Oh yes, we have our winners! And here comes Thanksgiving! But first, let’s go for a walk along the shore! It’s the sweet and delicious antidote to modern times!

All you need is some flat sand and a sharp stick! November by the sea!

XOXOMUSICA for my Earth Angels, the ones I adore . . .💞

We followed our nose through the woods to one of the old fishing shacks out at the water’s edge that belongs to our friends where we stop to say hello ~ most of the little cottages out there are closed for the season, but our friends stay late, kindly providing us with luv-lee morning smells of coffee and woodsmoke on the wind.

Through the golden woods and drifting leaves we go, to the water and back.

In every place I’ve ever lived I’ve gone searching for “my walk” ~ I need to walk everyday for peace of mind and joy of life.  I had a special walk when I lived in California, and when I moved here in 1982, I found this wonderful dirt road that ends at the water and have walked it ever since. In 1987, it got even better, because that’s when Joe joined me. We know every rock out there.  Him: “Hey, was that rock there yesterday?” Me: “I don’t think so!” We call this kind of stimulating conversation, “Morning Science” and I wrote about it in my Autumn Book.

As we wander along the shore, we find all kinds of beach glass, edges tumbled smooth by the sea, in many colors and shapes, even heart-shaped glass, and lots of heart-shaped rocks too. We’re always thrilled ~ we show each other, “Hey, look at THIS one!” Claiming how different it is from ANY OTHER we’ve EVER found 💞 . . . but this ⬆ wins, I found it last week, it’s my very first angel’s wing.

Sometimes, when we’re out there, I think of something I want to remember, or I see something I want to tell you about ~ I have a pen, but no paper to write on, so seashells come in very handy.

Just a part of the collection! Searching for rocks, shells, and glass with the sound of waves rolling in, the cry of gulls, crunching the leaves underfoot, wind rustling through the trees, wrapped in jackets and scarves, hats and gloves, breathing cold, clean air, is a perfect way to start the day.  So is knitting with just the sound of needles clicking and furnace blowing. Laying on the floor, stretching out your body in all directions, very good too, especially if your petty pet does it with you. Also, wooden-spoon noise against bread bowl as stirring commences. All the perfect antidotes to modern times.I usually like to surprise you as you turn your calendar pages . . . but with the holidays coming, I thought you might enjoy this . . . it’s the January page for the new 2019 calendar reminding us
. . . and it’s in the peace and quiet that dreams are born.

Such a clear, clean, blue-sky day, perfect for washing the Peter Rabbit Room curtains and drying them on the line . . . the things we do to make a house a home.

Every day I do at least one little something to get us ready for the holidays.

Cleaning the votive candle holders . . . freezing them first to make it easy to remove the bits stuck at the bottom.

And sorting napkins . . . all of these were found in yard sales or antique stores, some match and some don’t but all are heavy, old-fashioned, starched linen . . .  as big as small tablecloths so when people come to my table, they smooth their napkins on their lap and feel like they’re five years old. 💞 Perfect for the holidays.

I’ve been looking at photos from other holidays to see what I’ve done before, thinking about how to decorate this time, inspiring myself! This red tablecloth is actually a vintage blanket.

This setting is a little more casual and homey . . . with plaid napkins and purple Johnson Brothers WindsorWare, a really good color for Thanksgiving ~ it goes with everything!

This one, even though it’s all mix and match dishes (two Vernon Kilns patterns, “Mayflower” and “Chintz”) is still a bit more formal and elegant, and even has bread plates (Johnson Brothers “Garden Bouquet”). Everything on this table, and in all my tablesettings, comes from yard sales or antique stores. I’m a huge recycler of other people’s stuff. Have been haunting second-hand stores since I was in my early 20s ~ this represents years of slow-speed collecting. Old stuff has a soul, and my house likes it too . . . these old things, along with wonderful old music, let me go back in time and live in a world that doesn’t exist anymore. When you’re a grown up, you’re totally in charge in your own house and can have it (or at least a certain corner of it!) just the way you like it! This all came from being addicted to old black and white movies when I was young. I thank my mother every day for introduction to movies that came out before I was even born. They taught me everything I “know.”

Love the orange flowers . . . the table cloth is a vintage bedspread. Wonderful because, like the red blanket, I don’t have to iron it! Wash and dry in machines and voila!

Flowers, mis-matched chairs, old bowls . . . lots of candles on the table . . . all ready for what really counts, what’s on the chairs!

I found this plate that teaches a child where the spoon and fork go! And remind myself too,  because I always forget, does the water glass go inside the wine glass or out? But luckily my Girl Scout Handbook taught me, so I painted this: Planning the food too . . . although we sort of keep to our traditions. Can’t wait for this wonderful cranberry sauce! And the amazing Christmas Jam you can make from the leftovers (the recipe is up there under “The next day”) ~ so good I always make extra!

To bring back memories, serve your favorite foods you had growing up at your family’s Thanksgiving dinner . . . or make new memories:  serve what you always wished you could have! Joe and I have had every kind of Thanksgiving, at our house, or at others, with lots of guests, or all by ourselves. One of my favorite memories was a time we were alone, we weren’t sad, we reveled in the peacefulness, we lit the fire and kept dinner very simple, stuffed a chicken with my Grandma’s Stuffing, and roasted it with carrots and onions, made gravy, and served it with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce while Little Women played on the TV for background noise. We had hot apple crisp with vanilla ice cream in tiny casseroles for dessert and read in front of the fire until bedtime. 

Here we are last year. Love Joe’s tie.Speaking of manners, the other day I found this little blurb about manners-free Black Friday. I might not have written this quite as harshly but I couldn’t agree more with his message:
Black Friday has apparently been around for a long time, they even (irritatingly) give it the hallowed name of “tradition” as we are pounded with ads and commercials . . .  although it really didn’t start sinking into my consciousness until around fifteen years ago, and when it did, I thought, really? The day after Thanksgiving? 🎃 When we are all full of gratitude and contentment and feeling blessed by all that we have? They want us to drag all our relatives and our children, the day after Thanksgiving, to a seriously soul-less place like Best Buy or Walmart to celebrate consumerism? Way too much “modern times” for me. I hope I’m not offending anyone. Because if you have managed to find heart in this event, then, that’s what you should do! To me, it’s a whole different thing to take everyone shopping on a small-town street, outdoors, where there are bell-ringers, pine wreaths, and lights, everyone enjoying life in the slow lane ~ supporting the small businesses that give our towns character, buying wreaths from your local Girl’s and Boy’s Club, smiling at strangers, having lunch in a too-warm restaurant, piling colorful scarves and mittens on the chair next to you, eating a warm cider donut, and licking crunchy sugar off your fingers. All that gentleness seems to me to be what the holidays are about. So, if you feel that way too, let’s turn Black Friday Green! GREEN FRIDAY!

I LOVE it already!

Work off Thanksgiving calories, on Green Friday take the whole family for a walk, hug a tree. Remember the first Thanksgiving was held in the woods. It’s the organic place to be. And so green.

When you come back, make tea. Green tea.

Fix a healthy green salad . . . play MUSICA or watch an old movie (nap with kitty is perfect for this moment) . . .

If you live in snow country, see if you can find someone to take you for a sleigh ride!

Bring turkey sandwiches, a blanket, and thermos of hot cider.

No snow? Maybe everyone would like to go outside and help you plant bulbs, so you’ll have a surprise in the spring. Or do it for the lady down the street. Or, make. . . and hot chocolate, let everyone help, toast them in the fireplace. Or, none of the above, these are just ideas, for something that honors ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our world. And check HERE to see what you might do to help victims of the devastating California fires who’ve lost EVERYTHING just two weeks before Thanksgiving. Their homes and animals, so many have died, and our hero firefighters who’ve lost their own homes while trying to trying to save others. We can’t fix this nightmare, but we can help. We can let them know the nation is behind them. Be sure to do this in front of your children and grandchildren, let them help and know who you are and why you do the things you do. If you’re a teacher, have your class write letters to another school in the affected area. Pages of crayon hearts in every color would be perfect.

The night of our very first Green Friday will be extra special because we’ll be watched over by the full Frost Moon.  Make a wish for your family, and say a prayer for the world. MUSICA

So, just to remind you how small this world is . . . you remember in the last post when I wrote about finding a box full of my Grandma’s things and especially, her high school diploma from Central High in Sioux City, Iowa in 1927? WELL! I opened up my email a couple of days later and found a note from one of our Girlfriends, Linda Wilson, who was writing to tell me that her dad graduated from the same school as my grandma the year before she did, in 1926! Linda had her dad’s year book, which I had never seen . . . and she sent me a picture of my Grandma’s class . . . and there she is, second row, far right, eighteen years old, my Grandma, Florence Orr, in high school. A photo I’ve never seen before. Another piece of the puzzle. Thank you Linda, for thinking of me! So very kind of you! 

And here we are, finally, you patient people! Ready for our drawing for the first chapter of ENCHANTED? Me too . . . and Vanna has already come and gone! She, of course, has a LUNCH date at the Yacht Club, and sashayed out of here, dressed to the nines, all in pink with a pink fluffy shrug jacket and short leopard boots, completely inappropriate (I love her but she is a nut!) on this cold fall day, her silver-pink fingernails flashing, diamonds sparkling on her pinky, as she handed me five names, the five winning names! So HERE WE GO! Ooops, some aren’t showing last names, so I’ll give hints as to who everyone is! Here we go!

