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. Kate says:

    Happy belated Spring Birthday dear Susan. Your post brought tears but the joyful kind (as Dickens said). Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful life. Joe’s cake looks delicious!

  2. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    “Happy Belated Birthday” dear Susan. Your very SPECIAL day sounded lovely w/ everything that you would want all rolled up w/ a BIG RED BOW!
    My husband Joe & I also did ZOOM w/ all of our 6 children, their spouses & our 9 grandchildren & it was wonderful 🙂 4 families live in our area & 2 families live in another state. Our Easter Sunday turned out better than I thought it could thanks to the modern tech of ZOOM, E-MAIL, VIEW CLICK, phone calls, & SNAIL MAIL Easter greeting cards. It was a very different Easter celebration, but beautiful just the same.
    God will continue to bring us JOYS as we get through this difficult time.
    “Miracles happen to those who believe in them” Bernard Berenson
    Be safe, be strong & stay healthy Susan. Peace to you, Joe & your kitty Jack.

  3. Judy says:

    Thank you for sharing so much with us, inspiring, calming, and hopeful. I love your artwork, writing and Jack. I had a tuxedo cat that I think was my soulmate kitty. I have others that I love too but Frank (that was his name) just took my heart and still has a part of it. I am happy when I see Jack in our posts.

  4. Eileen Trupia says:

    Lovely thoughts and photos plus the determination to call a birthday spent in isolation “a red letter day” are why you inspire so many. I’ve reminded those for whom I’ve bought your books that this is a great time to read them. 🙂

  5. Nancy Coler says:

    Dear Susan, I am cheered by your message this morning of having your birthday in the midst of this Dam-Panic. My birthday is this month as well and I have been a bit selfishly bummed out about spending it alone. You certainly made it a splendid day for yourself and with it being Easter as well! Technology has been such a gift to us during these times. Loved seeing your Zoom party. Happy birthday Susan. Thank you for the many years of smiles you have brought my way.
    Love you, Nancy

    • sbranch says:

      Plan a Zoom party Nancy, it will give you something wonderful to look forward to. And remember guests can come from ANYWHERE in the world! Happy Birthday!💝

  6. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Ahhh…bliss…your lovingly uplifting blog! I am pleased you had such a fun birthday. Your smile and joy show through your words.
    I usually host an Easter breakfast for my children and grandchildren. But not this year. However, I am grateful we are all healthy. This year it was bagels and just Tom and me. We were able to grill a yummy steak for dinner, just us and the pups, and the movie “1917” afterwards.
    No tests or testing sites here in coastal North Carolina and lots of people not paying attention and clamoring for the state to be “open.” Too soon. We need to stay home, social distance, wear a mask, be careful, and wash hands. Our neighbor is Camp LeJeune . Those Marines are all pretty much locked down on base or in their homes. Lots of precautions that they adhere to. m
    Marines in the neighborhood even jog or push strollers with masks on. Wish local civilians would do the same.
    Congratulations to the lucky winners of your book. I have it and love it.
    Music, movies, tv, books, walks, baking, puzzles are all our best friends these days. Prayers for our healthcare workers, elderly, those that are ill. Prayers for all of us.
    I wish you and Joe many more joyous and healthy days.

    • sbranch says:

      Keep yourself safe Peggy … some folks don’t seem to realize that this thing can’t end until we do what we need to do. Just hearing Gov. Cuomo on TV right now … such a good guy. He says NY is beginning to flatten, although they did lose 752 souls yesterday, so this is just not over. Sending love. xoxoxo

  7. LindaSonia says:

    Happy Belated Birthday!!
    p.s. have to say that little kittykat of yours REALLY loves the camera – so funny, so cute and sooo sweet!!

  8. Karen Lotito says:

    Happy Belated Birthday, Susan! Thank you so much for sharing your birthday party! Zoom is quite wonderful; we’ve been using it for “virtual coffee breaks” and other meetings. So glad you had a luv-lee Easter. We had a nice holiday. I made fresh ham, truffled cauliflower, sweet potatoes, dear hubby made a big salad and I made an apple tart for dessert. I picked forsythia and daffodils from our yard and they made a pretty centerpiece. My dad always loved yellow flowers. I hope you are keeping safe and well. In the meantime, we are awaiting closing here and our house in Maine should be completed mid-June! Some good news during some difficult times. But in these times I have found that I have been sleeping better, spending time more in nature, watching the birds (love that red-tailed hawk; they are glorious and are considered spiritual messengers), I’ve been reading and crafting like crazy. Enjoy this Spring season and love to Joe and Jack, too! Love, Karen xoxo

  9. Brenda W says:

    Joe’s cake looks so delicious! Can you share the recipe please?

    • sbranch says:

      It’s that old fashioned icebox cake our mothers made (very popular in the 60s) … so simple. You get a couple of boxes of those very thin chocolate wafer cookies … stack them in rows with whipped cream between each wafer, then cover the whole thing with more whipped cream. Let it chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight, because the cream sinks into the cookies and softens them and you end up with a delicious chocolaty whipped cream cake.🌷

  10. Nancy Brown says:

    Hello Susan,
    Belated birthday wishes to you! I celebrated my birthday on the 5th and on Easter my husband and I celebrated 51 years of wedded bliss. I too had the best days ever in spite of the ‘Dam-panic’. God is always with us . It’s too bad that He allows this in order for us to stop and hear Him. People are inherently kind and loving, but they are too much in the world. I thank you for sharing the God given gifts of your talent and self with us all. You bring laughter, happiness and joy to so many. Much good is coming forth from so much sadness, and this too shall pass. Hope springs eternal! Have a blessed day, week, year. LIFE!

