The month for

And guess what? YES! They’re here!Blessing #1: The new cups started shipping out to you guys last week! If you haven’t gotten yours yet, they are on the way!!! They crossed the pond using every form of transport, plane, ship, train, truck, and slow boat to China … we don’t know how because no one would tell us, but the miracle is, all the way from the luv-lee potteries in Staffordshire, England, to Arroyo Grande, California, they have arrived! And for the most part, in one piece! Thank you for your never-ending patience! Reward? MUSICA!

The color turned out great! Here’s what the backs look like. As you can probably guess by the slow pace of the all-of-a-sudden infamous “supply chain” … unfortunately we will not be getting more of them before Christmas!! I THOUGHT we’d get these by September!!! If you were waiting until you saw the whites of their eyes, your time has come. They are here! And if this is the first time you’re seeing them, you can read more about them and see other designs we still have in stock HERE.

Blessing #2: Fall has come on very slowly this year.👏 A long fall is what I hoped for, and a long fall is what we’re getting! Usually, by this time, the leaves have turned and fallen and we’re raking them up . . . but right now the colors are at their best, and when you look out the window you see them, orange and yellow sparks twirling past in the wind. This was our walk in the middle of October! Green as green can be. Note the smooth and leafless road…

Then came a wild nor’easter! Worst winds I’ve experienced since I moved here! Wind gust was clocked at 96 MPH in Edgartown on the other side of the Island! This was our walk the day after … lot’s of visible wildness!

Tattered and torn leaves, branches, and pine needles carpet the dirt road to the sea ….

And a lot of missing sand, carved out and taken away . . .

I noticed this leaf on the ground, stepped right over it, but after a few more steps I felt I HAD to turn back and get a better look. WHAT was that? And take this picture. Right? The perfect cut-out “eyes” in the leaf were enough, but it wasn’t until I enlarged it that I saw the eyes had EYEBALLS!!! I’ve been saving it to show you. A wee note from nature!🍁

Storm was raging when I woke up and came downstairs in the dark, flashlight flickering around the kitchen like a lighthouse beam … the wildest of winds knocked out electricity for a lot of the island, including us … but our good old gas stove saved the day! The kitchen was warm and smelled like last night’s pot roast.

I lit myself a path through the wood room, flickering flames into the living room to my studio beyond … time to paint. It was a storm, but it was cozy and like a step back in time. No TV, no computer, a moment to just BE. Just like Gladys Taber said it should be!

Threw on a jacket and went outside to check on things the next day … at first I thought the wind had chipped the paint off the arbor! But those marks are tattered leaves plastered to almost everything, the arbor, the house, the car. The storm prematurely blew lots of leaves right off the trees! But our house stayed strong, as she has done since 1849. Knock on wood. These new type of storms we’re getting pack a wallop!

Lost one big tree behind the arbor … which was kind of good ~ it didn’t hurt anything, not even the picket fence, and it had shaded-out the roses on the arbor for years, so now, I get to grow roses again! A win-win! Blessing #4.

This is over our back fence behind the barn to the neighbor’s yard. They lost a tree too. This one is actually schmooshed right up against the windows of the house, but still no damage. Lots of huge old trees down all over the island…but we were lucky, no injuries that I’ve heard of, and all is back to normal. Blessing #5. Blessings galore.

And now? Thank goodness the storm didn’t take ALL the leaves! And they’ve finally turned color . . .

I took this picture of the back garden from an upstairs window… when the sun comes up and goes through the trees, we get warm gold light inside the house… Blessings just too many to number…but I think you can see them!

And here we are out walking in the woods …

Which are now ablaze . . .

Even the beach grass is on fire!

Lots of wild bittersweet . . . Mother Nature decorating earth. Just for us! How blessed are we?! I’m losing track!

This was today . . . the crows are having a field day!

Leaves coat the bottom of this puddle on the road, and trees reflect in the water. Isn’t it gorgeous?

This is the reward at the end of our walk . . . this little sandy salty windy beach…

We are listening to the book The Overstory right now, one ear-pod in Joe’s ear, one in mine, so we can listen together … it’s a Pulitzer-Prize winning novel and love story to Nature. Could NOT be in a better place to hear it . . . had to stop and smell a tree at one point, put my nose right ON it . . . so inspiring! Did anyone read A Gentleman in Moscow? That was our last read. I’m still not over it! My sister is reading it now; she calls me and we become the tiniest bookclub in the world hashing everything over!

