Hi Everyone, First MUSICA!  I hope you received your Willard! If not, don’t worry, it just started going out this morning and it takes a while these days, it has to go in batches so we don’t break the Internets . . . but it should be in everyone’s mailbox no later than Saturday afternoon. If you are new to my Blog and are wondering What in the heck is she talking about? ~ Willard is my Newsletter, go HERE if you’d like to sign up for it (it’s free), and read about how Willard got its name.  Past Willard’s are there too, just in cases you need a little something more to read! 🤓

This is the blog where we like to talk about all things Home Sweet Home.  Since we’ve become acutely aware that we have no control over World Sweet World (not that we eschew it totally; we don’t, since we belong to it and are proud citizens of it) but we have narrowed our interest to our own little bits of Paradise where everything is just the way we like it, because for once in our lives, as opposed to school or work, or the fickle finger of fate, at home we are totally in charge! We can turn off the MUSICA any time we want. The curtains can be lace, or linen, or shades or blinds ~ or none at all. And if we want something, and it’s too expensive, we figure out how to make it. Or save for it. TV can be on all day, or never . . . We can feed the birds, or we don’t have to. And no one cares because it is our own world and no one else’s. It is highly empowering to realize that it’s true, our home IS our castle, and that we all live much better than the king of England, Henry VIII did on his very best day, no matter how many jewels he had, because jewels don’t keep you warm and because we have heat and indoor plumbing, and we recognize how lucky we are, so the other thing we enjoy doing is counting our many blessings.

We do it by kissing our little petty pets (who know you want to take a photo and so they do this), by admiring our clean kitchens, and hanging wet laundry on the line ~ by baking birthday cakes, or knitting socks ~  

Or digging holes to make the garden beautiful . . .

Then taking pictures of it . . .

And celebrating and loving just being in the place that means the most to us. I’ve felt the honor of living in this old house every day since we bought it in 1989. I give it things. I give it old lamps and old dishes I find in second-hand stores. And when I come home, its arms wrap around me. We are symbiotic.💞 We belong to each other.More blessings . . . out picking flowers from the garden for my little vases then inviting somebody wonderful to lunch. And one of the wonderful people I invited to lunch lives here . . .

In the house on the right . . . look familiar? Is anyone screaming yet?

It’s called Castle Cottage, does that ring a bell?  And my guest for tea lives there right now, the only person in the world to live in this exact house has come to America for a visit. How impossible is that? When you think about it? Totally not possible. But there she was!

Yes, my guest for tea lives in the house in the village of Near Sawrey in the Lake District in England where this couple lived and loved for thirty years, lived their very abnormal normal little lives ~ Beatrix Potter and William Heelis.

So, I started to get ready . . . I brought in spring peas from my other blessing, this picket-fence garden. Twenty years of loving this spot. Want one? Here’s how! First? Mas MUSICA! (We’re in the groove…)

There might be one or two of you that don’t know that Joe made my picket-fence garden ~ I wrote about it in 1996 in my Summer Book . . . it’s been a gift that keeps on giving.💞

. . . and I watered the lawn and came back in and there Jack was waiting, behind the screen, my shadow.💞

I made lunch and added the peas to my coleslaw . . .

And gave the Beatrix Potter People a bath . . .

And dusted my studio shelf of BP love . . .

 And had a wonderful little lunch of Coleslaw with lobster chunks (For recipe, scroll down HERE) and Clams Casino in the garden. Joe joined us, along with Betsy Bray on the left, who is the first overseas Trustee ever elected to the Beatrix Potter Society (which I know several of you belong to too!) ~ if she looks familiar, it’s because some of you saw her last year with me at the 150th Birthday Party for Beatrix Potter . . . and Betsy brought her friend Mandy Marshall (don’t these girls have fairy tale names?) the current resident of Castle Cottage. BOY! Was I ready for some brain picking. And my first question was and always will be, what was Beatrix Potter’s kitchen like?  Because Castle Cottage has always been a private home, and rarely open to the public. I may never get the real answer to that question, because, as Mandy explained, it’s been changed and moved and is no longer the kitchen where Beatrix made her tea. 😩 (I took it every well.) So my imagination will have to suffice. But I learned a lot. About the views from the sitting room across Post Office Meadow to Hill Top, and the life Beatrix and William lived there, we gossiped about them like we were in high school and they were the popular kids every one knew but didn’t know . . .  and Mandy told us that when they first moved in, she and her husband had discovered a secret garden so overgrown that from the ground it was just a wall of thicket and nothing more. Time had made it invisible. It was only from an upstairs window that Mandy’s husband was able to spot some sort of outline that made him curious. Anyway, Mandy brought a whole book of detailed photos of Castle Cottage, and it all came alive. She was so good, answered every one of my questions with a smile. Now I think I better go visit her. We toasted to that great idea with tea in two of my brand new English cups that I’ve been telling you about (samples came in! Real things are being made right now!)

Beatrix, in her third life re-invention (after scientist and author), became a farmer committed to the preservation of Herdwick sheep, she won awards for them (that’s her proud self in the hat). She was an amazing person. The Life Story of Beatrix Potter is something to be reckoned with.

And Mandy, being a business woman, honoring all things BP, has gone into the sheep business herself  . . . having beautiful products made from the wool from these very particular Lakeland sheep.

Betsy is about to lead her first tour called “Beatrix Potter’s Lake District Legacy” ~ she’s the perfect person to do it, she’s been there dozens of times, gives talks on Beatrix Potter’s life and knows all the secrets, including how to get inside her friend Mandy’s house! Some of our Girlfriends are going with her! I’m so jealous! She is so excited, she leaves on Saturday… The tour is full, but that link I gave you is for this time NEXT year, if any of you have a yearning to go, she’ll be doing it again . . .

So everyone’s gone, and here I am, just me and Jack in my studio, writing you . . . and this is the view I have from this very spot where I sit, window wide open, birds landing in the rhodies, spring is out there sparkling away. And I’m going out to get me some of that! I hope you enjoyed a little Beatrix Potter in the Heart of the Home.Blessings on you all! XOXO

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  1. Amy Lee from Salem says:

    Good morning Susan. It’s very early and my little dog, Willow, woke me so now I’m wide awake. I pick up my Kindle, why not read a while and Happy Birthday to me ( I’m 64 for the fifth time) there is a new Susan Branch Blog and a new Willard.
    My day is starting with a wonderful reminder of things that brighten every corner of each day in our lives. So today I will cut roses from my garden, have lunch with girlfriends, have dinner out with my family, take calls from my sisters and hug my little dog. I will also share my early morning tripping back to England with you and your inspirational messages. Cheers🐦

  2. Candy Abel says:

    As you have said before, “If you believe you have it all, then you do”. And, I do and you do and I revel in it all. It is the small things in life that make me happy…my own garden, my books and my own sweet home. What a nice blog!

