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. Joanne Bates says:

    I so enjoyed reading this – and all the inspiring pictures! I collect quotes also, and found many more from you to add. So much of what you write is exactly how I think. That’s reassuring to me, that it’s not just me. I will be going back and rereading this, again and again. Thank you so much for inspiring me today, and I’ll look forward to more.

  2. Catherine says:

    I love reading these! I always go away smiling and these days that a big deal.🥰

  3. Mary says:

    Susan, you are a woman after my own heart – a book of notes would be my dream book. I must ask, how do you collate yours? And how do you find the right quote for the right time? I have pages upon pages of quotes that have moved me.Of course, I’ve forgotten most of them. If I want to use one, I hav to start at the top and scroll down. I’ve gone so far to categorize by subject, but even those have gotten out of hand, which in reality is not even possible.
    I love when other people say just exactly what I want to eat.

    • sbranch says:

      Because I paint them and write them, I put them in categories and then into large binders. So if I need one about ducks, or winter, or something, I just go look in ducks (critters) or winter. They do let you know how connected we really are, don’t they?♥️

  4. Love all your posts Susan, so heartwarming and uplifting! Does Barbara have an Instagram account? I dont have Twitter but would love to send her some encouragement. If not, please tell her I’m sending prayers and positive thoughts to her during this difficult time she is experiencing. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      I will. I don’t think so. But she is the kind of person who will feel blessings coming her way.🙏 Thank you Julie!💖

  5. KC says:

    Hi Susan ~ The surname Jencks was first found in Shropshire UK: – Romantic fairy tale land:)

  6. Caroline Yoneda says:

    Oh Susan how I have missed following up with you. I was not aware of your zoom live. I will try to keep up with the upcoming April one. I do appreciate willard and your reminder of how one can find comfort and delight in the small things especially if we slow down …you’re very hygge you know. You must be Danish. I wonder if you’d ever considered having your drawings pixelated for cross stitchers of which I am one. I enjoy your cardinals, my favorite bird mostly because they are red.

    • sbranch says:

      I do have a few cross-stitch kits in my blog store …Yes, nothing like a bright red cardinal… around here they are our only splash of color in a very brown/grey, or a very white world!🎈

  7. Sallie J Flesher says:

    I just discovered your Zoom live, and have been sitting here in bed (early morning!) watching. It is so interesting and fun to watch. I have read all your books, some more than once. I read Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams twice. Once before I took a trip there, then again after I had visited your beautiful little neck of the woods in 2016.
    You are such a relatable person. I have lately been contemplating writing a book about my own experiences since I became widowed after 49 years of marriage. Yes, you are spot on! What size to make the book was the first decision! So funny.
    Can’t wait for the book of quotes! You are amazing.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sallie! I can’t even imagine the overwhelming sense of change when you lose your person of 49 years! Good luck with that book, it’s a difficult project with such personal reward. Like building something that lasts instead of moving paper around.📖💖

  8. Sherril Ann Scott says:

    Dear Susan,
    I have been your fan/groupie since my first issues of Country Living, years ago with your lovely recipes (and I still have those pages)! I save your calendars, too. This year, I found a wonderful use for with them and wanted to share with you.
    I’ve been teaching forever and decided to make Valentine’s Day Heart mobiles by cutting out a lot of hearts and sewing them together. When you open them up, the hearts become 3-D.
    My second graders loved them, and I knew that every heart (hand painted by you) would have plenty of love and goodness for each of my dear students.
    Thank you for always sharing your artistry and love of life with the world.
    With much love and thanks,

  9. Andrea Geary says:

    Hi Susanne

    I watched the zoom in January so lovely to see you and just listen to your amazing tales! You
    and Joe looked well and for that I’m thankful keep warm! Might see you at the picnic in May! Bye for now Andi x

  10. Carol Duffey says:

    Hi Susan! It’s been so long since I’ve commented here, and I’ve actually felt badly for not doing so. I don’t want you to forget me! I always read your blog and your Twitter posts come to me every day as notifications on my phone, so I do keep up with you, but sometimes I feel like you have enough girlfriends, and my input would probably just be irrelevant.
    I wanted you to have the Swedish Visiting cake that I commented to you about on Twitter, but I didn’t want to put it out there to the larger world, so I thought
    putting it in your blog comments would be better. It’s super simple and I was lucky, I had all of the ingredients on hand.
    I made it yesterday afternoon along with my chicken noodle soup for a dear friend who is struggling with cancer right now. So half of the Swedish Visiting Cake visited her and her husband, even though Michael and I didn’t! She has to be more isolated right now since she is definitely immuno-compromised.
    I have missed your Zoom talks and that has made me feel badly, too! Maybe you could send the link again (sorry!) so I could catch up with that!
    I think about you so often, because I see your Tweets on my phone every day and I always read your fabulous blog, so I’m keeping up with you! I do love all you have to say. We are in complete agreement politically, of course. Every time you Tweet out those feelings I’m right there with you, cheering!!
    The world is such a scary place right now. I feel so very very sad for the people of Ukraine, as does most of the western world.
    Are you at all worried about traveling to Europe in May? I worry so much about my sons. I’ve told you that my older son is living in Paris, and my younger son is traveling to both Berlin and Barcelona in late May/early June. They plan to meet up in Berlin to see each other, but I’m just so nervous about having them there right now. Putin is so unstable he could do all kinds of terrible crazy things that could upend our lives in an instant. Very scary, and extremely anxiety producing for me. It’s always a sleepless night once it enters my mind.
    I will stop I guess, getting on my soap box, but I just wanted to catch up a bit since it’s been so long since I’ve commented on your blog.
    Your Orange polenta cake sounds divine! If it’s in one of your books, I already have your recipe, but if not, please share it with us girlfriends soon!
    I’m not sure if I can put the Visiting cake recipe here, but if I can’t, I’ll post it on your Twitter feed after all.
    Have a great week! Love ya! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Ooops, been so face down, working on this book, I missed this…I never forget you Carol, never fear. Always happy to see your little face! And LOL, you’re never irrelevant! I’m not worrying about traveling because Rachel said that if Putin screws up this trip she will go there and strangle him herself. 🤣 So… that took away all my worries! Not fair, just get free to Covid, and now this horrible thing. We have a couple of months, lots can happen, and I really think the Ukrainians are going to win this war! They are so brave and positive, and have so much to fight for! Orange polenta cake is in two books, A Fine Romance (Siobhan gave me the recipe) and I also put it in the new edition of Heart of the Home. I used the filling and glaze from my Orange Cake in Vineyard Seasons. You can put your Visiting Cake here if you like… probably easier than on Twitter! You too, stay safe, stay happy! 💖

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