Hi Everyone! How are you?  We are home safe and sound, and happy, so happy to be here. Here are just a few photos of our family reunion at Vallecito Lake, “a beautiful spot, surrounded in tall pines, sheltered in a secluded mountain valley” at 8,000 feet,  just outside of Durango, Colorado, and more proof that . . .heaven


This was the moon-set at 5 am across the lake the morning we drove away, all packed up and heading back for the train and home.  Stopped in the dark, tires in gravel, in the cool mountain air, with lake lapping on shore, for this photo of paradise.


Here’s just one of the jillions of group photos we took . . . My fandamly, not all, but lots. The kind of fandamly that likes to stand in freezing water. Note who’s not in picture.


My nephew Ben, arriving with the “equipment.”


In this very lovely, spiritual place which has been a gathering place for us for years . . . ever since my brother Jim moved here years ago . . . the lake is  surrounded in wildflowers . . .


Where we did what we always do, we ate, we told stories, we sang . . . this is my brother Chuck dancing with my niece Heidi, daughter of my other brother Brad, at the campground.  Chuck sang too, songs he wrote ~ one of my favorites that I requested so I could record it for you ~ is a sad song called “To Be a Man” (not about my dad) . . . want to hear it? Listen close to the words . . .


And lucky me . . . these are the three “kids” that Joe and I took to England and Paris on the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2001, when, from left, Heidi was 11, Holly was 12, and Matty was 18. That’s Auntie Mame in the middle there, basking.


More wonderful moments than I can tell . . . Shelly’s twins, Paden and Mason, and my great nephews, Ben’s boys, Wyler and Beckett.

Mas Musica? Something old, something wonderful . . .


This was our cabin with the screened in porch … at Croll Cabins, right next to 5 Branches campsites … perfect for a family reunion ~ you could have a cabin, or set up a tent, or bring your camper, park next to the lake, and walk to each other’s places. It was heaven.


More wildflowers in the campground.

And now, before we talk about an important birthday celebration, and have a new giveaway ~ I just want to say thank you . . . your 900 comments in the last post were so beautiful!💛 When I was sad and missing my dear Dad, Jack to some, Blog Daddy to many, but John Patrick Stewart, Jr. in real life, all I had to do was read your words, filled with comforting, loving, life affirmations and I felt so much better! My dad would have loved them too. 💕 He so enjoyed reading your comments.Girl saying thank youT H A N K    Y O U


IMG_4073And now, here’s Joe . . . bringing in the cake . . . because we want to extend heartfelt
Birthday wishesT O

RibbonIMG_6306roses. . . who would be 150 years old on July 28 . . . wouldn’t she love to know how many wonderful events are taking place this year in her memory!  (Actually, I think she would feel humbled by it.) But I want to add my own respects and admiration to the many voices (you can read some of them at the Beatrix Potter Society, and become a member like me! They send the most wonderful newsletters, both online and in the mail, and there’s more information about the celebrations HERE  and HERE and good shopping for BP stuff, HERE), and it all keeps coming. Because she was truly something else.


As most of you know . . . I took a trip to see Beatrix’s famous Hilltop Farm a while back, something I’d wanted to do for many years. And it was everything I’d hoped it would be, filled with the little bits of her life that she saved just for us, so that someday we could go there and be in the presence of magic.3318082

leaf borderMost everyone knows about her “little bunny books” and that they are the best selling children’s books of all time . . . and that they started with her illustrated letters like this one below that she wrote to the children of her former governess . . .

Beatrix potter

Many words have been written, both by her and even more, ABOUT her including a wonderful movie I know you would love, Miss Potter (if you haven’t already seen it). 👏 But her charming books are only the beginning of what made Beatrix so very special.

Beatrix Potter

Peter RabbitBefore she ever wrote a book, Beatrix was a serious scientist whose discoveries were summarily dismissed by the scientific community, simply because she was a woman ~ this was Victorian England where women were not supposed to be scientists (or much of anything else).  Her scientific discoveries were a fascinating part of her story ~ she discovered something which is still viable today, but the loss to the scientific world was nothing compared to what she was able to offer through her creative love of nature to the imaginations of children the world over, when she picked herself up, dusted herself off, and self-published her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. And the rest is history herstory.Nature!get-attachment.aspx

Because the story didn’t end at that misogynistic defeat, nor even at the glorious success of her books, she was just beginning to find her true place where she would leave her real legacy. When she lost her first love, she was inspired to buy a small farm in the Lake District of northern England, a place she’d been drawn to since she was a child. And, not long after, she left book writing behind her and found a new passion in farming and raising sheep, preserving a breed that was almost extinct. She loved the old ways and bought her potter-quotefurniture for Hilltop at barn sales and auctions. She hand-embroidered her own bed coverings and never put electricity in her house, so you can just imagine the quiet sounds of birdsong and wind and snow fall and teacup-in-saucer noises that she spent her life enjoying. And she took her bunny-book money and bought 14 farms and over 4,000 acres of the Lake District to keep them from the greedy hands of developers. 👏 And she helped to start the National Trust. She married late and was happy with her husband for 30 years. If you’d like to read more about Beatrix Potter, try the wonderful biography by Linda Lear, Beatrix Potter, the Extraordinary Life of a Victorian Genius. stripofflowersget-attachment.aspx

Beatrix saved this land for forever enjoyment because she was far-thinking, not just thinking about today, but thinking about forever. She was ahead of her time, and  Inlovewithnature

Village of Near Sawrey

This is her little town of Far Sawrey in the Lake District where she made her home with her husband in that house on the far right of this photo. When you walk there, you walk where she walked, and really, nothing much has changed. I can’t wait to go back. Just to breathe that rarified air.

