Hello darling Girlfriends, Happy May! How have you been? I have MUSICA for you . . . and lots of story-time, about spring time and our Patriot’s Day, Concord and Lexington adventure, so grab some tea and . . . Here we go!

Some of our trees are just beginning to leaf out ~ I wish you could see them in person! They are the tenderest softest color, fresh and vibrant. It’s glorious being OUT of the house in the spring! Everything is so new! Spring fever is everywhere. 

Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. 🌷 Laura Ingalls WilderI’ve probably been doing the same thing you have!! Looking for the rainbow connection and finding it everywhere! 

It started here with snow drops . . . like a little white meadow in the lawn. I realize now, spring comes from the bottom up. First the baby wildflowers, then the bigger bulbs, then the grass turns green. After all that, flowering bushes and trees compete for first place…

. . . yup, the slow lane where checking the garden and staring at the new growth is just part of what we do in the spring! The tiny blue Siberian Squill comes popping up everywhere . . . we now hove a little carpet of it out behind the barn, takes a while to pick them, they are so little, but they’re REAL FLOWERS! They didn’t come from the grocery store!!! Been a long time since we had that!

And then, in a world of still-leafless, colorless trees, suddenly, because of the fairies running ahead around here, fixing things for us, there are flashes of color in front of every picket fence, along side roads and rock walls.

All the while the perennials make a futile attempt to compete. . . only chives really come through. Actual FOOD in the garden!

But on the dew-drop mornings, perennials don’t stand a chance against  the bulbs. We’re so proud we got them all in last fall, our reward feels like magic! Joe parks the car further up in the driveway so we can see more of the garden from the kitchen window!

And then the trees join in the rejoicing, first the flowering pear, then our Magnolia . . .

Then the dogwood . . .

And now it’s May, and that’s lilac time! If you have ever smelled lilacs, mix that smell with a bit of cold salt air and you know what it smells like in our yard! It’s still chilly most days … in 50ºs or low 60ºs. Exhilarating, leaf-unfurling weather!

Spring is so Inspiring!!!

Something else from the kitchen window just yesterday … I have NEVER in all my years on this island seen an Eastern Bluebird … never. I saw western bluebirds, but not these! I heard they are here, and I was even whining about it to Joe just recently, and then . . . voila, yesterday!!!

I didn’t scream, I gasped, stood stock-still looking around the room for my camera, then I snuck up on him from across the kitchen… taking pictures through the window constantly, moving very slowly, and he stayed! I got him! A blue letter day! (Oops, I stand wildly corrected! Girlfriends to the rescue…THIS is an Indigo Bunting, NOT an Eastern Bluebird! Even better!😁)

I can’t let May go by (it’s already going too fast!) without mentioning that May 1st was the one-year anniversary of THIS … our trip across the ocean aboard the Queen Mary 2 with our Girlfriends. Exactly last year at this time, this is where we were. Hard to believe and want to go again! Want to go NOW!

Here is our first moment of seeing everyone as we arrived one by one (actually it isn’t everyone, we ended up having 102 come along, and some of the boys were shy), but lots of us. We met on the back of the ship before it even started moving!  Brave intrepid Girlfriends! It was SUCH an exciting moment! Seeing everyone for the first time! Putting faces to names we knew so well! We handed out these little pins we made so we’d all be sure to  recognize each other if we met in an elevator. The mark of the Corgi!

Some of us had met before at book signings, and some of us had only met here in the comment section of the blog. But one thing’s  for sure, we were kindred spirits. Connected by the things we have in common, home, nature, art, books, curiosity, tenacity, humor, empathy, and I would add, sweetness of heart. We had the most wonderful time!

Our English friends, Paul and Rachel flew over and met us in New York … their first time on the Queen Mary 2, and the first time we got to spend 7 whole days together right in a row! We trapped them! Ever since, we just Zoom, and then cry from homesickness for each other more than ever before.💞

And this was our first destination. The amazing gardens at Stourhead. Everyone got off the ship and toured around England for a week, making memories of their own ~ but we had plans to all meet back in this amazing place, Stourhead in Wiltshire UK, to reconnect, celebrate the fact that we DID this ~ and have a picnic before we said goodbye. 

And here we are, back after our adventures . . . It rained, so there was no sitting on the lawn after all, but a wet lawn and dripping trees did not stop us . . . there was this lovely space next to the pub in Stourhead where we could sit, have tea, eat lunch, share stories, and visit, so all was well . . . All those smiles were real!🌸🌸🌸

We were the picture-takingest bunch of Girlfriends you ever met!

Darling Girlfriends, I can’t believe it was only a year ago, seems like forever, and at the same time, I’m amazed, it was only a YEAR AGO! To all of you who were able to join us, Happy Anniversary!

Me with Siobhan and Ray . . . I never get to see these girls enough! Actually I’m not sure I ever get to see ANYBODY enough!

That’s what happens when you fall in love with people in another country! But I wouldn’t change a thing.💞

The UK probably looks like this in every village and town right now. Bedecked with bunting! Prince Charles is going to be crowned King on May 6th at Westminster Abbey, the same place they’ve been crowning their monarchs since 1066! History! I’ll be watching!

In case any of you are having a Tea Party ~ 👏👏👏 . . . here’s a poster I saw in a tea shop in England with ideas to make your party more traditional.🇬🇧 Rachel sent me bunting!!

And by the way . . . I need to thank all of you for your luv-lee birthday wishes! What a nice birthday I had! You can tell from this picture of me at Lowely’s house! I heard from so many of my beloveds ~ always my favorite part of a birthday. I went to lunch at Lowely’s house with my darling girlfriends . . . sat in a circle and talked and talked and drank champagne and ate Margot’s Tres Leche Cake, and this:

Everyone contributed ~ we had bowls of leafy greens with every kind of salad topper to choose from, Jaime made Green Goddess dressing, and Lowely made the salmon!

Late that sparkly afternoon, Joe and I took a walk to our most favorite place. We always feel gratitude when we are out there … that in this whole wide world of possibilities, we both accidentally ended up here on this island in the Atlantic, together! What luck!💞 (Those fairies again!)

There are very long shadows out there at the end of a day. We look quite lanky.🤣 But, for the record, I just want to ask whose idea these pants ⬆️ are? Short, flared, supposedly fashionable, but for some reason, they look consistently stupid on me. Good on others, adorable on my mom ➡️ ~ I’ve tried them with short tops, long tops (don’t do this), narrow, wide leg, with socks, without socks, with every kind of shoe, and I can’t get a decent balance. I just look like I’m expecting a flood. I keep trying, but so far, I don’t get it. I’m saving mine for walking, gardening, and maybe painting the house. Anyway, so yes, that walk with Joe was the frosting on the cake of a perfect birthday, and then … off to Lexington and Concord for our get-away Patriot’s weekend. It was even better than I imagined it would be!👏

⬆️ One local girl’s opinion! We don’t think it’s dull! Mostly because of the history she spoke of, and some she helped make! Driving through MA, especially this part ~ Lexington and Concord, about 10 miles northwest of Boston, is always fun because of the gorgeous old colonial homes and the HISTORY. BTW, that house above?

One of my Twitter friends said they grew up calling this style of house “five over four and a door” (talking about windows). Cute huh?

This was one of my favorite houses . . . with the cream colored trim and picket fence.

Catching a decent photo of it while driving by became my daily quest.

We stopped in to say hello at Orchard House . . . Just as charming as ever . . . the story of Louisa May Alcott and her family right there in Concord . . .

The festivities that surround events leading up to, and including the start of the Revolutionary War go on daily for almost the whole month of April. Costumed battle reenactments, tours of famous homes and taverns, parades, and demonstrations, ~  the whole area gets ready for it. Flags lined the street of Concord.

Of course everyone who comes to Concord tries to visit the restaurant in the famous old Colonial Inn built in 1716. One of the Inn’s original buildings was used as a storehouse for arms, gun powder, and provisions during the war. Here, history comes alive.

Such good advice from beloved Winnie. It’s perfectly normal, this time of the year, to see folks from yesteryear dining downstairs in the pubby part of the Inn.

If you go on a cool day, when it’s rainy or snowing, hold out for a spot downstairs in the cozy old part of the Inn … you can feel the past in this room…ghosts of EVERYONE in here . . .

The Main Event for Patriot’s Day is the reenactment of the first shots heard round the world at Battle Green in Lexington. You have to Be there at 5:30 am. Because everyone, by then, knows the Red Coats are coming (they call them “Regulars”), and this war waits for no man. There was something otherworldly and wonderful being out there so early in the morning with all these other happy people! It was exciting! 

. . . our guys, the Minutemen, were waiting for the Regulars on the Green, which is still surrounded by houses that were there that day in 1775, where some of these Minutemen lived. Yes, that white house right there belonged to a Minuteman. Inside the houses, wives and children were watching and not expecting what happened, nobody was. John Hancock was up the street, about to escape to Philadelphia with his friend Sam Adams, because they are one of the reasons the British were coming, they had orders to arrest them and take them, and then capture and destroy Colonial military supplies stored at Concord. In real life, the first battle began with 87 Minutemen and 300 Regulars. But thanks to Paul Revere and his ilk, the alarm was out. By the end of this first skirmish, there were hundreds of Minutemen on their way from “every Middlesex” (the county) “village and town” … and more British reinforcements were coming from Boston. The British were caught flat-footed at the way things had turned. But nerves were on a knife-edge. This was April 1775 . . . things had been going downhill since before the tea was dumped in Boston Harbor two years before. Colonists were still outraged by the Boston Massacre of 1770. That February the British Parliament had declared the colony of Massachusetts was “in a state of rebellion.” This day was a long time coming. Mostly, as we learned, there was a lot of stupidity and of course greed that led to this war, but a lot of inevitability too, with sparks of idealism and hope, and a whole lot of bravery and determination. Fate had a hand in it too. Plus the stupidity, don’t forget. 

