Hey World, Take the Year Off!

Hello everyone! How are you doing? Lots of good news here in the House of Creativity, which it better be with all this stay at home stuff. But as you’re about to see, we went out for lunch! For the first time since March! MUSICA

I AM smiling under there! Love the way masks make my ears more elf-like than normal. Took our books and the newspaper and went to Edgartown for lunch! Was this a good thing to do? We won’t know for sure for 14 days.😷 So far, so good. Most people were wearing masks, but we also saw a few whole families NOT doing it. So that was a bit scary. But really, most were showing their children that we’re all in this together! 

It was excellent people watching! The passing parade. And everyone seemed to have brought their dogs. It’s disconcerting to see how much the world has changed, people in masks doesn’t feel real. I was so happy the dogs didn’t have to wear them. And they were all smiling!

  We had a lovely lunch, but I admit, after that guy on the street sneezed without a mask which sparkled in the sunlight as it whizzed by us way too close at 20mph ~ and then, realizing there was no way to buy an ice cream cone in Edgartown while distancing 😲, we gave up, and felt much happier driving around in the car. Our little island did so well for a while, we went a whole month with no new cases. . . but now, things relaxed, and there have been eleven new cases this last week!

So we had fun driving around town and looking at the sweet old houses and gardens . . .

In Vineyard Haven, where we live, it was a very hot, humid, sunny day … but 20 minutes away in Edgartown, it was fogged in, cool, and delightful!

Joe thought you’d like to see the Edgartown jail! 

We drove home via Beach Road. On the right of this long line of parked cars is the ocean. Not too many open parking places!

If you had planned to come to the island this year and then didn’t, here is a little island-fix for you. A trip to the beach, completely sunburn and covid-free.

Beach paths . . .

Families . . .


Umbrellas, sand and surf . . .Playing in the park . . .

And tons of boats! All the things of summer on an island.

This is more my speed . . . 5 mph, but only 3 on foot.

Going slow . . .

Our walk is heaven as always . . . 

. . . only thing that ever changes out here are the seasons. Soon we’ll be picking wild blueberries that grow along the road.

Once in a while we stumble upon evidence of other humans.

We have to go really early these days, it gets too hot and buggy later on, but look at the reward!

We hardly see anyone on our walk, which is good because Joe and I are especially lovely to look at out there. We each carry a dishtowel, which we swat back and forth, over our shoulders, behind our backs, across our legs . . . the trick to keeping the mosquitoes away. I’m not crazy about wearing bug spray on a daily basis!

And to all of you dreaming about turning in the summer heat for a windy, crisp, fall day, I have good news: The trees are “rethinking” their leaves! Every so often we spot a red leaf among the green ~ this one came drifting down in front of us. I had to bring it home.👏

First thing we do when we get home is wash our hands in hot water… and we have the BEST kitchen soap. It’s so silky and soft and makes such a good lather . . . I’ve used it at my kitchen sink for years (never wild about the look of plastic bottles on my counter). Love it so much, I thought you would too, so I got it for our web store.

It smells wonderful . . . provides aroma therapy too, lavender fragrance promotes calmness and wellness, reduces stress and anxiety.💞 Things we need more of these days!

I also found the same wooden soap holder I have, so it’s a set! It is the little things in life! I’m happy every time I use it! I sent it to my Virgo sister and she loves it too. Like Good Housekeeping approved!

Gazpacho seems to be my go-to dinner recipe these days. So bright and clean tasting, healthy, crunchy, and icy cold! I’ve made it three times so far! Starting to want to DO something about these dampanic pounds I’ve gained.

If you haven’t made it this summer, don’t forget to do it. While the tomatoes are juicy and fresh!🍅

I know I’m not the only person who takes pictures like this. Because it’s beautiful. Little vases, soap suds, old sink. Soul satisfying.That’s not rain! It’s humidity! I know. Feel sorry for us. But Joe put in window air-conditioners downstairs so we are very happy and comfy. And our clothes on the line look like a watercolor painting through the windows!I was excited to see a big box land on the kitchen porch yesterday ~ look what was inside! 2021 Calendars! They turned out great. Color is perfect!I keep being asked if I did an “England photo calendar” again this year. The answer is, I did do a photography calendar, but it’s not “England” . . .

. . . for 2021 it’s “This Old House, A Year on Martha’s Vineyard.” Here’s a sample page for March. Jack (ham-cat) makes an appearance in every month! 

They should all arrive at the Studio next week!

So guess what? There’s an event! And everyone’s invited no matter where in the world you live! It’s on August 19th at 1pm EST! I’ll be doing something new, dampanic-inspired, and fun! It’s a Zoom Party, originating from Duxbury, MA, but I’ll be at home! I’ll be talking about my favorite subject and telling a slide-show story of going to the English Countryside! And I’d love to take you along!
It’s free, you can read more about it and sign up to receive a zoom invitation by going to www.duxburyseniorcenter.org. Signed copies of books will be available, I’ll also get to introduce my new book Home for Christmas… we’ll have a door prize . . . guests can ask questions … and I’m not sure what else! My first time! Come!

And if you’d like me to do one of these Webinars for your local bookstore, call them and tell them! This worked so well last time and I’d love to! I think I almost
have Joe talked into making personal appearances! Bookstores can contact me at booktour@susanbranch.com. We’d planned to drive across country this year and meet everyone in person, but we finally had to give up on that idea . . . would love to do some fun Zoom talks and see you there! ❤️  We could have virtual tea parties! I have one planned with the wonderful family-owned
Titcombs Bookstore on the Cape, and there are others . . . I’ll put up a calendar with dates and times soon.
  And another surprise . . . for all of you who’ve preordered Home for Christmas, I made a special bookmark that we’re going to tuck into each book. Because we can! I can’t wait to see the finished thing . . . we should have them the end of August! For those first days of fall.I thought you’d like to see a page from the new book … We’ll have to save it, light candles, make tea, and read it at Christmas. Gives me chills!I have an update on the cups. First, the bad news: The first cups they made didn’t look right to the manufacturer. So they sent me a photo, and they were right, they were waaaay too light. Which means they have to make new lithographs. Which means a delay. We won’t get them now until end of August, first of September. I’m so sorry but I knew you wouldn’t like them the way they were! Please let sheri@susanbranch.com know if this will be a problem for you. We know what a great job this wonderful British manufacturer does and they want it to be right. BUT! The GOOD NEWS is that this delay allowed me to add more of them to the order. So anyone who didn’t get one before they sold out has another chance!👏 Kind of a little miracle if you think about it. We thought it was a done deal!What else? Oh yes, something I wanted to share with you. Staying at home DOES get hard ~ not everyone has to do it, thank goodness, but many of us do, and luckily we have the Internet! There are so MANY special things going on. So much creativity! British Time Out Magazine has created an issue called Time In! So go HERE and be totally inspired! And as our girlfriend Nancy T. so sweetly suggested, “Be a lighthouse in this rocky island of craziness!” This too shall pass.❤️And you know what else? Some of you DO know I’ve been designing my first puzzle. This is it. It’s done. And being manufactured by the same people who make my calendars! And yes, Kellee is putting it up for presale later this afternoon ~ it’s something new, so we’re trying to figure out how many we should order. I laid it out in the living room . . . it’s 1000 pieces, 27″ across, 20″ down. Called “For the Love of Books.” What do you think?  We hope everyone likes it, then I’ll get to do more!

