We’ve all been waiting for an October Surprise, so I thought I’d get it over with. Here it is! YAY! MUSICA? You bet!💞 Luv-lee, luv-lee Gladys, tells us how it is!

Our walk is changing so quickly … no matter how long I live here, even thought I know it’s coming, October is ALWAYS a surprise to me!🎆

Time for coats and hats … We went out at sunset the other day … Luminious is the right word! World gone gold!

Nature gives us many miracles, from bees to camels, bittersweet to redwoods, apple orchards, the smell of sweet peas and gardenias, and everyday a sunset, and at night, the moon and stars, but add to that, the miracle of four seasons! Aren’t they just wild? Thank you is what I say! When I first moved to the island, I would meet someone and ask them how long they had lived here. They’d always answer me in winters. “I’ve been here seven winters.” It scared me a little bit to hear that. I was a beginner from California and major change of seasons were new to me. Hadn’t they lived here seven springs? Why did they choose winter?😳 

I’m not a beginner anymore.🍂🍁 Now I’m just here to celebrate.👏 🎶 But if I’d ever leave you,
It couldn’t be in autumn.
How I’d leave in autumn
I never will know.🎵
I’ve seen how you sparkle
When fall nips the air.
I know you in autumn
And I must be there.

Our walk never gets boring even though we’ve been going this same route almost every day, in all seasons, since we moved into our house in 1989… down a sun-splotched, puddled and rutted dirt road, through the woods of pine and oak, now festooned with bittersweet, past old fishing shacks, to the sea . . . and back. A perfect almost-three miles. Best part of our day.

We get a little sad sometimes, when we remember our wonderful walks in England… and feel very sick of this dampanic 😷, 

. . . wishing we were kicking up leaves in England… sitting in front of pub fires . . .🔥

Or, riding a train to California in our room with a view . . . stopping for dinner in Chicago . . . having adventures! But then we remember how lucky we are to be safe at home, and how much harder it is for so many who’ve lost much more than we have. All we’ve lost is our freedom. It could be so much worse.

There is nothing to complain about. We have a clothesline!

And leaves . . .

And Jack . . .

I have window sills!

And work I love to do, for people I love to do it for 😘 . . . who could ask for anything more?🍁 And I’ve already been thinking about Thanksgiving. Unless something changes and Doctor Fauci gives us the all-clear, I guess Joe and I will be alone this year. So I have it all figured out: I’m going to stuff a big chicken with my grandma’s stuffing, and roast it until the skin is buttery-crisp, and make delicious gravy with the drippings for the mashed potatoes, and I’ll make whole berry Cranberry Sauce, I can’t wait! And pumpkin pie with real homemade pie crust! I’ll polish two forks and two knives, light some candles and we’ll eat it all in front of the fire.And then we’ll watch one of these!

This little girl got our entire country through a World War, I guess she can get us through a winter. Grandfather! Grandfather! You can never go wrong with a Shirley Temple movie!

And something else. Give your heart a rest and spend a few minutes in heaven among the sweetest sheep you ever saw with Kirsten and Joerg on their visit to Yew Tree Farm in the Lake District. This is one of the farms Beatrix Potter saved from the developers and it’s also where they filmed the movie Miss Potter (while you’re at it, watch that too)! Your cheeks will hurt from smiling so much.😘

And another little cheer-up October surprise . . . a new bookmark! Just click HERE and print it out on card stock. Laminate it if you like, send one to someone you love . . . And now, for a recipe!Many of you have read my new book Home for Christmas, and you probably remember I wrote about Snippy Doodle, one of our family treats when we were little. It’s not in any of my books (yet), but I thought you might like the recipe. (I made this recipe into cards ~ and now you know why . . .  guess what I’ll be sending everyone in our family this Thanksgiving?) 

My mom wrote down this recipe for me years ago, even her handwriting brings back wonderful memories . . . She wrote “Grandma Orr” on it, so it wasn’t just my mom’s recipe, it wasn’t from the 1950s, it was my Great Grandmother Sarah Foster Orr’s recipe and she was probably making it on a cast iron stove in 1895. I LOVE family food and the way it connects the generations!

I know exactly what she means!💞

So, do you think it’s time yet? Shall we draw the winning name for this delicious quilt? Drawings are by far the hardest thing I have to do on this blog. The whole time I DON’T do the drawing, everyone is a winner, but the moment Vanna comes in to the picture, it’s the beginning of the end for everyone but one Lucky Person.

Teeny, tiny, perfect, professional-looking stitches, so tight nothing could ever come apart, all handmade, and for sure, for whoever made this, it was not their first quilt, it is too perfect. What a family treasure that somehow got let go into the world until I pounced on it. I hope whoever wins it will love it as much as I do.❤️

And before I let Vanna do her stuff, let me just say that if you want to hang quilts on your kitchen chairs, you should go right ahead and do it! I know it doesn’t make sense, quilts in the kitchen, but if you need the chair you can move the them. Until then, they are SO cozy and SO pretty, good for fall, good for Christmas🎄, good for winter, actually, good for every season ~ and you get to enjoy them in the spot where we spend so much of our time. The heart of the home! Of course they are gorgeous no matter where you put them. I’ve found all of mine in second hand stores, antique stores, yard sales. The prettiest ones are hard to find, but that’s what makes the hunt so much fun, and when you find one that you love, and when the price is right, you POUNCE. Otherwise, you wait, like a stalking lion, until you feel your heart soar, and then you know you’re in the right place.💝 

I call this a Flower Pot quilt although I have no idea what the true name of the pattern is. But it looks like flower pots to me! There she is, all folded and ready to go . . .🌺

She has danced with the angels here on Martha’s Vineyard 🍂 . . .And now she’s going home . . . with our lucky Girlfriend who I am SURE will take good care of her . . . so are we ready??? Here we go! The winner is

VAL S. from OHIO!!!!C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S    V A L ! ! !

I’m so happy for her! I hope she’s surprised! Okay, you all know there is something else. Another small treat:

It’s this lovely rare book about Christmas at the turn of the century … published in 1938, no longer in print, and very hard to find these days . . 

