Rainy Day on Martha’s Vineyard

8 am on a rainy day on Martha’s Vineyard. I slept in to 5 am this morning, which I think would be about 9 am in normal-people time. I LOVED it!  A red letter day! Joe just made us a fire and Dark Victory is on TV. I feel so happy because by this time next week I will be totally and completely done with all work I assigned myself. All I will have to do is plant the garden and write us a new Willard before I go. Here’s the song I woke up singing this morning: MUSICA (let it play for a moment and it will wrap magic around you).

heart of thehome

I almost haven’t missed Downton (almost) because I’ve been so busy with my newest and last project for 2016. I’m getting my first book, Heart of the Home, ready for it’s 30th Anniversary. It’s, as they say,  “revised and expanded” ~ what started as a 160 page book has grown to 176 pages, with lots of new recipes, quotes, and art.  Thirty years! Can you believe it? My first baby is 30. It’s been like stepping back in time because I’m doing the pages just like I did them originally . . .


Ruler, pencil and eraser, pen and ink and watercolors . . . while listening to old movies . . . just like in 1986 . . .

Pie tops for Heart of the Home. . . I’ve been painting (and cooking) tomatoes and pies . . .

Heart of the HomeAnd chickens . . . and bowls and jars and spoons and all sorts of fun things.



I’ve picked out a bright red grosgrain ribbon for the bookmark (my first book didn’t have a ribbon originally, but it will now). I’m designing new endpapers my paint box(they were just plain white before), and I’m adding a new border to the cover . . . While I’m doing it I feel myself back at that dining room table in my first little house on the Island 30 years ago (as you’ll see when you get Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams, because I write all about it there). Which means, perhaps, that it’s not just a trilogy of books I’ve done anymore, now it’s a, what is it, a quad? A quadroopalidge?  This new version of Heart of the Home dots the i and crosses the t of all of my last three books, plus snow treeyou’ll have a new cookbook for Christmas.  So while we are sailing over the Atlantic, you’ll have something new to look forward to. I’ve been thinking of you the whole time I’ve been doing it, asking myself “what would they like?” . . . and because of that, I think you are going to love it even better than the first one!my paintbrush, doing what comes naturally

cranberry coffee cake

Remember that Cranberry Tea Cake, (with butter and sugar and eggs and cranberries and oranges and sticky pecans that put together say,”I love you”)  I told you about months ago that I was “saving?” Well, I’m not saving it anymore!from me to you with loveIMG_6123

It’s finally going to be yours . . . it’s been horrible saving this recipe, it’s so delicious and not in my nature to be a hoarder, but now I’m glad I saved it! rose and hearts


I’ve been having a wonderful time being back in the cookbook business! It’s a very creative place to be.pinksugarfrostingYes, there will!

vanilla goes into the bowlJoe has been enjoying it too . . .

I have a question ~ I need you to tell me what to do . . . See this?



I was thinking about substituting one of the other recipes with this  . . . it’s already printed in A Fine Romance, and you may already have it, but maybe it My stovetopwould be easier to remember if it were in a cookbook? What do you think?  It’s SO delicious, I don’t want anyone to forget about it . . . I also don’t want to take away the essence of the 1986 cookbook, but I do want to make it extra special for you. I only get to add 16 recipes, which I’ve already done . . . so, if I put this in, I would have to take something out. Which isn’t hard to do, how many cakes are there that serve 24 people? Gluten free? And I think this cake is REALLY good! So, if you want it, I’ll be happy to include it, and I won’t feel bad if you don’t because it’s already in A Fine Romance! Tell me what you think!Cheesecake

What makes it especially fun is that there are already so many good recipes in this book, it’s a great foundation to add on to! And don’t worry, I wouldn’t take this  out!cooking-is-an-art

making gazpachoHeart of the Home will still have the best loved recipes in it . . . I’ve added what I hope will be future best loved and family favorites. I’m not going to show you anymore because I want it to be a surprise!springstripofflowers


I got the cutest new thing. A girlfriend sent me a homemade card that had this teeny little watering can glued to it as a decoration . . . you can see how little it is compared to my Beatrix Potter Person . . .snow drops. . . just the perfect size for the snow drops . . . so I pulled it off the card and now it takes center stage on my dish shelf to show off the snow drops . . .

snowdrops. . . that are taking over our yard . . . in the best possible way.  And today, they are being drenched with rain.

Did any of you see the series called TURN?  It’s a true story about a spy ring for the American side (best-friend twenty-somethings who’ve known each other since childhood) during the Revolutionary War.  I saw season one maybe three or four times now ~ it’s flagSO GOOD . . . but I could never find season two . . . by the time I found season one on Netflix, season two on AMC had already passed, and for some reason Netflix didn’t get season two, so I just figured (sadly) that the series wasn’t going to make it.  BUT, I just heard that season three is going to start on AMC on April 25! They are repeating season one on AMC now (hopefully we’ll get to see season two sometime before the new one starts). I think you would love it . . . look at a trailer HERE. It has a wonderful treacherously-threatening theme song, I sang it to Joe when he came down the stairs this morning . . . “There’s snakes in the garden . . .” Love to see him roll his eyes and this song (the way I sing it) does the trick. P.S. There is some violence in this series, NOTHING like what some of them have, but still . . . I found it very easy to get through because I just close my eyes and it doesn’t go on forever. There is this hideous horrible sick nutcase of an officer that causes all the trouble that makes you wish he was dead, and you hope, when they do kill him, which won’t be soon enough, they will do it out behind the barn and just tell us it happened.  He is SO BAD. We will love to hate him. See what you think!

So a couple more sneak-peeks and then I will us all get back to work .MarchTopArtSneak-peek number one . . . is a  page from the 2017 calendar which will be coming out in July . . . Like it?MVYankeeAdAnd my full-page ad to go in the May/June issue of Yankee Magazine . . .ThreeBooksSo that when I go out to sign my children at the end of April, someone will know about them!  I hope! I hear that lots of you are coming to the signings and I can’t wait to meet you . . . isn’t it interesting that even though you think a certain time will NEVER get here, sooner or later, it does!? I can’t believe that soon we will be driving out of our driveway . . . cooler stuffed with road food, tears still drying from saying goodbye to the kitties . . . heading for the boat and points west . . .

Girl Kitty kitten


Bye for now Girlfriends . . . answer all my questions, please!  Have a wonderful day! ♥ XOXO

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622 Responses to Rainy Day on Martha’s Vineyard

  1. Lorraine From White Plains, NY says:

    One vote for keeping the recipes as is. No really convincing argument for it other than I have printed out the recipe from your blog as well as having it in your other book! And, no, I can’t believe it’s been 30 years! Wish I had known you from the beginning, but have made up for it since finding your blog several years ago! I have my Mom’s New York Cheesecake recipe that serves 24 easily, or just my four brothers… don’t know if it’s entirely gluten free… Haven’t seen “Turn,” but will look for it on Netflix… Love your ad for Yankee magazine… and YES, the good times NEVER seem to get here soon enough – but, the ConEd bill seems to arrive every 10 days! (I think I’ve answered all your questions!) Always a joy to read you!

  2. Pom Pom says:

    The new edition is so lovely! I can’t wait! You have worked so hard. God bless you!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Pom Pom, I do feel appreciated by my Girlfriends here, makes it all so worthwhile. xoxo

  3. Kathy Korb says:

    Hi Susan,
    Love the page from the 2017 calendar. That page fits both my 16 year old daughter and me! Thank you! Also, a friend and I are coming to your book signing in Cedar Rapids in May!! Can’t wait. We are making a wonderful weekend of it with a tea party/lunch by the lake and quilting stores in the area! Wish we had snowdrops in our yard. I am going to plant some of those. That little water can is perfect. We are cat people, too, and have two sweeties: Posey (orange tiger) and Teddy (tuxedo). Thank you for sharing your passions that inspire us to live our own best lives!

