YOU and ME and LOUISA, makes THREE

Hi Girlfriends!  Yes!  I had a wonderful birthday, thank you so much for all your well-wishes!  I’m still having it!  Friday is a Girl-Party Lunch on opening-day-for-the-season of a restaurant at the golf course and all the guys are coming too. The birthday that will not end! MUSICA  I heard this on my birthday in the car on the way to lunch and I haven’t been able to stop singing it since, thought I’d spread the wealth.


balloonsSpring has sprung, bo-yo-ying around here!  It’s so wonderful to have an April birthday! Look at my flowers! Gorgeous! This is why I love birthdays.  My mom called, my dad, my brothers and sisters, my friends.  That’s my favorite thing, those calls. ♥  My cup runneth over.

Parrot tulips

These parrot tulips are from my friend Marjorie. We do have daffodils just about to pop in the garden, but it’s still very very early spring.  Lovely sun and around 60* today, but no flowers except on my kitchen table.

Gerbera daisy

Even a gerbera daisy for my little vase ~ still can’t believe Joe found this little blue bottle in the hole he dug out back for our dogwood tree. People ask me where I got it, I say it came with the house. I don’t know which I like better, the dogwood, or this little bottle!  (OK, the tree, but only by a hair.)

birthday party


We went for a walk on my birthday and it was gorgeous out there.  This probably doesn’t look that great to you, winter worn sunand still no leaves, but it was heaven ~ cool breeze but nice warmish sun. When you’ve been indoors for a long time, there aren’t words for how fresh it all seems. Smell of ocean, thawing ground, blue sky, and the birds have lost their little pea-picking minds! Chasing each other through the trees ~ singing so loud, we have to stop the whole way out and look to see what they are up to.


My walk is my best “thinking place.”  I try to remember to carry pencil and paper with me so if an idea pops into my head, I can write it down and not forget. When I get home I run to the studio to see how it fits into my writing.


to the water

 This day we ended up laying flat on the cold sand (in coat and jacket, very cozy, it’s not summer yet!), letting the sun bore into us for about ten glorious minutes, listening to the sound of the waves, the wind and the peeps of the birds, watching the sky ~ of course I had a thought I wanted to write down ~ I dug around and found a pen, but neither of us had any paper! (Or phones either!)

notesThat’s when a white seashell comes in very handy!

Progress on the book (because you’ve been so patient about the blogging part  which I love you for, very, very much!) has been good! This is the longest story I’ve ever written ~ in order to get all the photos in, it has to be two books. I get so excited I can’t stop ~ when I’m in writing mode, I try to stay focused and not do anything else but write.  But both books are done and at the copy editor as of April 12th!  He’ll have them for a month, in the meantime, I’ll be doing the watercolors for them.  I’m trying so hard to get them to you by Christmas, but I still have a ton of artwork to do.  My birthday has jumped between me and my paintbrush this week, but soon I’ll be free to burrow down and focus again.

Tickle-me pink  Once I got going, these books pretty much fell out of me.  They’re not exactly memoirs because I changed a few things to susan branch diariesprotect the innocent (mostly me of course :-), but they are  fact-based ~ on the diaries I’ve kept since I was in my twenties ~ I would say it’s an 87% true story, at least “semi” autobiographical and a novel rather than a memoir, two novels! I think you will love them. Remember Diana, my best friend in A Fine Romance?  Remember how funny she was?  Well, she and I laugh all the way through the new books. It’s so hard for me not to tell you the whole story.  But I want it to be a surprise so tell me to shut up.

birthday party

susan branch 2016 wall calendar

Thank you. I needed that. 🙂 And this was waiting for me on my Birthday too. The color preview of the new 2016 wall-calendar ~ also, the mini, the purse calendar, the magnet and the desk blotter calendars came too. Everything bright and shiny and new.  We should have them by the end of July if not sooner.  And even more good news, Kellee called to tell me . . .

reasons to go on living

that REASONS TO GO ON LIVING prints have come in and are in the web store.  I think she announced it on Facebook, but I promised I’d tell you when we got them.  

And, you may be asking, what did I want for my birthday? You can  see it was already a Red Letter Day ~ but my special birthday present was . . .

IMG_0683This.  I wanted to go to Louisa May Alcott’s house and take you with me.  So that’s exactly what we did yesterday.  Joe and I packed the car for a day trip along the backroads to Concord, MA ~ a town famous for lots of reasons, probably number one, because it’s where the first conflict of the Revolutionary War took place. And, it’s also famous for Orchard House (c. 1690), the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women.

birthday party



Speaking of memoirs that turn into novels; we learned so much on our visit . . . for one thing, Little Women is 87% true too ~ Louisa changed names, places, and times to make it more of a “story,” but it was truly based on her life, friends and family. It was so much fun learning about her real sisters and seeing how much they had in common with the characters, Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth.


And here at the front door, you can see the perfect reflection of spring . . . tiny leaves about to burst.


In the orchard, one or two of these brave flower souls.

spring fever


Louisa’s dad made this “desk” for her ~ this is where she wrote Little Women.  It was considered quite something in 1865 for a woman to have a desk of her own. I am so glad she did!

“Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and fall into a vortex as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace.”   Louisa May Alcott

flower border

The table where Jane worked

But look at this desk, it’s even smaller, this is where Jane Austen wrote during the most prolific time of her life in early 1800’s.  At this tiny desk.  I don’t know how these girls did it. I always ask, “How did they do it, were there piles of paper all around them on the floor?”  But no one knows.

flower border

susan branch studio

 This is where I write . . . I live in the Paperless Society, my trash is full and my floors are always covered with little bits and piles of book everywhere that we all have to step around. With all this space I have no excuses for not getting it done! One thing Louisa and I have in common, until I get it done, I will find no peace either.

flower border

working in the living room

My work in the paperless world leaks out of the studio to the back of the sofa and right now, the table in the living room is covered with photo albums!  Jack is king of the room, everything he surveys is his. I don’t know how he gets up there!

flower border


This was my favorite thing at Orchard House, that owl over the fireplace in Louisa’s bedroom (where the desk is too). Her sister May (the artist, Amy, in Little Women) painted it.  When she was young, the Alcott’s encouraged May to draw anywhere in the house she wanted to, many walls are adorned with her art. She also painted the flowers next to Louisa’s desk.


Louisa collected owls. Isn’t this just the most wonderful thing?!

May Alcott at Orchard House

Besides line drawings, there are also some amazingly beautiful framed pieces belonging to May. She was quite highly regarded.  BTW, Those are needlepointed foot warmers on each side of the fireplace; the tops come off and you fill them with coals!


Almost everything in the house actually belonged to the family.  You are seeing the real thing when you go to Orchard House.

alcott dishes

A cupboard in the kitchen.


They made the house so homey.  It opened to the public in 1911 ~ keeping all of the history and originality has been a work of love for over a hundred years, for generations.

alcott quilt

This quilt was on Marmee’s Bed, she made it.  And they did call their mother Marmee.


Louisa’s sewing box, with needles and thread. 