Filled with sweet line drawings by beloved artist Lois Lenski.  I hope the lucky winner of this charming book will have someone to read it to this holiday season! And the Lucky Winner is:


Ooooo, I know this Rachel, she’s been a girlfriend of ours for a very long time! How fun! Congratulations Rachel! AND I do think she’ll have someone to read it to!💞

You two can look for emails from me so I can get your addresses to send your October Surprises.💌 I’m so sorry for anyone who had their heart set on one of these treasures, but you know I will have others . . . . 💞

And here’s a teeny-tiny partly-printed quilt you can make yourself! And a little embroidered stuffed Jack goes with it!❤️

I keep mine all wrapped up in a bedside table drawer in the Peter Rabbit room, so if we have a guest, and if they open the drawer, they’ll find they aren’t alone!💞

As lots of you know, knitting, embroidering, cross-stitch, and sewing are luv-lee things to do while watching an old movie when the weather gets cold, and Kellee wanted me to let you know all of our embroidery and sewing kits and patterns just came back in! Maybe a little Christmas gift in there for someone you love.💞

And who doesn’t love homemade dishtowels! These are embroidered and appliquéd. Use up some of that fabric you’ve been stashing forever! I hope you find something HERE that inspires you!

We’re going to have a special full-moon on Halloween night, the second one this month, it’s a Blue Moon! So, be sure to go outside and make a wish on it. This old world needs us and all our good prayers more than ever🙏, it’s been proven that if lots of people pray at the same time, good things will happen.❤️And Sheri wanted me to tell you our Puzzle is right on schedule! We should have it by the end of this month or the first week in November and they will go right out to all of you who have preordered! It’s called

It’s a big one! I’m so happy! I’m going to take it slow, I want it to last all winter!!!

“We are all children of God” . . . the Pope just said it on TV while I was writing this, about to say goodbye for now, and it made me feel so good! What a perfect ending! Take good care of yourselves dear ones! Thank all of you that were able to make it to my Zoom programs! So fun! There’s another one this Sunday … you can get the details in the column on the right of this blog page, just click on the word “EVENT” and voila! See you soon! 

🎃❤️🎃PS This just in . . . my new ad in Yankee Magazine! So excited!

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442 Responses to OCTOBER SURPRISE

  1. dezi says:

    Dear Susan,
    I have so many of your books now! Excited to read the rest when the holidays start! As usual you do not disappoint with your lovely blog. But, boo hoo; Outside: “Congratulations to the winners!!!” Inside: “Rats, I didn’t win.” 😢. But it gives me incentive to sew my own, though that would be a first and of course not as well made as that one. I have crocheted since a little girl. Was taught to knit too, but just preferred crochet. Don’t ask why, I don’t know. Maybe having small children around for many years, crochet hooks aren’t so easy weapons for little boys to confiscate and use for sword fighting? I raised four boys and one girl. I have many throws all over the house as a result, so I don’t NEED a quilt. But it does so speak of “HOME” doesn’t it? You are an amazing and generous lady that you are able to part with such a precious piece! Thank you for that. Lovzies always! Your not so old friend-dezi🥰

    • sbranch says:

      Look around at the big warehouse antique stores, until you find one that you like. Making them is wonderful too… I made a few long ago until I found out it was faster to paint them! Then I started collecting . . . 💞

  2. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Congrats to the lucky winners. We are all winners when you put up a new blog.
    I have made your SnippyDoodle. Delicious! it tastes like homemade from scratch, so different from a boxed mix.
    We will have a quiet Thanksgiving in our house too. Normally I cook and kids and grands come here. However, my son travels, the grands go to in person school, and my daughter teaches middle school. Too risky.
    We have been careful ourselves and positivity rate here in NC is 7.5%, too high. So 😞 we will stay home alone and cook a small turkey with🍗 all the trimmings. I will make apple crisps, drive to their homes, and my kids can meet me in the driveway. We have some of those old holiday movies saved to enjoy too.
    Hoping for better holidays next year for all of us. ❤
    Love you. Thanks Gor all the goodies. Stay safe.😷

  3. Carolyn Wilson says:

    What a treat to have this lovely newsy story to contentedly read on the eve of my birthday. Yes I’ll be 71 on the 22nd. Memories flood my soul with happiness remembering my country childhood spent in simple pleasures of horseback rides through our 27 acres, gathering Banty chicken eggs, walking our mountain trails, all accompanied by our ever faithful collie, Laddie. My best friend who let me talk, read, cry, and dream with him. Our little family of 4 and 4 grandparents were happy and secure in our lovely life of contentment. My precious daughter, Bonnie, grew up in our family circle. Now she is grown up and it’s just us 2. We enjoy each other in mutual respect and continue living the most beautiful life we can. We have lots of inspiration from you, Susan, and we appreciate you. Our home place is but a short drive back out in the country where we can be nostalgic and relive precious memories. Travel has been a beautiful part of my life from a little girl ongoing. My soul has been uplifted by the experiences I’ve had and my life enriched. Bonnie is my travel mate now. Last year we were in London and Paris at this time. Times are so different now but we stay positive and hopeful of the future. How could we not with our souls filled to overflowing with memories of beauty and enriching culture to recall. Happiness and contentment are ours forever.