We’ve had fun FaceTime visits with Paul and Rachel and even had a walk through their English (and I mean that literally) garden! But the thing I miss the most when I see my friends these days are the hugs! Joe is doing double duty these days!💞

We’ve also been taking night-time walks through our neighborhood ~ the fireflies are everywhere, more than I’ve ever seen, I guess because of the humidity, and they’re lighting up the night with their magic!

We have some great shadows. . .

Love the moon, open windows and music and bookcases and cats on sills . . .

And home sweet home we go . . . to book and bed. Hope you enjoyed your island visit, but I can’t go without sending love to all our girlfriends and their families everywhere, especially in parts of the world being hit hard by the virus. In the midst of sorrow and catastrophe, we’ve seen stunning feats of selflessness and compassion. Our frontline workers are so brave. I think if I were them I might threaten to go on strike if everyone doesn’t wear a mask. Why do they risk their lives and the lives of their families for us, I’ll never know. But I’m filled with gratitude for these amazing heroes. If I was in charge, they would all get a raise! Right now! Some of them are reading this,  💖  some of you have sons and daughters on front lines. Thank you 🙏, and please thank them. Special prayers for everyone in Florida, Arizona, California, Georgia, Texas ~ I heard something on TV the other day, “This virus is strong, but Texas is stronger.” And that is the truth for all of us, we are stronger than this, and in the end, if we never give up, if we join together 💞, we will win. I just wish we’d get it over with! Aren’t you done? I’m so done! But too bad for us, the virus has the last word!

Love you all . . . this post is too long! Next time I’ll do better. XOXOXO    


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755 Responses to Hey World, Take the Year Off!

  1. Ann says:

    Your post is a ray of sunshine- thank you! Loved the photos of all the sweet antique china. It’s very beautiful.
    Have you seen the comet on your nightly walks- hurry, it won’t be back for 6,800 years😊

  2. susan says:

    I hate to wear bug spray also but you might try Avon skin so soft bug guard lotion – no scent and it is just like regular lotion on your skin. Also has spf so you won’t get a sunburn.

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

    Hello again Susan, Girlfriends. well we have 1 little peep just hatched and hiding under mama. changed the water over, went to the henhouse to check on things and heard the peeping and then saw the little one’s head peeking out. its soooooo cute. can’t wait for the rest to hatch out. WHEEEE!!! hugs… 😀

    • sbranch says:


      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        Susan we about 6-7 more little peeps, Chance is really proud of himself right now, I think he will make a good daddy for the new peeps. more are hatching and by tomorrow or the weekend it will be finished I think!! you should hear the mamas clucking to the little ones, we definitely have one very busy barnyard. good thing I hung up the fly traps, less flies in there. hugs….. 😀

        • sbranch says:


          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            the count went up to one dozen and counting, we still have one more hen eggsitterin’ and she already has one little one peeping under her. very cute these little fuzzballs, and they sure are enjoying the nursery pen. we put the hens in while they are sitting on the nests in the nursery pen and when the little ones hatch, they can run around in there safely for awhile until the get big enough to run in the chicken yard. its for their own protection, the other hens would peck at and might harm them. plus it gives the “new” mamas a chance to get familiar and comfortable with their chicks. we are definitely going to have a large brood of chicks when this is all said and done, we now have another expectant mom in the nursery pen, she will be there for 21-28 days for the hatching. hugs… 😀

          • sbranch says:


  4. Linda Freeman says:

    My husband and I began walking in our neighborhood outside of Richmond, VA, and when we’d see a neighbor, I would begin chatting at a safe distance. I was surprised when my husband told me that he didn’t like to stop and chat. However, I reminded him that I was home from March 13 until the first of June. I tutor in the mornings at an At-Risk high school, and the system closed down on that fateful day in March. My husband, who plays golf with a friend twice a week, immediately apologized. Unfortunately, with the temperature hovering at 100 degrees, it’s presently too hot to walk, but cooler weather will eventually prevail!

  5. Terry Kocher says:

    Puzzle ordered! I can’t wait! ❤️

  6. Jan Jasper says:

    Missouri needs your love, too! As someone with a chronic disease anyway, I am used to staying at home 24/7. The other evening, our doorbell rang, and my husband and I just looked at each other and said, WHO THE HECK IS THAT? We decided to not even open the door. Our neighbors know to call first if they need us. I’m so happy that your creativity is all well and good, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      Love to you Jan, and to all the good folks in Missouri. 💞 That’s how we treat the phone. It rings, we don’t recognize the number, I look at him, he looks at me, shrugging occurs, then ignoring! xoxo

  7. Lynn C Maust says:

    Your post is NOT too long…it’s just right! The longer the better! I am sure most would agree with me… :-).

  8. Pat says:

    So many things about this I love! Can’t begin to list them, but for starters, wish I lived in Duxbury! A puzzle, what a great idea! I can’t wait for the Christmas book! Gazpacho, yum! Your daily walk to the ocean, such a treat, worth batting the bugs! Etc, etc, etc….oh, and I love dishes too, it is an unexplainable attraction, but oh such a pleasant one! Don’t you find the goats milk soap helps keep hands soft even in rough weather? Enough of a ramble, and I listed more than I planned. Take care in this unusual time we find ourselves in!

  9. Marge says:

    Your blog is a brightness in the fog of gloominess.

  10. Liz hand says:

    So glad to hear from you. I was getting worried. I am so done with this virus too. Glad you and Joe and Jack are well. It’s hot here in Illinois too. Take care.