  11. Marilyn J Bunte says:

    Good morning
    I loved what Rachael wrote. Taking me away from the scary world outside and taking me into your beautiful home of love. My hope of the world after the dam panic, we all become softer and kinder to each other. Lets make new habits that we carry with us into our lives after the world crisis.
    I woke up 5:00 to hear my birds outside, singing to me, my own private concert.
    Have a sunshine day,☀️

  12. Cindy says:

    Thank you, Susan, for your blog and your ideas. I enjoy everything that you write. Very uplifting!

  13. Judy from Maine says:

    Yikes, thank you, thank you…what a huge surprise when I saw my name as pick # 3. Made my day.
    Thank you also for a very uplifting blog today and always.

  14. Suzanne Nast says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks so much for all your encouraging and inspiring words. And Happy Birthday to you. My birthday is early April also. You and Joe stay well. Suzanne

  15. Jean Burns says:


    “ We are all in this together.” Love this! It is so inspiring to see so many people helping one another. Your posts are also a source of helping us to cope with this dam-panic. Always uplifting and a big thank you for that. We will survive this and I pray that we can continue to be kind and grateful for one another. Happy Birthday! Jean 🌷🌷😀

  16. Jodi Luciano Sanders says:

    You are my sunshine on a cloudy day ….. things continue to be a bit grim here in our mountain haven but I took your advice and turned off the news for the rest of the day! I am still weeping after listening to Bocelli’s Ave Maria at least 10 times. Happy birthday … it was luv-lee to get lost in your joy 🎂

  17. Sue lamke says:

    Ordered the birthday cup for my daughter whose birthday is Sunday. She will love it.

  18. Lena Boyd says:

    Oh, you had a happy Easter and a very happy Birthday and friends and Joe made you a Birthday Cake. Wonderful, another memory to add to all the other happy Memories in your life.
    Those ugly grew worms, which attack your little Cherry Tree are “Army Worms” and you can have the tree sprayed for them. We had them years ago, and after the spraying, our little tree was beautiful.
    I enjoy your blog so much, stay well.

    • sbranch says:

      We sprayed 3 years in a row . . .! It was SO bad here. But we didn’t do it last year . . . things were better, and this year, we have flowers!

  19. Sue Stoodt says:

    Happy belated birthday to our dearest girlfriend! Wait? What? 73? How can that be? For some reason, I thought this was the big 7-0! OH, now I remember! I MET you when you were a spry 69 at that beautiful afternoon tea in Wilmette (or was it Winnetka? One of those fancy “W” towns!) in Illinois, 4 years ago this spring. Wasn’t that the loveliest of tea parties? I cherish the memory of that rainy, rainy day in a room filled with girlfriends and family members and the most beautiful tea table! You will always be that young gal standing outside your first cottage on the island. HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY! And EVERY best wish for a beautiful, happy, healthy new year. THANK YOU FOR BEING BORN! And for just such a time as this! Keep shining your radiant light with the world, dear Susan. You are well-loved. XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you right back Sue! Yes, it was a wonderful tea party!! Yes, a mere 61 years past 12! 💝 xoxo

  20. Barb says:

    Every time you write a post I thank you for including Jack. I would love to be able to cuddle a kitty, but my asthma would do me in. So, I get vicarious kitty cuddles and cuteness from Jack. Please tell him a big thank you from me. Oh and you and Joe are good too. LOL. Sending love and thank you from Barb

  21. Lucia Donahower says:

    Dear Susan,
    What a lovely post! Happy Birthday to you 🎂🎂🎉🎉💐💐🎈🎈🍾🍾!! Thank you for the baked potato’s recipe and for sharing all those wonderful photos.
    How wonderful that your birthday fell on Easter, and you were celebrated by all your friends on Zoom.
    Wishing you and Joe a wonderful week.

  22. Kate says:

    So much I want to say about this post, but there’s not enough room. Just love the optimism and fun in a time of pessimism and fear. Praying for our president and our country that we all come out of this better than when we started. We are watching 800 words. A lot of bed hopping and I feel like strangling George sometimes when he allows people to walk all over him, but I still love it. I wish we had a walk to the sea. Sounds wonderful. A belated Happy Birthday and many more to you!

  23. Sandy says:

    Hi Susan, I have read where Zoom users are being hacked, use carefully till the bugs are fixed 🥰

  24. Dianne Metsger says:

    I am so glad that your birthday was so lovely, and I do hope that all of your wishes come true (even if you and your girlfriends didn’t place your rings over the candle on the cake before making a wish). Spring, as the season of hope and rebirth, seems to be making her presence known. The forsythia near me is absolutely stunning this year- such a brilliant yellow. The cherry trees are blooming, and the Japanese tulip trees are beginning to flower. It really is uplifting, as I drive to the area in which I walk (practicing social distancing, as I do). I am re-discovering the heart of the home, as I both read your cookbook (I have both editions) and self-isolate. Since so many of us are discovering or re-discovering the heart of the home (yeast is now becoming difficult to find), I was wondering if you might consider re-issuing your heart of the home charm. I’m being a little selfish, as I missed out the first time around. I do think, however, that it would serve as a reminder to us, when all this is over, to carry our resolutions forward as we return to a new “normal”. It seems as if, in the past, it was a little too easy to slip back into old patterns of behavior. Please continue to stay safe and be well. You are a breath of sunshine in all of our lives.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Dianne! I will see if we can do it . . . the manufacturer makes us buy so MANY of them … I hate to do it unless there are lots of girlfriends who want it and so many got it the first time. I’ll check with Sheri and see if she’s been getting requests. Lovely that you’re able to experience spring where you are! It truly is uplifting… you do feel renewed! And yes, those old patterns ~ I want them to change with a new world view. This garden given to us by God to take care of, his creatures, the weakest among us and the less fortunate. I hope that’s not asking too much.♥️