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

    Good morning Susan, Girlfriends. it is a lovely Fall day here, clear blue skies with some clouds floating by ( we are anticipating rain for the weekend, keep your fingers crossed), a bit of wind and cooler temperatures…definitely it is Fall here. the leaves are turning beautiful colors and burying my lawn with tons of leaves and acorns. the squirrels are scampering around collecting the nuts and hiding them under piles of leaves…. its the busy season. just got done cleaning out the wood stove and will have it ready for tonight, it is going to be a cold night tonight… in the 20’s brrrrrr!!!! first fire of the season, and i have the quilts out on the bed all ready to snuggle into. soup is slowly simmering on the stove and it smells heavenly and i can’t wait to eat it tonight. i love this time of year, i have my pumpkins out on the porch and my Fall/Halloween decor up for us to enjoy. life is good, well in my opinion it does not get any better than the Fall. before i forget, congrats to Val and Rachel for winning the quilt and the book and Susan i have a challenge for you… see if you can spot the Halloween witch on her ride across the full moon this Halloween, better look fast or you will miss her. Happy Halloween. have a great day today, stay well, stay safe and stay happy. lots of love and hugs…. hugs… 😀

    • sbranch says:

      Hope the good witch brings you RAIN!!!🎃

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        Good Morning Susan, Girlfriends. i hope she brings enough rain to drown out the fires still burning. but i just love looking for her each and every Halloween, my Grandma told me to look for the witch on her Halloween ride across the sky or the moon when it was full and i haven’t missed her yet. like folks here we plan a quiet Thanksgiving here, small turkey in the oven, stuffing and all the trimmings. that will be nice for us. hey did Jack ever get hold of that spider??? i’m still trying to repair my big Halloween spider, it had 8 legs…. now it has 3… the gremlins got it!!! Happy Halloween Susan, Happy Halloween Girlfriends. hugs….. 😀 oh before i forget, our fire here, the Slater fire and the Devil’s fire, are under containment.. the Slater fire is 82% contained and the Devil’s fire is 60 % contained. wonder if we should treat the fire fighters to some trick or treats??? think they would enjoy that???? hugs….. 😀

  5. Cathie Shaffer says:

    The coffee cake recipe takes me back to the old Aunt Jemima coffee cake mix that came in a little box, including the little pan to bake it in, the bigger bag with where you would add the egg and milk and mix it by hand, then squeeze it into the pan, and the separate packet of cinnamon and brown sugar for the top! Does anyone remember that?

  6. Trudy says:

    Congratulations Val and Rachel Leigh!!! You lucky girls!!!🍀🍀
    Thank you for the recipe Susan!
    My mum did the same-she wrote several down on cards too.
    So now I have lovely memories of her when using these while baking.
    Stay save and healthy!!!
    We are also in lockdown at the moment.
    Lots of love, Trudy from Holland

  7. Deanna B says:

    Love your blog! Walking in October is wonderful! Thanks for sharing yours, always. I love fall, but your art is special all year. So sweet and lovely, good for the soul! Sending love and thanks for your goodness…

  8. Misty says:

    Ordered 5 copies of your new book for Christmas presents.
    I haven’t read it myself yet. I am saving it until December.
    I cant wait!!!

    I look forward to each of your blogs. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Susan Duff says:

    Thank you for the Snippy Doodle recipe! Can’t wait to try it!!

  10. Lori Metschan says:

    Love it all! Can you make the movie list into a printable bookmark? I collect your bookmarks…wob you from Washington! xoxo! Lori M

  11. Janice says:

    🍁Always so encouraging, refreshing and filled with love. 🍁 Thank you dear Susan for your kindness and hope in this season of uncertainty.🍁 I just finished reading Becoming Mrs. Lewis, by Patti Callahan. It will give a new face to “Jack” for you. (C.S. Lewis) 🍁Such a beautiful love story.
    ~ Love and blessing, Janice 🍁

  12. Jan Drexler says:

    I look forward to your fun email every month! Thank you for another great one, inspiring me to be content as I cozy in at home on the wintry day in the Black Hills!

    The puzzle looks like so much fun – I have to put one on my Christmas list!

  13. Sandi Skeels says:

    Congrats~~ Val S from Ohio (yay ~ I’m from Ohio)and Rachel Leigh S….THRILLED for you both!!!
    Enjoyed your blog …Snippy Doodle will be smelling in my cabin reallllly soon !!!

  14. Jan Drexler says:

    I look forward to your fun email every month! Thank you for another great one, inspiring me to be content as I cozy in at home on this wintry day in the Black Hills!

    The puzzle looks like so much fun – I have to put one on my Christmas list!

  15. JoLynn Holmwood says:

    Happy October & Happy Halloween, Susan! You’re a good egg!

  16. Jen Pen says:

    Congrats to the winners!
    I am watching a pileated woodpecker right now. Fascinating!
    I love your Christmas book!
    I just tagged your Simple Things mug on my Instagram page. 😘

  17. Nancy Newsom says:

    Thx so much for your Great Grandmother’s recipe, I’m sure to make it soon! Btw, how do you care for your quilts? I’ve inherited a beauty and it needs to be cleaned. I don’t have a clothesline, unfortunately.

  18. Nan from Michigan says:

    Oh gosh… I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog!! I don’t know how you pack so much inspiration into each blog, but you do.. and they make me so happy each time. They make me stop and look around me at how much I have to be thankful for. Thank you for all you do and for your art and books and recipes. You make the world a bit more cozy. ♥️

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Nan … It always helps to “think upon whatever is good …” keeps us counting our blessings! ❤️

  19. Jill Sloat says:

    Dear Susan, your blog always brightens my day❣️So happy to see you in my mailbox , this has been a dreary year and it helps to see some encouraging , hopeful and cheerful news, you are my idol and inspiration. Painting some colorful acorns this afternoon to display in a pretty jar to remind us of the beautiful fall days!
    Thankyou for your beautiful messages🥰

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure Jill, I’m so happy you’re here! ALL OF YOU! Reading these little notes from home just make my day!!!💖

  20. Milanya says:

    Even though I didn’t win either of the give-aways, I felt comforted reading your blog. I am so glad I am a child of God and a girlfriend of yours. You have a way of bring warmth to our lives. Thank you, Susan.

  21. Laura says:

    Congratulations Val and Rachel! How wonderful! Susan, I ordered one of your Christmas books for my Mom and one for me❤️ We both loved it so much and saw so much of our own family in yours. We are all more alike than we are different! Thank you for your beautiful book, it made us both very happy. I want to reveal my favorite part, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone….I will just say it involved a certain gift😂😂😂😂😂😂. Your Thanksgiving plans sound perfect and will be like ours…just the four of us, cozy and very thankful for our family’s health and safety. Sending love to everyone across the miles. xoxoxo

  22. Ann Prins says:

    A day brightener on this Sunny bright Fall day !! Optimism is good for the soul. I have been thinking about roasting a chicken like my mother did for Thanksgiving!