  4. Kathy Korb says:

    Susan, I forgot to mention the Cranberry Tea Cake!! Love!! and put the Polenta cake in the book! Kathy

  5. Linda Trebilcock from Maine. says:

    Hello Susan, Such a fine Spring day.. Rainy, but does help you to move forward to get spring cleaning done a little early. We are painting and laying down new floor as we speak. Yes, I do think you should inclued the recipe. As many as you can. I love your recipe books. My question to you is.. I did not buy the new Autumn book you came out with again because I thought you just printed more of the same again. I already had it. But now it makes me think.. Did you add and revise that book like you are doing to Heart of The Home book now? If so I need to buy the book before they are gone forever. I collect all your books and I love them all. I still wish you would pull out all your little books like Tea, Spring, Summer,Hats, Birdies,Drinks, Gardens, Flowers, Happy Birthday, Guide to girls success, Halloween The best gifts are tied with heartstrings, Girl power, Pretty Baby, and Love . All these went for 4.95 back in the day. Most people would love to get their hands on theses small books that they never got from way back when. You could combine all of the into one thick book and sell it and just reprint covers and all one after the other for on more awesome complete book from you. Just send them to reprint and make lots of people happy to have them also. Just a thought but a good one. A $50.00 book and would be worth every penny. Looking forward in hearing from you. Happy Spring to you and Joe. I still want to come to Martha’s Vinyard in hopes to meet you. I wish you could come to Maine and have a book signing here some time. South Portland, Maine Mall area would be central local for many people. There is a large book store there. Keep my fingers crossed you come this way also. Think about it Please. Take us on your next walk to the am beach you and Joe go to in the AM again soon. Would love to see it this spring also. Thanks. Have a great day.

    • sbranch says:

      No, Autumn is exactly the same as the original, the only change is that the new one has the ribbon. I really didn’t think of doing an “update” at that time . . . maybe I would have, but this time, for Heart, I thought, why not give her some new dresses for her anniversary! My problem with anything is always the same, time. I love your ideas about the small books . . . they were fun weren’t they! Okay, I’ll take you for a walk very soon!

  6. Kathy George says:

    You could put an * in Heart of the Home to find a wonderful gluten free cake recipe in A Fine Romance. All we need to do is reach for AFR…. We all have the whole book collection and love them all. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I know, but I’m afraid there will be readers who never heard of A Fine Romance and my * will turn into a paragraph of explanation! Mostly I write books for you guys, but back in the small corners of my mind, I think, what if this person never heard of me, will they know what I’m talking about? Thank you Kathy, Hi to George!

  7. jane townsend says:

    Looking forward to the updated edition of Heart of the Home. I actually got the first one just after Vineyard seasons was published. I bought the latter while on holiday in Cape Cod (Chatham, if I remember correctly). When I returned to England I just knew that I had to have your first book and managed to get one sent over. Since then I have kept on collecting your wonderful books.

    • sbranch says:

      For one moment in time, just after Heart came out, it was picked up by the British publisher Bloomsbury and were available in bookstores in England . . . in fact I’ve been working out of that very edition lately. They sold out, but for some unknown reason, maybe they were forgotten, but it never happened again! I’m thrilled to know you’ve been able to get them, somehow, all of these years. Thank you Jane!

  8. charissa says:

    30 Years?!?!?! How wonderful and strange to think that it has been that long. I got your first book in the mid to late 90s in my early to mid 20s so it had been out for a while, but I knew right away that we would be best friends;) So happy for you! Congratulations and a good time to reflect on all you have accomplished since then!!! It’s a lot!!! How wonderful that you are writing the new pages in the same way as you first did. Very authentic. Love that about you. I am so very impressed by your painting. All the little nuances you get even in a small piece. My mother started water colors a couple of months ago. She took took two 1/2 hour classes at a local community center (these were very basic as you can imagine). She did her first painting on her own and viola… it was perfection. A beautiful flower with depth and dimension. The owner of the art supply store made a very big deal of it. She needed that for her self esteem. I am thrilled for her. I told her she was having a “Susan Branch moment” 🙂 I have been thinking about that cranberry tea cake for a while and look how beautiful it is. YUM! I can’t wait to make it. Polenta cake? I vote No because I already have it and would rather have an extra new recipe;) I’m greedy. Your watering can is absolutely darling. It is SO perfect with your figurines. I have not seen Turn. I must go look it up. Thank you for the sneak peeks. LURV the calendar page how beautiful and thoughtful. Great ads for Yankee. Love that Joe helped with them too. Aww… Girl Kitty She is so perfect. I had a feeling you might post today so I got up early and made lemon poppy seed scones w lemon icing. I was so happy to see your post this afternoon… I plunked down with a big pot of your Apricot Jam tea, scones w Devonshire cream, and had a cozy time in the media room with candles and music. Ok, yes, I also had a scone this morning 😉 , but YOLO Thanks for all that you do and making it a great day xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness, now you’ve done it . . . I was reading along quite happily, until I got to the lemon icing and the Devonshire cream and now I’M HUNGRY!!! 🙂

      • Charissa says:

        Wish I could teleport you some:) They were very good Just a mix that I doctored up w butter and lots of lemon peel. Ok, after reading all the comments and reasoning, I would like to change my vote to include the Polenta Cake. However, Is there another way to get the other left out recipe? A blog gift at a later time or something like that? I am already attached to it lol

  9. Caroline says:

    Just made my tea and found your new blog entry…made my day…so enjoyable to read! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it 🙂

  10. Margaret Longlet says:

    Dear Susan,
    I can’t wait for the new book to arrive. But also, I am excited about the revised version of your first book which I purchased in 1986 and it is full of food spatter stains. My opinion about including the recipe you mentioned is yes, please do. It would seem to be nicely convenient to have it in the cookbook and not have to go searching through the pages of the other.
    Thanks again for sharing yourself through all of the books they are such a delight.

  11. Lisa M. Topp says:

    Can’t wait to see you again, on the road. Be careful and have fun!!!
    Lisa M. Topp, Rhode Island 🙂

  12. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Oh Ho–“Get a kitten, just do it”… Susan, guess what happened a couple of weeks ago when we were loading stuff in the car to go to the storage unit prior to putting our townhouse on the market? Doors had been left open…could you guess where this story is going? I was sitting at the computer and what do you suppose I saw out of the corner of my eye? A MOUSE in our house!!!! Both schnauzers were napping, snoring away…so only the mouse heard my gasp of horror! Our schnauzer “mousers” sleeping on the job! That evening we set traps and quickly caught it. Cheese stuck on with peanut butter–what a delicious “last supper” for the mouse! A discussion followed: “One more mouse in the house and we’re getting a cat!” Ha–you know my feelings on cats. My thought is this: “If two schnauzers didn’t get the mouse, perhaps we need a third schnauzer?”…Norm is thinking about that one…LOL! 🙂 New house in the country is almost done. Is this preparation for that???

    • sbranch says:

      I was just thinking about you Pat, and wondering if your house was done yet! You must be so excited! Gophers are why I got a cat, but LOVE is why I still have them . . . you might surprise yourself. No mice in this house!

    • Chris Wells From Knickerbocker, W. TX says:

      Pat, Aren’t you the one who is terrified of cats?! 🙂
      I am so excited about you new house in the country…..and yes there will be mice. We get a brave….or half crazy mouse that will get in the house from time to time. They don’t last long with two cats on patrol.
      Let us know when you get in your house.

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Yes, Chris, that is me–the wimp who is terrified of cats!!! I figured someone would remember besides Susan. LOL! Mini schnauzers were supposedly bred down from standard schnauzers to be mousers. Betti, the oldest one, did get the mouse “treed” under the stove and was going crazy, whining and dancing next to the stove with her beard down sniffing under the drawer. However, Savvy, the youngest one came running to me with ears down, saucer-like eyes, and little front paws digging at my knee–“Please pick me up, Mommy!!!” I’m working on my husband to get a third who is named “Olive”. When we went to bed the night after the mouse appeared, I said to Norm, “Well, obviously two schnauzers aren’t enough, we NEED Olive!” 🙂 I’ve heard too many stories of cats who either ignore mice, kill them and proudly bring them to show their owners, or leave parts lying around the house. Though I truly don’t want these sweet little bearded faces of my schnauzers to be killing or eating mice. Cheese stuck on a trap with peanut butter works wonders!!! Will report when we get moved, will be a couple of more months I think…road restrictions due to frost going out are slowing construction down. I drive to take photos every week for my “House Book” and then come home and look at the packing-to-move chaos and have decided this is indeed one of the more stressful events of life. The mouse sort of almost pushed me over the edge…
        LOL! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Oh Pat, you have my vote for Olive. She will go perfectly with the new house!

        • Chris Wells From Knickerbocker, W. TX says:

          Yes Pat moving is stressful! We built our house 20 years ago and when we got moved in I said the only way I was moving out was on a stretcher! And I still mean it. I am never packing up again!
          Can’t wait for you to begin enjoying your house!
          Lots of love! And tell Norm you have another vote for Olive!