And Beth’s piano.  Not really.  But when I came in this room, tears came in my eyes.   The piano belongs to Louisa’s real sister, Elizabeth.  Like Beth, Elizabeth died very young at only age 16.

piano at orchard house

That’s Elizabeth in the picture. It’s all seems to come alive.

from the Concord Museum

I think I will stop there.  Next time I want to show you some of the houses in Concord because they are GORGEOUS.  This scene is actually a model made in 1930 . . . we saw it in the Concord Museum, so there’s lots more.

Birthday game

This is the birthday game my girlfriends and I play ~ we call it the “Ring Thing.”  We drop our rings over the candles, light them and then everyone gets to make a wish.  Let’s do that girls, let’s all make a wish.  Think of a wonderful wish, I’ll count to ten.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  OK, now very slowly, close your eyes and make your dearest birthday wish . . . and send all of your lovely thoughts right to heaven along with mine. XOXO 

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604 Responses to YOU and ME and LOUISA, makes THREE

  1. Dee in the Rocky Mountains says:

    Howdy Susan, so happy to get a much enjoyed message from you this sunny spring day…..although we’re expecting a spring snow tonight. So glad you’re having a fun birthWEEK celebration but I have a feeling it’s always a party wherever you are, right? Just one little question……when are you going to share the book titles with us? I’m sure I’m not the only one anxiously awaiting…… holding my breath!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s the big one! My most difficult thing right now is keeping those titles a secret. Soon though, as soon as I can!

  2. sondra fox says:

    Oh my, I’m late, I’m late for a very important date! I missed your B’Day Sue. Happy Belated Birthday. Love the ring over the cupcake thing you do. I’ll have to remember that one. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  3. Pat Stansel says:

    How wonderful , that you live so near the Alcott’s home & so many other historical places ! Exciting news about your new books getting so close to completion—you’ve been a busy little bee. Looking forward to thier arrival !

  4. Niki says:

    I live only a few miles from Louisa’s house. I could have met you for lunch to wish you “Happy Birthday” in person. Well, maybe next time you can give some advance notice of your trip to the area and I’ll give you a guided tour. The homes of Concord are lovely.

  5. Brenda says:

    Each of your blog entries is better than the last. This one is colossal and uber wonderful! Thanks so much, Susan!

  6. Lynn Marie says:

    Oh my goodness: your birthday, a day away, the books are off to the editor, kitties in the studio, kitties on the hutch, Louisa, and SPRING!!!!! All in one day–it is too much! Your newest posting came just in time for me to enjoy while I was eating my supper. Happy belated birthday, Susan!

  7. Laura Croyle says:

    Ohhhh how Lovely!! Happy Belated Birthday!! Love all the flowers! So glad Spring has finally arrived for you! Thank you for sharing your visit to Orchard House! What Fun to see it!! And your books are already at the editor! Whoopee!!! SOOO looking forward to them! Have fun painting! I’m just learning to paint watercolor. It’s fun but challenging for me. I never took art classes in school! But as long as I don’t compare myself to others, I enjoy it. Someday I’d like to paint like you! You make it look so easy!
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Cheryl Walsh says:

    Thank you for taking us on a trip! I have never been further “back East” than Minneapolis, MN. I would love to see all the history you have so close to you!

    I am really excited by the idea of the the new books- can hardly wait!

    May every Happy Birthday wish you make come true! You are totally loved by all of your girlfriends. :o)

  9. Cindy Tuning says:

    This was such a lovely post! All of it but especially the part of lying right down in the sand to absorb the sun and surf and SPRING!! Light as a feather…that’s what you are now that the text of the book is done. You will never get “old”

  10. Elaine Depo says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for a beautiful blog! I loved the visit to Orchard House ~ hope to go someday. My problem is I have no one to travel with ~ it seems I’m the only person I know in my little circle who’s interested in “Susan things.” I haven’t come to the place where I feel comfortable going alone longer distances, my hubby and I went to lots of wonderful spots (he drove!) So Miss Susan, I really do appreciate you taking me along ~ thanx again, dear friend! I’m praying to become braver!

    • sbranch says:

      Life is short Elaine. Change your pattern just a tiny bit, like start going to the library (or even volunteer there) or something just different from your normal path . . . maybe you’ll meet a kindred spirit who will like what you like.♥️

      • Margot }~~~O @ Virginia Beach says:

        Great idea Susan! That is the advice I gave my son a few years ago. The library posts things like community events and clubs. For my son it was our local Appalachian hiking club.

      • Elaine Depo says:

        Yes Susan, you’re right! One change at a time – and keep with it! You’re too sweet!

    • Cindy Tuning says:

      Elaine,I know just how you feel. I can usually talk my husband into what I want to do but he’s a stubborn Scotsman so it doesn’t always work. Take baby steps to go on short outings to get your mojo going. If you live near or in WNY I would be happy to take road trips. There’s an Elegant Barn Sale near Syracuse and he’ll have no part of it. Search me on FB FOSB and send a PM if you like. Ya never know!

      • sbranch says:

        Adorable. Girlfriends are the best. xoxo

      • Elaine Depo says:

        Hi Cindy! I’m taking you up on your invitation – I’ll be in touch. Thank you so much for your good advice, I know it’s what I need to do, that old mojo got up and left! Happy Days for you in this new Spring!

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

      Elaine – I lost my dear husband just over 2 years ago and was at a loss as to how to do alone those things we used to enjoy doing together. Then a wonderful woman suggested “Meetup”, an online website that, once you sign up, notifies you of events and gatherings of people in your area who share common interests. I joined a volunteer/social organization through Meetup that changed my life! I have made many wonderful and supportive new friends as a result and I will be forever grateful to that thoughtful, kind soul who suggested this to me. I hope you find this helpful.

      • sbranch says:

        Thank you so much Marianne!

      • Elaine Depo says:

        Thank you Marianne, you’re so kind to respond. I’ve been a widow for three years now, and while I’m not a reclusive person I do find it harder to get “motivated” to make the changes I know I need to make. I’ll get there!! Blessings to you!

        • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

          Let’s cheer each other on and we’ll get there together. Many blessings to you, Elaine, and good times ahead for us both!

  11. Mary Lawrence says:

    Darling birthday.I love all your adventures!So happy you had a lovely birthday.Mary Elizabeth

  12. Susan Morgon ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    Susan, I’m so glad you had a happy birthday! And what a wonderful blog post you have for us this time. I was all set to ask how on earth Jack gets up on his perch; then I noticed you don’t know either. When a cat takes a notion! Your walk sounded perfect. I think I got a whiff of your fresh air clear over here. Those perfect spring days are the best. I’m looking forward to having a second spring when we go back to Ohio next month. We’ll be taking the Southwest Chief to Chicago, then driving the rest of the way. I won’t be tweeting, but I wish I could think of a good nickname for Facebooking from the twain! I absolutely loved you pictures from Orchard House. We took a group of newly-graduated seniors on a senior trip to that area. It was an English teacher’s dream! We went to the museum, too, while waiting for the next available tour in Orchard House. I want to go back one day. We visited Author’s Ridge in the Cemetery and ran across Concord Bridge ( It was raining. Hard! ) . We also stopped Walden’s Pond. So wonderful, even in the rain. I am still doing the happy dance ( nudging Chris ) about getting two books instead of one. Illustrate away to your heart’s delight!