On the way to Near Sawrey

We’re going in the fall and I can’t wait to see the colors. . . we’ve only been in the springtime ….


Some of us discover Beatrix through her books, some learn about her through the National Trust, but I came to her through her little figurines, my “Beatrix Potter people,” which I found in my early 20s and have been in every place I’ve lived since then ~ I fell in love with the colors and the charm of her little critters, beautifully made in Beswick, England in the 40s and 50s.


Her life, once I learned about the things she did, as been an inspiration for me. I would love to do what she did.   And all those wonderful animal figurines but, surprisingly, no lambs! So I painted this one in her honor.


And these are my People . . .  some of them, there are more in other parts of the house, (and more in our webstore that I gathered as we drove across country) this is a gathering of the minds.  They are coming together to have a little tea party to celebrate Beatrix.  They made a cake . . .

cake YouHaveToBelieveWeAreMagic stripofflowersbirthdayparty

tea time teacups

for a Tea Party in honor of Beatrix Potter . . .


Try one of my favorite Tea Cakes EVER!  Invite someone to tea, and make a little toast to Beatrix.HOTHCranberryTeaCake HOTHVanillaSauce I’ve promised you this recipe for a long time, and now you have it, here and I also put it in my new, revised and expanded, 30th Anniversary edition of Heart of the Home, just out and available only here on my website and in some (actually any) independent bookstores (who contact us) until September.heart of the home


It’s even more delicious than it looks!my cup of tea


Yum, Happy Birthday dear Beatrix!  And also, in her honor, and in yours, a little giveaway … this wonderful little book . . .


Filled with descriptions of the woodland walks through the place Beatrix loved so much . . .


This useful book is filled with Beatrix’s charming color prints . . .


And lots of photos . . . it’s a great help for making plans for the next time you go . . . like a little dream book . . . I had one when we went and we followed the directions and the walks were wonderful…


 I signed the book and will personalize it to whoever wins this drawing . . . all you have to do is leave a comment at the end of this post and you will be entered, and in a few days we’ll get “Vanna” to draw the winning name, and I hope it’s YOURS 💖. . . but that’s not all …


Oh, yeah, Jemima Puddleduck wants to come too . . . .


This lovely old 1948 edition, the very first Beatrix Potter Person I ever bought, way back in  the 1970s.


She stands tall and proud and perfectly dressed. We’ll do the drawing after I get back from Cape Cod where I’m going on Thursday, on Beatrix Potter’s actual birthday, to celebrate her life at the Brewster Ladies Library with the Beatrix Potter Society and 400 like-minded Girlfriends where I will be reading the story of my first trip to Hilltop from my book and signing A Fine Romance Falling in Love with the English Countryside. So excited! And humbled. and thrilled. And will probably cry.

HeartThrobsThat makes sense to me. Thank goodness there are so many.💛

tell him

Hello you adorable thing.  . . if anyone will be on the Island on the 25th of August, I’ll be doing my last talk and signing in the USA (for this year) for Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams, for the Aquinnah Library at the Old Town Hall in Aquinnah at 5 pm. 📚 It’s free, so you would just show up and voila!

THANK YOU GIRLFRIENDS.  For everything.  Have the most wonderful day! XOXO 💚 Love you!home


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2,128 Responses to HOME AT LAST

  1. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Hello Susan & Joe (and kitties)
    First, my condolences on your Dad.
    I asked after him when I saw you in Morro Bay, I can’t remember what you answered, we went on to chat about other things. We were the last in line that day outside the library. I had this feeling though that something was amiss. He would be proud of how you soldiered on with the trip. I’m glad to hear that you and the family got to join together to celebrate his life. Your spot in Colorado looked wonderful. Our Dads are pretty special guys. We always remain their little girls, and we continue to try and please them even into our adult years. Very special times we have with our Dads. Mine turns 88 on the 4th of Aug. He isn’t able to give me his opinion on life anymore verbally, as he had a stroke a year and a half ago, but he is all up there and figures out how to communicate with me. I spend as much time as I can with he and Mom.
    So, glad your travels were safe. Happy you are home spoiling your kitties. Wish we were still scheduled to make that crossing this year….we probably would have been on the same ship. 🙁 We’re going to Victoria BC instead. I’ll squeeze into your suitcase with the other girlfriends and ride along like last time. Looking forward to it!
    Jan from Northern CA

  2. Kate says:

    What a lovely book. And how can you bear to part with Jemimah Puddleduck? I would take good care of her should I win the drawing. Vanna, please pick me!!!!

  3. Sandy H says:

    that ‘love and scandal’ teaspoon is hilarious! I laughed out loud when I read it.

