Waking up this first full day of spring with the full worm moon peeking through my Studio windows! Hooray! MUSICA! Note below, it’s the Early Bird!

This was our moonrise last night! How do we get so lucky?

Out behind the barn, snowdrops are coming right up through the melting ice. Daffodils too!

We’re doing a little bit of forsythia-forcing. So easy to do. Just bang stems of budding trees and bushes with hammer and put in warm water in a light spot and soon, very soon, you will have . . .

This! Forsythia is such a harbinger of spring on this island! Our first very strong color and after months of none of it, it’s like a dream we want to celebrate.

And so we do! I hung my wreath on our front door just a couple of days ago.

Yesterday, such a gorgeous sunny day, although still only 46º . . . Out in California everyone is in wildflower heaven, so much rain, the hillsides and valleys are covered in bright orange poppies and blue lupin, and probably to them, this photo above looks like it has yellow-grass, leafless, dead-tree syndrome, but I wouldn’t change our four seasons for anything, because as so many of you know, this is SO GOOD after all these months of cold, it feels like a miracle and nothing could take its place. I can barely have words for what this chilled clean salty air feels like as it is now caressing our sheets and infusing them with spring. 🌸 We are dancing out there! Each little rebirth is a celebration!

And soon it will be tulip-time! There is something whimsical about tulip colors and shapes. I decided NOT to plant bulbs last fall . . . to wait for spring. Our nurseries aren’t open yet, but when they do they BURST with spring bloom ~ pots and pots and POTS of tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, crocus … and I get to GO and buy tulips already in bloom ~ and get triple bang for my buck. Too often I buy a bag of mixed tulips and they are ALL yellow, or I buy orange that turn out to be purple or Parrot Tulips that turn out to be not to be Parrot Tulips. This way, instead of little brown bulbous mysteries, I’ll get the color and variety I want and can mix color the way I like! I can’t wait. It will be whimsey-land out there!  Have you ever seen Angelique Tulips? Oooh la la!

More oooh-la-la to look forward to, the weeping cherries will soon be coming into bloom.

And nothing will have to be “forced!” They will come to us gladly!

And soon . . . this ⬇

These last few weeks, the light has been making me crazy, it’s been coming in and landing on everything, and making the most interesting shadows! Running to get the camera before it moves!

You love glass, but when it does this, you love it more!

Pops like sparks all over the house . . .

I walk by, and there’s me on the kitchen wall. Have to stop and give you a wave!

Look at this one. I’ve never seen this before. Perfect for this old house.

Just a touch here and there . . . draws your eye…

Even Jack, look at the light on his toes!

This boy! Asleep in the middle of my art table right this moment. Put my foot into my shoe this morning, felt something. Guess what? Rubber band.


More sparks of light . . . colors from prisms on the lamp . . .

THIS is a picture through my kitchen-counter windows out toward the picket-fence garden, and INCLUDES the reflection from the windows behind me, where that bird is on the window sill …

My rusty birds make such nice shadows!

See? Doubles my pleasure!

And yes. Still doing it. Sixteen pounds lighter and happy as a clam. Here’s a normal breakfast, two scrambled eggs, with steamed spinach and green beans with mixed seeds on top. So yummy and so good. Just heard a disheartening report this morning, that of the top three “dirty” vegetables (meaning smothered in pesticides), spinach and kale are two of them. So think “organic” for these spectacular veggies that your brain is craving.🥗

My other favorite breakfast: Organic oats, sprinkled with cinnamon, with blueberries, chopped walnut, and chopped apple. Makes you feel like Superwoman. 💪

These are the new noodles I told you about, Shirataki, they come in a liquid in a package, and have barely any calories at all, plant-based (not soy), gluten-free. You use them as carriers for healthy roasted vegetables, or stir fry, or soup, or thick tomato sauce with ground grass-fed beef, onions, basil, garlic (no added sugar), a sprinkle of dry red chili pepper, and grated Parmesan.

Another breakfast . . . Organic broccoli-slaw (sold in bags in the vegetable section of our supermarket) sautéed in butter with mixed seeds and two scrambled Omega-three eggs. It doesn’t feel like a diet, it feels like joy.


So what is new. Does anyone recognize this? You’d have to be a sort of Houdini if you do. Hint: I told the story of it in my Fairytale Girl book. Ring any bells?

It’s my first painting, the one that I did in 1977 after I was given a gift certificate to an art store for my birthday where I went and bought watercolors, then came home and painted the geranium sitting on my kitchen table, and received a bit of a shock that it DID look like a geranium. Yes, the one I didn’t have the confidence to sign . . . and when I did, I signed it with my new initials (was getting married the next month, becoming an SB). I just had it reframed to go in my newly painted dining room. Look at that little thin gold frame! I’m really happy with the way it came out.

But before I had it framed, I asked myself, maybe some of the Girlfriends would like one of these? So, I had them copied and made into beautiful fine art Giclees on gorgeous thick watercolor paper . . . here they are, I’m signing and numbering them, there will only ever be 750 of them in the world.

They now look like this, after all these years, finally signed with my whole name . . . and available HERE.

We’ve actually had a few Giclees available for a long time ~ like this one of Zinnias and Baby’s Breath which I did in 1984, just before I wrote Heart of the Home . . .

Or this one, Grandma’s Bowl, the original is in our bedroom now, after the years it hung on my Grandma’s wall . . . kitchen art!

Or this one, called Lighthouse Beach, which I did just after I moved to Martha’s Vineyard . . . and was cat crazy in love (and still am!). BUT the good news is, the new news, is that we found a way to have our giclees done less expensively, because we wanted to be more affordable, and so we did, and they are. 💞

All newly signed and ready to go.

So yes, before we eat those joy-filled healthy-breakfasts, we go walking on this dirt road through the woods out to where it opens onto the sound. It’s been glorious this entire week. Only in the 40s, not exactly beach weather, but better than 20s, and cold doesn’t stop us, we bundle up and walk out into the wonderful spring sunshine every day. We need our exercise. Basking in the morning light has been heaven. We’ll be going in a few minutes, right after I press “Publish” on this post!

