BATTENING DOWN THE HATCHES

Joe’s putting on the storm windows; we’re getting ready to leave for California next week and battening down the hatches because it will almost be Thanksgiving when we come back, late Autumn when the winds and rain start to roll over the island with more regularity and all we’ll want to do when we get home is light the fire and put on some MUSICA like this. So, pour yourself a wee spot of something delicious to drink . . . I think I should change the name of this blog to Tea with Susan .

pour a cup tea

M m m m m, please pass the cream.

Joe's working

Joe’s ladder ~ he’s up there fitting the storm windows into place . . .

storm windows

Although Jack considers everything Joe does as entertainment, I think he’s taking mental notes; planning to get himself born as human next time and hoping to be a handy one . . .

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He follows Joe from window to window . . .

fall

Before we go, we’re doing our part to make our neighborhood festive, we’ve got the pumpkins up, Casper is in the upstairs window, there’s a fall wreath, and Joe just painted and installed a brand new storm door.

punkin time

Halloween is coming! We’ll be gone, but our friends are staying to take care of the kitties; they’ll be the ones opening the door to the hoards of children that come trick-or-treating through our neighborhood every year.  We’ll be on the train heading for California. What a perfect time of year to travel.  The views should be wonderful.

leaves

Casper from the back

Here’s Casper looking out from the guest room.

last of the season

I’ve been outside gathering what I am sure is the last bouquet of the season from our garden.  It’s gotten cold enough that nothing much is venturing forth anymore . . . right in the middle of that bouquet is the last of the “Just Joey” roses . . . a bud.  I hope it will bloom.

fall hydrangeas

These hydrangeas are pure white in the summer but they turn this  color in the autumn.

pumpkins in the garden

We’ve put the pumpkins on the lawn . . .

path in the woods

And we’re going on our walk as often as we can; we’ll only be away from home for three weeks, but we’ll miss it.  I have walked this same walk almost every day of my life since I moved to the island in 1982. That’s over thirty years to the same place! It’s always been the best part of my day.  Here’s our dirt road just after the nor’easter that came through last week.

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It smells woodsy, piney, and leaf mulchy out there. The walk is almost three miles out and back, the leaves still haven’t reached peak color yet.

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With the twitter of birds and not many other sounds, we dodge the water puddles, wearing hats and rain jackets. In the winter the puddles turn to ice.

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There was a really high tide after the storm . . . we love this little cottage out on the end . . .

cottage

Here’s a closer view . . .

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The tide was so high it came right up to the road where we’re walking . . . it’s cold, raw, salty, dark and moody out there . . .

after the storm

Seagulls cry and dive under black clouds, over the beach grass and the shore . . .

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There’s a HUGE crop of bittersweet on the island this year . . . more than I’ve ever seen before.

delicious-autumn

down to the sea

Tangles of it border the paths to the water . . .

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I thought you might like to see some of the little beach houses . . .

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They’re old and funky and real, no one has tried to glamorize them (thank goodness), they are perfect just they way they are.

last of the Queen Anne's Lace

This was the only Queen Anne’s Lace we saw out there; the last of the season and perfect.

cottage on the lake

The Queen Anne’s Lace was in front of this little place . . .

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This is the other side of the red shingled cottage in the photo above . . .

the pond

And this is the view from that house, overlooking the brackish pond . . .

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We followed the road down to where the pond opens to the sea . . . Joe has just found a piece of beach glass . . .

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Behind where Joe was walking, if you look to the right, this is what you see.  We owned one of these little places at one time . . . the one with the little peaked roof way down toward the end, you can see a tiny chimney just behind it.  Note how little beach is left in front of these places . . . high tide attacking the rocks and sandy shore . . .

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So vulnerable to the elements, but most of them have been here for over a hundred years. Fingers crossed for another hundred.

out to the water

Here’s where we turn around to walk back.

after the rain

past the pond, around the puddles,

through the woods

through the woods . . .

Through the trees

Looking up at the sky through the drippy leaves . . .

the woods

Catching glimpses of the water as we go along . . .

collecting leaves

Collecting colorful leaves to take home.

jack

to tape on the windows in the kitchen.

windows and leaves

Probably the best of all decorations, leaves, and they are free!

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Of course Jack sees me with the camera and realizes it’s photo bomb time . . . but truly, he only makes everything better.

fall

I decorate pretty much the same way every year, with just a few little changes now and then . . .

this year

This is how the kitchen looked this morning . . .

last year

And and here’s a photo from a couple of years ago . . .

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I love touches of black in our fall/winter kitchen . . .  Which is just one more reason I love that little kitty peeking out behind the quilt. He is the perfect touch of black.

hooked rugsWe keep the kitchen floors bare in the Summer, the hooked rugs come back out in the fall . . . each with a little touch of black so they look good with Jack.

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Last night we had Debby and Will (old friends who will be taking care of Girl and Jack while we’re away) to dinner.  It was a spiralizer dinner, so I could show them how to use the “machine” while we’re away ~ I made them sweet potato, parsnip and apple “noodles” — and had fun setting the table . . .

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I’ve owned these heavy dishes since the 1970’s, most of them were made by San Luis Obispo Artist Paula Teplitz.  They have images from nature on them, animals and leaves.

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This is my audience while I work.  See what I mean about the touches of black? 

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We got a new dishwasher last week which meant we had to pull the refrigerator away from the wall to install it, and Look what we found under it! One of Jack’s stashes!

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Back to the table . . .

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Light the lights . . . set the mood . . .

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Time for dinner!

snack time

Speaking of food I wanted to share a new, low calorie, high protein delicious snack I love, which is also gluten free.  It’s rice crackers, hummus, pesto (all of which you can find in your supermarket), and a bowl of rice.

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You dip the cracker into the hummus (which is good enough by itself),

snacks

Then into the pesto (making it even more delicious),

snackAnd then into the bowl of rice, making it more substantial.  These are wonderful to help us keep up our strength.

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Here’s the view from where I sit at the computer every day working on my new book.  I’ve heard from several of you, wondering how the book is coming along.  It’s funny, for a person who loves words, I have a difficult time coming up with the right ones to describe how I feel about this book.  It’s so different from anything I’ve ever done.  There is so much of you in it already, like with my other books, I think about you every morning when I get up and begin work while it is still dark.  My how-to-write-a-book reminder cardSaying to myself “Oh, they are going to love this” or “I wonder if they would like this?”  I’ll wake in the night with an idea, an idea that becomes more and more demanding until I can no longer ignore it. I won’t be able to get back to sleep until I reach over my bedside table and grab the pad of paper I keep there for this purpose.  I pat the top of the table in the dark, going lightly over terrain of water glass, books, lamp, vase, until I land on a pen and start writing as quick as I can before I forget what it was I half-dreamed.  I write maybe five lines per page — I can’t see what I’m doing, but I don’t want to write over the sentences so I leave lots of space.  After the fourth page I think, uh-oh, I hope this pen isn’t out of ink.  I pat the table until I find my bedside clock and push the button on it to make it light up and use it like flashlight to see if there is ink on the paper.  There is!  Hooray!  

