HELLO DARLINGS, Yes, I am still here! Sometimes I think my life is so NORMAL that it’s actually too boring to write about. But then I get little notes from my Girlfriends and find out, you just like letters from home 💞, so that’s what you have here: A letter from home. 💌 Con MUSICA.

Normal view from normal kitchen window on a normal but AMAZING spring day, because there’s nothing normal about Spring!

It wasn’t so very long ago it looked like this!

I sprouted my sweet pea seeds indoors and they are all in the garden now!

Because this is the NEW normal.

Almost shocking, such a change! YUP, we’ve been planting like crazy, we got dirty, we drank iced-sun-tea. I waited almost two years for this sight. We were in England last year and missed our Vineyard spring, so this year, I hovered over the clematis, waiting to see if the miracle would happen, and Look, it did! Made me want to get busy on the rest of the garden!

Here we are, that’s the strawberry patch in the foreground looking over toward the vegetables. Yup, I know, magic.

We planted six different tomato varieties, three different kinds of lettuce, kale, and lots of herbs ~ 🎶 parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. 🎵 Oh yes, basil and peppers too (but they’re not in the song!)

We added compost and dug it all in, so the dirt was rich as cake crumbs, so easy to dig, a pure pleasure. More proof that if you want magic you can make it yourself! 💫 This little garden has brought us so much joy every single year of the 30 years we’ve lived here (yes, we’re planning an anniversary party in September to celebrate! 🎉). If you don’t already know, you can click on the words above and see how “My Toy” came to be. 🌷

We learned in Ireland that foxglove is the flower of the fairies. I believe it, nothing says, “cottage garden” more than these charmers. Bluebells help too! Spring is time of rebirth, and H O P E 🌸 . . . I happened to see this page ⬇️ I wrote on New Year’s Eve 1998 in an old diary and thought you would like it. . .

A whole lotta hopefulness back then ~ I have the same hopes and agenda today and still write them in my diary.✍️ And my tummy turns over every day, because I’m working on my new book, ENCHANTED, and loving every moment of it. 🎨

But you know what my favorite words from that diary entry were? 💘 Love is all that matters. 💘

So💞, back to the garden 🍓. . . we’ve had a strawberry patch for several years now . . . they survive winter and come back reliably every year and for a little while we get to bring in cereal bowls full of organic fresh juicy strawberries, free, straight from the garden with almost no trouble at all. 🍓

They’re almost ready to pick now! 🍓

And for the first time ever, we found not just one, but my TWO favorite roses here at a nursery on the island!!! This peachy one is called Just Joey . . . it’s my absolute number one favorite!  I’ve never been able to find it here! So of course, we got two!  Roses don’t grow on Martha’s Vineyard quite as well as they do in California, in fact my girlfriend Lowely calls them an “annual” ~ it’s not quite THAT bad, but my fingers are crossed for long life and good health. They’re not blooming yet, the photo above is from our garden in California where we fell in love with them (that is ONE bush in that picture!) ~ they’re prolific, disease-free, and SMELL like heaven. Same with the rose below, my other most favorite, called Julia Child ~ also prolific, disease free, and SMELLS? You guessed it! Like heaven! All three roses are now dug into our garden. I shall update you on their progress. I will be staring daily.

And so it begins . . . my little vases will have flowers in them until the first frost . . .

Now. This has developed into a problem.⚡️ I’ve always loved feeding the squirrels, and hope I soon love it again. But, this little mama gave birth to maybe 10,000 more of them. And suddenly they are everywhere, piglets, eating all the bird food, which I don’t mind, except the birds aren’t even trying anymore, and THAT, I do mind. 😬

I knocked on the window and said, Get Down! Two of them dropped to the ground, but Mama hung there looking at me like you talkin’ to ME? and didn’t move a muscle. 😱 So I cast about the kitchen for a weapon. Eyes fell on red napkins! Brilliant. Went outside, Mama took off, I rubbed my hands on the napkins to leave revolting people-smell  and tied them to the wisteria. Cute, I thought, much better than barbed wire! 👍 

And for the rest of the day, no squirrels came. I was a genius. Marveled to Joe. Broadcast my brilliance on Twitter. 🗣 

Jack said, you are an idiot.

And Jack, as usual, was right. So we are going to spend some obnoxious amount of money for new squirrel-proof bird feeders . . . right now nobody is getting fed, in the meantime I’m hoping squirrel multitudes will learn to find food at the neighbors’ houses and forget all about us.

Then of course, there’s these guys. They eat the seed that drops when the squirrels do backflips off the feeders. They also eat tics. So we are hoping they do that. 

This was our walk on March 11! Note trees with no leaves. Large arm on shadow denotes giant man’s leather jacket for freezing temps.

And this was today, walking in skirt, wearing no sweater . . . delightful change of seasons has occurred. MAS MUSICA? This one is for Rachel~Bellisima! 💋

It’s true, our walk through woods to the water is normal to us after all these years, but it’s still pure joy ~ no humidity yet, just a sweater-free, hat-free, dirt-road-walk through the woods.

. . . taking pictures of Rhododendrons, I call them the wildflower of the woodlands.

This is always our destination . . . I would love to be able to blow this cool, salty, perfumed air your way . . . I worry about our girlfriends in Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Texas, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin ~ from California to the New York islands, from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters ~ tornadoes and floods are wreaking havoc in so many places. Sending love and safety prayers to everyone. These crazy fires and weather disasters can land anywhere, any of us could be next ~ I’ve received letters from some affected, some who have lost everything ~ so heartbreaking in their detail, they make me cry, but at least we have each other. 💞 We can still help, we can still wish for each other on the very same moon. Mother Nature seems unhappy these last few years, and you know what they say, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I hope someone figures out how to give Mama a nap.💨💤

So, this was yesterday, Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, Mother Nature was asleep on a blanket under the dogwood tree, so it was a perfectly lovely day, and time to put our flag up. We hung out the upstairs windows to get the flag in place, and neither of us fell out! Hooray! Then I ran downstairs to get the camera and take it out front for the unveiling. While the screens are up on those windows, Jack is locked out of those rooms!

Here we go!

There it is . . . and there’s Jack in the window supervising (screen’s back down, but he still can’t get into the bedroom where Joe is!).

We can’t do it without him. We got the flag up, as we do every year, just in time for my favorite Island tradition . . .

. . . the Children’s Walk to the Sea . . . it happens on the Friday before Memorial Day . . . Now that I think of it, I’ve probably shown it on my blog every year! So now’s it’s our tradition too!

. . . the entire grammar school just up the street from us, kindergarten through 8th grade, carries their flags and flowers through the streets . . . and if I’m lucky one of them will wave and give me a smile . . . 

They parade from the school, past our house, down Main Street to the sea where they throw their flowers into the water in memory of the men and women who’ve fought and died in war. 😢 They will always remember the real reason for Memorial Day, for these kids, it’s not just a holiday or a day off from school . . . 

The beginning of the end of war lies in remembrance. ❣️ Herman Wouk

AND they bring their own MUSICA, the same old patriotic songs their parents marched to, and play Taps at the shore as their flowers float away . . . this wonderful custom has been going on every year since 1869, at the same school but with different kids ~ tying the generations together in a common memory. These small-town traditions are important, they contribute to pride of community. And my house has seen every single one of them, heard all the voices of all the children, and all the music.

Can you imagine?

When we bought our house in 1989, we didn’t know this came with it! The first year, I was painting in my Studio and heard the drums and clamoring playground voices coming closer, so I went running out to see what was going on, and got this smack in the eyeballs! Such a treat provided by these kids and their wonderful teachers! They aren’t the only ones who appreciate the reminder. 🇺🇸

So what else around here? Yes, still eating the MOST delicious food. Feeling wonderful. (Loving my new cup!) Soon we will add strawberries to the mix! And our own crisp lettuce and kale and hopefully juicy beefsteak tomatoes 🍅. 

This is what some of our dinners look like. I have tonight’s dinner all planned: scrambled eggs, quinoa salad (based on the one on page 84 of Girlfriends Forever) and half an avocado! Pure health! And speaking of health…wait till you see this! ⬇️

This was Lowely’s birthday cake! Cutest and HEALTHIEST cake in the history of the world! 💗 Our girlfriend Martha made it  . . . you would not believe how delicious it is!  It’s just watermelon ~ which may sound boring and beyond normal, but do not be deceived. She cut the ends off a whole seedless watermelon and cut a cake shape out of the center in one piece. We think she did it with a 8″ springform cake pan because the shape was perfect. Isn’t it adorable? The rest of the decorations you can see: Mint leaves under the bottom of the cake. Piped cream cheese holds the blueberries rimming top and bottom. Green-grape halves go around the center. Feta cheese is crumbled over the top with baby tangerine segments. To serve: Cut it like a cake, sprinkle each piece with extra tangerine segments, feta crumbles, whipped cream, and/or mint chiffonade. It is SHOCKINGLY delicious 🍉, it’s fruit salad! It set the girlfriends ON FIRE simply because of how cute it was, everyone loved it. These colors would be perfect for anyone with an appreciation of whimsy! Any summer-night dinner in the garden, or at the beach, cries out for ice-cold watermelon cake.

Another serving idea would be to cut the cake and serve it with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of brown sugar because those two things go with watermelon in the BEST possible way! 🍉 How’s this for a summertime treat?!!!So, I went on line to see if others had figured out this brilliant thing, and found a resounding YES! I grabbed a few photos to show you . . . 