So up the road comes the British military in overwhelming numbers . . . the world’s superpower ~ fife and drums, prancing horses, well turned-out in matching uniforms, thinking they are taking the town by surprise. They had never heard of “one if by land, two if by sea” and had no idea.

Our guys were waiting for them with their muskets  ~ I worried about that one Minuteman dressed in red ~ thought it was a dangerous choice for that day. As you can see, there was a large crowd of people from 2023 watching, but except for horse whinnies, squeaky leather, and a lot of yelling from the soldiers, you could hear a pin drop.

The Regulars lined up . . . looking like they meant business . . . my heart jumped, the British Colonel in charge warned his troops DO NOT SHOOT. NOBODY BETTER SHOOT. JUST MOVE FORWARD BUT DO NOT SHOOT. YOU WILL BE IN BIG TROUBLE IF YOU SHOOT. He didn’t whisper, he shouted, everyone heard him. Then he told them to put their bayonets on their muskets.😳 So nobody really knows who fired that first shot . . . here’s how it went.


Bayonets! Eeeek. I think I’d rather get shot! Not sure I would stand there and let them stab me. 

Muskets and cannons were firing, everyone was running and yelling in the smoke. It was LOUD, probably confusing there in the center of it. Shooting was definitely happening.

And suddenly in less than 5 minutes of guys talking to guys, there were DEAD people . . . eight dead and ten wounded, 18 bodies scattered on the Green, and the Revolutionary War had definitely begun. No putting that back into the bottle. The drums started up, calling the Regulars to stop immediately and move back ~ the British Colonel lined them up and yelled at them kind of like an angry dad, “I TOLD YOU NOT TO SHOOT, DAMN YOU! IT’S A DISGRACE!” He was so mad. Too late now. Then the fife and drum started playing Yankee Doodle Dandy (a British song and hard to hear at the moment, too jaunty with so many playing dead on the lawn) and the King’s troops marched around the bodies, off to North Bridge in Concord where (spoiler alert) they meet hundreds of Minutemen (there’s another reenactment of what happens there). The British lost the North Bridge battle . . . which inspired their difficult retreat, a running battle all the way back to Boston, wearing giant bright red coats, not blending into the countryside at all, sitting ducks, constantly attacked by Minutemen Militia from all sides. Our 2023 crowd stood there watching them march away, a little bit stunned and silent, while women and children from 1775 came running out of the surrounding houses in their caps and aprons and long skirts screaming and crying, throwing themselves on the bodies of their loved ones. It was really very sad. Thirty-year old Jonathon Harrington, fatally wounded by a British musket ball, managed to crawl back to his home and died in his wife’s arms on his own doorstep. By the time the British got back to Boston they had lost 273 men, the Militia had lost 93. The soldiers had plenty of time to think about what they were doing, it took forever to reload a musket. There was not one corny bone in this reenactment’s body. It was solemn and real. Left us torn between sad and proud. But to be honest, mostly sad.

“The thunderbolt falls on an inch of ground but the light of it fills the horizon,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, when he attended the 100-year memorial of the Battle in 1875.

From Battle Green we walked over behind that beautiful church to visit the graveyard, called Ye Old Burying Ground 1690.

Beautiful and real and old and us, all of us … belonging to everyone who loves what this country SAYS it stands for and works within an imperfect (after all, it’s man-made) system to make us live up to it. System could use a little adjustment . . . it’s time, and it’s our time.

William Morris said that before the Industrial Revolution, every man was an artist. It’s true, you see it everywhere, in these gravestones, in the houses . . .

in the history . . .

And how it’s cared for and honored.

There was SO MUCH to see . . . we only had four days and it wasn’t enough! We’d been once before, and saw quite a lot, including North Bridge and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, but didn’t realize until this visit, how much there was. Here we are, in Buckman Tavern . . .

. . . Just across the street from Battle Green, the meeting place for locals and travelers, and where the Minutemen waited for the British to arrive  … 

We walked a block or two up the street for a visit to the house where John Hancock had been waiting that fateful day, having his porridge and sherry . . .

And where the Lexington Historical Society has taken great pains to keep it as it was, with many of the original items still in the house.

I wouldn’t mind having this kitchen right now! It’s perfect! My stove would look darling in here. We got to hear something about almost every piece in here . . . the table is original, and so are the chairs, the bowl, and the lantern on the table. . . the docents were costumed and happy to answer all our questions!👏👏👏

In one of the bedrooms I think I saw a Ghost  . . .

And out front, I looked down, and there was California! I’m sorry, I’m getting loopy, there is SO MUCH to tell, I’m leaving things out so I can finish and you can GO! I hope you come here someday and see it for yourself…

As you can see, it’s a great event for families (little ones should bring ear plugs)… I’m sure this running battle through the woods (that we walked alongside all the way up the street ~ about the length of 3 football fields) is something kids won’t forget. One of my favorite things is the 5-mile walking path (just like those between villages in England) tying Lexington and Concord together, with historical sites along the way. We didn’t have time to walk it, but we will make time on our next visit. The woods in the area are so evocative, you feel like you are seeing history when you’re walking through them. If you do bring kids, be sure to take them to Helen’s diner in Concord, and don’t miss The Barrow Bookstore around the corner.

Something else I don’t want you to miss is The Concord Museum. Besides the Revolutionary War, Concord is famous for something else ~ in the middle of the 19th Century, it became a hotbed for original thinkers and do-ers, writers, educators, artists, searchers, and experimenters ~ from Henry David Thoreau, to Louisa May Alcott, Daniel Chester French, John Brown, Horace Mann, John Muir, the Alcott family, the Peabody sisters, Nathanial Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, and many more, people famous in their own time whose names we might not recognize ~ and it all centered around the genius of Ralph Waldo Emerson. That’s him above, and his home above that, the white one across the street from the museum, a hop, skip, and jump from Orchard house ~ ground that was crossed regularly by the young Louisa May Alcott whom Emerson had given full use of his amazing library of books.🧡

Besides the Concord Museum, there are several houses and other places connected to these people where you can go to learn more ~ many of these luminaries are buried in nearby Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. I’ve always been fascinated by this group, which is sometimes referred to as our “American Bloomsbury.” I’ve read a few of the hundreds of books written by and about them and the times they lived, always collecting quotes, taking the opportunity to learn something about the personal lives of such wonderful teachers, who are so willing to share ~ I ALWAYS learn something new about how I want to live my life, and about our history from these people  . . . which I definitely did here at this small jam-packed museum with everything from muskets to Paul Revere silver, Emerson’s entire study, Louisa May Alcott’s copper tea kettle, and Thoreau’s desk.

What lies behind you and what lies in from of you pales in comparison to what lies inside you. 💖 Ralph Waldo Emerson

I enjoyed reading about the local women and their place in the society  . . . definitely ahead of their time. Perhaps a little bit uppity even.❤️

At the 100 year anniversary of the Shot Heard Round the World in 1875, Daniel Chester French unveiled his very first sculpture (above) called The Minuteman. French was only 21! How’s that for talent!?! After that, he went on to design many beautiful statues, including the Lincoln Memorial in 1914. We loved visiting his inspiring studio in Stockbridge, MA. And PS. According to what Louisa May Alcott wrote below, the photo above must have been taken the day AFTER the formal unveiling.💞

Don’t mess with Louisa! Imagine what she’d be like today!

Before I go I want thank Peter and Beverly Kelley for the wonderful time they showed us in Lexington and Concord! Bev and I have been email pals for about 3 years, so when she invited us to share Patriot’s Day with them, we couldn’t even imagine saying no! Yes, please! They were both born and raised in Lexington . . . Everywhere we went, people were stopping them to say hello! The first couple of Lexington!

Bev and Peter met in high school, and live right around the corner from Battle Green! They know all the back roads (which is a really good thing on Patriot’s Day weekend), and history of their hometown in every detail. We probably would have seen only half of what we did without their help!

Walking around neighborhoods together, they shared memories of the old houses, and their history growing up . . . just wonderful. They were so good to us.💞

After Battle Green we came back to the Kelley house to have the delicious breakfast Bev made, visit, drink tea, and warm up . . . generosity personified. Busy busy people! I hope we get to meet again soon! I know they know what a good time we had, I just wanted to thank them one more time!❤️

So we’re home, and I’m back to work, inspired, and spending hours investigating historical things. I have SO MANY questions… and love that it’s all so accessible these days. If you think it you can get it!

And we’re back ~ and out walking our walk . . . look at this photo! Every once in a while my cell phone takes a picture that looks more like a painting! Right now Joe is outside in the garden planting the rose my “studio elves” gave me for my Birthday! It’s a David Austin shrub rose called Elizabeth! Pink! Fragrant!

