Good Morning You! February One! Already! In the middle of a storm, a wild nor’easter, on our way to Springtime! MUSICA!

Here’s to a month of good luck!

Our world is very basic these days: the house, the walk, the house, the walk, the PO, the market, the house, the walk. So grateful for the house, for the walk, and for all the wonderful people keeping our PO and market going! Not walking today, big storm here . . . but we still have the house! And the refrigerator, and the stove! We are doing good!

We were out the other day . . . it’s beautiful, even in winter, icy, peaceful, spirtual, healing. 

No two days are the same. This was waiting for us on the fence post. Someone dear trying to light up our world.🕯

When we walk I keep seeing these foot prints … I think it’s my shoe actually …

And when we’re heading home, I see it like this, upside down. Finally, I couldn’t help myself . . . I had to bend over and add a little bit to it . . .

Our frosty road meanders through the woods . . .

It’s beautiful in all seasons . . .

And then home . . . this is a big reason I love winter! A fire, right in the middle of the living room . . . still sort of amazing if you think about it!

Jack loves it too. He sleeps in my desk drawer (lined with a thick knitted blanket) while I work, but yesterday I walked through the living room, and there he was, all independent, a person of his own, enjoying the fire. My boy.

And these are our upstairs windows at sunrise . . . (note green seaglass for contrast in more ways than one)!

No two snowflake trails alike . . .

A luv-lee start to the new year . . . hoping February brings us an abundance of good news and hope, lightness of heart, wisdom, closer friendships, a peaceful mind, divine guidance, and all of it sprinkled with lots of critter cuddles. And an early Spring! We’ll find out tomorrow … it’s GroundHog Day! 

Here comes the sun!

And in the kitchen, we are ready in case we lose our electricity today! Oil lamps are filled, candles at the ready!

And in my studio . . .

I’ve been busy these quiet mornings . . . painting for the new 2022 calendars . . . thinking we will all be free by then and those calendars will be filled with travel and hug dates! Very joyful!

And here I am, making quilts the easy way, with watercolors! I’m also designing new Girlfriend cards for the Studio … and working on the quote book . . .

In case you’re new here and haven’t seen my studio, this is where I work! I’ve read that in the olden days, they called this room in our old house the “Music Room.” I love that it has creative DNA from before me and I get to add my own to it ~ in my house of creativity. When I first moved into my perch on the world … my old friend Carlton came and lined the walls in bookshelves, and painted them white. But I only had that one little art table, and nowhere to lay out big projects except the floor! (Speaking of Carlton, I saw him at the post office the other day … he came to my car window and said, “Hey Girlfriend!” Made me laugh!) (PS, don’t know who Carlton is? See my book Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams. You’ll love him!)

Anyway, all that was required was a trip to Ikea… Fitting this room together was like putting together puzzle pieces . . . We took our measuring tape with us and found some nice long work spaces with shelves that surrounded my art table perfectly . . .

Plus another long table against the wall . . . With a shelf above it for pictures of my beloveds, my mom and dad, my cats, and grandma and brothers and sisters and dearest friends, all here with me . . . and next to the clock, the signed photo of Mark Twain Joe gave me.💞 A treasure. The whole thing is a treasure room to me.💖 

And still more shelves on the other side of the room for special old books and Beatrix Potter . . . and another table. I am SET with the tables. Yet, I STILL need to use the back of the sofa and the living room floor when I lay out calendars! Sometimes my studio is nice and clean, but when I’m in the throes of designing . . . it looks like this ~ controlled chaos!

So what else? Our girlfriend Peggy sent me this photo of her work in progress ~ Look how good she’s doing! I’ve gotten so many of your photos . . . so fun to see! And our “For the Love of Books” Puzzle is back in stock in case you missed it the first time!

Joe handed me this article the other day . . . Light Up Your Brain!!! Staves off anxiety! Need lit, happy brains! Love it!

And here is the front window of my Studio. I feel responsible for the entertainment out there … brand new from Janie for the Valentines in our lives, my BELIEVE banner

Here it is in Janie’s cabinet! Nice big letters!

She made the perfect little envelope to go with it!

Perfect timing to turn over the February page of my calendar to this! Everyone I know is feeling stressed out, many experiencing anxiety and even anxiety attacks ~ we’re helping each other with reminders of self care … so this page could not come at a better time! I can’t TELL you how important it is during this time to take care of yourself…Stress is cumulative, chronic empathy is a wonderful thing, but these days, it could cause trouble, you will go along fine, thinking you are handling it, and then suddenly, it can turn to anxiety and be a threat to your health. So take a little time for yourself. One way to do it is turn off cable news and watch your sweet soft local news station. You’ll get news that matters, and some of it is even GOOD! Please try to give yourself as many Red Letter Days as you can!

This wonderful thing was made for me by one of our creative Girlfriends, Rachel! Isn’t it adorable? I get it out every year, I love it so much. So romantic! Makes snow look good!💞

This was breakfast last Valentine’s Day . . . oatmeal with walnuts, apples, and pomegranate seeds!👏 It’s the little things!

And this is the February page of the other wall calendar I did for 2021 (in case you don’t have it) … the Photo calendar . . . where I wrote about the Romance of Home . . .💓

Like this, because I enjoy perfecting . . . Valentine’s Day is perfect for it! This was from a party we had a couple of years ago . . . pure mooshey romance!

I got out my little collection of old valentines … in the olden days, these are the Valentines we exchanged in grammar school!

And Janie made us an adorable little banner to bring back those memories! She also made the envelope from pages in A Fine Romance (no two alike) just for Valentine’s day…💞 

So many of you know Sheri and Kellee . . . they’ve run my Studio in California for the last 20 years … close to 20 for Kellee and 10 for Sheri . . . very dear people to me. Here they are in the fall of 2019 out on our walk with us here on the island.

 And here they are, with Alfredo in the middle, another darling friend that has worked for me since 2001! Love these people! So, must tell you (hate to say this!) with lots of notice, but still a loss … Sheri has quit to focus her time on her very own Farmstand where she spends her days in still MORE creativity. I’m so happy for her … she deserves it! You can follow her on Instagram @honeycuttfamilyfarm. She lives very near the Studio so I’ll get to see her when we’re out there. She can’t get rid of me that easy!💘💘💘

This is the Studio inOne day last June a friend we knew who worked at the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo (one of our favorite places) stopped by to say Hello to Kellee and Sheri and tell them the Apple Farm Gift Shop was temporarily closing.😢 Her name was Lauren, and she ran the warehouse there. One luv-lee serendipitous moment led to another . . . and after a nice long training from Sheri, Lauren is now working for US!!! How lucky is that? I don’t have a picture of her yet, but I will! So when you need help with an order, you can contact Lauren@susanbranch.com 💖 And when you do, be sure to tell her Welcome to the Neighborhood!Watch tomorrow and pray Phil doesn’t see his shadow (which he won’t if Pennsylvania is having weather anything like ours)! Then celebrate with what is now our traditional Phil dinner! Oven on to warm the house and cook dinner at the same time. A win-win! Stepping right over those 60 mile an hour winds and wild blowing snow!

Jack sends his everlasting love and wishes you every good thing! He says it will help if you remember the modern rule . . .You are in charge of what you do, what you believe, the people and inspirations you surround yourself with, and how you treat yourself.💞 See you later! Have a wonderful day! If our storm gets interesting, I’ll post some pictures on Instagram @susanbranchauthor!If you need something new and wonderful to watch, we are loving Ken Burns History of Jazz on PBS! Amazing old films and photos, history of our country, gorgeous music and dancing … you will love it!💌HERE’S TO YOU, BE A

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475 Responses to FEBRUARY ONE

  1. grace thorne says:

    yes JAZZ is wonderful! i want to learn the lindy hop!

