Love in the Time of Dam-Panic

    MUSICA!     So interesting to write about love in the time of Dam-Panic ~ that’s  our new word, Dam-Panic ~ Joe thought of it! As a form of lemonade from hideous lemons.🍋 But let us speak of Love . . .

We had the MOST wonderful Easter! Did you? Maybe our very best ever . . . so many things went right. First off, it was also my birthday💫, an Easter birthday is a wonderful thing ~ so right away, it was something good ~ and the sun was shining. And it was Sunday!🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 

The morning sunshine through the windows lit up the kitchen. I put my jacket on and went outside with my trusty scissors to gather a few flowers!

Our trees still don’t have leaves on them, but the morning light on the forsythia hedge was perfect. Look at that oak tree in the middle, probably planted around 1900 . . . look how big it is compared to the house behind it! What stories it could tell!

I walked to the end of our driveway for a better look at the hedge . . . isn’t yellow a happy color?

Remembering again with this quiet tick-tock (so perfect for a spring day, and my birthday, on Easter, the time of rebirth and hope, a time-for-new beginnings kind-of-day) that 

Is the sky getting bluer? It is! Are the stars sparkling brighter? Is the sun more yellow? Yes! Or is it only here, on the street where we live?🎵 Or is it just my imagination? Pop in some electric cars and voila, we’d be well on our way to solving the climate problem and softening these crazy storms and making a better world.💖 Silver-linings!

So, I brought some of that sunshine in to put in my little vases💛

Because I thought I might bake myself a birthday cake! So, since Joe hadn’t come downstairs yet, I filled the vases, washed my Beatrix Potter people till they sparkled, wiped down the countertops, cleaned the sink, emptied the dishwasher, and shined up my stove, so it would all be pretty on my birthday for while I was making the cake!🌷

Just then, Joe came down, said, “What are you doing?” I said, “Getting ready to bake a cake.” He said, “No, I’m going to make you a cake. Get your coat . . . let’s go for a walk first.” I said, “K💖. Wait a minute I want to take a picture of me and my cute outfit.” Loving how the elastic on my mask makes elf-ears. Did I tell you it’s still freezing here? 

Yes, only 50º but out we went to big fresh air and more blue skies. It’s always quiet this time of year. We take our masks, but rarely have to pull them up. Out here, the choir is all bird song…

. . . and wind, lapping water, and seagulls . . . it’s my favorite church. Perfect place to say a prayer for the world. I go here everyday. And no need for social distancing! Want to find a walk near you? Go to this brilliant website and put in the name of your town: I put Fritter Batter in the fridge Saturday night, so when we got home, while Joe was working on the cake, I made us Easter-Birthday Breakfast, hot Banana Fritters! It was sooooo yummy . . . I thought you would love the recipe too.

I got the sweetest Easter-Birthday phone calls, I heard from all my family, and there were gifts too! Look at these bunnies! I’ve written about my lovely nun friends, the sisters at the Holy Nativity Convent, and how we found each other (if you didn’t see that post, you can read about it HERE). They surprised me with this Easter basket, with the bunnies, and a lamb, and a chocolate bunny with chocolate kisses, and the most delicious loaf of sweet bread they make themselves. Mother Seraphima has not been well lately (not the virus!), she is getting better, and I think a little prayer from us would be a great help!🙏💞From my Girlfriends . . . and a gift certificate to our nursery!👏👏😘 And at 5pm? A Zoom-Birthday-Call with cake and wine! Oh yeah, it was a total Red-Letter Day.

From another friend I received two dishtowels . . . they both looked like the one on the left, which Jack and I would call a clean palette crying out for details!

And so we added them!💞 We socially isolate our mail inside the barn for 3 days after we bring it home ~ so I know there are other cards and things waiting for me there. But now it’s my turn to give gifts! Time for our drawing for the Heart of the Home cookbooks I offered in the last post. I have to say, you left SO MANY DEAR COMMENTS, you lovely people.💞 Truly kindred spirits. The hardest thing of all is choosing only three names. But it’s my job, and bittersweet as it is, it must be done! Ready?

Here we go! Unfortunately, Vanna, our virtual number generator, is home socially distancing in her chateau in the south of France as befits a person of the Eurotrash persuasion, as you probably guessed. Therefore, I, wearing mask and rubber gloves, have done the deed myself, and very well, if I do say so myself. Not, I’m sorry to tell you, as exciting as Vanna, no toes curling over the desk ledge for me, no high-diving lime-green body suit. A straight-forward grab and take as befits a dignified person who just had a birthday like moi.

First one up ~ OH! We have a winner from England! How exciting! It’s “Caroline across the pond in sunny Hampshire!”And #2, our next winner is Patti H., the Patti H. with the “11-year-old granddaughter who wants to learn to cook!”
And last but not least, our third winner is . . . “Judy from Maine!” the Judy from Maine who used to have her own gift shop!. . . for all of you! I will soon be writing you emails to request your addresses and ask how you would like me to sign your books! Congratulations! I hope you love them! ♥️ And for the rest of you . . . a more transportable gift from me to you . . . Jack the finger puppet!
You can print him on card stock, cut him out, and voila! Dancing Jack! Perfect to send in letters to a grandchild, or to your sister, or whoever you want to surprise with some kitty whimsy! Just click HERE! You know we have other free little bits and bobs, bookmarks and stationery in my web store you can print out? There’s even a . . .

perfect Mother’s Day crown pattern with a lovely Abraham Lincoln quote on it about how much he loves his Mother. Just click “bits and bobs above!”

And one more luv-lee gift . . . it’s for the memories . . . a Courage Dream Charm . . . 

To remind us all how good we’ve been and that this too shall pass . . . and perhaps we will make from this terrible dam-panic a better world because, as we all know, if we dream it we can make it so.💞

A dream charm, with gold foil and a slash of pink (the color of universal love), which we will ship to you for free. 💝And so, back to my Red Letter Day! While Joe was putting together his cake . . . I went outside to take a picture of the weeping cherry tree . . .

We’ve had a dastardly crap-job of a worm coming here for maybe the last five years, it’s a moth actually, that arrives in November and flitters around charmingly and then begins to lie in wait for spring where it turns to a very nasty web-spinning green worm that eats ALL the flowers off our trees, takes bites out of the new leaves so they all have holes in them! It’s been a blight! But LOOK.⬆️ They did not come this year! Isn’t that wonderful?

The tiny flowers are just beginning to unfold! And there’s a robin singing in the tree! A Red Letter Day✔️. Then the robin flew away and I heard a rustle in the tree on the left behind this one and looked up to see what it was . . .

Hello. I could barely see him, he was in so much shade, but when he finally came into focus I could see he was a HUGE hawk, lurking. I ran to get Joe!

Very exciting! Out came the bird book. He is a young red hawk and not a bit afraid of us. And he’s watching our feeders and our garden to see what looks delicious for lunch, 

which I would rather not think about. I hope he doesn’t live in that tree!

So I went in to check on my apple trees lapping up the sunshine in our kitchen windows. Yes, I planted them from SEEDS I found inside an apple I was eating. Just wanted to see if they would grow!