OK, last thing…


We’re sold out of our Queen Elizabeth cup. I hope you all have yours ordered! . . . but we still have our new Birthday cup and … planning ahead, just in cases, we still have Christmas! I think they are leaving the UK today! Unless they decided to take the day off! Now all they have to do is get here, get through customs, then onto a truck and to us in California! And then, drum roll (but no fife), voila. . . to you! We all deserve an award for patience! 💖

Off I go! The sun is coming out and I want to go see what Joe hath wrought in the garden! And my hiney needs a walk! Jack is asleep next to me in his desk drawer. He gets better and better, more loving and cozier every day. Young cats are hilarious, but old kitties are love. He’s not old, he’s only 13 (I think) but he’s oldER, and has become much less me, me, me. 🤣

I couldn’t love him more.🌸🌸🌸🌸

Okay Girlfriends! Hope you are having a wonderful MAY! Sending all my love . . .🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

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174 Responses to MAY STORYTIME for PATRIOT’S DAY

  1. Megan says:

    I’ll have to play catch-up and read rest of your post but I found out today there is a Beatrix Potter exhibit going around US. It is currently in Nashville, then going to Atlanta and then NY. It is a traveling exhibit from the V&A.

    I don’t think that’s a bluebird. That looks like the (even rarer in my opinion) Blue Grosbeak. Could be an Indigo Bunting but based on wings, looks like Grosbeak. Felix Neck has an amazing group of birders and I’m sure someone there can direct you even further.

    • Dianne in upstate New York says:

      Hi Megan
      I went to the exhibit while it was at the V&A and hope to see it again when it visits New York. It is wonderful!

  2. Marion says:

    Hi Susan;
    Your recent Willard is a delight to read. The flowers in your garden are bursting with beauty and you can just about smell the fragrances they put out.
    We especially enjoyed the part about the Patriot’s Day re enactment of Concord and Lexington. Our fifth great grandfather fought at Concord and Lexington. His son was the drummer boy.
    Wishing you a Happy Birthday year full of Happiness,love and Blessings.
    P.S Enjoy The Coronation. We will be watching.
    Marilyn,Joan and Marion

  3. Debbie Boerger says:

    Eeeeeeeee!!! 😉 I just sat here for moment to check on email, and Voila, a Fabuloso new Blog. Sooo much to read and savor. I’m in the midst of making our very own salmon dinner, which is the second one this week. You luncheon looked yummy!! I’ll have to take time after dinner to savor every picture and quote.
    Are you all set for being up at 2:30 to watch the Coronation? I have set it tape, just in case. I spent about an hour today going through everything Charles on the Beeb. So much I didn’t know. In spite of the horrors, he really is a very Nice man. So many positive things he has done over the years, and he did it quietly.
    Last night we met my dearest and oldest friend for a farewell dinner, hopefully, just farewell until next November. Wonderful restaurant, Babuschka’s, a Eukrainian/Russian themed place. So cozy, and the food was to die for. Lamb dumplings. Next time we’ll order the large portion. Homemade mushroom soup, maybe the best I’ve had.
    My kitchen is shutting down, eating up all the frozen things and buying little fresh. DDay is Saturday!! Here we come, Maine. I keep waking up thinking of all the exciting things we plan to do, which includes another trip to Canada. Exchange rate is very good for us now, so we’ll strike while it is. Plus, we’re having lots of company.

    Thank you for your efforts on the gardening front. We all love oohing and ahhing over your pictures.
    Mucho Love on this Cinco deMayo. Time for my Margarita before we eat.
    Debbie in Tampa for one more week.

  4. Crystal L Burns says:

    The blue bird is an indigo bunting. Eastern bluebirds have a red breast.

  5. Susan Day says:

    Just loved to read about your Patriot’s weekend! I grew up near Valley Forge and New Hope where Washington crossed the Delaware River. It’s so wonderful to see history!

    PS: please don’t forget all of your girlfriends that can’t wait for your next book about traveling to England, etc.!!!🙏

  6. Susan Day says:

    Just loved to read about your Patriot’s weekend! I grew up near Valley Forge and New Hope where Washington crossed the Delaware River. It’s so wonderful to see history!!!

  7. Barbara E. Hall says:

    Dear Susan

    I’m thinking the beautiful bird you’ve seen at your feeder is an Indigo Bunting not an Eastern Bluebird. The biggest difference between the two is that the Eastern Bluebird has a red breast like a robin and the Indigo Bunting does not. Still, seeing an Indigo Bunting up close and personal is no slouch either.
    Happy Spring and best wishes from Barb in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

    • sbranch says:

      No slouch, I’m still thrilled! But wrong, and now it’s fixed! Thank you dear!🌸

  8. Linda says:

    Lilacs…..wahhhhhhhhhh!!! Big tears

  9. Mary Ann S. says:

    Loved every minute and every word. So glad you answered yes please and took us with you.

  10. Ann Y. says:

    Oh, Susan…what a fabulous time you had in Lexington! Thank you for sharing it all with us. We visited there years ago…very moving then and there was not reenactment. I still remember the engraved stone by the bridge – something about mothers mourning their sons that died so far from England. History is fascinating and sad. We recently visited the Brandywine Battlefield here in PA. We always passed it on the way to the airport and it just opened up again for the season. The volunteer guide was SO wonderful…and lunch at an old tavern, too. We had intended to spend the morning there and then the afternoon at the Andrew Wyeth museum…but were so fascinated with the battlefield we spent the day there. We live about and hour and fifteen minutes away so we can go back to the museum another day. If you get to Pennsylvania be sure to check out the battlefield and the museum. There is 400 year old sycamore tree on the battlefield that Wyeth painted many times….so awesome so sit under a “witness tree”. Enjoy the rest of your May!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, there is a gravestone for British soldiers near the bridge. . . very moving. Thank you for the information about the Brandywine Battlefield. Going on my to-do list!💖

      • Ann Y. says:

        Be sure to get some wonderful mushroom soup at any place near there – we liked the Chadd’s Ford Tavern. Longwood gardens is near there….just gorgeous. And the Wyeth museum has all Andrew’s art as well as his father, N.C. – I just love those illustrations from classic books. Isn’t it fun to have a “to do” list? Always something to look forward to !!!

  11. Cyndee Mishler says:

    Sorry to have to tell you, but your visiting bird doesn’t look like an Eastern Bluebird. The have a peachy orange chest. I think your “blue” bird might have been an Indigo Bunting. They are about the same size but are all blue.
    I hope it stayed around. They have a beautiful song in the spring.

  12. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Oh how lovely, ALL of it, thank you. I did order my Queen cup a while back. Do you think you’ll do a King Charles cup eventually? I am hoping to watch the coronation tomorrow and have made a kedgeree, coronation chicken and strawberries and cream for dessert, if my busy family can drop in! Tea and English muffins (crumpets were all sold out) for early-early morning viewing. I still miss the Queen…
    Since you mentioned John and Paul, I just saw an exhibit of Linda McCartney’s b/w photography, many appealing family ones and horses in fields, just charming!
    I remember seeing those reenactments when I was new in the country, so much history. One can often see them at Fort Ticonderoga in NY state too.
    Finally, thank you for the sneak preview of your early spring garden. Vermont is a week or two behind you, I think.

    • sbranch says:

      It was so strange to see them all on the balcony without Queen Elizabeth . . . that’s a first in my life time. Your tea sounds wonderful!💖

  13. Kathy Blue says:

    Always so happy to get the Email that a “Willard” is here!! This was a great one too! Loved all the memories of your trip with SB friends and so enjoyed the trip through history! Every post is a joy, thank you for keeping in touch with so many that love and enjoy the heart of your home. Also, – – it is simply not possible Jack is 13 – – I remember the day you wrote of going to “see” if there was a cat there for you – – – the perfect fit – – for him and you two! Happy Spring Susan!

  14. Lauri Hyde says:

    Hello Susan!

    What a wonderful historical event you were so fortunate to be able to attend! I’ve been wanting to visit our eastern shores to see the history-soaked towns and villages. Sigh… maybe some day. Thank you for going in my stead!

    By the way….. I just have to ask…. That picture you took in the mirror in a bedroom of one of the houses you were visiting. You said you may have seen a ghost? Well, looking at the photo, I do indeed see a hazy image of a woman in historical costume in the bottom far right of the shot? Now, are you sure you were alone in the room at that time? Or could a participant have silently slipped into your shot behind you?

    I have to force myself to think logically at times like these because ohh I DO believe in ghosts! I Do believe! I DO! I DO! Quote from the Cowardly Lion wringing his tail in fear, take from the Wizard of Oz movie.

    So I hope to see a response down the line and I’m willing to bet a lot of your girlfriends are too! Waiting with baited breath, 👻

    • sbranch says:

      With you all the way!😘😘😘

      • Lauri Hyde says:

        Good to know we are on the same page! But I was hoping you might answer my question regarding if you were all alone in the bedroom at the time you took the photo?

        Or could have a costumed participant have slipped in somehow without your noticing it?

        • sbranch says:

          I’m sure there was a costumed docent . . . I don’t think I would have moved around in there without her!

