Hi Everyone, I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long! MUSICA But here I am … WITH music and full of explanations! I’m back to my early morning routine . . .

… you know the one, up before dawn . . .

… for a total owning of the morning! I’ve been painting and writing and laying-out the 2021 calendars! They’re due like yesterday, so I’m hurrying as best I can. But I thought I’d just say a quick hello ~ I know some of you start to worry ~ tell you all’s well, and show you what’s going on around here.

When the sun came up this morning I finally got a look outside after a very stormy and windy night . . . and Jack came out ~ apparently he got locked in the front hall (his favorite hair-band playground) late last night when there was a flurry of activity because a big limb cracked and fell off the tree next to our house! He didn’t come down as usual this morning, but I thought he was just being lazy. Then I heard a noise and saw his foot curled under my studio door, ha ha ha! Nobody puts baby in the corner! 

I made tea for Joe and took it upstairs … and saw the hibiscus had bloomed! So of course I had to go get the camera! This hibiscus is huge, Joe brings it upstairs every fall, it lives through the dark days, blooming right along, and goes back outside to the porch each spring. It’s got to be at least five years old!

While I was upstairs, I looked out the other side of the house to see what I could see of this branch that had made such a noise last night . . . and got an eyeful. Yikes!

So I went downstairs and outside to see what I could see! And there it was … the branch had fallen, in the most tidy of ways, between the tree and the house!

Look how big it is! Over the top of the house! We are so lucky! Only slightly leaning, with no broken windows, no holes in the roof or the walls! Last night would have been a very cold night to have a broken window! Time to call the tree man!

Otherwise things have been going along as usual . . . early to bed, quiet tea-drinking days, my kitchen windows being my windows on the world. My world being weather, squirrels, birds, wild turkeys ~ the tulips are up by about an inch! I am the proverbial fly on the wall to this yard.

When I’m working 12 or 15 hours a day, I am very boring because I am all inside my head, it’s sort of groundhog day every day, I even come down the stairs singing, “I’ve got you Babe,” but we ALWAYS leave time to do this, our walk … because it’s the best part of the day! Joe tells me stories, like what he’s reading, and what he stayed up late to watch on TV. I live vicariously!

And despite our snowy morning today, it has been a winter of warm weather, it’s been nice! We’re still wearing full-winter-walk gear, hats, scarves, gloves … but I can usually take them off halfway through … and we’ve been able to go almost every day.

Big breaths of fresh clean air into our lungs after hours of shallow breathing is a very good thing.

But back to this morning . . . The electricity blinked off, I lit a candle and kept it lit, even when the light came back on, just in cases! I don’t like to be, how you say, plunged into darkness. Wind blowing, clunking shutters, and the snow plow going by were the only noises. Again, like always, I felt like there was no now, it could be any year, I was in the time machine. Do you know how many years I’ve been doing calendars? It’s crazy. I did my first in 1993 … I skipped a few years, but I think now there are 25 (last time I took a picture of them there were only 20, and I have to say, that felt like yesterday!), and that just counts the wall calendars! Here’s a wee preview of 2021: 

One of our girlfriends, Jean from Twitter @just_jean, sent me a photo of her carrot cake and how she decorated it using thinest slices of colorful carrots to polka-dot the top! Isn’t it cute? Screams “Carrot Cake!”🤣I love it!

So, thank you Jean! I painted your cake for the new wall calendar!Along with this . . .And this ~ and so much more! I finished the wall calendar, the mini, and the small purse calendar and they’ve all gone off to the printer!💃 I still have to do the blotter, and this morning, I’m working on the January page of the new Photo Calendar. I did a Photo calendar about England for this year, 2020, for 2021 it will be all about Home.

As you can imagine, it’s a fun calendar to do . . . 

Choosing the photos is the most difficult problem!

I can only fit three or four on a page ~ a calendar is only so big!

So I am weighing, is this one better, or is this one . . . do we want a kitty, a kitchen, a fire, flowers, cookies?

Does this one tell the story, or does this one? And I hadn’t even gotten to grilled cheese sandwiches, tea, or Joe in the snow! So I stopped choosing photos, sat down and wrote the words, I thought it would help me make better photo choices. I wrote the story so many of you know, shortened to fit…

“As a child growing up in California, I was drawn to New England from the books I read and the movies I watched, with houses and picket fences built long ago. . .” 

“I dreamed of living in a place that was here before electricity, on a street that remembered the clip-clop of horse hooves. I wanted to light candles in winter, feel a snowfall, crunch autumn leaves, eat grilled cheese sandwiches and read my books in front of a fireplace.”I think I know what I’m doing, I hope so . . . we’ll find out around July of this year when these calendars will arrive at the studio!

In the meantime, as you can see, all is well. I turned just now to see my shadow draped across my art table and grabbed my camera, I am never alone unless he gets locked in the hall!

Obviously it’s impossible for me to do a short post! I promise I’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming as soon as I get the calendars done. ‘Course then I have a book to write! The older I get the more I have to say. Help! I hope you’re all busy and happy and being creative in all your many ways! Be careful out there. Don’t take any chances. You’re my everything! 💞 xoxoxoxo Happy weekend!

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426 Responses to EXPLAIN YOURSELF

  1. Pat W. says:

    Good morning Susan:

    I was pleasantly surprised when I opened email & there was a new post – always so welcoming. Thank you. We’ve had a mild winter here in WPa, but there is still time to have a spring snow storm (I hope not). Crocus blooming & daffodils up several inches. This weekend we “Spring Ahead” with daylight savings time – don’t forget!!!

  2. Nan says:

    Love the third to last photo of your home. Winter inviting! And, Al Bowlly – day made! To winter and spring, summer and then luscious fall all wrapped into calendars. Cheers!