  25. Margaret Harke says:

    Again as always, thank you, Susan, for a delightful time, so need right now. Love spending a quiet time reding your blog and enjoying a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Glad your birthday went so well.

  26. Jennifer J Lauri says:

    What a wonderful time I had reading this particular blog. Happy belated Birthday dear Susan. Everything you said about the positivity this “dam” virus has brought on, is so astounding and accurate. I live in the suburbs of New York City, and hear the good and the terrible each night on the news. So, like you and Joe, I end up watching “Notting Hill”, “The Holiday” and “Spaceballs”!! “Emma” is next on my re-watch list. Love to you and your loved ones <3

    • sbranch says:

      You’ve picked some good ones. Easy to get out of reality, and every moment there, is a good moment these days! xoxo

  27. Kelly B in Pittsburgh says:

    A belated Happy Easter and happy birthday and a Happy Anniversary to you two lovebirds! Thank you for another beautiful blog post!

  28. Annette Baker says:

    A visit to your world is such a gift. Gratefully,Annette

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

    Good morning Susan, Hello Girlfriends. well with our tractor parade getting started and the tractors chugging up and down the road daily we finally had a comical episode to this event. seems one of the farmers drove down the road to the gas station to fuel up and went over to the coffee stand for a cup of hot coffee for the ride to the field. he left the keys in the ignition to the tractor and some knuckleheaded kid stole the tractor and went on a wild joy ride up the road and all around town. the neighbors saw the tractor speeding back up the road (ever see a tractor speeding??? hilarious) and there 3 sheriff’s vehicles and 1 Oregon State Police car chasing him. we watched that tractor chugging up the road and the cops right behind him and we were all puzzled by that as we thought they were trying to give the farmer a ticket for speeding or something, imagine all the jokes when we found out someone stole his tractor and was joy riding…. LOL!!! it was quite an event and yes they eventually caught him… he ran out of fuel. the farmer was quite willing to let the charges be dropped so long as the kid’s parents reimbursed him for the loss of the fuel. got even funnier when a neighbor hollered that the tractor was on the local news and to turn it on, so we all di and sure enough there was a long range shot of that speeding tractor going chug, chug up the road and the cop cars right behind him. LOL!!!! what an entertaining event for the day. life in the country, sure gets funny at times. stay well, stay safe and stay healthy. hugs….. 😀

    • sbranch says:

      This sounds like an Alice’s Restaurant Arlo Guthrie kind of song! I had to go looking for that speeding tractor! I found THIS and although it’s funny too, it’s not as funny as yours and I don’t think it’s the same event. Yes, country life is very up-close! xoxo

      • pat addison ( cave junction, OR) says:

        LOL!!! 2 tractor thefts in one day, the cops were busy for sure. that was not our tractor theft, but that was one the neighbor was shouting about. it was a sight to that tractor chugging down the road and zoom, zoom, zoom the cop cars chasing it… hilarious. the kid’s parents did reimburse the farmer for the fuel and that kid is missing is allowance for a long, long time. on a quick note my MIL is back in the hospital again… this time with pneumonia. she was admitted this morning and we figure she will be there a week or so. the hospital has a no visitors policy right now due to the virus so FIL is going nuts trying to get in to see her. will keep you posted. hugs…

  30. Kathleen Williams says:

    Beautiful post Susan….so enjoy spending time with you…thank you and happy belated birthday.

  31. Sally B. Snow says:

    Happy Birthday Susan…I went to the Mother’s Day crown but the quote band is nowhere to be found. There are only 3 papers in the ‘stash’ link. What am I doing wrong?

    • sbranch says:

      It’s there Sally, look closer, I think there are something like 3 pdf … if you don’t see it, let me know and I’ll have Kellee walk you through it! ♥️

      • Dianne says:

        I had trouble finding the quote as well. It is there ; it appears with one of the papers when you “zoom” in further.

      • Dianne says:

        I just rechecked the link. When you click on the first pattern (the one with little pink flowers) , it will appear at the top. Hope you can find it

  32. Kate Burroughs says:

    We are a two-car family with all electric cars: a Chevy Bolt which we bought a year & 5 months ago. Which inspired us to get a Tesla X for the 2nd car, bought 12/31/19. Yes, the skies can stay blue and unpolluted if we ALL drove electric cars/trucks. If you do a LOT of driving, get a Tesla. Much better infrastructure for charging. If you only go to work or the grocery store, the Bolt is fine.

    • sbranch says:

      EXACTLY right. We drive so little here on the island . . . A tank of gas easily lasts me all summer … but I still think about getting one. If, right now, while no one is driving, a national miracle could happen and every car in every driveway became an electric car, that would sure go a long way to solving this nightmare. And compared to the money they are spending on this Virus, it seems like a cheap way to go! Closing some businesses, but opening up a whole lot of new ones!

