BLUE SKIES, BEAUTIFUL DAY in Birdland

It’s a beautiful day, blue skies, a brisk little wind — I opened the front door to get the paper off the porch and did not dawdle!  Scurry would be the right word for what I did getting back inside! Brrrr.  MUSICA

Even though I’m trying to stay focused and finish our book, I couldn’t help a little decorating for Valentine’s Day with my old Emma Love cup and the garland I made a couple of years ago.  (I got the things to make it with at Michael’s crafts, btw; you can see how easy it was to put together, in case you are feeling crafty.) Secretly (because I know it’s a kind of blasphemy not to put Christmas first), but Valentine’s Day is truly my favorite holiday.  It has been ever since grammar school when we bought those wonderful little boxes of Valentine cards and gave them to all our classmates.  There is magic in a holiday that’s all about love.

And especially, because of sweet little things like this!  Simple little words of love that let your people know you are thinking of them.   Joe found me this postcard in an antique store and I put it on our kitchen shelf every year.

Probably the very best thing we have in this house, besides the things with the beating hearts, and my Beatrix Potter figurines (:-)), is this set of windows in our kitchen.  When we brew our tea, wash dishes, or cook dinner, the seasons knock on the windows and say, “Hey, look how beautiful I am!”  They show us what’s going on within ten feet of the kitchen sink. Every thing we need to know is right there, they put on an amazing display.

Right now we need to be sure the squirrels have enough to eat, and Joe makes sure they do!  In the winter the windows are tightly shut, and outside, our garden friends visit regularly, for the seeds and apples we put in the driveway, and of course for the bird feeders.

We see it all from those windows . . . we can watch the garden grow, the snow fall, the wisteria bloom, and then there’s the wild turkeys, skunks, and bunnies grazing on the lawn.

Jack loves the windows too.

Especially for his new friends.  This is one of our “regulars” —  the little gymnast.  Poetry in motion . . . Here he is in technicolor ….

He’s here so often that he and Jack are almost friends.  Jack is very calm looking at him and vice versa.

But here is someone new and Jack is anything but calm with this very special kind of woodland critter, wearing her winter fur-coat-camouflage!  She was here a couple of days ago — we’d never seen her in the wisteria before … isn’t she adorable?

She must belong to one of our neighbors. I’m sure she’s here to try and ambush the birds, but they are too smart for her.  She looks like she’s expecting a squirrel!

Such a little doll.  She stayed out there a long time, looking darling the whole time.

I wish she would live here forever.  Is that not the sweetest face in the world!?  See why I love my kitchen windows?

So then, we woke up the next day, and everything had turned white! It was beautiful, but only around 23°!  Rather glorious.  Joe’s been making us fires every day.  We are completely hunkered in for winter.

The view is especially nice from the kitchen windows.  You have this to look at while you make a grilled cheese sandwich to take to eat in front of the fire — and everything’s right with the world!

Jack of course is fascinated by the change of seasons, by anything that happens outside.

The feeders suddenly got very busy — we stopped everything to watch.  Joe went and put a zoom lens on his camera so he could take some closeups.

He got really close, it almost doesn’t look real.  This is right outside our window!  It’s like having a fish tank you don’t have to do anything to but stare at.

And she is waiting for her sugar daddy to bring her a bite to eat — she waits, off to the side, on a little branch.  Isn’t she pretty and fluffy?

Jack’s eyes never get normal, it’s all too exciting. His head whirls from one side of the room to the other, one set of windows to the other.

And why not? I’m excited too!  Isn’t this wonderful?  By far the best photo we’ve ever gotten of a cardinal.  I would like to feel that little topknot on his head.

Look at that face!  This must be where punk rockers got the idea for their hair.  Right?  Everything from nature.

Then Lady Bird got tired of waiting for him to bring her a seed and came to get her own.  Feeling very liberated.

Jack doesn’t limit himself to the kitchen window . . . he is at every window in the house.  I sneak up on him and put my mouth next to his ear and he rubs against my cheek and we talk about what we are seeing out there.

 Joe doesn’t limit himself either, he was so excited with that lens that after he got done with the birds he went to take pictures of the hibiscus!  You must be wondering where we would get a hibiscus!  At the end of the summer, Joe brought a big pot of hibiscus in from the porch and put it in an upstairs window.  Look what it’s doing for us in January!

Joe is a wonderful photographer!  Surprisingly, hibiscus does well here, indoors, in the winter.  So many things don’t, it’s funny that our dry heat doesn’t seem to bother it.   It blooms all summer too.  And they come in so many pretty colors.

Joe planted yellow ones in the same pot.  This light comes from the back lawn, reflected off the snow!

So now you know what Jack’s been doing, what the birds and squirrels have been doing, what the weather’s been doing, what Joe’s been doing, and here’s what I’ve been doing:

I’ve been painting little pictures in our diary.  I just realized it’s our anniversary on February 6th . . . it was just a year ago we got the brilliant idea to drop everything and run away to England.  I wonder what we will think up this year!

I told you I wanted to paint lambs, and I have been!  Fat cute thing with wagging tail!  Yes, girlfriends, I am having fun. xoxo

Today I’m going to paint a new page about tea.  With Beatrix Potter figurines and English teapots for my muses. Happiness.  Nothing really going on at all around here; just another regular day in paradise.  But here comes Valentine’s Day.  I’m not sure if you have ever tried my recipe for chocolate eclairs?  The little two-bite ones? They’re delicious and so easy.  And so romantic.  Make them for someone you love.  Make them for the man at the post office, or your child’s classroom at school; have a girlfriend’s Valentine tea party.  But be sure to hide a few for yourself!

And that’s all for today my friends.  Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!  Downton Abbey tonight!  Yay!   I have to tell you, just this moment, Jack’s paw came up in the narrow space between my art table and the desk this computer is on. I didn’t hear him, it was just that little paw, feeling around. I look down, there’s a rubber band on my foot.  Too much.  Gotta go.   XOXO

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566 Responses to BLUE SKIES, BEAUTIFUL DAY in Birdland

  1. Stacey says:

    Your view is just beautiful. There’s nothing prettier than cardinals in the snow. You and Joe stay warm!

  2. Debbie Spence says:

    Just returned home from taking my 18 year old son to an internship 2 states away. He’ll be gone for 6 months and this is his first time away. Needless to say, I have been a little teary; then I checked my e-mails. I just discovered your blog last week, so I was excited to find 2 blogs in my in-box. It helped bring me a little cheer. My son loved to take photos of the birds and squirrels outside our windows too. His new room mate is from Bristol England, so I lookforward to your new book and I thoroughly enjoyed your sheep photos. I just want you to know that I am thankful for the time you take to create a blog that is refreshing, cheery, imaginative and dream inspiring. God bless you today!

