Two Weeks from Today!

Only two weeks from today until we sail away to England!!! This comment sends butterflies through my stomach.  We are so excited! Still a lot to do to get ready, but there is starting to be a little problem. Someone is too cute to leave behind.  Guess who?

This is what it looked like yesterday when we drove out of the driveway.

Jack, who is my shadow and follows me everywhere I go (when he is not following Joe everywhere he goes!); who, when we are having dinner, has his own chair where he sleeps while we eat; he, who loves us SO MUCH . . .  runs to the window to watch us go.

. . . and I have to make Joe stop the car.

So I can tell the cat how darling he is and take his picture.

And promise him we’ll be back.

He rolls over to say, “Come back in here and get me”…. isn’t that what it looks like to you?  That he is asking to go with us?  It’s all I can do not to go get him.  It is so hard to drive away, and we were just going to the market!!  Now we are going away for two months.  How will we get out the driveway?  What will become of my little petty pet????  This is the last day I’m going to think about it.  In fact, I am changing the subject right now.

Happy Earth Day Weekend Girlfriends!  How appropriate that we on Martha’s Vineyard (and it looks like most of the East Coast),  are expecting a Nor’easter, a huge blowy rainstorm, on Sunday.  Thank you!!!  Everyone’s happy about it because we’ve had no rain for a long time and our trees want the good deep drenching that only Mother Nature can provide.  Are you doing anything special to celebrate?

We’ll probably be inside and make a fire; I can roll some more yarn and read my WONDERFUL book (loving it so much, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton); we’ll do what we do every day now, prepare to go: pack art supplies, get shoes together, pick up sweaters from the cleaners, gather little piles of like things all over the house; plan for mail pickup, clean out the fridge, get the Adirondack chairs out of the barn and onto the lawn; and Joe is still working on the never-ending job of the rose arbor.  (He actually rebuilt one already, but then the other one started to fall down.  He’s now getting to be a professional rose arbor installation person.)

But at least he’s not in it alone.  And, while my two men are busy, I’ve been painting and designing, getting everything the studio will need from me while I’m away, finished and done.  Makes it so much easier when the Jack is not chewing on the other end of my paint brush, walking across my art, or dropping a jingle-ball on my lap!  I act like I’m complaining, but he is the light of my life.  Look at this little baby!

Remember how he looked the first day we brought him home?

And then, there is this little sweetheart . . . the lady of our cat world.  But here I am, back at the kitties, when all I really want to do is wish you a wonderful weekend!  Here’s my favorite piece of art to celebrate the day . . . and here’s just one tiny corner of what makes where we live such a miracle. XOXO

 

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300 Responses to Two Weeks from Today!

  1. Elizabeth says:

    My cat Fletcher is lying between my legs as I read this. He sleeps on my pillow at night. He is one of four kitties, all from the shelter, and 2 dogs…I don’t think I could bear to leave them, you are brave! Just think, you’re away earning kibble money for them!

  2. Jeanie in Latham, NY says:

    Bon voyage on your sailing “across the pond” on the great ship!
    I know how hard it is to leave the kitties (I have four home cats plus three guest cats), but I read somewhere that cats don’t have a sense of time passing, so maybe yours will feel like you have only gone out for a day trip! You might want to leave a few new toys for the kitty companion to give the fur friends every once in a while. You should also leave a piece of clothing you have worn where they sleep to keep them comfy. Be sure to take pictures of British cats. There is a great children’s book entitled Six Dinner Sid about an English cat who secretly visits many houses for dinner every day. Have fun!

  3. Diane says:

    Oh, I totally understand! I am leaving for England in 5 days and the only thing I hate about traveling is leaving my kitties! :( It breaks my heart, especially because one of my kitties, Henry is a “Mamma’s Boy” like your Jack. I give you credit for leaving them for 2 months. As much as I love to travel, I don’t think I could stay away from them that long! :( I am so lucky that my neighbor who is a real animal lover like me will come in to feed them, so at least they get to stay safe & comfy at home. Well, be brave, and don’t look back when you’re pulling out of the driveway! By the way, what is girl kitty’s name? She is so pretty- what a big , beautiful girl!

