The FANTASTIC ART of DOING NOTHING.

We are having the MOST wonderful summer!  Doing nothing with a capitol N. That’s why I haven’t written ~ what is there to say about nothing? Nothing! But I’ll see what I can do. Because some days I think nothing is better than something, and this is one of those days! Musica.

The Island is all back and going full-speed again, summer people are back, opening up their little summer houses at the shore . . .

And the big ones too … we have all kinds here, and they’re all some kinda wonderful. I think the actual reason I moved here was for the architecture!

The fourth of July was wonderful. As usual, everyone decorated to the nines.

We’ve been walking every day … the weather has been heavenly. No humidity at all, which is a great surprise . . . so far we haven’t even had to put in our air conditioners, knock on wood. It’s been all blue skies, lovely ocean breezes, gorgeous bug-free sunsets, perfect sleeping weather, perfect napping weather too! Oh yeah. Read a little book, take a little nap, let the curtains play in the breeze as you sleep, wake up to lawnmower noise three-doors-over, or an argument between two birds at the feeders. Yawn. Deep breath of happiness. Play some old music. Wander in garden while listening. Joyful nothingness of summer.

The sun shines bright on our walk in the morning…Joe waits for camera-wielding me in a shady spot.

While I stop to wave at you.

So gorgeous. I could never be a city girl. I like to visit . . . but this is my place . . .

Lovely in the woods . . . all dappled and shady …  takes us 45 minutes to do our walk. Best time of our day.

I find myself standing in front of the screen door in the kitchen, leaning on the door jamb, eating my bowl of shredded wheat (the way many women have done, at this same door, before me), watching the bees flit through the roses and the birds play in the birdbath. My heartstrings are tugged, I wipe away a tear . . . words like awesome, wonderment, stupefied come to mind. And gratitude. And joy.

This was a knot garden we saw in England (at Barnsley House). It’s one of the places we learned about shrub textures and colors. I used to plant almost all flowers, but notice here there are no flowers and it’s as beautiful as if there were. It’s because of the different textures and colors of the foliage. We try to do this in our garden ~ we haven’t quite mastered it but we are better than we used to be!

I’m pretty sure, from looking around, that the two things that grow best on Martha’s Vineyard are roses and hydrangeas.

And herbs too … they do well here. See the little purple flowers? That’s lemon thyme … try stirring those little flowers into softened vanilla ice cream. YUM. You can see our tomatoes are coming along nicely.

The old fashioned single hollyhock is blooming …

And Jack waits for me at the kitchen door.

Once in a while we force ourselves to leave the house, like to go to Farmer’s Market ~ we take the van, we turn on the air-conditioning, put down the windows, turn up Frank, drive up-island, stop and get coffee and a donut at the Scottish Bakehouse, pick up some French Marigolds at Vineyard Gardens, and make every excursion an adventure.

We went here for the Fourth . . . to our friend’s home on the water for a pot luck. I’m photographing from their deck, over the garden, to the sunset . . .

Fireworks across the water . . .

The kids out back with their sparklers . . . So wonderful it’s hard to believe there’s ever been a winter around here! That’s why so much celebration! We know what’s coming!

This is Jack when we come home from anywhere. He hears us at the kitchen door, I watch him through the window as I turn the lock, he curls onto his back and begins wriggling around until I pick him up. He makes us feel so welcome!

I made a pie, banana cream, with the most delicious pie crust (from Heart of the Home) . . . and I made three batches of potato salad over the weekend, for all the celebrations we attended! Mas Musica?

And ice cold gazpacho (with lobster), from the Farmer’s Market goodies . . .

While I cook, I watch/listen to old movies on Turner Classic Movies. TCM, the soundtrack to a perfect summer day. Also, the new series Anne with an E (she’d much prefer to be called “Cordelia”), which I LOVED, even though it was a bit different from the original. I hope they do a season two!

I made pancakes for my sweetheart ~ with crispy edges, and heated maple syrup, just the way he likes them. We ate while we watched the last episode of another wonderful new series  ~ a Masterpiece Theater production called  The Durrells in Corfu. Just in cases you’re looking for something new.

Washing breakfast dishes, listening to old movies, looking out the kitchen windows to see birds at the feeders and butterflies flit through the garden, hearing the bells ring from the church across the street. Playing with Jack. Painting Jack. Nothing with a capital N. Gimme more of that.

 I stop to watch shadows shimmer on the walls, greenish light reflected by the leaves of the trees feels like swimming in the pool when we were young. Pulling the shades in the upstairs bedrooms to keep out the afternoon heat . . .When I was little, I could lay on my bed and listen to the birds and the neighborhood noises and stare at the ceiling for hours ~ maybe write or read or fall asleep, just doing nothing.  I have no scientific proof, but I believe in my heart of hearts, all my inspiration in life came from that nothingness. All my romanticism and all my dreaming ~ there must be something in the nothing.💞

I’m still moving forward every day, I need to work, but I’m doing it in a much less frantic way, because first and foremost, I’m trying to fill my creative heart to the brim and overflowing ~ and I think it’s working. I still need more though.

I’m doing a little painting, early mornings when all is quiet, for the joy of it, with just the seagulls screeching over the harbor.

XOXO

Sometimes I turn on music  . . .

I had to paint my new cup . . . I wob it…. I put the video on Twitter . . .

Perkiest dang thing . . .

And look what came in! The 2018 calendars! Can you believe it? That means, and you know it does, soon it will be time for us to go back to school! 

I know lots of you are waiting for these! Maybe at the end of THIS month … or the first of August … they’re being made as we speak!

And this? I’m still waiting to see how the company that makes these does with color. Fingers are crossed that it will be good. This is a different company than the cup company, so we’ll have to see. I love this little teapot, I hope it works! Things take much longer than we imagine, but I should hear soon.

And this adorableness? I’ve also spent lots of time wandering around the Internet, looking at houses, and then just yesterday Joe and I rented this exact one! For two weeks next year, for another trip to the Mother Country. 🇬🇧 Eeeeek. You can’t hear me but I am SOSOSOSOSOSO excited. It has two fireplaces! SO cozy. I can’t wait to show you (and me) the inside, in real time. Our own little thatched cottage in the English Countryside.  I may have to paint it.  I’ll fill you in when we get closer. But this house was too irresistible not to show you now!I just realized, I haven’t shown you our last year’s visit to Downton Abbey yet!! I will do that next post!

Oh yeah. Until then . . . Hasta la vista, baby. Love you. Enjoy your precious moments.

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671 Responses to The FANTASTIC ART of DOING NOTHING.

  1. Susie Kunze says:

    This makes me miss the island. We were there two years ago for our family reunion, and I loved everything about it. This year we went to Colorado, just as lovely in its own way. Kentucky has its own summer beauty, also. My favorite part of Martha’s Vineyard was the flowers. In Colorado I was able to experience a second spring, peonies and iris were blooming there.

  2. Brenda says:

    Thanks for reminding us about gratitude … gratitude for the little blessings around us like gardens and people and pets … and gratitude for the big things like travel.

  3. Carol K says:

    Loved your N-blog. That’s the best way to recoup and re-group, by doing nothing. Looks like someone was busy doing more than nothing with that to-die-for garden of yours. I can’t grow hollyhocks and I love them so much, reminds, me of my old neighborhood in Somerville (NJ). I try with my little garden but it looks NOTHING like your garden. Waaaaaa I’ll get over it. I am ready to pack my virtual bags and go back to England with you and Joe. Can hardly wait to see the inside of our little thatched cottage. It’s going to be so much fun. Have a happy summer Girlfriend.

    • sbranch says:

      My garden is over 20 years old … some things come back every year, very strong, and others don’t, but it sure makes it easier the next year with all the volunteers. I almost don’t have to do anything but top dress and fertilize in some places. I can’t wait to see our new little cottage either! Fun to look forward to!

  4. Betsy says:

    Boy have me and my girls missed you. Where’s Susan we asked ??? We are blog kind of girls. Thanks so much for your happy post. I’m waiting for my birthday to come because I put out an APB to all I know that I sooooo want the Autumn mug. I was seriously thinking of hiring a plane to fly a banner over the area for my family and friends to see. I’m tempted to order it everyday but I must be patient, I have 11 days to go. I’m hoping it doesn’t sell out. For all of us small house dwellers it’s the perfect size. I can’t wait for your vacation next year : ). I love looking at houses. Do you think one day you could sell prints of the small house quote with a house you drew and painted. I would love to hang it in my little abode. Enjoy your summer, you are blessed to live where you do.