 Mary Lou Shipman, who recently got a new fridge 👏

Linda Freymark, who lives in Idaho 👏

Gert, from Iowa! 👏

Samantha D., who will honeymoon in the UK next year 👏

Hyacinth Sarah, from Texas 👏

C  O  N  G  R  A  T U  L  A  T  I  O  N  S !!!!!!Soon all five of you will find an email in your box . . . write me back and give me your address and your little book will go right off to you!

And for the rest of you . . . Cake! But, I’m sorry,  you have to make it yourself! Throw some flour around and count your blessings, it’s good for what ails you. And please, try not to drink the sauce. 

Hope you LOVE it. One other bit o’ biz … WordPress, who hosts this blog, seems to have changed their format. It no longer says “waiting for moderation” when you post a comment. Your comment just disappears and it looks like maybe it didn’t go. But it does go. I wish they would let you know, but I have zero power over them! I didn’t even know they’d changed it until these last couple of weeks. So sorry for mixups! But at least your comments are going through!

I have lots more to tell you ~ but it’s time for our walk! We haven’t gone yet, wanted to get this up first! Just a quick note . . . it was a luv-lee book-talk across the water in West Falmouth last Saturday ~ met so many wonderful girlfriends . . . moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, sisters, aunties, best friends, and kids too . . . loved reading to and meeting everyone. As the librarian said, “The nicest people come to your book signings.” And that’s the truth! They do!



All the money raised from the tickets went to support the Library, so thank all of you who were able to come! Another bit of interesting info: I think Mandy, at Castle Cottage, might be putting together another tour of the Lake District next fall 2019. I will be so jealous of whoever goes because I will be here finishing up the new book. But if you are interested in joining Mandy on the best tour ever, you can contact her at [email protected]. And, I still need to tell you about the movie! But that will have to wait for next installment!  Happy getting ready for Thanksgiving everyone! Keep in touch! XOXO

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513 Responses to MODERN TIMES

  1. Linda Dolhay says:

    Oh my goodness Susan. Your entire letter, combined with my love for this time of year is just perfect. From the beautiful dishes, to the low tide video— just so unbelievably delicious– to the soul. I am in love with the lacy curtains from your peter rabbit room. Where did you ever get them??? I’m lighthouse crazy. The quote from Julia child, made my day, in that I’m just learning how to cook—at 66! I am very excited to hear about THE movie! 🍂🍁🦃 have a great thanksgiving with your family and friends. And than you for sharing all you do
    From sunny Florida ( where I wish you would visit!)

    • sbranch says:

      Good for you Linda, it’s a HUGE gift you can give your friends and family. Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven! The place I got those curtains went out of business years ago, and I just heard from one of our girlfriends it’s because of that horrible tsunami!

  2. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Hi Susan,
    What a great blog.. love how you took us for a walk on the beach. That beach looks like the perfect sea glass beach.. Is that where you find your heart rocks? Looks like a perfect spot. I totally agree with you about Black Friday and think marking the day after Thanksgiving with a Green Friday seems a a way more enjoyable alternative. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Susan and Joe and thank you for helping to keep our spirits lifted. It is much appreciated! Xoxo

  3. Nettie says:

    Dearest girl friend Susan. As always wonderful gift from you and I didn’t even win the big prize your blog is all I needed today. I love Thanksgiving as well setting the scene for our wonderful family to come fill the chairs. It’s. Bittersweet time of year for us so it’s important to be together to remember and give thanks
    Happy thanksgiving to you and Joe…enjoy your walk as you give thanks
    Bless all those suffering in California I can’t imagine losing everything

  4. Ann Woleben says:

    Reading your posts always inspires me to walk from room to room in our home and to think about how to make it as inviting as possible. Your home is so warm, cozy and inviting. I love looking at all of your home photos, taking in every detail. The table settings are charming. There is so much stress and sadness in our world. I want for our home to be a safe haven for family and friends. May everyday be a day of thanksgiving for our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe~

  5. Suzanne Erskine says:

    So agree with you about Black Friday! Was just on a rant with a friend about people having to work retail on Thanksgiving, even! We complain about lost values in this country, but everything is about shopping! Love your families! Stay home! Thank you for your lovely post!

  6. Yvonne Albright says:

    Thank you for writing your blog. I enjoy reading it very much.
    It takes me into a world rich with ideas, art, and English things.
    Your recipes are appreciated too.

  7. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    You’ve inspired me once again! I must go through all the cupboards and drawers in the china cabinet to find exactly the right combination of linens and dishes for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll have a small group or 8 or 9, but I want to make it memorable. I also support “Green Friday!” I will NOT be shopping, but joining a group of girlfriends to scrapbook our memories. I need to read through this wonderful post again tomorrow and savor all the little things I missed the first time through. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  8. Angie Quantrell says:

    I love Green Friday! I’ve been avoiding Black Friday for years. Beautiful post and now I need to get ready for Thanksgiving myself! Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. Joanna Peterson says:

    Love Green Friday! Here in Tennessee, many of the state parks have hikes planned. Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I am happy….for the winners! Yeah!!!! For many years our combined families cut Christmas trees out in the woods at the tree farm, the day after Thanksgiving! Wonderful day with turkey sandwiches and hot cider! Yep, no BF for us! Recently, 3 of my docs told me to get outside in nature, and have some fun..every day…love that prescription!!!! So, I love seeing your pics of your walks…and hearing the ocean was a special treat! Thank you my dear & such a cute pic of you and Joe! Counting my blessings on Thanksgiving and sending love, and prayers and many blessings for all of you! Hugs, Joan

  11. jeanie says:

    Congratulations to the lucky winners and thank you for the recipes and good thoughts. Yes, on “Black Friday” I stay clear of all stores! I snug in, start some holiday decorating or gift making or card writing and just chill out. No leftovers this year (unless our hosts pack up doggie bags!) so we’ll make something lovely. Or light. But very good indeed!

    I have to tell you, seeing this in my box tonight was just like a gift, calm and full of love and warmth. It’s been a tough few weeks — prepping for the annual art sale, worrying about my favorite cousin who is quite ill; equally concerned about Rick’s mom who won’t tend to herself and nervous about a doc appointment for myself tomorrow too. And either I’m still jet-lagged from England or haven’t “fallen back.” So, to settle in with your words of gentle joy and goodness was just the ticket. Thank you for that. Biggest hugs and a toast to Green Friday!

  12. Kathy from California says:

    Can’t wait to make cranberry tea cake. Yum! Your Grandma Florence was beautiful…looks a lot like you.
    A movie to look forward to? Yay! Can’t wait for some details.
    Happy (green) Thanksgiving to you and Joe.

  13. Margaret R Harke says:

    I feel as you do about Black Friday. I stay AWAY! But in our little town of Exeter, CA, we have Small Business Saturday to encourage everyone to shop our local stores. We then have Open House throughout our business district every Thurday night until 9:00 after Thanksgiving until the last Thursday before Christmas. The first Thursday all the stores put out refreshments and in some stores almost a dinner! The remaining Thursdays, there are cookies, candy, cake and muffins with hot cider or hot chocolate. There is a Santa, firetruck rides and lots of beautiful lights and decorations. So festive!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m a big believer in supporting small businesses, because they support our community, keeps the money local, gives jobs to our neighbors, and keeps our little town vibrant and alive. I REALLY don’t want it to go away! Plus, like you say, they are CUTE!

  14. Marie P. CA says:

    I, too, love all the aspects of Autumn and Thanksgiving!. Thank you for reminding us to love and appreciate all our blessings. Disappointingly, only about one-third of your pictures came through. This has happened before and I have no idea why. ??
    A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and your fortune guests!

  15. Elaine Magliacane says:

    Funny how family traditions can start (or end), my grand mother always took us to downtown Atlanta to the lighting of the ‘Great tree’ at Rich’s department store, choirs would sing as each floor lit up, ending with ‘O Holy Night’ when the tree would light up. That was Thanksgiving evening, then on Black Friday, we’d make the trip back downtown to shop there, I LOVED the tree lighting (and continued the tradition with my daughter) but I HATED the shopping, as I’d invariably get separated from Mom and Gran in that huge crowded store… once I was old enough to stay home I didn’t go to ‘black Friday’… have never been in well over 60 years and don’t plan to ever go… I’d rather shop online. Green Friday sounds like a nice way to spend the day after Thanksgiving.

  16. Oh my gosh!!! I can’t believe it-I won!! A big thank you goes out to Vanna for grabbing my name….but a bigger thank you goes to you Susan! I am so greatful and can’t wait to get it!

    Oh, Susan you look so adorable in that first picture, with you and Joe..heading out for your walk! And your “morning science” is so funny! Your half angel wing is precious! I’ve always loved to walk too. Tom and I did it together also…so much fun and good for the body and soul. Then when I couldn’t walk so far we had a couple blocks we’d walk everyday. We found so many different things…plants, butterfly’s, dragonflys, bees, birds…the list could go on and on. I have so many pictures…something different each day..I think..ha!