When we got back to the car this was waiting. I PROMISE with all my heart we did not put that leaf there. It came on it’s own, just like you see it. Another blessing. Madly in love with nature . . .

Today it’s only about 48 degrees! Cold. Joe (Blessing extraordinaire) made us a fire, and now he’s outside putting on the storm windows . . .

While Jack investigates the mantle. All is well!

For those of you who read Fairy Tale Girl or Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams, you might remember Elaine? She had the dog called Boxcar, was my boss at the record store, and fired me too? (Not her fault, she had to, I had become useless which you know was NOT MY FAULT!) She’s been my dear darling friend since 1971. She lived here on the island for 10 years, moved back to California 20 years ago but kept her house here ~ and now she has retired from working at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and moved back here two weeks ago!!! I couldn’t be happier. She was born in Boston, so New England is really her happy place.

Elaine drove across country with her darling Westie, Ripper! He’s standing on his back legs in order to get a better look at Jack. Isn’t he adorable?

So, we now have Jack and the Ripper. But I have to say Jack is not that fond of the Ripper. Ripper would just like to lick Jack all over. But Jack is saying, 

“Don’t even think about it.”

I’m just happy to have a cat that goes so well with the decor! Would hate it if he clashed!

But how could you go wrong. This is the secret to decorating. It’s like a movie set. Plain and unadorned. That way when the season changes . . .

I take the summer decorations upstairs and put then away until next year. . .

Then all I have to do is stick in different pillows, some fall flowers, quilts, and voila! It’s fall! Same thing and suddenly it’s Christmas! Joe, Elaine, Ripper and I went off-island a few days ago. The first time any of us had seriously gone into stores for three years. We went to Pottery Barn. OMG.

Every Christmas thing was out, sparkly, red and white, candles, and fluffy throws, perfect pillows, glass chandeliers … everything to set your heart on fire. The whole thing went to the happy zippy part of the brain. I was as excited as Ripper when he goes after Jack! We threw money at the cash register, bought tiny end tables, white felt and red sequin Christmas trees, napkins, candles, and star shaped pillows came home with us.

And this appliqué tablecloth! Needs to be ironed, but I wanted to see it on the table the minute I got home. I am going to LOVE Christmas this year, and I think I’ll just start now and have Thanksgiving and Christmas be a dynamic duo! Lights Camera Action!

We got our greeting cards back in!!

William Morris would be proud, recipes make them useful!

All about love . . .

Feeling the blessings! Especially when you think that this year we are going to be together. Fingers crossed it stays this way!

What else? I’ve been painting! Heading for my studio with Jack and my tea in the morning. . . listening to old movies while I do my watercolors …

Practicing people ~ I love painting people, but I’m still so nervous, I do the drawing, but putting on the first bit of paint is scary! The cup, you ask? I have that cup in real life only the shoes are blue. Isn’t it funny? Had to paint it.

This is my newest one… I love her … she hasn’t been scanned yet which is why the picture is so dark, it’s only a photograph. The book? My 8-year-old niece was reading it; she was OVER THE MOON about this series of books ~ so I thought, in her honor, I should include it in the new calendar.🧡 Normally I don’t have to turn in calendars until the first of March, but due to “supply chain” issues, the fact that everything is taking so much longer, they need them this year by January 1. So that’s what I’ve been doing. 2023! Eeek.

Something lovely happened. Erin, bottom left, called me out of the blue … she said her book club was reading my book Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams and said they loved it so much would I would come to one of their meetings so they could talk about it … I’d never met any of these girls, and yet they all live here on the island! So of course I said yes… And here we are!

 Look at Erin’s table! Isn’t it gorgeous? I wanted you to see it for possible Thanksgiving inspiration! That blue and orange together was spectacular! I didn’t even know it was going to be dinner! They all brought recipes from my cookbooks! I was so honored I was almost (stressing on that word) speechless! I got to hear about how they met! You know I have this closeness too with my girlfriends, but it was wonderful to be in the bosom of that same thing with a whole different group!

I love seeing other people’s houses! Erin’s house was wonderful. I loved how they put their library of great books all in colors!! Cute! And yes, Joe was there too, along with Erin’s husband, they ate in the kitchen and only came out to pour wine and wait on us! Men can be so adorable!💞

Yes! Second printing of Home for Christmas has arrived!!! In the Saint-Nick of time … considering the “supply chain” ~ we got lucky! Big help that we had it printed in the good old US of A!