And guess what! They did! And they still are! A third poked his head up this morning! HA!(Aside:) Watching EMMA (Gwyneth and Jeremy) right now as I’m writing you, at the end, crying my eyes out (not under my blanket, but I love it so much!) . . . Marry Me?Then what, oh yes, then I did some Birthday writing on my new book,  😊 then I took a short Birthday nap 😴💤 . . . and then it was time for my Birthday Party!

And everyone started popping in . . . some of us live next door to each other, some of us are in different states, and see there? Rachel and Paul who came to the party from England! I love Zoom. Have you tried it? You should. It’s free and much more gratifying than you might think!

As the little squares filled in I wanted to sing, 🎵 There’s a story, about a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls . . . 🎶

It was like a real party ~ and with dearest friends . . . Ray and Paul brought Alice, their dog . . .💞

There was wine, and martinis, and talking, and laughing. Margot had her granddaughter Georgia, who wished me Happy Birthday in her little 5-year-old voice (Red Letter✔️).

It was like a real party, especially when Joe surprised me by bringing the cake in with lit candles and everyone sang Happy Birthday🎶 and then they pulled up cupcakes with candles of their own! And we all made wishes! And blew! Of course that part was way too exciting for me to remember to take pictures! I’m lucky I got these! It was a PERFECT day. Maybe my most memorable day … Love in the time of Dam-Panic.💞

So off to the kitchen to stuff ourselves on Joe’s old-fashioned icebox cake!✔️

Jack was rolling around on the table happy to have the attention back on him again where it belongs, and enjoying the light of the setting sun!

After dessert we made a delicious little dinner . . . asparagus and a great big baked potato ~ And I thought you’d like the recipe for this delicious thing, so here goes: Preheat the oven to 425º ~ then wash, dry, and cut off a slice of potato at the bottom to make it lie flat. Rub soft butter all over and salt it. Lay chopsticks on each side of potato, and cut-down in thin slices, (not all the way through). Put the potatoes on a baking sheet, brush between slices with a mixture of 2 TB melted butter, 2 TB olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, and zest from half a lemon ~ and put them in the oven. After 25 min, brush them with butter mixture again ~ then back in the oven for another 25 min, brush again, salt all over, and back in the oven for the last 25 min, till crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. After that, we were off to watch our favorite 800 Words on TV (on Acorn). We all know the dark side of this Dam Panic . . . it is very dark, and very sad and so much harder on some than others, which we all know and feel to our deepest roots. But I am going to leave that to the never-ending news causing us no end of anxiety and talk about something else. Because . . . Something amazing is happening: Ask people stay home to protect one another  and here’s what happens: they unselfishly do it! And suddenly, everything changes.💝 No school shootings this March for the first time since 2002 🙏, our air has gotten cleaner, our National Parks and all the critters are breathing easier, families are having dinner together, people are nice to each other and reach out to help, the earth gets a rest, we’re becoming more spiritual, angels are popping up everywhere, people are singing and clapping for each other from balconies, and kindness abounds: healthcare workers at a Boston hospital are gifted with lifetime Red Sox tickets as a thank you, a patriotic 99-year-old army veteran in England spends the lead-up to his hundredth birthday walking to raise money for the National Healthcare Service, my single-mom sister gets to stay home with her twins because she works for Starbucks who continues to send paychecks to their employees just as if they were working, and Andrea Bocelli sings Ave Maria to the entire world. And we all cried at the same time. It’s beautiful to see that we are part of a larger plan, a world cause, we are in it together. Turns out the gift is proof-positive and something we’ve always known: that the true heroes are the regular people, the unsung heroes of the world.

With quiet, good-natured, resolve. ♥️ Queen Elizabeth II

I love us so much, I’m so proud! Aren’t you? Can’t we figure out how to do this without a virus? Stay strong dear ones, it’s not over till it’s over. Sending so much LOVE, you’ll never know! XOXO Until next time . . .

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735 Responses to Love in the Time of Dam-Panic

  1. Linda says:

    Susan, thank you for the reminder that even in the midst of this dam-panic, we are growing together, reaching out in ways we have never done before, and praying for those who are out there on the front lines. Our Easter was very quiet, just the two of us, but still special. And, yes, Andrea Bocelli blessed us and brought tears to my eyes.

    Thank you for being special in my life,

  2. Lee Gordon says:

    I’m so glad you had such a wonderful birthday! Our appreciation for the simple pleasures…family, celebrations of special days, a thoughtful husband who plans a party and a cake. a majestic hawk and the beautiful buds of spring…are what make our life full and satisfying. I helped my grandson celebrate Easter and his fourth birthday on Sunday too. We put everything out on our back porch before he and his dad got here and we had presents and cake and an Easter hunt, even though we had to stay inside, behind our sliding glass door. Every moment God gives us is a privilege. Sadly, I found out today that my 90 year old aunt in a nursing home in Ohio has tested positive for COVID. What does my heart good is she is prepared for what ever comes her way and she knows Christ and where she is going…COVID or not. I hope we have all thought not only about earthly things, but the eternal things as well. Be well friend and take care of Joe and Jack!

    • sbranch says:

      Life as it’s always been, the beautiful highs, the terrible lows. I’m so sorry about your aunt, Lee … I have an 89 year old uncle in a nursing home and worry about him all the time. Not our plan … we just pray and hope. Blessings to you and yours. xoxoxo

  3. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! 💐🎂

    Prayers for Mother Seraphima to recover from her illness.🙏

    My daughter is an RN at a local hospital. She works three nights a week taking care of many patients who have covid. Prayers are greatly appreciated for her health and emotional well being. This has been very difficult for her. She has only been an RN for a year. Her fiance is an EMT and he is under a great deal of stress also. Life is hard right now for all of us. My husband and I are also working which causes anxiety. I just want to stay home.😟
    Thank you for a lovely post. It’s like a breath of fresh air reading here.
    Keep the faith everyone! God’s got this. There’s always hope.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Robin. Those at the front, like with any war, face all the horrors on behalf of us all, we can never be grateful enough. I hope your family is feeling the prayers that are flying to them from all directions. Please give your daughter and her fiancé all our love. I will keep them in my prayers.🙏 Thank you for your thoughtful words.💞

  4. Dianna Unruh says:

    Love it! Your illustrations are so perfect for the Spring season! Thank you for sharing such positivity! The sun will come out — tomorrow! Wishing you safety and good health from Kansas to you.

  5. Jennifer Rohnstock says:

    Happy Belated Susan from the Mainland! I hope when all this nonsense clears up, I will be able to visit my favorite island. Thank you for sharing your lovely optimism….its something I plan to share! Wishing you a fabulous year ahead…. full of smiles and good health!

  6. Elly says:

    First of all, a very happy belated birthday, Susan! Blessings for you in the year ahead!
    Sure looks like you had a birthday of a lifetime, one you won’t soon forget!
    Thank you for your positivity in this uncertain time. I, too, look and see how people are doing what they can to help their fellow human beings, with the skills each one has. I’ve been able to sew masks for nurse friends and family.
    Please stay safe and healthy, so you may celebrate many more birthdays with the love of your life and us!