  3. lani says:

    Wonderful post! It encouraged me to nest on my day off ……after I watched Downtown on the PBS website this morning.
    Then I hung out our Flag in preparation for today’s festivities from Washington and kept the television on as I puttered around the house. The speech and the POEM as well as the music made my heart soar. Thank you again for inspiring us to enjoy the small as well as the big things in our lives.
    Fondly, Lani

    • sbranch says:

      Wasn’t the poem just perfect? I do think I would have mentioned a grilled cheese sandwich, but other than that, it was perfect!

  4. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Another wonderful glimpse into your beautiful life! Thank you for the great photos (that kitty in the tree is so adorable), the cardinals are gorgeous, and the squirrel looks just like the one hanging on my bird feeder!
    Love the winter wonderland scene, so nice when it is now 80 degrees in Los Angeles!! Last week it was in the forties during the day, we could wear coats and scarves. But of course that didn’t last long. We were enjoying those lovely fires but too warm now. Oh well, I can dream.

  5. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Karen~prayers are coming your way for your niece. Bless her heart! Susan has done so much for us…sharing her life in so many ways via travel, cooking, and especially home and hearth, that I have included Susan and FOSB in my prayers…and now…your niece.

    Thinking of all of you, and the connection we have, w/o knowing one another.

    Bliss!
    Marie xo

  6. jane townsend says:

    This is the first time since November that I’ve been able to reply to your wonderful blogs. ( I have had disc problems with my back). I have spent the last week or so catching up on all your news – loved the Christmas posts and loved all the photos of wildlife in your garden. Here in England we are covered in snow so I’ve managed to get outside with my camera – I can’t resist snow pictures each year! We have had to clear our chicken run and shoo them all out of their shed – they are so nervous of this strange white stuff!!

  7. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Good morning Susan! Hope you and Joe and the fur babies are tucked in and cozy. I’m watching the Today show, and they showed a clip of Hyannis, beautiful and snowy. They didn’t mention the islands, but I’m sure you got your share of winter magic, too. Don’t you just love “hunker down” days :)

    • sbranch says:

      I do love hunker down days and this one is perfect. No normal person would want to be outside! SO cold. Clear bright blue skies but icy cold… 11 degrees. I do not mind a bit, feel so grateful to be inside!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        We’ve got -15 degrees tonight again–that with a blowing wind from the north. I hate to complain after the miserable heat/humidity last summer but this is miserably cold, too! :-)

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          my Tommy at NDSU, Fargo….had to build a bench for class….and his ride to the lumber yard got the flu….so…..he hopped on his bicycle in a windy -30 and brought home a 12 foot 2×4! Oh to be young!! But…on windy and warmer days….he has been known to grab the sheet off his bed and “sail” down the street on his longboard! I am so happy that ….as Susan said, ” he Bounced!” Keep WARM this weekend and follow the SUNSHINE from window to window! xOx

        • Ahem….that is bordering on breaking our oath NOT to complain this Winter Mrs. Pat?? I think with this comment “I WIN” so, now we can complain the rest of this Winter about how cold it is!!!!! I must say with MN weather it was bound to be you who complained first with “minus” in your digits so shame on me to take this opportunity to point the obvious out to you!!! We both know it is human nature to talk, discuss, and complain about the weather it is the #1 topic of conversation afterall. Enjoy the rest of your weather and I’m not expecting a prize mainly because we never discussed what the “winner” would actually win did we? I know how about you make me a “Banner” like Susan’s Valentine one above that reads…”Winter Winner”……just sayin’.

  8. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    “Jack’s eyes never get normal…” Cute! :>) Poor Jack, he must be bugged-out NUTS with all the exciting visitors you’ve had ‘in the hood’ recently. I really do need to get a bird book so I can get better at deciphering who’s who out there. Jane Goodall, I’m not. All I can identify with any certainty are male cardinals [duh], robins, chickadees, bluebirds, Mallard ducks, Canada geese, pelicans, penguins & seagulls. And the odd peregrine falcon! :>) I think I spotted a chickadee in the video. Joe’s closeups are great…

    It IS fun and even addicting to watch the birds etc. My dad would call it “No Money Fun.” He was always finding ways to have fun without spending a cent. With 6 kids and 1 job he didn’t have much. People-watching anywhere. Parking by the airport to watching activity both in the air/on-the-ground. Driving home at night from wherever, counting houses with electric doorbells that glowed [this being quite a spiffy deal in the Sixties]. Reading neon signs “as is” when a letter or two was out [the proverbial “Eat at _oe’s...]. I should make a list someday because there were 100s of them.

    PS – I am coveting that beautiful white Martha’s Vineyard plate on one of your shelves with the basket-weave pattern. I have a weakness for anything “basket-y” from real baskets to china with a basket-weave pattern. Is it old? Just love it!

    Well, it’s c-c-cold out there, people! Hope everyone in single-digit country has a cozy-warm, hunkered-in-by-the-fire week with doggies & kitties & grilled cheese & tomato soup & hot apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. Hope everyone else has a wonderful week too! Go outside in your flip-flops for all of us that can’t right now! No-Money-Fun! :>)

    • sbranch says:

      It’s old … if I wasn’t under this blanket in front of the fire with the computer on my lap, I would go look under the plate and see if there’s anything on the back, BUT. :-) I AM under the blanket, etc.! Remind me, and I’ll go look when it’s not 11 degrees outside!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        You stay under that blanket/in front of the fire for now – that’s where ALL smart people should be when it’s 11 degrees out! I’m picturing Jack there too – bet he loves the fireplace even more in this weather! :>)

        • sbranch says:

          We have a ball hanging from a string in one of the doorways — right now he’s batting that ball around! Hi Janet!

  9. Jennifer Christenson says:

    Can’t wait to buy the book about your wonderful trip to England!!! Thanks for all the ‘sneak peeks’!!! Thanks also for all of your wonderful blog posts and glimpses into your life. They always brighten my day! :) I think your cats could have a blog of their OWN they’re so busy!

  10. CarolK (NJ) says:

    Did anyone mention that they are going to have a Downton Abbey marathon super bowl day so everyone can OD on the show all day!! Check your PBS station. Second to kitties we love birds and Joe has taken some fabulous closeups of our favorite kind. Maybe this summer he can get some great shots of shore birds. I’ve already decorated my little window clothes lines with paper letter “Be Mine”, “Sweet Thing”, “I love you”. And, love you for putting the idea into our heads. Have a sweet day crafting “our book”. Hugs from NJ……

  11. Pam K says:

    Good morning Miss Susan! Loved your pictures. I’m one of those detail-oriented people who tend to dissect every inch of pictures and such, so I loved seeing your kitchen windows and all the goodies around it along with the outdoor shots too. The bird photos were just glorious. And that gnarly tree that held such a beautiful visitor is so unusual. Is that a tree?
    If you have gotten a dump of snow there, I hope you will post photos of that too. No snow here in Texas so I live vicariously through you my girlfriend! Stay safe and warm.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Pam… that gnarly tree is actually a wisteria that grows on the arbor over the kitchen windows. It’s been so cold, we haven’t been going out too much! Just enjoying the winter in front of the fire!