  3. Betsy says:

    What a delight on this Saturday morning to see a blog posting from you! It’s truly a lucky day……a trip to Trader Joe’s and I nabbed the last jar of Lemon Curd and a gorgeous bouquet of wine colored ranunculus. Don’t forget to turn your clock ahead. xoxoxoxoxo

  4. Kimberly L Young says:

    Oh Susan! The agony and ecstasy of living with beautiful old trees. Those big bumps in the night are worrisome, especially when the wind is howling. Looks like a frosty angel just dipped down and guided that big ole branch a smidge to the left! Whew!
    I’m happy for all our sake that you don’t mind living for a time in the creative work bubble ( and repeat..). We benefit so much from your focus and diligence !! AND a blog post along the way, extra treat.
    It’s a little scary out there right now. Thanks for showing up and patting the back of our hand as if to say…it’s all going to be OK.
    Wash your hands girlfriends 🙂
    P.S. If anyone reading this finds grammatical errors,punctuation mishaps, issues with run on sentences, or incorrect word choices, I’m ok if you don’t tell me 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I firmly second that emotion motion! 🤣 Frosty angel! Wob it. I love it in the bubble, but my friends don’t like it as much as I do. Thank you Kimberly!😘

      • FayE in CA! says:

        I, too, love the vision of a frosty angel guiding the limb to the ground. What a beautiful thought…and now a vision since you wrote it for us to read. Thank you, Kimberly.

        You and Joe are very lucky that your new roof is OK…phew! Wish I could have been in your upstairs bedroom to hear what a real winter night can sound like. Our CA moon and stars don’t create much ruckus at night! Glad that the little girl in you got her wish and big girl, Susan, moved to NE. Thanks for sharing your seasonal experiences with those of us who have dreams of colonial, historical homes and SEASONS!

        Hugs to you, Susan. You are never alone in the wee hours, on your walks or while working in your studio. Not only is Jack your loyal companion, but we often think of your days and your passing of the hours. So, if you ever feel claustrophobic in your studio, it is because we are watching you while you paint!! By the way, you look really silly when you talk/play with Jack and the smells in your kitchen…divine. Have you ever noticed little bites missing from baked goods? Yep, it was one of us sitting at your kitchen table. I am surprised that Jack has any fur left with all of our “secret” pets.

        Oh, sorry about the other day. I didn’t mean to bump into the wall…you jumped at the thump and looked around!!

        Thanks for doing another photo calendar. This year’s is beautiful.

        FayE in CA! xoxoxoxoxoxo

        PS: “My” mockingbird is heralding spring here in CA! Yep, you are in snowville and I am listening to Mocky serenade
        me. LOVE his voice and his desperate efforts to attract and cuddle with a new love! HA!

        • sbranch says:

          Well, then I’m blushing like crazy because of that song yesterday that made me get up and MOUTH every word, not sing, while waving hands in the air! xoxoxo

    • Diana from San Francisco says:

      What a sweet sentiment “Thanks for showing up and patting the back of our hand as if to say…it’s all going to be OK.”. I always feel that way when I read Susan’s posts – like sitting with a friend at your kitchen table, with a large pot of tea.

    • judi says:


    • Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

      Perfectly stated, Kimberly!☺️❤️

    • AnneL says:

      Too funny! I hope you don’t get any wisecracks about your post. It was great and I second all of it! Have a super Sunday!!

  5. Edie McAdoo says:

    SO glad to hear you’re OK! Please give Jack a nuzzle for me. Edie

  6. Lillian Olmstead says:

    Dear Sue,
    You really have been busy! I heard the weather for the Cape and the islands and thought of you. We got the wild wind but just a dusting here in Ct. Your post was just what we all needed, a real and much appreciated change of subject. Thanks as always
    Lillian XOXOXO

  7. Sherry Winchester says:

    Hello! Soooooo lucky on that tree limb! My goodness! Lovely little blogpost…so glad you could fit it in, we’re the better for it! Special hug to Jack after his nighttime adventure, poor baby. A lovely day to you and Joe and Jack! Keep up the terrific work! We do so appreciate it!

  8. Patricia Wehner says:

    Love love love the pictures of your house in the snow! The blog ending with your Precious Pawed Proofreader was perfect!! Try to say that fast! 😄❤️

  9. Debbie Boerger says:

    Girl Scout Cookie time….Thin Mints in our freezer..;-)

    Your Quickies are every bit as wonderful as the more Planned ones……Wonderful post on a cool, sunny day in Tampa. I supposed you were probably working long hours to meet deadlines, but it’s always nice to hear it from you. Glad you had no serious damage from the storm. Do you ever use oil lamps? We have a collection of old ones in Maine, always filled with wicks trimmed. Frequent power outages there in the Boonies were we live.

    Love, Love the picture of the red bloom on the hibiscus!! Tom loves them, too,and he has rooted many cuttings from his first one…which has huge deep red blooms with a bright yellow stamen. If he comes downstairs first he will say, “Look outside”, if there is a new bloom. Vise versa if I’m first. There are lots of blooms right now. And when it’s cooler, each bloom lasts a few days. Not so when it’s hot. Tom Terrific, a man of so many talents.

    Also wanted to say that I found a great apartment in Oxford, very close to Holywell Street. I’ve booked it thru Airbnb, which we’ve found to be dependable, for 5 nights in mid October. It has 2 bedrooms, so my dear friend who teaches in Leicester will be able to visit with her 2 kids. There is a very large sectional that will make 2 more beds. And…..they do not charge extra for extra people. Of course we will book a walking tour with Stuart, if he’s available. Tom loves the Colin Dexter books and the Morse and Endeavour television series. So, he’s a happy man, who will meander for hours around the streets of the town and gown.

    May your layouts fall easily into place. May the paint flow beautifully from your brush. Thank you Dear Hear for doing this for Us! (Did I just rhyme?)

    Mucho love,
    Debbie in Tampa

  10. Barbara Anne says:

    Love the photos and I wish you well as you choose pictures to go with the words you write for the photo calendar. I always get 3 of your mini calendars, two go to friends at Christmas and I keep one for myself. We all look at the same calendar pictures from our different parts of the world!

    The quote about the kettle singing from happiness always makes me laugh as we call our kettle “Screaming Mimi”! It’s deafening if you don’t hurry to turn it off.