    • Arline in LA says:

      Here you go, So Cal Susan. I often take the Surfliner train between Los Angeles and my daughter’s house in San Diego. I call it “Traxbooking”. Thank you Susan for the visit to the Little Women house. Adding Concord to my list of New England cities to visit.

  13. Happy Belated Birthday! Although I think I may have left a birthday wish on Facebook. 😉

    The writing desks absolutely amaze me. I took over my son’s room (my last to leave the nest) when he was married a few years ago. I use up the entire room as my Study. I can’t imagine the tiny “desk” used by Jane Austen. But I would trade my Study for her talent. Sigh…

  14. Kathy George says:

    Welcome back!!!! I can’t wait for the books to become available and will be ordering my calendars in July. I have never looked forward to spring as I have this year. It is exciting to finally be able to pick up the yard. 🙂

  15. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I love that you’re still celebrating your birthday! It’s good to be in the moment for a week or so…..a breather for you to recharge your creativeness surrounded by the love of your family & friends! What a treat, Louisa May Alcott’s home visit for a birthday gift & you shared with us – a huge hug and a thank you! I’ll bet you were feeling warm fuzzies the whole time you were inside that beautiful old home! You’d love my wish, but then if I told you, it wouldn’t come true! Thank you Girlfriend for this blog…and I can hardly wait for the new books! 2! You’re amazing! xoxoxoxo

  16. Jan Martin says:

    This story was the sweetest afternoon treat! Thank you Susan

  17. Judie peterson says:

    I felt like I was right there with you!!

  18. Yes, I made a wish (my birthday is in two days). Like you I love taking weeks to celebrate a birthday — stretch it out as long as possible. And I love the idea of putting the rings over the candle. What Fun!

    Susan, I so enjoyed hearing about your celebrations and the big treat of going to see Miss Alcott’s home. How lovely a treat!

    Thanks for peeks into your world, and especially your paper-ridden studio. We’re getting quite excited about what that all means.

    Sending happy wishes for more wonderful days ahead…

  19. Anne Rowe says:

    You are truly blessed to have the life and friends you have. ..and we…for being your friend are doubly blessed to experience the joys secondhand.

  20. Rae Ann R. says:

    Lovely blog, Susan…I think we all should celebrate our birthdays the entire month we were born…I’m glad you are still celebrating and enjoying every single minute…gorgeous flowers and delicious looking cupcake and tradition…I made my wish…we’ve had grandchildren here the last two weeks on their spring breaks…ages 8, 7, 6 and 2…we read all kinds of fairy books to learn about fairies and also a gnome book since James, age 7, needed to make a “gnome home” instead of a fairy house…we started out by taking walks and collecting all sorts of natural sticks, twigs, pinecones, stones and the owner of our local bookstore, Katie, collected acorn caps from her yard for us…I had to share one thing we learned about fairies~when you are walking in the woods and hear birds singing, the birds are alerting the fairies of humans close by…so watch for signs of fairies on your next walk when you hear birds singing…we also learned that there is one fairy to take care of each flower!!!…and that fairies hang their flower petal clothing on spider webs to dry…enjoy every minute…xoxo…

  21. Jules says:

    I love Louisa May Alcott’s “darker” stories, such as “A Long Fatal Love Chase”. They were considered risqué for the time but beautifully written and very intriguing.

    Happy Birthday and Happy Spring!

  22. Darlene says:

    Hi Susan, I’ve been away for a bit and missed your birthday so I just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday! I hope it was as special and beautiful as you are. xoxo

  23. Lois Rehm says:

    Happy birthday, Susan! Enjoy your extended celebration this weekend. Best wishes for beautiful weather.

    Thanks for the lovely post on this income tax filing date. The Orchard House pictures were most enjoyable. I visited there 50 years ago with my mother. It’s good to see the continuing commitment to keeping the facility in shape and Louisa Mae and her family alive in our memories.

    May you accomplish your artwork for your book(s) in the time-frame you
    describe. Jack will be pleased to have more surfaces to perch on after your
    pages and books are gathered up.

    Best of everything to you,


  24. SusyS says:

    Reading your blog about Louisa and her little desk, and your pile of papers, reminded me of my tour of Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount, in Lenox, MA. She wrote in bed every morning, and is said to have papers all over the bed and floors, even though there was a desk in her room, and a beautiful library.

    Thank you for sharing your photos of Louisa’s house. I will work on scheduling some time for a visit this spring. 🙂

  25. Barbara Stillman says:

    Happy Birthday, dear Susan!
    Thank you for a beautiful post on Orchard House .
    Hugs from Barbara in Cumming, Ga. xo

  26. Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    Seems as though I’m first to leave a comment, but I won’t be first for it to show up on here 🙂 I loved seeing Louisa May Alcott’s home. It is quite large, but, then there were several children. They needed the space. We plan on going back east next summer and I would love to go to a few towns that were famous during the Revolutionary War and also see her home.

    I have been in heaven these past couple weeks, as I’ve found so many Converse family members. Converse is my name sake and I’m very proud of the family. I have researched the family back to England on my dad’s side. Actually, I’ve got information from England as well. I found out that there is a Converse Family page on FB as well. They were going to have a large family reunion this summer, but have postponed it until next summer as tons of Converses have been found. There was an ad for a sweatshirt from some company and we all pounced on it. Family is sooo much fun and to meet so many is truely amazing! Would you believe that the main person running the page on FB is doing an indept family tree. He has so far 2,000 persons on it. Wow! Here I thought I was doing good with just doing my simple line. 🙂

    I’m so glad that your birthday was a good one. Isn’t it fun, though have the celebration go on and on? Not so much for me now, but it lasted at least a month when we lived in California.

  27. Joan S says:

    What a lovely birthday for you Susan, ,and it still continues!. That cupcake looks pretty yummy! All those birthday phone calls are the best.

  28. Geri says:

    A very happy birthday to you and thanks for sharing it with the rest of us! Visiting Concord and enjoying a cupcake sound wonderful to me.

  29. Joan in TX says:

    Happy birthday! What a great birthday trip. Love old houses. I watched the 1994 Little Women movie so much and their movement thru the house that I think I memorized the floor plan. Speaking of trying to figure out floor plans. In one of your recent photos you are standing in your living room shooting towards the kitchen. What is that little room between the two rooms that looks like it has an orange couch in it? It looks like a cozy little room under your kitchen stairs. My wish is an annual National Open House month on all historical homes be declared. 🙂

    • Joan in TX says:

      Well duh I went back to look and the little room is in a photo on your last post post before this one. Okay maybe not an orange couch – it looks more pink.

    • sbranch says:

      We call it the “wood room” because it’s, duh, made out of wood. Wood paneled ~ my girlfriend Lowely calls it the “snug” — it’s the smallest room in the house and where we go at the end of the day, TV, reading, knitting.

      • Joan in TX says:

        What a good name for it. It looks snug. The Peter Rabbit room is still my favorite. It has a cozy tree house feel to it.