  15. Patricia Wehner says:

    I absolutely Love our country’s history, especially New England history. Thank you for letting us see it through your camera lens. There is an account on Instagram that I am obsessed with and it’s called 18th Century Cook. The cook owns a business called The Taproom (I don’t know where in New England it is) and he cooks recipes from that period using cooking utensils from the same period, and I thought you might enjoy it. His kitchen is 18th century also. I watch it over and over! You may already know about it, but if you don’t, give it a peek. Loved the Willard!

    • sbranch says:

      I just checked him out, saw a short video on pounded cheese, yummy! Fun! Thanks Patricia!

  16. Penny Carpenter says:

    We toured Boston/Concord 2016 for our 50th anniversary. Hubby’s aunt is buried right down the hill from Nathaniel Hawthorn, Louisa M Alcott, Emerson and Thorough. Would love to go back!! Thank you for sharing your visit!!!!!

  17. Ruth Thomas says:

    I remember the looks, smells and old homes where I grew up in Newport, RI. Left there when I was 12 when my parents moved us to California. Went back for a visit in 1993 and hope I get to visit one more time before I get too old to travel😂. I left my heart there. Live in Indiana now. I miss the beaches and smell of the salty ocean. I miss going to the attic on the days when there was too much snow to go outside. New England is the very best place to grow up and to live.

    • sbranch says:

      It is … I didn’t get the opportunity to grow up here, but I should have!🤣I hope you put a visit on your calendar!💖

  18. Gay Hughes says:

    Just want to clarify that the Colonial Inn is in Concord- not Lexington. Love Patriots Day/Marathon Monday! Glad you were able to experience a portion of it♥️

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, you are so right . . . I knew I was hurrying to fast . . . will go fix that Gay, and thank you!

  19. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful trips in pictures. So fun!
    Yes, Spring! Spring! Spring! Flowering trees have finished blooming and are green here now. I sowed my wildflower seeds in early April and things are already growing. Rose bushes are blooming too. Clover and dandelions abound and the bees are loving it. We’ve had rain again after more than a year of drought. Hooray! The birds are all enjoying my bird bath and hummingbirds are back. Spring!!!! 🌹🌻🌷🌻
    Thank you for everything you write and create. What are you hard at work on now??
    Love you, Susan.❤

    • sbranch says:

      I’m doing lots of new art and loving every minute of it! Working on book 2 of Distilled Genius. Spring sounds wonderful where you are Peggy!💖🌸🌸🌸

  20. Lynette Strohbach says:

    I’m envious that you have been to the Stourhead bridge (forgot the official name) that was in the famous proposal scene in Pride and Prejudice 2005, where she runs across that bridge and into the pavilion building where she stumbles upon Mr. Darcy, both sopping wet. I won’t spoil it just in case anyone hasn’t seen it. I highly recommend it, it’s my favorite movie of all time! Maybe some day I’ll get there! Looking forward to getting my Queen cup soon, and I am so excited to watch the Coronation too Susan! 4:00 A.M. for me! Ouch!

    • sbranch says:

      I just call it the grass bridge, but you are so right, my favorite Pride and Prejudice, Kiera Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen! (That spelling is so strange!) It’s the best!

  21. Dezi says:

    Susan, What a lovely post! Enjoyed every word, such a delight to know more about L.M.A.! What a great time to live, only woman might disagree, knowing what Louisa reported. Love the bird, so pretty! I’ve seen some Eastern Bluebirds here in AZ. once or twice in eight years, and Buntings, but no Indigo. Thank you so very much for sharing your wonderful time in MA. A huge smile on my face as I head for bed!! 🪥🛌😉

  22. Evie+Tong says:

    WELL DONE WELL DONE … Susan!! A-Lo-ha-ha w/love♥️ Evie in San Diego

  23. MargotB in Navarre says:

    So exciting! When I lived in NH I never did make it to Lexington or Concord, but I am planning to with Arnie. I love the lilacs too, but I had to trade them in for my blue hydrangeas. In Virginia I saw purple Wisteria for the first time. Oh I guess a lilac candle will have to do. We have Eastern bluebirds, which Arnie thought was a robin. 😜. It is rare to see those indigo buntings.
    Before I lived in NH I had 5 over 4 and a door, ah Colonial style. I was destined to be in New England sometime, but when I got to NH I had a Cape Cod. Spring and Summer was so nice, and Autumn was tasty! 🍎🥧
    I hope you get this. I left a historic bit on your last blog post, but you didn’t see it. It will be a nice surprise.
    Margot B.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve never seen wisteria in the wild any other color BUT purple! Take it back, Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop has white! I read all the messages, but sometimes I don’t have time to read AND answer! Love to see you here Margot!

  24. Christine says:

    Thank you for another wonderful post.
    As an English girl (living in Tolkien country – middle England) I found the history fascinating. The Boston tea party etc. etc. escaped me at school so your account brought parts of it alive for me.
    So pleased you had a great time with your friends and thank you for sharing.

  25. Kim Rossetti says:

    Susan! I just finished reading The Fairy Tale Girl and Isle of Dreams and I have to tell you….I think they are the BEST books I have ever read! Oh my gosh…I didn’t want them to end. What an incredible story teller you are. I loved reading about your life and how you saw the magic everywhere you went. You are such an inspiration and I just want to thank you for putting your story out there. I also LOVED how you gave tribute and such respect to Agnes….from using her rake…to keeping her books….you are such an amazing woman!

  26. Karen Milano says:

    Lovely post! We live in an 1835 farm house we restored, a five over four with a door! Here in CT we are at exactly the same bloom place as you are on MV – About those cups! I use mine (the MV one) all the time and I am amazed at how sturdy they are despite seeming fragile(thin) That porcelain is so strong and beautiful! great quality.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s one of the reasons I got them, they are amazing! Not perfect, but almost!

  27. Loved your post, Susan! Wanted to tell you first that I too have never seen a bluebird (I’m 74 now) and all of a sudden in the last 3 years they are appearing here in NE Ohio! First at our feeders in April and then building nests in our birdhouses! They are an amazing blue, and I reacted just like you did with your bunting! What a treasure they are, especially at that dull time of year!
    Also, thanks so much for sharing your adventures – we have such a rich country!
    Happy Spring!

  28. I miss living in Massachusetts! The history, the spring flowers, the ocean, the architecture – – I could go on and on! I so enjoy your Willards as well as your books. I just re-read the first two and love your ‘life story’ and how you ended up in MV, so inspiring! Everything you do is interesting and fascinating to me – Stay well

  29. Dee+Ann says:

    Thank you Susan…for the memories of QM2…your Spring blossoms…our nation’s history! As always, your Willard is full of fun and joy!!!

  30. Dianne MacDonald says:

    I loved visiting Concord a few years ago and now want to go back to see all the things we missed!
    I have a little something I want to share about how small our world can sometimes be. Two weeks ago today I was visiting London for a few days before heading to Rye for a workshop at the fabulous Merchant & Mills. My friend and I were in the Toast shop and there was another woman there that I was positive I recognized, but could not remember from where (often the case for me!) I didn’t approach her, but after she left I finally remembered – I think it was your friend Rachel!! It truly made me feel as though I really was one of your girlfriends!

    • sbranch says:

      SUCH a small world. I sent your comment to Rachel, I have no doubt it was her, she LOVES toast and looks darling in their clothes. Red lips, white short hair, I’m sure it was her! You ARE a Girlfriend!

  31. CAROL TURNER says:

    What a wonderful read this rainy morning in CA! This teacher thanks you for the first hand account of ‘Patriot’s Day’. Your hosts are treasures like you and Joe. Kindred spirits for sure!!

  32. Misty Chapman says:

    Hello Susan!

    I’m so sad that I didn’t order my Queen Elizabeth cup in time before they sold out!😩
    Any chance you’ll be getting more in stock down he road? ❤️❤️

  33. Deborah Borne says:

    Loved this post. I was wondering if you have seen HAMILTON yet. It touched every patriotic bone in my body (that I had forgotten I had)

  34. Christine Anderson says:

    History is so fascinating and it always amazes me the courage of people.
    Lilacs are my anniversary flower because my mother in law to be brought me an armload just before our wedding 57 years ago! Love the colors, fragrance and my husband!

  35. What a wonderful post! I have devoured every word, and enjoyed all of the photographs. People think that we don’t have much history here in North America, but we do have a wonderful and quite fascinating and varied history. We know how to cram a lot of history into a few hundred years! Speaking of history, I was so thrilled to be able to get up early this morning and watch the coronation of King Charles III. Wasn’t it wonderful!! One of my ancestors, William the Conqueror, was the first King crowned in Westminster Abbey, in 1066. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the pomp and ceremony. I felt the weight of responsibility being laid upon the King’s shoulders and the sincerity with which he took it on. This is the role he was born to fill. I am sure he will be a good king. Happy May! Lets hope the spring and summer are good to us all. PS – Don’t you love listening to the birds in the springtime. They sing such a beautiful melody. A song of new life and reawakening!

    • sbranch says:

      It WAS wonderful! I loved it too. Westminster Abbey is one of the favorite things I’ve ever seen. What a piece of ART! ❤️

      • Can you believe I never got to see inside it when I was in London? But I did enjoy the outside. I visited the Chester Cathedral many times while living there. When you think about how old these buildings are and the orchestration and know-how that it took to build them, it is mind boggling.

