Hi Everyone, First MUSICA!  I hope you received your Willard! If not, don’t worry, it just started going out this morning and it takes a while these days, it has to go in batches so we don’t break the Internets . . . but it should be in everyone’s mailbox no later than Saturday afternoon. If you are new to my Blog and are wondering What in the heck is she talking about? ~ Willard is my Newsletter, go HERE if you’d like to sign up for it (it’s free), and read about how Willard got its name.  Past Willard’s are there too, just in cases you need a little something more to read! 🤓

This is the blog where we like to talk about all things Home Sweet Home.  Since we’ve become acutely aware that we have no control over World Sweet World (not that we eschew it totally; we don’t, since we belong to it and are proud citizens of it) but we have narrowed our interest to our own little bits of Paradise where everything is just the way we like it, because for once in our lives, as opposed to school or work, or the fickle finger of fate, at home we are totally in charge! We can turn off the MUSICA any time we want. The curtains can be lace, or linen, or shades or blinds ~ or none at all. And if we want something, and it’s too expensive, we figure out how to make it. Or save for it. TV can be on all day, or never . . . We can feed the birds, or we don’t have to. And no one cares because it is our own world and no one else’s. It is highly empowering to realize that it’s true, our home IS our castle, and that we all live much better than the king of England, Henry VIII did on his very best day, no matter how many jewels he had, because jewels don’t keep you warm and because we have heat and indoor plumbing, and we recognize how lucky we are, so the other thing we enjoy doing is counting our many blessings.

We do it by kissing our little petty pets (who know you want to take a photo and so they do this), by admiring our clean kitchens, and hanging wet laundry on the line ~ by baking birthday cakes, or knitting socks ~  

Or digging holes to make the garden beautiful . . .

Then taking pictures of it . . .

And celebrating and loving just being in the place that means the most to us. I’ve felt the honor of living in this old house every day since we bought it in 1989. I give it things. I give it old lamps and old dishes I find in second-hand stores. And when I come home, its arms wrap around me. We are symbiotic.💞 We belong to each other.More blessings . . . out picking flowers from the garden for my little vases then inviting somebody wonderful to lunch. And one of the wonderful people I invited to lunch lives here . . .

In the house on the right . . . look familiar? Is anyone screaming yet?

It’s called Castle Cottage, does that ring a bell?  And my guest for tea lives there right now, the only person in the world to live in this exact house has come to America for a visit. How impossible is that? When you think about it? Totally not possible. But there she was!

Yes, my guest for tea lives in the house in the village of Near Sawrey in the Lake District in England where this couple lived and loved for thirty years, lived their very abnormal normal little lives ~ Beatrix Potter and William Heelis.

So, I started to get ready . . . I brought in spring peas from my other blessing, this picket-fence garden. Twenty years of loving this spot. Want one? Here’s how! First? Mas MUSICA! (We’re in the groove…)

There might be one or two of you that don’t know that Joe made my picket-fence garden ~ I wrote about it in 1996 in my Summer Book . . . it’s been a gift that keeps on giving.💞

. . . and I watered the lawn and came back in and there Jack was waiting, behind the screen, my shadow.💞

I made lunch and added the peas to my coleslaw . . .

And gave the Beatrix Potter People a bath . . .

And dusted my studio shelf of BP love . . .

 And had a wonderful little lunch of Coleslaw with lobster chunks (For recipe, scroll down HERE) and Clams Casino in the garden. Joe joined us, along with Betsy Bray on the left, who is the first overseas Trustee ever elected to the Beatrix Potter Society (which I know several of you belong to too!) ~ if she looks familiar, it’s because some of you saw her last year with me at the 150th Birthday Party for Beatrix Potter . . . and Betsy brought her friend Mandy Marshall (don’t these girls have fairy tale names?) the current resident of Castle Cottage. BOY! Was I ready for some brain picking. And my first question was and always will be, what was Beatrix Potter’s kitchen like?  Because Castle Cottage has always been a private home, and rarely open to the public. I may never get the real answer to that question, because, as Mandy explained, it’s been changed and moved and is no longer the kitchen where Beatrix made her tea. 😩 (I took it every well.) So my imagination will have to suffice. But I learned a lot. About the views from the sitting room across Post Office Meadow to Hill Top, and the life Beatrix and William lived there, we gossiped about them like we were in high school and they were the popular kids every one knew but didn’t know . . .  and Mandy told us that when they first moved in, she and her husband had discovered a secret garden so overgrown that from the ground it was just a wall of thicket and nothing more. Time had made it invisible. It was only from an upstairs window that Mandy’s husband was able to spot some sort of outline that made him curious. Anyway, Mandy brought a whole book of detailed photos of Castle Cottage, and it all came alive. She was so good, answered every one of my questions with a smile. Now I think I better go visit her. We toasted to that great idea with tea in two of my brand new English cups that I’ve been telling you about (samples came in! Real things are being made right now!)

Beatrix, in her third life re-invention (after scientist and author), became a farmer committed to the preservation of Herdwick sheep, she won awards for them (that’s her proud self in the hat). She was an amazing person. The Life Story of Beatrix Potter is something to be reckoned with.

And Mandy, being a business woman, honoring all things BP, has gone into the sheep business herself  . . . having beautiful products made from the wool from these very particular Lakeland sheep.

Betsy is about to lead her first tour called “Beatrix Potter’s Lake District Legacy” ~ she’s the perfect person to do it, she’s been there dozens of times, gives talks on Beatrix Potter’s life and knows all the secrets, including how to get inside her friend Mandy’s house! Some of our Girlfriends are going with her! I’m so jealous! She is so excited, she leaves on Saturday… The tour is full, but that link I gave you is for this time NEXT year, if any of you have a yearning to go, she’ll be doing it again . . .

So everyone’s gone, and here I am, just me and Jack in my studio, writing you . . . and this is the view I have from this very spot where I sit, window wide open, birds landing in the rhodies, spring is out there sparkling away. And I’m going out to get me some of that! I hope you enjoyed a little Beatrix Potter in the Heart of the Home.Blessings on you all! XOXO

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  1. Becky Maxwell from Atascadero, CA says:

    Thank you for a lovely post. I am now excitedly waiting for my Autumn mug that I ordered after seeing the picture of the sample mug. Have a wonderful day.

  2. Christie Levin says:

    “If I have done anything, even a little, to help small children enjoy honest, simple pleasures, I have done a bit of good.” ― Beatrix Potter No wonder you are so at home with Beatrix Potter, Sue ~ the two of you are a wonderful example of kindred spirits. Her statement, above, could be yours (exchanging ‘small children’ with ‘girlfriends of all ages’). xoxoxo

  3. Do you have a favorite Beatrix Potter biography? I have three and, without a doubt, my favorite is a well worn paperback found at a book sale by Margaret Lane called “The Tale of Beatrix Potter.” Fifty years ago my Mother started my collection with a figurine of Peter Rabbit and like Topsy it has just grown and grown. It includes many different figurines, music boxes, books, pictures, Christmas ornaments, baby quilts, dishes, DVD’s and even a hand hooked Peter Rabbit rug that I made many years ago. How I would love to spend time in the Lakes District and at Hill Top Farm.

    • sbranch says:

      I love the Margaret Lane book too, so much that I actually have two of them! But for complete, detailed, everything-info, I go to Linda Lear. If you haven’t already, you can Google a Youtube of Hill Top for a virtual tour through the house!

  4. Peggy Willoughby says:

    As always, thank you for your blog. Another sweet respite from our crazy world. I wish I was with you all for lunch. I am a gabber and love to ask lots of questions about who I am sitting with. Here is an example, lol! Took my 92 year old dad down to the VA clinic today. When we wait many of the veterans love to chat, no matter their age or mine. Many vets wear hats saying which service branch they served. I live near Camp Lejeune so we mostly see Marines. Today I chatted up a fellow with a hat that said U.S. Air Force. So I asked what he flew and why did he decide to join the Air Force. Great conversation. So I should love to lunch with you any day. I love you, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s so California . . . you wait in line and start talking to whoever is standing next to you. That’s not always normal here . . . I remember when I first got here I would burst into conversation in the supermarket and almost scare the person next to me! xoxo

      • It is so Southern too! When I left Alabama for NYC, I had to learn that people there weren’t unfriendly, they just were unused to, and sometimes taken aback by, friendliness from strangers. But then I moved to California and felt right at home.:) Love the open and sunny lightness of California!

        • sbranch says:

          It does make things easier for us talkative ones, but I know people from here who don’t quite trust it . . .! I keep telling them we MEAN it! 😆

          • We really do! I have friends who will say, “But you didn’t even KNOW that person; why were you asking her about her purse?” Because it was so cute! It is just that simple. But it drives them crazy.:) I just can’t help it; people are so interesting, and meeting them is so much fun!

          • sbranch says:

            Could not agree with you more!!

      • Marilyn Young says:

        Love this and it’s oh so true!

        • Judy Young says:

          So totally agree with you all! 44 years ago when I came to live here from England, I was shy! Now, having worked in sales for many years, I can talk to anybody about anything and love to do it! Also enjoy my quiet time though too.

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, me too. But when you’re out and about, it’s fun to meet and greet. Interesting that you’ve become more outgoing, and for me, coming here, I’m slightly quieter than I was in California.

      • Peggy Willoughby says:

        I am originally from New York City- so unlike NYC reputation. This chattiness makes my daughter cringe. However, my daughter-in-law is just as chatty with strangers as I am. We tag team strangers all the time. I call it making new friends. lol. But then people come up to me to chat wherever I am, My husband says I have a shingle out that says “It is ok to talk to me or share your troubles.” Dogs and kids especially approach me any time , anywhere. And I am ALWAYS chosen to sit on a jury. Must be that honest face. hahaha.