  5. Shirley Burt says:

    Lazy, Hazy days of summer is that what you are experiencing??? How nice. Recharging your batteries as my sweet mother would say to us. What a treat, and you put it in such delightful words. My husband and I drove the back roads searching for the wild plums. Our treasure trove was picked clean, waited too long. So we turned around and headed home. Suddenly closer to home, I yelled back up, back up. There along the railroad tracks was a new cluster of darker leafed wild plum trees with huge cluster of wild plums in various shades of green, yellow, and reds. Jewels waiting for us. So as we picked plums, listening to the sounds of the countryside and then, a train, right there next to us, going ever so slowly, with the engineers waving and then tooting their horn and eventually stopping -waiting for the west bound train to pass before they could travel on. Such a glorious time, and now days of cooking plums, straining pits, stems and skins to jars of an orange-ish jam sitting all over the counter. Summer rewards.
    Much love and lots of bunny hugs,
    Shirley in Aledo, Texas

  6. Cindy says:

    Love the gardens! What a great view each morning! Thank you for the reminder to slow down. Dusk is my favorite time- people are settled, the hummingbirds are busy, sky purple , pink, and yellow. The sounds of front, owls, and crickets are so earthy and calming!

    • sbranch says:

      Love that too. Our crickets and cicadas haven’t begun singing yet. They save that for the end of summer, a sound I’ve grown to love no matter how LOUD it gets!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        summer is going by so fast this year, soon the crickets will give way to the Katydids and Fall will be here before we know it. in the meanwhile still plenty of time to enjoy doing nothing, or porch sitting and snapping beans or shelling peas and watching the world go by on the highway. I love evening, its cooler, quieter and we can watch our owl leave on his nightly flights. we have a wonderful old barn owl that lives in our barn, and every night he takes off hunting. looks like it will be a splendid summer and a hopefully a glorious Fall this. hugs….. 🙂

  7. Barbara The Stalker says:

    Susan, thanks for reminding me about The Durrells of Corfu, I watched part of it and loved it! Happy summer to you!
    Barbara

  8. Barb Lyons says:

    Are you me?? Because as I read your posts I continually think, “Me, too!” This one has especially touched me as I am currently at home and have been wallowing in the joy of nothing to do. Ahhhhhhhhh, deep sigh. I live in Kansas and we are starting to heat up after a delightfully cool spring. My garden is beautiful as we’ve had lots of rain, too. Seeing your pink roses, I’m transported back to my Grandma’s house. She had pink climbers which stunned you every year with their sweet scent and rich bounty. How I loved them! They were second only to her lilacs in my mind. Well, I just wanted to say thank you for your latest post, though I love them all and I think we are sisters in spirit! Ahhhh, back to nothing.

    • sbranch says:

      Perhaps I am you! It is very possible! We love driving through Kansas. I can picture your Grandma’s house. Have fun with your nothing! Our nothing is getting rained on today, lovely cool rain, perfect timing for big drink of water for our garden.

  9. It is the little things that mean the most. And how glorious Martha’s Vineyard is. I could never be a city girl either!

    Can’t wait for that tea plate to be ready~ love it!

  10. Regina Carretta says:

    Enjoy this video….a group of musicians from the world, gather in a living room, and sing “This Land is Your Land”….thought of you….. youtube.com/watch?v=Gky4BdEjv44&feature=youtu.be

  11. Debbie Boerger says:

    Wind is up, white caps on our little bay, sun shining, Hooray!! (Sorry, I just can’t help it…too many years teaching little ones 🙂
    Banana loaf in the oven, donation for the bake sale at the library. Bet there will be real whipped cream blowing all over. Nobody will care!! My donated quilt looks fabulous, and all the themed baskets for the raffle. It begins at 1 today. May I say again, Hooray?

    Haven’t had time to read all the comments, but I read your new blog as soon as I stumped downstairs in my walking cast…to be gone next week, hopefully.
    The thatched roof cottage you rented for 2 weeks is just fabulous. I’m thinking of extending my one week at Carries to two. And the entire trip to 5 weeks. Who knows, maybe we will cross paths. We’ll be in the Cotswolds almost the entire time, most of it in May. All due to your last trip and those lovely pictures and posts. I’ll be 72 in two weeks, and I think I have at least one more trip in me. I’m asked, “Why go back and back to England?” I ask, why not, what’s not to love there? Dreams from childhood books are still there, mostly unchanged, right before our wondering eyes and hearts. Things past are cherished, not sacrificed to modernity.

    Thanks again for these thoughts of yours. Serene. Aren’t we fortunate? And your sharing with others is a gift!! Thank you, thank you.

    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      We always find something new too, and there’s that magical motherland connection. I love how your bake sale sounds, the raffle and all, how fun! And soon, no cast. And still, only 72! At least one more trip! We always feel like we go through so much to get over there, getting the business ready for us to leave, preparing life for Jack, people to watch over the house, the trip over and back, sourcing and renting places to stay, a car to drive, that we might as well stretch it to be there as long as we can. So I’m with you, an extra week at Carrie’s!

    • Rachel Lucas says:

      Ah Debbie, how lovely to hear that you love England so much…it really warms my heart!

  12. Tisa says:

    What lovely summer ‘snapshots’ to bring us the feel of the island & your days. Had to giggle at the picture of Barnsley House–Rosemary Verey gave a slide lecture at the garden show in Seattle after she designed Prince Charles’ garden at Highgrove. “First you take a few hundred year old stone wall….” she quipped, as she proceeded to share what plantings she chose for different spots. Quite a lady! (she showed us her home garden too, so it was so nice to see your photo and know that you were there!) Happy Summer! (much cooler in Seattle, but at least we have some sunshine!)

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful that you got to hear Rosemary Verey speak! I’ve only heard her on youtube. Funny, yes, get a four-hundred-year-old castle wall (always helps), plant some roses and voila! Nothing to it! We have pouring rain today, lovely cool refreshing rain. xoxo

  13. Linda Miller says:

    Susan,

    Doing nothing is the best way to enjoy all the simple things that we miss out on when “we are being busy at life!” Love the lovely photos of the island! Your little rented house in England for next year is so charming! I’m curious which area this is in the U.K. Looks, perhaps, the Cotswolds?? Continue doing nothing and enjoying the best that life has to offer!

    Happy Summer,
    Linda

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll tell everyone soon, want to keep the itinerary a secret for a while… until we pull it all together. xoxo

      • Judith says:

        That little cottage looks like it could be in Ireland as well…am I getting close? 🙂
        Just finished Linda Lear’s Beatrix Potter…WOW! You are right, she IS the definitive voice on Beatrix. Thanks!

        • sbranch says:

          Isn’t she? So wonderful, detailed, and answers questions I never would have thought to ask. So happy you enjoyed it too! xoxo

  14. Carol Nicholls says:

    Your “nothingness” is inspiring me to slow down and enjoy the blessedness all around me.
    And from one Anglophile to another, I hosted my book club when we read the Lake House by Kate Morton that takes place mainly in Cornwall. We always try to have treats to eat that were in the book. In the book they had a picnic that I served — ham sandwiches (used Sister Schubert rolls), apples (orange pippins were used in the book and I had to look up what they were), and Ginger Beer (which I had never heard of but was really delicious and non-alcoholic and found in the local grocery store). I also had scones with lemon curd and tea. Yum!

  15. AngieTink says:

    Hello Sweet~Sue…Another Trip Back To England!!!! OMG!!! I Think I Can Hear You Squeal~With~Delight……From Here!!! 😉 That Cottage Is Adorable…& Two Weeks All Cozy & Warm & Happy & Doing Another Jiggity~Jig! 🙂 You Are A Very Lucky~Girl!!! 🙂 When Shall I Begin To Pack~My~Bagzzz??? 🙂 😉 Our 4th~Of~July Was Filled With Fun & Frolic & Lots Of Yummy Things…..I Love This Photo Of Jack’s Cute Face Waiting For You! Your Garden Is Gorgeous!!! & Summer On Your Island Is Truly~Magical…..Sending You Hugzzz & Love & Always Summer~Pixie~Dust…..Savoring These Sizzling~Sweet~Summer~Dayzzzz 🙂 😉 🙂 P.S. Kitty~Kisses ( It’s International~Kissing~Day) (That’s What it Says In #Twitterville 🙂 ) To You & Joe & Jack From #Me 😉 Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    • sbranch says:

      Seems our trips to England are coming more frequently … 2004, to 2012, then last year, 2016, and already, again in 2018! And every time, the magic words of inspiration have been, life is short, eat dessert first! Love to bring everyone along ~ makes it so much more fun! I never worry about you celebrating something Angie, you know just how to do it every time! Summer-Pixie-Dust back to you and yours! 🤗

      • AngieTink says:

        #Good~Morning Sweetest~Sue…I Flew To Your Magical Blog~World This Morning….& Was Reading The~Girl~Friends~Comments…. #Everybody Is So #Wonderful!!! 🙂 Ya Know Sweet~Sue You Could Actually Turn Your #Blog~World Into a #Book…. “Kindred~Spirits” Very #Magical Indeed….. 🙂 Sigh….Breathe…. I’ve Been Twirling Under The Full~Moon Mixed With A Few Florida~Thunderstorms… Making My Sizzling~Summer~Wishes…..Thank~You For The #SummerPixieDust Yay! 😉 Have A #Delightful Week Ahead….xoxo #Poof 🙂 😉 🙂 P.S. I Really Do Eat Dessert First! This Morning…. a Red~White & Blue Popsicle Before My Breakfast Yay! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Right with you on the popsicles Angie! And yes, aren’t the comments just the BEST? I love reading them too. xoxo

  16. Wow, that post was a sight and a delight for (quite literally) sore eyes. I am recovering from eye surgery for a condition called Salzmann’s Nodular Degeneration… a scary thing for an artist and web/graphic designer (which is why I was only willing to do one eye at a time, just in case anything went wrong.) Amazing how we take those things (like eyes) for granted. Now that I am a little further along in recovering, I can really enjoy your posts!!