  13. Susan says:

    Hi Susan!
    What a nice, cheery update – thank you. I enjoyed hearing all of your news and seeing your beautiful snowdrops. This was a day-brightener for a dreary day! You asked us to weigh in on taking a recipe out of your revamped cookbook and replacing it with the polenta cake recipe. I vote on keeping the recipe where it is and not taking one out of the cookbook.
    My best wishes to you and may you have a wonderful St. Paddy’s Day! ~Susan from Minnesota

  14. Laura says:

    Hi Susan! Reading about your first cookbook took me back to the summer when it first came out- and my first trip to Martha’s Vineyard, where I purchased the book! I can’t believe it’s been thirty years- so many years of living and cooking from your book! Can’t wait to add the new “old” one to my collection!

  15. Lorrie says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely.

  16. I think you should definitely include the lovely cake recipe in the new edition. I am so excited that I have a book reserved in Austin for the signing! Of course, I have ordered a copy of Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams for as soon as it comes out, so I’ll have two! It’s funny that I am going to England in August and Martha’s Vineyard in September, so I am on opposite schedules as you and won’t be able to attend either of your special events. So sad! BUT I get to come to the book signing in Austin and can’t wait!

  17. Kay Bennett says:

    Hi Susan,
    Love your little watering can and its perfect for your snowdrops. There does seem to be a blank spot on Sunday evenings without Downton. I’m sure because you are so busy, it’s a little easier to not miss it. It’s an exciting time for you, getting ready for you trip. I’m looking forward to seeing you in Kansas City. Since I had a trip planned to visit my daughter, a devoted fan of yours, in May, I rescheduled it so that I will fly in on the day of your book signing. So looking forward to meeting you there, if the airlines are on time.

    Have a wonderful Almost Springtime day! Hope to see you soon. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      How fabulous Kay! I will always remember you because of the gorgeous picture of you and your daughter and A Fine Romance on the lawn in front of Downton, I mean Highclere! Thanks for the information on the garden! I always wondered. xoxo See you in Kansas City!

  18. Karen Lotito says:

    I am so looking forward to “Isle of Dreams”, Susan! I loved “A Fine Romance” and “The Fairy Tale Girl”. It’s clearing up here on Long Island, although out on the North Fork, where I live, it is probably still raining. I work 50 miles away from my home so a long commute. It’s so worth it, though; heading East at night is like a breath of fresh air after a long day. I do hope you get to one of the bookstores on Long Island at some point. Or, maybe my husband and I will get to meet you and Joe one of these days on QM2! Enjoy your afternoon, the lovely fire Joe made, the snowdrops and think Spring!

  19. Patti G says:

    Looking forward to the Cranberry Tea Cake recipe! Not just for teas, but for dessert taking to various activities.
    I think that you ought to include the Orange Lavender Polenta Cake recipe in the cookbook. I keep a copy of A Fine Romance in my guest room and in our bedroom. I’d rather not take them to the kitchen!

  20. Margie Orr says:


  21. Rebecca says:

    Dear Susan,

    Your first book, or “baby”, as you have stated “Vineyard Kitchen” to be is from a time when “gluten free” was unheard of. Shouldn’t the reprint be a celebration of that book and time? This cake finds it’s beginning with you in “Fine Romance”, and it fits there. I like for things to “belong”, so that is my opinion. And, to take something away that is already in the original so that it would fit would not be “adding to”. That is my opinion, Susan. I hope you aren’t sorry that you asked. 🙂 I’ve read what Susan Branch has cooking since the Country Living days, by the way.

    Blessings to you, friend,

    • sbranch says:

      The book starts off with a Note from the Future! Celebrating 30 years . . . so I guess anything could go. I’m not at all sorry, I love hearing what you say! I have the smartest Girlfriends in the world. Thank you dear Rebecca! xoxoxo

  22. Darlene says:

    Time for tea and “Rainy Day on Martha’s Vineyard”! Love the writings…love the MUSICA!

  23. Beth Bruno says:

    Susan – Thank you for your post and for the music, especially! I am feeling rather cross these days about the state of affairs in American politics and this was just the ticket to take me to a better place mentally. Please add the lavender polenta cake recipe as I think it is beautiful! I haven’t tried it yet but I think I might if it is in TWO of your books!

    I am just starting season 6 of Downton, which I have watched from season one in the past 6 weeks (I am behind the curve, I know) and I plan to go back and read all your recaps on season 6 when I am done.( I have read all your blogs about Downton with one eye closed so as not to spoil it!) Your blog always makes me happy and sets the mood for my day. Thanks for going to the effort.

    I look forward to seeing you in Asheville this summer. Wishing you the best as you finish all your projects and set out on your journey.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, you just have to ignore the television if you want to keep your sanity these days. When did the presidency, the George Washington variety, turn into something out of the National Enquirer? I really wish they would stop giving ratings to news shows so they can quit being entertainment and start give the news again instead of conjecture and titillation. But, that’s not going to happen! Oh well. Ignore, that’s my mantra. See you in Asheville! And thank you Beth!

  24. Jane Franks says:

    Am I the first? Can’t believe it!! It all sounds wonderful, Susan! Especially the rain and the fireplace, and winding up all your projects! Good for you! You have SOOOO earned a break! I know! I love that cookbook. I have one of the original version and use The Chicken Stock and Kale Soup recipes all the time. Lots of good things in there. I think you should add the Orange Lavender Polenta cake. Some might not see it in the Fine Romance, and it doesn’t hurt to have it in the cookbook where all the other recipes are. I LOVE the new calendar page for 2017. Very good tips on keeping a diary. I have had one forever, and find so many of the things you say to be true. It DOES help with your dreams and plans. I’m lost without mine. On volume 37 now! Can’t wait for you to cross the water and head west! Hope to see you in KC!! Jane xoxo P.S. Some interesting stuff to share!

    • sbranch says:

      Hope to see you there Jane, and hope you’re feeling better! Always lovely to hear from you!

  25. Sandy Bloomer says:

    So happy that Spring is here and your work is done. Who is the happiest, you? No, we are since your book will be in our hands before too long. Imagine, a printed cookbook and art to match. Who could be any happier, ME!

  26. Samantha Brakefield says:

    Hi Susan!
    After I read your blog today, I clicked on your “coming to the signings” link hoping that maybe…just maybe you had added Boise, Idaho to the book signing tour. We have a delightful little bookstore downtown called “Rediscovered Books” http://www.rdbooks.org that has had many “famous” authors/illustrators visit. “RDB” carries both good-condition, used books as well as new, never-been-owned books. They are also huge supporters of Idaho authors. Yesterday was Pi(e) Day with Bramble Pie Bakery http://www.bramblepies.com. Books and pie! What a perfect combination, especially on a blustery pre-spring day. I hope, one day soon, that you’ll consider visiting “RDB” for a book signing. I know many local “girlfriends” (including ME) who would love to meet you in person! Happy trails! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Joe and I would both love to get up there, and will try in the future! Thank you for the sweet invitation!

  27. Cynthia Avalos says:

    Susan, I will certainly try TURN on Netflix! Thanks for the recommendation.

  28. Linda says:

    Love your updates! Rainy here in Idaho also, our crocus and primrose are in bloom! Looking forward to your next 2 books!
    My last thought is, Girl Kitty is so pretty…….
    oops! Yes! Put recipe in new cookbook! And yes, love the calendar page!

  29. peg says:

    Hi, Sue! You know what? If it were me, I would let the recipe stay exclusively in the Fine Romance. I mean, really….that’s where it went in the first place, right? That way, you can keep the Heart of the Home as it was in 1986 but with NEW recipes to celebrate its 30th year!!!!

    Speaking of 1986…that’s when our first (and only) baby came into this world. June 20. I cannot fathom where the time has gone!

    I’m looking forward to the upcoming new books……I cannot wait! xoxoxoxo peg

    • sbranch says:

      I keep thinking of the book as a “collection” and so that’s where this thing came from, making the collection more or less the very screamingly best it can be. But we’ll see, I’m not finished with it yet. Love hearing all these opinions . . . such good ideas and thoughts! Sending love Peg xoxoxo

  30. Jann says:

    Hi Susan. Let me just say that I enjoy your little blogs so much. And I have to tell you that I read “A Fine Romance” about a year ago and enjoyed it so much that I gave a copy to a friend for her birthday in October. (And it was hard to wait that long). She passed it along to a couple of other friends. You may be amused to hear that six of us are now heading to England and the Lake District in June. So excited!