  4. Kathy H says:

    Susan – so very sorry for your loss. I know it was comforting and healing to be with your family in CO. Just finished the new book last night. Loved it!!

  5. Darla B says:

    I just loved your family reunion pictures, the duck float is hilarious ! I just came back from a family reunion with my family in San Diego CA, 55 attended . We do our reunions every three years, and they have been all over the United States, so far in at least 7 states depending on which family was the coordinator for that particular year. I’m so thankful we’ve been able to carry this tradition on for over 35 years. Our reunions make wonderful memories for generations to come! Looks like you had a wonderful time with your family too, thanks for sharing.

  6. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    Dearest Susan….I cant keep up with you and your travels and book signings and successes! You know how to live life and how to savor it! Even when you write about your personal life…..or should I say…LIVES….you are so generously inclusive that it makes all of the Girlfriends feel so great and gives us such fun and joy. I cant comment on everything…although it all deserves to be commented about and praised….but one thing was the pic of Joe with the lighted birthday cake. I had to laugh because it was adorable and so appropriate for wishing BP a Happy Birthday! I also laughed at the huge blow up duck on the trailer….nothing screams fun, love, and family than parents who will do and drag anything to ensure a great time for their relatives! Haha. Xoxoxoxo

  7. Susan Chicas says:

    Thank you for sharing the pictures of your memorial family reunion. My condolences in the loss of your father. It looks like you celebrated his legacy in the best way possible, together out-of-doors in a place that meant so much to all of you. May you continue to find peace in the love of friends and family.
    My friend Susan (also) and I were there to meet you at Vroman’s, and we were so impressed with both your (and Joe’s) and the staff’s patience with all of us eager fans. How kind of them to stay late after the store’s closing until everybody had her moment with you, and how kind of you, as tired as you must have been, and sad without saying so! So thank you again.
    I would be absolutely enraptured to win the Beatrix Potter book and Miss Jemima Puddleduck! Like you, I coveted the figurines as a teen in the 70’s, and wanted the whole set. I settled for “someday” decorating my babies’ nursery a la Beatrix Potter, (which didn’t happen as my “baby” came to us as a 6-year-old who loved Transformers and trains 🙂 So instead, I like to give the boxed set of books as a baby shower gift. Thank you for the reminder of sweet times, and for your thoughtful way of celebrating Miss Potter’s 150th by offering this opportunity!

  8. teresa says:

    Susan, I am so glad you are home, but you are to be off again soon! I do wish I was invited to go to England with you, but, alas, I guess I’ll stay home or go to the mountains of NC. 🙂

    So glad your book talks and signings were a huge success. Keep us posted on all of your adventures as we go in spirit with you!

  9. Pat says:

    How will you live without Jemimah Puddleduck?! What a generous giveaway!

  10. Trudi Varton says:

    The photo of your niece, Heidi (in profile) dancing with your brother looks so much like you, Susan! What a fun reunion with your beloved family! Good times! Lots of wonderful memories!

  11. Judy Kruse says:

    I just had 2 surgeries in 7 days & my hubby took me to our old family farm in the Ozarks to recuperate. I pulled out my book, A Fine Romance, propped up my feet on the porch in an old rocking chair & read & read & read. It was just exactly what I needed! I escaped to England in my recovery & enjoyed every minute! I have journaled for 45 years…mainly in your Days books. Reading, I yelled out to my husband ‘SHE’s just like ME!’ I journal, mainly with words & photos (just very little painting)…especially vacations. I called my twin & told her, ‘You have to read this! SHE’S just like ME!’ I went to England in the 90’s & now realize I have to go back! I missed too much! Thanks so much for all you do & sharing !

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds like you are getting well very fast! So happy to hear that Judy, now off to England! 😃

  12. Love, love, love! I’m so happy you are home in your nest for awhile before we all fly off with you to Scotland!

  13. Bonnie from Iowa says:

    What a wonderful family outing you had! Condolences to you….your father will be greatly missed by all. I got to know him through his comments and he was very proud of you. I have loved learning about Beatrix Potter through you and your book, A Fine Romance, and felt like I was there with you. Can’t wait for your next adventure across the pond!!

    • sbranch says:

      Won’t be long now! Trying to think “winter” while beginning to mentally pack in 80 degrees!

  14. Beth L. from NC says:

    Well, I’m a bit late to this Party, Susan… but wanted you to know that I’ve counted every mile and tear with you on this journey. Blessed by your transparency and vulnerability….you remind us that we do not journey alone!
    Life is so Bittersweet. Such JOYS and such SORROWS…all at once!
    Hoping you are resting now…breathing deeply, laying in the sunshine, snuggling sweet kitties, and rolling with the waves of grief that come uninvited pricked by surprising smells and sounds that link to those strong, warm Daddy hands.
    Blog Daddy reminds me a bit of Peter Rabbit! Lots of spunk and risky adventure!

