HAPPY Good Luck for JULY 💜

Rabbit-Rabbit my pretties. Happy Good Luck for July. MUSICA!

See that little spot of light? Guess what it is? It’s our first firefly of the season ~ last night, end of June, right on time for around here, and I got a picture! This is no easy feat! They do not respond when you say:I never saw a firefly until I moved to the island, and I bet there are lots of people who’ve never seen one either ~ so here you go! Your first firefly! Happy July! There were about 20 there last night, blinking and bobbing through the ivy and the lilacs in the darkest part of the garden.

I have a zillion photos of this garden now. Because, these days, half my time is spent staring at it, eyes tracking butterflies and birds flitting through. We didn’t have the yard sale, I’ll explain in a moment. More time for garden staring! You see why I nicknamed this garden “My Toy.” It’s painting with flowers! And every year, the painting changes. And if you are new to gardening, and you see this and it seems overwhelming and as if I know what I am doing, let me remind you, I know NOTHING. It is all hit and miss for me, I made a little garden, small, so I could take care of it myself and just put there what I like, and then I waited to see what Mother Nature would do with it. Anyone can do it. All questions can be answered so very easily, we have GOOGLE-genius to answer how deep to plant any sort of seed! Sticking a lettuce-start into soil is easy. If you want it, you can have it. And if you don’t want it, then you don’t have to have it!! It’s making your own homey world the way you like it. You can start small, a pot or two of herbs on the porch, in a window box, it can grow. A kitchen garden is a lovely addition to a homemade happy life.

See the little dish? The other day Joe made me a shelf for it. New for the painting this year!

See it on the corner post?

It’s for this guy ~ he’s a catbird. Lowely talks to him every morning in his own language, she calls, “Meow” and she says he comes to her, because she has treats. So now we’re both soaking handfuls of raisins in warm water (for about a half hour to soften and plump them), and putting dishes of them in our gardens. (P.S. There are small window bird-feeders you can get, so you can feed them and enjoy their antics even if you are living happily-ever-after in a garden-free environment! As Gladys Taber said, As long as I have a window, life is exciting!)

Now every day is raisin day!

Two bowls of raisin-treats, no waiting . . .

Doesn’t that look refreshing? No dirty birds around here. 

Only wet birds! We think he’s a Baltimore Oriole.

I love it when they come in droves and go upside down! I’m going to do this exact thing, soon as our seawater gets a little bit warmer. We’re going to walk early and wear bathing suits under our clothes, we’ll each bring a tiny towel to dry our feet after swimming. I’ll be big bird throwing water around, turning upside down, in a very big bird bath. I want to get salty! Let me just say, I am normally NOT a water person, have never been. But I’m determined to do this because it always feels SO good when I do, I think it’s GOOD for me, and I am remembering, life is short. I need a summer of swimming for my memory book. However, bathing suits, bah, humbug! Which reminds me . . .

I want to catch you up on our squirrel “problem” . . . as you know if you hang out on this blog, we’ve always loved watching them from our kitchen window, but this spring our feeders were inundated ⤴️, which made the birds, for the most part, give up and go away.😲

So, with good advice from our brilliant Girlfriends (you know who you are 💞) we invested (and I do mean invested) in these squirrel-proof bird feeders. And guess what? They work! See the round openings at the bottom?

They have little doors . . . and the weight of the squirrel closes them! He went from door to door . . .

And very quickly learned he’d been outwitted and gave up faster than I ever imagined he would.

🅰️nd so began the return of the birds. We filled one of our old feeders with safflower seed because squirrels don’t like it, that worked too, thank you very much ~ and the Cardinals seem to love it! Peaceable Kingdom has returned.

Love the little spot of sun on his head.

We kept one special nut feeder just for the squirrels and the bigger, more weighty birds.

So they are fat and happy, and we are happy, the birds are happy, and guess who else is happy? Someone new! 

This guy! You have never seen me post a picture like this, because in all my 37 years on this island, I have never seen a chipmunk!! I didn’t think we had them.

🅱️ut we obviously do!!! I was so excited, delighted, grabbing for the camera, calling Joe, when suddenly, I felt a shiver of fear . . . what fresh hell might this be, I thought, and I Googled Chipmunks to see if we should be happy and welcoming or if we should panic and katie-bar-the-door, and yes, I discovered that if they come in any sort of numbers, they can take out the foundation of your house!  But this was only one, and so very tiny and cute. How much damage could one little critter do? And I haven’t seen him since. If he comes back with friends, I may start to worry. But guess what, we have chipmunks on Martha’s Vineyard! More critters-in-the-garden handy tips:

More from the garden . . .

I go out and collect them all, the trumpet-tongued, the little and beloved.

For the ever-changing scene above the kitchen sink . . .

And this! My first sweetpea!One of my favorite cottage-garden flowers ~ my birth flower, too. They grow like wildfire in the garden at the California Studio, but NOT here. I decided to try again. So far I have one-and-a-half flowers, and if it doesn’t get too hot or too humid too soon, I might get another one! They have the most delicate fragrance, even more precious for being so rare. See? Just one little flower in a jar is all you need for happy kitchen puttering.🌺

The salads keep coming!

We just keep taking leaves from the outside . . . and so far they haven’t bolted. But we had to install our window air-conditioners a couple of days ago, July is here, and summer has begun for real. The lettuce will go, the tomatoes will turn red, and the blueberries on the road where we walk will ripen. We’ll walk home, wet and salty, and pick berries as we go. There is always something. It’s just a matter of time. 

Fresh garden lettuce is perfect for our delicious healthy whole-food eating scheme.

Yes, still at it. Probably for life since everything tastes so wonderful and I’m never hungry between meals anymore! Four or five (six or seven, had big bag buttered popcorn at the movies last night) more pounds and I will reach my goal weight! I wrote the whole “diet” down for my sister (it’s really not a diet) . . . maybe I should put it up here? It’s so simple. No calorie counting, no carb counting! You just can’t be in a hurry to get weight off . . . it will go, but it’s all about health!

Soon we will be making this delicious icy-cold gazpacho with our own home-grown tomatoes. Have you tried this recipe yet? SO good, vitamin heaven, crunchy and so good for you! It’s on page 39 of Heart of the Home, or HERE.And another of our favorites . . . A baked sweet potato prepared Asian-style, eat it for dinner and go to bed skinny . . . with all the flavor and good health in the world! It’s on page 85 of Heart of the Home (30th Anniversary edition) or you can see it HERE.

We’re also doing our part to provide massive amounts of clover for the bees! Some people think clover’s a weed! But the bees love it! And it smells wonderful. Looks like a wildflower garden.

So there were two main reasons we didn’t have our yard sale. This was one of them! It rained for the week before our planned event . . . the ground was soggy, setting up was impossible, the table legs would have sunk into the grass, plastic covers would have been flying in the wind. The day it was scheduled was interesting too, rain in the morning, sun around noon, wild wind and hail at 4 pm. Somebody was trying to tell us something. So we put it off until later in the summer . . . and here’s the even better reason:

Mas MUSICA! Ⓜ️y sister Shelly and her twins (Paden and Mason) finally got here . . . their first flight was canceled (they were told at the airport there were not enough planes!!! Had to take their suitcases and go HOME😩), arrived two days later than planned, and I thought, do I want to rush us into some sort of yard-sale craziness OR, shall we just play the whole time they’re here?

So this is Shelly and you can see what we decided! We had the BEST time.

We walked every day . . . the boys came too . . .