    That KNOT GARDEN!! Oh, I do love that… saving that one for inspiration. By this time of year, down here, everything is just green, green, green (well, except for a few red tomatoes), so seeing the hues in your garden is quite a treat. I can only imagine how wonderful the 4th of July on the Vineyard must be (from your posts and your books they look amazing!) …and your own gardens filled to the brim with flowers and fruits of your labor… how do you manage to pack so much loveliness in ONE post? …and that video of you painting to Miss Potter’s theme. Just getting to see you paint is wonderful, but set to that music — such a delight to my senses!! I have enjoyed my 2017 calendar so much and cannot wait to get the 2018 version. For a post with the word “nothing” in the title, this one just about has “everything” one could wish for! You make me smile, and you make these tired, irritated eyes glad they can at least see!

    thank you, thank you xxoo
    Christi

    • sbranch says:

      It sounds like successful surgery, happy to hear that Christi! Wonderful the magic they can work with medicine these days! Not so long ago we would be out of business with a diagnosis like that, and now, wonderment! Love hearing from you! xoxo

  17. Sandy E. says:

    So, so lovely! Done my “nothing” is not doing nothing at all! Enjoy it, revel in it, and never stop! Hugs to you!

  18. mari1017 says:

    A beautiful slice of life in the Summer on Martha’s Vineyard! Just as I remember from my visits 🙂 ♥ Thanks for such a perfect Summer post and sharing the loves of your life with us! ♥

  19. Sandy E. says:

    …oops—supposed to read “doing nothing”. Geez, Jack’s sweet paws could type better!

  20. Brittney W. says:

    How exciting to be renting that wonderful little thatched cottage! I cannot wait to read all about it, when the time comes. Your gardens are stunning, I can only imagine how beautiful your little corner of the world is this time of year. Reading your blog brings me such peace Susan, thank you for another wonderful entry!

    • sbranch says:

      I always love something to look forward to on my calendar. And this is a good one! But a long time to wait. Like Christmas when I was eight! But I know now, something I wasn’t so sure of then, it will come!

  21. Rene Marie Foust says:

    I always feel so happy and refreshed after reading your posts and now I feel some anticipation as well. I am really looking forward to your post on Downton Abbey, visiting there is a bucket list item for me for sure. The show was amazing and I was so disappointed when it was over. Counting down until your post. enjoy your day

  22. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    I will never feel guilty about doing nothing again!! You have set me free!! THANK YOU!! I will read this lovely post of yours again and again….it brought me such peace!! It was like listening to the enchanting voices of Joan Plowright and Maureen Stapleton. ❤️ Listening to certain people’s voices and also the distant sound of a train can transform me into a state of nothingness, just like that! I love your pink roses! “I love pink, it makes me smile…it tickles my little heart…imagine the world in shades of pink, what a lovely work of art!”…( kathie burkhart) That darling, quaint, cozy little cottage with the thatched roof…❤️❤️❤️!!!! ……I bet that you can hardly wait to get there!!! It looks just like an Irish music box house that I have that plays “I’ll take you home again Kathleen”. I collect houses with thatched roofs…and adore them! I just named my little house canister “Susan’s Cottage”. I hope that your little English cottage will bring you and Joe the happiest memories of your life!! When you go on these trips, do you press any flowers or leaves? Oh, you should!! They are the nicest souvineers! Enjoy your summer, your walks to the sea, your old movies, many cups of tea, petting Jack and enjoying all of his purrs, smelling those beautiful pink roses and being raptured in nothingness!!❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Good, Kathiellen, never “feel guilty about doing nothing again!” ! Love the sound of your music box! I even pressed flowers (and a feather) in my Fine Romance book, so yes, we definitely have a very tiny collection of meaningful flora from the places we’ve loved.

  23. Helen says:

    One of these days, I will rent a wonderful place on Martha’s Vineyard! in the meantime, thank you for sharing your wonderful views of the island!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy to do it. There are lots of cute houses to rent here in the summer, it will be easy to find one.

  24. That cottage looks like it came from the movie The Holiday, which I absolutely loved. sonypictures.com/movies/theholiday/

  25. shanna says:

    Delightful post, Susan. Thank you. I think I have also perfected the art of doing nothing…content to look out at the lake and list all of the things I should be doing.
    Oh, I loved the Durrells in Corfu! It was shown last winter on PBS in FL. I’m hoping there is another season to come.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure there is! I think we’re a year behind the UK, and they just got their 3rd year (I think)!

  26. Marybeth Ferrie says:

    This post is a great birthday present! And I have been doing the exact same all day,Much love and thanks to you,
    Marybeth

  27. Karen Baron says:

    I saw Anne with an E recently and I too am hoping for a second season!! I never saw the original not quite sure how I missed that!! I just introduced my best friend from high school to you with your 30th Anniversary Heart of the Home book and a Girfriends forever charm!! She was thrilled!! We live far apart and I only see her about every five years !! We just celebrated her 60th with tea at Paris In A Cup in the quaint historic district in Orange, CA! It was so fun and gorgeous in the tea salon!! My favorite book of yours is the Summer book! I have a summer. Irthdsy so it fits with my summer celebration!! Blessings to you always!! Hasta la vista baby!!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Karen … luv-lee to share what we love with our very best friends. Thank you for including me! xoxox

  28. sylvia in seattle says:

    Oh, Oh, first time for me. The comments section just disappeared from the newest post July 5, The Fantastic Art of Doing Nothing. I had posted a comment and a couple afterthoughts! both of which were there yesterday, but not modified yet.. Now all gone. Boo Hoo. I guess the gremlins are still among us.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh no! I hope not! Things have been going so good. I remember your comments Sylvia, so they weren’t totally disappeared! I’m so sorry!

  29. Jan Davidspn says:

    Love your July calander “one square at a time”. My dads favorite ice cream was strawberry. On Saturday evenings we go to Carmel by the Sea and have one big scoop of ice cream for only 10 cents! Those were the days !love from strawberry hill❤️🍓❌⭕️

  30. sylvia in seattle says:

    NEVERMIND! I found what I thought was lost. No worries as they say. Except for the bonk on the head which might be partly to blame for my confusion. But now that I’m here again I want to say how ADORABLE is that little thatched cottage you have reserved for you next trip to England. Can’t wait to see and hear all about it.

  31. Sherry Winchester says:

    And there is Jack…Such a sweetie, such a sweetie…. ^..^ The entire post was wonderful, Susan. It speaks so of Summer! Thank you! :^)

  32. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Ahhh, doing nothing. No where to go and nowhere to be.Recently retired I am languishing in nothingness. I love how you are enjoying doing nothing as well. When I get tired of cleaning, gardening, reading , napping, I start to get creative and do a project . But sitting on my back deck with a book and a puppy in my lap just begs for a nap. I mowed the grass this morning with our battery operated , very quiet, easy to push mower. Every time I take the puppy, Rosebud, our today I admire my handiwork, or rather,the mower’s good job. My husband usually does this, but he is away doing nothing in the hammock of his daughter’s house for a few more days. Your blog made me even more relaxed. I love your blogs and truly look forward to reading them. Thank you, Susan. And, oh, that cottage!! Too cute for words. I have already watched the Durrells. Loved the Corfu countryside, but not how fresh the kids were to their mum. I am loving Anne With An E. This version was meant to tell more of the back story of Anne and to be a bit different. The actress is wonderful. Enjoy every thing and every day, Susan. You are a gift to us all.

    • sbranch says:

      I thought the same thing about the way the kids treated their mom. I almost don’t believe that …even in the 50s we wouldn’t have spoken to our mom like that … but maybe … I don’t know. Still a darling show. Nap with puppy! Wonderful, Peggy!