  11. judy (jep) says:

    Hi Susan! I agree with Kimberly, “Thank you for being here and giving us something else to read and think about and letting us escape to MV!” I thought about you and your photography just the other day reading in a National Geographic website where Diane Arbus who is an American documentary photographer said, “Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.” I had to write that quote in my journal. 🙂

  12. Leslie says:

    Dear Susan, So nice to hear from you! It is a creative time of year, even in Florida. The wind is gusty, and the banana leaves are rustling with the palms. I have been very into our family homes this year. I painted portraits of their homes for each of my adult children, kind of a Grandma Moses feel. For my own home, I made a map of our little property, with a compass rose: front yard, floor plan of house and backyard garden. It was lots of fun to do. I love to think of all of us, in our homey workspaces, keeping the spirit of home made happiness alive. Thank you for all that you do to make the world a beautiful place.

  13. Laurie Nico’s mom says:

    So nice to hear from you today, Sue. Out my southern Alberta window it is currently … snowing. You are my sunshine! ☀️ It’ll be weeks before I see signs of spring here.
    Don’t work too hard. We’ll be here waiting.


  14. Pam Bair says:

    Delightful as always. Your posts always make me feel so warm and good inside and positive about our beautiful world. Thank you, Susan! Looking forward to your photo calendar next year.

  15. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Hi Susan,
    Loved you could pull yourself from making calendars for us to create a fun blog for us.. You are the best girlfriend ever!! The branch that snapped from your tree.. Whoa.. huge, but so polite as to not damage anything and just set itself down in a nice spot… I’ve got both of your calendars this year.. The England one in my kitchen and the other one in my granddaughters room. There room is so sweet and it fits perfectly and the 5 year old is learning months and days etc. Want them to be a calendar girls. No matter what techie stuff we have, we always need a fun calendar. Enjoy the day.. Love, Beverlee

  16. Angie Quantrell says:

    Deadlines! But what lovely things to look forward to. Happy creating!

  17. Tricia Staley says:

    Dear Susan,

    Thanks sooo much for the post — we needed some normal today!


  18. VickeyB says:

    What a well-mannered tree you have! If it had to fall, at least it was determined to do no harm!

    Regarding choices of pictures for the calendar, “more kitty” will always be a popular choice among your girlfriends!

    Wishing you happy days.

  19. Bonnie Porro says:

    Did you know that lemon curd is easy to make in the microwave and freezes very well. When I had my tea room I used to make several batches at a time so I never ran out. I always had some In the freezer.

  20. Carol Roberts says:

    Susan, I love all your blogs but especially I enjoyed your quote about our passions helping us become experts. I have found a new passion: the Enneagram! I wonder how many of your friends are into this fascinating study of personality.

    • sbranch says:

      I do have friends into that . . . and I see that after a while, they DO become experts! Nothing like a little passion!

  21. Penny Cooper says:

    So glad that tree branch didn’t do harm to your home. We have had a light winter on Mt.Rose though a storm is brewing & expect snow this afternoon. Trying to stay healthy & with all the frenzy of COVID-19 I’m making my Tuscan Tomato Soup -wrapped asparagus in prosutto baked & sour dough croutons for dinner tonight. That should boost our immune systems. Hope you & every one you love stay well .

  22. Colleen van de Kraats says:

    Hello dear woman and good to hear from you!!!!
    I’m making us grilled cheese sandwiched tonight because you just persuaded me big time…..yum
    We are here in Middle TN and shrubs and bulbs are poking their newness into the world. I love it! It amazes me how shrubs and bushes that look so…..well, darned dead can spring back from the winter. Thank you as always for making us all so happy and feeling love.

  23. Sue Lamke says:

    I too am working on a book and this satisfying stillness is so inspiring for bringing up memories. Enjoy this respite for soon we’ll be scratching in the dirt and hanging quilts on the line.

  24. What a wild, windy, wet winter we have had. Also, snow, tornadoes and floods. Is nature telling us something? You have been so busy that we have missed you but we understand that to bring us your lovely art and wise words, you have to burn the midnight candle. Thank you so much for taking time to reassure us that you are ok. I hope Jake didn’t worry about all the noise of the limb falling down. Do cats hold grudges? After all he was all alone in the night.

    • sbranch says:

      He seemed to take it well, got quite cozy with me… there’s a bedroom in that hall, so he had a soft place to sleep!

  25. Jan Martin says:

    Daylight savings begins & with it comes more sunshine, flowers & ENERGY! Great treat getting your blog today busy girl. Our daughter just got engaged to a young man from England. Exciting times here & hopes for a visit to the English countryside very soon🌺

  26. So fun! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Ann Woleben says:

    So happy to see your blog in my email this afternoon! Tree limbs must be “ganging up” on us. I am glad you did not have any damage. My husband and I were scheduled to leave for a short get-away yesterday. I was up early, walking down the hall to start the tea kettle. As I passed our living room, I heard “plop, plop, plop” and when I turned on the light, water was dripping from the ceiling onto the rug and furniture. A few days ago, we had a wind storm and did not realize a large chunk of a branch had punctured our roof. Then the rain late Thursday night and voila! – a leak! Needless to say, no getaway as we spent the morning moving furniture, treating the water stains on the furniture, and taking up the Oriental rug and pad, etc. Then with the help of a friend, setting up fans to dry out the mess. By this time, we were exhausted. Not the kind of exercise we enjoy. Before I fretted too much and “went over the edge” (being the perfectionist I am), I remembered the people in Nashville and put things in perspective. I am learning to be grateful in all situations – sometimes not so easy. Anyway, your blog was a treat as always! I am so looking forward to your book.

  28. Hilary M. says:

    Hi Susan,

    When is your new book being published? Is it 2021?

    • sbranch says:

      I hope to have a Christmas book out by this coming August . . . and then it will be back to Enchanted, so rudely interrupted by a broken wrist!