  7. Jan Martin says:

    In spite of the horror our entire world is living thru now, yes, there are many blessings. We aren’t taking anything for granted. Sending cards, making phone calls, reading, praying, hoping for a better tomorrow after this. Our daughter is recently engaged to her love, who lives in England, but the virus is keeping them apart now. We FaceTime every day with him, & we will ZOOM with him & his friends over the pond on Thursday for a baking contest. People are making lemonade out of lemons🍋. The sun is shining in SoCal🌴 This too shall pass🙏 Stay safe😊

  8. *H*A*P*P*Y* * *B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y*!*!*!* to you!! What a wonderful husband you have to make you a cake.. and your online party looks like a blast. I ordered your cookbook and it arrived day before yesterday – so I’m going to take some photos of it and share it on my blog post tomorrow. 🙂 Love it!

    ((hugs)), Teresa 🙂 from the countryside of Oregon in the Columbia River Gorge.

  9. Alexandra says:

    A very happy birthday to you, dear Susan! Thank you for sharing your day, your optimism, your hope, and your joy with us! It is a shining light to cheer up the day. Thank you for also reminding us of the silver linings to this otherwise dreadful Dam-Panic – we need all the silver linings we can get! Sending sunshine and birdsong to you 🙂

  10. Suzanne Maven says:

    Thank you SO much, as always, Susan, for lifting my spirits. Happy Birthday! Easter Sunday was also my darling husband, Bill’s, birthday. He would have been 65. He died
    in 1997 at age 32 of leukemia. He was an amazing, wonderful guy. We met at a Wildlife Rescue meeting here in Austin in 1980. We were both wildlife rehabilitators….he specialized in Raptors, or birds of prey, and had many Red-Tailed Hawks, like you had in your tree, as patients. I was more into small mammals and songbirds. It was very special and rewarding.
    I love that Joe made your birthday cake….what a wonderful husband!
    Stay safe and healthy. Hope the dam-panic helps us all slow down and live simpler lives after its over.

  11. julia walker says:

    Dear Susan, I’m so disappointed my b’day card is in your barn for I tried very hard to get it to you on time! Oh well, it sounds like you had a lovely day and I’m glad. I like Joe’s nickname for the pandemic-very clever! Thank you for your optimism, as always. Julia

    • sbranch says:

      My sister’s gift is in the barn too, but that’s okay, I’m perfectly happy to drag out these red letter days. Thank you for thinking of me Julia! 🌷

  12. Maria says:

    It looks like you had a spectacular birthday, Susan. Well deserved. Love getting notifications in my in box that there is a new post from you! So uplifting & very much needed these days. I just want to thank you for all you do on Twitter to try to bring awareness to the masses who still believe in the lies, deceit & propaganda that comes out of this despicable administration. You do it with such grace. After almost 4 years of this, I can barely contain my anger. I was banned from Twitter for using Trumps own words against him. I appealed but the ban was upheld so thank you for being a voice of reason. Much love to you & Joe. xo

  13. Lynne Barlow says:

    Happy belated birthday, Susan. I had a wonderful one as well, on the 8th, spending most of the day outside in the sunshine, digging in the dirt and uncovering all surprises sprouting under the leaves. Friends stopped by with birthday greetings from safe distances, and my family made me a wonderful dinner. It was perfect. I have to say our new lifestyle suits me just fine❤️

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve written, just for myself, about what it is to be human. There’s a quote, “Never go faster than your guardian angels can fly.” No one has paid much attention to that for a very long time. Yay for dirt digging! We are so blessed.♥️

  14. Kay Cox says:

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday Susan. I love that you send us a ray of sunshine in these dark times especially your comment ” this to shall pass”, my mother used to say that and a good friend of mines mother used to say live your life one day at a time. They were very wise women.It’s a beautiful Autum day here enjoy your Spring blossoms.

  15. Jane says:

    Happy belated birthday, Susan. Thank you for your cozy and sweet newsletter. Just what the doctor ordered! Stay well!

  16. S from NYC says:

    The WTC 9/11 attack, Storm Sandy, and now this pandemic. The Big Apple is in need of some super TLC and I just want to give a shout out to our NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo who has been providing it. He has been truly awesome during this truly horrific period. If you haven’t seen him deliver his daily update, do so tomorrow. It’s all you need to see and hear on this massively wicked disease. Honesty with a good dose of hope and much needed TLC.

    And if course, a shout out to you Susan. You create a happy place for all of us to come to. You can’t imagine how much your writing and photos mean to us.

    God bless, stay well.

    • sbranch says:

      I am part of Governor Cuomo’s fan club, I watch him to get the basics almost every day ~ what a careful thoughtful guy he is ~ I think a perfect show for this dam panic would be daily updates with Gov. Cuomo and Dr. Fauci … that would be all we would need… also Governor Newsom of California ~ these guys are not mincing words, and I think they have saved many lives because they’ve told us the truth, and set strict rules. You too Sally, stay safe…xoxoxo

  17. Linda says:

    Susan! Just happened to look at your blog and was thrilled to see your new one. A belated happy birthday, you deserved such a fine day. I began reading….Dam-Panic and in my head kept trying to think, isn’t it pandemic????? This is so perfect. Joe is awesome. Thanks for taking us, keeping us , UP. And thanks for always giving us your perspective and wonderful kitty time.


  18. Monica Wilson says:

    So glad you had a wonderful birthday celebration! We are getting together with friends and family and book clubs and Bible Studies on Zoom and wondering how we ever did without it! We don’t want to return to normal, we want to return to a better normal! Let us hope and pray that what we have learned from this experience will carry forward and make our world a kinder, gentler place!

  19. Maureen says:

    Happy birthday! Thank you for your gift of cheer!

  20. Carol on the farm in Iowa says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Sounds like a perfect birthday.
    We Zoomed with our kids that live all over. That was fun. We got to hear my son tell how
    he miraculously got home from Africa when the State Department ordered everyone back.
    It was quite a feat!
    We had a full blown blizzard on Easter! Total white out conditions, but we were cozy and warm inside.
    Oh, and tonight we had to chase a skunk out of our garage. That was exciting and thankful we did not get sprayed. 😘

    • sbranch says:

      LOL … the skunk! We have them too … skunk smell in the air is one of our arbiters of spring! LOVE family reunions via Zoom!!💞

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        we skunks here, they sneak in under the house and try to sneak into the henhouse. so far I am having a skunk war with one of the little stinkers… anyone walks across our front porch and he lets them know his displeasure so I run and spray Febreze under the porch to remind to stop stinking up my home and leave my neighbors alone. hard to say who is winning. hugs…. 🙂

  21. Ruth Winkler from Vermont says:

    Thank you Susan for all your kind thoughts As always, you make me feel better while reading your words. Especially at the end. We all cried together to hear Andrea Bocelli, standing in front of the empty cathedral and hearing the words of his song, “Amazing Grace”.

    Happy Birthday dear Susan, and oh, please pat Jadk;s belly for me.

    Thank you dear Susan for your wonderful post. As always you make me feel better when I read your words. I am happy you had such a nice birthday with all your friends and Joe’s special birthday cake. And yes I am sure the tears were shed all over the world when Andrea Bocelli sang Amazing Grace. Oh and please give Jack a belly rub for me.