So fun, the sky’s the limit with your imagination! You can even do smaller cakes with cantaloupe!  I saw one cake decorated with starfruit! Very cute! 🍓

Whipped cream or sour cream would both work for frosting.

Layer cake for the Fourth of July!

Cookie-cutter shapes around the middle. From pineapple! How darling! HERE’S a video that shows how the cake was cut from the watermelon. Have fun!

Speaking of fun . . . lots of girlfriends are getting their cups and sending me photos on Twitter ~ @Sharrieboberry sent this one ~ and it just GOT me . . . thought you’d like to see it! Precious Corgi eyes are so melting! And here’s something else fun and new! A company asked if they could use my Martha’s Vineyard toile fabric to make shirts! So of course I said yes! Perfect thing to wear if you’re coming to the Island! Or even if you’re not! I think they’re mainly made for men, so I ordered one for Joe ~ but I HAD to have one, so I got a smaller one for me. Haven’t seen it yet, they just came in.  Made by Mayor Clothing. Now Joe and I will be one of those couples wearing matching shirts. I NEVER thought it would happen to us! (And likely still won’t considering it would likely be over Joe’s dead body to be wearing the same shirt as me! 🤡)

AND, P.S., if you ARE coming to the island ~ there is now a store here that carries ALL my things . . . cups, signed books, hooked rugs, all kinds of things. It’s on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, called the Simon Gallery . . . if you come, say hello to Robin! Also, guess what? They’re also carrying Lowely’s (in real-life she’s Anna Lowell Finnerty) and Margot’s art! So this is Girlfriend Central on the island! 

She even has a few of my things that aren’t available anymore . . . the original Days, for instance, I think it’s the very last of them. She’s open 10 am to 6pm, 7 days a week. The Gallery phone number with Robin on the other end is 508-693-0042.

We only have about half of our storm windows off so far, but Joe took off the glass doors and put the screens on, mainly for this guy, who loves to watch the world go by, and is very entertained by 10,000 squirrels searching frantically for food. (Don’t worry, someone around here throws handfuls of nuts out there for them to find in the grass.)🥜

It’s a big job. Wears you out after a while 😽. So we move a kitchen chair up for him . . . so he can guard the campground AND nap in the breeze.So, that’s all the normal for today Girlfriends! Hope you enjoyed spring on Martha’s Vineyard and praying you are getting lots of it where you are. 🌸 Remember, there are Free Things you can print out from my web store. And all kinds of wonderful RECIPES for the season. AND, yes, miracles do happen, our tiny vases and butter dishes and the rest of our new little things have finally shipped and will be arriving at our Studio on Thursday! They will begin going right out immediately. 💞 Thank you forever for your kind patience. Sending all my love from  . . .

And even across the seas . . . you know who you are! 💞

Last but not least, something special to remind us of the reason for Memorial Day . . . gratitude, heart, memory, and love.

Girl Kitty, still haunting in the Heart of the Home.SIGN UP IF YOU’D LIKE TO RECEIVE MY BLOG IN YOUR EMAIL BOX.

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464 Responses to A LETTER FROM HOME

  1. Beth Wilson says:

    Oh my goodness I laughed so hard when I read “Jack said you’re an idiot”. LOL! I laughed all the way through reading about the squirrels! We have one that passes through our yard, surprising in urban Southern California. Someone is giving him/her peanuts and he/she delights in burying them in my flower pots… Sometimes I go out there and he/she just looks at me like, well, where is my peanut? : )

    • sbranch says:

      They CAN be fun. I’ve always loved their antics, just not so much lately! I know, Jack does not give me a break!

  2. Regina Carretta says:

    thank you for your lovely blog today, Memorial Day …. I particularly love the last photo ofGirl Kitty and the heart shaped stones….so sweet….once again, and continually, we need your voice, your love of nature, of home, of place, of color and warmth…..we wake up each day, take a deep deep breath, and give all we’ve got to others, to loved ones, to critters like Jack!
    thanks to you, I will be taking a watercolour class in Trevi, in the early fall, with my watercolour teacher….for a week….thanks to you, because, you encourage us all to get out into the world, be with people, do what we love…..
    (come and join us in Trevi, if you find yourself in the neighborhood the last week in September!!)
    love to you,
    Regina, Seattle

    • sbranch says:

      Is Trevi in Italy? You’re taking an art class in Italy? How WONDERFUL!!! Good for you Regina, you are an inspiration!

      • Regina Carretta says:

        Trevi is a hilltown in Umbria, Italy – I have taken watercolour classes here locally in Seattle from a wonderful teacher and she is leading the week long workshop……
        YOU are the inspiration, my dear…..I have been traveling alot since I left teaching, but also since some health issues, and family losses, that reminded me about choices of joy….but now, especially now, being out in the world, seems to be so important….YOU are our Ambassador, don’t forget, out in the world for Art, Friendship, Peace and Joy…..love you….

        • sbranch says:

          That’s what I was thinking!!! How fabulous! You are your own inspiration, and a darling one. We feed on each other. Love you Regina!

  3. shanna says:

    Awww. Thank you, Susan—and Happy Memorial Day to you and Joe and Jack! Made my day 💖.

  4. Gina D. says:

    Sweet post with Sweet Peas!
    But need any travel tips please for booking the sleeper car train; we would like to take our 11 year-old grandson, 1-way, from Washington DC to Salt Lake City (then drive N to Idaho for family reunion). Would be 3 of us. Inspired by your past cross-country posts of course. Looks like we would have a Chicago connection.
    Happy summertime to you!

    • sbranch says:

      Read THIS for details, but the MOST important thing I can tell you is dial 1 (800) 872-7245 and as soon as the recording begins, say “AGENT.” You will get a human being. Tell her exactly where you want to go and when and she’ll answer all your questions. I’ve always been lucky and gotten someone really helpful and nice, so now I kind of think they’re ALL like that. Two different trains, east and west. West of Chicago, the trains are two stories, ask about the Family Bedroom for that one, you will probably all fit into one room, otherwise you’ll need one large bedroom and one small bedroom, near each other. They’ll help you with the details. Have fun!

  5. Thank you for your beautiful blog Susan! Glad to see the Simon Gallery in Vineyard Haven is still there and with all your goodies!📚 I got an email at the start of the year that it closed after Peter Simon passed away. Did your friend Robin reopen it and kept the same name? Do they carry Peter Simon’s work as well? I have a number of his books and visited over the phone a few times when he had a radio show on mvy radio. I used to listen online when I lived on Maui.
    Hope you and Joe have a special Memorial Day 🇺🇸 And a wonderful summer. Hope to get back to the Vineyard late September. Maybe our paths will cross across the pond.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, Robin reopened it ~ slowly but surely it will become Vineyard Arts . . . I think she’s working with Peter’s wife to transition in a soft way, and yes they still carry Peter’s work. Isn’t that funny, to be listening to MVY while on Maui! Islands half-way ’round the world apart!

  6. Sherry Winchester says:

    A warm place in the heart for animals is what truly makes a warm heart….and you have that, Susan. And we, your “girlfriends”, are all so blessed because of that. An enchanting blog today…Thank you!

  7. Grace says:

    Wow, so happy to see a new post! And in my most favorite of my four favorite seasons. Thanks so much for sharing the children’s parade. A beautiful taste of Martha’s Vineyard! I hope to get out there someday (we live in very land-locked Indiana). I can’t wait to try the watermelon cake this summer. People are so innovative!

  8. Linda Pintarell says:

    Beautiful blog this morning; thank you for sharing the beauty of your area.

  9. Erin Middlebrooks says:

    I have just added Just Joey Rose to my plant list. I will pick one of those up soon!! I have an Abraham Darby English rose that I love very much.

    I love the chair you set up for Jack. I want to come back as your cat!! I have three and a neighbours cat seems to have moved in… So, I always wonder how you clean up cat hair. As you know it is notoriously tricky.

    Thank you for a happy post full of all kinds of things that speak to your heart.

    Oh, by the way, the squirrel buster feeders do actually work, even though they are crazy expensive.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t understand why, but I rarely have to deal with it. I cover the places, like the ironing board, that Jack loves the best, with a towel or something that can be washed . . . but I don’t find much more than that. When I do, I just get a wide roll of package tape and lay out a long strip, run my hand down it to make it stick, and pick the hair right up. What’s your favorite kind of Squirrel buster feeder?

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        hello Susan, howdy Girlfriends. Susan we had the same problem, and solved it rather simply. we feed raw, natural peanuts to the squirrels on the stumps in the front yard, acts like dining tables for them, then we moved the bird feeders closer to the house, like on the front porch and the kitchen porch. seems the squirrels won’t go anywhere near the porches and leave the feeders alone. they dine in style out on in front on their stump tables instead and everyone is happy with that arrangement. maybe you should find a place where you can feed the squirrels away from the feeders but where you can watch them. hope that helps. hugs… 😀

        • sbranch says:

          I’m a little worried they would still want both! Because our feeders are about a foot away from the house right now and they’re just used to it! I’m giving them the peanuts, right now we don’t have the feeders up, we need to get some new ones!

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            I thought that way at first but with the raw peanuts an nuts left out on the stump and some corn and seed they definitely left the feeders alone, some stores ( grocery, granges and even some hardware stores sell squirrel feed ( if they sell bird seed and feeders they sell the squirrel feed also.)