  11. Mary Brehm says:

    Hi Sue! Yay a new post. I have missed you! It’s weird how time flies and yet drags at the same time isn’t it?? I am so hungry for life to get back to normal. I find it hard to do normal things around the house. It kind of feels pointless in a way. I know I should see the joy in things and not be a negative Nancy but It really does get me down. Like cooking, baking, gardening, quilting….It’s more fun when you have someone to share it with. I turn on the tv and I get upset…I look at my phone and I get upset….I listen to music and it makes me melancholy. I am trying so hard, but ugh…it’s tough.
    I’m happy for you and Joe that you went to lunch. I haven’t been that brave yet. There are too many ding dongs out there not following the rules. I went to Target today to buy a baby shower gift and I couldn’t wait to get home. I always feel such relief when I walk in the door. I cracked up and laughed out loud when you described that guy sneezing! You should paint a picture of that! It would be funny. Kind of like that silly picture you drew of your reflection in a mirror during a storm. I love that picture.
    I am excited for the soap and the puzzle and the Christmas book! I will be ordering all of them! I ordered three of the bluebird mugs…so that will be fun. Hopefully I can wait until christmas to give one to each of my girls, but I have a feeling I won’t! The puzzle looks perfect! Lots of cute little bits to zero in on and makes it fun looking for them among the pieces!
    I signed up for the Zoom party! I can’t wait. Like I told you on twitter. I was so looking forward to the tea in May and I was all ready to book a room and a spot at the tea and then everything happened. Someday I hope I will actually get to meet you in person. I will probably burst into tears and make a fool out of myself!
    Thank you for sharing the little snippets of life in the land of creativity. The nighttime walks are fun. It’s always fun to peek in peoples windows (in a non creepy way) and see how pretty and homey their houses look.
    I love your pretty cut and pierce lampshade. I took a class on how to make them a loooooonnng time ago, back in the eighties, I still have mine, plus a few that I have purchased a craft shows and estate sales.
    Have a wonderful evening. It’s nice here now…we are getting a good soaking rain and it feels good.
    Love, Mary
    Oh…P.S. My sweet peas are still blooming! I pick a good handful everyday. I just love them and can say that my sweet pea experiment was a success and I will definately be planting them next year!

    • sbranch says:

      My favorite people are the ones who burst into tears, so save that for me! I think about your sweet peas all the time Mary! I’m just thrilled they did so beautifully for you! Thank you for the feedback on the puzzle, I’m learning! Sending love, and sharing your yearning. xoxo❤️

  12. Jackie Parsons says:

    Oh Susan,
    The photo of the house you show on Williams Street used to belong to my husband’s family. It was fun to see it all illuminated at night! Cheers.

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t that wonderful! Such a small world! Williams Street, such a wonderful old neighborhood.

  13. Susan Holcombe says:

    Susi Q, your posts could NEVER, EVER be too long. I enjoy every square inch of them. LOVE LOVE LOVE all your pics and pretties. Now, why aren’t you sewing some pretty masks, too?! I would LOVE a Susan Branch mask! Hint Hint. Enjoy the fireflies. I have scads here, too, in the Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania. So enchanting. TaTa!

  14. Sue says:

    Saw fireflies all over our yard the other night.
    Thanks for lunch in Edgertown.
    We haven’t been out yet but have social distanced
    Happy Hour on our deck and enjoying our gardens
    Doesn’t get much better than home I agree.
    Tried to attach a picture but can’t figure out how to do it.

  15. Mary Beth McGrath says:

    I know what you mean about hugs! We have a 15-month old grandson that I haven’t snuggled with since March 3! Last Friday, we drove into NH to meet our son, who lives in Burlington, VT. We hadn’t seen him since February, and it was so hard to get out of the car and not give him a huge hug! The human touch is what we need in times of trouble. However, we can touch each other through kind and caring words and deeds. Write letters to people, call them. I am so grateful for the internet for keeping us connected. We can’t hug, but we can still visit! Thanks for reminding me that “This, too, shall pass.”

  16. Lynn S says:

    Susan, have you ever thought about doing a book I
    On your watercolor techniques?

    • sbranch says:

      In a world where I was born with more hands, yes, I definitely have! So many things I would write about if I could only live forever!!!💖

  17. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    Loved this blog post. Made me cry at the end. We are stronger then this virus!!!! we will win in the end.
    Love the puzzle, how fun. I adore puzzles. Your description of the man sneezing was hilarious. Enjoy the rest of your summer Susan


    • sbranch says:

      I tried to say it nicely and leave out anything unbearably gross, but I think you got the picture! You too Deezie!💞

  18. Mandy says:

    Never too long! Reading Mr. Willard is always like spending time with an old friend and I am now listening to Moon River while a pot roast simmers away (I like to pretend it’s fall in the middle of July sometimes thank you to AC), and a yellow butter cake waits to be chocolatey frosted. Out here in Orange County, CA I try to escape the chaos of the world in my garden, my kitchen, music, candles lit, Hallmark movies and your good ol’ fashioned Willard. Thank you Susan! Sending you much love from SoCal.

    • sbranch says:

      Stay safe out there Mandy. I can smell your kitchen from here! xoxo

    • Christy says:

      Hi Mandy! I am pretending it is fall in July here in OC too…thanks to this unseasonable “June Gloom!” All we can do in our neck of the woods is (stay far far away from Huntington Beach, haha!) escape to our gardens, our kitchens, turn on Hallmark and avoid those pesky Trump stands that are popping up (they are getting desperate out there!!!)

      Hugs from your “neighbor”


  19. Wendy Young says:

    What a lovely visit and such a treat to see the sea! Indiana is far from the coast. My favorite and first task at the beach is to look for seaglass…maybe next year.
    Off to check the store for your kitchen soap….making Gazpacho is next for this week. Yum!

  20. Barbara says:

    The photo you shared of the park brought back so many memories. Back in, gosh…., 1978, maybe…..my mom and I took off on an impromptu trip to the NE. We have never been to New England and decided…”What the heck!?” I was newly divorced and she recently retired. We loaded up my two-person tent and camp stove and many other “unnecessary” items stuffed in my tiny Datsun S10. Once Mom was settled into the passenger seat I would stuff the remainder of the items around her. HA! When we were on Martha’s Vineyard at the park we saw the most amazing kite flying action. The scene, including the magnificent houses, the ocean, styles of kites we had never seen before, stayed with us. We brought that memory up many times in her remaining years….it was a good one. After we got back to Iowa we said many times that we would like to go back to Martha’s Vineyard. Sadly, I was never able to go again with my lovely mom but maybe someday I can visit again with my equally lovely daughter and grand daughter.

    • sbranch says:

      That would make the circle complete, until your daughter can go with her grandchild. What lovely memory Barbara!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Love this comment, Barbara….the circle of life, so beautiful.
      Debbie in Maine

  21. Susie says:

    Thank you for sharing your lovely part of the world. Always a bright spot in my inbox! Stay safe and well. Much love to you,

  22. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the memories…was on MV many years ago. Hasn’t changed much, thank goodness!