    • sbranch says:

      I was JUST in the kitchen, and there was Jack’s soft furry belly smiling up at me! 😂 Had a very nice scritch-scratch, which I’m now dedicating to you. 😊😘

  22. Sue reynolds says:

    Susan Branch! I love you so much!
    Please continue to remind us of the beauty and love in this world.

  23. Suzy says:

    Happy Birthday! 🎉🎂🎈🎁 💜

  24. Linda Flathers says:

    I am glad you had such a beautiful day to enjoy your wonderful birthday. As always, loved your bright and cheery post!

    A very happy birthday to you!

  25. Karen Hellier says:

    I just recently discovered your blog Susan and love it. It is so warm and comforting. And in reading the blog, I discovered your books, the first of which I have ordered and got a message that it’s been delivered to my mailbox, “The Fairy Tale Girl”) so I will go pick it up tomorrow and start. That’s a very nice way to spend my time in self-isolation don’t you think? I can’t wait to read about your life. Oh, and Happy Birthday a few days late!

  26. Such beautiful pictures! I’m so glad you had such a wonderful birthday.

    I think many children will be looking back as this as being one of the best times of their lives because they got so much time with their parents. I know that parents are worried about finances, but for kids in healthy homes I know they are loving this. I see how happy they are as they go by my house, walking, skating, and biking. The whole family together.

    Breakfast, lunch, and dinners together! (I have a line from one of your calendars in my kitchen – it isn’t what is on the table, but who is in the chairs!)

    They aren’t having to go to after school care and day care and never ending sports games, but instead are playing board games, reading together, having long imaginative play, and learning to cook and garden. They play in their backyards. They have downtime. They are resting. They are calm and peaceful. They are having a taste of the unscheduled freedom of childhood that the majority of us grew up with.

    They aren’t having to spend 8 hours away from home only to come home and do homework. They are getting a taste of the joys of homeschooling, and I hope that more parents will decide to homeschool on their own (for those that dislike it, know that they are doing public school at home, which is quite different from what true homeschool families do – we have a ton of choices and curriculum and choose what to do based on the needs of each child – there is a world of difference).

    I also think that there is going to be a baby boom in 9 months! I hope many more women realize the joys of homemaking – the reason we like your site so much, Susan, is that you exhibit such a love and joy of homemaking!

    I loved this post!

    • sbranch says:

      I love every word of what you’ve written … I always thank my mom for being home for us … coming in after a day of school to HER loving arms, was such a feeling of comfort. We felt so loved. The world has changed, now everyone needs two salaries to survive, but kids will never forget this time. It’s all they really want. It’s going to be VERY interesting to see what happens after this is over. We’re doing an amazing job of taking care of each other.

    • Sarah says:

      Janine, your words absolutely ring true! I’m 72, taught elementary school for 30 years, been retired for 22 years, and my heart is happy as I see families riding bikes together, strolling together, playing in their yards together, sitting on their front porch together. TOGETHER is what resonates with me! I’ve said for many years that children are too scheduled. You say, “unscheduled freedom of childhood that the majority of us grew up with.” Amen! Thank you for these words!
      Sarah in Austin, TX

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        Abso-dam-lutely !! You said it, Janine, Susan and Sarah. Hope so very much that communities,teachers and families can design a better system when this is over.
        Debbie in Maine, once a teacher, always a teacher

  27. Hazel Steeves says:

    Here’s to another wonderful year in your life’s journey…you bring us such comfort and peace.

  28. Susan E. says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! I love your blog, cookbooks, etc. Hosted my first Zoom tonight.

  29. Marge says:

    Just 2 comments? Hard to believe. Lovely letter as always. Happy belated birthday, Susan! Joe is so good to bake you a cake like he did. Those dish towels with Jack on them are fantastic. All the best to you from Memarge:)

    • sbranch says:

      I like to read them first and I couldn’t do it last night … so here I am this morning! xoxoxo

  30. Christy Brizendine says:

    Your posts always make me so happy. I love your attitude!
    Ament to everything you said!
    I am quarantined in a little apartment in Russia and we are not supposed to go outside so I really love all the beautiful pictures of nature ❤

    • sbranch says:

      Russia! So far away, yet here you are. We are so in this together! 🌷🌸🌷🌸 Stay safe Christy!

  31. Marcia says:

    What a lovely little bright spot in my email today! Happy belated birthday, Susan! Wishing you a many blessings! I, too, hope that the things we’ve been enjoying during this mandatory slow-down become part of our daily lives once again…but without the virus as you said!!

    Hugs and warm wishes!

  32. Dorenda D. says:

    LOVE your Brady Bunch reference! Zoom does look like that, doesn’t it? So funny!

  33. Debbie Clardy says:

    Wonderful, optimistic post, Susan, thank you!
    Debbie from Eastampton, NJ

  34. Stacey Nugent says:

    Again thank you so much! Belated Happy Birthday, you so deserve it with giving so much comfort. Amazing how now more than ever the well wishes of loved ones even via Zoom mean so much. Just got your autographed copy of the 30th edition of Heart of the Home. Sometimes I look at it before I go to sleep. I work in health care and every emotion for me seems heightened. Even with the Dam Panic people still get cancer, deal with ALS in the hospital and can’t have family and friends visit and as health care workers we are all wearing masks and still try to be empathetic. I find I go between angry and ready to burst into tears hourly and daily. I do look forward to seeing your blog. All take care and provide hope and comfort for yourselves and others wherever you can, hoping to get tp at Costco later this week, sometimes the most basic needs are now a shining light.😂

    • sbranch says:

      Dear Stacey, you described that so well. Want to throw my arms around you for a hug. Thank you for what you do. Seriously, once we’ve taken our masks off, there really needs to be a parade for our healthcare workers in every town. There will be a special place in heaven for those heroes. Our grocery store people too, and all the mask makers, volunteers ~ I guess for all of us, the people, who sequester themselves, many facing so much uncertainty, so as not to take up valuable hospital space.There are lots of people who will go to Costco for you Stacey … just raise your hand and you’ll see them come running. ♥️

  35. Melissa R says:

    Happy happy belated Bday!! Loved all the highlights that made it special in the midst of the dam-panic! ( perfect ! Thanks for that Joe!!) My favorite part of your blog is the end “Something amazing is happening …” Where you remind us of all the silver linings occurring – I really want to print that and post it everywhere! Praying for protection and a Great Awakening- love and blessings to you & yours

  36. Dominique says:

    Dearest Susan — I bought your updated cookbook in any case! The best cookbooks ever, ever!

  37. Janet Hundley says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan. Sorry it’s belated. I should know what day it is, but somehow I don’t seem to. I’ve been making masks for a group in Southeast WI ans well as for family and friends. What joy this has given me. I recently retired from nursing and was feeling like I needed to contribute somehow. I sure hope the masks are helping and I wish health to you, Joe and all.

  38. Kerri F says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for sharing your red-letter Easter birthday with us. We love the views of your home, your walk and your zoom party! Happiest birthday wishes to you.
    While we all do our best to stay safe we are finding our many blessings right inside the homes we share with the ones we love. We are finding peace and joy in trying new recipes, new hobbies and spring cleaning. We pray for all those working so hard and for those who are suffering. Thank you for brightening our days with your thoughts and beautiful art. Take care and wishes for all to stay safe and be well.