  23. Janice Chandonnet says:

    Hello Susan,
    Congrats to the winners! Thank you for all of your great posts and wonderful giveaways! I must say that snack cake sounds delicious. 😋 Too bad my husband and I are dieting. I must find a good reason to make it. LOL!

  24. Gayle Hall says:

    Well this is interesting…….I am the first to write. They never leave anymore have not figured out what I am doing wrong. But I am trying again. I have read your new book and THE WILLARD , and enjoyed my entire order. I have read your emails and as usual swear we are twins in all we do and love. So once again I will try and send these words. Love Gayle

    • sbranch says:

      They recently changed the way it’s done on WordPress… I don’t know why. Comments act like they disappear, but instead they go here to wait for me to read them … so I have to PUT them UP myself! Which can sometimes slow things down, but I’m pretty sure I’m getting them all! Would hate to miss anything from my dear kindred spirits! xoxoxo

  25. Biz Greenwell says:

    Hi! Is that first picture of England in Warkworth? That looks soooo much like the path along the river in the village of Warkworth. Well, skunked again on the giveaways. But I loved your post, as always. Looking forward to cozy fall moments. Take Care
    – Biz

    • sbranch says:

      Lots of places to walk next to canals like that one in Aylesbury …they are a lucky bunch of people over there!💖

  26. Janet says:

    Oh, Susan! You just know that we need to hear from you more often now. What a refreshment. I’m addicting my sister & friends to “Susan Branch” so that I have more company to enjoy you with. Thank you!

  27. Peggy Morgan says:

    I’ be bought six copies of the Christmas book to give to my girlfriends at Christmas. I got the cards with the snippy doodle recipe on them too! I’m very excited to give the books to them. I read it and loved it.

    I think we will all be having quiet thanksgiving this year. Ah well!

    Wishing you all good things!

  28. Laurie W. says:

    Love hearing your stories about the walks you take with Joe. My husband and I have been taking a 4 mi. round-trip walk to Harding’s beach in Chatham most every day for the past 14 years. During the walk, one of us will repeat what a gentleman said to us as he was walking, “Gettin’ it done!” And when we get home, we remind ourselves, “Best thing we do all day.”

  29. Barbara Jean says:

    Such an uplifting post Miss Susan! Thank you!

  30. Michele Davidson says:

    So happy to see “It’s a Wonderful Life” in your old movie section. It is one of my very favorite movies (along with Field of Dreams). It also makes me sad because for many years my husband and I have gone every December to a local theater to watch a special showing of it. Not a regular theater, but a beautiful art deco theater built in the 1920s. Not only does it show old movies throughout the year it also has the performances of the local Little Theater plays, something my daughter and grandchildren were involved in. All this has come to a screeching halt because of the dampanic! But, we will muddle through and look for new ways to celebrate the holiday season. I’m hoping next year we will be back to ‘normal’ life and be able to take advantage of these small joys that make the holidays so memorable.

  31. Margot says:

    Getting cold here fast this year! Rain and blowing winds are knocking the leaves 🍁 off the trees. Stay cozy!


  32. Linda says:

    Susan, on my first cursory look at,, just Divine….. just what I needed. Can’t wait for my read-thru….my first, second, and sometimes, third!! There is just so much good stuff Go be ❤️…my fave.

    Linda from Gainesville 🍁🍂

  33. Sue in Houston says:

    My luck with your drawings runs about as good as my luck with the Texas Lotto. LOL. Still, it’s always great to find a new blog post. My sister-in-law and I were just saying how all this “being at home” has made us ready to do Christmas much earlier this year…we’re considering decorating our houses November 1! Are we crazy, or what? To any of the girlfriends who don’t have your new book yet — it’s such a treat in our screwy times, and helps when we “need a little Christmas, right this very minute…”

    AND — loved the photo of Jack! What a star he is.

  34. Susanne Pedersen says:

    Hello Susan, Joe and Jack. Wishing you a Happy Halloween and lots of hygge,from the 2 sisters in Denmark.

  35. Maryellen says:

    Our Thanksgiving tradition (after my oldest daughter and her husband returned to our state) was for our entire family to join his entire family at her home for Thanksgiving. I passed on my and my mother’s roasters; I bring the pies. She and her husband are both nurses and are taking the advice of avoidance of family gatherings. Not sure if I will be cooking for two or offering carry out with porch pickup for the locals, but those movies, ALL of them, sound just perfect.

  36. Shannon H. says:

    I look forward to each any every one of your blogs! I love the photos and artwork. Many thanks!

  37. E says:

    I’m going to go home and make Snippy Doodle tonight. Thank you!!

  38. Sheryl Ross says:

    Enjoy my quilt, Val.🥰

  39. Lori W Hamilton says:

    Thanks for the blog and all the beautiful autumn photos. It’s always like getting a letter in the mailbox when your blog pops up!
    Not a winner this time but I’ll keep posting and hoping!
    Take care and “chin up” to us trying to outlast the dampanic. Stiff upper lip and all that Bri’ish stuff!

  40. Beth Buckley says:

    Thanks you, Susan. I’ve been feeling weary and worried about the situation here in the USA. You have lifted by spirits with your advice, quotes, photos and recipes. I’m going to email my Book Club and forward your blog. Very helpful for us all. Thanks again. I’m now prepared to enjoy autumn!

  41. Julie Bersano says:

    We haven’t really lost our freedoms. We only have to wear a mask once and awhile, in some public places and such. So truly, it’s still all good. Because we have our families to share our days with, be it holiday or any day!! Amen for that!! So yep, it’s just ALL good😉📚🍰☕

    • sbranch says:

      I meant, freedom to GO like we used to. Right now we can’t get into England. No problem with wearing a mask … I think that’s the new way of the world. And yes, ALL good.💞

      • Julie Bersano says:

        Oh…I didn’t realize you meant go as in “travel” outside of the US…heehee I have not been so fortunate to get further than Hawaii. England seems blissfully wonderful as I live vicariously through your blog😊
        As for masks, I’m excited to see them part of our history, as soon as possible😉 I miss the smiles around me even though I try to imagine them😍

  42. Elizabeth Buckley says:

    Loved this October letter. Thanks so much Susan. Be careful on those walks since the tall tree covered in vines with the 3 leaves is poison ivy. Now I’m going to forward your blog to my girlfriends. Stay well, and thanks again.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s exactly what Joe says to me every time I take a picture of it… it turns such pretty colors in the fall!

