NESTING to the Nth Degree

This post is all about Nesting, but first Girlfriends, I just have to vent! Omarosa!!! Are you dying? Every time we turn on the TV, there she is. I run to the wood-room to change the channel but there’s no place to hide, she is either on, or she is coming on, or she will be on soon, or they’re talking about the last/next time she was on. It’s like an alternate universe. My sister and I were shooting the breeze on the phone, started talking about her by accident, and suddenly felt like characters in her reality show! Everyone on TV is part of her soap opera. We all are. Why are they making this woman rich?🤑 Our tax money paid her $180,000 a year salary, AND she had an assistant! Now, I fear the White House will feel it necessary to fight back, and it will never end! What if they have a feud? What if they take her to court??? Can you imagine the “Breaking News?” 😜 Save us! There needs to be a new TV box that only has smart, kind, and normal in it. Where is Beatrix Potter when we need her?  Has no one heard of the word gravitas? These are the questions! Please, please do not let Omarosa be in history books. That is my prayer.🙏 I think what happens with old people, when they die, they are GLAD to go, there are some things people just don’t want to see. Okay, I’m done. Don’t worry, TV is off! Sorry, it’s the heat. I love you. All will be well. Keep the faith. Back to real life . . .

I blame everything on the heat!  How’s it going with you? Thank you so much for your sweet patience . . . I’m sorry I haven’t written, but I’ve been thinking of you … I just needed to settle in. Four months was a long time to be gone. But each day has been another step up the back walk, I’ve been working on the new book, but also reading my delicious books (just finishing Letters between the Mitford sisters), walking early mornings, cooking ~ and, really, more than anything, I’ve been NESTING. I feel fall coming! 🍂 We are HOME, and I am LOVING it. Such a homebody, I get up in the morning, scramble some eggs, cut up some watermelon, stir a little cream into my tea, look out the window, clean things, shine things, stare at them, sing at them, feel so much gratitude, which I do, and am, and now I’m ready to write and say HELLO and catch up!  Happy, despite the ridiculous heat and humidity which I know so many of you are experiencing too. I took that photo above from the window in our kitchen door . . . and that’s not rain.

This would be the view if you could see out the window! SO, basically, I rarely go out. Certainly NOT to the garden ~ you would have to cut your way through the air with a machete to get there.  I asked Joe on our walk (where we feel like laundry just out of the washer at 7 am), wouldn’t it be nice if we could just slit this air open, climb through and inside would be cool freshness? But every once in a while, we get a good storm, the air clears, the sea breezes blow, and then it’s like spring fever all over again. 🌸

Out I go, from flower to flower, like a bee. A bee with a camera. This is Rose of Sharon ~ it lives on a pretty bush that grows tall and lush in so many gardens on Martha’s Vineyard. We only planted it last fall, this is its first year to bloom … it will make such a nice late-season thing when it’s fully grown. 

We also planted a white hydrangea Bobo H. paniculata in front of the three Rose of Sharon bushes.

They’re all still rather spindly  . . . just a couple of flowers so far . . .

But someday they will make a romantic flowery partial hedge in the lawn, a cosy alcove of pink and white for the arbor where we have dinner parties. Next year will be better, and in three years, they will be heaven! And for the future of my darling house, it will be even heavener. 💞 I’m not the most patient person in the world, but some things are worth it.

As always, as I get back to the kitchen porch, I see I have somebody waiting for me . . .

He shows his pleasure through the window . . . I feel so popular! What a baby! Gimme that boy! Gimme that tummy!

 So, yes, we’re up to all kinds of things, home-wise, stuff needs to be done!  We’re going to put a fresh coat of white paint on the front of the house, but it’s been so hot, Joe decided to wait on that, and start on the dining room with the air conditioner in it! September will be luv-lee for house painting. The boy is a genius! It’s the genius’s birthday today. I’m up early to write this post, so I can go tend to the Leo King and let him know he is loved. Isn’t real life delightful?

More delightful real life: We had a leak upstairs, rather, a recurring leak, despite being fixed, it came again, and the last time was while we were away . . . Our wallpaper has been fighting a losing battle with mold for a couple of years, and now it looks like this in some places!

The ceiling is a mess too . . . and you can see here, there’s more staining on the wallpaper, pretty much everywhere in the room.

So, Joe’s fixing it. It all came down fairly easily, just took one day. We are going to give the walls a rest for a few years and let that mold problem go away permanently. Joe will fix the ceiling, paint the woodwork, paint the walls, and I’m choosing the fabric for ENGLISH CURTAINS, the heavy, lined kind! Which I will tell you about soon. Lots of Before and After on the horizon! It’ll be fun! I’ve wanted these curtains FOREVER, every time we go to England I experience unbearable curtain lust. I have bitten the bullet to do it, and the bullet tastes like cotton candy.💞 Ahh fabric, with hydrangeas on it, or sweet peas, or clusters of ribbons and flowers… eeek ….

If this wallpaper could talk. Almost twenty years of being romantic, giving loveliness, reflecting candlelight, witnessing turkey dinners and best-friend’s birthdays. Maybe in a few years, we’ll have wallpaper again, maybe a pattern just like this one. Until then, I’m happy, I do love to decorate! Fresh paint is the fastest way I know to make an exciting change and bring in a breath of fresh air! We are thinking either pink, or, hold on to something, navy blue! The trim and wainscoting will be glossy white! And heavy ENGLISH CURTAINS. Oooo.  

And Jack likes it too… 😻

The luvlee thing about photos, wallpaper never has to go away. The memories go on forever.

So what else? I have, as of today, washed and dried, (tennis balls in the dryer helps to puff them), twelve feather pillows. I’m cleaning everything, making this entire house fresh as a daisy.🌿 So we can light candles and cook something wonderful and turn on the old music and open all the windows this fall. This may look like work, but this is what I love. I was born to clean! Not so much the cleaning, the part that comes after, the pride of it.💙

Washed the comforters too, the pillow covers . . .

The mattress covers, the sheets and throws . . .

The pillows come out fat and feathery and smell so clean!

Oh yes, cutting boards and wooden spoons have all been oiled for that warm and well-loved patina . . . you can read more about that HERE. 

I’ll save the quilts for the clothesline, when the leaves start to fall and cool winds begin to blow. 🍂 Dreamy!

Shelf-by-shelf, whether dishwasher, or handwashed, all the dishes came out and shelves were hot-watered, soaped, and sparkled! I think while I clean. Probably the best time to plot a book is while I’m washing dishes and watching the birds at the feeders! I always have a pen and paper nearby in case I think of something wonderful! Even in the shower!

And cleaning the critters too. While Joe sands walls, I’m making the rest of it look nice for the new dining room!

But of course, into the studio I go every day. It’s heaven, in my imagination I still live in England, wandering the countryside, seeing the beauty. Writing, remembering quotes I hope will be perfect for the book, searching them out, pulling photos, painting borders, making a list of the recipes I’m going to include.  I’m reminded how spoiled we were, going to a different pub every day, each with delicious food, I began to yearn for some good ole’ British cooking . . .Nowadays, I have to be my own grandma!

Was thinking about one particular dinner we had . . .

In this darling pub in Kingham . . .

Where the food was delicious, and we were so happy. So I found this pub online, discovered the name of the chef was Emily Watkins, and found one of her recipes. Look at her, she’s inspiring me and she doesn’t even know it.💞

It’s called “Baby Broad Bean, New Potato and Fresh Goat’s Cheese Salad” . . . we knew it had to be good because everything we tasted there was so wonderful. And it was so easy.

So off we went to find broad beans. But wait, what IS a broad bean?  Google knew!  So off we went for “Fava Beans,” because that’s what they’re called in America. And this is what a fresh fava bean looks like. Who knew? I think I like the name Broad Bean better than Fava Bean. Something a little too Hannibal Lector about Fava Beans.


Slit them open, and what do we have . . . big fat beans nestled in pockets surrounded with a protective foam-like substance … cuddled beans.

Pop them out . . . into the colander to give them a rinse.

Following the recipe we blanched the beans for 30 seconds, then plunged them in cold water. The recipe said, “Remove the skins and set aside.”  “There are skins? Didn’t we just do that?” We’re talking to ourselves.

Yes, there are skins! Like one of those gifts where there’s a smaller box inside each box you unwrap! And there it is, the actual bean . . . no longer so very broad.

They have a little seam in them and can just automatically split in two . . . a wonder of nature.

Beautiful color, and they taste wonderful . . . these will not be our last broad beans!

We set the beans aside, and did potato prep. We don’t have the melt-in-your-mouth “Jersey” potatoes available in England (and called for in the recipe), so we got as close as we could with these small white new potatoes. We cooked 500 g of them (1/2 lb) until “just tender,” then removed from heat, added a “small handful of fresh mint,” and set the pan aside for another five minutes for the mint to infuse. Interesting, don’t you think? Joe’s making lamb chops, I think the mint and faaaava beans will be perfect with them. Drain the pan, remove the mint, and smash the potatoes roughly. Salt and pepper them.

While the potatoes were simmering, to the darkening garden I went, slashing air with machete to make breathing possible, to get some chives. Sorry to say, no chive flowers left!

Time out, short pause, must take photo, take quick sniff of rose!!!

Back in the house to mince the chives . . .

While I was in the garden, Joe started the dressing . . . whisking “rapeseed” oil, which is “canola oil” in America (I love foreign languages, especially when they’re in English) with juice of half a lemon, a tsp. of Dijon mustard, and a half tsp. of sugar. I made little chunks of the goat’s cheese and put them in a small bowl. (British recipes are MUCH easier to do if you have metric measurers like those above. Joe had no problem when the recipe called for 60 ml of canola oil ~ it’s a quarter of a cup!)

Then it was time to assemble the salad . . .  “Put sorrel leaves or wild rocket in a large bowl,” ~ if you don’t see those at your supermarket, look for arugula because that’s rocket in America. I doubt it’s very wild though. Toss the greens together with the potatoes and beans, and the dressing, tossing gently, coating everything. Add the nuggets of goat’s cheese, and garnish with chives (and chive flowers for extra prettiness and flavor if you have them).

By this time Joe’s chops are sizzling …

Time out for a photo . . . we’re so proud of ourselves we have to take pictures!