    • sbranch says:

      Honestly it’s the way life used to be before we all ran out the door! I wish we could have a better balance between work and home … this dam-panic is beginning to become an inspiration!

  39. Margot B says:

    Thanks for the banana fritter recipe! We are very cold too. The weather man said one more day and then it will be warming up to normal. 45-55 if one calls that warm. 🙄


  40. Kathi Steinhorst says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! I’m so glad you had such a wonderful day! Thank you for sharing your warm and beautiful thoughts with us once again! Here’s to all the silver linings of the Dam-Panic!
    from OR

  41. Michele Taylor says:

    Happy birthday, Susan! What a perfect day for a birthday! I’ve been thinking too about all we are learning during this time. Sooo hoping that we can use this knowledge to bring about better lives and unity for everyone in the world and not just go back to “same old, same old.”

  42. Jenn K says:

    Well, Happy Birthday! It does sound like it was a lovely day, and I’m so glad it was lovely for you!
    Like you I hope we will continue the beautiful things that have come out of this. Thank you for sharing!

  43. Shirley Albertson says:

    I thoroughly enjoy your pictures, writings and ramblings, and especially your paintings and lettering. I recently started watercolor painting and have dabbled in calligraphy and lettering long ago. I would love to practice lettering like yours. It looks like some is painted, but wondering what your pen preferences are. I splurged and ordered some Daniel Smith paints to play with, and now wishing I’d gotten some new pens as well.
    I get great joy from your books, calendars, and blogs. They are adorable, helpful (who doesn’t love good recipes), and remind me of all the simple pleasures in life. I thought I’d have more time to practice painting since I am home bound, but I am a middle school computers teacher and now we are trying to deliver remote learning, which is an enormous challenge. I need painting to distract me from the sadness in the world.
    Thank you and happy birthday!

    • sbranch says:

      I understand! Put your cursor on “ABOUT ME” at the top of my blog page and a drop-down will show up … go to MY ART STUDIO … lots of information about paints and pens and brushes and paper and everything is there. Thank you, Shirley!

  44. Penny Cooper says:

    So glad you had a very special birthday Susan ! Thank you also for your continued inspiration-at this very difficult time . The media sometimes makes this all feel so much worse…than need be . Stay safe & well !
    Penny from Mt.Rose

  45. Melanie Anne says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan!!! You are a gift to us al!! Ah, I love this post! So much happiness to be seen if we just look through grateful eyes. All the things you listed after “Something amazing is happening:” was SO, SO encouraging!! And this Saturday, we all have the “One World: Together At Home” concert to look forward to – broadcast on all the the major networks for us all to enjoy for free! It’s true that so much heartbreak and unbearable sadness has been happening in this Dam-Panic, but there is a big, fat juicy silver lining for sure!
    Please stay safe and well!

    Much love to you, Joe, and Jack! And all the girlfriends out there!

    • sbranch says:

      I keep hearing about the stress and anguish we are ALL feeling, in different degrees. Self-care is the only answer (can’t even imagine how our nurses and doctors are living through this), finding the silver lining is one small way, but I worry for people, big people putting their angst on little people. Little people not knowing what to do with it. Stress is as dangerous to our health as this virus. But the overwhelming response of the angels of the world is becoming as strong and powerful as the sadness, and that is a pure gift. 💝 xoxo

  46. Jan Mercer says:

    How perfect: “The Great Awakening”! Barbara Jean Murray,
    you have created the perfect summation phrase!

    Which means Susan Branch needs to do a’Great Awakening’ mug!
    Yes? And a special ‘Great Awakening’ blend of tea. And, a pair of ‘Great
    Awakening’ jammies.

    Symbols of our ‘Dam-panic’.

    Hint, Hint!

    Happy Birthday, Susan! Many more.

  47. Linda M says:

    Words of encouragement and not are so appreciated. Thank you. Loved your birthday party. That looked like a true memory maker. Drinks, cake, and laughter then dinner!
    Stay safe.

  48. Nicoline says:

    Sweet Susan,
    A very very happy (belated) birthday to you! So nice to read and see how lovely your special day was!!
    Oh wow, your very own apple tree seedlings!! Good luck with them!! Get out your apple sauce recipes!! I have a tray of Cosmos and zinnia seedlings growing in the windowsill, and I have already seen the hollyhocks from last year starting to grow too! Do you still have any in your garden?
    We’re still allowed out for a walk, and in the weekend we go to a nearby wooded area, and the buttercups and cow parsley are starting to make it look even more lovely and springlike!!
    And you had a huge hawk in your garden, big WOW!! In the woods on sunday, we were thrilled to see a tiny bird, and it was a darling little wren! Tiny WOW!! Have you ever seen one? It;s tiny, only about 8 to 12 cm, with a cute little tail, but it sings it’s tiny little heart out!!
    Thank you for Jack the finger puppet!! Very very cute and I think our kitties will like him as well!
    So, have a lovely day, lots of love from across the pond from
    Nicoline and her 3 men

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, the hollyhocks are coming back! Almost seems like we’re on the same weather trajectory, except no buttercups or cow parsley here … yes, darling wrens, we have them too … I think they’re the same as yours. Aren’t they wonderful! Hello to the boys, stay safe, lovely to hear from you!

  49. Jane says:

    I love reading about your Red Letter Days! Proof positive(to quote you!) that you are one happy person. Such spirit. Happy belated birthday—I know this will be one that goes down in the books! You are so spot on about the way the world has become kinder, how close families have become, and how we appreciate every moment outdoors.

    Sending love and best wishes to you and Joe, (and Jack, of course!). be safe and well.❤️

  50. Shirley Albertson says:

    I asked about the pens you use. I just found that info on your website. Thanks for sharing!

  51. Sue Sparks says:

    What a wonderful Easter birthday you had! Your Zoom party looked fun! We Zoomed with our family too (Our 3 kids &spouses, and 12 grandkids. You thought Brady Bunch, I thought Hollywood Squares (remember that game show?).😄HAPPY belated BIRTHDAY, Susan!!!

  52. Stephanie Davis says:

    Susan, thanks for sharing your Zoom Birthday with us! So glad it was such a wonderful day for you.. I am just so grateful that in the midst of this ‘dam panic’ that we have all this technology.. such a blessing for us all! I love the idea of ‘a great awakening’. I just hope as things gradually roll back to ‘normal’ that we stay ‘awake’! So much love happening everywhere..that’s definately the silver lining! Hope it warms up abit for you and you enjoy the rest of beautiful April! 💖

  53. Linda Badurek says:

    Belated Happy Birthday! Thank you for the lovely cheerful letter and sharing of your birthday!

  54. Paula, New Romney, UK says:

    Hi Susan,

    We all knew there’s a beautiful world out there full of beautiful people – just wish it hadn’t happened this way 😢 I think it’s up to us now, let’s all hold on to this Brave New World. Belated birthday wishes to you Susan 🎈🎉 I’m a Birthday Girl today and the plan is coffee and croissants with my dear husband and kitty and FaceTime with family and friends (must check out Zoom) sounds fun. Praying for us all to be safe and well 🙏🏻.