  15. Dianne says:

    Dearest Susan,
    It was so good to once again visit with you “in person” at Beatrix Potter’s birthday celebration in Brewster. Isn’t she an inspiration to do good in the world? You are, as well. I have so many of my friends reading your blog; you are the sunshine in our lives.
    I have not been to the Lake District, but I hope to visit soon- possibly next summer. The “walking” book is one that I hope to pack in my suitcase.
    Wishing you- and Joe- a wonderful (and safe) vacation. I look forward to traveling along in your suitcase, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that another travel book-diary will result. If you see Rachel, tell her that my friends love her lemon cookies. They make a lovely birthday present along with a pretty plate to serve them on and a tin of tea.
    I, too, was adored by my father. He, unfortunately died my freshman year in college at age 50. I still feel his presence every day. He was my protector, as your father was yours. When troubled, you can still turn to your father for answers. All you have to do is close your eyes and listen for his voice.

    • sbranch says:

      Rachel will be here next week for Joe’s birthday party! I’ll definitely let her know, Dianne! I couldn’t agree more! Something tells me that in missing our loved ones, it doesn’t matter if it’s 2 months or 65 years since they’ve been gone, it’s always just now.

  16. Rhonda Williams says:

    Some day to England I will go! Thank you for inspiring me to try new things and to be a kinder and better person. 🙂

  17. DENA says:

    loved pictures of trip , and the little add from the fire department, and letting us know about the books, about her books they look like great reading. I loved the movie with renee swel, i watch it over and over.

  18. Veryl Zdenek says:

    Reading your blog gave me an extra burst of energy after a hectic day! I’m new to your blog . . . and loved every word of it tonight! It made me miss my 20-year life in France more than usual – still acclimating to life in the States since my return two years ago. You have a way with words . . . and the photos were so beautiful! Thanks.

  19. Sue Hasson says:

    I, too, love Beatrix! I put her figurines on my children’s birthday cakes when they were little! What interesting stories you’ve brought to us all.

  20. Joyce Fowler says:

    Susan, So sorry for the loss of your Dad. Enjoy your blog so much. You seem almost like family. The Beatrice Potter movie is one of my favorite movies. Even my son liked it. He had a hard time believing women were actually treated like that. In any case she certainly made a success of her life. It would be lovely to win the duck and book.

    Joyce Fowler

  21. you make such an effort to bless those around you! and if i happen to win the book about BP’s walks; it would be the perfect reason to re-visit england!

  22. Carolyn from SoCA says:

    What a lovely and truly selfless “give away”. Thank you, Susan.

  23. The winds of change blow through our lives, with loss and heartache as inevitable as joys and triumphs. What a wonderful grace to have had a father like yours, and to have him for so long! I am so very saddened to hear he has passed on, but his love and his many talents are very much alive in YOU, Susan! And your joyous way of being, your delight in the world and your ability to shine your light every single day… what a gift to everyone you are. I am a huge fan, always have been, always will be! Onward and upward, new adventures await!

    • sbranch says:

      Onward and Upward . . . God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.❌⭕️

  24. Judy Lincicum says:

    Oh, Susan I am so looking forward to “our” trip back to England! The last one was a real hoot and I was there everyday with you and Joe, not wanting to miss a thing. I hope this finds you rested and eager for your next adventure. However I also know how nice it would be if things could slow down a bit and let you take a nice big, deep breath of that salty, fresh air that is on Martha’s Vineyard. Time to kiss and cuddle with the kitties and enjoy the bounty from your garden. Will you be planting for a fall garden, even though you will be gone? Life is funny, the garden will be growing for you and looking forward to your homecoming by presenting you with a fall harvest to welcome you home. Love hearing from you.

    • sbranch says:

      We don’t get home until the day after Thanksgiving, and then the ground will be covered with blowing leaves and it will be a new world on Martha’s Vineyard. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

  25. Ginette Wheeler says:

    So happy to see your posts again, I’ve missed your lovely writings. Oh how wonderful that your father lived such a full and happy life, that he was so loved and adored by his family. I’m sorry for your loss, thank you for sharing him.

  26. Sharry says:

    Thank you always for your generosity. Jemima is a treasure.

  27. Donna says:

    What a special time for you and your family!!

    Love your blog…and your books!!

  28. Hayley Barrett says:

    Jemima would find a ducky home with me! Thanks, Susan, for all you do to make the world more restful and rejuvenating.

  29. Terry says:

    Welcome Home! Happy Birthday to Miss Potter. She and I share July 28 as our birthday; she’s a little older by 89 yeats😊 Her birthday celebration looked like fun. God bless and safe trip this fall. Hoping another book may come from it? Bon Voyage!

  30. Bonnie Schoening says:

    First, I’m so sorry about your dad.😡
    Second, thank you for this lovely opportunity.
    And, thirdly, give Jack and Kitty big loving hugs and kisses; probably Joe, too ❤

  31. jen says:

    I love Beatrix Potter. One easter my husband bought me the animated cartoons, even though I was in my 20s, he knew I liked Peter Rabbit and I still watch them with my kids, it is totally delightful. My sons room is Peter Rabbit themed. And the other night I read the Patty Pan to my kids,, most amusing, I highly recvomend it! Nice to see kindred spirits.

  32. Claudia says:

    Thank you for seeing beauty in everything and for sharing your “vision” with us….I am so grateful for you!

