WAKE UP SINGING . . . with a Mind on Fire . . .💖

HI ALL! HAPPY JUNE!🌸🌸🌸 I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to, and then you tell me what’s been going on with YOU! I’ll start with MUSICA! We watched a great special on the Bee Gees the other night, and now I wake up singing this!

If you came to celebrate the little things in life, and for All Good News, you came to the right place!

Jack’s busy right now, but I know if it wasn’t for the excitement from the garden he’d be saying hello to you too! He smells bee feet and bunny whiskers. You can’t blame him for being distracted!

Our first rose is in bloom!

So is the Mock Orange . . .🧡

the Wisteria is dripping with fragrance . . . not trying to be a poet, acting strictly as garden reporter. Dripping. With. Fragrance. Wafting all over the place!

And our strawberries are ripe!


We’re making our favorites . . . crunchy cold slaw made with apples, raisins, cabbage, walnuts. . .❤️

And a dressing made of mayo thinned with any fruit juice: grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime . . .

Out to Sunday lunch in Edgartown (at Rockfish) for Caesar salad with lobster salad on top!Joe made us breakfast this morning… frittata with broccoli and bacon . . . Yum! Yup. Still trying to get weight off me. Fighting for every ounce! My new watch is so helpful. Gives me thumbs up when I exercise. Like gold stars!⭐️ Reminds me to get out of my chair, says “time to stand up!” Gets excited when I work in the garden and records every step and mile I walk! I believe now that the trick to losing weight (and being more healthy) is intermittent fasting. Like only eat two meals a day . . . both within an 8 hour time period. I am just telling you like a scientist. I don’t particularly LOVE this, since I am a born eater, like Pac-Man, I never thought I would be able to do this . . . but I’ve gotten used to it. Irritatingly, it seems to work ~ which nothing else did! I’m down 15 pounds so far …

Here’s my newest really easy new summer (diet-ish) recipe! You cut lots of cherry tomatoes in half, drizzle over like 3 TB of olive oil, lots of salt and pepper to taste, then stir it up until tomatoes begin to exude juice. Add about a quarter cup of creamy goat cheese, and stir well, until cheese melts into the olive oil to make a dressing. That’s it! Good on salad, good on fish or meat. And good alone.😋

I had to show you this little dog that was in the car next to us at the nursery the other day! Isn’t he adorable? Look how his little body is pressed against the glass! I almost had to become a dog-napper!😎

My niece Holly texted me from California with this photo . . . her message: “Revel with me for I have grown this zucchini from scratch!”🤣 I reveled the HECK out of it with her! She’s a builder, a producer! I know just how she feels! No zucchini will EVER taste as good as this one!🥰

We are out in the garden almost every day  . . . planting and weeding . . . when we bought this house I didn’t really understand everything we were getting . . . these lovely late evening hours in the garden for instance, and added bargain of the birdsong,  the smell of clover grass, the wind, the sea, the sound of the ferry boat horns, and the clanging of the church bell across the street. I don’t even think they charged for the wisteria! 💖 

My Happy Place . . .

Some roots from a large tree in the yard are trying to take over our little raised beds. . . that’s Joe back there digging them out.🌸

So it’s all greened up on our walk now! No more icy puddles or leafless trees. It’s all wild honeysuckle and beach roses lining the roadside, deer bounding through the woods, squirrels chasing each other up the trees.🐿️

My watch is very proud of me because we haven’t missed a day of walking in 22 days.🏆 That puts us somewhere between 27 and 33 miles of walking each week!! While listening to books on Audible! It’s a win-win!👏

Bumper crop of beach roses filling the air with fragrance…you would never imagine how ancient this landscape is with the way it looks right now! Younger than springtime . . .🌸

You can see why we haven’t missed a day . . . it’s heaven out there. Twirling weather. These are rhodies and nepeta in front of one of the old fishing shacks in the woods.

And of course this, the reward at the end of our walk . . .

At the end of walk, here in small town USA, we met these two girls all dressed in easter egg colors who asked us if we wanted to buy a bracelet . . .

They made them …they spread them out on the ground so we could make a choice . . .

And they let me take their pictures. Little entrepreneurs making their way in this big wild world . . .I predict they’ll be having a very fun summer!💃🏼

There’s the one I got!

So what else has been going on . . . Oh yes! This! More jewelry! I think I told you I found an old dime when I went to visit my dad’s grave a few years ago? It was right NEXT to my dad’s grave. I picked it up; I could see it was old, so I looked close to see the date. 1923. Yes! The year my dad was born! A sign. I finally took it to get this rim around it so I could wear it as a necklace. Isn’t it wonderful? And it came back just in time for Father’s Day!💞I wish I could ask him why I have that pencil!!

(Hmmm, maybe that pencil had something to do with this!) Something else I’d been meaning to do that I finally got done! This diary was by far my longest one, it went from 1996 to 2007 ~ a lot of good things happened in those years. I didn’t want to lose it. But I’d taken it with me to too many places and it was falling apart ~ the binding was done-for and the pages were beginning to come loose.

So I found an actual bookbinder on Martha’s Vineyard … we don’t have a McDonalds or a JCrew, but we have a bookbinder! So lucky!

I was excited when I got a call to go pick it up. I love to see people’s work spaces even if I don’t understand what everything is for! Mitzi Pratt ( M.E. Pratt) has had her studio here, up-island in Aquinnah where she started her bindery, since 1984.

Isn’t it beautiful and interesting? She made her own life . . .💞 and takes her skill with her wherever she goes ~ I found these words of what seem like a vision statement on her website: “In veneration of the transmission of knowledge, thought, and beauty through the object of the book . . .”🌸

See that that Eloise book? Mitzi told me it was sent to her for rebinding by one of our Girlfriends after I wrote about her in another blog post! Small world gets smaller every day.

Here it is, all clean and beautiful.

Perfectly done, she kept as much of it as she could . . . the two fringy black ribbon bookmarks, the color, she even put the dates in gold leaf on the spine. I left everything up to her ~ I figured she knew better than me!

Mitzi even kept the original cover . . . I don’t know how, but she did! I didn’t even know I wanted it until I saw it! My old friend was still recognizable!❤️ There are still a few blank pages in the back . . . I haven’t written in this since 2007, so it might be fun to do a little catch-up! I’ve been writing in other diaries, but this would be fun.🥰 

And of course the inside was all there, including the very first page . . .

We’ve been very busy at the studio lately! The cups finally came! Have you gotten yours yet? I’m hearing wonderful things from some of you, so I know you’re getting them! If not, it should be any minute now! We sold all our Queen Elizabeth cups, but we still have Birthday and Santa cups!

There they go!

Because of these wonderful people . . . Alfredo and Kellee!👏

Sheri brought her darling daughter, Maddie to help out,💞 and that’s another friend, back there in the boxes, Sharon!❤️

But that’s not all! We are keeping them busy! In case you’re new here  . . . look what just came in! YUP!

The reprints have just arrived! I have to celebrate this printing of A Fine Romance . . .💃🏼 It’s our 10 year Anniversary, hers and mine! Ten years since I decided to write something I’d never tried before… which meant I would have to go it alone, and publish this on my own. It was scary, Little Brown & Company had always published my books, but they thought this was too big of a change for me to make under their supervision ~ and I didn’t know how to publish a book! But it was either that, or stop writing books forever.🙀 The lemons lemonade thing. Rock in the road, step up, step over. And, needless to say, I’m so glad I did ~ it changed my life, and opened doors and doors of possibilities ~ I mean imagination is the only limit which is like saying there is no limit!! Yes, it’s a LOT more work when you do everything on your own, and much harder to tell the world about it 🗣️ ~ that part is almost as hard as actually writing a book! But the Independent Bookstores across this country have been so good to me not to mention your wonderful word of mouth, the most powerful thing I know 💋 . . . and there are other benefits . . . all mistakes are mine too which is actually a good thing! No one to blame. All the power too. Ribbon bookmarks! A must-have! As Jane Austen said,

And also because of you, we have over a thousand reviews on Amazon and still, after all these years, 5 stars!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I can’t help it, I have sort of the same proud “Mommy” feeling about A Fine Romance, as I do about my very first book, Heart of the Home. My children. My children been berry-berry good to me.💞

I’m a diary kind of girl. Combining written words with watercolors and photographs is what I was born to do.✏️ I started adding a photo or two back in the 90s, and the idea slowly grew on me. And if a photo is worth a thousand words, and you add in the ACTUAL written words, PLUS the watercolor decoration in word form ~ these books are way much longer than they look! And as close to handmade as I could get! I love every kind of communication that leads to people-connections! I always made gifts for my family and friends when I was little, I wanted my books to feel just like that, a gift.💝

So both A Fine Romance AND A Fairy Tale Girl have been MIA ~ we’ve been sold out since just after Christmas! But they’re BACK! Both signed and at the Studio now ~ backorders on the way!📬

I asked myself in my diary years ago . . . how does a writer write? I’d been doing it for years, but didn’t know that what I was doing was writing!🤪 I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. You think OTHER people are “writing,” but YOU are just fooling around in your diary. Totally different thing. Until you grow up and read lots of quotes that tell you differently. Reading back over these diaries I learned a lot about myself. And that’s kind of the message I wanted to give with everything I do. Like this:

Fairy Tale Girl brings back memories of all these post-it notes in my old diaries, reminding me where to go look for stories to include when I was writing Fairy Tale Girl and Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams. Research! I always did want to write a fairy tale . . . just never realized I’d be writing them for grownups! Life is such a good surprise! But of course. Who needs them more? Being a grown-up is hard!💖

And Fairy Tale Girl has been out on her own in the world now since 2015. Less people know about this book than the others, even though it actually came first in the trilogy, because I never got to go on a book tour with it. I had to finish Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams before I started traveling to the bookstores. But despite that, Fairy Tale Girl also has 5 stars on Amazon! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ And that’s ALL you, because I only announced it here on the blog! Thank you 10,000 times. Means the world. You encouraged me to find my dreams. Both of the books on Amazon have comments on them that make me cry . . . they are so nice.💞 Little gifts left for me to find.💝 More thank yous.🌸 Lately there have been a couple of not-so-nice ones for Fairy Tale Girl😞. Someone REALLY hates Cliff 🤣… but it’s bound to happen in this crazy world ~ don’t worry, you know I’m fine . . . but if you go there, jump right over them, the rest of them are wonderful!💕❤️💕 And don’t forget . . . there are no rules around here . . . Guess what else came in? Kellee says a lot of you have been waiting for these!

The Giclees are finally here … I’m signing and numbering them today, and off to Kellee they’ll go! Then to you! As you know, the world still isn’t back to normal for shipping . . . it’s all been taking twice as long and costing twice as much to get it here! I thank you for your patience . . . Just like Abraham Lincoln, I know you know we’re doing the best we can and will do so until the end!❤️

I hope you Love them! The color came out just like it should!🎨Now for Must Watch TV: For years I have avoided the TV streaming of the Broadway stage production of Hamilton, which is the story of Alexander Hamilton inspired by Ron Chernow’s book. I was saving it, patiently waiting, thinking some day I would see it in person. EVERYONE says it’s wonderful, so I was holding out till we finally made it to a real theater. But last week, I realized we hadn’t managed to do it yet in the EIGHT years since its debut, and probably, knowing us, it’s never going to happen. Time to face it. I was tired of waiting, so I gave up, and we watched it on Disney+. I had very low expectations because we weren’t at the theater in person.