    God bless you dear friend 😘

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we did, we all knew, but what was making the news was doing us in! Happy Birthday Paula! 😘

  55. Amy J. Groh says:

    Sounds like a WONDERFUL birthday my dear!! You are so loved, and thank you for giving so much to us!! Your newsletters with their pictures and drawings always brighten my day.

  56. Chris Myers says:

    happy Birthday dear Susan….yes so much to be thankful at this time your lovely blog is wonderful to wake up to here in the UK… the sun is shining the birds are singing and everything is blossoming..truly spectacular…keep well and safe always.
    love Chris ❤️

  57. Nicoline says:

    Hi again, Susan…
    Forgot to tell you that we had tea in the garden on Sunday (felt like a lovely summery day-not like Monday, when we needed winter coats again!!) and toasted to your birthday! Not with alcohol, but with tea, your delicious Gingerbread cake, whipped cream and lemon sauce!
    Oh and our little clumps of bluebells are popping up too!
    Happy Wednesday

  58. Robbie Hall Raker says:

    Looks like a pretty darn-wonderful Bday! Wishing you a belated but heartfelt HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Thank you for sharing your ‘happiness gene’, it’s especially meaningful in the Dampanic Days.

    Robbie from Texas

  59. What a beautiful post (as if anything you posted could ever be anything else but beautiful)! It was a real pick-me-upper from beginning to end. A big bundle of positivity to help drown out the negative. Even the music sounds hopeful! I think at the end of all of this we will all be able to look back and think didn’t we all do a great job of rising above the madness! Its been a wonderful opportunity to focus on the things in life that truly matter most of all, and oh yes, to see the cream rise to the top. It has restored my faith in humanity and the goodness of people and it has helped to make the small things in life that often get over-looked become a little bit sweeter and more precious.

    I don’t know why but I always thought your birthday was in August. Here I was thinking that you too were a Leo. How did I get that so wrong! DUH! Belated Happy Birthday Greetings! It looks as if you had a fabulous day! Isn’t modern technology so very wonderful! Here’s to many, many more Happy Birthday’s to come! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      It’s Joe that has a birthday in August! The 14th … my dad too, his was on the 5th. Yes, as horrible as WWII was, as horrible as the Depression was, the people that survived had a different connection to the world. They knew how much they needed each other. They weren’t wasteful, they found contentment in the little things. Love hearing from you Marie, have a great day!

  60. Rachel Lucas says:

    We LOVED the birthday party…it was such fun! And love this post, taking me away from the scary world outside and into your beautiful home-of-love! By the way, I heard this morning on the news…the 99 year old veteran you mentioned, who’s raising money for the NHS by walking around his yard using his walker? He has raised £4 MILLION!!! So far! And he doesn’t want to stop. Bless his heart. And bless all of you. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      And this morning I heard it was 5 million, that man has started something!!! Isn’t he an ispiration Ray? Wonderful. And think how he must feel!😥 Bless you right back my dear darling girlfriend. xoxoxo

      • Rachel Lucas says:

        And now it’s £6 million…an absolute inspiration, dear man. And the Duke of Westminster has just donated £12.5 million of his own money too – of course, there are people saying ‘he can afford it’ which is true – but many that can DON’T! And, like the tale of the Widow’s Mite, £1, £10 or £10 million are all the same if that’s all you can spare…XoXo

  61. Sandra Walton says:

    Thank you Susan for linking us all this strange’s so true that so much good and joy has come form the simple things we share..the flowers in our garden,our friends,our Zoom meetings when we see each others faces…just joy.
    Speaking on th phone my friends said at this time of lockdown..much prefer your words…
    Think of what you can do…not what you can’t..and don’t think about the problems think of the son then replied to me..and Mum remember…gardening means you believe in tomorrow…the story of your apple seeds.
    Always loved the story of Johnny Appleseed.
    So dear Susan..sending love and hugs to everyone from the uk…keep strong and believe in this beautiful world
    Thank you
    Sandra in Birmingham

  62. Vicki B says:

    Happy belated birthday and Easter!! I watched the movie, Shirley Valentine, last night and didn’t want it to end!! In my mind’s eye I am still sitting at that little table by the edge of the sea watching the sunset! Anywho, I digress! I seem to remember some time back you had posted all the lyrics to a children’s song, Playmate, come out and play with me… I care for my six-month old grandson and he loves being sung to. I attempt this one but get stuck with the additional verses! Thank you, and stay safe !! 😷

    • sbranch says:

      I saw it years back and I’m STILL sitting at that little table listening to the water lapping and watching the sun go down!!! It’s a great movie! Yes! HERE YOU GO … the Playmate Song . . .♥️

  63. Ann says:

    This is the best, most loveliest post ever! 😊❤️ Happy birthday to you and thank you so much for sharing your joy with us!

  64. Carol Cyr says:

    Thank you for finding the silver lining in this trying time! You’re right, regular people are the unsung heroes. Beautifully said.

  65. Julie Ratcliffe says:

    What a delightful surprise it was to find your blog in my inbox this morning. The weather over here in the UK has been beautiful so working in the garden has been a real blessing. I feel so sad for all those who are in lock down with no outside space. I don’t know if you know that this morning Captain Tom’s NHS fundraising effort has gone over £5 million. Isn’t that amazing? Thank you so much for sharing his story here Susan. Every share makes a difference. Wishing you a belated happy birthday lovely lady. xxx

    • sbranch says:

      When I wrote that on the post it was only at 1 million… I decided not to say that because I had a feeling that number was going up ~ but that was YESTERDAY … and now it’s 5 million.😲 wow! I am SO HAPPY for this dear man … who gets to be 99 and unexpectedly have the most wonderful days of their lives? Making a difference and pulling everyone along with him!💞

  66. Patricia Randall says:

    What a wonderful post! Loved every bit of it. Thank you so much!! And a belated Happy Birthday and Happy Easter!!! It was my husband’s birthday, too. Our children and grandchildren drove by to sing and wave from afar!!! So different but so wonderful. However, I can’t wait for the HUGS and KISSES again.

    Stay well and positive. Can’t wait for your next post in my mailbox!!!

    Much love

  67. Mary Vona says:

    Happy belated birthday ! Thankyou so much for your beautiful Easter post in this dark time.
    Staying home, cooking,baking and sewing . Some for us and some for others. See you on the other side of this!😎

  68. A really happy birthday to you, Susan!!! I see you had a wonderful day. XOXO

  69. Carol Wakefield says:

    Amen, dear Susan! What a beautiful, uplifting post! Thank you for seeing and sharing the silver lining of this Dam-panic. You are a breath of fresh air in a world panicked by 24-hour news. I prefer the Susan Branch News myself😉. Happy Birthday!!🥳

  70. Audrey Serrecchia says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan❣️What a wonderful and memorable day to celebrate YOU 🎂🐰 Thank you for all the entertainment this blog brings especially when there’s lots of time and quiet to really enjoy it 👏
    Much Love to You and Joe ❤️

  71. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Happy Birthday dear Susan! Thank you for sharing your wonderful red letter day with us. It’s so nice to have something else to think about — something fun! And getting out in nature is always a good way to blow the cobwebs away and gain some perspective.