  3. Beth from Iowa says:

    Dear Susan,

    Thanks so much for the Command F tip – I love learning new things!!

    Thanks also for the wonderful Willard and post – I have a suggestion for all the Girlfriends – if we all send positive thoughts toward the Holly Oak project this will happen!!! Just think of it as a mental Go Fund Me project!!!! (I really have to find some emoticons- my !!!! key is wearing out.) Off to the farmers market – Ta-ta!

    • sbranch says:

      Raining here today so no Farmer’s Market today, I’m sure the farmer’s are happy anyway! I’d love to be with you, Beth! Thank you for those positive thoughts. Your name is great: “The Holly Oak Project!”

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        Many people don’t believe in positive energy having actual, physical results. I don’t know how it works, but I know it does! It certainly has in my life. So, I’ll join everyone on the Holly Oak Project!!!

  4. Jenny Bonynge says:

    Hello Susan! I am just getting over jet lag after returning home to Oregon from England. My girlfriend and I stayed in Near Sawrey ( Sawrey Hotel) and visited Hill Top 3 times! We could not get enough! 😊 I spoke with the (handsome) gardener as I strolled through the sweet flower beds. What a memorable trip! One day we walked above the village and made it to Grasmere! Beatrix has left us all a dreamland in the beautiful Lake District…she remains with us as an example of deep respect for our natural world. Thank you for spreading this knowledge to your fans. ( The Linda Lear book is fantastic!)

    • sbranch says:

      Deep respect. It’s what I love most about her. She was far-seeing and amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed down-to-earth common sense as what I see in her. Thank you Jenny! Your trip sounds so wonderful!

  5. Lori Hamilton says:

    Dear Susan,

    I’m so glad I “rediscovered” you! I’ve had your cookbook 30 years but “lost” YOU for a while. I read your 3 books recently and have had your calendars for the past couple of years. My hubby and I just returned from Scotland and I’m full of brooding landscapes and clouds and castles! Love the British Isles! This is really just a “Thank you” for being you and giving me Willard and blogs and lovely quotes. Now if I can just absorb some of the organizing ability for MY studio I’ll have it all! Looking forward to the next Willard and blog. Happy Summer!

  6. Candice says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for this wonderful blog about BP, I have loved her for years. When our daughter was born in 1993, I decorated her room with Peter Rabbit and friends and my family in England sent her all kinds of sweet gifts adorned with PB . Of course I have saved them all! I have some books and a few of her “people”. I like to collect the older ones that are made in England. I don’t really have a favorite, I love them all! We had a pygmy hedgehog that we adopted from a family member and we named her Mrs. Tiggywinkle! Tiggs for short!
    Then you blessed us all with a wonderful Willard, full of warm inspiration that helps put things in the proper prospective in this crazy world we live in now.
    Our windows are wide open early this morning to let in the cool summer air before we need to close it up to the hot & humid to come later today. Our great-nephew has his high school graduation party today, going to be a hot one! WHEW! Across the field at the back of is our house the excavation for the building of a six barn turkey farm is going on, I can hear and see the huge earth movers and beep, beep, beep…. I don’t think we will be able to have our windows open so much this time next year! It comes with living in the country! Not thrilled about it, but the neighbors have decided to diversify their farming business.
    Our one and only daughter has moved back home after a broken engagement and break up. So the wedding which was planned for a year from now is not going to happen. A bit disappointing but better now than later, she will be 24 at the end of July and is an LPN and has a good job. She needs to concentrate on her own happiness for a while and see where life takes her. She has plenty of time to find the perfect someone to share life with. Like you said in Willard, it is amazing how much “stuff” you collect, having moved her over the last two weeks, back home, I think she is thinking the same thing!!
    I think your dream of doing something special with Holly Oak is wonderful!
    Have a wonderful weekend!!! Keep on Dreamin’!

    • sbranch says:

      Sweet Hedgehogs . . . but for all our readers, just in cases, read this ARTICLE before you go looking for a hedgehog!

      Love your home sweet home Candice . . . all the little things in life! xoxo (Love that you adopted the little guy and taking care of it. sweet.)

  7. Liz Hand says:

    I love Beatrix Potter too and I was fortunate enough to get to visit her farm a few years ago. It was wonderful! The Lake Distric was amazing . Thanks for this great posthugs from Liz in Illinois

  8. Barb Murphy says:

    O Susan-so very,very true. Thank you for reminding us of this. With all that’s going on in the world having our own spaces to do with as we want is such a comfort. I must admit, my dear home needs a right good clean. And so, it shall have it.
    We are finally getting some rain in eastern Iowa. Got 2 ” last night and more is expected today. If that isn’t a good reason to stay in and work on cleaning I don’t know what is.
    Have a lovely day.

  9. Julie ( Omaha ) says:

    I’ve loved your books, blog, Willards,
    gifts etc for years and years but
    today it just came to me – you are
    my ( and the United States version of)Beatrix Potter!!

  10. Mary Jane says:

    Susan, have you ever thought of doing a children’s book? Or two or three? Oh, you would be wonderful at it. I have a mental picture in my mind of it. You could bring back beautiful, meaningful books for children, with art that they would love their lives through. Just a thought.
    Your post was so delightful , I loved it. We need your beautiful take on life and home. Sometimes we forget that we are so very lucky and blessed we are to have our own havens to make as wonderful as we wish. Thank you dear friend for being you.

