Sunday was the 35th anniversary of my move to Martha’s Vineyard, that step I accidentally took into the unknown, and the beginning of my brand new life. A good day to celebrate! Let’s have MUSICA! And yesterday was mine and Joe’s 30th Anniversary of wallowing joyfully in said life! I love February! Not only is it the month for our best anniversaries, and the wonderfully sweet holiday of Valentine’s Day, it’s also my mom’s birthday. And it’s also the month Joe and I will be taking the train out to California to be with her! A red-letter month if ever I saw one.❤️ And look who else thinks so:

The robins are back and frolicking! For some reason, in the last few years, robins show up here in droves (actually it’s a “round” of robins, not a drove) when they get even the slightest perception . . .

against all visible indications, that it might be getting near spring. They just know.

It’s definitely not spring here, but they don’t care, in they come for a landing . . . to splash and play in ice water.

They are believers.  And then, partly because of them, so are we. Here comes spring!

Our 30th Anniversary. This is the guy I fell in love with. A lilac-cutting kind of guy. Just my cup of tea. No one gets everything right the first time, especially me, queen of hit and miss, but we shouldn’t blame ourselves because it’s true that we’re all doing the best we can. There’s always another chance. As Oprah said, “Now that we know better, we do better.” And so, perhaps, a reward such as this is what happens.

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. 💞 Franz Peter Schubert

Our house, we bought in 1989, dressed for the season, in white hearts to confuse the snowflakes.

Isn’t he cute? I just love his plaid shirt and tie in this old photo! He’s a good fabric mixer! And so, speaking of plaid . . . shall we?

Here we are in Edinburgh (say it Edin-burra), Scotland. An amazing city in an amazing country, and I am definitely not a city person, except this one. I loved the whole country. Land of plaid and cashmere, castles and kilts, scotch and bagpipes, Highland fairies, and J.M. Barrie, the man who wrote Peter Pan who said (among other things), “All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust” ~ and this too . . . 

So let’s start here. There was the MOST darling store on the Royal Mile (fantastic main street of Edinburgh that I will show you more of later) that I would love to go back to. We didn’t have long enough! We were traveling! So all I could do is run around the best store I’ve ever been in, and take pictures, because I knew you’d want to see it too. It’s ridiculous, so-so-so-so cute. Called “Ragamuffin.” If you ever get to Edinburgh you have to save time for this store. It’s worth it for fingerless gloves alone!  Have you ever seen cuter ones? No. Neither have I.

Scarves anyone? Like you have never seen before?  Oui! I should have grabbed the blue and orange one top right and just paid for it and run! But, I didn’t. What was I thinking?  Nope, they’re not on-line. I checked. 😢 You have to go there.

Soft sweaters? In vibrant happy colors? They have them.

And then, unbearable, tops and skirts in cozy cottons and wovens and wool and all the real fabrics we forgot they ever made because they’re so hard to find. Moosh.

I did not get to try on one single dress. Nothing. Don’t you feel sorry for me? Me, too. I didn’t know this store was going to be there, so I didn’t plan for it, and we were booked up with places we had to BE. Don’t let this happen to you. Write it down. Ragamuffin. You’ll need at least two hours of no-man time. You’ll want to plan for total concentration. You’re welcome. ❤️

But you’ll love Edin-burra for lots more reasons than this store. I’ll show you in a future post. Doesn’t it look unreal? This was the view from our hotel room. Between us and that hotel over there was the train station down below. We could see all the tracks and trains lined up. So civilized, hop a train, and the world is your oyster.

It’s a beautiful old city with cozy plaid scarves everywhere… very hygge.

Plaid capes . . . and plaid skirts

And this is a purse! A plaid tweed skirt-purse!

A window-full of plaid. How do you choose?

Here’s a photo in a wonderful shop that IS on line. A huge store, filled to overflowing with wool, plaid, cashmere, and tweed and so much more. Coats, jackets, sweaters, skirts, cute shoes too. Called Bruar, House of Scottish Country Clothing. Another place that requires hours of concentrated attention. It’s room after room of this and so much more.

I did get a hat. I look like Paul McCartney in it, but what else is new.

Kilts everywhere, and in all the clan colors a heart could desire . . .

Here’s Siobhan (with Map Man) in her darling plaid coat. Coats. They have the cutest coats in England. I kept noticing how cute everyone looked in their coats. All colors and prints, not just brown or black. Around here, we usually wear jackets, but this coat thing, I grew to like it very much.

You didn’t have to be dressed up. They just wore them with jeans. Just throw it on when you go to the market. I thought it was so feminine. And cheerful, all the colors.

Rachel too. All the English girls were wearing them . . .

Here we are on the train . . . Ray in her cute coat, and me with my jacket off. (We’re wearing poppies ~ for remembrance ~ in these photos ~ for those not familiar with poppy history, I’ll do a post and explain soon.)

Here’s another of Rachel’s coats. (But it’s the expression on her face that I love more than anything. Isn’t she cute?)

I got this hat too, and those gloves, because I love the bows. Sometimes in the winter I feel like a mountain made from sweatshirt material. It’s not cute. I was noticing in England you could be warm and still dress like a girl! So when we were in Oxford, and shopping with Carrie, I found a coat! And she made me buy it. And I’m so glad I did!  It’s plaid. I don’t have any photos of it yet, but I’ll show you someday. I love it, although I’m like a headlight at midnight mixed in with all the dark jackets around here. Still it makes me feel perky. Dark winter + bright colors = good thing. 🌤

‘Course, the dogs wore plaid too . . . some were decked out in it . . .

So, with all this shopping inspiration, the place we were staying ended up looking like this . . . hygge to the nth degree, in front of the wood stove . . .

and this . . .

And our Christmas tree got plaided up too.

Plaid became our new thing. 💙

So here’s something else I noticed. See the deer heads on the walls? Very popular in the UK. An old tradition, I imagine, left over from King Arthur and his ilk. I’m not sure, but there were lots of them. Remember the unfortunate stag in The Queen being a sort of magical symbolic thing? Well, deer heads are everywhere . . .

. . . In restaurants, pubs, and homes, but they aren’t so much the real thing anymore.

 Now they look more like this . . .

So of course when I saw these in one of the gift shops . . .

I thought, yes! What our wood room (where we watch TV, it’s paneled in wood, hence the creative name “wood room”) needs is a deer head. So here he is, over the door. Isn’t he cute? I’m extremely impressionable in case you can’t tell. Trying to grasp and hold on to the wonderfulness of our experiences. And I LOVE nature! And we needed a deer head too! Like everyone else! But, you’ll be interested to hear, not everything we saw made it back with us ~ so far, since we got home, I have not once made haggis! You can fool some of the people some of the time!

Cuteness ⤵️

  Here’s a spy-cam-in-action moment. I loved what this family was wearing despite no plaid. I had to chase after them to take this picture. Look how they are dressed . . . all five of them. Ready to walk and no rain storm or mud puddle would slow them down. I took this picture to remind myself, THIS is how to dress for traveling in a rainy country. (Also loved the red heads! Very cute family. Note, there’s bunting too.)

Wellies! (and dog, of course)

And you can get them in every imaginable color and print.

I’m reminded.

So Girls, I just finished the 2018 calendars, 💖 (yay) and today, with all these anniversaries around me, including that 2016 was the 30th year of my first book, is the first time in all these years that I don’t have anything due. No deadline! For the first time ever. What shall I do with myself? Leap and shout hurray? Yup!I have loved every moment of my work, but I have to say, I’m wallowing in this feeling for a while. It’s only been two days and I know when we get home from California in April I’ll be excited to start something new, but I’m allowing it all to float around right now, like being on a merry-go-round, knowing I could grab that ring, but choosing not to for a while ~ to just enjoy the ride and feel the wind on my face without the stress of missing that little ring!  Choices. A lovely thing. I’ll get the ring later.

And, did you notice the groundhog did NOT see his shadow? That means an early spring! So I’ve started a little spring cleaning. 🌷I went to the flower store today (wearing my cheerful coat), and then I shopped at the supermarket, read labels and perused all kinds of new this and that and just took my own sweet time about it. Joy oh Joy. I hung up our heart banner in the kitchen and wrote Valentines and got stamps on them, and now I’m going out to dinner with my honeyman to celebrate 30 years of feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.❤️

This is a card I made for Joe from a past Valentine’s  Day 💞. . . and here’s one for you . . .

I hope you are watching A Place to Call Home! It’s as good as Downton in the totally addictive way that you can’t WAIT to see what will happen next! You will love it! There are four glorious seasons already . . . and another is coming soon. Joe and I are almost through the fourth, so I speak from experience! Watch, and then we can gossip about them!  We’ll start with Regina! 👿 She’s hideous!

Don’t forget, I’ll be at the Apple Farm in beautiful downtown San Luis Obispo, California on Saturday, March 18, at 2 pm, speaking, answering questions, signing books, and hanging out with everyone. They’re selling tickets because there will be a tent and food ~ it will be very fun! 🍎 I hope some of you can come! And those mugs I designed? Coming soon! I’ll let you know!