  23. dezi says:

    I was wrong!! I called your blog a “heart party”, my brain farkled a bit when I commented before and couldn’t remember what I had dubbed it in my mind, but I had journaled it!! Two days ago I called it my “heart party”, and that’s just what it is. Thank you thank you thank you. Get the message? Lol. Hello Joe, and Jack. You must tell Jack we have eight budgies, and he would love them. My husband, 17 year old son, and I have called it birdie telly for years now, like you!! Smashing!

    • sbranch says:

      Got the message!❤️💖❤️💖❤️💖💃 😘Yes, Jack would be enthralled! xoxo

  24. Antonia Lutz says:

    Love this I’m going to order that puzzle and the moon mug! I look forward to your blog posts!

  25. Sherri Woehl says:

    We will be trying your Gazpacho soup recipe soon, my husband is a wonderful cook! I also registered for the Zoom event – very excited for that! Thank you as always for the comforting and uplifting words and the beautiful pictures!

  26. Barb says:

    Great post. Thank you. Lovely all around. Special thanks for Jack’s shining eyes sending out his love to all of us.

  27. Patti says:

    Very excited . .I pre-ordered the new Christmas book and the puzzle! I’m also signed up for the Duxbury Zoom visit . .who doesn’t love all things Susan Branch?!!

  28. Nelda says:

    This post came at a very good time for me. I really enjoyed it. I pre-ordered your puzzle. I will be looking forward to doing it this winter.

  29. Liz Cook says:

    I so look forward to everything you write! How do you know just what to say? Just what we need?
    I just received the adorable note cards w/the usual cute girl but wearing a mask! I am sending them to friends whom I haven’t seen in a while. Just a little hug from me (and you too!). Thank you for everything!

    • sbranch says:

      Because we are kindred spirits, that’s how I know. It’s everything I’m thinking about too. Thank you Liz, love having you here.💞

  30. Karen Saunders says:

    Hey friend🌷🌷🌷 It’s such a relief to read your up-lifting comments. I’m so tired of all the stuff going on. Live in Oregon so you can only imagine🤦🏻‍♀️ Love your calendars and so can’t wage for my Christmas book!!! That will lift my spirits!!! Take care😷❤️❤️❤️

    • sbranch says:

      So sorry Karen, the country is just a MESS right now! I can’t believe everything that’s happening. Like someone opened Pandora’s Box! Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and say it again, This too shall pass. 💖

      • Karen Saunders says:

        Just wondering….I always buy a big calendar for me and my daughter and I buy the small one for me as well but I don’t see it for sale….will it be???

  31. Jane Wasniewski says:

    Susan, any chance you’ll ever make puzzles of your work? I’m hoping of course. Thanks And stay safe. Jane

  32. Ann says:

    I am so done with Covid too and also with all the violence in so many of our big cities where so many have died, including so many children.

  33. Maryellen says:

    Thank you for calming me down and showing me the beauty in AT HOME. Ohio is mandating masks as of tomorrow and the whole Ohio social media has gone crazy over it. It is just a small act to show that you care about others. I am just so afraid that we will never get past this dampanic if we don’t work together. Now I know I can wash my hands with lavender soap, look out my windows and wait for my new puzzle. Happiness!

    • sbranch says:

      Somehow masks got turned into something weird. We all wear seatbelts and no one has a fit about that. We don’t run red lights. This is the same thing, something we need to do to keep us and our families healthy! You are right, until we all get on board, we can never get our economy back. If more than half the population won’t go out, won’t put their kids in school and won’t go to work, we’re in trouble. Masks, testing, and tracing are the keys to getting us back to work while we wait for a cure or a vaccine. It’s really so simple. xoxo

  34. Dena says:

    Need to order my 21 calendar , and I a big puzzle person, have done so many since this shut in, will defiantly have to order one, and waiting for the next book, stay safe!

  35. Sherill Anderson says:

    Hi Susan! This is a product question–probably not for publication. The 12×12 photo calendar: Does it have a calendar page to write on? If it’s just one page for each month, that will not fill my needs. Still do wish you would do a calendar about that size with a page for each week. Let me know when you have time. Many thanks! Your fan, Sherill Anderson

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, it has a calendar page with big squares. It’s 12″ x 12″, standard wall-calendar size, if that helps.

  36. Susan Eyerman says:

    Hello Susan – Love the puzzle!!! Agree the mug needs enhancing. Thank you for all the fine advice and tips as usual. Hope this is a time of growth and renewal for everyone.

  37. Virginia White says:

    I cannot wait to order your new puzzle! I love puzzles and books! My hubby and I were hoping to come to Martha’s Vineyard in September to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. But of course the coronavirus is ruining that! We want to come when we can enjoy it fully! It has always been on my bucket list to come to Martha’s Vineyard. One day I will make it! Thank you for the Island tour!

  38. Margie says:

    Thank you for the this wonderful blog so I could revisit the vineyard. I haven’t been there in years. It cheered me up with your notes and photos. Retired to Florida and miss going north this summer to visit family and friends due to Covid 19. I know we are stronger than the virus but as you said people need to wear masks and keep themselves and other protected from this horrible disease. It does get frustrating being housebound and not being able to visit with friends and family. Thank heavens for telephones and our computer. God bless everyone!

  39. melvina says:

    hello susan , been reading about your home and your beautiful kitty , your a very sweet cool lady. me in live in pa. where its hot right now. you bless your family and stay safe. Melvina .

  40. Penny Kweder says:

    Oh, sorry, Susan….the show is called “Escape to the Country”

  41. Marge Dickinson says:

    So enjoy your post, Susan! I feel so disconnected in spite of family and friends during this pandemic. Your blog truly lifted my spirits! Bless you, thank you from the
    bottom of my heart!

  42. Penny Carpenter says:

    Add IDAHO to the list for prayers! And of course, Portland, Oregon….nephew is a police officer there. Anxious for the puzzle to come!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been praying for our whole country for a long time. Seems like there’s always something somewhere! God Bless us one and all! And especially your nephew, to keep him safe. 💖 xoxo

  43. Susan Nieradka says:

    Love the puzzle. I wish it was made in the USA instead of China.

    • sbranch says:

      Home for Christmas is being made in the USA because I have the power to do that ~ but I don’t make the puzzles … I’m just designing for the company that makes them, so I don’t have power over where they are made. I agree, would be wonderful if our manufacturing came back home. I try my best. 💖

  44. Marjorie Dickinson says:

    So enjoyed your post, Susan! I feel so disconnected during this pandemic inspite of my wonderful family and friends! Bless you and thank you from the bottom of my heart! Your blog is always a real gift!

