It’s a whole blog of normalcy today . . . the lovely joyous days of early spring where, pretty much, the only thing going on is . . .  Guess what??? Oh yeah, they’re here! English Bone China! Rabbit-Rabbit. MUSICA 😘

They came in today! And they’re already going out, thanks to Kellee and Sheri! Only days to go now until these are in the hot little hands of all of you who’ve been showing such fortitude and patience! And in plenty of time for Mother’s Day! 💞 If you’ve forgotten what your cup looks like and you’d like to see the handle and what’s on the other side, go HERE. And while I’m at it, I have another update:

I almost don’t know what to say to all the rest of you waiting for your. . . little vases, the butter dishes, the Go. Be. Love ornament, the small glass, this little pin tray, and more . . .

I want you to know I’ve been calling them, I badgered them, I had a fit. I was the proverbial squeaky wheel. Because these things were supposed to be in your hands weeks ago. And I was just told, yesterday, they’re on the way. So I kept thinking they will get here, and they keep not getting here. I told the manufacturer that we were going to have to cancel this order. And he PROMISED me, that we will have them THIS MONTH. At this moment, I BELIEVE him. I believe they will be here. He said the middle of May. I say the end of May because it’s hard to believe THAT much. For sure, the INSTANT they arrive, they will go right out. I beg your pardon from the bottom of my heart. My hope is that you forgot if you ordered or not, so when your package shows up, it will be the most wonderful surprise! Sorry sorry sorry.

 I promised in the last blog that I would tell you what was in this delicious salad I had not once, but twice, at The Trellis in Colonial Williamsburg. As you can see, it’s a composed salad, made up of little piles of yum, beet hummus, crispy fried kale, Asian quinoa, pickled onions, goat cheese, and roasted sliced almonds. I added shrimp, but you really don’t need it for this flavor extravaganza where every bite bursts like a sparkler in your mouth.

He’s a photo I took of the actual dish at the actual restaurant. So the goat cheese was easy, I just bought the creamiest I could find at the market and broke it up into bite-size bits. I also found pre-made beet hummus at the market too (although the restaurant hummus was much darker, maybe next time I’ll buy hummus and blend in more beets or make my own). I toasted the almonds on a cookie sheet at 300º until pale brown. The Pickled Onions were easy: Thinly slice two large red onions and put them in a glass heat-proof bowl. Bring this mixture to boil: 1 c. water, 1/2 c. distilled white vinegar, 1/2 c. cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 tsp. minced ginger, 1 tsp. salt, dash of red pepper flakes. Pour boiling mixture over onions, mash them down so they’re all covered, cool, then chill.  (You’ll have some leftover, they keep for 2 weeks, delicious with everything, and good for you too!)

 Quinoa was easy too. To serve six, Bring 3 c. water to boil in med. saucepan. Add 2 c. quinoa, bring back to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and steam 10 minutes, till tender. Strain. Pour into a bowl, and stir in 4 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil, 1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce, zest and juice from 2 juicy limes, 3 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 5 minced green onions . . . or, because they were growing in my garden, a handful of minced chives. Serve at room temp.

I accidentally figured out a new highly useful trick with kale! I made the Fried Kale Chips twice, because I’d never done it before and I wanted to make sure they would get crisp and STAY crisp. So first off, you wash a large bunch of  kale (you need more than you think you do because it cooks down to nothing), remove the stems like in the photo (good for compost!), then tear the leaves in bite-sized pieces. Here’s the tricky part, because  kale needs to be massaged to make it tender, which can be a real pain, AND it needs to be dry when you put it in the oven, which takes a long time if you air dry it ~ do this:

In batches, wrap handfuls of wet kale in a dishtowel, roll it up tight as you can, and then twist the heck out of it, back and forth, mash it, get someone to twist it with you . . . so you are doing two things, you are massaging it AND you’re drying it. Tricky, eh? 👍 As each batch of kale is finished, put it into a large bowl.

When it’s all done, drizzle about a Tbsp. of olive oil over the kale, a little goes a long way and you don’t want it dripping. Put your hands in the bowl and toss well and make sure there’s oil on every piece, massaging as you go (but you don’t have to do much of that). Depending on how much kale you have, you may need a bit more oil.  Do NOT salt or pepper it. Lay it on dry cookie sheets making sure none of the pieces touch each other. Can’t touch. Put it in a 300º oven for 25 minutes. Remove and cool completely. I made this a few days before my party and left the kale out on the counter all night to see what would happen, and it was JUST as crisp the next day. So after it cools, keep it in an airtight jar or cookie tin. Another thing I do now, because kale is so good for you, and I want us to eat it more often. I do all these steps up to and including the olive oil, then I put the kale into a bag into the fridge, so anytime we want kale with our dinner, we can bring it out and it’s clean, tender, oiled, and ready for steaming, frying, or salad-making.

To serve, you want a fairly large serving of quinoa in the center, then arrange the goat cheese, kale chips, pickled onions, and beet hummus around it, sprinkle with almonds and serve! Healthy healthy healthy. You’re welcome!

So yes, I’m still eating in my new healthier way, losing weight verrrrry slowly. But hey, these three months were going to go by anyway. ⬆️ This is salmon, spinach & tomato salad, avocado, and Brussel sprouts. As you can see, I’m NEVER hungry, but now there are 20 pounds of butter off me! 

The only thing I actually cut out was sugar and white flour (sometimes I have a slice of seedy whole grain toast, and I did have Polenta Cake with whipped cream and strawberries when I invited my girlfriends to lunch. Oh yeah!). I’m determined in a way I haven’t been before. I don’t care how long it takes.  I just FEEL like being my old self and staying that way. This photo above is actually spaghetti! I love spaghetti! It’s made with shirataki noodles, which are great and have almost zero calories in them but are high in fiber, and no flour. We take good organic jarred spaghetti sauce and add sautéed onions, garlic, and basil, and we cook it down to thicken it and make it really flavorful. We serve it with Parmesan, sometimes we chop a little spinach into it.  

I’m not in it for weight loss per say, I’m in it for health. I’m in it for the clothes. I can’t tell you the joy as one after another of my old beloved clothes I’ve never been able to force myself to give away, begins to fit again after years. I squeal with each button that slides through the hole. But anyway, I just wanted to show you a few of my sample meals, this one above is green beans and spinach, with seeds, and two free-range omega-3 scrambled eggs. I have it for breakfast, but sometimes I have it for dinner, and if you do that, you basically go to bed happy and skinny. This is NOT to make any of my darling girlfriends feel guilty. I would feel horrible to think that I have. Thin or fat, we all come with a pre-ordained body type, I have faced the fact that I will NEVER have a waist ~ we deal with what we have the best we can. Everyone should be free to be themselves in the exact way they choose. BE WHO YOU ARE. You are adorable and very much loved.💞

More normalcy at least in this house, I want you to know I’ve been working hard on ENCHANTED every day and loving every second of it. I go to bed dreaming about it, remembering.

But we’ve been having fun too! For one thing, we’ve visited every nursery on the Island! Because they’re a little bit of heaven! And then we go out to lunch to restaurants beginning to open up again, and we take my manuscript for Joe to read, and I bring my book!

I wander around our garden every day with my camera and smell the green things growing and the fresh salt air up from the harbor.

I think our spring is early! It’s all happening at once, but it’s hard to complain!

It melts the heart. Thaws it out to be more exact, after winter!

Pear trees, weeping cherries, azalea, forsythia . . .

 The great thing about living in a place with extreme winter, as many of you know, is the extreme jump-for-JOY feeling you get every spring. You open your windows on specially good days, and blow out all the old wintery air with new freshness.  You haul your sweaters to the attic. You get out your pink things, your baby blue and your linen. It’s what makes it worthwhile.

Hello yellow birdie. The critters are doing the exact same thing, singing the praises of spring.

These two were just outside our kitchen windows, I do dishes and see this and dry my hands and grab the camera . . . it feels like a Disney movie, when they’re all together, the morning doves, squirrels, cardinals and robins … on the feeders, eating apples, frolicking in the bird bath, while bunnies nibble wild violets in the grass, and the wandering turkeys too . . .

Isn’t this cheerful? A taste of springtime whimsey. I’ve been adding to my tulips this year, buying them at the nurseries already in bloom so I can see the colors and know they are true.

🎶 It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood . . .🎵

I don’t know the names of many tulips, but these romantic pink ones are called Angelique.

You’ve probably seen it, but just in cases, the Marvelous Mrs Maisel is SO WONDERFUL. We just finished Season One. We’re late getting on the bandwagon. Joe and I snuggle in at night to watch and laugh out loud ~ it’s just so good. I think it might be only available on Amazon . . . but HERE’S a real fast recap of the first season.

There’s no violence, but plenty of “sailor talk” as they call it . . . this is supposed to be the 1950s and I never heard sailor talk like this, but they sure have it here. It’s worth it because it’s a visual treat, they GO TO PARIS! They vacation in the 1950s Catskills! They wear the greatest clothes! The coats! The hats! The characters! Susie! Mrs Maisel’s dad! I love them all and Joe loves them as much as me. So there you go, something fun to dip into. For all you Gilmore Girls Fans, this show was created by the same people.

More normalcy . . . this beautiful old building sits on top of a hill overlooking Vineyard Haven Harbor and was recently renovated and our long-awaited Martha’s Vineyard Museum was born. So of course we had to go see it.

This is part of the view as you walk through the door.

I hope you can see it if you come to the island. It has a little display about one of  my favorite people, Nancy Luce. (Note her necklaces and her handmade collar, look at her belt, she dressed for this photo no matter how mournful the expression. SHE had this photo taken, before it was easy to do!) I wrote her story in a previous post, if you’d like to read about her eccentric, artistic, but very lonely life. A person who made more something out of more nothing than almost anyone. She was true to her amazing self and has not been forgotten.