        • sbranch says:

          Mine too. I mean, really. One has a bed, one doesn’t! One is under the eaves, one is next to the kitchen.

          • Margot }~~~O @ Virginia Beach says:

            I always wanted an elegantly paneled reading room with built in bookshelves and maybe a cozy fireplace with a comfortable chair. I like the term, “the snug”.

  30. Ruth thomas says:

    Thank you for this wonderful tour. I absolutely LOVE Little Women and especially love the movie with June Allyson. I tend to watch it 3 or 4 times during the Christmas season. We are still waiting for more warmth during the day in Indiana but the daffodils are up. I am so looking forward to Christmas now that your books will be out. Glad you had a good birthday. Celebrations are always fun. Also can not wait for another calendar. I love turning the page each month to see what it holds. Looking forward to your next blog. Always makes me smile!

  31. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    Hi! am I the first, can’t believe it. I needed a break and thought I’d check to see if there was anything new, wah la!!! Needed a break from scheduling nature walks. Yep, it’s my part time job here in SD during the spring. Schools are asking for nature walks and I say yes or no and then schedule other naturalists to walk and talk with the kids about our nearby nature in Tecolote Canyon. One of the teachers told me, “your nature walks my favorite field trip of the year.” The best part is seeing the wonder on the kids’ faces when they experience nature for themselves.
    Have a wonderful spring friends!

  32. Jacquelyn - Las Vegas says:

    Happy belated Birthday, Sue. My younger brother ( age 66) shares your special day. Great health, wonderful memories and further adventures to you both! So nice to hear your writing is at the copy editor. I don’t know how you do it all! Now the fun stuff begins … The water colors! And ” Love That Pink ” lipstick was my favorite! Thanks.

  33. Christie says:

    Happy Birthday week Happy Susan. If happiness grows when we spread our happiness around, then you are without a doubt enjoying the happiest birthday week EVER!! Thank you for sharing your visit to Orchard House and Concord. I loved my visit there 10 years ago, and now I’ve been twice thanks to you. xo

  34. Diane V. says:

    Happy Birthday to you Susan! What a treat to go to Orchard House. I’ll never forget going years ago when my daughter was young. We still talk about how special it was. Thank you for your pictures….brings back wonderful memories!

  35. Susan in SC says:

    Thank you so much for this enchanting post. I have now added Orchard House to my “Must See” list.

  36. Deborah in Odessa, Tx says:

    Splendid! Love every word and every picture. Louisa May Alcott. Love. Your table looks beautiful, love your flowers. Jack is a trickster to get way up there and looking perfectly adorable. My Sassy Cat is chasing a fly……oh my !! I am scared she will destroy my pretties…bad, nasty fly. She caught it…and so gracefully…I write in real time. Can’t wait for the calendar. The BOOK. Love the new print. Thank you so much for all the pretties.

  37. Nancy D'Alessandro says:

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for sharing all of this wonderment! I love seeing the world through your eyes. It is such a breath of fresh air!

  38. Cheyenne Renard says:

    My Dearest Sweet Susan, Happy Birthday sweet girl. I know its late but better late than never. My sweet Son his Birthday is tomorrow April 16th. I love April for the same reasons you do. My BD is in Oct. My favorite month is April. We have so many great Birthdays. My sister on the 4th my MIL the 11th and my Daughter Brookie Cookie the 13th and then my Son Ashley after Gone with the Wind,the 16th. So thrilled to see u spent your BD Celebrating with your beloved Louisa May Alcott. What a great outing with your honey Handsome Joe. All our best to you both and to the kittys Love Cheyenne from Henderson Nv.

  39. Nancy says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday!! How in the world did Jack get up there among the quilts?!

  40. denni in MN says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan!! May your wishes come true and may the stars in the deep dark sky shine brightly to proclaim it!!

  41. Ann Woleben says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan, from another April birthday girl – April 8. I love having my birthday in April – warmer days, nature’s greens abound, camellias and azaleas in bloom, hosta popping up almost overnight, cleaning out the winter debris from the flowerbeds. Everyday I find something new peeking out from a winter sleep. Can you guess I love gardening? Garden items and gift cards for the local nursery are gifts from family and friends.

    Reading your blog entry about your trip to Concord is another gift. Thank you for sharing your experiences and including photos of places that some of us will never have the opportunity to visit. I dream of visiting the home of Emily Dickinson. Looking forward to your new books!

  42. Joanie from Portland says:

    Absolutely wonderful blog entry. I loved every detail! Thanks for sharing your fun birthday trip and celebrations. Always love hearing from you! Many happy returns of the day and a fun celebration on Friday with your girlfriends and hubbys. Spring has definitely sprung!

  43. Deborah in Odessa, Tx says:

    One more thing…ordered the print. It will be lovely in my quilting room.

  44. Kimberly A. .....Simsbury CT. says:

    hAPPY bIRTHDAY!!! Thank you for your sunshine…and the wish! 🙂

  45. Nancy says:

    Welcome home Susan, Gorgeous flowers and lovely post. I need to go to
    Concord and see the house with all the lovely china, furnishings, history and art in person. The beautiful owl painting reminds me of Wyeth with its shades
    of tan, white and brown. Keep painting and don’t worry about us and the blog.
    We have patience, although I am eagerly looking forward to TWO books. I turn 70 around Christmas and having them will take the edge off of turning that number. Enjoy the spring with all of its color and promise of things to

  46. Gail connelly says:

    Looks like you had a great birthday, enjoy the great spring weather.

  47. cindy berry says:

    A belated Happy Birthday to you!

  48. Joann says:

    I am so excited that you went to Concord!!! R and I did this several years ago and just had so much fun!! English teachers love seeing the homes of authors…. even gravestones. We love their curtains, their dishes, their desks, their writing utensils. We are inspired and delighted. You have an English teacher inside of you; as an author, you resonate with women writers who came before you and inspired YOU!
    I love this house!!! I saw Emerson’s too. I went to the graveyard where many people from this time period are buried. Civil War times as well; although I don’t have the passion for history as I do of the written accounts of the times that are more personal and somewhat ordinary. I loved how everything seemed so much smaller, including the doorways….have we all grown taller as a society? Indeed we have!
    I love the gardens; I love the fact that you had an amazing birthday and that people who love you called to tell you so…
    Greatest gifts of life are the very simplest and yet, many don’t have these things which are not things. I shall add my ring to your candle….and make my wish…..
    Thank you for a beautiful post! Such a delight to see the beginnings of Spring there….I thought MV was going to stay white forever!!!
    Love you sweet friend,
    Joann in CO

    • sbranch says:

      I love the thought that I have “teacher blood” in me . . . I did so adore my English teachers in school.

    • Susan Morgon ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

      Joann, you’re speaking my language ! I loved every single thing about every single author’s house I got to visit. My students were never quite as enamored as I, however.

  49. Mary Pat says:

    Oh, I love Concord (and Lexington)! Such history! Did you see THE LANTERN when you visited the Concord Museum? That nearly knocked my socks off when I saw it!