  4. Mia Sophia says:

    Hi Susan…I was never able to become a cat person due to my terrible allergies to cats when I was young…feathers too! So I became a horse and dog person instead! But, I have to say…I am “in love” with little Boy Jack. He is just the cutest thing EVER! Maybe he reminds me of my husband of 30 years who also had a mustache when we first met. I know how difficult it will be to walk out the door ( I have anxiety even thinking about it) but England calls and hopefully their caretaker will make a good substitue while you are away…and you will have something WONDERFUL waiting for you when you return. “Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticism.”

  5. Mieke says:

    I just read “the forgotten garden” too and handed it to my 17yrs old daugther , who loves it too! I’m always pleased when we find books we both enjoy….now it’ll go to my other 3 daugthers!!

  6. Pam says:

    Jack just melts your heart! Hope the packing is going well, the time will go really quickly between now and your departure I’m sure. Hope you have a cosy Sunday sheltered from the weather you are expecting, we are celebrating David’s birthday that day so are going out for lunch :)

  7. carmel says:

    I had the same thought as Stephanie. I think Skype would be good idea to try, not only for Jack, but you would be able to see him too. Jack has taken my heart. I really believe he knows he’s not only been rescued, but wants to return that kindness and love. I always look for a photo of Girl Kitty when you feature Jack. She’s a beauty and a faithful family member. Continue to enjoy all the exciting anticipation! You and Joe prepare like I do. Piles work! Thanks so much for featuring Earth Day so beautifully.

  8. judi says:

    Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it. All will be fine. You will be gathering many new beautiful memories and your kitties will too.

    Love your art/creative area :)

  9. Two weeks! Can’t believe it! Seems like yesterday when you told us we were all going to England! Can’t wait to see it from your eyes! It’s going to be so exciting, gardens, shops, hills, sheep, Beatrix Potter homes and hills! Oooh! But, it is so hard to leave our beloved animals, my cat Gwinny is sitting on her pillow next to me at my desk.

    xoxo
    Tweet tweet!

    • Oh, and I just set a Jack at the window picture as my background this morning, I love seeing Jack peek out the window with the lace curtain at his side, what would make it even better would be Girl Kitty sitting there as well! Love how Jack follows you or Joe around, love following you everywhere! Girl Kitty is such a sweety! Love your Earth Day pictures and sayings. You always find the most amazing quotes!
      Enjoy your planning!

      Jeannie

  10. Donna Bradley says:

    Hi Susan!
    That little Jack couldn’t be any cuter! Through all the precious pictures you take of him we can sense his irresistible personality. He’ll be there waiting for you when you get back home. I am so thrilled you are going to share your trip with us by way of your wonderful blog. I have never been on a cruise, so this will be a chance of a lifetime for me too! Have a grand adventure! Thank you for always making my day brighter! Love from Texas~Donna

  11. Karen C says:

    Susan,
    Enjoyed your blog this morning! (as always) The Murmuration video was incredible! Have you ever seen that many starlings? Thank you for sharing all of this with us. Happy Earth Day to you too! Remember as the wind is blowing, it’s Nature’s pruning. Looking forward to “our” trip to England!

  12. Sheila Mainous says:

    Oh, how I sympathize with you!! My little rescue cat is the same way. My husband tells me that when I leave, he runs to the door of the screen porch and meows, meows till I come back….then he won’t have anything to do with me!! I tell him that if he missed me that much, he should at least give me a hello back kiss!

  13. Catherine says:

    Jack is quite the charmer. I don’t know if you should leave him to his own devices!

  14. Angela says:

    Hi Susan,
    I was showing the pictures of Jack to my husband. I pointed to Jack’s “mustache” and my husband said it makes him the Hercule Poirot of the cat world. What do you think?
    I hope you have a lovely, lovely time on your trip. I’m looking forward to the adventure you have in store for us. You will set sail the day before our 11th wedding anniversary! So the timing is perfect. Thanks for taking us along!

    • sbranch says:

      A few posts back I showed a photo of Hercule Poirot next to a picture of Jack and it was the mirror image! Happy 11th Anniversary!