  29. Kitty DeMento says:

    I’m sitting here waiting for my son to get his haircut and was so happy to see your latest post!
    What a treat!!!! You are the tonic for our world weary cares. I know you know what I mean!!!!
    Thank you for the gifts you give us!!!!
    Lots of love

  30. Jeanie says:

    Love that sweet kitty and the snow pics! We’ve had our share here in Indiana but today is a gorgeous, sunny day with the promise of Spring.

  31. Ann says:

    This post was just what I needed after a week of scary pandemic news and high political drama. I was happy that you shared your wonderful safe bubble-space with us. I think I’ll stay awhile! Thanks for inviting us in. I loved the candle lighting your work space. It looks so cozy!

  32. Susan [Sue] Lee says:

    Please change my email address on your blog list
    i was … suzee@internode.on.net
    I am now …suzee075@gmail.com
    Would hate to miss gettin’ your blogs! They cheer me up no end. In New Zealand we are coming to the end of a long hot summer [sigh] and I had to use my bathroom heater this morning [grrrrr.] All’s good though cos winter is always cosy!

  33. Anna says:

    “So I am weighing, is this one better, or is this one . . . do we want a kitty, a kitchen, a fire, flowers, cookies?”
    We want all of the above and picket fences, tables set for tea and friends, Joe, outdoor walks, birds and bird feeder confabs and flitterings …
    Our daffodil leaves are poking three inches through the soil yet we’re still wearing winter sweaters and coats. Hurry-up spring!

  34. barb bussell says:

    What a treat it was to just now sit down from puttering around in the kitchen, making a Polish soup that I saw online. The smell of rich broth is filling the house, with a ham bone, chicken broth, potatoes, carrots, navy beans, and lots of spices, including the most Polish-centric one: marjoram. It’s been a lovely day, as we get ready to leave a week from today to balmy Saint Augustine, where we’re renting a big beach house and flying all of our adult children and their spouses in to spend a week with us. Some of them haven’t seen each other for over two years, or their niece and nephews, so this is a much-anticipated time for our family, who are spread from Durango, Colorado, to Louisville, Kentucky, to Bloomington, Indiana, to Saint Augustine, and never have a chance to really be under the same roof with time to bond and time to spare. This celebration is actually to honor my hubby Tom’s and my 45th Anniversary, coming up this September. It’s our gift to ourselves, and all of the kids benefit. So I’ve got to get out the summery clothes, in the midst of this still-stubborn wintry weather here in northern Indiana, and start packing up for a week in the sun. Thank you so much for touching base with us, dear Susan. And I’m SO happy your tree was gentle with your beautiful home as it fell. Have a lovely week! Barbzie

  35. Gail says:

    Susan, I had just realized that it felt like ages since seeing your name on my computer. Sooo glad you are ok! (Hope your wrist is back to normal? (I had silly slip on pool steps after water aerobics. Sprained foot-toes not black & blue now but still tender- only wearing shoe w/big toebox. Told no fractures but could take 4-6 wks. As always your blog w/wonderful art and words made my day better:) I have both your England calendar small pocket one so I see things that remind me of you nearly every day. Things are bit scary here. The first person to die of community spread coronavirus in CA.died at the same place I see my oncologist. MA. doesn’t have any virus yet –hoping it stays that way. Stay well please, Gail

  36. Donna Hrehor says:

    Susan, love the picture of your house in the snow!!! Looking forward to your picture calendar for next year. I’ve got your regular wall calendar and the English Countryside hanging side by side. More beauty to enjoy!!!
    Donna (Idaho)

  37. Barbara says:

    I enjoy each and every post you have done. Your writings are precious….I’m not sure which I like more…books, or photos, or drawings!? I’m glad I don’t have to choose. Thank you, Susan. You’re most generous with all your talents. 👭.

  38. Dotty Reehling says:

    Loved hearing from you today. We are wintering in AZ so I missed the snowy pictures….well, not that much. Still seeing yours reminds me of winters in Indiana, sledding, snowmen, snow ice cream and picnics in front of the fireplace. Nice memories.

  39. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Charming. All of it: that red hibiscus with snow and lace background was stunning, Jean’s yummy looking carrot cake and your painting of it made me smile. What a nice little vignette. Hope I spelled that right. Traffic is a bit lighter in Seattle in the last couple days!!! It’s Nutz. I wish everyone would just CALM DOWN already. Thank you for Al Bowley. Did I spell that right? I love your beach walk and the fact that an owl and a lark can live together and tell each other stories about the hours of the other one’s sleeping. My idea of a perfect match. I went to a nearby Senior Center for tax help ( a wonderful service) It was the first day of the viral panic. The guy who checked over my stuff slathered his hands with Purell. There was a drumming class going on in the next room which made for an interesting effect in the taxes room! Also getting help was a woman from my past who used to DO taxes and I remembered her doing mine. She is English and we talked about traveling in England. I wrote her a note about your books and travels and she seemed very interested. Hope I hear from her so we can talk it all over. I told her all about you and this blog. Hey Valerie, are you checking it all out? I’m envious of your snow. They predicted maybe we’d get a smattering, but alas no, just cold and wet. We’re having the normal Seattle weather this year. Going back now for a repeat of this lovely posting after I make coffee. But POOR Jack the cat. Hope he wasn’t too traumatized.

  40. Jan Jasper says:

    Susan, I love your 1 photo of the squirrel eyeing the bird feeder. This made me chuckle, as I have this same scenario in my back yard right now. It’s winter, but we have no snow. I feel blessed…today we are to get a daytime high of 66 degrees. March is going in like a lamb. I hope the lion at the end of March will not do any property damage like a tornado or straight-line winds!
    I also feel blessed every time your blog comes my way. A smile always follows, and stcks to my face for at least a full day!!