And here we go! We loved it. It was the Pub Food we were dreaming about. Flavors combined like buttah, the potatoes, the cheese, the slight mintyness. We thought we might want to try a little bit of lemon zest in the dressing next time, but it was delicious just as it was. Joe woke up the next morning talking about it! A very good sign! We had such a good time doing this, I printed out two more Emily Watkins recipes to try. I’ll let you know how they come out! Pub House USA!

Happiness is . . .

Did you see this? It’s our little feature in Victoria Magazine! Pretty pictures, not lots of information, so if you’d like to read more about this heavenly day, go HERE. It was still lovely to have this as another memory of a truly remarkable day that went by waaaay too fast!

This is still my favorite photo, even if you can’t see the faces very well! The fact that Girlfriends came from so many different places, was just amazing. A convergence of kindred spirits. 💞 In the very garden belonging to Beatrix Potter, not all that long ago.

Yesterday, I received the first samples of the new cups in from England! They turned out beautifully, luv-lee deep colours of orange and red! All approved, and up now for presale! We’re trying to have them in by late October, but hopefully early in late October! (And yes for you that ask, that fairy tale banner is still in our webstore!)

I’ve been keeping the paper ones on my shelf . . . Gives Joe a little surprise when he grabs one for tea! Ha ha!

Yes, this mess belongs to me! There’s method to this madness, never fear. I’m getting very close to being finished with the “research” part of the new book . . . Tomorrow I do my first page layouts! Pen hand is ready! I’m so excited!

Look at this fat thing. All the bits of information I collected is now between the pages where it belongs . . . I think you are going to love it. 💞 There’s been lots of talk between us girls on Twitter: A Fine Romance resulted from a two-month trip. This time it was four months! Plus, I want to include our Scotland trip, so we will have England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. I was thinking, what should I tell and what should I leave out. Because of the size … but now, with a little help from my friends, I think it might be two books. I’m just going to go and go and go until it’s done and leave nothing out. If it turns out as fat as the 1931 Oxford Dictionary, I will turn it into two books. Two books of gardens, cottages, tea rooms, castles, recipes, heroes, bunting, ancient churchyards, one-track lanes, hedgerows, pubs, ghosts, history, and legends, and so much more. Are you ready?

From me to you Girlfriends!

My grandest blessing! ❤️ Happy Birthday Joe Hall, boyfriend for life. 💞

Bye Girls, have a wonderful day! ❌ ⭕️  Here’s that recipe!


  • 1 lb. (1 kg) broad beans (fava beans)
  • 1/2 lb. (500g) small creamiest white-skinned potatoes
  • handful of fresh mint
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 c. (60ml) rapeseed oil (canola)
  • 2 big handfuls (100g) salad greens, sorrel, rocket, OR arugula
  • about 1 c. (or to taste, or 120g) fresh goat’s cheese in nugget size pieces
  • one bunch chives, finely chopped, chive flowers too, if you have them
  • salt and pepper to taste

Remove beans from pods, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds (you want them al dente). Pour off the water and plunge the beans into ice water. Remove the inside skins from the beans, put them in a little bowl and set aside. Put potatoes in salted water just to cover and bring to boil; simmer until just tender. Remove from heat, put mint in with the potatoes and set them aside for five minutes for the mint to infuse. Drain the pan, discard the mint, crush the potatoes roughly, salt and pepper, set aside to cool. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, mustard and sugar together. Put the greens in a large bowl, add the beans, the  cooled potatoes, pour over the dressing and toss lightly to coat everything. Add nuggets of goats cheese, garnish with chives (and chive flowers if you can, nasturtiums are nice too!). Serve. Good the next day too. 😊

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801 Responses to NESTING to the Nth Degree

  1. Susanb says:

    Happy Birthday Joe!
    Looking forward to new book and so glad you are writing it all. It will be fun escaping into your book world once again. Thank you, thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      You’re welcome Susan!

    • Marilyn Rogers says:

      Happy Birthday Joe! I’m a Leo too! Susan, can’t wait for your new book(s)!!

    • sharon morrison says:

      Happy Birthday Joe. I met you when you and Susan were in Wichita Ks on her book tour. One of my favorite pictures is with her.

      Joe, I hope this is the happiest of birthdays and that all of your wishes come true. You are quite a guy according to your woman.

      Warm Regards,
      Sharon Morrison

      • sbranch says:

        Thank you Sharon, I will pass on your luv-lee message!

        • Trisha Smutko says:

          Hi Susan, Hope you and Joe had a great day celebrating his BD. What a catch that guy is. What a lucky gal you are!! I work at a library in PA and just got in a new book that I am reading and it made me think of you. I think you might find it interesting. Earth To Earth, A natural history of churchyards. By Stefan Buczacki. I have a natural fascination with cemeteries and churchyards. As do you. Especially old churchyards. I love them. And I have always been fascinated not just with the headstones and history but the plants that grow there . Some in very shady and odd places. It is a small but interesting book to put on your list of things to read. Heaven only knows how long that list might be!! And how you would ever find the time I do not know. But it made me think of how many churchyards you have visited and taken us along with you.:-) Much love and good health to you and yours. Trisha, PA

  2. mary spring says:

    …good summer morning.. ‘so happy with this post entitled “nesting”..I’m still here in westerly with my daughter and her newborn..enjoying this summer immensely .. there is an interesting quote from Maya Angelou that i keep close ; so interesting, that goes : ” I long, as does every human being, to be home where ever I find myself “…thank you for this post..enjoy these precious summer days while they’s very humid here and is said to be 90 degrees here today…we have been going to the beach early and putting the baby in her little blue tent..she loves to listen to the ocean..with love, as always…

  3. mary spring says:

    .. uh oh, my morning greeting seems to have disappeared also.. regardless, thank you for this post on nesting !..

  4. Linda Metcalf says:

    Happy Birthday to Joe! Love the feeling and the smells of a deep cleaning. Nothing like it!

  5. Kathy Pink says:

    Please paint your dining room navy blue; it will be beautiful with all that bright, white trim! Like you, we’re looking forward to Fall with its cooler air, lack of humidity, and lovely colors. Hoping to make it to Falmouth in November to meet you.

    • sbranch says:

      I “slept on it” for a few days because I loved the idea of that blue against the white and then blue curtains, but then the house spoke to me, it said, “Navy Blue walls are a modern invention, I’m too old for modern, paint me pink.” When the house speaks the people must listen! So that’s what we decided to do! Hope the house is right!

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        Oh wow – I love the idea of a pink dining room, soft and happy and romantic – all the things the color pink says! The color of my sheets is Rosewater, which is lovely and barely there.

      • Holly says:

        I’m so happy you chose pink!! I live in a craftsman cottage, with robin’s egg blue walls. The color has been nice, but I’m ready for a change. The original wide oak window & door moldings, and doors have never been painted. It’s lovely, but hard to pick a paint color. I’ve been leaning towards a pale warm pink.

        • sbranch says:

          We’re loving it so far … it doesn’t have a name though, we used it years and years ago in another house and loved it. We found the old paint can and all we could read on the can was the recipe to make it … after it’s done, I’ll take photos for the blog and put the recipe for it and if you like it, it will make things easier.

      • Dianne says:

        I think that pink is the better option. I’ve used a very pale pink in the past- with a white trim. It’s a color that is soothing as well as flattering. It also reflects the light beautifully. I think that the darker colors look nice in photos, but I’ve always been afraid that I would tire of them quickly. I think that you’ve made a good decision. Happy birthday to Joe

      • Jane Franks says:

        Dear Susan! Loved, loved this post (as always!) The “nesting” emphasis is very comforting these days. Thank God, “literally” for people like you!! You bring so much beauty and good challenge to all of us. When I get overwhelmed these days, I love it that you can do the thinking and planning for me!! I’m going to do a Pub night and use Emily Watson’s recipe and Joe’s pork chops!! Sounds divine! And a belated Happy Birthday to Joe! I like your house’s decision to go pink! I thought about Navy, and it is striking, but for me would close in the walls in a dining room. I’d feel like they were looking over my shoulder while I ate!! It sounds to me like your house has good taste!! Can’t wait to see the final result! Cheering you on with your cleaning and writing. Inspiring me as well!

        • sbranch says:

          Me, too Jane, that’s what I thought. And it might make a hardness where before it was all soft. Elegant, yes, stylish, no doubt, but that’s not what this comfy old house really is. So yay! Loving the changes. Cheering you on with YOUR writing too dear, it’s a wonderful, complicated, delicious exercise in communication. It’s a gift to do it, now if we can only make it a gift to receive! Words, glorious words!

          • FayE in CA! says:

            Yes, I can picture the pink paint…100%. 💗 I, too, feel that it speaks to your house’s soul…and honestly, Susan, to your go-to decor sensibilities. Glancing through your windows from the pink inside to the hydrangeas, roses and picket fence outside is a seamless ambience from inside to outside!!

            I agree that Navy speaks more of this decade than a home built in 1800’s. l think it can truly enhance a more modern design ethic, but if a homeowner favors dark autumn golds/browns, burgandys and darker greens then a navy would lend itself well with the richer/deeper color palette.

            ALTHOUGH…I can definitely envision an old, white Captain’s home on Martha’s Vineyard, the Cape, or Nantucket flourishing with a seaman’s theme with navy making a beautiful wallscape to backdrop the theme! Window trim and doors a crisp white…perhaps dark navy shutters and welcoming front door! Highly varnished wood floors!

            Navy living room with tailored white couches, blue pinstriped chairs and pillows, sea paintings under glass, light-airy white curtains…sheer w/opaque stripes under subtle blue floral drapery. Carry the floral over to an ottoman or more pillows. Cutglass lamp bases with white shades! (The Captain obviously lives with a woman!)

            Yard: A weathered stone mermaid in the back yard or a large mermaid fountain and a brass anchor in the front yard encircled with flowers. Crisp, white sail-shaped “awning” over outside dining.

            A captain’s bell somewhere (kitchen) or by front door. OR hung on a post by the front walkway!

            Kids’ room: Boys – bunkbeds with spreads with ships on them…maybe done in red/white/blue! Girls – light blue, striped seersucker spread with white eyelet dust ruffle, curtains, sheets/pillows. Paint a mural with a girl sitting on a hill watching a sailboat on the sea. Dress her in a white dress with hair and hat ribbon blowing. Hang an antique white day dress on a crystal door knob “hook”…

            Have to have a porthole hanging somewhere perhaps converted into a mirror in a guest “powder room.”