  33. Sharrie says:

    Happy Spring Birthday!

    I’ve been watching “Escape to the Chateau”, a DIY series on a couple restoring a French Chateau. The couple, Dick and Angel, are quite amazing and very positive with the work they do.

    I just finished the new Emma movie and thought it was nice (though my favorite is the still the BBC mini-series with Romola Garai and Johnny Lee Miller.)

    My garden is in bloom and I’m trying to get Vitamin D every day.

  34. Ellie says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! My son, Chris, was born on Easter Sunday in 1968, which fell on April 14th that year. Every few years his and your birthday and Easter Sunday are the same date. It’s so special when that happens, as it did for you this year. Sadly, Chris passed away last year. I so love your blog. I save them all and re-read them. You are such a blessing. Over here on the Cape the daffodils and forsythia are beautiful, but I do wish the rain would let up and the weather would warm up, although there have been a couple of warmer days in between to give us a tease. You and Joe stay healthy and safe. Kisses to Jack.

  35. Deborah Hatt says:

    Happy Birthday, dear Susan! God Bless You and Joe! I enjoy your emails so much. Thank You!

  36. Amanda says:

    Well I said a prayer out loud for Sister Seraphima and as the I spoke the last word the musica you had suggested reached a most beautiful crescendo, it was perfect timing, perhaps a sign my prayer was heard, we will hope so. I totally agree, I so hope we learn lessons from this time when so many poor souls are struggling for breath and yet the Earth at last seems to breath easier again. We have seen and heard far more birds here in South Staffordshire than usual. We have blue tits nesting in our bird box for the first time ever, I have moved the bench which was underneath it in case it aids a visit from Kitty Cats ! Susan, do please look out for a Youtube video on the goats in Llandudno, they have come into the the town enticed by the quiet and are on a glorious rampage, so much delicious foliage !! Do take care the three of you… Lots of Love, Amanda.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so glad, thank you, Mother Seraphima is getting better! I have seen the goats too … but I think I’ll go again!

  37. Marsha Spain says:

    “Something amazing is happening:”…so beautifully said!

  38. Peggy Diehl says:

    What a wonderful blog post, and Happy belated Birthday! I love Joe’s creation of “dam-panic.” It’s perfect! I’m also a large family member who is single and living alone (9 sibs, 5 spouses, 15 cousins, 11 greats). We’re scattered and distanced among our native PA and several states, and we also celebrated a Zoom Easter dessert party. What fun! Zoom is great! And, I received your new HEART OF THE HOME beautiful book which I keep on my counter shelf with its 5 cousins. I love cookbooks, use them and read them as I would a good bestseller. Thanks for your lovely writing. May you and yours stay safe, well and happy long after this dam-panic has ended.

  39. Michelle A says:

    Your post gave me CHILLS! Keep celebrating Susan. Sending love from Boston-ish. xoxo

  40. Pam Butterick says:

    Fabulous. Every word, detail, sentiment. Absolutely loved the zoom photos🥰😷🥰 A wonderful birthday, wonderful Easter, wonderful blog post. Dam-panic is right, Joe😊😷😊

  41. Pam Butterick says:

    A wonderful blog post, wonderful Birthday, Easter, and I loved the zoom photos! Joe is right! Dam-panic! Thank you!🥰😷🥰

  42. Shirley Koch says:

    Thank you!! Beautiful post. ❤️

  43. Ruth Campanella says:

    Thank you for sharing your story a little bit. I’ve been getting your calendars since the early 90s when my mother in law introduced me to them and your books. ❤️

  44. Suzy Gloth says:

    Love this post. I was in the basement last week and found my sundial which is just like yours. It is outside but I haven’t found it’s happy place yet. The yellows are beautiful. Spring is not spring without yellow!! Happy belated birthday! It sounds like it was a perfect one. You are indeed blessed. And we will all be blessed if enough democrats vote in November! Just think what we will have back that we have missed for the last almost four years. It will be HEAVEN!

  45. Kathy says:

    My Mom wanted me to ask if Joe’s old-fashioned icebox cake is in any of your cookbooks. She would love to have the recipe.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s so simple, there really isn’t a recipe. You just get a couple of boxes of those thin chocolate wafer cookies, and stack them with whipped cream between each cookie, make a sort of cake shape, then frost the whole thing in whipped cream and sprinkle cookie crumbs over the top. Refrigerate for 4 hours or more … that’s when the magic happens, the cookies soak up the cream and soften so you can cut it. Tell your mom I said Hello! 💞

  46. Deborah Metzger says:

    Google Royal Albert Home Series, Alfie Boe for a great, free, at home/from home mini concert that was live streamed Easter Sunday. The Royal Albert Hall is presenting several performers giving free home concerts online. You can watch it from their website anytime. Alfie Boe is a favorite British tenor which you probably know since you like all things British. I wish he had added one of his operatic arias but he still presents quite a variety of his music. It snowed FOUR INCHES for our Easter here(my daughter called to wish me a Merry Christmas!) so watching this private performance online made a dreary afternoon a lot better.

  47. Rose Eubank says:

    How lovely a birthday you had! Thank you for your hopeful words which we all need. If you have to be quarantined with someone I think you are very blessed it is with your Joe.😍

  48. Marilyn says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan!

  49. Mary V Driver-Downs says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! Thank you for being a positive force in the world! This planet is a better place cause you are here! Happy Happy Day!