  45. Lynn Barlow says:

    Dear Susan, your posts are never too long!! Sending you a big hug (wearing my mask) from Arizona.

  46. Sue says:

    Wow-you posted this a few hours ago and already the soap dish is gone and the webinar is full! Wish they could make that webinar unlimited. Oh well.

    • sbranch says:

      They are trying to do that . . . please click on it again, I think they may have made it bigger. So sorry. And there will be more soap dishes soon!❤️

      • Susan says:

        Thanks Susan. They did open up more spots and I’m in! I have loved all your books. In fact I’m pretty sure Jack is responsible for me adopting a couple of old cats <3

  47. Sandra Mailey says:

    Just when I needed to talk with you a new post popped up!!

    First things first – What a wonderful tour of your beautiful island!! One day I’ll grab a friend and make the trip in person! Not this year, of course, but hopefully one day not too far in the future. It looks so very special!

    Now, what I need to talk to you about. I know this is selfish and the answer may, and probably will be, “No”, but. . . I broke my Girl Friends Tea Cup today!!
    And it is among the ones that are “sold out”. So. . . I am appealing to you to consider a reorder of that one sometime soon. I know you know how I feel because you told us how sad you were the day you broke one of your very favorites. The moment I finished sweeping up all the shards of tea cup I went to your web store to see if I could order a replacement – and, of course the answer was, “No – Sold Out!” Ugh!! Please just consider a reorder, (If I could type a heart here, I would.)

    Have a wonderful last 9 days of July!! The visits with you and Joe and Jack and your island are a treat for all of us!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh noooo, is that Come Sit Stay? I love that cup. I’m so sorry. I’ll try! 💞

      • Sandra Mailey says:

        Yes it is!! And one of my favorite things about it is the little heart within a heart. Nancy Luce is so very inspirational. I hope she can look down from Heaven to see how you have helped so many of us to learn about her and her exemplary life.
        Thanks for trying!!

  48. Christy in California says:

    Susan! The puzzle turned out sooo cute, of course I preordered 🙂 All of the pictures you shared of the island were wonderful, especially the third one down of the beautifully landscaped house – perfectly magical. You should post that one on instagram!

    As for going out…we have not stepped into a public space since mid March. While it is (momentarily) tempting to venture out, sadly, most people are not reliable to help the cause by wearing a mask.

    All over social media people are showing off un-necessary vacations, their maskless adventures, dinners out, etc and I wonder “where is the humanity?!”

    Our family is fortunate enough to be able to stay home, so we have. We work from home, school is done remotely, order groceries through Instacart and other necessities online. We pick up contactless curbside from our favorite restaurants and other places to support our local economy. Doctors offer telemed appointments…we sacrifice for the greater good.

    Of course I miss thrift stores, estate sales, the beach, the garden center and browsing in the bookstore. However, I have truly found joy in spending more time at home. I have focused on organization, working out, yoga, meditation, creating, making new to me recipes (I am going to make that gazpacho!), gardening (sooo many tomatoes), reading my ever looming stack of to-be-read books & my dogs are happier than ever!

    I have been able to watch meaningful movies, documentaries, and series tv – something I never felt I had time for. It seems contradictory to say that I feel more enriched by the quality time I have spent at home while not being able to travel, visit museums, extended family and friends, but it is true!

    We are all in this together. Not everyone has the same situation and can’t always stay home, but if we can remember to wear a mask while out in our beautiful world, limit the time we leave home to “necessities only” and practice kindness and compassion for others, it sure would make this “dampanic” a lot easier for all to bear.

    Stay well and be safe Susan and Joe!


    • sbranch says:

      So true, Plus, we can NEVER get our economy back until we get this thing under control. You can’t have an economy with half the people staying home. Just won’t work. Such common sense. And for better or for worse, we are in this together. The boat sinks otherwise.💖

      • Christy says:

        I was so happy when I saw the picture you posted on instagram this morning…I LOOOOOVE that house!! Oh, and do you know when the vote postcards will be available to order?

        • sbranch says:

          We should have those next week! Pumpkin vote postcards! I want them too! I forgot to tell everyone!

          • Christy says:

            Great! Thanks, Susan, I will keep an eye out for them. I am not sure if you designed the postcards for this purpose, but I will be using them for this:


            “Postcards to Voters are friendly, handwritten reminders from volunteers to targeted voters giving Democrats a winning edge in close, key races coast to coast.”

            If you or any of the girlfriends aren’t familiar with this program, be sure to check out the website! We can all do our best to make a difference!

            xo, Christy

          • sbranch says:

            Great idea Christy!

  49. Lisa says:

    after reading i went directly to your web store to order the soap and wooden holder…..SOLD OUT???? What happened that quickly, please say this isn’t so! Thanks Susan

    • sbranch says:

      Coming back very soon. I’m actually shocked, but this soap is worth it. If soap can be cozy, this is the one!

  50. Lorraine Macholz says:

    So excited for the Zoom with you!! So sad that no the Vineyard has Covid! Stay safe and healthy!! xoxo

  51. Nancy S says:

    Thank you for another wonderful post! I always feel much better after reading.

  52. judy says:

    Love the idea of the puzzle!! Just wondering puzzle piece sizes? I especially work the White Mountain 1000 piece puzzles and their pieces are a tad bigger.

  53. carol neider says:

    Hi Susan, I live on Long Island in NY. Just read this blog. Sometimes things just seem to happen serentipitously. (sorry for bad spelling). I was just in that mood, you know that mood where you are half crazed from the pandemic and then amazed by your blog. You were in the same mood. All of a sudden, a thunderstorm came rolling in with lots of lightening and rain and I leaned on my kitchen cutting board and look out to see my backyard perennial border being quenched by wonderful rain. The trees shook; the lightening put on a light show. I was so much at peace from your beautiful blog. Have to notice little things. Thanks for such inspiration.

  54. Doris Christy says:

    Will you be getting more of the soap and wooden soap holder? It says sold out. I just ordered the puzzle … can’t wait.
    Love your blog. It makes me happy when I see it in my inbox.
    Thank you!

  55. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    Susan, I wanted you to know that my dearest husband Joe died this past Friday, July 17th. We were always together . . . “Never above you. Never below you. ALWAYS BESIDE YOU”. May you & your Joe enjoy every moment together just as I did with my sweetheart.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my dear. Words can’t say. 😢 I’m about to go up and take my Joe his tea and I will give him an extra hug and kiss in honor of your beautiful marriage. 💖 Blessings on you and yours. Tears.