    Mary Jane

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve always felt that I write children’s books for big people! Pictures and everything! Thank you back Mary Jane! xoxo

  11. Jean Admire says:

    One of my favorite proverbs fits right in with this post:
    The mark of a successful (wo)man
    Is one that has spent an entire day
    On the bank of a river
    Without feeling guilty about it.
    Chinese Proverb

    Proofreader available to “spot” (and remove?) the greengrocer’s apostrophe:
    “And when I come home, it’s arms wrap around me.” At least, that’s what my British friends call that extra bit of punctuation:-)

  12. Barb Urbank from Ohio says:

    Hi Susan, another wonderful blog update. Glad to see you are enjoying summer. We are getting heat, heat, heat right now, more July like than June, and this after a week of rain. Your pictures and talk about cleaning house has jump started me to tackle our dining room. Seems like everything has accumulated on the table and bookshelves, and we haven’t eaten in there in ages. Our homes are our castles and refuge and we do have complete control here! Today is sweltering ouside so good day to do some good onside. I got my Willard yesterday and finally sat down and read it today. I always look forward to the Willards! One other thing, I ordered two of your cups, the Santa one and Autumn. I put off too long on the first three, not able to make up my mind, so they were all gone. I think I’d like to collect the seasons as they come out. Will look so forward to getting them. Have a great weekend, till next time, Barb xoxox

    • sbranch says:

      I promise you are going to love them Barb! Enjoy that air conditioning! Remember, only one shelf at a time! xoxo

  13. Debbie Boerger says:

    What a lovely new Blog and new Willard. Happy, Happy Day! Yesterday it rained a soft “female” rain all day. You are so right that the green here in New England is different. We’re in a clearing surrounded by many types of spruce and balsam fir, hemlock,huge oaks, maples, ash mixed in. I love the way their lower branches remind me of skirts brushing the clear area when it rains. My French lilac is in full bloom, the tiny Siberian iris, and other things struggling to rise above the weeds…Until I heal (And I Will!!) the weeds are given free rein.

    A friend in Utah is doing exactly what you are doing….making White Space and moving toward much less. She gave away many of her quilts (she’s a master quilter). The one she gave me is going to our tiny library as a raffle item. Oh, how I love, love, love living in a small community. Comfort Supper tonight at the very old church, Grange breakfast in the morning up in Eastbrook. I adore seeing all the smiling faces. Most folks here focus this community, and don’t let the nastiness of politics influence friendships. How they manage it, I’m not sure, but we all need to learn, don’t we?

    After I stump around on my walking cast and finish my chores, I’ll sit down with your new blog and the Willard. And dream on Holly Oak.

    Thank you dear, dear Person,
    Debbie…..in Maine

  14. Christine from CA says:

    What a lovely message! Beautiful and grateful! I received my Willard yesterday and immediately read it. Loved it all! We are so blessed to be alive with so many memories! We can appreciate what so many gave before us! and the internet for instant sharing!

  15. Jenny Auslund says:

    Thank you for this cheerful and summery Willard! You have inspired me to give my river cottage a full spic and span. As empty nesters and newbie grandparents now it tends to be given “a lick and a promise” instead! Driving to Atlanta tomorrow to pick up my college girl, home form a month long study abroad in London! Her room is freshly painted and spruced with crisp, new sheets and Linen curtains. Was is ironing pillow cases in anticipation of a homecoming such a delicious thrill? Thank you for all you do, share and are.
    Jenny in South Carolina

  16. Suzanne says:

    In the tumultuous world in which
    we all live, “home,” in whatever form
    that is, has never been more important
    as a respite than it is now! Your blog
    posts and Willards are also lovely escapes
    to be savored repeatedly. Thank you for
    that and for the new info on BP! She is
    one of my heroines, as are you : )

    xo Suzanne

  17. Caroline says:

    Dear Susan, Your blog is always a breath of fresh air! I read it with tea and then made your lemon pasta for an outside supper with wonderful friends:) Blessed in our home with high school graduate Anna (snow flake girl) and college graduate Ellie. The first season of my, by you inspired, wisteria; bought when I didn’t win the seeds from your wisteria:) is a gloria! 20 buds flowered and you were right! It smells like heaven! So thank you for that!
    I attended a graduation party where my friend, the hostess, said grace and read a letter from the President of the University pf South Carolina.. our kind of guy! He told all the students about HYGGie!! Miracles of connection are everywhere:) Blessings on your home and everybody’s home for the summer! Caroline

  18. Elaine from Missouri says:

    Love the change to blue in your kitchen. Was so excited to scroll down and hear about the tour to Beatrix Potter country. We may be going next year to England, so it would be a great tour to do. Keep telling us all the great things we love hearing about you

  19. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Dearest Susan, My friend Jenny and I just got home two days ago to Oregon, after our 27 days in dear olde England! I knew when I saw that photo of Castle Cottage just where it was, because we looked across the fields at it from near the pub by Hill Top Farm! We were lucky enough to get to Near Sawrey in sunshine on May 23rd, and we then bought our timed entry tickets and went to Hill Top, satisfaction of a life-long dream for us both! We stayed at a wonderful hotel nearby, the Sawrey House Hotel, and enjoyed their rooms, meals, and oh, my, garden and views! It was the beginning of a really big adventure for us, and along the way we talked about you and your book ‘A Fine Romance”, which we will both be re-reading! Thanks so much for all your thoughts and sentiments that you share so well! Hugs from Oregon, Suzette

  20. Anne Miller says:

    Willard AND a post! Dear Susan, you set no limits on our happiness…Thank you, Miss Beautiful Light.

  21. Katherine Barnes says:

    I had a nice long comment on all the reasons I love everything about you , your books, home and just everything. When I started to hit the “done” button, it all disappeared. Oh well!! When I read your blogs it gives me a warm home felt feeling. Do you ever come to Florida on your book tours? I would be there.You are an inspiration to all us ladies. Thank you, Kathy

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t lately, Florida is not, as I’m sure you know, on the beaten path . . . I’ve gotten to Georgia, but that’s about as close as we’ve come. Maybe next time!

  22. How exciting you entertained Mandy Marshall! The woman that lives in the National Trust home of Mr and Mrs William Heelis! I remember gazing across the lane seeing Castle Cottage when we visited Hill Top. Such an emotional experience for me. When I think of Beatrix Potter I always get teary eyed. Her vision has reached so many. You are the same dear Susan. Spreading joy and happiness in this old world. Thank you. xoxo ♥

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much, Martha Ellen. I still try and figure out what it is about Beatrix Potter that makes me cry! Embodiment of hope and perseverance against any odds I guess. There’s so much there there. xoxo

  23. Debbie Noyola says:

    I love the garden grid you drew for us. I also love the pics I’ve seen of your actual garden. I like to build things & I had some scrap 2x 4’s & some pine 1×4’s so I built my own little raised garden bed. It’s about 3′ x 3′ & it stands on the 2×4’s at a height of about 3&1/2 feet. I have 2 kinds of tomatoes planted in it & assorted pots with basil, bell pepper & kale around it. I love tending it & watching it grow. I also love feeding the little birdies that come to my feeder. Yesterday a momma bird who was eating the seed to feed her babies that I hear chirping in the nearby birdhouse landed on the toe of my shoe for a second. These are the little joys in my little corner of the world. My garden isn’t grand, but it’s mine. Loved this post. Thanks Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      Just enough garden! It’s amazing what you can do in a very small space that makes you feel like a full fledged farm manager! Nothing tastes better than a salad made from your own garden. I’ve always wanted a bird to land on me ever since I learned that Thoreau had a bird land on him! Lucky you!