I had read about and seen pictures of the gravestones Nancy had especially made for her beloved chickens, but I never saw them in person. There they were at the new museum!

Here’s another one. In April, Joe and I attended a concert that honored Nancy Luce, performed for the first time by our Community Chorus at the Whaling Church in Edgartown.  Several of my friends are in the chorus and were on stage singing their hearts out ~ we all ended up in tears, that’s how lovely it was. While they were singing, I could picture Nancy coming through the door, in a church that was here when she was alive, in a place she used to ride to on her horse when she was young, seeing the honoring of her life in this way, and no doubt,  being beside herself with happiness. I hope the Chorus performs it again this summer. The composer who wrote the piece said he was taking it to Europe. Life is so amazing.

Here’s something else rather amazing. Note: BBC!  Note: bottom right corner! Yes! BBC Shop is now selling A Fine Romance on line and in their catalog! This thrills me to my soul ~ my little book! I’m now one step closer to my ultimate goal, the National Trust shops in England! Which will likely never happen, but hey, why not, this is BBC and I never thought that would happen either!

 Plus they are going to carry the new British Corgi Cup (just being shipped out from our Studio now as we speak) AND the 2020 Year in the English Countryside Calendar! The other wonderful thing, they mail order to Canada! Probably a lot less expensively than we can!

 Speaking of blessed. Guess what, my old kitty, Girl Kitty, who went to heaven in 2016, Jack and I think she is haunting us. 💞 We do!

Often when I’m working and it’s quiet in my studio, I’ve heard what sounds like a kitty jumping off the bed in the guest room above me ~ eyes to ceiling, then to Jack, asleep on my art table, and I think, no. But then, early yesterday morning when it was still dark, Jack and I were in the kitchen making tea and suddenly we heard the very distinct sound of kitty feet coming down the back stairs. No question about it, we looked at each other, then at the staircase waiting for Girl to appear, because what else could it be? But, she didn’t. Jack got up, walked to the staircase, and looked up. Then I did too. We stood there looking together, but there was nothing. And we both heard it!


This makes me happy because this little girl was a dream come true. Haunt away, Girl Kitty! Also nice, because Jack can’t chase her around and torture her. In fact, it may go the other way! I’ll keep you updated!

One more lovely morning shadow photo before I go. I love coming around the corner just as the sun is coming up to see the light streaming in, touching everything in a totally random way. Only for that very moment, and never the same twice.

Oh yes, and this one. The spoon my dad carved for me. This is how he says good morning to me now! I’ll take it any way I can!💞Off I go. Wishing you all the most wonderful month of May! Love Love Love. 💖

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478 Responses to BLOG of NORMALCY

  1. Samantha ( Nova Scotia) says:

    Hi Susan! Lovely post. Yummy food and Spring. So happy to hear positive news for Canada shipping. Often times we miss out or shipping is more than the products themselves! I am so happy for a new show recommendation. Looks like something I would totally indulge in.

    Happy Spring!! Girl Kitty will always be with you. ( she was such a beauty)


    • sbranch says:

      I know. Shipping is a nightmare. Getting all those cups from England to America, you can just imagine. Our biggest bill each month is shipping, more than rent, more than salaries! We need to figure out the beaming thing! Love that even a little thing like this BBC thing can help. xoxo

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        Boy did I get a surprise a few years back when I ordered something from a reputable, major (I love them!), Brit retailer online – – the call that my box was held at LAX in Customs from London and couldn’t be delivered til I paid an exorbitant tax/fee that had never been mentioned on the shopping site and I didn’t have awareness of such things. It was a good-sized order, not the most usual thing for me as it was (a lot of money!), and this Customs charge I had to pay was half of my total charges; I’m talking a $300 order and I had to pay an additional $150 to get it out of hock with Customs. NEVER again. Once burned, twice wise. That was IT for me with international shipping! I see many things I’d love to order from overseas but I don’t dare. It’s a shame it has to be this way.

        Susan, I’m so sorry you’re having headaches with the shipping of your cups and other lovelies; thank you for endeavoring to give us good-quality merchandise; for me personally, the wait is okay.

        • sbranch says:

          Oh yes, and customs costs are in addition to shipping! The only reason we can do this is because they don’t make us buy 1000s of cups at a time, which is lucky because we could never afford it. That’s why I do the preorders, so we know how many to order and everyone who wants one, gets one! It didn’t used to be this way. We used to buy books when we were in England and ship them home! Not anymore! If it doesn’t fit in our suitcases, it doesn’t go. Luckily, on a ship you’re allowed more luggage than you are on a plane. It’s all working out though Vicki, the way we’re doing it is fine ~ your support is wonderful and I love you for it. 😘

          • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

            I got all of my cups today in two shipments from you and I haven’t opened the boxes yet. HEAVY anticipation! Just got home after a long day and waiting now for the perfect moment coming up in just a few minutes after everything settles down because it’s always SO fun and I have to examine everything, spread out carefully on a clean towel at the counter; also because Sheri packages everything so beautifully, I just have to savor it all (“brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things”!!). Anyway, yay, cups are here (hear my tea bags singing a happy tune!). Some are gifts and there’s time to get them wrapped; so nice for Mother’s Day, just in time. Like you said above, it’s all working out! Thanks, Susan!

          • sbranch says:

            Wonderful, Vicki, glad to hear they all got there! XOXOXO

  2. Susan Hebert says:

    Love it, thank you for sharing.

  3. Dixie S. Reimold says:

    What absolutely totally lovely to come in from the Spring Cleaning of my gardens here in Western PA. and see your delightful blog…yummy! and the cups are coming ! Just what was needed today…Thank You for Fun, Whimsy, Beauty, Joy, and Jack! 🐱❤️

  4. Karen Horrigan says:

    Your home and garden are so beautiful! Do you ever give tours? I would love to add it to my bucket list. Any plans to come back to KC anytime soon? My teacher friends and I missed you when you were here last time bcs it was graduation night and well, it was mandatory that we be there. You can’t imagine how disappointed we were! And by the way, our Second Graders are putting on a Mother’s Tea tomorrow and we hung your Welcome flag at the school entrance. What a sweet greeting as the mothers walk through the door! Blessings!

    • sbranch says:

      We don’t give tours, I just share online. We live here and it’s a mess half the time! We’ll very likely be in KC as soon as I finish this book I’m working on. I’ll be sure to talk about it on the blog. Hugs to you and those second graders! Happy Mother’s Day!

  5. Karen Seward says:

    Im so delighted that you shared about Girl Kitty, that’s amazing, even Jack went to look up the staircase,She must have Loved her home and you so much….I Loved the Shrimp and Kale dish looked delicious but I would delete the Goat Cheese not a fan of Goat cheese,Thank you for your lovely blog!….Karen, Oceanside, New York

  6. Beth Wilson says:

    I love hearing about Girl Kitty! And the fact that Jack heard her and went to look, crazy! Keep us informed!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, and I watched as he went first, that’s when I knew I wasn’t crazy. At least this time!

  7. Lynne Luna says:

    I have the same china as the one with your beautiful salad. Bristol Crown Ducal. My china is the color Mulberry. Thanks for always being fun and uplifting. I have almost all your books.

  8. Barbora Cowles says:

    Love the Girl Kitty story. Thank you for a lovely post with beautiful photos.

  9. Linda Chudej says:

    This Spring in east Texas is glorious! We had so much rain in January & February that everything is lush. The bluebonnets have been abundant for the first time in years. I love the pictures of your yard. So many beautiful plants!

    Sweet Girl Kitty sounds like the perfect little spirit. May she be a blessing to you as she “visits.”

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful about the bluebonnets. I’ve read about them and seen pictures for years, have blessed the heart of Lady Bird Johnson for doing what she did for Texas wildflowers, you are so lucky! But haven’t been there at just the right time yet. Maybe someday!

  10. DeAnna Passmore says:

    What a wonderful May it will be! My youngest daughter graduates from college, my birthday, my oldest daughters birthday, my mother’s birthday,and my fiancé’s birthday! Mother’s Day, Memorial Day AND a week of vacation! Thank you Susan for your writings! Enjoy your month!

  11. Annie in CA says:

    Caught my breath when I saw Girl Kitty starting to peek up from the bottom of the screen. I’d love to think that she’s still padding around your house, where she belongs.
    There is a garden in her face…

  12. Susan, You have to watch the new comedy called Bless This Mess. I think there has been 3 on so far. The second and third are about chickens….you will love it! It’s so fun! Love your blog and books! Michele in Green Bay

  13. Karen Bunch says:

    What a great thing—your corgi cup is one of my favorite. Congratulations.
    Love your story about Girl Kitty haunting, more like, hanging around to visit with you !

  14. Memarge says:

    Just delightful, as ever!

  15. Salve S Stamatelaky says:

    A Lovely Lovely Blog, So Beautiful Spring! Many Thanks!

  16. Patricia Coley says:


    I didn’t realize that Girl Kitty passed! 🙁 So sorry! I love hearing about her and Jack and all their adventures. They really make the heart of the home! Hugs.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, they are. So much. I SHOULD have gotten two kitties when I got Jack. I’ve learned my lesson. Next time, I will!

  17. Oh, Susan! I LOVE hearing about your healthy lifestyle changes! 💕 I’m so very happy for you! Just one pound per week is a very healthy goal. I set out on the same healthy path a few years ago. Little-by-little, step-by-step… and the health benefits are enormous! After reaching my healthy lifetime goal, I have been working hard to maintain for almost two years now. It’s the ‘forever’ part! I created a special Self Care journal to help me honor this commitment to good health. Please keep sharing your healthy recipes with us, dear heart.

