Here comes summer


If you're familiar with my SUMMER BOOK, you might remember I included directions for building this garden in that book. When we decided to spend more time in California and bought a house here, Martha's Vineyardpretty much the first thing Joe did is go out and build me another picket-fence garden. I couldn't live without it so now we have one on both coasts!

The garden isn't that big, which is good, because it's not too much work. It's surprising how much fits into a little spot; tomatoes and swiss chard, spinach, lemon cucumbers; all kinds of herbs, basil, and sage; and California Gardeneven strawberries -- my favorite "Just Joey" roses, catmint, and foxglove too. The bird bath in the center is the perfect thing; this photo was taken right through our living-room window, so at the end of the day, because that's when they come to freshen up, I get to be a bird voyeur, and watch them flutter and flitter and throw the water around.

Feed Birds

Bird Bath

I know lots of you are planning your gardens this year, and I want to remind you not to forget to plant lemon thyme! It is the MOST delicious herb, wonderful in practically everything. Another great herb to grow is chives; which come back every year; mine are already getting so big this year they're taking over my bee skep! They have lovely, edible purple flowers; and the same plants I put into my island garden 20 years ago still come up faithfully every year!

To plant a seed is a hopeful deed.

Bee Hive hut

Just in time for MOTHER'S DAY we got in a new shipment of BEE SKEPS, we keep running out of them, because, as you can see, they are darling in the garden. We also got in our brand new, never before seen 8x8 post-bound SCRAPBOOK. It has an opening on the cover so you can put in your own photograph; it comes with coordinated papers and six pages of embellishments and stickers, more than 250 individual pieces. It's great for a special subject like a vacation, or an event, like a graduation, or a new baby; or a Memory Book about you and your mom, or for Grandma and the grandchildren.heart


We also have a new HEART-SHAPED SPRING FORM PAN; it comes with my world-renown flourless chocolate cake recipe, and I think, if you made one for your mom it just might make her day.heart


We found another CAKE MOLD to take you through the summer in positive cuteness. The mold makes a cone out of cake; and then you add a scoop of ice cream to the top, and there it is, cake and ice cream that looks like an ice cream cone! Check it out, it's adorable.heart


Ice cream

In the spirit of springtime and strawberry season; ice cream cones, and Mother's Day, here is my Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream recipe for you. So easy! All you need is 2 c. whole milk, 2 c. heavy cream, 1 1/4c. sugar, and 1 1/2c. pureed fresh ripe strawberries. Bring milk and cream just to boiling point. Remove from heat, add 3/4 c. sugar; stir to dissolve. Cool. Puree the strawberries in a food processor until liquid. Add the rest of the sugar (1/2c.) to puree and stir. Blend milk mixture with the puree, taste for sweetness and freeze in ice cream maker. Serve. Bask in applause from adoring family. (Makes 3 pints)

Abraham Lincoln quote

Me and my mom

I'm going to close today by telling you a few of the things my mom did to make my life wonderful. She was only 17 when I was born, and she ended up being the mother of 8 children. What she wanted was her own baseball team, but instead she got us, something a wee bit less civilized, if you can imagine that. She sang constantly around the house, loved Shirley Temple (which is why I know all the words to The Good Ship Lollypop), taught us how to play poker, When there were only sixmade lemonade for our lemonade stands, tightened roller skates around my saddle shoes with a key, made clothes for my Terri Lee doll, taught me to knit and sew and embroider, took us to swimming lessons, made constant birthday cakes, taught us how to dance, took us camping in the high mountains Children everywherewith all the stars, and cooked us dinner every night. And that's just the beginning. I wouldn't want to think about how my life might have been if she wasn't the first face I saw every morning the whole time I was growing up. She was Queen of the Little Things, she gave us all the stuff that makes life important; she is all love all the time.

Boys day in the pool

Sometimes I don't think moms get recognized enough for the amazing job they do. That's one reason I started writing books, to thank my mom and all moms for all the everyday moments that make up a lifetime of good memories.

So Happy Mother's Day and Happy Summer, and Happy Earth Day too, to all the loving, caring, and giving women, you are truly the backbone and the heartbeat of the world!heart

With love from the heart of the home & me...Susan Branch


PS One fast and easy thing you could give the moms in your life is this Newsletter . . . just click on the World and sign them up; they'll get their first one in about a month...

Enjoy springtime!