  72. Gina Wheeler says:

    So glad you had a nice birthday. My birthday was March 31st (Aries :)) and it was not anything like yours. I am still sad over it. While everyone is eating for comfort I am dieting to try and lose weight so I don’t gain more!! So there was no birthday cake for me… :(…. Or presents or party. BUT… last year for my birthday (it was the big 5-0).. I went to England and attended a Jane Austen ball at Chatsworth House!! That trip will hold me over for years to come. Good thing a read A Fine Romane before I went! One of our fondest memories was driving through the hedgerows!! 🙂
    Thank you for your posts.. they are very much needed and appreciated during this difficult time! After your last post I bought myself some flowers at the store and brought in some spring and sunshine to my kitchen… and you know- it worked!! Then my friend did it too!! Keep spreading the love and joy!! And God bless!!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, yes, that would probably hold me over too! A Jane Austen ball at Chatsworth House! How did that happen? You too, Gina, keep spreading the love and the joy and God bless you and yours.

      • Gina Wheeler says:

        I started attending regency balls a couple years ago and now quite honestly I can not envision a more fun evening!! When my husband said he would go to England, I started on a year long planning process. We ended up going to many of the places they filmed the 2005 P&P movie. While doing my research, I saw that Chatsworth House, (Mr. Darcy’s house in the movie), has a Jane Austen ball 2x a year so I planned our trip around one of them.. All my planning paid off… it was a trip of a lifetime for both of us. Our dream is to get back there again someday… There is something about the English countryside.. well… you know what I am talking about 😉

  73. Gina Wheeler says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! From one Aries to another!

  74. Beth from Iowa says:

    Thanks so much for the wonderful post – so glad that your birthday was so beautiful (you absolutely deserve it!). The dam panic is indeed giving everyone pause to stop and THINK. Perhaps some of this empathy really will stick around. I think it’s especially a good lesson for all the littles. Love the Jack look-alike tea towel😘!!

  75. Kathy Pink says:

    Happy Belated Birthday, Susan! Thank you so much for this lovely letter full of happy news and reminders about finding contentment in the little things. Just when I needed it most, you lifted me up! My favorite book of yours is “Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams” and I think I’m going to read it for the fourth time. I just love the story of how you found and transformed that little cottage into your own cozy home. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us! Stay well!

  76. Kitty DeMento says:

    Dear Susan:
    I somehow can never find my message the day after I send them-
    Must be a problem on my end!!!
    I think I will not leave a reply going forward since you don’t seem to see them, but it’s important that you know I will always be a ‘girlfriend’, will keep up with your books and products and blog, and most of all I wanted to wish you a very Happy Belated birthday!!!

    The celebrations sounded wonderful!!!!

    Much love to you and Joe, stay safe


    • sbranch says:

      I’m the problem Kitty … when I do a new post, I get lots of comments bunched up and right away and if I don’t read them, I’ll never get to go back, so I don’t allow them to go up until I do … and therein lies the problem. I’m getting there. Right now, I have 165 comments waiting for me, but more do keep coming in ~ sooner or later I always catch up. Just wanted you to know! I always see them! I hope you see this one! You too, Kitty, stay safe!

  77. Wendy says:

    Belated Happy Birthday! I am glad your day was precious…a cherished memory of love in difficult times.

  78. Dianne says:

    Yes, yes, yes! “Can’t we figure out how to do this without a virus?” I totally agree, Susan. There have been some beautiful life lessons and heartwarming examples that have come out of this, but what a price to pay for them. I do hope and pray that we will come out of this changed for the better, appreciate each other and the little, most important things more, and never forget. Thank you for sharing your birthday celebration with us and scattering joy in the darkness. You’re a true treasure in this world!

  79. Chris Wells. Knickerbocker, TX says:

    Dear Susan, Happy Birthday, belated! I am glad you still had a wonderful time via Zoom. Wasn’t it great that Rachel and Paul could be there for your birthday. Zoom is clearly better than just FaceTime, but I don’t have time to figure it out. Today is Mom’s 97th birthday and we will be FaceTiming with family at different times of the day. Mom is on Hospice care now. We are all dealing with this Damn Panic as best we can. I try to get outside everyday, but our weather turned cold, I do so much better when I can be outside working in the yard. I try to watch just enough news to know what is going on and then turn it off! My saving grace in all this is the little rescue dog I adopted last fall. A silly little terrier with crooked ears that looks like he was put together with left over pieces and parts. He makes me laugh every single day, whether I want to or not!! I have no doubt why his path ended at my door. He was meant to be mine. And so we all march onward until we reach the other side of this thing, with a new respect for the health care workers, the janitors, the bus drivers, the grocery store workers who are putting their lives on the line everyday just going to work. I hope we continue to be grateful after this is all over. Love to all the girl friends, be safe.
    I also wanted to thank you for putting the cups on sale…I bought the little house cup, it is my commemorative pandemic cup!

    • sbranch says:

      Loved all your words dear Chris. I’ll just say, Zoom is like 2 clicks and you’re done. I’ve never seen anything so easy. But you have FaceTime so it’s working. Love you dear. Stay safe.🙏🌷

  80. Cathy says:

    Happy birthday Susan! ❤️🎂🎉💐🎁🎶❤️

  81. Regina Carretta says:

    good morning, dear Susan….loving your words and pictures this morning…..yesterday a friend and her 7 year old came over… draw in the garden and to climb the cherry tree….today my Zoom watercolour class starts, with the group who had the Trevi Italy workshop in September (did we really get to go to Italy this past fall, and sketch, paint, live in Trevi for a week?) Sometimes I get overwhelmed about how fortunate I am……I do remain confused as to why, here in the United States, we can’t have one….yes, one main source of help for this virus? I do remain confused as to why, here in the United States, we can’t have one source of leadership that funnels down to all levels of our states? I do know citizens, neighbors, people are singing to each other, are applauding and shouting words of love and support, are being together as best they can, as far away as they can…..I do know people are sharing time, meals, laughter, music, art, words of wisdom….most days I wake up feeling hopeful….I want the government to stop the hate, the darkness, the lack of wanting us to be United ………you are adored, Susan, and you feel like a dear friend, who lives in New England….a dear friend who is talented at bringing us together….thank you sweetie…..
    Regina, Seattle

    • sbranch says:

      It will be up to us, the people, because having us divided works in their favor … but not ours, and I’m seeing so many signs of healing. Sending prayers and love … 🙏♥️👏

  82. Pat says:

    Happy belated birthday Susan. And thank you for sharing some positive joy.

  83. Kay says:

    Happy birthday, Susan! I look forward to your beautiful newsletters and every time I find one in my email, it’s a Red Letter Day ✅. Stay safe, stay healthy!

  84. jeanie says:

    You are saying the things I’ve been saying here for days — there is much that is good coming out the horror of death, fear, sadness, illness and loss. I don’t know that it makes anything better for those experiencing those things right now as it is so raw. But it gives me hope to see people (well, far from all people, but a lot of people) cooperating by wearing masks in public to protect themselves and others. The air is so much cleaner. It’s quieter, too, with fewer cars. People are being incredibly kind (I’ll soon be writing about some surprising kindnesses that have come my way). We have time, when before we’ve often said, “” If I only had the time…”; we are playing board games and reaching out to those we touch base with only at Christmas. We are being creative in the kitchen, trying new things. We are walking more. It’s far from rosy. There are nightmares, there is dreadful loss, there is fear. But there is also love.