  50. Natalie Wise says:

    Happy belated Birthday, Susan! What a lovely, lovely post. This brought me so much joy!

  51. Loraine says:

    Hi Susan, it’s lovely to celebrate Easter and the beginnings of Spring with you! I remember you liked the start of Sanditon. Did you like it all the way to the end? If so, I wonder if you’d be interested in signing an online petition for them to film Season 2. Apparently the producers decided not to because they thought there wasn’t enough interest. I want to see Charlotte & Sydney get the happy ending they deserve, and I’d also like to see more of Esther & Lord Babbington, who turned out unexpectedly to make such a wonderful couple. Here’s the link in case you’d like to: With a joyful Spring hug, Loraine

  52. Maureen from So. Cal says:

    Such a great post as always, so many fun things in this blog to keep our spirits up and smile. I just love the kitty towels and the transformation into Jack. It’s a perfect likeness.

    I have also noticed the amazing and wonderful things that are happening in the middle of all this craziness and I love the way you laid out so many of them. Thank you for articulating them and reminding us there are still good things happening around us. The benefits of staying in clearly outweigh the inconvenience, it’s visible. I may have to post that on my Facebook page. Would that ok with you? I’ll give you credit. 🙂

    I’m so glad that if this virus was going to happen that it happened in the age of communication. It helps us not feel so isolated. Although I have to admit, this hasn’t impacted my life (as yet) as it has for so many. I work out of the house anyway, lacking regular socialization. Which is why my comments to you are so long. 🙂 Although I have been making masks galore. (I just made myself a couple masks last night) Anyway, Zoom parties are so great and I’m so happy you were able to have one for your birthday. It’s important to keep in touch and seeing friends and loved ones faces helps a great deal. Your birthday/Easter sounds like it was so wonderful. It included the things that matter most, as we are all coming to find out again.

    I’m so happy that you shared about the Apple Seeds. That is such a great idea. I’m trying to grow garlic right now from cloves. My brother grows peppers, tomatoes and other veggies from seeds of the vegetables he eats, but apples would be great! I will have to do this and take photos for you.

    May your birthday month continue to bring you wonderful surprises and blessings. Be safe and healthy, and Joe as well.


  53. Bonnie L says:

    Happy Birthday!
    And…Thank You! Thank You! for this wonderful post!
    Please Stay Safe!
    You are much needed.

  54. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    What a fun birthday Susan.. So much love and joy in the midst of all this. So moving and life affirming. Love this blog, especially now. We all needed this..
    Thank you Susan. This too shall pass. Someday.. Until then, stay safe, stay home..everyone… ❤️❤️❤️

  55. Amanda says:

    You can try out different hairstyles with your mask to make it more comfy! You can do two little buns and hook the ear loops around those instead of your ears. I have one with ties and I like to tie them over the top of a ponytail or bun to anchor it so it doesn’t slip down. I made myself a cute pink one and a Star Wars one so I can change them with my mood and wash them daily.

  56. Kathy says:

    My son’s birthday is also on the 12th of April. He lives in Eastern PA & my husband &I live in northern OH. We were fortunate to be able see our children via Zoom on Easter. It indeed is a marvelous thing to help families be together when they live far apart. So happy you had such a “red letter” birthday. And do enjoy our beautiful spring time days.

  57. Karen Foley says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! I hope you received my card and the pretty pens! This was a lovely post and it sounds like you really did have the perfect birthday! We invited my sweet Mother-in-Law over for lunch on our deck, sitting 6 feet away and admiring the water views, and it was too short because I had not seen her in almost a month. But in this time of staying at home I am practicing my watercolors, writing my books, and enjoying my family and my kitty. I find something to be grateful for every day! Hugs and love!

    • sbranch says:

      Our mail has been quarantined in the barn for the last few days … I just brought it in this morning, and voila, pretty pens! We DO love pens ~ you are so right, thank you so much! I’m so glad you liked A Fine Romance!🇬🇧 How smart you were to have a daughter grow up and move to Ireland . . . now you get to visit! I do remember the British cab! Ha! such a small world! Thank you again, Karen … hugs to you and Pip! xoxo

  58. Happy belated birthday, Susan! Did Joe end up making you a cake?

    Thank you for such an uplifting, delightful post. Something we all need these days. I love the photos of your sunny kitchen when you post them. That stove is *amazing*. And the way the light hits it…so dreamy. I was eyeballing the red and white tea towel hanging from the stove handle, as well. Do you know remember where you got it?

    I was wondering why you’d wear a mask outdoors, but I’m assuming it’s because you might pass near some other walkers?

    Love and blessings to you!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, there are pictures of his cake in the post … just below the Zoom pics! That lovely tea towel was a Birthday Gift!!! So funny you should ask! Yes, our hospital is saying the virus can be carried in the air, so if we’re passing people, which is actually very rare, we pull our masks up. Thank you Melanie!

  59. Johanna Walker says:

    Your words and pictures are so refreshing, full of hope. Thanks Susan.

  60. Dionne Street says:

    Happy belated birthday! Your birthday cake Joe made you looks so yummy! Thank you for your blog! It always brightens my day, but especially now with so much sad news on TV.

  61. Ann R says:

    Happy Birthday month Susan, what a wonderful day for you! I love your cute apple seedlings, you must be a proud plant mom. Thanks for the banana fritter recipe, unfortunately I ate my last banana yesterday or I would have made them. I see Jack is up to his usual flirtatious self to thrill the internet girlfriends in that photo pinup. Thanks for the lovely post and sharing your day. Aloha

  62. Penny Carpenter says:

    I posted yesterday……where did it go??

