HERE COMES SUMMER . . .

Summer Already?  How can that BE?  Celebrating Old Cape Cod with MUSICA.

Mmmm, “. . . the simple stuff of summertime.”  And you might say, “Hey don’t rush it, it’s still spring.”  You would say that because you are not on “island time.”  But we definitely are (this is not always a good thing, such as when you are waiting for the plumber to show up) and Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer for us island folk.  Craziness begins to occur, the wide mouth of the ferry yawns open . . . and out they pour, from everywhere . . .

. . . people who love this place just as much as we do . . .

And feel like they are coming home.  They come for the history, for the sea, for the old-fashioned slow way of flip-flop-wearing, rose-smelling, bike riding, picket-fence and shady-tree lifestyle.  Goodbye real life, hello Island. Welcome to 1910.  Bring your picnic basket. 

Our Martha’s Vineyard population goes from approximately 15,000 in the winter, to some crazy thing like 100,000 in the summer. And we’re doing our part — we have two sets of company coming this weekend!  So I’m filling my vases with lilacs, oiling my wooden kitchen table (which right now is shining like a lake), washing towels and drying them on the line so my friends will get a little seaside air in their bath towels. And look what came in the mail . . . this darling summer banner made by my Twitter friend Janie.  It got here in the nick of time, for summer!  But since you aren’t on island time . . . and still have all the time in the world to get ready…

I asked Janie if she would make more of them for you.  It’s totally charming, but what I really love is the little envelope she hand-makes to go with these.  Such a perfect little gift.  I squealed when I opened her package and saw what she sent . . . how could I not!  If you are going anywhere this summer, here is a not-too-expensive housewarming gift anyone would love. ♥

This is what our house looks like now. Joe and I hung the flag after our walk this morning.  On the far left, there on the second floor, I open the screen and lean out that window; Joe goes to the window in the middle. ”Here, catch!” he says and throws me a corner of the flag while holding onto the rest of it.  And I catch it, just like every year, and hang the ring on the hook he put there for it.  The parade from the grammar school up the street will happen tomorrow afternoon, just as it has every Memorial Day since around 1870.  Descendants of those same kids, carrying descendants of the lilacs from that same time.  Because it’s lilac time on Martha’s Vineyard, and we will run out to watch them and clap along as they pass buy.  The kids will walk down Main Street, stopping traffic (one of those sweet small town things people get used to around here), past the bandstand to the sandy shore where the school band (which follows them down the street) plays taps with the sound of seagulls and ocean waves in the background.  The children pay respects to the generations that have fought and died in wars and throw their flowers into the sea.  A lovely old tradition.

But that will be tomorrow . . .  Today, we are getting ready to be spontaneous . . . because with company coming, we need to get ready. I’m making a few food items to have in the fridge…

A big bowl of crisp, soft, spicy, crunchy, Cauliflower and Bean Salad . . .

So pretty I had to do two photos of it!

And this Cold Lemon Rice Salad, which is so easy to make.  There are lots of spring flowers perfect for this.  If you grow pansies, they’re edible (as long as they haven’t been sprayed with anything chemical) — you could make a chiffonade from the different colored petals — like confetti. Chive flowers are in bloom too, plus the chives themselves, minced for some green color.  You can also use clover flowers, young dandelion flower petals, apple blossoms, and sweet woodruff. And, for some nice sticky protein, what is more “holiday weekend” than these . . .

I thought you might enjoy a recipe for two of my favorite chewy substantial weekend appetizers.   We’re going to be ready . . .

Our first group gets here tomorrow, so a little while ago, I went outside to gather lilacs . . .

and look who came with me — Mrs. Shy.  Girl Kitty likes to go outside and roll in the dusty driveway, but being out also makes her very nervous, so she hides in the bushes.

Meow.  He would like to go too, but if he goes then I get nervous.

And here they are the lilacs planted by the woman who owned this house from 1940 to 1980 — though she has gone to heaven, she is still making our world smell wonderful.  Thank you Mrs. Bowditch.

. . . and there’s my darling man, making the our world look wonderful . . . Thank you Mr. Hall.

