Good Morning from Stormy Martha’s Vineyard! Welcome to my Mini Willard . . . a little catch-up and our Zoom Party sign-up … but always always, it’s better with MUSICA! Doing our very best to feed ourselves from the very, very, deep well of sweetness… 💖 It’s not that hard, so much of it around!

Our kitchen window has been better than a fish tank these freezing days . . . cardinals, mourning doves, chickadees flying in, fat squirrels hanging off the feeders . . . and us, warm and cozy, on the other side.

We left some lights up  . . . thinking the world needs as much light as possible these days. I’ve been busy, but it’s sort of groundhog day-ish here … I’m up early, wrapping myself in a shawl, turning up the furnace, feeding Jack, making tea, starting laundry, heading for my studio where I am working on my most wonderful book. And there I stay, wrapped in it, deep in thought with “What would they like to see” running through my head. And repeat it all tomorrow! Yup, Groundhog Day: “They say we’re young and we don’t know . . . “🎶 Not EXACTLY the same everyday . . . We’ve lost electricity sometimes . . . that adds some spice!

 Because it’s January and it’s what happens… but it’s not all bad, and it doesn’t last. We’re in the middle of a wind and rain storm right now . . . it’s still dark out, but I can hear it blowing . . . I HOPE the electricity doesn’t go out while I’m writing this, but I’m ready. I write three words and hit save; put in a picture, hit save… Candle and matches are right here next to me!

And we have this! No matter what happens . . .

This is is our kitchen window . . . see how it is? Like a fish tank only with birds! We stand there together, me Joe and Jack, drinking tea and watching . . .

We’ve been cooking because that’s what winter is for! This is what Joe came up with for breakfast the other day. He is such a good cook! He made the batter of eggs, cheese, and cream . . . topped it with two MORE eggs and bacon . . .😲 definitely MAN food! Had it with homemade sourdough bread that our neighbor Martha brought us! No, I did not eat it! Last winter I gained SO MUCH WEIGHT, I am trying not to do that to myself this winter. Yes, the pandemic (may I say it?) sucks⚡️, but I am not going to let it kill me… if I can help it.

So I had my oatmeal, apples, blueberries, cinnamon, and almond milk and loved every moment of it!It’s keeping me from drying up!🤣 

I’m writing my book, stretching out on the dining room floor, walking when we can, taking naps (cuts the chaos in half!), meditating, and for dinner . . . three cozy scrambled eggs . . . with only one yolk . . .

With different vegetables to make it interesting . . . as healthy as can be! Winter will NOT last forever! So they say! And I have places to go and people to see! Our total reward is coming, so much to look forward to… I hope you have good things on your calendar! It helps! ♥️


Here’s Jack again, still loving his new rug! I guess he KNOWS that there’s a tuxedo kitty on this rug, but it still surprises me that he goes there specifically to loll around or give himself a bath.

And here’s Ripper . . . his first experience with snow . . . isn’t he picturesque in his little red coat? Elaine said he was a little bit wary, being a California dog, but as long as squirrels are out there, he’s still interested!

So are you ready for a ZOOM? It is going to happen day after tomorrow, on Wednesday, January 19, at 7pm EST … go HERE to sign up . . . the lovely Cary Library in Lexington MA will send you an email with a link so you can join. . . THIS is my big excitement! Can’t wait to see you all. 

I’ll have my winter cup o’tea and light a fire so we can be cozy! Look at the bottom of this Willard . . . I’m putting a comment list from another Zoom talk, maybe you’ll find yourself there . . so many names I recognize after all these years of Girlfriend-hood! Zooms are amazing, that we can be warm and toasty at home, yet all together! Can’t wait! Until then, I hope you are all being good to yourselves. Modern times are coming as a bit of a shock . . . Deep breath . . . 

You’ll have to enlarge these ⬇ to read them! But you’ll get the idea! Love you! ❌⭕️❌⭕️


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342 Responses to MINI WILLARD/ ZOOM is COMING!

  1. Terry A. Chase says:

    Always LOVE your Willards. Love the music, the pics, everything. Will you be adding a link of the ZOOM (like you did in your last Willard)? That was incredible that you did that and we were able to listen and not miss out. Thank you for all your bring to myself and so many others. What a blessing you are.

  2. Mary Brehm says:

    Hi Sue! Just sat down with a cup of tea and found your new post! Hurray! Perfect timing. We got the snow as well. It was so quiet and peaceful. We too have lots of birds to enjoy and my hubby and I do the same thing, standing side by side at the window enjoying them. We have a heated bird bath as well and they just love it. The silly mourning doves think it’s a spa and the just site there with a look of total bliss on their faces. So cute! I finally finished taking down and putting away my Christmas trees today. So much work! How come it’s so much fun putting them up and shear drudgery taking them down?

    I put a nice big pot of chili on the stove and it’s bubbling away. Smells so good. You cracked me up with the picture of you in your big puffy jacket. That’s just about how I feel right now. Yuck! I’m not being as good as you though. I love baking things and my hubby loves it when I do so I’m always motivated to make things for him. I made a coconut cream pie yesterday. It was so good. So far I’ve only had one piece. One whole pie for two people is a lot of pie!

    I’m all signed up for the zoom and I can’t wait! I saw my name pop up in the comments! I was so excited when you did the first one. I really thought that everyone would be able to see each other. So Silly, I got all cleaned up and did my hair and make up like a total goofball. Oh well. I may have my pjs on for this one. I have a pair of red ones with white polka dots all over them. After, I finish the rest of that pie I will look like a big mushroom!
    Thanks again for bringing a little sunshine our way. It’s been an interesting time to say the least and I have been really struggling to stay positive.
    See you Wednesday!
    Love, Mary

  3. Kathy B says:

    Well, just saw this post and the zoom meeting is full, but I will keep an eye out for another one, that would be a breath of fresh air. We are in snow right now, but it won’t last long here so we are enjoying the “quiet” hush. Looking forward to the quotes book!!

  4. Marci says:

    Will the zoom event be recorded and available afterward online?

  5. Beverlee J Moreno-Ring says:

    Saved Willard so I could read it during lunch.. Did not disappoint. Wonderful Wintery Williard. See you on Wednesday for a Zoom!!