When they weren’t out clamming with Joe. The kids love nature and petty pets as much as we do. Jack substituted, in a pinch, for Lucy, their beloved weenie dog. When they left here they went to Durango, Colorado to spend a few weeks with their Uncle and cousins who love to fish in the piney-clean air of the high mountains.🌲 They work hard at school all year long and deserve every moment of it!

Joe makes the BEST stuffed clams!

The boys brought their art supplies and did lots of drawing and painting ~ this is Paden in the Peter Rabbit Room . . . art is what they do, it’s what they’ve always done . . .

. . . and they are so good at it! 

I’ve kept all the artwork they’ve sent me 🎨 . . . this was done by Paden a long time ago, but cute! It reminded me of him at the desk in the photo above.

Of course, Jack, drawn in 2015 when they were 12, but unsigned. Excellent likeness!

Paden did this wallpaper while he was here . . .

Mason did a pencil drawing of the rose in a vase on our table when we went to Edgartown for lunch.

Mason went over to Lowely’s for a pastel painting lesson and did this. So dear of her to take the time . . . The boys are both so talented.

And handy too, the perfect guests! This is Paden helping Joe do I-don’t-know-what on the roof.

We walked downtown after dinner . . .

Stopped for ice cream . . . (Mason, Joe, Paden)

Quiet and dark, about a block from the harbor . . .

In front of the Capawock . . .  Jaws plays here every Friday night during the summer! Silent films played here. It was the first theater on the Island. Generations sat in the dark screaming or crying, oohing and ahhhing, holding hands and falling in love. Just remember that when you come.

I love summer nights and street lights making shadows on old houses, candles on porches, creaking screen doors, the smell of neighborhood dinners.

The boys were so busy fishing, they would get themselves up at 5 am to go down to the harbor. (When I was 16 you could not have dragged me from the bed at that ungodly hour, especially not for fish!) So Shell (real name Michelle, but I call her Belle ~ she’s Mee-shell, ma belle, 🎶 somblay mon-kee bon tre bien on somble 🎵 ~ Beatles phonetic French ~ but to me, she’s Belle) and I had plenty of time to hang out and be sisters!

Went to lunch and took our books. Because it’s what we love. We each read the same paragraph about 100 times before we realized it was way too soon for books at lunch, and got on with the talking!

She taught the kids Arf and Arfy, how much fun is that!?! That makes three generations! Who war-fod har-fav thar-funk ar-fit? They were fluent! My mother would be thrilled! We could talk about EVERYTHING, and no one knew what we were saying but us! (Arf and Arfy: family language I wrote about in Fairy Tale Girl in case you think I have just gone off the rails.)

Shelly thinks Jack looks like “one of those people on the Titanic.” She means this:

She called him Jacques. Jacques with the boys is one of those photos that got away! Having waaay too much fun to “remember” to take photos!

But he was always there . . . right in the middle of everything, we look through photo albums, Jacques tries to lay on the books, he’s a very social kitty!

‘Twas a wonderful visit! When Joe and I go to California we have SO many people to see, in different towns ~ hours, or even states apart ~ and only a short amount of time ~ so we never get to just BE with them, the way we like, with lots of alone-time. But they had NO one to see here but us, no yard sale to do, nowhere to be, we got them all to ourselves for the entire time and it was perfect!Time flies, onto the ferry boat they went, Belle and I waving and waving goodbye, teary-eyed, they’re home safe and sound . . . and now here we are already, the first day of July! And I was just thinking you might need something to delicious to bring to a potluck? 

And this, the PERFECT potato salad . . . be sure to add the mayonnaise while the potatoes are still hot or warm, so it can melt in! That is the secret of this bowl-licking-good potato salad.

FYI, Look what I got! Our calendars are on the way! I just received my samples . . . which means they should all be delivered to the Studio soon! I think they turned out better than ever (note that Jack seems to agree, or something) . . . the color is beautiful and I love the paper ~ it’s soft and not shiny so it’s easy to write on! You’ll love them.

Our wonderful new cups are being manufactured in England even as we speak! Cups for a happy kitchen.

Time for me to go . . . I promise, I will say hello to the ocean for you, to the seagulls and the sun . . .

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses! Never forget how unique and wonderful and special you are! Happy July! Sending all my love! XOXO

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

398 Responses to HAPPY Good Luck for JULY 💜

  1. Mimi says:

    What a wonderful beginning to summer. You have me longing to live near the sea again. And yes, please! Tell us about your healthful eating plan! I’m all ears. 🙂

  2. Kathie says:

    So glad you had fun with your company. Times you remember fondly. Your last post of the garage sale showed my mom’s green rug with flowers! I was so excited. She and the rugs have been gone for a long time, but viola, you triggered happy memories. Thank you.

  3. Patty in Redlands says:

    Happy Summer to you too, Susan! Thanks for sharing the flora and fauna, the delicious food, and especially your family’s visit. Those of us who have far away family relish anybody’s family visit time, makes us feel connected to our own. Your twins are so handsome and sweet and talented. How great that you all nurture them. Their village is strong.
    Take care!

  4. Paulette Feld says:

    So happy the new bird feeders are working. Our philosophy is to feed the critters and perhaps they will leave the plants alone. The birdfeeders are expensive, but they last forever and you’ll save a lot on seed that doesn’t get buried in your lawn by the squirrels. OMG, chipmunks. We didn’t have them in the yard until recently. We got rid of the voles and the chipmunks took over the tunnels. I have no idea if we have a couple or a bunch. Last week I planted some sunflowers, sprayed a “pest” deterrent on the soil. The next morning when I woke up, I heard one chattering happily….I knew exactly where Chippy was. Left the shells as proof. Hope yours was only visiting.

  5. Annette Baker says:

    Waiting for your rabbit rabbit!! Time spent in your world is time well spent. Thanks so much for this mornings gift. Your garden is a blessing to behold.

  6. Alice Dennison says:

    Happy July !! I always look forward to your blogs.

  7. Linda in Pennsylvania says:

    What a wonderful summer-time blog – thanks! We have an adorable little chipmunk that runs across our patio too -only one, thank God, so hopefully no damage to our foundation. I would love for you to post your “diet”. I just made a batch of your gazpacho on Saturday – it’s delicious! And I’ve made your stuffed sweet potatoes many times – an interesting medley of flavors. Have a wonderful July!

    • Linda in Pennsylvania says:

      By the way – your nephews are very talented artists! It runs in the family. 😊

  8. Susan Havey says:

    Susan, what a wonderful post. How great to see your darling nephews and sister. I’m sure they will always remember their summer with you. Clamming and fishing and getting to climb onto the roof-exciting boy things. Good ol’ Joe to be a favorite uncle.
    Your garden is beautiful and I agree with your gardening advice- plant it and see what happens. The pleasure of finding a flower one thought had died is joy indeed!! Thank you for starting July with your beautiful view of life💕💕

  9. Cheryl says:

    Another wonderful post Suusan. Every season is beautiful but summer is my favorite with all the sounds, color and smells. Your gardens are lovely. You must not have bunny rabbits eating all the new growth! They loved my new flowers as much as I did. I can’t wait to see the new calendars of my favorite place in the world – England.

    • sbranch says:

      We do have bunnies on the lawn, eating the clover, but they can’t get into the veggie garden, and for some reason, so far, they leave the other stuff alone. OR they are so dainty I can’t tell they’ve been there. The new England calendar turned out great! I try to stare my way right into the photographs!

  10. Peggy says:

    Hi Susan, Joe and Jack!

    Summertime -so wonderful. Thanks for a wonderful cheery post. I needed that. (5th ann. of my husbands passing today) . Life moves on.

    I have 3 new sewing students keeping me happy and out of trouble. It’s really fun:)) Have a great July!!! Much love from Peggy in Madison
    ps. I love my garden (and trapped 23 chipmunks so far this year -with as many to go!)