We find a sheltered spot out of the icy wind and sit for a few minutes soaking up the bright sun. ☀️

What else? I’ve been working hard on our new book . . . and loving every moment of it. Look at that thing, it’s STUFFED with memories.

So there’s my March 2018 calendar and my Scotland Diary for reference (I’m putting our 2016 trip to Scotland in this book too)  and my new cup and I’m on my way . . . to ENCHANTED!

Making all kinds of new bookmarks along the way . . . so when we go on a book tour I will be bearing gifts~

I’ve been staying away from stressful news (I only allow myself a half hour a day lately), and have been on an old movie kick… I can’t say enough good about TCM … Turner Classic Movies, it can cure what ails you. 😘


But Joe and I decided we deserved a mini-break (as Bridget Jones would call it).

Yes! It’s on the calendar! FUN! So excited, we’ve moved it up a day and we leave tomorrow!!!

Road trip! We’re going to Virginia! We’re going to drive out of our baby-budding spring in to the REAL THING. We’re going south for a tour of George Washington’s House at Mount Vernon. You have no idea how excited I am. I read the Ron Chernow biography of George Washington last year and learned so much ~ before I read it, he was just a figure, something to do with cherry trees, wooden teeth and first President, now he is a man, a husband, a father, and a hero. Flawed, as we all are, except Beatrix Potter, but human and real. I’ve been wanting to immerse myself a little bit in his world. So here we go!

I have a new book to take with me . . . The Revolutionary War story of Washington’s Spies! I saw the great mini-series TURN (which is still on Netflix, I just rewatched it), now I want to read the book. Also taking the one I’m just finishing, the wonderful Africa House by Christina Lamb. A mini-break week of reading, who could ask for more!? Antique stores too . . . we brake for them! Nurseries too! I guarantee the Fine Romance Van will be coming home stuffed with springtime!After Mount Vernon, we’re going back to Colonial Williamsburg! We were there almost exactly a year ago on our way to board the Queen Victoria, but only had one day, barely time to get the lay of the land . . . we promised ourselves we’d be going back, and so we are! I was thinking about putting photos of our trip on Instagram, where I’m @susanbranchauthor ~ my imagination tells me there may be more of you on Instagram now than on Twitter?  Let me know where’s the best place for them! I could put them on both if you like . . . 💞

Look at this place! William and Mary College, started in 1693 (Second oldest in country after Harvard), is at one end of mile-long Duke of Gloucester Street (almost 100 feet wide and no cars allowed) where George Washington often came riding in on his white horse.  We didn’t get to the nearby Jamestown Settlement last time … I’m excited to see the first permanent English colony in America, founded in 1607. We’ve got tickets for everything!

Going back in time, our favorite place to be . . . I hope we can take a carriage ride!

Look how charming . . . I love the simplicity. We’ll only be gone one week, blink and we will be home, which will then look more wonderful than ever.So I want to leave you with a few small gifts.🎁 Spring has sprung which brought us all new Free Stuff , thanks to Kellee who is a mind reader in her spare time. She knows what we like. Four new springtime stationary designs you can print out on nice paper . . . this one above celebrates our full moon, matches my new cup! But you can choose from the other designs, or maybe you’d like a new screen saver . . . just click on Free Stuff and off you go!

And while I’m away, you may need the recipe for the MOST delicious Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. Tis the season! Makes 30! But you can halve the recipe if you like. Take them to work and the fans will go wild! You’ll also find the recipe on page 138 in the 30th Anniversary Edition of my first book, Heart of the Home.

And this adorable thing . . . Just in cases you’re in the mood for Lamb Cake ~ Here’s the How-To ~ Sheri just brought in some new lamb molds . . . this cake is  also excellent for baby showers and Mother’s Day! Cover it in pansies! We have a Bunny Cake Mold too! 🐰

We’ll only be gone a week, you’ll blink and we’ll be home. When we get back, I’ll settling back into my chair, all refreshed, where I’ll be spending this summer windows open, flowers wafting from the garden, deep in the diary, writing Enchanted, England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, reliving everything we did at almost this very time last year. Talk about armchair travel!

And one more little gift I found on Youtube . . . an armchair walk through the English Countryside with a very knowledgeable English man. The Lake District to be exact . . . HERE you GO!  Stress reliever extraordinaire. Enjoy! ❌⭕️❌

Later gators. xoxo

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470 Responses to SPRING FLING

  1. Tara Grosso says:

    Instagram! Definitely! Can’t keep up with Twitter…too much…it goes by so quickly and I miss stuff. #stress

  2. Elaine Magliacane says:

    I have a book suggestion for you… ‘Code name: Lise The true story of the woman who became WWII’s most highly decorated spy’ by Larry Loftis I think you’ll enjoy it. The pictures of Lise (Odette) remind me of photos of my mother when she married my Dad before he left for WWII.

  3. Jay says:

    What a delight that walk was! Thanks for sharing it with us. Have a wonderful “break” you two!

  4. Lynette Strohbach says:

    It’s 50 degrees here for the first time since November in Minnesota! Love the sunshine and the promise of all the glory that is to come! Thanks for reminding us of the simple pleasures of life Susan! We need it after a long hard winter. Any ideas on when the book will come out? No pressure, we are all waiting with bated breath! Lots of love to everyone!

  5. Sara S. says:

    Yorktown Battlefield is very near Jamestown and Williamsburg.

  6. Gail says:

    Such a nice blog post. My vote is Instagram.

  7. Julie V from Springfield, MO says:

    What a lovely surprise to see your latest blog. Can’t wait to see the pictures and hear all about your mini-break to see George Washington’s home -it is on my travel list too. Have a wonderful time!

  8. Samantha ( Nova Scotia) says:

    Hi Susan! I am so happy about Spring! Beautiful pictures of light. Works of art around your house….congrats on 16 lbs. Whoot! That is amazing. That oatmeal looks so so yummy. The 23rd is my 40th birthday lol so it really WILL be a fun day. The 40’s will be amazing.:) We are also travelling to VA this summer as my parents live there. Its full of history and Southern charm. So excited. We have made your carrot cake the last 3 Easters. Now friends of ours say, ” Is she bringing that carrot cake? ” lol….its the most delicious recipe! Have a beautiful fun weekend xo

  9. Kay says:

    When we lived in DC in the eighties, we always took our guests out to Mt Vernon. It was their fave thing, right up there with the obligatory nighttime monuments tour. Right now on my dining table I have a gorgeous blue and white bowl I bought there years ago. And I vote for posting on IG. Thanks.