  56. Coco says:

    Dear Susan,

    A blog post from you makes any day a Red Letter Day ~ thank you!! I am never more productive than after reading a fresh installment of what you have to say.

    I hope it makes you smile to know that I pretty much finish “Isle of Dreams,” wait a short while, then turn back to the beginning and start again… strength, courage, humor, honesty, friendship, WISDOM, beauty, perspective, camaraderie on every page. No book has ever meant more to me. I admire you so much for not giving up, for believing in yourself (even when you didn’t), for doing the hard, perplexing work of becoming your full and true self. And I am grateful (daily!) to you for taking the time to share what you learned with the world. Who can count the souls that have latched on to the encouragement you shared, taken heart from your story, and determined — I’m going to build a little Holly Oak inside of me, and nourish myself, I’m going to work hard and I am going to come out the other side, my life is going to be more than where I find myself right now.

    Recently I treated myself to “All Good News,” your Willards from October 1995 through January 2003, which I enjoyed very much. The archive of Willards on your website picks up in January of 2008. Did you blog or email or send some version of Willards during that five year gap? I would so love to read whatever I missed. Inquiring minds do want to know!

    I was so sad to read in your May 27 blog that you had chipped your only “Little Things” mug. I hate it when I break something I love, but for you to chip the very first mug you created and had only one of, horrible! But my heart leapt for joy when you thought, Wait, “who is in charge here? …made the executive decision to RE-ORDER it” and let us in on it too (I missed out on this most adorable mug at the start, but I’m all ordered up now, happy). I am now hoping that the delay in manufacturing from the required re-do of the lithograghs for your mug re-order might just have a similar silver lining… could you, would you, might you also reorder In Love With Nature? To me it is the companion mug to Little Things: so emblemmatic of how you combine nature, whimsy, best quotes, lovely lettering, and darling composition in the glory of your painting to evoke such deep joy in a daily household item that is both beautiful and useful! That ILWN features your most adorable aproned lamb just puts it beyond-beyond! I came late to your mugs, and was SOOOO lucky to get a chance for Little Things, thank you thank you thank you. I know it’s greedy to ask, but I humbly do so anyway… In Love With Nature??? Pretty please? With sugar (or perhaps butter) on top? Ha ha, it doesn’t matter what the answer is, I will still love you no matter what.

    You needn’t post this comment, I realize it has little to do with what you actually wrote about in today’s blog post. :@) (smiling piggie face) xoxox Coco

    • sbranch says:

      I have to post it. It’s too nice!😂 I’ll do my best on the cup . . . your 2nd paragraph brought tears. It more than makes me smile. I’ve always felt like we grow in stages, and the waiting for the next stage, for enlightenment, sometimes is so very frustrating. But maybe if we know it’s coming, we can do better enjoying now, and doing what it takes to get to the enlightenment as fast as we possibly can!!! The ride, the yearning, is worth it. Believing in ourselves is the hardest part, and the only way to it is through it. Just the sweetest words from you Coco, thank you!💖

  57. Julie (Omaha) says:

    I can’t watch the news anymore, it’s just too stressful.
    So instead I read your blog ( sometimes I go back and just
    enjoy the pics ) and your books ( so excited for 2021 calendar, Christmas book, and now the puzzel too!) listen to music and FaceTime our kids/grandkids. I just anguish over the idea
    of what kind of world they’re going to inherit but remind myself of one of my favorite
    movie lines which was in the movie “Starman” with dreamy Jeff Bridges ☺️. He was an
    alien visiting Earth and made this observation about humans – “when things are at their very
    worse you are at your best”. I pray that’s true and we will come through this better and stronger . In meantime thank you for being a much needed respite! 💝

  58. Carol Ann says:

    Hi Susan,

    Have always loved you and the good person you are, so feeling really drawn to share this bit of truth with you from Dr Russell Blaylock hoping it helps…


  59. Suzette Shoulders says:

    NOT too long for me! I just had a feeling you might have posted to your blog, so I went to look, and oh, I LOVE being on your island for a bit! Thank you SO much! I pre-ordered both of your wall calendars, and am excited their arrival will be soon. I look forward to the Christmas tale, and am thinking of ordering that puzzle! Cool idea to do that for the stay-at-home time… puzzles take us away, too. Thanks so much for being YOU! Hi to Joe and Jack. I see your cat, and I want a cat, in spite of my allergies, LOL! Suzette in Bend, Oregon

  60. Regina Carretta says:

    Dear Susan…hello hello…..wonderful to hear from you…..just like zooming with loved ones…..loved “the dogs were all smiling” amidst humans with masks…..thanks for the ‘staying in’ encouragement….I have everything to be grateful for, and no room to feel penned in….I have a garden, a neighborhood of luvly people, air to breathe, quiet…..there are those who are densely living in high rises with no access to gardens or air to breathe…..I am excited about your Zoom chat on August 19th….I just registered….I think you may blow up Zoom – how many participants is possible?
    Missed my England trip this July…..but ramped up watching “Garden Rescue”….also reading “The Gown” by Jennifer Robson, which I think is up your alley your cup of tea kind of thing…..and I have been bingeing on “Madam Secretary”….so do take care, sweet spirit…..and see you on Aug. 19th….
    Regina, Seattle

    • sbranch says:

      Well, they started with 500 . . . but I think they’re trying to add more. I’m so glad you got in Regina, I hope they can make more space. I’ll check out the Gown, and thank you, as always. xoxo💖

  61. Deborah Cox says:

    Your blog posts always make my day, today was a good one. I try to see the positive in the negative, as bad as this year is, there is always room for positivity. This blog has shown that positivity, thanks Susan. Sending you and Joe virtual hugs.

  62. DIANE BYRUM says:

    Susan, your posts are NEVER too long! We hang on your every word and linger on your beautiful art emanating from your soul. Thank you. Stay well❣

  63. Dee says:

    I have been trying to pre-order Christmas book but doesn’t seem to be going through even though says processing.

  64. Kathy Thurman says:

    I just love your little part of the world, enjoyed through your pictures. I always feel better after reading your blog posts! Stay safe 😁

  65. Diane in Bend says:

    Thank you dear Susan, for another beautiful post and a time for us to be refreshed. I tried to register for your Zoom meeting in August, but the site said it’s already full. Darn it! Peace to you, Joe, and Jack, and continued robust good health. You are appreciated more than you know.

  66. Jeanie M says:

    Soap and dish already sold out! Sigh……By the way, your posts could never be too long, Susan. ❤️

  67. Tana says:

    I have been looking and hoping for a new post for the past week, and here it is. And I am not disappointed ! Your posts are the treasures I look for on the internet. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Love you sweetie!!