  43. Donnie says:

    Oh Susan, always a delight to hear from you. We’ve had a couple cool mornings, which is so welcome. But Florida will never produce the change of seasons you and Joe enjoy. Thank you for all you do to keep spirits bright!

  44. Jennifer Lauri says:

    Excited about the puzzle!! I am such a puzzle fan and love you and love books…a triple treat…thank you <3

  45. Joyce b says:

    Thank you for a great blog, be well, be safe…next three months will be a challenge. Think I need to put a micro quilt with a kitty pillow in every drawer!

  46. Lorraine Macholz says:

    Hi Susan, My mom made a cake like that that was from the 1880’s from my grandmother and we called it sugar and cinnamon cake! I made for my kids years ago, but as boys they were not interested, I think I might try it for the grands!
    Congrats to the ladies that won!!! Wonderful gifts~!! Enjoy!!

  47. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan….we miss those chances to walk around London, to stop at street markets, to just pop in for a coffee, to visit National Trust sites and take train rides….even the hustle bustle of the international concourse at the airport just to get there…..to visit friends who live near Central Park in NYC, walking to the Met everyday….to hug my great niece in Miami, where we would wake up early and sketch the sunrise….but then we just think how full our lives are that we even have the chances to do these things, to have these people in our lives….thanks for the breath of air, for the colors, for the friendship to all of us….
    love, joy, peace, soon we’ll exhale,
    Regina (Seattle)

  48. Ruth Howard says:

    Well, I’ve been feeling kinda down the last few days…haven’t seen my son for 10 months now! So I was thinking of your books and sat down at my computer to check my email…and there it was! A little October surprise from Susan Branch. Boy, did I need that! Love the pics you take on your walks. They make me smile as I reminice about my trips to wonderful New England. Hopefully I can go back there soon. I also loved seeing the names of the lucky winners. Thanks so much for the day brightener!

  49. Valann Stone says:


    Is that really me who won the quilt? I’m Valann Stone, from Mansfield, Ohio.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s Val_Ohio … I bet it’s you!!!! … I’ll send an email to that address and see if you reply!!!

  50. Barb Gentile says:

    Loved the Yew Tree Farm tour and all of the wonderful, special sheep. Be safe during Dampanic times!!

  51. Mary Andrews says:

    Thank you, Susan! What a lovely post. You remind me to savor the small moments around me. I always feel my spirit lift after reading your posts.
    Thank goodness you found your island and your life’s work. We are all enriched by your art and your writing.

  52. Marsha Sega says:

    Thanks, as always, for a day brightener (probably not a word, but you know what I mean). Just came in for a tea break after working in the yard. Since our kids and grandkids are across the country from us, we’ll be spending the holidays just the two of us. It will be our first Christmas since we had children, that we didn’t spend it with them. :(. For Thanksgiving, weather permitting, we will do what we did last year which is go for a picnic and hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We are so lucky to have this national treasure about an hours drive from our house. Love seeing all your pictures and it reminds me that I need to take pictures on my daily walks on the greenway trail.

  53. Beth Donaldson says:

    I loved seeing your Snippy Doodle recipe because I have the same recipe from my Great-Grandmother and ours is called Snickerdoodle Cake.:) My friends have loved to come for coffee and Snickerdoodle Cake—the recipe couldn’t be easier! What great fun to see you make it too. Maybe I will start calling it Snippy-Snicker Doodle Cake😘Beth

  54. Martha Martinez says:

    I so enjoy your blog, Susan! Your story-telling and photos have long been a bright spot in my day! I love to live vicariously through you, and to be inspired by you. Thank you!

    Congratulations to the winner of that LOVELY quilt! I’m a little sad that it wasn’t me. 🙁 Someday I hope to find a quilt as beautiful and cheerful as that one!

  55. Judy Ignac says:

    Hello Susan, thank you for your beautiful blog♥️
    I love the mug sitting on the windowsill with the
    Fall leaves. It has a red/white checkered handle. My
    kitchen has a lot of red. Where can I get one of those
    mugs? Thank you. Blessings

  56. JudyB says:

    Happy Halloween, Susan, Joe – and Jack! Thanks again for the uplifting blog!

  57. Martha Martinez says:


    Thank you for the cake recipe. Sounds SO EASY! Can’t wait to try it! 🙂

  58. Kay Bennett says:

    Hi Susan,,
    Congratulations to the winners!! You’ve made some girlfriends mighty happy. Loved your autumn photos. Cheryl and I watched Kristen and Joerg this last weekend. They are so interesting. I told Cheryl I need to tell Susan about them and now I don’t have to. You are already there. We love to watch anything about our beloved England and they are so uniquely “English.” We also really enjoyed your Zoom meeting. Such beautiful rooms and lovely decorations. Enjoy your Autumn walks! Happy Halloween!

  59. Virginia Opisso says:

    Can’t wait to receive my puzzle!!! Glad it’s on schedule.