        • sbranch says:

          There’s a lot of enjoyment in that! My dad was such a chatty guy in the supermarket or the hardware store. He charmed everyone, made jokes and pretty much spread a lot of sunshine that way! (When he wasn’t scaring those who couldn’t figure out where all that odd friendliness came from!) After moving here, I began to analyze it . . . and I thought he was like that, and lots of Californians (and midwesterners) are because historically, they all moved from far away, lost everything along the way, especially they lost touch with home (talking about wagon train days), and were forced to rely on the kindness of strangers when they began to try to settle. Whereas those who didn’t go really needed a few walls around them, walking in the shadow of great great aunt Sally at all times, desperately searching for privacy . . .living in the house where their grandmother was born, having the best friend (across the street) of their grandmother’s best friend! If you see what I mean. So we are what our parents’ experience taught us to be! I know there are a thousand generalizations here, but that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it! 🤗

  5. Hello Dearest Susan and all the other lovies,

    Thank you so much for another darling Willard. I fluidly felt my way through it which means I cried and laughed in the various parts. 😉

    We just returned from a mini-break to the Humboldt Redwoods and Fern Canyon in California – such enchanting places. Isn’t the infinite beauty of nature amazing?! I don’t really have a big enough heart emoji for that.

    Thanks for being such a great girlfriend to us all. I have been blessed with some amazing girlfriends through our connection to you (love you Lollies!) and I am filled with gratitude.

    • sbranch says:

      You are so right, there is NOT a big enough heart emoji for that! Humans are amazing in all their differences…how so many different noses can be made is always a mystery to me . . . but flowers and plants and leaves and trees? Oh my! Our earth really is the garden of eden! Love you Gabi!

  6. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    What a lovely surprise, a new post and all about Miss Potter. Enchanting. I enjoyed seeing our Jack (note: can’t help myself to call him ‘our Jack’). What a cutie, posing here and there and everywhere. The other day in a reply on Facebook on F.O.S.B. I wrote that I was so enjoying my “Favorite Things” cup. It is really “Little Things”, just so happens to end up being all my “favorite things”. Oopsie. Beautiful quality, those cups made in England. Big sigh. You certainly have a winner here Susan with these cups. Brava!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I think him as our Jack too! As long as he keeps living here! The cups are very beautiful. I think they are the most beautiful “things” I’ve ever designed. I’m so happy with them. I’m thrilled you like them too Susie. xoxo

      • Peggy Willoughby says:

        The cups are a real treat and such a part of you, Susan. I love reading how everyone just loves them.

        • sbranch says:

          Me too! I’m drinking tea from one of them right now … and every time I do, which is every day, I think, “mmmmm, I have a new idea for another one!” I’m a danger to myself and others!

  7. nan says:

    Thank you once again for your lovely post and bringing a smile to my face. Those herdwick cases are so pretty. Home is where the teakettle sings with happiness is one of my favorite quotes. Your coleslaw recipe looks amazing…going to try it tomorrow. When I look at our picture, I think we three look alike…but maybe it’s just because we think alike! 😉 What do you think? Let’s all stay happy..that’s my plan anyway, and I am sticking to it. Xo

    • sbranch says:

      I wish. I see the leprechaun with his dancing Irish eyes in both of you! Hope you love the coleslaw … that lime-juice-mayo dressing is so delicious! If you add shrimp or lobster, save a little dressing for the fish before you spoon it over the top of the salad. 😘

  8. Lovely, lovely, luv-lee, Susan! You described just perfectly the way that I feel about our little 1922 bungalow and my white picket fence Herb & Tea garden (from your Summer book). Kindred spirits, for sure!
    What a delightful lunch with Betsy and Mandy under your arbor! I’m sure that they were just as excited as you were!! Such a memorable opportunity to learn more about Beatrix, her home, and her life’s work. Your head must be swimming with all of the wonderful things you learned. Hope you will share more heartwarming insights from your visit together.
    So happy for the Girlfriends who will join Betsy’s tour! The itinerary sounds like a dream-come-true Beatrix Potter experience!! 🙂
    Looking forward to Willard!
    Love and hugs,
    Dawn (in Illinois)

    • sbranch says:

      Hi sweetie, Always good to hear from you! I feel the same, I kind of live vicariously through anyone seeing Hill Top for the first time! Willard should be there today! Have a good one! xoxo

  9. Jan Davidspn says:

    Thanks for being you. You are so special!!! The picture of jack reminds me of my cat “strawberry ” so called that because someone put her off on our property which is called strawberry hill. Our grandchildren love her dearly. XOXO from strawberry hill ❤️🍓

  10. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    good afternoon Susan, Girlfriends, a nippy day here.. (chilly, windy and gray) we are expecting a storm to come through with maybe some thundershowers and lots of wind ( 14- 24 MPH gusts) and yes some rain tonight and tomorrow. a perfect excuse to get the kettle on for some tea to warm me up. definitely not too good for drying things on the line, so I broke down and used the dryer… the geese and the turkeys were so disgusted with me for that… tough T-bones!!! we have had some excitement here, the local sheriff chased a known criminal through our neighbor’s yard and ours to the back of the properties and out on to the back street, good old Merle the Squirrel ( he’s a bit squirrely in the head) and a known thief. now I when I go out to feed the chickens and clean out the henhouse or get eggs, I keep my shotgun handy and nearby. I would love the peace and quiet where you live right now. oh well, time to go out and collect eggs and check on the barnyard brats and then come back in and settle for some tea to warm up with. its only 70 degrees but with the winds coming off of the mountains it feels a lot colder, those mountains still have snow on them. also its chili pot pies for supper tonight, a great way to use up the leftover chili, just put in small pie tins, cover with the top crust and bake… chili never tasted better. have a great day everyone, love much, laugh often and live well. hugs everyone… hugs…. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I think we got your weather, Pat, no laundry on the line for us either. Okay by me! Quite cozy this morning!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        its still chilly and gray here, definitely no laundry on the line and the geese and turkeys are not too happy with me… oh well. good excuse for more tea and some cookies, school is out for the summer and this weekend looks like fun…. the Pottsville Tractor show and parade. last weekend it was Balloons and kites, ever been up in a hot air balloon???? it was quite thrilling after you get used to being up so high. and its the weekend for the Frog ‘O’ Faire… a special weekend for the little kids lots of crafts, projects and fun things to build and create, lots of books to read and listen to the story teller, and plenty of treats and snacks, a weekend just for the kids. plus our bear festival is going in and the bears are out on the corners in town ( bear statues created by local artists). going to be a fun summer here. I am sure the geese and the turkeys will find something else to pick on instead of my laundry today. have a great day everyone… hugs….. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I got a hot air balloon ride as a birthday gift for my ex-husband, but there is no way you could get me in one of those flimsy things. I like taking pictures of them, from the ground. Sounds wonderful Pat!

          • Peggy Willoughby says:

            A hot air balloon captain (?) driver (?) flyer (?) brought one to the field beside the school where I taught some years back. My 1st graders and the whole school got to come watch him set it up and climb into the basket as it was just a few feet off the ground and tethered. Great fun. When I lived in South Carolina there was a hot air balloon weekend. They were magnificent and so colorful.

          • sbranch says:

            LOVE looking at them, so colorful and gay!

          • pat addison ( cave junction, OR) says:

            I have to agree with you Susan, I love looking at them so colorful and gay, and since Grants Pass finally brought back the balloon event… balloons on the rogue river, it has been a huge success.

  11. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    One of life’s sweetest words…home. Beloved, cherished HOME.These days I treasure my little home more than ever. Thank you, as always, for putting words to what so many of us feel so strongly! Willard hasn’t popped up in my mail box yet, so I’ll content myself by rereading this beautiful blog! Hugs❤️

  12. Merci says:

    Wow, with you right from the start! Must be an Aries thing. I love your thoughts of living life our way in our own little happy world. The outside world can be quite overwhelming, and especially now. I’m not what you call a stressful person but enough is enough. It’s good to know there is someone out there who agrees we need to create our own little world. So true that money and power doesn’t buy happiness. I love your warm and cozy kitchen; love your garden, so cool and refreshing. As for peas, the only peas I eat are fresh peas, not can or frozen. Your Beatrix Potter stories are wonderful. If you can believe I was aware of her name but not familiar with her stories. You’ve gone on about her before but now you have truly sparked my interest. Now you have me going, have to start researching and I’m sure I will be purchasing everything BP. Ordered my mugs and look forward to receiving them. Susan, thanks for being such a wonderful and refreshing “girlfriend.”

    • sbranch says:

      Go straight to a Linda Lear biography, you can get one on Amazon, and then you’ll see why I’m so crazy about her. It’s not her books, oddly, I have them because she did them, but I’ve never read one! It’s her. I, too, gathered her in bits and pieces over the years. Like us, she created the life SHE wanted, stepping over challenges and obstacles, in a much harder time for women. Thank you Merci!! Fresh peas! Yum! Hot with butter and salt and pepper.☺️

      • Merci says:

        Thank you Susan, now I’m on a quest for two authors! Continue to enjoy your own beautiful happy little world!

    • Judy Young says:

      Susan, is there a “Beatrix Potter” mug in your head??

      • sbranch says:

        Yes, of course there is! I’d love to, but I have to be a little careful, because she is a “brand” and all of her quotes and things, especially her art, are owned by someone who probably wouldn’t like me to be selling things with her image on them. It’s okay in a book, legally, but not on “products.” So, I’d have to find out if I could even use her name, and my thoughts are, as I’m writing here, that probably I couldn’t. Interesting, so many Peter Rabbit types of products, but not much with Beatrix, the woman.