    I’m with you on Black Friday….never had any desire to do it. But..I love your idea of turning it to Green Friday! I do have a green wreath coming from one of the school children and can’t wait for it to hang on my garage!! Also Love the idea of doing something “green” with your family!! We..have so much to be thankful for. My heart goes out to all those people and firefighters in CA. Such a tragedy !

    I will be doing your cranberries again this year. They are so good and so easy to make! I’ve used the leftovers and added orange marmalade to is amazingly delicious!

    Your grandmother was so pretty! What a blessing Linda Wilson was to share that photo with you! Wow, what a small world and to think her dad graduated the year before! I know you will treasure that photo! My dad graduated in 1931, but he lived in a small town south of Sioux City! I knew some Orr’s, a friend was married to one. But of course right now the name escapes me.

    Thank you again!! Hope you and Joe and of course Jack! have a blessed Thanksgiving …


    • sbranch says:

      Oh, thank you, Gert! I’m thrilled . . . YOU WON! I’m so happy. Vanna did good! I’ll write you in a little while to get your address. Happy Thanksgiving dear Gert, sending love and blessings to you and yours. xoxoxo

    • Chris Wells from Knickerbocker, TX says:

      Gert!!!!! Congratulations!!!! I was so excited when I saw your name! Post a picture when you get your first chapter….and enjoy it!

  17. Barbara Anne says:


    I so enjoyed this lovely post! We’re enjoying the part of autumn in Virginia when more leaves seem to be on the ground than on the trees.

    How perfectly delightful that you now have a photo of your 18 year old grandmother! A dream come true before you even had a chance to dream it. 🙂

    My Dad told me long ago that “black Friday” was the term used in business for being “in the black” financially before the holiday season (not “in the red” as in debt) was the ideal. If your business was already “in the red”, perhaps holiday sales would save it. Corporate greed has turned the old business term into a sadly horrid yearly event. We stay home.

    Wishing you well!

  18. LilyAnn Kranking says:

    What a wonderful newsletter and such calmness overcomes me when I read all of them. Someone commented you remind them of Gladys Tabor and her books. I had the exact same feeling. We at one time lived in Southbury CT. where she had her CT. home. They have a Gladys Tabor Group and one year had a meeting in Southbury and so many traveled to be there and tour her house. I had read her books but didn’t know about the group or event until after when the paper reported the event. My Mom and I took a ride over to see the “outside” of the house and guess what her daughter was there.(She doesn’t live there.) She was so gracious and invited us in to see the house! Have a blessed Thanksgiving and I for one am so thankful to “know” you through your books and newsletters.

    • sbranch says:

      I spoke at one of the Friends of Gladys Taber meetings in Southbury, and then toured the house, and met her granddaughter, who also doesn’t live there. Stillmeadow was wonderful, just as you would imagine it to be. Simple and normal in a quiet pretty neighborhood. Thank you LilyAnn!

  19. Lee Gordon says:

    Such a lovely post to come across this evening, from such a lovely lady! I so appreciate reading all the comments from all the girlfriends. It is like I have girlfriends in every state of the country (and the world) and we all have such wonderful perspectives and experiences to share with each other. We have so much to be thankful for and I am grateful to God for every single blessing! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe and thank you for helping us all to be mindful of these things.

  20. Karen Baron says:

    Dearest Susan, Just think 30 days ago the paths we took to get to Los Angeles most of those areas are burned! I have been so sad all week and your blog was my Hoyful saving Grace! Happy Thanksgiving! I love the quote from Whittier!🍁🍂❤️🌹

  21. Sharon Silva says:

    One of my favorite sounds is the clinking of a spoon against a tea cup as it stirs the amber liquid to a creamy white. John, when he is home, makes me a “cuppa” each evening; I always thank him for making my tea the way I love- “hot and sweet”-just like him!!

    Stressful week with my MIL, 2 falls and 2 ER visits, nothing broken, thank goodness, but her dementia is progressing-so hard to watch. Our daughter called to check on us and asked if she could do anything (they live in Austin). I said, “Yes, I need a huge plate of pasta, a warm baguette dripping with butter, 3 tacos, a scone slathered in cream and jam, and a large pot of tea all served to me in a thatched cottage in the Cotswolds!! She replied, “I’ll see what I can do!”

    Agree with all the above sentiments regarding holidays!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and all the GF’s. Caryn and her hubby will be bringing my “grand Kitty” for turkey day-so excited to snuggle with Binx!


  22. Susan Morse says:

    I just received an email from my dear friend, who is neck deep in all the activity and life saving, in Chico, CA, just miles from the Paradise Fire area. In the email, was a link to this latest missive of yours, with the Thanksgiving messages AND the shout out with suggestions for donating to the fire victims and supporting agencies. She has been going full bore since 0600 Thursday morning. The patient load is overwhelming, some of the staff have lost their homes, yet they selflessly are caring for the ill and injured, because that is what they do.
    Patty’s only comment in the email was that your November Blog is, “Best thing all week.”

    In her communication in the morning, she said that 1400+ animals, cats, dogs, horses, goats, etc, are currently sheltered at the Chico airport. I was thrilled to see you have mentioned the North Valley Animal Disaster Group. They can certainly use donations to support the care and feeding of these extended furry (and maybe even scaled) family members.

    In closing, I am the proud recipient of a gift from my BFF. She attended your talk in CA, as she lives in Atascadero. I could even find her in one of the audience photos you posted. She gave me one of your china cups. I ❤️ it ! I alternate between using it exclusively for my Lady Gray tea from Bath, England, and wanting to place it on a pedestal of cotton, so it won’t get chipped or cracked.

    Thank you for bringing a huge glimmer of hope, to a woman who is a modern day Florence Nightengale, as she and her colleagues nuture the bodies, hearts and souls of thoses in need.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my gosh, you’re making me cry. Please reach out to her for me with the biggest hug ever. I know the people of California, of America, and of the world are going to wrap their arms around the people affected by this disaster in an embrace heard around the world. I just know it. xoxoxoxoxoxo

  23. Arden Shelton says:

    I usually do a Green Friday because I go on a 20-30 mile bike ride to get away from the crowds. We ride to a bakery for a fattening treat and then home again!

  24. Arden Shelton says:

    I forgot to mention that I love your lace curtains with the buttonholes across the top. I have a few of them, but the lace factories in South Asia that made them were all damaged in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. So hang onto yours….hard to get due to ghastly devastation down under.

    • sbranch says:

      I think that must be what happened to the people that made those. They’re no longer in business. That’s sad!

  25. Linda Hill says:

    When shopping in this day and age I hear these children demanding things from their Mothers….often hitting and kicking them to get something for them .
    When I was growing up you didn’t get things from the store–you waited for holidays and Birthdays for your goodies. Families were home for dinners together because stores were closed after 6pm and not open on Sundays. People never went without what they needed as they planned in advance. If you forgot something you just “made do”. Black Friday started here over 2 weeks ago with ads & “better than BF savings” sales. We worship the almighty dollar and forget what this holiday is about. Time won’t go backwards—- much is the pity. Pray for the people in the fire & those looking for their families.
    Linda from Idaho where it is sunny but cold!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, we can teach the children well. And therein lies hope. xoxoxo

    • FayE in CA! says:

      You know what I find interesting…there are all kinds of ads with 50% off Christmas stuff??? Doesn’t make sense to me. Why are holiday items deeply discounted in mid November? Sometimes I think that the “real price” is jacked up to look like we are getting the huge discount, but we are actually paying the regular price. I’m a cynic and I don’t trust the retailers’ hook, line and sinkers. I am definitely NOT a Black Friday gal. YUCK.

      I know that our collective hearts are together in hoping that there are no more disasters in the coming months. So MANY families have suffered SO MUCH. Mother Nature is SO upset and angry. I think it is Her proactive warnings to make everyone BELIEVE that global warming is not a myth. She is screaming at us to pay attention.

      I was trying to go to sleep tonight and for whatever reason a vision of a single polar bear on an ice slab no larger than the dimensions of the white fur-bear and I nearly burst into tears. I stood up and said to my husband…”It is awful that polar bears will be extinct.” He WAS sleeping, but I said it as I exited the bedroom. My home in CA gets minimal rain on the rooftop anymore, but tears for the devastations should water a few houseplants. (The polar bear vision was out of the blue…was thinking about my Christmas ornaments and remembered my beautiful polar bear ornament that I purchased a couple of years ago to honor them on our tree.)

      Share your love and squeezy hugs…hold on tight…we need each other.

      Thanks, Susan, for another uplifting post. Give Jack some turkey. Throughout the years our cats have paced the kitchen on turkey days. Especially our Fussy…she was actually obnoxious about it!! She got her turkey near the table…truly was a Queen because she preferred her “birds” de-feathered, seasoned and baked…served on a white plate!! None of this get-my-paws-messed-up hunting. OR! Perhaps she was a furry environmentalist and was the leader of Felines SAVE Birds…they carried banners that said “Don’t blame cats” and promoted bells on collars. Here’s to cats who save birds.