  60. Susie (Long Island NY) says:

    Congratulations to the two happy winners! One of these days…one of these days…a gal can dream, can’t she? Susan, thank you ever so much for your wonderful blogs, your creative works and just for being you. I got all teared up with this post and not just because I wasn’t the winner. I am a winner each and every day and just in case I forget, being a part of this circle of women and men brightens me right up again. Your menu for the holidays sounds divine. We can get through this together. Hugs to you~ Hugs to all the girlfriends ~

  61. Rachel says:

    Susan…..I won, I won…..Vanna picked me!!! I am sooooooo excited….it’s a first. The neat thing is the artist of the book, Lois Linski, also wrote books. I remember one of my elementary teachers reading “Cotton in My Sack,” to which I could relate. I did just a smidgen of picking cotton when I was young….more for fun than anything else. My mother even made me my own sack with a strap that went over my shoulder. It was hard work, especially for those who needed to work every day to have money to buy essentials or those who had to help the family who share cropped . Thank you so much, Susan. You have made my day….month…. year! Congratulations to Val S……she must be as excited as I am. And, thank you for the lovely post….autumn is wonderful, especially in your “neck of the woods.” Love and thank you, Rachel

    • sbranch says:

      YAY!!! How wonderful Rachel! What a good surprise! Congratulations on a very fine Red Letter Day! xoxoxo

  62. Nancy Kilner says:

    Hi Susan!
    Can totally relate to your comment about tromping around The Cotswolds in October. We were there at this time 3 years ago (thanks to your inspiration) and would more than likely be there now if it weren’t for this dampanic!!!!
    My mother made the same cake also – simple and extra good when right out of the oven! 😊

  63. Just me says:

    I was growing up in Sioux City the same time as your mother. MY mother (a farm raised girl) called that cake recipe “the little one-egg cake”. She would make it (plain, no cinnamon topping) so it came out of the oven right before supper (in that place and time is was not dinner, dinner was at noon) and for dessert she served it warm with warm lemon sauce over it. So good! That was her emergency go-to cake.

    • sbranch says:

      I LOVE her name for it! So sweet. Yes, it strikes me as a very versatile cake, sort of plain .. Lemon sauce sounds delicious. I think you could add mini chocolate chips to it too! I bet our families knew each other way back then … my grandparents met at Central High and graduated around 1926-27.💞

  64. Nancy Kilner says:

    Hi Susan! Can relate to being in England in October – we explored The Cotswolds at this time 3 years ago (due to your inspiration) and would more than likely be there now if it weren’t for this dampanic!!!! Hope we get to return.
    My mother also made that cake – so simple and extra good when right out or the oven!

  65. lee says:

    Congratulations to the lucky ladies ! What a lovely vintage Flower Pot quilt – which is what my mom and grandmother called this pattern. My great grandmother had made one for my mothers years ago. Fabulous and generous of you to do a give a way… or two… Thank you! Enjoy the Autumn weather and we all will do what we can to keep busy and enjoy life! Best!

  66. Michelle says:

    I had seen the video by Kirsten and Joerg and forwarded it my fellow Herdwick loving friends. I love Kirsten and Joerg and now I want to go back to the Lake District to do the Herdwick Experience. We actually went into the pasture across the road, but those sheep had not been trained like the ones at Yew Tree Farm — they just stood and looked at us and let us take their pictures. My son did a watercolor for me from one of my photos. They are a very special breed. Earlier today, I saw Kirsten and Joerg’s video on the Peak District from their first outing after lockdown and there are lots of sheep in that one and she talks about how much she loves sheep.

  67. Nicki Anderson says:

    Always, always love your blog.

  68. Kristi says:

    ❤️You ALWAYS brighten our days!❤️Thank you!❤️

  69. Pamela C Payne says:

    I cannot tell you how much my husband I enjoyed your letter…..especially the trip to
    YEW FARM……I LOVE those sheep….yes, a foretaste of heaven on earth .

    Loved the musica selection too!

    Loved all the beautiful quilts too….

    Thank you, thank you , thank you!

  70. Trace says:

    Wooo whooooo to the lucky winners..
    I’m soo jelly and happy for you both all rolled into one.
    When I was a girl my mom too made a coffee cake that sounds a lot like this.
    So excited to make and see.
    Thank you for sharing ,hosting and being a wonderful friend
    Blessings Granny Trace

  71. Kathleen says:

    Thank you Susan! I was lucky enough to visit Martha’s Vineyard once and I loved it so much. It is fun to see where you walk, especially in the Fall. Thank you for the Blog.
    Thank you for sharing! Stay safe!

  72. Gail Sergewich says:

    Congrats to both girls for their big wins. Enjoy. Val send Susan pic to show us how nice it looks in its new home. Enjoy. 😊

  73. Patricia says:

    I just loved the Herdwick Sheep at Yew Tree Farm, I was smiling during the whole video, definitely a must see, the couple was charming. Thanks Susan for that link.

  74. Debbie Boerger says:

    What a wonderful day! Topped off with another loving Blog from you, Dear Sue.
    My whole house smells of simmering apple butter, and it is splattered all over the place and over me. This is the last batch of the apples from the old, wild tree. It’s made with local, natural unfiltered cider and of course sugar, a stick of cinnamon and just a bit of ground cloves. Takes Hours to wash, trim up, chop up the apples, simmer, put the pulp through a food mill or sieve. Now it will simmer until very thick. Not hot canning this year, so these will be cold packs. Gave away most of the first 2 batches…to neighbors who gave us so many good garden veggies. That makes my heart sing. The gimpy hands may determine that this is the last year I can do this wonderful thing, but maybe not!!

    Thank you for the Snippy Doodle recipe. We’ll have it tomorrow. I still have a pot of chicken soup to finish. Love my kitchen, which is U shaped to save steps and allow me to reach various utensils when I’m on a “tear”, as Tom says. And he gave me long padded mat that reaches from the kitty cornered stove to the outer edge of the long work space. Very helpful if you have arthritic feetsies, as I do, and sometimes bite off too much in one day.

    Tom zoomed in with our local newspaper and zoomed off to play Golf in the Mist….sort of like Gorillas in the Mist…He was so happy last night, having beaten all 7 of his cohorts. Not bad for an 80 something. They all wear masks and keep apart.

    You were so right, Sue, I’m beside myself with the pleasure of getting settled in for winter here on the bay. This little Hog Bay is very shallow and freezes solid, except for the middle of the channel, which stays sort of open. I’m told by the locals to listen for the groaning and cracking of the ice slabs as the tide comes in and goes out. We have several large erratics just off our property. They hide under the water at high tide and are totally exposed at low. So watching them crack through the ice from the bottom as the water under the ice flows out will be more entertainment.
    Next Year We’ll Laugh, as Jacqueline Winspear says in her new memoir of growing up in Kent, England, immediately after WWII. I so hope you’ll continue reading her Maisie Dobbs books, they get better with each one.