          • sbranch says:

            Good to know Pat!!! Don’t want them to suffer!

          • Judith says:

            Have you tried using those clear plastic domes that fit over the top of the feeder? We’ve had pretty good luck with those. They aren’t as expensive as buying all new feeders. There is another (somewhat controversial) way to discourage the squirrels, and that is to buy (or make) the brand of seed that has hot pepper juice all over the seed. The Audubon Society says they don’t recommend it, but I did try one batch and the squirrels wouldn’t touch it but the birds ate it up!
            Thanks for the link to the WW2 veteran playing the harmonica…sniff. ♥

          • sbranch says:

            I know, wasn’t that sweet. 98, and joie de vivre! I heard about that hot pepper thing too, but feel worried about it. Enjoying everyone’s squirrel-cures! Before I spend an arm and a leg on those squirrel buster feeders I should try a dome. Good idea!

      • Erin Middlebrooks says:

        Thank you for the cat hair tips. 🐈

        Here is a link to a site that sells the “Squirrel Buster” bird feeders in Canada. Such a cool company by the way. I have the really big one on the far right labelled D. It absolutely works.

        Not sure why the link is splitting onto two lines….sorry.

        • sbranch says:

          Splits into two lines and doesn’t link when I put it up, but at least it’s here . . . I hope everyone can copy and paste! THANK YOU! That’s what I’m looking for!

      • Nicoline says:

        Hi Erin, I just found out a handy way to get rid of cat hairs, and that is wear a rubber glove, one like you might use when cleaning….Dampen it a little and rub your hand where the hairs are, and lots will come off….
        Good luck, from Nicoline

    • sharon taylor says:

      Hi Erin, Here’s a trick for cleaning cat hair in case you’ve never tried it. Take Static Guard spray. Spry it on the “cat hair” leave for about 3 mins. Put on rubber gloves and pull across the area and hopefully all the hair will come off. If you don’t want to use Static Guard you can mist with water and do the same. Good Luck.

  10. ruth says:

    We were just on the Cape, and I’m wondering if there’s a store that sells your lovely stuff?

  11. Elrica says:

    Oh, precious Girl Kitty…and sweet, sweet Jack. It is impossible to love one cat more than another. We just love them in different ways. But we definitely don’t realize how much we love them till they are gone, (though possibly still here.)
    Happy Memorial Day, Ms. Susan Branch! Thank you for the lovely blogs.

  12. Laura Swanson says:

    I love a letter from Home!!! Just what I needed today.

    Big Hugs Susan!!!

    Laura in Illinois

  13. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Normal days are fine days. We just go about our daily routines here as well. Monday is dry and damp mop floor day, Tuesday is a sometimes small laundry day, Wednesday is clean both bathrooms day, 2:00 is walk the neighborhood time with the pups, except when it is 91° like today, cook supper at 5:30, poking around in the garden any time of day, etc. etc.
    Thank you for sharing your normal days with us. The garden looks great. Good luck with the roses. The smell will be delightful. Grocery store or florist roses just do not smell anymore.
    Unseasonably hot and no rain for weeks makes for difficult gardening here.
    The children’s Memorial Day parade is wonderful and, yes, they will always remember why they marched. I love the girl at the back of the line who looked right at you.
    Houseful of family yesterday for a bbq. Lots of good food and laughter. My grown children acting like the silly kids they were in our home years ago teasing each other to the delight of their own teen children was a sight to behold.
    Thank you for sharing your sweet life with us. Love to you, Joe, Jack, and the ghost of Girl Kitty.

    • sbranch says:

      Your BBQ sounds so fun Peggy! I hope it cools down for you soon, I’d love to see a light-hearted summer for everyone! xoxo

  14. Lana Bressler says:

    What a treat to read your blog today. Your garden is wonderful, just beautiful. We sadly have too many shade trees in our yard, but our farm stand is not too far away. We too have had battles with feeding the birds. I just wanted to say you played my all time favorite records that I listen to when I read..just adore Jackie Gleason with Bobby Hackett. I will close by saying your Jack is so precious, everyone loves him. We have been feeding and caring for our feral cat for years now…sadly he has been gone for 5 days. We have heavy hearts. Happy Memorial day Susan to you and Joe and Jack xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Our shade trees have REALLY been bothering us, we keep getting rid of branches, but it might be a losing proposition! Oh! I’m so sorry you lost your kitty. I hope someday you get a kitten (altho two is always better, I’ve learned my lesson), when you feel like it again. Some little critter is out there waiting for you. 😘 xoxoxo

  15. Christine says:


    • sbranch says:

      Give my blog to your teachers and maybe they’ll get the idea and you’ll get a parade! I keep hearing about your rain! AND, your wildflowers!!!

  16. Linda G. says:

    Love your Just Joey rose. Also one of my favorites. I live in a maritime climate so we rarely get the hot humid days that would “force” a rose to open. When I grew roses I always looked for ones that had fewer petals so they would open in our climate. Just Joey is one of those. Hope you try Double Delight as well!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we live on an island, which is a bit too cool for roses, I guess, although we have MASSIVE humidity in August. So I don’t know!

  17. Nan says:

    GOSH I love your posts!! Especially seeing what your home looked like last century 🙂 How fun! Thank you for sharing your life with us. Coming to Martha’s Vineyard as on my bucket list.. will make it one of these days 🙂

  18. Annette Baker says:

    What a blessing your lovely post is today. Your food is always inspirationalfor me. I’m such a creature of habit. Thank goodness you’ve opened doors to new foodie thoughts.
    My home is usually quiet and “normal” but I live in Arkansas and the river is showing us mere mortals it’s power. As a result I have a house full of folks waiting out the fury. Hate the circumstances but love my guests. Simply praying they have homes left.
    Love to you all on this special day.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my, Mother Nature, she is Queen. Lovely that your friends have you to go to. Terrible situation. Hugs to all!

  19. Sarah says:

    Susan, your words and life are NEVER boring! I love seeing and reading about snippets of life on your island. You are living a dream I once had! But I’m grateful for the life I live here in Austin. It isn’t life by the eastern shore, but it is a good life with my love, and that is all that matters. Thanks for sharing all the beautiful photos of your life. Sweet peas are one of my favorite spring bloomers. They remind me of my grandmother’s garden. Also love the patriotic photos. Seeing the children parade waving their flags and your stately home in the background truly makes this heart of mine sing.
    Happy Days to you and Joe! Glad the book is coming along for we are all eagerly awaiting. I’ve reread the first chapter numerous time. Hee Hee! So happy to have it!!!
    Love from Sarah and Sadie in Austin!

  20. Trish says:

    You’re writing a new book???? Be still, oh my soul.
    Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Yay! Someone to read it! xoxoxo

      • Jo'L says:

        Come now, there will be a million of us!

        • sbranch says:

          We are a relatively secret little club! But a million would be wonderful! I’ll take it! 😁

      • Karen Lenard says:

        Always on my mind is when to expect your next one. So glad it’s going to be soon! Thank you for your blog, it’s truly a joy to feel like I’m sitting beside you as your story unfolds each time.

  21. Donna Kozak says:

    Gardens and cats…all one needs to be happy ! Is sweet little Jack getting a little ‘porky’ …or is that still his winter fur coat (hee hee) ? Enjoy your Memorial day.

  22. Karen says:

    Loved this blog (especially the part about adorable, spoiled Jack saying you’re an idiot). The watermelon cakes are an inspiration and so beautiful – can’t wait to make one! Someday I hope to get to your beautiful island. That’s a great photo of Girl Kitty – RIP.

  23. Karen says:

    My vet ‘girls’ told me that when they die they want to come back and be a cat or dog at my house because of how I love and spoil my critters to the moon and back! The same with your kittens . . .how you SO love them – forever! **I just planted three rhodies in my woods last week – they are a natural in a wooded setting:) especially here in the Pacific Northwest – all misty and cloudy woods!

  24. Joanne Conte says:

    Thank you for taking us on a trip around your town. What a lovely way to spend a little time on a beautiful Memorial Day in New York!

  25. Elly says:

    What an enjoyable “trip” to the island you gave us today! I so love reading about your normal everyday lives you and Joe lead. It sounds heavenly! Your Memorial Day preparations and celebrations feel so “down-home” and wonderful.
    I’m blessed to live in West Michigan where no one lives more than five miles from a body of water, be it inland lake or one of the three Great Lakes surrounding our wonderful State. Unfortunately, I don’t live close enough to take a daily walk to the water like you and Joe have the pleasure of doing. My husband and I DID make a thirty minute drive to Lake Michigan last Friday to celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary, with dinner and watching a beautiful sunset.
    Thanks again for sharing your wonderful life with us! And have a WONDERFUL summer!

  26. Yvonne B says:

    Thank you Susan great letter love it.

  27. Loved using my holiday time (after finishing removing wallpaper and getting all furniture out of spare bedroom for a re-do!) reading what you are up to! I love your gardens. Some day I wish to have raised beds, hoping to keep most critters out since there are more than ever! Thanks for always inspiring! From Southern California~

    • sbranch says:

      Our garden has a little two foot high strip of chicken wire all the way around the bottom of the fence, and that keeps out the bunnies . . . we’re lucky not to have deer . . . they’re on the island but so rarely in our neighborhood, when they are, we just run for the camera!

  28. Wendy says:

    You have been on my mind the past 3 days – thinking about maybe a blog over Memorial Day! And I opened my emails and there it was…..Sooo happy to see it.