    As to the series “Turn”, check this out: netflixlife.com/2016/02/01/when-will-turn-season-2-be-on-netflix/

    Good luck on the upcoming book, and many trips! Hope to see you along the way!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, that makes my day, to think of all of you going together, what a blast! You will LOVE it! Get on one of the ferry boats in Lake Windermere, just for a birds eye view of things.

  31. Sandee says:

    Oh my! Just when you think it can’t get any better. It does!
    Now I can’t wait to get my favorite cookbook updated and bigger
    Wowzee💕 Plus count down to receiving my copy of
    Isle of dreams‼️ Susan your the Creme de la Creme!
    Love love love everything Susan Branch! Just sayin

  32. Christie says:

    Oh, Susan! I’m at work and just saw the notice on my cell about your newest blog, and since it’s noon here in Sacramento, I was able to take the time to read it – YAY! And it is so jollifiedly (new SB-inspired made-up word) packed with beautiful Susan art and thoughts and references and a sneak-peek into 2017 and darling MV spring flowers and time machine buttons (what you were doing 30 years ago always fires up my 30-years-ago memories) and exciting plans and a Beatle song quote and a great new TV series suggestion and a recipe with delicious photos and a question! [My Answer: Add it to the new edition and post the deleted old-edition recipe in all its glory so we can print it and tuck it into our copies of the Anniversary Edition.] And so much more packed into this blog, I need to read it again! OK, I’m now totally jazzed and ready to forge ahead to finish the rest of my work day so I can go home – after stopping to pick up the latest issue of Yankee Magazine – and choose something yummy from one of my SB cookbooks to simmer on the stove while I re-read this blog! Happy mid-March, dear Susan, and Thank You. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I love made up words!!! Yours is a dilly! 🙂 I have said jollily in the past. 🙂 Poor jolly! Your jollifiedly, that is like the law of jolly! Happy mid-March dear Christie! xoxoxo

  33. Amy says:

    Thank you SO much for sharing the info about TURN!! It really is a great series. I was waiting patiently for Netflix to show Season 2. Now I don’t have to wonder where it is. : ) I’ll be watching for a Season 1/2 marathon before the Season 3 premier so I can get caught up! Happy Spring! Looking forward to “Isle of Dreams” and the new and improved (not that it needed it) “Heart of the Home”.

  34. Kathy says:

    Oh dear, how to answer that question? That polenta cake is a keeper for sure, but WHAT might you take out of Heart of the Home? I don’t think I can commit to the polenta cake without KNOWING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am counting the days until May 5 at the Learned Owl in Hudson! COUNTING COUNTING COUNTING!


  35. Diane Byrum says:

    Oh, Susan, everything sounds so yummy and so well planned. Do you think the recipes could go on the inside front and back cover? Maybe those places are already filled. I know you don’t leave too many blank spaces in your books which is a wonderful thing. Just thought you could squeeze two more on the inside of the front and back. Sleeping in until 5 is not such a bad thing–you really slept until 4 because we lost an hour this past weekend, right? So many treats–30th Anniversary edition of Heart of the Home, Christmas cookbook, calendars, Isle of Dreams and you’re taking us on a cruise! You are absolutely the bestest and most thoughtful girlfriend in the whole wide world! Thank you xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      What goes around comes around Diane! 🙂 Thank you for that thoughtful idea, I’m chewing on it right now! xoxo

  36. Sharon Maier says:

    Happy Rainy Day, Susan…I love rain….because we usually get too little of it here in Texas unless it’s a total flood, and I’m a native Oregonian. Anyway….I’m glad you found Turn again…it’s a wonderful series and I was afraid it wasn’t coming back, but I, like you, just saw it would be back soon. Some things are good, and some are bad — I’m a bit upset that The Good Wife is finished, but at least Madam Secretary is still with us. I love that one. Your new Heart of the Home sounds beautiful…I treasure the old one, so it will stay with me…but new is good. I’m so looking forward to your visit to Austin…

  37. Jo says:

    Was thinking that Susan hadn’t posted anything for a week and here you are, hooray!
    Love the neighborly sharing of your life and busyness. Good to know that you are accomplishing much and will soon be taking us away with you for adventures.
    We are having much rain here in Salem, Oregon, too, but we need it and it isn’t horrific as in some unfortunate places in the South.
    Keep on keeping on, so we can enjoy the sunshine of your work.

  38. Marsha MacLean says:

    Dear Susan,
    Although I agree that the Orange-Lavendar -Polenta cake has many good qualities, I am anxious to see all the other recipes you have already chosen! (Is it selfish of me to want you to just keep it where it is, in A Fine Romance, from where I baked it?)
    I love the story of how you’re able to sleep in today and have your dear Joe making a fire… Such a perfect rainy day in New England! I can’t wait to see you when you come to Vroman’s and am anxiously waiting for my copy of Martha’s Vineyard. I’m also looking forward to when you take us all along back across the ocean!
    It’s nice here in California today and we have been enjoying our share of rain, so we can breathe a little easier about the drought. (Whew!)
    I love love love the tiny tiny vase with your snowdrops in it!
    Perfect song for today! Dreaming, love, Marsha

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so glad that you have been getting rain. You deserve it . . . I worry about poor California and all those wonderful almond trees!

  39. Ellen says:

    I loved the first season of Turn and have been looking all over for it. Thanks for letting us know.
    There is a movie on Netflix called “Quartet.” Maggie Smith and lots of English countryside, it’s a cute movie if you haven’t seen it. Happy Spring!

  40. Cathy Mozley says:

    A real serendipity moment came for me last week when I picked up your book, A Fine Romance, in the travel section of our local library. I was also looking for books on traveling in Britain because I am trying to plan a driving tour around the perimeter of Britain after seeing London, Bath and part of the Cotswold area two years ago. And I already have a ticket to fly to Boston next month and spend the week at Cape Cod and go over to Martha’s Vineyard. Your book just rolled my future travel plans into one book! I love the format of this book and look forward to buying some of your other ones. You are coming to do a book signing near me ( Woodstock, GA) on June 25th. If I don’t happen across you on Martha’s Vineyard next month, I will look forward to meeting you here in GA. I am showing and telling my four daughters and my friends about your awesome books!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Cathy . . . they’ve always been a word of mouth thing with moms and daughters, sisters and best friends, one of my favorite things about them. Your trip sounds fantastic! We’re going to Scotland in the fall and I’m taking the blog (virtually) with us on the ship and on the trip . . . so join us if you are able! See you in Georgia!

  41. Susan, I just love hearing from you!
    Just the title of this post “Rainy Day on Martha’s Vineyard” allows me to close my eyes and remember that beautiful breezy October day when Tom and I ferried to the Island to spend the day. One of my very best memories, and one that I can revisit anytime I close my eyes. Lunch in Edgartown, learning about the painted cottages at Oak Bluffs, stopping by “Jaws Beach”, exploring Carly Simon’s shop by the ferry landing…just like a dream, it was so beautiful and satisfying to my senses.
    Northern Indiana is waking up to spring buds and greenery. A dense fog caused a two-hour delay this morning, so we had the sweetness of watching our eight-year-old granddaughter Tegan here with us for two hours before I dropped her off at school. Speaking of Carly Simon…”these ARE the good old days!”
    Have a lovely day, Susan. I’ll be sure to catch “Turn,” and if you ever do catch “A Place to Call Home”, let us know what you think. I think you’ll be enchanted.

    Happy Springtime!
    …Barb from Warsaw, IN (home of “Perfect Ben,” this year’s “Bachelor”, and a son of good friends of ours here in town!)

    • sbranch says:

      I think this was your first posting, but just in case we’re having gremlin problems, here it is “again?” xoxo

  42. Teresa says:

    How much fun to see a sneak peak of the new, updated book. I have my original, which I love so much, so I can’t wait to see what you include in the new book. I bought my copy on my first trip to MV, many, many years ago. I love the cheesecake recipe! I have made the orange polenta cake, which I halved, and it really is delicious. I vote for taking it out, if I had to vote. But we will love you no matter what you decide!!! Can’t wait for my next copy of Yankee Magazine to see the ad up close.

  43. Jan Hammond says:

    Hi Susan! We friends in Colorado Springs, Gale, Jackie and me, Jan, are very excited to be meeting you at the Tattered Cover bookstore in Littleton, CO which is not far from our homes…in May—it’ll be here before we know it!
    We LOVED your synopsis of Downtown Abbey after each performance on
    Masterpiece Theater. We are reading your blog faithfully. We love you, Susan—you brighten our lives!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Just making sure, DON’T want to miss you… I think we’re going to the East Colfax Tattered Cover in Denver . . . No? Or is that the same thing as Littleton? Say hi to all the girls, I look forward to seeing you!