    • sbranch says:

      Twenty~three!!!!! See? This is what my imagination told me was possible! Happy sewing Peggy…sending love xoxoxo

  11. Barbara says:

    What a wonderful visit you had with your baby sister and her boys, much better than having a yard sale! Those boys have grown so much since we first saw them! We had extensive rain here too that made the yards and everything soggy wet for days, flooded many areas and caused plenty of problems. But it has everything growing nicely and I can’t wait for those first tomatoes! Love making your gazpacho, so refreshing and tastes so like summer! Your potato salad is almost the way I make it, the way Mom made it, I just leave out the relish. So good though, also the taste of summer! Hard to believe we are in July already, where did June go? Savoring these days, they are gone before we know it, and winter, even with it’s own delights, is too long! Hope the books are going nicely, something else to look forward to! Take care and enjoy the summer!💗Hugs!

  12. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    Happy July to you also! I think your sister’s trip was perfect timing – even though the yard sale didn’t happen. It was meant to be just time to BE together. Has anyone ever said you two could be twins? Family DNA, so wonderful to see! My Mother had two sets of twin sisters – one set was identical the other not. And her sons, so talented. Must be in the gene pool somewhere, ya think? Now, I believe I’ll go pick some dainty little flowers from my garden to enjoy in the house:)

  13. Emily says:

    Rabbit Rabbit!
    I am making the gazpacho this week! I’ve made the wonderful tomato soup from Heart of the Home and I ADORE it. Yesterday for lunch I made the lemon chicken and oh my gosh so good! It was amazingly delicious! Thank you for sharing all these scrummy recipes with all of us!
    I received my Red Letter Day Cup on Saturday and that made it a red letter day, for sure. 🙂 And your family is so cute! I love Shelly and the boys. That rose drawing is fabulous!

  14. Ruth E. Rupp says:

    What a lovely, peaceful, beautiful, informative summertime column! I always enjoy reading about how much you and Joe and Jack enjoy your beautiful home and surroundings. Yes, I have fireflies in my yard every summer, and it’s so much fun to sit on my porch in the dark and watch all these little lights blink on and off. I laughed at your squirrel problems – – I have gone through the same thing here – – and for the last few years have used the kind of feeders you have now that close with the weight of the squirrels. I also keep a separate area for the squirrels. I loved reading about your sister’s visit, her handsome twin boys (so creative just like their Aunt Susan), and all the fun you had together. So interested, too, in all the information listed “In the Garden” naming things that repel all the unwanted bugs and critters. I will keep that information handy. July 4th will find your potato salad on my table at my lake home for all the relatives who will be showing up to enjoy the day. And for a long time now, thanks to you, my kitchen window has tiny little vases (or containers!) holding one or two tiny blossoms, which makes me smile when I walk in my kitchen. Enjoy the holiday and the rest of the summer. Sending love and hugs your way, Ruthie, in Minnesota

  15. Anne in Maine says:

    Happy first day of July!! Such a wonderful post. So happy to hear you had a great visit with your sister and her sons. You and she look so much alike! I would love to see the healthy eating plan you and Joe are following. I’m always eager to try something new. Your nephews are so talented just like their auntie! Have a wonderful Fourth!

  16. Lin rader says:

    What a lovely post! My garden is just getting started so next year it will be beautiful. Thanks to your lovely garden I am enjoying mine ahead of time through yours. We have had too much rain here in michigan and our veggies are behind. But hopefully our tomatos will survive. The deer and bunnies got my basil and though i love the dear critters i wont have much basil. I cut down what was left but it isnt recovering as i had hoped. What is more delicious than tomato- basil sandwiches?! And lettuce, tomato and basil salad with EVOO and lime juice dressing! Yum! Proud of your weight loss and healthy regime. You are an inspiration. You are so blessed to have a large loving family. Cherish them and dont ever forget your arf and arfy! Love! ❤
    PS..a doe had her fawn baby out back. How precious! Wish I could send picture but didn’t want to disturb her or mama.

  17. Edie McAdoo says:

    We also put out raisins for the catbirds (and peanuts for the jay). I had a catbird take raisins from my hand but then thought it would make the bird too tame and someone might hurt it. It is enough to just see them waiting on top of the fence for their treats! Edie

  18. Charissa says:

    Oh, Susan. This post captured that special feeling of summer and all of it’s magic. I got such a good feeling and it perked me right up and inspired me like you always do. Sprinkling your fairy (tale) dust wherever you go. I especially loved your idea to postpone the sale and just soak in the family time. How wonderful for everyone and i feel like i got to experience it thru osmosis. Thank you it is a great feeling to make such wonderful memories with family. You and Belle are the cutest sisters. The boys are getting SO big now and have so much artistic talent. Must be inherited from their Aunt Sue. And Joe looks as darling as ever. The garden and all its spoils are so lovely. The post made me so very hungry. Heading to the grocery soon. I would LOVE if you put the eating plan on the blog! I luv chipmunks too, but i almost spit out my tea when u said… what fresh hell is this;) I said that to Tom over the weekend. I love your asian sweet potato. I tried it last year for the first time and got hooked. Why did I wait so long?!?!?! We made an excellent chimichurri sauce for our steaks over the weekend and I have enjoyed it on everything since. I finished it up on my eggs this morning. So healthy w cilantro and parsley and oregano for your skin and fresh garlic and olive oil for your heart and joints and red wine vinegar for your belly. Actually, they all are good for multiple things really. I have been making green smoothies (usually spinach, half of a whole lemon skin and all, frozen berries, almond milk, flax seed, a couple of ice cubes) in the morning and alternating w your yummy oatmeal. I feel so good when I eat like you. Thank you, as always, for all that you do for me xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I know exactly how you feel Charissa! It’s a wonderful feeling of well-ness isn’t it!

  19. Gill says:

    Happy summer Susan🌞
    I have a vase of catmint, peppermint and ladies mantle in my kitchen window, and little bud vases with roses here and there. So far our summer weather is a little elusive, but cooler temperatures and a lot of rain do make the flowers last longer!
    My farmer husband injured himself badly whilst baling last week, and he is still in the hospital with five smashed ribs, a ruptured spleen and punctured lung, but he is being well taken care of and I am spending a lot of time by his bedside with my embroidery. Meanwhile Wimbledon has started on the tv and it is a lovely reminder of home (England) from Norway.
    Time to make a pot of tea and enjoy the play!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness! I’m so happy he’s okay (ish!). I’m sure he hurts! Don’t hug him for me! XOXOXOXO

  20. Ann Y. says:

    Happy July and Rabbit Rabbit! What a wonderful post…so many happy times with your sister and her family! YES!!! YES, PLEASE – post your “diet” aka healthy eating plan. My dear husband and I are trying to eat healthier and lose some pounds….slow and steady – so PLEASE, YES – do share! Right now getting ready for our dear old friends ( of 45 years!) to come for a visit. Living several states away we get together not too often – and I just finished making your bread recipes that you posted and laughed when I saw the illustration and thought…wow. Menu will be some of the yummy bread, grilled pork tenderloin, corn on the cob ( here in Lancaster County, PA we get FABULOUS corn), a pasta salad with tortellini, broccoli, carrots, red peppers, and a pesto dressing….and for dessert – Coconut cake with a side of strawberries and blueberries to make it “4th of July Like” !!! You can see from that menu that I need your eating plan after this visit. Wishing you and Joe “A Glorious Fourth” !!!