  6. Linda says:

    So sorry to miss this zoom (I’ll be in my church nursery), but do hope there might be a replay link. ❤️

  7. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    I don’t know what happened, but FOR YEARS I have been trying to get email notifications from you when you’ve posted something new on your blog. (I did something, or gremlins did something, to put me in ‘unsubscribed’ seemingly forever; so, it’s meant I have to google you several times a week to make sure I don’t miss a new blog post.) Then, all of a sudden this morning, here you are in my email inbox. So, now, I actually get in on all the ‘news’ in a timely manner! If this is a result of the guy who’s been trying to sort out your site for awhile, tell him he’s a genius!

    (Mini weather report from Central Coast: We dodged any big hit of the tsunami; Bay Area got it worse [but still nothing like what could have been]. Then, somewhat unexpected this late morning, strong rain showers outside my windows for a good couple of hours, replenishing the earth after DAYS of dry, warm Santa Ana winds [locals call it The East Wind]; yippee for drought-plagued SoCalif whose December rain in TOO long was wonderful but not nearly enough. [As for your weather on MV, I have snow envy; it’s so beautiful! The photo of the colorfully-lit and glowy ‘Christmas’ tree in the snow is worthy of being the cover for a holiday card; I just love it!])

    • sbranch says:

      OH BOY Vicki! And honestly, I have NO idea why it’s working now!!! But it makes my day! He has been working on it, maybe he pushed the magic button. You are the first to tell me this ~ hopefully it’s working for others too!♥️

  8. Val S. says:

    A wonderful way to spend a few minutes of my afternoon by reading this timely post. Thank you for the consistency of optimism and simple pleasures.

  9. Marilyn Young says:

    Loved reading this plus comments! Can’t wait to buy a new book full of your wisdom and creativity.

  10. Judith says:

    Well it says the zoom is full! How can that be?
    Just received email this morning.

  11. Maureen Groves says:

    Well, there are now no spots left for Wednesday’s Zoom, and it’s only 1:00 in Santa Barbara Ca. Not sure how I missed the signup before, darn it. Oh well. Will have to look more closely at those Willard’s from now on, which I continue to look forward to BTW, for many years now. I also sent the signup to my sweet neighbor. So thanks for that!

  12. Kathy Anne says:

    I will be at the gym on Wednesday during your Zoom event. Maybe next time! Have a great Monday evening.

  13. Patti Lyon says:

    I always love seeing your name pop up in my email. Today’s treat was the picture of your snowy tree with Christmas lights peeping out from underneath. Stay warm and safe everyone……

  14. Chris H says:

    Unfortunately I was too late to register for the Zoom but I look forward to seeing it if you upload it later. Your snowy, lit Christmas tree looks stunningly beautiful shining out in all that whiteness…..such a joy to see during our hot summer days here in Australia. I used to love summer when I was a child and we spent our holidays under the sprinkler, running between the neighbours’ houses, eating ice in cold drinks and at the beach. Now, though, Autumn is my favourite season, followed closely by Winter. I love seeing your winter photos and reading your descriptions of ‘snuggly’ days.

  15. Susan says:

    Unfortunately, the Zoom is full, so I will miss your lovely voice chatting with us.

  16. Audrey Brendel says:

    Oh nooo! The zoom event is already full. Please record and post the link next time so we can watch the replay. It’s the next best thing.

  17. Mary Diane Singleton says:

    I do not understand ZOOM either. If you start sending your letters that way, I will be most unhappy. Your letters are so interesting and nice with all the illustrations and pictures.
    I suppose you will work it out to add those things. I hope not. You have Real gift and I think the ZOOM calls loose those things,
    My thoughts. Diane

    • sbranch says:

      I will never send my Willards via Zoom. Zoom is extra-curricular … it gives me a chance to more or less visit, live, in person. It’s in addition to my blog. But not to take the place of it! ♥️

  18. Pam Coblyn says:

    The Willard’s always come when I need them most! How do you know how to do that? Is it Girlfriend Heart Magic??? 🥰🥰🥰

  19. Sheryl from Magalia, CA says:

    I was all excited to get this today! I am too late for the zoom though. Maybe next time. I saw that you were getting a blast of Winter weather. Keep us posted with photos, please.

  20. Donna Hrehor says:

    Darn, the Zoom event is full. Looking forward to you posting a link for us afterwards. Enjoy the event! Thanks for sharing your life with us. Love reading your blog & Willards!!! Donna💜💟💜

  21. Linda H says:

    Hi Susan!

    Enjoyed your cozy scene at home from this morning! And I love the one lit tree amongst the other plain snowy trees. Sets quite a scene. Here in northern IN we’ve had freezing rain today, so it’s been a good day to stay in.
    Are you enjoying the 2nd season of “All Creatures Great and Small”? That was a fun episode last night.
    I was happy to see your healthy meals pictured, especially the dinner with your crunchy seed mixture. How about compiling a healthy cookbook when you’ve completed your books of quotes?
    See you soon on Zoom!

    • Karen Lewis says:

      Linda, my husband and I adore All Creatures! I agree, the last episode was a tea-drinking heaven! Such an awesome feel-good show. Susan would love it!

  22. Lauri in Virginia says:

    What a nice Monday surprise! I love watching the birds in my yard during winter too. Stay safe and warm and spring is just around the corner!

  23. Nettie says:

    So sad there isn’t any room for me

  24. Jean says:

    You are a blessing to us and the world with your beautiful outlook on life !! You give us the inspiration to endure the troubles of the world,slow us down and take note of the simple pleasures around us !! All my love to an ANGEL on earth !!

  25. Jean says:

    Love all that you inspire us with !!