  41. Susanne says:

    Hi Susan,

    I always love reading your blogs and books. You infuse beauty into our lives and show life to being absolutely magical and inspiring. My daughter and I share our times together looking and peering at your work and reading your blogs as we share a cup of warm tea. She looks up to you and admires YOU and your work tremendously (like a little sister) and delights when your blog arrives in my email. We are totally immersed as we share this experience. Her eyes are fully engaged and shows a sense of wonderment and awe as I read it out loud to her. You have been an enormous inspiration in her life and she wants to be just like you in all ways -an artist/writer who creates magic in life to inspire others and bring joy. She wants to continue your legacy when she grows up. I am wondering, what words of encouragement would give her and how she could have the same confidence you did to pursue this dream. Thank you Susan

    • sbranch says:

      Nothing I love more than mom and daughter connecting in this land of kindred spirits! I hope she has read Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams because I tried very hard to be very clear, like step one, step two, of what I discovered and learned along the way. How old is your daughter? I didn’t have confidence, but I dreamed a lot, and then I did things to get those dreams, and when you get a dream, you get a little more confident, and reach for another dream. Hugs to you both! xoxoxo

      • Susanne says:

        Hi Susan,

        Thank you so much for responding. You should have seen her excitement when I read your response to her this morning. My daughter is 10 years of age. We haven’t yet read Martha’s Vineyard as this was the next one we were going to read together. We absolutely loved your two other books and have looked at them over and over. Now more than ever we look forward to reading that book and discover the steps you took to realize your dreams. Thank you for sharing that you also did not have confidence but dreamt big dreams and took steps. Regardless of how small they were -they were steps towards the direction of your dreams and I shall add that you believed in the steps that you took. This is the important thing to share with her. Yes she does get frustrated (naturally) but not to let this frustration settle but rather persist. I know that hearing your response will have an impact on her as she deeply admires. She has a sensitive heart and wants to add beauty and value to people’s lives and plant seeds of love wherever she goes. She sees how you have done this and how you have impacted people around the world by sharing your life through art and stories and remind us to truly appreciate what is good and true in this life. Thank you!

        With much gratitude and love
        Susanne and Amelia

        • sbranch says:

          How wonderful, Ten! Such a great age! And with a mom like you, the sky’s the limit! The thing is, looking back, everything is so much clearer. Kids are asked “What are you going to be” from the moment they hit the 7th grade. They don’t know. I sure didn’t know … it was the worst question! But now I know that we have to grow into who we are before we can be what we want to be. We have to follow our passions, read about the things we love, and learn more. Sometimes we underestimate our own talents, because when we’re young, we don’t know how special we are. My two nieces are almost 30 and they suffer from the not knowing…too much pressure for young people. They aren’t SUPPOSED to know yet! Just tell her to lap up the things she loves, stay healthy, read EVERYTHING, keep a diary (if she has a mind to), and all will be revealed in time. One more thing, it’s always the smallest of little things. If Amelia makes someone a drawing, sweeps a floor, bakes a cookie, puts a smile onto someone else’s face, that’s giving. Sometimes (as you will read in my book) we think too big, and nothing makes sense, but by thinking small, we can get a start. 😘 xoxo

  42. Carolyn Covert says:

    Dear Susan,
    You are a gift to all of us. And we are VERY thankful for you.
    Please don’t work too hard.

    You are loved!


  43. Karen Howell Burton says:

    Ahhh….someone else who likes getting up early…quiet magical time sipping a cuppa, reading, lovin up critters and enjoying the quiet. Extra magic is watching the sunrise through the woods across the way. I know you get busy with the painting, but we are so grateful you do because very often the books I’m reading at that magical time of day are yours❤️📚❤️
    Enjoy the longer days, I know I sure do!

  44. Cyndi Vossler says:

    Susan, you always have a way of adding cheer to a day! I’m always so envious of your beautiful New England home and lovely walks. I live the New England life vicariously through you. 😉 Thank you for all of your blogs, shared talents, and photos! I have you to thank for my very own collection of Beatrix Potter people, my love of all things Beatrix Potter, and my yearning to visit England. By the way, I’ve also taken the journey to England vicariously, through your lovely book. I can’t wait for your newest book to come out! Have a lovely Saturday filled with kitty cuddles and warm tea.

  45. Alexandra says:

    Hello Susan! It is the best surprise to see a new blog post notification in my inbox! Glad to hear you’re well and just buried deep in Calendar Land! I’m especially excited to see the 2021 home photo version! I loved your facts & fairytale quote so much I wrote it on a post-it note and put it on the bathroom mirror 🙂 Wishing you a happy weekend from Tennessee!

  46. Peggy M says:

    Thank you for taking the time to blog! We are all addicted to you and the ray of light you shine in our world!

  47. Janet Lagrange says:

    Thank goodness for your email. I was missing hearing from you. Forgot for a moment you have a lot of work to do on the calendars and you can’t just write to us. Don’t forget spring forward tonight. Happy to know all is well with you, poor Jack.

  48. Penny Carpenter says:

    Ah!!! we live in north Idaho and it’s SNOWING here today! Love your work, your books, your outlook on life. Just read Lousia M.A. her LIFE, LETTERS, and JOURNALS…..1889 copyright. Such a treasure. My husband’s aunt and uncle are buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetary. (have told you this is other posts) 🙂

  49. Margie Orr says:

    The daffodils are fresh as lemon lollypops. Your beautiful snow pictures satisfied my snow longings. Of course the camellias are in full bloom, the colder the better and they are glorious. Taking pictures of the beautiful around that abounds. Have strong desire to bake something, but know I shouldn’t after the carrot cake adorable picture you shared.

  50. Joyce says:

    Funniest thing…Saturday afternoon, taking a break to enjoy some southern sunshine and view the new leaves pushing out of our oak tree, which made you and your blog pop into my head. My girlfriend clock reminded me that it had been awhile….shortly thereafter I picked up my IPad to check my email AND THERE YOU WERE…
    Well, to all the girlfriends out there, we are so amazing, we must be magical with superpowers. Now let’s get up each day and do our part to change the world, remembering what is truly important.
    Much thanks Susan…Happy March…in honor of the month, go on YouTube and listen once again to the Unicorn song…too fun

  51. Sharon says:

    Our four-legged babies are napping, (their tummy clocks haven’t set of their dinner alarm yet!). The house is quiet except for their little snores and the ticking of the old grandfather clock. What a perfectly lovely way to wind down my Saturday afternoon of chores by checking my inbox….with fire in the fireplace, a cup of hot tea and finding a piece of love from you! <3 Thank you!
    (Wish we could share photos with our comments so you could see a little glimpse into our worlds too. 🙂

  52. blbc says:

    A Saturday visit … so fitting. The ordinary of a day shared in its fullness; a gift!