    So glad your birthday was nice…..and that you extended it for days on end! Always such a nice way to celebrate!

    Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  50. Margot }~~~O @ Virginia Beach says:

    I always liked “Little Women”. Maybe it hits close to home. I am the eldest of four girls, OR as I like to say…”NOT the oldest sister, but rather the wiser and better looking one.” Margaret, Elizabeth, Christine and Katherine. “We are family…I got all my sisters and me”. LOL
    Right now I am really into Jane Austen. Oh the proper English. What has happened to our written language? I know it evolves, but it seems to be going down hill. Her writing exercises my brain! 🙂 So does Ms. Alcott’s
    Reading does for the brain, what exercise does for the body.
    I am so glad to see Ms. Alcott’s home. I always wondered where it was.

  51. Kerrie Foley says:

    I’m very excited for Spring too! Here in Wickford the daffodils are popping. This coming weekend is our Daffodil Days celebration. I love the pics of Louisa May Alcott’s home. Little Women is one of my favorites! Keep up the good work on the books. I am trying to be patient! Happy Birthday and Happy Spring!! Kerrie

  52. Cathy Dupuis says:

    Happy Belated Birthday. Your trip to concord sounds great.

  53. Beth L. says:

    “Those Calls…..” on your Birthday!!! What a GIFT to be known, loved, and pursued by close family!!! Birthdays are one day of Focus and Celebration of your precious life!!! So much love and history with family!
    And then the parallel with Louisa May Alcott’s sweet family! How remarkable that her father encouraged his daughters to write, paint, and be FREE in their gifts!! Remarkable! Especially for that time!
    And I laughed at your Office COVERED FLOOR of “paper trail” as described! My oldest daughter was born a writer and as a youngster she endlessly, constantly wrote volumes on discarded paper left EVERYWHERE around our home! Frustrated with the mess but recognizing her talent, I never knew whether to encourage her to finish her works, clean them up, or save them for posterity!!! Then one day talking to a local Author, he told me that all those ” wadded up papers, strewn writings, and scattered sheets” were her ways of practicing, rehearsing, and establishing her “stories”. It so helped me understand the art and gift of writing.
    I’m thinking you gotta lay flat on the cold hard sand staring UP before you do anything with the words….

    • sbranch says:

      Ooooh, it’s a very big help to do that! That’s really what my walk is for. And yes, the paper trail, it’s how you learn! Course, I still do it! 🙂 But I hope I never quit learning.

  54. Joanne says:

    Happy belated birthday! I hope you had a wonderful time in Concord and a wonderful birthday. I was so happy to see a post!
    Wishing you a year of blessings and love!

  55. Peggy says:

    Hello Sue,

    Have to get in on the birthday wishes!! I consider 2 weeks either side of a birthday fair game for celebration -so live it up and have a great April,
    Spring birthday extravaganza!! Sounds like you have a head start on it. Thanks for posting -I needed a Susan Branch post for a little pick me up. Spring and it’s lovely flowers and birds are flowing across the land here in Wisconsin. Mayapples, bloodroot, daffodils, glory of the snow, chickadees in a newly painted house before I even had the twine tied. Guess they are in a real hurry!! They like the one with tropical flowers and butterflies -and have raised their babies in it for about 5 years -so cute. Hap hap hap happy birthday!!! from Peggy

  56. Jane S. in PA says:

    Happy Birthday Susan. Thank you for the post on Orchard House. I visited there with my dear aunt the summer I graduated from high school (1962!!) as part of her graduation gift to me, and I’ve never forgotten how wonderful it was. I still have the picture postcards of the house I purchased there. It’s a happy memory of the house and my aunt that I revisit now and then. I love following your blog. You continue to touch our lives in so many lovely unexpected ways. xo

  57. Sue Miller says:

    Been excited to hear how you celebrated the big day. I spent mine with family down at the lake (Erie). Friends have called and treated me to dinners. Isn’t it a blessing to celebrate? Looking forward to the new books!
    Buffalo, NY

  58. nellie says:

    Dear Susan,

    This is birthday month here, too, so that birthday wish has been made.:-)

    Now you have given us another place to visit! I just keep adding things to my list.:-)

    It’s such a treat to take that walk to the ocean every day. I knew seashells would come in handy.

    That’s great news about the book! I’m anxious to add this one – or two – to my collection.

    Be sure to take time to enjoy spring!

    xo Nellie

  59. Carolyn says:

    Wishing you the happiest birthday. May each and every day of the remainder of this year and years to come be filled with magical wonderful surprises, bountiful success on new book, that by the way will be my Christmas to me, just cannot wait, and each day be filled with your cup running over with joy and happiness. Thank you for all the joy you bring to all of us.

  60. Shauna says:

    Have a happy birthday, Susan! I love The Orchard House and Concord — one of our favorite vacations ever!

    • Shauna says:

      Oh — I accidentally hit send before I congratulated you on the book! Finishing a book — or 12! — is such an amazing accomplishment! Woohoo!

  61. Gail Buss says:

    Dear Susan – Wishing a very special Happy Belated Birthday to you! Yes you are lucky with all the flowers and phone calls you got, and I absolutely love coconut so that cupcake looked pretty darn good to me. Was wishing I was there~! Loved everything in this post – the walk you and Joe took for your birthday and your trip to the Alcott Orchard House. Loved seeing everything and those cute little desks were especially delightful. You really have a knack for explaining everything to us. I would have never known those pinkish things were needlepointed foot warmers………..amazing. Most of all I especially loved seeing the kitchen items and dishes since as you know The Kitchen Is The Heart of The Home! I’m so happy you had a wonderful birthday, and I hope everyday in the coming year is as happy for you as it was on your birthday. With love, Gail xo P.S. Can’t wait for your books to be ready.

  62. Lorraine says:

    So glad you had a wonderful birthday!! The flowers are all gorgeous. Thank you for the tour of Louisa May Alcott’s house. I absolutely love that little built-in table.

  63. Diane says:

    Oh, Susan, you went to one of my favorite places – Concord, Mass. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Concord was my dream place to go and I was thrilled to be there in the fall of 1976 with my husband and 2 young sons. I wanted to tour Louisa May Alcott’s house [my idol since age 11], but we were too early and we were very short on time. I settled for a picture of me taken by her front door. It was magical on that misty, quiet, early October morning when we stumbled across Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and walked around to discover the headstones of the Alcott family, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Thoreau and Emerson. I could go on and on about The Minute Man statue and all the historical places and authors and thinkers that fascinated me since childhood. Thanks for reviving my memories through your lovely pictures and writing.

  64. Cheryl Freeman says:

    Happy birthday! Your birthday flowers are so beautiful.
    Enjoyed learning some things about L.M. Alcott. The Alcott home is now a place I want visit. Thank you for sharing.

  65. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Love the “Ring Thing”. Made a wish, too. I watch “Little Women” every Christmas. Beautiful post. You have friends in high places, Susan. Little =^..^= Jack looks adorabe on his perch with a view, king of all he surveys. I just won’t look when he decides to come down.