  2. Gayle says:

    I have also been playing with the puzzle. Don’t be put off by the thousand pieces! Susan’s signature style (white space!) makes it very do-able. You can tell where things go. It is fun-challenging, not frustrating. I really hope there will be more to come!

  3. Christine says:

    Thank you for the sense of peace, contentment and joy reading your blog always brings me. Your words and images are truly, “sunshine on a cloudy day.” I love the painted rock some kind soul left on the beach, all the quotes, and the cute little sand bunny you made from your footprint. The Punxsutawney Pudding & Pineapple Ribs found yummy. I’m going to give them in the near future. Stay cozy & safe.

  4. Maureen from So. Cal. says:

    Rabbit-Rabbit! Hello February-can you believe it? I feel like time is just moving on while we stand still. I miss eating out and seeing my family and friends.

    You are so right about feeling like everything is fine and then wham-anxiety hits! My husband has serious pre-existing issues so the things he did outside the house to help, he can no longer do-the big one being groceries. And I work full time. So eventually, well, anxiety hits. Working through it with lots of prayer, changing of routines and outlets for fun/relaxation and trying to get into better routines. I will be focusing on a few of your suggestions to help with that as well.

    Speaking of which, I love your studio. I need a sewing room/studio/office type place and will be getting the junk out and moving shelves and various organizational what-nots in. The wee tour of your studio so inspiring! You’ve shown it before, but today you pointed out specifics on how you create in this space and how it helps you to do so. I’m surprised these items are from Ikea, but that’s great to know. I am starting to sew, quilt, watercolor, cross stitch, embroider; whatever I’m in the mood for again, and so I need to organize. As well as opening a little online shop for material and crafts, and while I’m not getting rich, it helps to take me away. Remember the old Calgon commercials? Calgon, take me away.

    This was the perfect blog for me today. You always inspire and bring hope, but I really needed this one today. There are so many lovely photos that bring a sense of peace and calm. Your California picture is so L-O-V-E-L-Y! And that rabbit in the sand from your shoe, so cute!

    Thank you Susan for sharing your world with us.

    Stay warm and safe. Hugs to you, Joe and sweet Jack. 🙂


  5. Rabbit rabbit! Thank you SO much for this lovely post! “Be my own Valentine” is my theme for the month. Fires in my wood stove which has a window and is in my bedroom. Long walks with my dog Renny. I’m just 13 miles from Acadia National Park and we have many other trails here in Hancock County. Snuggling with Renny and my cat Bodhi and watching movies. We just watched “Holiday Inn” which I love except for the cringe-worthy Lincoln’s Birthday scene. I also just watched “The Leopard” with Burt Lancaster (colorized but gorgeous) – sweeping, intimate, romantic, historical. Reading SO many books – most recently, Arundel by Kenneth Roberts about Benedict Arnold’s march to Quebec. A more complicated story than we hear in our history classes. Lots of goodies ready for the storm tomorrow. There are varying reports of how much we’ll get on the Downeast Maine coast, maybe a few inches, maybe a foot. Time to get cozy! Stay warm and safe, everyone!

  6. Rebecca says:


    Life has had stress lately, not even ready to talk details, but just wanted you to know that for the first time in awhile, I picked up my lap-top to check email, newsletters, posts, and such, and it was nice to see you here. Thank you for always thinking of ways to bring cheer to our lives and homes and for sharing what brings it to your world. It was nice to venture into the ordinary a bit today. Little things mean a lot right now! Take care, and God bless you.

    Your friend from Arkansas,

  7. Judy says:

    I was just thinking the other day… it’s time for some nice newsy tidbits from Susie-Q. And there you are! Rabbit-Rabbit! Love starting out the month with loving, kind, warm fuzzies from you! It just feels like I’ve put on a big olé comfy robe and bunny slippers when you call on me. It’s snowing like crazy here in N.E. Ohio too and has been for a few days now. I LOVE it. I’m really a snow bunny and part groundhog too…because, tomorrow is my 66th BIRTHDAY! Yaaaa!(I’ll make sure I don’t see my shadow)
    I never get to go do anything because it always snows, freezes or ices on my day, but I’m use to it by now(and now covid…geesh!) Give a gal a break! Hahaha
    Give that cute kitty a scratch under the chin for me will ya?
    Stay safe and warm!
    Lots of Love, Hugs & Squeezles coming your way(by polar bear) ;P

  8. Jane says:

    Hi Susan,
    Another lifter-upper of a blog. Enjoyed every word!! Please let us know when you plan to have another girlfriend zoom. That was so much fun! Sending best wishes from the snowy Berkshires.

  9. EMILY A MERRILL says:

    So loved your Post! I am so happy its February! Here’s to lots of hot cocoa and warm fires this month.

  10. Joanna Swanson says:

    I grew up across the water from you in Falmouth Heights, I now live with my husband in Hillsborough, N.C but I haven’t been able to visit my mom and family in over a year(due to Covid), yet when I read your blogs about the Vineyard and see the beautiful seasonal photos, I feel like I’m back home! Thank you for this, it’s such a comfort! Stay well and here’s to an early spring!

  11. Penny says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day Susan & Joe -love your post ! Hope February is very sweet to you both
    ❣️Penny from Mt.Rose

  12. Fancy says:

    As the month of January dragged on (I think more like 61 days, instead of 31) and we are all so tired of the “state of affairs” we are living thru, I began to reflect on memories of my two grandmothers. One born in 1896 the other in 1901, and all the hardships they lived through. Really hard times. Two World Wars, The Depression, life before Antibiotics, no washing machines or dryers, on and on. It didn’t take me long to realize that we are stronger than we think, and that we all have so much to be thankful for. And we can’t let our circumstances change who we are in our hearts. Hopefully this pandemic will begin to reside, until it does we all need to try hard to do what we can to stay safe….and BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER!

    • sbranch says:

      Beautifully said, and just the right time! Others have made it through worse, and we will too. xoxoxo❤️

  13. Karen Bowerman says:

    Thanks for the lovely blog. We had a bit of a storm yesterday, 4″ of snow, but nothing like your Nor’easter! Your pudding and ribs recipe looks delicious. Now I have to add a few things to my grocery list so I can give it a try! Happy Valentines Day from me and my kitty girl, Itzy!

  14. Jen Pen says:

    Love the painted rock!
    Did you leave it or bring it inside?

    • sbranch says:

      I left it . . . wasn’t ours!

      • Christie Levin says:

        So glad you took a photo of that and shared it with us! If you paint a rock for your walking trail, may we see it please?

        • sbranch says:

          I don’t think I have the right paint for it … watercolor would not last long!🤣 And guess what? The painted rock that was there is GONE! Someone must have needed it. 💞

  15. Beth J Keser says:

    Happy February!! I love your photo calendar so much. Every year I get a calendar for both myself and my daughter. She wanted the “regular Susan Branch one” and I got myself the photo one. When she saw Jack was on every month she wanted to switch with me (she is a 33 year old cat lady) LOL I love shopping in your online store – makes me as happy as your blog does 🙂 Thank you!!

  16. Denise Jose says:

    Thank you for this wonderful blog. LOVE LOVE LOVE the music. It really brightened my day.