    Your Springtime garden looks glorious! Oftentimes, while I’m playing in the garden, it feels like I am in the midst of a Disney movie, too! I just stand there in awe of nature… and soak it all in! This year, my garden has been teaching me important lessons about ‘patience.’ In April, while the Spring blossoms were in full bloom, we had two wet, heavy snowstorms! Last weekend, was the first time I have ever seen my garden blooming in several inches of snow. Such a wild Spring here in Illinois!
    Your letter today feels like a lovely visit with a friend, Susan. 🌸 Sending warmest hugs to you and Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      I finally gave up on the patience part of the spring garden and now FORCE myself to plant NOTHING (except early spring things like tulips that live happily in cold weather) until June first. It’s really hard!!! But I was tired of seeing my new baby plants all tattered and blown from the wind and cold. I guess that’s patience, but it doesn’t feel like it! Love to hear from you Dawn! Congratulations on reaching your Healthy lifetime goal! xoxoxo

  18. Linda H says:

    Good evening, Susan!

    I’m sure you’re already asleep by now! 10:30 Eastern time! Wonderful post, so many enjoyable thoughts. I make kale chips once in awhile, but I do season mine. Why did you say not to? For health reasons? Or since you’re adding to other ingredients in your salad?
    I also love the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! The actress is amazing! And the various settings are a feast for the eyes.
    Lovely that Martha’s Vineyard honors Nancy Luce!
    Another question–when do you plant the tulip bulbs that you’ve purchased already in bloom? I bought some this spring as well. Do you save the bulbs until the fall? Or plant this spring after the foliage dies down?

    Happy Spring!

    • sbranch says:

      I salted the first batch before I put it in, and they came out REALLY salty. I probably salted for the size they went in at, and when they came out they were so much smaller that the salt had gone too far. I’m not sure, but the second time I did nothing and they were perfect on top of the salad. I just didn’t want anyone to do what I did! I planted the bulbs when I brought them home, the ones I got are all just about to bloom, so in they went to make my garden pretty right now! Instant gratification!

  19. Ruth Elder says:

    I am with you and Jack. I TOTALLY believe Girl Kitty is still with you and watches over you. The sounds of her in the house must be very comforting to you.
    Sometimes if I am quiet for a moment, I can feel the stray that I rescued, Jack-Jack on my left thigh, like he used to sleep in my lap. I only had him a year before his liver shut down and he crossed rainbow bridge but during that year, I suffered a miscarriage of a baby we tried to conceive for 4 years and he sat with me day after day, week after week, as I cried. Jack-Jack never left me alone. He will always be with me, just like Girl Kitty will always be with you.

  20. Tana says:

    Absolutely wonderful. I wonder how many times I will read it this month? Thank you Susan.

  21. Larkin Myers says:

    I’m glad you found Ms Maisel! She is so great! What a visual treat with each episode. Happy spring!

  22. diana from ancaster says:

    Just finished reading this post….loved it….
    Will read it again in the morning….just to savour it again. Can’t wait for ‘La Luna’ to arrive. Will celebrate the next full moon to with some nice hot tea it

  23. Alice Dennison says:

    I love your blogs. The little yellow bird is a Goldfinch…Happy Spring !

  24. Wendy says:

    Another happy blog has come my way… Makes me want to do a happy dance ! The only bad part is when it comes to the end – I just want it to go on and on…..

    Congratulations on your new healthy lifestyle and getting into the “saved” clothes. That made me smile, I always seem to be going through that myself. You give me a lot of incentive!

    Already looking forward to the next blog from you……Happy May!

    P.S. My cousin in England sent me an email today and said they have been promised snow this weekend!

  25. Judy Jennings says:

    Is this beautiful Whaling Church the one with the wonderful Trompe L’oeil arches and panels and columns? It looked a bit like it to me.
    LOVE your blog and books. Can’t wait for new ones!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, that’s it, and painted by one of my dearest friends, Margot Datz. Thank you Judy!

  26. Judith Adams says:

    Happy Spring! Thanks for the tips on “massaging” the kale. I’ve tried making kale chips before and they seemed a skosh too bitter. Maybe the kale just needed a relaxing massage 🙂 And who doesn’t?! And thanks for the quinoa recipe…I’m going to make a big bowl of it for a party this weekend.

    Loved the Kitty haunting!!! It’s nice that Jack confirmed your suspicions. Goosebumps!

    • sbranch says:

      That Quinoa recipe is from my Girlfriends Book ~ but there is a lot more to the original version. It’s on page 84, I hope you have it, because there’s more to the recipe you might like, especially when you serve it alone, add snow peas, currants, waterchestnuts, and peanuts ~ makes it a bit more crunchy and SO good.

  27. As always, I love your blog !! Love the story about your sweet angel kitty as I have 7 angel kitties in Heaven and 1 remaining kitty asleep next to me on my desk chair ( while I sit on a wooden chair since there’s no getting any work done until I move out of the comfortable desk chair so she can have the comfy spot ). Also LOVE your gorgeous pictures of Spring springing …… trees, flowers, and critters !!! I will be going to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard soon !! My two thoughtful sons and their sweet wives have arranged 2 days on each island for me and my 89 year old mother starting on Mother’s Day ( Nantucket first ). Would love any suggestions for must – see places and shops, and restaurants/cafe’s.

    • sbranch says:

      On Nantucket, you must see the little rose-covered cottages and crushed seashell pathways in Sconset. I love Chanticleer Restaurant right there in Sconset. You should probably make a reservation now. As for shops, both islands have no chain stores, everything is ma and pa owned, mostly ma, so each shop has its own personality. Wander through any of the towns and you will have an array of everything. Martha’s Vineyard is much bigger than Nantucket, Nantucket is only 1 1/2 towns, and we are six . . . I think a good thing to do for someone with a short amount of time is a bus tour. They’ll let you off anywhere on the route and you can pick it up later. That way you’ll get the lay of the land. Then choose a town, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven, it doesn’t matter which, they are all interesting…maybe stay in Oak Bluffs at the Summercamp Hotel (disclaimer, I’ve never stayed there, and don’t know anyone who has, but Google it and see what you think, the location is perfect) . . . view of harbor, walk to the Campground with all the darling cottages, shopping, restaurants, lobster, festive. There you go, have a wonderful time! Happy Mother’s Day!

      • Thank you !!!!! and thanks for all of the suggestions !!!! Can’t wait to get there and leisurely wander to our hearts content ( no husbands allowed on this trip to tell us to hurry up and why do we need to go into another shop !!! )

  28. Nancy B says:

    Lovely post, as always!

    Nancy B (from Bakersfield)

  29. Kim Rose says:

    I always wanted a waist but having to waste away to get it is so not worth it… Too many interesting recipes (including yours) to try out there – thank you for a lovely blog. Kim

    • sbranch says:

      I could waste away to nothing and still not have a waist! I’ve learned to live without it. I have very strong fingernails, so it’s not all bad. You can’t get blood from a stone. 😁

  30. Verna says:

    In your invitation to read you blog this month, you mention “rabbit rabbit.” Then at the top of the first page, again you say “rabbit rabbit.” Where are the rabbits? I have a wonderful dwarf dutch house rabbit and I collect rabbit items
    Were are the rabbits?.

    • sbranch says:

      Saying Rabbit-Rabbit at the beginning of each month is an old English superstition for good luck!

  31. Loved reading about girl kitty. When I was raising my family we had a bluepoint named Brandy, she moved back and forth the country with us several times. We all loved her so much. She always used to jump up onto my back and night (I sleep on my stomach) turn around 3 times and then nestle in for the rest of the night. She got out accidentally one winter’s day and we had an ice storm that night. We never saw her again. Our hearts were broken. One night a couple of months later I was unable to sleep and so I had gone out to lay on the sofa. I was laying there and I heard a meow and then felt her jump up onto my back, turn around three times and lay down. Of course she wasn’t there really, but I drew great comfort in knowing that wherever she was, she was at peace. Oh we do so love our furry family members always. Happy May to you.

  32. Carolyn J Collins-Hunt says:

    Good morning Susan. As always I love reading your blog! I am reading Susan Wittig Albert’s Beatrix Potter books now for the first time. I love them! I have also ordered a biography by Linda Lear that you recommended. Yesterday I goggled Hill Top Farm and looked at pictures and a picture of you was right in the middle of them. It made me smile! 😀💕

  33. Ann Parsons says:

    Such a joy to receive your new blog post Susan. Always a real treat to hear from you and catch up with your news. ⭐️ Gold star for you on the steady weight loss and such a sensible and long lasting way to achieve your goal. Will definitely be following your tips about Kale. I have seasoned it before baking and, you are right, it ends up too salty.
    Pleased for the girlfriends to hear the new consignment of mugs have arrived, but seeing how beautiful they are I’m having my own pity party here. As you know, my plans for a seasonal collection have been thwarted and my mugs are like Narnia, always Winter ( and Autumn) but never Spring (or Summer). It’s doubly disappointing knowing they are made just down the road 😫 Ah well, thank you so much for doing your best Susan, your efforts were much appreciated. I will just have to wait until they are stocked by the Nat Trust and we are not giving up on that dream, are we?
    Thank you for all the effort you are putting into your new book and I am really looking forward to it being published.
    I hope this Spring will turn into a glorious Summer for you and Joe and I send my love to you both, Ann in Chester xx

    • sbranch says:

      SO unfair, Ann! I promise you, I have begged them to add my cups to their line and sell them in England, but for some unknowable reason, they don’t do it! I know you know I try! Never giving up on the National Trust, not ever. BBC shop, I pray, is one step closer to them noticing my existence! Thank you Ann, it is always wonderful to hear from you!