  66. charissa Stover says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, YOU SPRING CHICKEN:) You deserve every thing wonderful!!! OHMYGOSH! Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House?!?! (I love her and how cool is it that you both wrote a memoir\novel in the same way. I always knew you were cool:)) I am dying for your books. I simply cannot wait and I try to keep it out of my mind because it will eat me up alive. Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!) I didn’t know it still existed. I cannot get over how small those desks are. I feel so GIANT at my own desk now, but grateful that I was not born when it was a rarity for a woman to have one. I love the ring thing. I might steal it:) You are so darling:):):)

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t even know it. They have a little video before the tour and that’s when I found out how totally reality based Little Women was! I looked at Joe, big eyes, like Look at me and Louisa, and he laughed!

      • Charissa Stover says:

        Ha! I know the big eyes look… look at me I am actually much better than I thought I was because I am like Louisa without even knowing it and who doesn’t love Louisa? Dear Joe… he laughs because he thinks you should already know that because he already knows that and everyone else knows that and loves you. He is like my Tom I think… the best:) Except for Joe is handy… I can hear Tom cursing him now lol I wish there was some way for you guys to be a fly on the the wall when Tom does his Joe cursing. You guys would fall of the wall in hysterics. I will quote… “Damn Joe and his handiness. ” Mocking my voice he says, “He built her a picket fence garden. He makes Christmas wreaths. He painted the shutters black.” “What can’t this guy do…trying to make us all look bad.” On and on. He really likes Joe, he just pretends not to;) Thought that might make Joe laugh:)

  67. Fan in California says:

    Although belated, the birthday wishes are no less genuine!!! To continued happiness and success in the coming year and being able to stretch out the birthday celebrations for as long as possible!!!!

  68. Mary, St.Louis says:

    it was so good to have a post from you, to read tonight ! Happy, Happy birthday…glad that it is still ongoing. those are the best kind ! Spring is my favorite time of year, yet my birthday is in the fall…and fall is your favorite time, yet your bday is in spring…how do these things happen ? Louisa’s house looks like a wonderful place to visit ~ nice day trip ! this time of year makes me so happy ! xoxo

  69. diana from ancaster says:

    I think the ‘older’ we get, the longer we should celebrate our birthdays… day is just not enough.
    I plan on a month’s worth of birthday fun ( at least) this year!

  70. Chris Ditzler says:

    Thanks for sharing your birthday with us!

  71. Candice OHIO says:

    Happy Belated Birthday with loads of good wishes! Sounds like you have a had a lovely week. My girlfriend Lisa’s birthday was on Monday, April 13th. I treated her lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant and the waiter came out and plunked sombreros on our heads and treated us to fried ice cream!
    We all met you in Wilmington OH at your book signing, we are the ones that had the moonlight tea, with real china, on the way back home from the signing. Do you remember?
    Louisa May Alcott’s home is so wonderful, thank you for sharing your visit with us, I would love to visit there someday. I am so excited for your new books, something wonderful to look forward to. Have a wonderful rest of your birthday week! xo

  72. Linda... Gardnerville, Nevada says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Hope all your wishes come true and that you had a splendid time with some of your favorite peeps! I always love your writings and feel it’s a little treat each time I read them!

  73. Marilyn S says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! It was my birthday this week as well and one of my “presents” was the biggest snowstorm we have had this year in a very mild winter. I’m so looking forward to your new books. They will be wonderful Christmas presents. It was so fun to see Louisa May Alcott’s home. Little Women has always been one of my favorite books. Enjoy your Spring!

  74. Cynthia McDonald says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! I enjoy your blog, artwork and books so much – thank you for sharing with us all.

  75. Becky says:

    Such a lovely post from the birthday queen! I’m happy that it was a good one, and you were treated royally to a walk and a nice trip. I’ll do my best to be patient until your new books come out. Did you get yourself something special as a birthday present? I find it’s always such fun to “treat myself” to a little something. I never like to leave that up to others. Too iffy….heehehe.

  76. Cat´s mom Lada says:

    Thank you very much for your writing. Very glad you read. I love Little Women.

  77. barbara miller says:

    susan, thank you for this blog. made me miss my ocean [Atlantic] and made me want to sink into a chair with L.M.A and J.A. and a few of your books, too. I can dream, can’t I?

  78. Lori Metschan says:

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday Susan!! xoxoxo!!

  79. Jean says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SUSAN!!1 May we, your girlfriends in cyberspace,inspire you half as much as YOU WHOLEHEARTEDLY INSPIRE US! Our “mutual admiration society” is always a JOY to read! Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us! The light shining from you blazes such LOVE into our HEARTS! You recently came to mind when in Lowes, choosing a color (Olympic “Lettuce Alone” )for our garden-themed bathroom , I picked up a copy of Romantic Country Summer 2015, Harris Publications. Attention all Downton Abbey fans!!! Carolyn Aiken on pages 78-81, shares Afternoon Tea decor, dress, china, and recipe ideas! Quite lovely, and if I can part with this newfound magazine, Susan, I’ll send it your way for sure!! Again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You just inspired ME to FINALLY read the copy of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Woman my cousin gave me in 1987 to mark completion of my master’s degree in English/Education 7-12. Thank you so very much!!! It’s about time I read it!!! First on my summer reading list! What’s on YOURS?

  80. Kathie says:

    Little Women is one of my favorite stories. Recently I acquired a really nice copy of it; not old, mind you; just really nice. When I read it I am reminded of how good we can be and kind, and close to those we love, and how hard it is to love someone you know really well 100% of the time…..It’s a wonderful story, truly. The movie really has colored my view of the story. It’s hard for me to imagine Jo without seeing June Allison; nor Lorie without seeing Peter Lawford. The movie made me fall in love with Peter Lawford forever. Did you see him in Royal Wedding? Wasn’t he just so wonderful in that? How brave they all were in those days of the Civil War. May we all be so brave and faithful and loving and hard working as the days march on……

  81. I’ve been to Chawton and seen Jane Austen’s desk, but never to Concord to see Orchard House. Thank you for this wonderful post with all the great photos. I think I have to figure out how I can get there someday, perhaps this year….Best of luck with your books! May they be ready for Christmas!

  82. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Loved seeing your lovely birthday bouquets. Thanks for showing us Orchard House. Especially appreciated seeing Louisa’s writing desk, the piano, and the quilt Marmee made. The pitcher in the cupboard with the black and white dog and green grass beneath is so charming. I made a wish on the ringed cupcake :-), but I better not tell — don’t want to break the spell. I’m getting pretty excited though about the two-part novel . . . Waiting patiently . . . 🙂

  83. Pat Johnson says:

    I am so happy to read about your journey out into the beautiful, sunny world once again. I tried to imagine what it must have been like after being in the house all winter (well, not really, but you know what I mean). And the trip to Louisa’s house was the frosting on the cake. Wishing you a belated Happy Happy Birthday to an amazing woman and my BFF. I always learn so much from you and I am grateful for the knowledge you share with all of us. Am anxious about “THE BOOKS!!!!” Hugs……..Pat

  84. Vicki says:

    I loved hearing about everything…laying in the sun in the sand, enjoying the better weather…the little tour of the Alcott home (oh, those foot warmers!)…your birthday joy (Happy Belated Birthday!).