  15. Judy says:

    Susan – I was wondering if you would share the brand name of the water colors in your picture with the supplies. Where can they be purchased? Thanks so much! Have a great time on your adventure across the pond! Judy

    • sbranch says:

      You can get them at Michaels Crafts and they’re very inexpensive . . . called “Artist’s Loft.” Hope they still have them!

  16. Caroline C. says:

    I completely understand how hard it is to leave a beloved pet(s). I once took a job just so I could be near my house and I could come home at lunch to walk my sweet dog! I know this is difficult, but be brave, and as long as you have someone wonderful taking care of the Kitties all should be well.

  17. Cheryl Danley says:

    Oh, Susan, I know how you feel. I have a dog who is my shadow. I’ve caught her watching me drive away, off to work, out a window. It just tears at your heart. And, we’re heading off on a cruise on May 11th and I’m having terrible guilt in leaving her at a kennel. It’s going to be weird being able to walk freely for days on the ship without worrying that I might trip on the dog like I do at home! Anyway, have a great Earth Day! Plant a tree, pick some noxious weeds, pick up litter.

    • sbranch says:

      We just came back from the walk we go on every day, with our contribution to the weekend, a bag of roadside litter to deposit in our trash. It’s beautiful out there … hard to think that there’s a storm brewing.

  18. Betsy says:

    Have a wonderful wonderful time! I can’t wait until you take us to Beatrix Potter’s home! I was in England two years ago but never made it there. You are right about people being happy about the rain coming! My husband and I are doing a dance. We have a well and when we last checked on the veggie garden we planted we thought we heard the onions and radishes kicking up a fuss! And so they should. Remember to leave pictures of you and Joe for the kitty’s to look at while you are gone……I have a friend who does this and swears her kitty’s aren’t quite as angry at her when she returns!

  19. Jack says:

    I climbed up and checked out the hummingbird’s nest this morning and there were two tiny
    white eggs in there! Not big enough for breakfast, so I left them there.

    • Joan Lesmeister says:

      OMG Jack! I’ve only seen hummingbird nests & eggs at the San Diego Zoo! What a thrill to see them in your garden! Try chickens’ nests – you don’t usually have to climb a ladder, & the eggs might fill you up!! :)

  20. Karen V (Connecticut) says:

    Susan, I am so excited for you, your trip will be so wonderful. I know it’s hard to leave the babies, but don’t worry, you know that you’re leaving them in good hands and pets just like being in their own familiar surroundings, so you are doing it exactly right! We have kitties and doggies (and one fish), and we also have someone come in to take care of them and I always feel better knowing that they are safe and sound at home. You can always Skype when you get there, it will be fine! You will be having a wonderful adventure, which will make you and Joe happy, and when you return home, all that happiness will be passed on to Jack and Girl Kitty!
    I can’t wait to see your “reports” to us from England, we are planning our own trip there, my sister-in-law (who is English, grew up there), my daughter, and myself, just the girls! I will definitely be taking notes on all the fantastic places that you visit.
    Good luck with the packing and preparations, it’s a lot of work, but so worth it!
    Have a safe and fabulous trip, Bon Voyage!

  21. Dinahsoar says:

    I empathize with your sadness at leaving Jack behind. When we got our first cat–a tuxedo kitten–it about killed me to leave him for a few days while we went to the beach. We almost didn’t go. But in the end, we did. I was fine and so was he. And after that it was much easier. So go and believe that Jack Poirot will be just dandy..maybe he can do some sleuthing while you are away–giggle.

    And, one of the best parts for me about our trip to England? No Packing!…Yay–I so despise packing……from the hills of TN

  22. Nancy M. says:

    Girl Kitty is just beautiful! And Jack is such a sweetie….I would gladly kitty-sit for you! ;-)

  23. Francine says:

    That Jack is something else! I can see why he pulls on your heartstrings! I can’t wait for “our” trip!!! I’m as almost as excited as if I were really going! So kind of you to share your trip with us. Just about time to leave for our new granddaughter’s baptism! I frosted and decorated sugar cookies for the event! Have a great weekend!