  33. Caroline says:

    So excited for my very own blue bird cup to runneth over with tea!!! Our blue birds had babies!!! The blue of them stops me in my tracks every day I see them. I was taking a nap outside and my husband said they were all around me:) Thank you for being our guide for the little, most beautiful things in Life: I walked with two of my soul mate friends this morning down a dirt road that follows along by the Connecticut River and we talked of you! Blessed blessed summer:) Keep on doing No thing:)

    • Caroline says:

      Oh! PS! I’m reading a charming book recommended by another blog girlfriend, The Tale of Hill Top Farm! I love it:)

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing from you Caroline! Thank you for book recommendation too! Blue Birds! Amazing!

  34. PAULA says:

    Haven’t been on the computer lately, family stuff, I had almost forgotten how energizing your writing is. And how you manage to produce so much beauty while “taking some time off”. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and art with us, and reminding us of all the wonderful things to look for. I’m still wondering when you sleep. Love, from Polly, in Oxnard.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, I am relishing these good sleeping nights! I’ve really been very lazy. Relatively. Reading and staring at the garden! xoxo When summer is over, I will gear up, because I’m having so many ideas of things I want to make, and fall is such a creative time.

  35. Jocelyn says:

    I’m currently reading books by Liz Johnson. All of her stories are on PEI, and your pictures are what I envision them to look like. I always love your creativity.

  36. Debby Rickett says:

    Lovely blog about nothingness!!! it takes special people to see the beauty in all things, big and small 🙂
    Susan…. I’m headed to England next week (July 14th) I am beside myself with joy and it’s all kind of your fault! I have always loved the English ways, history etc. but “A Fine Romance” really lit a fire in my heart and so I’m going. I’ll be there 4 days then off to Spain (a work trip). I am hoping beyond hope to make it to the Lake District!!!! Talk about a dream come true! Still pinching myself!!!

    • sbranch says:

      If you can pick one lovely place and stay there all four days, you will get a taste of it. Don’t spend those four days traveling, get somewhere and stay, because no matter where you are, it’s all new! Look up the National Trust and gardens you can visit. That’s a good start. You probably already have it all figured out, but just in cases!

  37. Sharon says:

    Where is the darling cottage you will be renting? Lucky you, can’t wait until I can visit…can’t find my passport!

    • sbranch says:

      You have lots of time to find it! I’m keeping a secret as to where it is, because if I tell you, you’ll know where we’re going and I want it to be a surprise! Just pack, find the passport!

  38. Janet Perez says:

    Hi Susan
    Loved the pictures and thank you for all the posts. I was actually planning our garden club season here in Miami and loved seeing the flowers and quotes.
    You are so talented and gracious.

    I would love to visit your island, can you tell me the best time of year to visit.
    Thank you. Janet

    • sbranch says:

      I would say fall. The colors are beautiful, any humidity is gone, a lot of the tourists are gone too (although many stay) … OR very early spring, last week of May or first week of June, are good too.

  39. Mary/Indiana says:

    I Wob it too, so I just had to order it as a birthday present to moi!🎂🎈🎂🎈

  40. Sharrieboberry says:

    I’m sososososo excited too! GFs are ready for another trip to the English Countryside! Yippee!

  41. Anne of NH says:

    One day I would like to visit your island…Nantucket as well. ..and when our 17+ year old kitty goes to the Rainbow Bridge. ..we are going to travel to Europe…lots of places. Most of my fsmily heritage lies in Ireland…but the Stones…fraternal side…can be traced back to 647 in Cornwall…even a Knight!…want to trace those roots….love reading your adventures…and even doing “nothing” becomes an adventure!

    • sbranch says:

      You might find, as I did, that you have a physical reaction to being in the home of your ancestors. Tears, chills, little hairs standing up on arms, to name a few! It’s a wonderful thing, to know and feel your history.

      • Arline in SoCal says:

        Exactly Susan! I had chills in Liverpool visting the Albert dock. (Thought maybe Paul McCartney was there?). But no, months later after subscribing to Ancestry, I find out my Dutch great-great grandparents left from that very dock in 1866.

        • sbranch says:

          I did the same thing in the Yorkshire Dales. I didn’t find out until I got home that we were near the home of my Mayflower ancestor. But while I was there, I was imagining myself growing up there! Gives me chills to think about it even now! xoxo

          • Susan P. says:

            I also have a Mayflower ancestor, John Alden and his wife Priscilla. There is a saying if you talk to some for about 20 min, you will find a connection….someone you both would know. Well a man was here giving us est on a job. We started talking and to make a short story even shorter….WE ARE RELATED….HIS FAMILY IS DESCENDANTS OF JOHN ALDEN AND PRISCILLA ALSO. IT WAS TOO FUNNY. You just never know. Susan your ancestors could of been right next to mine, They probably talked daily…for those ships were not
            very big. It just goes to show us all how we are all connected!
            I also ENJOY NOTHING …. The best time of summer is “NOTHING” Enjoy your NOTHING DAYS. Love, Susan P.

          • sbranch says:

            Absolutely, my relation was William Bradford; his son had 10 children, so there are many many people related to him! I looked up John Alden, he and Priscilla also had 10 children, and he and Wm Bradford were good friends! I have a girlfriend on Twitter who’s related to one of the Salem “witches” ~ she was hung on the same day as my own ancestor, Elizabeth Howe, another one of the accused. I’m always fascinated with history and seeing how much we’re all connected!

          • Susan P. says:

            I went back into our files and was looking to see if there were any marriages to the Bradford Family. So far nothing.
            We knew this one already, one of John and Priscilla Alden’s son was being watched very closely during the “witch” hunts. He was spared. Also how amazing that you and a girlfriend are connected through the Salem “witches” trail. I too can get so involved in the history of the family that I get lost for hours…one of those “NOTHING” days…that nothing got done. hahaha Enjoy your Summer of NOTHING. Love, Susan P.

          • sbranch says:

            We may not have been blood related, but I’m sure our families were friends through the years, and now look at us!

  42. Merci says:

    Jack is always so adorable!

  43. Sue says:

    I thought I was the only one who loved to watch shadows on the walls, especially through lace curtains! Your blog gives me so much joy, thank you for sharing your wonderful life! You inspire me to see the beauty all around me and to cherish the positive, uplifting joys of life and to create more to share!

  44. diana from ancaster says:

    Lovely post…. good reminder of the bliss that is ‘Dolce far Niente’.

  45. Kathleen Clark says:

    Susan, I love this post about the art of doing nothing. I’m having one of those days today but I need to get over the guilt of feeling lazy. It’s 100 degrees outside today so it’s too hot to do anything. When you said you eat pancakes with maple syrup I just had to tell you this–we used to eat maple syrup too until we found out about Buttermilk Syrup. We love it so much that we’ve completely given up maple syrup. I got this recipe from my friend who told me they make it for their neighborhood 4th of July breakfast and call it “Freedom Syrup”. Here’s the recipe:
    1/2 cup butter
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    Melt butter in saucepan on stove. Add sugar and stir till it almost boils. Slowly whisk in buttermilk and then take off stove when it boils. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Serve warm over pancakes or waffles.
    Try it! You will love it and so will Joe!

  46. Robyn Brown says:

    What kind of rose is that you have growing? It’s gorgeous!

    • sbranch says:

      Those pink hedge roses are called “Fairy” Roses ~ they bloom all summer and come back like that every year. It’s a good one.

  47. Karen Schnutenhaus says:

    I saw a stellar jay and DH said they’ve come for the summer as have the mocking birds screeching at each other.
    After watching Anne with an ‘e’ (I budgeted the first two), the next day, while I was sick, I watched the entire rest of the series. Loved it, but I’m not sure I like this Anne yet. There’d better be second season!

  48. Donna Hrehor says:

    Susan, wonderful post as always!!! Your picketed garden is SO nice. So glad you are enjoying your “nothing” time!!!