  24. Janet Senatore says:

    I love reading about your garden and your lovely rain! It’s 107 here today 🔥so your weather gives me a nice cool flowery dream. 💐

  25. Kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    You always make my heart smile! Getting Willard and your latest blog post the same day was such a blessing for me today. Saying goodbye “for now” to a very dear friend of 50 years has been has been very difficult for me these past few months. Our time with her now is coming to an end and it is so hard for me to think of happy things. But then, I heard from you today and it is as if I got a big hug from you! Through my tears you have made me smile and from the bottom of my heart I thank you! xoxoxox
    I hope and pray that you will get Holly Oak back again….that house was always meant to be yours…even before you moved there. I will light one of my special votive candles from Holy Nativity Convent and say a prayer that this will happen for you! That is such a Happy thought… that you will hopefully, prayerfully own Holly Oak once again ❤️!!!
    I am anxiously waiting for my Autumn mug, Santa mug and Martha’s Vineyard mug!! I love the House and Nature mugs that I already have. I Love Love Love them all!! Drinking from them feels like drinking from ” a cup’o kindness” ……just happy mugs!!! ❤️
    And Jack……. what can I say about that sweet kitty??!! He is just way too precious!! Today we gave Thomasina her semi-annual bath in the kitchen sink. She has been licking herself dry for the past 5 hours. Now she is feeling like a new woman and has her fluffy back!
    Gosh, I wish that I could hang our sheets outside to dry! I am so afraid that all of the birds that we feed daily will perch on them and do what comes naturally….not a good thing! I loved your picture. It took me back to a place that was long long ago…a Happy memory.
    If I have left anything out that I want to comment on…I am sorry. My brain is on overload these days Susan. I love everything that you do that makes all of us very happy especially when skies are grey. Love and prayers to you always! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sorry about your friend, Kathiellen ~ it must be so hard. Those Holy Nativity Candles have special magic, good place for making all your wishes. I had to laugh about Thomasina being a “new woman!” Don’t forget to do for you these days, something nice and soft, that takes your mind away for a while. I guess giving a cat a bath was perfect for that! I’ve never tried it in my life! Sending love and blessings . . . xoxoxo

    • Mary says:

      Every time I hear of a cat named Thomasina I can’t help but think of the Disney movie about a cat of the same name. It starred the girl who played Jane Banks in Mary Poppins. Oh how I wish all of those old Disney shows were still available.

  26. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Oh Susan, I was in the middle of a nice long note, writing all sorts of wonderful thank-you’s to you, telling you that you and your blogs and Williards are so very often a lovely, funny, fulfilling, informative antidote to a difficult world, allowing me time for rest and renewal so I can try to do my part for humanity, our country and its people, and our world without ending up face-down in a dark corner. You are a much needed soft bright light. Bless you. Then my durn spastic arthritic fingers hit the wrong button and I deleted everything I wrote. Not for the first time–Curses, Foiled Again!! Ah well, thanks for listening to the above shortened thank you and subsequent rant. Meanwhile, another long-ish note: Our garden here in Winchester is also emerald green, my bleeding hearts have re-appeared after a 2-year absence, and the roses in our back yard are a riot of blossoms. Yay! And I’m reveling in my family–younger son back safe and sound from Afghanistan (thank you, Sue, and Girlfriends, for your prayers and support), and today we watched our older son sail the Schooner Adventure–as Captain, no less–right behind the US Coast Guard’s beautiful Tall Ship. A grand day, and I could top it off by reading your notes (wonderful Beatrix Potter party and story!). Just had to say thank you, once again, for keeping my heart and home on an “even keel.” Blessings once more, and please say howdy to Joe. Rosemary [ don’t dare try to proof-read, afraid I’ll hit delete again ;>) ]

    • sbranch says:

      You didn’t need to, it was perfect just the way it was. You have adventurous sons Rosemary. Are the ships coming down here? Sometimes we get the good ones in our harbor, when we’re lucky, and everyone runs down to see them! Thank you for all you do to for “humanity” not the least of which, letting your son go off to protect us all. We all thank you and your family for that. Really not quite enough thanks for that kind of sacrifice. Yay for the emerald green and the bleeding hearts. Sending love xoxoxo

      • Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

        Unfortunately, the tall ships are making only the one stop in the U.S., in Boston. But Martha’s Vineyard was represented, the Schooner Shenandoah was in the Parade yesterday, and she sure was Yar (Cary Grant: “My, she was Yar”; Katherine Hepburn: “She was Yar alright”–The Philadelphia Story–one of my favorites) ! I’ll be on the look-out this fall for your Fall tea cup, have pre-ordered it. I have the Love cup and smile every time I use it. And will be eagerly awaiting your next blogs and Willards. Oh, and don’t forget to try and see the Peabody Essex Museum’s exhibit on Ocean Liners, it looks really great! xoxo’s right back at you ;>)

  27. Mary/Indiana says:

    Thank you for my recent Willow (chock full of goodies) and now a day later,
    like a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae, your Blog! What a treat! Enjoyed
    all the BP info and pics! Wishing I could join the Tour……maybe in 2018, if I
    start saving now$$$!
    Little side note, I was away on vacation and came back to an attack in my garden
    of Colorado Potato Beetles! I was horrified to read they like tomatoes and peppers
    (my 1st five rows), well, I had to treat them to a trip back to Colorado in a pine box!

  28. Charlotte Schultz says:

    Thank you Susan for lifting my spirits today. I spotted deep pink peonies in you garden photo. They are beautiful and a my very favorite flower.

    Today is Father’s Day and I am missing my Daddy. He left for Heaven to be with my Mom in 1985. Thinking of you today with love and prayers for you and your Dad.❤️❤️❤️

  29. Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

    Your blog posts make me smile! Hugs from Ohio.

  30. Susan Lee says:

    I leave today for Betsy’s Lake District/Beatrix Potter tour, thanks to your blog post last year! Always look forward to your posts and have your books.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness Susan! I’m so excited for you. Have a WONDERFUL trip! Let us hear when you get back! Say hello to Betsy for me (and Mandy, too!!), and also to another of our Girlfriends, Sue Saubert, because I just got an email from her that she is going too! Bon Voyage!

  31. Barbara (from Virginia) says:

    Good afternoon Susan! Prepared from our garden, green bean salad, fresh pea/ lettuce salad to go with lamb burgers on toasted brioche buns for Father’s Day lunch. Hung the sheets on the line, and gathered eggs from our “chicks”. After all was eaten, washed, folded, it was time for a cup of “Paris” tea (Harney & Sons) and some wonderful Susan Branch post reading. All I can say is “awesome” day!! Hope yours is/was too!