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593 Responses to VALENTINE’S and PLAID DO GO TOGETHER. 👏

  1. Susan Iyer says:

    What a fantastic red dress hanging on the rack at Ragamuffin. I think it has my name on it!! Looks like a fabulous city to spend hours sauntering about the stores with girlfriends :). Having a brilliant time reading your blogs with such gorgeous pictures. Happy 30th to you & Joe & many more!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, Edinburgh wants you to go into every nook and cranny and there are LOTS of them! Thank you Susan!

  2. Marina - Indy says:

    Yes, February is a wonderful month. Our daughter’s birthday is the 8th and our anniversary is the 23rd celebrating 37 years! Happy anniversary and Valentine’s Day! And to spend time with your mom is perfect!

  3. Pat Stansel says:

    I love that you are just letting life happen & not feeling pressured to write another book—you deserve a break —-you have such a strong work ethic —when you’re inspired you will know the time is right & it’s so authentic—love you & your work !

    • sbranch says:

      So sweet Pat, as always. Thank you for your kind support. It’s great not to have to do this all by myself. xoxo

  4. Margaret Harke says:

    Dear Susan,
    I purchased a ticket for your visit to Apple Farm in Mar, but now I am going to have back surgery Feb. 27 and will not be recovered enough to attend. I would love to give my ticket away to someone. Is the a way I can do this? First person to ask? or what?

  5. Kathy Akers says:

    Dear Susan
    I had to be one of your oldest fans (I am the PROUD owner of a handwritten thankyou note from you…came in with the envelope marked Martha’s Vineyard and thought “I dont know anyone on Martha’s Vineyard….except Susan Branch”) the note card holds a special place. Just a couple weeks ago I finished reading Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams and LOVED the fixing up of Holly Oaks. BUT after you met Joe and had to buy that new house…what happened to Holly Oaks, who bought it, were you OK about letting it go, and last but not least PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do a book of photos of your present house…I love it when you post pictures of the quilts, the bedrooms, the kitchen window over the sink, the rugs, the = OK everything…PLEASE Im begging. I have probably given your large Christmas book 20 times, I have loved it when a girlfriend receives one of your books as a gift and see her joy. You have made gift giving easy for me over the years. Thank you with XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      I have been planning that exact book for a while, and just may make it my next project. Home, what better thing to write about. Thank you for your sweet words Kathy! xoxo

  6. Sally Roth says:

    Dear Susan,
    How do you do it?! Another delicious post. Happy Anniversary to you and Joe, and Happy Valentine’s Day too.
    I love Scotland too, and Edin-bra especially. The Scottish say Edin-burra but the English clip it a bit more, of course. Edin-bra has an amazing rose garden and my daughter almost got run over by a double-decker bus by looking the wrong way before crossing to see it. Thank goodness I was holding her hand! Anyway, you made me want to go back there right now.
    I’m not much of a shopper, but I can see why you were yearning for “no man, no pressure” time to look at all the lovely (non-synthetic) clothes. That scarf you like popped off the page at me too, and I love all the wellies, only black or dark green when I grew up. And the colourful coats! I’ll have to think about a coat for Vermont. Funny, when I first came to live in Manhattan, all my friends had pretty pastel “spring coats” and my clothes were very dull, so we’ve done a switch!
    I’ve been longing to see A Place to Call Home. We don’t have TV, can it be streamed on Netflix or Amazon?
    Wishing you blue skies and robins and lilacs and happy travels… S

  7. SusanA says:

    Happy Anniversary! Happy robins! Happy travel! Happy everything!

    Oh, those lilacs! Do you have any tips for growing them so lush? I’ve tried and tried, but mine never get past thin and spindly and I hardly get more than a handful of flowers off each bush.

    • sbranch says:

      Lilacs are very at home on the Island. We can take no credit for it. They like it here, so they grow well. That’s all I know! Thank you Susan!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Give the lilacs lime, Susan. Some that grow close beside an old granite cellar wall don’t need it, or those growing over a granite ledge. Mine in Maine are in a bank of mostly clay, so I add lime every year. Oh that smell with the windows open!!

      Debbie in Tampa….for now

      • SusanA says:

        Thank you so much, Debbie! My lilacs are growing in mostly clay soil here in Ohio, so I’ll definitely try the lime.

        It’s been a long time since I heard the word “cellar” (I grew up in Upstate NY). Here, it’s “basement.” “Cellar” seems much more poetic to me, and just that one word brought back a flood of fond memories. 🙂

        • Debbie Boerger says:

          All of the North East seems like our own little bit of England, at least to me. Maine, especially, retains those language and food ways. I love….Going Down Cella’, and In the Fore Noon, and The Door Yard, and the main street being named High Street, or “the” High Street. BTW, we love upstate NY, too. Go every chance we get.

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, lots of Old England still lurking in New England. Particularly in the names of places … Hampshire? New Hampshire. New York, New London, Tunbridge, Salisbury, Manchester … we have a West Tisbury and a Chilmark here on the Island, and a Black Dog restaurant, and you can go to the place in England where Chilmark meets West Tisbury and go to the Black Dog Pub! There’s over a hundred names in MA named for English places. Close as you can get without actually crossing the pond!

  8. Linda Ishmael says:

    Ragamuffin looked awesome!! My kind of store. I’m loving A Place to Call Home and yes Regina is the most hideous human!!!! Ugh!!! Just into the 4th season and have loved every bit. I particularly love it when they go riding, love the horses!!!! Thank you for bringing this into my life!!!! Enjoy your February!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t that wonderful, that thing with the horses, the way they use them not just for recreation, but for actual travel from place to place? They are all such amazing riders!

  9. Ruth B. says:

    And I can’t wait to see your lovely mugs!

    Happy anniversary to a darling couple! A match made in heaven!

    Ruth (The Inklings) Ohio

  10. Patti Lyon says:

    Oh Sue, I think this was my favorite post you’ve ever done [and that’s really saying something as all your posts are my favorite!! 😉 ] I LOVE plaid so much. In fact, I frequently say that it’s my favorite color! I bought a new plaid scarf this year to wear with my magenta [magenta!] coat!

    Happy Anniversaries and enjoy your deadline-free time……….

  11. Mary/Indiana says:

    Paxutawney Phil saw his shadow on Groundhog Day so I’m pretty sure
    we’re having 6 more weeks of Winter. Sorry to burst your bubble. To be
    honest, we really haven’t had much of a Winter here in Indiana! Of course
    since you’re leaving for California, you’ll be missing most of those six weeks!
    That store in Edinburough looks really fun! Loved all the plaids and pretty
    clothes. Can’t wait for the mugs to come in! I think I’ll try the Apple Cake
    but I’ll put it in a bundt pan and drizzle a glaze over it……YUM. Can’t wait
    to see more pics of your trip, too!

    • sbranch says:

      We’re going to go get us some winter for Valentine’s Day. Heading up to Vermont with some friends. Just for 3 days in a tiny town where there will be nothing to do but read and play Rummy-Q in front of the fire after dinner. Also have signed up for horse and sleigh ride in the snow, if it’s not too cold out. Taking the camera. Maybe I’ll get good horse-in-snow pics to share on blog.

      • FayE in CA! says:

        I have always wanted to take a sleigh ride pulled by horses! Hope that you have a new Scottish plaid throw to pack and snuggle under on that romantic glide through winter!

        You and Joe have such a romantic love story. How about an autobiographical love story novel for beach reading 2019??? It could end up being a sequel to the movie from your trilogy. Might not be a good idea…too many husbands would worry that they can’t live up to Joe when we start calling out his name in our sleep. HA!!

        Enjoyed the colorful photographs…as usual, you never fail to show a great photographic story. The colorful coats made me think of Jackie O for some reason.

        The wellies are to-die-for CUTE! Love the dogs in their plaid coats, too.

        Have a wonderful 3-day in Vermont and a safe window-viewing trip across country. I know that we all look forward to your photo-journaling of both trips.

        Take care and Happy Valentines day to you two and please give Jack Fancy Feast and extra pets.

  12. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    Loved all the plaids!! Happy 30th to you and Joe. That is quite an achievement by today’s standards:) I LOVE February – my birthday is on Ground Hogs Day and I celebrate all month long (including Valentine’s Day). Part of my house is decorated for Valentine’s. I left one skinny tree up in the kitchen and it sparkles with lights, lots of hearts and lovely decorations. I guess you could say February is my favorite month. Question about the Apple Farm visit…is there someone to contact about tickets? I’m planning to come, although the parking around there may be a challenge. Perhaps I’ll have my driver (my Joe) drop me off and pick me up like he did in Morro Bay:) Again, here’s to LOVE ! Enjoy the train across America once more!

    • sbranch says:

      I put a link to the tickets in the post where I talked about the Apple Farm, but you can also call them ~ if you do, ask them if they have any special plans or suggestions for parking. Love the sound of your Valentine tree! Happy Birthday Jeannette! See you soon!