            Dining room: White formal tablecloths to highlight antique dishes/crystal to bring the ambience of first class dining! Dining would be under a MAGnificent crystal chandelier. Dining walls would be navy on top and glossy white under the chair rail…navy/white floral drapes and rug. Find old ship menus and frame them!

            Master Bedroom: Family history: “Grandpa’s” captain’s jacket should be mounted in a frame and there should be a charming coat rack to hang his old hat. Put his old suitcase/trunk at the foot of the bed! Old travel photos in silver frames.

            Den: An white room could showcase leather furniture, a Captain’s wooden “steering wheel”…maybe cloud photos/paintings framed w/blue matting. A beautiful built-in bar dressed with crystal and silver. Comfy bar stools with leather seats. A large, etched mirror over the bar! Brass reading lamps and lights over the bar.

            Oh, my…Susan your redecorating has started all of our minds tick-tick-ticking! I am ready to move in to my imagined Captain’s house, but I’ll need an enormous inheritance to buy and decorate it. Maybe someone can add me to their will?!! HA!

            Back to your pink paint – I hear that pink paint makes all of your guests look young and glowing. I can’t wait to pull up my seat at your dining table…I can use a pink-me-up of “young and glowing”…🙎

            Joe, just saw your house on twitter with the “Halloween” scraped paint. If you are still the budget-friendly painter, be careful!!! Oh my, the ladder and any scaffolding will be mountainous in height! Take your guardian angel up the steps with you.

            Hope the humidity is giving up holding everyone hostage and that occasional, crisp moments are creeping in to put smiles on everyone’s faces as Fall begins its long-awaited entrance to display glory for all. 🍁🍂 🎃

            Speaking of home, have you watched “Home Fires?” They only produced two seasons and the audience that had latched on to the series were SO upset!! A lot of viewers voiced their frustration over that sudden cancellation. I read that the show is under consideration for a return in the future.

            I liked the women that were cast for the roles and the stories that unfolded…or should say WERE unfolding. I cared about their town and people. The two seasons were really the prelude to a series that should continue telling their journeys until the war is over! Fingers crossed that they decide to do that.

            Well, off to the nursery…sick of the drought and continued building which is IN OUR FACES!
            If water is so precious why do the decisions to build and build and build reflect otherwise?? I am sick and tired of my dead lawn (second time we let it go due to droughts). I am sick and saddened that some of my pots/planters have remained unplanted to honor the water issue. Well, since the powers that be have filled our fields…and continue to do so…with multi-housing units, I am off to the nursery to fill my pots/planters. I will use more water, BUT at this point I don’t care. If the city planners don’t see some correlation between thousands of new toilets/tubs/showers and water issues then I am off to be a tyrant and pick out some plants to spruce up my spirit and backyard.

            It all just sucks! The heat, humidity, water issues, elected officials tending their own job home fronts, not us! Yep, the heat has gotten to me in more ways than one!!! 😿💔 So nice to read your blog and Girlfriends’ comments to daydream and forget the yuck-stuff!

            Hugs to you, Susan, as you re-journey with your paints. 🎨 Long, loving pets to Jack, and most importantly…a strong safety net for Joe. 💗💗💗

            #SBBookstoScreen 🎥 📹 ✏️📘📘📘📘📘📘 📺‼️

            PS: My “conversation” with you has been enjoyable. Thanks for inviting me for tea and relaxation. I will take my long-winded self out your door now! xoxo

          • sbranch says:

            You should be a decorator FayE! xoxoxo

      • CAROLE HINES says:

        love the idea. I am a pastel old soul too! by the way, on a recent cruise thru the British Isles,my luggage tag was lost. the tags I purchased from you & was my favorite because I love cruising & that is the one they lost. is there a chance I can purchase just that one tag without buying another set?

      • Mary S says:

        I think Pink is PERFECT!!!!!
        Much love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  6. jeanie says:

    Happy Birthday to Joe! And thanks for joining in to my twitter feed (I guess they don’t call it friends on Twitter, but you are!). We, too, are in cottage repair mode — new window glazing and painting on the outside; minor bits on the inside this year. That will have to wait. The season is shorter because of the upcoming England trip. Wish you were there to be our guides to all things off-the-map and totally delightful! Thanks for sharing the salad recipe and eagerly awaiting TWO books!

  7. Linda Miller says:

    Susan, what a tidy blog! Loved your enthusiasm for nesting and refreshing your abode. The feeling of renewal must be so rewarding….your energy spilled over to me as well. I know you and Joe must be happy to be home again. I am also looking forward to cooler days as the south is relentless during the summer season. Can’t wait for your new book (s)!

    Happy belated birthday, Joe! 🎂

  8. Wendy Louise says:

    Oh hello there Susan! What a delightful post as usual. Your little heaven on earth sounds like a real life dreamy masterpiece! Such happy bliss! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to JOE, better late than never. Paul and I were working out in the garden all day yesterday with our little Tucker doggy and my grand doggy (we are babysitting my daughters big poodle boy). In our little piece of heaven, sunshine, sea air, gardening with our chickens, pure bliss. We are already planning next years gardens, I had to go get my gardening diary just so I could put our thoughts down. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe, I wrote it down already on one of your recipe cards, planning on making it for company this weekend along with Joe’s lamb chops! Oh how wonderful you are in so many ways. When I get too over loaded with world troubles, and stupid soap operas, I seek out my Gladys Taber books, you my dear, and Beatrix Potter books, along with my daily devotions, puts me right in a Happy place. So much to look forward to, your new mugs, and dreaming about you in your beautiful studio writing your books!!! Can’t wait to see you in the Fall, well I can, don’t want time to go by too fast, it’s still summer and one has to enjoy every single day. Thanks again for all the little JOYS.
    Love, Wendy Louise oxox
    PS. Have you seen the Christopher Robin movie? We are planning on seeing it this weekend.

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t seen it, please give us your review! I’ve heard a bit of 50-50 on it! xoxo

    • judy young says:

      I cannot find any Fava Beans in my town. Do they come frozen I wonder?

      • sbranch says:

        Looks like Trader Joe’s has them frozen. Ask your veg man at your market to source them fresh, they’re out there. Called Broad Beans in England, but Fava is most often used in America.

  9. Daphne says:

    So glad you directed my attention back to all that counts! Your love of your home and the quietness of just living there expresses exactly how I feel. Love it when I get on my cleaning streaks and everything smells fresh. It is refreshing to see someone talk about how special our homes are – it has been somewhat belittled these past years.

  10. Gayle Hall says:

    Hi there SWEET SUSAN. Well what do I say. How about HURRAY!!!!! Two books, not one complaint from me. That’s just that many more photos and facts, and heart felt lovelys to pour over. Not just once, but over and over through all the years to come. In an armchair looking out over my gardens. In those gardens under a tree on a gorgeous warm Fall day. Curled up under an afghan, or gorgeous quilt in the middle of the winter reading your books for the umpteenth time. As I write my own stories, and draw my own pictures, I often return to your words for inspiration. We look at life so much the same. You help to remind me that we are not strange individuals, just totally UNIQUE! Oh how blessed we truly are. Continue to make my heart smile. Love Gayle Hall

  11. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    The smoke from all our California fires must be sabotaging your blog!

    I posted a Happy Birthday to Joe which seems to have gone up in smoke as well as my name & email preset to comment on blog???

    We’ll just blame it all on the fires!

    So, Joe, very happy belated – so glad you were born and hope your year ahead fulfills you every wish and desire and you’re the happiest ever!

    Thanks for sharing your life with all of us “Girlfriends” and making Sweet Susan happy!

    P.S. I use good old fashion vinegar for cleaning everything including mold a mildew! $2 something a gallon at Costco – Yea

    Love the blog – have missed you. Too much to compete with Joe’s Birthday – more later.

    Much love, Grasshopper and Sandra

    • sbranch says:

      Praying for the smoke to disappear soon Sandra . . . just too much of it these last years! Kisses to Grasshopper!

      • Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

        Too much traffic, heat & smoke to head to Carpinteria this afternoon with a hole in Volvo’s radiator so he has to go back to rechecked by vet in am. Section of incision still raw but not infected after staples removed 9 days ago & some swelling still on both sides of lower abdomen 🙁 He’s 14 which must effect healing time like with us.

        He’s so brave! He’s not licked at all after I told him no. He goes into closet and lays on down blanket I made into bed for him when he doesn’t feel good. So sweet! I feel helpless. Still eating – hasn’t missed a meal or treat!

        Thanks for your prayers & kisses!

  12. vicki panzarino says:

    fava beans are a staple at the end of a meal for our Italian recipes. They are cooked then salted and soaked, changing water and salt a few days. then eaten by biting a small hole in the top, squeezing and “squirting ” it into your mouth! You can buy them already for this in a grocery store….much easier! The first time, (when we were dating) my Italian husband tried to show me how to eat them, he shot the bean out of its skin and into my mouth but it went right down my throat and I almost choked to death!

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

    Good Morning Susan and Girlfriends. its cooler this morning, but smokier. seems our 2 major fires, the Taylor Creek Fire and the Klondike have now merged and its now the Klondike fire, over 100 thousand acres burned.. yipes!!! the barnyard crowd is out and about and observing our visitors (wild turkeys) get a drink of water… we put a few buckets out for them and some feed. the ducks still love splashing everyone from their pools and for once they got Jake all wet, nothing funnier than a big old wet rooster… LOL!!! the county fair opened yesterday, keep your fingers crossed as we have a couple of hens entered in the poultry division… Dominique and our youngest hen Susan.. a Plymouth Barred Rock. also have a pint of blackberry jam entered and some blackberry butter… which is very good on toast, muffins and pancakes and waffles. looks like they moved the entire fire camp from Merlin near Grants Pass to Selma, closer to Cave junction and closer to the fire. looks like the Lions are cooking there 24/7 lately. breakfast is blueberry pancakes or waffles, eggs fried or scrambled, bacon, sausage and lots of juice, coffee and milk and cereal. lunch is handled by another group and that is sandwiches, snack bars, fruit, juice and brownies. dinner is cooked by the Lions and can either be BBQ or Lion burgers, all food are donated by valley residents and businesses. I think those guys are getting somewhat spoiled, Lion burgers for dinner… where do I sign up for fire fighting???? I love Lion burgers. best burgers in the valley next to Bobbie Lou’s Burgers, with a 3-4 napkin rating… 5 napkins is the best. we are expecting thunderstorms again today, we were lucky last night and none showed up. I am counting down the days for Fall….. cooler days and cooler evenings, and time to roll up and hang the hoses up …. soon. I cannot wait until Fall gets here. have a great day today everyone, stay cool and comfy. hugs… 😀

    • sbranch says:

      Our county fair opened at the grange yesterday too, Pat! Pies galore! Hope you win a blue ribbon!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        thanks Susan, they are judging the poultry today so we will see. I hope the blackberry butter does well, its really good and so simple to make. I saw all the pies at the fair and I was drooling, the strawberry pies look so delicious. our firefighters got a break from firefighting this morning, they had to herd back a cow, a goat and our turkeys and our geese, everything got loose today so we sort of had a barnyard parade to get the critters all home and those California firefighters learned to never turn their backs on a goat… they got butted…LOL!!!

