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!

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

426 Responses to EXPLAIN YOURSELF

  1. Connie Pruitt says:

    Always love to hear from you!

  2. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    Your Blog was just what I needed today, thank you Susan 🙂
    Along w/ washing our hands, rinse, & wash again . . . we need to all pray to our own God. We also need to have Hope & Faith that the world will be ok.
    When the scare of polio was a terrible worry, everyone was in fear of the worst. I wasn’t alive at that time, but I heard many stories. One of my late husband’s brothers (when he was little) had polio & he had to be sent to a children’s hospital in the early 40’s. Jerry grew up to be a splendid man, son, brother, husband & father. God is good.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Another wonderful warm & cozy blog! Thank u!

  4. Julie says:

    I love your calendar each year and I have saved every one of them. I love that you include Saint Francis of Assisi Day. However, October 4 is not his birthday, it’s his feast day.. Saints feast days are actually the day of their death (the feast is that they’ve entered heaven).

    • sbranch says:

      Funny, just the other day Kellee and I were talking about that … I don’t know how Birthday got on there, but we changed it! xoxo

      • Anne Miller says:

        St Francis of Assisi, the humble, the dear, the great.. 1181-1226. Among his famous words, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”
        St Francis of Assisi
        Happens to be my parish in Columbus, Ohio. a church where everyone, EVERYONE, is welcome.

        • Christina says:

          Oooo that’s a wonderful quote! Thank you for sharing that, Anne! And thank you, Susan, for another comforting and inspiring newsletter. Looking forward to the new calendar, and another year with your beautiful words and images hanging right here in my kitchen.

        • Christie Levin says:

          My first great-grandchild was named Francis ~ because his dad likes and admires the original Francis so much. When my granddaughter was expecting Francis last spring, her in-laws took the family to Italy for a week, and they were thrilled to be able to visit Assisi on that trip. Our Francis was born last year on October 2, the day before St. Francis’ feast day! I hadn’t known that until I wrote Francis’ birth date on my Susan Branch calendar – so you gave me that info, Susan!

  5. Barbara Jean Murray says:

    Bubbles are fun, especially when you are blowing them. It’s like you can read our minds Susan, I was just wondering yesterday if you had a new posting, and here you are.

    Building raised beds, I’m getting too old to be crawling around on the ground, and we are able to put some nutritious soil 10 inches deep for the plants to feed on this way. So glad that that tree didn’t hit your home, because to me it looks more like a whole tree, not just a branch. Crocuses and daffodils are popping up here in Virginia. Is it really almost time to plant the peas??

    Keeping close to home and away from big crowds. Stopped flying years ago, and most definitely would not be doing it now, even if I won a trip to Paris. LOL. Take care of yourself!

  6. Genie says:

    Thank you for writing. I was worried but didn’t want to be a bother.

    I will look forward to the next post. Xxooo

  7. Julie D says:

    Hi dear Susan, just wanted to thank you for mentioning the series on Washington that was on the History channel! WOW, what a guy, what a time, what a country!! I’m with you, just want to learn more! Thanks for your delightful posts. Julie D.

  8. I love each and every photo, all your beautiful hand-painted images and your writings. You’re a treasure. We live in a modest farmhouse in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, built in 1906. It’s not near as grand as yours but we love it. I do a blog, too.. in case you want to visit and see our little cozy home. Good luck on getting all your wonderful things ready and sent off.. done and dusted!
    ((hugs)), Teresa 🙂

    • Kathi in Eugene says:

      Hi Teresa,
      I am a new Eugeneite, so I joined your blog too! It looks very cozy and like it will be a great way to learn more about Oregon. Happy 50th Anniversary. Loved your love story & pictures. I have a friend who lived in The Dalles many years ago, so I know the Columbia Gorge area is very beautiful!

  9. Melinda Parkman says:

    I would love to look for sea glass on that beach. Looks like a treasure trove. Well, maybe if it were a little warmer. Thanks for all you do.

  10. Linda Hurst says:

    We have big old trees, too. And, lose great limbs. We hold our breaths, hoping it didn’t hurt the tree too bad. We don’ t have time to grow more great trees. Loved the post!

  11. Lorna says:

    I love chuckling when I read bits of your newsy posts. Sometimes it’s as if you are reading my mind and thinking my thoughts. Lighting candles, photographs of birds at your feeders, casting shadows and even flickering power outages – all within the last 24 hours in my wee apartment in cloudy northern CA. I remember years ago, when I lived in Chico, a pine tree sitting in the front yard between the porch and the garage. It seemed to be heading toward the garage for many years. With each storm, worry and prayers fought for attention. After 15 years, I moved back to Santa Rosa and two weeks later the tree went down in a wind storm – on the HOUSE. Who knew trees could lean one way and fall the other – it must have been a fierce wind. I am so glad your home was safe and sound, even with the huge limb seeming relaxed as it leaned on your house.
    Good luck with the calendars – I love having the desk calendar in front of my computer. I use the “notes” section as my mouse pad. This morning as I was on the phone I doodled with a yellow paint pen and turned all the white daisies to a sunny yellow as they surrounded the month. I don’t think I would have the patience to create so many boarders with all the details you include. Thank you for your tireless work on something I use every day. It is so very appreciated!

  12. Christie D. says:

    Oh Susan! I’m so excited you’re doing another photo calendarn- better yet- one of your corner of the world !! Yippee!! ❤️

  13. Nadine says:

    I know I must live in your head….you express myself so well!

  14. Stacy Rodriguez says:

    Always a delight to see your blog in my inbox. Still drinking tea from my autumn mug! I loved your words about why you wanted to move to New England. They touched me somewhere deep. God Bless.

  15. Donna Condon says:

    Hi Susan
    My friend Francie told me of your blog and how much she enjoys your books
    So I thought I would sign up
    Looking forward to getting to know you😍

  16. Laura Brown says:

    Weather, seasons, baking, painting, hiking, pets, moments, musica, home…sigh.