  34. Pam Coblyn says:

    While doing errands or just wandering around, I will stop at Nancy Luce’s grave to make sure the chickens are all standing proud and arranged nicely. I think Nancy appreciates my small acts of housekeeping!

    • sbranch says:

      Me, too, Pam, we were just there . . . what I love is that her grave hasn’t been inundated with too many chickens. It’s as it’s always been, just perfect. xoxo

  35. Terrie Trebilcock says:

    Good morning! I am a high school social studies teacher, and our school IT people have just tightened up the email and web filters. So my subscriptions to the New York Times and Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have disappeared….but not your blog! So now we all know what’s good and important!
    Enjoying hearing about your new “light” diet, as my husband and I have been doing the same since February. I am 18 pounds lighter–that’s 72 sticks of butter!

    • sbranch says:

      HA HA HA, well, we slipped under the wire! I do worry they are cutting off the best sources of information out there! Seventy-two sticks of butter! WOW! Good for you! Congratulations!

  36. Nancy Deda says:

    Thank you, Susan, for the taste of Spring! Here in Northern Wisconsin, it is just barely beginning so was wonderful to see yours. And best of luck with the weight loss…you’re doing awesomely!

  37. Wendy Marvin says:

    Happy May Susan,

    Thank you for sharing your life with me and all the girlfriends. It puts a smile on my face and a skip to my steps. Finding Joy in the simple things in life is so good for us, and you do it. 😊I have a robin (Mrs, Robinson ) sitting on a nest on a wreath on my front porch. I am anxious to see her family soon. She won’t let me take a picture of the eggs. She is very protective of them. It really feels wonderful to have everything green up. Rebirth. I am looking forward to your next blog entry.

  38. jeanie says:

    All smiles here! It may be a gloomy day in Michigan but it just got brighter, seeing your forsythia and blossoms and sweet Jack and Girl Kitty. She’s there. I have the Phantom Gypsy return now and then — I hear and sense his presence, even when Lizzie is close at hand. I look forward to those moments. Not quite so good as the full-bodied little love, but it will do.

    I’m eager for your mugs to arrive (three should be on the way soon!) and loved seeing the Vineyard museum photos. Rick and I have to get back there at least one more time in life, we love it so. I can see why you stayed! Thanks for a good start to the day!

  39. Dena says:

    Sue I love your mugs , But not big enough for me , Have you thought of making a huge one for us mega mug coffee drinkers, I would sure love one that would be as cute as the ones you make .

    • sbranch says:

      Not big enough? I don’t know if they make them any bigger . . . these are 16 oz cups! Are you just seeing the 11 oz? Or you want even bigger than that? Sounds like a mixing bowl with a handle! 😆

      • dena says:

        ha ha , lol , ok just measured my mug , about 20, oz , but 16 would do,!! which ones do you have in that size

        • sbranch says:

          Almost all! They should be marked, there are only two sizes, 16 oz and 11oz, and way more 16 oz than 11.

      • dena says:

        ok I see some 16 oz on shopping, on web site ! Thanks , didn’t notice the oz on some and not on others !!

        • sbranch says:

          Yay! I love big cups too, most of mine are the 16 oz, there are also a few smaller ones, they should be marked!

  40. Ruth E. Rupp says:

    Thank you so much for suggesting purple azaleas. Great idea! They would be beautiful with yellow forsythia. Yes, we have several windows that look out at that area. And you know, I will think of you when I look at those flowers!! 🙂

  41. Mary Murray says:

    I have to share with you that we too have heard the sound of a cat jumping off the bed…I’ve never heard anyone else say that! Chester arrived at our farm as a tiny kitten, a sweet bundle of yellow fluff. And while I’m not sure how he found us, he was wonderful. He would sleep at the top of my pillow and we laughed that I had a “Cat Hat” each night. We enjoyed his company for 17 years…and now, every once in awhile when the house is still, I hear that distinct sound of him jumping off the bed. It makes me happy. Thank you for sharing your story!

  42. Kathy Fletcher says:

    Good morning, i was so very happy to find a new post this morning ….always makes the day brighter! I wanted to tell you , with your Girl Kitty visiting you and all, i have two visitors every once in a blue moon. My little Pug Girl died in 2010 and my boxer boy Tyson who died in 2014, they have both come to visit me. It is always at night and i am in bed, and they will jump up on the bed from the bench at the foot of the bed, and snuggle down. I feel them, and when i feel them i will say hello to them and tell them that i appreciate them visiting and i love it that they are snuggled in with me. I also tell them how much i miss them and love them still. My boxer boy Tyson has only visited one time, but my little Puggsie girl, she has visited several times, i only hope they will continue to come see me and i know they are in a good place. Because Heaven can’t be Heaven without all the pets we have all had in our lives. Thank you for making my day brighter and for all you do. I haven’t been able to order a cup yet, but i love them, you do such great art. Love and hugs from Kentucky. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Kathy, I love your little ghosties, how lucky you are! I hope Girl keeps this up!

  43. sharon taylor says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Not sure what happened to my comment yesterday, maybe I forgot to hit “Post Comment”. What I said is that your Blog came in my email when I really needed it most as this past week was very sad for me. First my most cherished cousin passed away and then yesterday afternoon our dear little black and white Django gave in to his fight against cancer. Your blog was wonderfully comforting. Spring is surely a favourite time of the year. New life. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      No, it was me! The comments started coming in rather late and I didn’t get to read them yesterday, so that’s what I’m doing this morning! I love to read them and if I just let them go up, I never get the chance to do it! I did read your other post and I believe it’s up now. I’m so sorry for this difficult week you’ve had Sharon. Sending love.

    • charissa says:

      Hugs and prayers to you, Sharon. I am so very sorry for your losses.

  44. Joy Pence in Ohio says:

    Good morning sweet Sue! I just got back from breakfast with my best girlfriend (because yesterday was my birthday!!) You have inspired me and my husband to eat healthier and I am down 7 lbs! I came upstairs to my hideaway and got on my computer, and wished that you had a new blog….AND YOU DID!!! Thank you for the sweet birthday gift. My husband and I went to several nurseries yesterday. My heart just soars when I walk in and see all that beauty. We certainly are blessed. Have a wonderful day. You certainly made mine!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, they’re like giant Easter baskets right now! Yay for those 7 pounds!!! Doesn’t it feel great? xoxox

  45. Sharon Swift says:

    Good Morning Susan,

    Read your blog this morning and thoroughly enjoyed it. Congrats on maintaining your healthy diet….the recipes looked wonderful. I have made some of the dishes and they were great!!. Loved the pictures of your garden with all of the flowers; they were beautiful. My husband and I just planted some flowers in our front yard (mixed in with our plants), and also planted some in a huge planter on our front porch. Can’t wait for them to get bigger. I think my favorite flower is the rose. My parents had a rose garden when I was growing up and I used to help my dad maintain it. Besides the rose is my birth month flower (June), but I think all forms of flowers are beautiful. I live in Texas and we have wildflowers blooming all over. There is a park and greenbelt behind our home and the wildflowers are WILD, and so pretty. I loved the Girl Kitty story….if both you and Jack heard it, there must be something to it. I have a grand puppy named Jasper (he actually isn’t a puppy, he’ll be 7 years old in September), but he is a puppy to us. My son bought him when he was 8 months old, and we somehow inherited him. I’ve always been afraid of dogs, but not anymore. Jasper is part Irish Wolfhound and terrier and has the cutest face and the sweetest disposition. He’s not large like a Wolfhound, I guess medium size. Anyway, we love him and I can’t ever imagine not having him, even though I know that he won’t be with us forever. We’ll just treasure him while we can. Thank you so much for your blogs and everything you share with everyone. It certainly brightens my day to hear from you. I just received a notice yesterday that my cup was shipped, so I am looking forward to receiving it. Many blessings to you and Joe.

  46. Kathleen Morearty says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful, uplifting post, Susan. With all the bad that is going on in the world (mostly caused by the leader of our country) reading this made me feel happy and brought me joy. Thank you for that. I needed it.

    -Kathleen Morearty

  47. Julie Eden says:

    can’t you make the cups etc. in America. Know you love Britain but hey, you are in America. Even if it cost a bit more you will save on shipping and your carbon imprint will be better. All that shipping is not good for the environment.

    • sbranch says:

      Actually no, I would if I could! I looked really hard because I’d much prefer that too, but could not find anyone in this country who manufactured high-quality, fine-bone china ~ those companies all moved to China long ago ~ and anyone I found who made less quality products, required me to purchase thousands of each design and I’m too small to order that many. Plus, there are plenty of less quality products in the world, I wanted something you’d want to pass down to someone you love. I was lucky to find ANYONE who would do it. If they stopped making them, we wouldn’t have cups anymore.

      • Julie Eden says:

        sad way that American manufacturing has come. But your art is worth making well and to be passed down. Keep checking to see if sometime someone will decide to do some quality work here. we used to….it would help the economy and the environment. we have to take small steps. It is nice someone in England still does the quality work.