And then, you know what?  The UPS man came.  He brought me this.  It came from my publisher who got it from the printer.   It’s called a “dummy.”  It’s the exact size of our book, the exact size of A FINE ROMANCE.  It has all 260 pages, but they are blank, and it has the ribbon (I got us a ribbon)!  So you can hold the book, and feel it, and ruffle the pages, and you can, if you are me . . . .

play house with it . . . by removing the blank dust jacket and putting on the one Kellee printed for me, and then laying the end papers and the first page on top of the blank pages so you can squint your eyes and pretend it’s real — it looks real, don’t you think? (I put a fireplace in the first picture on the first page, because it will be the middle of September when you get your books, and I was thinking, crisp days, leaves falling, cup of tea, new book to read . . . ♥  We’re going to be so ready!)

Also, I want to make sure you all got your lamb Bookmark – you can click on that and print it out.  So, today is a red letter day.  Everything seems right with the world, all very home sweet home. Wishing you a happy holiday weekend. XOXO

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470 Responses to HERE COMES SUMMER . . .

  1. Asha says:

    Good Morning Susan! It’s a rainy Memorial Day weekend here in central Mass. My husband is working and I’m cleaning but we are looking forward to having our two grandsons overnight tonight to spend some time with them. Can’t wait! Hope you have fun with your guests too. The other thing I can’t wait for is our book! Sooo looking forward to the Fall as I see so many other girlfriends are! Thank you for another wonderful post with beautiful pics and recipes! I’m going to try the bean salad. Looks delicious. Happy Memorial Day, Susan & Joe. Remember those who fought for our freedom! oxoxox

  2. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Well, I did it again! Wrote a really clever, funny comment & managed to lose it – a non-computer nerd am I! Now I need to get a move on my day (like dress!), but just want to say ♥, ♥, ♥ this blog! And, thanks and God Bless to all our military folks & families for their dedication & service! Happy weekend all! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      That was very clever too, as usual from you Joanie!

      • Marianne says:

        So interested in how the hearts are made so asked my daughter – <3 – could that be right?

        • Marianne says:

          Maybe no?

        • sbranch says:

          That works for some people but not for me, and in this case, it didn’t work either. If you have a Mac, go to the top where it says “Edit” — at the bottom of that list, click on “special characters” — the heart is under Misc.

          • Marianne says:

            If I had a Mac that would be a great tip – so thank you! Maybe someday. Wanted to tell you that the girl at the beach at the top of this post is one of my favorites of your drawings/watercolors and I have it as a notepaper holder from some years ago – it sits on my desk. Beach days are coming!

          • sbranch says:

            Oh. Well, sorry. The way I did it before I got a Mac was to copy and paste it into my comments and emails. So when you see your next heart, copy and paste it into a new email and send it to yourself. Now save it, and from now on, you’ll have a heart to copy and paste whenever and wherever you want. So glad you like my beach girl!

  3. Jeannie S says:

    I am trying to find where to purchase Janie’s summer garland, but I can’t seem to find it…any hints?

  4. Happy Memorial Day week-end everyone, I pray that we will all be safe! We have a wedding to go to this evening at our local Camp Cedar Cliff Billy Graham Training Center, it is on top of the mountain and should be beautiful but cool. And tomorrow is our local Hendersonville Garden Jubilee, Can’t go today, but should be warmer tomorrow, mid 70′s. Susan, you and Joe have your own perfect spot to watch a parade! Have fun!!!~~~~~~
    Love and hugs,
    Jeannie
    Tweet Tweet!

    • Belinda Chesser says:

      Jeannie,

      My sister and her family live in Hendersonville. Her name is Marcy Wagstaff……LOVE your little town!! Have not been in awhile……need to go again soon! Thanks for the reminder. So good to hear from someone so close to her…<3

  5. Martha says:

    Hi Susan – I love your description of the Memorial Day parade and ceremony -such traditions! In my little town it’s one of my favorite times of the year – I always tear up during the services. The weather isn’t very nice for today but Monday looks great!
    Can’t wait for the book!! When do you think the pre-orders will be sent out?
    Martha from CT

    • sbranch says:

      They will arrive September 1st (as long as everything goes as planned). Kellee and Sheri will send them out very first thing — it will take a little while to do them all, but I would think by the 15th they will all at least be in the mail.

      • martha says:

        Wonderful! — Looking forward to it!
        Martha from CT

        • mary spring says:

          ‘going out to the west coast for my grandson’s birth come September…hoping to have A Fine Romance in my hands for my travels..sounds like I will !!!!!..you know, as with everyone else, this book means soooo much to me !!…thanks Susan..