  21. Christie Levin says:

    Happy July, Sue and Joe and Jack ( aka Jacques ~ ooo la la!) “Family Love” is such a wonderful phrase and encompasses years and generations ~ centuries even ~ of the deepest love, caring and care-taking; the most unselfish and delightful sharing of everything. Our families are the dearest treasures we have in this life, and it is super seeing you enjoying special times with your darling family. I would so love to see the art that the boys create of their memories of their time with you. xoxoxo

  22. Lori Metschan says:

    Love love! I have my banners out and my Summer. 4th of July and Martha’s Vineyard mugs on the counter. I cant wait to get my calendars and new mugs! Love you to the moon and back…..❤😗

  23. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    The boys are soooo grownup and gorgeous. I feel like I have watched them grow up because of your pictures through the years, and they look like such nice boys. It seems like your family is filled with artists and great talents and gifts! What a wonderful time you had…it made me smile the entire time I was reading.

    I love your healthy meals and walking…very inspiring! Everyone is doing their best to find a balance with health and fitness…you help with your blog!

    One last thing….I LOVED the picture of the tea party in this blog…any chance of a tea party mug with that artwork? AND…could there ever be a new, different JACK mug to add to our collection? Xoxo ❤❤❤😘

  24. Claudia Cole says:

    I love chipmunks, Susan. How lucky you are to have them on your wonderful island. Our backyard had terraces and a wooden swing set with woods beyond. We would sit and watch the chipmunks play and scurry throughout the seasons. Great entertainment. As I remember, they do not cause any damage. There is a photo of 5 chipmunks that I once took in the yard: mama and papa on each end of their three babies in a line on a board by the swing set. So cute! Enjoy them!

  25. Mamey Brown says:

    RABBIT RABBIT!!! I remembered this morning as soon as I sat up in bed! LOL. Your nephews have gotten so big!! Looks like you had a lovely time together. FUN FUN memories! So far here in upstate NY, it’s been so lovely being out in the garden. Lots of hummingbirds and butterflies so far. Happy July Susan!

  26. Denise Anderson says:

    Thanks soooo much for sharing your beautiful family! Happy 4th of July to you & Joe!

  27. Maria says:

    Oh, Susan…how lovely to see the boys. So handsome & grown up & such beautiful smiles. They remind me of my nephews, who mean the world to us. I love that delicious feeling of having them all to ourselves when they visit & ours see us every Sunday…lol. They bring such joy. The time we spend with them is sacred to us. Good choice to put the work aside & enjoy your beautiful sister & her boys!

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

    Hello Susan, Girlfriends. Happy July and Happy 4th of July. its definitely summer here, starting to warm up now and by the 4th it should be hot!! looking forward to a fun 4th of July, been pickling red onions and found and made my grandmother’s cantaloupe ice cream and I may just do the watermelon ice as well for the party. we’re having friends over for BBQ and fireworks. not to worry we have hoses and buckets of water standing by and a barrel filled with water to dispose of the spent fireworks. we look forward to this every summer. the garden is doing well, well one is the other got munched out by the deer and since then we replanted it and fenced it… he finally listened to me on that…YAY!!!! we have baby chicks in the house growing up, well getting their feathers and soon they will be in the chicken yard with the adults. I got some Buff Orpingtons for the flock, pretty birds and good layers in the winter and good sitters. I’m all for a busy barnyard and busy hen house in the summer…. keeps me out of trouble… 🙂 !!!!! so far no dry lightning storms and if we are lucky no wildfires this year. keep your fingers crossed!!! the cats are enjoying the sunshine and the lazy days…. longer nap times I guess. suits me fine, longer naps means less mischief for them to create. although I sometimes think they dream some of that mischief up during their naps. big 4th of July parade in town this Thursday and of course the fireworks show at the fairgrounds. also horse racing is going on now at the fairgrounds, Grants Pass Downs, and the firecracker finals will be this Thursday… a lot going on and soon it will be time for the county fair. this summer is slipping by quick. well off to go water the lawns and gardens, need to keep them green and wet for the 4th. have a great 4th of July everyone.. stay cool. hugs…… 😀

    • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

      oops forgot to mention this weekend was the rooster crowing contest, 66 years now. its over by Rogue River and it is fun, the idea is to get your rooster to crow as many times as possible in 30 minutes and you may not touch the rooster or the cage so you have to be pretty clever imaginative. this year it went to a Polish crop rooster owned by a lady in Grants Pass, she just kept on talking to him and he crowed back at her. maybe next summer we can get Jake to crow a bit more… they also have a contest for humans to crow in, gets real silly at times. loads of good fun around here. hugs….. 😀

  29. Deb in Wales says:

    Oh, Dearest Susan, how I remember seeing my first fire flies! It was near Reston, VA and it was a July 4th picnic party, and it was like walking into a fairy land of magical, glowing orbs flitting about. Who needed the fireworks that night?

    Claude Monet planted his garden in Giverny with the purpose of working with colour in nature, planting for the colours rather than the type of plants. Gardens are the most wonderful places.

  30. Deborah says:

    Hello Susan,

    Thank you for your lovely newsy post!
    Yes, please do post your not-really-a-diet diet! xxxxx

  31. Hello and happy July!
    Can you even believe that in 6 months, it will be the first of JANUARY 2020? And, our beloved Christmas season (and beloved Autumn, too) shall be over? Of course, I love all of the seasons! But as I make my Christmas ornaments, and fall and Christmas decor has entered my favorite crafts store (which I love that it’s coming), I realize again that each moment of each day is to be savored!
    Thanks for sharing your blissful family time, Susan! Savor your lovely summer flowers and critters! Nancy the Snowflake Lady

  32. Sue says:

    I never tire of seeing photos of your beautiful garden!!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that! I really love chipmunks, too. Once we had one living under our little slab of a porch and my father decided to do away with him. He used a humane trap and then did something not very humane — I was furious at him! They can be destructive, but I wanted him to take him out into the country far away and let him live out his life.
    You and your sis look so much alike – no doubt you came from the same tree! Cute boys and talented, too! It must be in the genes!
    So glad you now have squirrels eating where they are supposed to!!! We love our feeder, and it is so sturdy, very worth the investment because it will last years and the birds will thank you!!!
    Can’t wait til the 4th! I love celebrating our wonderful country and those who have made and kept it that way!

  33. Chris K in Wisconsin says:

    Oh, what a fun visit!! Aren’t you curious to know what was happening up on the roof?? Glad you had the time together.

    Oh, the chipmunks. We capture them in live traps, take them “over the river” and let them out in a nice forest setting. We do this sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. They can do a number on your lawn, not to mention any root systems! When the babies are born, they are cute, but they, too, take the trip to a happier place. I told my husband we should mark them somehow because I have visions of them trooping back over the bridge at night with little knapsacks whistling as they march back.

    The heat & humidity has found us in Wisconsin. With all the rain we have had, everything is beautifully green and the gardens are doing well. Can’t wait for the first tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and eggplants picked just as we are to use them. Happy 4th of July!!

  34. Glenna says:

    Hello July! Isn’t family the best?…. Arf and Arfy! It’s easy to see that Shelly is your sister. And, the boys certainly have the family artistic talent. I loved seeing your Cottage flower garden…. it has evolved into a beautiful painting. I would appreciate you sharing your “diet”. As you’ve shared pieces of this life change, I’ve made notes and have started making some small changes of my own…. already seeing some results. I’m looking forward to the 2020 calendars…. especially the English Countryside. Thank you Susan for continually reminding us that there are beautiful and amazing moments in our ordinary days.