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Well said, Marie. Even though I’m well padded in my rear, I was a bit sore from sitting all those hours watching every minute of the Coronation. I thought it was beautifully done, lots of “new” things, such as Women, in the ceremony.
      Hope you are enjoying your life in Nova Scotia. We go from Maine every Summer, last year took the “Cat” from Bar Harbor, stayed a few days in Annapolis Royal, more days in Halifax, wonderful small city, and on to Lunenburg, a favorite. Lovely people, good food and just plain fun. Not to mention we from the US get a bonus due to the exchange rate right now.
      Debbie still in Tampa for 5 more days, then Maine!!

  36. judi says:

    What a great time you had & your local friends had to be the frosting☺️👍. Enjoying my first spring in MN in 20 years. Can Jack really be that old?😳. I remember when you first got him. He is the most dear one💕

  37. Barbara Anne says:

    What a delightful “Willard” and I thank you!

    At 5’1″, I look like a sawed off tree trunk in those silly high-water pants so those I’ve been given (only 2 pairs) are gardening/work clothes for me, too. Who looks good in them?


  38. Miranda W. says:

    Gosh, I devoured this post!! I was lucky to visit a friend in Boston in 2016 and we went spent a beautiful October day (the leaves! sigh) in Concord visiting Walden Pond, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Alcott House, and the North Bridge/Minute Man Statue. Best day ever. We didn’t make it to Lexington, but it’s definitely on my list when I go back, along with Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury. Thank you for sharing!

    • sbranch says:

      It wasn’t until this trip I was able to tell the difference between Lexington and Concord . . . they are only 5 miles apart and both have tons of history!

  39. Liz says:

    Such a rich and detailed post about America! We’re planning a trip to Lexington and Concord and I’m absolutely going to use this as a guide. Thank you, Susan, happy belated birthday, and thank you for inspiring the artist in me.

  40. Becky in California says:

    How could it be possible that Jack is 13?? Seems only yesterday that you told the charming story of going to look at a kitten. Time sure does fly.

    • sbranch says:

      It does. I was hearing today, somewhere, that back in the day of those colonialists, because it was so quiet, they got 4 times more done than we do … that’s why they could weave their own sheets while making their own flour!😬 I think, if we had an Einstein-type, he would be saying the days ARE getting shorter!🫣

  41. Sharon Byars says:

    Oh….so thankful for your posting the details of your Concord trip. It is on our calendar for next April. I am hosting a TEA party for 20 this week! Too many but it is an International Club and everyone is bringing a savory/sweet. Thank you for all this wonderful information.

  42. Trudy says:

    We have had some historical eventueel too the last days,because We celebtrated the freedom of our country The Netherlands and the day before thinking of all the people we have lost in WO 2 and who fight for our freedom from other countries and died for our freedom.
    I think I have to correct you (sorry🙈) but Charles became king directly after his mother the Queen passed away…..only the coronation was yesterday May 6th.
    Enjoy Spring and all what is blooming around

  43. Wendy says:

    What an interesting blog this time, Susan. I feel like I re-learned things I had long forgotten all about!
    And honestly, the main thing I took from this blog was: JACK IS 13???!!! It cannot be! I remember when he came with you as a kitten and you were enamored with his little mustache and the black-and-whiteness of him and that was only about three or four years ago. 13??? How, how, how can it BE?!!
    Much love!

    • sbranch says:

      I know! I ask him that all the time! Maybe I’m wrong. But he’s at least 12, and that’s not a lot better!❌⭕️

  44. Marianne Wire says:

    Hello from Taos NM. We saw a Blue Grosbeak at our seed pod this morning. So special. Such a brilliant blue. Love getting Willard. Love Spring and that new Spring green!!! First boating trip to Navajo Lake next week with camper. Giving a home concert with my quartet towards the end of the month. Love keeping in touch

  45. Mary Helen Z says:

    Happy Spring! We saw our first Hummingbird in mid Michigan yesterday. We have seen a bluebird this Spring already too. Our lilacs will be arriving soon! Can hardly wait!

  46. Martha Martinez says:

    Thank you for sharing the lovely things you see and do! I don’t get to travel, so it satisfies {somewhat} to read of your travels. History is so interesting! It should be preserved. There is much to learn from the past.

    Wow! Louisa was really on fire about the women having been overlooked that day. Can’t blame her. Though I’m no feminist, there are times when it is only right to be incensed at such blatant disregard! Made me think of these quotes… “Strike while the iron is hot!”, and “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Which reminds me. I love the quotes you share. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect Martha! I decided to embrace the word feminist. Growing up with four darling brothers made me do it!🤣 No doubt, if there were feminists in Louisa’s day, she would definitely be one! Although now I think instead of feminist, it’s really humanist . . . we want good things for all of humanity!💖

  47. Martha Martinez says:

    I wanted to add, that one day wars will cease. It is written, and I believe. Until then, mankind continues on, believing themselves to be wiser than those who went before, yet for all we are able to create, we are unable to create the most necessary thing of all- lasting peace. In any case, peace will come, but not by man.

  48. I had the chance to visit Lexington and Concord a few years ago. We had a wonderful tour guide all dressed in colonial attire. We walked to the battleground as he told us the history of the area. Seeing the sites and hearing the history makes history come alive in a way I never dreamed of. To think our country started in such a small spot is rather an awakening. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip except there was so much more I wanted to see. The downfall of bus trips. I nearly gave the bus driver a heart attack when we went by Louisa’s house. I recognized it immediately and started yelling “STOP”. He was kind enough to stop and let us take pictures. He told me he doesn’t point out the house until he’s pretty mush by it as he is on a schedule but if someone recognizes it he knows that it is important to them so he makes time. I really want to go back and spend some time. Maybe someday

    • sbranch says:

      I know … starting so small, with everyday people, and changing the world. That bus driver was a sweetheart!❤️

  49. Rosemary from Texas says:

    This was a treat! A nice history refresher with wonderful pictures. How fun that you had such lovely hosts with all the insider information for Patriot’s Weekend.
    The Indigo Bunting was certainly a gift to get to spot it. I have never seen one for sure.
    Yes, the spring green of the leaves branching out is a favorite. We are all leafed out and planting flowers in our neck of the woods…Texas. My husband has a beautiful 4-H (🥰🙂) garden and we are eating spinach and greens out of it already.
    Thank you for the great post!

  50. Mary Webb says:

    Thank you again Susan for in inspiring, much needed ahhhhhhh break!
    Our country is still the best in the world and just needs some love, kindness, humbleness, forgiveness and belief in God put back into it!
    Each do your part and tomorrow will be better.
    Salida CO

  51. Deanna Taylor says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful post. The picture of Ralph Waldo Emerson alone was so inspirational. What a beautiful and majestic heritage we have in this country. Problems, yes always, but so much more than that. I pray that we will better appreciate the legacy that is ours and pass it along to the next generation. Out here in the Midwest we have our own Pioneer heritage to cherish…all part of everyone in America. Have a blessed spring. We are so lucky to have your uplifting words to brighten our days.

    • sbranch says:

      Is it Connor Prairie by any chance? I went there for a book talk once . . . took my mom, we had the BEST time! It’s in Indiana! Thank you Deanna!🌷

      • Bebe says:

        I am from Indiana. I love Conner Prairie. So authentic. Love the quilts on display.
        Another great place to visit is Bishop Hill in Illinois. A historic village, known as Utopia on the Prairie. It was founded by Eric Jansen, and for a group of Swedish immigrants. It is so peaceful there, especially at the height of summer. I live there in my dreams.

  52. VirginiaB says:

    A wonderful account of your great visit to Lexington and Concord on Patriots Day. It really is an amazing experience that all who can should try to do. Could I add that Minuteman National Park is right down Battle Road towards Boston? Visitors can walk or bicycle the same path the British Regulars took while fleeing back to Boston. Lots of great exhibits and videos, good for all ages.