  44. Bonnie Porro says:

    What a nice surprise to see this blog in my email today. We are having a beautiful, sunny 85 degree day here in the DFW area and I have been out enjoying our weather. I love your snowdrops, a sure sign that Spring is on the way. I love that you are doing an update to “Heart of the Home.” I have all of your books and actually bought the first one (the Christmas book) as a Christmas gift for a friend about 20+ years ago. Since I had purchased it a couple of weeks early, I looked through it once, then again, then yet again and then tried one of the recipes. Somehow I got something on one of the pages so since I could not give my friend an obviously used cookbook, I kept it for myself and got her something else. I have enjoyed that book for all of these years and all of the others as well. I have given many as gifts for others to enjoy.
    I’m looking forward to the upcoming book and many more in the years to come.
    Best of Spring to you and Joe. See you in Austin.


  45. Jill says:

    Susan, The orange lavender cake would make a great addition to the book. I have so wanted to make it but can not find or afford the large amount of almond flour needed. I have tried to find substitutes to no avail. I know Bob’s Red Mill or King Authur are possibilities. Any other suggestions?
    I am thankful to relive Downton Abbey by rereading your blogs and have so enjoyed your books. Thanks for sharing all of your talents with the rest of us.

    • sbranch says:

      I get it at my supermarket and usually it’s Bob’s, but I bet you could find it cheaper on line . . . maybe even through Amazon. I just went to Bob’s website and they are having a 25% off sale on all flour . . . you could get it and freeze it . . . BOB’S . . . xoxoxo

  46. Oh, Susan! What a joy it must be to be working with a ruler, pencil and eraser, pen and ink, and your watercolors again! A full-circle of love! ♡

    Cranberry Tea Cake? Yes, please! Your Orange Lavender Polenta Cake is such a special part of A Fine Romance. We will always remember which book it is in! I love that you are adding new favorites to Heart of the Home. My family will thank you, too! ♥ Whenever I make something especially delicious during the holidays, my brothers always ask if it is a Susan Branch recipe. 🙂 So many of our family traditions come from your books!

    I just adore all of your Rumi quotes. We chose one of his quotes as part of our wedding ceremony! ♥ So special…
    May this week be filled with creativity and sweet memories, Susan!
    Happy painting!
    Dawn (in Illinois)

  47. Paula Cutchey says:

    Hi Susan,
    Will you be in England for the coronation of King William IV? I think I am as excited about your trip as you are, being the armchair traveller that I am! I have never been a cook so only know your books recently through A Fine Romance which I love, love, love. I did make your polenta cake and cookies from the book but I always wonder how can one make a meal without cooking!?! I do attempt this often but if you have suggestions I am all ears!
    Glad all is well on your island. The birds are singing and the sun shining in central Texas today. A red letter day indeed.

    • sbranch says:

      I looked up King William the IV and it seems he was King in the 19th century … are you talking about a celebration of his coronation? Another question. . . “how can one make a meal without cooking?” Are you saying you would rather not cook? Because there sure are a lot of stores out there providing precooked things, its just not as much fun or creative, but it’s there. You can get bacon and make BLT’s. although I guess that’s cooking! You sound happy, you have your birds and the sun, life is good! xoxo

      • Paula Cutchey says:

        I read the queen wants to spend more time with her 94 year old husband so is stepping down and they are passing over Charles and will have Will and Kate be the new king and queen. So the coronation will be sometime this year. It will be the $1 billion event!
        I like to do tea parties but I cannot cook at the same time so perhaps I should have said make ahead food that is easy to prepare. I like to serve fruitcup in little glass swans and a plate of crustless sandwiches or date nut bread with whipped cream cheese, for example. Scones or bakewell tarts must be bought or done ahead.

  48. Vicki says:

    I would say, for myself, do not change a thing – I would have the recipe in Fine Romance, and all new recipes in your revised and expanded first book. In that way I would “have it all”! I made your pineapple upside down cake in anticipation of summer coming – I have never had such a big hit from my family!!! Loved it so much and it was a joy to make. I made mine in my cast iron skillet and it was perfect. My first time to use vanilla bean when I made the vanilla sauce. My kitchen garden is under way now and will be ready to plant when my husband nails the last picket! Happy day!!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s one of my favorites . . . delicious and beautiful all at the same time! Yay on your new garden! How exciting!

  49. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Most of us have A Fine Romance, hence the polenta cake recipe. Don’t need it again.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, this has been the dilemma . . . I still kind of like it to be in a collection of tried and true, so it’s not left out. Working on the book again this morning, so I will take another look.

      • Susan P. says:

        I voted for the cake not to be put in the new revised Home. But after reading all the comments… I am one of few. But that is okay…. because I was going to buy the new revised Home anyway…. and your comment here shows that you would really LOVE to put it in the book. You are the artist and you have put together many WONDERFUL BOOKS So I am sure this one will also be JUST PERFECT!!!!!! Also, what if you lend your new Home book out to your best friend…..and then you want to make the Polenta Cake….well you can run and get your AFR and there it will be!!!! We will now have that great Polenta Cake in 2 books…JUST IN CASE!!!!! Love it…so glad that I figured that out hahahaha
        Love, Susan P.

  50. Jan Lane says:

    Spring is around the corner here as well……we have daffodils poking out through the dirt. Soon we will plant, sometime around Mother’s Day, as we can still get snow here in the California mountains.

    I find myself longing for the ocean, and thinking about how nice it would be to just be driving up PCH with no particular destination in mind.

    I love hearing about how you manage to fill the hours of a day, with such creativity. Inspiring………but alas, I am sitting here on the computer, with chores to do, and have plenty of problems with just that.

    Enjoy your day. 5 am. is an incredibly early time to be waking up! You must be ready to wind down now and I have literally, barely started my day!

  51. Pat Simon says:

    I agree, TURN is a very good series. I “marathon” watched Season 1 after some friends told me about the series. Our Library has ordered Season 2 and I am in the queue to borrow it soon, hopefully before Season 3 begins. That is one nasty officer and I hope the writers have some “special” things in store for him. 🙂

  52. KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

    First, yes, put that recipe in the book! It’s a wonderful choice and, as you said, one might more easily remember it in a cookbook possibly kept in the kitchen. So excited about all this fun new goodness coming out of your house of creativity! Love that little watering can full of snowdrops! What a sweet girlfriend it was who sent it to you. Counting the days until our tea party/book signing in IL. It will be the week of my 40th wedding anniversary, too! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, recipe books are collections of good recipes, and I think this one will fit in great. See you soon Karen!

  53. Maureen Modl says:

    I hope I get to see you again in California! My sister traveled down from Cupertino and I came up from Santa Barbara for your book signing in SLO! Can hardly wait for your new book to arrive! Safe trip. Maureen

  54. Rae Ann R. says:

    Can I be the first comment? Wow! To answer your questions~it sounds to me you want to put the orange lavender polenta cake in the cookbook so I say put it in…No, I haven’t seen or heard of Turn, but I’ll have to see if I can find it on AMC…Yes, I likey the page from the 2017 calendar~just enough to whet our appetites! Yes, sooner or later those things written on Susan Branch purse, wall and desk calendars do get here! I hope to see you in Hudson and/or Cincinnati OH…can’t wait…I am beginning to see little tiny green shoots of tiger lilies poking through our northern Michigan soil~nothing here is up like your snow drops! Xoxo…

  55. Rae Ann R. says:

    P.S. Yes~quadroopalidge it is!

  56. B. Franklin says:

    I adore the teeny tiny watering can filled with snow drops. xo As for the polenta cake, have been meaning to make it but have not yet. You should put it in the revised recipe book as it is sometimes a challenge to find a ‘goooood’ gluten free cake and certainly one to feed so many. It would be a treat for all seasons. Thanks dear Susan, for your inspiration.

    • sbranch says:

      You will love this one! I promise. Anyone one would love it, gluten free or not. It’s just plain yummy.