  17. Anneliese Ingham says:

    In your last email it dawned on me why I love hearing from you, and this email confirmed it too. You remind me of my grandma before she got cancer (3 times!) and is now so tiny and frail and slipping into dimentia. She was my pen pal all through college and early part of my marriage. She loved the seasons and decorated with little collected knick knacks, just like you! She would send out valentines and stickers and “just because” notes to my kids when they were little. She loved yellow and smiling and being joyful. So thank you for all of your newsie, simple, homie, posts. They are perfect ❤️❤️

  18. Kerrie Foley says:

    Hi Sue! I admit I was thinking of you out on the island with the storm raging. Narragansett was blustery and we got about an inch of snow but no downed trees. The ocean was WILD though. Glad you weathered it well with no damage except the poor tree. It’s been such a depressing Winter this year. I DO love the snow but I guess I can put my energy into welcoming Spring. I have your 2020 England calendar and I love it. Can’t wait for the next one. I’m hoping to get out to the Vineyard this year sometime. Was born and raised and lived in Rhode Island for 66 years now and STILL have never been. Sending you good energy to finish up your calendars. Give Jack a squinch for me. Love, Kerrie

  19. Di W Word says:

    My corgi, Happy and I are patiently awaiting the coming of spring to Texas, and looking forward to our return to our summer home in Colorado.

  20. I got to your blog early enough to leave a post! Yeah. I was hoping to get to tell you how very much I enjoyed your hand written treasure of a book “A Fine Romance” Did you actual write the pages and do the little art tuck ins while you were on the trip? I would make mistakes for sure!! I ordered your other 2 books in the series even though I will read them out of order. Love Love Love your writing, quotes and paintings, I wondered if you are going back to the Sister Convent again? That was a delightful blog, one of my favorites. Christmas Time I think!

    • sbranch says:

      I painted a lot on that trip, definitely wrote the whole thing, but I came home and put it in my “good” handwriting before we published it! I talk to the Sisters all the time, but haven’t been back lately. Thank you Marlynne!

  21. Freddie Ann says:

    What a nice treat this Saturday evening to find your newsletter. Wow, that was a near miss, poor old tree, the wind was just too much. 20 calendars, I’m thinking of all the drawings and/or pictures you had to decide on. Do you ever go back through them all?
    I know we are going to lose an hour tomorrow, but since we gained a day last week, it doesn’t seem so difficult this year.

  22. Annette Baker says:

    Thanks for taking time to visit. I love the special trips to your world. Fondly, Annette

  23. Ginny Evans says:

    So glad you “dropped in” Susan! Don’t you love quiet winters, when one gets so much focused time. Now that I live in a warmer climate life ticks along pretty much the same all year long and we miss that wonderful season of hunker down days. As always, I loved your photos and the ambiance you gifted us with. Thanks dear girl. Can’t wait for your calendar and book! Blessings as you paint the days away 🙂

  24. Paula Wallace says:

    Loved your blog, as always! You are our everything too! I’m hoping to see you in Duxbury, Ma, in May! I’m planning on signing up my 2 girlfriends and myself in March! Best of luck with your latest book! I have all of your books and love each one immensely!!😘

  25. Regina Carretta says:

    Luvly catch up with our Susan……stay well, keep creating….keep in touch with us….just spent part of our weekend, with our jazz festival for students….most of it was cancelled due to our health concerns right now….but the part of the festival that did happen was pure joy, with music, kids, love, jazz, keeping that music alive for every generation…..and how our Board worked together all weekend to keep it all alive….home now, exhausted, but tea and old dog Maggie make it a sweet Saturday night….time to light candles for the world, and to keep planning for England in June, which I am believing will happen….keep measuring those tulips….this is the year a friend built me a window box under my kitchen window – I can’t wait to plant it with ivies, nemesia, violas….and this is the year to get an oakleaf hydrangea…..this is the year to do everything we have put on the back burner…..enjoy my dear….getting ready to read “A Fine Romance” for the 4th time!!!!!
    love you, Regina from Seattle

  26. Sue Sparks says:

    I feel so cozy and homey whenever I read your posts; thank you for sharing all the simple pleasures that mean the most.❤️
    Your kitty, Jack, is precious.🖤

  27. Nicole Dube says:

    I have been reading my late Mother in Law’s letters and telegrams from WW2 today and have noticed the same sentiment. You are so right, when we don’t hear from loved ones we do worry! Whether we are in the midst of war or a viral pandemic, it is so reassuring to receive a few words to say all is well. Thank you for letting us know and I hope all your friends around the world are safe and healthy. Love to all! 😘

  28. Barb says:

    Poor Jack, locked in the hall, but rescued this morning. I love the paw reaching under the door to let you know he’s there. Bless his furry heart. Thank you for the post. I know you are busy, but I am so glad to read your words and see your images. Lucky Joe, tea in bed. We’ll wait patiently for your next post cuz we know you are working. Sending warm thoughts to all in your house.

  29. Shirley Graham says:

    As always love your blog! Also the pictures of the snow! I love snow & as long as it isn’t icy, winter. I think I just like to be cozy. Thanks so much & give Jack a long hug. He’s a sweetie.

  30. Mary Minjares says:

    Hello! I so enjoyed “our visit”! Hearing all about your doings made me anxious to tell you about MY news … I finished a VERY rough first draft of my VERY first children’s picture book! It doesn’t have catty-cats in it … but it’s ALL about an oh-so-good-boy named Becket. Someday it may find it’s way to your bookshelf in your lovely home.

  31. Sharon Solloway says:

    You may be breathing winter air but your post brought me a hint of Spring!
    Your careful diligence is not lost on this Susan Branch Calendar lover. I find every detail, every month, every season, every day and I am just delighted !
    Thank You! A tiny surprise on every page! 👏☘️🍒

  32. Vicki says:

    I live close to the coronavirus epicenter. We are being as careful as we can, washing our hands as instructed and following all the other CDC instructions. My husband and I enjoy going for walks as you and Joe do. This is one thing to do that feels wonderful. It is a stressful time for many. Coming here reminds me to enjoy the simple pleasures of home, family and friends. Thank you for having such a fun gathering place.

  33. Mary from Forest Grove, OR says:

    I loved this post! ✨ I have been trying to motivate myself to get up a bit earlier … because I think it would help me sleep better at night. I’m not entirely certain that tonight (with one hour taken away) would be the best start, but I can only do by doing! Thanks for inspiration and all those creative vibes. Spring is indeed on its way in my corner of the world 🌸 so there is much to be inspired about.

    Have a marvelous Spring 🌸

  34. Lynn Staker says:

    I have enjoyed your talents for so many years. I love your pictures and especially love your calendars. My sister and I usually gift each other with something you have done each Christmas. Thank you.

  35. Sue says:

    I love knowing that Jack (my grandson’s name!) proofreads your work – clever cat! (as well as cute!)
    Love those snowy pictures of your house! We moved from Ohio where there is a decent amount of snow to Tennessee, where we get a little swirling around a couple of times a year. I don’t miss it but it is beautiful!!! Now we have mountains instead.
    You keep an eye on that squirrel – that looks like revenge in his eye!