  17. Jody H Wallem says:

    Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! The first thing I did this morning was text my daughter, daughter-in-law and friend with fun bunny photos for rabbit day–we all see who will be first! Always fun to hear of others who grew up with Rabbit! Rabbit! My husband and I are enjoying the new All Creatures Great & Small on PBS–gorgeous scenery in Yorkshire, sweet stories and gentle people–we all need more of that! Wishing you lots of love…

  18. Stacey Nugent says:

    Aaah, just what I needed! Like a glass of ice water when I am parched. Still plugging away in an acute hospital in Northern California. Felt such a sense of relief when our workers got the two shots of vaccine, but such a long road. Work, go home, try to energize and back at it again. Talking to a co-worker and we have forgotten what we did for fun preCOvid and having that energy again. THANK you for reminding me of beauty and hope. I share your love of dishes and vintage, but no more room. Take care and be well

    • sbranch says:

      I know how tough it’s been on us . . . I can’t even IMAGINE how hard it’s been for you and your co-workers! I know … will we snap back? I hope so. Please give yourself as much self care as you can eek out after long hours of caring for everyone else. I testify for hot bubble baths! Insta-relaxation! Thank you from all of us! Our hero! xoxoxo

  19. Lauren says:

    Delighted to hear that Lauren from the Apple Farm will be working for you. She is a hero to me!! Last summer, I broke my Happy Birthday cup and was devastated. I looked on your website for a replacement but they were sold out. My sister, Sue, found one on the Apple Farm gift shop website. She called and spoke to a nice woman who said Lauren would call back. (I thought, good omen, we share the same name.) Due to COVID-19, the gift shop was closed but Lauren was checking on things once a week. She contacted my sister and arranged the sale of the cup. Thank you, Lauren, for your excellent service. Keep up the good work!

    • sbranch says:

      I sent your comment to Lauren, I know she will LOVE hearing that she made a difference! I know I did. xoxoxo Thank you!

  20. Regina Carretta says:

    dear dear Susan….lovely posting on rain rain rain Seattle…..thank you for the reminders to take care of ourselves, and to take time , precious time to stay well…..thank you for that…..encourage us to keep walking….I tend to not brave it
    in the rain and cold…..you will be my role model….
    My sweet Maggie, a golden mix, passed away a month ago….she was a senior rescue…..what a time to lose a critter…..I put the word out that I want to give a home to a senior rescue dog, so we shall see……my little shrine of candles , photo’s and cards is still set up……little Maggie got me outside twice a day to walk, and she was something living for me to take care of…..so oh to cuddle up with a critter…..
    take good care, Dearest Susan…..love love love to you

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure you will be gifted with a critter FILLED with love just waiting for YOU!❤️ I can’t wait to hear about him/her! And FORCE yourself out. It is so good for you!!! Love and xoxoxoxo

      • Regina Carretta says:

        Susan! Role Model Extraordinaire…..the sun shone a bit this morning, so on went REAL clothes and shoes and I went for a 20 minute neighborhood walk, and saw daffodils peeking out and waved to a neighbor who was working , with a street view out her window….then I cut back some dead lavendar branches and started a clean green pile of cleanup cuttings in my garden…..inside now for soup and a big thank you for the encouragement to GET OUtSIDE! love love love, Regina

        • sbranch says:

          Feels so good doesn’t it Regina? These last few days we have “weather windows” … moments of time between precipitation … maybe even with a little sun, but often dark and dreary! Still we FORCE ourselves to go, and are always SO glad we did. xoxox

      • Regina Carretta says:

        part 3! I am re reading “Isle of Dreams” and just read about your loss of Pooh….and how you adopted kittens from your lovely neighbors……this is the perfect time to re-read your book…..so filled with lessons for all of us….thank you, dear.

    • Patricia Edde says:

      Regina, I am so, so sorry for your loss of Maggie. Animals are so very important in our lives and we mourn their loss as one of our family. I say gratitudes every day and they always include my 8 dogs that have passed and my dog and 2 cats that are with me now. I know that as one leaves, they help me find the one, or two, or three that will, not take their place, but add more love and grace to my life, Thank you so much for rescuing senior dogs, that’s what my Bix is. May God bless you in your time of sorrow and may Maggie lead you gently to your next love.

      • Regina Carretta says:

        so thoughtful of you to send words of comfort, Patricia…..animals are such sweet spirits in our lives…I will rescue another senior dog, and will continue to be rescued by them! thank you, and stay well….

  21. Lisa Nicklow says:

    Happy February 1st! I SO enjoyed this blog post today! I really needed it! It took me back to the things I love, and of course, the things I love about your home, your artwork, and your style! Have a happy February, and I look forward to more posts! <3

  22. Mary Eldridge says:

    Sitting here in New Jersey looking out at 2 feet off snow and expecting a lot more until the storm leaves tomorrow evening. Slam! Bam! Grateful for a warm cozy home, family and our adored dog, Gretel.

    Thrilled you crossed paths with Carlton today! Just recently finished and loved Isle of Dreams and the role he played in making your cottage your very own. He was your As You Wish artisan and friend when you were carving out a new life. Serendipity!

    • sbranch says:

      Kind of a guardian angel … Always LOVE running into him. He came by every so often for a glass of wine back in the days when people DID such outlandish things! Stay warm Mary!

  23. Lynne Luna says:

    Hi Susan – I just finished reading “The Fairy Tale Girl.” I can’t tell you how much I loved it so I ordered Isle of Dreams which will arrive tomorrow. Can’t wait for it. I am about the same age as you so I could so relate to almost everything (especially the music). I got the book at Barbara Cheatley’s in Claremont, CA. Not sure if you’ve ever been there but I know you would love the store. I have many of your books and have been following you for many years so I felt like you were an old friend when reading the book. Thanks so much!!!! Lynne

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t had a chance to visit Barbara’s but I kind of know her because she always carries my things . . . there aren’t a lot of retail stores that do … I will for sure go there someday! I’m so happy you liked Fairy Tale Girl! ❌

  24. kim says:

    I love yu sooooo.. just ordered the Believe banner for my daughter… Going to try Punxsatawney Dinner this weekend. Made the spareribs hundreds of times.. so I know this will be delicious! Storm bringing 10+ inches of snow to Newburyport, MA! Love it!!

  25. Viffy says:

    Happy February!
    Into month two of the year… already!
    Thanks for the great photos, quotes, recipes and reminders that there is beauty in the small things in life.

    • sbranch says:

      Watch out, it will be Christmas before we know it. Hope we are able to gather around the table and hug and hug and hug! xoxo

      • Viffy says:

        So true!
        I’m also hoping to see a lot of people that I miss!
        Staying home and staying safe for now… and really enjoying “All Creatures Great and Small” on PBS!

  26. Jeni Behen in Kansas City says:

    I’ve been waiting to hear from you! You always make me feel better. We don’t have snow at the moment but have had lots of cold, gray, windy (brrrrrrrrr) days. Depressing, except for the birds who rely on our feeders in winter..they brighten everything. Our little dog, McFee, even watches them…he’s bored with this seclusion, too. Our day sounds much like yours. I go out very little because my husband is disabled and I can’t chance bringing this rotten stuff home. Our lovely daughter has been buying and delivering our groceries for us since this mess started. Such a wonderful thing for her to do for us. I’ve kept in touch with friends and family with back-and-forth cheery texts, emails and phone calls, of course, but I’m missing that human face-to-face…can’t come soon enough. Thank you so much for your monthly updates, photos, news, etc. Take good care!