    And your mention of lilacs, in full bloom here now, brings to mind a quote that has always stuck with me but I can’t find out who said it. Longfellow? Something like, “I do not go to town when the lilacs are in bloom.” In a letter, not a poem I think, and definitely not Walt Whitman’s ‘When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed’ about the death of Abraham Lincoln (a brilliant poem). Any help much appreciated! Couldn’t find it on Google. Thanks for your post and photos, as always.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s beautiful too . . . it’s that path that goes between the towns … I have to go back and walk it! About lilacs, we are opening our door to that fragrance now. Sitting in the wood room, fragrance floating around us the last couple of days. It’s a big wow!💖

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

    Good afternoon Susan. well you have put patriot’s day on my bucket list for places to go see. but then just about all of New England is on my list to go see, especially in the Fall. yes i managed to crawl out of bed Saturday and watch the coronation, wrapped up in a blanket and gulping down hot tea to stay awake. the traditions and the rituals, fascinating and the abbey absolutely gorgeous and magnificent. another place to see on my list. well life here with the chickens is getting interesting, we are still having crow wars, i never a duck chase a crow out of the pool and then try to pluck its tail feathers out. i can remember when the ducks chased Jake round and round the chicken yard and plucked out his tail feathers, we had the only bare butt rooster in the county or in Southern Oregon. those ducks really hated Jake, with our current rooster< Chance, they get along just fine. go figure. but then he leaves the female ducks alone and Jake did not. we even found a way to keep the rodents out of their feed bucket, just slapped on a 5 gallon plastic paint bucket over the top and no more rodent trouble. the plastic is heavier and they cannot chew through it nor can they try to squeeze under it to try to get into the food so slowly but surely we are getting those rats out of there. i could usually tell if rats or mice had been in their feed bucket and for the past 3-4 weeks not a single sign of mouse turds in the feed. hopefully those pests will move on and stay out of the hen house and barn and go elsewhere to live. i love that blue indigio on your feeder, isn't listening to the birds early in the morning just so calming and relaxing. i also get to listen to the squirrels chattering and the blue jays shrieking. an unusual spring morning concert. well i have to get hopping, chickens to check on and eggs to gather, dinner preps to get started and with any luck our barn owl and the 3 other owls in the back will help us get rid of the rodents and the stray cats, there has been a lot of mouse hunting going on. keeping my fingers crossed that we can finally get rid of the pests. have a great day, take care and hello to Jack …. he is still a sweety. hugs ….. 😀

    • sbranch says:

      Oh the Abbey … It is one GIANT, GORGEOUS piece of ART!!! I’ve never seen anything like it. You’ll love it Pat! Sounds like the farm is in full Springtime mode! Owls should take care of the mice soon as those babies are born!🙀❌⭕️❌⭕️

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        i would dearly love to see it, just to walk through it and see all the history and the beauty of the place. it is a definite on my bucket list to go see. we do hope the owls get rid of the rodents, and the 4 stray cats do their fair share of mouse hunting around the barn and the pump house. and with capping off the feed bucket in the hen house, the rodents have no available food source anymore. we keep all the feed in metal containers and sweep up any spilled food immediately. i leave nothing out for those pests to get to so now they are having a tough time finding food. not the owls or the cats though. LOL!!! 😀

  54. Margaret Harke says:

    Loved the history lesson. I am facinated by old houses and enjoy seeing their original contents. Thank you for this Willard. It came today just as I am recuperating from major surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Think it was nipped in the bud.

  55. Karen B. says:

    I loved your description of the historic battle in Concord. How wonderful to view a reenactment of that battle. How nice to have made friends with some longtime residents of Lexington. Friends make life so much better.
    Happy May to you…how can it already be the month of May?! Also, Happy belated Birthday.
    You are always a welcome notice when you send out the Willard.
    Karen B.

  56. Shelley Johnson says:

    Thank you so much for this posting. During the pandemic, I discovered roots to the Mayflower and many Revolutionary War veterans. I would love to visit New England with my family, to include Concord and Lexington. So much to learn.
    Have a good week!

    • sbranch says:

      I have those roots too . . . Pandemic was the perfect time for investigation! It does make a difference. Some of our ancestors homes or at least graves, are still here for the finding!

  57. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    Susan, I see you’ve been told it was an indigo bunting so I won’t correct you since others have but OH! the beauty of that bird!! we used to get indigo buntings and when the sun hit them – wow! haven’t seen any in many years. Spring is finally here in Michigan and to be able to sleep with windows open is wonderful. Around here I spend a part of each day searching for the elusive morel mushrooms and to find them is a blessing! My youngest son, age 35, is the BEST in finding them. I could spend 2 hours looking and find two, and he’ll come back with 20. Glad he has the eagle eye! I love all your fabulous photos of all the New England history. THANK YOU! Some day I’ll get over there to see in person, but thank you for the descriptions and pictures 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, and it wasn’t quite the disappointment it might have been!!!🤣 Happy spring, Barbara! I bet those mushrooms are WORTH the 2 hours!

  58. Mary+Brehm says:

    Good Morning Sue. I just finished reading your lovely post. So much to take in. It’s funny that we had been chatting about Bluebirds on twitter and then you saw one in your feeder. When I first started reading I was so happy for you, but as I looked at the picture it didn’t look quite right. Come to find out it was an indigo bunting! Even better. How exciting! I have never seen one before. I had a scarlet tanager at my water fountain a few summers ago and it was thrilling! Stopped me dead in my tracks and I just stood there wishing I had my camera and not moving. No one else was around so I didn’t have a witness to confirm what I was seeing, but I definitely saw it. So thrilling and beautiful. We have a pair of bluebirds that are nesting in one of our bluebird boxes and it’s thrilling. Bill ordered live meal worms…Yuck!….that he puts out for them and they seem to love them. They came in the mail in a box marked live animals! Kind of freaked me out. I have been trying to get some decent pictures but they are shy and elusive, I’ll send you a picture if and when I get one.
    What a wonderful trip to Concord. I will have to tell Bill about it and plan a trip. So much history. I love those beautiful, historic homes.
    The weather has finally broken here. It was so gloomy, cold and rainy. It really dampened my spirits. It didn’t go well with my post surgical recovery and I was in a real funk. It was a beautiful day here yesterday and we are supposed to have more of the same for the next week. I’m hoping to get out in my garden today, but I still don’t feel quite up to a lot of strenuous activity yet. This one took a lot out of me. I got my sweet peas started in early April and they are coming along nicely. Bill ordered 100 Raspberry plants and he is getting the beds ready so that is exciting. Lot’s of jam and pies in our future!
    Hope you have a lovely week enjoying a wonderful spring on Martha’s vineyard!
    Love, Mary
    P.S. I love your long shadow picture. I agree with you about the pants. I look like bozo the clown when I where them! Too funny!

  59. Patti from Pleasanton, CA says:

    Hi Susan!
    Paul & I are heading back to the north east for a family wedding in September, and staying a few extra weeks to sight see. We have been to Concord & Lexington on a previous visit and have had a meal in the Colonial Inn. I even copied a framed recipe from their wall that is to die for!! I am planning on copying this Willard and taking it with us in case we pass through Lexington again.
    Thanks again for all the time you take out of your busy day to share such interesting facts about early America. It lights a fire in this Californian to see these sites again!
    Hope to see you & Joe for a 4th time in person if you make it back to California

    • sbranch says:

      Because it WAS England in the 17th Century, it is still like it! That’s the fun part!

  60. Nancy Cadiente says:

    hello susan 🙂
    Loved your SPRING on Martha’s Vineyard! Here in California we are having a super bloom and the flowers too are magnificent. Hills have been amazingly Ireland green and are just now starting to fade a bit :(. Until next year!
    Thanks so much for sharing your trip to Concord. My husband and I toured there a few years ago, when we left California to go leaf-peeping in New England, our first time, and we weren’t disappointed. Concord was such an adorable town, but it was a quick day trip that left us wanting for more. Hope to go back and visit all the wonderful historic places in that grand state.
    Until then, your posts lift our spirits and show us so much more of the beautiful, wonderful USA that we could ever imagine!
    Please don’t ever stop sharing. It inspires!

    • sbranch says:

      I can just imagine what California looks like right now!!🌸🌸🌸🌸 Must be wonderful! Thank you Nancy!❤️

  61. Helen says:

    Another splendid and informative post!

  62. Amy Gonzalez says:

    I was so excited to see that you were writing about touring Concord and Lexington in this post as it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to visit that area. I am a devout L.M.Alcott fan, have been fascinated with all the great Thinkers that had the opportunity to live together and be friends during that time, and just love the history of the area. So I FINALLY did it! (Probably while you were writing this post!) I FINALLY took the plunge and booked train tickets for my daughter and I to come to Concord in the fall <3 We will be away a week but will get four days to explore. It will be a bit of a graduation present to myself (another "FINALLY" – 45 and getting my bachelors degree) and a mom/daughter trip for my daughter's 16th birthday. We can't wait!! AND we're staying at the Colonial Inn 🙂 We have five months to go before our trip but my daughter and I keep talking excitedly about the trip and making our plans. This is huge for me because I rarely ever get to travel and I thought it was time to make some of my dreams come true <3 And Susan, I would have to say that you have been one of those I look to for such inspiration and courage to go/say/do the things I long to do. I'm so excited!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m SO happy for you Amy … amazing .. YOU, graduation, your daughter, her 16th birthday, Concord, Louisa May Alcott, Lexington and History, all at once. I’m giggling inside it sounds so wonderful! 4 days is good!! Concord and Lexington are only 5 miles apart . . . you won’t have to waste time hanging out in the car too much! and you even get a good long time for anticipation! You have it all! Congratulations on your graduation. That’s a feat! ❌⭕️❌⭕️ YOU are the inspiration!💖

      • Amy Gonzalez says:

        Thank you <3 <3 We're so excited!
        My daughter wants to also see the ocean. Do you have any good recommendations for a nice beach area within driving distance from Concord? We were looking at Singing Beach at Manchester-By-The-Sea…..

        • sbranch says:

          I really don’t know MA beaches, except those here on the island . . . but Google will have them for you. Go to Plymouth, it’s on the water, and filled with history. There must be a beach near by!