      • FayE in CA! says:

        You can go to Apple Farm’s website to get the tickets. You can look it up as follows: Google apple farm inn gift shop then click on gift shop…scroll down to upcoming events. Click on Susan Branch Talk/Book Signing then click on Buy Tickets.

        If you have problems, call 1-805-544-2040 and ask for reservations. The staff is very helpful and can talk you through the steps on their site to purchase your tickets.

        Good luck!

        OH! Someone asked about parking…I confirmed that there will be overflow parking on site. Good ‘ole Apple Farm knows how to treat guests right!!

    • FayE in CA! says:

      I called – there will be overflow parking on site! YEA!

  13. Gloria Nugent says:

    At last I get to view those wonderful plaid goodies you so graciously photographed !! Still so excited about the upcoming mug news also😊 It’s been awhile since you shared your bird pictures so nice to see so many robins. Hubby & I counted 7 bald eagles a couple of weeks ago on our road near a reservoir. That’s the most at one time ever which is a good sign. Congrats on all the anniversary observances💓

  14. Mary S. says:

    Am I the only one who wants a longer winter? An early Spring here in Fresno, CA means a longer, hotter summer! 🙁
    I love, love, love the Robins!! If I see even one here, I get sooo excited!! Very rare!
    I adore the Ragamuffin store and everything in it!
    “I did get a hat. I look like Paul McCartney in it…” Hilarious!!! ROTFL!!
    I love your hat and gloves with bows! Absolutely adorable!
    I am so glad you get to take a break from deadlines, and that you get to visit your dear mother!!!
    A wonderful blog, as always! Thank you so much! xoxoxo
    Much love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  15. I’m so happy to know a Susan Branch in my life!

    You might not recall, but we exchanged e-mails back in July 2016. I have yours hanging on my wall in my little cozy den! I never cease to be amazed that
    you took the “time” to answer me. I’m always thrilled that I have it and
    will always treasure reading it!

    Happy, Happy….finding Martha’s Vineyard and finding Joe! Happy Valentines
    Day and Happy finally getting some well-deserved time off for awhile!

    P.S. I never see my correspondence in your Blog. Seeing as I have trouble
    with the “tech” world, I was wondering if you ever get them? OR maybe I’m
    doing something wrong.

  16. Alice Fornuto says:

    Even Rochester, NY has robins — I spotted four today!

    February is wonderful as far as I’m concerned, too — it’s my birthday, but my husband and I celebrate birthMONTH, so it’s especially fun.

  17. Catherine G says:

    Oh how I adore your books and blog!! You do bring such joy with your words, photos and sharing. ❤️ We are currently watching season 3 of A Place to Call Home and I agree it’s wonderful! Also, thanks for the shopping tip -I’ve written the shop name down to be sure I visit when in Edinburgh in May.

    Happy Anniversary and enjoy your trip to CA!!

  18. Robin on the Vineyard says:

    great post, Susan! I didn’t want it to end………. loved all the wonderful photos. Happy Valentines Day to you and Joe……….. (still looking for those Lambert’s Cove Road photos…….. they will show up eventually)

  19. Gloria Cheney says:

    My favorite Edinburgh purchase–red plaid wool gloves! Fabulous!!

  20. Linda says:

    Love your posts! Love all the PLAID! Need some of that! Our resident groundhog in PA predicted 6 more weeks of winter….. 🙁 But Spring will come when it comes! And we shall be HAPPY 🙂 Enjoy your train trip to Calif.! Many blessings t you and Joe! Happy anniversaries!!!
    Hugz from Linda in PA

  21. Eileen Ammendolea says:

    I LOVE the plaid tweed skirt-purse! How could you have resisted it??!!

  22. nettie says:

    Happy Anniversary……… sweet you two are…………and Valentines Day is so fun….I have been sewing hearts for days and keep getting more ideas of a new way and a new person to make them for…….sure beats cleaning closets which is what I should be doing……..enjoy your trip, sure sounds like fun……….rest up so you can write us a new book xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  23. Denni in MN says:

    Love seeing those plaids!! Heartfelt congratulations for your Anniversaries💕 , enjoy great fun celebrating! Safe travels across the country to visit family and friends. May the sun be shining everywhere you and Joe go! No deadlines to meet, relaxation and fun to explore as you go, sounds very good to me. Thanks for another enjoyable post, Susan.
    Thinking of Springtime, Denni

  24. Stephanie C says:

    Happy Anniversary! Enjoy your visit with your Mom.

  25. Angie says:

    Beautifully done. I am in love with all the natural fibers and especially the plaid design.
    Thanks as always for sharing. What a treat. Already checked out ACORN TV and a Map to the Apple Farm. Next stop? Trains from Phoenix to California.
    Happy Anniversaries

  26. Sheryl from Magalia CA says:

    Hi. Now you did it. You started the plaid revolution. I have one plaid wrap around scarf and everyone has been remarking on it. I got it for $5 at Trader Joe’s last season. I know it’s not the quality you are speaking about, but I started loving plaid this season too.

    Thank you for this happy post. You do wonders without even realizing it.
    Love You,

  27. I would love to have a look at that new coat. My daughter just got home from the UK, including Edinburgh and Oxford, so I’m sending this on to her to enjoy. The Ragamuffin shop does sound wonderful. Perhaps next time I’m in the neighbourhood.

    BTW, the last time I was there the aforementioned daughter was eleven months old. Next year she will be forty. We’re planning a re-enactment of the trip, along with my sister, who was there on the first trip. I can’t wait.

    • sbranch says:

      That sounds fantastic! Memories!

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        Love your great Scottish name, Wendy. Last trip Scotlands in 2015, my husband and I toured a couple of distilleries, Dewar’s being one. Have a great trip to Scotland.

        • sbranch says:

          Me too! Wendy, to think that your name came directly from Peter Pan, so everyone who is named Wendy is really named by J.M. Barrie! Quite wonderful!

        • My ancestors emigrated to Canada in the 1800s from Scotland. I’m not sure if the distillery Dewars are related but if I looked far enough back in time, well, you just never know.

          BTW, Dewar is pronounced like “fewer”.

  28. TONI says:

    Dear Susan –
    Happy Anniversary and Happy February! What a treat to see your lovely photos and a handsome guy with an armload of lilacs – what could be better? Haven’t seen A Place Called Home but I have found a great series on PBS – Grantchester, based on the Sidney Chambers Mysteries. Set after WWII with a very handsome James Norton, great story line, beautiful setting and interesting characters. Also -thank you so much for the MUSICA – I’ve loved the Trio Los Panchos and Quizas Quizas Quizas for about 40 + years.

    Gracias – Toni

    • sbranch says:

      We watched Grantchester, but I have to say, A Place to Call Home is a biggie. Beyond normal. I fell in love with that song in Mexico years ago, love mariachi music too, so romantic! De nada Toni!

  29. Janet Johnson says:

    Ah, a wrench to my heart to hear “A Place to Call Home!” I was obsessed with it and then Acorn changed up their player and I could not get anything to play with our pitiful DSL. The phone company is trying to get everyone to go over to a new package system with cable, which we cannot afford, so they will only let the ones who have not gone over have very slow DSL. No upgrades to anything faster. I had to quit Acorn and I am DYING to see Season 3!!! Such a good show! Praying Netflix or Hulu will get it! If you need to laugh out loud, watch “Miranda” on Acorn! Funniest Britcom since Fawlty Towers and Keeping up Appearances. If you watch “Call the Midwife,” and you definitely should, she is Chummy.

    I love all those soft plaids! I am descended from the clan Gunn in Scotland. Wish I could go see that store and find my family plaid! I love the guy in the kilt with the kilt hose. I can’t wait until that next book with Scotland, right?! Right!?

    • sbranch says:

      How upsetting about the change. Several of our Girlfriends are getting A Place to Call Home at the public library! Might be worth a try. xo

  30. Randi Bault says:

    Dear Susan,
    I loved this post!! I am currently devoted to all things Scot. I owe it to watching and reading Outlander 📚. Oooo, loved the plaids and Welles and hats and gloves. I do wish white gloves would come back in vogue. They are so refined and ladylike. I can’t wait till your next post with more on your fantabulious trip. Do tell about the poppies! Congratulations on 30 years!
    Love, Randi —–<—<–@

    • sbranch says:

      Outlander was such a delicious book. I always thought, with the worries about “germs” that maybe gloves WOULD come back! Maybe they will! Thank you Randi!

  31. Ruth Winkler says:

    Dear Susan, I love February too. Tomorrow I will celebrate my 89th birthday and I have always loved coats. Since living up here in God’s country, Vermont, the choice is usually parkas, period. Congratulations to you and Joe. I look forward to your future projects, next a mug? Started the first episode of A Place to Call Home. Loved it. Thanks for the telling us gals about it. And thanks for the photos of the robins, my favorite songbird! Keep writing and taking those gorgeous photos. Safe train trip. And many Mom hugs.