I make little screams when I think I’ve written something that works (before I find out the next day that I was in a period of delusion WritingDeskand remove it!). It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it might also be the best; I’ll know when it’s done. The book has gone to the editor, the first half of it is back, she said “LOL” to some things; she also said,”Get rid of these twenty-seven pages” ~ I love her because she is honest and I agree with her.  I’ve been rewriting; the second half will come back to me next week.  I still don’t have a date for publication, but I’m definitely getting closer, the little train that could, or would, or will, or else; I’ll be working on it while we’re on the train, in our room with a view.  Almost as nice a view as the one in the photo above, our own view that says Home, a view I see every day, one that changes with the seasons and never fails to interest me. Do I watch over it, or, after all these years, does it watch over me?

Have a wonderful Halloween Girlfriends, watch for Twitter from the Twain; I’ll be sending photos from the road. If you’re in California, there are going to be two fun booksignings in November, be sure to check out EVENTS at the top of the blog and come see me if you can . . . Batten down the hatches Girls, and have fun with your pumpkins! 

pumpkin-carving

to all trains

Off we go . . . ♥ XOXO

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396 Responses to BATTENING DOWN THE HATCHES

  1. Jules says:

    Thank you for taking us with you on your walk. My favorite part of the walk is through the woods. So peaceful! I honestly don’t know how you tear yourself away from your lovely abode and those adorable kitties. Don’t think I could do it. Well, maybe for a trip on the Queen Mary I could.

  2. Denise :) says:

    I so enjoy your beautiful blog . . . thank you so much for SHARING! Hugs! 🙂

  3. Sharon says:

    Love the color of those green tea cups.

    It’s 5:41 p.m. here and while I appreciate your suggestion of tea with Susan, right now Scotch with Joe holds more appeal.

    Have a good trip!

  4. Gert~Iowa says:

    Susan, I have been thinking of you lately. Our weather has been sooo nice and we’ve had our windows open! Every time I hear a train whistle blow I think of you “twittering from the twain”! I think you will have some wonderful views out your window! I have really missed going on “our” twain trip!! And now it’s time!! smile….
    I love going on a walk with you and Joe! I could smell all the smells that you described! Ahhhh… Love all those houses, amazing isn’t it? How they can stand the storms forever and forever is unbelievable!
    I know your book will all come to you in time. And it will be perfect!! Be safe and look forward to our trip next week!

  5. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    Oh, we absolutely love traveling by train! That’s how we traveled to Ohio last August, and we’re doing it again in May 2015. When we get to Chicago, we rent a car there and drive the rest of the way. On the return trip, we take a couple of days for ourselves in Chicago before boarding the train. ( We spent our honeymoon there and enjoy relieving some of it! ) Your photos, as usual, are just gorgeous. I’ve seen a few colored leaves here in SoCal……..a few. I thinkit’s so cute how jack watches Joe…..we do provide our kitties with hours of enjoyment, don’t we! Enjoy your trip next week! ( Southwest Chief? )

  6. Sharon in Fresno says:

    Loved, loved, loved your blog post today. I could almost feel the cool crisp autumn Martha’s Vineyard air here in California. Surprise, surprise, I woke up to 50 degree weather. Autumn has finally come to Fresno – hooray! I am so looking forward to meeting you in Cayucos Nov 8th. Dumb question: What books will you have for sale there? And, may I bring some of your other books for you to sign? I know there may be a limit so thought I’d ask first. Also, looking forward to your train ride photos.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, you can bring other books . . . as far as I know, they will have A Fine Romance and Autumn and all the calendars and maybe things like tea . . . See you soon!

  7. Gina P. from NY says:

    Susan: can’t wait to see the pictures of the train ride across the U.S.A. I still love the little end note in your Autumn book where you describe your train ride across the country to California – your description of the houses along the way, in the busy cities and also the ones all by themselves on the farms and prairies with their strings of Christmas lights always puts me in the holiday mood. I was wondering… trains, ships… is one of you a “white knuckle flyer”? (as I am – I fly, if I have to, but it’s not my favorite mode of transportation), or is it that you both just love the experience of traveling slowly and taking it all in? No matter which, I’m with you… My dream has always been to go cross country by train.

    I love how cozy and warm your home looks, and soon, after you return, it will be filled with the lovely aromas of turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings! The temperature is supposed to really drop this weekend here. They are saying temps in the 40’s. We are supposed to have some rain on Saturday, and I even heard the words “flurries” from the weatherman! Battening down the hatches is a good idea!

    I wish you and Joe a wonderful, fun-filled, and relaxing trip to the west coast! I know we are all looking forward to being an armchair traveler with you as you meander across this beautiful country. Stay well…

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a long story, our train and boat attraction, but I’m putting it in my new book, so I’ll save it for then. Happy flurries and 40 degrees Gina!

  8. Holly says:

    Hello everyone! Long time no comment! Susan I LOVE the dark, heavy plates you had on the table… HAVE to find some! What it is about dinnerware that we all love? I used to feel guilty for having 5 or 6 sets of dishes, but now I’m too old for guilt, so I just enjoy them. I have also found a new set by Bordallo Pinheiro from Portugal. It’s majolica, pink (or green, yellow, blue or purple) and has bunnies on it. The shapes are unique and are decorated with molded bunnies, carrots, cabbages…. Just so darling! You can see it on ebay.

    I too am headed west on my Fall trip home. First to AZ, then up CA coast to Seattle, then across the upper USA to Chicago, then home again. The train is just the best way to travel. Have a good trip. I’m excited to see the ocean again… and mountains, evergreens, and my daughter too. ttfn girlfriends!

    • sbranch says:

      Beautiful trip Holly, up CA coast to Seattle then on to Chicago is one of my favorites too.

      • Susan from Bainbridge Island, Washington state says:

        Oh Susan… one of these days..please come up to coast from CA to Seattle area….my Island would welcome you and we have such a special bookstore here…Eagle Harbor Books… and you have so many followers in this gorgeous Puget Sound area…..the invite stands and our back doors are open!!!
        xoxo

    • Glenda says:

      Holly,

      I too like my dishes! At one time I had 30 sets and enjoyed using them all! My husband of almost 50 years gave me the first set of Blue Willow for a wedding present. When shopping for clothes I found it hard to find clothes that fit…I was tall and skinny. Most cute clothes were petite..so I bought dishes. Then for every occasion where a present was involved my family and friends would give me…dishes!, So much fun as you can always share them with family and friends and they always fit! 🙂 Like all of your dishes too Susan and enjoy how much fun you have setting your table…always so pretty!