Me to Joe: I heard Hamilton is on Disney+. 

Joe to me: Do you want to watch it? 
Me: I don’t know. Yeah, maybe, what do you think? 
Him: I’ll watch anything. 
Me: Okay, let me get my tea.
So, you can see, we were very blasé. And as the play began, the first moments took getting used to. I haven’t listened to much rap music … and since the whole thing is sung in rap, understanding was my first challenge, which I got totally over in about 5 minutes, discovering later that it was just one part of the pure original genius of this play. We wanted to understand every word so we turned on captioning. The actual filming of the play was MUCH better than I expected! I felt the excitement of being there. The lights, the story, the singing and dancing, the costumes, the joy, the music, the orchestra, the originality, the appreciation of the audience.👏👏👏👏 And that’s all I’ll tell you except, OMG, go watch it. It is genius. After it was over I RAN to Google to learn more . . . and found out Hamilton won the Pulitzer Prize for the writer and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda!⬅️💘 My new discovery, I now adore him (always the last to know)! And 11 Tony Awards! Totally deserved!!! 🎯 Even this movie of it won tons of awards! 🏆 Who knew? I bet all of you did! But if not, it’s a must see! The creativity and brilliance will fly your heart to the moon. You will LOVE it! Now I guess we have to read the book that inspired the play…  which will be even more interesting now! One thing always leads to another!
Two other shows we have loved . . . First, A  Small Light, the true story of Miep Gies and the other brave and selfless folks who hid Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis. If you read Anne’s Diary you know the basic story . . . but this is another look from Miep’s point of view . . . we see the actual places where things happened. It’s very special. Explains everything. Actually it was TODAY, June 12, 1943 that Anne got a diary for her 13th birthday.🕯️ So now I have Miep’s highly recommended book “Anne Frank Remembered” all ready, waiting on my phone for walking!❤️
The other is ANOTHER show I’m late on. Been hearing forever how good Ted Lasso is. I watched it once, I thought it seemed dumb. But then I thought, all these Lasso-lovers can’t be wrong, it must be me, and decided to give it another look. It took me a while to GET it. There is quite a lot of swearing, but it’s not just any old sitcom, although it’s easy to think it is. There’s an important message which becomes apparent slowly, during all 3 seasons.  And in fact, it is NOW, our second time through, that I am truly getting it.😳 Every life depicted by the characters is changed due to their relationship with Ted. Turns out there is method to his madness. Ted would have forgiven Cliff too! 👏 The writers for this are wonderful ~ I’d love to hear a round-table talk with them telling how it all came about.🥇 We cried at the end. That’s all I’m saying. You don’t want to miss it. It even made me watch my first British soccer game without being forced.⚽️ This isn’t like me. And when Rachel and I speak on the phone today, I can’t wait to ask her what she thinks of Man City winning the FA Cup or whatever it’s called! 🤣 See how impressionable I am? It’s scary. It’s why I can’t watch horror movies. I’d never be able to sleep!👀
 As for books . . . This is the one . . . My guy.
After our trip to Lexington and Concord (as I wrote about in the last post), I was reminded how much I have always loved Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), have loved  his uplifting quotes forever, and have been promising myself practically all my life to read his life story . . . which I am finally doing . . .  Emerson,  A Mind on Fire,  by Robert D. Richardson. I have to tell the truth, I would not recommend this book to anyone who wasn’t already madly interested in Emerson. First off, it’s 27 hours long. Poor Joe. And written by a serious scholar. Poor me. In a nutshell, it’s hard to “read” …  in fact, if we weren’t listening to it I would have thrown it far, far, away a long time ago. But I began to look at it as a college course and something good for me, like eating spinach, or doing planks, something I could be proud of when I finished. Walking through the woods while listening was what made it bearable.🌳 I’ll just say, It covers the subject from soup to nuts, no stone left unturned. Till you would maybe like to kill Robert D. Richardson, softly, the way he is killing you. Which I’m glad about NOW that we only have one hour left, but definitely, 75% of this book is (looking for the right word) hideous, and the other 25%? Is PURE DIAMONDS. It’s diamonds and rust! Emerson is one of the Genius’s in Distilled Genius, of course.
And this biography is all about his search for a life he could build that he would consider worth living, and the people who inspired him, his connections with other geniuses, Lincoln, Whitman, Carlyle, Thoreau, and hundreds of thousands, almost millions, you have never heard of but will in this book because of this author. Emerson’s speeches, his children, his wife, his trees, his house, his town. You will feel like you personally know him. Another good thing, when I finally go visit his house, I will feel his magic there and my connection to it, and to everything, and it will make me happy. It’s a win-lose-win. Mainly win.

Between all this, I’ve been working hard on the new 2025 Calendar collection. I’ve been painting tons of new art, like this one above, and that one below , and writing stories I hope you like . . . and I will tell you right now so you don’t miss out, I think this will be one of my best collections of calendars EVER. Mozart says we have zero chance of being a genius without love. So that will be my chief ingredient.💖 Just in cases. A little preview of art, or playtime as I call it:

And the man who can cook is making my lunch right now! Time for me to go!💖 I hope you enjoyed your Willard for today, at least half as much as I enjoyed writing it!💞 Thank you for coming to say hello . . . and don’t forget to

Hearts on fire, from your pal for life! We’re in it together Girlfriends!💞

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256 Responses to WAKE UP SINGING . . . with a Mind on Fire . . .💖

  1. Ann Y. says:

    Hooray for you, Susan ! Walking and eating healthy – I wish I could get my head around intermittent fasting, but it is so hard for me. May give it another try since it works for you.
    Hamilton !!! We had tix for Hamilton on Broadway for my birthday in 2020…then my dear husband had a heart attack 2 weeks before, and then Covid hit, so no Hamilton. We had the CD that we listened to, and then watched it on Disney twice – Once without the closed captions and once with….to catch every word. Last June dear friends invited us to Louisville to see the live performance at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. It was amazing! After the show my husband said ” you know, when we were in Prague and we went to the opera to see Don Giovanni ( because it was being staged in the same theater as Mozart premiered it and some of the stage items were the same!) well, it was in Italian…and I think I understood that more than I understood the lyrics tonight!” LOL…we had to listen to the CD all the way home! Thanks again, Susan, for sharing your world. SUCH a nice treat away from all the news. Blessings for a wonderful summer !

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t go into intermittent fasting thinking I could EVER do it. But it has just gotten easier every day… it did take a while. Funny story about understanding the lyrics! We have the captions on all the time so we don’t have to interrupt each other if we mishear something. Another thing that took getting used to!!! 😘😘😘

  2. Becky from Kansas says:

    A Fine Romance was my introduction into the world of Susan Branch. I found it in the library when I was looking for travel memoirs to read. I used your book and other travel memoirs as a way to see the world while taking care of my dad. You have brighten my world with your books, talks, book signings and blog. Thank you for sharing your love of life, nature and little joys. You always brighten my day with your blogs.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s what I love about books. . . I may not get out to meet you, but THEY might just do that, and bring you to me. Thank you Becky!❤️❤️❤️

  3. Sherry Winchester says:

    A nice, long blog post. A bit of this, a bit of that, and best of all, getting in touch! Thanks so much, Susan, for a glimpse once again into your magical World! You’re a treasure. P.S. Nose boop to Jack!

  4. Tara Grosso says:

    My girlfriends and I are all turning 50 this year! I purchased the birthday china for my kindergarten friend…well when it arrived I opened the box, held it, and started crying. My hubby and 2 daughters said “You have to keep it!” It is so lovely! Loved your books since I was gifted them for my engagement in 1996!
    Happy almost summer… love Tara from Hull, MA

    • sbranch says:

      I think our 50s were are very funnest years . . . not to say these aren’t! Happy Birthday Tara!!! 👏👏👏👏❤️❤️❤️❤️

  5. Rosemary sullivan says:

    You inspire me!

  6. JoAnn Plummer says:

    Today is my birthday so I was so happy to get the notification of a new Willard. Thank you for the lovely gift. You could probably get a comment like this every day from one girlfriend or more. Thank you again.

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday JoAnn! Lots of birthday girls writing me today! Love it!🥳🎉🪅🎊🥳

  7. Peg Ackerman says:

    Hi, dear Sue! Wonderful Willard!! So glad I’m not the only one that was waiting to see Hamilton IN the theater. I’ve been holding out in the hopes it would be somewhere in the area…but hasn’t happened. Our son saw it years ago and, like you, had to turn on the subtitles to ensure he understood the rap dialog!!! So, now that you have seen it on Disney+…I guess we will, too! Thanks so much for the encouragement. xoxo peg

    • sbranch says:

      It’s totally worth it, Peg. You could STILL see it in a theater and be perfectly thrilled. So don’t deny yourself the best of the best!!! 😂

  8. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Another super blog. Thank you.
    You have been a busy bee.
    What have I been up to?….gardening, walking, enjoying fresh fruit and beautiful weather.
    I am thrilled everyone enjoys your books as much as I have.
    I have no special plans this summer except to continue to enjoy my back yard, my wildflower garden, the hummingbirds and other birds that visit, and the beach that’s 10 minutes away.
    Happy Summer, Susan & Joe & Jack. 🌞

  9. kimberley says:

    Susan, I just love your diaries.
    I am a serial chronicler myself. Do you have any books on journaling you could recommend, or do you go the natural route? I would LOVE it if you ever produced your own journaling how to book.