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure it’s here, lots of comments come at once and because I like to read them, sometimes I don’t get them all done in a day!

  63. Danielle says:

    Susan, you never fail to give me hope. Happy belated birthday!

  64. Laura says:

    Love and Blessings

  65. Jo'L says:

    Happy Birthmonth! Missed the day but you really know how to do birthday, so I won’t fuss about it. Have a great new year.

  66. Jacqueline Davey says:

    Happy Birthday Susan…joyful as ever…from a socially distant friend in England.x

  67. What a lovely and fun celebration indeed! Happiest Birthday Ms.Susan! I love your kitchen! Thank you for the inspiring post, as always. Be safe!

  68. Maria R S H says:

    Great read, susan.

  69. Patty Farrin says:

    Happy Belated Birthday, Susan! When this dam panic is over, I think we will have a deep appreciation for so many simple things! Thank you for brightening our day with all of your beautiful pictures, thoughts and ideas! May all the good you do, and all of the happiness you bring to so many of us, be returned to you!

  70. Simone Dextraze says:

    Love you Susan. Thank you for the positive booster shot during this “Dam Panic”. Stay safe, Stay Healthy. Surround yourself with those you love, even if from a distance. Praying that this “Dam Panic” ends soon.

  71. Sharon Byars says:

    Thank you for sharing your lovely birthday with us. I love Zoom. We use it for our book club meetings and, of course, a wine time! Nature is what keeps us grounded. We spend so much time in our garden with azaleas blooming and songbirds galore. One of the big bonuses of moving to North Carolina from SLO is the view from our porch of cardinals, eastern bluebirds, and hawks too!
    This time of home isolation has opened my eyes to set new priorities. No more willy nilly running around. Do the things that COUNT! xoxo

  72. Lynn says:

    ~Happy Belated Birthday ~ I think you should make a Quarantini to drink during the Dam~ Panic~ another new word!🍸~

    • sbranch says:

      Actually a couple of the people at my birthday party mentioned they were drinking Quarantinis!!! 💞

  73. Di W Word says:

    Beautiful! Happy belated birthday. Mine is the 19th. Stay well!

  74. Jane says:

    Good Morning, dear Susan – Oh, how I love your cheery attitude. It’s an absolute breath of fresh air in the midst of this thick fog! I immediately picked up on Acorn’s 800 Words as we are desperate for some good TV and we watched the first episode last night. My husband termed it “promising.” Do you know the status of Season 4?

    • sbranch says:

      No, we’re still somewhere in the middle of it. We save it, one episode a night, it gets better … pretty soon you’ll see the most GORGEOUS beach where George loves to surf … I love surf films … so those moments are pretty thrilling… it’s good!xoxo

      • Dianne says:

        If you love surf films, have you watched Blue Crush? The one surfing scene toward the end is unbelievable. I love to watch the movie on a really hot day. I can hear the surf and feel the breeze!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes I have ~ It’s unbelievable!!! I don’t really search them out, but whenever I see one, I’m always in awe! The beach in 800 Words is beautiful!

  75. Jackie says:

    Dam-Panic ! Enough said.

  76. Beautiful hope-filled post once again. This slow down is good for us all. Stay masked and safe!

  77. Libby says:

    Hi Susan. Thanks for the reminders of the silver linings during this difficult time! I am currently sitting in my living room watching the snow fall! All is quiet since my kids are still sleeping . . . Pretty soon I will wake them up to do their school work and I will spend another day doing my best to teach kindergarteners online. (Sigh.) Right now . . . I am enjoying a quiet, peaceful morning to myself and I am so glad you are part of it.

    I was wondering – do you have or would you consider creating a printable list of your favorite books and your favorite movies? I have a reading journal I keep with a section for booklists and I’d LOVE to have your recommendations in it! Of course I can always write them down – but you do it so much better! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I do have both of those lists … at the top of the home page, click on the words ABOUT ME, and you’ll see them on the drop down! Homeschooling kindergartners. In my heart I think you will look back on this and only remember the quiet time in the morning, and your tossle-haired kid’s faces. Happy you are here Libby! xoxox

  78. Marisa in sunny Florida says:

    Sounds like you had a “loverly” birthday!….much deserved 🙂 I shared your encouraging words with my friends here at work…you seem to put all things in perspective…I thank you for that…sometimes we need help seeing all the good!

  79. Marime Gonzalez says:

    Happy,happy birthday,dear Susan,from Spain.!

  80. Therese says:

    –so glad to hear you had a lovely birthday, dear Susan.
    we have a good 3 inches of snow on the ground this morning.
    magic, even in April.
    That hawk was bringing you blessings for the coming year, I bet.
    I send mine along too.
    stay awesome!

  81. Mary Ann Hasbrouck says:

    Happy Belated Birthday. Thank you for this very cheerful blog. I truly enjoyed it and it was just what I needed this morning. Spring is here and life goes on.

