Byers says:

    Hi Susan,
    So happy to have found your blog! I should be receiving A Fine Romance any day. Can’t wait… As a gardener and book lover, I sure hope to win this lovely book along with your bookmark.
    Have a great day from Florida’s Gulf Coast,

  10. Cheryl Zietz says:

    What a lovely book! Thank you for the chance to win!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Oh, I can’t wait to hang that new calendar in my kitchen! I look forward to the new one each year! So fun!

    What a sweet gardening book! Tasha Tudor was so wonderful!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  12. Sandra Horn says:

    Happy St. Patrick”s Day!
    I Love, Love, Love, all things Susan Branch. So excited to enter this giveaway… I have been trying to find and purchase this treasure for a long time. Congrats to the winner! hope it’s me!
    Thank you, Susan so generous of you to share.

    Bail ó Dhia ort (The Blessing of God on you)

  13. Skye says:

    Hooray for Spring!

  14. shelly b says:

    Happy St. Patricks day:)
    The house is quiet, the cat is sunning herself in the window and here I am getting lost in Susans world! Its so beautiful out today and the ice is melting! Maybe I can finally get to the bird feeders tomorrow:) There is nothing better than curling up with a good book.. ..oh the kids are home… Whats for dinner tonight mom!

  15. Julie Ratcliffe says:

    How lovely, I would love to read that book. I adore kitchen gardens. It’s always the best part of a visit to one of our beautiful National Trust properties. xx

  16. diana navarre says:

    Love sharing a cup of tea with you and my other friends also.
    Spring is a great time to reconnect with friends.

  17. Connie Clark says:

    Refreshing! Always so refreshing to catch up on your blog!
    thanks ever so!

  18. Thank you, Susan, for the chance to win what looks like the kind of book I would love to have, especially knowing that it’s a favorite of yours! When your blog posts arrive in my in-box it is always a joy to come and see what you’ve chosen to tell us each time! And I love your little singing bird that always greets me when I open it!

  19. Debi says:

    OH!!!! I almost missed entering this one!!!! Thank you so much, Susan, for sending today’s post that reminded me! And Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I just had my DNA done and discovered that I am a whopping 3% Irish!!!!!!! And here I thought I was 100% Italian!!!! Love it.

  20. Vicki Sansum says:

    Your blog is so inspirational. Each post brightens my day and reminds me to enjoy the beauty of the simple things in life. Thank you for reminding us to stop and smell the roses.

  21. Lori says:

    Love, love that book! Having a copy would be such a treasure! Thank you for the chance to win! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It’s our 31st wedding anniversary! (Not a spot of Irish in us….it was the only day in March available, hehe…I pinned a little leprechaun on my green garter that day)

  22. Lucy Powers says:

    Bring Spring!!!!!!

  23. Cara Wright says:

    Love Tasha Tudors artwork. Would love to win this. Thank you for this most generous gift.

  24. Myrna Mangione says:

    Thank you for the time you spend making a visual picture of color and happiness. I look forward to your magic.

  25. Noreen Krebs says:

    Spring–Hope springs eternal!!

  26. Marietta Warkentin says:

    I miss reading your blog Susan Branch! For some reason I stopped getting them, but found this link on one of my friends. I hope that you come back to Arroyo Grande, CA to visit again soon. So miss your shop!

  27. Melissa Sutherland says:

    Hi Susan, I feel like we are all coming home from a long winter’s journey. I finally have Tete a Tete daffodils blooming today – one month late! Snow and ice in February and early March will hopefully give us a beautiful Spring. I have a lot of Spring garden repair to do after this winter – must get to it! Hope you and all of the girlfriends are finding something today to make you smile.

  28. Karla Neese says:

    Oh Susan, how you do make Spring something to so look forward to. I am very ready.