  35. Jasmine says:

    These posts just fill me up! Thank you so much for sharing your life. I’m working on being more positive and lighthearted this week so this post came at the perfect time. 🙂 You also helped me recognize something to be proud of – I’ve always wanted to garden, but I’ve never had my own dirt. Well, this was my year! For my June birthday, I asked for roses (David Austin- Olivia Rose Austin – GORGEOUS), and I’m growing them in a pot, and I love them so much. Find a way to start where you are!

  36. Linda from Boston says:

    The year is going SO fast. Too much rain, not enough sun! I believe the bird you are asking about is a male goldfinch. Males are bright yellow with black. Females are more of a dusty brown. Males lose those bright feathers in the winter. Orioles are orange and black (like to eat orange halves). They are maybe a little smaller than a cardinal. They sometimes come to the hummingbird feeder. Our silly goldfinches insist on drinking the water from the ant trap on the hummingbird feeder (to the dismay of the hummingbirds!). Even tho there’s a perfectly good bird bath!!!! They like the filtered refrigerator water I guess!! Sudbury birds.

  37. Wren says:

    The twins are so talented! I love the wallpaper and the colorful pastel! They are so lucky to have someone like you to inspire and encourage them.

  38. Karen says:

    Hello Susan. You made me laugh out loud with the Notice to Women’s Clothing Stores. Hilarious, yet so true! I for one hope they will listen to you.

  39. YvonneJ says:

    Dear Susan, Thank you for sharing photos of your garden and the critters that visit, looks wonderful. I lived in the south for about 7 years of my childhood and fondly remember the fireflies! We would catch them in jars, admire them for a while and then set them free before going in for the night.
    The new calendars look great! I see that we can pre-order the new English Countryside calendar, but how can we order the others? I always get your wall calendar and mini calendar! mind how you go, Yvonne

    • sbranch says:

      We did a pre-order for the English Calendar because it’s the first time I did one, we had no idea how many would want it . . . and I wanted to make sure that everyone who wants one gets one … we’re bound to run out because they never print many of a first-time thing. The rest we knew what to order because there’s a history . . . I’ll do a post when they come in and are ready for sale!

  40. Karen says:

    Good afternoon. What a perfect “rabbit rabbit” post for a beautiful July day here in the Pacific NW. Thanks for sharing the update on your sister and nephews. We always find it fun to hang with folks from varying generations….keeps us on our toes! Thanks also for reminder of Gazpacho. Sounds perfect for July 4th. Hope it is a happy one for you and Joe. Best—Karen

  41. Anne Nicholson says:

    Hi Susan,
    Yes! Please post your healthy eating plan! I am looking to lose weight, but don’t want a diet. I want a lifestyle change and I’m finding it difficult. Any recipes would be so welcome!

  42. Priscilla from nearby Rhode Island says:

    Always love seeing you in my mailbox! I’ve been worrying about the loss of your wonderful and picturesque bird friends, so I’m delighted to read you found a workable solution to the greedy squirrel problem. Could you provide us with specific information about your squirrel-proof bird feeders, please? I want/need one of these as soon as possible! As for the chipmunks: We have “millions” this summer, criss-crossing our backyard all day long, but unfortunately for them, their little, short legs are of no assistance to keep them from drowning in our pool in the middle of the night. Enjoy your 4th!

  43. Bernadette M says:

    Wonderful, wonderful post. I just get lost in your world when I get to read your posts. I can smell the flowers, the sea air, and almost taste those clams. Thank your for the short vacation to Martha’s Vineyard.

  44. Peggy says:

    I love your birdbath! Wish I could find one similar. It is just beautiful! We also “invested” in squirrel proof bird feeders this year! ACK! Pesky squirrels! It looks like you are having a beautiful summer and I am so glad your sister and nephews could come for such a nice visit! I do hate to ask, but was curious, how is the book coming along? I can hardly wait for it!!!

    • sbranch says:

      You can probably tell, it’s going S L O W . . . I keep getting interrupted, will have to put a KEEP OUT sign on my door ~ although I can’t blame others, I’m the bad one!

      • Peggy says:

        I can wait! I’m glad you are enjoying family and friends and flowers! Life is short. I think I will reread your other books while I wait.

  45. Patti Fitzgerald from Skippack, PA says:

    Okay, Susan . . . this blog officially made me cry (happy tears, I can assure you!). How incredibly wonderful for your sister and nephews to be able to spend such quality time with you and Joe and Jack! This is the kind of experience that today’s children so desperately need. Being surrounded by people who love you, in such a beautiful and natural setting . . . what a gift!
    You have also encouraged me to think about flowers and herbs and bird feeders, and spending time at the beach and walking lovely trails through the trees near the creek . . . . I really do need a steady dose of your blogs to keep myself focused and centered on all the important things that matter in life. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul and spirit with all of us. Love you to pieces, Girlfriend! xoxoxoxo

  46. Mary Lawrence says:

    How wonderful to have your twin visit.Looking so much alike.There is nothing like family visiting to bring joy.Your garden is lovely.The rabbits are everywhere here and we love them,we have given them names from the book Watership Down.Enjoy your isle of dreams,happy summer.Mary Lawrence

  47. Gail says:

    Thank you Susan for making my day better (each and every time you show up in my computer! Today is the liquids only day before a colonoscopy so I REALLY appreciated you today-keeping mind busy not eating!) Thursday I intend to try your recipes for potato salad. Things we take for granted, like being able to eat when we want and what we want, sure get to be important when we can’t-even though just for a day or two. We have tons of squirrels on our street. Did not know that chipmonks could be harmful to foundations? Have a Happy 4th ! Gail

  48. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan, Rabbit, Rabbit! Happy July! We were in Maine this past weekend going over house stuff and we’re heading up again this week! A place I can finally breathe-the ocean air, the pine and the smell of fire pits from various homes-it’s all delicious! Not to mention the lupines. We don’t have them on Long Island and they were EVERYWHERE we turned. I will definitely have them in my garden! So glad you had a fun time with your sister and nephews! The baby screech owls are fledged and we hear them singing at night. Our tomato plants are going crazy and I’m looking forward to making sauce-so yummy! I don’t think I could live somewhere without the four seasons as every one has it’s own delights. Be well and be happy and a very Happy 4th to you, Joe and Jack! Love, Karen 🙂

  49. BJ Weaver says:

    Hello Susan. Thank you, as always, for your inspiring posts. I for one would love any and all tips you have regarding health and wellness. Congratulations on being so close to your goal weight. Hopefully you can hear me cheering you on as you read this!

  50. Ann Davis says:

    Rabbit! Rabbit! Susan, Joe and Jack! Thank you for sharing your family with us. So much fun. My sister and I are taking a train from CT to FL next week to celebrate our brother’s 80th birthday. It shall be a fine adventure 😊. Your nephews are so talented. Just like their Auntie. Love ya ox

  51. jody condlin says:

    What a wonderful blog posting! Love seeing pictures of your garden, your family (boy, you sisters look a lot alike), etc. AND my all time favorite Potato Salad Recipe included…..just made it last week. We love it. Too bad about your cancelled yard sale…another time! Enjoy the summer!

  52. Teddi Cassity says:

    Greetings Susan!
    Your blog (like your books, your calendars, your whatever else Susan Branch stuff I can get ahold of) simply makes my heart smile. Thanks for all the happiness you bring. Lots of love & blessings!

  53. Kathy Branch Spicer says:

    Another wonderful post! Those good looking twins, and your beautiful sister . . . you and your sister look nothing alike, SAID NO ONE, EVER! So happy to know you had wonderful times during the visit. Family is EVERYTHING.