    Mucho Love and Thanks for all you give us. Congrats to all who won!!
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Love that you decided to stay. I think you will love it too. I could almost smell your apple butter! And see you in your U-shaped kitchen paying it forward. Your neighbors must be so glad you are staying! So glad to hear Tom is able to get out! We have that same mist here this morning, about to head out for our walk. Stay safe dear Debbie! 💝

  75. Jeni in Kansas says:

    Another beauty! Thank you…LOVED it (even if I didn’t win that darling little book…SIGH!)

  76. Sue McQ says:

    Thanks for always sharing heart felt beauty ❤️

  77. Sharon Watson says:


    Thanks for making all the girlfriends feel happy and excited with your Vineyard stories and special gifts. Snippy Doodle is in the oven smelling delicious thanks for sharing your world with everyone. I get the first bite!

    Congratulations Ladies on your wins!

  78. Tammy Miller says:

    Happy October, Susan!
    I love that little poem, “For all that dwell below the skies…” and your “Go. Be.Love. The world needs you”. Would you mind if I used those words for my Christmas cards this year? (I paint and letter them myself) It’s just what we all need to hear this year! If they’re copyrighted or I don’t have your permission, I won’t use them.
    Enjoy the rest of the fall season!
    Also, how will I know if you respond to this comment? I never could figure out how to see them again

    • sbranch says:

      To find response to comments, on a mac, its Command F … then put your name in … but I’m not sure how to do it on any other device. Google it, they always know everything! “For all that dwell” …. is from an old hymn. We use it as a family prayer, the whole thing is in my new book. Would be nice if you put my name on Go. Be. Love. The world needs you.💖 xoxoxo

  79. Mary Ann in Mid-Missouri says:

    Well, I didn’t win the drawing, again, but I got a beautiful bookmark and the recipe for Snippy Doodle, so I’m still a winner! I got something else about 2 weeks ago; the dreaded Covid. I have been SO careful. The day the Health Department believes I was exposed I ran to our local Dollar General to pick up kitty litter and laundry detergent. I was in the store such a short time, with a mask on, so you just never know. I paid with cash and received cash back for change, so that may have been my mistake. More heartbreaking, yesterday a friend of my son’s (age 41 or 42) died from Covid. He started having a backache on September 30th, but they thought he was passing kidney stones. He’s had them before and this felt the same. A week later (October 7th), he suddenly started coughing and by that night asked his wife to take him to the ER. He’d been in the ICU ever since, and died yesterday morning. The only blessing is his wife was allowed to be with him at the end so he wasn’t alone. This horrible disease does not discriminate. This young man had no preexisting conditions that should have caused him to get so sick. His son and my grandson are good friends and have played all the same sports together since very young. They are in 7th grade now. My grandson is really struggling with this, as are all of their friends. It’s just so heartbreaking and I’m so tired of it all. I pray constantly for each day to get better, but here in our midwest rural area it seems to get worse every day. Please, everyone, mask up, and be responsible!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my dear, Mary Ann, I’m so sad for your grandson and his friend’s family … how awful to have a young life stolen like that. That kid needed his dad. Miserable disease this one. So willy-nilly. I’m so happy you are well. Do you have any lingering symptoms? You remind me, masks and washing hands!!💞

      • Mary Ann in Mid-Missouri says:

        I was truly blessed with mild symptoms; sore throat, nasal congestion, Covid burn (which I didn’t even know was a thing until I had it.) The hardest part for me was isolating from my husband in the same house. I really didn’t want him to get it, as he has preexisting conditions, so I spent most of my time in our bedroom with lots of books and a tv. I did go outside for a while each day, as much for my mental health as anything. I still feel like I’m having some allergy issues, but otherwise feel great. The Health Department says I should have immunity for at least 3 months, but I’m still being careful and wearing my mask, washing hands, etc. I am scheduled to donate blood on the 27th, as they will automatically test it for antibodies. If I have them, I will donate plasma in the hopes of saving someone’s life. I feel it could be the silver lining to having the Covid. Stay safe, Susan, and keep praying for an end to all this madness.

        • sbranch says:

          Wow, all that. Proud of you. Hard. Sending love, I’m so happy to hear all is looking up. Difficult to trust what anyone says about it these days … it seems to strike everyone so differently! Yes, stay safe … Sending love. xoxoxo💖

  80. Christine Mahoney says:

    Thank you for providing my inbox with luv-lee mail instead of junk mail! It’s like getting snail mail from a friend 🙂

  81. Mar Bailey in Florida says:

    What a delightful surprise to find this in my email. I am in a chicken enchiladas stupor, as I confess to eating more than my share of your wonderful recipe. The true test was serving these to my Donny, as he is a true aficionado of enchiladas. He raved, saying they were the best ever! Now on to the cake recipe next.
    Congratulations to the “girlfriend” winners of the lovely quilt and charming book. I bet there are happy feet dancing with joy at the news.
    Thank you for the ray of light you bring to all of us…it is much needed and appreciated.

  82. Linda M Kostecki says:

    Oh Susan that Santa is straight from my childhood. Would you please please pretty please consider making a print or even better Christmas cards? Love him so!!

  83. Pat says:

    Loved the autumn poetry! Wanted you to know that your mention of Lois Lenski in the previous blog prompted me to pull out my collected works and to borrow her autobiography from the library, which I promptly read for the first time , and then discovered a new, 2016, bio that no library around me had. I have just started reading Bayou Girl, and recalling how much I loved those books as a child!
    On another day recently I went back in time and read some of your earlier Willards, including how that got started etc. Along the way I read mention that you had a Terri Lee doll that your mom made clothes for. So did I, Christmas 1951 or 52, I was 3 or 4, and I left her outside in the rain…she was a mess…my mom some years later, unbeknownst to me, sent her away to the factory, and had her got her new hair and a facial touch up. On Christmas morning, I was 9 or 10, she was under the tree in all her glory with a red trunk filled with handmade clothing! My mom had burnt the midnight oil, and I still have Terri Lee and most of the clothing. My granddaughter has the trunk. So love your writing, photos and artistic embellishments and recipes on the blog, don’t stop! It brightens so many of our lives!