    Your writings always (always!) brighten my day. And I love the squirrel antics. I have 3 squirrels here in Southern California that come on my patio every day, waiting for their peanuts. They know me and come up to my door with the window in it to let me know they are waiting! I open the door and they don’t run but come right up to me and take their peanuts!! Haven’t seen any babies though….. 🙁 Love all the outside critters I have – squirrels, bunnies, hummingbirds and all kinds of birds – now if I could just get the crows to leave all the food alone!!!

    Happy Memorial Day……and God Bless America…..


  29. Ann says:

    Normal is a wonderful blessing! I often stop and think “what if” to remind myself to appreciate an ordinary day.

    Loved the post and seeing all the flowers. I’ve loved “Just Joey” for years. Another great one is “Hot Cocoa”. Your Clematis montana twining through the pickets is just scrumptious. Wish it was hardy here!

    Thanks for sharing your normal with us ❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Blessings counting is a wonderful thing! Where are you because we have snow and freezing temps here . . . and it somehow makes it. Thank you Ann!

  30. Pamela Burkham says:

    This may be my most favorite of all your blogs. I got so excited when I saw your red scarf to deter the squirrels until it didn’t work. We have bird feeders – even hanging “shelves” with peanuts for our Blue Jays – but our squirrels enjoy the bird seed and peanuts. We have tried to deter them but no luck so we just decided they need to eat too – thankfully our birds still come. Your garden is fabulous – we have one too but not that ambitious. Joyful to see the parade of school children honoring Memorial Day – I love small towns – I am a small town girl but our town of New Braunfels Texas is growing too fast. Thank you for praying for our friends in the Panhandle of Texas and in Oklahoma – keep the prayers coming. Thank you for bringing joy in our lives! Our Boston Terrier Mitzie sends greetings to Jack!

  31. Lillian Olmstead says:

    Hi Sue,
    I was so happy to find your new blog today. I think everyone who lives in New England always waits for this “soft air”(my grandson’s description when he was 4). Our little town marks Memorial Day in a similar old fashioned way with school kids and memorial flowers on the first Sunday in June and has done so since the 1870’s. Tradition really is a privilege. Happy days.
    Lillian O. XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      It ties us like nothing else does, and it is a privilege ~ there are lots of people out there trying to untie us. . . but we won’t let them. xoxo

  32. Claudia says:

    Thank you for this post, Susan! It’s so wonderful to see your town’s school children marching and celebrating our freedom that was purchased at such great cost. That is what is so beautiful about America. Her good people remember and teach their children of the sacrifices made for their privilege to live a good life, thus teaching a love for their country. If only we could see this in every community across the land! 💕

  33. Claire says:

    You are truly blessed to live in such a wonderful house. The flag! The parade! It’s all just too charming.

  34. Karen Bunch says:

    What fun! I cracked up at the squirrel antics. Hopefully, you’ve found a way to discourage him from stealing from the birds. The flag looks amazing on your lovely home.
    Have a wonderful week.

  35. Becki B. says:

    Hello! So fun to see the parade pictures! What a fun thing to look forward to every year. Oh, how I wish you could see my foxgloves! So lovely this year and they are spreading like weeds (but in a good way!) Our Oregon Memorial Day is rather cool and cloudy today. They are saying there is a chance of thunder showers later this afternoon. Boo! My 92 year old dad lives with us and was in at the end of WWII. Every year two of my brothers take him to a local service at a veteran’s cemetery near us. There is usually a military “fly over” which is quite thrilling to hear those jets coming. Thank you for the newsy letter, and my birds area also thinning out. I always wonder if it is due to the fact that there is just more around for them to eat this time of year? We do have a couple of squirrels but so far not too many. Last summer we did have to take our feeders down as we started having a RAT problem in the neighborhood! Maddening!!

  36. Gill says:

    Lovely to see the Memorial Day parade, so like our Norwegian National day parade, of schoolchildren and flags! That watermelon cake just takes the biscuit…I am so doing that this summer🙂 Lovely post of Ordinary days…these are the best kind of days.

  37. Judy says:

    Thank you for your warm, cozy, and sweet letter from home. I look forward to catching up you via your newsletter to us.
    I love your spirit, and learning how you maintain your sense of joy and wonder.
    With gratitude for you, Susan

  38. VirginiaB says:

    Your clematis is so beautiful and it is perfectly twined along your picket fence! What a picture! And inspired by one of your posts about poppies for England’s Remembrance Day, I bought a poppy pin with ‘Lest We Forget’ on it two years ago. I wear it the weeks of Memorial Day and Veterans Day and thank you for the nudge. I bought it on Amazon, if I’m allowed to say that. I get lots of comments, inspiring some touching exchanges.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, of course, you’re allowed!!! Perfect, poppies are such an iconic symbol. I hope someday the little paper flowers become available in all the stores like they are in England. Thank you Virginia!

  39. Sue says:

    Ah, squirrels, those cute little devil-y animals!!! We have a love/hate relationship with them! We have the Squirrel Buster Plus and it does the trick! I used to watch the squirrels try all their regular moves to get to that food, and enjoyed SO MUCH seeing them fail! However, it made them mad enough to chew through strung lights, deck railing, and even our gas line to our grill!!! We kept the feeder and placed it further away and they no longer hang around the deck, but now I don’t get to watch the birds at the feeder :(. The feeders are definitely an investment, but well worth it – we’ve had our feeder for probably 8-10 years and it’s still in great shape.

    • sbranch says:

      I hope my squirrels don’t turn into devils!!! Your gas line! Good grief! Thank you for the suggestion, I’ll go look for them!

  40. Brenda says:

    I love All your blog posts, but I think this one has to be my favorite of all! Your garden is beautiful!!! A picket fence around my raised beds is now on my “want list.” And I am going to order a Just Joey rose : ) I hope you find an amicable solution for your birds and squirrels, we buy a cheap big tub of vaseline and grease our bird feeder poles with it, re-applying it after a couple heavy rains. But after so many slides down the pole, they hardly even try anymore.

    • sbranch says:

      Ours aren’t on a pole, which is part of the problem. They come at them from the branches on both sides of the arbor. You will love the picket fence because as summer goes on, vegetable gardens begin to lose their perfect looks! The fence hides the mess inside and there are flowers on the outside. Very tricky! Thank you Brenda!

  41. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Oh, so lovely to be in the garden. I like the photo of Joe behind the clematis! The new “old” roses are so fragrant and the names are very appropriate for you! Little vases on windowsills…
    I LOVE the Childrens’ Parade to the Sea, so wonderful and important to remember the real reason for the weekend (heartbroken for those grieving).
    I love your walk to the Sea with Joe. I love the watermelon dessert ideas! I just had my kids over for a festive lunch, my beloved brother is visiting (for a nice long visit) and the watermelon triangles were devoured in a flash so I know your ideas will be very popular this summer. There’s a grandson’s birthday on July 2nd…
    Finally, I am so thrilled we are coming to the Vineyard for a week this August, 8 family members in a lovely house. I can’t wait to explore the Simon Gallery and thinking of a shirt for my husband’s birthday. So many lovely things, THANK YOU Susan, as always. xx

  42. Ann Woleben says:

    We are having a royal battle with squirrels, rabbits and deer. They are ravenous for birdseed (squirrels), liriope and impatiens (rabbits) and our hydrangeas and hosta (deer). I don’t want anyone to starve, but I would like to have a little peace in my garden. I have added more ferns this year and begonias, instead of impatiens. I have potted some of my favorite hydrangeas and my husband brought these to our deck. So far the deer have not come up the steps. Your cottage garden is a dream. As always, I read each of your posts with great interest, loving the photos, quotes and musings. I am always inspired by your writing. As much as you are probably missing England, I know you are enjoying every minute in your beautiful home. You are blessed beyond measure.

    • sbranch says:

      I kind of get both right now. Home, plus, while working on the book, I’m in England! Thank you Ann! xoxoxo

  43. Ruth Hower says:

    Oh happy day – I LOVE to find you in my mailbox! I quickly scrolled through this post so I could tell you something before I forget it. You mentions sun tea. You can make fridge tea – just put your pitcher of water and tea bags into the fridge in the evening. In the morning remove the teabags and sweeten. It’s already cold. You can do it on a rainy day – it doesn’t need sun♥♥!!

    Now I’m going back to enjoy reading all you’ve written and your beautiful photos and artwork. Thank you so much for all this joy!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Ruth! Reminds me of oatmeal ~ same thing. Just pour milk over raw oatmeal and put it in the fridge, in the morning, it’s soft, creamy, and edible!

  44. Carolyn J Collins-Hunt says:

    Thank you for your Letter from Home! Home Sweet Home! The older I get the more precious it is. 💕 Love your beautiful garden. Hot and muggy in Kentucky today. Worked outside this morning and chilling inside now. Open up my e-mail and YAY there’s a new blog. Thank you Susan for letting us peek into your life. Happy Memorial Day! 😘😘😘

    • sbranch says:

      I’m waiting for the shade to take over the garden, I have a few more things to plant before dinner! Happy Memorial Day, Carolyn!

  45. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Lovely post. That watermelon cake looks great and fun to put together I bet. Gardening sites have had me in their thrall today. So much to investigate. Love bearded Iris, lots of gardens to see. There is a rose garden in France that grows the petals that become Chanel No. 5. Fascinating. Love all your pictures too. I can almost smell the roses! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Fun to walk in the door with that cake!!! You should have heard everyone!!! Happy Spring Sylvia!