    • sbranch says:

      We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day in Vermont! Will bring the parka! Hopefully we’ll be going on a sleigh ride, if weather permits. We’re all in agreement we won’t go if it’s 20 below! Looking for a delightful 29 degree day! Do you think we’ll find one?

  32. susan mcmillan says:

    Love, love your blogs!! This makes me want to go to Edinburgh! My in laws loved it and all the plaids reminded me so much of them. They have 65 years together and died within three weeks of each other at 90 and 91. True love for sure. I think I will ask my husband to go to Edinburgh on our 40 th to celebrate and see many beautiful sights that will remind us of them Thanks for sharing. Come to New Orleans some time and sign books!


    • sbranch says:

      Loved the story about your in-laws and true love. Was worried about New Orleans yesterday. My girlfriend Margot is down there so I called to see how things were. I guess the tornados were very hit and miss. Hope all is well in your area. xo

  33. Marilyn Young says:

    Wonderful month for you two kids and me too! It’s my 83rd birthday and I love celebrating with friends and family. Love your stories about England and Scotland as well. Love cashmere sweaters, scarves, mittens and hats. Those coats were smashing. Hope to see you in March!

  34. Karen Carpenter says:

    Happy Anniversary! How exciting! Enjoy every moment and the train to California!

    Karen Carpenter

    • sbranch says:

      We will. Haven’t been on the train in a while, been driving everywhere for the book signings. So it will be fun to once again rock our way across the country!

  35. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan! The robins! Maybe you could explain to me this wonderous event that happens every year – the day after Christmas, robins come to my house, fill the trees….such a wonderful visit! But why on Dec. 26th, I wonder? Thanks for sharing your photos of the robins!

  36. Sonya Hewes says:

    I was a flight attendant in the late 80s and early 90s and my last international trip was to Edinburgh, Scotland and I absolutely loved it! Such a beautiful place and the people are soooo friendly! Never made it to Ragamuffin either, but they do have a Facebook page. 🙂

  37. Paulaj says:

    I rejoice with you in NO DEADLINE, Sue! You have earned a break! Happy Anniversaries. You are Joe are so right for each other and such a fun couple.

    Thank you for sharing the plaids. In the photo of the scarves that has the vintage bus in the background, I would grab the fourth one from the left if I could~~talk about bright and cheery. 🙂

    Congratulations on completing the 2018 calendar. I am enjoying my 2017 Susan Branch calendars.

    Have a relaxing, no-time-pressure drive out to California and have a lovely time with your mother and the girlfriends, both long time friends and new.

    Paula Johnson

    P.S. For the record: We now have 46 grandchildren (a granddaughter born on the 24th of January to our “baby” and his wife) and our First great grandchild (a son born to our oldest grand daughter and her husband).

    • sbranch says:

      Forty-six!!!! That is amazing! Congratulations Paula, that is just fantastic. What Thanksgivings you must have!

  38. Nicoline Bostens says:

    Dear Susan,
    Edinburgh…Ahhh, such lovely pictures, LOVE all the plaid! Partly thanks to your stories, we are going to visit in August. We are going to see the Edinburgh Tattoo, bought tickets already! The boys are coming too, and decided we “need” to see Loch Ness….So we’re driving there too, staying overnight in Inverness and on the way back we will surprise them with a visit to a herd of reindeer!!
    Lots to look forward too.
    Did you get Jack a little plaid toy, I wonder…??
    Happy anniversary and a happy Valentines day!

    • sbranch says:

      Nicoline, did you take the boys to see the dogs with the sheep yet? Because they’re in Scotland, and you probably will pass fairly close if you drive from Edinburgh to Loch Ness . . . or coming down from Inverness. Best thing we did in Scotland. Just a wonderful day and display of nature in action. Happy Valentine’s Day!

      • Nicoline Bostens says:

        Noooo, I have been trying to find out where the sheepdogs are. I just loved your story and little film about them, just darling, that puppy!! I’ll try again, to see where they are.
        Thanks for the reminder! Looking forward to the reindeer too, did you see them?

        • sbranch says:

          Here you go Nicoline, the DOGs and SHEEP . . . I promise, you will love them and so will your boys! We didn’t see any reindeer ~ what is that about?

          • Nicoline Bostens says:

            Susan, Thank you!!
            We were watching a documentary about Scotland a few weeks ago, and besides the gorgeous country side, we saw that there is a herd of reindeer, and visitors are allowed to come on a guide hike to see them, and pet them, and feed them!!
            I have the link here;

            If you can’t see it, you could type on internet;
            Cairngorm Reindeer, and you can see all about it!
            We have already bought proper hiking boots, so we’re well prepared, and ready to go!


          • sbranch says:

            Got it Nicoline! Thank you!

  39. Linda Pintarell says:

    Just finished watching Season One of A Place To Call Home which I borrowed from the library (that’s a new venture for me…getting DVD’s from there). It’s fabulous…just fantastic. And YES Regina shows up towards the end of first season. Need to put in my order for Season Two…it will take me a little while to catch up. LOVED, LOVED all the plaids…especially the hats (adore hats) and the scarves. That one store MIGHT entice me to make a trip to Scotland…it is so great. Sending valentine wishes to all the girlfriends.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Linda! I tried to figure out when season five will be ready, but can’t seem to find the information. I think you have plenty of time to enjoy the first four seasons.

  40. Sandra says:

    Loved all the plaid! Thank you for the apple cake recipe. Apples make the best cakes and have you tried the English Apple Crumble yet? It’s GORGEOUS!
    I love Valentine’s Day, just for the sheer fun of decorating! I’m crocheting hearts already!

  41. Genevieve Denis says:

    Dear Susan,
    I never miss your posts, it’s like reading a letter sent by a very good friend! Visited Scotland many years ago and longing to go back! We are a family of Canadian diplomats living in Paris for 4 years, so it’s so easy now to go to the UK with the Eurostar. No need to fly! Yeah! One of my favorite authors is mister Alexander McCall Smith. He is well know of course for his brilliant book series Number one ladies detective agency set in Botswana (we lived in Zimbabwe for 3 years so that was quite a good read), but he also write two series that I adore and that take place in Edinburgh, namely : 44 Scotland Street and Isabel Dalhousie and the Sunday Philosophy Club. I just adore those 2 series. I’m sure you know them, but just in case 🙂 Will start a Place to call home. Happy anniversaries and safe travels. Thank you for brightening our lives!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back Genevieve! I’ve read a couple of AMS books, but need more! Must add to list! You are leading a very interesting life. Love hearing from you. Thank you!

    • Mary Shearer says:

      I, too, love McCall Smith’s book!!

  42. Janet O'Connor says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for all of the plaid! I do love plaid. It’s so cozy and colorful. When I was young, not sure if it was high school or college, my mother made me a beautiful black watch plaid kilt. I wish I still had it. What a treasure! She also made me a tweed coat with fabric woven in England. It kept me warm every winter at Bridgewater State. It’s certainly fun to pull up old memories like that.
    Happy Anniversary to you and Joe! I wish you many more years of cozy comfort and happiness. I’m so glad that you stayed in Martha’s Vineyard and met him. The romance is wonderful. Enjoy your train ride across the country. What a great way to go!
    Janet xoxo

  43. Pat Smith says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks for your lovely posts; they always brighten my mood. I am so glad you mentioned A Place to Call Home. After reading your original post about it, I mentioned it to my husband and he found it for me (I did not even know about Acorn tv and it turned out it was on our menu). It was one of those rare shows that he and I both enjoy, except toward the end he was saying that there was too much drama going on and “how can one family have so much happening to them”. Regina is so evil…even her facial expressions scare me. Feel sorry for Anna and her husband though…but not sure you are there yet.
    Love the plaids, but in Florida we don’t get much chance for them. My husband and I have our 40th coming up, maybe a trip to Edinburgh would be nice! I too will buy one of your mugs and use it every day to remind me to look for the small things we are blessed with.

    • sbranch says:

      Yup, we’re at the feeling sorry for Anna and Gino stage. I feel sorry for her, but even sorrier for him. xoxo dear Pat.

  44. Pam says:

    Loved the post Sue. You’ve inspired me, I have all the wet weather gear (as per family photo on this post) however I only have boring green wellies. I think I need to get a jazzy pair.

  45. Pat Smith says:

    Susan, also I forgot to say on my previous post that I googled the series A Place to Call Home and two pairs of the characters are married in real life. Try to guess which ones they are!

  46. Sandra says:

    LUV a man in a kilt! Headed to Lake District, then to Scotland and now, headed with an empty suitcase…lol. LUV Ragamuffin…could drop a bundle of cash in that shop. Lately, I’ve been watching Lark Rise to Candleford…marvelous clothes and story line based on Flora Thompson’s memoir of her Oxfordshire childhood. It’s as good as Downton Abbey!

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha, you are very smart Sandra. We had a buy a suitcase while there, we did all our Christmas shopping!

  47. June Emmert says:

    Good morning!