  57. Joyce Collins says:

    Hi Susan, I totally enjoyed your blog (as usual). I would really like to see the orange lavender polenta cake in the reissued cookbook. I agree that it should be in a cookbook, but, whichever way the cookie crumbles is okay with me.
    Already have my steamer trunk out and dusted off for our next big trip. I’m raring to go!
    Hugs… ChiChi

    • sbranch says:

      Me too! We are going to have SO much fun . . . getting on the boat, crossing the sea, scary but fun! 🙂

  58. Rae Lange says:

    Hi! I’ll sure miss downton too….sigh. ok okey dokey..to answer your questions: I vote for the tea cake recipe to be included in revised book. Would it be possible to do both versions; say gluten free and regular? I was lucky enough to find a copy of Heart of the Home at a yard sale. What fun! My favorite recipe from obit is the corn pudding – a family favorite! ! Well enjoy the rain – your flowers will be gorgeous! Have a great WEEK – XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      This cake is just gluten-free naturally . . . it’s delicious and there is no way to feel like you are “missing something.” You know what, I had a Rae in my life a long time ago and we called her Raerae too! 🙂

  59. AnneL says:

    I can’t believe it’s been 30 years. I’m looking forward to the updated anniversary copy! hmm, maybe a quadrilogy? Since I have A Fine Romance, I’d like to see a different recipe! just my thought. What a cute little watering can, it goes so well! and no I haven’t seen Turn I’ve seen it advertised so now I need to watch one just to listen to the music. I do like the sneak peak!! I’ve got it jotted down in my planner/diary to get Yankee so I can see the advertisement!, hm, think that’s all of the questions. Wish you could come up to Traverse City, Michigan some time in your book signing tours! Thanks for all you do, I really enjoy reading your blogs, Willard and books!!

  60. Gladys Marie says:

    “Dream”, my favorite song. First heard Toni Tennille sing this, and I sing along every time. You surprised me with this wonderful song today. Your dialogue, color, and joy, pouring through my computer screen, brings my soul to life again. Thanks so much. I share your notes with my daughter. Stay happy. Love “GM”

  61. Hi Dearies,

    I think you should include the Polenta Cake- because great cakes are worth repeating. I think it will integrate nicely into the updated cookbook. Hopefully what you leave out will appear elsewhere too- because I am greedy like that. 😉

    The watering pot is adorable with the snowdrops in it. I will look forward to the Cranberry Tea Cake recipe and everything else new and wonderful.
    Dark Victory is a great Bette Davis movie- although I do like Now Voyager much better. Great job on finishing up your task list and it won’t be long until you are off on your adventure. 🙂

    I have been planting up a storm out here, starting seedlings in my sister’s greenhouse- we made 500+ seed starting blocks last weekend for tomatoes and peppers and squash etc. and it’s almost time to direct sow the cold weather crops. Oh boy, Spring!
    Bee well and enjoy the return to the lighter days.

    • sbranch says:

      You are GOOD! How big is your garden?

      • I have a tiny garden that I am always trying to cram more into than will reasonably fit. 😉 I have a perennial herb bed and a few fruit trees and gooseberry and raspberry bushes and a few alpine strawberries along with a space dedicated to growing season veggies and flowers. Right now all the green shoots of the peonies and day lilies are coming up and the hellebores are blooming in profusion.
        My younger sister, Tonya, has a bigger yard, she lives about fifteen minutes drive away from us in Bountiful (isn’t that a great name) and she is getting 8 chicks later this month to put in a cute little chicken coop and we’re also going to keep a beehive together there this year. I love growing things- as I know you do too! <3

        • sbranch says:

          I do! I love hearing about what others are doing too! Who wouldn’t want to live in Bountiful! Thank you Gabi!

  62. Gill Smith says:

    Yes please Susan, I would like the polenta cake recipe in your new book! I am so excited that you are releasing it again. Loved your music choice today, don’t know why, but it made me very nostalgic. As soon as it was finished, I phoned my parents who live 200miles away; just needed to hear their voices.
    Your little watering can was charming, just right for your dainty snowdrops.Have a lovely day, and look forward to next week, when all your good work will be finished. Well done in advance😘 Gill x

    • sbranch says:

      Those songs always remind me of my parents too. Sitting on the green couch in the house I grew up in, the radio on, reading my book . . .

  63. Kristen says:

    So happy to see this today Susan!!! It is a dreary day in Minnesota, and I’m still trying to catch up from springing forward (it is horribly hard on me for some reason). Thanks for the sunshine you always bring!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I find it oddly difficult too. For the first week I am always saying, “Yeah, but it’s REALLY such-and-such a time.”

  64. Ladyheartwell in Berkeley Springs WV says:

    DearHeart, While reading your blog today I immediately perked up after looking out at our dreary rainy afternoon. Your blogs are so joyful. 😄

    I started a journal after my marriage to my teenage sweetheart who I hadn’t seen for fifty years. When I saw your “diary picture” I just had to print it and paste it inside the cover of my 2nd journal book. The pages of my journal as where I can open up my heart in writing, of course. Smile!! Perhaps I should play your “musica” the next time I put my pen to paper; listening to these wonderful old songs brought back many memories of times past.

    My precious husband built a frame to hang some bird feeders from, and it’s just outside the kitchen window over the sink. Now we can see the chickadees, finches, small woodpeckers of a couple of varieties, and last, but not least, the gorgeous brilliant red male cardinals with their muted red and taupe mates. They have given us so much pleasure that we just had to stop by “Wild Birds Unlimited” when we spied their store in the city. That place was hard to leave!!

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you again for brightening my day to match my many blessings. Also, just wondering what time you USUALLY get up in the morning? You REALLY sound like an early bird.

    Blessings to you and your Joe,

    • sbranch says:

      LOVE Wild Birds Unlimited . . . that is a wonderful store. We had them in California. So fun and all the cute feeders and things. So happy you can see all this from your kitchen window . . . we love ours too, just makes the best Disney-like view in the world. Yes, very early, like 3 or 4. Three when I’m trying to make a deadline. Really, I just get up when I wake up, because the world is too thrilling to let me go back to sleep!

  65. Cathy Hoff says:

    omg…just got the email that tickets will be going on sale. I am SO excited!! I tell anyone and everyone who will listen, even if they don’t want to! lol I’m fighting a cold and this blog was just what I needed to cheer me up. That cranberry cake looks divine! I have the original Heart of the Home cookbook, and can’t wait to add to it. Yay!!

    Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you in a month!

  66. Conno says:

    Your recipes are so wonderful that I would hate to have you remove even a single one from the new book. You have told us in which book to find this one, and that should suffice! I for one, am not willing to give up even a single new recipe! Please, don’t remove one.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, from popular demand, it looks like I’m going to be including it, but I’m thinking no one could tell . . . hopefully you have the first book ~ that way you can have your cake and eat it too! 🙂

  67. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    What a fantastic Post, but they always are*** I think you should include the wonderful Polenta Cake. Yes yes yes
    I love your sweet little water can and the snow drops. Now I want snow drops in my yard. I will have to see if they have any at our Garden Center here in Ct when all the plants come out
    enjoy your rainy day. I adore rainy days

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll like them because if they’re happy they multiply. Also, you let them be in your lawn, long before there is mowing, and when mowing starts, they just disappear.

  68. Vicki Wilkes says:

    So glad “Heart Of The Home” is being reissued! I lost mine in one of our many moves and really look forward to this new edition. When will it be available?

  69. Joann says:

    Ahhhh….sleeping in, even if it’s 5 AM for you, I’m so happy you enjoyed it and now a fire and rain and painting and baking and kitties….

    Simple pleasures are the best!

    Cadie and I took another watercolor class yesterday. Guess what?

    It’s not easy. LOL

    Have a lovely week!!


  70. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Aren’t the snowdrops extra pretty this year? I have some tucked in a teeny tiny little brown pottery mug that’s sitting on my kitchen windowsill. You know, after lilacs, they were Gladys Taber’s favorite flower, too 🙂 The cranberry tea cake looks wonderful! Just showed the pic to hubby…one of his favorite autumn desserts is your cranberry apple crisp, so he’s looking forward to this one, too. We’re both looking forward to seeing you in New Hope in May! I met you at the Stillmeadow reunion in CT a couple years ago, and am so happy to be able to make this signing and tea, too. I’ve tried the polenta cake and it is yummy, and it makes a HUGE cake if you make the full recipe. I vote for leaving it out of Heart of the Home and adding a new recipe! Last but not least…so happy you got to sleep in till 5 this morning! 🙂 ❤️

  71. Sue Stoodt says:

    Hello, lovely lady! We’re voting today in Illinois – what a thrill that my daughter wanted to come home from college in Wisconsin to be part of the process on the actual day?! All my lectures on women not having the right to vote til 96 years ago – I’ve done my job. I tell you, these young ones….they give me hope for the future, they really do! <3 I'm looking forward to seeing you in May – already have tickets for my sister and me! Absolutely can't wait! Now for the serious business – the 30th anniversary edition. PLEASE find a way to add the Orange Lavender Polenta Cake recipe. You see, I wasn't celiac/gluten free back in 1986, but I am now and would love to have the recipe in the cookbook. Please take on advisement only. Thank you for a lovely visit today! XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t that amazing, when you think of it? Only 96 years with the vote . . . since the beginning of time? And when you get old enough, you can look back, and realize that ANYTHING can happen. You did your job, Sue! You’ll get that recipe!