  9. TeriGrace says:

    Well….. guess I’ll have to figure out how to ‘twitter’. I don’t wanna be left out of the loop. I am curious how traveling on a train clear across the country is like. Thanks for taking us along. Again.

  10. Kathleen says:

    I check daily to see if you have posted a new blog and love to read and then re-read them. You never disappoint, and remind us to enjoy the simple things in life. Our loved ones, our home, nature and good food. Thank you

  11. Melody says:

    I hope you have a wonderful trip out to California! You are right, it should be beautiful. Bless Joe for getting up on that ladder to put up all those windows! Your house is so lovely!! I would love the view out of your window by where you work on your book. *sigh*. Jack is such a darling. I bet he was happy you found all his hair ties. Good luck on your book. I will be looking forward to it! 🙂

  12. Toni from Sylvania OH says:

    Hi Susan…what a wonderful way to celebrate Autumn! A train ride would be a good way to feel relaxed. Not having to worry about the “DRIVER”!!! My PERSONAL DRIVER is driving me batty!!! His multi-tasking is too much…always fiddling with something…the radio, the garmin, reading the words on the screen…TO SAY NOTHING ABOUT THE PHONE! You would think we have a chauffer…and I sure wish we did…the trip would be SOOOO much more calming…to say nothing about his dosing off…or eyes getting very heavy! JUST LET ME OUT!!!!!
    Peaceful travels to you and Joe
    Love and hugs, Toni
    ps…I don’t Tweet…will your messages still appear on the blog?

    • sbranch says:

      LOL Toni! I’ll try to update the blog too, but we’ll be on the move quite a bit so I’ll do my best.

      • mary spring says:

        …’just had to say, that I don’t “tweet”(don’t know how) but we can still follow along on your twitter updates just by clicking on your “twitter” on the right side bar…’love the pics you share…..

        • sbranch says:

          Yes you can, that’s a good thing to say, thank you Mary, no one has to Tweet, they can just read and look at the photos.

  13. Jack says:

    Do your candles burn down that fast , or , have you had them lit all afternoon ?

  14. Debbie R from Valencia, CA says:

    Susan, wishing you and Joe a wonderful and safe trip to the left coast. How exciting to read your post and find out that your new book is getting closer to publication. Oh…….the anticipation…..love having “something” to look forward to. Thank you Susan for always giving us girlfriends that “something” to look forward to. You are the best!!! Happy Halloween

  15. Carol Lichwala says:

    Hello Susan,
    You have the most wonderful kitchen. You know just how to decorate it. I love old homes. Have a wonderful trip to California. I am so jealous of you and Joe taking the train, the best way to travel. I took the train to Florida 3 times and enjoyed every minute of it.
    So anxious to get your next book, I am sure it will be wonderful. I treasure my “A fine Romance” that you signed for me at the Westfield Library.
    Happy Halloween!

  16. Becky says:

    Oh, Susan! My favorite bakery in the whole world (Anderson’s) is in Santa Barbara right next to the shop you’ll be signing in on Thursday. They have a delicious Danish breakfast that is such a treat, and their homemade orange marmalade is……well you must try it. Just save up your calories from the day before…haha! BTW, I have taken an old chair that was my grandmother’s to be reupholstered, and I chose a fabric very similar to your kitchen curtains. Who doesn’t love black and cream checked fabric. My fingers are crossed that it turns into a chair that complements any room it’s placed in. It gives off a good vibe. I love that chair. It must be all of the comforting memories. Safe travels!

  17. Shanna says:

    I love Autumn and loved this post. Have a wonderful train ride across country–we’ll be watching for your updates as you and Autumn exchange greetings along the way.

  18. Jeannette from the CA coast says:

    I so enjoyed every minute spent reading this lovely autumn post. Enjoy the train ride to CA – I wish you could bring some of the moisture along with you:)
    I can see I’m going to have to make a train ride to the East someday. I have never been to your neck of the woods and would love it I know.

  19. Lynn Cunningham says:

    Tea with Susan sounds perfect! The glimpses of your charming kitchen, and all of the wonderful dishes you share with us would fit right in with that! And of course, the touches of black are perfect (especially the ones with fur). Jack always has such a quizzical look on his face ~ interested in his entire world!

    That walk to the ocean’s door must fill you with delight each and every day. It’s so peaceful-looking and I can almost smell the forest when you describe it! I loved the selection of leaves that you picked to take home, and how you added them to your windows. Thank you for those neat ideas, which I love ~ but wouldn’t have thought of by myself.

    I hope that Penelope is still hanging in there! Have a safe and interesting trip across country, and a great time with your family.

  20. Tammy in Colorado says:

    Thanks for taking us on your walk! 😉

  21. Lisa R says:

    Lovely, sweet autumn post…..and then you had me at TRAIN! Really, coast to coast, ahhh. My dream. Someday, my friend, someday. Until then enjoy it for me, and all the other train lovers out there. All aboard! choo choo

  22. Carol from PA says:

    Godspeed to you and Joe, Susan! Be safe and enjoy each and every minute of your trip with family and friends. I loved your recent journey “down the path and back”. I, too, did my very own version this weekend when I traveled for a day from home here in Pennsylvania to a favorite beach in Delaware. The travel itself consisted of the most beautiful scenery with its colorful foilage. Upon arrival I was greeted with a dolphin sighting. The perfect way to say goodbye to my ocean until warmer weather! I envy you having the ocean “just down the road” and never having to say goodbye! I will be thinking about you Thursday when I make your cranberry apple crisp from your Autumn book for a gathering of some very dear, special friends. I have never made this recipe before but you never let me down! Autumn blessings dear friend!

    • sbranch says:

      I know you’ll love it Carol . . . it’s definitely one of my go-to’s this time of year! Enjoy, and thank you!

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Carol, I made my first-of-the-season cranberry apple crisp for supper last night. Last time I made it I used the Granny Smith apples that the recipie calls for, but last night I used the last four Honey Crisp that were in the fridge. So, so good. We had it hot from the oven last night for dessert and cold today for lunch. Also made Susan’s Corn Pudding a few days ago. It was my first-of-the-season, too! Susan, are you all packed for your trip? I’m looking forward to your twitters from the twain! Hugs.

        • Carol from PA says:

          Thanks, Shannon, for sharing the type of apples you used. I have yet to buy them and was wondering what kind to try. Something tells me this recipe is outstanding no matter what! Thanks to both you and Susan!

  23. Vicki says:

    It sounds so nice that you’re taking the train!

    OH, I do envy you for having such beauty all around of which you can partake freely without any fear of running into weirdos in isolated, remote, walking places; I don’t have anywhere I can do that. I think I’ve been in an urban environment/mindset(?) for too long. For instance, it seems you have no blinds or curtains on your lower windows or the glass in your doors. I just could not do that where I live; we have too many burglaries and there’d be no privacy. I think I need to move…I KNOW I need to move!