If you need to be taken back in time to a 1956 Christmas, this true story will do it for you … in detail! I had a wonderful time writing this book. It was especially good during the time I was losing my mother, my first and forever best girlfriend, to be immersed in the warmth of her love every day as I wrote and painted this memory. Definitely a blessing. Like a dream. ♥️

And speaking of home and the generosity of girlfriends . . .  I got the best thing in the mail the other day… and it wasn’t even for me, it’s for you!!! Yes! 

You’ve seen my autumn decorating for years now . . . and something almost everyone comments on that you can see in this picture is…

my Pilgrim candlesticks! They come out every year . . . I found them in an antique store about a thousand years ago and have never seen another set.

They are just perfect this time of year!

Aren’t they wonderful? The black is the best! But guess what? These aren’t mine! These are going to one of you!!! Yes, our girlfriend Bunny Perkins from Ohio spotted them on Ebay and sent them to me to give to you! Wasn’t that just the sweetest thing?! You know Joe hates having to stand in line to pick up packages at the Post Office, but this one, he forgave me for! Leave a comment at the bottom of this post (you’ll see a whole bunch of tiny words and near the end, click on “comments.” Just a word or two is all you need to leave in order to be entered for this giveaway!) Thank you Bunny! You’re a blessing, so very kind and thoughtful of you!

Have you guys seen the pictures of families reuniting at the airport now that they can come into America from other countries again?😥 It’s just like Love Actually (best movie ever made). After all these months, people are throwing themselves into each others arms and sobbing with joy. Sisters hugging sisters, couples hugging grandchildren. Makes you cry … makes your heart soar.

We get to have Thanksgiving at our house this year! I’m so excited! I was just reminded by one of our girlfriends that it’s the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving!!!!🍁 The chicken stuffed with my grandma’s dressing was delicious last year because of course it was just us. But this year we get to have the real thing, with good old friends, light the candles, bake a pumpkin cheesecake. I already ordered the turkey! Yay yay yay yay!💃🏼

Here’s the guaranteed-to-please recipe from my Autumn Book . . .if you need it to be gluten free, all you have to change is the gingersnaps … get the gluten-free ones and voila! If you haven’t made this recipe I highly recommend it. Easier to make and more delicious than pumpkin pie, in keeping with the season!🍁Well, the clock keeps ticking and the hands move closer all the time to when we’ll be heading off on our trip to England on board the Queen Mary 2. I think about it all the time! May 1. Here we come! I got my booster, yesterday we got our flu shots! Staying healthy! First requirement for getting on that ship! Where are we now … oh yes, must be around blessing #757. ♥️

Bye for now girlfriends. Going out on our walk with our book! I hope you are doing well and feeling festive. Both the quote above, and this one below, are very nice to read at our 400th Thanksgiving dinner! With all my love . . . .🎃  And don’t forget to sign up for the giveaway!🧡


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2,131 Responses to Blessings

  1. Joyce Jordan says:

    I always enjoy Willard, but the Autumn one was EXTRA extra special. Thank you for making this world a more pleasant place.

  2. Lisa Cain says:

    Thank you for offering up these wonderful candlesticks!

  3. Laurie Talbott says:

    Lovely words from a lovely person… thank you for another uplifting post.
    Jack makes me smile:)

  4. Dee Bowen says:

    Thank you Susan for your wonderful letters and beautiful photos❤️
    Have a very blessed Thanksgiving

  5. Rhonda says:

    Jack is one cool cat! Can’t help but smile when you share pictures of him. Have to try the Pumpkin Cheesecake, it looks delicious!

  6. Mar bria says:

    Just. Love. It. All♥️

  7. Rebecca Dodge says:

    The Florence Bone quote at the very end of your post is very lovely, touches at the heart of things!

  8. Sheryl Kirk says:

    Sleepy eyed, I couldn’t finish tonight, but I can’t wait to read and reread it again tomorrow. I like the candlesticks. Maybe? Sheryl

  9. Alisa Arnold says:

    Thank you, Susan. I have been holding your books dear since I was a teenager – when I first discovered the Heart of the Home.They warmed my heart and filled my belly then and still do 35 years later. They bring me so much joy. And for that I am so thankful.