    You spread cheerfulness and goodwill. Your enthusiasm comes through on my I pad!
    My Scottish friend is deceased, but our family and hers when meeting for thanksgiving
    at our cottages on Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron all wore plaids. There is something
    magical about being all dressed in all those different colors and designs. You
    automically become cheerful, relaxed, and love for yourself and all present! Keep
    On being our joyful, love of life, Valentine person!
    One of joy

  48. Sharon Suzanne Moran says:

    Congratulations on your Anniversary! Well, on ALL your anniversaries! And have a wonderful trip. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY🎂🎂🎂🎉 to your Mom!

  49. Ann Y. says:

    What a beautiful post…loved all the plaid ! Happy Anniversary to you and Joe…so happy for you. We just celebrated our 40th…with a cruise and trip to London. Not so much the countryside you enjoyed, but we LOVED it. Loved the houses, loved the tube, loved the tea, loved the energy of the city and felt blessed to enjoy it together. Now home and beginning retirement and the next chapter of our love story…like you and Joe I know it will be wonderful. Already checked our local library and they have A Place to Call Home…adding it to the list of must watch items. My dear husband woke the day we returned with a fever and cold – despite my best efforts with Airborne and sanitizers – so we have been cozy with tea, quilts, and catching up on Victoria! Safe travels across the USA and can’t wait to see all the wonderful things you have in store for us. Blessings to you and Joe !

  50. Winnie says:

    Susan, I know just what you mean about Edinburgh wools!! OMG, when I was there last September, I couldn’t get enough of all of those shops and the gorgeous wools. I came home with a plaid scarf of my family clan which is warm and soft. Those shops are almost like art galleries with the beautiful combinations and colors of wools in all sorts of ways. It is hard to decide what to purchase because so many things are calling your name!! LOL!!

    Congratulations on 30 years with your beloved Joe! I am so happy that you two found each other and have been able to enjoy all these years of adventures and love together. He da’ BEST!!

    Also, thank-you for our sweet GF Valentine!! It is just the pick me up I needed this morning too!

  51. Elizabeth says:

    Oh my goodness, Edinburgh! We were lucky enough to stay in Old Town near the Castle right after the Tatoo ended (we could see them dismantling the bleachers). Were you in New Town? The whole city is delightful and amazing. Your description of Ragamuffin awakened a spark of memory. We visited their other store on the Isle of Skye! When you spoke of the natural fibers I remembered a similar store and after searching the web I found it! I wanted nearly one of everything they had but like you, there were time constraints. Oh darn, guess we’ll have to go back. I’m loving the posts about your trip.
    Congrats on 30 years of wedded bliss!

    • sbranch says:

      We were only in Old Town ~ we seriously have to go back! Thank you Elizabeth. We feel very lucky. xoxo

  52. Darla Unger says:

    Thanks for the recipe and was that food or water that the robins were loving?

  53. Asha says:

    I love plaid! Thank you for sharing. I am so into “A Place To Call Home.” Only through the first season. Wow! Have a nice relaxing break from work. Of course, we all look forward to seeing anything new you will bring us! 😀

    • sbranch says:

      Glad you’re enjoying the series, we have ONE episode left. We watched the second to last one (4th season) last night. And then we were bad and let ourselves watch the first 10 minutes of the LAST episode…. eeeek. Then, we stopped, and saved the rest of it for tonight.

  54. Cheryl says:

    Happy Anniversary to you and Joe! I enjoyed this post very much and would love to visit Scotland. It was exciting to find out a few years ago through genealogy research that Robert the Bruce aka the King of Scotland was my great…count 27 times…grandfather!
    I loved seeing the plaids and I remember wearing long coats when I was younger. I had dresses to match the coats, too. We just don’t dress up like that anymore, at least in my neck of the woods. It’s easier on the budget, I’m know, but I do think we are missing out on being more fashionable!
    Enjoy your visit to California!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s a fun discovery!! What I miss, even though for the most part I never saw it, are the differences in the way people in the different countries dressed in the past. Now we almost all look alike, no matter where we are. Thank you Cheryl!

  55. Martha Rodik says:

    Why does the weaving, knitting, yarn and material look so different that what’s available in the US? Maybe they are just more creative than us? Love all the pictures! Mr. Groundhog is too very cute!

  56. Gert~Iowa says:

    Wow Susan, I can’t believe all the robins and so early!! You must have a heater in your bird bath! That’s what we have to have here. My mother’s birthday was in February too. She would have been 99 years old!! Love, love, love all those plaids! And yes you should have gotten that blue/orange scarf! Gorgeous!! I could never wear wool…it was like– get out the Benadryl! This year I found out, it’s not the wool that makes a person’s the lanolin in it! Who knew? Not me! The doctors told my son this after he got severely burnt this year.. interesting. Seeing Joe carrying those lilacs reminded me of my Tom. That was him too… he would come in just that same way….carrying handfuls of lilacs of all different colors. (We have, white, deep purple and light lilac ones!!) I shall miss that this spring!

    Have a fun and safe trip…enjoy your mother…and tell her “hi” and “happy birthday” from Iowa!


  57. Brenda says:

    Ah, Scottish plaids and tweeds. I love buying Harris Tweed blazers here in Canada – usually for $5 at thrift shops and cutting them up to make amazing book bags.

  58. Anne Mesick says:

    Congratulations all around. What joy it is to mark milestones; the big ones and the little ones.
    Thank you for all the work you do on the calendars; I look at mine daily.

    I had to smile at the Apple Cake recipe because, carefully, tucked into the back of my
    Vineyard Seasons is a stack of your recipes which I cut out of my Country Living Magazines in 1989 and 1990. When I looked to see if the Apple Cake was there…. it was right on top.

    I loved seeing more pictures from your trip.

  59. Carla says:

    Wow! I was totally distracted just looking at the pictures! I can only imagine what it would be like to be IN the stores! All that gorgeous plaid! I would need hours and hours just to shop – forget sight-seeing! I have several plaid kilts and scarves that were bought years ago on a trip to Bermuda, even a plaid cape that I originally bought for my mother. So much fun, Susan! Thanks for a bright and happy start to the day!

  60. Mary in Phoenix says:

    February reminds me of love and violets and amethyst and my dear sweet mum who turns 99 this month! Such a reason to celebrate! Happy anniversaries to you and Joe, HBD to your mum, and happy Valentine’s Day to all the girlfriends of the world. I remember you once wrote that Valentine’s Day was a day for girlfriends to celebrate each other. Our newspaper just did an article about Galentine’s Day and likened its rise to Friendsgiving. Ladies celebrating ladies. This year seems more appropriate than ever with the strength women have shown the world ♥ xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Your mom will be 99. How lucky you are Mary! She was so wonderful. I loved meeting her. Give her a hug for me. And yes, I’ve always thought Valentine’s Day is for women…I REALLY like ALL my girlfriends to get a Valentine! I sent mine out already! My mom gets one, and I hope all our girlfriends are feted for the wonderful, hard working, caring, loving people they (we) are. xoxo

  61. Jeannie says:

    Oh Susan what a beautiful post! I have to say the one dog did not look pleased! Loved the redheads! I want to go shopping in Scotland, the land of my maternal ancesters! I pray you and Joe have a wonderful time in CA, enjoy your mom, friends, book signing, walking the beaches, smelling the salt air, and the beautiful sunsets!

    Hugs from Asheville,
    Chirp chirp!

  62. Debbie says:

    Happy Anniversary to you & Joe! I enjoyed this post so much. I visited Edinburgh in 2005 and it is my favorite city. When I was there I purchased a wonderfully soft, raspberry pink cashmere scarf and I still wear it often. Wishing you safe travels when you go to California.

  63. Beth says:

    Love your blog! Just getting over the stomach flu – your blog was like a get well wish. Thank you.

  64. Jo'L says:

    Bet you could call Ragamuffin and have them send you the blue and orange scarf!
    Thanks for all the fun. Happy 30th, 35th, tell your mom, “Happy Birthday” and thank her for giving us you!!!