  13. You are so right about home and why I delayed having children and saved every penny so I could stay HOME with them. It’s worked out well because I didn’t have to wait long for grandchildren after the last “child” left home.

    Your new rugs really cozy-up your kitchen even more. How fun that you get to entertain visitors from Castle Cottage!

    • sbranch says:

      Lucky children! I wish every child could have a parent home with them. I LOVED finding my mom in the kitchen when I got home from school bubbling over with SO MUCH to tell her! ☺️ Yes, loved having them here . . . all because of some little figurines I fell in love with when I was 22! Love leads us down some very interesting paths. xoxo

      • Samantha says:

        Awww. Very true. (good for you Cathy!) I love the vision of your mom waiting for you Susan. I’ve made sacrifices to stay home with my children…I would not change my choice for anything. I’m 38 and my daughter (10yrs) has already said how she’ll never forget how I made lemon tarts for after school etc. It is a world where sometimes 2 incomes are very necessary. They are little for such a short time…now they are in school. We do what we can ❤

        • sbranch says:

          You do make sacrifices . . . I think all mom’s do whether they get to stay home, or if they go out into the world. It’s always hard, my mom made so many sacrifices, it was obvious to me even while I was little, and yet she never said a word, just kept singing! And gave me the dearest memories and the strongest possible foundation of love to grow on. Your daughter is very lucky! Such a very short time to make all the memories a person needs to live on for a lifetime. xoxo

  14. Oh Sue, this is why we need your next book to be on Home. We all do need to make our homes our safe place in this nutty world.
    We home lovers so enjoy hearing what our friends do to their homes to make them more cozy and you are just the girlfriend to do it in book form. If I had a say, I would love you to talk about seasons, traditions and celebrations…yummy!
    Love you!

  15. Ann Woleben says:

    Susan, I checked out a book, Earth On Her Hands – The American Woman in Her Garden by Starr Ockenga. (copyright 1998) One of the eighteen women featured is Polly Hill of North Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard. She lives (lived?) at Barnard’s Inn Farm. Are you familiar with her garden? It is a lovely book and so inspirational as each woman featured had a vision and worked diligently to see this vision come to life through the years. Your books offer inspiration for the home and garden. I always come away with a new idea after reading your posts. Next year I will retire after 40+ years of teaching. My goal – to visit Martha’s Vineyard and walk past your home. I also want to visit the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst. No trips to Europe or Hawaii as my son has suggested. I just want to to achieve my goal. Thank you for any information you can share about my inquiry!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, Polly Hill Arboretum is famous here … she died a few years ago, but her gardens are forever. You made me think of the song, you got to have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true! Love your dream. Happy retirement Ann!

      • Peggy Willoughby says:

        Ann – Congratulations on your almost retirement! Oh, you are going to cry on those last days. I am a retired teacher as well. Do go to Martha’s Vinyard. I have been a few times. Be sure to take the ferry over. Neighboring Nantucket is a must as well. But Martha’s Vinyard is so snuggly and so New England. I spent the week with my sister-in-law tasting every eatery’s clam chowder. We never could decide who had the best. Explore and enjoy.

  16. Chy says:

    Such a perfect post. Thank you Susan. I was just thinking as I drove home from the city, out to our little cottage in the forest, that in the end, all that matters is family and HOME. I’m thankful for my life and the passion I get to do called work, but coming home, being home and staying home are so sweet. X Chy

    • Chy says:

      P.S. And thank you for the wonderful instructions on how to build a picket fenced garden. Guess what we’re doing this weekend!! X Chy

      • sbranch says:

        When you paint it, don’t use paint, use white stain!!! Very important, I forgot to say it, because paint chips, but stain is forever!!! Or at least a very long time! Have fun Chy, you are going to love it!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s everything. And the dream. xoxox

  17. Tricia B. says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Thank you for bringing a wonder-filled evening to me! I love that not only did I receive “Willard” in my email but a delightful new post too!! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your lovely notes from “Smallville”. You have lifted my spirits so much. I appreciate all the beautiful pictures and quotes and notes. Thank you…you are the perfect example of someone who lives on the Sunny side of the Street!!
    Love, Hugs and Prayers, Tricia B.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you Tricia, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Life is a funny thing, like a box of chocolates as they say, you never know what you’re going to get next! This one was a cream with a cherry in it!

  18. Denni in MN says:

    Fantastic, Susan!! How could you stand the excitement of having the current owner of Beatrix Potter’s home in your home? When is the next across the pond trip planned for? I think we are all on the edge of our seat ready to go. Just saw a pillow that said, “A man’s home is his castle, until the Queen gets home!” Very much British humor, I love, too! Enjoy your beautiful garden throughout the summer, we do!!💓😀

    • sbranch says:

      LOL! Cute! We’ll go back next spring if all goes well!

      • Barbara Irvine says:

        Susan, next time you and Joe go to England, please go to Cornwall. I read about it years ago, and then wanted to go there. Until I can go, I’d love to read all about it through your visit and photos.

        Happy Fourth of July to you, Joe and Jack, all the Girlfriends and to all Americans!


  19. Linda Pintarell says:

    What a very special treat for you, Sue…to have these two ladies right there, in your home, to talk about one of your favorite subjects. The stars aligned for the three of you to be together…very cool. So have we got to share it with you through your blog and pix. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Really they did, because when we went to Beatrix Potter’s House in 2012 we had no idea there was a Society dedicated to her. I stood and stared at Castle Cottage from across the Meadow in front of Hill Top and had no idea Mandy was inside. I had no idea I would meet Betsy when she gave a talk here on the island at our little library, but birds of a feather flock together, so I guess it was all written in the stars! I was hoping you’d enjoy it too . . . we’re all so connected!

  20. Brenda says:

    This is an incredible entry which transported me into a beautiful place. Thank you.

  21. Linda Ishmael says:

    I love Beatrix Potter too!! Wishing I could go to England for a visit of her home and gardens. I bought Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life last year and have really enjoyed it. Do you have a copy???

  22. Samantha says:

    I really enjoyed the music. I nice little escape. I spent the day at the farmers market and I haven’t done that in so long! What a treat. My children were in school and it was just me, organic coffee, the best Rhubarb muffin I’ve ever had! (bought some gorgeous rhubarb to make tarts). What a little peice of heaven. Your stories remind me to be my own keeper. Sometimes to stop and just breathe!

    I don’t a lot about Beatrix Potter. I’ve read many of her stories but….I must read something about her life! That’s next (along with my huge pile of books to get going on) Plus I need to read more about Gladys Taber (phew!)

    I’m also reading the archives from March 2012…those old houses in New England…just like being there. I love the history.

    Thanks for being what I like to call ‘my people’. LoL Have a beautiful weekend Susan and girlfriends!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Samantha! Meandering through the farmer’s market, what a nice thing to do for you! If you can, read a Linda Lear Biography of Beatrix Potter. You’ll be amazed at what she did in her life. A bit of a late bloomer . . .

      • Samantha says:

        Oh i love late bloomer stories! It means life is just starting. Thanks for the advice on an author. I’m now very intrigued and looking up Linda Lear. 😊

    • Peggy Willoughby says:

      Samantha- Then you must see the movie Miss Potter with Rene Zelweger. You can get it on Netflix.

  23. Paula says:

    what a lovely visit you must of had with your friends, I bet you were oh the edge of your seat listening !!! I would have been !!!
    Love the cute picture of Jack at the door waiting on your return from the garden. I truly want to make a fenced in garden like yours !! about 20 years ago my daughter loved the movie Secret Garden, and her saying mummy (hehe) may we grow a secret garden? Yes of course darling daughter!! it was lovely but daughter lost interest in it and it went to weeds, now its completing gone and just yard area. But, when you post pictures with your quaint garden , it sure tugging at my heart to do it again !!
    Have a super weekend dear friend!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s brought us a lot of pleasure. Not too big, so it’s easy to take care of. Sweet that you had a secret one with your daughter. xoxo

  24. Gail says:

    Thank you so much for being you and sharing your life. ❤️

  25. Jan Bass says:

    Thanks a million for such an encouraging Willard (dreams and schemes) and your blogs. You mentioned the movie Hobson’s Choice, so now I will have to order it, as I don’t have Netflix, etc.

    Must tell you that my tiny Yorkie terrier, Cooter. loves to hear your little bird chirping when I open your blog page! He steps over to my computer, stares at the screen in search of the bird and tilts his tiny head back and forth in inquisitive interest in the chirping!

    And I’m sure you have seen two of my favorite movies, Waking Ned Devine and Chocolat? Just enjoyable escapes from the daily sad news on TV.

    Thank you again for touching our hearts with your lively accounts of life on Spring Street and the Isles of Dreams.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Jan, you are going to LOVE Hobson’s Choice. It’s perfect for you! Huge amounts of charm, drips with it. Oh yes, 😍 Waking Ned Devine. What characters!!! Just delightful. And who doesn’t cheer when that telephone booth rockets out over the sea!!!😆 Chocolat too … but I have a thing for Ned Devine I have to say. Happy day dear, nice to hear from you!

      • Margot in Sister Bay says:

        Ned Devine! Great movie. I have a friend in NH that told me about a similar movie, but I can’t remember the name of it. Another funny movie is about a Welsh village that built up their shrinking mountain. Nothing like working together for a common cause. Lol

        • sbranch says:

          The Englishman Who Went up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain …. very cute movie! And a true story! So that makes it double cute!

  26. Esther Hayes says:

    I am so jealous that you have a talented hubby to build you a garden as grand as you described. The painted plan is so nice to copy. I hope to try next year. Too hot and late now. Don’t your bunnies get to eat most of the flowers? Mine go right to the tulip bulbs. Thanks for a beautiful post.