  53. Karen Saunders says:

    …….and that is exactly how I like to think of you!!! (Makes me happy in some weird way🤷🏻‍♀️) Isn’t it wonderful when you have someone who just wants to be where you are no matter what?? When my kids were little I noticed they would be busy playing in a room and I would move to like the kitchen say and pretty soon they were in that room…..or wherever I was they eventually followed……until I went to the bathroom and I shut the door. It was never obvious just a suttle unconscious effort on their part. When they grow up you can’t make them be with you…..off with their friends!!! But animals…..they are faithful forever and so want to be with you wherever you are. I love that. My little fox terrier is very affectionate and wants to be on my lap. I’m glad you have a studio-buddy!!!!❤️❤️❤️

    • Jennie Lou says:

      Hi, Karen,
      No kids followed us, but our faithful Norwegian Elkhound would follow me from room to room no matter how busy a day I had. When he had had enough, and I finally sat down, he would sit heavily down next to me and lean his weight entirely against my leg as though to say “Now just stay put!” He was a “pound puppy” and we brought him home when he wasn’t much more than airplane ears and a corkscrew tail. We lived in an old farmhouse with a sort of “outhouse” where plumbing had been added after the turn of the previous century. The commode was built on a sort of raised platform and my dearhearted companion would follow me in and sit between my knees, his back to me. Ever faithful.

  54. You have a theme going in today’s post. A BRANCH was trapped between the tree and your house and Jack got trapped in the HALL. 😍

    • sbranch says:

      Eeeek! I didn’t even see that. I think I should go back and start over! Joe and I call this house Branch Hall and think it sounds very English!

    • Maureen says:

      I love this observation! So fun when these happen.

  55. Bambi says:

    I had no idea one could grow a hibiscus in a pot and winter it inside! I’ve been missing out! I love your carrot cake picture and can’t wait to see the whole calendar.

  56. Amy says:

    I missed seeing your pictures – and hearing about Jack. I enjoy my wall calendar first thing every morning.

  57. Bonnie says:

    Still waiting here in the middle of TX for winter. 🙂

    Got a grin when you called that limb a branch. So I looked it up. “Branch is general, meaning either a large or a small division. Bough refers only to the larger branches: a bough loaded with apples. A limb is a large primary division of a tree trunk or of a bough: to climb out on.” Well shoot I never used the word bough. lol

  58. Jerrie Barham says:

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures. Made my day! 😊

  59. Susan, you have been my inspiration as an author, and now my book is out- Being Ethel (In a world that loves Lucy) I’d love to send you a copy if you can let me know the right address of where to send it! I think you would enjoy it as the main character is a watercolorist and it takes place on an island, Mackinac Island in Michigan! I’ll be signing my books there in May! Thank you for all your beautiful work, and please let me know where I can send the book!

    • sbranch says:

      Congratulations! sheri@ will give you the address of the Studio .. she’ll get it to me! Thank you, very exciting, and I must say, Mackinac for your first signing, how wonderful!😘💃

  60. Mary Ann in Southbury says:

    Always an enjoyable time when reading your blog. Go with the photo of Jack. Kitties and doggies always win. ❤

  61. Alana Lennie says:

    I make a motion that Jack should be pictured somewhere very n the calendar. He looks so much like my Belle. I want to reach into my iPhone and give him a little scratch behind his ears.

  62. Donna Bingham says:

    Susan, other than the election, I’ve looked forward to 2020 because I thought your Scotland book was coming out this year! Please tell me I’m not wrong! I’ve read the other three so many times they’re looking a little worn. Thank you for the homey and reviving post. Life is good in Smallville, even if it’s fraught with complications elsewhere. 😍

    • sbranch says:

      Been a difficult year, with breaking my wrist and other exciting things … the book isn’t done and it’s a long one, so I’m taking a little time to write us a Christmas book, that I HOPE will be ready by August!

  63. Linda G says:

    I vote for a photo of the blazing fire and it fits with the narrative of your story….living in a place where horses used to clip clop down the street. My house backs up to a wooded ravine just 20 yards from my house. Hearing trees and branches in the middle of the night always causes me to wonder how close it fell to the house. So far so good….

  64. NORMA SLOCUM says:

    A day always becomes brighter with a blog from Susan Branch 🙂

  65. Shannon A. Stark says:

    I love your stories, Susan! My favorite is all about the beginning of your stay on Martha’s Vineyard up until now. I love all of the notes on the seasons, the food, the walks, the parties, the diaries, the old movies, and the books you are reading. Have a great day!

  66. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Oh what a wonderful post, Susan. It gave me hope in the goodness of what we love in life. I admire how you and Joe compliment each other so well. You spend almost all your time together but considerately give each other “space”! Your walks every day are so important at a time when you are soooo busy working on your/our calendars. I’m so glad the clever tree didn’t damage your lovely house, very lucky. It knew how to be careful…
    We are currently in Arizona to avoid the winter that my husband dislikes in Vermont, so our clocks will not move but all of yours will, enjoy! xo

  67. Martha says:

    I love my Luminaria electric candles for power outages. They are so like real candles without the risk. I use them for regular evening light, but especially love the warm, comfort of them when the power goes out (which is often where I live). I can turn them on with a remote to get up in the night, for example. One of my new pleasures in life.

  68. Denise says:

    Love your posts, love the quotes, love the fonts! Oh how I wish I could paint. But I am a crafter, with photography my favorite. Thank you for your inspiration. Denise

  69. Warwickshirelass says:

    So glad to know you’re ok, Susan, and to read another super post from you. I like to hibernate in winter and catch up with indoor chores that were neglected during summer. It has been a mild but wet and windy winter this year in Warwickshire, the wind howling round the house as I write. But, joy of joys, the snowdrops are blooming, crocuses in flower, mini daffs are nodding and the blue windflowers are opening. Spring is on the way!