  26. Sue in Long Valley NJ says:

    What a nice surprise to find your mini-Willard today in my mailbox, especially on such a dreary day as today with all the snow, sleet and rain and thick grey clouds!
    I will be joining you and the other Girlfriends Wednesday at the zoom gathering. Looking forward to it.
    I noticed you used the Yeats quote “Come away human child..” and want to suggest you listen to a song of that poem written and sung by a fantastic Canadian ballad vocalist and composer, Loreena McKennitt. She is one of my favorite performers. She plays the harp, piano and her music uses instruments from different cultures. If you like Celtic music especially, she is worth the listen. Her rendition of The Lady of Shallot is especially striking.
    Your fire is so inviting I can’t imagine straying far from its heat. Just the place to hibernate with a good book. I’m reading two this month: My Dear Hamilton, a novel about Elizabeth Schulyer’s life as his wife and a NYT best seller, The Mother Tree, by Suzann Simard, about the importance of trees and their connection to all things living in nature – fascinating!
    Here’s to 2022! I have a new grandbaby to begin the year and hopes that this year unfolds into a more peace-filled, harmonious, and healthy year!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Hi, Sue, I’m a huge Loreena McKennitt fan. In all this cleaning, I’m unearthing old tapes and CD’s I had not listened to in awhile. Been playing playing them to help me work!! I especially like her “pan-culturalism”. Also listened to Yoyo Ma’s Silk Road yesterday. I’m partial to 5-tone music, and anything in a minor key.
      Yea! My bathroom is now cleaned, and all the things that make me smile when I step out of the shower have been washed. I have a dear email friend who is a minimalist. I got to try that one out, unwittingly, as everything in our bedroom had been packed away in boxes in March, 2020, awaiting new flooring. That didn’t happen, as we took refuge in Maine, for 1 1/2 years. I really missed my little “shrines” to this and that. I understand that Kon Marie had some very good suggestions, but my Spirit needs my treasures. They Spark great Joy.
      Enjoy your new grand baby 🙂

    • Banjo O’Feral says:

      Just wish to second the recommendation for all things Loreena McKennitt! Her music is absolutely magical. And, The Lady of Shallot is a favorite of mine as well. As is ‘All Soul’s Night’, and, and, and. So many wondrous ones!

      I went to Sligo, Ireland, to study Yeats when I was 18, so I loved seeing your Yeats reference as well. My mother made a small, exquisite book, handmade, of photographs she took of my sister and me as children, one photo per page, with her handwritten lines of That very Yeats poem, across from each photo, the book itself, each page turning, progressing through the poem. She made the cover, of an infra-red photo of my little sister, very fairy-like, and covered it with a piece of Irish lace.

      And Suzanne Simard’s book, ‘The Mother Tree’, is wonderful! The wood-wide web!

      Juts had to comment, as this comment I am commenting upon, touched me so deeply. Wonderful!

    • Dianne in upstate New York says:

      Hi Sue I’ve read My Dear Hamilton and thoroughly enjoyed it. I actually live not too far from the Schulyer home and the Saratoga battlefield. The battlefield was unfortunately closed when I drove past, but I look forward to visiting in the future. (If you haven’t watched “TURN”, might I suggest it? It is available on Netflix). Thank you for the suggestion of The Mother Tree. I love trees- they have so much character, don’t they? Although I was not familiar with the book you mentioned, I am going to try to find a copy. In the meantime, I am reading The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman and The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff. If you haven’t read A Gentleman in Moscow, may I suggest it? Susan mentioned it in the Zoom meeting as well. I’ve read it twice, and listened to the audio version once. Amor Towles’ writing is absolutely beautiful in and of itself, and the audio version offers an added dimension, giving life to the words. I also enjoyed Rules of Civility. The Lincoln Highway is near the top of the stack of books to be read next. Hope you enjoyed the Zoom meeting as much as I did

  27. Peggy Willoughby says:

    I am ready for Thursday! I cannot wait to see and hear you. It’s almost like sitting across from you and chatting.
    We only got tons of rain from that storm here on the North Carolina coast. Rain was much needed, but i would have loved a bit of snow.
    My kitchen chair, where ever i have my breakfast, sip my coffee, sip my tea, where ever I have lived has always been by a window. So much to see!
    Thanks for this little Willard visit. See you Thursday. Love you tons.

  28. Michelle Alexander says:

    Oh so sad the Weds.Jan.19th Zoom is already filled up!!! Will you do another? So disappointed to miss! Stay warm Susan!

  29. Dixie Reimold says:

    Hi again, my prior comment has a note..”waiting moderation”. what does that mean? If you didn’t get to read it, it was simply an agreement of the wonders of enjoying a fireplace, a cuppa, some cats, and a book or knitting.. Much Love to You, Joe, and Jack

  30. Jane McVey says:

    I am signed up and can’t wait. So good to hear from you!

  31. Diane R says:

    I see all the ZOOM spaces are filled, so I’m too late 😩
    I just got your email too! I guess it doesn’t surprise me it filled so quickly!
    Well, maybe the next time..hope it will be recorded.

  32. Ginny Evans says:

    Susan, guess what? A new friend came over today and imagine my delight when she saw my row of Susan Branch books and exclaimed, “Are you one of Susan’s friends on her blog?” I told her I sure was and instantly we knew we were kindred spirits! Isn’t that neat?

    Uh-oh, Zoom already full. I didn’t get there quick enough. I’ll watch for it on YouTube later. Stay cozy and enjoy this wonderful quiet season.

  33. Rosemary Monk says:

    Oh Susan, I got locked out of my laptop space to see my emails and now the Zoom space is full. I’m so sorry I’m going to miss you, it’s been a hard holiday season. And the frustrating thing is, I live 8 miles from Lexington and know the library! Well, I’ll keep reading your Willards and blogs, pouring over the art and photos and your thoughts and words. I hope the zoom is a fabulous success and you get to see bunches of girlfriends and talk and learn, maybe tear up a bit, but mostly fill everyone’s screens with laughter and love! When I get my space back I’ll check in and look for you. Sending love and hugs to you and Joe, and scratches to Jack. Xoxo’s, Rosemary

  34. Samantha says:

    So excited to get your post today! Thank you for sharing your mini-Willard with us! I see that I am too late to join the Zoom, but I will hope that you can share a link afterward so we can enjoy a post-Zoom celebration! It is soooo very exciting that May is edging its way closer and closer…who can believe we’re on the back half of January already?!? I am so very looking forward to tagging along to England in your virtual “suitcase”. I just finished watching Episode 2 of All Creatures Great and Small, and it just makes me long to wander the English countryside again. But you will make it across the Pond before I will, so I’m all for living vicariously this summer! Stay warm and safe as these winter storms pass!

  35. Lis says:

    Hi! I’d really like to join the zoom but it says it’s full. Can you please increase the limit? Thanks!!