  12. Jan says:

    Susan,
    Have enjoyed catching up on the last couple of posts. My daughter and grandaughters were here while my son-in-law was out of town. We had a very busy week. Lots of fun! The grandaughters kept me hopping, especially the two and a half year old. Loved the pictures of your birds and squirrel. My husband got me a camera for Christmas so I, too, have been taking pictures of birds. Made a birdseed grapevine wreath with my grandaughter by spreading it first with peanut butter and then putting on birdseed. She loved it! Her favorite part- sticking her finger in the peanut butter jar and licking the peanut butter off. Her comment every time – Mmmm! Have enjoyed seeing little peeks at your book. Keep up the great and talented work. Can’t wait to be able to order it. Have a great day and stay warm. It was zero degrees here this morning.
    Jan

  13. Marie (Long Beach, CA) says:

    Susan, what a joyful post! I loved every single picture and word. Thank you for taking time from y(our) wonderful book and sharing these beautiful stories of your birds, squirrels, flowers, trees, Jack, the precious faced new kitty in the neighborhood, a peek of a few more pages of the book, just all of it. You make my me appreciate every small simple thing in my life even more, and I didn’t think that could be possible. Please tell Joe he’s a wonderful photographer! Wishing you a beautiful week. With my love, Marie

  14. Kathy Oliberos says:

    I so enjoy your sharing of your life and home with us! The birds and animals are a wonderful extension of Gods love for us. Have a great day!

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

    good morning susan, hello to the girlfirends. brrrrrr it is cold and icy here, 23 degrees and every tree, bush and lawns are coated with ice, you can see the ice on the roofs all around. we do have a storm moving in and the possibility of more rain/snow showers for us, just what we need around here. have a nice warm fire going in the woodstove, and my warm slippers on to keep my feet comfy and warm. i finally located a source for free chickens ( 13 hens and 1 young rooster) just what i am looking for. time to rebuild the flock and get those hens busy thinking about nests full of baby chicks, and baby turkeys and baby ducklings…in other words time to get them busy thinking about eggsitterin’. did anyone see the movie sunday night, Hans Christian Andersonn??? a wonderful movie to watch and enjoy and one of my favoriltes with Danny Kaye. i love that movie. well have to get hopping again and run some buckets of hot water out to thaw out the duck pool and the water tubs, feed the chickens, turkeys and ducks and break up the ice again…how those ducks can even think of going swimming on this cold morning is beyond me….brrrrrrrrr!!!!!!! the rest of the critters have been fed already, and just fed the lil birds again. of course the cats all love this, their favorite form entertainment…kitty tv. all the feeders are filled, the suet feeders are full and the squirrels have their feeders full of their squirrel mix, everyone is fat and sassy here. have a wonderful day and stay warm and cozy comfy. hugs everyone…… :)

  16. Maria in Long Beach, CA says:

    Although I have never seen one live and in “person,” I LOVE cardinals! How can you not believe in a Creator when you see such colors?! Thank you for the beautiful photos. I’ve probably said this before, but your house, your life is wonderful. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  17. Angie S says:

    No one can paint those little lambs with more love than “ewe” !!! You are living MY dream, all snowy and snuggled in with your kitties, and doing what you love!!! Now, that I live vicariously through you, I can’t wait to see what we are doing next ;-)

  18. Mardell Lamb says:

    Hi Susan,
    Brrrr, it’s cold here in WNY also. I just took a quick walk to the corner store and I couldn’t wait to get home. The man at the store asked if I lost a cat. The cutest little thing (like the one in your tree) was shivering outside the store. It wasn’t mine, but I felt really bad for her. Now I won’t stop thinking about her. I have quite a number of cats that have adopted us & it’s getting quite spendy feeding them. (They’re all outdoors.) Some are friendly, others not so much. Sigh….

    The bird pictures are fabulous ~ way to go Joe! Jack’s eyeballs crack me up!! Love your kitchen windows. My view isn’t so pretty. Have thought of the suction cup feeders, but not sure how well they work. I love to watch the birds. (Have hesitated due to the cat population though.) Wouldn’t be fair to our feathered friends.)

    I have one housecat (she’ll be a year in March.) Her newest FAVE is a paperwad launched by a rubberband. Oh my goodness, she goes crazy over that thing. I laugh and laugh. Her eyes get all buggy like Jack’s. We go back and forth from kitchen to living room. Of course, she won’t bring it back, so I have to retrieve (Ha.) She’s helping me get my exercise, I think. I told my son, “we can spend alot of money on cat toys, but the one she likes the best is just an old pc. of paper folded into a paperwad!”

    Keep warm and enjoy those comforting fires. Aahhh…..

  19. Lorraine says:

    So many lovely photos – but my favorite was the cardinal and his top knot, looking directly into the camera. I never thought about how the punkers copied the cardinals – but you may be on to something. Thanks for what you do. Soooooo, excited about the book. Looking forward to owning the finished product.

  20. Joy says:

    I so fell in love with the kitty in the window I am using her sweet face as my desktop background….hope that is ok! love it!!
    stay warm…brr! baby it’s COLD outside!

  21. Jena says:

    Living in the middle of the Prairie, we have a large collection of feral cats. Your kitten looks adorable outside your window, I wish we could help out all the cats around here. I am sure that March will bring many new kittens. It is sad to see the little kitties and not become the crazy cat lady.

    Hugs from Windy Wyoming
    Jena

  22. Ruth Thomas says:

    We woke up to 10 degrees this morning with a wind chill of -16 degrees – soooo cold. We had cold and wind yesterday with some flurries blowing so hard. I love hunkering in during the winter – I think God is telling us to slow down and look at the beauty of winter which Joe has obviously done. Hope the little kitty has a home; hate to think of her out in the cold. I want to reach into the computer and grab the book and start reading!!!!!! Thank you again dear Susan for inspiration for Valentine’s Day – my husband and I celebrate our 45th year together this year!! Keep warm all of you in the frozen tundra.

  23. Felicia says:

    Cardinals mate for life and what a lovely couple they make❤

  24. irene talaasen says:

    Hi Sweet Susan,
    Another beautiful post with all the Valentine decor and then the cardinals and squirrels and Jack and Girl Kitty!! And Joe’s flowers :) and your peeks at the book! No wonder we are so uplifted as we share the Blog with you!! :) I love reading all the girlfriend comments and tonight found Nancy West from a part of Tx. where we lived, Longview. The heat and humidity took us from there to wonderful Colorado but the people there are so dear and so missed. It was fun to read her comments!!
    Thank you Susan, for drawing us all together!!
    Irene

  25. mary spring says:

    …with snow on the ground and a freezing wind blowing , hoping your dear family is staying warm and safe inside with a glowing fire in the fireplace !! also ..my thoughts are with my dear daughter who is living in R.I. right now (actually so close to you !!), my sister living in N.H., and my nephew in Vermont ! …Stay safe and warm !!…with love..and take care..knowing you, tho, Susan, you are happy as a lark painting and cooking… you must be almost done with our diary ?!?..I’m sure it’s a treasure…

    • sbranch says:

      I’m getting there, I painted a little farm today. I think maybe forty more pages. Light at the end of the tunnel. Pinpoint, but light!