  36. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    Yes, taking it careful out there, and fear I’ve even got to get better at it. With every intent and commitment to stay home, here we went ‘out’ today, not doing what we said (to ourselves), and instead driving around for what may be our last run for supplies this afternoon (coronavirus/Covid-19 scare [reality]). I mostly sat in the car; my husband did the fetching, people (he said) were definitely giving each other some ‘room’ in a shopping line, etc. Everybody not unfriendly; just cautious (per the CDC; ain’t arguing with them!).

    Decided that when tucking in for a few weeks(?) ahead, why not a good time to turn over the soil in the raised-bed planters and get some vegetables going; work in the garden here, close to home. Any freeze warnings where I am are over now. So, we bought starter plants of tomatoes, cukes, squash; will plant the rest from seed. Lots of people at the garden center (not a closed-in place; spacious, with breathing air[!!] and partially outdoors); hardly anybody at the popular Hallmark store (oh dear, Easter’s coming); and I couldn’t believe how light the weekend traffic was on the 101 freeway between Ventura and Santa Barbara, Susan; later-afternoon on a Saturday no less?! (Today’s forecasted rain was a bit of a fizzle; shouldn’t have been a deterrent, in a ‘normal’ time.) To me, was quite telling; perhaps folks hesitating about venturing out, if they can do that/stay home, and aren’t dependent on jobs and other necessities of life-in-the-day. I’m one of the over-65’s who should be shutting down (staying in) because of other health issues which make for worse complications if I WERE to ‘catch’ this virus, so maybe I was stupid to go out one more time today, but the ocean was so beckoning, so awesome; the seascape, skyscape and landscape super-gorgeous with cloud play and flirtatious sprinkles & sun.

    In and out of a couple of select stores (stayed out of the malls) and the post office, we were extremely careful; disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. Just have to be very mindful. It’s definitely a transition, temporarily. My husband gave up an upcoming freelance job; also a wedding; small changes in plans to reduce time out ‘in the world’, trying to think ahead and heed all the advice for a few disruptions in the daily routine. Just found out about five minutes ago that Ventura County now has a reported case of the Covid-19; I don’t think Santa Barbara County has anything yet; L.A. County of course does. Don’t know about SLO County. I do feel sorry for the brick & mortars who are going to get less customers for awhile; this is SO BAD for shops and stores. Restaurants. Pet adoptions. So many things. What a ripple effect with having to live behind our closed doors. I have an older-lady friend who’s decided not to go to church on Sundays in order to limit exposure; will do so indefinitely til more is known; it’s not good for her in other ways (I’m going to try to make sure she doesn’t get too isolated). It’s so against who any/most of us are; humans are social creatures. We gather.

    With all the scary virus news, I was thinking that this is when it’s a good thing to live on an island like you, away from the masses; you’re off-season of course, no tourists, no crowds. Another thing I see in myself is that I want comfort right now, big time. (Politics; pandemic; too much to worry about!) When things feel uneasy, go to what feels soothing. I’ve been googling a lot of comfort-food recipes and thumbing thru the many books of yours I have; looking at what I can do to not feel closed-off from being home all the time, and rediscovering some creature comforts in moments of uncertainty. (Susan, this is when we need you more than ever!)

    I thought on the nightly news, last night, that it showed Cape Cod was going to get slammed this weekend; get out more candles! Your weather on the island is so completely diff from our weather here in SoCalif; but, you know that, as you’ve got a foot in both places. Dark and stormy nights, and I have imagined how your sturdy sea captain’s (?) house can weather any kind of winter by now, and I love how you stay cozy inside; but it’s great you’ve also been able to get out for your beach walks; keep at it(!); it’s so good for you. Thanks for taking the time to post when you’re BUSY making nice things for us; can’t get thru a year without your calendars! Had to laugh about Jack stuck in the hall all night; at least he’s got a ‘fur’ coat to keep him warm! Also glad the tree left your house alone; whew!

    Trying to be ‘in the moment’ but sort of praying for summer to get here soon. No promises they say, but this virus could die down by then (as many viruses do). It’s hard for a human to be fettered (when it doesn’t feel entirely voluntary!); there’s something in us that sometimes wants to roam and move … and be, free. But this is also a time when there’s no place like home, to feel safe and nest (if you can just put your head in the right place about it!).

    • sbranch says:

      Us too Vicki … thinking it’s a good time to paint the bedroom!!! xoxoxo

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        Thanks for indulging my too-long comment; was just sort of pouring it out! I think it might be that not everybody wants to talk about coronavirus; it’s so much on the news all the time anyway. Let’s talk about something else. Easter eggs, bunnies, daffodils and lilies! Springing forward…

        • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

          I agree with Vicki, lets talk about Easter eggs and bunnies, daffodils and lilies and tulips, hyacinths and crocuses. anything but that miserable virus. we are getting the henhouse ready for egg sitterin’ season, have a younger rooster in there and he is just learning to crow… 2 contestants for the roster crowing contest this summer. spotted some cute little birds, and of course the cats are watching them closely from the windows. also planning the new gardens for the this summer and I just may replant my strawberry pots with new strawberries and my shamrocks are in full bloom, they always are … and just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. have a Happy ST. Patrick’s Day everyone… hugs… 😀

  37. Sara Kiiru says:

    The days your blog posts arrive are the very best of days! Agree with Kimberly L. Young that we all benefit much from your dedication. Looking so forward to enjoying the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor!

  38. ELAINE from MN says:

    Amen. I WAS worring about you. Now I can exhale. At the moment it seems not much is right with the world so at times like these, I often rely on you to take us away with your beautiful pictures and prose. – with my cup of tea in hand, of course. Thanks for posting.