  72. Cathy Aquilina says:

    Susan, I am so excited about all of the new books coming out. Can’t wait, but I must tell you about my two year old granddaughter, Paige. Paige spends every Friday with her Grandma and Papa and from her highchair she can see your calendar hanging on the side of my cupboard, she asked me two Fridays ago what was that on the cupboard and I told her it was Grandma’s calendar and she repeated the word “calendar”. I then told her about the picture of you drawing the boat and gave her a general description of the March drawing and story, well when she got home she saw her Mom’s calendar on the side of the fridge (of course, it is yours) and she told her Mom “calendar”! Now every time she is here and she is eating we talk about the calendar and the drawing. So, you have a very young “Girlfriend” and she loves your work! Ever thought about doing a children’s book? Have a wonderful day!! Cathy

    • sbranch says:

      That is just the sweetest thing ever Cathy! Thank you! Makes my day! I’ve thought of doing a children’s book, but I’m so busy doing children’s books for big people, I haven’t had time yet!

  73. Linda Pintarell says:

    I say…put the Lavender Polenta Cake in there…for reason you stated. LOVE the little watering can…so cute. Picked me up a cute tiny flower holder at the Palm Springs Street Fair last weekend and popped in a single camelia – love it. Three street fairs in one weekend…enough is enough…but so fun. Attending a wedding in the Temecula Wine country in a few days…should be in the 80’s and lovely…looking forward to it and the beauty of the area…and, of course, the wine.
    Happy St. Paddy’s Day everyone!

  74. Regina Carretta says:

    Hi Susan….aren’t those rainy days great for getting things done around the house? And thanks for “Dream” – such a classic standard – have you heard Frank Sinatra’s rendition?
    Good idea to lift some of your recipes from “A Fine Romance” and put them into a cookbook, so they are easily referenced…..
    Speaking of missing Downton …. have you seen “Island At War”? It didn’t last long since the writer passed away…..the story of the Channel Islands and how they dealt with the war – some of our favorite UK actors (including the actress who played Anna in DA) and a story line to hook us in!
    Take care….have more tea….

    • sbranch says:

      Frank sang with this group, the Pied Pipers . . . he may even be in this rendition. We loved Island at War (of course!) thank you Regina!

  75. Hilda C. White says:

    Greetings, Susan!
    Just wondered…will you be offering for pre-order, your 30th Anniversary edition of “Heart of the Home”?
    Cannot wait to get my copy of “…Isle of Dreams”. I treasure your books and your blog, etc., etc.
    They are a welcome relief and respite from all of the craziness.
    Warmest regard,
    Hildy : )

    • sbranch says:

      I’m talking to Kellee and Sheri . . .they are usually the ones to decide when the Studio can handle the extra excitement! 🙂 Thank you Hildy!

  76. Nicoline says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for a lovely post. I’m really looking forward to the new book, and can’t wait to hold it, and quickly go through the pages, see what’s there, look at the pictures and drawings, and then S*L*O*W*L*Y read it, hoping to make it last as long as possible…Is that just me, or do others do that as well?
    Anyway, you have a wonderful day and thank you for the gorgeous picture of Kitty! How is she doing?

    • sbranch says:

      Better. She seems to be putting on a little weight . . . she’s a doll baby, that’s for sure!

  77. Vickie in Olympia says:

    Ohhhh! That looks so delicious! I love colorful food. Hard decision to make about the Polenta Cake. You know it is a favorite so maybe it should go in and the other recipe can be in book 5 (LOL). PS I love that you have “completed” your self imposed work and only have to do a few things more. Only a non-female would think “completed” meant you had nothing more to do. HAHAHA

  78. I would love to see the Polenta Cake in the cookbook. My dear friend suffers from Celiac disease and we are always looking for things she can eat especially a dessert. So glad all your work is caught up. How exciting! We are looking forward to your visit at The Learned Owl in Ohio. See you in May!

  79. Harriett says:

    Wow! This post is so chock full of chock full. I cannot begin BUT the fire in the morning is my idea of heaven. Cheers! Harriett

  80. nellie says:

    Oh! Include the cake! I’ve a daughter on a gluten restrictive food plan, and this would be perfect! We even have the correct size pans!:-)

    It’s such an exciting time when one makes out a schedule for completing tasks, and now you have accomplished that goal! Huge congratulations to you! You are an amazing “self-starter.”:-)

    We’ve sunshine here today and 75 degrees – no fire in the fireplace here! Seems like it is almost time to plant – BUT – cooler weather is on the horizon, so gardening will wait a bit.

    As always, I send along my wishes for your continued success!! Can hardly wait until you are in Asheville this coming June!!

    xo Nellie

  81. Karen Holly says:

    Oh Susan, my Beatrix Potter people have expressed a desire to have a little watering can like the one your People have………help!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I really think it must have come from a craft store, it isn’t even an inch tall! I keep waiting for the water to melt it, I have no idea what it’s made of, but so far, so good!

      • Karen Holly says:

        Ahhh, a craft store. That makes complete sense. That is where I shall look for a little watering can for my Beatrix Potter People. They thank you so much, as do I!
        Susan, what is the publishing date for Heart of the Home? I cannot wait until it is available!!

        • sbranch says:

          We’re figuring out the schedule with the printer right now . . . I’ll be sure to let you know. I do know that we will get it before the stores . . . just not the exact date quite yet.

  82. Jo in Western Springs, IL says:

    I simply love the Lavender Polenta Cake! In fact, I made it for the morning after our youngest daughter’s wedding for brunch. Everyone was chowing down on it and there wasn’t even a crumb left. It’s an unusual cake and would be a wonderful addition to an already delightful cookbook.

  83. Marie W. says:

    Well, Susan, since you are asking I am not in favor of replacing a recipe in a previous book to place in one that is already included in A Fine Romance. I understand you really think the polenta cake is wonderful, but it’s already out there (and now it’s on the blog!) and by taking anything away from the older book it changes it in an uncomfortable way (for me). I thought I had Heart of The Home, but when I went to check it was Vineyard Seasons instead so guess this new re-release is something I am going to want. Waiting for Isle of Dreams to arrive…………

    • sbranch says:

      Well, you will find yourself with a longer, better and more interesting Heart of the Home, with lots of new recipes, so it will be worth it!

  84. Polly Stone says:

    Yes, Please, include the Orange Lavender Polenta Cake!!! I’m gluten free, and am so sad that I can’t bake all of the goodies in your cookbook, it would be great to include this one in the cookbook!!!

  85. Susan P. says:


    What a delight this blog has been. In regards to the Polenta Cake, I have made it and it came out wonderful…I had an Estate Tea…..did not know for sure how many would be able to come. So this was perfect… had plenty for everyone… and WOW everyone loved it!!! I would like to see ALL 16 of the NEW recipes in Heart of the Home….and keep this one in AFR. Maybe you could included it in your store as Kitchen Art…that way if anyone wanted it in their new book they could just slip it in or have it on their wall for a fast and very good Tea Cake…when they are surprised by guest….of course it would take awhile to bake….but by then they would have taken care of all the gossip of the day. Also, Love the new page for the 2017 calendar. Are you teasing us with Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, and then Book 4 and etc ???? Should I be getting excited for MORE great adventures with you? I am going to have to get a bigger bookshelf just for all of your books!!! Your blog came on day that needed some extra sunshine and it did the job. Thanks again for the special gift of YOU and sharing so much with us. Love, Susan P.

  86. Georgeann says:

    Yes please put any recipes from your books into your cookbooks. I’m sorry when I read a book which contains great sounding recipes that I don’t remember to go back and try them.
    I remember that when I read the recipe in your book it sounded so delicious. But I never
    Went back to try it. Great idea!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, getting it into an actual cookbook is going to help people to remember to make it! Thanks Georgeann!