    • sbranch says:

      I know. Not hugging our friends and family is almost unbearable. I try not to think about it. I think it’s the things we CAN’T have that we accidentally concentrate on, instead of all the delicious things we DO have … I try to keep my mind focused on those things, but sometimes it’s not easy. Just like you, just like everyone, sometimes it just feels good to say, “I’m so SICK of this!” I hear they are going to have the Olympics in Japan this year no matter WHAT is happening with Covid.⚡️ If I hear of one single friend of ours going, I will have to go kill them. That’s all there is to it. They are going to spread it to the world. You too Jeni, take care of you and yours. Blessings on all of us that this is OVER soon. Sending love . . . xoxoxo

  27. Mary Overkkamp says:

    A dark dreary day here, untilIgot you email. Always a joy and makes me so happy to read.
    Potted a amaryllis after Xmas. Have it on cabinet by kitchen sink. This morning had 6 Blooms. They are white with pink on them. Just also made my day. Looks like a big umbrella with all those blooms on it. So both of you turned a grey winter day to a lovely one.
    Hugs to you Susan Branch,

  28. Deanna Taylor says:

    Thank you Susan for the uplifting (as always) post today. We always enjoyed Groundhog Day at our house because it was our youngest son’s birthday. We didn’t worry about the groundhog, we always watched to see if our boy could see his shadow that day. Fun memories!

  29. Carol lynch says:

    Love your posts – you are such a creative, amazing and very gifted gal! Love everything you say and do – you are very blessed! And I love Jack – what a cutie! Thanks for always having such uplifting words for all of us that keep up with you. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe! Hugs and blessings! 🥰 ❤️

  30. Angela Burkholder says:

    Oh! Oh! This is unreal – I’ve been looking for that sparerib recipe of yours in your cookbooks yesterday and today off and on without success, not because it’s not there, I know it is somewhere but I only have nano seconds here and there because schools are closed AGAIN this time for snow so the boys are home tearing in and out all loud and wild and crazy. Little David turned 6 and those spareribs are the boys favorite birthday meal mostly because they’re very sloppy and make giant splats in the wall in a food fight I think. Make no mistake, food fights are NOT condoned in our house, but civilization is the goal not the norm around here. I had it copied down in my greatest hits notebook so I wouldn’t have to look it up every time but Edward Scissorhands got ahold of that notebook and it is no more. So I’m back to looking things up. I’ve also been trying to find your hot chocolate mix. I made a huge canister of it this winter and used the last of it a couple of weeks ago. Can someone tell me which book that’s in? I’ve been pretending I know what I’m doing this snowstorm (when hot chocolate is in GREAT demand – a boy is always coming through the door from sledding, melting all over the place needing hot chocolate). It’s like 1 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp powdered sugar to 1 mug of milk right?
    Anyway, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now – really enjoy your books too – but this is the first time I’ve commented. I just couldn’t help myself. The spareribs recipe showing up so magically like that is such a huge thing in this little frantic family life right now. Such a crazy stressful year that having just one little thing like that happen seems HUGE!
    Oh and by the way, while I’m rambling away – and probably won’t ever again for lack of time, focus or brain space, during this LOOOOONNNNGGG lockdown especially last spring and summer when we were cooped up in the house, couldn’t even let the kids play in the neighborhood with the other kids, when I couldn’t take one more game of UNO or who-can-burp the loudest, my mom started lending me your books again and I read them at night and you have some GREAT kid things scattered all throughout them. I gleaned and gleaned. We ate Balogna sandwiches and streamed Roy Rogers off YouTube. Boys like Shirley Temple’s Susannah of the Mounties. I fell in love with my boys all over again watching them with hats and sticks trying to dance along with Fred Astaire. Who wouldn’t?!? We make the ribbon jello. We played (still do) jacks. Except I have no idea how to play jacks. We bounce the ball and see how many rocks we can scoop up before catching the ball. I obviously don’t have real jacks either but you know, it doesn’t matter. I’d rather accidentally step barefoot on a rock than a jack I think. Legos are bad enough, we don’t need any more spikey things.
    Thanks again for the recipe. Keep the good things coming!

    • sbranch says:

      FYI, that recipe is in Heart of the Home, both versions. I understand why your boys love it … it was one of our FAVORITE dinners growing up … we were double-bad, would eat the meat off the ribs, then DIP the bones back into the sauce to suck off more juice. We LOVED it! Civilization was SOMEONE’S goal, but not ours! Hot chocolate mixes are in Autumn … two kinds, one you make if you’re going to use marshmallows, and the other, if you’re going to use whipped cream. Try Slap Jack. Great card game for boys. Also War. You only need a deck of cards (or two), no special (or spiky) equipment, they will play for a while so you can get things done! Nice to hear from you Angela! As Roy would say, Happy trails!❤️

  31. Penny from Oceanside, CA. says:

    The icicle trails on the windows are magical and enchanting – and sends the message of how cozy it is in your home!
    Thank you once again for your wonderful pictures!

    • sbranch says:

      You see that, you say I need to take a picture. You say but the camera is downstairs. You sigh, you go get the camera. Must be done!♥️ xoxo

  32. Linda W says:

    So glad to get your email today! I needed a pick me up our lost kitty of 5 weeks was found yesterday but not a happy ending the poor boy drowned in the pond next door. So very sad our hearts are broken. Yet we have closure. In due time there will be a kitten looking for a new home and lots of love. Our girl is back in Milton at college striving toward her nursing degree staying on coarse! clinical starts and she doesn’t wavier with all the C-19 business. glad all is well on the island. keep the faith and look forward to your next month email. I love the valentine heart with your names and old valentines.

    • sbranch says:

      Heartbreaking. But maybe better than just worrying. And yes, a new kitten is a way for a new start! Such cheering little critters. Happy Valentine’s Day Linda!💘

  33. Kim says:

    Susan would you publish your blog from all the years thus far….a series, with watercolor type paper (A Fine Romance style book) ? So enjoy your blogs!

    • sbranch says:

      I would LOVE to … But I would need help to do it … and this covid makes it hard … but it would be fun! ♥️

    • Dolores Ashworth says:

      Wow…this would be wonderful. I have thought of printing these out myself just to have.

  34. Melissa Schmitt says:

    Your calendars always amazed me. How the creative spark just flows from you, year after year. I am so grateful that you share your talent with the world! I truly appreciate it!

  35. Rhonda Williams says:

    My sister brought her Susan Branch puzzle over and we were able to put it together in a day with the help of my mom(86) and my daughter. We loved every minute of it so much so that I bought one for myself! Had a time finding where the teabag and little hat went! Thank you for sharing the joy. Hope there are more puzzles in the future.

  36. Oh my goodness the pictures of the snowflake ice are amazing! We have braved the crazy wind and torrents of rain here in SLO County and things are starting to dry out. And as I kept trying to read this lovely post, my newest collie keeps licking me….one of his “things”! He loves the taste of lotions and drives me crazy whenever I put it on. Finally resting beside me so I could read!

    How awesome you found someone from Apple Farm to take Sheri’s place. I would love to visit Sheri’s farm stand. Please share where those of us near could find her! I love supporting our local farms and artisans.

    Blessings – stay safe and healthy!