  33. Jane Franks says:

    Dear Susan: Deep into my book, finally. . .catching bits and pieces here and there, but inspired by it all; and continued thoughts and prayers for family; Colorado reunion was wonderful to see. Will be watching Stourhead and Scotland! Signing up for giveaway. All adorable, and loving BP sitting on my shoulder as I write!!! Best ever, on all your plans and journeys next month!! <3 xoxo

  34. Gail Gismondi says:

    Your blog never fails to inspire. The pictures of your family reunion are beautiful and a tribute to your wonderful dad. The love of family is so very special.

    Thank you for sharing your world. I am already packed for our trip on the Queen Mary!

  35. Susan says:

    Just ordered, “Beatrix Potter A Journal”, don’t remember hearing you mention this book. Have you ever heard of it? The website supports independent book sellers, so it sounded like a good place to shop.

  36. Judy Goodhart says:

    Your trip in pictures was so enjoyable as was your reunion. I can’t wait to try the cranberry tea cake recipe. Thank you for sharing it. Two of my favorite things – pecans and cranberries, and then swimming in vanilla cream. YUM!!

  37. Christine Le Gate says:

    Such a lovely blog post, I’ve been a fan for many years as well since a “girlfriend” gave me your Christmas cookbook for Christmas when it first came out. Looking forward to “going” back to England with you!

  38. I have that little book. I bought it as the down payment on the dream that I will one day get to use it. I’m glad you got to spend time with your family. I hope it helped your heart.

  39. Sheron Fitch says:

    I just finished reading your “Isle of Dreams” while recovering from major foot surgery. I loved every minute of it–every word, photo, illustration, and quotes. Thank you for sharing your life, insights, and talents!

  40. Alice says:

    your words and paintings bring me peace and happiness.
    Thank you for that.
    I’ve been needing more of both lately.

  41. Susie Kunze says:

    Thank you for the recipe! I will be trying it. The pictures of Durango were beautiful! My nephew lives there, hope to visit soon. I am thinking of Martha’s Vineyard, wishing I could go back. I would love to be there for Illumination Night some day. When you suggested making cookies and arranging small vases with flowers, I did just that. The cookies were a hit with my family and friends. I put some flowers in a small vase that I bought from a potter on the island when we visit d last summer. It made me happy, as do your posts.

  42. Dawn-Tara says:

    Oooh has the winner been drawn yet? I’m not very lucky but one never knows! Good luck to all! I would live to win this for my new baby girl!

  43. Mary in St. Louis says:

    Thanks, Susan for another fantastic blogpost…always makes for a happy day. I have been so busy, I just now got a chance to read it . Glad that you had the time with your family. I’m sure that there were many great stories about your Dad, and growing up with your siblings ! Hugs, XOXO

  44. Julie Huff says:

    Hi Susan, thanks for such an informative post on Beatrix Potter. I discovered Beatrix in my 20s, having never been raised with her books. I love her style, which I suppose is why I love your style so much. I purchased a lovely hard bound compilation of her stories and art that brings me joy. Every baby I meet whose name happens to be Benjamin becomes “Benjamin Bunny” Same for all the Jeremiah Puddle Ducks I’ve known over the years!

  45. Mary Jo in Michigan says:

    Thank you for the chance to win such a wonderful prize! Your blog is my respite from the “real world.” Thanks, too, for all your inspiration. Sincerely, Mary Jo

  46. Dawn :-) says:

    I think I may be too late for the drawing, but best wishes to whoever may win! Thank you, Susan! 🙂

  47. Kelley S. says:

    What a wonderful post! We’ve been so hot here that it’s a treat to see people who aren’t melting before the camera. So excited that Jemima is included with the wonderful book. When my neighbor’s twins were little, they loved to come over and visit. In hopes of instilling a love of reading, I read Beatrix Potter’s story to them. They loved it! Then one spring, a pair of ducks built a nest near our houses. Of course we had to name them! So Mrs. Duck became Jemima Puddleduck, and after much discussion, Mr. Duck became Oliver Puddleduck. Fond memories.

  48. I just love the web site and the figurines. I have a few and love them.

  49. Margie says:

    So glad to see you and Joe are home safe and sound but I’m sure those adorable kitties even more. Oh my Colorado looks so beautiful and must add it to my bucket list. I just want to extend my condolences to you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing your Dad with all of us girlfriends. What a treasure he was. I love you sharing his last message to you just priceless. Just remember to be gentle with yourself Susan and take all the time you need to find peace in your heart. Remember all those beautiful memories you have of your Dad are yours alone locked in your heart forever…..

  50. Dear Susan,
    What a wonderful family reunion! You squeeze every drop of living life to the fullest in every day! You are such an inspiration for us all … to see and appreciate the goodness and joy in every day and in the experiences and special moments that pass! You live your life with no regrets!! I will take excellent care of Jemima for you!

  51. Wendy says:

    So glad I found you and your blog today. Hasn’t been the best day for me……until I read your latest blog. I went to Colorado and the Lake District with you and am content. Thank you !