  46. Leslie M. says:

    Just seeing the picture of Jack on a pillow, on his chair pushed up the door so he can see out and be on squirrel patrol in comfort, proves you are a kind hearted soul like nothing else can.

  47. Peggy says:

    Susan, it is such a joy to read everything you post. I remember working with your Mom at McDonnell Douglas in Huntington Beach and she talked so much about you and your beautiful talent. We got snow here in Big Bear last night but most of it is melting today. Some spring!!!! I do hope your Mom is okay because the last couple of years my Christmas cards were returned to me.
    I have one stray cat outside, 11 years old and a beautiful black cat that walked in a year ago and decided to stay with me.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Peggy, thank you for asking after my mom. She’s healthy but not so much memory. Still happy and content as she’s always been, but no longer sending out Christmas cards.😟 She’s living with my sister now, up in Paso Robles. I love that she’s remembered fondly. She’s been an angel of a mother. I don’t know why kitties aren’t lined up around the block to get adopted by me! I’ve never had one come to my door! I would love that! Like a mom, having six babies on my porch, that would be GREAT! Happy spring, you’ll see the sun up there soon!

  48. Sandra walton says:

    How wonderful…Springtime..earth singing with green and all those lovely flowers.
    Thank you for such a wonderful letter to us and those wonderful pictures..love your clematis Montana round the picket fence…so beautiful and my favourite flowers…lily of the valley in your little vase…no better scent than lilies..
    Thank you for sharing..your lives and the beauty of the Vineyard..love it
    Spring is well and truly here too in the UK…my foxgloves are coming out and the peony too
    Longing to catch sight of the Book….it will be enchanting…
    Happy days and many blessings as you continue to write it..
    Love and best wishes
    Sandra in Birminghamx

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Sandra, than you for the catch-up! Love to see your peonies in the UK, I know they will be glorious! xoxoxo

  49. Sue says:

    I was so hopeful when I saw the tweet about your ingenious way to thwart the squirrels! We have the same issue with squirrels and raccoons. Tried so many things including cleaning out my hairbrushes by the feeders thinking they will smell human and run. Ha! They have no fear. Let us know if you find a feeder that helps. Thank you for brightening my day as you always do

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard the Squirrel Buster Plus works. So that’s what I’ll look for. People say they work! Sorry my linen napkins didn’t make the cut!

  50. Jo Logan says:

    I, too, have a Julia Child rose! (here in Oklahoma) Nearby, a Graham Thomas rose, also yellow, BUT Julia’s rose color is what I call “butter” plus it doesn’t seem to get black spot and has survived the rose rosette disease some of mine died from 3 summer’s ago. Best wishes for Julia to live through your winter!!

    • sbranch says:

      Roses do fine in our winters, we cut them back, and they’re okay. It’s the summers they have a problem with!!! I agree, butter, perfect for Julia Child rose!

  51. Nancy Deda says:

    Drat, you mean the red bandana thing doesn’t work?!? Guess I’ll have to figure out another squirrel solution too! Loved your spring missive…and the picture of sweet Girl Kitty at the end ( Jack’s pics are always wonderful!) We lost both of our kitties within a month of each other this winter…first time in 40 years of marriage that we are cat-less….so enjoy your pictures even more!

    • sbranch says:

      Yeah, no. LOL, it didn’t work!!! So sorry about loss of two kitties. I hope you go get another one. I don’t think a home should be without a kitty. xoxoxoxo

  52. Marty Koehn says:

    I’m always so happy to see your name pop up on my phone. We have had so much rain in Missouri and a tornado the other day . Today Memorial Day has been cloudy with showers . When my daughter and I went to the cemetery this morning we worn rubber sandals because it was so squishy. They usually put out the flags but with all the wind and rain this year they did. Both of my parents were in the service during WWII. Dad was in the Navy and mom in the Marines. I have a wonderful picture of them on their wedding day in their uniforms. Thank you so much for brightening my day. Blessings to you.

    • sbranch says:

      Tornadoes are so scary! I’m worried about hurricanes here on the island. Because none of these weather problems are normal anymore. A REGULAR hurricane or tornado might be okay, but these killer things are not normal. How very lovely and touching to have that photo of your two parents in uniform on their wedding day.💞 Happy Memorial Day Marty. xoxoxoxo

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        Susan, what DO you do in a hurricane when you live on an island in the middle of a big ocean as you do? Is there a bolthole somewhere away-enough from the sea, like if there was ever storm surge or tsunami (yikes)? Where would you go; what would you do? Your house is so solid and sturdy, there for over 150 years, right..?.. (makes one think it’s held up well thru everything in the past, before climate change though) but I guess if it has an old-time basement, you wouldn’t want to be going down there, right? Not with flooding!

        I lived briefly in the Houston-Galveston area and, I’m tell’in ya, this SoCalif girl did NOT know which way to turn – – co-workers were saying, when a big hurricane was thought to maybe hit us (it went on to Florida and caused grave damage), “Put your stuff away; no bookshelves near the floor; but don’t put stuff high up on shelves either in case you lose the roof!” We were in new housing on slab (not raised foundation); no cellar; thinking to cram ourselves with the pets into the one bathroom which didn’t have a window; was the SCARIEST time and I really never completely put my house/decorating back together after stashing so much in walk-in closets on mid-height shelving. Never been thru anything like that; was totally unprepared (we were younger then!); going too late to stores only to find them emptied, with no bottled water, no batteries, no food. Watching the Weather Channel and see some big swirling THING coming right atcha. I’m from earthquake country where we get no warning!

        • sbranch says:

          The hurricane question is my worry . . . that would be our weather catastrophe! We have a basement, and we’re 60 feet above sea level ~ we wouldn’t be flooded, so I think we’d be safe. But I’ve been through smaller hurricanes, and they really are NOT fun. Takes 3 days of hot nasty weather before they get to your house, then 3 days to get totally away . . . leaving no running water, electricity, all that stuff. Our towns are still standing, we’ve made it through so far, but in this new weather-world, I would not look forward to it! I think I’ll find an old couch and put it down there. Get it cozied up, just in case! XOXOX Don’t worry. 😘

          • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

            Maybe in the basement, it would at least be cool in that hot weather you mention (ugh, you’d lose your air conditioning with no power).

            I had a co-worker who’d grown up in the area of the Port of Houston (shipping channel) and he said to me, of hurricanes, “You don’t want to be here when they come.” As a child, he never forgot the terror of a tree falling on the house and blowing out his bedroom window, saying the sound of the hurricane was like a monster freight train. A sound you can never forget.

            I’m glad you’re above sea level as much as you are (this surprised me); so, just like if you were in SoCalif at your home (store) here (with the threat of earthquake), disaster-prepare and then just try not to worry about it! You have your plan.

            (I spent some time shopping where to live after our devastating Thomas Fire [Ventura/SB counties] in Dec-2017 [my childhood friend is only just NOW about to move into his newly-constructed home after his of decades burned to the ground; it’s been a long haul; I know other people who just gave up and moved elsewhere] and, after all my research, my conclusion [duh!] is that there’s no really safe place in the U.S. to live as there’s always some danger anywhere of a weather (climate) or geological event.

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, basements are wonderfully cool. It’s not a bad place to be. So true, everywhere has challenges these days. But preparation, as best you can for whatever might come your way, that’s the way to go! A tree fell on Holly Oak! It’s such a strange sensation!

  53. Wanda McCay says:

    Oh, I loved the blog today! I actually had the time to listen to the Musica, look at how you started your kitchen gardens, and even watch the video of the watermelon cake:). We’ve had 2 perfect days of Iowa spring weather – the kind that make the rest of the year tolerable here -, and I’ve been sitting on the front porch and the back patio as much as possible enjoying nature and the plants and garden decor I just finished setting out this year (arranging and rearranging just like I do inside!). Your garden is spectacular with the white picket fence, and the flag looks perfect against your white house. I smile the whole time I’m reading, looking, listening. Thank you for a beautiful interlude this afternoon!

    • sbranch says:

      I remember sitting on the porch of my great grandmother’s house in Sioux City, night after night while we visited there, playing pick up sticks, listening to our family voices in the darkish night, hearing moths throw themselves at the porch light. It was a little bit of heaven. Nice to hear from you Wanda!

  54. Judith Hogan (Heartsdesire) says:

    I so enjoyed spring on Martha’s Vineyard. Thanks again for a wonderful tour. Can’t wait for Enchanted. If it’s anything like the other books, it will be amazing. Hope those pesky squirrels stay away from your garden as it is looking very delicious. Here on the south coast of Vancouver Island, we have rabbits and baby rabbits. They nibble everything.

    • sbranch says:

      We have a few so far, but so few that we just love them! They can’t get into the picket fence garden. None of this Peter Rabbit stuff around here!

  55. Cindy says:

    We’ve been enjoying some normal days here in So Cal during this Memorial Day weekend…the weather is quite mild and cool for this time of year so we decided a ‘staycation’ was just the ticket for this lovely holiday weekend…sometimes just being home with your fur baby, your books, your favorite tea or coffee cup and some serious quiet is just what a body needs…always love your blogs…you cannot be boring Susan…it’s simply not possible! I got to meet you in Arroyo Grande years ago at your lovely little shop on Branch St…you had your Mom there with you which made you all the more special…I bought and you signed a ‘Girlfriends’ book for my best friend of over 40 years…you’re like a best friend to a lot of your fans in so many ways! We all hope you’ll just keep doing what you do, it’s always enjoyable!