  82. Linda Severs says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!
    What a lovely day you had for your special day, and on Easter. I made your banana fritters yesterday morning as I had two banana’s left and they were so good, they went fast not many left over. I will definitely make them again. Reading through your blog it is so true how the planet is healing in its own way, we are seeing the crime down, no terror attacks, people are having meals together as a family like the past days, we are being nice to each other I see this when I am out to the grocery store, the pollution is down. If you can look at the Country Living UK edition on their newsletter they did a piece on animals that are coming down to villages as folks are on lockdown, the goats are a sight to see. But I so enjoy your emails and look forward to them. I have to ask you did you ever think of doing a magazine, it would be fab and your readers can send in stories and with your decorating and whimsical stories and photos and of course everyone likes a good romance story like yours and Joe’s. It would be awesome, the world definitely needs to see more.. Thank you for all that you do.
    Seacoast New Hampshire

    • sbranch says:

      I love the idea of the animals getting curious and coming to town to find out where everyone is! Usually they have to hide from us, now we’re nowhere to be seen! They must miss us! Yes, a magazine would truly be my cup of tea, but I’m always trying to figure out my time to see how I can get the most done! A magazine would be all encompassing … so creative!

  83. Sue Slater says:

    And once again, I am saving your final words to my desktop for reading when I think I cannot bear another minute of this. Yes, we can do this, and we should be able to carry the best of this time over into the future. Should be able!
    Thank you dear.

  84. Jena from PA says:

    Oh the joy of peaking into part of Susan’s lovely island life. Thank you Dear Susan for sharing this post about your Easter, birthday, Red Letter Day! It sounds dreamy and down right amazing.

    I am often moved to tears of joy this past month over the kindness of strangers, the devotion of our grocery clerks and first responders, and the freedom which being “locked in” has provided to many whom are learning to enjoy or at least endure the glut of time we have all been given. It can be overwhelming at times but having created a new routine surely helps. I find those things that LIFT ME instead of fixating on things that make me feel like I am drowning in the mire of despair which I think could gain hold of all of us if we are not careful with our hearts.

    You, Dear One, are perpetually Lifting Up the community that gathers around you as snug as bugs in a beautiful rug. It is a pleasure to receive your blog, connect on Twitter, and enjoy the fruits of your creative labor in tactile, juicy mediums when I do indeed get to gather your treasures in book or calendar form.

    There are those that are forces to be reckoned with…for good and for evil. You are a force of good and I again thank you for this.

    All my best to you and this community you so gently hold,

    • sbranch says:

      “…as snug as bugs in a beautiful rug…”👏💞 I feel the same about you, we are all so lucky to have found each other … thank you so much!😘

  85. Wendy Young says:

    Oh, oh, oh!! I was smiling and enjoying your birthday, almost as much as you did! Your cake and friends’ celebration was delightful!! Such warm feelings!
    But then…I saw Joe’s ice box cake and practically swooned. That is a FAVORITE of mine that Mom made us while growing up in Connecticut. I make if occasionally, although sometimes it is hard to find the chocolate wafers in the Midwest. I once made one and ate the ENTIRE thing when I was pregnant with our first son, Brian!! Such decadence and I loved it to the finish. 🙂
    Thanks, Joe and to you, dear Susan, for bringing back such a fond memory. Next time we shop, I’m going to look for those wafers.
    Best New Year to you!! xxx Wendy

  86. Susan CoadyButler says:

    Happy Birthday to you dear Susan…all year through. Thank you for your thoughtful sharing words and images. You change our lives.

  87. Rhonda Williams says:

    Beautiful post! Thank you for being a bright spot in my day. I’ve been wanting to order candles from the sisters but couldn’t remember the name of the convent. Thank you for sharing, they are on there way!

  88. Wendy Feiereisen says:

    Happy Belated Birthday to you … loved your uplifting post 😀
    I also love to make Baked Potatoes the way that you just showed us — they turn out so yummy and really do make a meal by themselves.
    I have your Heart of the Home Cookbook and it is a delight.

  89. Nancy Williamson says:

    Happy Birthday to you Dear Susan,( just a wee bit late). I wake every morning and give thanks for what I have in this life in spite of the Dam-Panic. I was so happy to see you list so many of the things I too, have noticed that are good things that have happened because of this opportunity to “reboot” just a bit. I hope we never for get how much we have learned during this time to reflect, look inside ourselves and to find the good in others as well. Enjoy. Spring IS coming. (though Indiana is having snow tonight.)

  90. Patricia Aspenberg says:

    Dear Susan, so glad you had a wonderful birthday! Thank you for an absolutely beautiful post, uplifting and joyful.

  91. Lori Arpin says:

    Please add me to your blog list! A friend forwards it to me, and I enjoy it so much! Thank you!

  92. Maureen from So. Cal says:

    Yesterday was a crazy day for me and I thought I sent this, but maybe not. I’m sorry if you get two.

    This was such a great post as always. It has so many fun things to keep our spirits up and smile. I just love the kitty towels and the transformation into Jack- a perfect likeness.

    I have also noticed the amazing and wonderful things that are happening in the middle of all this craziness and I love the way you laid out so many of them. Thank you for articulating them and reminding us there are still good things happening around us. The benefits of staying in clearly outweigh the inconvenience, it’s visible. I may have to post that on my Facebook page. Would that ok with you? I’ll give you credit. 🙂

    I’ve said this to a few people that if this virus was going to happen at any time, I’m glad it happened in the age of communication. It helps us not feel so isolated. Although I have to admit, this hasn’t impacted my life as much as it has for so many. I work out of the house anyway, lacking regular socialization. Which is probably one reason why my comments to you are so long. 🙂 I have been making masks galore. (I just made myself a couple masks Tuesday night) Anyway, Zoom parties are so great and I’m so happy you were able to have one for your birthday. It’s important to keep in touch and to see friends and loved ones faces, it helps a great deal. Your birthday/Easter sounds like it was so wonderful and included the things that matter most, as we are all coming to find out again.