  39. Kelly Houlton says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I cannot even begin to tell you how much your words bring fresh air, comfort, and inspiration all at once! I love all your details – your appreciation of everything that makes the spice of life. I am happy to say that I have been creative here in the wintery-ness of Wisconsin, playing with watercolors and shimmery watercolors, creating a set of oracle cards based on the planets, sun, and moon. It feels so good to play with my “toys”, so to speak! I feel that I am right there with you on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard, enjoying and celebrating every new thing. The weather has been warm here and snow is melting, but we know we still have a ways to go before spring. God bless you and Joe and your angel kitty! Thank you, as always, for the breath of fresh air <3
    Love you, Kelly

  40. Barbara Vlcek-Vinikow says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you for a luv-lee blog! I’m glad to know things are good despite your broken tree branch…you & Joe & your adorable kitties are safe & healthy! And you’ve been so creative & productive, too, so Yay 4 You!!! (And, I also want to say I love Kimberly’s message to you…totally agree with her!)
    I clicked on your link to Jack’s Story…I’d not read it before. OMG…I already knew how handsome he is, but had not seen the adorable kitten pix of him! And what a charming story! I shared it with my husband this evening as we sat by our own cozy fire sipping happy hour beverages. He loved seeing the pix & reading about Jack the Cat, too. We are parents to an adorable shih tzu doggidy named Parker, or Parkie. Wish I could attach a picture of him…he is a cutie!!!
    This certainly is/has been a challenging couple of months for many reasons, and yet I keep my perspective by reminding myself of the blessings in my life. I was quite ill 2 weeks ago ( no, not the c-virus, but some other bad bug both my husband & I caught) and I really needed something happy, soothing, comforting to read to distract myself from how I was feeling…and just the thing: “A Fine Romance” by you, Susan!!! I wish I owned, (and I will someday!) your other 2 books ( first read them when I checked them out from library). So,thank you, Susan , for helping me feel better!!! The other thing that has been disappointing, or “a bummer”, as they used to say back in the day, is that due to the spread of the c-virus, especially in Italy, my husband and I have had to postpone/reschedule our April trip to Paris & Rome and points in between. We were to have met my cousins over there & shared some of our travels with them. However, the good news is, we hope to be able to reschedule in September, and, more importantly, we are safely in our own homes & healthy, and hopefully will remain so as the global community deals with this challenge. Just gotta keep that positive perspective! The third disappointment, something that’s made me quite sad is political. And I know, generally, politics are not discussed on your blogs & comments, so please forgive me, and I realize maybe this will be blocked, but I just feel so sad that Elizabeth Warren has had to drop out of the her run for the Democratic nomination for president. I have loved & supported her from the beginning. I am going to miss her genuine, sincere concern for others; her ability to listen to people and really make them feel heard, understood & validated; her amazing physical & mental energy; her intelligence and her organizational skills; her diplomacy & compassion; her fearlessness & courage; her honesty & ability to acknowledge her own mistakes and apologize; her optimism; her respect towards all, no matter how young…her “pinkie promises” to girls, and her obvious love and devotion to her adored golden retriever, Bailey!!! I feel sad for our country as I truly believe we have lost an opportunity for an outstanding leader…who just happened to be a woman!!! However, in keeping with a positive perspective, I know that she (and we) will persist!!! And this is not the last we will hear/see of Elizabeth Warren by any means!!! So, I would like to conclude with one of my most favorite quotes, from a most favorite movie: ” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. “Everything will be OK in the end, and if it is not OK, then it is not, yet, the end!” Once again, Susan, I hope I’ve not offended or over-stepped the mission of your blog/comment section. I truly just want to send out love & positivity to all , because that is what gets us through challenging times!!! Hugs!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so glad you’re feeling better Barbara! I share your feelings about Elizabeth Warren. A truly fine person. Thank God we still have her. I have never seen anyone work so hard in my life. I would have had to go to a rest home if I was her. Stay healthy, hugs to you and yours. xoxoxo

      • Barbara Vlcek-Vinikow says:

        I forgot to mention a very fun & interesting show from Great Britain that I’ve been watching on Netflix: “The Great Interior Design Challenge”. If you can get it, I think you’d really enjoy it! The show features amateur designers who are given a budget & 3 days to transform a room for a client. Three designers compete on each show. All sorts of period architecture & various areas of England are featured in 16 episodes. I’ve watched the first season and will begin to watch the 2nd season. Anyway, just wanted to mention it to you in case you hadn’t already heard about it.

    • Dianne says:

      Thank you so much for reminding me of that quote from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It is my favorite line from the movie , and the timing was perfect !!!

    • chris Consentino says:

      yes, Barbara…WHAT YOU SAID!!!!! thank you…from another loving fan of Elizabeth!!!!

  41. Cheryl Sandlin says:

    I am sitting here tonight with my shadow. He’s a purring, playing get in my face yellow kitty. I love him so much! Your post was so refreshing. Here in Alabama we have had so many rainy days that today the sun was a welcome relief! Thank you for the “musica”.The music of the 30’s and 40’s are my favorites. Bless you dear for all you do!

  42. Inez Schlueter says:

    Scary stuff with the tree. Glad it missed your home and all is good. I must say , I am jealous I see snow! I would like a little of the white flakes,it’s like little fairies dancing down, and making everything look magical, at least for a little while.

  43. Christine Morgan says:

    Busy, busy, busy. Between work, grandkids, purging and looking forward to spring I was so happy to just happen to check to see if there was a new post from you. There it was. Love reading your posts. Love all that you do. Thank you.

  44. sally Hicks says:

    Lovely photos. Do you have a nap during the day? Otherwise what time do you go to bed. I always have a nap. I think we are about the same age. 🤗

    • sbranch says:

      I go to bed around 8ish but usually don’t get IN bed until 9 … Six hours sleep seems to be my perfect number. I usually wake between 3 or 4 am … once in a while I take a nap, on a cozy day, with my Grandma’s nap blanket, but it’s not a regular thing. xoxo

      • Sally Hicks says:

        Thank you. I am soooo impressed. I push myself to stay awake till at least midnight, wake before 7am and often take a nap. You are so lucky to have such stamina. I bought your first book when it came out years ago. Loved your journey. Sad early and then finding Joe. Perfect life. I know we have ups and downs. I pray for your mother and my husband. I think they have the same issue. xxx from New Zealand.

  45. As always loved your words and the music. I always really enjoy the music links you post Susan and end up listening to the ones that come after as well. I think I should be been born a hundred years ago, but am glad that I wasn’t because I would no longer be here enjoying life as I do! Isn’t Jeanie the greatest! Love LOVE that you have immortalised her cake on your calendar! I always buy your calendars. This year I was unable to get the blotter one because it wasn’t available on amazon here in the UK (my usual source because of shipping). I did get your other two and the little purse sized date book because how could I not! Your wit, wisdom and art has been gracing my home for quite a few years now and happily so. Spring is in full bloom here. My forsythia bush, my camelia, the daffodils, crocus, etc. All in bloom and the “Greening” of England has begun with that green flush of leaf beginning on every limb! I love it! Jack delights me. Where would we be without our furry family members! Happy March to all the girls!