  65. Anne in Maine says:

    Happy, Happy Anniversary to you and Joe! And many, many more. Loved seeing your photos of Edinburgh. Another place to put on the bucket list!! I was also happy to see how much they love coats in England. I LOVE my coats! Living in central Maine coats are the way to go for me. They keep much more of me warmer. Also, Happy Anniversary marking your arrival on Martha’s Vineyard. February is a VERY Special month for you indeed! Happy Valentine’s Day as well. Looking very forward to more posts on England and Scotland. Anne

  66. Gayle Hall says:

    Yes Dear Susan, I am happy and CLAPPING MY HANDS!!!! Of course I would be as I just heard from my GIRLFRIEND………YOU😊. Yes I too love this month. Next to Christmas it’s my next favorite. Another thing I have discovered we have in common is February is my Mamas birthday. I will tell you the story of how the date of her birthday became in the letter I will be sending out tomorrow via SNAILMAIL. I should really re-name that GAYLEMAIL, as letter writing has always been a thing I love to do, all the way back to my childhood. But my MAMAS birthday is NOW Valentines Day. In your up and coming letter I will share with you why😊💗. I love your hearts in the window, but more so love the picture of you and your SWEETIE. Nope you do not mind I and going to print it and frame it for my desk. It will be nice to look at each day. And how I love plaid, and bows…..omg I can’t ever get enough of them, and put them on everything I decorate, make ,or draw. Hmmm I think in that group of 4,we are definitely tied. Oh you know that shot of Rachael? That needs to be blown up to just a head shot, and framed for both you and her. It is a feel good photo to be looked at often. And as a person of the NORTHWOODS I became so inamered with the deer when we bought the land up there, and from that grew my love of deer. A whole other story…….. But I of course collect deer figures now. And yes those redheads would have caught my eye also. I have always been drawn to little freckled face children with red hair. I wonder why that is?? 🤔 But no I do not collect them…….😊 So Susan till you hear from me via GAYLEMAIL I will close for now. You have a safe trip to see your MAMA, and have loads of fun every minute. Are you driving or flying? Don’t think you said? If you are flying wave as you go over, and if you are driving stop in for a spot of tea😊, love Gayle Hall

    • sbranch says:

      We’re going by train, Boston to Los Angeles, via Chicago! Our favorite way to go. Thank you Gayle!

      • Gayle Hall says:

        Just had to tell you how excited I am that you are traveling my favorite way too. I travel by auto because I can’t get the engineer of the train to STOP!!! at every flea market, garage, and yard sale. But years ago I would go to New Jersey, and New York by train. They are still in my memory of the greatest moments of my life. I could just get on a train and ride and ride, from one place to another and read, listen to music, and write and draw all day long. I have always wanted to go out to the west coast by train. Maybe someday? I will be thinking of you and hoping you are having such a super time. Get your train legs ready😊 Oh to lay in the bed and sway, and look out the window and the countryside. I can hear the wheels squeeling in the rails as I right. You and I have the greatest imaginations don’t we? Oh have fun guys!! Warm Smiles and love sent your way………Gayle

        • sbranch says:

          I know, we’re really excited. It’s something very hard to come by these days, forced down time! Can’t do anything but sleep, read, eat, watch out the window. It’s wonderful. xoxo

  67. Donna Klein says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’ve been a bit under the weather this year so have’t been online much at all. But yesterday I read your blog and I’m so glad I did! I smiled all the way through, seeing all those beautiful colors and plaids! I wish I could go there and shop!

    When I was living in Las Vegas, and working on the Eiffel Tower, I was lucky enough to meet 2 young men from Glasgow who are now FB friends. They were wearing kilts and cowboy boots; a perfect ensemble I’d say. And scarves which may have been leopard and not plaid, but it worked.

    Thanks for making my day, and I hope yours is lovely 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I love the Eiffel Tower in Vegas! So cute! We had my mom’s 80th Birthday dinner sitting on that porch looking across at all the fountains and listening to Dean Martin sing! Those Glasgow boys have style!!!

  68. Karen Baron says:

    I love the plaid!! I am of Scottish ancestry, but I had no idea of all the beautiful vibrant colors of plaids!! When I was younger plaid pleated skirts were very popular in the Midwest, but not so much anymore! Happy 30th Wedding Anniversary! Thank you for sharing your travels! Thank you for the Apple Cake recipe! 🍏🍎I haven’t seen many robins they sure are beautiful birds! I used to find the bird nests with the vibrant blue eggs as a child! I can’t wait to see your coat!! Enjoy your visit with your mother! It has been really rainy these last few weeks☔️ Here in California! We needed it☔️Have a super time with Joe!! ❤️The best to you! Karen B.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Karen! I’ve been hearing about your storms. Wow! But I know it will be green and beautiful, and poor California needed it so bad!

  69. Mary J says:

    Once again, Susan, thank you for a great post! Happy Anniversary! We are so lucky to have found our honeys! My arm candy and I just celebrated our 40th with a lovely road trip. My dad went to med school in Scotland and I have always had a soft spot for plaid. In the bottom of my cedar chest is the beautiful Scottish kilt I wore the first time I met my honey! Such lovely memories!

  70. Diana from Ohio says:

    One of the best posts! I also love plaid and long coats! Deer heads I can do without though! LOL I want everything that was pictured. Scarves, Clothes, purses, EVERYTHING! And A PLACE TO CALL HOME Love It! Haven’t gotten the 4th season yet but will.

  71. Sherry Winchester says:

    What an absolutely wonderful post this time, Susan….(as all the others are, of course!) As I’m plaid mad myself, this spoke to my heart…What lovely fabrics and color choices to make up the mix!….
    And a belated Happy Anniversary to the Magic Couple! Did you notice how I capitalized that? Of course you did! Well-deserved, you two very special folks. You share so much of your magic, and I certainly do appreciate that.
    Enjoy your well-earned California break! And thank you!!!

  72. Suzanne says:

    Bon voyage on the romantic
    train to California! You’ve
    inspired this solid black down
    coat-wearing Minnesota gal to
    re-think the whole coat thing!
    It’s warm, but not pretty in
    the least, and by February,
    I think we are all craving some

    Thank you for the sweet taste
    of Edinburgh, too. Was there
    as a newlywed, and must get back : )
    Loved seeing it through your
    marvelous eyes….

    xo Suzanne

  73. Bobbie Calgaro says:

    All the plaid is cheerful. Those of us who make our own clothes are drooling. Lovely plaid is nearly impossible to find here in the states. I loved everything you posted! I would need a suitcase to bring home all the fabric I could cram into it.
    Funny about the groundhog cause Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow. But as I sit today on my birthday in North Carolina it’s in the 70’s and I have the windows open. Maybe Phil was wrong and the robins are on to something!
    Thanks for being my eyes to see the world!

    • sbranch says:

      They say Phil is like 40% right! Not so good. Today it was 52 degrees here which is ridiculous actually, wonderfully warm, but wrong on all levels. And tomorrow? A Blizzard! LOL, no rhyme or reason!

  74. Margie says:

    Happy 30th Anniversary. ❤ and Happy Valentine’s Day 💗 February is a day of hearts. Thanks for giving yours in your words and hearts.

  75. Kathy says:

    Oh, another lovely post! I just want to crawl into your blog and LIVE there! And I see you have a BLIZZARD WARNING! Oh, to be cozy and warm, with no looming deadlines, in your lovely house, with your dear kitty and your dear honey! It sounds so . . . WONDERFUL! Stay safe and warm and enjoy!

    • sbranch says:

      We do! Joe’s just been loading up more wood and we’re all ready for it! Exciting! Hope it waits for daylight to start!

      • Kathy says:

        I just checked your weather and it’s raining so it seems you’ll get to see it change to snow! It’s been snowing here in northeast Ohio too, but not a lot of accumulation – just a couple inches. It has been a strange winter! I hope no major tree limb/electricity issues occur.

        • sbranch says:

          We still have 40 degrees, but it’s starting to rain. We’ll need to drop about 8 degrees to get this into the right configuration!

          • mary spring says:

   should be getting heavy snow and wind for several hours..they shifted the “blizzard warning” to Westerly area (where my daughter lives…she is a nurse and commutes to Providence..that’s how I “snow days” for nurses lol )..enjoy your snow !!

  76. Kelly Fortner says:

    We loved Edinburgh, arrived on a cold day in March with twenty-five high school students and several adults for a Spring Break fling in the British Isles. I was wearing a winter coat with a zip-out lining, a muffler, earmuffs, gloves, and warm clothing . . . I was still cold!! The lively man who met us was wearing a kilt, and he never appeared cold. We went to a celidh in the evening and experienced haggis. Yes, I did try it!!! Thanks for the visual reunion with one of my favorite cities!!!

  77. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    Wishing you, and your “meant to be with forever”, Joe, a very happy anniversary ♥ I love the picture of him with the gorgeous lilacs, and is that your beloved Girl, strolling past? Cannot wait for those sleigh ride pictures, how absolutely romantic! Don’t forget a nice warm wooley “plaid” blankie to wrap up in. Love the hat & gloves you got in Scotland, I LOVE bows too! And what I love most about Groundhog Day, is making your Punxsutawney Pudding, I Love it so much! Have a wonderful trip to California and say a big Happy Birthday to your sweet Mom ♥

  78. Hi Susan, It looks like you had a wonderful time in Edinburgh, such a gorgeous place, all the plaid is amazing too. I found a wonderful shop called Ness when we visited, all brightly coloured knits, dresses and plaids, and yes, I came away with a coat!

    Those robins are adorable, we have a few that visit our back garden too, they especially seem to come at special times or when you need a lift, so I like to believe that this is a special message from loved ones no longer with us. Such beautiful creatures, you have reminded me that I must try to get some photos of them!

    We visited Apple Farm Inn for a night whilst on our honeymoon in California and loved it there, oh how I wish I could ‘pop’ over for your event! It would be so lovely to chat to you again, meet kindred spirits and of course visit their wonderful gift shop!