    • sbranch says:

      Try Googling Susan Branch How to Write a Diary. I have a very basic piece of art that simplifies it . . . not sure if you’ll find it, but I think so … I’ve put it on my blog before, and in a calendar.❤️

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

    Hello Susan, Girlfriends. things here are going well, we have our garden in, planted and fenced off to keep the deer out. we have 5 new peeps in the house as i cannot put them out in the incubator, the rats and mice would kill them if they could. i also found a natural way to get rid of the rodents without poisoning them. and the tractor parade is in full swing now, tractors chugging up to the gas station for fuel and then on to the fields and chugging back home by late afternoon/evening. school is finally out and some exciting events are taking place for the folks and tourists. we just had the kid dash and frog o’ faire for the kiddies and it was fun, kiddie races and craft projects for all. coming up we have a Squatch festival in canyon country, got to love our Squatchy friends. and of course we already had Boatnik over Memorial weekend, the races were a blast and the beer garden was great (hic). yes i finally found a way to get rid of the rodents without using poison. and it is so simple to do. take one package (box) of Jiffy cornmeal mix (has to be the Jiffy brand) and one 1/2 cup of baking soda and mix together. now place in a small aluminum pie plate or loaf pan and place where the rodents can get to it. no baking is required. the corn smell will attract the pests, and when they eat it the baking soda will plug them up, kind of like a super bad case of gas and you cannot get rid of it. well the rats cannot get rid of the gas or anything else and it kills them. we had to stop using poison because the rodents were becoming immune to it and we needed a safer method to get rid of them. we put this where the chickens cannot get into it and also the barn cat, so far we have found 3 dead rats and 1 dead mouse and it has been 10 days since we started this. not too bad. well i have run, water containers to change and fill and feed containers to fill and the same goes for the peeps, change the water and feed everyday. they are adorable and all are Buff Orpingtons, the peeps. looking forward to more peeps as the season goes on. take care and stay happy, loves and hugs. hugs …… 😀

    • sbranch says:

      You have so many old fashioned events in your town! It sounds so fun! Buff Orpintons, how cute!!! And as the Bee Gees said, They’re staying alive!👏

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        Hello Susan, during the summer months we have alot of fun activities for folks and tourists to enjoy. it all starts Memorial weekend and ends Labor day weekend. we’re looking forward to the Squatch festival, last time we had it there were Squatchs on nearly every corner in town, ever get spooked by a Squatch while you are going to the grocery store?????? LOL it is a laugh a minute. the last time we had the Squatch festival was just before the pandemic. i sure that can of beans didn’t hurt that Squatch’s toes too much… LOL!!!!!!! and of course we have the tractor races, and exhibit going on next weekend in Pottsville, tons of antique tractors to look at and enjoy and of course BBQ. the last big event comes on Labor day weekend, the Lion’s club tuff truck competition and carnival with a parade for the last days of summer. best hamburgers in town, big, juicy, sloppy and a 5napkin rating ( the number of napkins it takes to clean your face and hands after eating those burgers, 5 is the highest and best). i cannot wait for that, i live each summer for those Lion club burgers and pig out all weekend on them. we usually get 2 a day and thats 3 days worth of burgers … YUM! just drooling thinking about them. got to go hang the laundry out on the line and clean up after the peeps, they need clean straw in their tub. have fun and stay happy. hugs ….. 😀

        • sbranch says:

          It’s like you have every state’s Country Fair right in your own back yard!!! Do people come from miles around? Has it got a general name we can look for it on Google??? 🎊🎉🥳

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            we have the Jackson county fair next month in Jackson county and then in mid August we have the Josephine county fair. and yes people come all around to go to these fairs, the one in Jackson county is really fun and i love the piggy races. 😀

      • pat addison ( cave junction, OR) says:

        Hello Susan, yes we have a lot of fun events going on during the Summer. we have next weekend, the rooster crowing competition and we are entering our rooster again. lets hope ( keep fingers crossed) he crows this time instead of shutting up when it is his turn like last year, how embarrassing. plus we have the Squatch festival as well and next month in addition to the 4th 0f July celebrations, we have the Jackson county fair and Back to the 50’s week complete with sock hops, car shows and a street cruise. then in August we have the Josephine county fair, the rock and mineral show, concerts at the fairgrounds and then comes the Labor day carnival and Tuff Truck competition here, the last big event of the Summer. it is always busy around here in the Summer. hugs …… 😀

        • sbranch says:

          Seems really hard to get a rooster to crow on command!!!😂

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            we thought it would be easy when he was crowing to the other roosters during their turn for the competition, but when he shut up for his turn and would not even answer the other roosters we got a little frustrated. it is tough to get a rooster to crow, but once you get him going it is hard to get him to shut up, we have the reverse problem.

    • MargotB in Navarre says:

      Love the Frog O’Faire idea!! 🐸

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        Hello MargotB the frog o’ faire is strictly for the kids, crafting projects, reading and the kiddie races. it is a whole day of fun designed for the kids. 😀

  11. Julie White says:

    Awww Susan, I just love these. It’s like we just had a catch up 🥰 I’m not usually a commenter but just before I got to read this I got my Happy Birthday cup delivered from my beautiful co workers. I love the cup – so delicate and beautiful- and I love that it will always remind me of the wonderful girls I work with.
    Thanks for all your creations! My mom and I used to love reading Fairy Tale Girl – she is a few years older than you but she connected with so many of your memories. She can’t read any longer but those memories will always be with me. 💕

  12. Karen M says:

    Thank you, your posts are always just what I need and arrive just when I need them!
    My own Joe loves the Bee-Gees too! Any info on how we can watch that special on them?

    • sbranch says:

      It was just on a regular cable channel like HBO or something, not sure which. If you have one of those remotes you can talk into, just press the button and say Bee Gees!🎶

  13. Tami says:

    On the Lin Manuel Miranda front, he also wrote Encanto for Disney and it’s really good, you should give it a go. My daughter really liked his first broadway play In the Heights, which I haven’t seen yet. Another Lin Manuel fact: he spoke to the Obama’s about his Broadway play he was working ( Hamilton) during their early White House days, if I remember correctly, no one quite predicted such an overwhelming reception and success.

    My daughter got us tickets for Six on Broadway, it’s a rock opera about Henry the VIII’s wives written by two students attending Cambridge for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival right before Covid. Last year it won the Tony for best score. I had no idea what we were going to see and it was an event. Shorter than your standard Broadway play, no intermission, loud, fun (some audience whopping and comments just added to the fun of it all), feminist, touching, thoughtful, historical, and buoyant. Quite a nice surprise. Might be fun to check out.

    Finally, we have a 23 year old and 25 year old going through very sad break ups just now which have made me think of you in Isle of Dreams. But what I really want for them is to be a goldfish, very soon (I love Ted Lasso too). Thanks for sharing, you’re the best.

    • sbranch says:

      Hamilton was such a personal vision, I bet he surprised a lot of people. Thank you for all of that interesting information! Yup, goldfish worked. Looking back I realized it was when I began to look forward instead of back that I healed. In your secret heart, which you probably can’t tell them, I’m sure you’re thrilled about the true love that will come and get them someday!💖

    • Rosanne+Murphy (Salem, OR) says:

      Ooh, my daughter, granddaughter and I have tickets to “Six” in Dec.! I read that it began as a college project for two Oxford students!

  14. Paulette Feld says:

    We saw Hamilton live in Appleton WI in 2019. Not the NY cast, but still glad to have seen after listening to the soundtrack for months in the car. The movie got us through the first summer of COVID. Seems so long ago!
    One of my responsibilities working at the library was sending periodicals to g er t bound and books to be rebound. Boxes of individual magazines and sad books getting new lives. When they came back all shiney and new, it was like magic. We would have some done with the cover art. Never did know how that magic happened.

    Happy Summer!

  15. Sue Graham says:


  16. Jeanne of Iowa says:

    You do just keep getting better and better. Thanks for the pure joy of your blog, I know you and Joe are living the good life out there on Martha’s Vineyard. Keep it going for all of us.

  17. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Hi Susan,
    That was like three Williards!! So much good news. Your garden looks beautiful. Dripping with fragrance describes a wisteria perfectly. I watched Hamilton when it first came out on Disney. Absolutely loved it. Watched it over and over. Listen to it on my iTunes. And Ted Lasso. The best ever. Loved that show. Try Welcome to Wrexam a documentary series about a Welsh football club and two American actors who bought it. It’s wonderful. Another terrific book, Lessons in Chemistry. Sounds like you are a whirlwind of summer joy and good news. Thank you for the fun blog post. Love, Beverlee

  18. Hello Dear Susan!
    Oh my goodness, I kept forming comments in my mind as I read this lovely post, and with each new topic, I almost needed to start keeping notes of what I wanted to say.
    First, thank you for your blog. It soothes my heart, and I eagerly await each new post.
    I closed up my 23rd classroom on Friday, so I am officially on summer vacation, and seeing you had a new post lifted my soul even higher. I’ll be working on creating new fiber art all summer. I’m getting a Saori weaving loom on Friday, and I’m so excited to add weaving to my spinning, wet-felting, knitting, and crocheting fiber art.
    Our sheep are getting sheared tomorrow, so I’ll be spending some time driving from Aromas to Morro Bay to have the fleece processed at Morro Fleeceworks. Later in the summer I’ll be attending CNCH’s (Conference of Northern California Handweavers) event at Cal Poly-near your old stomping grounds, and we’re all so excited! Every time I am down there, I can feel your presence. If you have restaurant recommendations, please let me know. It’s my birthday weekend, so I told the ladies we’re having ridiculously pink drinks at The Madonna Inn one night. The last time I did that was at your Enchanted Book Talk at Apple Farm, so we wanted to continue the tradition.
    Second, when you shared the Amazon reviews and some weren’t so favorable, I *had* to go see what kind of people wouldn’t like your books, and I hazard a guess that those same people wouldn’t like Ted Lasso either. I’m THRILLED that you are now a fan of The Richmond Way. What an absolutely beautiful story of friendship, mental health, forgiveness, redemption, and the impact that a single person can have on others.
    You, my dear Susan Branch, are the Ted Lasso for your Girlfriends and fans of all genders. I think my partner and I got emotional in every episode of all 3 seasons, and we, especially me, ugly cried through the final 2 episodes. On the last day of school, I played the song “Fought and Lost” by Sam Ryder (it’s on the Season 3 soundtrack) for my class, and we all got really emotional in a lovely way.
    “…fortune favors those who ride the storm and make it through…” That line reminds me so of your memoir trilogy. My absolute favorite books, and I’m so glad that new readers find them and love them.
    As to the poor reviews, keep being your authentic self on Twitter. I so appreciate you speaking truth to power and holding the powerful accountable.
    Regarding Hamilton, I’m so glad you finally got to see it, albeit the filmed version. What’s truly amazing about it is how it appeals to both fans of rap/hip-hop/R&B as well as musical theater people. There are so many Easter Eggs for both in the play, and the fun thing is finding them. For example, the way different characters sing or rap is Miranda’s nod to musical influences throughout his life.
    Thank you again for your post. Hugs to you and Joe, and smooshes to Jack.
    Susan Shirley of Mosshollow Hill
    P.S. I gifted your puzzle to an older, puzzle-loving friend in my Monterey spinning (yarn not bikes) group, and she had never heard of you! So I’m going to start spreading the Susan Branch love to my fiber groups. Me being the youngest in both, I’m shocked that many hadn’t heard of you, and decided that is something I have to remedy.

    • sbranch says:

      Susan! Loved your newsy letter … I could write you another blog post in reply! YES! Ted Lasso. That last episode of season three was so beautiful, we had to start over again! Still in tears. And that song! I put it on Twitter. So wonderful! I can say that about every sentence of your comment! Thank you! Have a luv-lee day!🌸

  19. Linda Pintarell says:

    Loved, Loved, Loved HAMILTON. AND LOVE, LOVE, LOV Lin Manual! I’ve watched him in many interviews and what a beautiful person. How can one person have so much talent and stay the perfect person that he is…at least I think so.

  20. Linda Fenner says:


    I love, love, love each and everyone one of your blogs, calendars, books and interviews that I have seen.
    You are a blessed lady and I am so happy to have found you so many years ago.