    • sbranch says:

      As far as I know, and I know nothing, but I think 1000 is the limit for a zoom webinar … Cary Library pays for this access and I guess it’s based on how many guests they have. I should really check further into this …

  36. A ray of sunlight. Thank you.

  37. Nina Escudero-Bailey says:

    I missed the sign-up AGAINNNNNNN!
    Could we please have a zoom for just super first-timers/didn’t make its?😀🤣🙏🏼
    Have a good zoom everyone!
    Happy New Year!


    • sbranch says:

      Don’t know how I can put up a link in a secret way so only first-timers can see it!🤣 Hopefully next time!

      • dezi says:

        I have been part of one Tea Zoom. I had signed up for this zoom but when I saw the MST time here in AZ would be three in the afternoon, I had to cancel. I will from now on wait to watch on You Tube so others who have not yet joined can join in future. Maybe girlfriends who have been a part of previous Zooms too can wait? Huh?

  38. FreyaSponseller says:

    Just got into bed to read your Willard. Today is my 75th birthday and I loved reading your blog to end my day! Thank you for this enjoyment!! Stay well. ❤️

  39. Linda, near Seattle says:

    After a stressful and sad day at my work, I was so happy to find this mini Willard. I am happy that you were safe and cozy during the storm. I know that the Zoom call is full, but given that my work schedule would have prevented me from joining, I guess the next best thing to being there will be to hear about it after the fun. As I think today about Betty White, I will tell you, “Thank you for being a friend”. Have a wonderful week, Susan, Joe, Jack and all the other friends out there.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sorry Linda … I’m not sure, but something tells me you might be in the medical profession. Courage dearheart. Terrible times, but you are a hero. xoxoxoxoxo

  40. Nicoline says:

    Hello Susan,
    What a nice surprise to hear from you today!
    The zoom sounds really good, I hope everyone will have a lovely time. Will it be possible to see/hear it at a later time, possibly via Youtube or something…?
    I was able to watch your other zoom party, of early december, loved it!
    No sign of snow here, just grey days, but most afternoons are nice. There are some early signs of spring in the garden, lots of green tips of spring bulbs starting to pop up out of the soil, and I have noticed the days getting slightly longer, yeah!
    Loved seeing Jack rolling on his new rug, haha!
    Lots of love

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Nicoline… I’m fairly sure, haven’t asked, but so far it seems to be the way things are done, that I can get a link to this and put it on my blog … so look for that in the next post. See you soon!

  41. Karen Baron says:

    Another fine blog! Birdies chirping, warm and cozy, writing ✍️ your beautiful quotations book! Thanks for a bit of cheer! Joe’s breakfast sounded so yummy but you ate the right thing for you! Brava!! Until next time! Love you you and yours!❤️❤️❤️

  42. Sandi/ Texas says:

    Looking forward to the Zoom. Love Willard’s and I have the Hard copy from a long time ago. Our weather here in Texas has been going up and down. Predicated to be 18 degrees Wednesday night. We have only had snow flurries in our area. My two granddaughters have been quarantined with Covid-19 at home until Thursday which will be 10 days and the youngest came down with pink eye. My daughter is a teacher and has had to stay home with them too. No one is safe from all of this and we have had shots and boosters. Needless to say we have had to stay away from visiting. Please keep my family in your prayers. Thank you. Love ❤️ to all.

    • sbranch says:

      Nope no one is safe . . . but thank God the dying has gone down. A little prayer for you and yours, this too shall pass.🙏

  43. Jane says:

    Hi Susan! I’m so very sad that I missed the sign up, but please, please let us know if you are recording the session and I could watch it a bit later! I’m writing from Whidbey Island off the coast of Washington. This new variant has hit us hard, We are working in our church to bring the partitioners together somehow to “gather” in a safe way. We are going to scout for a yoga or simple exercise person to come to our large gym on campus, doors open, to help us gather. I wish you were here to do a little “lecture” for us as you are always SO upbeat. I thought of a cornhole tournament for our senior men in the courtyard, resurrection of our knitting and crocheting group, a walking group, on and on. We have a committee and will be meeting soon if you have any fabulous ideas. My heart aches for the lonelies. We are moving toward the light, dear friend! I LOVE your optimism, encouragement and joyful words. Xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      We recorded it! I’ll put the link up soon as I get it!

    • Banjo O’Feral says:

      Hi Jane, I just wanted to recommend that if you do some in-person gatherings for yoga, or anything else, it would be safest if everyone wore N95 masks.

      (In addition to the open doors/windows for ventilation)

      Not cloth masks, not surgical masks (those light-blue masks so many people wear)—those are not sufficient protection. (Surgical masks are designed against Droplets, Not against Aerosols—and covid aerosols, exhaled by infected people who don’t even know they are infected, drift around in the air for hours, and infect anyone who inhales them. So the N95 mask provides protection from inhaling!)

      The Biden administration is sending something like 500 million N95 masks out for free beginning around now—they are distributing for free, through pharmacies, community centers, etc—so keep and eye out for them on your lovely island! All the best to you and your parishioners! Xo

  44. Asha says:

    Hi Susan! This Willard was a wonderful surprise to wake up to on this cold morning in central Massachusetts. I tried to sign up for the zoom event but it is full. Sad for me but great news for you! I’ll sign up earlier next time. Keep these wonderful blogs and Willards coming. We need them to brighten our days!
    Love ya!

  45. Katy Wilson says:

    I am currently rereading “Isle of Dreams” and laughed at your “white refrigerator coat”…then laughed again when I saw it on this Willard! Good times. Love love love all your art and books…and you! Looking forward to your quote book hopefully soon. Take care.

  46. Carolyn Wilson says:

    Dear Susan, Joe, and Jack, Happy new year. May it bring us health, happiness, good travels, and peace. Your blog brings me so much joy. Thank you for sharing your amazing life with us. Every blog feels like a personal visit with you. Am signed up and excited for your zoom meeting tomorrow! WNC is blanketed with 10 inches of snow that came down Saturday. We haven’t seen this much snow in many a year. Full pantry, power, warm. Who could ask for more. Fizzgee, Gus, and Jaq are not sure about the snow and are mostly content with watching from their comfortable spots. Thank you for making us part of your home!