  32. Caroline says:

    Oh Dear! Are all the Willards sent? I’ve been waiting 🙂 I told my computer firmly this is NOT spam:) I wonder why I can’t get them! I can’t wait to read about Holly Oak again!! When will it be posted in old Willards? Is there any way to see it now? In the greatest of hope, Caroline

    • sbranch says:

      Did you get it Caroline? If not I can send it to you!

      • FayE in CA! says:

        I’ve been watching and haven’t received Willard either!! Please send – thank you. Haven’t had a problem in the past.

        DYING to find out what you said about Holly Oak…IF you actually have a chance to purchase it now??? OH MY GOODNESS, how wonderful that would be. 🎉🎈🎇 The island would have a beloved and delightful new tourist attraction once the island’s Beatrix opens up the DARLING museum, shop and grounds. Don’t have Willard, but do have fingers crossed.

        It would be fun to belong to a Susan Branch Society to support archival and funding efforts. Do you have a young niece (or nephew!) who would like to become a future custodian of a SB historical site? Bet there is a Girlfriend or two or 100s who would pack and move to MV to take on the task!!! Send us the job applications…there’s a line of drooling women with wishes blown.

        OH…please have air conditioning put in because we know that the majority of the tourist hours will be in the summer and lingering inside Holly Oak will be SO MUCH sweeter without the sweat. Seriously…I mean, seriously.😅

        Hmmmmm…what to sell in the gift shop? A SB map of the island…aprons, books, watercolors/paper, coloring book, journal, replicas of your journals, little vases, MV cup, clothespins (why don’t you have Branch – y clothespins??), a figurine of Jack…and Dust Bunny…and Lambikens…replica of Holly Oak and House of Creativity…don’t forget a little ceramic stove and a Christmas ornament. OH, your favorite quilt rack! Sorry, too much pressure…

        Maybe the guest bedroom house could be the gift shop so the actual home would be filled with white space to show off and display your work. In time, your stove could be on display at Holly Oak…with the shelf decorated seasonally?

        Well, you inspire my creative thinking and I can understand why you wake up with your engine humming with ideas. So many possibilities.

        AND! Jack has THE roundest eyes in the history of cats! It is difficult to photograph cats with their eyes wide open and I have never seen a cat with such ROUND eyes…always so bright and excited. He truly is a DOLL! Purrs, dear Jack.

        On another AND! I have never seen or read that you have wind chimes in your yard. That is a surprise to me. I LOVE my wind chimes and breezy, wind chime – y days!!

        Your camera takes the most beautiful pics of your most beautiful, to-die-for flowers. Thanks, you are our cyber florist.

        Squeezy hugs to you, Susan. Cheers to another glorious day in your SB world.

        • sbranch says:

          Here you go FayE … WILLARD! Check your spam and make sure it’s not lurking there. I love your Holly Oak dreaming. I do the same thing! I have the gift shop all decorated in my imagination, with bouquets of Just Joey and Julia Child Roses and Shirley Temple peonies! Problem is buying it…at this point I think the woman who owns it would want a million dollars to get her to move out (town says the property is now worth about $850,000 and she said, “make me an offer!”) And we don’t have an extra million dollars lying about!!! But that’s okay, because we aren’t in charge of HOW things happen, our job is to dream. It’s amazing, as the quote says, how short a time it takes for very wonderful things to happen. One phone call could do it! Wind chimes… I love them too, wind chimes and water fountains. I have them in California where I can hear them when I’m sleeping. I’ve had them here, but it’s not as much fun because we’re upstairs and can’t hear them at night. Thank you FayE, I’ll kiss my round-eyed baby for you! xoxo

      • Caroline says:

        Just home from friend’s bday party on block island 🙂 and no Willard!! If you have a moment, please send … my email is carolinewoodard11@gmail.com…. I can’t wait to here about the Holly Oak dream!!.. I know I’m in whatever it is you have dreamed up:)

  33. Lorraine says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this blog and Willard. So fun! I made a cup of tea before I read both. I will likely re-read both again soon.

    Your luncheon with Mandy and Betsy sounds wonderful. I’m anxious to hear about the first tour of Castle Cottage. I hope Betsy will share some of the fun with you so you can share it with us.

    Thanks for a lovely post.

  34. Debbie Boerger says:

    I’m taking a book from your gardening page. Reading the latest Wilbur and new Blog, woke me up. It’s time to accept that we can’t personally keep up all the various flower beds we toiled so make and plant. Moving boulders with a front loader/ back hoe. Dumping in years of composted yard and kitchen waste, carving out a rock garden across from my kitchen, Tom made a stone wall to keep it. Nor do we want to hire someone to do it…well, maybe for the one I have to keep, the one I see every day from my kitchen sink and the bathroom. But the other 2 I’ve decided to convert to perennials, lush greens such as different type of hosta, fern, Solomon’s seal, lily of the valley and others.

    We have so many staggeringly beautiful trees on this little 2 acre paradise. A balsam fir has grown so tall and full over the almost 20 years we’ve been here that it cuts into the hours of sun. I can not bring myself to whack it and others down so I can keep things flowering. So, I’m going pots, big giant ones, and hanging plants. I think I hung on to the “way it was” because it was so Pretty. Not so much being all weeds. Many of the poor iris died, as they don’t like to be crowded, and they were no longer getting enough sun. I think I realized we need to work with nature for the most part. These trees will be here literally centuries after we are gone, so a few snapdragons are not worth the loss. I’ll have Mr. Tom haul up the big pots from the basement, clean them up and plant away. I have a bench on the deck, so I don’t even have to lean over. Thank you, my dear Susan.

    Hey, have any of you seen the fireflies yet? I saw my first last week. We have had lots of rain, but this was a clear night. I love sticking my head out of the roof window in our loft bedroom and seeing stars that come down right to the horizon, peeking through the trees. Hard to determine which are stars, and which are fireflies. I’m hugging myself with happiness that I live in this fabulous place. And it all began when I was a teenager and Wished to Live in Maine…………….More on that true story another time, if I’m allowed.