  26. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, Happy National Pie Day! Maybe Joe will bake you a pie while you’re working oh so very hard on “our” book. I noticed your little pie bird for sale in your shop. Do you use a pie bird? I have a small collection of them. My favourite is a twin pair – two little blackbirds together. I do bake pies but I’ve never used a pie bird, lol. Keep warm and enjoy that pie.

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t that funny. I love pie birds, love the idea of them, have them, but I’ve never used one either!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Same thing here. I don’t know about you, but I kind of hate to spoil the top crust by using one. I usually make a cut-out design with a cookie cutter or free-hand to let the steam escape. Plus it would give me one more thing to wash. I’m curious, does anyone use their’s or do we all collect them because they are cute??? :-)

  27. This post has it all, including a squirrel (needs a gymnast’s name – How about Nadia?) and a neighbor’s cat. Wonderfulness there.

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

    hello everyone, just popped in to let you all know that tomorrow night on the TCM channel at 11:30 EST Thoroughly Modern Millie will be on, i just love this movie as its so funny and campy, one of Julie Andrews’ best movies and i love Julie Andrews. just thought you all would like to know. have a great day today, off to go feed the flock and clean out the water tubs and ducky pool. hugs…. :)

  29. Nora Egan says:

    “Jack’s paw came up in the narrow space between my art table and the desk this computer is on. I didn’t hear him, it was just that little paw, feeling around. I look down, there’s a rubber band on my foot. Too much.”
    That was so sweet it made me cry. The tender moments between animals and humans, moments achingly sweet — and perfect — are the most precious to me. Thank you for sharing your moments with us, Susan.

  30. The kitty looks like a Maine Coon like my babies except mine are a tortie and a calico. She has the signature M on her forehead. My cats never get to climb trees because we promised the shelter to keep them indoors due to the local coyotes . Right now we have a possum in our garage that refuses to budge. My husband thinks that the cleaner we get the garage the possum won’t have a place to hide. Then he will fix the hole where the possum gets in and out. He’s even tried to budge him with a broom. The possum isn’t dumb, he’s got a nice warm garage to sleep in. Unfortunately things that weren’t stored well have been ruined -I didn’t store it..others did :( Anyways, we have beautiful birds and squirrels too but no cardinals. Thanks for sharing your beautiful wild life.

    • sbranch says:

      Coyotes are terrible awful things when it comes to cats. Funny possum!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        please be careful with that possum, they do get nasty and can bite. my husband chases them out of our yard with an axe handle, he whacks it good. but seriously those vicious lil critters and they hiss if really bugged enough. be careful.

  31. Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    Good Morning Susan!
    I so love your posts, like all the girlfriends do. They brighten my day everytime there is a new one…but while I wait for a new posting, I reread all of them. I just enjoy them so much….They inspire me for doing my own art work..and also brings back so many memories of my childhood ……and the years past.

    The grey squirrels that many communities have, are fairly new to our island…maybe the past 15 years is all…Because of that, a squirrel sighting is an “event” here…even yet. I am one of the more fortunate…I have a pair of grey squirrels that are here year round and love my yard and garden…They are mad about our chestnut trees in the fall..They are so busy burying the chestnuts for the winter..that in the spring, I have a gazillion new chestnut trees coming up all over the yard!!!! I named that pair a number of years ago and they now bring their families..kids and grandkids, etc. But the originals are Fred and Ethel…and they are darling…I adore watching them so much…..They are everywhere! so fun!

    • sbranch says:

      Our squirrels on Martha’s Vineyard live in trees, and I love them too. But in California we had ground squirrels, and they are not near as much fun! They dig big holes in the ground. Not good for the garden!

      • Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

        My cousin, who also lives on our island, has visiting squirrels and they actually by peanuts in the shell to share with them through one of their slider windows….They have named them as well..The first on that came was “lefty” because in time he would jump up on the sill and knock on the window for a peanut and he always knocked with his left paw….Then there is another squirrel that makes frequent appearances…and he has a defined limp..they named him “Tiny tim”….I love nature and if you take the time to watch and see..you will be entertained completely!!!! We also have deer, raccoons, Canadian Geese, but no bear on the island….! thank goodness!
        Thought you would like to hear about our Island Squirrels!!! they are so fun to watch! xo

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        my in-laws have nothing but ground squirrels in their yard, and they have them living inside their bathroom wall, the lil pests dug a hole and somehow managed to rip out the insulation and make nests in the wall. you can hear them in the shower area.

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, that is a whole other kind of squirrel. We used to drive down into the river valley our house was in, going downhill just enough to have a wide view, in front of us we could see all the squirrels running to high-dive into their holes. They’re HOME!

  32. I am trying to figure out your kitchen. From the top photo it looks like you look down on a rooftop but other ones looks like its ground level. Is this an optical illusion? Love that cute little kitty in the tree. I showed it to my hubby who said it looks like Rusty, a cat we had years ago. It was attached to him big time. :) Love your Cardinals. Wish we had such pretty Red birds around here, but I do enjoy our variety of blue colored birds tho.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, our kitchen is on the ground floor. I keep looking for that cute cat to come back, but I haven’t seen it — it’s 11 degrees here, so I’m sure it’s inside and cozy.

  33. Sunny says:

    Joe sure got some fabulous shots with his camera. Thanks again for letting us into your magical world.

  34. Lisa Muncy says:

    All I can say is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! All my favorite things: birds, flowers, and of course, cats! Wish I had a window over my kitchen sink, then my kitchen would be perfect! But I do have large windows elsewhere, and it’s so wonderful to look out and see the lovely seasons and the activity out there! Our two Husky dogs, Gypsy and Ginger, live outside, and those girls provide lots of entertainment, too! And our feline girls, Midnight and Twinkie love teasing them in the windowsill, as if saying, “Don’t you wish you can come in here? Well, too bad!” Never knew about growing hibiscus indoors, now of course I will be trying that! Did I say I LOVE your teapot, too? And your plate of the island? Also, I don’t mind how long you take on the wonderful book (love the lamb painting!) because we all know that good things come to those who wait!! Thanks!!!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s good to hear! Actually this is the fastest I’ve ever written a book, normally they take me about a year and a half! But since I actually wrote this one when I was in England, all I have to do now is put it in the good handwriting and add the watercolors and photos. Love your animal’s names!