  10. Amy says:

    We visited Mount Vernon, Jamestown, and Williamsburg last July, it was wonderful. I hope you enjoy your trip!

  11. Christine from Covina CA says:

    Yes it is spring and the wildflowers here are in beautiful bloom!
    I love instagram not twitter and hope you post your trip on instagram!

  12. Laurie P says:

    Spring! The suspense is almost unbearable! It seems like living where it is warm and sunny year-round could be nice, but I would definitely miss the ecstatic feelings I get on that first truly gorgeous spring day. Daffodils are poking up in my back yard but the wind is pretty chilly today. I loved the Langdale Valley video! Nearly a year ago, we took the first bridge – who knew what we were missing! We’ll have to go back.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, ecstatic is the right word! Almost worth it for that inspiration! Isn’t that funny . . . I would have taken that bridge too! It’s so cute!

  13. Lynne says:

    Yes! Signs of spring everywhere. Snowdrops, crocus, and tulips and daffodils poking up through the dirt. Ah, such hope and anticipation in the air. Thank you for your springy blog. ♥

  14. Lynn C Maust says:

    Where on Netflix is Turn: Washington’s Spies?

    • sbranch says:

      You can do a search and it will come up . . . look for the little magnifying glass and click on it.

  15. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Loved the bird calls. Thanks for the Turn tip. I’ll be looking for it on Netflix. Have a wonderful mini-vacation. It’s finally Spring here after a really unbelievably snowy cold February. Suddenly the sun is blazing away and it’s HOT. This is NOT normal. I put new plants in my window box so it better not snow again!. Congratulations on the 16 pounds gone!! You are an inspiration.

  16. Joan K says:

    What a delightful blog you sent to all of us …….I, too am obsessed with the dazzling light throught the house. Guess what we call it ???
    SPARKLE-TIME !!! Thank you for always taking precious time to share so much with us…..xoxo

  17. Lorraine says:

    Only an artist, like yourself, would notice the light and shadows! Enjoy your get away, Susan! Thank you for all you do!

  18. Hilary Jones says:

    Love the blog! Happy travels…and yes, please post on Instagram😊

  19. Cyndi in NC says:

    When I was a child I loved the Forsythia. My name is Cynthia and I always thought it sounded like my name. Plus my grandmothers both grew the prettiest Forsythia. When I see it now it’s a for sure sign spring is springing forth! Down here we have had daffodils, azaleas, hyacinths, tulips dogwoods and other flowering trees blooming their hearts out. Our name it we got it!! *L* I love seeing my lovelies peeking out of the ground. I have seen the pictures of California and how beautiful the flowers are. Thanks for sharing your spring with us not to mention your sweet boy Jack. I can’t get enough of him. I also got some slaw mix at the store and am going to add it to my breakfast. I have had it before at dinner stir fried. A great way to get your veggies for the day! Also I can’t wait for the next book. It’s always fun to review the different trips. Your VA trip will be so much fun. My daughter lives in Virginia Beach now so we will be planning a trip to Williamsburg hopefully soon. I went there in high school many years ago, 1971, and loved it. Have a great time.

  20. Lynn Marie says:

    Yeah for Spring! Have a delightful Spring mini vacay! I am voting for Instagram.

  21. Sharon Noble says:

    I just returned from a pre-field trip to Williamsburg. We have always done a day in Williamsburg, and then a day in Jamestown. This year we added a third day for our fifth graders and parents in Yorktown. I needed to scout it out and am so glad I did! If you can get to Yorktown, the Museum of the American Revolution is fantastic, as well as the town. There is a wonderful shop of used books that you could spend hours in! Enjoy!

  22. Barbara Weaver says:

    Ohhh, Mt. Vernon! It’s the greatest visit. You will love the museum. Life size figures of George Washington show him at various ages from young man to old. They fire the imagination. You’ll love Williamsburg on this year’s trip. Everything is in bloom down here. A real springtime pleasure! Enjoy and drive carefully.

  23. Carol K says:

    Love your sunshine photos especially the one with the shadow for the face in the mirror. So neat. My latest thing is to take pictures out the front of the car window while we’re day trippin. So much fun. I don’t use Instagram so if you post of Twitter or FB that works for me. Here in central NJ we’re having cold rain but that is not stopping my lavender crocus from blooming and the daffodils are about 3 inches out of the ground. Talking about ‘dirty vegetables” nothing is safe any more. We’re lucky though because a new organic farm quite near to us just opened their fantastic totally organic store (profetafarms.com) and I’m loving what I’ve seen so far. Thank you for those breakfast suggestions. I definitely have to try them. Have a safe trip to VA, it should be lovely about now.

  24. Margaret Longlet says:

    Dear Susan
    Williamsburg is my favorite place in the USA to visit. There is so much to learn and so much to charm your eyes. Enjoy your Spring getaway and feast for your soul
    Margaret L

  25. Susan Quimby says:

    We still have lots of snow here but it’s slowly melting and we will soon have bulbs blooming. I like winter because it snows and we can have a fire every day but I love spring and can’t wait to garden again ❤️
    Wishing you a fun trip and we are with you in spirit!

  26. Margaret Longlet says:

    Dear Susan,
    Williamsburg is always enchanting and there is so much to learn. Enjoy the feast for tired winter eyes there!

  27. Pat says:

    Those Angelique tulips are aMAzing!!

  28. Maggie Bresz says:

    I’m reading George Washington’s Secret Six spies book now too. Last year I was at Mt Vernon and their beautiful museum. It was wonderful. I love reading your blog, it is a breath of spring good news.

  29. blbc says:

    Colonial Williamsburg contains so many treasures. And the College of William and Mary – be sure to check out the Wren Building (inside) and go behind the Sunken Garden (behind Wren); keep walking, you will come upon Art tucked among the trees and bushes. Keep moving and there it will be The Crim Dell Bridge.