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhhh, how sweet, that memory. Thank you Cindy. Yes, sometimes, there is just NO place like home! xoxoxo

  56. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    I think this same thing about each new blog you post, but this is my new favorite❤️Made me laugh out loud (Jacks opinion about your “ squirrel retardant “) and then reach for a tissue to dab tears (the quote from Herman Wouk’s War and Remembrance and the dear tribute to Girl Kitty). So happy Joe’s made a quick recovery from his battle with the ladder. Blessings and hugs to you both!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, me too, his twisted ankle is becoming a receding memory! I’m glad you enjoyed the blog Shannon, Happy Spring to you and yours!

  57. Peg Parrish says:

    What a delightful letter from home!! I love all of your garden photos and Joe is the best! It has been so hot down here, I sometimes stay indoors in the A/C and laugh until I cry watching Gogglebox on YouTube! (Thanks to you!). I have also gotten hooked on Loose Women. Lots of fun! Hope you have had a lovely holiday weekend. Thanks again for the charming letter!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, just saying the word Goggle Box makes me laugh! I haven’t heard of Loose Women, but you and I may have the same sense of humor, so I’ll check it out! Thank you Peg!

  58. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Your white picket fence garden is soooooooooooooo beautiful and the roses are gorgeous! I have written the name of them in my garden journal for reference next year. (I lost two of my hybrid tea roses last year, after having them for over ten years! 😢) So, do you pamper your rose bushes in any special way for the winter months? I would have to cut mine down, cover the crowns with top soil, and then hammer stakes in the ground surrounding them wrapping burlap around the stakes, and finally covering to the top with my Autumn leaves so the rose bushes were snug and warm for the harsh Michigan winter.) This summer all I have are my Knock Out Roses, so I will be checking into finding a garden center that has yours, fingers crossed! Your blog posting always makes me find my smile and put it on!!! Enjoy your sunshine filled days of the season and take care!!!! God Bless!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t pamper them for winter, just cut them back, and mulch them a bit ~ but maybe, after reading what you do, I will baby them a bit more, they might enjoy and little more coziness . . . spring and summer, I pamper them by saving all my banana peels for them! Thank you Carilyn! xoxo

      • Judith says:

        Banana peels, huh? My mum always saved her coffee grounds and egg shells to put on her roses. Always had prolific blooms!

        • sbranch says:

          We put those in the compost, but I just bury the banana peels around the base of the roses. Just a habit!

  59. LINDA says:

    The Children’s Walk to the Sea is such a rich and wonderful tradition. One that will bolster our nation and keep it going. Would that it were a commonly held event across our states. They could walk to the river/lake or to the grove, etc in other states. It saddens me that in my state, Memorial Day is practiced as a 3-day holiday to get drunk. Shameful.
    Your flowers and garden are so lovely. And ‘normal’ is a blessing, don’t you think?

    • sbranch says:

      A true blessing! Maybe a teacher in one of your schools will read this blog, and get the good idea to have a children’s parade! Inspiration is a wonderful thing! xoxoxo

  60. Margaret says:

    I just loved reading this, your uplifting ode to home, spring and the Memorial Day weekend. Our weather on the Oregon coast is cloudy and drizzley, but I can’t complain considering other parts of the country. A week ago, we had our first out-of-town guests since moving to our new home. It came with a kitchen twice as large as our old condo’s, which meant I had only half of the things needed to decorate it. What to do? I turned to your beautiful homey artwork found in extra copies of your calendars and The Summer Book, producing framed pictures for four walls and a fun collage for my refrigerator. Their beauty, cheer, and creativity add so much now to “the heart of our home,” our kitchen and dining areas.

    • sbranch says:

      You make me feel so good, Margaret, thank you! Now I know I’m in your kitchen! Happy new home to you! xoxoxoxo

  61. Karen says:

    At least you don’t have a Mamma Moose and her sweet little girl calf tearing down your feeders for the seed all Winter like my sister does in Alaska. She swears they hide so she will refill the feeder. Then Mamma and daughter promptly come out of the bushes to feast. They’ve wrecked several feeders this year. And then they nap in the yard, at the base of the steps. No going outside then!!

    Photo of dear Jack on his pillow and chair at the door – purrfection! >^..^<

    • sbranch says:

      Moose! That would be something! Moose napping? That would REALLY be something! Would they attack?

  62. Elaine Woodford says:

    Dear Susan, you are such a treasure, talking about your “normal” days. I love your house, the history, the flag & the wonderful parade. How blessed you are.
    My secret revealed: I am in love with Jack. Pictures of him always bring a smile to my face. Little Jack has it made. I love the efforts you go to, to keep him entertained and enjoying life. It warms my heart!
    My favorite story today is about your battle with the squirrels. Very funny to ME, but not so much to you & Joe! My father would have enjoyed it. (He had his own battles. 🙂 Best of luck to you & Joe as you battle the cute little critters & thanks for the chuckles.

  63. Cindy Huk says:

    Squirrels. I tried to love them too, I really did. But they’re in cahoots with the chipmunks. When they ate the one plastic nut from the bottom of my very expensive Guaranteed Squirrel Proof feeder, allowing the entire unit to fall so the waiting chipmunks and squirrels could party, I cannot afford their 5 pound a day appetites so all feeders were relocated to the rear of the yard. Only Niger seed now which doesn’t interest them. However, there’s hope – it’s called Fire Mix. Apparently birds cannot taste cayenne pepper! I purchased this at my local Agway, you mix just enough veggie oil to let the powder stick (not too much), sprinkle only one tablespoon of Fire Mix and PRESTO! So far so good. And thanks to you I have finally started gardening again. Only 20×13 but perfect. Both flowers and veggies, so content to be playing in the dirt. As always, much appreciation for your warmth and goodness, you keep us grounded and happy.

  64. Freddie Ann says:

    Such a delightful note to receive on my birthday today. 😊 I so enjoy normal, especially on the weekends, weekdays are not normal for me. The parade is a wonderful way to teach and enjoy the holiday. Hug Jack for me and blow a kiss to Girl Kitty.
    Freddie Ann

  65. Sally Bridgewater says:

    Hi Susan, love to read your post. The pictures are beautiful.

    Wondering about two toothpick holders I ordered in February. Would you have any idea if they have been shipped?

  66. I LOVE seeing your garden! I actually designed mine from the photo of yours in The Summer Book. I wish could upload a picture of it because the white picket fence just adds so much charm to our 1910 property (which is considered very old here in Phoenix, Arizona).
    We have had the longest, most glorious spring. Even today, the windows are open and the temperatures are in the low 70s…..somewhat unheard of this time of year. Each time I read your post it is a trip back east for me (born in Connecticut) which brings joy to my heart.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy Mary! I know you love your wonderful garden as much as I love mine! Such a TOY!!! xoxoxo

  67. Collette says:

    Lovely garden. The watermelon cake was a surprise and so delightful. Love your tradition of showing us the children’s parade and explaining it again. Some of us forget the details. 😊 I gasped when I saw your photos of the roses. Oh my! They would be my favorite also! Simply gorgeous! And funny Jack, calling you an idiot. His photo says clearly what he is thinking. Haha. Thanks for the smiles, Susan, as always!

    • sbranch says:

      So I’ve heard!!! We would need a ton of hot pepper, and the birds would kick it out onto the ground where hydrangeas are planted. Or do they eat it but it doesn’t bother them? I need to read more!

  68. SueG says:

    Happy Memorial Day Joe and Susan! So lovely to read your letter from home. I spent the weekend in the yard planting my vegetable gardens and planting flowers and of course weeding. The weather held out until today and now is raining like crazy. I must say I do love your white picket fence and the beautiful clematis growing along it. I will be retiring from teaching at the end of this school year and working on the fencing of my garden is on the long list of things to do. I have never had good luck with roses so might have to give it a try after reading your recommendation for Joey roses, what a beautiful mix of colors. Thanks for all you do to inspire us!

  69. Cyndi in NC says:

    The best laid plans of mice and men…and squirrels! They are crafty buggers. You were talking about your strawberries and how good they are. I have blueberries that bloomed their little hearts out. I usually don’t get any as there are not usually that many and the birds get them. That’s fine as I know they love them too. But I was thrilled that the bush was loaded. I have gorged myself on them and hope I will be so lucky next year. I was just happy that the bush survived the hurricane last year. So many of my trees and bushes didn’t. But we were blessed with a home that we could live in while we repaired the damage. Back to the squirrels, I think one or more of them tried to crawl out on a branch and broke off a good deal of the berries which was unfortunate as they were not ripe. So there they lay on the ground. Boo! But they disappeared slowly but surely so something ate them. Anyway I am always thrilled when I see my beautiful flowers, lilies and roses right now, and my blueberries. That and baby Carolina Wrens, four of them, right outside my front door in a geranium pot. I’ve lived here 19 and a half years and every year I put a pot of geraniums out for the Wren husband to build a nest, bring his lady fair to inspect it and hopefully lay her eggs in. She works so hard to feed them and get them on their way. I just love them, along with the other birds. We’re so lucky to enjoy nature! Brings a smile to my face!