        • Marianne says:

          Yes – so looking forward to seeing A Fine Romance and could feel the excitement of the delivery of your own personal “dummy” of the book – so excited!!! Don’t know what’s the matter with my computer but I can’t get your lamb bookmark on it to print it. Will it be on for awhile? Will have to check with my husband to see if he can help.

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, we’ll have it for a while and I will repost it too, when the book comes, just in case someone misses it.

  6. ginger says:

    Yes, today is a wonderful day and everything is right with the world…at least in my little corner. I’m going to make that lovely salad this week minus the olives and oil, because I’m allergic to olives. I wonder what I could use for the kalameta flavor maybe some capers and a tiny splash of grape juice. I don’t know. Anyway…I plan to buy your book and can’t wait to read it after following it from conception to birth. I’m going to attempt copying your stone wall pic above today. Thanks again for another great post.

    • sbranch says:

      You could boil down some balsamic vinegar until it becomes a syrup and drizzle a bit of that over the salad — I’ve pretty much never met anything that wasn’t complimented by that!

  7. Judy from K.C. says:

    Happy Memorial Day Weekend !
    God Bless our Troops and USA!
    Placed my book order ! Looking forward to
    a cozy read this fall!
    Maybe next cruise could be bloggers meet n greet?
    Would b fun !

  8. CarolK (NJ) says:

    Hapy Memorial Day Everyone….Susan, I hope your having warmer weather than we are here in central NJ. We had torrential down pours, lots of wind and the temp this morning was 54!! Burrrrrrr. BUT ~ it’s green, green, green outside every thing that is supposed to be blooming is and all the trees are in full leaf. Our lilacs have finished doing their thing but my Siberian Irises are popping up all over the place to keep the color going. Hubby and I are going to take a local train ride tomorrow. They run this excursion only once or twice a year from Ringoes to Three Bridges and back over what is normally only a freight line. After all those years of hearing the lonesome train whistles going down the line in the middle of the night we’re going to get to experience riding the same rails. Please, everyone, say a prayer for all our men and women in the service and for those who sacrificed so much for us ………NJ hugs

  9. Gert~Iowa says:

    Hello Sweet Susan! I know you’re busy with company and enjoying every minute of it! All of your dishes sound amazing…yummm! (I want to come to your house…smile!) sren’t computers wonderful? As with hem..we all can be there with you and Joe..smelling the fresh sea air no our hand towels….and on our walks with you each day!! Thank you for another wonderful post! We’re having a normal overcast, rain threatening Memorial Day weekend!

    Bless all of you,
    Gert

  10. Betsy says:

    What a relaxing blog posting! I enjoyed every minute of it with my cup of “Paris” tea. Then you showed your new book and I could feel the tempo change inside of me! I am so excited about it and by late August I will be counting the days and waiting for the Postman to arrive. Have a wonderful holiday with all your guests.

  11. viv says:

    Thank you for the bookmark. I wouldn’t wish the summer away, but can hardly wait for my book to arrive. Happy holiday.

  12. I can’t wait until your new book hits the stores. I had to cancel my pre-order when I found out that shipping to Canada cost more than the book itself! So I will get it when the rest of the world does. Do you know when that will be?

    • sbranch says:

      Sorry about that shipping — it’s gotten so bad, worldwide. The book should be in stores by the end of September.

      • Hi Susan,
        I did finally get my hands on your book and savoured and loved every moment of reading it. I haven’t been to England for years and your trip so made me long to go again. Thank-you for a lovely journey, albeit, vicarious.

  13. Genie in N.C. says:

    This is not “blog-related”, but I wanted to share this link of smiles that I just received on my email:
    youtube.com/watch_popup?v=-iP27eatYxE&feature=share

    What fun! : )

  14. Susan B-M says:

    It’s snowing! At first I thought it was dandelion dander until I stuck my arm out the window and …. sure enough! SNOW!!! Rain for the past 4 days, and downright upstate NY cold…but snow? I guess this will be a memorial Memorial Day! Stay warm, stay dry, and say “Thank you” to your local Veteran….it’s a tradition that I think we all need to remember. Snow?! Ummphfff.