    Mount Vernon is beyond exceptional!

    Can’t wait to read all about your travels to the Common Wealth for Spring!

  30. Denise Baca says:

    Hi Susan,

    Spring-Spring, is here. How lovely. Enjoy your trip.

    Love your blog.

  31. Kathie 🐝 says:

    Good for you. Finally a break. Please do it more this year, we fans want you around for a long, long time! So excited for the new books. The eating more healthfully thing is going strong. I have heard others doing the same. Am trying it too so any hints and advice are welcome. Thank you for always being my guide.

  32. Cyndi in NC says:

    I don’t know what happened to my post but it disappeared. Boo! I love all the pics and of course the pics of Jack. Like your I love spring and all the beautiful flowers. Enjoy your trip to Williamsburg!

  33. sharon taylor says:

    Hi Susan, How delightful!! Spring is on it’s way. Being a little farther north than you we haven’t seen anything coming up out of the ground but the snow is melting and air is starting to have that wonderful freshness. I watched Eric Worsley’s walk in the Lake District. How beautiful. Enjoy your little FUN trip away. My daughter just got back from Charleston and absolutely loved it. She does a tremendous amount of research before she goes anywhere to find the best spot to eat, the best this and the best that. At the end of March she is leaving with her husband for Ireland. Up, she has all the sites one should see and eat while there. I’ll be at home supervising the grand-children, dreaming and looking forward to spring. Cheerio, Sharon

  34. CindyK says:

    How lovely, all your light shadows, and talk and pics of spring! Winter has been bad all over (I’m in Minnesota) and spring has been a long time coming! It was soooo nice to sit out on our deck this afternoon soaking up some sun with my sweet kitty Keke. He is adorable!
    Your trip sounds like one I’d like to take myself someday! Have fun!
    Oh! I’m really looking forward to the new book!! I was along with you, virtually of course, and can’t wait to stroll down memory lane.

  35. Candace E. Kautzer says:

    Have lots of fun on your trip and wave when you drive through New Jersey – I’ll keep my eye out for you! Love your books and your blog. Pet your kitty for me.

  36. Susie J says:

    Susan, thank you so much for such a lovely breath of fresh air – this sweet spring blog! So excited for the best season of the year (for me) and to hear news and views of your travel. So pleased for you to have this trip but honestly cannot wIt for your return so your new book will be underway. Travel safely, happy spring, and see you at the height of spring when you return!

  37. Erin Spining says:

    Have fun at Mt. Vernon and Williamsburg. I have great memories of 4 eighth grade trips with each of my 4 children, ha! We all share a great love of American history but like to laugh at the photos of those teen faces being dragged through that 5 day field trip!
    One of my favorite books is Mount Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark. I love to read historical fiction about a place I visit. I’m such a romantic.

  38. Sandy says:

    Thank you for another wonderful post! It feels like I am visiting with
    a good friend.
    LOVED the Langdale Valley video. I will probably never travel across the pond, but I do so vicariously through you!
    May you have a wonderful trip to Virginia. I was able to go with my daughter – years ago – on a school trip to both Mount Vernon and Williamsburg. You brought back those memories from years ago. When you get to Mount Vernon, please sit in one of those rockers on the porch. I rocked there myself and reflected on our great country and those brave men and women that went before us. Sending a California hug!

  39. Martha Lane says:

    Spring has sprung! Your artwork is so amazing and I know that it is hard work but you make it look so easy. Thanks for adding joy and happiness to our lives. Have a great trip!

  40. Lynda Mortensen says:

    In exactly 3 weeks I’ll be landing at Heathrow, taking the tube to St. Pancras rail station, and from there a 1 hour train ride to my hometown. I just can’t wait! My Mum says that all the Spring flowers are blossoming in her garden…and she has my cosy, tiny (6’x8’) room ready…and hopefully will be stocking up the ‘chocolate’ shelf in my room too! Here in Colorado we are still recovering from the ‘bomb cyclone’ blizzard and there aren’t many signs of Spring yet. I am just too excited! My annual 7 weeks of bliss, getting rid of any traces of an American accent that has snuck it’s way into my English one, catching up with old school friends and relatives, Pie & mash in cosy beamed village pubs, Cadbury chocolates, Fish & Chips, British TV favourites, sketching (lots and lots of sketching)…and then, just as I begin to really miss him, my husband will arrive for the final 2 weeks and guess what? We are hiring a narrowboat, taking my 86 year old Mum with us and ‘sailing’ it for a week up the Grand Union Canal…stopping at every canalside pub for leisurely lunches and suppers and pints of real ale and yummy cider. I miss home so so so very much!

    • Jo'L says:

      Sounds like heaven, have a marvelous trip home.

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      I miss your home, Lynda!!! I’d move there in a flash if I could. In by several long trip to England, I pined to take a narrow boat. Love the West Kennet Canal. Spent several hours watching folks opening and closing the gates in that amazing stair stepped portion near Divises.
      You have a fabulous visit.
      Debbie in Tampa

  41. Sue Miller says:

    I love Williamsburg! Been there four time. First time on our honeymoon 37 years ago❤️ Most recently last year with my daughter, son in law and 13 year old grandson. It is wonderful to step out of the world and go to a place of simplicity. Have a beautiful trip! Happy Spring!

  42. Nettie says:

    Oh the fun you are having, just what life should be about. Spring is such a time of renewal as we slowly watch it arrive. I love to see my garden develop day by day into full beauty that only spring brings. Summer is lovely but there is just something very special about spring.
    Your trip to Virginia will be wonderful I love Willimsburg please do post pic on Instagram not twitter we’ll leave that to you know who lol
    Great job on the weight loss I’m working on losing the 5 I put on over the long winter..thankfully like you I love veggies. Keep up the good work as you already know we feel so much better lighter
    I so enjoy you and your work….always inspiring

  43. Becky McMahan says:

    Welcome to Virginia! !! I Live in Virginia Beach and LOVE visiting Colonial Williamsburg. If I may make some suggestions..on Saturday morning from 9 till 12 there is a lovely Farmer’s Market on Duke of Glouster St. I have a friend who sells creamy goat’s milk soap there I was just cuddling with her newborn goats and lamb on her farm there last Monday). Also close by is the French restaurant–Blue Talon ( I know you are watching what you eat) but the richest Parisian Hot Chocolate there is a rare treat–including homemade marshmallows.
    Besides Jamestown, you may also enjoy Yorktown–a smaller, different feel that Williamsburg but also a lovely place to walk around, Enjoy–I know you will!!