    Keep doing what you are doing for our world – go be love!!

  21. Lillian Zemlicka says:

    Dear Susan
    This is Such a Wonderful post as are all of your Blogs. Thank you Thank you!!! The dime was certainly put there by your Father!!! There is no other explanation…with his birth year on the dime…a True sign. Beyond Lovely!!! I love that you made it into a pendant.
    Last week it took the Empire Builder to St Paul Minneapolis to see a Dear Friend who now lives in Hudson. We had such a Great time. The views from the train were Gorgeous. Hudson is Charming and I think you would Love it. It is on the banks of the St Croix River which is So wide and blue that it looks like a lake. Its downtown is Beautiful. We also went to Stillwater Minnesota. One of the antique stores on the east side of the street had So many things…even vintage Birthday cards…I know you like those because you had mine on the top of your card pile on the blog one year….So I bought more. They are hard to find here. In a little over a month I will be your neighbor…coming to Nantucket for the 41st summer. I have always been blessed with finding a reasonable place to stay there and am SO Grateful for it!!! Thank you again and again for all you do to lift my and many others spirits!!! May more and more Blessings come to you everyday. ❤️❤️❤️

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t take it off since I got it. It feels like a little miracle. How COULD that be there out in the middle of an Arizona cemetery … where hardly anything grows and there’s this dime there. Had to be my dad. 💞💞💞 Too many good Hudsons . . . I’ve been to the one in Ohio, to the Learned Owl Bookstore there. Darling town too! 41 summers of Nantucket. Makes it yours. What a wonderful tradition. Thank you Lillian!💖

  22. SusanB says:

    The new calendars are so exciting, looks like some inspiration from Emerson! I love when I learn, and do new things, and it inspires me to be more creative! Today’s Willard was lovely, very enjoyable. I’ll absolutely LOVE my queen cups. They are simply gorgeous. Looking forward to a beautiful summer till we hear from you next time bye!

  23. SusanB says:

    Oops, I absolutely*

  24. Mary Valli says:

    Oh, Susan, just when I think your Willard’s can’t get any better…this one had me laughing out loud three times and tearful once (the good kind of tears). You speak in the language of heart-to-heart! Please – NEVER stop writing and creating! I’m so inspired❤️❤️❤️

  25. Julie Ann says:

    Several years ago we took a rare trip from our neck of the woods in the Great Pacific Northwest to visit family in Virginia. We went by train. It’s the only way I fly! While planning the trip, hubby suggested we see our first ever Broadway show, since the train would be delivering us to Grand Central Station in NYC!! He read me a list of what would be playing, including Hamilton, and my response was, no, never heard of that one. We settled on An American in Paris. (There is another funny story there about technical difficulties).On the trip east, countless people excitedly asked us “Oh, are you going to see Hamilton!?” and countless people on the return trip west asked us, “Oh, did you see Hamilton!?” Talk about being “out of the know!” A missed opportunity because of my ignorance! However, if I am not mistaken, that was the same trip wherein hubby drove me to New Jersey for a book signing by my most beloved Susan Branch, and one of the happiest days of my life!! ❤️ Your books are indeed gifts, but YOU are an absolute treasure! With love and gratitude from your one in a millionth girlfriend.

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhhh, not all of it a loss, that’s for sure, we did have fun that day! Me too, been hearing about Hamiliton in that same way for EVER. Just never got it together to do it! Thank you Julie Ann… made my day…🥰

  26. Debby Moreau says:

    Susan I had to leave a comment today because something ver wonderful happened while I was reading. My heart kept fluttering. You see, I lost my dearest, darling husband just over a year ago and as you can imagine, my world changed forever. There was no joy, no meaning and no interest in my life. I’ve been existing and not particularly interested in that either. That is not to say that I haven’t made an effort, I have. I see my friends and play cards and we laugh together. What is significant about today and reading this new Willard is paramount to me. I actually felt JOY. Yes, joy that made my heart go pitter-pat and filled me with hope and happiness. This is the first time I’ve felt like this since my darling Jim died. Thank you for this post. Thank you for this art and these quotes. Thanking you for reaching inside me and waking something up that I wasn’t sure I’d see again. Thank you, tearfully, Debby

    • Debby Moreau says:


    • sbranch says:

      Oh Debby, you’re making me cry. I’m so sorry for your loss . . . Keep going girl . . . Life is so beautiful. 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

  27. Margaret Harke says:

    Thank you. Made my day! Off to play now!

  28. Care Woodard says:

    Thank you for the beautiful blog! AND for making me laugh out loud with your description of the book. I’m looking for a book to bring to Portugal!!! And that doesn’t sound like the one..ha ha. The garden is an absolute joy right now; we have a rose covered cottage! It was supposed to be white roses on the red cottage but the roses turned red… now I’ll have to paint the house white:) AND we have in the works, a grand plan to expand the flower beds. It’s my ingenious way of getting out of so much grass mowing now that all the kids have flown the nest and I’m the mower! Happy Summer to you Susan and all the girlfriends in the world

    • sbranch says:

      No Care, that is not the book! Did you already read Still Life by Sarah Winman. Because THAT is the book! 👏 Have a wonderful trip! I like your sneaky gardening plan!!!💞

  29. Maria says:

    Well, of course you have the pencil because you are a born artist and writer. Clearly your dad knew that so he didn’t bother to take it away.😉 Happy Fathers Day, I love the liberty dime necklace. ⭐️

  30. Christine Anderson says:

    thanks again for sharing your joy! This reminds me I have my great-grandfathers copy of Emersons essays written in the 1800’s. I need to take it off the shelf and read it. ‘This great grandfather was a lover of poetry and essays and I am blessed to have received his library, my favorite being the poetry of Longfellow. A truly beautiful and illustrated book which I cherish.
    Fortunately my Grandson loves to read and write poetry and will someday receive these books when I no longer need them.

  31. MargotB in Navarre says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love to see you working in your garden 🪴. We have been eating caprese salads from my little container garden. Time to make pesto too! Hydrangeas and Jasmine AND a Meyer 🍋!!
    Oh how I love Ralph Waldo and his friends Robert Louis and Henry David!
    I really like the art of old book 📖 binding 📕…I watched and spoke with the one in Colonial Williamsburg a couple of years ago. So many books 📚 so little time.
    I love Summer 🌞🌺

  32. MargotB in Navarre says:

    P.S. I love 💕 what you did with the mysterious dime!!! I have a couple of baby pictures with my dad too. Showing the pudge! I was one when he first saw me. Darn NAVY!

    • sbranch says:

      What a beautiful sight you must have been for your soldier dad!💖💖💖

      • MargotB in Navarre says:

        Yes, the pudgy little Sailor’s daughter. We were together at last. It was then when we headed out to Long Beach, CA. A year later he retired and my parents decided not to stay out there, even thought my dad had three sisters out there. My two cousins became my pen pals when I was in middle school. They grew up in the Bay Area. The only time I got back was in October 2014, Arnie had some class in SanDiego for his job.


  33. Liz+from+Sterling+Heights,+Michigan says:

    How wonderful to see the team boxing up our mugs!! My Queen Elizabeth mug arrived last week on my birthday! How perfect was that timing!! It’s beautiful (thank you, Susan!), and I couldn’t wait to send pictures of it to our friends in Bristol UK! Trevor sent me two antique commemorative mugs from his collection – one for the silver jubilee of George V and one for the coronation of King Edward VII! Thank you, as always, for your beautiful Willard!!

  34. Rosanne+Murphy (Salem, OR) says:

    Oh Susan. Go to NYC and see Hamilton live! My teen granddaughter, Kaitlyn, introduced me to it (she knows every word) and last yesr she and my daughter and I made a trip to NYC and saw it, among other amazing things. Not Lin Manual Miranda, but still. It was so much more than I expected. The power of the music and story brought chills and tears. We loved the whole trip and the three of us are returning in early Dec for Broadway and Christmastime magic (the Rockettes, Rockefeller Center, 5th Ave lights!). I hope Kaitlyn can ice skate in Central Park, and I hope someday she will remember sharing the magic with her grandmother. Talk about my bucket list!

  35. Connie says:

    I absolutely loved A Small Light on Disney+! I did not know the story from Mieps perspective. I thought she and her husband were incredibly brave and courageous to hide these people for 2 years!! I’m not sure the world would be as selfless as a lot of the people were back then. A must watch for everyone!❤️

  36. Linda Moore says:

    I’m so happy you wrote about your thoughts on Hamilton! I’ve seen the traveling production of it twice with my two 40+ sons! I would see it again and think Lin Manuel Miranda is a genius in his interpretation of our country’s history. I’m not a rap authority but found the music extraordinary. I’m a big fan of your Willards and look forward to your updates on what you are up to! I’m also looking forward to receiving my newest mug to add to my collection. Enjoy your summer!!

    • sbranch says:

      I had to watch it again the other day . . . it was raining, and it was perfect. I just love it!💖

  37. Jeni in Kansas City says:

    In my humble opinion, one of your VERY BEST Willards! A joy to read. Keep ’em comin’!!!

  38. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Hi Susan,
    Checking the list of comments for the comment I wrote yesterday but it’s not here. Seems like something might be wrong with the comment portion of the blog because no way i only 35 girlfriends commented.. There are sooooooo many more.. LOL.. It was a really fun blog with great recommendations.. Hamilton.. and Ted Lasso are two of my faves. Loved all your good news! Thanks for sharing it with us all!! Going to test another comment and see if it works..❤️Beverlee

    • sbranch says:

      I’m working on the comments right now Beverlee . . . I’m sure the other one is here, will get there soon!❤️❤️❤️

  39. Kathleen Jenrich says:

    Oh, how I look forward to these! You speak straight to my heart, you know. Every detail, and then you watched Hamilton! Where was I when they taught that part of our nation’s history? Once I realized I could hear and feel this amazing story, it’s almost like the rapping becomes part of the background. Mr. Miranda is indeed a genius with a wonderful gift of story telling. Did you catch him in Mary Poppins Returns? You’re going to love it! I have reread Distilled Genius 3 times through now and think of certain people as I read to share the inspiration with. Please tell us you have volume 2 in process! It also makes me dig deeper into the individuals the quotes came from – have you any favorites from Celia Thaxter? Please go on an adventure to her home and tell us all about it. We on the west coast may not get the opportunity. Looking forward to the next issue!

    • sbranch says:

      I do have it in process! Gathering the quotes together while working on the new calendars. Whey they are done, on to the book! I haven’t seen Mary Poppins Returns! Never even heard of it, but I will! Celia Thaxter, need to make a plan!!! ❌⭕️

  40. Genie from So Cal says:

    You invite so much joy. Thank you for all the beauty you share. That dime is amazing. I can’t wait for the 2024 calendars it’s been a tradition all these years. I also want to introduce the possibility of an audio book service were you get the audio book and select an independent book seller to support at the same time: libro.fm. And for those who love public libraries and have a library card, try the Libby app to get audio and ebooks from your local library.