    I loved seeing your autumn leaves. Gosh, I sound like a sad sack, but we also don’t have any kind of a fall here that can mimic that in dead, drought-ridden Southern California. We are colorless, and the wild areas look like moonscapes. Maybe where you’re going up the coast will be brighter. Anyway, there’s something so gorgeous in an autumn leaf bouquet and you’ve decorated with them so creatively; warm and cozy feel to how you decorate your comfortable home; I’d miss it, too, if I had to leave it!

    Have a great trip west; you’re probably going to hit it just right with the weather all around.

    I purchased one of your desk blotters; it’s nice and big. Thanks for working so hard to give us pleasing stuff to buy and fill our homes with…art, whimsy and heart.

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure Vicki . . . thank you for this nice comment. I grew up where there was no fall too, so I’m especially appreciative of the miracle that it is and LOVE to share it with everyone! xoxo

  24. Joan in TX says:

    If Jack wants to come back as a human handy man then I want to come back as Jack. What a charmed lucky kitty life he has. Never second guess if we will like something that you want to show us or tell us about. The answer will always be YES!!!

    • sbranch says:

      🙂 — I always tell Jack and Girl I want to come back as them too. They choose the comfiest places to nap!

  25. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Wishing you and Joe a beautiful and safe train ride to California! Your black and white gingham curtains are sooooooooooooo pretty!!!! Your rug collection looks like floor art! Thanking you for the delightful walk “with you” this morning to the sea with all of Autumn’s natural decorations! (Loved your colorful souvenir leaves taped onto your windows!) I will be playing the cool retro music over the telephone to my 90 year old father later today……knowing he will love it! Take care and have loads of fun!!!!!! (Don’t forget to double check that Jack did not stash a new stash of rubber bands into your luggage!)

  26. Welcome to CA. I’m wondering if You will ever be close enough to Me,for Me to come to one of Your events.I would love to but it would have to be near Rancho Cucamunga-B&N Montclair Mall.Clairmont is nice,A college City.

  27. Carolyn says:

    I love Jack’s cute little, unique nose! Your autumn decorations are just so warm, cozy, and beautiful. I could name everything I loved in this blog but that would take too long! So I will just say thank you for taking the time to share all this loveliness with us!!

  28. Wendy Louise says:

    Dear Darling Susan and your darling world,
    You got the joyful tears rolling when I got to the pictures of Jack watching his Dad working outside, ohhhhhh the heart pings ! How adorable, that is what it is all about right there, plus I love watching a man work, especially my guy riding his tractor in the swirling leaves. 🙂 What a lovely,peaceful exsistance, oh if everyone chose this imagine the peace in the world, hard work and then fun peaceful living. Oh,I dream too much sometimes. I am excited for your trip on the train, Paul and I want to do that sometime and we are definitely going to England on The Queen Mary ! Boat was Paul’s first word as a baby ! We are working on all our retirement dreams now and it is in the near future ! And remember if you dream it you can make it so ! 🙂 Some most wonderful person said that ! 🙂 Have a lovely, safe, fun filled trip, and those adorable kitties will be waiting for you and remember their time is not like ours, it will be a blink for them 😉 oxoxoxoxoxoxox

    • sbranch says:

      Wow! Boat? That’s amazing . . . can’t be usual, does he love them? Thank you for sweet words about “blink” of time for the kitties. I like to think that’s true!

      • Wendy Louise says:

        He has owned one his whole life ! We are sailors, fair weather sailors ;). First Light is our boat now and someday a dream is to sail to MV and have you and Joe for dinner on it 🙂 ! 😉 Just think of the great winter you will have with your kitties :). oxox

  29. Melissa says:

    Thanks for sharing. It would be interesting to see a photo of your barn and it’s contents…I’m sure Joe has all those storm windows and things very organized!

    • sbranch says:

      Not as organized as one might think after living there for so many years, it’s a minefield inside that barn! 🙂

  30. Patty from Ohio says:

    Oh, Susan, you can’t tell me Jack doesn’t know he is the star of the show. You are there to be his photojournalist! Cutie!

  31. Praying for a safe trip to California and home (although I expect there is still a part of you that considers California home). 😉

    I love seeing photos of your home. It inspires me to look around and see little things I can do here and there to make our home more cozy. I call it “decorating by tweaking” and you are a master of the Art!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, I’m always confused about that . . . they are both home. I’ve always done the same thing with decorating magazines — you see a photo you like and look around to see what you have that sorta makes that happen for you! Thanks Brenda!

  32. Lynn Cooper says:

    I loved seeing Jack’s stash of rubber bands when you pulled out the refrigerator. He is one busy boy. Your home looks lovely, as always.

    It was wonderful to meet you and hear you speak in Westfield two weeks ago. I was the short girlfriend that brought a few books for you to sign, hoping not to appear too eager and greedy, and when you saw one of them, Gardens, you said, “Oh, I haven’t seen this one for a while.”

    Have a wonderful trip to California. While you are gone I will still be raking leaves and putting summer furniture away and my large ceramic garden pots into the barn so the winter freeze does not crack them. While Joe was putting up the winter storm windows, I am still removing and washing my screens to put away for the winter. These seasonal chores seem never-ending. Bet that was not one of your reasons to move east and enjoy the changing seasons!

    We will all look forward to your posts from the train and the rest of your trip.

  33. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Thank you for the lovely walk. I love routine, and the fact the you have walked that same road all these years is so romantic. I imagine you both out walking when me and my sweetheart go out back and walk our field. Our neighbors have sheep again!! Any reason you didn’t hang on to the house by the big pond? Enjoy your trip. Xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Lots of reasons. Mostly it’s hard to have two houses within 4 miles of each other. Always something needing done at both of them. We love the house we’ve lived in since 1989 . . . we were ignoring it and going to the beach all the time! 🙂

      • Joy Pence from Ohio says:

        This way you have the best of both worlds…your beautiful old home to play house in that is just a short “morning science” walk to the beach!

  34. Carla TePaske says:

    Hello,
    Thank you for the lovely walk to the beach. 🙂
    Have a safe trip.
    xx oo
    Carla

  35. Anne in Maine says:

    Thank you so much for the walk. It was very calming during my little lunch break. I love those rice crackers! Aren’t they yummy? I have several gluten free friends and have had to find snacks I can serve them. I use them with hummus BUT your touches with pesto and rice are great! I’m going to “borrow” that idea. Thank you! Got a chuckle about Jack’s stash of elastics. Every time we move a piece of furniture, I find my Bodie’s stash of little rubber balls. (His favorite play thing.) I often joke that some day we’re going to see the hutch in the dining room rise off the floor. It seems that’s where most of his balls land. As always, wonderful post. Thank you so much. Have a safe, wonderful trip and Happy Halloween!