    • sbranch says:

      We have about a foot high of chicken wire all the way around the inside of the picket fence. It’s invisible to our eye, but they really can’t get in there. And for some reason we don’t have too much trouble with the flowers on the outside. I see them, but they are mostly out munching the lawn, and that’s okay with me!

      • pat addison ( cave junction, OR) says:

        I will gladly trade with you, we don’t have bunnies, we have deer and they munch on everything. the deer have completely eaten our veggie gardens the past few years, if we see them we shoo them out, but they just look at you and then come back at night for the midnight munchies. they are beautiful to see, but I will gladly swap our deer for your bunnies. LOL!!! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I know. Because we had thousands of gophers in California AND if that wasn’t bad enough, we had coyotes which eat kitties and small dogs!!! I was willing to trade for deer AND bunnies!

  27. Annelies says:

    Like you, I have loved Beatrix Potter as long as I can remember. I have my adorable collection of Figurines ( still growing…..but that is the fun part), and i too visited Hilltop. I stayed much tooooo long, gave all docents a big hug and when my husband asked if it was as wonderful as i dreamed it would be, i sat on Beatrix’s bench and cried happy overwhelmed tears. Life is a gift for those of us who dream and fill our hearts with hope. Thank you for the joy you share with us all. 😘😘😘

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing your experience, I hugged everyone too, because you just have to hug SOMEBODY! I bet it’s the best job in the world to be a docent in that house. Thank you for the tip on Sweet Peas, I’ll look for it!

  28. Annelies says:

    Forgive my chattiness….but i must add the name of a book i just finished reading. It is called ” A Bunch Of Sweet Peas” written by Henry Donald. I know you are a kindred spirit and would LOVE this sweet small story. I hope you will Find a copy to enjoy. ❤️

  29. Margot in Sister Bay says:

    The first book I ever “discovered” of yours was Summer. I love ❤️ summertime , and 🍂 Autumn too.
    Someday I will get to the Lake District. I have to tell you that I found a book in our wonderful Peninsula State Park that Gladys Taber wrote about her father’s love of the park. He was in the Army and they lived in Appleton, WI, so it is very likely that they summered here in Door County. Strawberry season here now!

    • sbranch says:

      Good for you Margot, good find! xoxo

    • Sue Ellen says:

      Margot if you want to read about Gladys Taber’s fathers adventures with the State Park and their family life in Appleton I highly recommend ou read both her books, Especially Father and Harvest of Yesterdays. they are classics and relate the escapades of her father during their vacations in Door County too. I was able to find both books in our county library system and they are available on Ebay as well.

  30. Sarah says:

    Lovely thoughts, Susan. We are blessed with our comfortable homes, our time in our gardens, and the love and friendships we share. I’m so happy you had this special visitor. What a treat! Yes, I fondly remember Betsy Bray from the Beatrix Potter Birthday Party event on the Cape. She was such a delightful person. I met her and visited for a bit. I asked Betsy to give you the gift I had brought because I had to leave. Betsy insisted that since I had traveled from TX that I must give it to you myself, so she took me to her friend who was sitting with you while you were signing books. I was embarrassed about it all because the line was so long. You were most gracious! Well, of course you were! Oh, what a beautiful day that was! I will forever be grateful that I could be on the Cape for this historic celebration of Beatrix Potter! Thank you, Susan, for all the joy and beauty that you bring to this world. Soak up some of that sparkling weather of yours for me. It is already in the high 90s here!
    Hugs from Austin ~ Sarah

    • sbranch says:

      I couldn’t agree more, it was a wonderful event … I still feel it. Thank you Sarah, stay cool over there! xoxo

  31. Erin Middlebrooks says:

    Your post was exactly what I needed to hear today. 😄

  32. Deb in Wales says:

    “Be it ever so humble ~
    There’s no place like home”

    Your tea party looks such fun! Good food, good friends, what more can be asked?

    I often wonder about Beatrix Potter, or Mrs William Heelis as she preferred to be known ~ as you said, perfectly summing it up, living their abnormal normal life.

    My home, my small cottage, is not hundreds of years old, nor does it come with great chunks of historical heritage, but it means the world and more to me because it was built by my best friend, my own dear Daddy. He broke the ground in 1978 and went out to work building homes for others during the day and came home and worked on building his own home during the evenings and weekends. These days, I feel a bit like a custodian as it has passed into my hands, just a small history of forty years, but a history full of love and personal meaning. Under that job of custodian, I am about to make some radical changes to the garden, which I plan to document in an illustrated journal ~ now I wonder from where did I get my inspiration for that? 😀

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

    • sbranch says:

      Beatrix Potter wrote books. Mrs. William Heelis was a farmer. Two different people all rolled into one. You are so lucky to live in the house your dad built. Who could ask for more?? Your journal is going to be BEAUTIFUL. I can see it already! Waving back, from across the Pond . . . Susan on the Island xoxo

    • Julie V from Springfield, MO says:

      Oh Deb the story of your dear Father building the home you now live in and obviously cherish made me teary eyed – love that you have such a special place to call Home.

  33. Awwwwww! I loved reading your wonderful post today, Susan! The music was such a perfect touch to go along with the wonderful story you told all of us – your girlfriends. Yes, fairy tales do come true!!!

  34. Tami says:

    Perfect timing since I’m losing the battle of not following the news, this was the respite I needed. My middle son is off to Oxford for a semester, please ask your friend in Oxford to be extra kind to any (hopefully not) overly enthusiastic, possibly obnoxious, imbibing American college students. He’s extremely intelligent and good looking (a recipe for hubris), surprisingly funny and only nineteen, that’s only seven years past 12, that’s a whole lot of experiencing still to be done. Wish I was going to Oxford…..

    Thank you, Susan, for that happiness gene, your hard work is very much appreciated, Tami

    • sbranch says:

      I will tell Carrie to watch out for someone only seven years past 12! You are a brave woman, Tami, leaving that boy dangling out there carrying your entire heart in his backpack. But what a WONDERFUL place for him to be!!!

  35. AngieTink says:

    Good~Morning Sweetest~Sue I Got My Willard!!!! 🙂 & Read My Willard & Savored Every Wonderful~Word! Thank~You! & Now This New~Blog~Post 🙂 Thank~You! 🙂 Wow!!!! What A Magical~DAY With Your Beatrix~Potter~Kindred~Spirits! I Know You Were Doing The Jiggity~Jig! 🙂 Guess What I’m Doing???? Well…. Last~Night & Today & All Weekend & Even Monday? Kitty~Sitting Again…. #Meowzers! 😉 Our Neighbor Captain~Tim Has Gone To Vegas…. & has Hired Me 🙂 To Play With His Two~Kitties… Sailor & The New Baby~Kitty… Ocean….. I Go Into His Home Twice A Day…Feed Them & Then I STAY & PLAY……I Even Do Your “Jack~Game” With The Rubber~Band!!!! Kitty~Fun! Yay! 🙂 & I’ve Been Hinting 😉 To Herbster That Soon….It Will Be TIME For Us To Get Our Very Own Kitty…..Wings~Crossed & Pretty~Please!!!! 🙂 Dreams Do Come True!…..Summertime is in Full~Swing Here! (Florida) & Finally We Have Had Many Rainy~Dayzzz Which We #Needed…#Splash! Happy~Weekend To You & Joe & Jack! xoxo #Poof! 🙂 😉 🙂 P.S. Thinking About Your Daddy Our~Blog~Daddy This Sunday On Father’s~Day Along With My Daddy Waldo…(Walter) Father’s~Day In Heaven…What A Celebration…..We Love You Dad & Miss You….Everyday! 🙂 #Amen….. P.P.S. & Sweet~Sue I Just Began Re~Reading Your #SummerBook….Twirling With Joy & Lots Of Pixie~Dust! Yay! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      You need a kitty Angie! I can hear it in your voice! Maybe it’s best to get two! They are so easy, and so funny to watch them play together when they’re babies . . . plus they stay friendly as they grow up! Love you dear! xoxo

      • AngieTink says:

        I Really Really Do Need A Kitty!!! & I LOVE Your Idea Of #Two 🙂 🙂 & You Know That I LOVE YOU! #SweetSue Hugzzz & Kitty~Kisses! xoxo #Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrr & A Poof! 😉

        • sbranch says:

          I will never get just one cat at a time again. I learned my lesson. You should really get two. And then write me and tell me how in love you are and how magical they are! I can’t wait!

  36. Monica D. says:

    Oh Susan!! I woke up this morning to find Willard waiting for me and my heart is just about to burst! It would truly burst if there was any way on earth I could win that wonderful auction to spend an afternoon at your lovely home and share a meal and a cup of tea – heaven!! Your dream for Holly Oak makes me so happy. I would give anything to be able to visit the island and see that little cottage the way it was when you found it and made it your own. I’ve read Isle of Dreams five times and to think of visiting Holly Oak makes me feel the way you surely felt at Hilltop. I could just cry thinking of it! Someday I will visit and, like you, will probably never want to leave. Thank you for inspiring me at age 56 to dream again!