    • sbranch says:

      We have wild blueberries on the dirt road we walk on in the morning . . . makes a delightful breakfast “on the run.” But some years there’s a HUGE harvest, and other years, just a few berries! That’s true for everything in our woods … “For everything there is a season . . .” How lovely you have returning birds! xoxoxo Thank you Cyndi!

  70. Margie says:

    What a beautiful Spring flowering blog! Thank you for the beautiful watermelon cake, who would have guessed. Love the parade with the school children. We have these cylinders on our poles, and it works great to keep the squirrels away from the seeds. They run up into a dead end, and are the clean up crew from the birds. We also had to get a circle flat metal surround around plate so the raccoons couldn’t get up. We recently bought this Audubon red bird feeder where the perches can be set for different sized birds. The squirrels feed under that feeder, and we are all happy. I had to laugh at your description, we had to decide who was smarter. I think the Audubon was! ♥️

  71. LindaY says:

    Susan, I loved hearing about the children’s parade. We always had a Memorial Day ceremony at my junior high school (now middle school) each year. As far as I know, it is still taking place, and the last time I saw it (2005) it brought a lump to my throat.

    I am envious of your spring weather! We only had “spring” temps during the time the pine pollen was so bad so that we couldn’t keep the windows open. Now it is in the 90s. I can enjoy vicariously through your photos.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s cool today and overcast . . . so we aren’t quite there, although this is the weather my sweet peas adore! Happy spring to you Linda!

  72. Linda in Pennsylvania says:

    What a lovely post! I especially like when you show a few lyrics to Spring Spring Spring! You introduced that song to me in a long-ago blog, and every year it becomes an ear worm, then I’m whistling it, then singing it, then driving my husband crazy! “I’m at my mama’s, I’ll soon have my own domicile” 🎵🎵. Oh boy, now it started! Happy Memorial Day to you, One, and Jack. (Btw – that’s some beautiful turkey!)

    • sbranch says:

      The best ear worm of them all! SO many lyrics, you can almost go on all day without making yourself sick! xoxoxo

  73. Barbara says:

    Oh how funny about the squirrels and bird feeders. It’s a challenge for sure! Hubby and I live in Coeur d’Alene, Id and “had” the same problem. I found some wonderful squirrel proof bird feeders on Amazon. They WORK! The squirrels “try” but don’t succeed. Yay! Also, I found out that safflower seeds turn squirrels off but are very good for birds 🙂 Just mix them in with the regular seed you use. Just bought some so we shall see.

    • sbranch says:

      Excellet because just this morning I bought two Squirrel Buster Plus feeders, and 10 lbs of Safflower seed!!! I’m on the right track! Let me know how they work for you!

  74. Elaine Magliacane says:

    Saw an ad this past week, for a Downton Abby MOVIE coming in September, I’m so excited. I’m surprised you didn’t mention it in your blog today.

    What a beautiful garden you have, and a parade for Memorial Day… just perfect.

    • sbranch says:

      I forgot, because as you guess, I’m THRILLED about that movie. The trailer made me cry!!! Yay!

  75. Ann Prins says:

    Oh my!! Squirrel problems!! They are so cute and such a pain!! All at the same time. We bought expensive bird feeders but the smart squirrels figured out how to get into them too!! And we have turkeys and deer in bAckyard and rabbits – all munching away!! Good luck!! And squirrels are not trainable either but rabbits can be trained – my husband has them trained to eat the clover and leave alone the flowers!! Your roses look wonderful!! Happy Spring!!!

  76. Oh, a wonderful post to read and look at! The flowers! Your garden! The charming walk to the sea! The watermelon cake! The quotes to savor. Jack. Of course, Jack. Delightful time of reading, listening to grand musica. My new birthday mug is on the shelf waiting for it’s debut in June for my next birthday. I’ll fill it with cheer. Thanks for this post. Loved the art, too.

  77. Katie says:

    I love “letters from home.” 🙂 I work full time and I have a three year old – keeping everything going happily at home sometimes feels a bit overwhelming. There’s a particular passage in your book Island of Dreams that I turn back to again and again – about how important moms are. You wrote that we only have twelve years or so to stuff our kids full of memories to last a lifetime. I keep the ribbon bookmark permanently set to that page, so I can turn back to it when I’m having a bad day. You wrote “I wanted my book to be as encouraging to them as a letter from home.” I’m having a bit of a Jonah day today – nothing really wrong, but I’m just feeling a bit grumpy, discouraged, and tired. When I saw the title of your blog post, I thought “excellent – just what I need!” And sure enough, I feel encouraged. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Full-time and a three-year-old. That says it ALL. Deep breath, good mommy. Best of everything to you and yours. xoxoxoxo

  78. Your friend Janet from Fullerton CA says:

    Thank you, dear Susan ~ what a nice break to sit and enjoy reading this blog. Love you, love Joe, and SO dearly love sweet Mr. Jack. As always, thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us. (May we all be reminded when we wish our life could be more like Susan’s, that choice is our greatest power…. and where we are at in life is exactly a result of the choices we have made thus far. May we all stay brave, strong and true to ourselves with every choice we make.)❤️

    • sbranch says:

      And when accidents happen, and you know they will, we get to choose how to think about them! Thank you Janet! xoxo

  79. Carol Barrett says:

    Could you please send your Susan Branch Blog to my friend. I always send it to her but I may miss doing that. She does not know how to sign up for your blog and she so much enjoys getting it when you send it out. Below is my information:
    Rosie Zarybnicky puffinnmuffin@cableone.net

    • sbranch says:

      I seem to have heard that we can’t sign people up, they have to do it themselves, BUT I sent your request to the Studio, either they will help you and do it, OR they will email you and tell you what they can or can’t do. If you look at end of newest blog post you’ll see a link for signing up . . . But Kellee or Sheri will get back to you! xoxo Tell Rosie I said hello!

  80. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    Ahh, dear Girl Kitty; she’s missing her momma, saying hello to you…it’s a good haunting; just go with it…

    LOVE the photo of Jack in his chair, watching the 10,000 squirrels (what a chuckle – – I know it’s not amusing at the moment; you’re being invaded; The Attack of The 10,000 Squirrels!).

    You sound happy, happy otherwise; it’s infectious; when I read you I feel lighter. Thanks for checking in. I always loving hearing about the kids’ walk to the sea; your photos are so colorful and just scream small-town Americana which I eat up at this time of year, summer on the cusp.

    My no-nonsense but kindly and much-beloved 3rd grade teacher walked us to the cemetery for Memorial Day and I’ll never forget it; indeed stuck with me forever; was a big-adventure (‘field trip’, of many she took us on, all over the place, all year, for all kinds of things, God Bless her for wanting us to soak everything in we could, under her all-too-brief watch). Our destination was the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier for the local soldiers who’d passed in WWI but then, later WWII & Korea (little could we have known in those earliest 60s that there’d be more tragic additions with Viet Nam, the Gulf War, etc.).

    I hope good teachers know how valuable they’ve been to us. I’m thankful for so many important things they taught me over many years of my boomer youth, K-12 and beyond (and I was lucky enough to go to a preschool in the 1950s as well; another dynamite teacher-duo, mother and adult daughter, well-qualified and dedicated, in a marvelous old Victorian house that’s still there; all kinds of play and learning imaginable). Teachers I’ve had come to mind fairly often, all the decades later. You’re right, Susan – – love and gratitude in everything!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, our teachers are everything. I hope they have SOME idea of the debt America owes to them. It’s an awesome responsibility and I don’t use the word lightly. xoxoxo

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        How fun! I thought my comment was zapped, but here it is and here is you. Thanks for replying. I’m still smiling about the squirrels although I know you’re ‘in pain’ over it; it’s just that you write so well, we can’t help but laugh!

        I lived in an old place in earlier years that had three huge oak trees that the arborist dated from 1850 and we’d go thru periods when it seemed like too many of the little guys/girls were chasing each other ’round and ’round and up-up-up the massive tree trunks. The chattering and ‘scratching’ (from their travels) on the tree bark (and of course the very sight of them!) drove my dogs absolutely bonkers.

        We go ‘beach-watching’ up and down PCH fairly regularly (Gaviota/El Capitan/Refugio to Malibu and all points in between; love it so much; makes my soul soar; beautiful coast), and particularly on the Rincon strip in Ventura County (you of course know this locale, Susan) there are SO many squirrels where the surfers and RV-ers park (the little things seem to live camouflaged in the sandy, beige-y beach rocks [most of the time, safe I guess from high tide]; maybe fishy stuff rolls in to eat); but you don’t dare throw them a human-food tidbit or you get 5 (or more) beach-brown squirrels at your car door and they’ve become so tame for treats, I’m afraid they’re going to jump right up and thru the low-sitting car’s window (darling on the one hand, but ‘way too bold they are; I’ve been eye-to-eye with them and it’s too creepy-close!).

        • sbranch says:

          Eeek. Partly love it, partly don’t love it so much! 😁 Always that “too much of a good thing” thing comes home to roost!