  36. nancy says:

    Hi Susan,
    Great post today! I am a long time fan. Just love how “home-y” and cozy your home is – just like regular folk! Your blogs always brighten my day and mood!
    Nancy

    P.S. If your train stops in Ann Arbor, Mi, my husband and I will treat you to lunch!

    • sbranch says:

      Regular folk, LOL, that’s the truth! Thank you Nancy, if it does stop there, they are not telling us! 🙂

  37. hi susan! this is going to be off topic, but i wanted to send some gratitude your way for giving us a place to come to that we can feel good about. with all that goes on in this world we live in it is so nice to know we have a place that we don’t have to listen to or see all the mahiem that is the news these days. just beautiful photos, musica, and words from a loving and lovely person. so thank you for being peace of mind in this wacky world! safe travels to you and joe.
    p.s. could you tell us a little more about how you go about traveling across country by train “in a room with a view”? when you have a chance of course…like is it possible from anywhere in the u.s., or only from certain areas?

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sandi, it takes a village, and that’s US! Definitely you can go pretty much everywhere from Maryland. But some stations are bigger than others and provide more services. I’ll talk about it more as we go along.

      • thank you susan! just read your reply after i read today’s post from the train/california. i wasn’t even thinking about it when i asked the train travel question, but we live only 30 miles away from union station in downtown washington, dc! guess i had a little brain cramp on that one. lol. i imagine we could go anywhere from there! i’m thinking next years vacation! my 10 year old would love it. i traveled as a child up and down the east coast from maryland to alabama, many summers. my relatives all live in alabama, so one of my grandmother’s would come up on the train to get me and take me back with them. i enjoyed it immensely, and haven’t been on a train since then. must do some research today! thanks!

        • sbranch says:

          Oh yes, DC has the nicest station in the US by far, it’s a hub like Chicago. The thing that’s iffy in smaller stations is whether or not they have checked luggage and or redcaps. You can show up at the station and find out you have to take everything on board yourself, that can be a problem if you’re going a long way or for a longer period of time.

  38. Sherry says:

    Oh I love walks in the woods or anywhere there is Nature! Thanks for bringing us along with you on yours! [I could almost “smell” the wooded trees!] It’s gloomy and so windy here today…gotta go walk indoors at the High School field house, which is better than nothin I guess! Have been collecting leaves too, and now I am gonna borrow your idea to tape them to the windows! [Was wondering what to do with them! THANKS for sharing SUSAN!] All of the leaves are down here now and we raked the last of them Sat! Time for candles and reading books now! Can you believe we had almost 70 degrees yesterday, and I was outdoors transplanting plants into my new little garden…will have to finish it in SPRING! Happy California! God bless!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, that warm weather just before we left was crazy! I think it will be long gone by the time we come back!

  39. A Friend says:

    Hello long lost friend, how I’ve missed you. Although quiet for months I’m still here, checking in and reading the posts. Little by little, still working out the subtle change of a few months ago. Hope to return to the fold soon.

    Wonderfully evocative autumnal post, thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      If you are who I think you are, and even if you’re not, we miss you! xoxo

      • mary spring says:

        …yes, I think you are that very person, as well…(with such a way with words !! and that is truly an understatement)…yes, we’ve missed you and welcome back…we have missed you…and hope you are doing alright…(please, forgive me for being so bold… but I often come here for peace and friendship….)

        • sbranch says:

          a way with words is the true thing. xoxo

          • mary spring says:

            … ditto on “xoxo”.. btw, we are very much enjoying this train trip !!…sooo fascinating !!….thank you for taking us all along…and that ticket taker never saw us all in hiding !!…hah !!

          • sbranch says:

            No, you got your chops in England and are almost professional stow-aways now. I’m so proud of you! 🙂

  40. Lisa aka Jessies mom says:

    Susan I am so excited you will be in California! I am hoping to get Jessie up for a book signing in SB
    This could be a girls weekend, wait til I tell Rach and Syd!!
    Enjoy the trip here!

  41. Renee says:

    Dear Susan,
    Chicago bound! And you honeymooned here! I’m here, if there is anything you need. Do not know where you stay but, if you want a nice walk, please get thee to Menomonee and Larabee, (a rhyme for you!),this is easterly Lincoln Park/Old Town. Head due east on Menomonee St. You will be snugly within a quaint neighborhood, and mid-way to Clark St. and the park, on your left, as you head east, you will pass several very small houses from 1880. They are called Fire Houses, as they were offered for a song, much like the little Katrina houses in New Orleans. The catch was you had to build the house yourself! Menomonee is very charming, in an old-world way. You will see gardens too. There will be intersections heading east, that have been turned into pedestrian ways. As you begin this walk, you will pass the Buddhist Temple. There are many secrets to this little pocket of Chicago. The best being, no traffic! If the day is fair, you will certainly hear birdsong! It will be my daily walk from Orchard St. to the park, when (Phil hub of 34 years) and I move to our new home, mid-November. Anyway, I am happy to hear you have special memories of Chicago! Back to the walk – As you carefully cross (mind the cars) over to the park from Menomonee, head north. The city has turned the area around the lagoon, at the zoo, into a wildlife refuge, it is very beautiful! The lake will be beckoning to you also. Safe travels!
    Best,
    Renee

  42. kimj says:

    Where did you get that awesome ghost in your window?

    • sbranch says:

      Found him in some store or other several years back. He’s my favorite. Very stiff fabric over bent wire. Could be made!

  43. Jane says:

    What a wonderful blog. I can feel the cool crisp air in my bones as you are taking your daily walk. Some day I hope to experience your island! Enjoy your train trip! 🙂

  44. Have a wonderful trip. I’ll be watching for you along the way. I loved the way you collect colorful leaves along the way to tape on to the windows. Just lovely. Any tape like double sided tape? I also liked the wee pumpkins over the outside door. You always show us sweet, quaint decorating ideas. You’re the best!

  45. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    Dearest Susan, I loved everything about this blog! It has put me into the Fall mood more than ever. I LOVE your touches of black when you decorate, and especially Jack. He has never lost his adorable wide-eye gaze, has he? He seems like such a bundle of love with his friendly French face. I also love your dishes…how unique and beautiful. They must be fun to eat with…and what a fun treat for your guests too. Joe is such a handy husband…I know you probably keep him around for more than fixing, building, repairing, cooking, decorating, crafting, shopping, and replacing window screens and things….haha….but he is cute to boot! I wonder if he is romantic as well? If so, I just done even know what to say!! It is no wonder you have held onto him all these years! :). I hope you have an awesome trip on the train. I am going with you as I always do now, so I hope you can move the other Girlfriends over in the suitcases to make room! Xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Jack holds on to his adorableness, that is for sure! He is just a rolly polly bundle of love. Everyone who comes into the house gets the “Jack Treatment” ~ He jumps up to rub on their legs, or rolls around on their feet! He’s a crazy little maniac! And yes, Joe is romantic and almost as cute as Jack! Rolls around on my feet and everything! 🙂 On the train right now! Been Twittering and sending pics all day. We arrive in Chicago tomorrow morning at 9am (unless freight trains get in our way!).