  44. Christine Carlsen says:


    Thank you for your wonderful Spring post! I enjoyed reading every word! I also have been on a Good For You Food Kick! Took out the Carbs and Sweets, so hard! Have lost 10 pounds so far. But, I feel better already. Carbs are not good for me, I love them, but they don’t love my body! Your Geranium looks lovely in the new frame, Perfect! Enjoy your visit to Northern Virginia, your in my neck of the woods! Mount Vernon has a wonderful museum! I know you will enjoy Williamsburg, I go as often as I can. Lots of Great Restaurants and Second Hand Shops. The Velvet Shoestring is one of my favorite. It’s just down the street from Colonial Williamsburg. You never know what you will find! I have one question. I thought I read in a past post, the name of the store in England where you purchased your flower fabric for your new curtains in your dining room. I have looked and can’t locate it. Of course I may be crazy and didn’t read it at all! Would you mind sharing the name of the store or website? Thank you.
    Safe Travels! Enjoy!!

  45. Catherine L says:

    Thank you so much for “the walk”. How gorgeous! My ancestors are ALL from Britain – maybe that’s why it feels like home? I have never been, and probably won’t get to. This is so great.

  46. Sherry Coleman says:

    I’m so excited about your new book! I had never been to England until you hid us in your luggage and took us all along, so your book will be like going all over again! It was so good of you to take us along and I’ll never forget it!

    All the food you have been showing us looks scrumptious! Gives me so many ideas. I would love to see them all in a book some day. I would buy it in an instant!

    I vote for Instagram for your little trip. I love it there. It’s a cheerful place to be with so many kind people. 💕🌷🌞

  47. Catherine L says:

    P.S. I’m pretty sure I saw/felt some “sprites” in Jonathan Craig’s video 🙂

  48. Sarah says:

    Have a safe trip on your getaway! I’ve only visited Williamsburg once and that was decades ago. Such a delightful, informative visit. I know you will have a stellar time. And George Washington’s home too. It is so special!
    Please post photos, lots of photos. IG is my only account. I don’t use Twitter!
    Happy travels. Happy Spring from Austin, TX where the bluebonnets are in full bloom!

  49. Nettie says:

    The video is awesome thank you for finding it….I never search for things on utube now I will

  50. Jennifer Palmquist says:

    Please post on Instagram!! I almost never go on Twitter in my free time because I have to watch it for work and the news is too often stressful. My Instagram is filled with people who bring me joy!!

  51. Becerly Neuman says:

    Alaska is always so beautiful and especially in the snow. I can barely stand to have it leave!
    It is leaving early this year unless it changes its mind and decides to snow once more which
    I would love! I saw some lawns today turning green. No flowers up yet however. We are
    a month ahead of break-up.
    I love the way you say things, Susan. I wish you were my neighbor so we could eat each
    others kitchen creations. In the summer I am mostly outside so the cooking is easy and fast
    then. Thanks so much for all your goodness! Enjoyable!

  52. Linda G. says:

    Happy Trails to you both. Jack will be watching and waiting with a rubber Bands! Please post on Instagram.

  53. Laura Joy says:

    Thank you, how happy you have made my day! LOVE your geraniums painting. While you’re in Virginia you should stop off in Fredericksburg (where I live) to see Ferry Farm, where George Washington lived as a child (and did NOT chop down a cherry tree!). Much love to you, and happy travels!
    Laura Joy

  54. Kelli L says:

    I’m so looking forward to your new book! My sister-in-law and I will be planning a trip to Ireland in the fall of 2020 for my mother-in-laws 80th birthday. I can’t wait to get ideas to include in our plans. I can’t wait to read about your trip to Virginia.

  55. Miss Merry says:

    Please, please share your trip on Insta! I orginally followed you on Twitter (from the twain), but now it is so full of political stuff that I can’t stop following that I have put twitter on hold and just enjoy the (mostly) photos on Insta. I think we all need a respite from the horribleness and would appreciate being able to tag along on your Spring Travels!!!

  56. Connie Kaupe says:

    When you go to Mt. Vernon – the gift shop sells tea grown specially for them (or on site – I don’t remember). The blackberry is amazing, and there’s also one called Colonial Bohea that is supposed to taste like the tea the Boston rebels chucked into the harbor! It’s a much different flavor than we’re used to, but good. I LOVED Mt. Vernon when I went 3 summers ago. Enjoy.
    Also – Instagram, please!!

  57. Becky says:

    Awwww spring! My favorite season if I HAVE to pick just one. Thank you for sharing your spring things. Would love you sharing your trip on Instagram. Happy Traveling. ♥️

  58. Anne in Maine says:

    Don’t you just love the gifts our kitties leave us? You received a rubber band in your shoe. I received a play mouse in the shower! It was such a great way to start my day—-laughing. Actually, it was a very good thing it was Bodie’s black and white, what we call, cow mouse. Otherwise, if it had been one of his brown ones it could have started my day very differently—screaming! LOL (I didn’t have my glasses on.) Enjoy your trip! Happy Spring! Anne

  59. Lynn C Maust says:

    Where on Netflix is Turn: Washington’s Spies?
    Love the walk to the awesome water fall…

  60. Sandy B. says:

    Ah Spring has sprung! Love the sheets blowin’ in the wind. Did need to mention (since you showed a pic of your March calendar page), you led me astray with the National Pancake Day~~~was 3/12 not 3/5 as on calendar! That’s ok, we had pancakes both days.

  61. Sarah says:

    We lived in Virginia for three years before moving back to Texas. I miss it every day. My Revolutionary War patriot ancestor was born in Virginia. The “cradle of liberty” is one of my favorite places. Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown are wonderful. And you will LOVE Mt. Vernon. We used to go at Christmas. Have a wonderful trip!