  37. Jane Franks says:

    Dear Susan! I am so thrilled for you that you got to meet and have tea with Betsy and Mandy! And for sharing it all with us!! Wow! I have a story to tell! What amazing timing! After 2 1/2 months of “stuff” I promised to write you about and still haven’t! (Briefly, we had 2 car accidents — one in April on way to Mom’s funeral/memorial — 500 miles from home — 200 miles from my sister’s — car did one of those unintended acceleration things on me and took out a tiny corner of a Starbucks’ shop — horrifying, but by God’s grace no injuries to anyone! Bought new car in Indiana! (No way was I going to drive that car again!) Second accident back home, on May 31 — our anniversary! Rear-ended by hit & run driver in NEW CAR! while just sitting still, at bottom of exit ramp from an Interstate, waiting for light to change! Young girl ended up having warrant for arrest/no insurance!!! (But I prayed for her/lots of issues there). Again, horrifying but Gene only injured slightly, and now fine again! Minimal damage but sick about our new beautiful pure white car & punchy about driving for awhile! FINALLY, getting better; insurance and Indiana car dealership WONDERFUL to us. Many amazing, God-orchestrated stories!! I LOVE the new car; driving again without terror! 🙂 Here’s the sad part: I did NO writing for 2 1/2 months (so much to take care of) Just yesterday I began getting into the story I’m working on again. BUT . . . here’s the best part!! JUST LAST EVENING . . . we said let’s watch, MISS POTTER (with Renee Zellweger)!!!! We needed some fresh inspiration. And this movie never disappoints!! It (the movie) SO inspired us again!! And now THIS BLOG POST!! I can’t believe the timing!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes this morning!!! This tops off the inspiration on steroids!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Now you know why you have not heard a lot from me in awhile! I’m still not back up to speed and on social media yet, but we’re getting there. We are NOT giving up!!! And you are a large part of that!! If I were there you’d get a big hug!! My friend Ann and I often talk about how amazingly you share so much of your life, and we know it takes so much time to do that, and keep your life and home so amazingly beautiful. You and Joe are such a great team! And you are doing important work for so many people. Blessings!! xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I totally get it Jane! Wow!!! When it rains it pours. But still have your sunny side up, I see, and now you’re all back!!! Happy for you that no “real” damage was done, all the fixable stuff. Love you dear xoxoxo

  38. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    Willard landed in my mailbox a little while ago! Yay! Susan, I so hope your dream of once again owning Holly Oak happens soon. What a gift it would be to the girlfriends, to see you transform it to what it was so many years ago, to walk through its rooms and take it all in…I visited Gladys Taber’s beloved Stillmeadow for the first time a few years ago, actually the same time you did, and I cried happy tears. It was just something I HAD to do, I think there was a little space in my heart that was just waiting for me to go there, and by golly, that space filled right up to the brim after that journey. Now, I think there’s still a tiny little space in my 70 year old sometimes battered but always grateful heart that’s waiting to be filled by a journey to Holly Oak!❤️❤️❤️Thank you, too, for the PS in the Willard. That’s going to be printed off and tucked into my journal.Hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      I would even do it with this house, but then who would pay the taxes on it and such as that after I’m gone. So I was thinking, perhaps something smaller . . . We’ll see what happens! Thank you dearheart. xoxoxo

  39. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Thank you for the Willard, thank you for the beautiful post. I was feeling overwhelmed today, too much to do and not enough white space to enjoy the month of June, and then here you came and said the very things I needed to hear. I have so much to be thankful for. My triplet grandbabies turned one, my youngest daughter graduated from college (MAGNA CUM LAUDE!) and yet I just feel weighted down, so I am going to make a plan for spontaneity very soon!!

    • sbranch says:

      Congratulations on your daughter! What wonderful news. And Happy Birthday to the triplets. That’s a lot going on! Breathing is always good!

  40. Pam MacLeod says:

    So enjoyed Willard this morning, just what I needed!. I am dog sitting; our daughter is in London for work and her 8 year old rescue Pomeranian is missing her. One more week and his Mama will be back. Meanwhile, I am luxuriating in the sounds and smells of summer in South Haven, Michigan. Stayed up late to finish a jigsaw puzzle, and later will venture to the lighthouse and stroll through our cute little town. Many thanks for your inspiration, Susan! Sharing your happiness makes so many of happy in turn.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, if you have to babysit a dog, a Pomeranian might be just the dog to do it for! I’ve always looked at their smiling faces and thought how cute they are! xoxo

  41. Linda C. says:

    Happy Friday Susan : )
    What an Awesome treat for you !!!
    Thank you for sharing with all of us Girl Friends out here …
    Also, I believe we can never get enough pictures and stories of life in your Beautiful Garden or the Birds that come hang out with you each day …
    We hung a new bird feeder just outside our dining room this Spring and enjoy dining with the birds now : )
    This weekends plan is to Plant Pumpkin Seeds in our little garden with our 2 1/2 year old Grandson, and then go jump in the pool to cool off as we Welcome Summer this next week .
    Life is Good : )
    Linda C. of So Cal

  42. Lindy Munday says:

    Our cat Lucy waits for my husband to get home everyday, she sits where she can see through the cat door to the garage,then runs to the door and waits till he comes in. Silly cat I’m the one who feeds you. I have been cleaning and getting rid of stuff just like you and it feels good, just need to tackle my sewing studio since it will be very hot here in Northern California for the next week I might start on it today.

    • sbranch says:

      I feed Jack, but he adores Joe too. Rolls all over his shoes when he comes in! Either he likes Joe, or perhaps he has a thing for shoes! We’re not sure!

  43. Tracy says:

    I went to Hill Top two summers ago after having been inspire by “A Fine Romance”. We loved it!
    Also, did you know that season 4 of the show “Turn” is starting on the AMC channel tomorrow night? We watched seasons one and two on Netflix. Missed season three but it’s showing all day and we are recording it. Happy Friday to you and Joe!
    Tracy in Colorado

    • sbranch says:

      Yes I do! I even put it on my calendar!!!! Can’t wait. I better turn on the third season right now, we saw it, but I want to be reminded!

  44. Mary says:

    Oh how I agree with all of your thoughts on home ✨🏡✨ I recently moved, and although exhausted, I am filled with so much gratitude for my new little cottage. (In Forest Grove OR … I know you like to know that.) So now that I finally have a bit of free time, tell me … which of the Beatrix Potter biographies would you recommend? Thank you for oodles of inspiration and … friendship.

    • sbranch says:

      I love knowing where you’re all from! I put a link to the BP biography on my blog . . . it’s the one by Linda Lear. You’ll love it! xoxo Happy new Home!

  45. Sandra says:

    Loved the picket fence garden plan Susan..reminds me of my visit some years ago to Nantucket..lots of picket fences there and roses too. Thank you for sharing your days with us and thoughts too…home sweet home is the best…..lets just dwell there in the beauty and peace.l
    Bless you all enjoy those summer days
    Sandra in the uk .🌞💐

  46. Mary Hobart says:

    I have this (my first painting of the geranium) in a lovely white frame. Cut it from a magazine many years ago. Thought you’d like to know.

  47. Mary says:

    You are so creative and I love creative! We’ve had loads of rain in VA also, and some truly impressive thunderstorms, which I love – the noise and the rain and the “count to three” all of which is fun. We had to pull off the road last week and sit in a shopping center parking lot, my daughter and I, and we had the best time talking about things we’d probably never slow down to talk about otherwise. And I took a phone call and had to tell the caller I couldn’t hear her over the rain! Things are growing here like crazy, the late azaleas plus the new zinnias which I’m proud to say I grew (for the first time ever) from seed. The impatiens are lovely as is the geranium, and for the first time ever I have a water garden. So lovely to sit on the deck of an evening and read, listening to the water twinkling about in the metal tub. Thank you for sharing all your New England beauty with us … the tablecloths are my favorites 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      There is something about seed . . . something very primitive and wonderful! Thank your your words Mary, lovely stop in the parking lot!

  48. Cathy says:

    I just finished reading willard and as always enjoyed it very much. I am still enjoying the music. We are rainy and chilly here in central NH. It is motorcycle week here and I am happy to let them have the road while they are here. So I am tucked in at home thinking about starting the king arthur bake along this month. Baguettes! ( the great British baking show starts tonight!)
    We were on your cape the first of the month in North Falmouth for a wedding we didn’t see or do much as it was rainy and chilly. I did manage to get a lobster roll at a lovely place by the water. But as always there is no place like home and was happy to get back to our mountains.
    Thank you for your lovely writing.

  49. peg says:

    Oh, dear Sue! What a treat! A new Willard AND a new blog post in the same week! And, what perfect timing! What words of wisdom you shared. Just when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed what with all that is going on outside my little homestead world, there you are….like you just knew that I (and many other girlfriends) could use a dose of upbeat Susan Branch sunshine! Thank you for sharing your tea party and the wonderful photos. Perfect way to wrap up a crazy week. Much love to you, sweetie!!! xoxoxoox peg

  50. Charl says:

    Good Afternoon,Susan!
    Another wonderful post & beautiful photos…enjoyed with a cuppa Rooibus Chai Tea.(Harney)
    “Thank you for always bringing sunshine into our lives…even on cloudy days!”
    Looking forward to “Willard!” … Hugs. ~C

  51. jeanie says:

    Oh, biggest sigh! What a perfect afternoon. And what I wouldn’t give to be on that tour as well! Meanwhile, I’ll settle for all things Beatrix I can get my hands on here plus a visit to your happy, wonderful home. I wish I’d written those first couple of paragraphs. They capture home better than any other words I could imagine!

  52. Rose Wade says:

    Oh ,what fun to read from you, Susan!!!!! “take me away”

  53. Valerie Jones says:

    It is a chilly and rainy day here in Poland, Maine. I am curled up by the pellet stove which is providing just enough cozy warmth. A perfect day to spend some time listening to musica and poring over Willard and your latest blog. Reading your blogs and newsletters always inspire and delight me! Thank you Susan for your beautiful, creative spirit!


  54. Bee Stevens says:

    Oh what a fun lunch and visit with Beatrix Potter friends. Thanks you
    so for sharing with all of us.