    P.S. Your tweets are also priceless – so thankful for like-minded people!

  10. Sharon Hemmer says:

    Like icing on a cake, the Thanksgiving candlesticks will complete my holiday tablescape! Fingers crossed!!!

  11. Nancy Mosley says:

    Sorry about your storm but I love all the silver lining blessings that you mentioned. So many neat things happened for you since you last wrote. Happy Thanksgiving!! 🦃❤️🎄

  12. Sandy says:

    Happy Holiday Season Susan,
    I am making your cheesecake this Holiday. The oven aroma alone is going to be the best!
    How many days ahead do you make your cake? I am always so happy after reading your letters, they make me feel at peace 😘. So glad the storm did not cause you any serious harm. I always watch the Cape weather since my friend Susan Branch and her family live there. I think of you in that way. Warmest Regards, SB

  13. Fancy Smith says:

    I love everything you make, draw, paint, write and create! I’ve been a SB “girlfriend” for too many years to count! Thank you for sharing your beautiful work with the world! XO

  14. Patti says:

    Your Willard is always a fun read. Have a happy thanksgiving. I’m going to try your pumpkin cheesecake. Thanks for sharing your recipe

  15. Anna Steinle says:

    I have waited my whole adult life to find those candle stick holders!! I need to find a set! Our family is actually dressing up as Pilgrims and Indians this Thanksgiving for the ‘authentic’ feel and how lively they would be on our table!!! I’m on the hunt!

  16. Clare Fleck says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Susan. Your pictures and words truly make a joyful difference in my day, thank you. xo Clare

  17. Carolyn Anne Mason says:

    thanks for beautiful pictures of fall

  18. Lori Filips says:

    Thank you Susan for a lovely blog. It is so comforting and cozy to read just like being wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. You are such a blessing.

  19. Dori Molletti says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Susan! I love that a book club read your book and invited you to it. Now I’m thinking of asking my book club to read one of your books. 🤔 Would you travel to Farmington, New Mexico? It’s a little out of your way. ☺️

  20. Noelle Sweeney says:

    I would absolutely love to be the lucky winner of those gorgeous candlesticks. Thanks for always sharing such uplifting thoughts! Don’t know what I’d do without you!

  21. Sandy W. says:

    That book club dinner looked like so much fun! And what a good idea it was to bring dishes made from your recipes! I’ve had my booster too, and I’m looking forward to lots of different activities (seeing family and friends, visiting a Christmas village, dinner out, perhaps a concert and a tree-lighting ceremony) over the holidays. Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Deborah in Texas says:

    Thank you for such a cheery post.

  23. Pam Brouillard says:

    Would love to win the candlesticks. I love your writings and the pictures. The artwork you do is so whimsical. You are a blessing to me. Thank you.
    Pam Brouillard

  24. Vivian Garcia says:

    Susan, thank you for sharing your thoughts and days with us.

  25. Susan McCrea Webb says:

    You fill a spot in our hearts for Fall. Better than an endless bowl of Lemon Chicken and rice with a bottomless drink to go with…

  26. Brenda Plunk says:

    Thanks for all the beautiful pictures and reminders of the season. So much to be thankful for!!

  27. Joyce Jose says:

    Love reading your blog and looking at the beautiful photos. Happy Thanksgiving!

  28. Martha Sharpe says:

    Wonderful words and pretty pictures. There sure is a lot happening in your part of the world! Thanksgiving Blessings to you!!

  29. AnneDS says:

    I am thankful all year when I see a new blogpost from you.. I’m so glad that all is well. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe.

  30. MJ in MI says:

    Thank you for your generous spirit and inspiration!

  31. Jenny says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! 🍁🦃 🧡

  32. Judi Davis says:

    I love the Thanksgiving prayers. We do have so much to be thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving Sue and Joe! God bless you both!

  33. Marianne Kenfield says:

    Thank you, Susan, for sharing your inspiring words, photos and drawings. During this season of Thanksgiving, I count you among my many blessings!

  34. Tamara Gates says:

    I love your newsletter and your art!

  35. Linda Dolhay says:

    Susan thanks so much for such an beautiful letter…the sandy beach pic stole my heart.
    Just heavenly. Have a great thanksgiving.