  29. Angie Burrett says:

    I’ve commented on your FB reminder, just thought I would try here too as it wouldn’t let me yesterday. What a gorgeous book. How I would love it to sit with all my SB cook books on my kitchen shelf in my little cottage in Devon England. Almost too much to wish for! But fingers crossed regardless. It would be treasured. X

  30. Kelly Morrissey says:

    What a lovely giveaway. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  31. Ilene Gavenman says:

    Thanks for another wonderful post! So fun to take a walk with you and Joe and experience the snow thawing and then be inspired to think about spring gardens!

  32. Kathleen says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

  33. Lisa Gardiner says:

    Love love love this…..your work reminds me of Tasha Tudor!!

  34. Leilani Shaffer says:

    Thank you for the chance! Happy Spring!

  35. Jane says:

    Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  36. Vicki Kasper says:

    Hey susan,

    Thanks again for all your wonderful blogs. I look forward to each and everyone of them!


  37. That garden book looks ALMOST as beautiful as your books 🙂

  38. Sandra Aumiller says:

    Wow – look at all those comments. Love the snow walk, the water, the beach blue booty and especially that cute cat. I feed some strays in the neighborhood. I call them the ‘Breakfast Club’ because they are waiting for me on the porch every morning. Today is a bit blustery for St. Paddy’s day so they waited for a calm moment to visit the vittle are.

  39. Jennie says:

    Your posts always brighten my day. 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to make them!

  40. Janyce Beyer says:

    Thank you, sweet,kind lady! Happy St. Paddy’s !!

  41. Susan…you are a delight! I love reading your blog…and you always always make me smile. Thank you!

  42. Nancy Hollis says:

    Thank you for your lovely blog; I enjoy every single entry!

  43. Mia Sophia says:

    ‘Tis a grand day for wishing that your heart is filled with song and the joy of St. Patrick’s Day is with you all day long!

    Enjoy the lovely snow…I wish I could go walking with you and Joe…sooo beautiful! It’s 75 degrees here in sunny California…just a wee bit of snow in Tahoe! Thank you for the wonderful photos and all that you do! XOX

  44. Melissa Sutherland says:

    Hi Susan, thanks for being so kind as to share your favorite garden book with the girlfriends. Here the Spring flowers are blooming a month late, but they ARE blooming. Hope that soon your flowers will be in bloom, too. Take care.

  45. Carol C says:

    Happy Spring at last and Happy Easter to you too!! Would love to have the book! You are a blessing to us all and a true inspiration !! Thank you Susan!!

  46. Darlene says:

    Spring! It’s arrived in California – how I wish we had rain and clouds and rain and clouds and…………………..well you get the picture.

  47. Betsy says:

    We’re getting just a taste of spring here in Ohio. I planted bulbs yesterday and bought some new gardening gloves today. I’m sure I’ve jinxed it and we’ll have snow again! haha. Feeling lucky for the giveaway!! Toes and fingers are crossed! Love your blog, Sue…you’re a blessing.

  48. Linda says:

    I was just recently turned on to your blog by my daughter who is a big fan and I can see why.

  49. Mary E Osborne says:

    OMG! Please enter me for this book. I must confess I used to own this book, but somewhere between the move to North Hollywood, to North (er) Hollywood, to San Pedro … I lost it. I. need. this. book. Maybe the Luck of St. Patrick will be with me. Luv. MaryO

  50. Laura Marec says:

    Dear Susan,
    I am so envious that you have real weather and seasons! We are having 100 degree heat in north Orange County, S. Calif. I hate the constant heat! Your blog sends me on a beautiful respite from my lack of seasons. Thank you so much for extending the deadline to your beautiful garden book giveaway! I love gardens and Tasha Tudor. I look forward to being whisked away to your magical world via your blogs and your books! Thank you for sharing your beautiful surroundings and marvelous talents.
    With love and gratitude,

  51. Amy Hirn says:

    Hi Susan! What a beautiful book! Hope it will find its way to Colorado!
    Thanks for all you do!

  52. Katherine says:

    What beautiful pictures of spring making its way to Smallville! Thank you for sharing them… and for sharing your garden book. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

  53. Lilly Williamson says:

    I am a huge Tasha Tudor fan and my husband and I own a garden center in Chapel Hill NC (although he is the gardener and I am the horse person in the store, it’s a feed and garden), so this book is a great mash-up of interests for us!