    Fireflies, fireflies! Since moving to the dark skies of southeast Ohio (no big cities and nothing for miles but tiny towns and BIG forests) I have fallen in love with fireflies all over again. As a child, we called them lightning bugs and caught them in hands and in jars, and marveled at their tiny lit up butts. Now, MANY years later, I have found that they are so different in southeast Ohio. Their little lights are so BRIGHT in all the darkness of my Shadowy Hills (as I call our little plot of paradise). I stand at my window and watch hundreds of them light up against the black backdrop of the towering pines. It’s WAY more magical than in childhood when city lights made their little butts shine not so bright. How wonderful it is to cherish a childhood memory of something, and find out it’s even better at 54! I’ve been enjoying them this Spring for more than a month and I will miss them when their season ends.

  54. Carisa says:

    We won’t be losing any weight with that Potato Salad recipe, it is absolutely my favorite and I make it every year in the summer! My something beautiful in my cabinet are my Madonna Inn goblets. Collecting them in twos, and just love how the light shines through them. Summer temps are finally here in Ventura county, and the lace window curtains blow so gently with the warm breeze. What could be more dreamy? It’s going to be a lovely summer.

  55. Heidi Cannella says:

    Dear Susan,
    Your posts are always beautiful. And, I for one, would love it if you shared your “diet” tips that you wrote for your sister.
    Happy 4th,

  56. JC says:

    I love having Chip ‘n Dale but…..over the years they have burrowed under the sidewalk causing it to sink and had to be raised and this year they started to burrow under my brand new retaining wall :(. Good thing they are cute.

  57. Kitty DeMento says:

    Sitting at Philly International waiting for the Bride To Be who is returning from London!
    Loved receiving this Blog post at this moment!!!
    Thank You!!!

  58. Kathy in NY says:

    Yes Susan your post was happy to read when some of our days have a little sadness come into it so you will never know the cheer you bring to so many showing your life. I recently lost my mother so you need to appreciate the times you can reach out and share a conversation with someone as we never know when that voice isn’t there to care for us anymore. I have always loved your gardens and sometimes get confused what you grow on the island versus what your CA gardens are like. I appreciate the info you share on them as I am not a seasoned gardener and love the birds fluttering to feeders more than planting something. Would like to read more about your healthy lifestyle diet. Clicked on the link for the sweet potato so thank you as I have the older version of your book. Happy fourth to you and would love to see some pictures of your parades and picnics as I know it’s probably one of the happiest places on earth to celebrate from what you have shown us in years past.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, Kathy, such a profound loss. One day at a time. Your advice was right on. I think that way more and more all the time. You’ll love that sweet potato . . . sending love xoxoxo

  59. Christine says:

    So enjoyed your post. Always makes me smile! And a good idea for dinner, Gazpacho yes! I have what I need even some shrimp, twill be yummy! Thanks for sharing your beautiful family memories! My youngest son will have his 50th birthday on July Fourth!!! Time goes by so quickly!!

  60. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Rabbit Rabbit! Happy summer! Oh that blog was so fun!!!! I was thinking it would be really fun for you to do a book about a year at your home.. your garden, Jack, Martha’s Vineyard, but then realized that that’s what this blog is! How lucky are we that you you share your life, your loves, your gratitude and attitude with us all. It really helps us all stay in the moment and focus on the wonder and joy in our own lives. You are a bright and loving light in the world Susan! Thank you!! Glad your sister and the twins finally made it. There is always time for another garage sale, but you can never get enough family fun times.

  61. Bonnie Brown says:

    Lovely visit with you and your sister and her precious boys! So talented. I love the Rose drawing.
    Glad you realized how to best spend your time with them. They’ll never forget it. It

    is so hot here in VA now. Not like the nice spring afternoon we met in Williamsburg in front of the King’s Arms! I treasure that memory. You and Joe were so kind. I was so excited that I neglected to tell you how much I admire your art, outlook on life, and happiness you have enriched my life with. Thank you! Happy 4th!

    • sbranch says:

      Was wonderful to meet you too Bonnie! You’re so lucky to have such a lovely spot practically at your fingertips! Happy 4th, stay cool!

  62. Carol Nicolucci says:

    Hi Suzee
    I’ve been watching a squirrel circus on my deck too since refreshing the bird feeder. The little buggers are hilarious and I fear I might be giving them names. Oh dear! Did I remember that I have a ‘weighted’ bird feeder still in its box in the garage that I ordered because of squirrel circuses? Why of course not!
    I have been thinking about deliberately seeding my back yard with low-growing clover for pollinators. Did you seed your clover area or did it happen on its own?
    I read that clover has to be re-seeded every two years. Moreover,thanks for any clover information for this butterfly.
    Sweet Potatoly yours, Carol from CT … tra la

  63. Cheryl Wright says:

    Happy July Susan, Joe and Jack!🍉🍦 Greetings from central Wisconsin.
    I agree summer is delightful and delicious with all the birds singing 🐦, the flowers blooming. 🥀🌼🌷 and fruits 🍎🍒and veggies 🥕🥦to enjoy. Congratulations on nearing your goal. I have reached my and agree that this is a lifetime path to follow. Keep being healthy. I just turned the page on my 2019 calendar and was thrilled to see Beatrix Potter’s birthday is the day before my birthday 💖🤩 Blessings to you.

  64. SueG says:

    Your garden looks beautiful, mine is coming along too now the weather has warmed a bit here in WI. I enjoyed hearing about your time with your sister and the boys. Such talented artists – I loved seeing their work. I would also love to see “the diet, not diet” all written down like you did for your sister. Its is so good to hear how successful it has been for you and how your good healthy eating is making you feel so well. Time indeed for celebration and some swimming too. I love the water and can’t wait to go for a dip later this week up north at our family cottage. It is something special though to be in salt water and what a fun way to incorporate it into your daily walk. As always thanks for sharing your corner of the world. Have a wonderful 4th of July! I know it will be filled with friends, fun, food and fireworks!

  65. Wendy in South FL says:

    Lovely photos of your pretty garden! If you want help with the Yard Sale let me know – Martha’s Vineyard is on my list of places to go! 🙂

  66. Kim says:

    What a lovely, summery “letter” to us all ~ Thank you for sharing your family and your slice of heaven with us!
    …And YES!! Please DO share your “diet” ~ We would all no doubt benefit from your slimming, healthful suggestions! (“I’ll have what she’s having!”)
    Thank you for all the peace and joy (and honesty and courage) that you bring to the world, Susan. 💕

  67. Doris Minear says:

    Today is July 1st and it is a beautiful day here in Westlake Village, Ca(S.Cal) I went outside to pick white roses, and then stopped by the Gardena bush and brought a handful of Gardenia blooms inside, they smell wonderful. Then I took my book out on the front porch an sat in the swing, and enjoyed the morning and the birds. I am just going to enjoy summer. Came inside to get the red placemats on the table and got out the blue Calico dishes, getting ready for the 4th of July.
    I feel like I did when I was young and school was out for the summers much to look forward to, and yet not having any real responsibilities.Happy Summer!

  68. Brenda says:

    I love all your birds and I’m so happy that you have found a happy balance between them and the other little nature friends! However, according to hummingbirdsociety.org praying mantis will attack and kill hummingbirds. I never knew that, so I have been paying particular attention to my hummingbird feeders in case I see any near them.

    • sbranch says:

      I used to watch a live hummingbird nest online . . . it was fascinating. The nests are SOOOO tiny. One day, in this peaceful little nesty world, a LIZARD came into the screen . . . It was like a horror movie! He knocked the eggs out of the nest!

  69. Mary E. Lines says:

    Yes please post your diet. I hate counting anything I eat.

  70. Suzette S Reed says:

    You’re slow but steady diet please!