        • sbranch says:

          Can’t wait to hear how your jam went, and then we might just need the recipe!

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            Hello Susan, Girlfriends… the fair is over for the summer, no prizes but lots of fun. I love carnival eats, like corn dogs, blooming onions and dipping dots, and loads of goodies. my jam did not win any prizes but they sure liked it. and it was blackberries, lemon juice and sugar. I will give the recipe, just as soon as I find it, I put it in a recipe book, trouble is I forgot which one. well its a warm smoky day here, over 43 days of smoke… boy will my lungs be in for a shock when the fires are out and the fresh air is back…LOL!!! the towns around Grant Pass are hosting town dinners for the firefighters to thank them for all they are doing, Merlin ( near the Taylor Creek fire) hosted a huge town spaghetti dinner and Selma and Cave Junction are hosting BBQ… BBQed ribs, brisket, chickens, turkey and pork and loads of salads, pies and desserts all donated by the locals. these guys are in for a feast. next weekend is Labor Day weekend and the festival is on along with the Tuff Trucks competition, jut the good old boys driving clunkers around the track and through the obstacle course. its all good fun and if there any firefighters off duty those days, they get in free and all the food and drinks are also free to them. summer is winding down and the cooler temperatures are coming in, we may get an early Fall, we will see. its almost apple season and it is pear season here… more goodies for the farmer’s market. yum!!! got to go hunt down that recipe… back later.. hugs….. 😀

          • sbranch says:

            Here comes fall dearheart! I feel it this cool, bright, clear morning here on the east coast. Wishing you the same!!!!

          • pat addison ( cave junction, OR) says:

            okay here is the recipe, I finally found it after hunting through all my recipe books. it only makes a pint but I usually double or triple it depending on the number of berries we can get off of the bushes and how many the deer or wild turkeys leave us. here goes: Blackberry Jam: 2 cups ( 12 ounces) blackberries; 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice; 2 cups sugar. place berries in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan, bring to a full boil over high heat, mashing the berries with a potato masher as they cook. add lemon juice and boil hard 1 minutestiring and mashing constantly. add sugar and return the mixture to a boil. cook stirring constantly until it begins to look syrupy and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. remove from heat and test for doneness; a candy thermometer should register 220 F. and the mixture should coat the back of a spoon. run a finger through the coat of jam, if the jam does not run and fill the gap.. it is done. otherwise return pan to the heat for another 1-2 minutes and test again. be careful not to let the mixture get too thick as it will thicken as it cools. when the jam is done, transfer to a heatproof jar and cool to room temperature for 2 hours. cover with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate. the jam will keep for 2 weeks yields one pint. enjoy…. 😀

          • sbranch says:

            Great directions Pat! Wonderful, thank you!

  14. Susan Thompson says:

    Enjoyed your latest blog – as always. I think your “I think truth….” quote should be on a greeting card with one of your paintings. Or rather on many different paintings! I would buy several boxes!

    Susan Thompson….U. P. Michigan

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for the sweet compliment Susan! We should all write an “I believe” these days, and use our childhood dreams as our muse. xoxoxo

  15. Charlene Scholey says:

    Susan, I loved “Nesting” and could hardly wait to tell you why I feel so close to your darling Joe. When my daughter and I saw you in Monticito a couple of years ago, we stood in line to have a picture with you. Then when we realized that Joe was just outside, I said I want his picture too. My daughter took it and I loved it. And now that I know he is a Leo,too, I understand the affection. My birthday is next Monday, August20rh, and I will be 90 years old. I am a true Leo and it takes me to know one!! Your column makes me take heart and know that I can still get some things accomplished if I really try.You even make me want to cook more.😁Thank you for all your wonderful thoughts.
    Much love, Charlene Scholey

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Charlene. You are such a lucky person. My mom isn’t 90, but her thinking thing has gone away. Choices are nil for her now, but you still have them. A true blessing. I wonder what you’ll choose for lunch! All my dearest good wishes go to you, and THANK YOU for saying hello and sharing your special day with us! xoxoxo

    • wkucaralyne says:

      Happy Birthday Charlene!! So glad to have AMAZING girlfriends like you!!

  16. Bev says:

    My sister and I will be making our first trip to Martha’s Vinyard in October. Do you have suggestions for our day trip? Must see’s?

    • sbranch says:

      I would suggest a bus tour … easy to find, so you get the lay of the land and then know for the future what you’d like to see more of. The towns are sweet, but the countryside is sweeter, and there’s lots of it. The Island is only 100 square miles, so it won’t take all day, back to town for a lunch … maybe Oak Bluffs for Lobsters at Nancy’s next to the water and a little bit of shopping.

  17. Liz Thompson says:

    Happy Birthday to that handy man of yours, Susan! Thank you for the wonderful blog. It’s a treat and a refuge to read about love, happiness, truth, and travels. Thank you for the photo of the beautiful rose and the many previous photos of England. Oh my, do I love those sheep. My best to you.


  18. Lynn Slosson says:

    Susan –

    I was on vacation for a week without TV or radio or internet! Heavenly. And this morning on the drive to work, the radio news station started up and I changed the channel. Not ready to get back to reality.
    As far as decorating, cannot wait to see your final decision on paint for the dining room. I finally get to decorate a room as my sewing room after all these years (32!) (Empty nester now!). It will probably be a grayed blue, as that is what makes me happy!
    As far as your book(s) on your latest trip, I say put it all in! I will buy as many as you write. I love them so, because you tell an adventure better than I can. Although I do try to write down memories from our trips – I am just not very good at it!
    Thank you for the lovely nesting post. I probably need to do the same cleaning at home as well.

    • sbranch says:

      As long as you write it down! We are always going back to look at our old diaries, forgetting a detail, and there it is!

  19. Mary/Indiana says:

    I had a similar salad in Calistoga, CA – never had a recipe but it was delicious!
    Thanks for your heartwarming blog! Looking forward to another exciting
    book filled with tales of your trip, artwork, poetry, pictures, quotes and all the
    wonderful things you choose to include, Girlfriend😍😍😍

  20. Kathy Phenix says:

    I’m sad about your beautiful wallpaper. I love that paper but if you allowed Jack to pick the paint color, I’ll be all right. What a beauty he is. So looking forward to the next book. Don’t stay up too late working on it though.
    Belated happy birthday wishes for Joe. Hope you thoroughly enjoyed your day.

    • sbranch says:

      Staying up too late is not my problem, it’s the morning that starts beckoning me at 4 am! But here I am, selfishly greedy, because I have it all to myself!

  21. Erica C says:

    Happy birthday to Joe!

    As for the media overload, I highly recommend cutting the cord. You can stream just about whatever you want to watch these days, and somehow if you have to track it down to stream it, it’s *much* easier to avoid the nonsense that gets slipped in when we’re looking elsewhere. Try it! I bet you’ll like it. 🙂

    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
    -Julian of Norwich

    • sbranch says:

      My problem is mindlessness. I’m working, concentrated, I whip through the TV looking for something, the phone rings, I stop looking, I get off the phone, found I’ve stopped in no man’s land … or I start concentrating again, wake up and find the TV programing has changed. Silly little things. I just like to be told a mindless story while I’m working, but sometimes I don’t make it to mindless-ville! All is well, all is always well, all manner of things are at their very wellest. xoxoxo Thank you Erica

      • Janet says:

        Try CBS Radio Mystery Theater -over 1,000 episodes from the ‘70s & ‘80s. Has a very old time radio feel to it. Also, the BBC Radio 4 Extra Channel. Dozens of dramas, serials, tales of the supernatural, etc. That was my mainstay years ago when I spent hours on a data entry job!

  22. Barbara Gaston says:

    Sue, thanks to you, my drawer-bound silver is polished and used daily, special linens starched, pretty dish towels used, and sprigs of fresh flowers are in small vases. Please consider three travel diaries, same size as others

  23. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Dear Susan,
    I haven’t posted in a while so this is kinda long, but I always slowly go through your beautiful pages (weird, but I have trouble calling it a blog, it feels more like a hand-written letter to friends), de-stress, and think restful thoughts. Just back and recovering from a 10-day trip to Scotland: DH Frank, son Alex & girlfriend, and our two daughters (older son busy getting ready for his wedding in Sept.). Imagine 6 people in a 9-passenger van, loaded with suitcases, trundling along on the “wrong” side of the road, from Edinburgh then through the winding, often 1-lane Highlands roads, and then back to Edinburgh, where August is “Festival Month.” A totally awesome time in so many ways, filled with marvelous memories. One real joy was we didn’t see any US news, just the occasional British newspaper when we were in London on either end of the trip. I confess I had no idea who Omarosa is, had to google her, and of course now wish I hadn’t. I had turned away from TV news (and much of TV in general, except PBS) some time ago, and watch films, shows, etc. on channels of my choice. I try to keep current, but value my blood pressure so pick and choose how much “news” I ingest. But back to the good stuff, your pages! Just loved all the quotes and recipes and artwork. How wonderful the pictures of your flowers were, even in the hideous heat! You have the most lovely roses. I just finished a book you might enjoy: “Chasing the Rose” by Andrea di Robilant, a memoir of his search to identify a rose planted in an Italian garden by his (get this) great-great-great-great grandmother(!) Lucia, whose diary he found (which he also wrote about in 2 other books). “Chasing” was filled with great stories and characters he met, but it also contained beautiful watercolor renderings of many of the roses he found on his search. I’m so happy you’re writing about your journey, don’t care how many books it takes, I want to read about it all! And I’ll wait as long it takes, I know you will work and write and paint until your story is perfect. Last thought: A very happy belated birthday to Joe, your forever best friend/boyfriend/partner/lover/husband. Take heart, the heat can’t last forever, and you’re right–fall is on the way. Much love, Rosemary
    PS: Scratch kitty for me ;>)

    • sbranch says:

      Just putting this one up so you see you were here Rosemary . . . I’m not sure what is going on with my “pages” as you call them, we have a gremlin that’s making our girlfriends think their posts are not posting!