  54. Beth T. says:

    Love, love, love it. And as much as I would want to keep it for myself, this treasure would go from me to my girlfriend Nancy–you know how it is, part of the joy comes from sharing the perfect gift with the dearest friend.

  55. Sandra says:

    Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all of Susan’s “girlfriends” from our two Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, the classic “all purpose Irish farm dogs”!!

  56. Gracie M Fairless says:

    I took a look at this book
    One look, that’s all it took
    For me to love it!

  57. Jann says:

    Our snow has disappeared, and we’ve gone right into summer. Almost 80 here today in Richmond, VA.

  58. Becky Groff says:

    I really enjoy your blog!
    loving the warmer air

  59. Debbie says:

    Happy Spring Susan!

  60. Karen in Breezy Point says:

    So glad spring is finally on the way!!

  61. Rachel Anna says:

    What a lovely giveaway! Thanks!

  62. Sandra Aumiller says:

    Good snow walk with much beauty – birds, cats, blue beach booty and snow!

  63. Anne Marie Pohl says:

    Hi Susan,
    How lucky you are to find a blue piece of sea glass so early in the season!!
    And I am so glad to find someone else whose husband is
    is about twenty steps ahead then turns around and waits till I almost catch up then off he goes again! It must be a guy thing.
    Hang in there girlfriend spring is just around the corner. It was 72 in Ohio today!
    Anne Marie

  64. Holly says:

    As I age in my disabled body, my joy of gardening never fades, and it keeps me out of the physical therapy department and in my own home and garden, where I love to be. I love garden sayings such as, “Thyme began in a garden,” and I love the hope of things to come. Tasha Tudor is a delight, and I never tire of all the creative pursuits you bring to the world. Thank you for always thinking of us!

  65. Mitzie Styles says:

    Would love your garden book… apparently California decided to skip Winter and Spring all together and head straight for summer!! Planting the garden now! XOXO

  66. Anne Meurer` says:

    Thanks for having a give-away. I tried to write this earlier, but I didn’t coordinate the comment with the address the right way, so am here again. I grew up in Falmouth in the 1930s and 40s, so loved your beach pix. Thanks for climbing the rocks so we can see too. Happy St Pat’s.

  67. Bonnie Schoening says:

    what a lovely way to celebrate st. patrick’
    s day

  68. Mary Jane says:

    Happy Day to you Dear Susan and your Sweet Joe. Enjoyed your walk into the woods and to the shore and looking forward to a walk myself later today as the sun is shining and everyone is in such a sunny mood.

    Thank you for sharing and for the chance to possibly have this wonderful book.
    I have a copy of The Secret Garden with illustrations by Tasha Tudor that I have cherished for many years. There’s a little spot on the shelf next to it just in case I am the lucky one.

    Raising my cup of Lady Grey to you!


    Mary Jane

  69. Sally says:

    That garden book looks so lovely. Good to curl up with on a rainy day when making plans. Thank you for your lovely art and uplifting attitude. It helps me appreciate all the deliciousness and beauty all around.

  70. Cbelote says:

    Your posts are such a treat! Thank you for the peek into your life as an author and illustrator. My students love hearing about your days and it supports them as they learn that even accomplished authors savor, check, and make their work better with redrafts. You are a special blessing!
    Isn’t anything illustrated by Tasha Tudor a heart magnet?

  71. Sally Ann Wall says:

    I love how snowdrops in Northern Vermont come up so much later, swinging precariously on l-o-n-g slender stems! They remind me of the woods in England…

  72. Leanne says:

    Wow! Why don’t I have this book already?

  73. Frances M. says:

    I am 60 years old now and live in the city. Everything about your stories and pictures remind of living in the country when I was a child. Mother Nature is ready to perform her beautiful dance of spring again. Thanks for sharing the beauty you see.