  15. Laura says:

    I love the fact that you sing praises of the former occupant of your house. I do the same thing. Mrs. Miller lived here from the mid-50s to about 5 years ago. I love all the little things that she did to this house, from the convenient linen closet to the lovely, well-planned kitchen and every single closet in this old house. I bless her name on a regular basis.

  16. Elly says:

    Happy Memorial Day and official start of Summertime!
    Only just now stopped to sit a spell, have a cup of tea and read your Memorial Day weekend blogpost. Didn’t take the time yesterday, as my husband and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary. We traveled along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and had a visit with friends, who are lucky enough to live in a wonderful lakeside community. The day was chilly, but sunny; and we were able to enjoy the countryside, stopping at Cherry Pointe Market for fresh asparagus and cherry pie. Then on to ClayBanks Pottery, where my husband delighted me with a grape hyacinth decorated “berry bowl” with matching plate, which one can use to wash one’s fruit and let drain into the matching plate. We topped off our visit with lunch at Country Dairy, a working dairy farm with restaurant. We had “hoof prints” ice cream for dessert! Yum!! Before we headed home we stopped at Little Au Sable Lighthouse to see the beach and the big waves of Lake Michigan! I wish I lived a little closer to water, a lake or a river. Must be my Dutch genes, as there is water every where one looks in the Netherlands. It was a great start to what will be a wonderful Memorial weekend and Summer. Blessings to you and your dear husband Joe, as you entertain your guests and enjoy all the bounty summer has to give!

  17. Roseann Davis-Yurasits says:

    Hi Susan,

    Will there be a desk pad type calendar this year? I have gotten it the last couple of years and am typing here with my fingers crossed hoping that it will be available. If it helps any I could click my heels three times and wish upon a star! I really love it, please say it is coming in.

    Baskets of Wishes,
    Roseann

    • sbranch says:

      I would love to say that, but I’m afraid that company (Lifeguard Press) has deleted that product from their line. We aren’t the manufacturer of the desk calendar, I just licensed my artwork to them and did the designs. We are just heartbroken about it — we loved that calendar too. We’ll keep trying to see if we can find someone else that wants to make it. Sorry!

      • Jan from Northern CA says:

        Sigh, I live every day with my SB desk blotter on my desk to enjoy. Ever since you had it for sale, I have jotted down my life on it. It’s like a journal of my life. It was soooo much nicer than the boring ones from the office store. :(
        I noticed that it wasn’t in the calenders area for sale, and was going to ask. Roseann and I will wait with anticipation for you to hopefully find someone else to manfacture them.
        Can’t wait for our book! I too don’t want to wish summer away, but am anxious to get in and sit with a cup of tea to begin the journey! Have a wonderful summer and I hope to meet you to get my book signed.
        Cheers,
        Jan from Northern CA

      • Belinda Chesser says:

        I did e-mail them and ask that they reconsider making one for the following year!…<3

      • Leila says:

        Please also consider making the desk pad the right size for a desk. I am a teacher and that small one just doesn’t work for a teacher’s desk. Thank you.

  18. Hello Everyone, It is a BIG DAY in INDIANA….THE INDIANAPOLIS 500!!!! We are having cool/damp weather this weekend so not your typical Race Day Weather; but, should be great conditions for the Racers just not the fans. We are going to a neighbors “family reunion” and I have Chocolate Chunk Brownies, Watergate Salad, and a Penne Pasta Salad that I made up and threw together (Jim said it was yummy) so after Church we are ready to go and listen to the Race (it is blocked out here so we can’t watch until tonight)….hope everyone has a Great Weekend enjoying family/friends and has a safe, happy Holiday Weekend!!!! especially the Driver’s during the Race.