  81. Beverly Brewer says:

    Hi to Susan and Joe—enjoyed your beautiful post and all the trimmings. We GFs are so fortunate to have you to brighten our days, even with normal, everyday happenings around the house and garden. The watermelon cake certainly had a lot of pizzazz–must have been a showstopper! I have made small pie-shaped wedges of watermelon, frosted with vanilla yogurt and studded with various fruits and mint sprigs for get-togethers that guests really liked. Saw the idea pictured in a magazine and thought it was so pretty. So sweet of you to provide a perch for Jack as he “surveys” the premises outside. I can imagine Girl Kitty tiptoeing near you and Joe at night and her precious little spirit which will never leave you ever. A couple of posts ago, you mentioned speaking before students from time to time and it reminded me of a cute anecdote from years ago. Friends took a muscle car the husband was restoring to Show and Tell at their son’s school and parked it for all the kids in the class to see up close. The husband explained in simple terms about the battery making the car go, radiator cooling the engine, etc and held them up to see under the hood. When he was finished, he asked if their were any questions and one little girl raised her hand and asked “Did you see my new shoes?” Ha,ha–so totally unrelated, but so important to her. Love to you both from Bev

    • sbranch says:

      LOL! That is why I love to go to grammar schools! They ask me, “How old are you?” I couldn’t love it more. But the shoes definitely win! Thank you Bev, always love to hear from you!

  82. Debbie Sisk says:

    If you grease the cords and the feeders the squirrel can’t hold on!

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t see either of us up for the greasing. They are just outside our kitchen windows, and probably every fly and gnat would get stuck on them, ‘course some birds might like that too!

  83. Janis Igoe says:

    Hi Susan, just started reading your blog. Enjoying it tremendously. A bit of normal is just what’s needed today. Loved the kids parade. Told my husband, a Vietnam vet, about it. He was glad to hear that these little ones will remember this day into adulthood.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m glad he knows about it . . . those guys went through way too much. Sending love. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  84. Alice Dennison says:

    Love the blog. I would like to know …Is that one clematis on the garden fence or several ?? Thanks 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      It’s two plants, one on each side of the garden gate. It’s a climber that will go to 20 feet, so I just made it climb sideways by weaving the vines through the pickets.

  85. Diva Kreszl says:

    Always a treat to see your news letter in my inbox! We have found that ground cayenne pepper is the best way to deter the squirrels. If you sprinkle it on the bird seed before adding it to the feeder they don’t like it. It is not harmful to the birds at all who do not seem to mind. Careful about getting it on your hands or inhaling, it does burn. Good luck!

  86. Julia says:

    Your garden is just lovely! You live in such a beautiful place. Happy Summer!

  87. carol jarvis says:

    I’m a huge fan of your newsy letters, of your illustrations, and especially of your ‘musica’! Thank you for taking the time to create such wonderful playlists.

  88. Monique says:

    Oh my gosh is that clematis Montana?
    I don’t think it grows in zone5..😢😢😢Love the shirt! And cups and foxglove..💕

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it is, Reubens. We mulched its roots for winter, but that was all, the foliage you see on it now was there (but brittle brown) all winter, and it all grew back. Read THIS for zones for this variety, there might be hope! xoxoxo

  89. Linda says:

    Thank you for that delightful simply normal post!! Such a fresh breeze where often there’s stale air on the internet. Hopefully, you can continue your normal life right thru summer and fall. I’m starting a new chapter in my life since I retired from teaching this spring. So I’m really looking forward to normal days like you described without all the rushing about a job often requires.

  90. Del gato gordo y descarado says:

    Thank you for stirring the memory!
    Salty ol’ East Coast Gardeners each Autumn they put their roses “to bed” , as in pruned well, ½ dug up, tilted somewhat into the ground and covered up in natural compost of certain sorts/then burlap insulated…root ball of course very well insulated/covered. A simple science to it, like when to actually salt your driveway with Snow Melt. It’s not as hard as it sounds and keeps the bush connected to the earth, when Spring comes you feed,then right them upwards and cover the bases/root balls.
    For very old heirloom roses the prized rose bush was carefully pruned, gently lifted, root ball wrapped well in burlap slightly moistened, whole bush put in a leak proof bucket with straw bedding for insulation, then tucked away in a cool dark non-freezing garage. Wooden cupboards, crates, old horse blankets, every imaginative way used for preventing of freezing inside the garage. If you had a pear or walnut ranch in Northern Calif then a you had assorted frost alarms, smudge pot was set up in the yard positioned far enough away and lit when needed.
    Haven’t thought of this in loooooong time, many thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Maybe that’s what Lowely and I are doing wrong with our “annual” roses! We need to get salty! We don’t get the kind of snow they get in upstate New York or Vermont . . . we’re out here surrounded by the Gulf Stream that keeps us warmer, but I bet if I put a bit more energy into it, it would make my roses very happy! Thank you for the good ideas!

  91. Judy from Solvang, CA says:

    Thank you, Susan, just for being “normal” you! But here’s a little secret that all of your girlfriends know – you are really extraordinary!! Thank you for sharing your amazing gift of words and illustrating with us all. You made my day.

  92. LINDA LORENZ says:

    Hi! Loverly letter that you wrote about your spring doings! We, (my Mom and I have a squirrel in the back yard that is a real STINKER, and even though we have a baffle on the bird feeder, this guy went to the table near the feeder, and I could just see him judging the distance before he ………took a flying leap and landed on the feeder! How he did that is beyond me! We have all sorts of birds in our yard here in Ohio, wrens, robins, morning doves, bluejays, even a type of vulture that stays up in the air and never comes down to land thank goodness!
    A hug and a kiss to Jack!! Love his watching the neighborhood post!
    Yes this is a special day, Memorial Day and it always makes me think of my Uncle William who died in a plane crash as he was going over to England to fight, the plane was not shot down but had engine problems . RIP dear Uncle..
    and all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and way of life.
    My dad was in the ARMY, his other brother was in the Merchant Marines, and I have a photo of my dad wearing his army helmet when we had to cut down the tree in the front yard!!! SO FUNNY!! Happy summer to you all! xoxoxo Linda

  93. Really enjoyed your post! I am going to look for Just Joey roses – like the color and disease resistant and smells good is is a great combination! Thanks also for the watermelon cake info. Starting to think about Sumer fun😃

  94. Nanci says:

    I’m in Oklahoma and yes we are so tired of storms, tornadoes and floods!! I need my little pitcher that I ordered to remind me of courage! I was so hoping your newsletter would mention when we would get them. How much longer do we have to wait? Two of mine were gifts. I wonder could I get you to mail them straight to them so that I don’t have to turn around and mail them once I get them. This is taking for-ev-er!

    • sbranch says:

      They were shipped from the manufacturer last Friday and scheduled to arrive at our Studio on Thursday and will go right out! I thought I wrote that in the post, I’ll go back and check, but thank you for asking, and YES, finally, they are on their way! I’ve been very upset about it myself. These people are the ONLY ones in America that I know of that makes it possible for me to have these at all . . . they’ve always been fine before, but this time, it’s been a fiasco. I’m so very sorry! I don’t know what I will do for the future. This isn’t how we normally work!!!

  95. Lynn C Maust says:

    Your photo of the two tracks with grass in the middle, pole fences on either side, all going up a hill with woods on both sides looks amazingly like where my family and I would walk back in the ’40’s and ’50’s, in Huntgingdon Valley, Montgomery Co, Pa. The Pennypack Creek was behind us and in your picture it would have been too. IT’s still the same today…..the Pitcairins (spell?) preserved the land all around that little road….what a blessing…never ‘developed’ thank heavens!

  96. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    Thank you for the beautiful post on this Memorial Day! I loved the picture of Girl Kitty at the end with the heart shapes in the window well. Just gave me an idea of what to do with some of the many heart shaped stained glass things I have. We are having a lovely Spring on the Central Coast, but not looking forward to June gloom. Perhaps Mother Nature will surprise us this year and bring summer in the actual summer months and not wait until Autumn. Be blessed !

    • sbranch says:

      Prayers to Mother Nature! Is all of Morro Bay decked in those lovely little yellow wildflowers?

  97. Barb says:

    Dear Susan, lovely, lovely letter. Thank you for sharing with us. Thank you to Joe for all the support he gives and to Jack for just being Jack. Barb

  98. Gail says:

    Everything here is beautiful – words and photos, art and love!
    But those Just Joeys! Oh goodness – they are glorious! Like a sunset in a rose!
    Thank you for sharing the beauty you enjoy.

  99. Paula says:


    Welcome Home letter is wonderful thanks for writing!, I love your fenced in garden so charming, I took a picture of it and sent to my daughter :). Today I pulled weeds, and planted two Pink Peony !!
    We dont have any squirrels, but noticed a big groundhog hanging around , grrr.not happy about that big fellow. !
    How refreshing to see the students marching to the sea, so thankful for our Vets!! I would enjoy that so maybe next time I visit MV, I should make it early spring ?! But I know next time I come it will be for more then one day !!
    The watermelon cakes look yummy , I love a sweet , seedless watermelon on hot summer day.
    I received my Corgi mug!! my sweet friend Lori, (who has meet you twice, Im so green) was so very thoughtful and gifted me with it , I LOVE IT.!! I call it my weekends are special mug. After working 9 to 10 hours a day during the week , I can relax and sip out of my Corgi/England mug makes me smile . I know every day should be special, and I am hoping to cut back on my working hours and enjoy more of this is my life time!
    You have a joyful week, and keep in touch with those letters we love to hear from you !!
    Hugs xoxox
    p.s. I should surprise Lori and bring her to MV!!

    • sbranch says:

      She would melt!!! You’d double your fun! Peonies, good for you, such a gorgeous flower! Mine have big round tight balls on them, getting ready to bloom now. I hope they do it while the clematis and the rhododendrons are blooming, they will all look so beautiful together! Happy weekends dear Paula! xoxo

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