  35. Martha says:

    Hi – I love the picture of the little kitty sitting in your tree!! Such a cute visitor. I put extra birdfood out today because it is soooo cold!
    I was wondering if you were a Downton Abbey fan (I thought you might be) – isn’t it great? Try to stay warm and cozy.
    Martha from CT

  36. Beverly Brewer says:

    Thank you for all the goodies, post after post, to delight us! Also, the Downton Abbey comments bring us all together, too. Does anyone think that Mary is rather abrupt and snippy with her new husband? In the last episode, he seemed quite impressed with Edith’s letter to the editor, so am wondering if there might be a storyline with the two of them. She seems so sweet compared to Mary. Anyway, what a refreshing change from the regular progamming we are offered. Thank goodness for Masterpiece Theater! And in the literary world, your much-anticipated book will also be a masterpiece!

    • sbranch says:

      I do! I keep thinking they should still be on their honeymoon. And I thought so too about Edith … or at least it occurred to me. And how about O’Brien, downstairs, and that mean guy, I think one of them will kill the other one!

      • Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

        I love Downton Abbey…..so look forward to that every Sunday…Will there be a 4th season? I hope this continues for a long time…I don’t want it to end…………….

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        That’s what I thought! It seemed as if O’Brien was rather “throwing down the gauntlet” to Thomas. I definitely got a “don’t mess with me” vibe. Exciting!! :>)

      • Beverly Brewer says:

        Yes, that mean guy is so sinister and up to no good. Luckily, the O’Brien lady is feisty and seems like she’d be a good match for him. It’s so juicy when you have a “villain” —what a great collection of characters to keep us coming back for more!

  37. Christine says:

    My sister lives on Martha’s Vineyard, and I’m so in love with the plate with the island drawn on it. Could you tell me where it came from? Or is it one of a kind? Thank you so much! Christine (thetestas at hotmail dot com)

    • sbranch says:

      You will probably never see this, I’m so sorry to have taken so long to answer, I kept putting off going to look, but I finally did … on the back there’s a large banner with arrows coming out of it … I’ve never seen that logo before, and under it says “Decorated by Delano Studios, Setauket L.I. N.Y.” Long Island New York… Hope you can find it … I did get mine in an antique store, it wasn’t new.

      • Christine says:

        Thanks so much for looking! I will put my mother on the case- she’s amazing at finding things :) Hope you are doing well on this blizzard day- my sister says that she’s not allowed out on the roads, so I’m sure you are being a good girl and staying home too. Keep warm :)

        • sbranch says:

          Oh how wonderful, you got this! I hope she finds one! Yes, we are staying in. If we want to go somewhere, we’re close enough to town to walk in, but probably nothing is open right now!

  38. Cathy McC. says:

    I have my fingers crossed that your “visiting kitty” is indeed toasty warm somewhere and that is why you haven’t seen it. We had a “snow/cold” day here in South Bend, IN, yesterday — no school. It wasn’t much warmer today, but the kidlets had to venture out. I spent most of the day bird watching — at one point we had 13 cardinals around the feeder. This week I FINALLY managed to witness how the squirrels are getting up on our feeder (yes, it has a baffle). They take a flying leap from a not so near tree and land with a big kerplunk, right on top of the feeder. Out of sympathy, because it’s so darn cold out, I let them perch for about 15 seconds before I shoosh them away. Then the birds return and of course, within just a few minutes, the scenario is repeated!
    A big surprise came this afternoon when I looked up from my computer and saw a big hawk perched about 25 feet away from the feeder. Using binoculars, my bird books, and websites, I studied that puffed up predator and never could determine its species — thinking either red-shouldered hawk or Cooper’s hawk. It stayed for over an hour. There were only two other bird visitors the entire
    time it was there — a downy woodpecker and a chickadee. After it flew off (what a sight!), it took about 10 minutes for the other birds to return. I call episodes like this “gifts from God”. Wish photographer Joe would have been around:) Ethel

  39. Georgie says:

    Brrrrr! It’s co co COLD here in NJ tonight! What wonderful pictures of your feathered friends… and your new furry observer :) Oh! and I LOVE the plate of MV! I can see why you snatched it up when you found it.

    The picture of the lamb with the smartly styled British bunting has indeed captured my heart! What A Fine Romance! Have you designed the Jacket yet? Will it “look” like your other books… Will it be like a diary?

    I’m having fun just imagining it! What a JOY. Please forgive all the questions!

    Enjoy the blankets, enjoy the fire. Winter is here and you’re painting of Spring! What FUN!

    Much Love!
    Georgie
    Yardville, NJ

    • sbranch says:

      I think it looks like my other books, but there are LOTS more photos than my other books; it’s handwritten with lots of watercolors too. I would say the biggest difference is how many photos there are, and how long it is, it’s the longest book I’ve ever done. It actually IS a diary. I kept a diary the whole time I was there, so I just put it in more readable handwriting, added the photos and the watercolors, and voila! xoxo Georgie!

  40. Holly Lynn Cook says:

    Wow! Such lovely photo’s and love hearing all the updates! Can’t wait for your new book to come out! You inspire me to live my dreams! Thank you!!!!!!

  41. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Hello Susan *

    Just by looking at your first picture on this new post with the Valentine banner and Love cup, I can see you are getting ready for February’s Holiday.

    Wonderful photos…all letting us “peek out your windows”… with you and Joe and Jack, to get a fascinating glimpse of what’s going on in your little corner of the world. The beautiful snow views are just as if they were Martha Vineyard’s picture postcards.

    Midst all that, on this post, you added a new recipe for us …Chocolate Eclairs!

    I did prepare them, perfect creamy little puffs! My husband, Ron loves them, my girlfriends love them, and I love them too! And now, as I write this reply, @ about 11:30 PM on a Wednesday night, before the clock strikes midnight, I will enjoy a snack of two bite-sized ones! I always say, “If you ever have one of those days when, your plans are a little-bit “off” or perhaps there wasn’t enough time to do all that you wanted to do, well, then you know it’s time for a break…a chocolate eclair break”. I had one of those days….today!

    Thanks for the recipe Susan! It’s such an easy recipe to follow and so delicious!
    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  42. Woodies Mom says:

    The sights and the sounds of your Vineyard winter are wonderful. We (husband and my cat Woodie) are Snow Birds here on the Treasure Coast of Florida. Woodie, a humane society rescue, knows he is a Snow Bird, a Florida native kitty, who travels with us, but truly calls the sun and blue sky his home.

    Birds with wings opposed to paws: Florida has a wonderful colorful bird named the Painted Bunting. Making a fashion statement wearing red underparts and rump, green back, purple head and red eye rings! Ladies are two tone bright green!
    Warm reetign to all
    Woodies Mother

  43. Love the kitty in the wisteria, what a face! And the cardinals, so beautiful.

    I’m very happy when I check in here and see no new post for several days, because I know that means you are working hard on the new book. Rock on.