  24. Jackie says:

    Dear Susan,

    Good luck….I can’t wait to see the post of when you drive out of the driveway with Jack in the window!!! Maybe you should just scrunch down in the seat and NOT look back…

    Have an absolutely fabulous time in England (my favorite European country and land of my relatives!) and just will wait for the posts as they come. Know you and Joe will love this very special time together.

  25. Mary Cunningham says:

    Happy Earth Day Weekend! Heard the “peepers” while out walking the dogs this morning, also a bullfrog at the pond next door! It is abundantly spring in Nashville ,Indiana! Very chilly today, went to breakfast at The Muddy Boots ,hit a few antique shops , such fun fir my 4 day weekend…Jack knows something is up, that’s why he is pulling out all of his extra cuteness! Maybe he and Girl Kitty will be besties when you get back! Can’t wait to go! :D

  26. Enikö says:

    Sue, you must be so excited! Those kitties are darling! Well, it’s a good time to go…the most glorious time of spring here will be over in two weeks & you’ll be back for the best of the beach weather…well-timed, my dear! I love you to bits!

  27. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Went to Barnes & Noble & there was a table of BEAUTIFUL Susan Branch items – of course, I had to buy the “Our Family Scrapbook” – so pretty!!! I wanted to shout out to everyone (kinda like K-Mart used to do) to come quick & buy, buy, buy all those wonderful books (I had the others already!)!!! They didn’t have the soccer mag. I went for – but I didn’t come out empty handed!!! xxooooxx

  28. Kathy H. says:

    I know you will have a wonderful trip. Last summer I was fortunate to meet up in England with an Australian friend who also loves all things English. Over the course of a month we visited 30 National Trust properties. We loved each one and regret that there are over 250 more we didn’t get to! Are you familiar with the Royal Oak Society, the American affiliate of the NT? And I hope you’ve read Susan Wittig Albert’s “Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter” which are set in Sawrey.

  29. Mrs. Wendy S. says:

    Oh my gosh Susan! My heart was wrenching a little bit with you just TALKING about leaving Jack and looking at the pictures of him watching you out the window. He is indeed a special friend. So, so sweet. Thanks for sharing your stories and pictures (and video!) of him.

    Can’t wait to tag along on your trip to England!

    Hugs,
    Wendy

  30. Barb says:

    Maybe I missed this, but who’s going to watch your sweet cats while you are away?

    …and, have a wonderful, fabulous trip! Looking forward to reading your posts all about your travels!!

  31. Barbara P says:

    I am reading the Forgotten Garden, too!! Isn’t it good!! Have a great vacation to England.

  32. Katharine says:

    We’re having a heatwave so I took a nap with the AC unit and ceiling fan blowing over me. My cat’s relaxed at my feet and near my head. I was enjoying the moment and was totally relaxed. I love moments like that!

    I’m excited for you and Joe, to visit England again. Besides Sweden, where my parents are from, I’d love to visit England. :)

  33. Okay, that’s it. Send Jack to me. I will take great care of him while you’re away – catnip, treats, daily brushings….. Not sure how my two fur babies will feel about it but let’s give it a shot. ;-)

  34. Kathie says:

    Is that James Herriot’s book in your picture….All Creature’s Great and Small? I do love him so much. I’ve bought a few of Gladys Taber’s books…Stillmeadow Sampler and Stillmeadow Road and Stillmeadow Cookbook. They are a little hard to find but I like reading them. I’m using the cookbook…copying her recipes that I have liked and tried into my SB Recipe Binders (a small one which I am going to give to my daughter; and a large one that I am working on for my son and daughter-in-law). When I was a girl, I had a riding instructor who was English. Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with England and watch a lot of English drama and mysteries. I especially like Cathryn Cookson, of late; and, as always, everything Agatha Christie. Have you read Maeve Binch? I think I’ve read almost all of her books. Jack and Girl Kitty will be okay. You will be able to talk to them from overseas, anyway, as I suppose Jack is learning to answer the phone, right? Spring has arrived in Odessa, here, at last. This is high desert prairie, though, so it doesn’t last long. But our garden is all ready to plant and my porch garden pots are all filled with fresh, good topsoil. I so look forward to summer, each year. Regards, Kathie