    Linda d

  36. Jill Johnson says:

    The pilgrim candlesticks are wonderful! Happy Thanksgiving 🍁🦃

  37. sherry phillips says:

    Thank you!! You are a blessing! xolove Sherry

  38. Stacey says:

    This morning you are my blessing.

  39. Dorrie M says:

    Your posts are such a joy to read!

  40. Your newsletter always brightens my heart and my day…thank you ever so much.

  41. Virginia says:

    How timely Willard was today. I needed your kind and thoughtful words, your hope, the joyful, sun-filled stories and photos you give so freely.
    My weary soul was uplifted, so I am sending a tender hug and many thanks, Susan.

  42. Marsha Robins says:

    The pumpkin cheesecake with the gingersnaps looks divine. I do have your Autumn book, but my baking days have been on hold as I clean out a house I’ve lived in for 40 years, move into an apartment for awhile, and hopefully get to retire before too much longer. That recipe will definitely be on my “to do” list. I am excited too because my small family of six is getting together for Thanksgiving. We haven’t had a meal together since Christmas of 2019! I have had my booster and flu shot too. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe!

  43. Lilly Bauman says:

    Susan, I look forward each time to reading “Willard”. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  44. Donna Squires says:

    You are a blessing, Susan!

  45. paula demarest says:

    So thankful for friends far and near. ..may you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you Susan and company for bringing warmth and kindness into our world.

  46. Theresa Raffee says:

    Hi Susan:
    Great post as always friend! I am doing research to take a trip on the Queen Mary 2. I know you are a seasoned traveler on that gorgeous vessel. As I am making inquiries, do you and Joe dress in formal wear every night for dinner? I am a California girl and the thought of having to dress in formal attire every night is not appealing and I don’t think my husband will go for it. He is a shorts and flip flops guy, although he will dress really nice for dinner, but formal wear is another thing. We will be celebrating 40 years this year and it is my dream to take a voyage across the pond to England. My Dad came to America from Liverpool, England on the original Queen Mary in 1957. Any thoughts or tips on traveling on board the Queen Mary 2 would be awesome. I am such a fan of your books especially Romancing the British Countryside. I am hoping you will still write your next travel book Enchanted soon. You bring me lots of joy with your writing and your blogs and to so many others. Blessings to you and Joe!!!
    Theresa Raffee
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA

    • sbranch says:

      You do have to “dress” for dinner … which means, look nice. No jeans, no shorts and no flip flops!🤣 BUT… you don’t have to go to the dining room. There is a wonderful 24-hour buffet in the Kings Court with a huge variety of food … there is also room service. They still don’t like you running around the ship in shorts at night, but you definitely don’t have to dress. There are something like 3 formal nights out of the 6, which means jacket and tie for gentlemen and dress up for women. I’m a California girl too, jeans are preferred, so I try to figure out how to keep it as easy as possible. Black pantsuit, different scarves, maybe a skirt… simple. Some people take advantage of the moment and positively sparkle, which I LOVE looking at! The trip is AWESOME in the best meaning of the word. He will love the Atlantic, the tours of the ship ….hope you get to do it! 💖

  47. Joanne Nilsson says:

    Another great blog. I love Jack’s escapade with The Ripper. Hysterical. I, myself, have four cats. Love 💕 them! Happy REAL Thanksgiving to you, Joe and Jack.

  48. Karen Haulenbeek says:

    So glad your IT problems were solved and The Willard found its’ way into the old inbox, thank you again for your fine photos. Would love to win the Pilgrim candleholders…might get lucky yet! Blessings, love, and hugs, to you and all that gather around your table as well as all the Girl Friends.

  49. Kimberly Campbell says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! The candle sticks are beautiful!

  50. Teresa Allison says:

    Willard is always a breath of fresh air, and always much appreciated.

  51. Judy Mapston says:

    I put my Christmas Decor up already!