  47. Helen says:

    Good morning! I think of how nice it is to have things to look forward to doing from the safety of our own homes. Hence Zoom gatherings, backyard parties, treats by mail, and even time to consider home projects have been important activities. So often I wanted to go to one of your events so being able to do so by Zoom has been a silver lining. I think often of those who have been impacted by this pandemic and wish it was not so. I appreciate how you encourage us to focus on the small things that bring us joy. This time shall pass by for many of us, but how important it will be to remember how precious each moment can be and to savor real hugs. Thank you dear Susan for bringing us together.

  48. Mich Lueken says:

    So happy to see this Willard !
    It made my day 😊

  49. Ellen says:

    What bird seed mix is in the feeder?

    • sbranch says:

      Joe gets them at our Farm center… not sure what they’re called. Just bird food … no particular mix.

  50. Carol Nicolucci says:

    I just called the Cary Library to find out if there was a waiting list for your zoom program. The librarian said that many people had registered twice (or more) and that she has been deleting one of each double registration. She deleted one of a double for me while I was on the phone and I was able to register on the spot! Librarians are some of the nicest people on the planet!
    Carol from CT … tra la

  51. Kristen Hawley says:

    Susan, I have been reading a lot lately and have two suggestions for you: Giraffes Heading West, and The Ten Thousand Doors of January. Very different books but fascinating – winter days fly by when I can read.

  52. Rosanna Giallombardo says:

    Thank you Susan, I enjoyed reading your post so much 🥰
    This weekend my fiancé & I are getting married on my birthday
    🎂 Just the two of us at a lovely Inn in Skaneateles, NY
    We are both in our seventies & feel grateful to have found
    love & happiness 💕 once again. We both have lost a spouse after
    many years of a happy marriage. Life is filled with joy & happy
    Surprises!! 👰‍♀️ 🤵‍♂️

  53. Lisa Wojes says:

    I just love getting this emails, a little bit of sunshine on this tired teachers day. Bummer that you are all filled up on the zoom space, hopefully next time.
    Now if I can just find my collection of your books we packed up when we moved.

  54. Karen HAskett says:

    Hi Susan! Love the pictures of Jack on his kitty rug!! So glad he’s enjoying it!
    He’s just too adorable!!

  55. Margaret Hess says:

    Loved your blog post! It reminds me that it’s better to be cheery!
    I am so grateful that you shared you meal plan- I look like I’m wearing a puffy coat, haha, even when I’m not, and that looks like something I could follow. I do eat healthy, just add other things, or eat too much. Onward and upward!
    Will be looking for the zoom link later. I registered and was lucky to get in, followed the library link with the code, and kept getting a message that the host was having another meeting (this was at 6:50, cause I was excited and early), kept trying, just didn’t happen for me. I’m glad it looks like the meeting went on, so I’ll wait until the link it posted.
    I am so enjoying you tea in the morning!
    You have a great day!

  56. Gina Mahoney says:

    Good Morning! We had our fair share of snow on Monday here in northeast Ohio!
    It was beautiful to look at, once I was back home after work. We live a few houses from the neighborhood sledding hill, and it was packed! So much fun to watch the kids sled. My grandkids didn’t have school Tuesday and they came over to enjoy it! Monday as it was snowing, I was putting all my Christmas books away and decided to read a few, since I never get around to doing it in December. I reread Home for Christmas that I bought last year. Talk about silencing the stress of modern times, this certainly did it! Thanks again for such a wonderful little story that I am sure many of your readers can relate to. It brings back so many memories of when I was a child.
    Take care, stay warm and safe, and enjoy the rest of the winter blessing.

  57. Edy says:

    I love the way your eye catches the beauty and creates it for us. What a beautiful place you have landed. I love the walk to the beach. I created a walk in the woods behind my house in Ohio. Im 77 now and falling trees have obstructed it so I just walk mostly around my yard. I love the twinkling stars and moon at night. If you get a chance to see the Immersive Van Gogh experience near you, I think you and Joe would LOVE it. It is covid19 safe as much as they can make it. Thank you so much for sharing your joy

    • sbranch says:

      I just checked it out, it looks wonderful! I don’t know if we’ll be able to get up there in time, but I’d love to!

  58. Molly says:

    LOVE your oatmeal bowl! Would you mind sharing the pattern name?

  59. Debbie Boerger says:

    Thank You! for the flight through the Boston Public Library. I adore just about everything about Boston….well, the drivers, not so much. First time I went to Boston, Tom dropped me at a very nice hotel near the Commons, and drove up to Rumford, Maine, to deliver his old car to Kristin. That was my first time to be exploring a city on my own. After the first day, my feet hurt, so I took the lesson of all those women walking to work, all dressed in suits, with white Rebok sneakers. I bought a pair, and feet got me through the next week.
    We have friends in Maine, who have a teeny tiny City Pad just across the Fens from the Museum of Fine Art. They are writers, and need to do research. We adore staying there when it’s empty.
    Anyway, thanks for the video!
    Debbie in Sunny but chilly 😉 Tampa

    • sbranch says:

      You’re welcome, quite a flight of fancy!💖

      • Dianne in upstate New York says:

        Hi Debbie
        Wasn’t that flight through the Boston Library wonderful? I love libraries, and I still have fond memories of getting my first library card at age 7. The first book I checked out was Heidi, and, I must admit, it is still a favorite of mine. I also love the movie- the Shirley Temple version. By the way, I took your advice, and I have reservations at The Lamb and Lion for my stay in York.

  60. Lynn Hudson says:

    Hello Susan Branch! Registration is full (no wait list) for the January 19th Zoom book talk. Hope you will make it available later for those of us too slow to register in time.

  61. Viffy says:

    So happy for the bonus blog!
    I’m typing this as I watch the snow flurries tumble and swirl. It’s cold and a bit icy, so your happy bird feeder pictures and fireplace pics make this day a little better!
    Nothing like kicking back with a cup of tea and reading your blog!

  62. jeanie says:

    Loving the view from your window and the “bird tank.” Glorious. And Jack, of course, and knowing the book is coming. I think Joe’s breakfast sounds wonderful — possibly worth sharing the recipe?! Yum!