    • sbranch says:

      Get some lavender lotion, or hmmmm, what flavor isn’t enticing to a collie? That’s the one! You can check out Sheri’s instagram @HoneycuttFamilyFarm … her farmstand is in Arroyo Grande, I think she put the directions on Insta.❤️

  37. Kathy W says:

    Hi Susan, Thanks for the cheery words. I’m always in a better mood after reading your blog. I really loved your puzzle-such a fun one to do! Enjoy the snow and hope your storm is not too blustery ❤️

    • sbranch says:

      I think our little corner of the world was spared from the worst of it. No snow now, just rain … and it’s fairly quiet this morning … thank you Kathy!

  38. /Cindy B. says:

    Amazing that my SB Puzzle looked JUST LIKE the one at the beginning of your post two days ago. There is a method to our puzzle-doing madness obviously. But now we are hard at work filling in all the lovely little words and hearts so we have MOVED ON. (My hubs was not deterred by all the little hearts….at all!) It was great fun during the snowstorm that has passed us by on its way to your house. My favorite Christmas present this year. Yes, I saved it for a storm….what can I say?

  39. daniela says:

    hi Susan, just last night can’t sleep, with anxiety and sad for the bad news in my country, in the world, feeling scary and lost, praying and meditating at the same time, your post was part of the answer,a really big and good part, thank you very much, as always, i’ll try to do my best with my english.:)

    • sbranch says:

      I know sweetie, I do think our world is going too fast, faster than our guardian angels can fly. We have to learn how to slow OUR part down, otherwise it’s just too overwhelming. Give yourself a week or two off from news programs. Listen to the quiet in the house, and see how good it is. xoxoxoxo

  40. Susan Keffer says:

    Thank you, Susan! Today is my birthday and I am snowed I with my puppy here in Pennsylvania. Your email made my day. Those old Valentines brought back memories of my childhood…so cute how all the little people have the same eyes looking to the side. ❤️

  41. daniela says:

    Hi dear Susan, just last night can’t sleep. Feeling anxiety for the news at my country.. at the world, scary and sad… meditating and praying at the same time.And today your post is a big part of a lovely answer, as always a BIG thank you 🙂
    p.s. as always i’ll try to do my best, writing on english. Oh yes! my daughters gave me for Christmas your amazing and sweet Christmas book, so happy about that:)

  42. Margot B says:

    What can I say, I love ❤️ 💌🍓💝Valentines Day❣️ Brightens up the snow ❄️ Love the tasty cakes 🍰 picture!

  43. Jan Lane says:

    Happy February, Happy VALENTINE’S DAY, and Happy 2021. May everyone stay healthy and safe. May everyone find a bit of sunshine in every day, or at least clouds with silver linings! Love to all.

  44. Barb says:

    Thank you for a lovely post and for the photos of Jack. He’s the only cat that doesn’t make me sneeze. LOL.

  45. Such a delight to hear from you today, dear Susan! I always love peeking into your studio. It’s so wonderful… filled with inspiration in every corner and on every shelf! It’s great to have so many tables in the studio.
    Creativity has been much more challenging for me over the past few months. So, next week I will begin meeting with a (virtual) group of creatives as we work through The Artist’s Way for thirteen weeks. I’m really looking forward to this wonderful experience!! I just began writing Morning Pages again this morning after taking a lengthy break. I always welcome your wonderful inspiration, dear heart! Stay safe and healthy!
    Sending warm, cozy hugs from Illinois!
    💗 Dawn

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful thing… The Artist’s Way was so helpful to me . . . and a great place to put your thoughts for 13 weeks! It’s been a hard time… motivation can easily disappear. But motivation is a derivative of HOPE, and that’s where it all begins. Have a wonderful time with it Dawn! Sending love . . . 💞

      • So very true, Susan! We have so much to be hopeful for with a change of leadership and vaccines on the horizon. Even the snow-covered buds on the Rhododendron and Magnolia in my garden bring me such Hope! The most important page in my bullet journal each month is the Gratitude page… overflowing with blessings, the big ones and the small ones, too. It always warms my heart to look back and reread all of the blessings of the very challenging year! They truly inspire Hope and make these challenging times feel a bit easier. I’m really looking forward to this new creative journey! Huge hugs for your encouraging words.💕
        Stay safe in the snow and wild winds, Susan!
        Much love… always,
        💗 Dawn

  46. Nettie says:

    Tomorrow Ground Hog Day/cCandlemas Day/ my 75th birthday !!!hurrah it will be a snow day. Things are different this year not being able to celebrate with family and friends but I have a cozy home and a wonderful room to create valentine goodies in so I’m looking forward to watching the outdoors from inside our snow globe.
    Love everything about you and thank you for being one of my girlfriends

  47. Gayle says:

    ❤️ There’s nothing better than home with a fire and the love of your life (in our 52nd year)!
    We are on our 3rd jigsaw puzzle since the first of the year…. 1000 pieces each. Keep the brain challenged 🙂

  48. Sharon E says:

    Greetings from Michigan where we are experiencing light snow. Most of our Michigan type snow seems to have gone to the east coast. I barely got to wear my new boots.

    Loved seeing your studio. It is so neat! Then the unveiling. It looks more like it! So many creative types seem to have expanded their surfaces thanks to Ikea.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, they had so many shapes and sizes to choose from … made it easy to piece together something that worked!

  49. Kathy says:

    Dear Susan, your blog post is so uplifting. I was so glad you mentioned Carlton, I need him at my house! Home improvement always makes me happy but even better when you have a nice person doing the work! Stay warm and safe. Kathy

  50. Lorna Schreck says:

    Dear Susan,
    I have finally figured you out – you are a HAPPY maker. You make happy art, happy food, and happy friends. You have a happy marriage, a happy home and even a happy community. And you make us so happy to receive your newsletters, just in the nick of time. As I read your newsletter and then the comments from all the girlfriends ahead of me, words like magic, serendipity, hygge, comfortable, easy, loving, caring, sharing were dancing around me. You can lighten a heart with a shoe print. You can gladden a soul with a greeting – “Rabbit, Rabbit!” You can change a grin into a toothy smile with just a few words and a smattering of pictures. The weather, no matter the weather, brings moments of sunshine when you are in charge. I am so grateful for you, Joe, Jack, and the world of girlfriends you have amassed and shared.
    My walk through all the words from you and the girlfriends, helped me see so very clearly that we are all ONE with the connections, similarities, grace and kindness. Our hearts are in our homes, family, creativity, community, and work. We share love and friendship with ease and openness. Thank you for removing all the shadows from our days and bringing light into our lives when we forget to.
    And, as for me, thank you for your encouragement and inspiration. Thank you for letting me reflect as I read your newsletters, and add my two cents of appreciation and introspection.
    Have a lovely month of flowers, candle light, music and love. You deserve it all!

    • sbranch says:

      Words matter . . . you write all those lovely ones, and it just HAS to perk people up! We ARE all one. Yearn for the same things, hope for the same things, and pray for the same things. Home, people to love, family, petty-pets, safety, self-reliance, wholesomeness . . . You too dear Lorna, a lovely month of the little things that make life sweet.💋

    • Colleen says:

      Lorna, what lovely words and reflection. Thank you!!!

    • Patricia Edde says:

      Lorna, I don’t usually comment on others entries but I was so taken with yours. You are a wonderful writer and your words literally jump off the page and dance around me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so beautifully.

  51. julia walker says:

    Thanks so much, Susan! Was thinking yesterday it was time to hear from you. I adore the photo of Jack in the big bowl. Wonderful! Be careful & cheerful.

    Lovingly, Julia

  52. Ginny Evans says:

    “It will have to wait,” I said to the laundry and dishes, “Susan has dropped by and I want to spend time with her!” Thanks for the fun and uplifting “visit.” I loved the old fashioned Valentines. I’m sure I’ve received that giraffe one 🙂 Your garden photos were so cheery, but I have to admit I loved seeing the frosty windows, reminding me of our many years living in Canada.