        • sbranch says:

          Couldn’t agree more. Our corporations have been allowed, encouraged (through tax breaks), to leave us … and now we are stuck with the strangest circumstances. The Potteries in England were FAMOUS for their gorgeous dishes, and totally devastated economically once China started making things so cheaply, and people started buying them instead of supporting their local manufacturers (see: Walmart), and so many of the famous makers are out of business now. But slowly, in a different way, a few new businesses have reopened the old empty factories, and have rehired some of the expert pottery makers that still live in the area. Hope that happens here. Fabric is another thing not made in this country anymore. Unless you buy it retail on line. But if I wanted to make aprons or jammies or something, really darling ones with my own designed fabric, to sell wholesale, I would have to go to India! The printing of books is another nightmare! And none of it is cheap, and the importing is complicated. Plus so many ma and pa gift stores were put out of business when all this happened, once you have things made, it’s hard to find places to sell them to! Luckily I’ve been able to find a few things I can do in a very small way, for my very small world here on line.

  48. Teresa Vaz Goodfellow says:

    I don’t know what it is exactly, and I don’t need to know, but there is something about your posts that rejuvenate me! It’s the same feeling I get when I’ve spent an afternoon with a friend. It balances my soul. Dramatic? Maybe. Accurate? Very. Thanks, Susan, for being such a necessary element in my daily life. I appreciate your art, attitude, and your words so much. XXO

    • sbranch says:

      That makes me feel so wonderful Teresa, you’ll never know. Thank you for telling me! xoxoxo

    • Charissa says:

      Here here! It is so true. She just has that magic, doesn’t she?:) xoxo

      • Joy Pence in Ohio says:

        It is her happy gene spilling over onto us. Like magical fairy dust. We are so blessed to have her for sure!!

  49. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you for all of the beautiful pictures and the healthy food ideas, too! Weight loss is not an easy thing. It’s so easy to put on but so hard to get off. And menopause is doing me no favors. I call it Invasion of the Body Snatchers! I lost 42 lbs. on WW and gained back 12 and here I am. Lol! We are all beautiful girlfriends! Spring is confused here on Long Island; yesterday it was close to 80o and today is gray and in the 50s. But the flowers and trees are in bloom and the birds are singing and plentiful! I have my eye out for the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak which will be migrating through any time now. Happy May! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      So the awful news is that you lost 31 lbs!!!!!! That sounds great to me, and maybe you aren’t done yet! Happy May Karen!

  50. jane Townsend says:

    The healthy food looks so tasty. Are you going to write a “healthy food” recipe book at all? It would be a lovely addition to your other books!

    • sbranch says:

      I probably won’t write a book, mostly because, as I was saying to one of our other girlfriends, these “healthy” recipes are too simple. It’s not really a recipe to cut an avocado in half and salt it and pepper it? Or steam some spinach, or bake a sweet potato. Most of what we eat is just that simple, scrambled eggs, a green salad. It’s like cooking with one ingredient!

  51. Jill says:

    Love, love, love the story about Miss Kitty! I wish pets of mine would come back for a visit. Maybe because we’ve moved from those houses they’re visiting the new owners.
    Thank you for the food update, if I could drop 20 pounds I’d be in heaven. We’re going to start today! One question about cutting out sugar, does that mean no wine and no G&T? Our five o’clock cocktail is a favorite part of the day. How about lunches? Do you eat fruit?
    Are you watching Les Miserables on PBS? The photography is incredibly beautiful!
    Thanks for the inspiring post!

    • sbranch says:

      You shouldn’t give up the pleasures you truly love, is what I think, unless you want to. I’ve had a few glasses of wine over these last few months, only red though, and only one glass, and only for special nights, and two G & Ts because of the “I need a drink” syndrome. I kind of love how clean I feel, at least now. Have a sort of rule, drink at parties, but not at home. Yes, I eat blueberries, strawberries, apples, and bananas, mostly for breakfast. I drink TONS of water, because it washes it all through, which is a good thing!

      • Jill says:

        Thank you for the suggestions. Now for a trip to the market to get supplies. We’ve gotten lazy with our eating habits. Meals, mostly dinner, need to planned for ahead of time, wondering at 5:30 what to eat doesn’t make for healthy choices! I have lots of clothes I’d love to be able to wear again.

        • sbranch says:

          You are so right, I learned that too, and it’s really made a difference. For one thing I get to be excited about what we’re going to eat all day!

  52. Debbie says:

    We believe our little kitty hunts us too. He passed of stomach cancer last September and on occassion we still hear him meow, run up and down the stairs and jump up on the bathroom sink. Their sweet little souls are still with us. It gives me comfort.

  53. Gina D. says:

    Dear Susan, thank you for the inspiring post! I have been cutting back also, have lost several packages of butter, slowly since last year, but I’m wondering how you are managing in terms of baking for others? My son (25 & darling) calls the glass dome on my kitchen island the “dome of love!” ❤️ And I agree with everyone in my family, baked goods are my love language. Very occasionally, say for random example, one’s 55th birthday next week, a treat is OK, I understand. But to let most of that go is a huge adjustment in my head & heart. Finding other ways to show love to family & friends, alternative treats for myself when I need a pick-me-up! Baking for others and not having any myself is possible, but very challenging! I am a woman of faith who believes God made this girl, has the power to help me make healthier choices. I too long for a real waist, to wear some hoarded clothing. Doesn’t Mrs. Maisel have a beautiful waistline indeed ??

    • sbranch says:

      She’s very irritating that way! 🤣 I totally understand. You might have to just bake for gifts! I made a beautiful cheesecake for my girlfriend’s birthday. Took it to her, dropped it off (showed lots of love), had none myself and didn’t even care. I made Polenta Cake for my little lunch party, with whipped cream and sugared strawberries, and ate a tiny piece and loved every second of it. As for the dome. I know how you feel. I love my glass dome. One thing that works for me, Joe LOVES those big brown molasses hermit cookies, but I don’t! So I have no problem having them under my glass dome. If you can find a kind of baking you don’t like, that is helpful. I think you might have to wait until you reach a point where you’re almost mad . . . and say, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore! That’s when the weight of your waistline is heavier than the weight of your love for baking. Basically I trick myself out of wanting it. And enjoy giving things away. I’m sorry, Gina, I can see this is terrible advice!!!

  54. Shirley Graham says:

    Love your blog as always! I lost my kitty too & sometimes think I see her out of the corner of my eye. Miss her so much! May is such a gorgeous month! My two oldest have birthdays in May & I always think of my Mother when all the trees bloom & am looking at geraniums!! Can hardly wait to plant even if it is only on my deck!! Enjoy & Thanks so much for your blog. Also love the cups! Hugs sent!

  55. Terri says:

    Love the Trellis! Williamsburg is my hometown, and there are wonderful places to eat there!

  56. Charissa says:

    Your dad’s spoon left me in tears. Mostly happy and with a tinge of sad. hugs!

    Yay, CUPS!!! I ordered 4 corgis and 1 cottage from Patty at Wishful Thinking in Mckinney, TX. We have become friends of sorts all because of you:) Thank you so much for all the flora and fauna pics. What a delight. I made a date w my husband to start binge watching MMM tonight. So proud of you and thrilled to see the BBC recognize you. A thrill for sure. Come on National Trust!!!!!!!
    I will write a note to them. Your salad looks scrumptious. I need to get on the healthy eating plan. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I love Nancy Luce so much. I have her picture on my kitchen counter along with YOU❤️, Beatrix and the Queen. I bought a book with all her writings and just love her huge heart and her beautiful tenacity and talent. I wish I could have been her friend. I would have loved to have gone to that concert and cried with you. How wonderful!!!

    I had a little animal ghostie growing up too. A little happy protector. So glad Girl Kitty is back. A happy little spirit came to where she knew she was loved.❤️

    I didn’t get to comment on your post about Williamsburg It was wonderful!!! I was born in DC and we visited there multiple times and it was a joy to see the pics and it brought back so many memories. In case anyone wanted there very own little piece of Williamsburg. Here is a link to the store you went to (I think)…

    Any goings on with the tv/movie? I absolutely cannot wait for Enchanted. Is there a estimated time for publication? Like by the end of the year or next? I need to know how to pace my excitement. lol

    Been dealing with a roof leak and a bit of house flooding. Your blog lifted my spirits (which were low so thank you so very much) So much luv to you xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Me, Nancy, Beatrix, and the Queen. I could NOT love it more. THANK YOU for including me!!! Sweet as pie! Yes, Nancy is a true heartbreaker. All she really needed was a room of girlfriends telling her how wonderful she was. But somehow she made do without it. Her story will linger in my heart forever. Patty is one of only maybe 12 small retails stores that have our cups and I just love it! How fun you are getting to know each other. This is going to be a very fun date you’ll be on tonight! I’m excited about ENCHANTED too, WAY too excited to accept any sort of reality about how long it will take to write it, not to mention the time it takes to get it printed and sent. But my prayer is this time next year. As for “the movie” … I was just given an update. And it’s all still in the works, but not in the making yet. So It’s just a giant waiting games. One of my girlfriends on Twitter just Tweeted Reese Witherspoon suggesting she do the movie. SO cute, I had to LOL at her words. I think that word of mouth thing can help, although whether she reads Tweets is a whole other subject! Stay cheery Charissa, and thank you for your lovely words! Be prepared for shocking swearing tonight, but the clothes, cars, laughs, and scenes will pretty much make up for it! xoxoxo

  57. Valerie B. says:

    Always so nice to read your blog Susan. Try an olive oil sprayer on the kale. Works great and covers without excess oil. I had a girl kitty who was twins with yours. Same face and temperament. When she passed at 22, I had her cremated and keep the ashes by my bed. When I’m feeling low or ill, I hear her crying to me in my sleep like she did when she was alive. She was so tuned in and still is. Losing a cat is very difficult but we must remember that they remain in spirit. Thanks for all the great tips!