    “Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of his instruments, not the composer.” ~Geoffrey Charlesworth

    • sbranch says:

      Good Morning Marie, thank you for the England update! I was JUST watching Pygmalion with my favorite Leslie Howard … and there was London, before the war. Me too, born too late! Happy March! xoxo

    • Dianne says:

      I’m so glad that you mentioned that you are from Chester. I spent a lovely few days there before starting a walking vacation in North Cornwall and hope to return some day. I was able to take a tower tour at the Cathedral and walk the walls several times, as well as visit some of the ruins. The Life in Chester exhibit was closed when I was there; something I hope to see if I’m able to return. When I was there, the streets were filled with music, as various musicians shared their love of music with us. Such memories!!!

  46. Jo'L says:

    Thanks for checking in and letting us know you’re well and getting wonderful things done. See you when you get done. . .

  47. Marge says:

    Glad everything’s going well for you, Joe, and Jack! Looking forward to your next letter!

  48. Judy in Ohio says:

    Good morning Sweet Sue…and “company”…
    Just wanted to say “Hi!” and happy “Spring Forward”
    day!! (I am still up, and the clock says 4 AM…but I
    know it’s 5!!) 🙂

    Thanks for being so chipper…today and…always!
    We suuuure need that…especially THESE days!!…
    Things will get better…sooner than later we will

    Have a great day, dear friend…and THANK YOU!! 😀


  49. Patricia Randall says:

    What a wonderful read! Thank you so much. 💖

    Glad the limb did no damage. That one is huge!!

    Spring is just around the corner!!!


  50. Sheila Collier-George says:

    Let’s see…
    a kitty…yes, please
    a kitchen…of course
    a fire…lovely
    flowers…make me smile
    cookies…only if there isn’t cookie dough 🙂

    Miss Susan, you inhabit a Very Special Place 🌷

  51. Marcia A Sherman says:


    I may have missed some of the wall calendars, but I think I have 20 or so. They are all over this house packed away in boxes and bins, a few of the most recent being in my closet, and MOST recent hanging within sight of this desk. Next time I move (which may be within 12 months) I will find them all and travel back in time. One of the covers even looked like me at the time, brown hair, glasses, white sweater, and green skirt! Your wall calendars are one of the few constants in my life since the early 1990’s. Those and the almost 25 years old red leather Susan Branch checkbook cover. Not so many checks are written theses days, but that cover lives on. Sure do wish you would do another…
    Blessings to you and yours
    Marcia from Sewell

  52. Elizabeth Hart says:

    No matter the season . . . no matter the weather . . . seeing a “Susan Branch Blog” email has arrived in my inbox is a sweet, sweet gift.

  53. Marsha Whitestone says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for always being our candle in the darkness. Your light shines brightly and is a gift to all of us.
    When I was a child, there was a little song that we used to sing in church. It said…”This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” And you do. Shine on. We are blessed with your words and photos.

  54. Mary Z in NYC says:

    Thank you for this lovely post, Susan. It’s so nice to see some snow! I have missed it this Winter. And seeing photos of Jack makes me so happy. So glad the tree limb fell the way it did. I’m thinking that I will be buying three of your calendars for 2021. The photos look irresistible. Enjoy your day!

  55. Marsha Sega says:

    Sitting at the kitchen table enjoying my morning bowl of oatmeal with Susan Branch tea in my England mug and reading your blog. Life is good! Coming off a stressful week which included, among other things, my school computer being fried beyond repair from a wonky power surge. Hours spent getting things on my personal laptop to use for teaching. Then a pie that didn’t set causing husband to do emergency run to Kroger to get a pie from their bakery department just an hour before ladies were coming for a meeting at my house. Next morning, one of my tiny foster kittens got her claws caught in holes on legs of my drafting table desk. Then I spent 20 minutes duct taping holes. Here’s hoping next week goes better. At least I have spring break the following week to look forward to. Thanks for sharing all the pictures.

    • sbranch says:

      In that your sentence I feel like I’m there with you! Something must be in retrograde. Softly, slowly . . . xoxo

  56. Beth from Iowa says:

    Hi Susan – happy almost spring!!! Getting over pneumonia here – went into self-imposed quarantine – luckily I have the best husband ever who is a great care-taker. I haven’t left the house for two weeks – may venture out today for a while. We have put a germ-free protocol in place – lots of handwashing and wiping down surfaces. Our kitties put out alarm paws when they accidentally get closed up in the basement – just stuff them under the door and wait patiently until we notice. No big scene, too cool for that stuff!!! Take care awaiting wonderful new calendars!!

  57. Chris Wells. Knickerbocker, TX says:

    Wow a frosted angel was at work when that limb came down! It really is quite miraculous how it landed! Will you lose the tree now? We have a giant pecan outside our fenced portion of the yard that Jim called the Grandpa tree. A few years ago about a third of the tree broke in a storm. It’s really looking sad, but it is not in a very accessible spot to get equipment in to take it down, so I just watch it’s slow demise branch by branch.
    I am sure not a fan of this time change. But since I no longer work I think I won’t change the clocks! I am going to stay on my time until I am good and ready to change! LOL
    Looking forward to the new calendars. I have a draw full! And the last 3 or 4 years I also get the small one for my dressing room.
    Spring on the way!

    • sbranch says:

      The tree looks fine! Tree guy coming tomorrow, he’ll tell us. There are 3 of these giant Lynden trees, so close to the house, but they’re 100 years old, and smell so good, filled with bees in the summer. Yes, I miss that hour and want it back! xoxoxo

  58. Carol On the farm in Iowa says:

    Winter through your eyes is so sweet and cozy! Turned the clocks ahead last night. Yay! Longer day light hours. xxoo

    • Patricia Edde says:

      Hi Susan,
      Here in Iowa we are finally heading (dare I say it) into Spring. Temps in the high 40’s to high 50’s and snow almost completely melted. I don’t mind the low temperatures or the snow but this has been a very ICY season and ever since my fall it makes me very uneasy. I am thinking that next year I will take off for 4 months and spend a month each in a different state down South or out West. I would take Bixby (my dog) with me but I know cats don’t travel well so would have to leave Olivia home.When you leave Jack for a long time do you have someone stay with him or just come in for a bit to feed/change litter box and play with him? My problem is that Livvie isn’t terribly friendly and when someone is here she usually hides under the covers on the bed. Even with me she only tolerates a scratch on the butt until she decides to snuggle into my shoulder while I’m sitting in my chair (usually reading) and then will stay there for up to 30 minutes while I stroke, rub, knead her body. What to do, what to do, any suggestions?
      I love when you show pictures of your home. Decorah dates back to, I think the early 1800’s and we have some beautiful old houses here. When I take Bix for a walk at night,I love looking in through the windows and see how beautifully they are decorated. I love the furnishings from the 1930’s and 40’s. After my time now has ended, I plan to come back during that time period for I have no desire what-so-ever to come back in the future (too cold and techno for me).
      I had an experience like yours with Jack when my Sam was still gracing my life. I was calling out for him and got no response. I went from room to room, looking under the bed and becoming more and more frantic thinking he might have somehow gotten out when I had opened the door. I kept calling out and still no response. In tears,I started opening all of the closet doors and there he was in my bedroom closet. He must have followed me and was behind me when I shut the door. Whew was all I could say as I held him tight and showered him with kisses. For me in this world, all I can say is that animals are the best “people” I know and whenever one is hurt or neglected my soul dies just a bit each time.
      Much love to Susan, Joe and Jack from
      Patricia, Princess Olivia Rose and Bixby Beaudelaire, Earl of Dibley

  59. Helen says:

    I so hope the whole tree is not a goner! Glad all was well and nothing broken!