  52. Connie from Portland, OR says:

    Hi, Susan: I’ve so enjoyed your Autumn Musings and evocative photos that bring us onto MV for a peek at island life. Mother Nature always wins but she gives such beauty and blessings that we can forgive the occasional storm and rumble and uprooted tree. ( Our regional winter bugaboos are rain and wind and mudslides and…did I mention rain?) I’m bittersweet coming to the end of your 2021 This Old House calendar. Seeing your year through the eyes of your historic house has been such a treat. Have you ever thought of doing a book about your house from its perspective through the years? You and Joe are just the right caretakers for it and it is obvious that you love and respect it in the way it deserves. Thank you for sharing your unique experiences with us, sending a little pixie dust out into the world — your posts always make me smile. Happy Thanksgiving! (I’m making your cranberry marmalade! )

  53. Viffy says:

    What could be better for a November issue than your blog with a recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake?! Yum.
    Always glad to read the usual fun stories of the ever adorable Jack and the many blessings you’re seeing from each and every day. Loved your tablescape photos too! What can I say, I’ve always collected dishes and admire the collections of others when I get the chance to peek in on their treasures.
    (I do adore those candlesticks… so, here’s hoping with fingers crossed.)

  54. Peggy Diehl says:

    This was the most lovely letter. Thank you, Susan, you made my heart happy.
    Now, I’m getting out of bed to see if I have your book with your Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe.
    I’m our family’s “corn lady” for our Thanksgiving dinner and it’s always been your recipe (doubled) from your 1995 “The Summer Book.” Yum!

  55. Peggy Diehl says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    I hope I win!

  56. Janice Hearns says:

    Have a wonderful thanksgiving!

  57. Stephanie C says:

    Yay! I love fall best of all 🍁🍂

  58. Denise says:

    Always enjoy your wonderful blog Susan! I miss New Englad especially at this time of year.
    Your candlesticks are so sweet. Perfect decor!

  59. Dianne in upstate New York says:

    Adding an addendum to my earlier comment- I forgot to mention how much I love the picture of you with Elaine. It is the definition of “a picture is worth a thousand words”. You can feel the closeness carried through the years. Also, my book group is currently reading The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I recommend it to all of the girlfriends. (I’m not sure if it is available on audio, but I imagine it is). We have so much to be grateful for- and we tend to take too much for granted. Sometimes we just need to pause and “breathe in everything around us”. Your Willards are so helpful in pointing us in the “right direction”, and we (all of the girlfriends- I believe I can speak for everyone) are so thankful for you and the direction your words provide.
    Although I enjoy taking in the sights and sounds of nature on my daily walks, I think I’m going to invest in earbuds for when the bitter cold wind blows this winter. A good book will be just what I need, I think, to keep me going. Thanksgiving blessings to you and Joe- and Jack , of course

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Dianne… and yes, I think having a story to listen to adds an extra excitement to our walks! We stop the sound sometimes, to take in the sounds of the trees and water . . . but it’s still a wonderful thing. The readers are such good storytellers too!

  60. Donata T says:

    Very nice to hear from you again! Loved all the photos, Thank you!

  61. Patti Carbonneau says:

    I just want to let you know that what you say on your blog – lifts my spirit and fills my heart. I so look forward to your stories and your pictures. So, Thank you for what you do. It is very much appreciated.

  62. Harriet Bicksler says:

    Loved your wonderful and uplifting November blog. And all my thanks for the Rabbit Rabbit mug sent to my 90 year old friend in Oregon. She loved it so much but also loved your story that was included. As we sip our coffee together from our mugs, even though miles separate us, they won’t diminish our friendship.

  63. Debbie Boerger says:

    It’s so nice to see how happy you are, getting away to the Cape for “Play Time.”
    We are going out to Thanksgiving dinner, as our sweet little town house is riddled with mold. AC had quit over the summer, don’t know how long. Doing Netti Pot every few hours and wearing N-95 mask even indoors. We’ve talked to one contractor, and will talk to others. To fix the damp under the house, an ongoing problem, we’re talking $10,000. Yikes! That doesn’t count the de-lousing of everything inside. So, all this probably means no trip to England this coming summer. I can live with that, as this is a Must Do. Can’t live in moldy air, and can’t sell it with that issue. We’ll be very busy this winter, but I’m sure we’ll do short getaways over to the beach. This is such a beautiful neighborhood, it’s like a vacation every time we go outside…unless it’s in the summer!!! Even with all this You-Know-What coming onto our plates, I’m determined to enjoy the lovely weather and just being with my wonderful Tom. I’ll probably be doing some Tele-med sessions with the Cognitive Behavioral Therapist….. He of the lovely English accent.
    You two have a fun, fun, fun time at the beach!!!
    Mucho Love and Gratitude,
    Debbie in Tampa

    • sbranch says:

      YUK… what a thing to come home to. I’m sorry Debbie! I guess it’s good you DID get home, but I’m sure it’s not what you were looking forward to. This too shall pass …. as we say constantly! Waiting for it to pass! 🤣 Love you dear. Take good care! xoxo

  64. Kristen from Baltimore says:

    “All the color that flames in the woods and runs along the horizon is so beautiful that it comforts & warms the sorrowful spirit. While the world continues to be troubled & the atom bomb is apparently the god of all things that are, I stubbornly refuse to despair. There is still love in the world, and kindness, and faith. So let us not abandon hope,” Gladys Taber, “The Book of Stillmeadow”

    Susan, thank you for introducing me to Gladys Taber, for creating & teaching us how to have a happy & cozy world to escape too and for showing us that the act of creating a home is one of the most powerful acts we can take when the world seems out of control, whether it is 2021 or 1945. Happy Thanksgiving to you & Joe!

    P.S. I have been admiring your pilgrim candlestick holders for years; can you tell us if they have any company name or marking to locate others?

    • sbranch says:

      So happy you’re enjoying Gladys! As for the candlestick holders, there’s not a word on them. No mark, nothing. I wish there was! People seem to have their best luck finding them on eBay or etsy … just have to keep checking, or you can make it easy and just get your name drawn here! Good luck! xoxo

  65. Cathy Hults says:

    Thank you for being you! If you want to pick me for the candlestick drawing, I won’t mind a bit♥️

    Cathy Hults

  66. Karen G says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! Loved reading about all your blessings! ❤️


    So much love and happiness for all of us, you do!
    Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas. KUDOS!
    Thank you!

  68. Eileen Leech says:

    I do hope Jack and Ripper find friendship for a wonderful Thanksgiving to all….
    I so enjoy all your wisdom… keep us in your blessings on the special day. I know you are happy your friend is back in town….nothing like a good friend. Happy Thanksgiving.

  69. Lonnie - South of Seattle says:

    Susan, you are such a blessing to us “girl friends”. We had been having a lovely fall here in the PNW until the winds came our way and blew most of the beautiful leaves off the trees. We were more fortunate than some as we did not lose power or get flooded out with all the rain. So good to see neighbors helping neighbors out. Thanks for all you share with us.

  70. KathyK says:

    I would love to have these candlesticks.😃

  71. Barbara Lavigna says:

    Thank you for reminding me that my own sweet childhood memories are something to be cherished and celebrated! I love your art, your story, your recipes, your blog and your willingness to share it with us! May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  72. Love reading your blog and would love the candlesticks!
    Fall is such a fabulous time of year! It is made even more so, when I get to enjoy the photos and stories, in your blog.

  73. Caroline Bennett says:

    You remind me of Moominmamma with your seeing the best and finding the beauty in everything. If you haven’t read the Moomin books, I highly recommend them. Moominland Midwinter is particularly good for this time of year.

  74. Susan Green says:

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Susan! A Gentleman in Moscow has been one of the best, it not THE best book I’ve read in the past two years…so glad you and Joe enjoyed it, too!!

  75. Daphne Pickren says:

    Love your posts! Always full of warmth!

  76. Jane Dawson says:

    I’m new to Willard! So so cute and creative! I left feeling very happy. I’m a kitty lover and Jack is adorable, so is Ripper but I understand Jack’s hesitancy to accept him. They will be friends eventually! Thank you for being you! I would LOVE the candlesticks! I would give them to my friend, Sandy, because she loves all things old. It would be hard to do but I would do it for her as she would be delighted!

    Jane Dawson

  77. Kathleen says:

    Hi Susan!
    Your posts never fail to brighten my day – thank you!
    Very excited about your latest give away. I have always admired your pilgrim candlesticks. Can something be rustic AND elegant? I think they are!
    Have a very happy time hosting your Thanksgiving. Isn’t it wonderful to be “together again”?

  78. Carol Delmonico says:

    best of wishes from my house to yours!

  79. Kathe Dougherty says:

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  80. Dee Reynolds says:

    The pilgrim candlesticks are so unique! I have admired them in the past. Love seeing photos of Jack!

  81. Grace L DESHAW-WILNER says:

    Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for the cozy newsletter!

  82. Shirley Spanjer says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! 🍁

  83. Kathy H says:

    As always a delight to read a posting from you and hear of your adventures. I agree that “Love Actually” is just about the best movie ever. Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.