  58. Kelly B. says:


    All your posts are uplifting, magical, whimsical and that is what we need these days. I love that the sun shines on your spoon and reminds you of your dad, and that Girl Kitty is still with you. ( How great is it that Jack reacted too, so you don’t have to wonder “is it just me?”) Thank you for inspiration about healthy eating and sunshine, MMM recommendations, and all things positive.
    Have a great weekend! xoxoxo

  59. Karen McDougall says:

    Dear Susan, Thank you for such a beautiful post. So much hope for spring- it’s a long time coming up here in Montreal! For some reason the photograph of Nancy Luce reminded me of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, who lived and created in a small town in Nova Scotia. I then found myself wondering if you were aware of her and her work- and of how she found beauty and joy in the everyday in spite of extreme poverty and crippling arthritis. If you’ve heard of her you already know and if not you might consider looking her up- I really think you will love her story. Fun fact: her entire one-room(!) hand-painted house was rescued from the elements and is now on display in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. Enough rambling. Been a fan of yours since way back when- long enough to be the proud owner of both the original and 30th anniversary editions of Heart Of The Home as well as everything in between. Love it all. Karen

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Karen! And yes, I did look her up a while back ~ one of our other Girlfriends felt as you did, reminded of Maud Lewis when reading about Nancy Luce . . . Your Maud was wonderful, and her darling flowery little house is pure magic.

  60. Sandi from the Cape says:

    Dear Susan, I have no doubt Kitty Girl is with you again. I lost my Pumpkin to cancer last October and the distinctive push off on our kitchen sink door to gain access to the kitchen window above I hear all the time! She would jump up and use the door as a thrust. Now I know she’s right back here even though I can’t see her. Comforting, isn’t it? Love those recipes and going to make those pickled onions tomorrow! Thanks for you encouraging us to be healthy and happy! It came at the right time for me and I’m anxious to change! Yeah!

  61. Laurie Nico’s Mom says:

    I love seeing the photos of your garden, Susan, but they sure make me jealous! I’m in southern Alberta, Canada. We had some lovely spring weather a few weeks back. My husband got three rounds of golf in, my crocuses were coming up, & the robins had arrived. Last Saturday we had the snow storm from hell & it still hasn’t melted! Every day I see a few more flakes (they melt right away, but still). My local nursery is open, but it’s too cold to put anything in my greenhouse because of night time temperatures. I’ve got this bum foot for now & it sure would cheer me up to see spring outside. I guess for now I’ll content myself with seeing your spring.
    I love that Girl Kitty is making her presence known. If I concentrate I swear I can feel Nico in my arms again. 💋

    • sbranch says:

      Hope it will brighten for you soon, Laurie! And maybe by that time the foot will be better, and spring will really have come! Nico. 😥 Our petty pets! xoxo

  62. Vicki says:

    Your home is looking lovely inside and outside this spring! Lately I’ve been thinking of your Girl Kitty and was so HAPPY to see pictures of her again. They never really leave us, always in our hearts!

  63. Thanks for the wonderful notes on how to prepare the kale. I’ve always known it HAS to be massaged and oiled and I can always tell when one skips that part! YUCK. So glad you are on this journey and that you share it with us. Can’t wait to read your next book! Blessings From Southern California.

  64. DebraS(from Minnesota) says:

    I love your healthy eating posts! You are so very inspirational to me to live a better life, at my stage of life (65) I need more comfort, contentment and joy, and you provide!! So much gratitude in my heart for you.. I have a beautiful tuxedo kitty, Miss Iris, they are special indeed.

  65. Paula says:

    Nice little surprise of a new post from you! That is so exciting about your book in the BBC Shop, bet you just want to jump up and down! Loved the story about Girl Kitty. Kind of comforting to feel them around. And the light and shadows shining on you spoon made by your Dad, what a special treasure. Keep up your healthy eatin’!

    • sbranch says:

      I did jump up and down when they called. What a wonderful surprise and honor! Thank you Paula!

  66. Lisa says:

    Loved this post,as always! Where can i find those star pillowcases, just perfect for my guest room! Thanks Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      I got them through Garnet Hill a long time ago, I still have the pillowcases, but that’s all. I’ve looked for them and haven’t found the same ones. But I’m not giving up!

  67. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    Wonderful post as always! I miss Girl Kitty too. I’m so glad she is “haunting” you and Jack. Keep us posted on sightings and hearings. Happy happy Spring from my house to yours!

  68. Jamie says:

    Please share all your meals!! I know they seem simple to you, but to most of us it helps us out immensely. I LOVE seeing them. Thank you so much! You are such an inspiration to me!

  69. Terry says:

    Hi Susan, I am drinking coffee from my newly arrived Home Sweet Home cup (in the middle of the night), while reading this lovely post. This is a ritual I love to give myself. I am thrilled to have my second 11oz cup! It is perfect for me. I had the pleasure of attending your latest Apple Farm event and want to tell you that the inspiration from seeing you and hearing your engaging stories has stayed with me. I came away feeling nurtured by all that you gave us that day on so many levels. Thanks for continuing to share so much of your wonderful life with us!

  70. Pam Butterick says:

    Susan! Oh so much to relish in this blog. I love that you went to Trellis twice in the same trip. We love Trellis. And we have done the same thing! Even once in Paris, we went to the same restaurant twice. With all of Paris to choose from. 😂
    Thank you for highlighting Nancy Luce and the concert. Because I happen to know the composer, I am forwarding your blog to him! It will so gladden his heart.
    I love that Girl Kitty is with you. Of course she is!
    Thank you for your beautiful inspiration.❤️

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, all of Paris, but when you dream about your lunch, you really have no choice! Oh, I’m happy Pam, that he will see it and know how much it meant to us. Your face, and my face, when it was over, and you were done singing, and our cheeks were wet with tears, is a big memory for me! Do you know if you will do it again? I told my English girlfriend, Siobhan, who LOVES to sing (also friend of Peggy’s) about the concert. She knows about Nancy Luce so she loved it . . . if it’s ever performed in England and you find out about it, be sure to let me know so I can tell her. xoxoxo

  71. Terry says:

    Hi Susan!
    Wonderful post! I could sit and chat with you for hours over this post. I am also eating healthier these days, and doing my best to give up sugar or at least to cut back. Thank you for the recipes. The other day I had a delicious healthy salad when my husband and I went out to lunch. It was called the Super 8 Salad. It had kale, quinoa, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, walnuts, avocado, and olive oil and lemon dressing. I added grilled chicken to it. It was yummy! My husband and I had a trip planned to Williamsburg for next week, but we had to cancel it. We are needed at home right now. We will probably wait until the fall to go. Thank you for your post about your trip. We used it when we were planning ours. When we were in Martha’s Vineyard last fall we stopped at the old museum and found it closed as they were working on the new museum. We will have to come back and visit the new museum. Whenever I see your pictures of the critters and flowers in your yard I wonder about the wildlife in Martha’s Vineyard. Here in North Jersey we cannot put up bird feeders. They are actually not allowed in our town because of the black bear. They carry the whole bird feeder right into the woods. If you have a bag of bird seed in your garage they will break in and steal it. I can’t grow tulips because the deer love them. The deer pretty much each everything in the yard. So, instead I buy bunches of tulips at Stop & Shop and put them in vases in the house. Sorry this comment was all over the place. Kind of like a conversation. Right?
    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • sbranch says:

      Exactly, the way we talk! Sharing our space with the critters. I know bears, we used to camp with them in the Rockies in the days they were not controlled. My dad had to hang our ice chest from a rope on a very skinny bendy tree, and one morning we woke up and there were claw marks on the ice chest ~ which gave us neighborhood talking points for years! They were in all the mountain villages, where people were walking, digging through the trash cans. We weren’t even afraid of them, to young and ignorant to know their power. Now you’re not allowed to have ANY food where they are and you have to dispose of it the same way you’d dispose of nuclear waste! Love to hear from you Terry, have a good one! xoxo

  72. Terri says:

    What a wonderful cheery post this morning. I smiled all the way through. I do hope you have a blessed, lovely weekend!

  73. Lynda Mortensen says:

    I had my very first customs/shipping problem between US and England a few weeks ago…but I have a sneaky way out of it! I am visiting my Mum in England at the moment, and had ordered a silk scarf to bring with me. Unfortunately, because of a forecast blizzard, my flight was changed to a day earlier, so I had to leave before my scarf got delivered (it was delivered 10 minutes after we left for the airport!). Never mind…I asked hubby to mail it to me as it was very lightweight and not a very expensive scarf at all…fast forward 2 weeks and I get a note through my Mums letterbox saying that my scarf is held at customs and can’t be delivered unless I pay a fee…a fee that was twice as much as the scarf cost! But there was a way out…if I didn’t pay the fee, then the scarf would be returned to sender…which of course was my hubby, and therefore me!!! I can’t help giggling about it all, my scarf will have crossed the Atlantic twice and be waiting back in Colorado for me when I return home in a few weeks time 🙂
    I do hope you have a Girl Cat ghost! Wouldn’t that be nice?

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

    Hi Susan… what an uplifting and beautiful blog! I just loved all the pictures of the birds and squirrels and flowers. I’m so sorry you have to go through all the back and forth with the manufacturer. I’m looking forward to getting my toothpick holder, as the saying goes, good things are worth waiting for! Girl Kitty was so precious, I’m happy to hear she’s visiting, not that you’ll ever forget her. Thank you for all the happiness you bring to all us girlfriends! ♥♥♥

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Marie! I heard from them again, and it seems like we’re full-steam ahead!