    Thank you for more than you can ever know,
    Debbie in Wonderland…New England….Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderland is right. I haven’t seen our fireflies yet, like the leaf changes, Maine is likely ahead of us . . . I’ll be watching, because June is the time for them here too! xoxo

  35. Carolyn says:

    Loved the new Willard, Susan! “Restaurant in a library”–ha! I can relate! Got back recently from my first trip to England. Inspired by you, my college bestie and I went to the Lakes District after a few days in London. So beautiful! Bird song, wisteria, the baa, baa of sheep in the morning as they moved through the pastures, the ever-changing clouds over Windermere and the mountains–I miss it so much! (I don’t miss passengering on the wrong side of the road, though!). And Hill Top! Her bee skep in the garden! We then sprinted through the Cotswolds and went to Sissinghurst, among other National Trust properties. I’ll never get over the gardens. How can every rose have such a unique and beautiful fragrance?! It made me swoon. Can’t wait to go back. Thank you for inspiring so much of our trip! Hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, your words made me swoon! The memories. The sky over the Windermere. How wonderful! Welcome home, I’m so happy you enjoyed it!

  36. charissa says:

    I was thinking of you today. One year ago, on Father’s Day, I got to meet you at The British Emporium and I brought up your dad and with your answer, I knew, even though you hadn’t exactly said. I can never express to you what an impression you made upon me. Your brave, sweet smile, laughing, and chatting and signing boiks, and making everyone’s dreams come true (including mine) while inside you heart was breaking. I have always admired you and your way of thinking, but on that day… when I thought about all the people you met, in all the cities, all the travel and all the stresses and all the sorrow. I can just never express enough the awe, gratitude, respect, and love that I felt for you. And I know today would have pulled at your heartstrings so I wanted to say… He was such a treasure, a prince of a man, one in s million and my heart goes out to you. The pride he must of felt for you and all of his children. I am so glad that he got to tell you, “I love you, Sue. I love everything about you.” What a perfect expression of true love. And I know I told you already that I started saying it to Tom, but now he says it to me too and we both agree that we will always say it and feel it because it truly conveys just… EVERYTHING. I can’t thank you both enough for that. You share your life with us and we in turn got to share in the joy of your wonderful dad and to be able to witness the glorious love between you two. What a gift!!! Happy Father’s Day, Blog Daddy. And hugs to you, Susan. Xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Such a treasure. Thank you Charissa, for your kind words and beautiful heart. It was hard, I was actually physically ill when I got to his house in Arizona. But then it was such a blessing to be surrounded by so many kindred spirits, it helped a lot. Those words mean everything to me too. It was so perfect. And like a huge soft bandage-pillow on my soul. Miss him. That’s all there is to it. Miss him. But then I know he’s there. In me. 😘

  37. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    Susan — So many of us share your love of movies that I wanted to pass along this black-and-white gem I discovered recently: “The Man Who Came to Dinner”, 1942, starring Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Monty Woolley and Jimmy Durante in a bit part. It’s a drawing room comedy/love story as described by imdb: “When acerbic critic Sheridan Whiteside slips on the front steps of a provincial Ohio businessman’s home and breaks his hip, he and his entourage take over the house indefinitely”. The dialog is witty, the story is wonderful, and the depiction of the upper middle-class at that time is of a world long gone — a middle class with live-in servants (!) and people who actually dressed for dinner. If you haven’t seen it, I think you and the girlfriends will love it, especially around the holidays.

    • sbranch says:

      Course, you know me, I’ve seen it a bunch of times. You can really see it as a play, which I think it was first. But if that guy came to dinner at my house, I would have to run away from home!

  38. kedra sugg says:

    I’ve been discovering this lately – that when I’m home – picking my squash – husband (as dear as Joe – totally redid our garden because the last 2 years had not been good) but planted extra squash for me – we’ve now fed most of our little town-but I digress — I’ve been sending notes, sewing, cooking and realize that I sleep better and am so much more content — just running around a little – not all the time! Thank you for helping me – be me.

  39. Deanna Taylor says:

    Dear Susan…love your latest posts and how they have inspired me once again. Right now my heart is aching for Kathiellen who is losing a long-time friend. I lost my best friend of 53 years about 5 years ago. She passed very suddenly and didn’t even give me a chance to say good-bye. I still miss her but I am at peace. Now I think about what my life would have been like without her and am thankful for our years together. I recently ran across a quote from Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India …” All that was ever ours, is ours forever”. A most beautiful and comforting thought. Blessings…Deanna

  40. Sharon says:

    Oh Susan, I am trying so hard to get my home organized & “uncluttered” so I appreciate the inspiration you gave me with your studio makeover! I feel cluttered & anxious about all my “stuff”, but am finding it so hard to get GOING on the cleanup! I so enjoyed reading that you felt the same anxiety about the clutter & overwhelming amount of possessions. I am not alone!! Yay! Thanks again for all your wonderful posts! Love ’em!

  41. Mrs, Mary Elizabeth Lawrence aka MiMi says:

    Oh happy day. I adore Beatrix Potter. We like you have been admiring her life and art forever. Every time I look at the adorable figures I get a good happy feeling. Just the other day in an antique store I happen upon a figure babbity bumble, I have one this one is for my sister that just started collecting last year. I have been helping here find figures and giving her my extras lol My maiden name is Marshall an old scotch- English name. How wonderful your life is. My darling nephew makes beautiful quilts and he sent me a belated birthday quilt last week, Its called Springtime in Paris. You would love it.Continue your special kind of magic this summer. Happy summer. Mary Marshall Lawrence aka Mary Elizabeth

    • sbranch says:

      I get the same happy feeling when I seem my little “People” ~ thank you Mary Elizabeth, and belated Happy Birthday from me too!

  42. Rene Marie Foust says:

    Just plain perfect!!

  43. Debbie Boerger says:

    And thank you for those wonderful pictures of your father….He was also a real Cutie, wasn’t he?

    I just stumped in (they say it sounds like the Frankenstein creature) outside to cut dozens of the orange and yellow hawks bill flowers before Tom gets the lawn mower. We always let it get long so the flowering weeds can sow the beauty. Except for the dandelions, they never seem to take root in a cultivated garden. We decided long ago to let the green “lawn” be natural. Oxe eye daisies, and about 15 others. The daisies are not native, brought from England by first settlers, but I’m glad they did, and the lupine, too. they are in full glory here right now! I bought a wildflower identification book soon after we came here. My favorites are the tiny wild violets that are among the first to pop up in May. I put them in tiny little bottles, and they last almost a week.

    Still thinking…Holly Oak
    Debbie in lovely, foggy Maine

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      PS The “bad” weeds are grasses and creeping things, that spread under the soil. Very difficult to control now that we are not able to do the stooping and kneeling required.