  49. Kat Fry on Rose Creek Farm says:

    Lovely…Wonderful…Splendifarous! I so agree that it’s become an Art, this Doing of Nothing. I’m thrilled to say I have a degree in that field! My Dad’s Mom, my sweet Granma Ruby Hazel Vaughn, could Do Nothing better than anyone I’ve ever known. I had a friend say to me one time, “How can you sit and read all day?” My reply was to look up from my book, shade my eyes against the sun and say in a very slow drawl…”How could I not?”…Or just sit and and breathe and listen to the World around. You can even smell things better when Doing Nothing! Have you noticed that? Though I must confess, I am not a totally quiet Nothing Doer…I know that’s shocking…but, even when I read, I share bits n pieces…even if it’s me all by myself. You just have to exclaim out loud once in awhile. Things like, “Welp, I never! Did you ever?”. Or, whoo !I saw that coming!”
    I finished our Book Club selection “North of Supposed to Be” by the delightful Marcia Ferguson…an F.O.S.B er herself…loved it! Can’t hardly wait till Tueday! Just starting a book called “The Real Mrs. Miniver”. Love Jan Struther’s book. Also finished one by Janice Woods Windle called “True Women” about the women in her family in Texas around Sequin and San Marcos. That’s south of Austin & a smidge north of San Antonio. Back in the 1800s. Fascinating History! People that stayed put for Generations! I tell y’all what! Women Rock! She has this really cool cookbook that started it all for her son’s wedding back in the 90s. They also made a miniseries of her book in 2004.
    Love those Durrells! I think the next season is coming up soon. My passion are memoirs of writers! I just fall in and barely crawl back out. I am just mesmerized and stupefied! Love that word. I shall endeavor to use it frequently the rest of July. lol
    That cottage is just perfectly Y’all! I swear, I could see y’all at the window! It shall have such a wonderful Time with y’all there.
    Adventures are so Special. Especially when you take the Time to just meander and sit and wander out from a Home Base.
    I am enjoying a lovely cup of tea in my lovely SB mug! The “Little Things” one. Looking forward to more Goodies! Sipping and knoshing & writing In the loudest stretchy capris you can imagine! Hot pink with lots of colorful roses scattered all over! A very long aqua tankie top with hot pink polka dots & flamingos. And a pink feather boa. Because sometimes you just feel like replying to YOU wearing a feather boa. It’s like a mini party!
    On the weather side, We’re getting some lovely rain here at the Farm. One of those Texas Summery Rains with the low rumbling thunder.
    Please Give your 2 sidekicks a big ol’ kiss for us.
    Now let’s get busy Doing Absolutely Nothing.
    Love Ya’! Ever Kat on Rose Creek Farm

    • sbranch says:

      Love all your book thoughts, Kat! Me too, love memoirs and biographies, seeing how people did their lives ~ I’m reading one about Kick Kennedy right now. Little bit of 1930s and 40s history. I think reading with a baby goat in your lap has to be the very best. xoxo

  50. Giovanna says:

    Dolce far niente…..I think the Italians invented it! ❤️🌸❤️

  51. Carol D. in Sierra Madre, CA says:

    Hello Susan,
    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog this afternoon! You have such a gift to be able to express what so many of us girlfriends feel: The art of doing nothing at all and still accomplishing so much (internally). Your photos are lovely, and your words even better! My thoughts keep drifting to my dad. He would be 98 today if he were still with us. Miss him so. But your post really lifted my spirits. Thank you, thank you. xoxo Hello to Joe, too!

    • sbranch says:

      Blessings and Happy remembrance day for your dad. Although I know that’s really every day. xoxoxo Sending love.

  52. LimnerC says:

    This! The perfect antidote to a day that’s so hot and humid it leaves a body and spirit limp, and longing for cooler spaces with friendlier faces. The house you chose would fit the bill for my soul too.

    Thanks for this escape! It makes me realize just how blessed we are. We have a/c, icy cold water, birds that sing, an ever-shifting canopy of clouds, a lovely blue sky, summer’s heat, growing things . . . and I have lots and lots of letters to answer. Lovely blogs such as yours are a day’s icing on life’s sweet loaf!

    Be well.

  53. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Divine! Gratitude, joy and “my family and other animals” the Durell’s of Corfu?
    Enjoy every moment of this lovely Nothing-Time!

  54. debbie valentini says:

    Susan, I love the way you enjoy the simple loveliness of everyday. I find that the older I become, the more I enjoy life’s quirky and darling little moments. Thanks for sharing your happy spirit and I am excited for you about your trip over the pond…what a sweet cottage! Many blessings and hugs. xox

    • sbranch says:

      I think it was moving here that made me notice . . . I had a LOT of quiet times, and suddenly, for the first time since my childhood, I could hear the birds sing. And that was the beginning. xoxo

  55. Pamela C. Betz says:

    Dear Susan, The cottage reminds me of the ones I saw in Ireland. Please paint it, I would love to buy a copy. Some year I hope you and Joe go to Ireland.
    I really like the teapot. After my trip to Ireland I became a tea drinker. Then I went to Israel and didn’t like their coffee and thankfully turned to my tea.
    Do you drink your tea with milk? I have not tried it yet. For now black is good.

    • sbranch says:

      I learned from my girlfriend’s English mum, and she taught me to have it with a spoonful of honey and half and half! SO good!!! Almost dessert. I still use milk, but honey only for afternoon tea or when it’s snowing!

  56. Meg Cooper says:

    I enjoyed the video of you painting. I think you should do a webinar of “painting class”. Or youtube videos of the basics of how someone could start dabbling in watercolor. Like what kinds of materials and just basic steps you take to paint. It was interesting to me to see how you put red down, then took some off before adding a darker red for a shadowed effect. I would pay to watch you teach some basic painting skills!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve painted for years but never really thought HOW I paint … it would be good to try and put that in words.

  57. Lisa Vancor says:

    Thank you for reminding me that as we go about our days, smell those roses and that chocolate pudding and don’t sweat the busy making things.

  58. Lisa Vancor says:

    I, of course am only 88 years old and only work out of the house two days a week so I am really happy to practice paying attention to all the little things, like having baby tomatoes on the vine (in pots, so the nice deer cannot get them before I do) and making a new wall quilt for my bedroom with no stated time of the finished product.
    You are a gem.

  59. Karen Knabe says:

    Thank you for your lovely post, Susan. My mom and I are headed to Boston at the end of July and look forward to a 3 day stop on Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate her 80th and my 50th! We are beyond excited! And she doesn’t know it, but I’ve ordered her one of your Martha’s Vineyard cups for her bday gift. Thank you again for bringing such beauty to a world that desperately needs it.

  60. Barbara says:

    Oh Susan, you must check out Film Struck. It’s a subscription service to all of TCM and more! You’ll love it.

  61. Gretchen says:

    Thank you for your beautiful post. I was having one of those sad, “I know I can’t fix a situation” type of days. Then, I read your post, and it reminded me of all the beauty and love in my life. I wish I had ordered one of your mugs from a few months ago. I didn’t realize there are only a limited number of them. I love the teapot design dish that is being created, also. I need to put that on my birthday wish list. Your vacation cottage is a place to dream about when insomnia visits. The thatched roof reminds me of the houses my Dad showed me when we visited Denmark.

    • sbranch says:

      If you go to the shopping part of my web store, I do believe we have a few In Love with Nature cups left … not really left, but sent later than the rest … just a few, if you’d really like one, check soon. I already want to write a fairy story about that house, just from the photo of it. Can’t wait to drive up to that picket fence. And take everyone with us.

  62. Paula Johnson says:

    Oh, joy! Thank you for this lovely post, Susan! I was thinking earlier today when I was looking at your lettering for June on your desktop calendar (which I was cutting to repurpose as you mentioned, in one of your blogs, that one of the girlfriends does) and I thought, “I wish I could see a demonstration of how Susan paints these letters.” And then you had a mini demonstration of you painting in this blog. Thank you!

    I am glad to hear that you are enjoying “being.” You have had a bit of a whirlwind life for some time now.

    I love the continuity of your ‘most daily walks~~ever since you moved to Holly Oak. I like that you included the shadow photo.

    It is difficult to find the best descriptive word for you and how you care and share. You are a bright spot in many lives!

    Much love,

    Paula with the many grands (and one great grand now)! 🙂

  63. Judith says:

    Good morning, Susan (and GFs)! Yes, isn’t Summer the best time for lazing away the day?! And for planning trips to verdant lands…are you really going to make us wait until next YEAR to tell us where that splendid cottage is?! Thanks for the painting video, I could watch you do that all day…very meditative.
    TTFN

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, because if I tell you where it is, you’ll know where we’re going, and I want to surprise you!

  64. Beverlee Ring says:

    Hello again Susan,
    Charlestown was magical. We loved our tour guide who told us wonderful stories of the Bloomsbury group of artists who lived there. The house was enchanting and the garden beautiful. You could feel the lives lived in that house and the creative spirit lives on and was palpable. Thank you for encouraging our visit there. We only took a brief walk into Sissinghurst yesterday because today is our long day at the house and gardens. Staying on the Sissinghurst estate at the Farmhouse B and B is perfect. We get to wander around and explore the vegetable gardens and grounds when ever we want and can see the tower from our window. This is a perfect place to stay in this area. We are having the best time. Thank you again for your inspiration.

    • sbranch says:

      Wondering if you had tea at Charleston? Sweet little tea room there. I’m thrilled for you Beverlee … So much wonderful history. Near Sissinghurst is a delicious pub called The Three Chimneys ~ I mentioned it in the book. Lovely place, there since 1420 ~ and you just KNOW Vita has been there!