  62. Margaret Harke says:

    Thank you, Susan for the “destreeser”. Loved the lovely walk!

  63. Laura says:

    Welcome Spring! Forsythia and Quince in little vases around my home. 💛🧡 Read Washington Spies- found it to be intriguing. ‘Being George Washington’ was recommended -haven’t looked it up, yet. Have family 5 minutes from Mt. Vernon. Love the history of the very first POTUS. His gardening was/is inspirational. So glad you’re off in a mini-break! As my grand-littles say, ‘Have too much fun and bring some back!’

    ‘Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person’s own mind than on the externals of the world.’ G.W.

  64. Eileen says:

    The picture of the breakfast you are eating on your you diet look very enticing. Are you following a particular diet plan ?

  65. Debra Maniar says:

    Instagram please!! I deleted Twitter 🙂

  66. Pam Erselius says:

    To your readers: I have a giclee from another artist. He explained that the printer (machine) applies the paint/inks just like the artist did. So it’s as close to the original as you can get. From online: “Well, giclee is French meaning “to spatter out” which pretty much refers to the process of how ink is applied to paper when a special large format printer is used.”
    Susan, I’ve been eating similarly (healthier) to you for 2 years since my body wanted to be
    pre-diabetic. There’s nothing like a scare and symptoms to help you lose weight!
    I hope you will come up with something like stevia sweetened, non-grain dessert recipes!
    In a little book!!! Thank you.

  67. Karen V from CT says:

    Your mini-break sounds so fun-and well thought out with plenty of chances to stop and smell the roses (and maybe buy some!) along the way! I do use Instagram much more than Twitter nowadays, in case you are posting during your trip. I haven’t been to Williamsburg since I was in high school (a LONG time ago) so I look forward to your photos from there and from Mt. Vernon, sound so interesting! My husband loves history, and I did buy him the Chernow book on your recommend, so now I think I will have to read it myself! Have a great time, looking forward to your travel posts!

  68. Beverly says:

    Susan, any news concerning when the little dishes and courage vases will be arriving? Hoping to use them for my spring flowers.

    • sbranch says:

      I have lit a bonfire under those folks. These things are SO late from when they were promised, and I really don’t know why, although I’ve certainly asked. I don’t know, I’m disappointed and feel terrible about it . . . I wrote them before I left home and they apologized profusely and assured me everything is being hurried and we will see it soon, he says two weeks, I’ll believe it when I see it. But I do know it’s coming! I’m so sorry Beverly!

  69. Jana says:

    When you visit Jamestown, look for the exhibit about the arrival of the first slave ship. It has been 400 years and our race relations are not much improved.

    • sbranch says:

      We started off on the wrong foot. Our national shame. The human race. Wordless. Hard to LOVE people who had slaves! Hard to compartmentalize that. This box for heroism, this box for shame, both boxes for same person.

  70. Gail G. says:

    It looks like the perfect road trip for you and Joe. And a great time of year to go! You will love Mt. Vernon, and if you have time, try to visit Monticello. Both places were magnificent. Thomas Jefferson was a graduate of W&M. Our son is down in Williamsburg this week for work at the College of William and Mary. He graduated from this beautiful college in 2005. We always loved visiting the campus and Colonial Williamsburg. Such an interesting place to stay and learn about our history. Have a fabulous time! And enjoy those antique shops!

  71. Sue says:

    All of your posts are so dreamy!

    I went to Williamsburg and Mt. Vernon as an 11 y.o. on a cross country trip with my parents and three older siblings, pulling our trailer…from Southern CA to the east coast! Ahhh, what memories!

    Have a great time!

  72. Another lovely post, but none of your links will work for me…

  73. Debby says:

    Twitter please. Thanks, Debby

  74. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    I have always loved your Lighthouse Beach. It’s wonderful, especially for a SoCalif ‘shore’ girl like me.

    Indeed our wildflower bloom is, daily, becoming a stupendous thing here, Susan. I had my first hometown sighting of wild blue lupine in the residential hill streets yesterday, first day of Spring. I was truly thrilled. I’m in the sliver of the state where we never completely got out of the drought but, as you know, they’ve now declared the entire STATE of California to be drought-free; for us, the first time in ten years. Such a help for everything, especially trees; we’ve had tremendous loss of trees in the area. And we had even MORE rain last night and half the day today. Love it, love it, love it!

    I watch for all my faves on TCM (no commercial interruption!). I now watch the old b&w films just to look at the interiors of rooms (furnishings/decor), the clothes – – a reflection of how perhaps my grandparents and parents lived in the 20s, 30s, 40s (there’ll be an old movie, maybe a silent one, and I’ll watch it & think, wow, was my grandma watching this at the movie house when she was a teen, with somebody playing an in-house organ as accompaniment…?…makes me feel close to her, can’t explain it; I miss her).

    And I can never get enough of the movies shot in color ‘on location’ (all over the world) in the 50s and early 60s, like the ones with Cary Grant & Grace Kelly and/or Audrey Hepburn; William Holden; Elizabeth Taylor. (Jennifer Jones; ‘Love is A Many-Splendored Thing’/Hong Kong. “Boy on A Dolphin” with Sophia Loren & Alan Ladd, in Greece. Armchair travel!!)

    I enjoyed watching some days ago on TCM, the color film from I think 1964(?) called “Hawaii” (from the James Michener novel, which I actually read in 7th grade when I didn’t quite understand everything!), starring Richard Harris (with his Irish-accented EXCELLENT, theatrical Engish) in a dashing role, a young Julie Andrews and of course (the very tall in height) Max von Sydow. Ah, for the days of the big ‘epic’ sagas. (I, at first, wondered if ‘Hawaii’ was partly filmed, in fact, at Williamsburg but, no, it was Old Sturbridge Village in your neck ‘o the woods. [I looked it up!] Both are of course ‘living history’ museums; I’ve never seen either, so am looking forward to what you post about Williamsburg! My mother and my dad also enjoyed [as retirees] visiting Monticello [another amazing thing to see in Virginia) and learning about Thomas Jefferson.)