    • sbranch says:

      They do that a lot in England, let the lawn grow long and turn into a meadow. Then they mow a path through it! So pretty! 😘

  44. Debby Rickett says:

    Another wonderful blog, my dear! Your zest for life, love, beauty and home is contagious. I love my little house and I agree with everything you said about our own special little corner of the world, home sweet home. It is my happiest place. I just found an old copy of “The Tale of Beatrix Potter A Biography” by Margaret Lane and have started to read it. So far…. SO GOOD!
    Got my Willard – happy, happy, happy! and pre ordered my “Isle of Dreams” mug and I feel so very blessed.
    P.S. count me in on “The Holly Oak Project”. I believe it’s going to happen! It is.
    Love you!

  45. Denise S says:

    Susan, I enjoyed the picture of Jack lolling on the kitchen table in the sun. It reminded me of an iteration of the “there are two kinds of people” story. Some think it’s fine, even excellent, that cats lay on the table and others think it’s disgusting. I am of the former but had a few relatives of the latter. Controversy ensued! Every visit. Oh well…

    • sbranch says:

      It can be a controversy here too … but it always ends up the same. I have no control over Jack. I pick my battles, I keep him from eating the flowers, but I can wipe off the table!

  46. DeLores Johnson says:

    As always I thoroughly enjoyed your blog. Always so enjoyable to read it and then to read all the responses. So many are going on vacations or going on trips over to England and to countries I will never get to go toI. The one place I would like to go to is to Martha’s Vineyard and to see your Hollie Oak little home. I would like to go on the train. This is my dream. Our flowers are beautiful this year, especially our peonies. We have 81 plants around our wrought iron fence and I think every bloom opened up! Gorgeous! I hope I can meet you someday.
    DeLores Johnson

    • sbranch says:

      We had a red letter season for our peonies too, although we only have 3! I can’t even imagine what your garden must look like! Amazing. Hope you get to see the Island someday, DeLores!

      • DeLores Johnson says:

        I am waiting for my niece to get home from vacation & I am
        going to ask her to take pictures of our home & have her help me send them to you. She is good at picture taking. I hope she gets here soon.

        DeLores Johnson(from Minnesota)

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Holy Guacamole, DeLores, We’d all love for you to post a picture on Susan’s Twitter!!! I have 4 peonies, and they are just now blooming. Maine had a very rainy, cool May, and lot of things are late, such as the lupine. Debbie in Maine

  47. Stacey says:

    This was a lovely post, Susan! I love anything BP and her homes in the Lake District are so enchanting. Someday, I will get to Hilltop Farm… Oh and I just love your little Jack, he always makes me smile!

  48. Tana says:

    That sweet little cup you have drawn in the top of this blog, can it go in the pipeline of one you can have made for us? I just love it and would love to have my tea in it in the morning. It will be in my Susan Branch pipeline of mugs I drink from everyday! “Home” and the colors are wonderful. Sigh.

  49. Jean says:

    THIS blog post was opened on a day just when I needed it most! THANK YOU! I, too, am a homebody! ANYTHING which has the word in it, such as
    Lion Brand’s HOMESPUN yarn, HOME DEPOT, your Heart of the HOME series of books, well, I am drawn to it, like bees to honey! I recently purchased from etsy a first edition copy of THE SUMMER BOOK from a “girlfriend” in North Carolina! She is packing up her dress making shop and is retiring with her husband travelling the country in an RV. It is my bedtime story book! Summer memories of MY grandparents, both sets, at their respective summer HOMES on the eastern end of Long Island, flooded my senses and moved me as I read about YOURS with your grandparents. You continue to inspire me, to hope, to make THIS summer a “December to Remember,” so to speak. Our boys’s pediatrician had an Audi–I do not need that! I do need a Summer Breeze , sels and Croft’s song, too, to keep the mosquitoes at bay and jars in which to catch fireflies! I used to clean out Skippy plastic peanut butter jars for our four sons to safely use as they ran around the backyard at night after swimming in our pool!! SUMMER 2017!! Not just full of red, white, and blue but red and GREEN!! Ideas for a A Christmas in July Tea are swirling in my head as I type this!

    I REALLY appreciate your clarity, sincerity, and resolve to keep life sweet, simple, and celebratory! “Home is where your story begins” is a saying that rings clear and true for us all. Your memoir trilogy is a testament to such. Our HOME base to use a baseball metaphor! For however many houses we may have called HOME throughout our lives, their foundations are our foundation! HOME SWEET HOME strengthens and buoys us as we journey along together in this wonderful, crazy, and lately, very scary world! Thank you, Susan and Joe for being so open and sharing yours with us, the “girlfriends.” Love you!

  50. Kat Fry on Rose Creek Farm says:

    Wonderful Willard oh how I adore You! I’m a wee bit late to the party, but better late than not atall.:) It was so good seeing Jack & y’all’s garden & out the open window. The lovely lunch for sweet friends. And hearing about our much loved Beatrix. What a doll! and as we so often say…You are our very own “Beatrix Potter”. We adore you. Now I’m off to read your Blog! I am beside myself with anticipation. It’s like opening a gift! Love to You n’ Joe n’ Jack

    • Kat Fry on Rose Creek Farm says:

      Oopsy! This is the Blog….I am off to read Willard!…shall we chalk it up to the heat…though for Texas, I really can’t claim it was the heat….jet lag from our get-away to the beach & Austin…naw…we Road Tripped….ok…senior moment. I claim it loud & proud! Though…nope…this is just who I be. Always have been, always will be. I come from a long line of flibberty~gibbets. And we are happy to be that way. So…..off to see Willard. Love n’ Hugs all around

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Kat! Welcome home!

  51. Kristen Lancia in Pennsylvania says:

    I just finished reading Willard and oh how I’m so wishing that your Holly Oak dream will come true!!! That sounds like the most wonderful plan and I can’t wait to come and shop in the gift shop when it happens (because it surely will, it’s too perfectly perfect!). I’m re-reading “Martha’s Vineyard, Isle Of Dreams” AGAIN because I’ve been feeling a little lost and down recently, and when I’m feeling that way, this is the book that makes me feel better!

    I love that you had Castle Cottage’s owner to your home! What an incredible experience to hear about that property first hand! Thank you for sharing this and thank you for everything you do!

    Happy Summer at last!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Kristen! I’m so happy Isle of Dreams has a cheery message for you. I hoped that would happen. But let me add a little special you go girl to what you’ve read. 😘 xoxoxo Happy Summer!