    Wow, I’m super sad to hear about the Apple Farm. Boo hoo. End of an era. TTFN

    • sbranch says:

      Watch their website . . . they have just written in the word “temporarily.”

    • Diane Flaherty says:

      I loved the old fashion Valentine Cards too and being reminded of sharing them in “Grammar” school! I haven’t heard that term in a long time!

  53. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    I loved reading this post on the actual day it arrived! Tomorrow is indeed Groundhog Day which means it is my birthday! (#75, but don’t tell). Nothing too spectacular planned, but now that we have restaurants open again in CA we’ll find someplace to have dinner. My son & daughter-in-law brought me two dozen long stemmed red roses today-wow – they are beautiful. That was a first in my life. February is filled with doctor appointments and tests. I’m having hip surgery on the 23rd, so looking forward to losing the pain! Thank you so much for always writing delightful posts that cheer our day & week!! God Bless!

    • sbranch says:

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEANNETTE!!! 🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹😘

      • Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

        Thank you! It has been a lovely day with flowers, cake, birthday cards, calls, and soon to be bring home dinner! Couldn’t ask for much more!

  54. Thank You Susan so nice to hear from you again.We got some snow here in Munroe Falls Ohio.Been staying home as much as possible Except for groceries and Dr.We’ve lost two friends to Covid and we have our sons father in law in hospital now and one more friend.Don’t let anyone say its not realLy your Jack.I have a calico cat now sweetest thing alive.She picked our house and we love her Stay safe💕😷🐦also doing a lot of puzzles❄⛄🙏

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that Yvonne… what a rotten disease this is. I can’t wait till it’s gone. I hope everyone is doing whatever they can to help! Happy new kitty … they are such happiness-bringers! ♥️

  55. Dixie says:

    Such a pretty Valentine!
    Looks like a lovely walk through the woods and to the sea.
    I’m betting the groundhog predicts an early spring.
    That would be nice; I think we could all use a merry “tiptoe through the tulips.”

  56. Nancy Thoma says:

    We don’t have your snow, but January had plenty of windy and wet days here in the northwest corner of Washington state. But…on today’s walk we spied two rhododendron bushes in bloom and three frothy flowering cherry trees already “pinked” out! Hooray for early signs of spring no matter WHAT that old groundhog sees!

    Happy February from Anacortes, WA

  57. Debi Hutchinson says:

    Your blog was just what I needed today. I’m soaking in a nice warm bubble bath and reading your blog….and smiling. I love your studio. It made me smile at the shape my den gets in when I’m working on a project, usually to do with pictures. I’m totally relaxed and ready to climb into bed with a nice cup of hot chocolate. Good night from California.

  58. Rabbit! Rabbit!

    Thank you for this boost of love and joy. The bit about Carlton cracked me up.

    It’s hard to take care of oneself these days, but I’m managing. I’m participating in the Instagram Fiberuary Challenge to connect with other fiber artists on my mosshollowhill IG account. Also, you’re going to love this, Mary Neely, the brilliant lip-synch actor that stole our hearts last spring, well Mary visited my 6th grade Zoom class last week!
    Yes! It was fabulous! The kids wore wigs and costumes and she shared why and how she made her videos as well as what she did with her fame. Raising over 25K for Broadway Cares!

    I made another donation to BC in her name and Venmo’d her $ to treat herself to her favorite LA eatery, Honey Hi.

    It seems that helping others fills me with joy. I’m going to take your advice and take care of myself as well. Thank you for sharing your studio again. Stay safe and warm and hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      What a BLAST. I love her! She spreads joy, you pick it up and RUN with it.♥️ How wonderful! ❌⭕️

  59. Nancy B says:

    I was thinking of you this morning when I saw the pictures on TV of the big snow storm in New England. Glad you have such a perfect place to hunker down. Loved your post. Have a wonderful February!💞

    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

  60. Cindy Huk says:

    Happy February! What a chock-full of surprises post! Very happy to hear Carlton is still in your life with his amazing carpentry skills. And the Bowl-O-Jack…how precious is that?! So many February pictures to warm my Doily Mentality Heart while the wild wind blows and the snow flies today. A little shoveling till the storm just laughed at us and said “Go back inside, silly humans, I’m not done here yet!” So we listened, me armed with a cup of tea and my absolute favorite book of all times, MV Isle of Dreams, my Home Companion as I call him, tending the wood stove and working his magic in the kitchen while I rest…let it snow❤️

  61. Debra Cormier says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your blogs are so comforting! I look forward to the thoughtful quotes,comfy home pictures and yummy recipes! I find your blogs an important reminder to be present,thankful for the little things and to take care of ourselves. At this Pandemic or damn panic,time in our lives, it is quite gratifying to read and be reminded to be thankful in the moment!
    Thank you,Susan !

  62. Kathy Branch Spicer says:

    Hi Susan! Another wonderful blog that lifted me on a somewhat difficult Monday. Always grateful.

    I spent many happy hours in January watching Downton for the first time. I know you’re thinking what kind of ninny waited so many years to watch Downton? I loved it so and now I’m grieving the end of it. I went back to your blogs and read the Downton recap after each show. Those really added another layer of enjoyment.

    Happy Groundhog day! We’re halfway through winter! Yay for us.

  63. Deb in Wales says:

    Good Morning Susan! You call it Groundhog Day, we call it Candlemass, the day the baby Jesus was presented at the temple. We still have a similar tradition about the weather though, by way of a little ditty:

    If Candlemas Day be fair and bright Winter will have another fight.
    If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, Winter won’t come again.

    Thankfully, today is typically wild, windy, withering Welsh weather, so, Hurrah! Spring is on it’s way at last.

    I am fed up of being stuck in Groundhog day now, it’s been nearly a year of waking up in this B Class sci fi movie we’re all stuck in. We need a new script!

    We just celebrated Dydd Santes Dwynwen here in Wales, our equivalent of Saint Valentine, so love is all around.

    Waving~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I’m pretty fed up myself Deb, but holding on by constantly telling myself I’m in charge. 🤣🤣🤣

  64. Joanne Dahlman says:

    Thank you for the lovely post. You motivated me to make my Valentines cards! I love your pictures and quotes. They make me appreciate “home” so much more. You have a wonderful day Susan🥰

  65. Dianne Anderson says:

    Loved Jack warming himself in front of the fire. ❤️

  66. Denise says:

    Hi Susan, thrilled to learn the puzzles are back in stock! In missed ordering one the first time around-now I’m going to get 2, one for me and one to share❤️

  67. Megan Mays says:

    Happy return of the light! Funny that in all of the wonderfulness of this newsletter the thing that stands out to me is that you, like me, are impressed by the fact that we can have real fires right in the middle of our home. One of mankind’s greatest achievements if you ask me. Stay safe!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes! And the fact we can have REAL animals IN THE HOUSE ~ WITH US! AMAZING! The other BEST thing of mankind … the camera!!!

  68. That studio! So cozy and inspirational. And I’m going to love following Sheri’s blog and probably get fat along the way!

  69. Pam Coblyn says:

    Phil may have seen his shadow but I saw your blog and now I’m brave enough to savor snd face the rest of the winter!