  55. Joyce Howe says:

    What a treat to have this special visitor. I’ve always loved Beatrix Potter and would love to visit there one day. I also love your newly redone blue kitchen theme! It’s so calming. Love your posts and how happy they make me feel. It truly is like having a conversation with a friend, even though we have never met. You must schedule some book tours in FL! (Hint. Hint)

  56. Patti Fitzgerald from Skippack, PA says:

    Oh, Susan, a whole blog on one of my favorite things in life . . . HOME!!! And on the same day, a Willard in my inbox! Double the joy!! I just can’t seem to get enough of your comfort-filled writing, your breathtaking photographs, and your sweet and precious watercolors, so . . . I’ve decided to go back and read all of your blogs, from the beginning. What an incredible, God-given talent you have, and I, for one, am so happy that you have chosen to share it with all of us . . . your Girlfriends, your Kindred Spirits. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    I think of you often while I’m at work – – – you would love it here. I work in a shop called Primitive Blessings, in Harleysville, PA. (Check it out on Facebook – lovely photos!) We are housed in a circa 1888 brick grist mill, with most of the original features intact – wood floors, plaster walls, original windows and doors, the grain chute, fieldstone foundation . . . and we’re all about HOME! A home decor shop to transport you to a simpler time in life . . . .

    Much love to you and Joe and precious Jack – keep those wonderful blogs coming!

    • sbranch says:

      When I first started writing books, there wasn’t enough talk in the world about the importance of Home, that’s what I thought. And what a powerful thing it is for living the life we love. What a gift it is. And nothing has been as gratifying to me as finding out how many others feel just the same as I do! That looks like just my kind of store! Perfect for meandering! xoxo Thank you Patti!

  57. Tina Mandeville says:

    Thanks for visiting via blog and Willard….it just makes me go, “A-h-h-h-h……”
    You know how to reel me back in when I am reeling!!! Summer won’t officially start until 2 more weeks around here, but you have me excited and looking so forward to it. The Cape is calling (shouting!) my name! In the meanwhile, I appreciate every ounce of lovliness, humor, & grace you always deliver…and it always seems to arrive at just the perfect time! xo

  58. Debby Suovanen says:

    Thank you for your lovely post. I think it’s wonderful how you pointed out that we are all in control in our own homes. That is so true even though it may be something we have overlooked in the past. But there are thrift stores that abound with treasures and when we awaken our creative sides, most of us find that we can make something just as beautiful as the expensive things we see advertised. You give us recipes and ideas that help so much! And who can’t find someone giving away free kitties or puppies!

    • sbranch says:

      You are so exactly right. Making things from nothing is what we DO! 😃 Free petty pets! Yay! xoxo

      • Judy Young says:

        Just walking through a local vintage mall last week gave me so many ideas that I can implement for next to nothing. There was a display of English china cups and saucers, etc, and one of those silver trays that had the blackboard finish in the center. Someone had written “tea, anyone?” on it. I had made several of those “blackboard” silver trays about a year ago, couldn’t wait to get home, find one and do the same thing with my display of English china! Looks adorable!

  59. rhea says:

    Hi Sue. I got my willard and your post today. Just perfect for a rainy day here in Vermont. Made my day. Im so giddy over your Beatrix Potter luncheon I can barely contain myself! Just ordered the Linda Lear a life in nature and realized its the wrong one although I’ll love it, I’m sure. Didn’t buy the $500.00 hard cover, settled for the paperback 🙂 I’ll get the biography of Beatrix Potter right after I hit post comment! You always have great advise for new reading material. So excited. I have been relentlessly bugging my hubby to make me a garden surrounded with a white picket fence and now I have a blueprint for him!! Its in one of your books, I think, but now I’ve been reminded and he will be seeing it after I order the right book 🙂 You are such an inspiration and I just love you. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!!!1

    • sbranch says:

      Both Mandy and Betsy said that the Life in Nature book is the same book as Victorian Genius, the publisher just changed the title. I’m not sure first-hand if it is . . . I read Victorian Genius and that was definitely a biography. But I think they may be the same book. Yes, the picket-fence garden is in my Summer Book. The lengths of fence come in certain sizes, and that will decide the exact footage of your garden. For such a big thing, I think it’s a fairly easy project (but then I wasn’t the one who had to build it!!). Happy weekend Rhea!

      • rhea says:

        Hi Susan,
        I hope it’s not too late to reach out but Ive been thinking of you all day so I thought Id give it a shot. I wanted to send extra love and hugs today being fathers day. I think its your first without blog daddy and I know how hard that is. I speak from experience as I lost my son when he was nine many years ago and while the circumstances are different, loss is loss and its not easy. So many different emotions both good and bad and all I can say is feel them all. Allow yourself to go through each and every one because its the only way to be able to smile and not cry every time you think of him as time passes by. The gift of having him as long as you did, building decks together, holidays, etc. will be the things that stick out the most as time heals………but today, missing him is okay too. Sending much love your way, rhea

        • sbranch says:

          Not too late at all Rhea. It’s never too late, because I’m sure you, like me, never thinking of our loved ones. Thank you for your sweet suggestions and loving thoughts. xoxo

  60. Barbara Weaver says:

    I just finished reading Willard, which I found in my inbox this afternoon. We’re visiting Mystic, CT, with my sister and her husband and it’s a very rainy afternoon. No outside activity today! So we shopped, ate lobster rolls in the car, drove around peeping at adorable houses. Then we came back to our rooms to relax before dinner and there was Willard! Perfect for a rainy afternoon. Had a perfect rainy vacation day! Enjoyed Willard immensely. Need to order a Gratitude book when I return home. Having a wonderful summer, too. Gardening, walking, sitting on the deck watching the birds at the feeders. Isn’t it grand! The best to you, Joe, and Jack!

  61. Kathleen says:

    Love the blog post, and the Willard too. I am so happy to be in my home today, because I just returned home from an out of state visit to see my sister. Of course, I love her home too, but it is still so nice to be home. The dog sitter did not dust so much, though. Seeing your clean kitchen, reminds me that I have some dusting to do! We have re stocked our fresh groceries, dog food and wine, so now I will do some house cleaning, and enjoy it all this evening.

  62. Monique says:

    Bonjour from QC:)
    I am so happy..I can hear your voice now when reading your blog:)
    You really must have been giddy meeting Betsey…like I was meeting you..
    I am still so grateful for that opportune book signning♥
    Je suis ravie d’avoir fait votre connaissance Susan.

    I too talk to people I meet..even though I am quite solitary at home apart from family..I find people so nice and interesting.
    In fact..the day after I met you..we sat down at Nancy’s for a lobster roll..in Martha’s Vineyard..while Jacques went to order..I sat by the harbour at a picnic table next to another picnic table..and she and I started chatting about the nip in the air..(while our partners got our food )..and Nancy’s and Martha’s Vineyard etc.. before I knew it..we were in their Jeep touring for ap. 1 hr…it was a quick quick tour as our ferry was leaving at 3.45..and I still needed souvenirs..butit was enriching to say the very least. They even took us to their home.
    The kindness of strangers never fails to make me happy.
    What a great 3 days at the Cape we had.
    Thank you so much for being such an intrinsic part of it Susan.

    PS love that your BP family had a bath..something I would do too.

    • sbranch says:

      That is so nice, makes me happy to hear people were good to you here, Monique ~ a little tour is a wonderful thing! Oh yes, I had to wash the BP People, just in case they got picked up, we could not have sticky People!😘 Nice to hear from you ~ Titcombs was wonderful wasn’t it? We got the perfect day! Thank you for being there and for all your kind words. xoxoxo

      • Monique says:

        Titcomb’s IS wonderful.
        I forgot to mention how much I love your artwork of the garden Joe and yourself created..
        I have to reread The Summer Book..tomorrow:)
        I think you made the sun come out:)

        • sbranch says:

          I tucked the sun back in this morning! Was too lazy to water, needed some help! 😃 Hope you’re getting a bit of it too Monique!

  63. Carol Britt says:

    Lucky, lucky you!!! What a marvelous post of home. I have my looms in the living room since I can watch tv while I weave. I love my peaceful, quiet, light house. It’s not large and historic as yours, but it suits me to a T, which is what a house should do. Thank you for reminding me to count my blessings.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve lived in every size house, and even just a room, and it never mattered, all that mattered was that it was mine, I could go in, close the door, do what I wanted with it, cuddle up in my grandma’s nap blanket and take a nap. Home sweet home.

  64. Carol Britt says:

    Susan or your webmaster: Is there any way to put a search for names on the blog responses? I would love to read a reply from Susan, but with so many posts, I cannot find my original. Or could a reply from her bounce to the email listed? Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      At least on a Mac, if you hit Command F, a little search screen will open at the right top of the page, you can put in your name and your comments should come up! See if it works!

  65. Karen Saunders says:

    Your kitchen looks so shiny and clean!!! Your mother is a wise woman because I really believe that. My mothers first love was taking care and cleaning her house and her children and grandchildren. But alas….she pretty much worked all of her life but on every vacation she delighted taking everything out of her cupboards and painting. When she finally sold their house it still looked new. My grandparents who lived with us all my life was a cleaner as well. There was not one pan my mom owned that had any black on it. Maybe that’s where I get my obsession of everything shiny!!!

    When I took cooking my first year at Oregon State my prof said “Usually I get a student that passes the chemistry and flunks the cooking or visa-versa but not anyone that flunks them both….but you sure do keep a shiny stove unit!!!” (I was a tomboy and wouldn’t be caught dead with an apron on……much to my dismay later on when I had to wing it after I was married😳) I love to wash my ‘pretties’….. Gives me great pleasure. My how I’ve run on….as always, your posts evoke some pleasant memory from my past. Thanks💜💜💜💜

    • sbranch says:

      I burst out laughing to read, “but not anyone that flunks them both” — ha ha ha! It’s fun to have a clean house! Makes you proud. xoxoxo Thank you Karen!