      • Diane from Poulsbo says:

        You always make me crack up! Joe! Haha! I wish I could personally experience the Jack treatment, but since he lives too far away….and I would be too tempted to take him and keep him for myself…it is best that I adore him through the pictures and little videos. I have to go check out Twitter right now so I don’t miss you! Xoxo 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          One reason I don’t let him out, he is just too tempting a target for cat nappers! Too too tempting!

          • Diane from Poulsbo says:

            “here kitty kitty…….tuna every day at MY house!”. I confess I might become a thief if I got close to him. It’s best if we never meet in person…….

          • sbranch says:

            Good Diane! I’m so happy to hear that!

          • Diane from Poulsbo says:

            One more thing…I don’t Twitter, but I figured out how to find you….I am LOVING our trip….thank you for sharing! 🙂

  46. Sara says:

    From tea to twain, it was enchanting, Susan! Love your fall decorations in your kitchen… using black as the accent color is brilliant! The table setting is beautiful, and those candle holders! Where did you find them? Are they cast iron? Antiques? Gosh, 30+ years walking the same three miles every day. That’s phenomenal! My dad’s favorite saying was, “There’s a lot to be said for predictability.” He would have liked you. 🙂 The snack is a great idea. I’ve never thought of dipping the cracker and hummus into the pesto and then rice. I found two half pints of homemade pesto in the freezer the other day. Now I know what to do with it. 🙂 Have a wonderful trip!

    • sbranch says:

      They’re cast iron . . . just one of those lucky finds. We didn’t start off planning to walk that road for thirty years, but the value in it has truly been cumulative. xoxo Thank you!

  47. Linda says:

    Was perplexed by the editor comment as I thought you said you were publishing your own books now?
    Have a safe trip—sounds like a wonderful way to travel. I love trains.
    Linda from Idaho where the days are 60’s ….tommorrow 70 but low 30’s at night..first frost last night but my flowers are still growing like crazy–my begonias as big and colorful as roses! Lawn even got mowed today but mowing company said this is the last mow of the year!

    • sbranch says:

      She’s for words, spelling, structure, punctuation, mistakes in syntax, things that could make one look like an idiot if released as is, I hired her . . . yes, we’re publishing, but every book needs professional editing, I hired her to do mine. Thank you Linda!

  48. Almost ready for the off ~~~ safe journey ~~~

    ~~~waving~~~ Debs in Wales xoxo

  49. Lori says:

    Hello Susan! Thanks for showing us around “your” fall. The color is still hanging on in Indiana but the leaves were falling as fast as the rain. (But what a beautiful carpet then!) I look forward to our train trip too and enjoying California with you. Blessings and safe travel, Lori <3

  50. N Jean says:

    The decorating, the daily walk, the wonderfully cozy kitchen, the food and the preparation to leave for California. It all looks and sounds great. I would have a hard time leaving the island this time of year, so beautiful. But the urge to see family is greater than all other things. Enjoy the trip.

    • sbranch says:

      It was very hard, but now that we’re out, it’s a lot of fun. Hard to say goodbye, but easy to love this! Sitting in our room with a view in the Albany train station right now, writing you, and waiting to be hooked up to the New York train! Amazing!

  51. Deborah says:

    have a wonderful trip to Cali, and a happy Halloween! Love the pictures and the depth of fall that you show us…..so lovely! Ok, so with the hope that you don’t think I am totally bonkers, I just HAVE to tell you I really liked the pictures of your Joe here, and here is why: the other day I was driving, and I live in a very small town, so when we see someone walking it is common to know who they are. So I see a man walking across our bridge street bridge. I think ‘ hey, there’s……(?) I know that guy….that handsome guy’..Now WHO is he??? I keep searching my brain and searching….finally about five blocks later I realize who he is!! Now you guess: He had on cords and a sweater, very casual, with a salt and pepper beard, and a Joe cap on!!! OMG,…I thought I knew him and it was JOE!!!! (of course not really) See how you influence us with sharing your wonderful life!! Anyway, then as I am driving along, laughing at my insanity, more people are looking at me wondering why I am driving alone laughing……

  52. jennifer says:

    Susan, I love seeing your kitchen in her evening glow. 🙂 So cozy.
    Your dishes make me want to learn pottery making. In fact, one day I just might.

    I wanted to tell you, Saturday is my birthday and my Mother gave me some money…as Mother’s tend to do…and I just ordered A FINE ROMANCE!
    I’m so excited!!

    Have a safe trip and I cannot wait to see pictures!

    Thank you Susan. 🙂

  53. Pat Johnson says:

    Happy Train Ride! I love riding on the train and haven’t done so for a very long time. It is so restful and interesting. You got me thinking that I need to plan a trip on the train for next year. I bought a new Touring Coach and will be traveling when I return home to Paso Robles. Looking forward to the book signing and trip to Cayucos. From the looks of it, there will be lots of people to see you. How does it feel to be so popular?? You always give us so much to think about and to experience. Sharing your life and your thoughts are priceless. I love the walks you and Joe take. I am getting ready to go home from my little cabin in Newport, WA. It will be a new experience – going home – because my grandson, his wife and my Great-grandson (2) have moved into my house for a while. I plan on taking advantage of my grandson to help with projects I haven’t been able to do – living alone makes some things difficult. I will love, love, love being with my Felix once again and share his 2 yr old life. Life is GRAND!! Happy Trails, my dear…….have a ball!!! XXXXOOOO

  54. Jack says:

    Oh listen to the jingle , the rumble and the roar,
    As She glides along the woodland , through the hills and by the shore ,
    She came from the Vineyard on one cold October day ,
    Goin’ to California –for just a three day stay ,
    Then back to see her kitties , they are waiting by the door
    They’ll get hugs and kisses ,and such love for evermore !

    So twitter from the twain my dear , the girlfriends like to hear,
    Your stories and adventures , as you travel far and near.

  55. I have devoured every word and every photograph. Oh, how sad it must be to leave Jack and Miss Kitty behind. I am looking forward to the journey! All aboard! xxoo

  56. Julie says:

    That walk through the woods…so lush, unspoiled beauty. I love the idea that you have walked this same path for decades, almost unheard of these days. I hope it is some sort of protected land so that you (and your fans past and future) are able to enjoy its beauty forever & ever. Thank you for sharing your days, my heart just fills with hope with each word & picture. Dreams really do come true.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s just a dirt road through the woods to the beach, but most of the island is relatively protected. Everyone knows it’s a jewel.