  60. Jeanne Finnegan Nugent says:

    Hi Susan,
    Just back from a very too long illness. I had forgotten how much I have, since I was a young Mom, enjoyed the pleasure of your company. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  61. Dixie Reimold says:

    Thanks Susan ! So Fun to share your home and activities…We are enjoying all of the 2020 Calendars so much, can’t imagine getting the ‘mind-set’ for NEXT Year…Whew! But now I can hardly wait to see them..LOL ( Don’t wish your Life away)…Blessings Dear Island Friends. Dixie

  62. Sandi from the Cape says:

    Hello dear Susan and all! Yes it’s spring here (or almost) on the East Coast! The bloomin’ flowers survived our one day snow day and the temps promise to be great. It surly is scary times out and about, but if we all watch what we’re doing and keep those patties washed, hopefully our good intentions and thoughts will rise above those bad germs! Thanks for encouraging us! So glad your lovely home was spared by that tree falling! I love to see Jack in your photos, does he usually sleep with you at night? My Pumpkin used to sleep in several different rooms and places, then come and join me in the morning. Happy Spring and best to you, Joe and Jack!

  63. Elizabeth Conlin says:

    Dear Susan
    I am so happy I discovered you and your wonderful books! Your stories make me smile. Thank you so much for what you do!

  64. Darla says:

    What a great walk!! How far is it to the water from your house?

    • sbranch says:

      Depends which direction you go, since we’re on an island … but closest to water would be about three blocks or so, maybe four.

  65. charlotte m. says:

    That is one big tree and limb! The sounds of those falling in the night are very scary to me after living through Hurricane Fran. I never knew that whole big trees could be blown over roots and all, until that hurricane. I do love the pictures of Jack, and the snow, and the house. So cozy. I have started waking up earlier. My creative mind wants to know what we are doing today and it wakes me. I sew and crochet and embroider, and I always have several projects going at a time. I have dabbled a bit in watercolors too, and it is not as easy as it would seem. Your pictures are lovely. I just finished re-reading the Fairytale Girl, Isle of dreams and a Perfect Romance. Still fun, the third time around. I re-read every couple of years. Lovely spring forward to you, from rainy San Diego this morning.

    • sbranch says:

      I so understand that creative alarm clock! It’s fun to be excited to get up! Happy day Charlotte, thank you for the kind words! xoxox

  66. Jen Pen says:

    Grilled cheese sandwiches are the best!!!
    That tree limb was so kind to land like that! Miracle!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Was a miracle. We paced around it trying to figure out how it broke from the tree and came straight down like that!

  67. Karen Lotito says:

    Good Morning, Susan! It’s a lovely, sunny day here and the birds are going mad! The daffodil shoots are peeking through! We Sprung our clocks forward and all is well. Only 8 weeks until our move to Maine! Of course, there is lots to do but we’re getting there! We’re packing and sorting and friends from Maine came with a trailer and we gave them furniture and they took some of our things up for us as well. And good news – my husband’s cousin in England had a baby girl, Millie Joy. She joins her sister Poppy who just adores her new sister. I just love the names. I’ve been wrapped up with work and time is flying.
    Enjoy a beautiful Sunday and so glad your house didn’t sustain and damage from that big branch. Love, Karen 😘

    • sbranch says:

      I love the names too! Darling. That English charm is wearing off on that family! Happy move!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Are you the lady who is building a home in the Mid-Coast area of the State o’Maine? You should love being there just when so many trees are in bloom. Hope you have an Uneventful move!

  68. Deb says:

    How good it is to read of your adventures and know that all is well. We had a tree fall on our house two years ago. We ended up needing a whole new roof and a new a/c unit. Our insurance company put us up in a very nice hotel for two weeks so we didn’t suffer much. It was just hard not “being home.” Spring is arriving in lower Michigan, the crocus are blooming and we are getting spring fever!!! Keep up the good work, love your calendars!!

  69. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Thank you for taking the time to drop us a blog. I saw it come through yesterday and decided to save it for today, Sunday. I spent all of Saturday reading a book that I couldn’t put down. It was my book club’s pick. However, most of them chose not to read it as it was too sad. I loved the book. Yes, I cried in many places, but the story was about family, friends, and love. Saturday I lived and laughed and cried in the world of the Irish Hayes family. The book is The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes.
    I have emerged this Sunday back in real life and loved your blog, as usual. Any pictures you choose will make you calendar just wonderful. I love that you painted someone’s cake.
    Daylight Savings time starts today. The birds are migrating North and emptying my feeders daily. Yay, Spring…sooon.🌞🌷

  70. Lori W Hamilton says:

    Dear Susan,
    I used to dread January. The holidays were over, I had to go back to teaching kids who were still “hungover” from Christmas and it was cold and dark. But now I have a great appreciation for even dark days ( if the string of them don’t last TOO long!) because they’re cozier and I can burn candles and drink hot tea while I do my devotion, journal and art.
    Right now I’ve had my bone marrow transplant and am recovering. We have to stay near the hospital and I don’t have all my art stuff but still try to draw some. You always give me a creative kick in the pants and when I’m home again I’m going to try to get up earlier so I can do more art!
    So glad there was no damage to your house. Whew!!! Keep your lovely calendars coming – along with your other exquisite goods.
    Love you! Hellos to Joe and Jack!

  71. sharon taylor says:

    Hi Susan, We are having a glorious sunny warmer day today as we spring forward in time. Being that much farther north than where you are we won’t be seeing any little green shoots coming up for some time. But the snow is slowly melting away – yeah!! I love your quote and oh so true “Our passions, along with CURIOSITY…………………….”
    Thanks again Susan for taking the time from your very busy schedule to share your thoughts with all of us. Sharon Hugs for Jack

  72. Margaret Matlock says:

    Love your blogs!! You make me smile! Looking forward to your Christmas book. Take care of yourself as we need you to share the good things in life.