  63. How does this sound for your quote book title: Wise Words for Living Life

  64. Jojo says:

    Your blog is such a delight as always. I was taken by the quote at the top of your page, “As long as I have a window, life is exciting.” by Gladys Taber. That speaks to me. I’m sorry to say, I had never heard of Gladys Taber. Did some googling and discovered the connection to Christmas in Connecticut – which happens to be a favorite movie. I did a bit more digging and found the link you provided to sign up for the Gladys Taber newsletter/membership. What a fun adventure your post today has taken me on (that’s a sloppy sentence – hope it makes sense). Thank you

    • sbranch says:

      You never know where inspiration will take you!👏 You are in for a treat. She writes wonderful books about her old house in Connecticut, called Stillmeadow, built around 1690 ~ and other books filled with her Butternut Wisdom.💖

  65. Jen Pen says:

    The Zoom tonight was amazing. Please consider Carolyn ___ (didn’t get the last name)’s idea for your quote book: Branches of Wisdom. Brilliant!!!

  66. mary slinko says:

    Thank you for such an enjoyable evening! I was wondering if you had ever thought to offer painting classes? If not in person, perhaps on zoom?

  67. Kellie Davis says:

    Hello Susan! I was registered for the webinar today (January 19). I went in at 6:15 and only caught the last 15 minutes. Everything I read said it was at 7:00. I noticed that it was being recorded, is there anyway we can access that recording?

  68. Susan Battle says:

    Dearest Precious Susan🤗
    I don’t know if we’re supposed to start posting about the Zoom meeting or not, but I just can’t contain myself. I’ve never experienced anything like that 90 minutes in my life. Having you on screen in your home made me feel like I was there with you. Hearing and seeing you chat with us was sooo comforting and refreshing. Your natural manner, along with your openness and candor are beyond delightful. Showing us your first piece of art was so adorable and then for you to say that you’re going to take it to analysis to see “what’s wrong with me” was hysterical. If there’s anything wrong with you, then there’s no hope for any of us🤪. Actually, I thought that drawing reminded me of those books about “The Whimpy Kid”. I think you were before your time.
    ThankYOU from the depth of my soul for opening up yourself, your life, your past, present and your future.
    I need one of these Zooms at least once a month, please.
    Love ❤️ you my sister,
    Susan Battle

    • sbranch says:

      Dearest Susan, that was so SWEET! Thank you for the kind words.♥️♥️♥️ I love doing these Zoom events, I’m sorry I can’t go see everyone in person, but this is definitely the next best thing! Kindred spirits! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

      • Susan Battle says:

        ThankYOU precious Susan🤗 We’re sorry 😣 that we can’t come see You in person, as well. ThankYOU kind girlfriend for reading all these posts. I think that you’re commitment to us girlfriends 👯‍♀️ is utterly stunning. Actions like that is one of the myriad of your behaviors that make you so totally beyond description. Bless your heart ❤️ for caring for us so lovingly.
        With my love, sweet Susan
        Your girlfriend, Susan
        PS. On a completely different note, I certainly do not think that having a silverware drawer available when one needs one IS not too much to ask, for heaven’s sake. ‼️😂

  69. Chris says:

    Oh – saw the info about the zoom too late. Will there be a rebroadcast? So sorry to miss the fun!

  70. Kelly Houlton says:

    So cozy and warm! Thank you, Susan, for sharing some of your “silence” with us. I LOVE the quiet that my hubby and I have at our house on the river in a small town. I’m enjoying winter so much more now that I’m retired. Happiest of New Year wishes to you and Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry, EST, eastern standard time… I really should have put the different time zones on the blog post … But yes, no problem, they will send me a link for the recording and I’ll put it on my next post! Happy New Year Kelly! ❌⭕️

  71. Jane says:

    Jack is so enthused about his charming rug because cats are drawn to circles.


    The mysteries of a cat mind can (possibly?) be explained, much to our amusement.

  72. Banjo O’Feral says:

    Fabulous Zoom yesterday, just the perfect gathering! Enlightening, Inspiring, Magical.

    Sue, you asked which of the titles you’re mulling others appreciated most, so wish to respond that this cat LOVES:


    So unique—and so purrrfectly apropos! If you need a reference to Quotations, included, perhaps something like:

    A Cauldron of Quotations

  73. Clarisa says:

    Hola, Susan. Oh Dios, qué maravilloso espacio encontré gracias a una de tus fans, Mari Carmen Polo soler :
    Ya me quedo enlazada a tus post con gran entusiasmo y admiración. Aquí hay mucha creatividad y belleza.
    Saludos amistosos. Sé feliz! 🤗🌞🌍

  74. Mamey Brown says:

    Oh darn it! I totally forgot all about this post so obviously I missed the Zoom. UGH!! I am sure it was a lovely time. So happy to still see a new post. I just finished re-reading Isle of Dreams now I am re-reading A Fine Romance. I must say, I am LOVING them even more the 2nd time reading them. Thank you! I really hope you continue to write books from your journals, they are wonderful!

  75. roses madrigale says:

    Your Zoom talk was wonderful..such a tonic on a dreary winter evening..I found myself rushing through my tasks so I would have the time free.I always thought if I ever met you we would be..have a cup of tea and solve all the problems of the world. Next time in your cozy kitchen..thank you to the Barry Library..Susan years ago I copied this recipie for frozen flowers around a bottle of vodka?You used a milk carton and froze water and blossoms?Is there any chance of bringing back the olive oil bar of soap from are bellissimo,roses

  76. Susie Durrschmidt (LI NY) says:

    Your home always looks so cozy and warm. Every now and then a ‘poor me’ moment comes along as I have a difficult time with winter. I immediately think of something to help me along (my Pollyanna learnings) and off the winter blues go. Why I even go so far as to make a kitchen sink full of good old bubbles and throw something in it to clean. What would Susan do? Thank you Susan. Love seeing Jack loving his new rug. What a hoot! Hugs to all.

  77. Colleen Molloy says:

    Hello Susan!!
    I just got around to watching your Christmas zoom. I thought it might make me sad since it’s already the middle of January, but it was so great. Left me happy and inspired. Looking forward to your most recent zoom. Hopefully you can provide that replay link soon. Sending you big hugs and best wishes for the new year. : )

  78. Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm says:

    If you’re not eating egg yolk because of chlorestrol, free range, farm fresh eggs have little to no chlorestrol.

  79. JudyRee says:

    Where can we watch the zoom? Thanks

  80. Alexandra says:

    Hello! I attended your zoom – so lovely and cozy! I’d love to know the name of the pattern for your red and white oatmeal bowl. So pretty! Thank you!