  65. Gill Smith says:

    Thank you Susan for another wonderful post, loving NOTHING!!
    I am soooooo excited to see where you will be visiting on your next trip to UK. Please make it DEVON!!!! As I missed you and your picnic at Stourhead last year, hubby and I are going there next Friday . We have booked a delightful one bedroomed cottage for 4 nights. We are also visiting Gold Hill, Shaftsbury , continuing the Gold theme, as we celebrated our golden wedding anniversary in June. We rented a large house near St Ives , Cornwall and all our family, 14 altogether, were able to join us. We had a wonderful afternoon at Minnack Theatre , google it, just up your street!
    Are you planning another get together for girlfriends, during your trip? Looking forward to seeing where you will be going. Exciting !!!!!
    Have just re read your trilogy, never tire of them.
    Just off to continue my Nothing for today!!!
    Lots of love Gill from sunny Devon xx

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful, Stourhead and Gold Hill, then down to Cornwall, how fantastic! I’m hoping we can put together a picnic, but we have time to figure that out.

  66. rhea says:

    Love this post! Nothingness is a great thing for all of us to remind ourselves of the true treasures in life. Nature, home, time to remind ourselves thats its the little things in life that are SO important to embrace and you always bring us girlfriends back to that which we all love and even need sometimes. So easy to get caught up in the hectic day to day busyness 🙂 This summer in New England has been just perfect, don’t you think? Sunny mornings for our flowers and veggie gardens to grow with rain and thunderstorms every other night. Vermont is so green right now that its aglow! our Hydrangeas are in full bloom too with berries galore. So many wild raspberries that I may even have enough to freeze for the winter. Yay. Boy are we lucky. You were so right about moving to the East Coast……..took a few months to adjust but its definitely home for us now and we are so glad we did it. You inspire me to try something new every time I read a post. Going to make your gazpacho today with the lobster!! YUM. You and Joe have a lovely weekend and pet that kitty for me. Hugs.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy for you Rhea! Glad that you love it! It was taking a big chance. But now you write that Vermont is aglow! How wonderful. Consider Jack petted with a Rhea hand! xoxo

  67. Mary Brehm says:

    Oh my! What lovely nothingness you are doing! All that nothin is a whole lot of somethin! We are doing a lot of the same here. We grow raspberries and blue berries and we just started picking. There is nothing better than eating a berry that’s still warm from the sun. Oh my gosh, we finally picked our first crop of sour cherries…enough to make a pie! We purchased this neat little contraption to pit the cherries…(works good most of the time)! My Hubby was the cherry loader and I was in charge of the plunger thingy. He was covered in cherry juice. Word to the wise, never pit cherries in a white shirt : )
    We had a lot of fun. I put the cherries in the freezer and now I’m waiting for the perfect occasion to make a pie.
    My Oldest daughter, Jessie, Called to tell us she is engaged! We actually knew already because her boyfriend/fiancee called and told us he was going to ask her the week before, so sweet. She is coming home toninght to show us the ring. I’m gonna make ribs and corn on the cob and put out some Prosecco to celebrate.
    I can’t wait.
    Wow! So excited that you are planning another trip to England. You are so lucky, but so are we because we get to share it with you. That little cottage is adorable. It reminds me of the one in the movie, The Holiday. Don’t you think so?
    The roses and hydrangeas look beautiful. I wish mine would bloom like that. I have mostly shade so my garden is full of lovely hosta and shade plants…I love the coolness of it and the play of light from the dappled sun coming through the trees….ahhhhhh…makes me so happy. I have three baby bluejays in my garden right now. They are so sweet and their Mama is so dedicated to making sure they are fed and safe. I also had a baby raccoon in my yard eating the Mulberries under the Mulberry tree. So got darn cute. I just love their little faces. We have Lots of baby bunnies too. They are naughty because the ate all of our carrots and beets coming up, but is still love them.
    The mugs are beautiful! I just love the bluebird and I loved watching the video on twitter of you painting the eye. Keep on doing all that nothing and sharing it with us. Love, Mary

    • sbranch says:

      Congratulations Mary, on your new son-in-law to come. He sounds like a keeper! Your words are beautiful! Cherry Pies, mulberry trees and baby blue jays, who could ask for more! BTW, our garden got so shady that our roses were suffering, so we cut off some branches of the trees, and voila, sunshine. Just in case you find yourself in the same boat. We have a hosta garden too, just coming into bloom now. Have a wonderful day!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Mary, I love your post. First of all because I’m changing over to more hostas, which I adore. We never had them in the deep South. Second, that you grow berries. We’re hoping the raspberries get a chance now that the Japanese beetles have been beaten back a little. 2 years of spreading granules that kill the grubs. First year in awhile that we haven’t seen any on the rugosas.
      Yum, warm berries right off the vine. Now to hope the bears don’t eat all the blackberries before we can. 3 berry ice box pies in the future we hope.
      Debbie in Maine

  68. Gloria says:

    Thanks for the lovely few minutes I spent reading your note to us on “doing nothing.” Of course, in our “doing nothing” we are doing “something,” (looking, walking, thinking, planning, etc.). There is such a peace and quiet in “doing nothing.” It calms the soul.

    So glad you are planning another trip to the UK, and the house looks spectacular. Can’t wait until you take us inside with you.

    Happy Summer on lovely Martha’s Vineyard!

  69. Tawni Urrutia says:

    Dear Sweet Susan,
    My grandmother was made of magic. She was well practiced in the art of celebrating days of “nothing” happening. One of the things I love to think about is her unapologetic need for a daily nap. We’d go out to shop and visit one of her friends and always be back at 2:00. Because at 2:00…off came the St. John’s knit top and skirt, and on went the moo-moo! The phone was taken off the hook, with it’s loud panic BEEP BEEP BEEP until it too surrendered to the idea of nap time! 3:00, everything resumed. Merv Griffen on tv, prepping for dinner, and so on. She set pace for gratitude and loveliness. For disseminating joy. I think of her many times throughout my day, and often admire how she continually chose calm over hectic.
    I love the idea of you filling your inspiration well all Summer long! Gas in the tank my dear mentor!
    ❌⭕️❌⭕️,
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi Ca

    • sbranch says:

      Lovely grandma story, Tawni! I agree with her about naps ~ She “chose calm over hectic!” love it. xoxo

  70. In physics, the field of nothing holds infinite potential. In Vedanta (Hindu) spirituality, nothingness is the field from which all things emerge. As the mind becomes self-aware, holding only awareness itself rather than any object, the Absolute is attained. And the “peace that passes understanding.” Great post!

  71. Lucia Ann France-Bryant says:

    Thanks for sharing your life and art with all of the world. My attitude is always lifted when I see your beautiful paintings and words. Doing nothing is my new favorite thing since I retired two months ago! My seven year old grand-daughter, Rachel, and I are having “Nannie Camp” for three weeks this summer while she’s not in regular day camp. She is the best companion to do “nothing” with. She’s always humming a little tune and is so happy just to hang out on the porch and swing and talk about everything. Last fall I was digging in the garden and found a whole set (almost whole) set of child size teacups and a teapot! Next week (our first week together) will be the grand unveiling of the treasure!! We will probably spend the whole day deciding who this belonged to, creating our characters, making little sandwiches, and, of course, having a tea party. Can’t wait!

    • sbranch says:

      You are kidding! What a treasure to find. I’ve been thrilled to find old medicine bottles or pieces of broken china in our garden, I can’t imagine the screaming that would occur if I found a teapot! Magic! Perfect memory for your Rachel.

  72. Starr miller says:

    Hello Susan,
    You continue to dazzle me with your posts and new ideas and products.
    You are amazing.
    Love all the quotes- inspiring.
    Your ‘nothing new’ is heavenly.

  73. Jeanette says:

    I enjoy the pictures of Jack watching at the door, he is so very adorable. What a great pet to have and to hold.

  74. Carol Maurer ~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    Oh, Susan~~~~ I just loved this post. Your ‘nothingness’, for me, was wonderful and very relaxing. We do need reminders once in awhile to slow down and be good to ourselves.

    We’re getting ready for an almost 2 week road trip. We leave next Monday. I am counting the days and telling myself it’s time to get out what we want to take with us. It’ll be hot, with the exception of 2 days in Eureka, Ca. Have to wear winter clothes there. Can you believe it? Hoping it’s cooler on our trip, as it’s in the triple digits here this week. ECK!!!!

    Take care,
    Carol M

    • sbranch says:

      You’re going south I take it? Maybe it’s time for a trip to Alaska! 😀

      • Carol Maurer ~ Kennewick, Wa says:

        You may be right, Susan. Actually, Reno will be the one place that is hot. I thought where our friends who just moved to Oregon would be hot, but talked to them yesterday and its only in mid 70s.