    How fun to hear the story of the little blue bottle! In the old cottage I lived in for ten years which had belonged to my auntie, which we had to bring into the 21st century since, if for only one thing, the electrical was fried(!), we unearthed a few things in the previously-emptied (by someone else) house. I feel we were meant to have them; magical stuff! Auntie had passed, so it was nothing I could ask her about, if the things might have been hers, or from the two previous owners just after World War I…a precious little glass pitcher/creamer, totally intact, fallen behind a cabinet (cupboards original to the kitchen; had never been remodeled); a full-size, wood artist’s easel buried in the dirt of one cellar in the home (rescued, sanded, painted white now, where I display favorite art); a tiny little man and a tiny little woman made of wood beads, felt, buttons and yarn wedged in the beadboard closet…finest little treasures, here and there; such a beautiful surprise for us. We somehow felt surrounded with love, each time we made a small discovery, such as the ceramic water bowl (in darn good condition) of my uncle’s dog, which was the last thing under a stack of broken garden pots out back; the dog had been gone for 55 years. It was a handmade bowl with his trusty name carved into the clay before it was glazed. I’m a crazy girl I guess, but I so love this dog bowl more than a whole lot of other things I’ve got in my surroundings.

    Best of luck on the books; can’t wait! Thanks for the nice post, as always.

  85. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Am I the first one to leave a comment? It looks like it — I couldn’t sleep and so it’s 2:45am!
    I was so touched by the birthday “ring thing” that I made my own birthday wish on the spot.
    And Happy Birthday to you Susan — my friends and I like to celebrate the birthday “month” — keeping the celebration going with continuous small treats — I’m sure you would agree with that!
    Spring is late coming here in northwest N.J. — I’ve found a few brave crocus and the daffodils are almost open. The only forsythia in bloom is inside my house where I forced two large bouquets. The birdfeeders have been raided by a bear and a racoon so I’m going to have to, gently, cut back on what I put out for my feathered friends. But, we’ve had some beautiful warm and sunny days, I hear robins in the morning and I heard peepers the other evening!
    My hummers will be here by the end of the month — life is good! I always enjoy when you take me on your walk to the sea, I think I can smell the salt air from here! And thanks for the tour of Orchard House — this is a place I would like to see myself. I’m always amazed to see where people do their creative work. It’s so easy to make excuses like I don’t have this or that, but look at that tiny desk! Your office looks so warm and cozy — easy to see where your inspiration comes from — and the cats add just that touch of coziness!! I’m looking forward to your next book — trying to see what’s on all those pages on the floor! Will we get a sneek peek? Is it really two books? My mailbox is anxious for a Christmas delivery.
    JoAnne — awake in the middle of the night but planning to go back to bed … zzzzzzzzzzzz

    • sbranch says:

      Good Morning JoAnne! Yes, it’s really two books and of course, as soon as I can, I’ll give you previews! I’m the person who could barely keep the Christmas secrets so you can depend I have a problem not talking! Sweet Dreams!

  86. Penny says:

    So happy to hear you had a wonderful birthday Susan, and how generously you share your life with us here! I held my breath as I read about Louisa M Alcott’s house; I adored Little Women (and the sequels) as a child and I still do! I recently re-read Little Women and Good Wives, I cry every time when Beth dies, no matter that I have read the book hundreds (literally) of times. Her house looks fascinating, how marvellous to be able to see it! So looking forward to your new books too, they are going on my Christmas wish list right now! X

  87. Nicoline Bostens says:

    Dear Susan,
    Happy, happy, happy birthday to you!!!! I wish you lots of happy days, lots of lovely moments shared with Joe and the kitties, lots of LOVE and SUNSHINE.
    And thank you once again, for brightening up our lives with your kindness, happy stories, lovely pictures, and just for being YOU!!

  88. Happy Ongoing Birthday Greetings–and love, love seeing Louisa’s beautiful home. She and the Little Women are so deeply nestled in our hearts, so what a beautiful way to spend a birthday. Thank you for sharing. xxxooo

  89. Ah Susan ~ the world is always a happier place when I turn on my computer as I sip my morning kwah~fee and eat the last of the buttered hot cross buns from the freezer and find a lovely post from you ~~~ sighs ~~~ as the sun shines in upon my writing desk {aka laptop on my knee at the moment}

    No harm in stretching out the birthday celebrations into a birthday week or even a month ~~~

    So thrilled you had such a magical birthday ~ all the more so with the visit to Louisa May Alcott’s house. One day, my Grand Tour will happen, and on the carefully planned list are Louisa May Alcott’s house, Tasha Tudor’s estate {hope I can get tickets for everything given the distance I’ll be coming! and this will be a once in a lifetime trip} Susan Branch house {who is she, now, I wonder?} and the home of another lovely writer and illustrator Girlfriend Christie Jones Ray, {do you see the list of particular inspirations growing here} a detour north of the border to Prince Edward Island, then a hop, skip, and a jump tooing and frooing across America to visit as many of the Girlfriends who will have me to tea {I hope Jane will decorate a cake especially for the occasion} take tea with some of the very special friends I’ve made through you {thank you} then I must, just must, go to New Orleans, Colonial Williamsburg {again} and do all the New England states in the Fall ~~~ if you’re going to dream you do it BIG, right? Oh, and I really, really want to visit the flagship stores of LL Bean, Yankee Candle, and Keepsake Quilting. Big Bigger Biggest list of all now ~~~ and all on the QMII, of course. I don’t want my Grand Adventure spoiled by my aversion to flying. There’s a big birthday coming up in a year or two, so this could be my plan ~~~

    Using that seashell is nothing short of genius. One day, many decades in the future, that shell will be on a certain desk in a certain house as people walk around the museum.

    okay, I’ve rattled on enough. I love this entry and will return time and again. The sun is shining brightly over The Shire today and there is work to be done.

    Making my wish ~~~ Making my wish ~~~

    ~~~Waving from Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful trip you have planned!

      • Thank you! There is one certain lady who is the primary inspiration! 😉
        Forgot to say, the other day we had a rare treat indeed ~ the 1949 film adaptation of “Little Women” on telly. I have to confess, though, I think I prefer the casting in the Susan Sarandon/Winona Ryder version and the ‘lighter make up’ of the modern one too!
        I still have my very first copy of Little Women ~ rather well worn and not pristine in any way ~ but then that is the sign of a very well loved book, and just how it should be.

        • sbranch says:

          That’s my favorite too, and I have to say, I felt very vindicated and supported when it was the tour guide’s favorite at Orchard House! Normally I choose older of everything every time, but that one feels realest to me.

          • Margot }~~~O @ Virginia Beach says:

            I like the older version of “Little Women” too.
            I would like a trip to PEI to learn more about another favorite author of mine, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Tasha Tudor’s home too. And yes Deb, you are invited to tea or coffee!!! Susan and Joe, Pat M., Lynn, Mary and any other girlfriend that would like to stop in.