  68. Freddie Ann says:

    Your post can never be too long. So enjoyed the island tour. Everyone around where we live are always walking, biking, just getting outside, so that’s a plus. Your puzzle looks fun, 1000 pieces. I will have to find a larger table first.

  69. Christie Levin says:

    Ah, Susan, everything you’ve shared here today is so perfect, I won’t even try* to describe how your photos and descriptions have had a wonderful uplifting effect on my day ~ extra-specially appreciated now because it provides a much-needed break from quarantine-land here in California. Thank you for inviting us to go with you and Joe on your early morning walk through the shaded woods to the summer shore; stroll around cool, foggy Edgartown; and venture into summer night magic through the firefly illuminated neighborhood; then follow the path that the light from your windows makes to your home. (Ok, I *tried LOL).

    Because it reminds me so much of the friends I have made through your Blog and Twitter chats, I want to share with you a quote from a book I’m reading (Girls Club by Clarkson). The author had just been describing each of her friends in a chapter titled ‘The Tribe’ when she wrote this:

    “In each of these friends, I encounter a distinct world with a landscape all its own. Together we are a continent with friendly borders. They make me want to be more excellent, more careful, more tenderhearted. They make me want to read more, pray more, cook more, laugh more, take more walks, and love more. Each one of them is a large soul, a woman of great capacity. But there is space for us all – to be accepted, challenged, and celebrated. I am safe in these friendships, and called to goodness.”

    • sbranch says:

      So wonderful! Yesterday after LOOONG conversation with my Girlfriend, Margot … we said goodbye, each of us, with the same words, “Thanks for the Inspiration, I love you!” Good friends bring out the best in each other, that’s why we love them so much. xoxoxo

  70. Barbara says:

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your pictures of the houses and gardens-in this part of Virginia, we simply don’t have that-it was such a nice dreamworld to hold for just a few minutes-thank you so much, Susan.

  71. Liz says:

    Thanks for the ocean fix, I do miss it. <3 I'm envious you get to see it every day!
    I think your next puzzle ought to be one of Jack! 🙂

  72. Terry says:

    Puzzle ordered! Can’t wait!

  73. Dawn says:

    I always love your emails and I really needed to read this tonight, it’s been a scary few months but harder these last few weeks. Thank you for being the calm friend I needed to hear from today. Xo

  74. Janet Lagrange says:

    I tried putting your lavender soap and dish in the cart but it won’t go in. Something g isn’t working.

    • sbranch says:

      Kellee will check on that today when she gets to work ~ I would if I could, but that’s above my pay grade … so sorry!

  75. Bette Mathews says:

    I smiled throughout your blog. A pleasure. Our town in Florida had not one virus case until July. Now one case. I need to know who and where they had been! 🙄
    I bet you remember polio as I do. I wish I could remember more about those times. I do know how terrible it was, how my Mother worried and kept us out of any fresh water, the pool at GS camp was closed. I knew people who got it and were paralyzed. I know people died. Do watch the movie Breathe, Amazon Prime, if you have not. Can’t believe that was all in our lifetime.
    And when we were children there were Measles, Mumps, Whooping Cough, Small Pox, Scarlet Fever and other diseases that killed or left children diminished for life. All have vaccines now and no one gives them a thought or realizes how terrible and heartbreaking those were. Remember when families hung a black wreath when someone died or had to post outside the house (although I cannot recall what that exactly was) a notice that person within had a contagious disease? Certainly back then a household was staying home. We were very serious in those days..much more than a mask.
    We did have an elderly family member, in a Massachusetts assisted living facility, contract the virus and pass. I do want people to be responsible and protect themselves and others. 🙏🏻

  76. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Hi Susan, Joe and Jack,
    Wishing you a safe summer.
    Here in your old home town the Valley in California. Things are not good here.
    Wearing masks and just staying home. Praying for this to end. Waiting for Fall.
    Taking life one day at a time.
    Hoping for better days for everyone!!
    Love and distant hugs!!

  77. I did enjoy you sharing your island paradise with us. I descend from the Coffins of Nantucket and spent 3 glorious days there with my sister and even stayed in our ancestors house, the Jared Coffin House. What a dream come true. And you get to live that life all year, every year. Lucky you. ((hugs)), Teresa 🙂

  78. Joan Lesmeister says:

    A very nice surprise, this blog! Thank you! Love, that you two were out and about, feels so good huh….except for sidestepping the non-mask wearers! Thank you for the tour of your beautiful island! We visited the ocean about a month ago, I really needed a sighting….it’s two hrs away, and all the beaches were closed (we were very sad seeing that, although many folks ignored the signs!). We just drove up Hwy 1 for an hour, rolled down the windows to enjoy the ocean aroma! Enjoyed our picnic in the truck, & back down Hwy 1, then home! I took a video & ocean pics as Don drove, treasure those! Thank you, thank you for all your pretty pics and wonderful words! Stay safe & well! Love, Joan

  79. Tina C says:

    What a wonderful post! I think this is one of my very favorites! You made me feel cozy sitting here at home. I’m glad you and Joe are doing well. Blessings to you all! Tina

  80. Becky says:

    I’m so excited for August 19th!!!!! I’m registered and counting the days. And Thank you for the virtual tour of the island. I hope to make it in person some day. What is your most favorite month on Martha’s Vineyard?

  81. Joanie Gill says:

    I just love kitties and yours is darling and full of fun personality ! When you send us a post, it’s always the best part of my day ! Thank you , Susan !

  82. Debra Sewell says:

    I devoured every word of Willard…3 times!!! Wonderful letter. Loved it so much. Great photos. Thank you for taking us around the island. Be safe safe..mask always with others. Enjoy the beautiful fragrant summertime.

  83. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    Your posts can never ever be too long! It’s just what I needed today❤️Hubby and I have been taking our daily walks early in the morning before it gets too hot and we’ve noticed several fallen leaves on our path the last week or so. I tried to remember what Gladys Taber called the first ones to fall in late summer and your post jogged my memory…she wrote that the trees were “reconsidering” their leaves☺️I love that description. I preordered your Christmas book when it first became available, along with the photo calendar. Thank you for including a bookmark with the book.I’m hoping it might be a “test strip”❤️❤️In any case, thank you! I’ll see you August 18…have already reserved my spot with Zoom!