        BTW….. I really liked the thatched-roof house that you will be staying in England next trip. Looks so homey.

        Later,
        Carol M

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

    Dear Susan, I hope you take lots and lots more days and continue doing all the nothings that you love best. What is summer for, but to while away the hours and let our minds wander off into our dreams?

  76. Susan says:

    Oh beautiful soul….I am here on the island…and can see your rooftop from my little backyard cottage rental. I dreamed last night I just walked over and knocked on the door and came to tea and you autographed all my books! I adore the Durrells of Corfu and the new Anne too. I finished Martha’s Vineyard and have now started A Fine Romance. The fireworks in Edgartown were fabulous and I even paid tribute to Nancy Luce the sweet chicken lady. I love the huge flag you have on the front of your lovely home. I wish I could meet you in person. But I don’t dare disturb your “doing nothing” time. You are totally admired from a distance. I looked for you at the Farmers Market!! And I look every time we drive out, to see if you are walking!! I leave for home soon but it has been a treasure just being so close. I feel like such a kindred spirit to you after reading your books but no doubt, so do millions of others. Have a lovely rest of the week doing nothing and oh my the flowers here on the vineyard are A-MA-ZING! We went to the sunset at Menemsha Beach last night but I have to say the one from Telegraph Hill was even more spectacular. Today its raining so I am reading more of your past blogs. I adore you!! Maybe one day you can come to Charleston SC and I can come to a book signing there!! Much love from the girl visiting the island!

    • sbranch says:

      So happy you’re enjoying your time here. We are providing some very nice weather for you … dawning spectacularly this morning after our good garden-drenching rain storm ~ more flowers! I must get to deadheading mine! Have a luv-lee day Susan!

  77. Mamey Brown says:

    I LOVE doing nothing! I remember doing the same thing in my bedroom when I was little. Laying on my bed with the curtains blowing in the wind, listening to the birds chirping and just daydreaming!!! Ahhhh, so wonderful! Brings back so many memories. I also played alot of music in my bedroom as well. I LOVED Anne With An E! She is such a cutie! I just want to be Anne’s Friend! As always, Susan, another WONDERFUL post. My face hurts from smiling!

    • sbranch says:

      That daydreaming feeling is my favorite, especially in the summer, with all the windows open and the bees buzzing by in the wisteria! xoxo

  78. Kathi S. in Cleveland says:

    Ha Ha…..turn up the air conditioning and roll down the windows….took me a long time to get past my parents looks of disapproval at me doing that. Heaven forbid you waste the cold air (and gas) that way! Still can’t get my stodgy younger brother to accept that I won’t be struck by lightning when I do that with him in the car. He gets more like our dear late parents every day….and I get less LOL.

    • sbranch says:

      I rarely turn on air conditioning with the windows down, but when I was a teenager my girlfriend/housemate had a convertible ~ the top had ripped and we couldn’t afford a new one, so we would ride around in it with the heater blaring and the windows up! It was like hot apple crisp with ice cream.

  79. Merci says:

    Hi Susan,
    Had to make a quick comment, one of the girlfriends mentioned making cherry pies with her fresh cherries. I, on the other hand, pit them and soak them in vodka for approx. one month – OMG, sooooo delicious! Lots of love!

  80. Sue reynolds says:

    Susan,

    I’ve been playing with the idea of white space in my life. Another way of saying I am doing nothing, it has focused me on the spaciousness of summer and a life well lived. I don’t need to fill each week with lunches and events. I should bottle the joy my heart feels when I look at next week’s calendar and see whole days with nothing planned… perfect.

    Like you, I am watching the birds, trimming the lady’s mantle, ironing the pile of white napkins, balancing the check book. And, in between these gentle tasks, I read your blog, or a good book, and enjoy a slower pace with more white space.

    Soon our lives will change with the arrival of twin grand babies, but for now, the white space is rich.

  81. Cheryl says:

    How lovely…your world of nothingness that pulls at our heartstrings and fulls our souls to overflowing!! The beautiful sighs of nothingness! Blessings to your and Joe and of course a cuddle to Jack!

  82. Melinda Melhus says:

    rough night … unable sleep … so delighted to discover your happy log filled with delightful thoughts and images ❤️•.¸¸.•´´¯`•• .¸ ❤️ ❤️ has calmed my soul so i pray i can sleep … love your bluebird cup … your beautiful flowers and quotes with art … birds and Jack … seashore and so many things i love … Thank you Susan B for sharing your gifts and for being a blessing to me <3

  83. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Sounds like you and Joe are having a much deserved relaxing summer. Looks like Jack is very happy to have you home!
    We are sweltering in the valley, you remember those hot summers? It was 110 degrees today, supposed to be hotter tomorrow. Those cool ocean breezes sound like heaven!! Could you send some our way?
    Did you finish your declutter project? I am still working on mine with a long way to go.
    One corner at a time like you told me. But I think tomorrow I will follow your current plan and do nothing!!
    Happy Summer!!

    • sbranch says:

      I do remember those summers. Especially just before school got out, too hot to go! I’ll try to blow some over your way. It rained and drenched us to the core yesterday, today is dawning blue and pink and not a speck of humidity …. I’m blowing ➡️ thataway! I have not finished my declutter … it’s a big job. But I’m determined! I do a little bit every day, as close as I can get to doing nothing but still moving ahead . . .

  84. Hi Susan! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post this morning, and seeing your wonderful photos! Ahhhhhh, the “nothingness” of summer . . . so fantastic. I am happy that you and Joe are having a good one! (Speaking of nothingness, I am LOVING my retirement from nursing . . . a little too much! Ha-Ha!) I started watching “Anne with an E” and LOVE it so far. And your gazpacho looks delicious – I think we need to make some for today!
    Thanks, Susan, for sharing your joy of life with all of us!

  85. Hillaire Gallagher says:

    Hi,
    Love your “doing nothing”, I would call it “puttering around”. It is part of being home and domestic bliss. Your kitty cat is the sweetest, what a cute guy.
    I do enjoy your home stories …it is like we are hanging out together.
    love to you and Joe
    Hillaire
    Your cottage for next year looks precious….

  86. Kathie B. says:

    So glad you are taking time just to BE. Loved the painting lesson. The camera moved a little, like a heart beating while you created. Such a summery post!

    • sbranch says:

      Like rubbing your tummy while patting your head … that’s how it is taking pictures and painting at the same time!

  87. Kathryn Phenix says:

    I highly recommend the art of doing nothing. I love it and our animals appreciate it also. They are so much happier when we stay home and cater to their every whim. After all, “Dogs are our best friend and cats are our masters!” So said a card I found and gave to my husband for Father’s Day.
    PS The silver fork on Joe’s pancake plate is a pattern my grandmother had mixed in with her larger set, Buttercup by Gorham. I’m the fortunate owner of her silverware but I really should be using it more. So beautiful.

  88. DeLores Johnson says:

    Dear Sue,
    I was thrilled when I opened my E-mail it said, “Susan Branch Blog”. My favorite E-Mail. Unfortunately, I don’t get it answered right away and I have no excuse, except like you, I am doing absolutely NOTHING! My husband is ill with Congestive Heart and is on oxygen now, so I spend a lot of nothing quiet time by myself and it is very lonely. I read LOT, Books and Newspapers, & Magazines. I have started a new hobby, Adult coloring and I love it. I have always loved to color, since I was a child. I also do counted cross stitch and am working on an Afghan and am almost done. I do do the cooking and laundry, and take Tom to Dr. Appointments. I want to order your new Gratitude Book & a box of Greeting Cards one of these days. My computer isn’t working the greatest and shuts itself off. I enjoy all the responses of the others.
    Love & Blessings to you, DeLores Johnson

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing from you DeLores … you are so creative! All my very best with your husband, blessings on you both.

  89. Lorraine says:

    A lovely blog about nothing. I love it. I just talked to a friend today and we marveled at how much we enjoy staying home, tending to all the things that need tending, and taking it easy. I’m a world class putterer and thrive when I get to stay home.

    I’m sooooooo excited for you and your thatched cottage looks lovely. I definitely think you should paint it. We’re planning a trip to Ireland in 2018. We’ve never been. I could keep going back to England over and over again, but we’re going to be brave and spread our wings to the Emerald Isle.

    Enjoy your down time, but don’t forget about all of us in Blogville for too long.