  24. Rosemary near Boston says:

    (2nd try, 1st got lost, will re-type my name, etc. below & try again. Some days the old Internet just gets cranky-bandy I guess…)Dear Susan,
    I haven’t posted in a while so this is kinda long, but I always slowly go through your beautiful pages (weird, but I have trouble calling it a blog, it feels more like a hand-written letter to friends), de-stress, and think restful thoughts. Just back and recovering from a 10-day trip to Scotland: DH Frank, son Alex & girlfriend, and our two daughters (older son busy getting ready for his wedding in Sept.). Imagine 6 people in a 9-passenger van, loaded with suitcases, trundling along on the “wrong” side of the road, from Edinburgh then through the winding, often 1-lane Highlands roads, and then back to Edinburgh, where August is “Festival Month.” A totally awesome time in so many ways, filled with marvelous memories. One real joy was we didn’t see any US news, just the occasional British newspaper when we were in London on either end of the trip. I confess I had no idea who Omarosa is, had to google her, and of course now wish I hadn’t. I had turned away from TV news (and much of TV in general, except PBS) some time ago, and watch films, shows, etc. on channels of my choice. I try to keep current, but value my blood pressure so pick and choose how much “news” I ingest. But back to the good stuff, your pages! Just loved all the quotes and recipes and artwork. How wonderful the pictures of your flowers were, even in the hideous heat! You have the most lovely roses. I just finished a book you might enjoy: “Chasing the Rose” by Andrea di Robilant, a memoir of his search to identify a rose planted in an Italian garden by his (get this) great-great-great-great grandmother(!) Lucia, whose diary he found (which he also wrote about in 2 other books). “Chasing” was filled with great stories and characters he met, but it also contained beautiful watercolor renderings of many of the roses he found on his search. I’m so happy you’re writing about your journey, don’t care how many books it takes, I want to read about it all! And I’ll wait as long it takes, I know you will work and write and paint until your story is perfect. Last thought: A very happy belated birthday to Joe, your forever best friend/boyfriend/partner/lover/husband. Take heart, the heat can’t last forever, and you’re right–fall is on the way. Much love, Rosemary
    PS: Scratch kitty for me ;>)

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing from you Rosemary, your trip sounds wonderful, I totally get the “recovering” part! Welcome home! xoxo

  25. Kelly Houlton says:

    LOVE your post as always! I was happy you included a great quote from Thomas Moore – I love his writing and his philosophy. Happy happy birthday to Joe!

    Kelly from Wisconsin

  26. Sandra says:

    Hi Susan. Thank you so much for a wonderful lovely to see all the pictures and that lovely recipe too..I know podding broad beans can be tiresome but the flavour especially with that dressing and the rest is so worth it..
    Loving the new mugs…hope we can get them over in the uk for the Autumn…I have an Emma Bridgewater pumpkin one and long to have your too soon side it..
    Happy have been so busy..but I agree better inside out of the was dreadful here recently and we are not used to it…nesting is the only answer.
    Well done for finishing the Mitford book..I am still reading it….amazing stories..
    I just can,t wait for the new book..have copies of the calendar now but won,t peep until Jan 1..
    Happy writing,,,happy painting…happy decorating
    Thank you for all your tales and stories..
    Bless you both and the kitty too
    Love Sandra in Birmingham x

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sandra! I’ve been hearing about your heat … praying for rain and green and all the luv-lee wonderful things that England is so appreciated for. Wonderful to hear from you . . . Happy everything to you too! xoxo

  27. Carol K (NJ) says:

    Nutz, my comment of 8/15 at 5 pm didn’t make it thru. I wanted to wish Joe a Happy B’day and let you know that you’re dining room makeover is going to inspire me yet again to get cracking on my own home makeover. I recently lost my BFF to lung cancer, she was only 69 and I’m missing so much telling her all about your travels and things. It’s the pitz but your blogs continue to pick me up and make everything right again. Thank you Dear Heart so much.

    • sbranch says:

      I did just write you back Carol, see if it’s there. I’m so sorry about your friend. I can’t imagine how awful that must be, to lose a best friend. Sending love…xoxo

  28. Deborah in Texas says:

    Good morning….I guess I have joined the ranks of Lost in Cyberspace..LOL…I love your nesting blog and I love the idea of a navy dining room and English curtains….If I have to redo :)…I may do same…I have wallpaper now and it would and I cannot physically remove it…my papering days went with my back. Yours will be totally delightful.

  29. Deborah says:

    Hi Susan, I am a new follower, came across your Marthas Vineyard book in the library, and now I am so hooked. I have purchased and read all three of your books, and also many of your cookbooks. Although, I am not a lover of cooking, I sure am a lover of your cookbooks. Each one is a treasure to look through. Now we are coming to see your beautiful town next month, I can’t wait. And a trip to England, a much shorter version, of your trip soon. You love all the things I love, so happy that I found you. Happy birthday Joe, I feel like I know you both!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m happy too, my emissaries (books) when out to find you, and they did! Glad to see you here. xoxo

  30. sharon taylor says:

    Dear Susan,

    Firstly, sorry I missed Joe’s birthday – but, better late than never: Happy Birthday Joe!! Every time I read your blogs I think to myself how much I would love to write and paint like you. But I’m me and have to do what I do best. That I know, but writing a diary is what I think will be my goal – NOW. Things perhaps my kids might find amusing. I jot things down in a book which I haven’t consider a diary but maybe it is in a way. Oh I am rambling. Thank you Susan for all that you do and all that you give to make our lives brighter and happier and wanting to go get ready for the fall with everything clean. Smell the freshness of fall coming. Cheers, Sharon

    • sbranch says:

      I would encourage you, and don’t worry about being amusing (it can slow you down), your kids will think whatever you write is hilarious! Just be yourself and they will get that every time!

  31. Rebecca W says:

    Wonderful inspiring posting, loved it. I think there is some serious cleaning in the near future. Keep posting and forget the reality personality. They all fade eventually.

  32. Patricia Leffingwell says:

    Keep writing!! When I was reading A Fine Romance I remember half way through I starting reading very very slowly. I didn’t want it to end. It was too short. I could have still been reading if were 20000 pages long. I loved it. I love all your books and paintings. So keep writing, keep thinking of more to write, 1 gigantic book, 2 smaller books, volume 47, who cares, just keep writing. We will all receive your gift with anticipation.
    Thank you Susan for being a great writting, artist and for sharing the funnist parts of your life with us.
    You are truly and inspiration. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      You just made my day Patricia, thank you so much! I know the feeling, there are some books I wish would go on and on for the rest of my life! LOL!

  33. Noreen Krebs says:

    Hello Susan! I’m a little behind on reading your blog, but it was such a wonderful blessing! Last week I broke my kneecap and crunched my ribs and it cheered me to read you and enjoy your wonderful art! I can’t wait until your new book(s) come out!! Thank you for sharing your inspiration and your heart!! Bless you and Joe!

  34. Pat Metzer says:

    Happy Belated Birthday to Joe, boyfriend forever!
    OOOH, I am getting so excited about the new book, or maybe two new books.
    thanks for the recipe, looks delicious and we love Pub food and miss it too.

  35. Susan Cardot Lance says:

    Dear Susan,
    Dear Susan, Thank you for your nesting post. Finally…today on August 17th, I made myself just stop my busyness and read your post which I have been wanting to get to. I’m so glad I did. Your pictures and writing renew me. It’s been a long hot summer here in Southern California (and everywhere it seems) so just to have you mention “Fall” made me look forward to the cooler days ahead.

    • sbranch says:

      Us too, looking forward, won’t be long now. This morning is our first cool one in weeks and weeks!

  36. Happy Belated Birthday Joe!

    Love the nesting, it’s hard to feel it when it’s so hot, but I am still for it!
    Be well, coodle dooon, and sparkle up!

  37. Andi Geary says:

    Hi Susan,
    Great read as always. Happy belated Birthday to Joe 🎈 lovely to see pics of your garden ,home and of course sweet Jack. I feel Autumn now just around the corner as the weather’s turning colder here in Bramhall. Jumper on today and the conkers are growing on the trees lots of reading and cups of tea while I job search, hoping that fate will help me find my way ☕💡
    A lovely reminder of the wonderful picnic in the Lakes 😁 best wishes Andi ☕

    • sbranch says:

      Fate and your little feet. Best of good luck Andi, I hope you find something that makes every day a joy!

  38. Megan Hyatt says:

    Well what lovely blog post. I say politics really is the pits at the moment, however we need to pay attention sometime I think they are trying to distract us so they can do things by stealth. Not everyday you hear someone singing the praises of British cooking, ha ha, I have to say those chips in the photo look fantastic, makes me hungry. I grew broad beans last year and for all the wrong reasons, they are so pretty and have such pretty flowers, I tried all different recipes and my favourite was whole the pods are actually so delicious if you get them young. Funny about names isn’t it? Here we have zucchini not courgette and eggplant not aubergine and rock melon not cantaloupe… Canola is a Canada oil low acid, nice and descriptive but rape is easier and not a trademarked name… it’s the seed birds like to pick out of bird seed, must be good. Happy birthday Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      Everything you said in those first couple of sentences 👍. And British cooking seems to have taking a wild swing to the massively delicious! We really didn’t have a bad meal, and most of them were memorable in their wonderfulness. Rock Melon! Haven’t heard that. The thing about rapeseed is the fields of yellow flowers patchworking the English countryside, it’s so beautiful. Thank you Megan! Stay cool up there!

  39. Jennifer says:

    Welcome back Susan and we’ve missed you much. I’m sure Jack was happy to have you home.Can’t wait for the book/s! Belated birthday wishes to Joe. I’m sure you miss England and the beautiful countryside and lovely people, but it’s nice to be back home to nest. I look so forward to your blog. Enjoy lovely Martha’s Vineyard

    • sbranch says:

      Writing the book is keeping me joyfully in the English Countryside every day. Plus I get to sleep in my own bed every night. With Pub dinners in-between, life is as good as it can be!

  40. Maralee says:

    Another fabulous post! I just want to thank you for the potato salad recipe. I made it tonight to go with grilled pork chops and eggplant from the garden. We both loved it!!