  74. Shirley Graham says:

    Happy St. Patricks Day to you! My Mother’s maiden name was Riley so I feel that I am least half Irish. Black Irish as there is no red hair as far as I know. Our snow is gone & I have a few pansies and daffodils coming up (I live in an apartment & so the bulbs do not do so well here). I bought purple, blue, and white pansies from the grocery store – I was so happy to see them! Would love to have the book you are giving away but am not sure I am “commenting” in the right spot. I had bought a Tasha Tudor book for my youngest and took it with us to the doctor when he was small. He was (and is) a very busy person & I accidentally left it there! I have always loved her & also love my (your) calendar and look forward to each month! Have a great spring & enjoy the flowers!

  75. love your blog and jack

  76. Roxanne Bernard says:

    An old Irish blessing…As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.”

  77. Lynnie says:

    My Tuxedo cat, Tux, says hi to yours (I know, no imagination in that name…sigh…) We’re in the mid 70s here in NV and have the treat of open windows also! Hope you did sleep well – always does it for me.

  78. MJ Smith says:

    What a lovely book!

  79. Chris Kantrowitz says:

    Long before there was a Susan Branch, there was a Tasha Tudor and I was lucky to have a mother who introduced me to her sweet and cozy illustrations in the many books of prose and common sense wisdom. I wish you all a Spring filled with promise and hope!

  80. Susan LP says:

    How wonderful the surprises found after the snow. We had a surprise visit from some beautiful yellow crocus and then the neighbor’s new guinea chickens who thoroughly enjoyed our bird seed under the feeders.

  81. Charlotte Schultz says:

    Thank you for your blog. Love the recipes, the photos, and especially the paintings. You are such a talented lady, girlfriend! Can’t wait to start gardening again….hurry Spring!

  82. Joanne says:

    Lovely blog as usual!

  83. HM says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!
    Love the gardening book. Hope I have the “luck of the Irish”!!!!

  84. marilyn ritter says:

    Would absolutely cherish this book!

  85. Sharon (O'Hare) Meagher says:

    Hi Sue,
    That is a marvelous garden book! Additionally, it is very hard to get your hands on one! So, I would like to put my hands on YOUR copy!!
    Hi to you and Joe, and to Poppa Jack too! I have a couple of photos (your Momma) for you from our Oscar party but I have misplaced your email address you gave me. Argh… PM me on FB or email me: I would love to get the photos to you.

  86. Makiah Maxson says:

    Beware the ides of March

  87. Kathy Schwartz says:

    My grandmother gave me a Tasha Tudor book 60 years ago! I have loved her ever since and would love to have this book.

  88. Susan Winkler Sutton says:

    Thank you for sharing, Susan; your art, your life your very world! My own life is so much brighter for your generosity and spirit!

  89. Susan Bochman says:

    I used the Irish blessing at my wedding 41 almost 42 years ago in July and we have been blessed a thousand times over. Happy St. Patricks Day!

  90. Gail Skiff says:

    Wishing you a wonderful spring! It holds so much hope each year.

  91. Laurie says:

    Spring is in the air!

  92. maureen says:

    Hope that your Spring of flowers and happiness comes your way.

  93. kim jackson says:

    I’ve been wanting to start a kitchen garden for years!!!! hope I win!

  94. Aprile Wicker says:

    Happy St Patrick’s Day!!!

  95. Lovely…hope to win! Thank you 🙂

  96. Sharon Bated says:

    What a dear, lovely book!

  97. Noreen says:

    Loved your post of your walk to the ocean! Spring is on its way…yay!

  98. Nancy Judd says:

    I LOVE this book and really enjoyed your post. But then I love everything you do Susan. What a treasure that book would be. You seem to have all the wonderful secrets of life. I absolutely love the view of the world from your eyes. You inspire me. Thankyou!

  99. Amy says:

    What a darling beautiful book! Thank you for a chance to win and introducing such a treasure! :o)

    Happy Spring!

  100. Jenny says:

    Looks like a sweet book 🙂

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