  41. Susan Holcombe says:

    Hi Susan! You mentioned Anne Frank so I thought I would tell you about a new book, just published, My Friend Anne Frank. It’s written by her very close friend, Hannah Pick-Goslar. It was wonderful, though, of course, distressing because of what they went through. And she also has very special photos included.

    Thank you for another wonderful, calming blog.. Enjoy the rest of June!

    Susan Holcombe in Southeastern Pennsylvania

  42. Patti E says:

    Susan, Don’t give up on the intermittent fasting. I started doing it last October and was able to lose 25 lbs. I also gave up sweets for the first 3 months. Of course now I have a sweet now and then. Ha ha! Love your blogs, books , and art work. Your fan forever….Patti in Minnesota

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you! I don’t miss sweets as much as I miss TOAST. That’s my Desert Island Food. Toast. Sour dough, with extra salty butter, or peanut butter. That would be all I would need! But Noooooooo!😂

  43. Annelies says:

    Your Willard’s are like receiving that box of chocolates…..wanting to devour them, but not wanting the happiness to end. Your books are the same. I am a giving and gracious person ( I think and hope). I talk endlessly about your books, but make people buy their own. They are so precious, I don’t want to risk them leaving my home.
    “ A Small Light” was transforming. You met my mom at the Apple Farm and graciously forgave her crush on Joe 😂. She lived with her Grandmother and Uncle in Rotterdam during the war, and they too hid a man named Benjamin. Sadly he too was found out. My mom hid from the nazis, but her Uncle was also taken. Her grandmother was not home when the nazis took Benjamin away. My mom still keeps his hairbrush on a table near her bed….never to be forgotten. Watching the story of Miep encouraged me to ask my mom questions about her experiences. She doesn’t like to relive these days, but the discussions have been enlightening. Then on the final story, they showed the photos of the real people from the story. When the photo of Jan Gies was shown, my heart stopped. He looks exactly as my father did. I took a photo of the tv screen and sent it to my mom. Her response was “ where did you find that photo of Papa”. Amazing. My father also was a prisoner in a camp in Austria. He married my mom after the war, and they came to America in 1947. Sadly my father died when he was 46…and my mom never remarried. My mom is now soon to celebrate her 101st birthday.
    All that to say, your Willard was thought provoking. Sending you and Joe much love and best wishes for a wonderful summer.

    • sbranch says:

      What STORIES Annelies!!!! I’m SO GLAD you are brave enough to ask the questions… a voice that might be lost is being heard. Must be so hard for her… man’s inhumanity to man is impossible to fathom. Tears, finishing reading your note. Heartbreaking. Please give your mom giant hugs from me, but ESPECIALLY from her boyfriend Joe. Of course I remember that day . . . your mom is darling!!! 🥲

  44. Therese says:

    Ho ho, Susan!
    You got me with the BeeGees…I did get back to Willard eventually, though.
    Your garden and your world on the Island look beautiful this year. Your giclees are so tempting! I love the map!
    Last night we got our first real drenching rain in 3 weeks.
    –washed away my chalked birthday card to Ann Frank in the driveway.
    We are eating lean also except for strawberry shortcake.
    We wait all year!
    Thank you for keeping in touch with us. We love you!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, Therese! Some things like the yearly strawberry shortcake, the root beer float, and the John’s Fishmarket Fish Sandwich, MUST be done. Or what would life be!!!🥰

  45. Viffy says:

    What a wonderful start to my early days in June to read your happy blog!
    In these days of silly cancel culture nonsense, it’s refreshing (and necessary) to have something fun, honest, cheerful and uplifting to spend time reading. The things that we can often take for granted such as friends, family, nature, fun times and memories all seem to get captured here from you.

  46. Patti 🌸 says:

    ~~~~~swoon Oh Susan you’ve done it again 🥰 set my soul afloat up on a cloud in the blue sky with birdsong and heart rays of Joy 🤍

  47. Patti 🌸 says:

    I loved the girls selling bracelets and guessing which one you chose. I also loved the amazing book binder and your beautiful diary newly binded🤩♥️

  48. Patti says:

    Another wonderful snippet from your life! Thanks for sharing!

  49. Alysia Bridges says:

    Hello Susan, I am a fan from forever, and so happy to say I just received 2 of the new mugs- Queen Elizabeth ll and Santa. So very happy with both, which will join my Rabbit Rabbit who I also love very much- reminds me of my Mother-in-Law who lives in CA. Can I put in to request a reprint of the Corgi Cup…it would go so well with the Queen cup! Funny enough, I have been re-reading Fairytale book and plan on re-reading the other two as well when I am done. You have such a gift of telling a story as well as artistic details. Also, do not remember you mentioning it previously but if you haven’t- must see Firefly Lane series- ultimate girlfriend show! It is so well done and now complete…sadly. It is a tear jearker- but most of the great ones are! Looking forward to new calendar and some new art work- you have such lovely art- I “recycle” my desk blotter artwork for penpalling and art journaling! Thank you for all you do and are!

  50. Roberta j Brown says:

    Hello June 🍓my garden is also my happy place 🐝🌻🌼. Thank you Susan for making me smile after a hard day at work . I’m new to your books and blog , so happy our paths have crossed . Peace and love 🌼

    • sbranch says:

      Welcome to the neighborhood, Roberta! You will find many lovely kindred spirits here!💖

  51. Abigail says:

    Hi Susan,
    Wonderfulllllll post, thank you!!!
    Question: A big group of us didn’t get the Willard in our emails this time around. Only a few did. We were all subscribed like normal but didn’t recieve it. A few of us tried to re-subscribe but the subscribe button on the website produces an error. Any thoughts to how we get it in our emails again/if the subscribe button error is related? Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for telling me! Not the first time I’ve heard it. I just sent your comment to the computer powers that be, PRAYING they will do something to fix it. I don’t understand why something that looks so easy on other websites is NOT easy here! It may be such a mess we have to start all over. I should find out soon! Sorry Abigail, but thank you . . . my computer folk MAY believe you more than me!😂

  52. Kathy Blue says:

    I really really really – – really, needed a morning read with you! Now I can go out in my garden and let the “distilled genius” quotes carry me through watering and weeding with a new joy. The news in the world is something I am having to “rise above” and I so welcome your help. Go, be, love – – the world needs you, and you are soooo appreciated at Horseshoe Cottage in North Carolina.

  53. Monique says:

    Willard is the best email
    So much to read and see and be inspired by.
    A lovely life we all love to have a glimpse of💕

  54. Marilyn Gage Guest says:

    I just got my Queen Elizabeth cup and love, love, love it! My first SB cup! It is just as beautiful as the prototypes! I love being on the Willard thead too. Being an artist that is also non digital . It is inspiring to see your work, your wonderful encouragement, plus positive loving inspiration! Please do another Jack cup. I love the pictures of him assisting you painting or supervising. Mine does that too. Thank you for being who you are. You are truly a gift.Sincerely Marilyn Gage-Guest

  55. Mary Hobart says:

    “Willard” makes my day! Cannot imagine how you accomplice so many things. I have “Heart of the Home”–your first book-in my collection—bought so many, many years ago.

  56. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Thank you, Susan, as always! My Queen cup arrived just as we were going to a glorious wedding on a Virginia farm so I didn’t write to say how much I love it, and love the Queen and miss her…
    Your twice a day eating would suit me except that I get faint after 5-6 hours without food, so portion control is what I must do!
    We made the pre-pandemic trip to NYC to see Hamilton (and see my son) and I loved the show, and seeing it in person. BUT, if you can’t go, see it on the screen people, the history is what we all need to know, plus the fun of it. We went to see James Madison’s house in Virginia on our trip, not such a nice man after all. We also walked for miles and miles around Washington DC and can’t wait to go back and see more.
    I could be here all day writing comments on your post but, suffice it to say thank you, thank you for this Willard! Your enthusiasm for your life is inspiring 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve always been the same. Could NOT miss a meal. Poor Joe if it happened. But somehow, slowly, this thing caught on with me. We’ll see if it stays that way!😂 Have you read Hamilton yet Sally? Interested to hear what people think. Yes, isn’t DC a beautiful city? It’s perfect for our Capitol. ❌⭕️❌⭕️

  57. Wonderful Willard, as always, and just the right way to start my day; the always adorable Jack, a real bookbinder, kids selling bracelets, books, art and Hamilton – perfect!

    And *Yay You* on the intermittent fasting – isn’t it amazing? I’m down 28 lbs, and have a dear friend who’s down over 50 now. I sooooo wish I’d known about this when I was younger (I’d have a lot less to lose, hehe).

    ♥ Carolee
    PS ~ The Santa cup arrived in perfect condition – many thanks to your wonderful shipping crew!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, my Doctor told me as we get older we just don’t need as much food. I rolled my eyes as I usually do with such information. But it turns out, she is right. I really don’t miss it! For me, 3 meals a day has just been a HABIT!!!🌸

      • Therese says:

        This is an interesting conversation. I have found that one meal a day is right for me–we’re all different, with different requirements, of course, but I find that a meal in the middle of the day is what my body wants. Lots of fresh raw veg. and fruit, beans and grains cooked and spiced, nuts and seeds throughout. My appetite kicks in around eleven a.m. which makes “elevenses” a natural fit and then tea in the evening. Eating nothing after 6p.m. makes the fasting automatic. This seems to be my natural rhythm. My body tells me what it wants and needs and I try to honor it.

        • sbranch says:

          I think I might be coming on to that myself. Just feels better to eat less! You stay full! That never used to happen to me, so I must be doing something right!🥳

  58. Rene Marie Foust says:

    I am drinking coffee out of my Queen Elizabeth mug and I am pretty sure my coffee tastes better becasue of it. Thanks

  59. Penny Carpenter says:

    Good morning from north Idaho. Our backyard birds are greeting us fervently. I have most all your books and reread them!! Cliff was a jerk. Joe is wonderful!!!

    • sbranch says:

      He’s now a very old friend, he was just too young and too wild and too, let’s face it, stupid 😂 back then. He’s sorry! What he did was one of the biggest GIFTS I’ve ever received. It changed my life. That’s why I call him a guardian angel … he got me here, and then I found my life and the love of my life, and gratitude abounds!💖 The church bells ringing across the street, only one small part of the life I found when I moved here!😘

  60. Jill Beck says:

    Let’s go way back to your wisteria…… In the 80s I visited my cousin and her husband who were on sabbatical in Oxford. They were living in a tiny cottage called Blenheim Cottage. The cottage had a little sun room that had been invaded by a wisteria vine where we spread clothes that had been washed so they could dry. We left for a long weekend and when we returned, all of the clothes were scented with wisteria! That was my first trip to England and I’ve been in love with that country ever since. My husband and I just returned from our 7th trip to England, I’d move there tomorrow if I could.
    Thanks for the catch up! I’m listening to Hamnet while I knit. Such an interesting story with a wonderful narrator.