      Mew-meow ❤️❤️❤️ (bye-bye in cat talk)

  26. Sherri Fabbri says:

    Hi Susan! I love your Green Friday idea! I’ve always disliked Black Friday : crazy crowds of people and, as you say, cheap stuff made in China! I hope to be able to go up to our place in the California town of SONORA that weekend and walk my dog around the quaint towns and hills of the Motherload. I love to collect Engish China and most all things made in England! My Thanksgiving table will be some of my (almost vintage)Denby stoneware from England and some Johnson Brothers Friendly Village China. If you haven’t been to that area yet you should check it out! There’s a great bookstore up the hill in SONORA called the Mountain Bookshop; and SONORA USED BOOKS in the quaint town of vintage and antique stores. The people there are so friendly! My favorite tea house is in the historic town of Colombia. It’s called “Colombia Kate’s”, and serves the best tea, scones, soup, sandwiches, English fare, salads and deserts in the area! It’s also in the cutest little old cottage ever and the owner has a bakery and a vintage style boutique you would love there also! Hope you make it up there someday! I’ll give you a tour as I live in Modesto now, but hope to move up there soon! Thank you again for the first chapter of your of your book and your talk in SLO!

    • sbranch says:

      I have a girlfriend living in Modesto, Terrie Wallace, and we’ve done that tour through the Gold Country, is that what you mean? It was adorable. I do need to go to Columbia Kate’s!

      • Sherri Fabbri says:

        I’m so glad you’ve gone to the Gold Country! You’ll have to come see Terrie again and go to Kate’s! You’d especially love the boutique, I think!

  27. Brenda says:

    Hello Susan,

    What a beautiful warm Autumn feeling your lovely blog brings! Love all your
    pictures and ideas. I don’t know how far the plans have come re: ‘Susan Branch: The Movie’, and they probably have already chosen the cast, but from
    the early days of the mention of a possibility of the movie, two ladies kept coming to mind to play Susan, herself;

    Alexis Bledel for the early years, and Lauren Graham for the later years. They were the mother-daughter characters in the series ‘the Gilmore Girls’.
    The character names were Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, and the actresses looked a lot alike, which is probably why they chose them, but would work well for your movie, too, since they would be portraying the same person… in earlier and later years. Lovely actresses, which would make them a good match for you, too.

    You’ve probably had oodles of suggestions, already, I know, and I hope all goes well if and when it happens. Hope they catch your sweet spirit, and that they choose to make it family friendly! They couldn’t find a better subject…. your life is so interesting and inspiring. Wishing you all the best!

    Take care,

  28. What a great idea is green Friday….much happier leading up to any weekend! The cranberry bread sounds yummy and I can’t wait to get some cranberries and try it. The table settings are wonderful but at Thanksgiving the family and friends sitting around the table are the best setting of all.

  29. Susan….I must be in alignment to have manifested such a wonderful thing…I won, I won, I won!! Thank you!! Your work is truly an inspiration to me and you have helped me to know for certain that I can make my own dreams come true. That is such a gift. I will treasure your first chapter! One day, dear Susan you will receive the very first copy of my own book. I’m not sure how soon that will be…but it will happen 🙂 Blessings to you, Joe and adorable Jack
    P.S. I totally agree about the Black Friday thing…Let’s make it Green!

    • sbranch says:

      You DID win, MaryLou!!! I love your certainty, that’s what it takes, you go girl! #GreenFriday … put it on Instagram! I haven’t sent out the email yet, look for it in a little while and send me your address! So happy for you! xoxoxo

  30. Colette File says:

    Congratulations to the winners of Chapter One. I just cannot wait until this new book gets published. Do you have a deadline date? If so, please share and I will start a countdown on my calendar.

    I found the solution to Black Friday nearly 20 years ago: I quit cold turkey. I wrote my relatives and friends telling them they would no longer receive any crap from me at Christmas, as I was donating the money I used to buy insignificant gifts with to an animal shelter near me. Most agreed and the ones who did not should not have been on my list in the first place. How liberating that was. So sad that wisdom only comes with age…

    California, of beautiful California. I stopped looking at the media coverage, as it is just too painful to watch.

    The photos and video of your daily walk are precious. I also take a 4-mile daily walk and it is the best part of my daily routine. Rain or shine I always enjoy it. Walking is the best exercise.

    Now I am going to try the recipe of your cranberry tea cake. Thanks.


    • sbranch says:

      You brave and wonderful woman! Good for you. I’ve always thought that gift giving (despite what Louisa May Alcott thinks) should happen spontaneously, all the time, when you see something your friend or family really needs or wants that you can afford, or even make something. This forced march through the stores seems kind of crazy to me. The holidays should be about family, cooking, carols, spirit, community, coziness, and most of all, TIME to enjoy all this, TIME with your kids and family ~ that’s all that matters. So much need these days, the heartbreak in California is getting to me every day. Also, those kids that will never see their families again. I feel it all in my bones. Thank you Colette. xoxoxo

  31. Karen B says:

    Susan — I love everything about this blog post! I vote for Green Friday, too! Lovely tablescapes, daily walks, heart shaped treasures, and listening to those silent sounds. Thank you!!!

  32. Deborah Borne says:

    Susan, I would know your grandma anywhere – you are her twin!! Does it just give you tingly goosebumps when you see her pictures?

    • sbranch says:

      It does, really because I can still see it. Her at 70 and me, I walk by a mirror, catch a glimpse, a certain expression, and there’s my grandma! She really looked exactly like my niece though, two of them actually.

  33. grace thorne says:

    thank you sooo much for including the seashore video….i do so miss the new england shore….there is sea water in my veins for sure!

    • sbranch says:

      The Gulf Stream goes around the Island, so in the summer, our water is warm, much warmer than California! Always seems odd to me, but it’s true. No one needs a wet suit!

  34. Michele Gavaletz says:

    Susan, I too love mismatched dishes and at a little shop I visited the elderly proprietor told me the mixmatched pieces she called “not a perfect match but married all the same.” I love that!

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha, how cute! Yes, it does make things a little more fun, a little less formal, a little more creative. Plus then you can get sets of 5 or 3 and still have a gorgeous table.

  35. Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I’ve been talking to many friends lately about the chaos of the Big World crowding in on our sweet, ordinary, everyday lives. Among the things I will do today is go to our wonderful local antique store and look for little “Depression glass” sugars in various colors to use for votives – can’t EVER have enough votive candleholders!
    Henry Rollins – with the quote about Black Friday – is a sage. Full of wise words.
    It seems a little counterintuitive, but I feel like making the glorious idea of Green Friday (yes!yes!yes!) into a hashtag on Facebook and Twitter, but maybe especially on Instagram. I have a day off today, just for puttering, cleaning up house and garden – we lost every leaf in yesterday’s wind storm – cuddling with puppy and kitty, drinking tea, likely making Cranberry Cake (melted vanilla ice cream makes marvelous vanilla sauce), watching movies, reading, napping…November can be cozy! Thanks again!

    • sbranch says:

      Great Idea with hashtag #GreenFriday when we put something on Instagram that would be fun to do on Green Friday! Love it! It’s 30 degrees here this morning, first time you can say, “It’s freezing outside” and have it really be true. I saw it’s snowing in DC! I hope it comes here, just a wee bit, a taste, for fun! xoxo

      • Robin Ann Barron says:

        We’ve got snow today on the coast of Maine – maybe 3″? – with heavy and wet stuff, quite sloppy, but puttering at home with petty pets, eating silly food, plenty of tea and chocolate malt Ovaltine (the right kind!), planning / daydreaming my trip to Newfoundland next year. I love snow days when I get to stay home.
        And yesterday, I found a charming ruby glass cup fir a votive holder then went to dinner and saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” – fantastic! Rami Malek embodies Freddie Mercury amazingly. I can’t believe no one else in the theater was singing along!

  36. Congratulations to all of the winners. I am especially excited to see my dear friend Gert’s name on the list. She is a beautiful lady in every way and I was privileged to meet her in 2015 when I visited the U.S.A. Special memories.
    I would like to make your Cranberry Tea Cake and wonder if I could substitute ‘Ocean Spray Reduced Sugar Dried Cranberries’. It looks delicious!
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

    • sbranch says:

      I love her too, was thrilled to see her name! I wouldn’t use the dried cranberries, it’s just not the same. The fresh (or even fresh-frozen) ones have a slight bitterness that goes wonderfully with the sauce and cake. Are you allergic to them?

  37. Lynn Marie says:

    My grandmother holds such a special place in my heart and my home is filled with so many of her things–now I am adding my mothers things as she is now 89 and she keeps downsizing. Some serious “going through” is in order this winter after the holidays. You left us with a cliffhanger as to the movie so now we are on pins and needles waiting for the next post! I loved all about this post though and the beginning of the holidays. I am reading it a t breakfast with a cup of sweet creamy coffee while I watch the snow come down outside. ☺

  38. Debbie Vaky says:

    So, I have to admit…for my birthday in August I told my husband I wanted to go see the cottages in Newport and on to Martha’s Vineyard to see your world there and on to Boston to walk the Freedom Trail. We had a lovely time in MV biking all over the island. I walked the streets of your neighborhood then I was bent on finding your “walk” to the ocean. I had my husband biking over the very bumpy road out to the ocean and I think I found it by the looks of the cottages on the beach but I thought it seemed so long to do every morning on foot. But I got a great “taste” of what you get to experience every day. I love the town, shops and restaurants of VH. How lucky are you to live there! Thank you for taking time to do your blog. I get so many ideas from you and it keeps me in a world so similar to what I grew up in. Brings me joy and peace during these crazy times.