    Congratulations to you both on your Anniversary, I hope you had fun celebrating. We have had some difficult times lately with infertility and IVF treatment (we were at the start of our first round when we met you at the picnic) but the love you have for each other, the wonderful life you have made together and things you have achieved remind me to look at what we have together and how fortunate we are instead of what we do not, you are a couple to aspire to be like, so a heartfelt thank you for that. Concentrating on some other dreams in the meantime and just trying to keep the faith.

    Katrina XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      Good girl! You just never know what the big plan is, but keeping the faith is important no matter which way it turns out. I always try to imagine where I would be if I’d become a mom. I think I would have gotten SO into it, I may never have written a book. So it’s interesting, and I feel lucky to have nieces and nephews and other people’s children to love. We’ll meet again someday Katrina, England will always be on our travel list. Nice to hear from you, take good care. Love to Adrian. (Did I get that right?) xoxo

  79. Ruth Thomas says:

    Glad you will have some down time, everyone needs a little bit. Enjoy your trip to visit your mom. A Place to Call ?Home? Where can I see it? Have you and the girlfriends been watching Victoria and The Crown, wonderful! Happy days Sweet Susan❤️❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Lots of us have!A Place to Call Home is available on Acorn, which you’ll find if you use Netflix or Amazon ~ Acorn is all British programming. You’ll love it Ruth, it’s beautifully acted and the story moves really fast!

  80. Barb Murphy says:

    Thank you for the lovely tour of Edin-Burra. I just want to look at the pictures and say Ahhhhhhhh…
    Happy 30th Anniversary to you and Joe. Couldn’t happen to a nicer couple. I hope you keep the celebration going all month long.
    Here’s to an early spring…

  81. Denise S says:

    What a lovely varied post. It really spurred my imagination. And memories . I had a lovely red plaid coat long ago in New York which I loved and hated to let go. I agree that coats are great and colors are better. How did we let that all go? New plan? More winter color. Susan can you arrange that with the manufacturers?

    • sbranch says:

      If only I had the power! I scoot around websites looking for linen, cotton, wool, and if I find anything, I’ll let you know!

  82. Hi Susan,
    I loved this post! I love the tales of Scotland, and the bright colored coats! My daughter studied abroad in Denmark this past summer, and ahead of time she read that they mostly wear dark colors there, so as to honor their very egalitarian society, that nobody is better than anyone else, nobody stands out, etc. I thought how sad that was. And we visited her at the start of our tour of Scandinavia, and we did see this trend, but some others did wear color. I say, “WEAR WHAT YOU LOVE!” Especially important for us artistic ones, right? Also, my hubby and I are headed to the UK in September, been planning this for a long time, and still planning. THANK YOU for the tip about the cute, CUTE shop! I will put it on my list, at the top! When we were in a small town in Finland, I stumbled upon the MOST amazing shop-full of craft items, ribbons- Nordic patterns like crazy and rolls and rolls of them, and entire wall of tubes of buttons, and many, many gorgeous wool sweaters, hats, scarves, etc. I was in HEAVEN! But, my man was with me! He tried to be very patient, saying I could spend as much time as I wanted, and he sat outside the store, in the mall. But I didn’t want to be greedy! We were on a tour, but it was free time. Oh, I went a bit crazy, trying to see everything, touch everything, etc. All I bought were some ribbons and some buttons, to make a sampler (I have not made it yet).
    Anyway, loved this post, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, when they are waiting, no matter how patiently, it’s hard to shop! That store sounds amazing, I would love to go there too!

  83. Rhonda D. says:

    Congratulations on your anniversaries. Many years of bliss to celebrate. Glad you’re getting a bit of time to yourself and what better place than Vermont. I so hope you’re able to go on a sleigh ride. We’re getting a snowstorm here in the Maritimes tomorrow. Maybe you’ll get some snow from that system and it won’t be too cold.
    Aye, lassie, you’ve made me hamesick with this wonderful post…Edinburgh, plaid (it’s always been my favorite color), love Joe’s plaid shirt and tie. So many lovely things to behold. Oh my, I loved the coats, I am such a coat person. I hosted a Scottish dinner on Sunday evening. We had Chicken in the Heather, Tatties & Neeps, Tipsy Laird for dessert. (My guests were relieved that there was no haggis). I used all my plaid accessories to decorate. The evening was a huge hit. Looking forward to doing it again next year around Robbie Burns Day. I have a whole year to research what I’ll make next time.
    Happy Valentines Day to you and Joe and all the girlfriends. Have fun!! xx

  84. Linda says:

    Dear Susan,

    Once again a Lovely Blog . . .
    I love the little birdies the most and that we have turned our calendars to February, the month of Love !

    Just curious, I sent you a little package, red with hearts all over it, the tracking shows it made it to your PO Box but it does not say if it has been picked up. I hope the package makes its way to you ! : )

    See you soon in SLO,
    Linda of So Cal

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t think I’ve seen a package with red hearts all over it. Joe went yesterday ~ either it wasn’t there, or he wasn’t in the mood to stand in line for mail. Maybe today!

      • Linda says:

        Oh, I sure hope it didn’t get lost somewhere . . .

        (Tracking says it arrived at the Vineyard Haven Post Office the morning of February 4th .)

        There are a couple little goodies with a fairly lengthy letter that might require a hot cup of tea ! ; )

        • sbranch says:

          Ohhhh, I think I did get it after all. I read a long letter with photos of your BFF’s of some of the times we’ve met? Is that the one? (We get way too much mail these days, I have a hard time keeping track, so sorry!)

  85. Mary Brehm says:

    Good Morning Dear Sue. I just got home from a 4 day shopping spree in Pennsylvania. My girlfriend owns a lovely shop called and invited me to come on a buying trip with her. What an experience! So much to see. We were right smack dab in amish country and the weather was surreal. Everything was so green and I even saw some forsythia blooming. There were lovely clotheslines everywhere with pretty colored cloths hanging like neat soldiers. So picturesque. I thought of you while i was taking it all in and new you would love it. Then we high tailed it home to be the incoming storm. It’s crazy what a difference one day makes.
    Happy Anniversary to you and your Joe. You guys are just so darn cute! I am going to make something warm and bubbly in a pot and snuggle in for a day of quilting…ahhh pure heaven. Love you,<3

  86. Yay for Plaid!!! My favorite!!!! All my friends know that’s what I love! It’s a nice bonus that it is so popular right now. And I love mixing plaid and florals! I haven’t been in that shop “Ragamuffin”! I must look for it next time. I’m so glad you liked Edinburgh. It’s my favorite!

  87. Marty from NYC says:

    Trust me, Snow is coming your way. Beautiful in NYC right now, but everything going to be closed I think by noon.
    Definitely going to be a snowy cozy afternoon. Time to re-read the childhood classic “The Emperor’s New Clothes” .

    We are all so happy that you let “Trouble” , laden with fragrant spring flowers into your life thirty years ago. Congratulations to you both for 30 years of love and creativity!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, good book. And yes, “Trouble” ~ that kind, was actually the best thing ever. xoxo Thank you Marty. Have a wonderful day.

  88. Michelle says:

    You should do an entire blog post devoted to Rachel’s adorable outfits! I love her plaid coat! 🙂

  89. AngieTink says:

    Happy Thursday Sweet Sue 🙂 I Know You Are Awaiting The Snow Today…. So Stay~Safe & Cozy & Warm & Have Fun! Congratz On #35Years On Your Magical~Island & #30Years With #YourBelovedJoe……Happy~Birthday To Your Beautiful Mom…Happy~Birthday~Hugzzz From Me When You See Her…. 🙂 So When Do We Board The Choo~Choo~Train? My Bagzzz Are Packed! 😉 & I Love When We #TwitterFromTheTwain…..Yay! All~Aboard….xoxo #Poof! #TheBlizzard & #SafeTravels 🙂 P.S. I Too Am #MadForPlaid! 🙂

    • AngieTink says:

      Good~Morning Sweet Sue Can You See My Comment From Yesterday? Hey You Really Did Get Lots Of SNOW!!! Yay! Make a Snow~Angel For Me!!! Kitty~Kisses To Jack & Happy~Weekend! xoxo #Poof 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Train pulls out on the 23rd of February, you’re ahead of me…I need to get packed too!

      • AngieTink says:

        #February23…..All~Aboard!!!! & Happy~Valentine’s~Day To You Sweet~Sue & Joe…. I Just Caught Up With You In #Twitterville! 🙂 #Romance~In~Vermont #Heavenly… It Reminds Me Of #White~Christmas & The Train & “All That Snow” #Enjoy #My “LOVEBIRDS” xoxo Poof! P.S. #I Just Saw #CUPID 😉

  90. Linda says:

    To answer you from up above at 5:30 . . .
    Yes !
    That’s the one ! : )
    So glad the package made it your way,
    See you next mouth,
    Linda of So Cal

    • sbranch says:

      Cute stories in that letter! See you soon, old friend! Be sure to remind me of letter when we meet, because I get too excited and may not put 2 and 2 together until it’s too late!