  52. becky Allen says:

    Dear Susan, It was such a sad day when I heard about your Dad, But I ma so glad for the years you had with him & the love you shared! I lost my father April 18th this year, I understand your loss. Thanks so much for your work and your blog. You & Joe remain in my prayers

  53. jillian gaumond says:

    It looks like a wonderful book, Susan! Love Beatrix and was inspired by you to read her biography this past winter. She was fascinating. Sending love, xoxo Jillian from RI

  54. I have never seen this many comments on any blog !!! I guess you are very popular and I know Beatrix Potter is very popular also.

    What a nice give a way and I would be thrilled to win it

  55. Cheryl K says:

    Please enter me for the drawing if it’s not too late!

  56. I want to book one of the cabins for next year! Paradise!

  57. JS Grim says:

    I’m so glad that you were able to celebrate your father’s life with a family reunion in Durango. There must have been many bittersweet moments but how proud he would have been to know that the family tradition continues.

    We enjoyed meeting you at the Tattered Cover in Denver. Best wishes for a wonderful trip back to England!

  58. Janet Hundley - Grafton, WI says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’m so sorry for the loss of your father. I guess I was a Daddy’s girl, but didn’t realize it or appreciate it soon enough. I miss mine, but am so happy for all the years of love he gave me. Virtual hugs to you.

  59. Denise Crandall says:

    This was a long post, yet still it went by too fast, as they always do. Thank you for sharing…. I so enjoy reading them!!

  60. Christine Morgan says:

    So love you posts. I am starting to plan a trip to England and your information is a big help in that plan. The event in Cape Cod sounds wonderful—wish I lived closer. You will have to tell us all about it. Have a great time.

  61. Kathy Fletcher says:

    Susan, did you see the stamps and coins from the UK in honor of Beatrice Potter? my dear friend Wendy that lives there is sending them to me- I can’t wait to receive them…..I know if you saw them you would love them too.

  62. Miss Marion says:

    Glad you are home safe and sound!

  63. Angela Jones says:

    I am such an idiot sometimes 😁, finally got the old phone to work! I would love the Beatrix Potter book! I read your Falling In Love With The English Countryside before I went to England in June. I wanted to visit her place so bad but sadly we didn’t make it. Thank you for this opportunity!

  64. Gail Gismondi says:

    I meant the Queen Elizabeth! Senior moment……LOL

  65. Jean Tucker says:

    I love everything “Beatrix Potter”, I have collected many of her books, tea sets and figurines.
    Would love to win this give- a -way! Thank you for being so generous.

  66. Diane says:

    Earlier this summer I had a small get together for several friends which included my friend who is originally from England. I baked Rachel’s lemon cookies from A Fine Romance to the delight of all of them. So yummy! Last week it was my turn to host our monthly book club and we had a Beatrix Potter birthday party complete with your recipe for Orange Lavender Cake [but I made the 1/2 recipe using your lemon option]. It was perfect since one of us is gluten intolerant. I was a little apprehensive about tasting lavender, but it was really good – spicier than I thought it would be. It went so well with a lemon sauce, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. So summery. Now I can’t wait to bake your Cranberry Tea Cake with Vanilla Sauce from my new Heart of the Home Cookbook. Thank you for helping me make my celebrations so special.

  67. Ruth says:

    Hi, Susan.
    What a lovely tribute to your dad. He would love to be with you all gathering at the lake. Hope you felt his presence.
    I would be honored to keep your treasure on my shelf if I win. She would have a great home with Miss Kitty who is my 16 year old tuxedo cat!
    Love you and so appreciate your writings, paintings, and such a generous kind heart that you have.
    Can’t wait to read more about your fall travel adventures across the pond.
    Ruth (The Inklings)

  68. Laurie Perry says:

    Sorry for the loss of your Dad! I love your kitties. I am very partial to the tuxedo’s, black & white cats. I just found your blog and I am enjoying very much catching up with reading about your life, books and adventures.

  69. chris consentino says:

    ok, here I am for one more….(I’ve done about 3) desparate comment….trying ever so hard to win jemima!! wow. so far, all the comments I’ve made have just outright disappeared!!!! am I doing something wrong? pleeeeez, vanna….to reward my persistence….pleeeeez choose me. xo

  70. Carol C says:

    These are precious!

  71. Marilyn S says:

    So many lovely comments, such wonderful girlfriends! All I can really add is to say “thank you” for all that you share with us through you books and blogs. You bring much joy to many people.