  87. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    Ahh…now I can go on living again…SB’s blog for my soul. Thanks Susan! I wish you could see my smile from ear to ear after reading your wonderful post filled to the rim with goodies. Boy, I want a piece of that cake now. Yum! I have to tell you I finally read Fairytale Girl last week after recouping from surgery (I needed a pick me up) and boy oh boy did it hit the spot. F-a-b-u-l-o-u-s! You wrote about my life. I laughed; I cried; I held my breath; I thought back to my big love (hubby); the nest we built together and how I thought it would last f-o-r-e-v-e-r as I was busy playing little Susie Homemaker. We are from the same time frame so I could identify on each and every page. Wasn’t life simpler? Our dreams were so touchable and attainable. I would not change anything for the world. Susan, thank you for taking us along with you on your journey called life. I cannot wait for our trip across the country. Should I pack light this time? 🙂

    • Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

      A PS note: Loved the part about your Dad making a bomb shelter. OMG; still laughing at it all.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve got the van, so, in the words of my honeyman, bring it all! SO happy you liked Fairy Tale Girl! Love to hear it Susie, thank you for telling me!

      • Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

        Oops! I neglected to put in my vote to “add the cake” to the new book. I have the original and I liked what you answered one of the other girlfriends, that she “could have her cake and eat it too” if she got the new copy. We all know we can never have enough wonderful, right?

  88. Wendy Louise says:

    ❤️Oh Susan what a lovely post !❤️ I absolutely love the polenta cake, I have made it twice.I made it for Christmas because my daughter has a gluten allergy. It was a smashing hit. So my idea for you is to include it but, what if you put it on the back dust cover for the book, then you don’t have to exclude any other recipes. I bought your first baby when she came out(I assume it is a girl😉), and I love all the recipes. It would be a bonus but on the dust cover.
    Paul and I love Turn and we too have only seen the first season (twice). Paul loves history and true stories. I am hoping one of the girlfriends know where we can see the second before the third starts. Oh what a lovely rainy day but now even more lovely with your post, Thank-you dear one ! OX Wendy-Louise

    • sbranch says:

      We got the answer Wendy-Louise . . . April 11, Season Two starts on Netflix! Yay!

      • Wendy Louise says:

        Yay, Yay, Yay ! I knew one of these most fantastic girlfriends in the world would know. You know Susan this world here you started is just a ❤️Haven❤️for the most wonderful conversations. Such Love, positivity, and charm. Whenever someone is having a down day Doctors should prescribe your website with all the conversations to read. I bet the drug manufacturers would see a drop in sales.😊 Thank-you most wonderful Ladies and a few Gentlemen too!

  89. CarolK (NJ) says:

    Can I be honest…..I’m not a fan of polenta so I’d rather see the recipe for the cranberry tea cake in the anniversary cookbook. That tea cake looks scrumptious. I looked at the trailer for TURN and I’m going to pass on it especially since you said there is a very bad McNasty in it. I want more Downton Abbey-type shows ~ yaaaaaaaaaaaa! My sister and I are so geared up because we’re going to finally meet you in May at the New Hope (PA) signing. We talk about it constantly. P.S. If they serve the lavender polenta cake at the tea, I’ll taste it ~ who knows ~ that may change my mind about corn meal. Jersey hugs………..

  90. Melissa Andrew says:

    While I could not choose a recipe to “remove” I am so glad that Heart of the Home is being republished. Both my son and daughter are getting married this year and I think this new edition will make a great gift for both new families. They have grown up with Susan Branch books taking center stage in our cookbook bookcase.

  91. VickeyB says:

    I (very respectfully) vote for a new recipe for HotH, since we already have a copy of the Polenta cake in Fine Romance.

    I’m sure I speak for SO MANY of us when I say there can never be too many new Susan Branch recipes!!!!!

    I have a copy of Heart/Home from when it was first published, but I am so looking forward to the updated version.

    BTW–is there hope you may re-issue the Christmas book at some point? My copy disappeared ( 😡 ) many years ago, and I have never been able to replace it.

    Counting the days until “Martha’s Vineyard” is out–can’t wait!

  92. First of all…I missed the last episode of Downton Abbey, because I was with my sister’s family and they are playing catch up on Season 5. Anyway, I loved your summary AND my six year old neice got so excited when she and I read it. You see, she saw Alnwick Castle and got so excited, because she has spent a couple of semesters living in it!!! I told her that Edith will be living there, but not to tell her mom and dad. 😉
    I hate to see you take out a recipe, but THAT one is a good one…so put it in.
    Glad to hear all is caught-up. 🙂
    However, are you still planning a breakfast cookbook??? If you are…could you include some recipes from Great Britain as well as our old favorites?

    • sbranch says:

      What kind of school lives in Alnwick Castle? I want to go to that school!

      • My brother-in-law is from Wales, but now he teaches geography and lives in St. Cloud, MN. Lucky for them the professor’s from there and up in Northumberland have reciprocity. When he teaches up there, they put the visiting professors up in the castle. My sister lets the girls play dress-up as princesses. LOL One year before they left my sister told me she was mending a torn veil. I almost busted a gut laughing, and I said I thought princesses didn’t tear their veils.
        Before coming home to the US, they visit granddad in Wales.

      • PS What about a breakfast cookbook???

  93. Elaine Erhart says:

    I think it would be good to have the Polenta Cake in a cookbook. Go for it!

  94. Susan Wager says:

    I sense that Girl Kitty is already aware that Mom and Dad are preparing to wander again…… Look at that face! It’s kind of a “Really?” look. A look that I am familiar with when I leave my kitties behind. Love all of your cookbooks and have them within easy reach in my kitchen…… I say include the Orange Lavendar Polenta Cake in the anniversary edition because you’re right! It is a cookbook I will reach for when I want to try something new. That being said, “A Fine Romance” has inspired my sister and I to plan a trip to England and travel some of the same roads … especially the lakes region! I so look forward to all of your posts and can’t wait to receive my copy of “Isle of Dreams”! Your writing and watercolor paintings inspire me! Love to you!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m thrilled to hear that you and your sister are going to England! Wonderful, I know you will love it! Love to you too Susan, thank you!

  95. Lynn Marie says:

    The Cranberry Tea Cake is going to be something wonderful to look forward to making this Fall! I am going to vote for having the Polenta Cake in both books. Spring is early this year and I am loving every minute of it. Hurry with the last of that work assignment you have given yourself so that playtime can begin!

  96. Ruth Winkler says:

    Dear Susan,

    My answer would be, do not print it again. Leave the cake in the one book and concentrate on your 16 others. (I have never served such a huge cake to folks, as we do not entertain that often and certainly not 24 people all at once. But that is me. Whatever you decide is okay, but this is just my feeling.) I love the tiny watering can and I must look outside to see if any snowdrops are coming up here in Vermont. We have had all kinds of weather this winter, but hardly any snow. Safe traveling!

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve had a very mild winter too, and had a couple, maybe 3, really good snowstorms to fill that inspirational cup! And just so you know, you can cut that cake in half and do a 9 inch cake . . .!

  97. Cindy Johnson says:

    I *loved* Season 1 of Turn, too! I read that Season 2 should be released on Netflix a few weeks before Season 3 begins on AMC which means it should be the first week of April! I vote for the Polenta Cake to be in the cookbook. It is hard to find good gluten-free cake recipes. (my daughter has to eat gluten-free). Even though I have it in my copy of A Fine Romance – I would hate for anyone to miss it that may not look there for recipes. Sneak-peeks are such fun and build up our excitement! <3
    I have your Atlanta book-signing on my (your) calendar and have my name tag ready to print! There should be ripe Ga. peaches by then so I will bring you a basket!!

    • sbranch says:

      MMMM, if you would have seen me reading, you would have noticed my eyes lighting up when you mentioned ripe Georgia peaches!!!! xoxo

  98. Carol Jones says:

    Greetings Susan,

    I like the idea of the Polenta cake in the “new” and “improved” book #1. It certainly serves a crowd, but it is also different from the usual flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, etc. cakes. I think it would be fun!

    P.S. I will be in Danville, CA to see you. I hope I’ll be able to find a place to park in the little town. I have introduced you to a friend from college (a long time ago) because she loves your style of art and loves kitties. We are going to meet there. Woo Hoo!

  99. Karen Wesson says:

    It will soon be four years since we met you on your last crossing of the Atlantic, hope you both have another wonderful trip.

    • sbranch says:

      My English friend Rachel and I were just lamenting that we hadn’t seen each other in four long years! How did that go by so quickly! Thank you Karen!

  100. susie says:

    Hello Susan, I can’t believe I am almost the first to leave a comment. LOL I love all your pictures and wonderful drawings. You are a great cook. My big cooking days are about over…I am into one pot meals. Can’t wait to see everything blooming at your house. It’s greening up here in Indiana and things are popping from the ground. Spring!! Blessings to you and your sweet husband and cats. xoxo,Susie

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