  41. Toni Prada says:

    Dear Susan –
    Thank you again for the lovely photos and encouraging words. I “think” of cleaning in the Springtime, but getting the house ready for the Fall is a great idea. I tried to make a comment on your last posting but somehow it didn’t work – probably operator error – in other words – me! You showed a photo of a plant with dangling pink blooms. It looks like a flower that blooms here on the Coast of Oregon in Port Orford. The botanical name is Dierama, but the common name is much better – Angel’s Fishing Rod or Fairybells. They grow in large clumps and are just lovely. Hope that helps! Toni

  42. Hi Susan! My comments keep getting deleted, so if you find more than one from me, please feel free to delete them!! Just wanted to tell you how much I loved your post. Happy belated birthday to Joe. And I enjoyed seeing sweet Jack!!! I cannot wait to see your newly decorated room, especially those heavenly curtains. (And just wanted to mention that I have already forgotten that reality person’s name. LOL!!!) Beatrix Potter is such a wonderful role model and hero for us all! And so are YOU! Have a happy weekend.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I see three so far … you really want them deleted? I have a hard time doing that, but I will, they do look alike. Thank you dear Sharon! Always luv-lee to hear from you!

  43. Marie Knight (Long Beach, CA) says:

    Here’s a quote I use whenever someone is driving me crazy, “Don’t let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace” – Dalai Lama Words to live by, especially since all our news stations have turned into tabloid news, reporting only the negative and depressing stuff. I don’t watch any television news, so I don’t even know what Omarosa is doing now, and I really don’t care. When I do hear something that angers or saddens me, and there is nothing I can do about it, I send out a silent prayer, and try my best not to dwell on it. Thanks for all you do Susan, you’re the best! ♥

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so with you. That’s why home is so important because inside there are flowers and happiness and clean laundry! Thank you Marie! Love to you and to my birth city of Long Beach!

  44. Amy from Salem says:

    Just reread this last blog and wanted to tell you have very lovely your garden looks, makes me feel like having tea in the shade. Thank goodness for shade. Got my Victoria Magazine and immediately looked for you and the tea party. Simply love the photo of you, very you, and wanted to congratulate you on being within the pages of this beautiful magazine. You are such a special lady making dreams come true.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you dear Amy! Whenever I see your name I’m reminded how much I love Salem! It’s almost time for your season!

  45. Kate Barnes says:

    Just a little something easy for summer fun.
    Herbed Cream Cheese
    1 half pint cream cheese (I like Nancy’s Organic for probiotics)
    3 cloves garlic, boiled for 3 minutes, cooled and smashed
    1 heaping tablespoon chopped, fresh onion chives
    1 heaping tablespoon chopped, fresh parsley
    Salt and pepper to taste
    I like to mix all herbs together first, then add to cream cheese with s and p. It’s wonderful after a few hours, and better after the flavors blend. On crackers, with veggies, and even rolled up in a tortilla with tomatoes and sliced in bites! You can add more herbs to taste, change up the mixture with dill! On a cracker or slice of cuke with salmon? No matter, it’s simple, easy, and delicious. Enjoy Susan and girlfriends, with love and friendship from out west.

  46. Grace Johnston says:

    Love the fall cleaning idea. I just recently found your blog, and have just finished reading your “trilogy”. I’m starting to read them all over again. I also read your archived posts because I have a lot of fun catching up to do! Thank you for all the beautiful inspiration.

  47. B. Jean Murray says:

    Hi, Susan! We have the same problem with humidity and bought a dehumidifier. Best purchase ever. Haven’t seen much of Ms. Newman, don’t watch TV. It appears she is just playing the same game as Trump, but I think she is much smarter. A clean house is a happy house!

  48. Susan C. Daffodiltealady says:

    I’m glad you’re going for the pink. Especially by candlelight, pink makes everyone look ravishingly pretty! A word of caution: check out your choice(s) in various lights/times of day. (I know you know this…you’re an artist!). When first married, we painted the bedroom a very pale pink (in the morning sun), that really most of the time appeared faintly orchid. Not the greatest result!

    Thank you for the wonderful nesting blog, and photos, and the inspiration to clean and cook. The Trabuco Canyon/Holy fires here are nearly contained, and now we have humidity instead of smoke, but at the beach it’s not too hot to do things in or outside. So…out to locate some fava beans. I’m thinking our Persian market might have sorrel too. Cheers!

    • sbranch says:

      The pink has won! The ceiling got its first coat of white yesterday. Joe’s put some pink on the walls so we can be sure, and we love it. It’s a color we used in another house many years ago and memory served that both of us loved the way the walls changed so slightly in the dark and light parts of the room. Still scary and you worry if the memory is right on track, or if perhaps your sensibilities have changed, but I think it will be okay! I put dishes in the cupboard next to the pink wall, and it was your basic glorious! Our morning, for the first day in weeks, is cool and dry and I’ve had every window and door open since 4 am! Perfectly wonderful! Wishing you the same, it can’t go on forever, luv-lee change is bound to come.

  49. sylvia in seattle says:

    I was kind of enchanted with the idea of Navy Blue dining room walls . . . But nevermind, the house probably knows best. Hope I work up the energy to make that beautiful salad for myself. In the meantime I’m thinking about what you are cooking up in your writing/painting studio. Thanks for this post full of inspiration AND anticipation 🙂

  50. Jennie Lou says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe, and many more!

  51. SYLVIA WATKINS says:

    I loved the Navy Blue dining room idea, but whatever the house wants will be just fine I’m sure. Emily’s salad looks scrumptious and we share the name Watkins so I must try it. I wonder if we are related. I like to think of you composing and painting the next book(s) of your travels. Something great to look forward to. Thanks. Well, this is a second attempt at commenting. Lets see if it goes this time.

    • sbranch says:

      I lived with navy blue for a few days, and then my dishes cried, nooooo. So it will have to be pink. Joe painted a wall pink and we think we love it. And I AM truly writing now. Yesterday was a dream day of happy writing.

  52. SYLVIA WATKINS says:


  53. SYLVIA WATKINS says:

    Testing, testing. Posts keep disappearing.

  54. Doreen Kinsman says:

    Oh Susan, such a lovely unexpected delight to bump into you and Joe.(.Belated Happy Birthday.. or as we used to say, growing up in Canada, “Many Happy Returns of the Day” )in your multicolored van on Main St.,V.H. a couple of weeks ago.

    Love your books, your glorious appreciation for the little things in life, so needed in these dreadful times. You keep us all optimistic and happy with our lives, homes and friendships. Keep doing what you are doing. Love it!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Doreen, always wonderful to see your happy face around town! Thank you so much for the sweet comments, it keeps me out of trouble! xoxo

  55. Tawni Urrutia says:

    Dear Sweet Susan,
    Another glorious, inspirational post! I love the way you nest with such joy and gusto. It’s very contagious!
    I think pink is the perfect choice for your dining room. It seems like a color choice true to you, and your many glorious dishes!
    I painted our bedroom this rich terra cotta color and glazed the walls in copper. I have a prayer rug from Afghanistan and a ceiling lamp from Morocco. It was very Rock the Casbah, I loved it so much. Until I had foot surgery and was in bed for 4 months. Then I felt like I was trapped in an upside down garden pot!😂
    I promised myself the MINUTE I could get back on my ladder I was painting the room. Which I immediately did!
    Best wishes for a Happy Birthday month to Leo Joe!
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, so funny! Yes, looking at decorating magazines there are lots of things I love, but trying to live with them might be a problem! That’s how I think it would go with the navy blue walls. I think it would be gorgeous, but I don’t want to be in a black room! What color did you paint yours?

      • Tawni Urrutia says:

        Well I thought to myself, if I was ever to be trapped in bed again for months, what could I be happily trapped in? So I choose a beautiful French vanilla ice cream color for the base! Then did a drag down treatment with cinnamon colored glaze and a pearl metallic glaze. It would be easy to be stuck inside a sundae!😂
        And our Moroccan pieces look great with the softer walls. PHEW!

  56. Sharrie says:

    Happy birthday to Joe! My birthday is the 13 so I celebrated on the14 too with chocolate cake for breakfast! Yum!

    I have a baking gene but I do not have the house-cleaning gene like you (much to my mother’s chagrin!). The entry, kitchen, bathrooms, and living room are kept picked up but other bits just slowly gather more and more things until we are expecting company! 😄

    The house is now quiet as my daughters have departed for college. I just want to sit and embroider as I want to think of things other than how quiet and empty the house feels.

    We are having some lovely rain (in August!) so soon the weeds will be trying to take over the garden. That will keep me busy.

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t you just LOVE chocolate cake for breakfast? Me too! Think of your house as quiet and full. xoxoxoxoxo

  57. Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

    Two books? Two books! For me, this is the best part of the blog post. 💕

  58. Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

    Two books? Two books! For me, this is the best part of the blog post ! 💕

  59. Cuddled beans are the perfect name! Good for you 🙂 Glad you’re home and enjoying home. Can’t wait to see the new dining room! I’ll miss your old wallpaper though.
    I’m happy to say that I have no idea who Omarosa is, never heard of her, and am more thankful than ever that we don’t watch TV ever in our house. And I don’t listen to the news — rarely in the car, and then I usually switch over to a loved CD. I’m sick and tired of what they now call “news.” It feels like a national addiction to entertainment yuckiness 🙁

    Can’t wait for autumn and all your lovely posts then – and the new book(s)!!

  60. Evelyn Brendle says:

    You are toooo funny! I am so sick of hearing about that “O” woman as well, can’t even stand to spell out her name! Spending time in England will only be a wish for me I believe, but reading your blog takes me there along with you. So glad you had this opportunity go and we can go along in your delicious writings! Happy Birthday Joe!

  61. Your friend Janet from Fullerton CA says:

    I love you, Susan ~~~and Joe and 😻Jack😻, too! Thank you for another lovely blog, which always shifts me over into the only reality I want to live in!
    Happy Belated Birthday, Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s the true reality if all these maniacs would just leave us alone. I think what we like about this blog is that it’s a woman-oriented world, which makes me lean toward more women running things! Back in time, Rome came ALL THAT WAY to conquer England, such a long nasty uncomfortable trip, when they could have stayed home and planted gardens and played with their children . . . this explains everything.😘

  62. Judy Anderson says:

    What happened to the front of your house and how will it be repaired? The pic looks like a storm has attacked it?