  91. Cam says:

    I soooo enjoyed your post on the plaids of Scotland. It reminded me of a sensory experience I had when traveling on Highway 395 between Mammoth and Reno. We happened upon a fabric/quilt store named Quilt House. After looking at the drab summer colors of the high desert for hours in the car, I entered the store and was enveloped in all the vibrant colors of the quilt fabrics. Rows and rows of gorgeous hues and patterns. It felt like going into a rainbow, much like your photos of plaids. So thank you for sharing your experiences in Scotland.
    Can we talk about the clothes in A Place to Call home (APTCH)? I particularly enjoy Ana’s wardrobe, but probably dress more like Sarah. The character James Bligh (David Berry) is filming a season for the Outlander series playing the character Lord John Grey, but I’m sure he will be in Season 5 of APTCH.
    If you enjoy the interiors of APTCH you might enjoy viewing
    Congratulations on your anniversaries! Enjoy your sleigh ride, we enjoyed ours at Lake Tahoe when everyone joined in the singing of “Dashing through the Snow” years ago when our children were young. Aren’t memories great! I hope you are staying warm. It is like the beginning of summer in the Central Coast of CA. Everyday the air is warmer. Our green hills and mountains will soon turn brown. Thank you again for sharing your experiences with us so generously. You are a joy to us all!

    • sbranch says:

      I am almost shocked at the colors inside the big house. They, in my humble opinion (which I realize is an oxymoron) are TERRIBLE. How do they put those drapes with that wallpaper, and those sofas??? I can’t see it! I’m constantly saying to Joe, with alarm, “LOOK at that Lampshade!!!” I think they are trying to tell us something, but we can’t figure out what it is! I hope they never change it!😀 Because now it’s a “thing.” So excited to get out there and see California all dressed in green!

    • FayE in CA! says:

      “It felt like going into a rainbow…” Great imagery in your words! I love the way words paint images and your words could be the first words of a book!! I would keep on reading…love story?…70’s room full of flower children?…last moments in the life of a loved-one?…lashes closing and muffled voices in the hallway to surgery?,,,recollections of a happy childhood (a-la Susan Branch!). Who knows where that sentence could take the writer and readers? Perhaps a memoir titled “It Felt Like Going into a Rainbow – My Quilted Memories”…? The spark of your words has many stories to tell!

      OR, literally out of the mouths of babes…a teacher’s “reward” for the day…a young student’s description and the teacher’s journal entry for the evening…a teaching journal that she labeled “Out of the Mouths of Babes”…and there you go…her future book to be published!! 📚 📖

      I can see you standing there…allowing the fabrics to envelop you…smile quivering…heart pounding…cheeks flushing…hubby waiting in the car!!! HA!!!!

      I hope I remember your words the next time I see a rainbow. 🌈 💗

  92. Annapolis says:

    Happy Anniversary to you and Joe!
    Can’t wait for the mugs – the “mock up” was so sweet!
    Enjoy Valentines Day next week and stay warm in the snow headed your way too.

  93. rhea says:

    Yay!! Lots to celebrate!! Everything you wrote about and wanted in your book actually came true!! I just love your story. Not only did you follow your passions but you found Joe! You guys are so cute together, still after all of this time, so inspiring and refreshing. My husband and I met and married after 17 days and just had our 16th anniversary and we couldn’t be happier. Were so lucky. Good for you for actually giving yourself a break from deadlines and such a good time to do it……spring planning and planting and t-shirts and maybe even some mugs! I knew the mugs were going to happen! Cant wait. Have a lovely time down in California. Its going to be so green for the first time in years due to all of the rain. Perfect timing!

  94. Fantastic trip along your memory lane, which is just fine with me! I loved all the shops and plaid! I have always been a plaid girl, from way back in my rural school days when I had plaid notebooks and lunch boxes… and scarves, as well.

    It is cold in Missouri. I hung your calendar in my kitchen and look at it every day to remind myself of the small comforts that cost so little… pancakes, cozying in… recalling little holidays….

    My dear Mama passed away last week, and I have been her caregiver for ten years, the last year and a half basically 24 hour/day care… Needless to say, I am sad, lost, bewildered…. just the person to be able to crawl into your blog and immerse myself in love. I bought all three of your books and have waited to read them… I believe today is the day to start.

    Love and happy anniversary.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry Gayla, it must be like a piece of you is missing. Give yourself hugs from me, and breathe fresh air, and walk, and let yourself cry, and yes, read, and take a bubble bath. All makes it better, but what really helps is time. I’m so very sorry. XOXO

  95. Merci says:

    Susan and Joe – CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Having met you both I can see why the love has lasted so long!!! Susan, CONGRATUATIONS on the anniversary of your first cook book, I will always treasure mine. I can remember the first time I saw your work and could not believe one person could be so talented! Continued LOVE and SUCCESS! So well deserved!!!

  96. Patricia Basher says:

    I am writing to you from Spain. You can’ t imagine how you, your books and your vision of life have changed my life. I love you. Sincerely, I do! Everyday, when it’ s my time to thank for at least 5 things it happened to me during the day, so often you are one of them “oh and thanks to what Susan (in my mind Susie) said about this or that….”
    You are doing such an amazing work with your life, not only with you watercolors, all your universe is so confortable and so “wellcoming” (I am sorry my english is not simpatico)
    Thank you.
    Lots of love from Spain,

    • sbranch says:

      Aren’t you a sweetheart, so nice to hear from you Patricia. I love that we get to talk to people from all over . . . kind of a miracle really! Your English is very simpatico, much more than my Spanish! Thank you for saying Hola! XOXOX

  97. Arden Shelton says:

    You are so lucky to have soooo many robins. I do not have enough of them around: too citified to lure them into my tiny 50×100 foot lot. Robins….thanks for the photos….

  98. So glad you bought yourself a plaid coat. Last year, wandering through a resale shop, I spotted a plaid wool jacket that called to me. Believe me when I saw the price of $5.00 !!?? I couldn’t resist. Can’t believe someone gave it up. I love it, wear it all the time (except when weather says, “long coat today”). I get so many compliments, even from strangers. Plan to keep it for always.

  99. Diana H. says:

    I have a love affair with February too. Because of obvious reasons, but also because it is MY birthday month and I had my youngest son on what is now OUR birthday….so so special. I’m always sad when everyone is tired of winter and ready to be done with February when I can see all kinds of goodness and cozy ways to enjoy our shortest but very special month. Happy you are getting to go visit your Mom. She will be thrilled, I’m sure! Have a wonderful break. You deserve it. Breathe in the air, lounge by the fire, keep reading those books and enjoying the special programs on TV and tea, cakes, and yes even salads… lol…. Can’t wait to see the mug!! Of course will NEED them. I NEED to go to Scotland too it seems!!! Oh, another dream to work on. Happy day Susan, Joe, Jack, and all Girlfriends!

  100. Kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    Congratulations to you and Joe on thirty years together!! I loved your Post as always…I savor every word, description and picture!! Those adorable robins!! We look for them every day, but so far they are still at Martha’s Vineyard! I can’t imagine life without birds…they bring so much joy!! ❤ also the squirrels!! We have four of them, all named, all different personalities. Cookie comes up to our back door, climbs up on the railing and peeks into the window waiting for her walnut. She will gently take it from you with her little hands or mouth. Dillinger comes up to the back step…no further, and will take his treat and run!! Then, there is Emmit ( as in Emmit Kelly ). When he sees me at the kitchen window, he will climb the fence, get on the roof to the window and hang upside down looking at me!! That is because when they are out in the driveway I will open the window by the kitchen sink and throw them a nut or piece of peanut butter bread. He stares at me through the window upside down…it looks so funny!! The other day the poor little guy slipped and fell,into the rain barrel ☹️! Luckily there was only about 2″ of water in it and we were at home to save him!! Since that day I haven’t thrown any treats from the kitchen window. Lastly, there is Missy. She, along with Emmit and Dillinger, are Cookies children. It is getting close to “that time of the year…. birds and bees and flowers and trees” …..we will have cute little rounded girl squirrels “in the family way”!! By June we will have a whole new group!! We never have problems with them getting into the bird feeders because Art has them all squirrel proof. Anyway….please tell those robins that we are anxiously waiting for them!! I wish that RAGAMUFFIN had an online store!! Those were the CUTEST gloves that I have ever seen!!! I need them!!! And the beautiful, beautiful plaids in so many colors…all representing different clans!! Have you ever checked on which plaid represents the Stewart’s? That would be so fun to have your own plaid!! Susan, I hope that you and Joe enjoy your train ride to California!! Enjoy your time with your Mom ! I hope that her birthday will be a very happy one!! With Love and Best Wishes ! xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Kathiellen! Yes, we do know our Stewart plaid, it’s pretty famous, that red plaid you see so often. Your squirrels are wonderful! Ours are not tame and run like the wind the moment we go out the door!

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