  90. Donna Hausfeld says:

    Thank you, Susan, for your comments on doing nothing. I am writing this from a hospital healing from major surgery with more challenges to come. I was sad about the things I will not be doing for the remainder of summer until I read your words. I will now embrace nothing but healing and the joys of being home. Thank you, too, for the beautiful pictures you post. They help transport me to a place of beauty and serenity. Love for all you do.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, this is your summer for healing, a very big and important and quiet job. Sending love and Godspeed. xoxo

  91. Ginny Evans says:

    I do so love the way you always seem to express what I value. I love that you celebrate day-dreaming-nothing-time. More children/teens (maybe everyone?) need this! Like you say, it really shapes us. As a girl I would dream, think, write poetry, talk to God and otherwise wile away an afternoon under the spreading sycamore trees in my warm California back yard. I was free to do and be anything there and the dreams that steered my life were hatched there in those free times. No appointments, lessons or demands. Just alone time. Somehow we have lost sight of how important this is. Hooray for you, for reminding us again, in your painterly, pictoral way.
    Can’t wait to “follow” you back to England again, too!
    Happy July!

    • sbranch says:

      Can’t wait either! And thank you…yes, always a good thing to remind us how we learn who we are… the noise of our days sort of blocks all that out. xoxo Love the sound of your sycamore trees, Ginny!

  92. Pat Johnson says:

    I was happy that you showed us the Lemon Thyme because I saw some the other day and I couldn’t remember what it was. Be glad you aren’t here in SLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Paso Robles has been 114 and below!!!! During the night – last night – it was 85!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good grief!!!! What’s with that?????? Am I complaining??? You betcha!!!! Getting ready for my trip to my little cabin in Newport, Washington and then some time in Grand Teton National Park at another cabin I rent for a week from friends. I keep thinking that someday I won’t be able to travel as I do now and it makes me sad. I try to kick myself for doing it, but my foot doesn’t reach around very well!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy that you are happy with your summer. It is good to just take it easy – I am taking all three of your “fat” books to the cabin to read AGAIN this summer. Makes me feel good to read them again and again and again!! Sending hugs and love to you and Joe and the kitties too!!

    • sbranch says:

      So hot! Unbearable. Poor Paso! Glad you’ve got a way out. I would melt! Nice to hear from you Pat! Glad you can’t kick yourself!

  93. Debbie Noyola says:

    This was the best blog about “nothing” that you’ve written so far. I was captivated! The pictures were so beautiful. I loved them all. But the absolute best part of this post was the video of you painting the teacup. I so wanted it to be longer. You need to do a video of you painting the entire mug. Or a calendar page. Or any other thing you might want to paint. You are amazing. Absolutely amazing. I’ve always wanted to learn how to paint watercolor. It’s so soft & beautiful. On another note, I found one of your books at my local helping hands thrift store. Girlfriends Forever. With a lovely yellow bookmark ribbon in excellent condition for one whole dollar. My son said if I waited until Thursday it’d only be a quarter but I couldn’t go home without it so I happily paid the dollar & I am savoring every word & picture. Here in Washington we are having warm days & lovely cool nights. I am enjoying all of it, especially the birds at my feeder & in the birdbath & feeding the hungry squirrels peanuts. Thanks for sharing Susan. Happy nothing days to you & Joe with a capital N!

    • sbranch says:

      I would think everyone would be bored watching me paint the whole cup! Takes a while. That’s why sometimes I let the TV tell me a story like Anne of Green Gables or some other old movie. Good find on Girlfriends, thank you for the rescue! I love knowing she went to a good home!

      • Debbie Noyola says:

        I would definitely not be bored. I loved watching how you would put the paint on the flower petals & then take some off & add highlights of a brighter color. Mesmerizing, totally Mesmerizing!

        • sbranch says:

          I’ve still never had a lesson. I bet there are SO MANY ways of doing it … my girlfriend is painting with pastels and has taken lessons with some very famous experts and has gotten SO GOOD, so fast! I highly recommend her method!

  94. Gmapat says:

    Swoooon!! Jack’s pix at the door is sooo full of emotions, sooo adorable! I’m excited about another virtual tour of England! Love your approval of the value of nothing. It is so creative a state of being. Our wired generation is not entering it enough. Your flowers are amazing. Will be ordering calendars soonest! 💙🇺🇸❤️🏖🌞

  95. Joy Wisa says:

    Hi, Susan,
    Just curios about your garden picket fence. Did Joe build it? Did he make all the pickets?
    If so, how long did it take him?
    My husband is interested in building one. Any info you can provide would be welcome.
    I enjoy your blog.

    • sbranch says:

      If you have my Summer Book, pp 9-10, there’s a picture of it with details about it. We bought the unpainted pickets in premade sections, and the posts, and the gate. Then Joe put them together. You can find them on line to give yourself an idea about them. You choose the size of your garden based on the length of each section of fence. Ours is 12′ by 24′ … Joe made the raised beds and paths inside. When you paint it, don’t paint, STAIN….lasts so much longer and doesn’t peel. Have fun. You will LOVE this little thing. It will keep you happy for years!

      • Joy Wisa says:

        Thanks for the info., Susan. Will pass it on to the husband. Perhaps we’ll have a garden picket fence!
        Thank you.

  96. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    I am a big proponent of doing nothing and have always loved how creative my kids were in the summer when there was “nothing to do.” There is some speculation that people today are becoming less creative in general because they don’t spend time “wool gathering” anymore, and are now filling those empty moments with time on their cell phones instead. Not trying to bash technology, but it’s good sometimes to also recognize what is lost with change.

  97. Patti Heisler says:

    Delightful. Everything you write or draw delights me in ways I cannot explain.

    In return I would like to suggest a movie for your viewing pleasure: “This Beautiful Fantastic.” You can borrow it free on Hoopla-97 minutes of magic.

  98. Bev Brewer says:

    Dearest Susan—am so glad you and Joe are having a carefree summer with plenty of white space on your calendar. So drawn to your sweet cottage for next year—what a perfect “box of chocolates” awaiting your adventure! Is that the correct expression for the most adorable home away from home? I agree with the other GFs who suggest you paint it, perhaps with a kitty added by the front door. I also remember how many of us thought your sleigh from the Vermont trip would be another good prospect for a painting. If we go on and on, your white space will be filled in fast! When one of our GFs mentioned about unearthing a tea party set from her garden, I thought about your timeline from the Martha’s book, where events happen when the timing comes together as the clock tick-tocks to the proper “tock”, like when you finished your first book and also when you and Joe were destined to meet. Our GF can make that tea set sparkle and she and her granddaughter can have so many happy times together. I also like the idea of some of your beautiful paintings on postcards to send. Would be fun to send the strawberry shortcake recipe with your beautiful cake pictured or the chocolate dipped strawberries displayed on a doily to brighten someone’s mailbox. We all just love everything you do! Love from Bev P.S. I love being a perennial—we always come back better and stronger!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes we do. It’s the perfect label, Bev! Thank you for all your wonderful words ~ It’s always so good to hear from you! xoxo

  99. Barbara from Virginia says:

    Dear Susan, Love your Posts! We are looking forward to the 2nd Season of the Durrell’s on PBS in September. I made Bill Smith’s Honeysuckle Sorbet (Sherbet) this Spring and it was wonderful!

    Honeysuckle Solution:
    4 cups honeysuckle blossoms, patted down but not crammed
    5 1/3 cups water

    Simple Syrup:
    2 cups sugar
    1 1/3 cups water

    2-3 drops fresh lemon juice
    Dash cinnamon

    Combine honeysuckle blossoms with 5 1/3 cups water and allow to steep overnight in the refrigerator. (Strain next day for honeysuckle solution.)
    Combine sugar with 1 1/3 cups of water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Chill in refrigerator until completely cold. (Simple syrup.)
    The next day, combine honeysuckle solution with simple syrup and lemon juice. Add a scant pinch of ground cinnamon.
    Pour chilled mixture into an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions to churn. (this can also made into a Granita – slushy).

    Glad your Summer is going well. All is good in Virginia too!

    • Barbara from Virginia says:

      Wondering why my comment is still awaiting moderation? Did I break a comment rule?

      • sbranch says:

        I’m sure your comment is perfect. I’ve just been busy and haven’t been “moderating” as I should — I like to read them all, so sometimes I get behind. But I’m sure I’ll be getting to your comment soon. The newest ones come in on top, sometimes burying the older comments below. … sorry!

        • Barbara from Virginia says:

          No problem Susan. I thought it was my posting of Bill Smith’s Honeysuckle Sorbet recipe that was a no-no. Just checking. Enjoy all you do!

          • sbranch says:

            Coming soon! Had people to dinner last night, had to stop “moderating” ~ I’m sorry, maybe I can blame it on summer!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Barbara! It sounds delightful! xoxo

  100. Sandra says:

    Hoping that you are being filled and inspired by the joy of doing nothing..but it is everything and so needed too.creativity needs space and beauty and time to dream and ponder …so thrilled you are coming back to the uk next year…here’s hoping we may get to meet..greetings and blessings to youxxx

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sandra! We’re thinking we might need to do another BYO Picnic Basket party …. somewhere amongst the lambs. Stay tuned and try to come!

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