    • sbranch says:

      I’d move there tomorrow right along with you if I could. I am TRYING to keep away from the grass is always greener thing, because we have so much where we are. But, England!!! Dreamy! Loved Hamlet too! ❌⭕️

  61. Barbara Lassiter says:

    Thank goodness you write for I love to read! I’m not a writer but do tend to create in other ways! Lol! Your book binder story reminded me of my first summer job after my freshman year in college when I worked in a book binding shop in Greensboro, NC. We were rebinding text books from across the state! It was dirty and messy but I loved the (smell) fragrance of old books and handling the pages. You’ve taken me back many years and I love that about your writing!

    • sbranch says:

      That sounds wonderful. I LOVED being in her workshop, probably for the same reasons you enjoyed that job. Lucky you!🌸

  62. Gail Risden says:

    Susan, Loved this Willard but it seemed like a very long time since the last one. Maybe just me missing you as my cup of blissful cheer or maybe my Willard was missing too? Your writing and the lovely artwork have made our stay at home during the pandemic sooo much better. Can’t decide which picture on the Queen’s cup I love best-both are super good.One thought on weight loss that sticks in my mind. Think of your body like a car-it won’t run w/o fuel. Upping your exercise is good. I lost 28# put on during pandemic but can’t seem to get to 30. Not giving up but also not giving up dark chocolate-sigh.Makes life better and has health benefits as well. Love the story of the dime:) Thanks for everything. Love you, Gail

    • sbranch says:

      Congratulations! Good job! I’m still a solid 10 pounds over the weight I would like to be which is still 10 pounds more than the weight I USED to be!🤣 But I’m feeling pretty wonderful, so I’m satisfied and will be more satisfied as time goes on!❤️

  63. wendy bugler says:

    Hi Susan,
    Just got my mugs yesterday and I love them. I am not sure if I should actually use them or just display. LOL

    • sbranch says:

      USE them. They’re pretty strong. Bone china! They are dishwasher and microwave safe. I would say use them!💖

  64. Elizabeth Greenwell says:

    Hey Susan,

    First, the bookbinder did an AMAZING job on your old diary. Beautiful. You are lucky to have such a place nearby. I love both your books and since I am on vacation next week, I think that will be one of the things I do with my time. I am sorry to say I missed out on the Queen mug. I hope maybe in the future, due to high demand (wink) you will make some more. I have the Santa mug and love it so much. I even got one for my sister. We are fans of Santa! I too am enjoying the arrival of summer and all the signs of the season as they arrive. I have seen heat lightning, the first fireflies, my first daylily in the garden. This morning I discovered the first tiny little tomatoes on the vine that must have errupted overnight. Just waiting for the summer cicadas to start singing. I am a fall girl, but I do like watching for and marking the arrival of the seasons with the changes in nature. It’s awesome for sure. Enjoy your summer.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m right there with you and every word! We’re walking downtown for dinner. Haven’t seen a firefly yet, but I will be looking!!!❤️

  65. Davi+Mondt+Lowman says:

    SUSAN! Simply put, you make the world a better place.

  66. Monica Wilson says:

    As always, what a treat to read your Willard, Susan! So many awww, and yes! and yum! moments, like you finding the dime with your father’s birthyear right by his grave and making it into a necklace you can wear on Father’s Day. So, so special! We also loved A Small Light. I had read Miep’s book years ago and it was fun to pull it from my shelf after watching the series to see the photos of her and Anne. And the bookbinding shop and the lovely work they did on your old journal. What a treasure! And your recipe for cherry tomatoes just in time for our nine tomato plants to start sharing their bounty! Thanks for making my morning in CA!

  67. Debbie Boerger says:

    Rain, Rain, do Not go away. Such sweet “female” rain, as the Navajo call it. We’ve had One semi-warm, sunny day in the entire month of June, and Boy! did things pop. Everything was just hanging out with big fat buds, and Wham, Bam, Gawjus. The rugosa roses are finally blooming, the French lilac is loaded, the big bearded iris and some others.
    Tom and I couldn’t be discouraged by anything today! 🙂 Our daughter got a negative report on the biopsy we’ve all been sweating over for 2 weeks. She will need some other procedure, but it isn’t the C word. So she will be coming to Maine in July with her wonderful Frenchman!
    And…we have a family of old friends coming over to Bar Harbor for their first visit to Acadia. Elizabeth’s mom Anne was the first person I met in 1970 on my first day in Tampa. My then husband and I lived in a garage next door to that sweet family. Elizabeth was 5 yrs old, and was showing me how she could ride her trike…Vroom, vroom. She now has 2 daughters both getting Ph.D’s in fields I couldn’t begin to pronounce. Tom and her husband, who is another engineer type, get on very well, so we’re looking forward to tomorrow. Elizabeth is “Family”, so I told her to wear her “dust” glasses that prevent one from seeing it. Anne’s middle daughter is Stacey, um, Doctor Boldrick, who has lived in England and Scotland for many years. Tom and I visited on 2 different trips. She is a prof in Medieval studies and museum studies. She has two kids who are now at Cambridge!! Sheesh, the brains in that family!!!
    I’ve been having some Body Function issues, and am not able to attack the Moose sized balls of dust and fur from out sweet neighbor Husky, who spends time in our house every day. She is another Lady of a Certain Age, and such great company.
    We went two weeks without a washing machine, and it’s been weeks since the disaster under the kitchen sink, that requires towels to absorb the leak. So having all that soggy mess in the basement was stinky. The Lovely Tom tackled the cabinet under the sink, cutting out the entire bottom (so soggy and moldy), only to find the problem was one he could not fix. 83 year old bodies do Not bend that way. 😉 So now we wait until June 21 for a plumber. We’ve outlived our 2 previous ones.
    I just adore this June Post, Dear Lady, loaded with so much beauty and great information. Thank you, Thank you for the Worthy Work you do for so many of us!!
    Mucho Grande Love from Beautiful, Misty Green Maine,

    • sbranch says:

      Lovely to hear from you. You made me laugh when you said you’d outlived your plumbers! Isn’t that the way! But there you are, trudging through, and making things happen ANYWAY!!! Have a wonderful time with Elizabeth!!! Fingers crossed her husband is handy too!! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

  68. Melinda Holley says:

    Dear SB,
    Thank you for blessing me with the beauty of your soul through your words and painting! May your days continue to bring you this much JOY!

  69. Cease Hamblen says:

    Dear Susan:
    I hope you know how much joy you bring to the lives of others. You make us feel so special and your Willard’s are such a breath of fresh air and goodness. When they arrive, I lose myself in flowers and joy. Your garden, ocean pictures, your art work and your sweet baby kitty bring such happiness to my day.
    Thank you so much, sweet friend. Cease Hamblen

  70. Helen says:

    I always love to save your blog for a quiet moment when it can be savored! We too have been enjoying our gardens. Trying to get our flowers and bushes to put forth color via blooms, berries or leaves continuously. We discovered Hellebore, so we are doing well. Of course winter in Lancaster County everything turns to brown on the coldest days, but that provides it own type of beauty. Enjoy your late spring, early summer.

  71. Karen Longo says:

    What a great way to wake up! Your blog, with wonderful photos of the Island, the flowers, the sea, Joe, little entrepreneurs, and Jack!

    Congratulations on the 10 year anniversary of A Fine Romance! I only discovered you a little before that. A local gift shop had your stickers with an August theme, and I bought some for a friend (I still have a sheet of the stickers; I couldn’t resist saving them!). Your website was listed on the back, and the rest was history!

    Thank you for the recommendation of A Small Light. I will start watching it tonight. I have Miep Gies’ book, Anne Frank Remembered, and it’s wonderful. Despite how Anne’s story turns out, it makes me happy that there are people like Miep and the others who helped the Frank family, out in the world. Like you’ve often said, there are thankfully more of ‘us’ in the world (the people who are kind, strive to be happy and give happiness, and just want to live their lives) than there are of ‘them’.

    Ted Lasso is now in my top 10 shows of all time. I love that I ended up loving the characters so much, that seemed to have no redeeming qualities in the beginning! Everyone became the best version of themselves, thanks to Ted.
    I follow a lot of the cast on their Instagram, and they all seem like such fun people, they truly get along like a family, and are so supportive of each other. More happiness being spread around the world!

    • sbranch says:

      How fun Karen! I’ll have to check them out on Instagram! Isn’t it great how you can really get to know people on line, just by following them? Yes, despite Anne’s horrible ending, what she left for us means the WORLD. ❤️❤️❤️

  72. Lori+Hamilton says:

    So nice to come back from vacay in Ireland to a garden FULL of growing green things and a BLOG from SB!!
    I somehow managed to find out about your books and read them all in order. I love them all but FTG and MVIoD are my favorites. I want to go to all the places in AFR but don’t know how many more trips “across the pond” I have left in me.
    I’m so bummed right now because I didn’t get my Elizabeth cup ordered in time but that’s on me so I’ll just have to do better next time.
    Thank you for being a lovely light and lightness in the world!

    • sbranch says:

      I am going to try and make that one again. Takes forever these days, but I’ll announce it when it starts going! Thank you for the sweet words Lori!💖

  73. Sheila Pepe says:

    Hi Susan. Thx for the Hamilton info. We started it but the rap was too much, maybe we will try again ! Loved that you found the dime. Lots of rain here in Colorado so lots of flowers but ny veges

    are suffering. Did you buy a new Apple Watch? Which version ? Sounds like what I need. Finding the dime , definitely your dad looking out for you 🥰 Sheila in Littleton. We met at the tattered cover on your book tour.

    • sbranch says:

      Try again… we got used to it, the words aren’t harsh or mean, and the subtitles make it really easy. My girlfriend Elaine who loves every gadget got me one!!! Wasn’t that sweet? I’m not sure which version, I think 13. Whatever was happening at Christmas. But you don’t have to spend that much if you don’t want to. Check it out, there are tons of exercise watches on Amazon and other places.. and for lots less money. Big help!!

  74. Carol Stephanson says:

    Sweetheart, I think you’re on to something with the intermittent fasting idea, though i’ve never been able to keep it going. But if you could combine it with a plant-based approach, there might be greater success with those 15 pounds. I have a feeling the bacon and cheese might be getting in the way of your goals…The science behind it really impresses me! Good luck!

    • sbranch says:

      What do you eat for protein? Beans and rice? Because I love them, but what else? Also, I have the problem of Joe, a big meat guy. I’ve gotten him off bread but I think he might go AWOL if I do away with meat!

      • Sally Jenks Roth says:

        Susan, did you know that many foods contain good amounts of protein, not just beans? We don’t eat meat and my husband avoids dairy also. A nutritionist told us that a bowl of oatmeal contains about half of the protein we need (not want) for a whole day. Broccoli has plenty too, and quinoa and…. more. Try a plant-based diet and if you don’t want to do it all at once, read VB6 (Vegan Before 6pm), written by a food reviewer. I started that way, lots of great recipes too.

        • sbranch says:

          I’ve tried it, I went 8 years without meat, chicken, or fish . . . just veg! I think I would do it again if I could get Joe on my side.

          • Carol Stephanson says:

            At my house, if I make delicious plant-based meals and put them in front of him, they get scarfed (Canadian expression?) down and very appreciated….Basically, most of us will pretty much eat what’s easily available! I recommend Jane Esselstyn’s youtube channel, where she cooks with her 87 year old mother!