    I love that you shared about the Apple Seeds. That is such a great idea. I’m trying to grow garlic right now from cloves. My brother grows peppers, tomatoes and other veggies from seeds of the vegetables he eats, but apples would be great! I will have to do this and take photos for you.

    May your birthday month continue to bring you wonderful surprises and blessings. Be safe and healthy, and Joe as well.


    • sbranch says:

      Of course it’s okay Maureen … might help people stay in a little easier. You are so right, being able to communicate with each other is such a blessing. Good for you for making masks! Thank you so much Maureen … I think I saw your other comment, it should be in here somewhere! xoxoxo

  93. Inez Schlueter says:

    Happy Birthday,another wonderful blog. Lifting one up can be hard work, or a joy. I think you make it a joy. And in return we lift up others, and the ripple begins. Wonderful.

  94. Debbie Valentini says:

    Happy happy Birthday! An Easter birthday is special! We will soon be out this situation, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope we have all learned something, become kinder, and have a much higher appreciation for all the people that have been heroes through this global ordeal. There is so much “wonderful ” in this world. Many blessings. Stay well.

  95. Lynette Morley says:

    Dear Susan and Joe,
    I absolutely LOVE Dam-Panic!! I can’t think of it or talk about it without calling it “The time of Dam-Panic”. Thank you Joe! I loved your birthday celebration and promptly sent your link to a friend of mine who shares my feelings about you and Joe…..”I want to live with them”!! (I’m never sure where to put the punctuation inside or outside the quotes, I know I could google it but want to get this posted. Ha ha!) Here, here I so agree! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. I look for a new post every. single. day. from you!!

    • sbranch says:

      If you hit the Dam hard, you begin to mean business! 😆 Ha ha ha! I had to learn the punctuation too … if you use quotation marks, EVERYTHING goes inside. So, “Hello.” Or, “Hello!” Or, “Hello?” See? Frame it! A good dam panic reward! xoxo😘

  96. Dear Susan,
    Happy Belated Birthday! It sounded like it could not have been happier! I thought of you yesterday as I carefully donned my mask and purchased hanging baskets in my small town open air nursery. It was their opening day and it was so exciting to partake in something that I always enjoy but was particularly meaningful this year. This family business also has special items like old quilts, dishes and all kinds of treasures for sale. As I was getting ready to pay, I noticed a book for sale and just had to have it. It was Gladys Taber’s Stillmeadow Sampler ! I took it as a sign of divine intervention and purchased it for $2.00 . I brought it home and immediately started reading the first chapter- Spring. How comforting her words are especially at a time like this. Last weekend on Easter, I made your carrot cake cupcakes for my son and husband. To say they were a hit is an understatement. There was only 1 left Monday morning. As always, thank you for all your sunshine, positivity, and grounding posts! You are an American Treasure. XOXOXO

    • sbranch says:

      A nursery with an antique store, oh my, how brilliant is that! Amazing price for that wonderful book too. And thank you dear Julie, very sweet of you to say that. xoxo 😘

  97. Linda Smith says:

    Thank you – again! I REALLY needed that. Keep the joy – and make more. Linda

  98. Emily from the Berkshires says:

    What a beautiful birthday and Easter celebration, Susan. Happy, happy! I am over here giggling at “Dam-Panic.” Quite funny and apt all wrapped up in one. I am glad that your friend, Mother Seraphima, is on the mend. I took your prompt and read the blog post of your visit to the convent. What an illustrious and generous group! I was awed by their skill and craft. A true inspiration for this current time and always!

  99. Peggy Lison says:

    Happy birthday dear Susan Happy birthday to youuuuuu!! Thanks for such a happy post!!!

    I am making free masks and people are bringing wonderful things in return. I have lots of cheeses, and groceries, one bottle of beer and one nice bottle of French wine – fantastic. Barter is great! I will also grow extra zinnias etc to trade in one month. We are better together!!! More interesting than just shopping with money:) Have a happy day and thanks for sharing your special day with us:) love from Peggy in Madison

  100. Conni says:

    Belated Happy Birthday from England, Susan! And a huge THANK YOU….

    A while ago I purchased your lovely books … and now, in these strange and scary times I am reading them! It’s as if they were holding back, sitting on my shelf until I really needed a huge dose of comfort. And that time is certainly now! Started with the Fairytale Girl, and now on Isle of Dreams. My husband and I are inveterate travellers and have visited your lovely country a good few times including Martha’s Vineyard and California….and even though I can’t leave my home at the moment, I am able to teleport to far off places via your wonderful writing and artwork. Literally, you transport me to a better place. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Well thank you back Conni! I’m so happy you’re enjoying them. If you have A Fine Romance, you’ll see how I feel about YOUR wonderful country! It’s a mutual admiration society!🇬🇧🇺🇸

      • Conni says:

        It certainly is! A Fine Romance is sitting on the shelf waiting for me, though I confess I don’t really want Isle of Dreams to end….

        We were so lucky to revisit a couple of our favourite places, Stowe, Vermont and Boston and back home again just before the Dam-Panic lockdowns ensued. There were just days in it. Now the garden is my escape! I have worked hard out there every day for the last three weeks amongst the spring bulbs and flowers. It’s a tonic. And, like you and Joe, my walk each day keeps me sane! Stay safe. xx

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