  57. Lisa Nelson-Jones East Tn says:

    I could DIE over your dishes!!! Bunny dishes!!!! And I’ve said it before, and must again, I’m in love with your candle holders- have been looking for some for years!!!! So excited to see twitter from the twain! Looking forward to it, though it won’t quite seem Halloween without knowing you all are celebrating up there and then enjoying your chili tradition and cocktails. I always think of you on Halloween and what fun you guys have! It’s time to break out my Autumn book for my dose of nostalgia. You guys be safe and enjoy yourselves in sunny Ca!

    • sbranch says:

      We left wonderful surrogates in our place. People who don’t get the kids at their house — they are staying to care for kitties and Halloween kids. We left candy, got house decorated, they are making pumpkins and are very excited for tonight! I’m excited for them!

  58. Marygrace says:

    Hi Susan! Just wanted to say I think it is a lovely idea to call your blog Tea with Susan! Its so fitting!!

  59. Rosanna says:

    Thanks for taking us on the daily walk – I can almost smell the ocean air!

    My spiral vegetable slicer arrived and I made my first dish last night – a bacon, shrimp zucchini noodle scampi kind of thing – and it was FANTASTIC!

    I’m contemplating making my husband’s favorite potato soup into a potato noodle soup – this new kitchen ‘toy’ has really sparked my imagination in terms of changing up some recipes I already make.

    I’m going to have to create a new divider for my SB Homemade Recipes binder – maybe decorate it with colorful spiral swirls……. thank you for bringing this super little tool to our attention!

    PS. Safe trip – have fun on the train – well, I know you will. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, me too Rosanna. I sent one to my sister, she is bringing it when she meets us in LA at my Mom’s! 🙂 I want to try boiling the harder veggies next time, like sweet potatoes parboiled … and see what happens.

      • Rosanna says:

        Oh – now that is an idea – parboiling hmmm — I am contemplating doing a beet noodle – and wondered about how hard that would be so parboiling would certainly help — of course with beets I’m thinking I will need to suit up in a raincoat – and do it outside – otherwise I might just create a new decorating trend using beet spatter instead of paint!

  60. Barbara from Argentina says:

    Dear Susan:
    I love your blog, happy to know that you are writing another book. I would like to know, how do you deal with problems? ignore them? denied them? You are a Light to some of us, and sometimes I wonder how do you do it… every time I feel overwhelm by them, I just read your blog to get away from them for a little bit, but it not always work. May be someday you can write (and draw!) something about it.
    Best of luck in your new book, I imagine It´ll be beautiful as the other ones.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t ignore them and can’t deny them. Depends what they are. If I can, I go over them, if I can’t I mourn them. But when things look darkest I just count my blessings and suddenly realize that relative to the history of the world and problems others have faced, mine are insignificant. xoxo

  61. Priscilla from So Ca in SD says:

    Do you still have the cottage at the beach?
    Wish I could board that train to California!

  62. Janice Smith says:

    Hello Susan. You wrote of our dreams a few weeks ago. I had one of someday taking a cruise….other that that weekend I spent with my daughter on the Queen Mary at dock in Long Beach. You were behind that one also as you wrote of being there with your Mom earlier that year…..well, my daughter and I spent 7 nights on the Royal Princess the end of Sept/first of Oct. I tried to comment in your “Keep Dreaming” blog from the ship…but no go. I waved to you as we sailed past MV. We sailed out of NY and stopped in Newport Sunday, then sailed around past your island to Boston. My daughter and I tried to figure out if we would have time to drive to the island….but finally figured out it would just have to be another time. We wouldn’t want to miss getting back on the ship! We stopped at Bar Harbor, St. John and then Halifax before sailing back to NY. It was wonderful. Now for the next adventure…….a train trip! You two are so inspiring. Of course the big adventure would be the Queen Mary crossing……but we can still dream! Oh, see you at Cayucos! I’m headed down to Morro Bay to see a friend that weekend….and will bring my new Autumn edition…. with a ribbon…for your special signature!!
    Cheers
    Jan from Northern CA

    • sbranch says:

      Be sure to tell me you’re “Jan from Northern California” when we meet, so I’ll know who you are! Loved your trip description Jan~ xoxo

  63. judi says:

    Rabbit, Rabbit! Am so enjoying your pics from the train:) Oh, those farm fields with the late day light are GOLDEN, so beautiful. I don’t belong to twitter so I can’t comment there but, I can see your posts:)))) Lovin it! xoxo judi p.s. looks like your “caboose” made it out of town in the nick of time re coooold!

  64. Jack says:

    Be careful parboiling , if things get too soft they may gum up the Spirolizer…..

  65. Frances Fowler says:

    How generous to invite us all to share your home, trail, thoughts, work, and kitty pictures 🙂 You have clearly never lost the childlike joys and wonders of each day and season, the love of traditions, the cosiness of home, and to me that’s a key to happiness. Hope you’re enjoying your trip. I think we’re all looking forward to your next book! On a side note, my daughter and I have to stash any elastic bands we want to use, otherwise her kitty will bat them under beds, furniture, stove, and fridge!

  66. Marcy says:

    Your comments of the expected train ride has me eager to try it. My husband just retired and I really think we would enjoy a more relaxed way to travel.Do you go Amtrak or an actual train? The thought of being able to sleep, shower and have a real meal sounds like THE way to go! Hope you have a very safe trip. Marcy in GA

  67. Barb from Ohio says:

    Hi Susan, just checking in to say I’ve been enjoying reading your tweets from the train and pics online. I’m not a tweeter, but I have enjoyed following you along on your journey to California via all your tweets. Looks like you and Joe are enjoying yourselves along the way and I love the pictures…what a way to see this country! Was Chicago nasty! They showed it on our morning news this morning that they had flooding over the lakeside roads there and said they had to close some roads. We’re just having cold and rain here in Northeast Ohio, normal November stuff. Just remembered I’d better go flip the calenders and get ready to turn back the clocks tonight before bed. Have a great rest of your trip and keep keeping us informed, because you know we love going along!

  68. Lynda says:

    Always love the walk photos and most especially when you gather leaves/nature and decorate with them. This is one of my favorite things to do in the fall . Somehow, it is very meaningful to me, and just fun AND free.

    For Halloween , I used the way fun white paper bag luminaries with stars from your online shop. So glad I got them ,(although I almost forgot I even had them ! Close call.) they looked fabulous with solar tea lights outside on my steps, and I think I will also use them for Christmas (an Oh Holy Night kinda thing) and easily for next summer. Too fun and so very pretty.

    If your train goes through Des Moines you go right past my office downtown. I see a few passenger trains from my desk . I will wave : ) Have a lovely trip.