  63. Nicoline says:

    Hello Susan,
    Happy May! I think there must be some kind of telepathy between us, because Gabri was wondering when the picnic was!! He could not believe it was just last year, so I got out my photo-album, and showed him the proof…And then, up pops your lovely post with pictures of that happy afternoon! Just ONE year ago, wow, how time flies…..such happy memories, new friends….!!
    Well, did you watch the coronation? We were glued to the TV the whole day, drinking tea, and eating scones and clotted cream….Wow, what a great day that was! I feel like a deflated baloon now all the excitment is over, haha
    Spring has arrived here, and I am sitting here on the sofa, looking at and smelling the lovely daffodills I picked from the garden. I think we have the same one you have, isn’t it gorgeous!
    Happy very belated birthday too, and it’s mine this saturday, and I hope the sun will come out so we can maybe enjoy a walk at the seaside…
    Sorry I have been silent for a while, lots going on here, not happy, I’m afraid, Mom suddenly having to move to a carehome, so life often seems upside down and full of worries.

    Lots of love from us both and an extra hug from

    • sbranch says:

      I know… ONE year. Crazy. Yes, of course I watched the coronation!!! Loved every moment. Oh Nicoline, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. Such a hard time😥, something you can never really imagine coming. Sending you much love and deep breaths … and hope your birthday dawns bright and you get that walk! You need a little soul food! Our lilacs are in bloom . . . and I just saw my first lilies of the valley . . . want to slow it all down! Miss you two … love to Gabri and the boys! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

  64. Debbie Boerger says:

    Love reading all the comments. I always learn something new, and realize we
    Girlfriends have such similar “loves”. You, Dear Lady, give us the guided tours of places some won’t be able to see otherwise.
    Sighting unusual birds in your yard is getting more common. I’m into Birding, and some of my web sites say that as the weather has warmed, the food sources are changing. That means we will not see the “usual” birds, but we will see some that were not “usual”. Moving North, they are. In my 4 months long camping around N. America with The Lovely Tom (who can make a camp fire in the rain! My Eagle Scout!), I have hundreds of birds on my “Life List”. Still hoping to snag a Puffin. We’ll try again this year in Maine.
    Also, you may not know that Audubon and the Cornell Ornithology Lab have Apps for your phones. You hold it up to pick up bird calls and songs, and it identifies them for you. Many things on my body are moving South, including my hearing, so this will be great when we walk the “Rails to Trails” in Maine.
    4 more days!! Then look forward to “No Mow May”, when none of us on the road cut grass. We let the dandelions and other little so-called weeds bloom. The bees and other pollinating insects so need this in Spring. Plus a piece of ground just blanketed with yellow, makes me at least appreciate the dandelions. The greens really are tasty tossed into a salad. Never ever use “Weed” killer. I even rented a bee hive for awhile.
    Like you, I have tiny bottles and vases on window sills that I love filling with a bit of water and those little blooms. I think the wild violets are my fav, along with the tiny wild strawberry blooms. They last several days. Then come the Lily of the Valley, lilacs, and the showy things such as peonies. I know you, Susan, aren’t a fan of their aroma, but you like their beauty. Oh, and the rhododendrons. OK, I’ll stop. Back to Chores.
    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Tampa for a few more days

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, a Puffin!🤣 They are so cute! We’re in no-mow May and I love it! I wish we got the wildflowers that England does, but I still don’t mind seeing those yellow dandelions decorating the yard. Our first wisteria are in bloom, JUST saw them from upstairs window . . . also today, Lilies of the Valley! You are coming home at the perfect time. My mom’s peony is in bloom today too … this is a white peony given to me by my girlfriends here on the island when my mom died. It’s so strong I love seeing it. But STINKY! I know some of them must smell good, but so far it hasn’t happened for my nose! Dreamer! I’m talking to YOU! ❌⭕️❌⭕️ Travel safe Debbie!

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        Correction: 4 months X 3. We did that 3 times. Taking all the photo albums (loooog time ago, last in 2006-2007), up to Maine to share with family who will visit this Summer. We have blanketed US and southern Canada. I highly recommend it. Canadian Rockies will knock you to your knees. All protected by 4 massive National Parks.
        BTW, if you and Joe ever want to explore Down East Maine, we have a room for you!!! You can kick back on our wonderful porch and watch the sun set over the little bay without being eaten alive by the Skeeters. If the wind is a-blowin’, we could sit on the deck, even better. And eat a lobstah’ from our friend’s boat, fresh and steamed by the The Lovely Tom. Just sayin’. I think you have my email address.
        Debbie, who is madly packing to Leave this InSanity!!

    • Dayna says:

      I love the Cornell app! I just downloaded it to my phone yesterday because I heard a bird call that I didn’t recognize. It immediately said that it was a California Towhee. The app will also identify by live visual or photo. Had fun playing with it yesterday. Highly recommend!

  65. Dear Sue,

    What a lovely post! Happy May!
    I just have to say that I agree with William Morris. I think the world would be a much better place if we still tried to make everything useful AND beautiful. When you look at old buildings (and even old tools)- they were made to last and they were made to be beautiful- not like the throw away, mass produced items and the “gulags” they are putting up everywhere these days.
    Oh well I’ll stop my griping- the world is beautiful in May and if we don’t flood -we’ll garden.

  66. Viffy says:

    What a wonderful post to welcome Spring!

  67. Debbie Boerger says:

    I don’t Tweet, but I can’t resist giving thanks that He Who Should Not Be Named is found Liable for Assault and Defamation. And yet, the Leaders are silent. His poll #’s going up!!! Also thankful for the BBC coverage where the commentators say Right on Air, How could this person be elected to be Leader of the Free World?
    I wrote a letter to the Beeb pleading that they keep the gun violence here Front and Center in the hope that some Western Nations will issue a Do Not Travel to their citizens. Maybe, that will get the attention of those who depend on tourism from Europe. I got a nice thank you from some person assigned to the job.
    Thank you for for that Flash Mob doing Zadok!! Look at the smiles on the faces. Can’t wait to depart from InSantis Land and land in Janet Mills Land!!
    Lots of guns, few mass shootings, unless you count deer and ducks.
    Just adore you, Dear Lady!!

    • sbranch says:

      As always and forever . . . 😘😘😘

    • Kim Huitt says:

      Interesting how we can have such different viewpoints on political leaders but still agree we love Susan Branch. I guess that’s why politics is so painful on many fronts. But I’m thankful for my friends who vote Democrat and they still love me as I vote my conscience and vote Republican. I’d really like to see Tulsi Gabbard run for President again. Or Ben Carson.

  68. Sallie Flesher says:

    I always thoroughly enjoy your Willards but this one was especially wonderful. As I was reading, I thought if you had written my history books, I’m sure I would have learned much more. So informative and jolly. Made me laugh out loud more than once.

    Thank you, thank you for your art and photos and writings. Love every one. You remind me of me in so many ways (but not the art part, unfortunately).

    • sbranch says:

      Ha Ha, I think about rewriting the one I’m reading now about Ralph Waldo Emerson. It’s 27 hours on Audible, written by someone who managed to figure out every fragment of Emerson’s life, by the YEAR, and every single person he ever met or read. Out of the 20 the author might name at a time, which he does several times, to our chagrin, especially Joe, we have heard of MAYBE two. It’s 90% like a boring textbook, but the other 10% is pure diamonds. I should rewrite, and just put in the 10% so more people would know about the life of this brilliant man … would probably still be a 3 to 5 hour book! We all want to know about the HUMAN part. Instead of dates, times places, HOW did this guy LIVE, who taught him how to think, who/what did he love, give us his passions!🤣💖

  69. Dayna says:

    Beautiful blog post again, Susan! Those lilacs! 💜💜💜 My Descanso lilac finally bloomed decent this year after 15 years in the ground I think due to all the rain & cooler weather here in CA. Mine is white & I absolutely love it. Although I didn’t get many blooms, I supplement the fragrance with Mrs. Meyers dish soap & cleaner. Comes out every spring, we do what we can! 😆 Would love to see Concord & Lexington, what lovely friends to give you such a detailed “insiders” tour! ❤️ You are so right about the pandemic being a good time to do ancestral searching. Still haven’t broken through my stubborn brick wall. Think I have to get to Arizona & dig through archives there. Thank you for always taking us along with you. 😘

  70. Jill says:

    “Tea parties are like playing house for grownups.” This is true, and it reminds me of all the tea parties my daughter and I had when she was young. I’d make a pot of hot tea and put it on a tray with a plate of homemade scones and strawberry jam, butter, sugar, utensils, serving plates, and 2 of my pretty teacups and saucers. Then I’d carry it into the living room and set it on the coffee table, and we’d eat and drink, oh so civilized, with our pinkies crooked at just the right angle, while the fire purred and crackled in the background. That was a long time ago, and my daughter just celebrated her 40th birthday. But she still talks about those parties! Thanks for bringing that memory to mind, and for the poster of British cakes. As a matter of fact, thank you for this enchanting Willard. I want to go to Concord now.

  71. Judith A Quinn says:

    Hi Susan, I am sitting in NC and reading another wonderful Willard when lo and behold got into the Lexington/Concord story. It is such a very small world. I grew up in Lexington many years ago and loved your pictures. But the green house with the cream trim in Concord was my late brother and sister in laws home. They chose the colors and the inside is something to see from the huge fireplace in the kitchen to the very very wide boards in the floor. A lovely warm home. It was so neat to bring them a bit closer to me. Happy Spring at the “Cape”. Thanks my friend. Judy Quinn

  72. Eileen F says:

    First of all, very belated birthday wishes. It was also my mother’s birthday. She would have been 102 this year; passed away shortly after her 100th birthday. Because of the shared birthdays, I always thought of you on her birthday.
    I enjoyed reading about Patriot’s Day. Had not heard of it before. We visited various parts of Massachusetts in 1980, but didn’t get to Lexington and Concord.
    My email was blocked for awhile and I missed your birthday post. If you liked The Nightingale, look for The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I liked it much better than Nightingale. I especially like the interview at the end of the tape with Kristin and the person who did the reading.