      • Marie Knight (Long Beach, CA) says:

        Very exciting news! Can’t wait to start using my beautiful toothpick holder! ♥

  75. Marsha Sega says:

    Loved this blog!! I read the pickled onion recipe to my husband and his mouth was watering. Got kale at Farmer’s market this morning (along with fresh strawberries – Yummmmm) and am heading into kitchen to make the kale chips as soon as I finish writing this. We eat a plant based diet so I am always looking for new recipes. Have made several kale salads but haven’t tried chips. Everything here is green – lovin’ it. Azalea’s in my front yard are a riot of bloom. So nice to arrive home to that sight. One of my very best girl friends died on January 1. Her birthday is today. On my way to market I saw a cardinal in the yard of a house I passed. Haven’t seen one in forever. I love the legend of the cardinal being from a loved one in heaven but its the first time its happened to me. Thanks for the love and beauty you share with all of us.

    • sbranch says:

      How lovely you saw that cardinal ~ what perfect timing. Thank you for your sweet words Marsha. xoxo

  76. Jacquie says:

    Would you mind if I asked from where you got the star pillowcases? I have been searching for eons for a set to replace my much loved and well-worn flannel star pillowcases that came from L.L. Bean years ago…without luck. I gave up the search. Those are the closest in resemblance I’ve seen!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I have searched too … mine originally came from Garnet Hill, also a long time ago . . . no longer being made! Sorry I’m no help!

  77. Kerrie Anne Foley says:

    Hi Sue! Hooray for May! Spring is beautiful in my little Sea Port of Wickford. I’m also going to visit my sisiter in Berkeley, California in a couple of weeks so that’s exciting!!. Love your beautiful pictures and delicious recipes. And oh, when I heard that about Girl Kitty I was so happy!! I remember writing to you once and telling you about when I used to drive my two granddaughters to pre school (5 years ago?? Heavens how time flies!!) and how they would start to bicker in the car so I began to tell stories about their kitty, Henry, (who has also gone on to kitty heaven) and his grand adventures with a favorite doll on his back. Often I would tell of his trips to the ferry and across the Sound to Martha’s Vinyard where he would go to Sue and Joe’s house and knock on the kitty door and make mischief with Girl Kitty and Jack!! The stories became a favorite part of our day and I would show them pictures from your blog and they would make their own stories with pictures! SUCH fond memories!! I’m thrilled that Girl is visiting!! I live in a 225 year old house and I have a house ghost named “Mary” who also has a cat! My kids have seen her and I feel her around me and see her out of the corner of my eye. We call her “Ghost Cat” and feel very special that Mary and she share their home with us. Thanks for another wonderful blog. I look forward to each and every one! Much love to you and Joe and give Jack a squinch for me 🙂 Kerrie

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll do it Kerrie, love your kitty stories, so cute, such a good grandma! Sending love! 😘

  78. Shelly Dowell says:

    Girl Kitty! What a wonderful experience. Sometimes in the middle of the night when I get up I think Insee my dear departed kitty at the end of the hall. I thought Ineas a little crazy until my husband mentioned he thought he saw her at the end of the hall!!!! We just loved hen so much they hang around still. ❤️

  79. Linda L Miller says:


    Love your delicious blog!

  80. Ann R says:

    Susan thanks for the chatty blog entry it’s always a treat. I read you on twitter but do not sign up for the online media circus ( I am my father’s daughter so when things get heated let’s just say sailor language gets used!). I saw your Martha’s Vineyard “Aloha shirt” what great fun! You should see if the Reyn Spooner stores would sell it (this is where Honolulu businessmen buy their office alohawear). It may be a MV shirt but with the right marketing you could make bicoastal! Enjoy your spirited story of girl kitty. You were a good mom to her and even though she is on a different earth plane it’s nice she touches bases with you and Jack. Has Joe had any sightings? All the best Aloha.

    • sbranch says:

      Aloha Ann . . . I understand your Twitter concerns. There’s definitely good and bad about it, but I feel lucky to say I find more good than bad ~ but even so, every so often I have to take a little vacation from it! I’m not making those shirts myself, I just licensed the use of my fabric designs, so it’s up to the Mayor Clothing Company how they decide to market it. I got one and got one for Joe, can’t wait to see it in person. Joe hasn’t seen Girl, but he’s on the lookout! Happy day Ann, thanks for saying hello!

  81. Ginny Evans says:

    Happy happy spring! Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos of your yard. Now that I don’t live in extreme cold (Nova Scotia to Houston, TX), I miss watching the seasons unfold. So, you are giving me a ring-side seat! I recognize each plant and bird and feel like I am there. Love your forsythia this year! Matched the goldfinch 😉 And you are so lucky your Angelique tulips returned. Mine never would.

    Really interested to try your Fried Kale Chips. I usually “roast” mine for 12 min at 400. But they don’t stay crisp. Loved your “tea towel twist technique!”

    Two questions:
    Why no salt—not even a little?
    Why can’t they touch?


    • sbranch says:

      If they touch, they’ll stick, and they are so crisp, like little croutons, that you won’t want them to be stuck together. I salted the first batch very lightly, but they came out SO SO SO salty, maybe because they shrink so much ~ I just wouldn’t take a chance. Or if you want to try it, you could salt just a couple of them and see what you think. Because they go on top of salads and things, you really don’t need them to be salty. Hope this helps!

      • Ginny Evans says:

        Yes, very helpful, thanks. I never thought of adding them to things. We literally gobble up the whole bunch in one sitting! With just a little salt, they are amazing. When my husband’s friend looked at him like he was crazy and asked, “you like kale?” Craig enthusiastically said, “Yes, their great roasted!” I don’t think his friend believed him.

        I just sprinkle a tiny bit over the batch once I spread it on the sheet. You are right, it doesn’t take much at all.

        PS I just have to tell you. I have never met anyone else who celebrates shadows, especially as they fall on old-timey kitchen stuff and sweet cozy home spots. I love those pictures you post. I can just FEEL it. I thought I was the only one who actually took photos of such things.

        I can’t remember, have you read the book “The Gentle Art of Domesticity” by Jane Brocket? Total kindred spirit, you’d love it! And of course, she is British.

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you Ginny . . . I’ve seen that book, but not for a long time. Yes, the shadows, both inside and out. I have one photo of huge tree shadows in my garden that look like they are reaching out to hug our house!

  82. Ginette Wheeler says:

    OH Susan, Girl Kitty! How I loved seeing her sweet little face and be reminded of her, she was and is love! I’m happy she making her presence known, more enchantment for your wonderful old house! This blog made my day! oxox Ginette

  83. Rosemary Johnson says:

    I am not great with twitter, do hope I have not mistakenly deleted the bluebell wood photos, so lovely to read all of your followers lovely comments.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, if you did you’ll just have to go back and take more, Rosemary! They were so beautiful! We do have the sweetest Girlfriends! xoxoxo

  84. Donna Lee says:

    Oh, that forsythia is killing me! Doesn’t it just scream “SPRING”? Thank you for the reminder that a pound a week is 52 pounds a year. Even if the loss is only half that, twenty five pounds is more than a dent for most of us. Now for a trip to Whole Foods and a trip to the garden center for some forsythia. I have officially been inspired!

  85. Patty says:

    Hi Susan!

    The story about Girl Kitty is so comforting because I do believe that animals and people return in spirit to places that they loved! Did you happen to receive the children’s book that I mailed to you a while ago? Anyway, you inspired me to write a book and wanted to thank you! I have had so much fun having book signings at different schools here in Maine and also at vintage camper rallies! I am looking forward to reading, Enchanted! Happy Spring, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      I did receive your book, Patty, and was so happy for you, and honored that I had any part at all in your adventure in book writing. Getting a book actually DONE is so personally profound, so many places along the way to fall off the rails! Congratulations! I gave a talk at a grammar school, the teacher wanted me to tell the kids “how to write a book” ~ the kids were writing their own cookbooks. I took questions, which was SO FUN. Kids say the darnedest things. My two favorite questions were “How old are you?” and “How much money do you make?” 🤣

      • Patty says:

        I am so happy you received it! One of the requests I had from some of the students were, “Can we see the paper you wrote the story on, and, can we see the pictures that were drawn before it became a book?” Great questions, I thought! Thank you for responding to my comment, Susan! You made my day!

        • sbranch says:

          It’s the heart, to hand, to paper thing those naturally creative minds seem to get right away. Wonderful questions that allow teaching moments and inspiration and everything wonderful! I’m so happy for you! And for your kids!

  86. Kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    As always I very much enjoyed your blog. What you wrote about Girl Kitty touched my heart so much that I haven’t been able to comment without crying until now. I think i’ve Got this…. My “Forever” dog Penny is with me always. There isn’t a day that passes when I don’t think of her. I don’t believe that it is her ghost that I feel nestled at my back during the night…it is her love. Love stays…that is the reason that I bought the plaque that you made…it reminds me of my Beloved Forever Girl. Love Stays. Penny was a white English Setter with one red ear. I put a deposit on her before her parents were even mated, requesting that I want a girl, and first choice. When I got the call on 2-24-1995 from Heartland Setters saying “ We’ve Got Puppies!” Was one of the best days of my life! Not only was that news wonderful to me, but hearing “ And there is only ONE girl out of seven puppies….and she is yours!” I named her Penny Marie Valentine❤️. The day that I went to pick her up, the breeders had all of the puppies running around in the yard. When I got out of the car and walked toward the puppies, this beautiful, spunky little girl with one red ear came running toward me as if she were waiting for me to take her home! She was jumping up on my legs begging to be picked up! The Breeders could not believe how she alone ran so far and was so ready to go home with me! For 13 years she was all mine…and that time went by much too fast. On 1-28-08 she went to Heaven peacefully in my arms. This sweet girl brought me so much joy and happiness and filled such a void in my life. When I were sick or would be crying she would cover me with her whole body and dry my tears with her fur. She was my companion…my best friend…my four legged child and my Earth Angel. Her passing was the hardest thing that I ever had to bear. Yes, she is with me still, even though I have moved 3 hours away from where I lived while she was living. Her Love has followed me and I believe with my whole heart that one day she will show me the way to Heaven.