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, that is James Herriot’s book, we are going to look at his house if possible, so I thought I would bring it along. Return it to the scene of the crime. I love it so much. It sounds like we are kindred spirits!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Ohhhh…take pictures, if you can, of his house and the countryside?!! I have all of his books, too–really enjoyed them…used to watch the TV show but never quite knew if it was filmed near where he really lived or not…thanks! :-)

  35. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    “Happy Earth Day” to our little Earth Princess! You truly are a good steward of Mother Earth! Your artwork, your writings, your actions (“Oh Little Jack!”), inspire and delight to the wonders and miracles of nature in our wonderful
    world! And thank goodness for Heaven AND Earth; because, three years ago today… my hero,first love of my life…my Dad, left an earth he loved so dearly, for Heaven. He made my world a better place and Oh, how he loved everything of Nature!!! How fitting…Earth Day! He was also an artist and knew my affection for everything “Susan!” Your books (my memories and daydreams), my knitting,and my family stories, were my “friends” as I sat next to my Dad at all those L…O…N…G…chemo sessions. He is the definition of INSPIRATION! A beautiful, hardworking and simple man who valued patience,trust, and always saw the GOOD in everbody and everthing! I am blessed to have had my Dad…but, I wanted him for sooooo much longer!!! Well, why am I telling you all this? On November 17, 2009…his 67th Birthday…I felt so sad. It was evening and I started to “plunk” around on the computer (a novice computer user) and started to google my favorite things…Susan Branch…I found you…Tweeting from the Twain!!! You never knew I was riding along and yet you gave me something to look forward to! Every night I would ride along with you and the little “cast
    of characters” wishing I was BRAVE enough to “tweet” too and join the fun!
    And then, when you started your Blog……Aahhhhhh!!! It was like FINALLY getting
    a color t.v. as a kid!!! And now, that my four children have become young adults
    (scattered throughout this world), I am feeling a little befuddled at times and am trying to recreate my life! “Truly blessed”… to have been a mom who stayed home and I now work in the school district (but with never-ending budget cuts)
    ……I feel like I need some new and improved dreams!!! My kids still love a good
    carousel cake and who doesn’t mind recieving a letter postmarked North Pole!!!
    You have been a part of my life for, oh golly….since 1989?!!! And now I think my hubby might start to roll his eyes if I keep saying, “Ya know what Joe just did
    now…. *sigh*” Hehe! So many memories have been made and shared just
    because of YOU! And I wanted you to know how absolutely- perfectly-special
    you are to me! The world is a better place because of you Susan Branch!!!!!! What I say is true…. because nobody has ever-ever called me Pinocchio!!!
    “THANKYOU!THANKYOU!THANKYOU!” May God continue to Bless you Susan…and all that you hold dear!
    (Hey it’s Earth Day and I’m feeling quite semtimental and I must GUSH!!!
    XoXDawn P.S. Tomorrow is my 29th wedding anniversary…
    and I am just wondering if my husband is asking himself,
    “What would Joe do?” : .D

    • sbranch says:

      Hello Sweetie, how darling you are; not knowing of course, but loving that I’ve been there with you … that’s the magic of it all. A big compliment to hear my blog is like getting a color TV :-) LOL! I remember that feeling! I love hearing about your dad, how lucky you were to have someone like that inspiring your life!!! Happy Happy Anniversary, be sure to tell your husband that I say Hello to you both, have a wonderful day!!! xoxo Susan

  36. Wow! It’s getting closer and closer Susan! How excited you must be getting!!! Well yes you are of course, as I can tell by what you’re putting in the posts! :)
    But I think I’d be soooo worried that your kitties, esp Jack, would forget and miss me after 2 months away! :( x

  37. oops! sorry….should read ‘But I think if it were me, I’d be soooo worried that my kitties, esp Jack, would forget and miss me etc! :)

  38. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    Just saw on the news that the east coast is getting hammered with a Spring storm. Hope you are safe and snug. Its a good time to do “inside” work – like PACKING!!
    BTW… animals don’t understand time. You’ll be gone 2 months and when you walk through the door Jack and Girl Kitty will look and say “oh! there you are!” And they’ll be wrapping themselves around you with their motor boats on full blast!! Go and ENJOY YOURSELVES!!
    xoxo Have a Marvelous Monday!