  84. Debby Kaye says:

    Love the family pajama picture 🙂
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  85. Wendy says:

    So very much to be thankfully for!
    Blessings to all this Thanksgiving season 💝

  86. Kathy says:

    This post was a blessing.

  87. Anna says:

    Your photos in each blog are wonderful!! Have you considered gathering your blogs, including photos, into a printed book format so we could look at several months or years at a time?
    Also, a self-indulgent request: please make another cup with a Jack and books theme. I never seem to be quick enough to order and he and books are favorite themes of mine.
    Thank you for sharing your life commentary with all of us! Love you to the stars and back again!

  88. Gail Helgeson says:

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  89. Debbie Boerger says:

    Taking it one day, one step at a time. There is some Happy Time for tonight. Meeting our daughter and her fella at a casual place tonight to celebrate our 24th anniversary. Thankfully the box with my clothes arrived yesterday. El Cheapo airline charges $$ for everything, even a carry on.
    It was cloudy here for the eclipse. Oh, well…………..
    Hope you and Joe have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Love the latest picture of that dashing Kitty. He’s so handsome with his little mustache.
    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Tampa

  90. Robin Nichols says:

    Yes! Together again – my favorite place to be!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  91. Mary Anne S says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! I think those candle holders would look great in my (new to me) 1910 house!

  92. Lori Jobmann says:

    I love reading your blog so much. Just like your books, it puts me in a happy place! And, those candle sticks caught my eye the very first time they made their appearance! Love them!

  93. Darlene Fockler says:

    I enjoy reading your posts very very much 😊 I have always believed in thoroughly enjoying and being content with the “Little Things” of life whether I am living in abundance or want. As my children were growing up, whether we were on a nature walk or even driving to school and seeing the mountains, (Mission Viejo, CA) when we experienced something beautiful or mesmerizing or anything special they might notice, I would quietly tell them to “make a memory,” always hoping all those little memories would comfort them at some time when they might need them later on in life, when things maybe get too busy. 💚 So, thank you for all the simple little things you share in your posts that teach us how to take time to make a memory.

  94. Maureen Groves says:

    I am so excited to have a chance at those candlesticks!

  95. Tracy O says:

    Susan, I am so happy that you and Joe and Jack are okay after that Nor’Easter! My bestie Susan and I scheduled a trip to Martha’s Vineyard back in May that was supposed to take place October 21-31, but something (in addition to COVID concerns) told us to cancel. We are so glad we did! We hope to visit your lovely island soon.

    I love Elaine’s dog Ripper! We had the sweetest Westie named Cassie. I’ll never know another dog as sweet as her again. Westies are wonderful! It took a minute for our two black and white kitties to get used to her, but they all became friends in the end. Hoping the same for Jack & the Ripper 😉

    Happy Holidays to you and yours – hope it’s cozy and full of warmth and friendship <3

  96. Dana I. says:

    Love your updates, I save them for when I can take it all in and enjoy it at once. The candle stick pilgrims are great!

  97. Phyllis Diggle says:

    Love your newsletters, and the candlesticks are lovely. You are so gifted and being so much joy to others. Most of all, you love life and it’s evident in everything you paint, write and do!! Happy Thanksgiving.

  98. Up here in cold Canada (we already had a major snow storm here) we have not a leaf on a tree and the skies are either ice blue or low and grey. Reading your blog is such a boost to the morale and a pinch of inspiration to get busy and decorate (for Christmas for me as our Thanksgiving is in October). Thank you for your books – I love them and collect them. Thank you for your blog which inspires me. I need all the inspiration and colour and joy I can get because my lifelong(73 years) girlfriend, Judi, has been diagnosed with a rare bone marrow cancer for which there is no cure. I have a place in my heart that is just sad but when I go out to walk in the wind with all the grasses of the prairie blowing, the sadness gets blown away and peace fills me up. You bring so much joy to so many people. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Dearest Jean. Wishing you and Judi peace in your hearts…the love is palpable and I don’t think you can ask for more than that. In all ways, you two are the lucky ones. ❌⭕️❌⭕️

  99. Carmen J says:

    This is my favorite time of year and I love candles. The candlesticks are a treasure for sure!

  100. Joanie B says:

    So happy to see a long Willard post, that I don’t care if I win anything. This was prize enough, oh fraptious day!

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