  87. linda hartman says:

    Oh, my goodness. So many comments. A wonderful thing. Please, if someone reads these for Susan, tell her I too am experiencing a complete revision in diet, mine sparked three months ago by an elevated A1c which I was determined would NOT get the better of me. So, after 75 years, a began eating as I always have known I should (no flour, no sugar, white potatoes or rice and lots of greens and veggies and fruits. A1c now in a good place, 10 pounds off and I continue with nary a thought of returning to my old indulgences. Very happy for both of us.

  88. Angela S Crawley says:

    Upbeat, positive and inspiring, as always. Thank You.

  89. Elizabeth says:

    oh that poor woman, so lonely!!! and ill! 🙁 … (I read the 2011 blog post)… you create beautiful things and you are blessed to have your beloved and reminders of how loved you are! God bless you and keep you!

    • sbranch says:

      She was trapped in 1800, disabled, with no money, in a place where the winters were long and hard, very difficult situation. What she did with THAT is the part that brings tears to my eyes ~ and you are so right, makes me feel so lucky. Thank you Elizabeth for your kind words. xoxoxo

  90. Darlene W. says:

    Lovely post as always. Thank you!
    I have a request, you probably have lots of ideas for designs for your mugs. I would like to add one more, bees (lots and lots of bees).

  91. Warwickshirelass says:

    Thank you for such a lovely post. We have just lost our dear 19-year old kitty, Tasha, who looked so like Girl Kitty. I hope she comes to haunt us, I look for her every day.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss, such an empty hole where a HUGE piece of pure love used to live. It took my Girl since 2016 to make it back, you may have a little wait, but keep your ears peeled! xoxoxo

  92. Care Woodard says:

    Wonderful post as always:) Don’t worry at all about the cute little courage vases!! I am a great waiter and will be all the sweeter when they arrive:) Enjoy the garden! Isn’t it just heavenly to be out there? Beautiful beautiful Spring!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Care, thank you so much. I feel so bad about this. I will never fully trust them again. I do love what they make, and they are the only ones in this country I’ve found that will do it, can do it, and make it possible for ME to do it, so I need to trust them, just going to do it another way next time. Thank you for your patience. I think everything has made it, finally, to the front burner and is coming very soon. Yes, amazingly beautiful spring for us too! xoxoxo

  93. Jennie Lou says:

    With all the sharing we do of books and programs and movies, I am wondering if anyone has read the Mitford books by Jan Karon? My beloved MIL gave me the opening trilogy for Christmas, and I am finally getting around to them. So comfortable to read. I have been ferreting out the rest of the series as I find them a wonderful counterpoint to the barrage of news every day. Oh! How will I ever get out from under the avalanche of books I can’t live without!?

    Happy Mothers’ Day to all you impossibly courageous girlfriends out there! I admire your dedication more than I can say.

    • sbranch says:

      If you’re anything like me you will NEVER get out from under of your avalanche!!! You just have to make it part of the furniture! Impossibly courageous are the perfect words. Thank you Jennie Lou!

    • Elaine in Toronto says:

      Hi Jennie Lou, I’ve read all of Jan Karon’s Mitford books. Look for her Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader. It has the recipe for Esther’s wonderful Orange Marmalade Cake which I made. It was very good. Hugs, Elaine

  94. Elizabeth back in NY (Wegmans hometown!) says:

    Ooo, just discovered that there was a new blog post. I spent the day messing with the rosebushes and hydrangea that came with this house, and washing down outdoor furniture…then supper on the deck as the kitties looked out the patio door to make sure we weren’t going anywhere, squirrels chased each other in the evergreens, and the birds sang. I just finished Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams, now eagerly awaiting Enchanted. Also am reading Beatrix Potter’s Letters to Children-are you familiar with it? Facsimiles of the letters she wrote, complete with drawings, and editor’s notes about the children and their families. Looking forward to reading, journaling and doing art, OUTDOORS! May is my favorite month. Thank you for your post-Elizabeth

  95. Mary A. Brown says:

    I think your approach to healthy eating is smart! Just small changes which are easier to make permanent. I have a friend whose clairvoyant and she has told me that my beloved Siamese, Tiffany, is haunting me and is close. I find this very comforting as I’m sure you do too. Happy spring!

  96. Tara R Dollins says:

    So excited about the tiny vases !!! Can’t wait till they get here !!! Precious…..

  97. Rene Marie Foust says:

    I love the spoon that your dad made for you, what a nice way to remember him. Being haunted by one of your favorite pets is a nice thing. Occasionally I am haunted by my cocker spaniel, Daisy. She slept at the foot of my bed and she hated being hot, it caused her to pant heavily which shook the bed. Some -times at night I wake up because I can feel the bed shaking and I know she is there. Congratulations on the international success! Oh and I just drank tea from my Corky mug and I love it, well I love them all. Have a great day. I forgot to thank you for introducing us to the Chicken lady , she is my inspiration when I am feeling down and lonely and I now look at chickens in a completely different way.

  98. Nicoline says:

    Hello Susan,
    It was such a lovely treat to read your post a few days ago! I was in Beijing at the time, so had to use my glasses to read it, on my phone, haha….
    After I came home I was able to read it again, this time “full size”, much easier on the eyes!
    Your recipes sound so yummy, I will certainly be trying some out soon. I am actually quite surprised that you are able to get kale at this time of year,
    Here in Holland it;s a winter vegetable, and at this time of year it’s only available in little “blocks” (it’s sort of minced/finely chopped) bagged, in the freezer dept at grocery stores. The large fresh leaves we can only get for a few months during the winter…..
    I know it’s really good and healthy, so I have a bag of those “green ice cubes”and use them in all sorts, defrosted and melted they look like flecks of parsley, so good in soups, sauces, chili, stews……
    Oh, girl Kitty, what a darling girl! I hope Joe gets to see her soon too. She looks so sweet, so good natured….just as though she will look after others….I hope she was waiting and on the look out for a new arrival in cat heaven, because we had to say a last good bye to our own sweet darling Emily , just this last sunday…..She is very much missed by us all, and the house feels empty and quiet without her…
    Sorry to end on a sad note, dear Susan, but thank you again for brightening my day, and Gabri joins me in sending you and Joe lots of love.
    We’re keeping fingers crossed you’ll cross the pond again!
    XXXX Nicoline

    and freshwintertime…..

    • sbranch says:

      Oh no Nicoline, I’m so sorry to hear about Emily. “Good natured” kitties should truly live forever. Girl was like that too. A mush-mellow. Hugs to you guys. 😢 Hope our girls find each other. No doubt we will cross the pond again, we are working toward that goal, but it will be a while before we can get away. It’s SOOOOOO hard to be in love with two places. Yes, our Kale is really good this time of year, you know us, we have every kind of weather in this country! Our part of the country has NOT turned to summer yet! But guess what I did yesterday? I planted your hollyhock seeds!!!! Now I hope they grow! Some went to my girlfriend Lowely for her Birthday! Thank you! Loved the photo of your family, you look wonderful! Inspiring brochures too! For our next visit! I did look at Selworthy, now the little eeeking noise is leaking from my heart! I’d like to get remarried in St Beuno’s adorable church. Everything wonderful Nicoline, thank you for remembering me. Have a GREAT day . . . love to Gabri and the boys if they’re around. xoxoxo

      • Nicoline says:

        Hi again, and you just brightened my day, with your sweet words!! I think Kitty and Emily will find each other and like each other….Both were just the sweetest darling girls…..
        Oh, I”m so glad that you got the seeds!! I just hope the hollyhocks will grow and spread a little sunshine on your lovely island. I have noticed, though, that the small seedlings are very tempting to snails or other bugs, so maybe try to raise them in a pot first?
        And it’ll be nice to see what colors they will be!
        We had a few days of summer but it’s back to Autumn now, wearing our thick coats…… But it’s up and down everywhere I think. I was in Beijing with Mick last week, and it was about 86, and at home the next day it was only 52…..
        I have just seen the first glimpse of “baby Sussex”, and I’m enjoying the excitement of it all! Let’s hope they call the baby Joe, wouldn’t that be great!
        Gabri and I are are going to Cornwall in 3 weeks, and can’t wait to be back….Breathing in that sweet sea air…..Have you and Joe been there, the St Ives area?
        I can get more brochures if you like, haha! Anything to tempt you both to coming back….!!
        Lots of love and hugs back, from us all
        Nicoline xoxo

        • sbranch says:

          We went to Cornwall last visit, in fact I’m THERE in the book I’m writing about that trip, ENCHANTED, so I’m having a wonderful time! We were north near Clovelly this time, must go further south another visit! YOu’re going to the BEACH! I see what you’re up to! I hope it’s toasty and wonderful for you! xoxo

  99. Brenda King says:

    What a lovely post, Susan, on so many topics. I could not live without tulips in my garden and here in my Saskatchewan garden, they started blooming yesterday. They didn’t start one at a time, but rather more than a dozen started blooming on the same day. Happiness!

    My kale chip tip is this: rather than massaging the kale, shake it for quite a while in a bag that has the oil added. It works.

  100. Yvonne Sullivan says:

    Love your blog so much fun been reading The Africa House very good Have wonderful Spring love your travels and cute little Jack.I’ve got a cute calico kitty who has called our home hers Every evening she goes homeshes beautiful

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