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds like a wonderful trip. Our walk is just under 3 miles long … one and half out, and one and a half back. Takes us 40-45 minutes. xoxoxo

  39. I’m very happy and excited because I know one of the winners! Sarah from Texas is a blog buddy of mine! I mentioned you in my post this morning and showed off the Autumn book I just got! Happy Thanksgiving!

  40. Katie Malik says:

    You have a lovely blog! So glad you write it! Looking forward to your new book

  41. Betsy says:

    First of all your grandmother was very beautiful! She looks like a movie star. Second, I second your call for small town shopping. I love supporting local business owners. We have an Heirloom Home store in our area and I intend on buying all my children handmade items from there this year for Christmas. They make beautiful white serving pieces that can be used everyday. Most of all thank you for your posting on this beautiful morning. xoxoxoxo

  42. Jason Best says:

    Your words are simply beautiful and fortifying: a hot toddy for the soul – an antidote to help counter the modern mania which roils around us today. Thank you. 😇

  43. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you for your heartwarming blog! It was a nice treat on a cold, gray morning here on Long Island. We may see our first snow of the season today! Tomorrow I celebrate my birthday and then next week is Thanksgiving! I cannot agree with your more regarding Black Friday. We told our friends in England about it and they thought it was a bit ridiculous. I’d rather go to a small town – like Bar Harbor, ME! – and go in and out of the local stores, breathe fresh air and enjoy the smell of pine and woodsmoke, have a hot chocolate in hand as I walk along, put change into the Salvation Army bucket as the bell rings and just revel in the season. Sadly, and it’s quite a few years ago now, a young man working as a security guard at one of our Wal-Mart stores was trampled to death and a woman went into labor all because there was a stampede of people trying to get into the store and buy a bunch of “crap”. It also happened at a store in Florida. I’m with you; I don’t know so much about these “modern times”. I hope you, Joe and your friends and family have a wonderful and joyous Thanksgiving filled with many blessings. I hope you get to come to a book signing on Long Island in the New Year! Love,
    Karen xo

    • sbranch says:

      Good Gracious! I know, that is just nuts! Happy Birthday dear Karen! I’ll try to make it out there! xoxoxo

  44. Maggie Bresz says:

    My sister, Jayne and I agree about Black Friday. We sleep in, dress in our finest and go to antique and resale stores to support small business Friday. It is so much more relaxing. I made seven little loaves of cranberry/orange bread yesterday and gave one while it was still warm to my neighbor.
    I look forward to reading your blog and have one of your calendars on my bedroom door.

  45. Margie says:

    Your place settings are warm and inviting. I noticed the old wall paper in one of your pictures. I make Nantucket cranberry pie that looks like yours. I make mine with almond. Yours looks good too. I will try it. I have all your books. Your walks remind me of ours as we do it every evening, and it takes the kinks out of our lives. Your walks also remind me of our walks in West Falmouth years ago. There is nothing like the charm of small towns, I agree with you totally. xo♥️

  46. Sandra says:

    The Yeats poem is fabulous, absolutely love it! It’s on the entrance wall of a place I stayed in western Ireland. Prior to the holidays, I was in Walmart and spoke to the manager about employees working on “Black Friday”. She told me her employees had a choice to work or not work but so many said “yes” because they needed the extra money. That manager gave a choice, then a bonus for those who wanted to work (nice!). On Black Friday, I went back to Walmart and gave out candy canes to all the employees and said, “thanks for working!” Dolly P. said, “if you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.” Love her lots!

    • sbranch says:

      Remember when no stores were open on Thanksgiving? I think on Friday the stores have always been open … it’s just this crazy push to consumerism I don’t care for. When they show people fighting on TV. On the day after Thanksgiving. ⚡️ Sad. Love you and your candy canes Sandra! You make people’s days!

  47. Shirley Burt says:

    Darling Susan and ever fab Joe, and Jack, Happiest Thanksgiving early I know. But we are all preparing so it is in our thoughts. Love the idea of doing one special thing each day. Yesterday I washed my crystal. The very pale blue ones we received 50 years ago when we married on the 4th of July, but only have a few, and then the 8 water, wine and what I call sherbert stems that my mother in law had received for her wedding. Will we use them for Thanksgiving, no but they will be used for the Ladies birthday luncheon the Tuesday after. Have you noticed how much smaller in volumn they are? I did as I gently washed and dried them. ALso have the antique crocheted or tatted tablecloth that was given to me because the gifter’s family would not use or appreciate it. So I think of her every time I get it out for special and sometimes just because. Will set the tables with two different Johnson brothers turkey dishes. I love mixing them up, one set I inherited from my husbands aunt. So nice to set the table with treasures and memories flood my thoughts.
    So sorry to ramble. Am off to the store for the huge turkey because he must start thawing. Love and bunny hugs to you and all you love.
    Oops, what one layer cake is under the cake dome? Loved all the table settings and looking forward to this years post.
    Shirley in a chilly Texas

    • sbranch says:

      It’s Polenta Cake from A Fine Romance! And yes, the serving sizes have gotten so much bigger. I look at the teeny tiny cocktail glasses in my old black and white movies . . . the men look like they’re playing with doll dishes! Thank you Shirley!

  48. Rose Kelly says:

    That cranberry tea cake looks divine! I know what we’ll be eating while we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Cheers 🙂

  49. Pat W. says:

    Susan: I’ve just re-read your latest post & it warms my heart. I cherish your thoughts & words – always, always so uplifting to the soul. Thank you, as always, for all of this – and some of your recipes sound delicious – must try. Wishing you & all at your home a Happy Thanksgiving – so much to be thankful for.

  50. Sharon says:

    You are such an inspiration! Thank you…

  51. Teresa G. - Lafayette, CA. says:

    Sigh. Delightful! Do you have any idea what your posts do to me? And others? It’s like a tonic. Thank you. I have been buying things here and there as I see them, slowly and thoughtfully preparing for holiday gift giving and as I took inventory last night…*deep intake of breath…confession coming* I unboxed two of your cups and decided to keep them! To me, from me, with love! Sipping from “A Red Letter Day” right now! 🙂 Heading out now for my walk as well. Happy day to you! XXO

    • sbranch says:

      I think getting yourself a real present that you will actually love to unwrap is one of the necessities of life. Let Santa be good to the one who is always thinking of others. xoxoxoxo Good girl!

  52. Patty says:

    Susan, this post cheered me tremendously after a rough week here in Northern California. I am so fortunate to only have been evacuated for one night and back to an intact home in Chico thanks to the work of some wonderful firefighters. However the battle to contain this enormous fire continues and it has grown to over 140,000 acres. It is difficult to process that the sweet town of Paradise is literally gone and so many have lost so much. Thank you for the link to donate especially for the animals. I can tell you that the animal group you mentioned, North Valley Animal Disaster Group, is doing an incredible job managing the animal part of this disaster. They have sheltered over 1400 animals at our airport and working to reunite them with their owners. This event will not be over anytime soon.

    • sbranch says:

      No, I don’t suppose it will. So very sad. Thank you for that update, I love the NV Animal Disaster people, and EVERYONE who’s helping with this unspeakable nightmare. Sending love . . . xoxoxoxo

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        we also have people bringing up animals from the fires here to Josephine county and looking after them and getting them back to health and reuniting them with their owners. we also have a number of people from Paradise moving here to relocate… and we welcome them with open arms.

        • sbranch says:

          Beautiful Pat. So touching, all the outstretched hands. xoxo

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            we try, they helped out our people when we had the Klondike and Taylor Creek fires going, and we know what they are going through, locals have donated R.V trailers to help house those people and food donations as well as clothing, shoes, toiletries, jackets, scarfs, mittens and hats as well as blankets and food for critters like dogs, cats, horses and other livestock. we have been sending hay down to the folks from the Carr fire to feed their cattle and horses through the winter. its simply we have been there and we know what its like. they sent firefighters to us and we sent our to them. hopefully these fires will be out and life can start to go back to normal. we have pets stores like the Grange Co-op emptying their shelves to send feed for the animals, and for the pets along with bowls for food and water, leashes and harnesses and beds anything to give them comfort and security.

          • sbranch says:

            I love the response of people, so giving. Thank you dear Pat!

  53. Jan Martin says:

    Such sweetness to wake up to this morning❤️ It’s a mini vacation walking with you & Joe to the ocean. Busy here preparing for Thanksgiving, like you, gathering so many wonderful vintage China, stemware, most previously owned by family….remembering special holidays of the past. A sadness floats over California this season, with the terrible fires, so much heartbreak, so much loss. Gathering food & household items to help those affected. People are finding ways to help in so many ways. Warm wishes for a special Thanksgiving.