  66. Margaret Harke says:

    Thank you for the lovely blog that I read while having an afternoon cup (I’ve preordered one of the new autumn cups) of tea in my own little cottage. I learn so many wonderful ideas for decorating and cooking from you. On my upcoming birthday, I am making your coleslaw with lobster. How festive is that!

  67. Julie V from Springfield, MO says:

    Finally had a chance to set and read the Willard and this week’s blog post too. I so enjoy all your wonderful stories and pictures and hearing what is going on with you and Joe. It is like hearing from old friends. I cannot believe it has been a year since I had the pleasure to meet both of you in St. Charles, Mo when you were on the book tour. I love the mugs and have pre-ordered the three new ones. We have had a lovely spring here in Missouri with lots of rain and everything is lush and green. Love your Summer book and glad to hear that it will be out again next year – perfect gift for my girlfriends. Thanks for all your inspiration and being a true kindred spirit!

  68. Julie V from Springfield, MO says:

    Oh – one more thing
    You had mentioned the series ” A Place to Call Home” in one of your blogs and how wonderful it was – well I ordered all four seasons – yes I trust your opinion- and it is wonderful. I stayed up late to watch “just one more episode” ! Love it
    Thanks !!

    • sbranch says:

      Joe and I had to FORCE ourselves to watch only two episodes a night, to make it last! I’m glad you’re enjoying it Julie. Good acting in this one.

    • Judy Young says:

      Is anyone watching “Call the Midwife” on KERA, great show

  69. Fran Patten says:

    Hi, Susan,
    Fran again. I just want to share a homey rhyme with you that my Grandma had hanging in their tiny apartment. When I told a friend about it, she embroidered one for me and framed it. Here goes:
    It’s easy enough to be pleasant
    When life flows along like a song
    But the man worth while
    Is the man who can smile
    When everything goes dead wrong.
    Enjoy, dear Susan.

  70. Debby says:

    So you had the lady who lives in Miss Potters house to your house for tea??!! 😜Wow is all I can say right now. Please tell how that wonderful glorious amazing event came about. Have you been in that house before? And what else did you ask?Does she sleep in Miss Potters bedroom? Did she show pictures?

    Was also wondering if you knew Bunny Mellon, have been reading about her. Talk about hygge! (Sp?)

    • sbranch says:

      Wow is what I said too, I mean really, what were the chances!? I’ve never been inside Castle Cottage, but I will go there next time! I think Mandy does sleep in Miss Potter’s bedroom. She had a book of photos, but most of them were of the garden, not the rooms. I have much to see and much to learn! I know OF Bunny Mellon, but not actually her . . . she lived in a rare world!

  71. Stephanie C says:

    Oh Susan, you are the bomb!!! Just read Willard and this post. Love the way you think and live, so much like me. I am so excited to get my mugs and my calendar ( for Christmas)! I will also be getting the Autumn charm. I have my garden planted, all of my pots are planted and thriving on my deck. My front porch is also set for summer with ferns, flowers, rocker, quilt and a flickering candle in a lantern. Love the art of keeping home. Thank you for being you and for the joy you put in my day:) I’m getting a Grandson in August!!!!! His big sister will be three the week he is due to arrive. I’m thrilled and just wanted to share my joy with you. Jack is so cute. I framed the calendar page of Jack and Girl Kitty for my granddaughter and she loves it. Have a blessed summer on the Island.

    • sbranch says:

      My favorite thing in your comment was the number of exclamation points after the word “August!” Congratulations, Stephanie!!!xoxo

  72. Nan says:

    Thank you for the diversion from my week. I lost my younger brother on Monday so I’ve not been myself. As always, your photos take me to a different place, and I needed this little escape.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry Nan. A terrible unbelievable loss. Hugs to you and yours.💞 I’m glad you came here. xoxo

  73. Barbara Barrett says:

    Susan, have you seen the June/July copy of the magazine, “The English Garden?”
    There’s an article beginning on p. 88 on Beatrix’s Hill Top garden, with
    photographs. Beatrix was a lover of nature, and it’s in her garden, “charmingly
    tangled in places and left to its natural inclinations in others, that Beatrix
    Potter’s love of nature shines most brightly.”

  74. sharper says:

    I have soooo enjoyed your recent posts…they have literally refreshed my soul! I was bitterly disappointed several months back with your post that was so not in keeping with your usual wonderful uplifting messages….but I know it was your right to express your feelings….it was just sad and disappointing for me and I expressed that in a comment. You said something very relevant in this blog…we can’t change the messy world we live in, but each one of us can keep our home and little bit of this world we occupy in a way that brings us joy, peace, and whimsy. I eagerly wait for your posts because they convey that and take me to a place that encourages and gives ideas and helps me to maintain a positive attitude in my little ‘home’ space. So while I have another cup of your wonderful earl grey, roses and lavender tea…..I salute you for your uplifting and precious posts that make my life a little better. Write on, paint, on, post pictures and keep us nurtured….that is a true ‘calling.’

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for your sweet words! I feel just as you say, that we are all in charge of our little corners of the world. I rarely write about the sadness in the world, but once in a while, such as when the little children were killed at Sandy Hook, I become so personally overwhelmed with sadness I can’t help but express myself. So always cover your eyes when you come here . . . it’s rare, but sometimes the world is unbearable and to ignore it would make me not a real person. And for better or for worse, I am a real person. Your words were beautiful, thank you over there in luv-lee dove cottage! xoxoxo

  75. Mary Jane Gruber says:

    Hello from PA. Susan. My daughter, her husband and my granddaughter are coming back to the East Coast from Monterey, CA at the end of the month. So I had this brilliant idea that I’m going to take your Gratitude book with me when I visit them. I’m going to read the book with my daughter and I think we will have a great time reflecting on the quotes and how they relate to our experiences as we’ve aged. Also, speaking of brilliant, I just took down your 2016 magnetic calendar that I had in my motorhome bathroom (yes, it was time). Thank goodness I noticed that I could keep the top part of the calendar after I removed the months. It’s now in my house on my refrigerator (no “d”) LOL. What a clever, clever idea and great way to keep enjoying this little needful thing. Hope you have a great week.

  76. Grand Pam says:

    Fabulous post. I too hang out my clothes though have only a tiny balcony to but love it. Wonderful but about Potter, what an amazing lady she was. I have moved many times to different states the last few years. I always get rid of all furniture to donations as it’s just from resale shops and lawn sales. I do not need or want antiques or fancy. Get amazing China tea cups and vintage little dishes from resale. These I keep and pack carefully. Keep very special books, a few but mostly use lical libraries. Because I love to move and live places only for a little while. Own a little sweet mobile home here in FL, so it’s my home base been busy trying to get plants to grow well here, a real challenge since most dirt is pure sand. But getting there. Saving to go to Cornwall. You inspire us all. Always love a photo of your fireplace burning. Thank you
    Debra Sewell. As you see it still says Grand Pam. Not me.who is Pam

    • sbranch says:

      Our whole house is furnished with stuff we’ve found at yard sales and antique stores ~ except for sheets and towels probably! Even the silverware! At this point Debra, I think you are the only one still getting this crazy name-change thing . . . something about your computer I fear. Do things to it. Smack it. Refresh. Tell someone. Those are all the things I know to do with a computer! 😘

  77. Nancy says:

    Love, love Jack standing in the screen door watching and waiting for you….too sweet!

  78. Hi Sue! It’s been a very productive summer thus far- herbs growing happily in my balcony herb garden, farmer markets galore here in the Asheville mountains, and planning wonderful Father’s Day/Birthday celebrations in the near future. Recently I re-read Martha Vineyard Isle of dreams and enjoyed every minute of it…again! I’m approaching my 60th Birthday, (not something to be taken lightly!) and I have decided to enjoy life to the fullest and treasure each and every day. Hope your summer is beautiful- I am grateful for your inspiration and insight…and your new cups coming out right around my birthday! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I love your decision. Perfection for a baby 60 year old! xoxo Happy Birthday!

    • FayE in CA! says:

      Sixty? You are a babe – put on your short-shorts, flip your hair and STRUT yourself to the nearest ice cream shop. Caution! Do not think about SIXTY because it will be a distant memory in the blink of an eye and you will suddenly realize that 60 was SO young.

      I know…72 in August…greatful to be healthy, but would love to be SIXTY again!

      Happy Birthday and wishes for a healthy journey to 72 years of memories!!

      Sending a cheerful bouquet and hugs to you, Susan. 🌺🌷🌼🌹 I think that you should bottle your happy gene along with some pink contentment pills. You would be RICH beyond your wildest imagination! A cottage in England would be yours for the taking!! (I think that cottage is a given in your lifetime!!)

      Pet and kiss sweet, funny, ADORABLE Jack. Grayson sends whisker kisses and ankle hugs. Tell Joe he is a wonderful jack-of-all-trades at the Estate of Creativity.

      FayE! 💗💗💗

      • sbranch says:

        LOL, did you ever think you would say such a thing? Love to be 60 again? When I was in my 20s I thought old people said nutty things, and now I find out we do! But you never see life as clearly as you do looking back. And that’s what makes for wisdom! Whisker kisses, and in Jack’s case, ankle grabs back to you!! xoxoxo

  79. Elizabeth says:

    Dear Susan,
    Your cheery installments are soothing to the spirit and enlightening to a gentle mind and heart. Thank you, once again.