    Thank you for another timely, beneficial, sweet post. I’m glad things are going well for you. I’m especially gobsmacked by your weight loss; again, like from the last post, congrats! Well done! Tell me, from start to finish, when you began some weeks back on the mindful eating, including the time you’ve spent with walking and ‘in-place’ (dining room) exercises (your strength training, too, with the small hand weights), how long did it take you to lose this current amount of pounds – – would you say it’s been about 2 pounds per week so far?

    One more question, about the husband of Amy Schumer (the comedian) – – Chris Fischer; an interesting guy who’s a well-known chef and whose family has lived/farmed on Martha’s Vineyard for multiple generations – – chef-to-chef, does Joe know of him? I just bought his book called ‘The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook’, which got the James Beard aware a couple/three years ago. I saw her interviewed by Seth Meyers last night and became intrigued. His book can now reside with my other ‘Cape Cod’ cookbooks, like your Joe’s ‘The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook’ which I think I’ve had for like 20 years or something. I’ve never been to Massachusetts(!!) – – yet, for some odd reason and long before I ever knew about you, I’ve had an affinity for the area and the New England cooking.

    And now this is a bit TMI and I’m leaving an excessively-long comment.

    • sbranch says:

      Such a nice comment Vicki . . . yes, it’s averaged 2 lbs a week. Yes, we do know of Chris Fischer, but only because he was a local, and the food, and not so much his celebrity status. LOVED the book Hawaii . . . read it summers at the beach when I was a teenager . . . lasted the whole summer!

  75. Sheryl says:

    Jamestown is beautiful too. I brought back a little green glass vase that was blown right there.on site.. It’s been more than 20 years since I’ve been there, I think it’s time to plan a road trip.!

  76. Jo'L says:

    Love the light show, the Zinnia picture, the music, the joy you add, Jack, anticipation of your tale of an American adventure after your getaway to Virginia, the video trip to the Lake District, and lastly, the fun of seeing the advantage of globalization to my home state of Oregon in the gentleman hiker’s jacket.

    As always, many thanks.

  77. Marilyn Ghere says:

    I vote for posting your Virginia trip photos on Instagram, not Twitter.
    When my husband and I visited Mount Vernon, I found it such a special home and grounds to explore and think about George and Martha Washington. You are smart to be visiting there in Spring instead of summer !!

  78. Deborah Jurgensen says:

    I vote Instagram!

  79. Janis H says:

    Williamsburg was our second home. DO go to Shirley Plantation to see the
    Flying staircase, on the James River, Down Route 5, and don’t miss dining at the Williamsburg Inn,
    So lovely and romantic! ❤️ Love the Ghost Tours down Duke of Gloucester
    Streets. Don’t miss
    King’s Arms Tavern for their Cream of Peanut Soup. I still make this
    Soup at Thanksgiving courtesy of the original Williamsburg Cookbook. Breakfast at Christiana Campbell’s is wonderful and Visiting
    The “Gaol” and the sampling Sally Lunn Bread is a treat! Enjoy. A visit to
    The College of William and Mary is always wonderful. History is

  80. Marcia from Sewell says:

    There are no pictures in this blog about half way thru, anyone else have this problem?

  81. Bonnie Brown says:

    Oh Susan, I read this wonderful blog posting the first time last night as I was heading back home to Va Beach after going on a lantern ghost tour in my favorite place-Williamsburg! It was a chilly misty night. Just perfect for the ghost tales! Be sure to check out the cute little fenced garden hidden off DOG(Duke of Gloucester St) next to the colonial gardener where the baby lambs were. No lambs yet, but there are a few poppies, daffodils, and croci.
    You will enjoy Jamestown. They have a terrific older lady docent who told of being an indentured servant-so interesting. She carried a chicken with her!
    You may even get to Westover Plantation, where TURN had some scenes filmed, especially the James River scenes. Have a safe and lovely trip. You have enriched my life. Thank you.

  82. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    When I turned my mini calendar to March and saw the forsythia wreath with instructions I knew it was an easy spring fix! so I ran up to JoAnn fabrics and bought enough supplies to make two. Gave one to friend who had been sad lately to cheer her up – and her neighborhood. I suggested we stop off for a quick dinner on our way home the next night and gave her the wreath before we went in to the restaurant. She said it really does give her a lift when she pulls into the driveway and sees that burst of yellow on the door. thanks for such an easy pretty project.

  83. Dd says:

    Can’t wait for that book! I for one wish you would switch to IG and leave t political cesspool of Twitter.

  84. Margie says:

    Our forsythia is booming in Maryland. Should be beautiful in Virginia when you visit with the daffodils and tulips up. Congratulations on your diet, you must be Miss Minnie now! I could smell your linens on the clothesline! Love it! Thank you for your breath of fresh air from Massachusetts! ♥️

  85. Becky Evans says:

    Hi Susan! I’m so excited you are going to Williamsburg. It is one of my favorite places. And Mount Vernon too! I’m a Virginian so I get to visit more frequently. I hope you have a fabulous time!

  86. Angela Camacho says:

    Susan, we have the pleasure to live in Virginia and absolutely love it! I grew up in Texas and always considered Texas my home, until now. My husband is retired military and we decided to settle in Virginia and I am so thrilled we did! I homeschool my last child and oh the field trips we have and wonderful memories!! Mt. Vernon is one of our favorite places as well as Colonial Williamsburg!! Enjoy my beautiful state! The weather will be amazing for your visit next week!!

  87. Cris In Or says:

    Oh do put the pictures in Instagram please. I don’t do twitter. Also congrats on the 16 pound loss. I lost 32 pounds and it’s feels so good. It took awhile but it’s staying off. We’re the same age and it’s important to maintaining our health. Have a great mini holiday. Look forward to seeing the goodies you find. 🤗

  88. Chris Wells from Knickerbocker, TX says:

    You lifted my spirits with this post of all thing Spring!❤️ I won’t keep you…off you go on your wonderful spring break!! This old lady needs to figure out Instagram! 😂

    • sbranch says:

      I know how to post, but the connection BETWEEN me and people, that’s the hard part. I can LIKE something, I know how to do that, and I can reply to replies, but after that . . . Plus, no one uses their real name. Just found out last night, during dinner with dear old friends, that my girlfriend follows me on Instagram. With the first letter of her first name and her maiden name. I don’t recognize that . . . so how do you follow??? It’s a mystery!