  54. Donna Hamilton says:

    Lovely post Susan. I really enjoyed the video of your walk to the sea. I live in a land-locked state and have not seen the Atlantic Ocean, but I will someday.
    I like the idea of “Green Friday”. I do not go shopping on Black Friday because I do not like putting myself into chaotic situations; I like a calm, peaceful Thanksgiving Weekend. I decided last year to only buy presents for Christmas which a person can truly use, not something that they stick into a closet or on a shelf to languish for years (don’t want to add clutter to anyone’s life) and to only buy gifts from small businesses. I enjoyed all of my shopping experiences last year because I found some truly unique items and helped small local businesses stay in business. I would urge everyone to support your local small businesses. Have a very blessed Thanksgiving Susan, Joe, and Jack!

  55. My daughter and her family decided a couple years ago to downsize to a smaller home and get rid of extra stuff. They are a family of nine now living in a rather small house but it is by a small lake in Massachusetts and the area is lovely. By downsizing, they could afford a family trip to Europe this past spring which will provide memories for their children for a lifetime.

    I’ve been going through my kitchen, sending to charity things I kept “just in case” I might use them again and it has been years in the waiting. Last week, I took an All-Clad saute pan with cover to my son and his family. I hadn’t used it in a year as I use a different skillet all the time now. He was so excited, he said they needed such a pan and for it to be All-Clad was very special. (I bought it half price, thinking I needed it.) I should have done it earlier…

    No Black Friday shopping here!

    • sbranch says:

      We could all shop each other’s houses and have more than we’d ever need! That’s why I love yard sales. I feel like I’m saving landfills!

  56. Andrea says:

    I always love your posts, but felt I need to tell you that after reading this one. Thank you for all the beautiful words and images. I’m looking forward to Green Friday and trying out your cranberry recipes.

  57. Barb Murphy says:

    Oh Susan, what a lovely gift to find a video of the ocean in your blog. Living in Iowa, our waves are prairie grass and oat fields. Just as nice, but they don’t have the sound of the water on the shore. My walks, as a child, were around my parents 80 acre dairy farm. We had cows, hogs, horses, chickens, cats and dogs as well we corn and hay fields. I loved growing up on a farm. My husband, Jim, and I live in the country on a 5 acre parcel of the farm my husband’s parents own. Walks are just as nice here as well.
    Wishing you and Joe a very Happy Thanksgiving along with prayers for those who need them.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve seen your “amber waves of grain” and they are so beautiful! I would have loved growing up there too. My mom spent her growing-up summers on her grandmother’s farm in Iowa, so I at least got to hear the stories. She always loved the smell of dairies when we would drive by! Happy Thanksgiving Barb!

  58. Penny Carpenter says:

    We love fall!! Gorgeous photos. 😃

  59. Kimberly L Young says:

    Oh Susan! I made myself get through a mound of paperwork before “letting” myself languidly read your blog post,warm tomato soup in hand and cream tea in my pumpkin mug. Black Friday..Boo! never done it and have no desire to. I enjoy a good “mooch around” as my UK friends say , but love my sanity more. So adore that you walk, meditate and stretch everyday…Good,Good, Good! and an inspiration for sure. Our group will be small this year (5) but no less special. Is it crazy that i can’t wait for all the clutter, smells, dishes, cooking, table setting, toasting, grocery gathering and baking ahead next week? No, it makes me a happy camper. Something special when you get a text from your 28 yr. old son and he asks if you could possible make a Pumpkin Cheese cake this year…oh my heart! Have a lovely Thanksgiving and the Greenest of Green Fridays :}

  60. Donna says:

    I remember my sister-in-law and her daughter pouring over the newspaper ads on Thanksgiving, planning their gifts and their routes for the next day. What was sad, is they really didn’t have the money to spend. I avoid shopping like the plaque, especially Black Friday!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it’s not like you’re actually SAVING money! But they want you to think so. Have even made it into a sort of game. I’m with you!

  61. Candace Kerr says:

    I really love the recipes and will try the cranberry tea cake. I don’t shop Black Friday.I enjoy quiet moments at home,with candles,soft music and a great cup of Chai tea or Salted Caramel tea.

  62. Candice in Ohio says:

    Love the video, I am entranced by the sounds of the sea! It just draws me!
    Thank You for sharing your “Morning Science” walk with all of us!
    I am sending Thanksgiving Blessings to you and Joe and Jack too of course! I count you as one of the Blessings in my life along with family, friends, home, food on the table and love….lots of love! Hugs! XO

  63. Sherry A Winchester says:

    The day after oral surgery, and YOU are just what the doctor ordered! A lovely, lovely blog today, Susan. Thank you so very much!

  64. Donna says:

    Green Friday sounds so wonderful. I boycott Black Thursday and Friday. Think it’s terrible that corporate greed keeps families apart on Thanksgiving! Weather is damp here in Tennessee but no snow yet. I don’t start thinking Christmas until after Thanksgiving.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too. You mean there’s a Black Thursday ON Thanksgiving??? Now that wins for most disgusting of all. Me too, I love Thanksgiving way too much to not give it a moment. xoxoxo

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        right there with you Susan, we need to stop this… it is positively barbaric and disgusting to think of turning our national holiday of Thanksgiving into a day of shopping… time to hit those corporate clowns in the pocketbook and hit them hard. time to say no to that and its been going on for 3-4 years now… where have you been???

        • sbranch says:

          I’ve never gone, but every year it seems like there’re more commercials, it gets pushier and pushier, they show fights on TV, now they make people work on Thanksgiving, and that’s just wrong. I liked it when the stores were closed on Sundays! I read Black Friday actually started in 1952! But the big push didn’t begin until around 2000. It’s ugly, and up to us to make it go away. Yay for us!

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            welcome to the “taking back my holidays crowd”. I agree with you, it has gotten uglier and pushier, and it is all so pointless and senseless. you’re not saving money, and you are helping big corporates make even more profits… like they need more??? if folks only knew, wait until right before Christmas and the week of New Year, stores will be shoving that merchandise right out the door, better to lower the prices than pay the taxes on it.

          • sbranch says:

            They have so little regard for us. xoxo

  65. Candace Kerr says:

    I will make the cranberry tea the recipes. I look forward to your blog,always enjoy reading it.I was never a Black Friday shopper.My husband would go without me.He has since stopped going.Happy Holidays!

  66. Mary Lou Prendergast says:

    I’m not sure anyone has mentioned it, but lets not forget the Pre Black Friday sales and the Early Black Friday sales. I’m done.
    I was so happy to read Colette’s post. For the first time in many decades our family has decided not to give presents except to the three grandchildren. It was a difficult decision only because I love to buy presents! But there are plenty of other opportunities to give as you said. Not having the stress and anxiety of trying to find the perfect gift, but using the time in other wonderful ways is a gift in itself. We’ll think of something to do on Green Friday.

  67. Susan says:

    I feel the same way as you about Black Friday. I don’t understand the shopping frenzy. I want to just be home, watch Miracle on 34th Street, the original version, have a Turkey sandwich, and probably put on the first Christmas CD of the season. Easy, simple, and homey.

  68. Christine Morgan says:

    Another wonderful post. We have 6 inches of snow and it is still snowing!!!! So glad today was a day when I did not have to get out and drive in it. I can drink my tea from my Apple Mug and got surprised with your blog. Perfect day! Getting house ready for Thanksgiving then Christmas. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  69. Marie Fluck says:

    Here I sit, cozy and warm, reading your blog and It has just started to snow!! Our first snow of this Fall/Winter!! Looks like we are going to get 4″ to 6″ here In the Slate Belt area of PA. Well, this should begin putting us in holiday mood. Wonder if you will get some of this, too.
    Build a snowman!

  70. Catherine says:

    The paper write up from the fire chief was adorable! Thanks for making my day!

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

    Good Morning Susan, and Girlfriends. what a chilly, cold and lovely day we are enjoying here… its so nice to see the frost on your breath after that hot summer. we still have our colorful leaves though the winds have been blowing a lot of them off, I still enjoy raking up a huge pile of leaves and jumping in it just for the fun of it. we are in the holiday preps countdown here, and these are the days I wish I had my grandmother’s kitchen, a big stove and oven for all the goodies and small bake oven off of the fireplace for breads and roasting meats like chicken, fish or beef. your cranberry cake is going to be on the table this year, I am so sick of soupy pumpkin pies that my MIL cooks up I decided to add that to the family tradition. of course fresh cranberry relish and roasted Brussel sprouts are on the menu along with the turkey and all the trimmings. I agree with you on Black Friday, I was never a big shopper on that day and in fact avoided stores and malls like the plaque on that day. you don’t save any money and in fact spend way more on that item on Black Friday than if you waited until the week of Christmas when the prices drop drastically as the stores don’t want that merchandise there after New Year… then they end up paying for it in taxes, just thought you ought to know. nor do I go along with the notion of turning Thanksgiving into a shopping day like Black Friday. sorry I think that is disgusting and barbaric. Thanksgiving in my book was always a day for family and friends to gather and give thanks and celebrate the harvest, not shopping. so I get even… I refuse to shop and spend my holiday dollars in any store that promotes shopping on Thanksgiving and shop instead at the local merchants, antique stores and shops and give them my holiday business. I hit the retail stores in the pocketbook, and I have been doing it for several years now and I am proud of that. I will not shop in stores promoting shopping on Thanksgiving at all. oh and before I forget, today November 15th is Charissa’s birthday so if she pops in I hope you all wish her a very Happy Birthday today. thanks everyone. and before I forget I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, with many Autumn blessings and lots of Autumn hugs……:D Happy Thanksgiving everyone. have a wonderful day today and Happy Birthday Charissa. hugs everyone…. 😀

  72. Kathy says:

    Sitting here reading your post and enjoying it so much. I’m in Florida where it’s rather cool and overcast today. Of course we’ll get no snow which by the way would be nice. Your post with your lovely way with words always puts me in a good mood. I can almost feel myself in your kitchen drinking tea and discussing what we’ll be cooking for Thanksgiving Day. Already looking forward to your Christmas post. Thank you my friend.