    Elizabeth in Los Osos, CA who is secretly longing to move back east.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s the architecture . . . that’s what got me! But Los Osos is a little bit of heaven too! Montana de Oro! xoxo

  80. Shelley Boone says:

    I love that when you come home, your house wraps it’s
    arms around you and you belong to each other❤️

    • sbranch says:

      I think this house will NEVER forget us. We’ve had three weddings here, countless tea parties, Christmas dinners for 24, naps and naps and naps, winter snowstorms of coziness, candlelighting when the electricity goes out, Frank has sung his heart out here for years and years, potato salad and roast chicken dinners, nope, this house will always remember us. 💞

  81. Donna Weir says:

    I always feel like you are the frosting on the cake of my day when I open my email and you are there! Thank you! I pre-ordered my bird mug. I’m so excited!

    • sbranch says:

      You are going to love it Donna, the colors are amazing. Cheeriest cup in the world! (I’m too proud about these things, but I can’t help it!)

  82. Jennifer Dunckley says:

    RIGHT THERE! THERE! The mug in the post with “Home” on it. That’s the mug that I want! Can you make that happen?

    • sbranch says:

      I’m afraid not right now . . . those were our first cups, which we put on preorder just like these next four designs ~ we even added hundreds of extra meant to last us through Christmas and for anyone who might not have seen the presale ~ but they came out and were all gone in a blink of an eye! We were shocked! I’m sure there will be more HOME cups (with different art) in the future, since that is really my favorite subject too! Sorry Jennifer!

  83. Mary says:

    Oh how I need this right now … and Willard too! I’m almost overwhelmed with my husband’s job loss, the only offers coming in from 1200 miles away, having to break the news to our grown kids, having to say goodbye to grandkids, squeezing in a flight to PA for a new grandchild next week, while packing and finding a new place to live 1200 miles away. And money getting tighter and tighter.
    Reading your blog and Willard was fresh air when I was drowning. Hope for a lovely home where I can once again feel safe and welcome my loved ones …
    Thank you, Susan! I will survive!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh My, do we get thrown at or what? Sometimes you have to wonder how it all happens at the same time. But look at you! Doing it!!! Blessings on you and yours . . . breathe, nap, and then, go. xoxoxoxo

    • Judy Young says:

      Hang in there Mary! My wish for you is that everything turns out beautifully and just the way you want. Sometimes change is good, even though it doesn’t feel that way at the time. You will survive!

  84. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Thank you Susan, I could say lots but I’ll just say I’m counting my many, many blessings.
    Lovely post, as always they make me smile and relax!
    Be well!

  85. Pam Burkham says:

    with such anger in our world today, it is a blessing of peace to read your Blog and Willard. Thank you for sharing beauty with us this day. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      This is a place where we like to bring people together and talk about all the things we have in common, not start fights and tear ourselves apart. We are Love. Thank you for being here, Pam. xoxo

  86. Pam Burkham says:

    Something is wrong with the condensers in our air conditioning in South Texas – heat index over 100 and we discovered a leak when water began dripping from the light fixture over the dining table – thankfully my husband knew what to do. Of course we figured this out after hours but have a voice mail message in for our wonderful AC Repair folks. AC still working. Trying not to be discouraged as it is just a home repair and not a problem with ourselves. Made the blog and Willard even more blessed than usual. Our Lord knows what we need to cheer our days. Perfect timing. 🙂

  87. Mommastinkyface says:

    How exciting!!!!!!!!

  88. Cyndi in NC says:

    What a lovely time you had with Betsy and Mandy. How jealous are all of us, but very happy you had this opportunity!! Would be great to go on that tour! (Happy dance)

    • sbranch says:

      Was lovely, and fun to show you, because you have to imagine, only one person in the entire world lives in that house, and for some crazy reason she was suddenly sitting in my backyard! How could that be?

      • Cyndi in NC says:

        Just goes to show you it’s a small world! Thank goodness too. Otherwise we would have never been able to enjoy “our” trip to England, twice. I just saw the Beatrix Potter movie with Renee Zellweger, I think it is called Miss Potter. Anyway, I love the country side and can imagine her walking there. At least some of it was filmed in the Lake District. Just the thought of it is magical! Also I love the picture of the sheep and Beatrix! Can’t have enough lambs or sheep! Thanks again for more England and Beatrix Potter!! Oh, and that cutie Jack. Love seeing his sweet face, even if it’s blurry! *L*

        • sbranch says:

          Oh yes, I’m a big Miss Potter aficionado … you get to be that after you’ve seen the movie ten times or more! So gorgeous, when it starts with her walking in the Lake District I am in instant tears. There’s a lot more to her story if you ever feel like you need more. xoxo

          • Cyndi in NC says:

            Always want to know about her! I’m sure that I would have teared up there also. I feel such a connection with England through my mother’s side of the family. I think I’m close behind you in watching “Miss Potter”. Love it.

  89. Angie says:

    Thank you for the motivation to remove that ‘temporary’ housing mentality of renting (when will I move again?) and make this place a home.

  90. Brittney says:

    How I adore Castle Cottage! I currently live in Florida, and when this heat becomes too much to handle, I often find myself daydreaming about that wonderful little village of Near Sawrey. I was there about ten years ago with my mother on one last girls trip before I was married. We had a wonderful lunch at the Tower Bank Arms. We sat in front of the most cozy fireplace while we ate and while the snow fell outside. The owner sat down and gave us a history of the village, which was so kind of him to do. After lunch, he took us on a walk to show us some of the places that Beatrix Potter included in her books. I often find myself scouring the internet hoping a little cottage will pop up for sale there! Oh, to be in Near Sawrey again!

  91. Diana Crick says:

    I so look forward to receiving mail from you and two in one day, oh the pure joy of it. I have a beautiful front and back garden and you have inspired me to start a Garden Journal. Our gardener planted 30 large geraniums and 396 mixed annuals this year. I wanted every brown space to be filled with flowers. This afternoon I spent time in the garden dead heading and tidying the flowers so to speak. A little bird joined me and we had quite the conversation. Then a gentle wind started up and I talked to it too. Maybe at 71 I have become a bit loopy but I like to say I am a kindred spirit of Nature. When I designed our back garden I wanted to have all the 5 elements represented so I really do feel “One with Nature”. I know you and I could sit and chat with a lovely mug of tea in yes one your cups which I love and talk the day away. Maybe next time I spend an afternoon in my garden I will chat with you!!
    with sincere fondness, Diana Crick

    • sbranch says:

      Your garden sounds amazing Diana! We have adorable friendly catbirds that hang out with me in the garden, greyish black with a black eye, is that what your bird was? They are like garden companions. You’re not loopy, just connected to nature, a gift.😘

  92. Edie says:

    Susan, thank you so much for all the lovely pictures of your home and garden. Wish I could visit and enjoy a cup of tea with you. Love to read your posts and hear the music and look at the pictures. Truly home is where the heart is. Don’t we always look forward to coming home whenever we are away?

  93. Gayle Hall says:

    And guess what I did today??? I spent the day with Renee Z. Watching POTTER. I just love the movie and must escape to that world periodically. So I really smiled when your e-mail arrived talking all about her. We were certainly on the same wave length. Have as good a day as you gave me. Love Gayle Hall

  94. charissa says:

    The Great British Baking Show starts tonight, Thursday. June 16th on pbs. Woohoo xoxo if you missed, it they usually replay the last episode in the previous week before the newest episode.

  95. Barbara A Case says:

    Dear Susan, Always a joy to find you in my mail box. To see your your blog is always good for me. Thank you !

  96. Love, love, love your posts!

  97. Joann says:

    What a wonderfully fun post!! It’s fantastic that you got to have tea with this sweet and inspiring woman….I definitely need to get back in the game here! Your garden looks wonderful and I’m amazed how many people have made this exact garden….and there is someone I know working on the plans for one right now! I’ll let you know more later.

    OK, the weekend is upon us and we are working on our garden, putting in some stone foot paths, planting lots and lots of flowers, both annuals and perennials, and we will try to make it to the local farmer’s market in the morning as well.

    Happy Weekend Susan! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Girlfriends have been sending me pictures of their picket-fence gardens ever since Summer came out in 1995 . . . so fun, because I know they love their gardens as much as I do mine. Really such a little thing to give so much pleasure for so many years. We’ve been doing the same thing as you ~ not sure my camera picks it up, but we’ve done so much to our poor neglected garden this year. Now I need extra hours in the day for staring at it! Raining now, yay, garden lapping it up! Happy Weekend Joann!

  98. Jo'L says:

    Some how I missed the earlier June post, so just have “Thanks” to say for a long and pleasant read of today, the earlier post and Willard before bed to help make lovely dreams.

  99. Marsha MacLean says:

    We’re here! Spent time at the cottage yesterday and saw everything… so wonderful!!! We particularly loved that tiny doll house set up for Two a bad Mice and all the references to the Roly Poly Pudding and all the mice!
    You were such an inspiration for this trip Susan and my BFF
    And I have been making reference to your book all of this last week… you are so right about falling in love with the countryside… the lambs were cuddled in with their mothers and we saw the belted Galloway cows were so cute too! We continue on to Scotland today! Thanks so much for your inspiration as always! Loving it all!

  100. Joan Kotvas says:

    Enjoyed your blog. Getting up early this am to go to an estate sale that advertised bunnykins. Because of you I have a collection. Wish me luck. Have happy memories of Holly Hedge meeting you and Joe outside our cottage and at the book signing. Hope someday you acquire your your first home in Martha’s Vineyard so I can visit – that’s my dream but more important a dream you get to realize someday for you to own it again. ❤looking forward to my cups especially Santa. Fortunately I have some of your Lenox collection especially like tea pot. Joan

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