          • sbranch says:

            Joe is such an amazing cook. And since he stopped working at the restaurant, he has basically taken over the kitchen, against everything I stand for! I’m blessed in many ways, this included, but I figured it was the least I could do… he loves pittering around out there!

      • Jacque Fisher says:

        Hi, Susan,
        There’s a great article on the website Healthline: Nutrition about animal versus plant protein sources. I think you’d find it interesting and informative. There are benefits to both… Hubby and I lean heavily toward plant protein, but we still enjoy pork and fish (wild caught) regularly. There’s a lot of controversy around red meat increasing risk for various cancers. Everyone must decide for themselves, but we ‘steer’ clear from all red meat. (Okay, pun intended…)
        Glad your intermittent fasting is working for you!

        • sbranch says:

          Yeah, I feel like I have read so much! But more than anything, staying away from sugar and white flour seems to be the advice that goes through it all! Tuna sandwich, tomato, onion, spinach … for lunch, no bread … 💖💖💖

      • Jacque Fisher says:

        PS I just learned that pork falls in the category of “red meat”! I had no idea. Seems more like white to me… Well, I must reconsider how much pork I consume. Just wanted to amend my previous comment. As a dear friend of mine says, “Every day’s a school day!”

        • sbranch says:

          Definitely! That’s what makes it fun! I’m constantly learning new things when it comes to … I was going to say “food” … but basically, everything!😂

  75. Kathy+W says:

    Hi Susan! Love this post so much (as usual)! So much happiness and news! We were lucky enough to see Hamilton in Detroit in 2019. Loved it so much & watched the movie on Disney during the pandemic. Glad you loved it too. I knew you would! We are watching Ted Lasso right now too. Halfway through the 2nd season. We like it. Believe!
    I’m really enjoying using my new beautiful birthday mug even though my birthday isn’t until September. And my Queen Elizabeth mug is front & center in my china cabinet. I treasure it.
    Take care. Glad you are eating healthy & feeling well.

    Love, Kathy W

  76. Barbara Anne says:

    It’s time to soar (figuratively speaking, of course) … !

    AMIL said they way to lose weight is slowly and just to eat a bit less and move a bit more. I’ve been having soup and crackers for dinner each night for 10 dinners – not aiming to lose weight – and have lost 4 lb. Not bad!

    Oh, for the energy to garden. Sigh!

  77. Jacque Fisher says:

    Dear Susan, I think this is the first time I’ve stopped and read all the comments from your legion of fans. And your reply to each and every one!! How do you do it??: Create beautiful art, set a beautiful table, garden, take walks, read lots of books, WRITE wonderful books, watch television, iron your tablecloths, stop and smell the roses…AND reply to every person who comments on your blog! Spill the beans: what’s your secret? Do you not sleep? Have you found a way to fit more than 24 hours in a day? Do tell!
    A million thanks for the joy you bring to the world. Your positivity is positively contagious! I always aspire to be a better person after spending some time with you via Willard… 😉

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha… Sometimes I’m better than others! I love to read the comments, and connect back . . . you can see why! But I don’t always get to! I just stay busy and it LOOKS like I get a lot done! Thank you so much Jacque . . . lovely to hear from you!😘

      • Jacque Fisher says:

        So you’re saying it’s all smoke and mirrors? Ha! I don’t believe it! I think you have found a way to clone yourself… Now THAT would explain everything! I’m off to find my copy of A Fine Romance and start rereading it. Going to need some serious happy reading (is that an oxymoron?) after slogging through the wonderful but demanding Wolf Hall trilogy by Hilary Mantel, a fictionalized narrative about Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in Henry VIII’s court. Nearly done…

  78. Linda, near Seattle says:

    Hello Susan, I just saw the message about this new Willard today, and what a special birthday surprise for me. I loved every word. The first book of yours that I read was, “A Fine Romance”. Having visited England more than once, I was hooked as I savored every page. I have read and re-read each of the books in this trilogy, and will read them again. The photos of you in your garden speak volumes to me. Here, near Seattle, we went from Winter to Summer and felt like we skipped Spring. Now the prediction is for cool weather this weekend. That works for me, as there is work to be done in the gardens, and I am not so fond of being out there when it is HOT! You inspire me with every post you share, and I want you to know that I am blessed by your word and pictures – recipes, too. Work as a nurse can be tough these days, and we all need to think of something happy each day. Keep up the good work, Susan.
    And, given that I no longer have a pet, give Jack a hug from me.

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Linda!!!🥳 Thank you so much for your sweet words. Also, for what you do. Nursing is such a meaningful job, but tough and everyone should send our nurses a little prayer!💖💖💖 Mine, to you, with love. xoxoxo

  79. Kay in Wisconsin says:

    Love seeing all the pictures of the beautiful flowers around your area and your gorgeous garden. And I’ve always been envious that your daily walk ends at the seashore! My dear husband just returned from a ten day business trip to Thailand and Singapore and brought back what he thought was a cold. Now we both have Covid albeit pretty mild cases much like bad colds. Using my down time to re-watch – yet again – Ted Lasso. Such a funny, touching series. Each time I watch I learn something new about one of the characters.

    So glad you did watch the version of “Hamilton” they filmed to memorialize the original cast. Although we saw Lin’s first musical, “In the Heights” here put on by our Milwaukee Rep, we knew we’d never see it on Broadway. We subscribed to Disney as soon as they announced it was coming and have watched it many times in the years since. I think it’s even better than seeing it in the theater since the camera also takes you right on stage with the actors. I’m retired now but when I was working (at a university law school), I would play the soundtrack in its entirety throughout the day to the delight of my student workers. By the time we would get to “The Room Where It Happens,” we would all be practically dancing down the hallway.

    • sbranch says:

      I bet! 😂 How wonderful Kay! That’s another gift for those kids! Sorry about Covid! Lots of people have it here too. I thought we were done! Get well soon! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

  80. Julana ys says:

    Thank you for another window into the beauty of the Island, Susan. So interesting to learn Anne Frank received her diary on June 12. If you follow Eleanor Parker, the medievalist who wrote Winters in the World (journey through the Anglo-Saxon year), you recently read that June 11 was St. Barnabas Day on the old calendar, and the longest day of the year. So Anne received her diary the day the light begins to fade, in the old way of reckoning. So poignant, to read the quote about darkness.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, interesting! Yes, Anne’s hope for the future is so touching. She was a true believer and despite everything, she left behind the most amazing gift of all . . . she gave the world light.💞

  81. Jill says:

    Thank you so much for this Willard! There are so many things I want to comment on, so I’ll try to limit it to 2 or 3, hopefully. My very favorite book of yours is “Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams.” It was my first one and I was captivated when I saw it with those beautiful handwritten pages and paintings. I loved your little Holly Lodge. I loved how your neighbors let you have 2 kittens. I loved your discovery of Gladys Taber and your first fall there. I loved your meeting John Madden and last, but certainly not least, the beginning of your relationship with Joe. I have re-read it twice.

    The story of the dime dated the year your father was born that you found next to his grave gave me shivers. What an amazing find, and it makes a beautiful pendant. I love your little garden and wish I could have one like it. Maybe someday, but it would take a lot of work. Our backyard is v not very level and I’m afraid we’d have to have an excavator in to level it!

    And lastly, the food you’re preparing looks yummy! I actually had a nutritionist friend tell me about intermittent fasting the other day. I’m considering it, but it would be hard. But probably not as hard on my body as carrying 35 extra pounds around! Thank you for such a bright start to my morning. The day my Willard arrives is truly a red letter day!

    • sbranch says:

      Do it slowly . . . I accidentally did it that way . . . started out by cutting my calories, but soon I began eating dinner somewhere around 4 to 6, and then having breakfast/lunch as late as possible around 10 or 11 (NEVER missed breakfast before, but I find I can wait longer and longer) ~ and now, knock on wood, I get full much faster than I used to!❌⭕️ Good Luck!

  82. Debby Moreau says:

    I posted a comment above that has not yet been moderated. Did I say something wrong?

    • sbranch says:

      I doubt it!😂 I’m just late going through them . . . I want to say hello to everyone, and it takes time!❌⭕️

  83. Libby Gleason says:

    Hi Susan! My family just got back from a trip to Europe. We visited Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam & London, as well as some small towns in Germany and Denmark. It was a bucket list trip. My mom and I got to scatter some of my dad’s ashes in the small town his ancestors were from in Denmark. My girls got to have a picnic while wearing berets under the Eiffel tower, my husband got to see the Mona Lisa, and we got to go to church in Westminster Abbey . . . just to name a few. We also got to go into Anne Frank’s annex in Amsterdam. It was an overwhelmingly, profound experience. I had not heard of the series about Miep. We are very eager to watch it. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • sbranch says:

      What an amazing TRIP!👏👏👏 It sounds like you didn’t miss a thing! I just LOVE Westminster Abbey . . . what a magnificent piece of art it is!❤️ Welcome Home!

  84. Judy Young says:

    I didn’t receive an early notification that there was a new blog post up like I usually do, but Zi luckily just happened across it. It’s such fun to find a quiet spot and a cup of tea (my favorite is black currant) and read your new Willard. It did not disappoint and I wanted to tell you that I have received my Queen mug and I LOVE it!! I’m an English girl who has lived here for over 50 years and I’m still such a fan of Britain. I think the likeness of the Queen is remarkable and I will cherish it in my collection of your mugs. I think this one makes 12!! I have donated all my other mugs and only use yours. I re-read A Fine Romance, Fairy Tale Girl Isle of Fresms every year. They are soo comforting and I never tire of them. They had better bury me with them! Question: are you still working on the Enchanted book of your travels to England and Scotland? I’m sure all the girlfriends are anxiously awaiting to read it. I know I am!

    • sbranch says:

      I hope to get back to it. I’m working on the 2025 calendars right now!! I still have Distilled Genius II to finish too! Eeek!!!I’m so happy you love your cup!!!🥰💞💞💞

  85. ~k says:

    ?Tv series/movie yet?