  73. Carol K says:

    I’m definitely in your corner with Green Friday. We stay home the day after turkey day. Who wants to be jostled by the crowds. It’s been snowing here in central NJ since 1 pm today. I’m going from window to window taking pictures like it’s the first snow we’ve ever seen to post of FB. Thought I’d make everyone I know who lives in the warmer climates jealous of the white stuff we’re getting. Excuse me, now where did I put that polartec vest! Jersey hugs and congrats to all five lucky winners of your book preview. Now I’m jealous!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m the jealous one, I want to go from window to window to see snow! We have cold, and dark, just no snow! xoxo

      • mary spring says:

        ..maybe you will get some shortly from this storm named Avery… it’s really coming down now here in westerly !!! I love it !!

  74. ~Del gato gordo y descarado~ says:

    Think the whole blog is a winner for us!
    ~Del gato gordo y descarado~
    …from the fat and sassy cat

  75. ~k~ says:


    From Twitter….
    3h3 hours ago
    I have two pages open on my computer: 1. “Freedom from Facebook,” and 2. “How to completely delete your account from Facebook.” I’m thinking about it. It’s soooo invasive. What do you guys think? Are you on Facebook? I’m not sure anyone would miss me there. . .
    It loaded with bugs/bad, more than you know-
    or wouldn’t be pondering, right?
    you have other social media and a blog…feel the Freedom.

  76. Sandi says:

    I’m afraid your comment system isn’t working correctly. I searched for my comment that I placed yesterday, Nov 14th and I don’t see it. It went away just like you said, but it’s not recorded. I’m trying again! I was so happy to have a Black Dog Cookbook with me at the W. Falmouth Library for Joe to sign! He was very sweet and signed my book! He’s as charming as you are Susan. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the little Fairie house I left for you both.

  77. Robin on the Vineyard says:

    Fabulous post, Susan! It just put me in the holiday mood. Everyone needs to click on the Peter Rabbit Room link for some great pictures! Love the picture of you and Joe. Robin

  78. cathy says:

    wonderful blog post! I love your thoughts on black Friday it is horrid! I work in a little used bookstore on main St. So I am happy to have you promote hometown shopping.
    Happy Thanksgiving ( we celebrate thanksgiving just the two of us. At first I wasn’t happy about it but now my husband and I look forward to that day.
    We usually chose lobster. With the fireplace going and a chance to really talk,
    watch old movies, and rest before the Christmas rush.)

    • sbranch says:

      Nothing we adore more than a “little used bookstore on Main Street.” Thank you for what you do. You add character and charm to the world! We need you! Lobster sounds wonderful! xoxoxo

  79. Ann Y. says:

    Susan…you captured the magic of Thanksgiving perfectly !!! Here in PA it is snowing and sleeting – we are just home from a wonderful trip and enjoying the coziness of HOME! The world is wonderful to see…but HOME IS BEST! Love the idea of Green Friday….and you made me smile with your comment about your mom introducing you to old movies. My mom was the same…they really went to the movies in those wonderful years when movies were so great. She taught me to love those old movies, and the people who played in them. And it is inspiration for how to live….beautifully. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe ! Thankful for you being in this world! Now, sleet is hitting the window and we are going to have toasted cheese and tomato soup…YUM!

    • sbranch says:

      My best gift of all, that’s lasted a lifetime, was Shirley Temple! My mom loved her and so do I!

      • Ann Y. says:

        So funny you should say that…we just returned from a trip to Germany and the one little town looked like the town Heidi/Shirley Temple was in. We saw a town fountain that looked like the one where the women were doing there wash when Heidi was going up to see Grandfather and said “we HAVE to watch Heidi when we get home!.” Sadly, we gave away our VHS copy ( still have The Little Princess on DVD) so I checked our library and they have it. It is waiting for us – we will pick it up when we go to church tonight, come home, have a cozy salmon dinner, then make popcorn and watch Shirley be the perfect Heidi…and boo at Frau Rottenmeir. Susan…will think of you, and your mom, and say a little prayer for both of you…and Shirley, too ! Hugs !

  80. Evelyn says:

    Thank you soooo much for this delightful post! It was the perfect thing to enjoy as I sipped my tea on this frosty morning in Missouri! We were blanketed with a seven-inch snow during the night, so we woke up to a winter wonderland! Just before I, the night owl of the family, climbed into bed, I looked out the window to see six deer frolicking in the snowy pasture. I may have clapped my hands at the sight! I had to wake my hubby up to share the fun. Wishing you and Joe an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving! Love your ideas for Friday…no shopping for this girl, either!!

  81. Brenda King says:

    The video made this landlocked prairie person envious. Oh, well, we will be spending Christmas with our daughter on Vancouver Island and I can hunt sea glass then. Apparently some people there even hunt for – and occasionally find – trading beads that were given to Indigenous people in exchange for things of great value a few centuries ago. Our daughter works in theater and we will see the Christmas musical of “Little Woman.”

  82. Delores McElmurry says:

    I enjoyed reading the poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. I was raised in Whittier, CA, attended John G. Whittier Elementary School, Whittier Union High School, and there is a lovely small college there, named after him. It was a sweet Quaker town in the beginning. I’m sure if I went back now, I wouldn’t recognize it, except Whittier Blvd. would still carry John’s name. Thanks for honoring him today. I want to tell you that when I stop to read your thoughts, ideas, recipes and photos, it causes me to slow down and appreciate what we all have as a free nation. We have a lot to be thankful for this season.

  83. Lisa G. says:

    Susan, I’m sorry to say that I don’t remember if I already mentioned this, so I’m saying it now (again?) – I am going through the list of movies from the October page on your calendar, and The More the Merrier was so cute! I especially loved Mr. Dingle. 😀 (Love Joe’s tie from the photo of last year – it looks very Thanksgiving-y).

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, and I was asking you if you enjoyed he chemistry between Joel McCrea and Jean Arthur, on the front stoop? I thought it was the best ever!

  84. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    As always, I loved your Blog Post! I wholeheartedly agree with you about Black Friday…I have never attended….and never will. After mentally and physically preparing for Thanksgiving all of November, the last thing that I would want to do the next day is get up while the stars are still out, go to some box store and camp out in the freezing cold until the doors open and fight my way through a half crazed crowd of people to look for bargains. For me it is Pink Friday!!….my favorite color Friday!!…. my Friday to stay in my jammies all day with my feet up, surrounded by soft bed pillows ( one on each side and one on my lap), watching HOLIDAY INN and other old black & white Christmas movies….eating a turkey sandwich, Waldorf salad, cranberry relish, a few green olives, and celery spread with cream cheese!! I retreat into denial and pretend that Black Fridays do not even exist, and everybody is at home with their family and pets eating leftovers, playing board games or watching old Christmas movies….and making plans for Christmas! IF I were REMOTELY interested in Black Friday…..I would have to CRAWL there the day after Thanksgiving because my old bones are tired!!! I hope that you and Joe, and all who gather at your table on Thanksgiving have a very happy and blessed day!!

  85. Mary/Indiana says:

    Wonderful video walk; I felt like I was there walking with you and Joe!
    Lovely Thanksgiving place settings that gave me ideas for my own
    table. You are an inspiration. Oh, I do so wish I could join Mandy
    next year in the English countryside, I guess I’ll just have to wait for
    your new book….sigh. But in the meantime, blog me, girlfriend. Lol

  86. Thank you for this bit of magic today. I hadn’t thought about my antique dishes in a while. But I may pull them out next week! One is the Centura pattern by Corning and the other, I have never been able to find the name, but I have been told they were part of a collection where they put one dish in the washing powder and you built a collection, one box of detergent at a time. I would love to verify that! So if anyone has any ideas, I would love to know.

    I will be spending Thanksgiving home with my corgis, sewing. I have a tshirt quilt to finish for a friend in time for the holidays, full of her mom’s memories. I hope curling up with that will help her feel close to her mom. And, I am going to make a Christmas pillow for a friend who lost her home in Paradise, CA. It truly will be a day of thanks and giving here, the way it’s meant to be.