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            Hi Margot~ HOT tea sounds great! Back to fall weather here again~The cold hasn’t stopped the wood ticks! ~ my daughter found one on my grand son today~Yuck!!

    • Rhonda D. says:

      What a wonderful trip Debs. I love Wales…I am named after the Rhondda Valley in Wales. I write to a relative in Wales every week and I’ve learned a lot about your beautiful country. I’m excited to visit Wales one day soon. I live close to Prince Edward Island, so connect when trip time comes around and we’ll do tea. xx

  90. As always a lovely post Susan!
    Looking forward to your books. And then I will write a review for you here in the Netherlands on our biggest online store.

  91. deezie says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!!! Love the flowers, love the walk and the sweet shell you wrote on. Your special days looks like it was magical. I adore your posts !!! Happy Day Susan

  92. AngieTink says:

    ♡☆❀❁♡✩♬♕Good~Morning Sweet “Birthday~Girl” Once Again…Another Magical Blog~Post! 🙂 Thank~You! I LOVE The Ring~Thing I Just Virtually Slipped My Blue~Topaz Ring Off Me Finger(Herbster gave it to Me 24 Years ago) & Put it on Your Birthday~Candle & Made My Wish! 😉 Yay! I Love Everything “Little~Women” So Your Trip to Orchard House is Delightful! The Piano! Marmee’s Quilt! The Desk! & May’s Paintings! 🙂 Amazing!!! Thank~You Sweet Sue! The Pics of Jack & Girl…. Purrrrfection! Kitty~Kisses from Me to Them! 😉 Happy Your Spring Has Sprung Writing in The Seashell Made Me Smile 🙂 Brilliant! I Love your 2016 Calendar Oh So Cute! & Now Your Girl/Boy Birthday Party on Friday! Have Fun & Have a Drink for Me! (I Toast You Virtually Sweet Sue….Happy Birthday! 🙂 ) Yay! Twirling! Enjoy! xoxo Poof! ♡☆❀❁♡✩♬♕ P.S. Are You Getting Excited about The New Royal Baby???? Any Day Now…..OMG! 😉 ♡☆❀❁♡✩♬♕

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, of course, new baby, I want a girl!:-)

      • Oh, I’m hoping for a girl too!

        Did you hear the news that Katherine Jenkins and her husband Andrew are also expecting ~ and they know it will be a girl already! I’m absolutely thrilled to bits ~ more so than over the Royal Baby as I just adore Katherine Jenkins.

        • sbranch says:

          I didn’t know who she was! I went and looked on youtube, a beautiful voice!

        • AngieTink says:

          Debs! I Adore Katherine Jenkins Too! Her Voice is Very Angelic! Yay on Her Baby~Girl! xoxo Poof! 🙂

        • Margot }~~~O @ Virginia Beach says:

          I love Katherine Jenkins! My sister’s father-in-law in Wales considers her his girlfriend. LOL
          I didn’t even know she was married. Thank heaven for all these little girls! I am hoping one day to have a grand-daughter.

        • Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

          She is just a darling girl and so talented! She’ll have a sweet baby girl!

      • AngieTink says:

        I Want a Girl Too! A Princess!!! Baby Prince George Will Be A Wonderful Big~Brother! Twirling in My Tiara! Yay! 🙂

        • Margot }~~~O @ Virginia Beach says:

          Angie~~~We need more fairy dust!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            I like that, definitely we need more sparkle to the day, and Angie I am also hoping for a little princess this time, I think that would be so precious and you are right I think Prince George would be a marvelous big brother. 🙂

  93. Robyn Brown says:

    Happy late birthday!! It sounds like it was wonderful.

  94. Jayne Parsons says:

    Hi Susan,
    I am so glad you are having a Happy Birthday and thank you for giving me a present of seeing inside of Orchard House. A couple of years age my friend and I took a bus tour to Boston, Lexington and Concord. As we were driving along listening to our tour guide when I spyed Orchard House and practically flew out of my seat. I knew what we were seeing without having to be told. I really wanted to stop there but it wasn’t on our agenda. OK, I tried to bribe our bus driver to stop. The perils of bus trips. So thanks for the present. Happy Birthday again.
    Jayne from Indy

  95. KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

    Happy Birthday week, Susan! What a wonderful birthday you’ve had! Thank you for the trip to Louisa Mae Alcott’s home! I love seeing the pictures. Amazing! I love Amy’s paintings on the walls! You should do that! Adds such charm to the walls. Enjoy your birthday week! Soak in all the love! Can’t wait for this book!!!!!! ♡♡♡♡♡

  96. Lori B says:

    I had to laugh at the image of you laying on the sand to soak up the sun! Yesterday we had our first really sunny day, and my 14yo daughter went out to lay on our black driveway and ‘bask’. She apparently scared the poor garbage collector who ran up to her in a panic asking if she was alright 🙂

  97. mari1017 says:

    What a wonderful birthday week, Susan! I could smell the ocean air, “see” the drive to Concord, remember my visits to Orchard House, Concord and Lexington – all described so beautifully by you! And what’s so incredible to me is that not much has changed since I’ve lived up there ♥ That’s one thing about New England – so much changes, but SO much remains the same and is preserved by the many hardworking and devoted-to-New England people ♥ Have to hop, but thanks again for the wonderful post! Can’t wait for the new books!!! XOXO

  98. Linda Metcalf says:

    A belated Happy Birthday! Sounds as though it was pretty darn wonderful! Love Little Women….and your tour of the home was very much appreciated. Flowers are beautiful…you are a lucky girl!

  99. Liz says:

    This post is so full of amazing, I had to re-read it. Warm thoughts and evocative photos, mmmmmm…….

    Coincidentally, I was re-organizing my “stuff” and I found a Susan Branch treasure I had tucked away: Postcards from the Heart of the Home. It is now prominently on my desk for inspiration, and I found it on your birthday! But I get the gift!

    Enjoy your Spring.

  100. Lori says:

    Happy birthday, Susan. Flowers, walking to the beach and visiting Orchard House sound like the perfect way to quietly welcome another year. I’m reading a book about Laura Inglalls Wilder right now and come to find out, she wrote about 87% true as well. 😉 You are in great company! When I leave a comment, I always feel the need to thank you. I’m so thankful that you take the time to write, paint, create and share your life with us. It truly brings me joy and blesses my life. So, as always….thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      I am thankful to all of you who take the time to connect, both with me and with each other. What a blessing! Thank you Lori!

    • Margot }~~~O @ Virginia Beach says:

      Yes most of her stories are true. They have good historic value. She was a teacher too, like Lucy Maud Montgomery’s character Anne (Loosely based on Lucy’s life). And Laura wrote for women’s magazines like Gladys Taber. A few years ago my mother bought me a trilogy of books about Laura Ingalls Wilder called “Writings to Young Women From Laura Ingalls Wilder”. Thank goodness for these writers. Now our daughters and granddaughters can read some good historic fiction!!!

      • Margot }~~~O @ Virginia Beach says:

        PS I grew up in what was left of the “Big Woods” in an old farmhouse. If you drive further northwest in Wis. there still are big woods. I think that is why I loved living in NE too. The trees and clear streams.

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