      • Cris Marlow In OR says:

        That is a puzzler..why the strange names for Instagram. But I don’t have as many followers as you do. I don’t know how you remember everyone anyway.. I know who a certain strange name is because my IG is set to private. I was jazzed when you liked something of mine recently tho. Cris In Or but I better sign full name from now on here.

        • sbranch says:

          Went looking for Cris In Or, and found nothing! Tried Cris Marlow, and no, nothing there either. That’s what I mean, sometimes I get lucky and can find people, but other times, I can’t, and don’t recognize their alternate names. I’m sure I have all kinds of Girlfriends wondering why I don’t follow them!!!

          • Cris M In Or. says:

            You follow me. cris.marlow ..on top once there it’ll say cris & Con. I put cris In Or on blog only, as I used to have a blog. I did a video of a morning sunrise you liked recently. I’ll leave a message on your last IG saying something with.l cris In Or ..in message. Had to do a dot in middle of name as I got locked out of my original one. Now that’s frustrating. But yes IG can be frustrating.

          • sbranch says:

            Oh good. Yes, I put in Cris Marlow (without the dot) and I got a whole lot of Chris Marlow’s… got Cris and Con, but didn’t know which was you! Glad I follow already!!! Yes, Twitter seems so much easier to me. Mostly because I’ve been on there so long. And I feel like it’s my responsibility as citizen to help spread truth (and some happiness) around since we’ve experienced so many constant lies (esp. radio!) since the 1980s with NO place to say HEY, WAIT A MINUTE until now! 🤣 I really do try and stay away from the snarly folks, “block” is a very handy tool. Won’t give up on IG. Slowly I will learn!!!

          • Cris M In Or. says:

            Also if you look at top of IG page it’ll usually..that’s usually..tell their real name, and you can identify them. Cris M

        • Cris Marlow In Or. says:

          If I can learn to use IG you can too. 🤗 You can also post more then one picture on each post. Which is kinda fun too. I’m only new to the internet since 2001 but still followed your art and books and stickers before..without the internet through magazines etc. the Internets great and not so great at the same time..so it’s good there is the block tool. 😉

  89. Cindy Dillinger says:

    Wonderful blog! I vote for Instagram, love it. Have a great trip. I love Virginia, it will be a beautiful drive.
    Cindy D.

  90. Sandi from the Cape says:

    Dear Susan, I have always wanted to tour Mount Vernon! It’s still on my bucket list! I’ll be anxiously waiting to see your next blog and pictures. Williamsburg has always been one of my favorite places, maybe while you’re there you could tour one of the plantations along the James River. You won’t be disappointed! Happy Spring and safe travels to you!
    PS Thanks for all your encouragement on the road to healthy living!

  91. wkucaralyne says:

    Love Williamsburg! I was there last year (just after you were) for a conference for work. While we were there, we wandered into Bruton Parish Church right before a performance of classical music by students in the area. I sat there, in this building that had housed so many of our historical figures, listening to this beautiful music and tears just leaked out of my eyes everywhere. Absolutely amazing “feed yourself from the well of sweetness” stuff. I want to go back when we have more time. Thank goodness for parents who always took me on learning vacations without me even realizing it! I just thought it was fun! Have a great time on your travels! Enjoy the spring everything!

  92. Linda Michael in PA says:

    I love the picture of the bust shadow on your sideboard! It’s wonderful that you captured it. I vote Instagram. Have a great time in lush and green and warm Virginia.

  93. Ann Parsons says:

    Happy travelling Susan and Joe, and I would love to keep up with your trip on Instagram so please post lots of pictures there. Safe journey and enjoy!
    With love from Ann in Chester xx


    As a long time Williamsburg resident, welcome to Colonial Williamsburg and Virginia and ! I also support the recommendations of my Virginia Beach neighbor earlier in the post with visits to our Farmer’s Market on Sat. morning, Blue Talon restaurant, and Yorktown, but also to Historic Jamestowne. It is a marvel! Other great restaurants are Waypoint, Fat Canary, and Cochon on 2nd Street. I will be happy all week knowing you and Joe are here enjoying my town. Come have a drink!!

  95. Lenora Kirby says:

    Snowing in Albany NY today, thanks for the spring message. Have just signed up for Instagram – have a great Spring Break!

  96. Wendy Louise says:

    Oh Susan, Thank-you for that delightful video. You just added to my dream of going to England. There is such beauty in this world to focus on. Have a wonderful trip, Paul and I did the trip you are going on now a few years back and it is so inspirational. If you have time visit Jefferson’s home too, it’s exceptional! Happy trails to you, ♥️🌷Wendy Louise

  97. Beth Barnat says:

    You always cheer me up more and stir my creative juices.
    Thank you for the carrot cupcake recipe! I had a carrot cake for my wedding cake! Yummy!

    We went to Jamestown with my parents when we were very young (we lived in Needham & Newton Center, MA). I remember how small the men’s beds were – like children’s beds. But they didn’t have Wheaties back then – packed full of vitamins and minerals!

    Have a wonderful time!

  98. Grace says:

    So much luv-lee-ness! I’m loving your new food ideas (and your old recipes, as well). Can’t wait for the new book! And I vote for Instagram. I avoid Twitter as much as possible but look at Instagram every day. Happy Spring!

  99. Cindy says:

    I hope have a chance to also visit Jamestown and the Yorktown Revolutionary museum. Also, if you get a chance, I would highly recommend a stop at Brent and Becky’s bulbs in Gloucester, Va. If you visit the Yorktown Revolutionary Museum, it’s a short trip across the bridge (the Coleman Bridge). Have a great time!

  100. Robyn says:

    I prefer Instagram. Seems like Twitter is too contentious and hate filled.

    • sbranch says:

      We have some truly lovely people on Twitter . . . truly, but yes, it’s a crazy world. In some ways I feel like by being there I’m doing good! Hate to abandon it, they need the beauty we provide, is what I think.

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