    Zero degrees here this morning, in Maine. Yep, zero. Wind chill well below that. I may have to sit under a comforter with Hodge (the cat) near the woodstove and read all day.

    • sbranch says:

      I am working hard … page 191 today… pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel — for the first time! Yay! Freezing here too — Love this quiet time of year!

  44. Angie(Tink) says:

    `♥*¨`*¨♥*¨¨`♥*¨`*¨♥*¨`*. Good Morning Sweet Sue…ahhhhhhhhh I Love reading Your Blog You Bring Me such Joy :-) Thank~You! I Love The Musica Time after Time ….. Love That Movie toooooo! ;-) I Love All Your Photos & Joe’s I Do Think The Bright Red Cardinals are The Perfect Birdies for Valentine’s Day…We have a Few Magical Ones Here in Our Courtyard They Look Like Red Velvet to Me…I Love Their “Chirp~Chirp” Song…..We’ve had Winter Back Yay! 40′s at Night 60′s in The Day…(Florida~Winter) Crisp Cold Air…Breathing~Space….Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…& Your Island is Freezing & Snowy…Lucky Girl! I Love How Jack Looks Out all Your Windows Kitty~Purrrrrrrrrrfection! ;-) I am so Excited about Your Book…You Have The Perfect Weather to Be all Cozy & Warm Inside Working Creating All Your Magic…Thank You for Finding The Time to Share it All with Us…Sending Valentine Pixie~Dust Your Way Sweetest Sue with Lots of Love & Always Kitty~Kisses & Warm Hugzzz! xoxo Poof! `♥*¨`*¨♥*¨¨`♥*¨`*¨♥*¨`*. :-) P.S. Don’t Forget to Twirl Under The Full~Moon! Yay! ;-)

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been twirling through the living room at 4 am, with that big ole moon shining in on me! xoxo Thank you for the reminder Angie!

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        `♥*¨`*¨♥*¨¨`♥*¨`*¨♥*¨`*. The Wolf~Moon Has Been Amazing I’ve Been Twirling & Howling….. ;-) Warm Hugzzz for Your Very Cold Snowy~Winter Sweet Sue… xoxo Poof! `♥*¨`*¨♥*¨¨`♥*¨`*¨♥*¨`*. :-)

  45. Sharon Byars says:

    Susan, do you know how soon I can get a copy of your England book? Found out we will be staying in London for several nights before joining a tour to Paris and Italy. We are on limited time but you inspired me on seeing at least some of England. Would love any suggestions for day trips from London. Our trip will be in May.
    Stay warm. Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Sharon … The book will be at the printers in May … but, here’s one idea … take a little trip south to Hever Castle, childhood home of Ann Boleyn. Really interesting, historical, lots to do, you can stay there overnight if you want, they have an Inn right on the premises, make a reservation very soon, go rowing on the lake, take long walks, wander through the maze, it’s a wonderful place and not far from London. We went there for a day, and I was sorry we didn’t stay overnight, but we didn’t know there was a hotel there at the time, and didn’t plan for it. You are going to have fun!

  46. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Joe did a wonderful job with his close ups of the birds. Feel as if I could reach out and touch the male cardinal. You can even see the tiny individual feathers. I have never seen a cardinal that up close and personal. Thanks Joe!

  47. Deborah Norling says:

    Susan, do Jack and Girl Kitty make that choppy sort of high pitched chittering noise when they spot a bird ? If one of mine are sitting in the window and spot a bird…they make that noise and then the others come flying into the living room..jump onto the sill..and all line up in a row..making the same noise…it’s pretty hilarious to listen to.

  48. Nora Cavic says:

    I do so love to read your blogs. And this one had such a surprise in it! My husband’s and my anniversary is also on Feb 6th!!! So, Happy Anniversary! You remind me that it is the small things that I need to remember to do. And I will. So, thank you. With the busy-ness of work (I just greeted all 1200 of our undergraduate students back this week….), the busy-ness of our family of 6 (minus one child……………Shawn returned to campus in New Hampshire….sniff-sniff), and the rushing-rushing of the past couple of days trying to avoid the frigid temps, this blog is a breath of fresh air. I need to breathe………..I need to take in the beautiful hilly mountains surrounding the campus. I can see them from my office window! :)

  49. Jenny says:

    Oh how I loved this post. Your photos are all so fun – I love that last one of the cardinal. He looks like he’s saying “Um, do you MIND. I’m trying to eat here and it’s a little awkward with you staring at me.”

    Can’t wait for this book to come out. :)

  50. Kay - North Central Texas says:

    My goodness! Regardless of the season visiting your blog is a treat. Your sweet pictures and words are like good music; you take me somewhere else even if just for a minute.

    Thanks for sharing and stay warm!

  51. Nancy says:

    I wish we could hear Jack’s thoughts on ms. pretty-kitty-in-the-window! Since he doesn’t go out …. does he wonder what it’s like out there in that white stuff with those beautiful birds?….does he think she’s a free-spirit? …..oh, to know the stuff kitty thoughts are made of. ;-)

    • sbranch says:

      Funny you mention that … I was wondering if NOT being able to go out and chase those birds makes him sad?

      • Susan, your sweet boy Jack could NEVER be sad living with you and Joe having so much fun playing with elastic bands and jingle bell balls!!! Now, if you let Girl out this Summer like she has been then he might feel slighted?? You are being a good Mama by protecting your babies and not letting harm come to them and they can’t miss what they haven’t experienced. We haven’t let our two go outdoors, and just look outside and feel the frigid temperatures and all the animals who are out in the elements with no one to love them and feed them then you will know that Jack is perfectly happy living with you in your nice warm home. I read an article where indoor kitties can live to be 25 yrs. old; whereas, feral kitties live to the average age of 5 yrs. old because of cars, disease, and predators. All we can do is cherish our pets and enjoy them while we have them. Jack and Girl are purrfectly content.

      • Nancy says:

        I would prefer to think not…wouldn’t want him to be sad….he’s never experienced it so he doesn’t know what he’s missing I hope!

      • Nancy says:

        I would prefer to think not…wouldn’t want him to be sad….he’s never experienced it so he doesn’t know what he’s missing I hope! Just would like to hear those thoughts.

  52. Anne says:

    Your artwork is delightful and has inspired me to start painting again, especially on these chilly January days in Iowa. Could you share with me brand name of the watercolors that you use?
    Thank you for your help and your enjoyable blog Susan!
    Anne

    • sbranch says:

      I use all kinds, Windsor Newton tubes, Pelican paint sets, prang paint sets, and lots of sets with no names! I like it all! Good luck with your art Anne!

  53. Georgie says:

    Hello Dear Susan! Wonderful pictures! Wonderful blog! Wonderful count down to A Fine Romance!!!

    Page 191! Off to the printers in May! Schedules and timelines and due dates! Just last year you gave birth to the dream, and now… WOW!