  81. Dianne in upstate New York says:

    Dear Susan, I just took the tour of the Boston Library that you posted on Twitter. (Although I seldom visit that site, I’m always rewarded when I do). What a delightful treat! I wanted to transport myself there immediately! I can’t wait to visit the library when next in Boston. I hope to go there this Spring in order to shop for a few items for the crossing. I am getting so excited. Can you believe how quickly the days are passing by? I better get busy finalizing my plans!!!

  82. Patsy K Bennitt says:

    I’ve just finished reading about the Sounds of Silence. You always credit other authors for their words, so I’m assuming that the three sections which start with “Feed your soul” and end with “Sound of silence” are your words.
    You’ve outdone yourself, Ms Susan. Brilliant, positively brilliant writing. You’re creating a place in history for yourself and a gift for future generations with your words.

  83. Rosemary T says:

    Good morning! How nice to have a blog post to read this morning…although being a week late to the party isn’t so great. I did see the last zoom gathering you did but not this last week’s. It is really so enjoyable to get to hear your voice and hear what you are thinking about so I will need to be a little more on the ball for the next one. I do love to picture you getting up so early in the morning and doing your preparations for the day….tea, kitty, fire, and off to your studio. Sounds so lovely. The cold weather does make one want to cook a pot of soup and bake some bread. Our daughter’s family is living in Newport, Rhode Island for a year while her husband goes to the Naval War College there for a year of study. We have gotten to visit there a few times and have thought how close we are to Martha’s Vineyard. Would dearly love to return to the island for a visit and maybe it will happen before they leave in June. Christmas in New England was wonderful….and a snowy Christmas Eve day was a fun time for their two little ones….3 and 8 months.
    Have a lovely week. The ship is calling your name for a magical trip.

  84. Debbie Boerger says:

    Loved 🙂 your “bookety-bookety-bookety phrase. Did you and your siblings go “boogety, boogety, boogety, when riding your “pretend” horsey? With us it was an upside down mop or broom.
    It’s been brrrr down here in Florida. Tom’s huge, potted, hybiscus is a bit limp-leafed due to the overnight temps the last few days. We’ve been in the high 30’s at night. Actual frost a bit North and inland of here, but they say several good frosts (of short duration) make the oranges and strawberries sweeter. Of course most of the orange groves are now massive housing and mall developments. Sad, but true.
    Manatees are really suffering due to the chill but mostly because they are starving to death. Lowest numbers ever. We’ve poisoned coastal waters because we MUST have green, “weed” free lawns. Workers are trying to feed them lettuce. Before that, it was the living coral reefs, which I remember snorkeling over. Mote Marine is growing coral, and then “planting” them on the dead areas, but….until we stop dumping fertilizers into our water, they will die as well. Until we realize we can use native ground covers, the big companies will continue to make and push weed killer and fertilizer.

    I’ll totally understand, Dear Lady, if you don’t post this. I do tend to get rather strident about our oceans, having met and talked with Silvia Earle on a couple of occasions 30 years ago. And having sailed these waters for many years.
    Mucho Love to you, Joe and Jack.
    Stay warm and well,
    Debbie in Tampa

    • sbranch says:

      I would have my brothers bend over and put their hands on the sofa, then I would run from across the room and jump on their backs in a Roy Rogers mount, like they were the horse and I was the cowboy! Forget about the broom. Being the oldest gives you such power when the boys are too small to understand they are the horse! Joe ALSO has a huge potted hibiscus … he keeps it alive in the house every winter and moves it to the porch in the spring. Amazing plant, it even blooms inside the house! In the worst possible situation, low-ish light, dry furnace air, but there it goes! My heart is with earth’s beauty too Debbie, you never sound strident to me. We should all be furious. Stay warm down there. Love you dear, love to Tom … xoxoxo

  85. Fran from Michigan says:

    So nice to hear from you again! How sad about your Christmas party, I had tears in my eyes reading about it, but then smiled when I saw Jack’s grumpy face while being held by your friend! how funny. I’m so glad Joe ended up negative and did not get sick! I’m getting so tired of this Covid, I’ve had both shots and the booster and still wear a mask. when will this end?? I’m actually enjoying winter this year, I received a wonderful Christmas present on Christmas Eve. A new baby grandson! my tenth Grandson, and I have one granddaughter and a great grandaughter due in June! ( and I’m turning 70 this year) So lots of happy things happening. I like to read ( I actually love to read your cookbooks just for the fun and the pictures, and yes sometimes I even make something out of them) I quilt and I have lots of friends and family calling me. Have a good winter, stay safe and be blessed. Love Fran

  86. Janice Nelson says:

    Just watched the zoom chat today from the Cray Library. It was so wonderful. It made my day.

  87. FayE in CA! says:

    Just watched your latest Zoom talk. I totally agree with you about the loss of cursive lessons in schools. None of my five grandchildren (ages 25 to 12) were taught cursive. I fought it, but finally had to cave and drop my cursive…all correspondence is now printed so they can read my cards.

    Why don’t you sell your quote books as a set…or offer an option to do so? Can’t wait to purchase mine!! The books will be gorgeous.
    “Timeless Wisdom” Quotes to focus your life on logic, beauty and positivity.

    Thanks for taking the time to Zoom your joy to all of us!

    FayE in CA!

    • sbranch says:

      I could, but I would have to wait a year or so, maybe longer because we’re going to England, for book two to be done so I would have the set. And there MAY even have to be a book 3 … perhaps I can sell them as a set after all 2 or 3 have come out!

  88. Kelly from Walnut Creek, CA says:

    Jan. 26, 2022
    Susan, I just wanted to write and send all best wishes to you & Joe upon hearing of the bomb cyclone heading to New England. I hope you will be okay. Sending every best wish.

    – Kelly from Walnut Creek, CA
    PS I placed an order for a few items through your shopping site and was so pleased with the shipment and the contents. Everything arrived in pristine condition. So happy! Thank you!

  89. Debbie Boerger says:

    Brrrr. Going to be near freezing tonight. And very windy. I’m just a wee bit worried about you folks on MV. Please let us know when the Blizzard has moved out. Glad it will be over the weekend, so roads may be cleared before Monday.
    Sending warm virtual hugs as well as Mucho Love,
    Debbie in chilly Tampa

  90. Joy Stoermann says:

    Thinking of you and yours during this blizzard ! Kinda jealous, I must admit….
    Enjoy…?…. And stay warm and well!