  73. You give us all good dreams!

  74. Evangeline says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful stories and sharing your life with us!

  75. Cathy L says:

    Woke up feeling blahhhh. Perhaps it was the one hour of less sleep due to the time change? Anyway, so nice to read your blog and get me out of my doldrums. Got me feeling inspired to go out and walk! On with my day! Charge!!!!

  76. Paula says:

    Dear Susan ~

    So thrilled to see you wrote, and during my birthday week !! I joined the 60s club (haha) unreal, but thankful for that !! And, my 2020 England Country Side calendar, where I can daydream of being there again one day!! My niece and I are talking about going in 2022, I know she will want to see the attractions in London, but I just would really like to see the country side with all the quaint villages and tea rooms !! I have learned that both sides of my family are English, I just felt there was a strong connection there!!
    PoorJack, he could ask my Sophia how she felt closed in a room for hours and hours, she must have came in behind me, and I closed the door as I went out ,oops!! I wondered where she went !?!!
    So glad the tree missed your home wow my goodness!!
    You and Yours take care, xox
    Kind Regards,

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Paula! Take a train trip from London up to Ambleside . . . then to Beatrix Potter’s house. You’ll both love it!

      • Paula says:

        Thank You , for the birthday wishes !! xoxo

        And, also for the information , I will definitely share it with my niece , tho we have awhile we are excited to be planning it !!
        I told her I need to show her your 2020 calendar , I love and love looking at the pictures !!

        God Bless You,

  77. Donna S says:

    Although I am ready for spring, I truly love the snow scenes at your beautiful house. I keep a photo of the winter on my desktop year-round so I can feel that stillness you hear (or don’t hear!) when you go out after a snowstorm! SO relaxing and pretty! PERFECT! You’re a hard worker, Susan, and taking time for you, Joe, and your sweet kitty makes for a full life!
    Thanks for the wonderful blog today!

  78. Davi Mondt Lowman says:

    Dearest Sistah from Another Mother,
    No, really… it’s true. We simply must be related… maybe it’s that Iowa gene.
    Regardless, I wish I had a nickel for every time you’ve written something that made me GASP because it either happened to me in similar circumstances or it something I really really like or read or ate or saw or want….
    But the true connection is our passion for foreign land. Except my is Tuscany. My parents claimed I have not one drop of Italian blood in me, but I do believe they were wrong. Since I was a little girl I loved all things Italiana. It took a long time to get to the land of my heart… finally in 1996 my sister and I flew off across the pond. I’ve been going every year since – sometimes twice a year if I’m lucky – and, since 2002, I’ve been taking people with me. Just small groups, no more than eight. It’s my absolute passion. Even when I’m back in good old Boone, Iowa, I’m mentally in Chianti.
    Anyway, I have followed you for years – even before the invention of the internet and your blog. I hope you continue to write books and do all the goodies you do.
    Best to you!

  79. Debra Sewell says:

    Great post. We missed you. You are like the Great British Baking Show..WE CANT LIVE WITHOUT YOU. Beautiful winter photos. Take care, be safe walking and driving on winter roads. You are very loved and cared about. You personally have touched so many lives and helped women discover The joy of cooking and home

  80. Susan Markle says:

    Just wanted to thank you for recommending The Detectorists a few posts back. It is WONDERFUL 😁 Binged watched during the monsoon rains we’ve had lately. Two seasons were on Prime—haven’t yet figured out how to see the third one. But I will!! For lovers of the British countryside, it’s a must see! So happy you mentioned it. And what about that theme song??!💕

  81. Barb Walsh says:

    I love your blogs. I don’t know what I love most the words? the pictures? It’s all good. Glad the tree branch didn’t damage the house I love to think of as what I want mine to be. Can’t wait to order my new calendars.

  82. Kathi in OR says:

    Hello Susan,
    Always good to hear from you and share the cozy and homey pictures and info, but I *was* just thinking, “Gee, hasn’t it been awhile….” Glad to hear all is well and that you are busy creating more goodies for us to enjoy in the future. Also happy to see that the huge branch that fell didn’t break any windows! Looks cold out there indeed!! After 20 yrs in WI we now live in OR where there has been no snow this winter. Just seeing all that snow on the ground still makes me feel cold! But has to be encouraging that you are seeing the first signs of spring in your garden. I love all the seasons and especially love following them in your art and recipes!!
    Stay well!

  83. starr miller says:

    Hello Susan
    So missed your world and thoughts and activities.
    Very happy that your tree was polite when cracking and leaning. It has been a fairly mild winter. And now the light is back. Hallelujah
    Your work days are so long – but I’m sure they are very rewarding also.
    I can picture you and Joe sharing your thoughts as you walk each morning.
    Walk in beauty always-

  84. VirginiaB says:

    Loved your post with all the photos and writing about the small things that make life so special. It is always a good reminder to stop and enjoy the moment. And the food photos, drawings and recipes…. No matter how I felt when I sat down to read your blog, I always get up hungry!

  85. Brenda W. says:

    Loved hearing from you. When you said you made tea I was curious what kind of tea do you drink?

    • sbranch says:

      My favorite is Earl Grey and my VERY favorite is a blend I did myself called A Fine Romance, it’s Earl Grey, lavender, and rose petals. YUM! I also make an amazing chamomile tea . . . full of flowers!

  86. Marilyn L Young says:

    Thanks for the lesson on a grilled cheese sandwich, I love these grilled cheese with a cup of tomato soup and a cup of Constant Comment tea. You’re a doll!

  87. Linda Bleeke says:

    Hey Susan,
    You do not need to post this. I was going to ask you this on Twitter, but forgot. What I’d like to know is, Is Jesse Metcalfe walking around Martha’s Vineyard filming his new mystery shows or is that just make-believe? LOL.

  88. Gaili says:

    Lovely idea for a carrot cake! Though sadly I no longer eat sugary carbs. It’s very sad, but it seems that I can either stay fit, or eat yummy foods, not both. Ah well I still love to dream of lovely cakes, cookies and bread

  89. Hannah says:

    Hi, Susan! So glad to hear you’re well. I took a break from studying for my grad school mid-terms (tomorrow is Shakespeare’s Villains!) to stop by and see if you had any new posts. Lucky me!