    We watched you sail out… We watched you come home.
    You told us the tales as through England you roamed.
    There were cups made by Emma, and beautiful sheep.
    Your journeys were endless. My when did you sleep?
    We laughed and we cried as we followed your posts.
    It’s as though we were there, all the time. We would boast
    You should see where we’ve been. We are going here next.
    Every day it got better. We were never perplexed!
    And soon we will all take this journey again.
    You will bring us along with paints, brushes and pens.
    The memories you’ve lived have been captured in part
    On paper and bound given birth from your heart!

    CONGRATULATIONS Susan! It’s HAPPENING!!!

    I can’t wait to hold a copy of “A Fine Romance” in my arms!

    YOU GO GIRL!
    XOXO Georgie
    Yardville, NJ

    • sbranch says:

      OH, My, Georgie. That is just BEAUTIFUL. I have tears in my eyes. See? How good you make it? I have never ever enjoyed writing a book as much as this one! Because of you and all our wonderful girlfriends, your support and encouragement makes me feel just spoiled! Who is so lucky!?? xoxo Thank you.

    • Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

      So sweet, Georgie! You captured exactly how we all felt and still feel! xoxo

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Georgie…what a special special poem for Susan!!! It makes me want to say, “You Go Girl!” to You! Isn’t it funny…..we have never met….but we took a trip of a lifetime…tucked away together…in Susan’s suitcase!!! : )

      • Georgie says:

        Hi Dawn! Thank You for sending those nice comments all the way from Minnesota!!! You are right! It really WAS the trip of a lifetime, and we really were there, All of us Girlfriends… Kindred Spirits. We were Oooo-ing and Ahhh-ing with each bend in the road… So pleased to meet you! Won’t it be fun to take the trip all over again once Susan’s book comes out? We will be pointing to the pictures saying… Remember that day… What memories!
        Thanks again Dawn. Your comments hugged my heart!
        Have a wonderful day,
        Georgie
        Yardville, NJ

  54. Barb, EW ...CT says:

    GoodMorning Sue,

    This pre Valentine post…….is just so soothing and so beautiful. I enjoyed every bit of this and am excited about the book…….all the hard work you put in each and everyday.

    Now……wanted to also share……its a balmy 10degrees here today. Yet woke up to
    3 degrees yesterday and Frozen Kitchen Pipes. I am housesitting for my sister as I believe I mentioned that months ago but anyhow…..what a project that was.
    Not knowing all the ins and outs of the pipe work here. I learned quickly. Within an hour with a hair dryer and a space heater all the pipes were unthawed. Had a friend come over to help to and she luckily had some knowledge in this field and went outside and plugged up the outside faucet with a towel. The outside faucet
    is where you would attach your garden hose to in the summer time. She did claims in the Insurance Industry for 35years…..thank goodness for my dear friend Julie. Everything is still working okay this morning. I must say for someone whom enjoys all seasons including winter……..I am so Ready for Spring to come Real Soon!

    I hope you have a good weekend Sue……..stay warm and continued happy writing on the book. Plus an early Happy Anniversary to you and Joe!
    Hugs & Smiles Barb:)

    • sbranch says:

      Why do you plug up the outside faucet? Our bathroom pipes froze yesterday … Joe unthawed them, but I never heard of this outside faucet thing… why do you do that? I will tell him! Thank you Barb!

      • Susan, I just saw a DIY segment on a local news program about “winterizing” your home and the one thing that was advised for the outside faucets (which we do every Fall when Jim takes in our hose) is to place a cover over it and there are all types after draining all of the water out of it. The main reason is any water left in the line (if it freezes) would expand and therefore cause a big problem. Also, they make an electric tape that you wrap around water pipes from under the home that plugs into an outlet to keep pipes from freezing. The older homes with old pipes tend to be most at risk. The person also said in extreme temperatures to open your kitchen/bathroom cabinets under the sinks (for warmth from the home), and to let a small trickle of water run to prevent freezing pipes. Hope this helped it was just on our TV this week!!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Never heard of “plugging up the outside faucet”. There is a turn-off valve in our downstairs laundry room where, in the fall, we turn off the water to the outside faucet–also leaving it open outside so it can drain…For inside pipes that are in rooms with an outside wall, I’ve heard that leaving open the cupboard (if the pipes are hidden by doors) is a good idea when it is extremely cold as they stay warmer. Also, it is a good idea when it is extremely cold to leave the faucets on slightly, even a drip, as moving water isn’t as likely to freeze. Knock-knock-on-wood, we’ve never had frozen pipes–have good insulation, double windows, and the house is usually warm enough for them to not freeze…I know it can be a real problem, though, in areas that are not used to freezing temperatures…(we also bring in garden hoses, etc.) The fun thing to do with freezing temps is partially freeze water in ice cream buckets (outside), dump them upside down, and put candles in them. We even bought a plastic star-shaped container with a hollowed-out center for making star-shaped ice luminaries. Really is pretty to see out in the snow… :-)

      • Barb, EW ...CT says:

        Hi Sue…

        Basically the outside faucet was wrapped with towel was to strictly keep the cold from bing transmitted to the copper pipes.

        The actual cause of the Freezing of The Pipes was that the ceiling in the cellar had just been insulated a few months ago and a new drop ceiling was put in, so the warmer air could not circulate around the pipes. Therefore I also had to move all the ceiling tiles back. I am sorry if I may have not explained everything properly the first time I left a comment as I never had frozen pipes anywhere I have lived so this was all new to me to go through. I do know also now about keeping the doors open to the cabinets undersink as well and I had done that right from the start. On top of all that, I spotted a leak coming from the oil tank. Luckily my husband was a firefighter for 28yrs so I was able to call him at work and when he got home he had to tighten some gage underneath the oil tank and that helped a bit but now will have to have someone come in to check that out to. My sister just had the entire basement redone over before her and her husband left for Florida and its just been one thing after another here….but luckily we are here cause I could not imagine if the pipes had bursted what a mess that would have been.
        I am sorry you had to go through frozen pipes as well at your home, but glad Joe was able to get them unthawed. I hope you have a good day now. Hugs&Smiles:)

        • sbranch says:

          Joe’s sister lives across the street from us. One winter she went away. And one day we went out and there was a HUGE ball of ice hooked to the side of her house!!!! Her pipes had burst and filled her living room with water up about 2 feet, around her furniture and everything. It was terrible. It taught the entire neighborhood a really big lesson!

  55. Paula Gulley says:

    Susan, your blog is so much fun! Love the kitty pictures and today’s picture of Joe covered with laundry is priceless. He’s almost as cute as the cats. :-) Just kidding! Thank you, thank you, you make my day. Paula

  56. mary spring says:

    …oh, dear Georgie, so heart-felt and special … got all teary-eyed as I read this…how lucky we were to be able to share this with Susan ..I feel like this whole journey was ours…and I love how Susan always calls her newest book “our book “!!…thank you for this poem !! <3
    (supposed to be a big pink heart !!)