    Please don’t make us wait too long for details about the movie!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard of that, but don’t know the product or the dish name. I bet someone will! I want Corgis! When I retire, if I ever do, I will have to have one. They are just so darling in my eyes. What thoughtful gifts, Tammy. You will make them cry. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. xoxoxo

  87. Stephanie C says:

    Old things, old music, allows me to live in a world that no longer exits. That is so me!! Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

  88. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    Susan, I’m glad you returned to the island in time so that you don’t have to be here to see what’s happening with this destructive fire in Thousand Oaks/Malibu (Woolsey Fire). I saw on your Twitter about the Empire State Building showing Calif colors in support/sympathy for what our state is suffering (thank you for posting the picture; ‘one country’; you moved me with that, you really did). It’s just too much fire in too many places in Calif, and in just a year’s time. We’re too warm, too dry.

    I came out of our big-box store which has a large parking lot and ‘way in the rear off by themselves were, gosh, seven, eight of these massive fire trucks, not like normal fire trucks, the ones they take up into the canyons, major heavy-duty machines; I didn’t realize my own town was a staging area for what was happening on the other side of the mountain to the coast. But there must have been 50-more firefighters, sprawled asleep in their trucks, on the ground; exhausted. I decided to drive over to them (wondered later if I shouldn’t have; if I was intrusive) and I said, “Is this what I think it is? You just came over from Malibu-T/O?” They said, “Yeah, we’re taking a short break. Getting some food in us.” I began to blubber and I know I just looked like some silly old woman but I drove by each truck and told them they were heroes, thanking them; they’re so humble and said, “Don’t cry; we’re okay.” So many of them were young, and you know darn well that back home, wherever they come from, they have wives and little kids…and they’re in so much danger, protecting the rest of us. My gratitude just overtook me.

    God Bless actress Sandra Bullock for making a BIG donation to the Ventura County Humane Society to help in the effort of so many injured wildlife, farm animals, domestic pets. I know we’ve lost structures and human life; it’s just that the little and big creatures are so bewildered with nowhere to go. I saw actor Jeff Bridges on TV this week, who lost his home after the Montecito fire last December, in that awful debris flow (mudslide), and he said we’re ‘crisping up’ (climate change; believe it); our poor beleaguered California, north state/upstate and southern; my heart hurts. Thanksgiving will be for prayers; empathy; love.

    I need Susan Branch more than ever; it’s hard to get calm around here; the past 8 days in my neck ‘o the woods (mass shooting; the fires); I’m not calm.

    But there’s a possible chance of rain this time next week. That’s a hope. And speaking of hope, I hope that you and Joe aren’t inundated with snow that’s scary, but instead snow that’s holiday-esque. Don’t we all just want to tuck in now and feel…better. Safe. Cloaked in comfort and familiarity. Be together in giving thanks; amen.

    • sbranch says:

      I am so UPSET about this fire dear Vicki. Which is nothing compared to the tears flowing from the victims, their families, their friends, what a terrible nightmare. It’s unfathomable. 😥 Tears again, just reading your words. xoxoxo I’m so proud of us all, really, jumping into the fray to help in all the little and big ways we can. Prayers for all of us, prayers for the families who are searching for their relatives and friends, prayers for the fire fighters. Thanksgiving will be so hard.

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        And then the news of the Camp Fire in Northern Calif just gets worse every day; the tent cities, the increasing human death toll. You are right; it’s unfathomable. We’ve never, ever had fires like this; never.

        And I remember what it is to have love for your home state and be living in another state far away; that helpless feeling; the pain deep in your heart. You’re still connected. I wasn’t in Calif for the ’94 earthquake (my 2nd cousin suffered massive structure loss in Northridge) but I was right there in spirit with what my loved ones were going thru at the time. I know you have your foot in both places you love, with your younger life in Calif and your long-time life in Martha’s Vineyard now; but of course you’ve still got a home in Calif and we never forget where we grew up.

        Thanks for all your words on everything; you always say the right thing. Love to you.

  89. Julia says:

    From the Sonoran desert of Red Rock, Arizona-many blessings for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    I moved in July from the sweet little mountain town of Camino, CA to Red Rock, AZ. It’s vastly different but beautiful still with amazing dark mountains and colorful skies.
    Thanks for the beauty you share!

  90. Cathye Edwards says:

    Well, Susan, I just can’t stay awake any longer tonight to read ALL of these lovely comments, but I really want to chime in & say:
    You look amazingly like your Grandmother’s high school yearbook photo! Isn’t that the best gift… & to receive it so long after its publication?!?

    Thanks for your comments on Twitter as well. I agree with all you say & encourage.
    Sending xo’s from Virginia, & best wishes for a great Thanksgiving celebration with Joe & those gathered ‘round your table.

  91. Phyllis says:

    As a girl in Portland, OR, I would wake up during the night and know it had snowed. Looking out the window, everything was white… I had ‘heard’ the snow by the sudden absence of sound on the busy road near us. My favorite sound now is the singing of the windchimes every afternoon as the breeze comes up the canyon behind us.

  92. Elizabeth says:

    Amazing that a reader had a yearbook with your grandma in it!! Small world…
    Lots of interesting things here, thanks. And we too pass on all the crazy shopping days…in fact, we are going to be more choosy about when we go out for now until in January…just too crazy out there. As it is, Fridays are a madhouse…and we need to go out tomorrow…so need to go early!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, that madhouse takes the fun out of it! Stop for sit-down coffee and piece of pie, with your book if you have one ~ it puts all the merriment back into the season! xoxo

  93. Elizabeth says:

    I went back to read a bit more, and lo and behold, you have my “lighthouse” curtains…we lived for a time near a lighthouse…and of course I had to have those curtains…still have them…we are a bit farther from the sea…though the sea comes inland aways here…but no lighthouse needed nearby. I like your taste!! Haha

  94. Lynn Cooper says:

    I tired to print the cranberry cake recipe, just the page that it was on, and my printer started printing everything! Could not find it in your books and there was no mention of that. I hope the next time I use the printer it doesn’t keep spitting out pages and pages. I turned it off after ten.

    Maybe I will just take a picture of it with my phone and see if it is clear enough to use because the cake sounds wonderful. My guess is that I already printed it a few years back when you had it on the blog. I bet if I go through my recipe box I will find it in there.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone. The woman at the Falmouth Library was right about the people that come to hear Susan speak. I went to an event a few years ago here in western Massachusetts, and I met the loveliest people there. Susan is a magnet for kind people.

    • sbranch says:

      Try highlighting it, copy and paste into email and then print it. see if that works. If you have the 30th Anniversary Edition of my first book, Heart of the Home … it’s one of the new recipes I included there. I love that we are kindred spirits, Lynn. Thank you so much!

  95. Joanne Conte says:

    Thanks for the beautiful blog! I have to tell you, your grandma was beautiful too!! Happy Thanksgiving to you & Joe!

  96. Karen Bunch says:

    What a great idea… Green Friday! Count me in.
    I loved this post, thank you.

  97. Anneliese Ingham says:

    Good morning! We had our first snow yesterday here in Eastern PA. The house is a lovely color inside today that only happens when it snows! As the snow and ice came down it was the perfect time to clean out my sewing room. I found lots of treasures (and trash!) but my favorite find was a bunch of stickers that I thought were long gone. They were you’re stickers from 15 years ago at least! When I was in college and first married I wrote real letters to my grandma and always decorated them with your stickers. I think our favorite were the little ants that went with your picnic themed stickers. I was so happy to find them in the bottom of a box full of other cards and stickers. I showed them to my daughter and recounted how they were my favorite stickers ever. I still write letters to my grandma and decorate them with stickers, just not yours as they don’t sell them any more. Any chance they might come back to craft stores??? Thanks again for so much joy and happiness that your drawings and writings bring. Here’s to picnic ants! 🐜🐜

    • sbranch says:

      The company that made my stickers has gone out of business, like so many others. I wish someday I’ll be approached by another company and make them again! So happy you found them, loved the little ants too, they look so good traversing an envelope! Thank you Anneliese!

  98. Mary Jane Hardy says:

    Another beautfiul post! I hope you know how much we all appreciate you. Seeing a new post is just like getting a gift from you. It is so wonderful to know that you are out there loving the same things we do. It seems so cold a world sometimes now. Knowing that we all are kindred spirits and feel the same brings such a warm feeling to my soul. I have never done Black Friday. You are going to laugh, but it scares the daylights out of me. I have seen on TV where people are in big fights over some stupid toy that is the “thing to get” this year. People get really hurt. I would not step foot in a store on that day. It truly is such a comfort and joy to see that you and all the wonderful people on here are all thinking of the good and wonderful treasured things in life. Thank you Susan, and all of you out there for making this such a special place to come to. A very Happy and joyous Thanksgiving to all of you.

    Love and blessings to all, Mary Jane

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I feel the same way. Seeing people fight over junk is beyond my thankful, gratitude-filled ken! Thank you for being here Mary Jane! xoxo

  99. Melody Mahala says:

    I love the idea of Green Friday. A local park in the next town over is hosting a ranger lead hike that morning. I think I’ll take my kids and start a new tradition. The tree trimming can wait till the afternoon!

  100. Susan Boucher says:

    OH Susan,
    You are soooo Refreshing! I just love reading your posts and placing myself in a vintage world where everything is so special and done with meaning. Thank-you so much for sharing.
    Smiles from miles Away☺️
    Susan from Maui🙋❤️

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