    • sbranch says:

      Nothing. She checks in every so often, little nibbles here and there, but nothing so far!❌⭕️

  86. Dayna says:

    Oh Susan, what a beautiful Willard. Your little haven is showing off with the exuberance of spring! I can almost smell the wisteria! You crammed so much to love into this. ❤️ the pics of you & Joe in your garden, the magic & beautiful result of the dime. I love the Anne Frank book recommendation & also Ted Lasso which I’m sorry to say, haven’t watched yet. I was so curious to see what you thought of Hamilton. So happy you loved it! Safe to say I was completely obsessed & had to find out everything I could. A work of original American art & a treasure, as is LMM❣️THAT CAST! They did a twitter cast watch party that was hysterical on the weekend it opened on Disney+ Phillipa Sue is now on broadway in Camelot. Would love to see that! LMM had some stuff written & decided to try out the 1st song at a White House spoken word night at the invitation of the Obama’s after they saw “In The Heights”. You can see it on YouTube. He seemed nervous & the audience didn’t know what to think at first but you can see everyone really get into it. It’s cute. Also look up the companion book Hamilton The Revolution. It is behind the scenes info of how it came together with pics. Finally this musical was so poignant for me during the last election cycle, particularly the wonderful Chris Jackson’s “One Last Time” as George Washington. Really brought home what a monumental act that was. 😭 so many gems. “History has its eyes on you” & lyrics of “Dear Theodosia.” So incredibly special. Thanks as always Sue. Have a magical summer! Dayna in So Cal

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for all the great reminders of Hamilton, Dayna . . . I think I need to go watch it again . . . I love wallowing in it!💖👏👏👏

  87. Ginny Evans says:

    I loved this post Susan! What a welcome to June-with flowers and gardens and sea shore shots! The BeeGee’s music brought me to tears! Not sure why, but it brought back such wonderful memories of when I met my hubby over 50 years ago. I miss those times–but I’m glad you write GOOD NEWS! It brightens my spirits. Your uplifting quotes and thoughts help me stay strong for our youngest daughter (well, 43), who lives with us along with our precious 2 yr old grandson. She is trying SO hard to make a life for herself after an abusive relationship, so she can live on her own again. She is all about those positive vibes, when sometimes all I can see is the troubles and hardship. Thank you for keeping my spirits lifted and helping me bring more positivity to our home. Life can be tough, be we can choose joy and beauty!

    I love your books and look forward to all the others you have in you to write. With love, Ginny-whose heart is in Nova Scotia, but whose feet are in Texas

    • sbranch says:

      Has your daughter read Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams . . . it’s my starting over story, but I’ve found they all have quite a lot in common. That feeling of now what? It might help her find her way — it’s the book I wished I could find back then. But when I couldn’t, I decided to write one! Blessings on you Ginny! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

      • Ginny Evans says:

        Thanks for your personal and caring response, Susan. I’ll have to suggest your book as encouragement. In today’s expensive world, I think she needs a “Joe” in her life! Maybe God has one in the wings? I don’t know how she can make it by herself, while trying to support a little one, unless she was a professional of some kind. But we keep trying to be supportive and that means keeping MY spirits up. Thanks again for all the time you spend giving all of us inspiration!

        If you have facebook, you can see her under “Jill Evans Realty.”

        • sbranch says:

          I hope she does find her Joe! I was waaaay too reliant on my first husband. Learning to live on my own is what I think made Joe find me. All my very best to you and your family, and that little grandchild of yours!💖💖💖

  88. Just remembering the day A Fine Romance arrived in the mail ten years ago – I pretty much stopped everything and sat in a chair until I’d finished it (a much needed break from solo parenting my five kids that summer while my husband was away). Still re-reading it and the other two. Love them so much

    • sbranch says:

      The should put a little recording button here like we have on texting so you could hear me go Ahhhhhhhh reading your sweet comment Heather. Thank you!💖

  89. Dianne says:

    Thank you, as always, for the fun little respite from workaday life that Willard is. I love them. BTW, your niece is adorable!

  90. FayE in CA! says:

    Jack knows what to look for on his explorations! My heart melted when I read “bee feet and bunny whiskers”…great name for a children’s book!

    Good to know you are well, expanding your actively curious mind, and thriving doing what you love! I can not believe that you are working on the 2025 calendars. Seems like yesterday we were all counting down to the unknown of the big year 2000…how can it be 23 years later already???

    You have accomplished 100 years in those 23, my dear! I do not know anyone who gets so much accomplished in each day. Your zest for life is enviable.

    My cups arrived, thank you. Cannot wait to gift the Santa cup to my best friend. She is a Santa lover, like me! Bought a second Santa cup for myself. I would be SO sad if my Santa cup broke, so having second, just in cases, makes me happy. OH, speaking of Santa, here is your requested reminder for your Mrs. Claus cup…time for the woman behind the man to get her just dues, for sure. Your “Susan Claus” is beyond perfection. Time to check this task on your list of to-dos.

    Thanks for taking the time to chat. Continued luck finding your perfect body inside your cozy one!!! Pet Jack and hi to Joe.


    • sbranch says:

      Not perfect . . . just one with a vague resemblance of a waistline, for old times sake! 🤣 We accidentally broke our bird cup the other day. I almost had a heart attack … but I had done what you do… I had an extra, my last, so we have to very very nice to this cup!! Yes! Mrs. Claus!! Love it! Thank you FayE!!!

  91. Tammy says:

    Your posts are always so lovely to enjoy. A real treasure and so relaxing to read. Here in Wisconsin the weather is so up and down. I think it was hotter in May than it has been in June. Enjoying our many flower gardens and peony season is in full bloom here. My absolute favorite time but passes so quickly. You need to post more often! ha. ha. Life is busy.

    • sbranch says:

      I agree! The time is just tearing by!!!💞

    • MargotB in Navarre says:

      I don’t miss Wisconsin weather, but I do miss peonies and lilacs!! The grocery store had bouquets of pink peonies. Sniff ahh 😌

  92. Mitty says:

    I found A Fine Romance in our public library and now own it. I’ve read it repeatedly–it helps me go to my happy place. Sometimes you and I are leading parallel lives in our reading–Amor Towles, Nancy Mitford, Lin Manuel Miranda, Jane Austen (of course), Barbara Pym…Have you read Middlemarch by George Eliot? Highly recommend.
    Loved your picture of the deer in the road. We saw a young buck grazing in the middle of our meadow yesterday morning!
    Had to laugh at your remark about spinach. One of our favorite breakfasts: saute 1/2 a medium onion in olive oil, add a bunch of chopped fresh spinach and stir until wilted, scramble in 4 eggs (to serve two people). I stir in some smoky paprika as well. We heat up some nixtamalized corn tortillas to have with it. Yum!
    Have a lovely day!

  93. Pat says:

    I loved seeing the necklace you made from the dime you found at your dad’s grave. I too have a necklace made from a 1945 liberty dime from my brother’s collection. He was an avid coin collector (and an avid bird watcher). I took a picture (not nearly as good as your picture), but couldn’t figure out how to send it to you. Have a great day!

  94. Ann D in Tennessee says:

    Finally reading this a few days after the fact. Just a couple of comments.

    Our fathers were born the same year. Daddy would have been 100 years old on June 1st. He’s been gone 19 years now and I still miss him!

    Thank you for the recommendation of “A Small Light”. I was able to visit the Anne Frank house in May while in Amsterdam (such a moving experience 😥) and I’m currently rereading her diary. I’ll look forward to watching this series as well.

    Glad you enjoyed both “Hamilton” and “Ted Lasso”. I could have done without about 95% of the swearing in TL but loved the sweet storyline. There are rumors of spinoffs swirling but I don’t think it would be the same without Ted.

    That’s all. Always enjoy your updates from Martha’s Vineyard. Hope to visit the island someday.

    • sbranch says:

      My dad too! 100 on August 5! Remembering today how I’d ask him a question and he’d say, “Well, grasshopper . . .” Thing about Ted Lasso is that is a perfect tied in a bow package of kindness. Hate to see it be anything but what it is!!! 💞

  95. FayE in CA! says:

    Your Willards are always wonderful with so much to love and comment on. I neglected to mention two things in my earlier comment… parts of this blog that tugged hard at my heart.

    I was absolutely astounded seeing the gorgeous rebinding of your journal. I would love to visit their workplace! You, of all people, will cherish their FINE workmanship! Also, I did a sloppy-drool over your Dad’s love via the found dime. The jeweler did a magnificent job setting the dime and it truly, truly is a treasure of your lifetime. ZOWIE…that dime was meant to be found by you, for sure.

    YOU are a sundae in a thick, soda fountain glass; a ray of sunshine seen on rainy days; an iron that smooths out wrinkles in our days; a gardener who tends the weeds in each Girlfriend’s psyche; the living definition of joy, productivity, love and friendship. Yep, YOU, dear Susan Branch, are a treasure to everyone who experiences the wonder of you!!! As always, we thank you for sharing and caring.

    My Grayson is having a Susan Branch kind of day…happy-happy, meow-chatting while tossing his mice all over, trying to open a kitchen cabinet and batting at a bell!! Funny and wonderful to see the kitten awaken in my 15-year-old furry!! Like Jack, a joyful, furry friend each and every day.

    ‘Til the next time…protective arms around you, Joe AND Jack.

    • sbranch says:

      Today is Father’s Day … around my neck is that dime, and here we are saying hello to you FayE!💖💖💖💖💖

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Ditto to everything you said, FayE !! Is your Grayson named for the whale in the so-named book? A California girl swimmer who has an intimate meeting with a whale on the coast near Long Beach.
      Debbie in Maine

  96. Debbie Boerger says:

    Yesterday we had the first blooms open on one of the peonys, we have 5 bushes. I brought them in and put them in a vase. Came downstairs to them, fully opened and having that very slight aroma. I know you aren’t a fan of that smell, Dear Lady, but I understand. The French lilac is just now at peak. Boy, weeks of cool, sunless days really did make a difference.
    We had such a wonderful time with my old neighbor and her family. We actually had some sun for our dinner in Hulls Cove, The Chart Room. If you come to Bar Harbor, it’s a wonderful place with lots of indoor and outdoor seating. But make a reservation! The “Season” is starting to get into high gear.
    And…God Save the Queen!! 😉
    Debbie in misty, rainy Maine

    • sbranch says:

      No sun here today, sweater weather!! I think I will cheer since soon it will become hot and humid, number one and two of my least favorite weathers! Enjoy dear Debbie! 💞

  97. Dezi says:

    Oh, happy me! I went to your blog to look for a good read and voila! A new post! I loved it, and as a fellow keto dieter, is that a word? Lol.
    NOW, Just from my own experience, if you give up all dairy, not eggs, just cow dairy, you will lose EVERYTHING, even boobs. But I just love cream in my tea too much and swiss cheese? Hello!! How can I live without that!? So I am resigning myself to be happy at 135, as my hubby is happy no matter. Without dairy I got down to my pre wedding weight, of 120. But I am happier with cream tea! ❤️👍🫖🫖🫖🫖🫖🫖

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, milk in my tea. I don’t eat much other dairy, but I am not giving up milk. I already gave up honey (99% of the time!)! Without bread there’s no really good place to put the butter! I think cutting down to two meals a day is going to be my cup of tea . . . it’s easier than I expected!

  98. Denise Hyde says:

    Absolutely loved the June blog post!!! I love them all, actually. The Wisteria are awesome! So are the fresh fruits and Caesar Salad with lobster on top–Wow :). I agree with your intermittent fasting comments–weight loss at 72 (in my case) is harder!!! So glad you found that 1923 dime!!! I also want to see Hamilton!!! Have a lovely summer!!!!!

  99. Denise Hyde says:

    Oh, I also thought A Small Light was so very well done!!!!!! So grateful that aired!

  100. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…
    PLEASE publish your diary for us!!!

    The obsession with you is real! For ALLLLLLL the inspiration and motivation you give. And the LOVE!

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