  73. Melinda says:

    Thank you for this Willard. I do love history and re-enactments! Your photos and descriptions were most enjoyable to read.

  74. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan again, thank you for sharing this part of the country with us all…..even though I am from the east coast, I only explored a bit of Maine, and some of Vermont…..and I haven’t even been to Boston… me thinking a New Englandy kind of trip may be in the cards…hmmmm….but I am addicted to England and London, so we will have to figure all of that out…..what lovely stories you have, photo’s and friends and your sharing it all with us is just an amazing thing!
    love you dear, where’s next for you? (hee hee)
    Regina, Seattle

  75. Debbie Boerger says:

    Happiest of Mother’s Day, everyone. Boy, Dear Lady, your maternal genes are very strong. You could be a mini-me in the picture of you, your mom and grandmother! I know you will be thinking of them today, especially. Our wonderful neighbor drove up to Bangor to collect us from the airport. Later she brought us a very large cut glass pitcher of 10 amazing tulips. Who knew that they came in so many varieties. She was up with the sun this morning to spread 10 bags of mulch, in order to beat the black flies. It was 38 this morning!!
    EEEExcited doesn’t even begin to describe the joy in my soul. Everything that grows is early this year, but we made it before the lilacs and crab apple put on their shows.
    Love the pictures of English pub you put on Twitter. I’ll bet I have at least 10 of those with the great doggies right in the mix.
    Time to lug all the canned and bottled goods back up from the basement, and remove all the bagged dry good from the fridge. A precaution against mice, assuming their little paws can’t reach the door of said fridge.
    Only negative thing is that our yard is torn up due to the crows and turkeys digging for grubs. That’s going to be a job to fix. Guess I’ll be forced to but down grub poison, which I’ve avoided doing because it also kills the fire fly larva. Tried diatomatious Earth, but didn’t work.
    Today, think of all the lives you have shaped through your work. It filters down through the generations of Girlfriends who love and learn from You.
    Debbie in Maine!!!

  76. Debbie Boerger says:

    Oh, My!! Your voice is way above average! Tom and I actually had a Rain Barrel for several years. We know folks who have camps “off the grid” who use it for all their needs except for drinking.
    Nap Time!

  77. Meg says:

    My husband and I are considering heading up to Concord, MA to celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. Do you have any recommendations on where to stay? It would be lovely to be in a historic B&B. Thanks for the trip inspiration.

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

    Hello Susan, like you i love looking at old homes and buildings and places like old graveyards. i caught your comment on bayonets and i totally agree, i would rather be shot than stabbed at, i think if someone came at me with a bayonet i’d be running for my life. i love that old kitchen and if ever i get around to remodeling mine that is what it would look like, it looks so homey and comfortable. well the chickens are a little happier these days, we started cleaning out the mud in the hen house and putting it out in the garden. whew that mud smells bad, enough to knock you out. plus we finally got the window in there to open up and with the air now circulating in there the mud will dry out a little better and the hen house smells so much fresher. hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day. i sure did. we tried a new recipe for eggs benedict, instead of ham or Canadian bacon, we cooked up some chopped beef (skirt steak), bell peppers and onions. put that on top of an English muffin, topped it with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce and it was heavenly. then i got taken out to dinner for a seafood dinner, clam chowder to start with, then mussels, oysters and baked clams, some lobster tails and Dungeness crab. it was delicious. now that is my favorite seafood dinner. off to go fold laundry and hang the last load on the line, with the warm weather i can use my clothesline again. have a good day everyone. hugs ….. 😀

  79. Karen Mac says:

    Susan, I loved, loved, LOVED your latest post. I spent a day there about ten years ago. So much history! How nice that you got to share those memories with such nice people. I think I caught a glimpse of one of your mugs at the Kelley house. Boy, what a beautiful fireplace! Lunch looked wonderful too. Thank you for sharing once again. What kind of a ghost do you think you saw??

  80. Karen+Baron says:

    Another wonderful Willard! Blessings!! You need a Spring Book! You have Autumn and Summer!! 🌷

  81. Debbie Boerger says:

    A cautionary tale: If you spend time outside, carefully check your body for ticks! Tom is not diligent in spraying himself, and he’s always prowling around in the woods. This morning he discovered a tick that was latched on under his watch. He pried it out and there was lots of blood.
    He called his doctor right away, and we’re hoping he’ll start on antibiotics. We now have 3 different diseases in Maine that are tick borne, the 2 newer ones are harder to positively identify. You can take turns “inspecting” each other’s bods, put on some romantic music. 😉
    And…..we forgot to take in the bird feeders last night. We had a “visitor” who absconded with the loot…seeds and suet.
    Mucho love,
    Debbie in nice and chilly Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, the Vineyard has a terrible tick problem… and we walk in the woods every day. We are very careful! Stay in the middle of the road, we do NOT go off it!😬 But you know, the wind blows those little critters onto people! Our Doctors here start people on antibiotics if there is even a whiff of a chance of a bite. Very concerning! Everyone be careful!

  82. kimberley says:

    FINALLY managed to catch up and you have inspired me to try to find out more about the local history where I am.

  83. nancy in ridgefield wa says:

    I waited until I had proper time to very, verrrry slowly read this post. I knew it would leave me lost in thought, dreaming, imagining even hoping. And now here I sit, doing exactly that.

    Thanks Susan, for putting me in this state…….

  84. Debbie Boerger says:

    Lovely rain in New England. Much, much needed here. So cozy inside, in the 40’s outside, nice fire in the hearth. First company coming in less than 2 weeks. Oldest daughter and grand daughter of my oldest Tampa friend. Next batch will be in July, and hoping for my roomie and her husband in Fall.
    Your garden is just beautiful, Dear Lady and Dear Joe. We’re looking for someone to clean up and then I’ll plant more ground cover, lily of the valley, Solomon’s seal, hostas, blue ajuga and ferns. Ground covers, not much care needed. Peonies have plenty of bloom buds waiting to do their thing. Iris are blooming now. Our old bods can’t do that stoop work any more.
    No Mow May made a playground for the ticks. Invited next door to play cribbage last night, but we drove, as the vegetation is so high. I get to do a body check on my Tom every day. Hmmmm? The Lovely is doing major repair under our sink. A leak, undetected until damage was done. Now we have one of those little thingys that sends out a Very Loud, Shrill alarm if it detects water. It worked for our old dish washer. He loves doing the carpenter thing, and I’m thankful. Very hard to find tradesmen nowdays.
    Any plans for another voyage across the Atlantic? Not here, so we’ll travel vicariously with you and Joe.
    Mucho love,
    Debbie in Maine 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Bodies growing old, but hearts as up and going as always with eyes toward lilies of the valley and peonies and plumbing repair! Hire hands for a few hours for the things you need, and life goes on! No plans yet, still this year to decide things about!😂 Love you Debbie, Hi to The Lovely!

  85. Susan Branch, thank you for sharing your wonderful life and gifting with us! I had the honor and pleasure of meeting you at one of your book signing events at the Apple Farm in SLO, in the early 1990s. You have been an inspiration ever since. I just re-read your three biographical books, I reference your beautiful cookbooks regularly, and am inspired by your art of the things in your life that are important to you…and are beautiful to us. I look forward to receiving your Willard newsletters, and just want you to know that even though you moved clear across the country, you still have a fan base here in SLO. Wishing you a lovely day!

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing that Deborah! Every so often a women’s group or someone like that invites me to visit when I come out . . . it’s been a while, but hopefully it will happen again because I love SLO! 💖

  86. Suznquilts says:

    I resonated with your weight loss comments – I agree that fasting such as my skipping lunch when I am out shopping. I keep nuts in my car with water for a snack while running errands.
    Walking with a book is also a great diversion to eating. Or the delay of eating. I’ve been listening to Louise Penny and enjoy getting your suggestions for worthwhile books.
    As for a work studio, I enjoyed event at Victoria Findlay Wolfe quilting studio a few years ago during “Quilters Take Manhattan” and the Pope’s trip. Quite a serendipity weekend.


    • sbranch says:

      Delay of eating. Eating consciousness. Good idea. Thank you! I’m a quilt lover too! 👏❤️❤️❤️

  87. Diane Rawski says:

    Dear Susan,
    I loved your June Willard!!! Am in middle of season 3 Ted Lasso and could feel in the first season that he was like Pollyanna that’s why I like this show so much!!! He’s helping people have a better life. Plus it’s so funny!!! You Susan are also helping people have a better life!!! You’ve been showing people for many years how to appreciate the most amazing, wonderful things that have always been there but not recognised. Thank you for being wonderful you!!!

  88. Marybeth Rogers says:

    I’m behind in reading your blog! This is wonderful, as always. Best, Marybeth

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