  91. Bridget B. In Tennessee says:

    Susan, Thinking about you this cold snowy morning. Thanks so much for posting the Zoom event. I have watched part of it so far. Something I have always wondered….Can you find most of everything you need for day to day living on Island? Are there things you stock up on when you leave the Island? Take care and stay warm. Kisses to Jack.

  92. Debbie Boerger says:

    Huge Thanks for those wonderful snow and dining room pictures!!! So thankful for our neighbors in Maine, who will be first responders if one of the gi-normous white pines comes down on our house there.
    By the way, you have a nice singing voice, Dear Lady 🙂
    Mucho warm love,
    Debbie in very chilly and very windy Tampa

  93. Amanda Davis says:

    Can’t get over how lovely the snow looks from your window! Joe’s culinary creation looks delicious and your oatmeal does too! I’m catching up on your last few blog posts as I am holding a sleeping baby! Yes, that’s right- we had a baby girl named Zoe Kate the week of Christmas! She arrived three weeks early and is so sweet. I will say that having a baby in a global Pandemic is incredibly difficult with all the isolation and family not being able to come around. It’s exhausting weighing our safety versus the importance of social interaction for mental health and trying to keep everyone safe. So sorry that y’all’s Christmas dinner was cancelled, but glad no one got sick! Your blogs bring a sense of normalcy to my chaotic life. My California pen pal I found through you sent me a handmade baby blanket- just amazing. Thank you for all the joy you impart!

  94. Marcy Hail says:

    Enjoy your writing SO much. Plus, little Ripper really made me smile,too. Have had Westies for 47 yrs. Love them SO much! Stay warm and well. Marcy

  95. Rebecca says:

    Hello! First off, thank you Susan for sharing another delightful peek into a winter day with you, Joe and Jack. When it comes to “hygge”, you are the cat’s meow! Your posts are heartwarming and good for the soul!

    I didn’t see a mention from you in this post, and perhaps I missed it in a previous post (I did see a comment from Samantha about the program), but have you been able to catch any of the episodes from Season 2 of All Creatures Great and Small on PBS? Season 1 was absolutely wonderful. They are already starting to work on Season 3!! (If you heard an excited giggle there, it was me!) Susan and Girlfriends, I invite you all, if you haven’t had a chance to indulge in this series. Set in the Yorkshire dales of Merry Old England. Someone asked if the scenery was CGI but the producers said NO!! It’s real and it’s stunningly beautiful!

    • sbranch says:

      And that’s my favorite part about the show . . . going through the Dales!!! I love it, thank you Rebecca!

  96. Debbie Boerger says:

    All is good here, Swedish Death Cleaning progressing. New air cleaner arrived and makes Such a difference for me. Keeps me breathing well. Almost done with our bedroom, precious objects and framed family photos located.
    I knew I was battling mold and mildew, but I did not imagine how it can get even inside the framed paintings and photos!! So, some things will need re-framing, others just taken apart and cleaned.
    I opened my wallet and bought a fabulous re-furbished steam cleaner with all sorts of attachments. With that and the “monster” AKA the new vacuum cleaner, cleaning is not nearly so hard. If you get too close to the business end, you could end up being sucked to the next dimension. And…steam lets you get the gunk with out the chemical cleaners. I did need to go over the huge sliding glass doors with a wide blade razor. Interior was covered with a crusty something-or-other. That never happened before. The track gets replaced on Monday, and hopefully, it will let the storm water drain out, not inside!
    Boxes of art books all packed to go to the library for resale, art supplies I can no longer use, out the door. Too bad it took a calamity for me to do the job of culling.

    Can’t believe it’s just 3 months until you, Joe and the girlfriends will be on the way across the Pond. I’m so excited to be there in spirit. I’m sure Tom and I will follow your postings.
    Stay warm and safe, Dear Lady,
    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Tampa

  97. Debbie Boerger says:

    Oh My!! I have not laughed so hard since forever, it seems. Thank you So much for posting Sarah Longwell’s Tweet about Legitimate Political Discourse, went to the thread and read and laughed until I cried. What else can we do?
    Thank you, my Dear,
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      When she said annoyed, and followed up with the beating, she had me! There is nothing like a good burst of laughter… especially if it is slightly tainted. Nothing to do but laugh, when we aren’t crying. And pray! XOXOXO

  98. Susan Richardson says:

    Greetings, lovely lady from my little tiny town of Clarksville Missouri. We are nestled between the muddy Mississippi and bluffs. I fell in love with you and your whimsy after discovering A Fine Romance. I love that you keep the beauty and wisdom of all things past alive and front center. I love the pictures of your home. It oozes hygge! I too live in a grand old lady (1859). I love her creaking floor boards, the smell of antiquity and the spirits of past residents who periodicslly make themselves known. Love my Willard moments. They leave me inspired, feeling all isn’t bad in the world. Look for the beauty and the good. And you do that for so many. I will be looking for the next t zoom. When can I anticipate your next t book?!? Much love and good health to you and Joe and, of course, Jack.

  99. D'Anne R Paratore says:

    Thank you Ms Branch, you certainly cheered me – I too have been feeling
    blue with all the Blizzards, more snow, more ice – poor skiing and sledding
    Now sitting here next to my fire, confined not by the weather or virus
    a bit of fractured pelvis from black ice shoveling!!
    Yes, it sucks The highlight, I was sooo bored, I took my Jeep and did
    180’s in the parking lot with the music blasting!
    Try being grounded with 3 cats, throwing anything and everything at them,
    there toy box is empty – They own you ! Blessings

  100. Debbie Boerger says:

    Wow, you and Joe look like movie stars in those pictures! Clothed in Love and Happiness.
    We all appreciate your hard work on Distilled Genius. Just the sample page has quotes that are very meaningful for me. All are beautiful, aren’t they, especially when so beautifully presented.
    Back to Swedish Death Cleaning, surgery date closing in on me. Almost done with our bedroom, just needed the calk that Mr. Tom picked up at his version of Disney Land….Home Depot.
    Mucho Love and Thanks,
    Debbie in today’s beautiful Tampa weather

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