    The New England calendar sounds absolutely incredible. Can’t wait to see it. I kick myself every month with the turn of a new calendar page that I didn’t purchase your 2020 English countryside calendar. Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson!

    One last thing– today is National Women’s Day, and I wanted to say how thankful I am for you as an artist, a role model, and “friend.” There is a true warmth that you bring to this world, and your art and writing never cease to touch my heart and inspire me. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for your girlfriends. Girl Power!

  90. Ann Y. says:

    Hi Susan….You have no idea what a balm to my spirit your post was after some very stressful days. My dear husband is like your Joe…tall, thin, “devastatingly handsome” and my soul mate. Exercises ( we walk all the time ), we both try to eat healthy, never smoked – bam! BIG heart attack two weeks ago. Thank God for EMTs and wonderful hospital staff. Then this weekend…ER again for what they thought was a mini stroke! EEEK! So, after a few days in the hospital and changing meds and adding new ones and me sleeping on the recliner in the hospital room we came home. I am simmering soup and thought I would check to see if you had a new post. What a treat – have always had your calendars and think the photo one will be great. LOVE the picture with the snowdrops. It reminds me of The Secret Garden…”safe in my garden, snowdrops grow still!”. Thanks as always for reminding us of the good things in life and cherishing our time together. Hugs !

  91. Peggy Cooper says:

    Yikes is right! I find wind to be the scariest, even more than lightening and thunder. I’m so glad it didn’t cause any damage. And thank you for the coziness of tea, and fires, and grilled cheese sandwiches. I know there are some people who like it to be summer year round, but I like the quietness of winter. I live in VA now, and though I’m in the south, we do have the seasons, and today I’m seeing the promises of spring. I go out every day and look to see if there’s anything new emerging. Today I see a few buds on peonies that had to be moved, and I was worried they wouldn’t bloom again. But miracle of miracles, I think they’ve made it.

  92. Barbara Middleton says:

    Hi, Susan:
    Thanks for another visit! Wonderful time of year as the earth shakes off it’s winter covers, yawns and gets busy decorating everything beautifully. Great to be alive! I’m not young but still try to see through “young” eyes. Love, Barb

  93. Sue Black says:

    Hi, Susan,
    Though I am a recent subscriber, I already feel that we are “kindred spirits!”
    Today, I have a toothache, and your blog made me forget about it, for awhile.
    I am a retired pharmacist, so I know what to do, and will call the dentist, first thing on Monday! I saw him on Fri., and thought we had the problem fixed. Alas, no luck. Thank you for making my day bright and beautiful! Here in Boulder, CO, we have had a lot of snow, this year. We, too, had a fallen tree branch; it damaged the fence, but we were fortunate that it land short of the house! We are so blessed, I have to think about the good things! Some of your special items, especially the lovely soap dish, have brightened my home.(It’s important to give yourself gifts- this was for Valentines’ Day).
    Keep up the good work! I love your blog!:):):)

  94. Suzette Shoulders says:

    I loved reading your blog-post, and have to say, I get up early, too, and that is when I write my letters! I correspond with 26 different people, including my two grandsons, isn’t that amazing? And they are certainly going to have SB grilled cheese sandwiches when they come to visit in April! WITH tomato soup… I will tell them it is an American tradition! … As for your storm with the big branch down… in our town there was a ‘leaning Ponderosa” that had the same angle of lean on it that the Tower in Pisa has… and the last Sunday in February we had a big wind storm, and that 90’ tree that had been there since any living resident can remember came down, with its roots ripping chunks of basalt from under the tree. It was checked each year by an arborist, but of course, how could they know that under the earth it had tried and tried to send out a tap root, and only had made a mass of short roots? Amazingly, since it happened on a Sunday, there were no cars in the parking lot of the old school where it stood, and it laid down gently on the lot, and only cracked a nearby curb . Nobody was hurt, nor was anyone’s vehicle! Providential! Across the street is the library, but it wasn’t open then, so there are apparently no videos of it going down. I will be picking up “The Bishop’s Wife” on Tuesday , and we will watch it and have grilled cheese sammies with tomato soup ! Thanks for the time you share with us girls! Suzette in Bend

  95. Bonnie Porro says:

    Hi Sue,

    I am glad to share the microwave Lemon Curd recipe:


    3 eggs, beaten. 1/2 C. Lemon juice
    1 C. Sugar. 1stick of butter, melted

    Beat eggs and sugar until blended. Add lemon juice and beat until combined. Drizzle butter into egg mixture while whisking egg mixture. Microwave on high power for three minutes. Remove from microwave and whisk for a few seconds (be careful, the mixture is hot). Return to microwave for three more minutes. Remove from microwave and whisk again. Be very careful when whisking this second time as the mixture will be much hotter after the second turn in the microwave. Allow mixture to cool for a few minutes and strain in to jars. Keeps well in refrigerator for two weeks or freeze. Recommend only making this in glass or ceramic bowl. NEVER use plastic!

  96. Cheryl Hutchinson says:

    Susan, hubby and I recently had the pleasure of attending the Pacific Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle, WA. The first prize went to a lovely replica – both landscape and building – of Beatrix Potter’s home! It has become a familiar sight through your travels and photos. How nice to think that Miss Potter is still so honored!

  97. Carol says:

    What a welcome sight your blog post was! I needed a respite from all the scary news right now. I felt as if I was right there with you- watching the candle flicker and listening to the quiet. I also enjoyed the part describing why you longed to move to the east coast. You feel like an old friend. ❤️

  98. Valorie Veld says:

    Thank you! Loved reading it all!

  99. Kari says:

    Oh, a calendar of all stove photos. How would that be?

  100. Andrea Japinga says:

    Hello Susan, it’s Andrea J. from NJ🤗
    I adore your blogs&storytelling. Thank you for your many talents,sharing,&caring so very much about all the girly girlfriends whose lives you touch.
    I was at a dear friend’s 70 birthday tea party today at a charming restaurant filled with antiques and soooo nany beautiful tea cups, saucers & pots. I had a special Silver Anniversary tea & thought of you and how you love your tea time.
    I finally retired after 46 precious years of teaching elementary school grades K,1st & 4th as well as my early years of K-12 art. I’ve always had your desk blotter, wall,mini & pocket ones & everyone brought smiles to my fsce & ❣ Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    You will be my forever queen of 💞 & Girlfriend 4ever!
    Best to you & Joe. Stay safe & warm & happy St. Patrick’s day 💚☘🍀

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Andrea! Congratulations on your retirement, and thank you for all those years of inspiration you gave your children! xoxo

Comments are closed.