    Speaking of which, I loved how you celebrated your beautiful birthday ands end along my belated wishes. Thank you for the finger puppet graphic. That will go into a little care envelope for my littles. Their ignorance is bliss. And thank you for letting us spend a little time in your world with its promise and hope.

  85. Tawni Urrutia says:

    Good morning Sweet Susan!
    I love how you are the embodiment of vintage charm meets grace in technology. What a delightful way to celebrate in place!
    Your blogs are such a welcome breath of joy and FUN. And it’s so wonderful to wrap my arms around fun. He and I are pretty good pals and he’s been elusive lately.
    I wish you a day filled with treats and marvelous surprises from start to finish.
    Tawni Urrutia, in Lodi, Ca

  86. Helen Edwards says:

    ❤️ Thank you!

  87. Pat Basalla says:

    Thanks once again, Susan, for helping me clearly see the good. That is your best thing: finding the good!

    I printed the last paragraphs of this post to keep by my reading chair to read each day as a stress-reducer.

    Love to you and a Joe! And thanks.💕

  88. Lorraine says:

    Thank you for sharing your birthday fun with us. And Congratulations to everyone who won the raffle.

    I just had a thought… Have you thought about making some of your art into jigsaw puzzles? I’ve been doing quite a few and it would be fun to a puzzle or two or three with some of your art.

    Stay healthy and warm and loving. Namaste

  89. Julie V. from Springfield, MO says:

    Happy Birthday Belated Birthday. Sent you birthday greeting on Twitter Sunday. I actually have your birthday written in my planner since we share the same birthday month. Mine is coming up on the Friday the 17th. I have got my birthday mug out and ready. What a wonderful, hopeful, lovely blog. I so look forward to setting down with a cup of tea and reading it. The hope of spring and warm sunny weather certainly does ones’ heart and soul good. Don’t you love Zoom – we have a weekly Zoom with our family to help keep us all sane during this crazy scary time. A good part of our family is in the medical profession and we are all stressed to the max and to be able to see and talk with each other is lovely. Actually while reading your post with the quotes and lovely pictures and the feeling of hope I am crying my eyes out- the music just got me. Thank you for bringing us all together to see how wonderful we are as a people when we come together to support and give hope for a better day. I hope we will all remember that we don’t need something so terrible to make us the good people we are.
    Stay safe and healthy – hello to Joe and Jack!

  90. Edy says:

    I love your tiny teapot. What a winsome surprise

  91. Janet says:

    hello Susan! You might want to spray your crabapple tree with dormant oil in early spring – works on apple trees, might work on crabapple trees. Just a thought. Happy spring!

  92. Thank you for a lovely spring post…sending belated birthday greetings! Seeing the flowers popping up, blues skies, and a Zoom of your dear friends…how terrific, it lifts our spirits! And that beautiful stove of yours…ahhh. I’m happy to report that the 1950 Hotpoint I found is working perfectly and gave us a great Easter dinner (yes, I was worried!)

    Right now I’m looking madly for quote of yours I can’t pin down…I’d like to send it to a friend who’s feeling a little overwhelmed right now . I jotted part of it down for me, but would like to send her the entire post…it was: “You need to know that you are the fairies that run ahead and make everything magical,
    because you know that even the smallest of things can be special.” When time allows, can you point me to that? I’ll continue to search on…it’s truly something we all need to re-read these days…thanks so much!

  93. Mary Jane Hardy says:

    Your birthday sounded wonderful. Here is a wish for a wonderful year ahead. Somehow I think there is a beautiful lesson in all of this. The world slowing down, people being home, together. The illness is horrific. My daughter is an RN and right now her whole floor is Covid patients. But, from all this I do think the slowing down, families being together, the kindness most people are showing is so very much needed in this world. My prayer is for everyone to really pay attention and be kind, to take this forced time out to really connect as families and people being good to each other. For us all to calm down a bit. To really see that we do need the love and compassion for ourselves and other people. People helping each other, in some ways people have forgotten how much we all need each other. As horrible as this is, I hope we take the lessons we have learned and keep practicing them. A kinder and more gentle world and focusing on all the good we really do have . I wish everyone good health and wonderful family times during this. And all of us to be kinder and gentler as we move on from this. We need a whole lot of Susan Branch people out there! Love and good health, and many Blessings to all of you.

    Mary Jane

    • sbranch says:

      It’s the LEAST we can do considering what your daughter is doing for us now. Please give her our love and tell her how MUCH she is appreciated, and let her know what a HERO she is. 🌷👏👏👏👏👏

  94. Connie Rose Woehler says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Thank you for your beautiful blog. I look so forward to each and everyone of them. I had to stop in the middle of this one and make the crown! Luckily I had on hand heavy stock paper and also ink in my printer. For Easter, I did a Virtual Bunny Banner project with my 3 sweet granddaughters in Texas. So, I have decided that this will be another project that we can remotely do together . Then, when we can be together again, we’ll have our very own tea party and wear our crowns! I have mine on now as I write this. So sweet! Thank you for all the freebies you offer. I have made each an every bookmark that you have offered, both for myself and for my bookclub. You are the best! Happy, Happy Birthday! And Happy Spring too!

  95. Pat Harmon says:

    Amen to the healing of the earth and it’s people in so many ways! Look for the blessings, always. Susan, you and Joe and Jack are a ray of sunshine. The cake and potatoes are awesome! Love all the goodies in the blog. Thank you for the cheer. I’m enjoying my tea and sunshine and watching my pansy basket sway in the breeze. It’s a lovely day today….. Blessings and XOXOXO❤️

  96. Deborah Britton says:

    Love your posts Susan!!! You are truly a kindred spirit and I get so much happiness out of reading your words and seeing your photos and your paintings! Stay safe and well. Deborah

  97. Tracey says:

    Hello Susan!
    I was enjoying my copy of the 30th anniversary edition of Heart of the Home when your post arrived in my inbox. Two very lovely and welcome diversions from what I will only refer to now, thanks to you and Joe, as the Time of the Dam-Panic.
    Happy Birthday Susan! My birthday is the day before yours 🥳 and for some reason ✨ we both decided to plant apple seeds at the same time! My inspiration came from noticing that the seeds in an apple I was eating had started to sprout so I thought I’d help them out. 🌱 😊
    Sending love and wishes for good health to you and all the sisters!💗

  98. Dixie says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan.
    Looks like you had a lovely zooming time!
    May all three of you stay well and safe.

  99. Lynda says:

    Happy Birthday! Thank you for being the bright spot in my day.

  100. Shirley Graham says:

    Belated “Happy Birthday”!!! We have sunshine today even though still cold. Have never spent so much time alone for sure! I’m grateful for my children who check in every day. Friends call to check in also. Trying not to worry! Thank you so much for your blog & love the pictures of Jack. Take care & am looking forward to more books!!!

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