  70. Robin Medley says:

    Living in a bubble is BAD when your husband of 31 years tell you he has cancer. What a wake up call that was to be. Details next week, I don’t know. I am in a fog.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my dear, I am so very sorry. One step at a time, with a breath in-between. Prayers for you both. xoxoxo

  71. Bonnie Jean says:

    If you want any help from readers … I like the picture with Jack the cat in it… looking out at the bird feeder 🙂 and the fireplace and the flowers coming up through the snow. I love your home. It looks like a beautiful place to live.

  72. Linda Henry says:

    Oh – a beautiful sunny day here in West TN and then made more beautiful so open my mail to see your blog! Always love them and make my day! Warm smiles to all!

  73. Judi says:

    Dear one, good to check out your blog and see you are doing well. Temps are ping ponging in FL. I’m loving every cool day & night and wish I could bottle it👍.

    Lucky the branch fell like it did. Our daughter in MN has huge trees in her yard & has them professionally trimmed every other year or so & it has really been worth it. Poor Jack, what must he have thought being confined all night. So happy you make the time for your walk as time seems to move more rapidly (I’m still older than you ☺️) every day.

    Don’t work yourself too hard and hope you still have your dinner & birthday parties. Hugs, judi 💕

    • sbranch says:

      I do. Had friends over the other night and stuffed us all with linguini and clam sauce, garlic bread, and spinach salad. Can barely say it without drooling! xoxo

  74. Mame Johnston says:

    Poor kitty! He must have been overwrought to be without his people! They are just too inquisitive for their own good sometimes.

  75. Nancy says:

    Thank you for this happy posting. It was just what I needed to read today. Glad all is well there.
    Nancy from Edina, Mn.

  76. Judith Hogan (heartsdesire) says:

    Boy oh boy, you sure sound busy. Surprised you even have time for your lovely walk to the sea. Glad your house was saved from that falling tree branch. I always get nervous when it’s windy during the night, imagining all kinds of things going on out there. Stay safe, and please don’t work too hard. Save some time for that cup of tea and those lighted candles.

  77. Claudia says:

    Beautiful, and what a thoughtful tree you have! As a fellow California girl, snow is enchanting to my soul as well. Currently building a new home for us in snowy northern Utah. I can only hope to make it even half as cozy as yours🥰Big changes ahead!

  78. Sheryl says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love it when you connect with “us”. Your words, music, painting and photos take me back to when the world seemed right. Never have I been happier to have been born 73 years ago. I feel so lucky and fortunate to have spent my childhood, especially, carefree and adventuresome. Also, at 73 I do not feel old. What a blessing that is. I enjoy my desk calendar every day. I write on it whenever and wherever, draw my own pictures or outline around your drawings using colors or pencil/pen. It’s fun for me to add to it. Bye for today. Love, Sheryl

  79. Denise Anderson says:

    Susan, Thanks soooo much for your blog post, always great to hear from you and see what is happening. Here in Northern California rain, which hits to petals of the fruit trees and makes me think it is snowing!! Why is it that all trees and tree branches choose to fall at night ??? Makes for a little scary evening/night. Hope all is well, yes always wash our hands . . . . . . . take care.

  80. Pegshelton49 says:

    How great to snuggle up with your blog. I had rotator cuff surgery yesterday so just looking around today and for the next few weeks. I’ll be rereading your wonderful books starting with A Fine Romance! Good pain meds force me to read slowly and savor the read.

  81. Liz Lamontaylor says:

    Such a nice surprise to wake up to. I was hoping you were doing well, when I said,”rabbit rabbit “ last week and realized you had been in hibernation. I am glad the limb caused no damage and that all is well with you and your boys. Take good care and before you know it the tulips will be in full bloom.

  82. Joy in Alabama says:

    I am loving my England calendar! Just thought I would throw that out there! Looking forward to next year’s!

  83. Kathy B says:

    Cozy mornings and a walk with fresh air – – good for the body and soul. I have a blotter in the kitchen to keep daily notes on, and a mini calendar on the wall of my closet that I see each morning reaching for my robe – – both make me think of you toiling away on years ahead and I do think each day about your walk to the ocean. No fear, we are strong if we are helping each other.

  84. Maureen from So. Cal says:

    What a nice surprise it was when I finally sat down to take a break from clearing things in the garage and saw the new blog was up. I was wondering about that, but I do see postings on FB and Twitter so I wasn’t too worried. My break was a bit longer than planned, but your blog has fed me with some peace and beauty, so now I can go back to work.

    Love your blog post as always…always a delight, always cozy, always sharing beauty…and of course sharing your sweet baby Jack. Thanks for the wee preview of the calendar too.

    Happy March and may it bring lots of peace,joy and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, some Irish luck and fun to you, Joe and Jack.

    Love & peace, Maureen

  85. Sherry Reis says:

    Hi Susan, How amazing it is to have a gray rainy day and just as your blog pops up in my email the sun breaks through and just as I finish the rain begins again. It’s a sign…..because your blog brings sunshine into our lives. So thankful your home didn’t get damaged by that enormous branch. We spent a couple weekends trimming four of our old sunset maple trees that had branches hanging over the roof …gave us peace of mind. Appreciate all the hours you spend daily so that we can delight in your beautiful calendars. I’m rereading all your books this winter by our fireplace and find myself laughing out loud so many times. Blessings to you and Joe and sweet Jack. Love and hugs from Oregon…..Sherry

  86. Joan P. says:

    Yes, it was a nice surprise to get a blog from you, today, Susan! I love how your mind wanders so you come up with all these wonderful things that I so enjoy. I especially love the pictures of the snowdrops. I am having a hard time growing them. I am not sure why. I only had 3 come up out of 3 dozen I planted. So, I have to find a new spot to try. Keep up the terrific work on those calendars! I have your picture calendar right in front of me above my desk. Have a wonderful day!