    • Update: Guess who one 1st and 3rd in the Racing Pool??? Yes, ME well Jim and I only because we share everything and not that it was a lot of money because there weren’t that many in it…just nice to win something. We had a good time and Angela set up her jewelry and coasters that she makes as in interim in getting her “big break” in singing….today is a fun day for my family we are going to look in shops that everyone wants to go to and lunch at Uno’s…hope everyone is well and having some fun. Enjoy

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Deborah’s daughter, Angela, makes and sells beautiful jewelry and tile coasters. She just graduated from college and has a beautiful voice and is looking for a career using her voice. But she is artistic, too, and is putting those artistic talents to work while she looks for a job using her voice. She has a website which I am figuring I shouldn’t put on here but if anyone is interested and they contacted Deborah Heater in Indiana, I’ll bet she maybe would share the information… :-)
        Maybe, Deborah??? :-)

        • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

          Maybe I should clarify–being that she sells jewelry and the tile coasters, it would be kind of “conflict of interest” to post it here. However, if you want to hear her singing (and she truly sings like an “angel”), her music website is: http://angheatmusic.webs.com/

  19. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Squeal !!!! The bookmarks! I love it,love it!!! So Perfect for our books this coming September which is just 3 months away. I just loved your photos and ideas to officially kick off the summer season with salads and ideas to perk up our homes. The darling banner is so cute and thanks for making them available . Thanks Jamie!!

    One day I hope to be one of those visitors pouring off the ferry at Martha’s Vineyard. It has been up at the top of my wish list for several decades now. I think it is time to make that happen one day soon. From your blog , I have so many places I wish to see and experience myself . The island looks so historical and beautiful . A total must see place in America! In the meantime, your cold lemon rice salad is next on my list of summer recipes to try. It looks beautiful and I am imagining it tastes wonderful.

    Happy Memorial Day to you and Joe!! Lets hear it for Summer. I’m off to find some new fun flip flops!!

  20. Jack says:

    For a Memorial Day treat for Jack —get Joe, to mow a catcher 1/2 full of Grass and set it inside on the floor , where he looks out of his jail— if he spills ,, you can pick it up with you Dandelion machine.”"

    • sbranch says:

      LOL — I did go out and cut him some grass. He loved it, and ate off all the tips!

      • mary spring says:

        your dear father loves to keep it going…gotta love him..his sense of humor is JUST like my dear dad’s!!!…you know what’s best for your Jack (your kitty)..we know you treat him so well…

  21. Kathy Thompson (Rialto, CA) says:

    ,Hi Susan…and “Happy getting ready for summer”,
    Your BLOG was lovely today, as usual. Really set the stage for moving from spring to summer…and all the fun stuff it brings. Can’t wait for fall, though, when your wonderful new book makes its way to us. Printed out the lamb bookmark on a couple of different color cardstock, and sent it off to my dear friend…Nan Lamb. That was just too cute a connection to pass up. She’s a fan of SB too. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend…and all the other GFs, too. :-)

  22. Cindy Tuning says:

    I just love how you absolutely think of every detail. The picture of the teapot and cozy fireplace knowing that we’ll be getting the books in Sept. is brilliant!! It made me wonder what picture you’ll use for the “about the author” page. I’m picturing the one of you in the long skirt and sweater standing in front of a tavern or little Pub. Anyway,Summer will fly by much too quickly and Sept will be here before we know it. Have a great week-end even though it’s chilly out. I’m kind of enjoying the break.

  23. Donna says:

    I do look forward to your book, summer will go fast because of the anticipation! Thank you for the recipe, I love healthy salads. I think I would rather visit MV in the winter season, the thought of a nice brisk walk with the wind blowing, then bowl of chowder, or a lobster! It would be fun to visits shops after the crowds have gone, I hope they don’t close down in the slow season! Thank you for a wonderful post!

    • sbranch says:

      Lots of them do close. But many stay open until Christmas. Edgartown totally closes up by then, but Vineyard Haven stays open all winter.

  24. Sandy Richmond says:

    Good morning Susan and girlfriends! After a few rainy, windy, chilly days , we are waking up to a sunny, blue sky in southeast Massachusetts. Happy Memorial Day to all of you. Thinking of my Dad, who served in the Air Force in WWII. Happy thoughts! Spending time outside today… Enjoy!

    • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

      Hi Sandy, my Dad also served in the Air Force (20 yrs.), and we enjoyed all the travelling during my childhood. I guess that makes us both “Air Force Brats”! I hope you are well and enjoy your Summer!! Blessings

  25. KAREN M UCCELLINI says:

    we have a beautiful day today! Our parade and service will be very moving as it is each year. Our little ones are all grown up so we haven’t our own musicians, scouts, baseball or soccer players marching, but countless others to cheer on. I just copied your little lamb bookmark to pass on to my daughters and granddaughters they all love to read. Thank-you for posting it. I have a miniature lilac bush that has just started to flower they certainly remind me of the past. Enjoy your friends, we hopefully will be at our daughter Tollie’s house this afternoon. On a very serious note our son Matt, who is studing for his Masters in occupational therapy, just returned from a week long camp in VA where he worked with brain injured people, men and woman, it was hard to do but very rewarding what I’m trying to get at is the willingness of so many to stand up for our country knowing the type of injuries that have become so common today . we must remember all in our hearts today and everyday! God bless you and your Joe for allowing all of us to glimps into your world . I feel a kinship with you in so many ways . I GET A SMILE EACH TIME YOU SEND A NEW BLOG.

  26. Marie (Long Beach, CA) says:

    Hi Susan! Yet another fantastic post!!! I hope you’ve been enjoying the heck out of your company this beautiful Memorial Day weekend. By the look of the pictures you’ve posted I’m pretty sure you’ve all been eating very well. :) The weather here has been perfect this weekend. We’ve been to a barbecue with friends and family on Saturday and today, Monday, we’re celebrating my Aunt Elinor’s 91st birthday with lots more family and friends with a picnic at a park. Life is so good. Wishing you and all the girlfriends a happy and safe Memorial Day! ♥

  27. Arlinda says:

    I’m the breed that goes to the summer places in the fall when the crowd has left. I like the sleepy island life.

    Happy Memorial Day!!!

    PS
    We loved the beautiful picture of your Cold Lemon Rice Salad. My 10 year old went to her flower fairy garden and got the petals to try the receipe tonight.

    XO

    • sbranch says:

      Love the things that inspire children ♥

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Arlinda, you aren’t the only one. That is when we vacation, too. Hate the crowds, noise, craziness, etc. Would rather spend the hot humid summer in the air conditioning and enjoy the fall! :-)

  28. Carrie says:

    Loooove your perseverance with the lawyer! When I look at the sheet music, I’ll remember that and appreciate all of your efforts!!

  29. Jack says:

    I mailed Jack Branch’s package this AM. …….to your house ……

  30. Jack says:

    Also I just read several of your twitter commentaries…..W h y would a normal person
    Indulge in an activity that they personally select , that purposely makes them “CRY”?. Blubbering over an, unreal, hypothetical ,non-existent , fantasy is the act of a diseased mind — in dreadful need of medical attention! Is there a Brain Surgeon in the house ! —Do Not Sell This Person A Firearm ..!

    • sbranch says:

      You mean an activity like reading the end of Gone with the Wind when Melanie dies so I can cry? You call that crazy? It’s perfectly normal. We women do that all the time. We watch old movies just so we can cry. It’s a lovely feeling. Try it!

    • Sandy Richmond in Attleboro, MA says:

      Hi Jack, It’s the Venus/Mars thing…. Don’t try to understand.., I love all of your comments, you are so funny!

  31. Beverly Brewer says:

    Ours is the most beautiful, most meaningful flag in the world!

  32. Jack says:

    Age spots will disappear if you pick s few of those dandelion tubors –break them open and squeeze a generous amount of the MilkySap on your discolored blotch— rub it GOOD -do this a couple times every day k– and you will see a gradual lightening of these spots — and warts will absolutely disappear with this treatment !

  33. Jack says:

    Soften your elbows and feet by rubbing the juice of a Lemon cut in two — this trick will also get after your calluses ….

  34. Jack says:

    Too many freckles ?– Cut a fresh strawberry in half and rub the cut sides over your face
    To lighten up your freckles . Do this every day or two until your speckles disappear.:- )

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Does it leave big red spots, instead??? Are you sure it wasn’t “cut a fresh lemon in half…”? :-)

  35. Jack says:

    Ya got a dripping faucet driving you crazy — in your case “”crazier” — that you haven’t fixed yet ? — OK so tie a piece of string around the faucet and lead it down the water drip — the water will run down the string , so you won’t hear it …….Ah peace at last !

  36. Jack says:

    Ya got a sticky lock ? Rub your key really good , with a newly sharpened pencil ‘the loose graphite will lube things up for you …..

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      THIS is a very good tip, but I am not sure ALL the pencils made have graphite. (?)

  37. Jack says:

    Tips anonomymous…..