  69. Gwyn Marden says:

    Dear Susan, where did you find your casper the ghost…so sweet! Thanks G

    • sbranch says:

      I found him so long ago, I’m not sure where — probably a gift store, or maybe the Christmas Tree shop. He’s just wire and VERY starched cotton, with a light and cord up the center, and a wee pumpkin glued to his front. I think he could be made!

  70. Linda T. from Maine says:

    Hello Susan,
    First day of November and I went to try something new in the Autumn Book. Love the One Dish- Stuffed Pork Chops ,Sweet Potatoes, and Apples. All I got to say is Mmmmmm… Good. I have many fresh apples this time of year. Wanted to try something new. It was easy to make and fun. The pork was so tender and moist. The apples gave it such a great taste along with sweet potatoes and raisins and stuffing. Thank you so much for this good recipe. I have had this book for years but never made this recipe. Glad I did now. Cliff Loved it.{ My Hubby.} Thanks for another great walk alone the beach . That’s the walk I want to take when I get out to the Island some day. I hope… I get to maybe bump into friends namely You and Joe just to say HI and get to meet the lovely women that write the best books ever. Happy click- ity- clack and toot- toot across the land. Have fun. Thank you.

  71. Martha says:

    Love your autumn beach photos! Have a safe trip – I’ve been wanting to go on a train trip again ever since a magical trip to Florida as a child. I’ll have to plan that soon!
    Martha from CT

  72. Janet in Rochester says:

    Did you see any Halloween decorations from the train, Sue? Like you do when you’re traveling during the holiday season? Have a great week!

  73. Judy Young says:

    Hi Susan, I was on the shopping page today and still the soap and soapdish are sold out! I really want one…hope there will be more?? Enjoy your trip, I don’t Twitter, so missing the photos. Love this time of year!

    • sbranch says:

      I wrote to the girls this morning to get a more definite date . . . I think we have the soap, it’s the wooden “dishes” we’re waiting on.

  74. Saartje says:

    Thank you for taking us on your walk. I should do that with my jogging routes. I have two, each about 5 km long, one along the brook that we call river in our village and one high up through the fields. Even though we live between Leuven and Brussels in one of most densely populated regions of the world, these places feel like real nature, the landscape is the same you see on the paintings Breughel made in the Renaissance. I love to see the seasons pass by as I tread the same sod twice a week every week. And I often think I should take pictures to share the beauty of these spot, but jogging with a camera is not so easy. So I just jog, enjoy and say a little prayer of thanks for the beauty that is there.

    • sbranch says:

      Heavenly! Thank you for the description! Almost everywhere has a little patch of nature we can enjoy . . . yours sounds lovely. We hardly ever take the camera for the same reasons you mention!

  75. Joan in TX says:

    You all are sitting on a gold mine. I went to the farmers market today. They were selling bouquets of bittersweet for $55.00!

  76. I love going cross country by train! Nothing more relaxing than watching the country go by in my little room surrounded by good books, long unfinished projects, and great music. Heading out to Washington State by train in 2016. Can’t wait, the train trip is always my favorite part of the vacation! When I hear that train whistle I long to grab my luggage and climb aboard. Love following your trip and seeing the familiar places in your photos.

  77. Irene says:

    Susan.
    I cannot tell you how very sad that I missed you last week at the beautiful Hamstead (?) Village in S.B. I got the message too late that you were there signing your beautiful books and 2015 calendar. And, I work right across the street too. I was there today, and had to have the calendar and your precious tea tin; actually I bought two, one to give away and one for me.
    When you had your store in A.G., I actually just missed you there too….
    We’re bound to meet someday and I will treasure the day forever. Many blessings and enjoy the rest of your trip.

    • sbranch says:

      Next time Irene! After we finished in Hampstead Village, we went next door and had bites to eat and watched the bicyclists go by. Were you there?

  78. SueLee says:

    I would not want to see Disney own Amtrak. If Disney were to own our national train, or even manage it, they would reduce it to a cute replica of itself. Workers would most probably not be paid a living wage and there would not be any travel deals. Ordinary Americans would be priced off of the train, even though in it’s current state it appears to be pricey. One can get deals. Privatizing Amtrak would not be in the best interests of most Americans. We should have a national transportation system supported by all with access for all. A Disney ownership would restrict that access. Those of you looking for luxury while traveling on Amtrak are looking in the wrong place. Perhaps in Canada? one may find more luxurious accommodations on their publicly supported train transportation system.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s just the way it’s going (as a “publicly supported” train system that actually isn’t), we seem to be losing ground, but I agree with you, it should be a matter of national pride to have a good rail system. All those lovely views of America the Beautiful!

  79. Kathie says:

    You’re so brave, showing us what’s under your fridge. Jack loves a puzzle, doesn’t he, putting things under things and seeing if he can figure out how to get them back. Even arranging it so he can be entertained by our getting up and moving large objects so he can discover the solution to the puzzle. Yes, we have one of those at our house now……a kitten and, thus, lots of laughter and many puzzles. Enjoy your journey and thanks for taking us with you! By the way, my friends tell me I’m a no contact person on Google and I can’t seem to solve the problem. Anyone have a solution? Please write if you have. prairiestitcher at centurytel dot net. Cheers, Kathie

    • sbranch says:

      He is a smart kitty. There is a trail of ponytail bands starting at the kitchen stairs, then strategically placed all the way up, through rooms, down halls, into bathroom, into bedroom, so he’s sure I have one available at every footstep! Hopefully someone can solve your Google problem, I would be doing the same thing you are, asking for help!

  80. Elizabeth says:

    Susan-
    I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am inspired by your delight in life’s small things. Your zest for the present moment, appreciation for the good in every moment, wonder at the delight of every view, and savor at the roots of our heritage as humans is truly so meditating! My husband was born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard and I came across your wonderful cookbooks in his mother’s kitchen…from then on– My girlfriends and I delved deep in your works of art–both in the kitchen and on paper with watercolor…and felt a warm connection to you! I share your love of all things old, all things cozy, and all things to be savored in this beautiful earth. I look forward to venturing your blog!

    well wishes for the Merriest Christmas!

  81. Michele M. says:

    Hi Susan! Playing catch up on the blog! I have a question for you about the fresh leaves you bring from the walk and into your home for fall decor: how do you get them NOT to curl? I do the same and just string them into bunting but even if I dry them in a book like flowers, they never fully dry out and always curl. Maybe you tape them flat on the window? It could just be that easy…. 🙂

    I am so excited for this new book! A glimpse into the chapters that make up your life. How very exciting for all of us to learn more about our favorite artist/author! Thank you for wanting to share even more with us.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year early!!

    • sbranch says:

      Some kinds of leaves curl almost instantly, but some don’t curl at all . . . you’ll see if you experiment. xoxo

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