    • sbranch says:

      What a WONDERFUL story!! Do remember back then they actually had Doll Hospitals? Where you could send any doll for a refurbishing?💓

  84. Zoe Greenwood says:

    Thank you, once again, Susan, for filling our hearts with hope. We need it so!

  85. Pamela Jo says:

    Such beautiful photos! Wasn’t Shirley Temple a darling? My grandmother was a huge Shirley Temple fan, so named my mom Shirley. I have many, many Shirley Temple collectibles…glassware, dolls, paper dolls, among other things. Her movies still put a smile on my face, and sometimes a tear on my cheek! Your blog always gives me a cozy, nostalgic feeling! Thank you!

  86. Nancy says:

    My grandmother always said “I had best go light the stove!” ❤️❤️

  87. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan, Greetings from Midcoast Maine! Thank you for your wonderful blog and that Luv-Lee recipe. I hope that you, Joe and Jack are all well and enjoying this wonderful season. 🎃🎃🎃🍂🍂🍂 Love, Karen xoxo

  88. Karen Skogstrom says:

    As always, I loved reading this, Susan! I checked some Gladys Tabor books out of my library , and am enjoying them. I now appreciate your Gladys quotes even more! Thanks for sharing your October with all of us! xoxo

  89. Debbie Anderson says:

    Oh how I love your posts. They really brighten up my day!

  90. Debby Rickett says:

    Congratulations to the lucky winners!!! Good on you, ladies!!!

    Susan, when I read Home for Christmas, I could not wait to make Snippy Doodle! I made it for myself and my grandson who spent a night with me last weekend! We drank hot chocolate and ate Snippy Doodle…. He liked saying it almost as much as eating it 🙂

    Thank you for all you do to brighten the days!
    Debby 🙂

    p.s. I love the photo of the ducks in the water… is that the River Thames? I saw a very similar site when I went to Windsor Castle. Gorgeous!!

    • sbranch says:

      I think the name is what made it such a family favorite! It’s like Walt Disney was cooking in the kitchen!😍

  91. Sarah says:

    I am so making that Snippy Doodle TONIGHT. 🙂

  92. Christina says:

    A deep, heartfelt thank you for another wonderful message. I always appreciate the kindness woven through your words and photos and art, but sometimes we all have particularly difficult times, and right now I appreciate this beautiful message even more than usual. It felt like a hundred pounds were taken off my shoulders for these few minutes. This is probably sharing a little too much, but I involuntarily found myself crying (good tears) from relief. Your view of the world is very, very meaningful to so many people, including me. THANK YOU for the work you do, and for continuing to share with us this way, free of charge. I sincerely hope you understand how much it’s appreciated.

    • sbranch says:

      I feel it Christina, when I read lovely notes like yours. I understand the good tears of relief. I find myself doing the same thing when I witness goodness and beauty…like that video I shared of Yew Tree Farm. Relaxes our entire selves to see love like that. We are FILLED with it ourselves, but there is so much vitriol in the world right now, sometimes we forget it’s in us!💘💘💘

  93. charissa (tea tartan and tom on twitter) says:

    OMGeeeeee The Gladys quote with the 2 smiling acorns is sooooo me and I luv that it is you too. and all your photos are like little gifts AND that youtube video was a HUGE GIFT!!!!! I got lost in their travels and am going to watch all their videos as a form of self care. (You were my self care today along with a pot of tea and 2 maple cookies) They are MAJOR DARLING! U were right, my cheeks did hurt from the smiling! Snippy Doodle for Saturday morning and the a bike ride so I can get out and enjoy nature too. Thank you for the lift today. YOU are MAJOR DARLING too. Just Toats McGoats Adorbs:) xo

    PS Congratulations to both winners. Soooo happy for you!

  94. Carol Kennedy says:

    Well, you did it again!! You lifted my spirits!! And I loved the trip to Yew Tree Farm!! Beautiful countryside and the sheep are adorable!! The holidays will be very different this year, but without so much hustle and bustle, maybe we’ll be able to concentrate on the real “reason for the season”. I’m kind of looking forward to it!! Bless you, Joe, and Jack and have a glorious Holiday season!!! Now I think I need to go make a cake!!! Yum!!

  95. Marilyn Bunte says:

    Hi Susan,
    I have been lover of quilts for several years. I have 3 of my grandma’s hand made quilts which are over a 100 years old. I guess it was not a bad decorating idea to lay quilts over the back of dining room chairs. Honestly I do not know why, and thought why not.
    Joy to you all!

  96. Sharon says:

    Enjoyed reading your blog. Thanksgiving will be small for us too.

  97. Congrats to the winners! yay~ happy mail coming your way!

  98. Di W Word says:

    Stay well. Di and Happy, the Corgi

  99. Melissa says:

    Love the Gladys Tabor quote – thank you for keeping her memory alive! I am certain she would have been a Susan Branch fan!!

    • sbranch says:

      We would have loved each other, I have no doubt at all in my mind. Ever since her daughter told me she liked a drink of bourbon in front of the fire in the evenings, I knew she was a real person, not perfect, normal, and so am I and therefore, voila!

  100. Ann says:

    Your cheerful blog was just what I needed today. You are always so upbeat, I wish I was more like that. My husband of 60 years (on Thanksgiving this year) & I do not go out during these trying times & family stay away so as not to carry disease in to us. Just yesterday our 13 yr old gr-grandson tested positive for the COVID. Some days it seems to be a uphill battle not to get depressed. So thank you for your cheerful attitude, I think it is contagious and will keep me trying harder to not get down. God bless you.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s hard … we just need to know there IS a light at the end of the tunnel even if we can’t quite see it yet. Your grandson tells you you are doing the right thing. Hope for his quick recovery! xoxoxo One of my favorite quotes “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings while the dawn is still dark.”💖

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