  71. Patti E says:

    Totally enjoyed the post as I always do. You may think I’m crazy, but I feed all the chipmunks here in my yard! They come on my open front porch and make funny noises at my door, looking for some shelled peanuts. Which of course I feed it to them! They stuff their little cheeks and run off to store it underground in their house, maybe for winter . Some of them eat out of my hand too. 🙂 They’re so cute. Maybe they haven’t done any damage here because they know they won’t get any more free meals from me! Anyway, have a great summer and stay cool. Love from Minnesota 🙂 Patti

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been in love with chipmunks since I first saw them while camping with my parents as a child, so I totally understand why you feed them! I love that they eat our of your hand!

  72. Ann Prins says:

    Summer has arrived and you are so ready for it!! Enjoy this summer – I know that I am going to enjoy it. Waiting for fresh strawberries tomorrow!! the very best!! They are late in Michigan due to the cold weather that we had in June!! You made me appreciate the day more with your cheerful post!! Thank you!!

  73. Debby says:

    Love that Belle taught her boys Arf and Arfy! 🐶 Your garden is amazing! If you talk with Carrie please tell her she is missed. I was so looking forward to seeing her decorate her cottage. Debby your friend in arf.

    • sbranch says:

      I just recently did and told her exactly that. She’s happy, doing her thing, all is well . . . she still has another few weeks with the B & B in Oxford before she’s truly free. But all is well! I’ll tell her she is missed!

  74. Judy from KC says:

    Yes please post the healthy diet ! And Joes stuffed clams, even if they are a splurge!
    Your nephews draw beautifully! I recently went to a girls wine and paint outting, at Pinots Palette and realize how difficult painting can be. No natural born talent here, so I appreciate their art even more after my attempt lol.
    Lovely garden too , flowers are magnificent! Enjoy your summer and never mind about the swim suit. Lands end sells swim shorts and tops so I feel a bit better in those, might check them out. Take care and look forward to hearing from you again soon!

  75. Ann Woleben says:

    There is NOTHING like family~the boys are so handsome~love their smiles! I can see that you truly enjoyed the visit from your sister and her sons. We call it “making memories” and wouldn’t trade anything for time with family. Your flower garden is lovely, along with the fresh veggies. We are salad eaters in our home, too. I shall have to save up for one of the squirrel-proof feeders. It would be worth it to stop their annoying, but natural, behavior. Our home is on a heavily wooded lot and a week ago I walked into the kitchen to see a deer right outside the window, eating birdseed from one of our feeders. This is after he had finished our hydrangeas and hosta. Our son is giving us a trip to Martha’s Vineyard for our 50th wedding anniversary! Maybe we will be there for your yard sale – oh my, that would be a treat! I am going back through your previous posts to highlight restaurants, shops and other places of interest. Also using a guide book for the island.

  76. Kathy Blue says:

    Yes indeed, it is July. Moved from Syracuse NY area to foothills of Blue Ridge in NC – – seems like July has already been here a week or two. Please do share your diet/way of eating, looks so yummy and I need that inspiration more than you know.
    p.s. The chipmunks are adorable, ours were kept in check by predators in NY – – my father kept telling me the need to keep them away – – be vigilant.

  77. Sarah says:

    It looks like your nephew had his “geranium moment” with that rose drawing like you did with your first set of art supplies! 🙂 Looks like talent runs in the family!

    I would love for you to share your eating plan with us.


    • sbranch says:

      I’ll put it up soon, Sarah! Those kids have had geranium moments since they could first hold a crayon!!!

  78. Sonja Willis says:

    Susan,thank you for another inspiring blog. I love your flowers, your birds, squirrels. I live in Southern Indiana, we have chipmunks here, they are so cute to watch, I have loved them since I was a little girls. In the past actually had a problem with flying squirrels in out attic!
    Susan, would you please, please post your diet. I am 67, have struggled with my weight for years. I would love to try it.
    Hope you and Joe have a lovely 4th.

  79. Mary Robinson says:

    Thank you for the wonderful post! I would love to see the “diet” that you wrote out for your sister. I’m always trying to eat a little more healthy.

  80. Helen O'Donoghue says:

    Your comment about streetlights and the shadows they cast brought back a memory. When I was a baby, we lived in a rowhouse in the city. Outside my bedroom window which was by my crib, there was a tree and a streetlight. I remember lying in my crib listening to the breeze blowing and watching on the ceiling the patterns of shadows the streetlight made when it shone through the leaves. My earliest memory. I couldn’t have been more than 1 as I was out of a crib by the time I was two.

    I have loved all of your books and was so glad I met you at Chart House books in Hyannis, MA many years ago when I lived on Cape Cod.

  81. Sally Castner says:

    Your blog is such a lovely way to start our first day of July!
    Please share your “diet” as many need a plan to follow in order to succeed.
    Big thank you for always bringing beauty and joy into our world.
    You are a blessing,

  82. Karen Williams says:

    Happy July Susan, Joe and Jack!
    Beautiful blog as usual and so welcome. Love seeing your garden and the birds, squirrels and the chipmunk! What a surprise to find such a little critter!
    You and your sister are the spitting images of each other…and her boys…oh how they’ve grown. They’re so tall and look so grown up! And so very talented…..I wonder who they get that from????!!!
    What memories you and Joe have given them to start their summer.
    Never mind about the yard sale…plenty more days to come when there’ll be opportunities to have one this year!

    I hope you all have a blessed and wonderful 4th of July celebration 🥳 🎉 over the Pond and beyond!
    Bestest wishes
    U.K. 🇬🇧

  83. Karen says:

    Such a great post full of love of family. The boys definitely have that artists gene , if there is such a thing. Happy July to all

  84. Linda Miller says:

    Happy July,
    Your family visitors seemed to delight in your hospitality and will, no doubt, carry fond memories back home. Lovely times spent together are the joys in life! Your garden is alive with little creatures, flowers, and herbs. What magic you and Joe have created!
    May you continue to enjoy the pleasures of the season!

  85. starr miller says:

    Hello Susan,
    Thank you for such a heart warming post.
    Love the pictures of your garden- the flowers are gorgeous.
    What a wonderful visit with nephews and sister.
    You’ve inspired me to watch what I’m eating and I’ve lost a pound. Ha but I’m also back to exercising and that’s the best part.
    I can’t wait to get my calendar and the new mugs are fabulous.
    I’ve been reading a charming old book, The Shell Seekers. I think you’d like it.
    Or perhaps you already have-
    Hope you enjoy a lovely 4th of July. 🇺🇸
    Here in the burbs of Chicago, we are just praying that rain clouds pass us by for a day or two.

    • Elaine in Toronto says:

      Hi Starr, “The Shell Seekers” is one of my favourite books by Rosamunde Pilcher but my all time favourite book by her is her last one, “Winter Soltice” published in 2000. I’ve read it at least six or seven times and it never loses its magic. Perhaps you’ve read it, too. Rosamunde Pilcher passed away this year. She had a real gift for writing as you do too, Susan, my other favourite author. Happy 4th of July. We celebrated Canada Day yesterday and had a lovely day out – visited two antique shows, found a few treasures, had those lovely cod burgers at A&W, visited the graves of my husband’s parents and left a pretty bouquet of peonies and finally home to a dinner of burgers, potato salad, couscous salad and strawberries and ice cream for dessert.hugs, Elaine

  86. Madeline Moe says:

    Susan, I have discovered swimming capris and shirts from Coolibar.com to wear instead of a bathing suit. They are spf 50 also to protect your skin. Now I can go swimming without being self conscious.