  72. I’m so sorry for your loss. “May the stars carry your sadness away, may the flowers fill your heart with beauty, may hope forever wipe away your tears, and, above all, may silence make you strong.” Chief Dan George. I thought of this quote as I read your book Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams. Thank you for sharing your journey with us in such an honest way. I laughed, I cried, I craved clam chowder with a side of hot buttered rolls… I did, in fact, sigh and hug your book when I finished! I loved it and was sad when it ended. Then pulled out my copy of Heart of the Home! In 1986 I was a young bride, expecting my first baby (who arrived 9 months to the day I got married, which the nurses found quite funny…Paris for our honeymoon, ’nuff said). I got your cookbook as a gift and I now have all of your books, and your calendars which I’ve kept as my “diaries” over the years. Wishing you many years of love and happiness. I’m SO looking forward to hearing about your next adventure. ❤️ Pam, aka A Novel Woman, in Montreal

  73. Veronica says:

    I’ve loved Ms. Potter for years, reading all the books to my boys when they were little. Though I may never get to visit her home in England, I can look through the book and imagine myself there. You are our modern day Ms. Potter! XOXOXOXO

  74. sondra fox says:

    Hi Susan & GF’s, July 27th was my dearest mother’s Birthday. She’s deceased now. What a gem she was, working as a nurse to bring my brother & I up without a father. My father didn’t want us until he was in his sixties. Too late. It was my mother who went through the hoops, raising us, forming our ideas, going through the measles, mumps, & whooping cough, & putting the band aids on our knees. We’ll always remember those who cared for us with a love that was unending, as was the case of your dear father, who loved you with all his heart Susan. God Bless. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  75. Noreen Krebs says:

    Thank you for the sunshine you spread to others! Blessings!

  76. Kathy Herring says:

    Happy Birthday to Beatrix Potter!

  77. Cindy A. says:

    I’ve gotten behind again on reading about your life and adventures so am trying to catch up today. I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to you and your family for the loss of your dad. I lost my mom when I was 40, and 16 years later I still think of things I’d like to tell her or get her advice on. It’s odd, but I think part of the reason I still think she’s available to talk to is that I moved away from home and was gone for so many years that I got used to only talking with her occasionally, back when long distance calls cost an arm and a leg to make. Time does heal most things, but such a loss as a parent takes longer to heal than many other hurts.

    I have loved all things Beatrix Potter for many many years. A couple of months ago I ran across a Peter Rabbit mug, on sale no less, at Home Goods in a round tin. First thing I thought of was you, and then I bought it. I knew I’d be kicking myself later if I didn’t. I needed another mug like I need another hole in my head, but it was Peter after all. How can a girl pass up a cutie like that?!

  78. Jeanne Hopkins says:

    I look forward to reading your posts! It’s wonderful that you and your family take the time to get together and make memories. We have visited the SW Colorado area many times. One of the last times there, we drove around this very same lake! Such beautiful country. Our vacation base was east of there and we travel the roads in our thoughts and dreams.
    p.s. My mother especially enjoyed the “Isle of Dreams” book, which I put into our Book Club for this year. We had read “A Fine Romance” from the library previously and now own several of your other books.

  79. Tina Lemke says:

    Adorable Susan! Glad you are home!

  80. Tracy Branchaw says:

    Hi Susan,
    I will be coming to MV next week to work at the FOCUS camp as a cook again and will stop by your house again just to look at the garden and hope you are outside. Last year you were finishing your book so there was no chance of glimpsing you, but I did enjoy seeing your cute house. I would love to win Jemima or any book you would give away. But more than that, I would love to wave to you on my visit from Maryland 🙂

  81. Ruth Newcomb says:

    I just ordered your book, “A Fine Romance” after reading about your visit to England and Hilltop. My husband and I went to England last fall, on a 3-week anniversary trip, and we stayed in the Lake District for a few days. We also toured Hilltop and were so impressed with Beatrix Potter’s life and all her contributions. We also stayed in the Cotswolds and the Peak District and in London and York. We want to go back again, and see the areas we didn’t see – there’s just so much in England, and we loved it all! I am a Beatrix Potter fan now and also starting collecting English bone china teacups a few years ago. Your duck and book would have a very good home with me. 🙂

  82. Wendy Tarrant says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Beatrix Potter! I have loved her for years. In 1988, I saw an exhibition of her art and letters at the Morgan Library in NYC entitled “Beatrix Potter – Artist and Storyteller”. It was wonderful! I hope to make it to the Lake District someday. In the meantime, I am so appreciative that you share your trips with us. Thank you!

  83. Mary from Colorado says:

    I just finished reading my first “Stillmeadow” book and will now be going back to the library for more–it was just my cup of tea!! Thanks for all your wonderful recommendations!

  84. Anne in Maine says:

    Hello Susan. So glad you had a wonderful time with your family. Would LOVE to win Jemima Puddleduck to add to my small collection. She would be extra special because she is yours.

  85. Susan (in VA) says:

    I’m so glad you’re back home for a bit before heading out again in the fall. I know Jack missed getting up early to “help” you with your work. And did anyone shoot hair thingies for him while you were gone? I suspect Girl kitty is a bit more self-sufficient.

  86. Good Morning Susan! I loved reading your post – I laughed, smiled, and cried. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing all of this with us and for your amazing give-away, too. Never forget just how much you have touched all of our lives!!! Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sharon! I’m just about to put up the winner of the Giveaway (well, when I get the post done, that is), so come back soon.

  87. Rosinda says:

    Dear Susan, I’m happy to hear that you and Joe are home sweet home again. Spending that time with family is the best way to help heal a broken heart. Your love and zest for life inspire me to no end. Love you BIG TIME! XOXO

  88. Shirley says:

    I enjoy reading all about your adventures! You have a wonderful and blessed life! Thank you for sharing.