  87. Randi Bault says:

    Hi Susan,
    Just putting in my two pennies for your photo calendar. Pleeeese put in a photo of your kitchen! It’s my favorite room in your house! I love your oven, your kitchen sink with the window over it, and all your Beatrix Potter animals on the windowsill and outside bird feeder hanging in view. It is just so “heavenly homey.” I love everything about your home, so it will be wonderful having your “Home Calendar.” Eeeee! I can hardly wait!
    I ❤️ The kitchen. I ❤️ The living room. I ❤️ Your sewing room. I ❤️ The Peter Rabbit room. I ❤️ Your white picket fenced garden. I ❤️❤️❤️❤️ Everything Susan Branch!
    Your friend,
    Randi —-<—-<—-@

    • sbranch says:

      BIG help! I sit there, with 2 billion photos trying to think which one does everyone want to see … it’s so hard to decide!!! But here you are . . . I think I have you covered. I need more than 12 months though!

  88. Julia says:

    I’m very much looking forward to next year’s calendar! I’m currently enjoying your English Countryside calendar – it is wonderful. Thank you!

  89. Danella on the Canadian west coast says:

    Thank you SO much. A cheery greeting in a dreary day here in BC. Have missed you.

  90. Sue in Houston says:

    How refreshing to find your post, Susan. All we seem to hear about these days is a nasty virus, along with everyone’s fave British soap, “Megxit.” It’s nice to have a good, rich, luscious dose of domestic bliss and kitty contentment to sooth our souls.

    Don’t work too hard…be sure to take time to stop and smell the hibiscus! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I’m so dense, I saw “favorite British soap” and thought YUM, a new kind of soap, must smell amazing if everyone is talking about it, what a weird name, I should look it up … how did she spell that? And then it dawned on me. Oh yeah, THAT soap.🙃 Poor thing. I would hate to be her even though she does have a darling husband and great hair.😊

      • Sue in Houston says:

        You’re too funny, Susan. Yes, she does have a darling hubby, and don’t forget about that even MORE darling baby! [Your response made my day. 🙂 ]

  91. Carol Imm says:

    Thanks so much Susan! What a treat to read your blog. I have enjoyed your “goodies” (calendars, china, paper products, wall poster, and books) for years. Met you in person in Pasadena, Ca. It’s a gray day here today in So. California. Fun to read how you dreamed of living on the opposite coast when you were younger! I grew up on that coast in Pennsylvania. Had many of the experiences you wished for. My dream was for beautiful mountains. Here we live below the beautiful San Gabriel Mtns. I “drink” them in every day I’m outside. Dreams are great. . . we need them! Keep up the good work and keep us posted on your family. We love hearing from you! Blessings!!

  92. Francine Pedro says:

    Spring is coming in New England……soon!

  93. Lyn Morgan says:

    I love your blog, such a bright spot to each month… and I love hibiscus. Wonderful that you grow one inside as well as outside, but was wondering if you planted a seed originally or bought one potted already? I’m interested in trying one inside since I have many seeds to try. What kind of inside light do you keep yours in?

    • sbranch says:

      We bought it at the nursery one summer, brought it in to “try it,” and discovered it was perfectly happy inside! Was a surprise! It doesn’t seem to be very demanding for light… we put it either in a south window or a west window, not a big window, plus our windows are all divided into little panes . . . but it does fine. Good luck!

  94. Linda says:

    It’s comforting to read your blogs when life continues in routines and joys never cease to amaze! I think, now more than ever, simple pleasures seem to be what we all need the most. We aren’t taking life and its blessings for granted even for a moment these days!

    I just cancelled a trip to London in early April due to our current world situation. I will miss traveling to Jane Austen’s home and the areas surrounding her life. Perhaps, in the not too distant future, it will materialize. In the meantime, a warm cup of tea, a comfortable chair, a good book, and the companionship of my little dogs will more than suffice! God bless everyone!

  95. Donna Kozak says:

    Hi, Susan ! My kitchen windows are like a wide movie screen and all day long I watch squirrels, birds and chickens at the far end of my yard and beautiful hummingbirds right at the window – it’s a good thing I’m not writing a book or producing a calendar – nothing would ever get done !!

  96. Sandy Schmidt says:

    Don’t you just love being caught up in your art work and design! I paint and the creative time is so personal and yet such hard work at the same time! But the anticipation of seeing results is so rewarding for you and those who reap the benefits! Plough on!

  97. Lisa says:

    Welcome back! I’m glad the branch didn’t smoosh your wonderful house! I know you’ve done posts in the past about your studio and your art supplies and how you became an artist. I was wondering if you would talk a little bit about how you do your layouts? Do you start right on the watercolor that you will use for your finished page, or do you do some kind of rough draft on other paper. Inquiring artists want to know! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes I sketch it quickly on a notepad … and so badly there are no words. But it gives me the space thing!

  98. Debbie Boerger says:

    Nobody ever said it better….There is no reason that Fairy Tales can’t be Facts and Facts can’t be Fairy Tales…
    I know exactly how you felt, all those years ago, thinking of living in a place like New England. I did that as well, et Voila! Je suis ici!!! Of course there were many years between the dreaming and the dream coming to fruition. Ya just have to keeeep visualizing. Listening to your soul and take paths leading in that direction.
    But some of us….you know who you are!… Just took the plunge all at once, and you did it all by yourself.

    More love,
    Debbie in Tampa

  99. peggy says:

    Hi Susan;

    Enjoyed reading your blog on this windy and cold March evening and so enjoyed the beautiful pictures you sent of the vineyard. Just forwarded your blog to two of my dear college friends of 50years!!!! I know they are at home and need a cup of tea and this nice treat of your blog. Thank You.


    • sbranch says:

      That’s how we ALL met, all us kindred spirits, mom to daughter, sister to sister, best friend to best friends, word of mouth, the very best way! xoxo

  100. Darlene says:


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