  63. Pamela C. Betz says:

    Dear Susan–Love your post! I had my first Fava beans while visiting my son in NC. Their farmers markets are super.
    I have made a quilt using only your fabrics, would love to send you a photo. Do you have a facebook address that I could use. Pam

  64. SO glad you are going to include all four countries in the book/books!!!!!! Looking forward to them! Thanks for sharing your journeys with us!

  65. Melissa says:

    I love Jack waaaaaaaay more than I should! My own kitty would not approve but I just can’t help it!

  66. Kathy Pinkerton says:

    Yes my friend!! Well said about Omarosa!! I’ll say no more, enough said! 💗
    Beautiful picture of the single rose! Thank you for brightening my day! 💕

  67. Lori C. says:

    So disappointed in Victoria magazines *small* spread on you – other than you looking absolutely adorable! So glad you have your blog link to capture the beauty and charm and fun of that day! Cannot wait to hear about your English lined curtains! I’ll be redoing my dad’s home next year – so looking forward to your veddy British ideas!

  68. Susan Morgon ( Ohio Gal from SoCal ) says:

    Susan, something is not right here. I noticed that Sylvia Watkins commented on it, and I replied to her that I was having the same trouble. I see farther up that Sharon Fritchey said her posts kept getting deleted.
    Yesterday, neither of my posts had the message about bring in moderation, and they seemed to be gone. The same thing happened when I replied to Sylvia. Yet today they have all posted. Also, my saved information, name and email, kept turning up blank. Today I seem to have the information of Chris Sinner filled in where mine should be. I put in my own information again. What’s happening? In case someone else’s name shows up on this comment, I’m Susan Morgon.

    • sbranch says:

      I think your posts are all here Susan … I’m sorry, it looks like the format may have changed slightly ~ thank you for putting in your own name!!!

  69. Susan Morgon (Ohio gal from SoCal) says:

    Well, the comment I just posted didn’t get the “in moderation” notice, and I see my information is gone again. At least I don’t have someone else’s !

    • sbranch says:

      I think WordPress might have taken away the “in moderation” notice. Because comments are coming up, but so many Girlfriends don’t think they are because things are acting differently on their end. I wish I understood this little piece of real estate!

  70. Susan Morgon in Ohio says:

    Oh, Susan, I do hate to be a pest, but now I am Rhonda Jennings! This is the third time I’ve been renamed in the last twenty – four hours. Well, I will tweak my name a bit myself and drop “Ohio Gal from SoCal.” Maybe the blog gremlin will like the new version better. Fingers crossed!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry Susan! The problem is it doesn’t happen to everyone which makes it very hard for my tech guy to pinpoint where the problem is. He thinks it might be the relationship between my blog and certain other kinds of computers/phones etc. Because otherwise it should happen to everyone! Thank you for changing your name and putting in the correct one. Believe me I am always jerry-rigging around here!

      • Susan Morgon in Ohio says:

        You have a lot of followers on your blog, so I guess it would keep your tech guy in a muddle! I remember that others have mentioned mix-ups in the past, not just this current blog, and that they would have someone else’s name on their comments. It never happened to me then, so I guess it’s my turn now! It’s too much fun being here to not try to comment. We’ll all just have to consider ourselves in moderation. Technology confuses me sometimes.
        Love the little vase! 💚

  71. Mary Brown says:

    Thank you Susan for translating some English recipes! I love the British Country Living (hello American Country Living: find another Jo Northrop and get back to your roots which is NOT laboratory chic!)! I wanted to try some of their recipes but the wording made it awkward. So thanks! Happy birthday Joe! Hugs to Jack! Please show us pictures of your curtain fabric too!

    • sbranch says:

      Really!!! Laboratory chic, perfect name and makes me remember quote “Less is a bore.” Clean is good, but this stainless steel movement and really plain gray walls (which are SO popular right now, I know I’ll probably hurt someone’s feelings, but truly it’s probably just a me-thing!), that’s the saddest! World requires perking up! xoxo Thank you Mary!

    • Tawni Urrutia says:

      Oh Mary, just reading the name Jo Northrop puts me in the best mood!

  72. Sally Geisel says:

    So love your blogs, I often come back to reread them. Just noticed that there were 666 comments and thought, best to make that 667. 😄. Two books? Oh yes, please!

  73. Valerie says:

    Hello dear Susan,
    Love the fact that we are nesting at the same time. My hubby and I recently moved to a new home in a different state. After a series of mishaps we are just now painting. The color that was speaking to me was orange, for the upstairs bedrooms. Not for the walls! Just as an accent in the fabric. I spent 3 hours at the fabric store and maybe because it’s so close to autumn that fabrics with a touch of the burnt orange just appealed to me. And speaking of pink, (you were speaking), did you know that you can get white ceiling paint that starts off pink so that you can tell where you’ve painted, then it turns white when it dries. How ingenious! And don’t forget that you can put fabric on the walls with starch. So if you can’t find wall paper that you’re happy with, just go to and choose the Susan branch fabric of your choice. What’s great about fabric is, if you get tired of the pattern on the wall, you can always take it off easily (very easy) and you can still use the fabric for something else. I had fabric on my previous house in the bathroom for about 15 years (very durable). It was a vintage pattern. The realtor thought that it may not appeal to a new buyer. Of course people think it’s wallpaper and feel the job may be to laboring to remove it. Fabric just peels off in one big piece.
    Think it’s so funny that your Joe wants to grab one of the demo coffee mugs – he must be choosing another favorite one.
    Warmest regards to you and your readers. ~v~

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing about your fabric wallpaper! And you know, any pattern on Spoonflower they also do in wallpaper!!! What a world, right? xoxoxo

      • Just a funny side note…I used to paint murals and one of my clients (with money to burn) hired me to hand paint a design on her bathroom wall. It was already a wallpaper design, however, that was not good enough…she needed to have it hand painted! I wish I could post a picture of it so you could see the pains that I went through…especially around the toilet area…I evolved into a temporary contortionist for that one. Here’s the clincher…a few years later (and I mean, a few) her designer told me that she had the entire room re-done in fabric! I’m exhausted just reliving this story.

  74. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Good Morning Susan~ I have been following along your posts lately but my computer would not post my comments. Maybe it will this time?!!

    Your trip to England was just lovely and it must have been inspiring to actually live there for two months in small towns. Recently, I did my ancestry with and lo and behold I discovered that I am 22% British. Maybe that explains my love of that island Nation and their culture? Lately, I am also rewatching Downton Abby just because I never tire of that story.

    There is another wonderful British story that follows the book The Guernsey Literary Potato Pie Society on Netflix. It casts many of our favorite Downton Actors!! The book is also a great read and it gives you another look at how the British survived the Nazi years of WWII in so many places. If you have not seen or read this British story, I highly recommend it and also watch the movie. You won’t be disappointed!!

    Today I pre-ordered my Apple mug and I cannot wait to add it to my Autumn mug from your collection last year! Your apple crisp recipe has been made by me for years and it is always a crowd pleaser!!

    Enjoy your return to home again before you head out to California. It is always such a reassuring feeling to return to where so many memories and personal belongings have been grounding you for many years. And time with sweet, lovable Jack is the cherry on top!!

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful to hear from you Winnie. We got to see the Guernsey Lit Pot Pie Soc (terrible long name to type) on the big screen when were were in the Lake District! Loved it. Ancestry is so fun, isn’t it? What else were you?

  75. Angie Q says:

    Glorious, except for the humidity! I live in the northwest where we are suffocating in smoke from the relentless fires burning out of control over the entire west. I just received an invitation to “Throw a Rock at Smoke” event to make it go away. (In jest). If enough of us throw rocks, it should cause the smoke to leave! We can’t do much, but if rock throwing (away from children, pets, houses, please!) makes us feel like we are helping, well, throwing rocks it is! So you use your machete, I’ll toss rocks, and together we’ll solve the world problems. Sounds pretty savage though… 😉

  76. Becki says:

    Saw the article in Victoria. You look totally adorable!!

  77. livesbythewater says:

    I think you might enjoy Sam Toft if you aren’t already familiar with her work:
    and this:

  78. Sarah A S says:

    Dear Susan, I’m reading your book Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams. You mention adoring Louisa May Alcott. I do too! I just finished reading the second volume of her diaries from 1910-1921. Just wanted to let you know that such books exist in case you hadn’t read them yet! Especially since you wrote about the joy of reading autobiographies.

    • sbranch says:

      I have them, but haven’t made time to read them yet. Yes, love her. Brave little soul!

      • Sarah A S says:

        I finished Isle of Dreams, and I love that you determined who you are, and you value yourself, and of course I’m extremely glad that you did start writing books! I like that financially supporting yourself came before meeting your wonderful current husband. And it’s great that you realized how Cliff actually helped your life, even if he also did hurt you. I resolved before the divorce papers were even typed up to acknowledge my responsibility in it, and to not feed my heart with hatred towards my ex, because he also positively contributed to my life. I’ve thanked him for that, and apologized for my part. He hasn’t taken ownership of how he helped end us, but I know that I shouldn’t need him to say anything. I should forgive him and myself, and realize the good that I contributed to us, and accept that we are both better off, and it doesn’t need to harden my heart towards others, or make me afraid.

        • sbranch says:

          Love all your words Sarah, all so hard to do, but time does heal and life is so interesting. You just never know.

      • Sarah A S says:

        Dear Susan, I sent this a few days ago, but I guess it didn’t go through. Anyways, I finished reading Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams. Thank you again for sharing your experience. I’m encouraged by how you found something you enjoy and persevered until you got published. It’s great that you were able to financially support yourself and you didn’t try to rely on another man’s love to comfort you.
        Like you, I determined that I’m not going to hate my ex-husband, and I take responsibility for how I helped damage our relationship. I’ve apologized to him, and thanked him for the positive ways he influenced my life. I’m trying to get to a point where I don’t feel like I need him to tell me that I did the best I could and that he messed up too (things he’s never said). But I do have family and friends who reassure me of that, and it helps.
        When you do read Alcott’s diaries, you will see a totally different side of her that is nothing like Anne of Green Gables. Of course, a diary is a place to vent, and one shouldn’t be judged for letting out negativity. But you’ll see what I mean. However Alcott is aware pf the stark contrast, so it helps her seem reasonable.