    • Georgie says:

      Oh Mary! You feel it too! It was such a special trip! Susan did make this journey ours! Her heart is so big, she shared it with all of us! Thank you for the pink heart!!! I’m so glad the poem reached down into your memories too. Susan’s “A Fine Romance” will touch all of us all over again as we relive the trip.
      Thank You for taking the time to reach out!
      Have a beautiful Day,
      Georgie
      Yardville, NJ

  57. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    I am back in VA from my visit in AZ with John, Eric and Ninja the Cat; and my Mr. Cardinal is still here! He is so pretty. What does the dish over your sink say?? My son and I went through an antique store on the old Main Street in Mesa. I found a couple of things, one of which was a hand embroidered dish towel. If I wasn’t flying someone would have had to stop me!!! And my son John had his wallet open to buy Mom a little something. When I was leaving he said Ninja would miss Grandma. LOL (I think they missed me (and my cooking) as much as I had been missing them.)
    I ran around like a nut today to get things done before our snow. At least we get a little.

  58. Sue says:

    I am reading your latest post while watching Lark Rise to Candleford. I’m finishing up watching Season 3 – it is such a great series. A friend compared the lead characters to the main characters in The Waltons. I belive that she is right! I love seeing the pictures of Jack, too. I’ve always been a cat person; Jack’s face is so expressive and his antics are hilarious! Your books bring such joy – I have them all. I especially love your Autumn book; I reread it every fall. I am SO looking forward to your England book. Although I have traveled extensively, I have yet to visit England. Places I want to see – desperately – are the Lake District, Yorkshire (home of James Heriott & his wonderful books) and Chatsworth (and the rest of the country too)! Sue

  59. Asha says:

    Hello Susan! What a wonderful blog! THE BEST YET! All my favorites: snow, birds, kitties, musica and sneak peeks at your beautiful home! I love it all! We had a beautiful kitty like your visitor who was a darling! Unfortunately, we lost her about a year ago and we still talk about her all the time. Brought back great memories of her. Thank you for sharing! Can you stand Downton Abby only shown once a week! I would love to see it every day! :) Happy Anniversary and Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe and the kitties! Anxiously awaiting your new book!

  60. Amy Pavlovik says:

    Your wisteria vine must be quite old. I’m sure it is beautiful when it is in bloom. I also love what appear to be holly trees in front of the church, in one of your other pictures. I really enjoy beautiful landscape plants! Last fall I planted lots of little stick trees in my yard, and this year I’m hoping to start a small perennial garden. You have a lovely view out of your kitchen windows!

  61. Asha says:

    Oh Susan! I just read your bird logs from 2011. God bless you for answering the blog from Poland. I am Polish and was so impressed that you translated through Google! You are a blessing to all! Love you! Don’t ever stop blogging. I am hooked!

  62. Jody Thomas says:

    IT”S COLD HERE, TOO—-been in the teens and twenties all week. we had a bit of snow, but since the sun is shining, ;-) it’s almost gone. I’m trying out the Punxitawney Pudding today, to go with dinner at my sister’s. it smells GOOD in the oven, can’t wait to try it. I was laughing at the scarf dilema, your reaction of the camera sounds like my family and girlfriends; laugh first, and help later. Can’t help it sometimes!!! love, Jody

  63. Cheryl Danley says:

    Ditto what everyone else said above but, I would like to thank you for posting the pictures of the beautiful red Cardinal! We do not have Cardinals out here in the West so it is so special to see one up close like that. I can’t even imagine seeing a beautiful red bird like that up in a tree. Wow! Occasionally, we will get a gorgeous yellow Goldenfinch or Meadowlark and I am in total surprise and awe everytime I see their brilliant yellow. Not much color in birds out here. Thanks!

  64. Naomi Huddleston says:

    Hi Susan –
    Just wanted to say bless you and thank you for sharing your stationery with us. My mother passed away last year in March, and today I am sending out letters to my mother’s friends who sent her Christmas cards not knowing she is no longer with us. I used your stationery to create my letters – making them more beautiful and cheery. Thank you Susan – I adore you!
    Naomi

  65. Jesse says:

    That kitty outside looks just like my new kitty! Such a little beauty!

  66. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    The squirrel: Many may not know this but they are not to be befriended. They have a awful bite and the kitty would not come out on top if she ever encountered one. Right now the squirrels in our trees are eating the steps off of our front porch. We have put stair treds the rubber kind on the top edge of the porch where the steps meet. The squirrels now have decided thay can eat the kick plate of the steps. What a mess and the damage they are causing.
    Before this happened I never knew the damage they cause to a home and I have head it said, you never want one to get in your attic. They eat the electric wires. So now I don’t think of them as cute, playful or anything nice,just a menace!

    • sbranch says:

      What is your porch made out of? I think apples would be cheaper than replacing the porch! Aren’t there any nut trees or something more squirrel-like in your area for them to eat? Or do they just have a taste for porch? That would be so frustrating! I don’t think the ground squirrels we have in California are “cute” either — just destructive. We had a neighborhood kitty “this close” to catching a squirrel outside the kitchen windows the other day. The squirrel got away, thank goodness, but at one time they were no more than a foot apart and going a hundred miles an hour.

      • Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

        Hi Susan,
        The porch is wood,painted a hunter green. There are pine trees all around our home many reaching 80-100 feet tall. The squirrels do eat the seeds in the pinecones. There are pine cone chips all under the trees. The trees produce tons of pine cones so there isn’t a shortage of food for the squirrels. I never thought to supplement their diet with apples. Reason Hubby is a retired from the Game Comission here in Pa. and he is a staunch believer to let nature alone.I will tell him about the apples and see what he says. They just may have a need for what ever is in the wood. Thank you for this suggestion.

  67. Marie (Long Beach, CA) says:

    Hi Susan! I was doing a little window shopping online and just had to share this beautiful tablecloth… potterybarnkids.com/products/peter-rabbit-tablecloths/?cm_src=AutoRel. So precious and so you. Hope you’re having a fun and productive day!

  68. Theresa says:

    I think this is one of my favorite post that you have done! Your writing and the beautiful pictures just made me feel as if I was in your home … Thank you for sharing.. Really anxious for ” our new book” , I know you have really poured your heart and soul into this one… It will be sooo good! Blessings from our Texas pasture!

  69. Arlinda says:

    Thank you. Your blogs give me that warm and fuzzy feeling, on this cold New York evening.

    Love you Susan. May God bless you.
    Arlinda

  70. Mary S. says:

    Your bird photos are AMAZING!!!! And that adorable visiting kitty in the wisteria branches – oh!!!!!
    We’ve been away for two and a half weeks and I have missed reading your blog!! So good to be back!!!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  71. ok, I know I said I wouldn’t post anymore, BUT Wild Turkeys!!!! Awesome :D

    I wrote a story about turkeys and turkey vultures lol It

    I’d love wild ones lol

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