  84. Ginny Evans says:

    They could NEVER be too long! I love the puzzle, Susan and can’t wait to participate in the Zoom party!! Just think I will get to hear you live. Thanks for inviting us. Blessings…

  85. Dale Wornwness says:

    Your Zoom party and 2021 calendar both sound awesome. Definitely something to look forward to. How lucky you are to have fireflies! Do they have to wear masks? Love the pic of the Edgartown jail too but don’t think I’d want to be a guest. 🙂

  86. Janie Foltz says:

    Aww…Susan…thanks for this breath of fresh sea air. Here in North Carolina we have had many consecutive days of sultry humid heat. temps have been in the mid to upper 90’s with scorching sun and no rain. Our heat index has been between 105 and 110 and no rain. This is difficult for our gardens. God has blessed us with loads of fresh squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and corn. My herb garden has been gorgeous. I made a wonderful Squash Lasagna and used my wonderful fresh basil, parsley, sweet marjoram and French thyme. I have been swimming each day for exercise and reprieve. Things are so different this summer with Covid…but so very thankful for each blessing God has given. Our Senior pastor delivered an amazing message on Sunday, July 12th. I invite you to listen (skip over first part of local concerns and announcements). You can find it at Friedberg Moravian Church You Tube, July 12. Thanks for being my friend. Hugs!!

  87. Judy Jennings says:

    Susan, your posts are NEVER too long. Ever. 💕

  88. Rae Ann. says:

    Thank you for the wonderful blog😉May I ask what book is waiting for you on your bedside table🤔Sending hugs from northern Michigan…

    • sbranch says:

      I actually have two, one is The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson (good old Winston Churchill) and the other is Maisie Hobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (a suggestion by one of our Girlfriends). xoxo

  89. Marlene says:

    I personally loved the long post and the photos from around Martha’s Vineyard. The photo above the works “Blue Skies” would absolutely be a treasure to be enlarged and framed. My eyes feasted on the many shades of blue in the water and sky.

  90. Gloria Cheney says:

    Great to hear from you today. A nice surprise amid this sad time in our country. Thanks for perking us up today.

  91. Francine Ramsey says:

    Oh, Susan! I’m so excited about the puzzle and have already pre-ordered it.
    I was hoping that it would be a 1,000 piece puzzle and much to my delight, it is. I love all the little montages in it and that it’s so colorful. My sweet Mom will love it too when I surprise her with it.

    I have registered for the Zoom meeting and look forward to attending with all of the other girlfriends! Note to self . . . I better remember to take that afternoon off from work!

    Thanks for all the fun news & treats!


  92. Linda Ann says:

    Thank you for your lovely tour! It was just what I needed to lift my spirits. I’ve been so missing my old life. Staying home is what keeps us safe, but being home since March is getting old. Thank heavens for long walks, kittys to pet and entertain us and the hope it will be over soon. I am so grateful for your beautiful posts. They make me smile and feel so much lighter! The visual of that sneeze made me laugh out loud!! You are amazing! Thank you for sharing all your gifts!

  93. Michele L Bottorff says:

    I’m always happy to get your letters! They’re never too long! I’ll be looking forward to your Zoom event in August! You’re a beacon of light in all this dampanic! 😊. Thanks!

  94. Thea says:

    Stay safe, my dear friends!

  95. Meesha Mckie says:

    I love when I see a post from you! Thanks for sharing summer time on the island. It all looks so lovely… And I love the puzzle., what a great idea! It’ll look pretty when framed too!

  96. Cindy Johnson says:

    I enjoy your blog and no, they are never too long just not often enough 🙂 Look at your picture of the lamp and flowers— at a glance the flowers look like a red bird! Thank you for the island tour. It is hot here in Georgia too but I love the summer. The beach and ocean are beautiful. I will check out the new puzzle. Wouldn’t that make a cute cup for book lovers ?!?!

  97. Kathy says:

    Your posts are never too long😊

  98. Pat Harmon says:

    ❤️ the luvlee pictures
    💜 home sweet home for sure
    💙 autumn our 100+ heat index humidity melts me
    💚 your calendars
    💛 your posts They are never too long
    🧡 when I see one in my emails
    💕 to you and Joe

  99. Erin Spining says:

    Hi Mrs. Branch from Nashville, Tennessee!
    After a trip to Sanibel Island with my family 10 years ago, we learned about a bug more fierce than the mosquito….the no-see’ums! But while down there, we also learned of a natural bug spray invented by an outdoors-y family down South in Georgia…No Natz. Have you heard of it? I spray it all over everytime I go out to water the flowers and it keeps the biting bugs away. You gotta love a bug repellant that lists rosemary oil, lemongrass oil, geranium oil, and more as the top ingredients! Google it! No Natz is the name! Stay safe and bug free! Enjoyed your pics of the beach. Visiting that area one day is on my bucket list 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you I will! No see’ums LOVE me with a passion I can never quite believe. They are awful. I don’t feel them bite me, but the next day it’s like they laid eggs under my skin. Just the worst!

    • dezi says:

      I live in Arizona, where there is a lawn, there are “no-see-ums”. Avon Skin So Soft also works for no-seeums. If kids are at a park with lawns this works great. But mosquitoes seem attracted to Avon SSS, so beware. I have a pond, and we got the mosquitoes early this year, so I planted lemon grass all along one end and no more mosquitoes. The monsoons haven’t quite begun here so the jury might be out yet, but it’s so nice not to have to use repellants! Thanks for the tip, we may have to try No Natz when the rains start. We will see. Oh, and a note for Susan, they do lay their eggs under your skin. Yikes, right? —- dezi

    • dezi says:

      Oh, dear, I was told a very long time ago that no see-ums laid eggs under your skin. Nope, just looked it up, and a lot of people were told that because it is a common misconception. Opps. It DOES feel that way. 😏🙈🙈

      • sbranch says:

        That’s EXACTLY what it feels like to me. I don’t feel it when they bite me, but for the following 3 days I am clawing at myself (ice packs save me), just feels like something is crawling under my skin and soooo itchy!

        • dezi says:

          If I am able to hold still for awhile, I put a poultice of baking soda and just a titch of water on the bite. Wait till it begins to flake off, then you can rub off, or wash off. The itching completely stops. I think it sucks out the poison. I do this for spider bites, ant bites, everything, really. This has worked once when I got bit by a Brown Recluse. Used on my son who was bit too, and it worked wonderfully. I garden and dig and work in places they hang, and fire wood is a favorite for recluses too. Hope you have battened down for the storm, but mostly I pray this storm goes the way so many of them have for your lovely old house. I have to tell you there are times I really enjoy when the power goes off. I pretend I am in the middle ages. I no longer have a gas stove, (which I miss terribly), so if it goes out we are camping, with the candles, lanterns, and bbq. LOL.

  100. Annette Baker says:

    No post from you is ever too long. Grateful for you and the places you take me. Love and prayers to you and yours. Annette

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