  70. Sandi from the Cape says:

    Dear Susan, thank you for your sweet post and wonderful pictures! I long to have a studio like yours (and your talent!). May just work on that this week; of course, it won’t be an entire room, but a little space carved out will do! We got all rain from the ‘monstrous’ Nor-easter which melted all the snow, just means Spring is around the corner! I’ve already ordered poppies, snap dragons, sweet peas and Bee’s friend to plant when the time is right. Best to you and Joe and sweet Jack, I see he has a little friend in his paws, so cute! Stay safe and vaccinate!

    • sbranch says:

      Seeds? Who do you order from Sandi?

      • Sandi from the Cape says:

        They are a small organic farm in Mount Vernon, WA. Erin Benzakein who started the farm has a wonderful book out ‘Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden’ that stories her beginnings with picking flowers from her grandmother’s garden to starting her own business. It’s a bible and wonderful reference to anyone just starting out, but is so much more! Check it out via Amazon.

  71. Lynn Marie says:

    I Soo needed your luv-lee February post this morning! It is bright and sunny with a high of 22 here in Northern IN today. I am stuck in my February doldrums even with the cheery skies–and on Day #2! But this did the trick. All the encouraging quotes helped pull me up and reset. My retirement plan (which is only a few short years away) is to spend the month of February somewhere warm. I am currently working on the puzzle and having a blast with it. My 5 year granddaughter has called dibs on all puzzle areas with cats. ☺

  72. Lamar Shahbazian says:

    Hi Susan,
    I wanted to let you know your “Love of Books” puzzle gave me a reason to connect with an old friend. I’ve known her for 30 years but we hadn’t been in touch lately. She is the librarian at our elementary school and love cats so that puzzle was perfect for her! And a small way for me to say “thank you” for the difference she has made in the kid’s lives, a good librarian is so important!

    Also, where is your California studio? I live in Petaluma in Sonoma County, but went to school at Cal Poly in SLO and lived right down the street from Apple Farm.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, I lived in San Luis from 1972 to 1982! My studio is in Arroyo Grande. What a sweet thing for you to gift your librarian … it’s way past time all our daily heroes were honored for the difference they make in so many lives! Our world would be awful without them! xoxoxo

  73. Rene Marie Foust says:

    Happy February and happy ever after.

  74. Rosemary Badders says:

    Susan, are you watching All Creatures Great and Small. It’s on PBS Sunday night at 9.

  75. Annie Semega says:

    Happy Groundhogs Day! Just wanted to share that we call it “beach glass” on the shores of Lake Erie. Such a thrill to find those elusive gems. p.s. Thanks for your heartfelt blog and God bless you and yours

  76. Debbie Boerger says:

    What a beautiful Morning in Maine! I knew I’d have a Rabbit, Rabbit on line. Funny that I am still amazed by the Serendipity in the world, and especially on your Blog, Dear Lady. Such a warm feeling of community here.
    I awoke to what sounded like sleet hitting the windows, but it’s a combo precip. Being new to snow, I’m still learning…..Not to go out on the deck to put the ham trimmin’s out for the crows without the grippers on my shoes. Another lessen learnt.
    We are fully stocked for whatever comes, as our wonderful weather man on News Center 2 gives us lots of forewarning. It’s not as cold as it has been the last few days, actually reached 0 one morning. Still, last evening was a good time to make a really sinful scalloped potato casserole to go with the ham. I told myself that I really Should use up the rest of the carton of half n half.
    Self care and balance. We’ve been eating lots and lots of leafy greens, so I decided to throw in some decadence. Ahhhh…..Also found that you can make a passable peach cobber/crisp using Dole sliced, cling peaches in 100% juice. They taste like actual peach. Having grown up with 3 cling peach trees in our yard, I should know. Neighborhood kids with juice running all over our faces, these peaches provide me with just a hint of summer of 2021 to come.

    Ok, now I’m going to be a Blog Hog. Have to tell you, Miss Sue, about the trip to California in 1966. Being a “bit” forgetful, I apologize in advance if I’ve done it before. My college roomie’s mom was one who always encouraged us to throw out our sails and have adventures. When a girlfriend from school got married and moved to California, she just gave us a shove Westward. Holly was living in Big Sur, Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, waiting tables and painting, while her Navy pilot was on a carrier in the Pacific. And, I had 2 really good guy buddies, one a son of good buddy of my father’s that had gone out to Southern Cali to work in an aircraft company….can’t remember which one, but I remember it was not far from Manhattan Beach, where they shared an apartment a block from the beach. So, in June, off we went in Carolyn’s very old VW bug, with my guitar in the back. We’d save our pennies, and were told we’d have to come back home when the money ran out…..We drove across the Miss River Bridge with about $5 between us. The VW had no gas gauge, so we had a ruler we’d poke into the tank…which was in the front. Ok, I’ll cut to the chase and skip the part where the heat lever got stuck in the on position driving across the Gila dessert…..although we did have so much fun, learning to navigate an expressway “stack” interchange…around and around, heading the Wrong way, trying to park on a very steep hill in China Town, San Fran.
    So, the summer of 66, we were treated like princesses by Mike and Bugs, totally platonic. They had arranged to bunk together and put a mattress on the floor of their second bdrm. Where I could Iron my very long hair…..Remember that, trying to be a Hippy, or Cher, or Joan? They also arranged for a girl friend of theirs to take us to various places, such as Disney Land, Hollywood, etc.

    Tom had driven out from Chicago in his brand new/used 1964 1/2, yellow Mustang convertible that January. The summer of 66, he moved into an apartment on Seal Beach with some other young Coast Guard officers.
    I met Tom in Tampa in 1985 when I was 49, at just the perfect time. I was learning how to be confident in myself, after a devastating divorce, and actually getting pretty good at it. It must have attracted Tom, and I invited him to be my date for a big Toga Party I was in charge of at my sailing club. The party was on my 40th birthday, and we’d been dating for a few months……soooooo, cue the romantic music and fade to black….;)

    I am a firm believer in listening to your inner voice, not, of course, if it tells you to jump of a literal cliff, but listen if it tells you to open your heart and take a chance, even if you are in your 70’s, We are all so very glad you took a chance with that lovely Joe!

    Sending Mucho Love and thanks for this perfect Blog,
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Did you read my answer to your previous comment that I was also in Manhattan Beach in 1966? I feel sure we must have been passing ships! I LOVED your story. Weren’t we just INSANE the things we would do with no money? How great was THAT? I don’t regret a moment of it! Especially considering how blessed we were later in life! Of COURSE he was attracted to you, you are a DOLL! 😘

  77. Ann says:

    Hi Susan…Don’t know how he did it, with all the snow and wind, but Phil here in PA did see his shadow! Our local news ( and I so agree, I watch it because of the “human interest” stories that are usually about kindness) said some of our more local groundhogs did not, and several never came out of their cozy homes (were cancelled) because of the snow! As much as I would love an early Spring…I am quite content reading, taking bubble baths, reading, making tea, reading, making soup, reading, watching old movies ( just watched If Winter Comes with Walter Pidgeon and Deborah Kerr and lots of others – never saw it before and it was WONDERFUL!), reading…well – you get the picture. And…I love that you have those cute Valentine cards from childhood. While I don’t have any from way back then, I do have a few that are always tucked in the bottom of the box that holds our Valentine decorations. They are that corny kind that kids send…sent to us by my sister when she was helping her children write them for school. I love them….her handwriting is such a gift…she passed away 28 years ago last month…way too soon. But, I see her handwriting, and smile. Thankful for memories. Have a cozy rest of however much winter we have left!