  89. sandy farrell says:

    Have copies of most of your wonderful books and enjoyed each one. Tried not to read too many pages each night of your latest because I wanted them to last. I hate to get to the end of one of them, like saying goodbye…Guess we should feel like that after a good read eh!
    Would love to follow your footsteps to Beatrix Potter myself for you made it sound so exciting..I love the English countryside…Am going to check out the biography of Beatrix Potter that you recommend by Linda Lear..Enjoy your next trip over the pond. Will be looking forward to your blog about it.

  90. gwen Ferguson says:

    I love Beatrix Potter people, especially the bunnies. They are so pretty. She definitely was far-thinking. Too bad, there are not many like her today. I so enjoy your blogs. Really brightens my day.

    Thank you so much!

  91. Jeanette St. George says:

    Many thanks for all you have done for your adoring fans.

  92. Debbie R. says:

    Susan, you and your family have become like part of our family. When a long time goes between blogs I start worrying that you and Joe are ok! Can’t wait for our next trip to England! I wondered if you had read any of the Susan Wittig Albert series about Beatrix Potter and her animals. Its a mystery series and its wonderful. They are called the “Cottage Tales Mysteries”

  93. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Oh Susan, you are so kind to all of us girlfriends. I am so glad I didn’t miss the chance for this give-away! I have been so busy helping my daughter care for her new triplets! They are all home and doing well. It is the most fun I have ever had. I bought them a beautiful DVD of Beatrix Potter “The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends” so they will grow up knowing all about her wonderful stories. OH, OH my husband was walking our dog the other evening and they heard a meow from the corn field and out came the sweetest tuxedo kitty, he came right up to our dog and they gave each other kisses. The kitty followed them home, so we have a new addition to our family!

  94. Dot from Illinois says:

    Hello Susan, I just celebrated my birthday last week and to find out I share my birthday with Beatrix Potter. Iam so sorry for your recent loss of your father. It was wonderful to get together with your family to celebrate his life with love and memorable stories. Please include me in your give away. God bless you.

  95. Ann Coon says:

    So enjoy your blog. Memories are so dear and it sounds like your family reunion was all about sharing thoughts of your Dad. Your blogs, drawings and quotes always lift my spirits! Keep them coming!

  96. Joy Garner says:

    Love you Susan Branch! You always lift my spirits even on the darkest days. Your drawings, photos, and blog are so very much appreciated. It’s a lovely place to go and live your life vicariously.

  97. Sally says:

    Susan, your writing always warms my heart and feeds my soul.
    What a lovely giveaway, once again! May I be the lucky one! Aunt Jemima Puddle Duck along with BP’s book would be a treasure I’d cherish always!

  98. Barbara says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’m so happy you and Joe are home again to your beloved Martha’s Vineyard! To me, a house is a place where healing can take place. As Joyce Kilmer wrote, it can: “put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife.” My sincere condolences to you and your family for the loss of your Dad. There are many Scriptures that have comforted me many times. Two come to mind as I write this note to you. Psalm 37:10,29; and John 5:28,29a. King David wrote the Psalm, and Jesus himself spoke the one the Apostle John wrote down. I hope these will comfort you as well – (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).
    Thanks for all you share. Enjoy your summer. Love, Barb (Niagara Falls) ❤️🌻

  99. Stacey says:

    I am a bit behind perhaps too late…but glad to be reading your blog

    Stacey, Knoxville

  100. Norleen in NorCal says:

    Dear Susan,
    So glad you and Joe are home safe and sound:). I was so saddened at the passing of your Sweet Dad .No matter the circumstances it is hard to say goodbye. What a wonderful way to honor him with a family reunion in the beautiful Colorado mountains and most likely comforting to all of you. I am home fron my wonderful 80th Birthday party my sweet four children gave me in the Utah mountains ( Aspen Grove, where I spent several of my very early childhood years each Summer for six weeks!!) with Grandkids , Great Grandkids and cousins A place I spent the early Spring of my life and return to celebrate in the winter of my life!! I picked up the two books you and Joe signed for me at the Kings English book store. My daughter Krista lives in Salt Lake City and went to your book signing there in my behalf She was so impressed with your friendliness and Joes as well as with all the fun “girlfriends” in the line. I bought A fine Romance and Martha’s Vinyard Ilse of dreams. I have a picture of you with my Krista and have placed a copy in both books!! I started A Fine Romace on the plane back home to Calif. and it made the time fly by, pun intended . I loved every page of it and felt as though I was there with you!! I didn’t want it to end!! I’m so glad I read that one first because I am almost finished with the other and the loneliness you faced so BRAVELY was tempered only by the fact that you met your wonderful Joe there!! It brought back several memories of similar circumstances. THANK YOU!!for brightening everyone’s life that you touch!! Many of us girlfriends have the same passions, love of nature , gardening, (I have had “a spot of earth” since I was in the second grade and has expanded to almost an acre now)!!,vintage linens, beautiful china, watercoloring, Beatrix Potter, Jane Austin, pinching little flowers to press😊 Cooking etc. etc. I too will be tucked away in your luggage for your trip again in Sept . So watch out when you open it as we all come tumbling out!! Love to you and all the blog friends!💕💕

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