  87. Fran P. says:

    Dear, dear Susan,
    You mentioned in your blog how much you love Sweet Peas. When I was a tiny tot, my mom and dad had 2 green houses. The aroma of the soil is like catnip to me when I enter a green house even today. But Sweet Peas are still growing in my old memory. I ADORE THEM!!
    Thank you for so much love and joy through your wonderful messages to all of us.

  88. Minette says:

    Happy Summer and Happy 4th of July to you and Joe! What a beautiful blog posting, as usual. Just the thing we need right now! The garden vignettes are truly lovely and can easily see why the birds would flock to it and sing their hearts out! I loved seeing more of your family-it looked like you all had such fun together. Your nephews are really adorable and so creative. I have not posted in quite a while but wanted to thank you so very much for continuing your wonderful and inspirational blog-it has meant so much to receive the notifications whenever there is a new posting and I eagerly look forward to receiving them! Your blog always leads me back to a place of serenity and happiness in enjoying the natural beauty of the world around us as well as the daily accomplishments of family, friends and myself. Thank you again for all of the treasured moments!

  89. monique says:

    Wonderful to see your nephews and sister..what a ball and a half you have had..and yes what talented artists they are..Handsome darling boys..Those clams of Joe’s Susan:)♥I hate squirrels Susan:)
    Happy everything~

  90. Kimberly L Young says:

    Oh Susan, Its always so lovely to hear from you. I’m ever amazed at how generous you are with sharing your life,family,garden,talents and scenes from MV. It really is a huge treat! The garden is beau-ti-ful! Isn’t it fun?
    Every year i move a few things, plant something new, try some new seeds.
    This year it was Dahlias for the first time. They are amazing!
    One question…..how do you keep from snacking? Mid afternoon is the hardest time to resist. I just try not to have anything snacky in the house…but some days…;} Also i LOVE cream tea….but i know that sugar and half and half are not doing me any good. Do you just drink yours black?
    Happy Fourth of July. Peak of Summers joy. Hugs from the NC mountains.

    • sbranch says:

      Mid-afternoon, celery dipped in hummus! xoxoxo I now drink my tea with delicious almond cream in it. No sugar. I’ll put brands and things in the post. xoxo

  91. Kay Bennett says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just came in from my garden. I was pulling out all the flowers that have gone south while I was away. So wonderful to see your beautiful garden. Cheryl and I came home yesterday from a wonderful trip to New England. We ran out of adjectives to describe how stunningly beautiful Massachusetts and Connecticut are. Vineyard Haven was magical. We spent a couple of days on MV. The first day it rained but that didn’t deter us from enjoying shopping on Main Street. Dinner at the Black Dog was delicious. We understand completely why you came and stayed in your beautiful home for the last 37 years. Exploring our history on the FreedomTrail in Boston was so interesting. Having been born and raised in So. CA, we needed to visit the historical places on the East Coast to get a true sense of how our country came to be. We all have so much to be proud of. God Bless America!
    Love to you and Joe…..and Jack too❣️

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful Kay! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. New England is amazing, we have Louisa May Alcott too, and Abigail Adams and Mark Twain, so many historical moments here. Plymouth Rock! The graveyards. So happy you enjoyed it. Have you been to Williamsburg yet? If not, I know its on your list. Go for at LEAST a week to see it all. It’s FABULOUS! xoxo

  92. Lorna Schreck says:

    I always feel so refreshed and relaxed after reading your blog posts. Today’s made a delicious companion for my afternoon (ice) tea. The simple enjoyment of your everyday life helps me to remember to wallow in the simple memories of each day of my life.

    I must admit that I LOVE Mason’s pastel painting. I love it so much that I took a screen shot and will print it out for my art room board of inspiration. It is stunning and striking and bold and beautiful. I also admit that I was intrigued by Paden’s wallpaper art. It has such flow and whimsy. It was strong and soft. It have a place in my B&W Graphic Designs inspiration book. They are both artists from the inside out. I pray that their creativity will continue to shine from their art filled souls.

    Have a lovely summer until you write to us again.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll tell the kids, they’ll love your thoughts. Mason was already doing pastels . . . amazing ones I have to say … When Lowely saw them she was impressed and inspired and was reminded of another, famous (I forget his name, I’m sorry!) artist’s work and asked Mason over to her house . . . . showed him that work, and asked him to choose the colors and copy that art … to see what he would do. It was perfect, color choice, technique, and execution. You can see he has the eye from the rose drawing. But you have to know, that art really wasn’t his. It was just an exercise. How we learn! xoxoxo

  93. Jan Mc says:

    I truly love your blog. Thank you for that. I just finished two of Gladys Tabers Stillmeadow books (for the second time) so your quote really fit for me. Your comment on fireflies hit home as well. I have never seen one and it is a big thing on my “bucket list”. I am from central California and as you know we don’t have them. It is so lovely that you and your sister look so much alike. Have a great day.

  94. Libby from Hot, Hot Florida says:

    Hi Susan, Thanks for the lovely newsletter. Your posts are always so uplifting. I have a question that you have probably answered 100 times already but I have missed it. Are you writing a book about your trip to the UK last year? “A Fine Romance” was the first of your books that I read and I loved it. I have since read all the rest of them. But that one has a special place in my heart and I would love to hear all about your latest trip across the big pond. Please give Jack a cuddle from me.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I am . . . loving it too . . . it’s called ENCHANTED! I can’t wait until it’s a reality, having a wonderful time with it! Thank you Libby. Libby was the name of my Grandma’s best friend. Lib, she called her. xoxo

  95. Risa Hiller says:

    Susan you have been a beacon of light and joy to me since I bought your very first book in 1986.
    Heart of the Home. Only one I have that is not a first edition!
    Thank you for your amazing spirit and optimism.

  96. Alana Lennie says:

    So loved hearing of the fireflies! I was born and raised in San Diego and am pretty sure I couldn’t take hot and humid summers for any length of time, but oh, how I love watching fireflies! Wish they had some west coast cousins.

  97. Karen Dyser says:

    I was just thinking, I wonder what’s up with Susan and here came a new post. I love the gardens and the sister visit. Those art genes are finding their way to the next generation. How nice! Glad you are sticking to the healthy eating and I always enjoy the healthy recipes. Since you love bunnies, you might enjoy my children’s book, Bailey Bunny and the Fear Monster: A story of courage. Happy July!

  98. Patti Condon says:

    Thanks for another great post Susan. I love that you got to spend time with your sister . . .sisters are the best! Both my sisters live in FL and I live in MA. I go and visit them in the spring and they come up and visit me the first week in December every year so we can celebrate Christmas together. We always do our favorite things . .shop, go out to eat and have ice cream! Nothin like “sissy” time!

  99. Juls says:

    I love summer – your post just makes me smile inside & out. Sweet peas are my very favorite flower. Is there any other fragrance in this world that smells that sweet? Ok, maybe a new born’s head, puppy breath or a brand new kitten (smile). I love the idea of you sharing your diet with us in one post although I know you’ve mentioned in several and have given us lots of great ideas & recipes. It makes complete sense and I’m with you, I’d like to lose weight the slow, sensible & healthy way – no crazy diet schemes, just good common sense. This weight is a darn creeper, great in the garden but not so great on the bones. Happy summer & congrats on being so close to reaching your goal weight – that is SO exciting (and inspirational). Happy swimming!

    • sbranch says:

      Yessss, behind the ear of a just bathed 6 month old baby . . . the bottom of the fat little foot, as the toes curl! You woke up the memory in me!

  100. Danella on the Canadian west coast says:

    Happy July to you all! Loved reading another delightful post. Yard sales can wait, family can’t. Have a wonderful summer!

Comments are closed.