  39. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    That video of the starling murmuration (new word for me!) was truly amazing. I’m still sitting here stunned.

  40. Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

    Good morning Susan! Hope that you’re not blowing away in the storm & that rain is falling to relieve the pre-drought!! We’re having drizzle here at the Calif coast – rain predicted for mid-week!! What month is this???

  41. Joy Pence says:

    Good morning Susan! This is how we “celebrated” Earth Day. We brought home 2 packages of bees and installed them in their new homes in our back yard! We squirted them down with sugar syrup and shook them down into their new homes and only one sting! One crawled up my husbands sleeve that he didn’t see and he must have pinched it and she got him. So looking forward to seeing what the new girls accomplish in our gardens. Jack will be sad that you are not there but you have a someone coming to stay and love on him, so go on your wonderful trip and don’t look back at the window, that little sweety will be ok!

  42. Jenny L. says:

    Jack really is the cutest thing. I don’t know which picture I like better – the one of him standing on the chair watching his dad work or the one of him as a kitten. My Teddy is like Jack in many ways besides both being tuxedo cats. They are like cat-dogs. Teddy even growls at me when I take him away from something he likes. I was wondering if you could tell me how you taught Jack to fetch the ball. I can get Teddy to go after it but he will not bring it back. It is actually a little stuffed mouse and not a ball, but that is what he likes to play with. I would love for him to learn to fetch.

    I know what you mean about leaving Jack for 2 months. It is hard to leave the lovelies. I asked my son what he misses most about home now that he is at college and he said, “the animals.”

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t really teach Jack, he taught me, and still does. He seems to know what he wants. You could throw it, but I’m not sure that would do it. Google “teaching cats to fetch” and see what you get! I love your son.

  43. Vickib says:

    Wow your coming to Kent? sissinghurst castle just 2 villages from where I live would be fab to meet you just quickly as know ul be terribly busy squeezing as much as possible into your time here but would love it if you could sign my collection of books :D hope u have a fabulous time over here xx vicki

    • sbranch says:

      I took your hotmail email address Vicki, in case we have a moment; it’s going to be busy, but you never know!

      • Vickib says:

        Aww thank you so much would be fab to meet you briefly if your in sissinghurst but understand if your too busy hope u have an amazing time x

  44. Carol from Connecticut says:

    Dear Susan,
    Your cat photos are beyond darling. That basket shot of kitten Jack…eeeeuuuuuuww. Beyond cuteness. Just a bit of advice based on kitty experience. There is a way for the kitty kids to recognize you when you are away via the phone or skype or such. You need to create a sound association with food right now that is exclusively yours. While my cats were eating, I rang a push-button deskbell 2-3 times. Whenever I wanted them to come to me I’d ring the same bell, they’d appear, and receive a cookie. Worked every time. I didn’t always have the bell so I also trained them to the 3-pitch NBC tones that I whistled whenever they were eating. If a cat escaped outside I’d use the NBC whistle and kitty would come running with a welcome meow. Treat reward. If you trained Girl Cat and Jack to your own personal whistle (or NBC) they WILL recognize you on the phone or skype. It works. Start training them right away if you would like to try this. It is so hard to leave kitty babies behind when you travel. Take photos and videos on your phone with you (which I’m sure you have already packed!). Tra-la

  45. Wendy says:

    ohhhhhhh, Jack at the window. Makes leaving difficult! The kitties will be fine I am sure but oh so sweet and pull on your heart strings! Cats sense of time is of course different from ours and they will find many things to keep themselves occupied. Thank you for including the kitty pictures before your trip. You must be be sure to get photos of the ‘aloof’ kitties upon your return!! Cats are so terrific!

  46. Cottagelu says:

    I am so excited for your trip…………enjoy every minute. I fell in love with England when my daughter lived in Cambridge for 3 years………..and for all the reasons you mentioned. Can’t wait to hear of all your adventures.

  47. KJ says:

    Susan , Hope you and Joe have a fantastic trip…so jealous but I know that you will be sending back reports on how things are going…Please, Please tell me that you will be going to Emma Bridgewater’s factory in Stoke-on-Trent…Take lots of pics. Bon Voyage !!!

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