  52. Chrystel says:

    Hi Susan!
    Today is my 40th birthday, it’s the first day of summer and I’m celebrating this amazing crazy beautiful life with a great book, the adventures of Hannah Swensen, and a day off in my little super tiny town in France! Molly the dog and Happy the cat are both sound asleep on the rug and …I just finished your willard and ohlala how much I loved it!
    I’ve heard you read every comment on your blog…you are so nice, because I see you get A LOT! I just wanted to take the time to thank you for every post, every willard, every book you write (I have soooo many!). Every time I need a break from this crazy world (being a ER nurse is not always easy…) I come to you and I read. I love new england (but never been there lol), I love england, I love the peaceful feelings I feel when I read you…the small and simple things of life are the best things.
    So, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for being who you are!


    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I do read them all! I may be late in answering, and sometimes run out of time and not able to answer all, but I read them all. Love the connection! And look, there you are way over there in France!! Ohlala is right! Also I want to thank you for the work you do. No, I can only imagine how hard it would be to be a nurse. But you are the human saints of this world, no doubt about that. That cool hand on a frightened forehead means the world. xoxoxoxoxo Thank you for saying hello!

  53. Debbie Boerger says:

    We used to let our “lawn” over the septic tank grow. After the house was built and the tank installed, grass seed was sown. We let it grow, because the neighbor kids, very young, adored running around in it. When they grew older, they thought it would be the ideal place for badminton. We loved it. 20 years in, it’s now lots of moss, which I love, very little grass, but plenty of wild flowers. Tom mows is as we sometimes have neighbors in the evenings sit around the fire pit and make S’mores. The fireflies seem to like it better mowed.

    I’ll find out what that “weed” is that spreads by rootlets under the soil. I’ve spent countless hours trying to carefully get all the roots. It’s prolific. If you just pull them up, you get several new ones for every broken rootlet. They come right up through the top dressing, or chips. I have chocolate chip adjuga planted in front of a rock wall Tom built. We filled it with soil and planted hostas. The sun on the gravel was just so hot, I planted the adjuga to moderate the temps. Direct afternoon sun. The adjuga have been stunningly beautiful every May. Spikes of blue. And they send out tendrils to make now plants. Until one winter when the snow was sparse, and patches of adjuga died….and the pesky little weed spread. It’s winning, because my bod won’t tolerate the contortions necessary to beat it back. And I think it would be impossible to find someone willing to to be so Obcessive!!!! Oh Well………….Still impossibly happy here!!

    Glorious day, very windy, scent of French lilacs all through the house 🙂 Hope it is so on the Island.

    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Maine

  54. Shelley S. says:

    Hello, dear Susan.

    I enjoy sitting out on my porch reading your blog posts and love that you and Joe don’t mind if Jack lays upon your table. We don’t mind that Buster sits/lays on ours, because he lives here too and has impeccable manners. He in turn allows us to sleep in his big comfy bed on either side of him. It’s a total win-win situation. ❤ (Don’t you just love a strong purr?)

    Your garden is dreamy! Do you use you herbs fresh or do you dry them too? My herbs are doing so well that I’m putting sprigs of them in my homemade jellies. So tasty and pretty.

    Enjoy the rest of June!

    Hugs, ShellEy

    • sbranch says:

      First off, I love that Buster is the name of your cat!! I was thinking a little bull dog! Yes, I love to use fresh herbs when I can. Some recipes are just way better with fresh … and others, it doesn’t matter as much. Have you ever grown lemon thyme? It’s SO good! You can even stir the flowers into vanilla ice-cream, and they are pink and so pretty and delicious!

  55. Jennie Lou says:

    I adore the kitchen garden and hope someday to have my own, white pickets and all. I once planted some tomatoes and green beans right outside the kitchen door, next to the steps, so close I watered the garden with the spray attachment on the kitchen sink. (I was a lazy gardener, despite having been born in England, home of the very best Gardeners!). The beans were superb, for all that, glorious Blue Lake bush beans. Happy first day of Summer and happy gardening to one and all!

    • sbranch says:

      I wish I could water my garden with the spray attachment!!! That’s wonderful. And small is best when it comes to a garden. I speak from experience! xoxo

  56. Frances Fowler says:

    Plainly speaking, I just loved this post so much (not that I don’t love the others!); it hit just the right spot and is such a wonderful follow up to your ever so warm and gracious Willard. (Don’t be aghast at the “before” picture of your desk; it lets us know that it’s just fine for things to look “lived in” for awhile, otherwise we would be cleaning non-stop. Besides, pictures of beautiful, cozy libraries, whether public or a special nook in the home, always feature books, papers, teacups, silver picture frames, soft lighting, comfy chairs, and none of it looks untouchable or immaculate) Oh my, I can imagine all the questions you had for your very special lunch guests! Imagine discovering a REAL secret garden, and Beatrice’s no less. How exciting! If one of my dogs could capture your joy at having these ladies come to visit, she would be doing “zoomies” in the back yard, full throttle exuberance. My parents have visited Hill Top several times, and one day I hope to go also. And lol at Jack’s little face at the door. Y’alls flowers are beautiful!

  57. Rose Wood says:

    Oh I love the new Willard! It’s so fun to read your blog and enjoy your life on Martha’s Vineyard. I also love the Island. I come every August to enjoy it. May I add a movie to your list? The Inheritance. Written by Louisa May Alcott. It is a lovely movie.

  58. Anne Luther says:

    Just back from Carmel by the sea where my husband took me to celebrate my birthday. One of the gifts to my self was one of your new cups. Of course the design would be great but now that I see it in person, I am so impressed with the quality I plan to order more, well done you.
    And thanks to you we had a wonderful lunch at the Moro bay Bay Side Café . Thank you,
    would never have found it on our own.
    Lucky you with your guests!

    • sbranch says:

      Bay Side! Love that place! And thank you about the cups. I feel the same way. Wait till you see the new ones in person. The colors are gorgeous! xoxo

  59. Maggie Giltmier says:

    Dear Susan, I wonder and hope you know what a treasure of the heart you are. Everything you write and love to share, are all the things I absolutely love and treasure in my heart. You bring such joy and happiness in all that you share with us, I can’t thank you enough! Enjoy the beautiful day. I will be making the Cole Slaw recipe and thinking of you smiling.

  60. Robin in New Jersey says:

    This is just lovely, Susan. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

    I never got my Willard. 🙁

    • sbranch says:

      HERE it is, Robin . . . Be sure to check your spam and see if Willard ended up there . . . every so often someone who is signed up doesn’t get it, but it’s rare … there should be a reason, but sometimes it’s hard to find it!

  61. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Today I received your hydrangea greeting card collection, and what a treasure trove! And a bargain too! Every single card is darling and will be given to someone I love – presuming I can let them go. Maybe since there are two of each design I will send one, keep one. The box is also pretty sitting on my desk. Just a terrific purchase! Thank you!

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