        • sbranch says:

          I like that she’s a real person. The funny thing about my own diaries . . . if you read them all, they’re okay, not so terrible, because you see there was growth, that I did get better as I went along, but if you just pick one up and read a page or two, oh my lord!! What an idiot is what you say to yourself! The best thing about age is being able to look back and see how things came to be. What made me “well” after my divorce was when there were more interesting things in the FUTURE than there were in the PAST. When my mind quit looking back, quit hashing it over. I think now, if I would have known that, I could have concentrated in a way to make that happen sooner. If I had to do it over I would very quickly be MAKING PLANS.

  79. Laura says:

    Enjoyed your nesting in Holly Oak in Isle if Dreams. Have you given your current home/nest a name as well?☺️

  80. Margie says:

    Have fun nesting, but it doesn’t look like you are resting. Can’t wait for the new books! 4 months is a long time away from Home Sweet Home! Can’t wait to see your new dining room. ♥️

    • sbranch says:

      I walk every day … so that’s a kind of resting. And get good sleep, and then the rest of the time, I whirling-dervish around the house! Dining room coming along!

  81. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    One step closer to the wee Courage vase! I need that little reminder on my kitchen windowsill, and some for my besties as well. That butter dish is too adorable as well. There is just no end to the cuteness that comes from your magic wand!❤️

    • sbranch says:

      I wish my wand was a little bit longer, I truly love “making things!” But especially books, and they are the time-consumers! I lobby for more arms!

  82. Kelly from Walnut Creek, Ca. says:

    I just saw your idea for a butter dish…what about this quotation from Julia Child:
    “With enough butter, anything is good.”
    Love, love, love your pottery. You create such beautiful, collectible pieces. Thank you!

    KelfromWC, Ca.

  83. Willemien says:

    “Miiiiaauwww” Says my 2jr old boy, when he saw your Kitty, he loves him! He looks so smart, a clever Kitty.
    Happy birthday Joe! And wishing you and your Susan many happy years together! He’re in Holland next week school starts again. And at last the “heat of summer” is gone! Yes, I’m in the mood for autumn! Leaves are falling early( I guess its from the high temperatures we’ve had).I can’t wait to read your new book(s), Lots of love from the Netherlands
    xoxoxo Willemien

    • sbranch says:

      Us too, Willemien, sudden drop in temp and humidity the last few days, just delightful! Nice to hear from you are your darling son!

  84. Hi Susan! First of all, I tried to comment here 2 times, so if you got those, please just disregard this new message! LOL!!! Secondly, I LOVED your post and want to wish Joe a very happy belated birthday!!! I totally love your blog and always look forward to new posts. Thank you for inspiring us, Susan! (Also, lets not even mention that reality person’s name. Hopefully the less notoriety she gets, the quicker she will go away!!!)

    • sbranch says:

      She seems to be going away, although I know she’s doing everything in her mighty powers NOT to! Have a wonderful day Sharon!

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

    Good Morning Susan and Girlfriends, it is a lovely cool morning here. we are starting a cool low for the weekend with cooler temps in the low 80’s and o Monday if you can believe it we are supposed to be in the 70’s… HEAVENLY!!! fall is on the way, time to get the decorations out and hang my Fall wreath on the door. I hope it stays this nice for the Tuff Trucks competition next weekend, the last big whoopee for the summer. then its back to school and Fall cleaning. off to go feed the barnyard babies and check their water supply and then sit a spell on the front porch and watch the trucks and tractors go by.. we still have the Klondike fire to worry about. but at least the smoke is letting up and we can breathe easier. have a great day and a great weekend everyone. hugs…. 😀

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

    Hello and Good Afternoon Susan… forgot to give my blackberry butter recipe, it is as simple to do as the jam. just take 1-2 sticks of butter (unsalted) and please use only butter, margarine does not work here at all. soften to room temperature, add 2 -3 large spoonfuls (soup spoons work best) to the butter and mix in until it is just swirled in. get a large piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper and put mixture a couple of inches from top edge. now roll and make into a tube. wrap in tinfoil and refrigerate for 1 day or so and enjoy. very good on toast, muffins, crumpets, waffles and pancakes. enjoy….. hugs…. 😀

  87. Rebecca Clark says:


    May I share your quote “I believe truth is stronger than lies,….

    I am going through some things right now and this quote touched me, Thank you for it did help some.

    God Bless,

    • sbranch says:

      I am so happy to hear that. It’s good to remember to state sometimes the things you believe in, just to make sure you know! I hope things are better for you . . . xoxo

  88. Laurie Walt says:

    Hi Sue! Great blog as usual…keeps me happy and gives me something to look forward to! I have an idea, not that you need my help but I remember reading in one of your books that you had a book of quotes that you used to create your art. Well, I was thinking that it would be wonderful to have a book of all your wonderful quotes and others too to use almost like a reference book when we need to share encouragement! I would certainly buy that! Just a thought and a pretty good one if I say so myself…Love.

    • sbranch says:

      I would LOVE to do that . . . I already named the book, it’s My Life “in Quotes.” Just have to find time to do it!

  89. Christine Carpenter says:

    Love that you use mint .I always put fresh mint in the potatoes before boiling them and you get the wonderful perfume when you take a bite.Mint is also delicious when boiling peas.
    Love your “fall cleaning” It has inspired me.
    Happy belated birthday greetings to Joe

    Your blogs make me want to visit all the small towns in England
    Vashon Island

  90. Valerie says:

    Dear Susan,
    ~A note about the cyber gremlins~
    I wrote to you earlier in the week. It was the first time that I wrote that it did not say waiting for moderation. I just pushed post comment, then nothing, so I pushed post comment again and a prompt came up saying that it looks like I already sent this. I let it go thinking that I was a victim of the gremlins. (also my name and email used to be saved, but after that last send, it disappeared)
    I, too am busy nesting, so I thought I’d try again the next day. I didn’t write, but I checked to see if my comment was there. It was not. After about three days I checked and there it was. So, I’m thinking that the waiting for moderation prompt is not showing up, and you obviously can’t be moderating each moment a comment arrives.
    I don’t know how your end of this blog works. I’ve never had a blog. Are you able to pull up all the comments of one sender at one time? I was just wondering if you’ve noticed duplicates of those thinking their note didn’t go thru.
    Anyway, I thought I’d inform that to you and to tell your readers to be patient.

    • sbranch says:

      I think the just changed the format a bit, and now it doesn’t say “waiting” anymore? But they all seem to be coming up, so that’s the good news!

  91. Deb says:

    Hi Susan! Loved reading your post about nesting — it’s that time of year. Yesterday was the last day of our local Grange Fair (Centre County PA) — it’s the last tenting fair in the US! With a 1000 tents and 1500 campers it is a little city in itself for 10 days. Of course we had typical Fair weather, ranging from hot and humid to shivering cool nights, and of course MUD!! There’s farm animals and tractor pulls and Grandstand shows and Fair food, but best of all is seeing friends and relatives from all over who “come home” for Fair week. This is it’s 144th year and still going strong. Maybe you and Joe would like to visit next year? It’s a unique experience.

  92. Rebecca A Britt says:

    Hi Susan, The Mitford Sisters! We stayed in a lovely inn in Swinbrook (near Burford) that had photos of each of the sisters and told portions of the history of the Mitford family. I’m told it is owned by Deborah, the Dutchess of Devonshire (the youngest Mitford). On we went to the Swinbrook Church with gravestones for Nancy, Diana, Pamela and Unity. The countryside is so lovely there! I must read their letters! Thanks for the book recommendation!

  93. Liz says:

    Your newly painted house is going to look beautiful & reminded me of this – –
    “He who loves an old house
    Never loves in vain
    How can an old house
    Used to sun and rain,
    To lilac and to larkspur
    And an elm above,
    Ever fail to answer
    The heart that gives it love?”
    -Isabel Fiske Conant

  94. Liz says:

    Second try!
    I thought you’d like this little poem to go with your house painting projects..
    “He who loves an old house
    Never loves in vain
    How can an old house
    Used to sun and rain,
    To lilac and to larkspur
    And an elm above,
    Ever fail to answer
    The heart that gives it love?
    -Isabel Fiske Conant

  95. Christine L. says:

    My husband’s birthday is August 14th also! Leo’s are the best! xoxo

  96. Beth Doherty says:

    My curtains in our masterbedroom oor first home I made from sheets that had hydrangas and ribbons printed on them. Then I turned them into a quilt, hand quilting it, when we moved. Love it still.
    Loved this edition of your blog as well❤️

  97. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the laundering tip for feather pillows. I’m going to give it a try, fingers crossed.

    Susan, I’m wondering if you have a link/website for the woman who takes groups on tours of England? If I remember correctly, it focuses on Beatrix Potter, and includes a visit to a (oldest, first?) gingerbread bakery. It was some time ago that you included the trip details in a blog posting. I am at a point now where I might actually be able to make a trip to England a reality! You’re the best! Love your beautiful, informative, dreamy, wonderful blog postings!!!!

  98. Lana Bressler says:

    Loved your blog..I always do. It’s like a shot in the arm of sweetness, energy, ideas and love. Thank you for taking the time to “think of us”. Belated Birthday wishes to Joe..Loved the quote from James Carvelle. Loved when you said regarding Jack..”let me at my boy…give me that tummy” When you own a kitty you so understand. My question to you IF you can the picture of your sheets, the bottom one with the little blue design..I bought them too in Santa Barbara..Loved them till they wore out. What is his name, I remember he had a store there..just can’t remember, it’s killing me. If you don’t know, no’s just driving me crazy. Loved his stuff. Hope your repairs are going along and can’t wait to see dining room with your new English drapes..xo

    • sbranch says:

      Good news for you Lana, those sheets with the blue design are wonderful, they are new and they are from L.L. Bean!! I love them! You go girl! 😘

  99. Liz says:

    Dear Susan,
    I thought you’d like this little poem to go with your house painting projects…

    “He who loves an old house
    Never loves in vain
    How can an old house
    Used to sun and rain,
    To lilac and to larkspur
    And an elm above,
    Ever fail to answer
    The heart that gives it love?
    -Isabel Fiske Conant

  100. Liz says:

    Dear Susan,
    I thought you’d like this little poem to go with your house painting projects…

    “He who loves an old house
    Never loves in vain
    How can an old house
    Used to sun and rain,
    To lilac and to larkspur
    And an elm above,
    Ever fail to answer
    The heart that gives it love?
    -Isabel Fiske Conant

Comments are closed.