  38. Jack says:

    Cats are so cute ….but if they are dead set on attacking your potted azalea do this 1— soak a cotton ball with lemon oil furniture polish to keep them off …..
    Also give junior a bath in the deep sea water — put a couple drops of bluing in the bath water and he will think he’s in the deep blue sea floating his boats….

  39. Jack says:

    Do you guys like poached eggs –I know I do–so to get them to keep their shape in the water just add a couple drops of any kind of vinegar ….You have control !

  40. Jack says:

    Jeese , how do you get moderated around here ?

    • sbranch says:

      hahahaha, I bet you’re not the only one wondering that! :-)

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Oh! My! Word! Jack, you sound like those old Burma Shave signs that used to dot the two lane highways when my family took vacations long-long ago! So fun!

  41. Barbara H. says:

    Hi Susan!
    As friends and family were chatting over our Memorial Day meal, I mentioned your dandelion vacuum idea. Everybody thought I was so smart….for reading your blog! :) I love your tips, recipes, and photos–especially the photo of your flag and the school children’s sweet parade tradition. Blessings!

  42. Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

    Jack, I must say you made me smirk as I read your “helpful hints” because I could just see Susan “moderating” them while thinking “should or shouldn’t” she hit the enter button!! haha You are an absolute hoot and good for you keeping your daughter on her toes…..Susan, you have just got to love this Dad of yours because we all think the World of him!!! Keep up the good work Jack and enjoy your Summer. Blessings

    • Diane Harris says:

      I’m just getting to these comments and can’t stop laughing at the end of Jack’s Tips! He needs a blog of his very own, don’t ya think? Adorable! Can you lend him out?

  43. Joan S says:

    How wonderful to see your book coming to completion. I look forward to my copy.
    Love the parade photos. Small towns are the best for flag waving holidays!

  44. I live in a rain forest but was totally blessed with hot sunny days for our Memorial Day weekend!! Such a treat to feel the warmth of summer in my face
    while I planted my flowers purchased at the local hardware store!! This may
    sound “everyday” to most, but for us on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska, it is
    a gift!!! When I sit and savor your photos and news of summer events I just
    live it right on my sofa!! Sure hope to visit Prince Edward Island some time
    in the not to distant future!!! It will be difficult to choose between fall or spring!! Thank you so much for sharing! Lots of XoXo’s to you Susan!

  45. Genie in N.C. says:

    Hi Susan ~
    What did you use to oil your wooden kitchen table?

  46. I’m using this comment as a test…seems my email address will not stay on the site anymore and I’m not sure what has happened. I noticed a comment I made yesterday isn’t even in moderation so I’m wondering if you are even receiving them?? Hopefully, I can figure out what is going on.

    • sbranch says:

      At first it wouldn’t let me reply to this, but I refreshed it, and now it’s being allowed. At least it looks like this one will go through … sorry Deborah!

  47. Michelle says:

    I just can’t wait for the book. You are going to be my travel agent… I just love great big magical gardens. I just love traveling, and I just love everything about England, so it’s a match made in heaven!

  48. Wanda Cordero says:

    I am new here and I am Very happy to read and relax with all the Wonderful art and stories. All is so pretty! I like gardening and went to visit gardens around New England. The little notebook reminds me the work of an anthropologist always carrying a notebook with them. So Splendid pictures of Flowers. I hope that I can have the book cause as I notice is a must for Country fans! Blessings!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m a life-path anthropologist, just working to figure it all out. Keeping the little books helps. Welcome Wanda, happy to see you here!

  49. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    I came back to VB with Summer in full swing. I am now back in 2013 and I have found you put all my favorite drawings in one blog!!!

  50. Dear Susan,
    I am in Australia, and I have never seen a more beautiful web page. Congratulations on your skills and abilities and thank you for sharing them with the rest of us. You are truly inspirational and I will try to spruce my own up a bit more. I try to paint my pictures with words, but it seems possible to do both after seeing your site.
    How did you put it together? What web people do you use? I have just got a domain name, but no host. Who helps you?
    Thanks again,
    Caylie Jeffery
    Brisbane Australia

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Caylie! A friend of mine made my site from a WordPress template — and then I learned to use it. It isn’t hard to do, but the photos were the thing I really had to figure out. If you see all the blogs there are in the world, you can figure that it really can’t be THAT hard to do … good luck with yours!

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