    • sbranch says:

      That little RAT! I had more faith in him! 🤣 Oh well, yes, so very easy to see the bright side of this. Yearning just makes things better when they come! I ADORE Walter Pidgeon. Just love him! Nice to hear from you Ann!

  78. Kristin says:

    I loved seeing your work room with the new Ikea additions, the charming pictures of family and friends, the bookcases, and the crisp white curtains. I have been debating making some white curtains for our family room and kitchen windows (probably Ivory to go with the Macadamia colored painted walks and Swiss Coffee trim). Debating between using twin sheets, or cotton muslin. And definitely some trim, either pom-pom trim or lace depending on availability during this Damn Panic. I remember how much I loved the Country Curtains websites fresh white curtains and have decided to replicate some for our home. I spend my days cooking and baking, working on home projects (painting walls and baseboards, freshening up the spaces, washing curtains, cushion covers, sewing projects, and reorganizing the kitchen and pantry), getting some daily exercise, and relearning math (which sounds silly at age 56, but after a 7 hour long surgery I realized I had developed gaps in my mathematic memory and decided to use Khan Academy’s math offerings to refresh my understanding and fill in those gaps. When I finish this, I plan to work my way through the computer science offerings as well. Also doing lots of reading. Your blog has been a bright spot in my life over the past 10 years–a place of comfort, warmth, hope, and coziness in a sometimes crazy world. You are deeply admired by your fans and followers. Right up there with Dolly Parton in my opinion!

    • sbranch says:

      Supreme compliment! Thank you so much Kristin! I love your curtain idea! In fact, all the things you’re up to. Have fun! xoxoxo

  79. Linda says:

    Lovely post!

    Happy Valentines to you!

    XO Linda

  80. Margaret Matlock says:

    My best friend gave me your calendar for Christmas. I love all the photos and the quotes! Did you know February 4Th is Thank a mail carrier day? My father was a mail carrier and walked his route.

  81. Jane Alexander says:

    These comments are such a great addition to yours, dear Susan! The whole thing is full of Sisters and friends chatting. We saw a robin this morning in Houston Texas, a sign of Spring! I even have azaleas blooming all fall and winter. So fun you have this happen. Have a lovely Feb 2 everyone!

  82. Lori Hamilton says:

    I love the comfy coziness of winter after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but about the time February arrives I’m getting ready for a little warmth and signs of spring! Your blog was a bit of warmth on a cold day.
    Happy February & Happy Valentine’s! Until next time ~

  83. Connie T. says:

    Thank you for a little bliss in my day! Love all your photos and your cupboard of dishes. Especially love the photo for February in your photo calendar. Hello to Lauren! Happy Valentines Day to you all!

  84. Mary Wendt says:

    You rock!

  85. Helen O'Donoghue says:

    I’m in SE GA and it is cold for us. I’m loving it as I moved here from Brewster, MA and miss NE and snow! Look forward every month for your blog. Love everything Susan Branch!

  86. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    What a lovely comforting post, thank you. I was feeling upset as a dear old friend died of Covid 2 days ago, so very sad and unexpected. Let’s all do our best to send this virus away.
    I love the frost on your windows, backlit by the sun. I love your daily walk to the sea with Joe and the sweet message, “Be Safe” and the clever rabbit in your shoe print.
    I love your Valentine thoughts. I just sent a virtual valentine to my dear husband for the 14th ~ the A Capella group at the local high school will email their song. I have heard them before, they are brilliant! Something different…
    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe xo

  87. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Dear Susan! I hope you and Joe are keeping warm and cozy during this Nor’easter. We don’t have much snow here in Midcoast Maine and now it’s sleeting. Thank you for the lovely blog. Love, Karen xo

  88. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Hi Susan,
    Perfect time for your fun blog.. needed a spirit booster and this fills the bill. thank you!!!

  89. Val B. says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day Susan 💖 That was quite a snowstorm. Someone posted this beautiful video of horses playing in the snow today. Thought you would find it peaceful.


  90. Sharon says:

    We received 12+ inches of snow and your newsletter, along with the ticking of our grandfather clock, a kitty in my lap and a cup of tea have made for a perfect winter afternoon treat! Thank you for your words of cheer and sunny photos. <3

  91. Katherine Rodi says:

    Your posts are always a vacation during my work day!

  92. Lou Gieringer says:

    thanks Susan. I really loved reading this today. For some sweet reason it hit me where I need it to make me feel joy.

  93. Roberta Coulter says:

    Happy Ground Hog Day!

  94. dezi says:

    Oh, Susan and girlfriends! Notice of a very lovely Netflix video called The Dig. It is rated pg 13 so I believe it is along the lines of Downton Abby. Only started it, but so far wonderful. Though have to hold off till hubs can join in. Plus if I watch now no work will be done! Too much delightful eye candy!! Oh thank the Lord and Netflix!

  95. Lillian Hetherington says:

    Hi Susan,

    Nice to see the season’s snow and frost in the East, where I once
    lived. You’re right about The History of Jazz, an amazing documentary.
    When I was young I went to see Duke Ellington in Syracuse with a
    black friend. We enjoyed it so much, even though we got stared at.
    Being artists, we were just carefree, in those sweet days.

    Love and best Valentine greetings to you and yours

  96. dezi says:

    Oh Susan and girlfriends, I commented yesterday just after your post was submitted, and it didn’t take! It was rather long winded so just as well. A quite lovely show on Netflix is too good to be true! Rated PG 12. Had to stop watching as too much eye candy and no hand-stitching getting done on my pillows!! Should wait for hubs to watch too, he will love it. Reminds me of Downton Abby so far, praise Gods and Netflix! The DIG is the title. I saw the rabbits in your shoe print too! Lovely blog precious lady, thanks so much for your sharing with all of us your gift of love.

  97. Marcia Sims says:

    ♥️Always enjoy your posts! ♥️Thank you and Happy Valentine’s Day!♥️

  98. Karen Pedevillano says:

    Dear Susan,
    What a treat to find your blog in my email this morning! It put a smile on my face. I saved it for today after teaching remotely. Teaching during this pandemic has been insane to put it mildly. We got 15 inches on snow in Upton, MA. I spent the last three weeks rereading your books. I am now on “A Fine Romance”. I am savoring each page. My husband and I traveled to England in the summer of 2015 and 2019. Each time, we spent three weeks exploring from Kent to the Lake District and into Edinburgh. I used your book as a travelogue and visited almost every place you did. The second time we went we took the Queen Mary from NY where my son and his wife live. It was the trip of a lifetime. God willing, we will take the ship again in a few years. Time just seems to march on and I try to focus on the little things using you as a role model. I watch the birds and take care of my chickens and gardens all summer. I did not remember that you went to Brimfield. We go there every May and July. It is a blast. I am eagerly awaiting your book, “Enchanted.” Any idea when it will be published? Stay well. Spring will come. It just happens to come on my birthday!

    All the best, Karen

    • sbranch says:

      “God willing” … us, too! Love hearing from you Karen … I’m still working on Enchanted, no pub dates yet, so many projects going on! Can’t WAIT till your birthday! And thank you for what you do, the kids need you ALWAYS, but now more than ever! Sending love and strength! xoxoxo

  99. Donna Kozak says:

    Happy Groundhog Day ! When I saw your shoe print I thought – sure looks like a bunny and lo and behold, you made it come to life ! Once again, you’ve proved ‘life is too important to be taken seriously’. Love it !

  100. Joan Chelman says:

    Please put me on you list to receive your blog. I love them but have to depend on a friend to receive them.

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