In the Good Old Summertime

Another beautiful day in Paradise and lots to share in celebration of the good old Summertime!  And a drawing-winner too! Plus MUSICA

From the land of swaying flowers and fat bumblebees . . .

I bring you the glory of summer . . . starting with ripe tomatoes . . .

This was our first taste, one of our favorite days of every summer, the ripening, the picking, and the eating of the first tomato . . . we shared it, very simple, sourdough toast, mayonnaise, sweet, vine-ripened, still-warm-from-the-garden tomato, salt & pepper … heavenly! Summer joy.

Now this is the part of summer I could really live without. We get humidity sometimes (that’s not rain out there), and it’s so heavy and thick, you actually have to chew it before you can breathe it.

This is how I feel on those days. Hideously inelegant.

So, I turn on the air conditioner, and read in my chair with Jack, my kitty, next to me, while the sun flitters over me, and count my many blessings.

Because soon . . . these summer days will just be a memory . . . even on our walk, the leaves are starting to show the strain of having to hang around for much longer . . . 🍂

So we are intent on getting everything out of these summer days possible. This is my great-niece Maggie who came to visit … she’s nine ~ she would say hello, but she’s busy. We loved enjoying a little bit of summer through her eyes!

And my here’s grand-nephew Wyler… he’s 7 . . .

This is Eliza, who just turned 13 … Look how brave they are… jumping off this bridge is a right of passage in a Vineyard summer.  I don’t think I would do it, but they all did! Their parents too!

There goes Eliza!

Family came to visit! From New Hampshire, my niece Jess, her husband Cory, and their two girls …  and from Durango, Colorado, my nephew Ben, and his wife Paige, and their two boys.💞

And so it was . . . we did all the Vineyard things . . . like clamming … this is Paige, married to my nephew Ben, with their youngest son, Beckett, who’s four ~ he’s got clams!

This is Ben, Ben is Paige’s husband, my nephew, and Jess’s brother …😘

Ben and Jess are the children of my brother, Jim. This picture of Jim and Ben has hung on my wall for years, I LOVE it. Colorado, with snow on the high mountains and wild flowers under their feet, and two good boys. Have I confused you enough name-wise? Well, there will not be a test, ignore everything . . .

That’s Jim, next to me (with rollers in my hair) … back row on right… closest to me in age, he was my partner in crime crowing up … 💖

So, it was wonderful to have his children here . . . this is Jessica, Jim’s daughter, Ben’s sister, my niece, and the mother of these two . . . .❤️

. . .Eliza and Maggie, who’s father, Cory, you’ll meet in a moment.

There he is, in the back row, in pink with the hat on! Here they all are. Lovely people! So much fun!

They brought home lots of clams and Uncle Joe showed the boys how to shuck them. Fascinating!

Then Joe taught them how to make stuffed clams (kind of lost the boys here, but definitely not the rest of us!).

I showed them how to make my Dad’s famous garlic bread (their great-grandfather, hard to believe!). Almost ready for the broiler! (P.66 the new Heart of the Home!)

Of course we had the Island food of choice . . .

Bowls full of steaming lobsters . . . Paige demonstrates, while her son,

Brave Beckett, touches lobster (of course, already cooked).

And me and Jess, we’re just happy!

We ate outside every night. Paper plates, candles, and twinkle lights! Corn on the cob rolled in the butter stick, watermelon chunks, hot bread, crispy potato pancakes, fresh swordfish and juicy pink steak. We had it all!

If you’re happy and you know it, say “Rawr,” and show us your watermelon!

My backyard never looks like this. Ever ever.

But I liked it. They told me this was a “rocket ship to the moon!” Looks pretty good! Excellent imagination and creativity! They got an A!

Inside was a human sacrifice. Somebody had to do it. We’re talking science here, the furtherment of mankind. Three cheers for Beckett!

And here? The proud sisters of Mission Control, Eliza and Maggie.

The first morning, while everyone was still asleep, I peeked out my upstairs bedroom window like I always do to see what the weather is like, and was shocked! Where was I? What’s all that stuff on the lawn? Blink-blink. This can’t be my house!

I went downstairs to find the victim taking his revenge on the girls of Mission Control …

Off we go on an Island tour in the Fine Romance Van! Turn up the MUSICA! Because

We drove all over, had lunch with a fabulous view at the Aquinnah Shop above the Gay Head Cliffs. (That man over there, standing, wearing the hat, really liked us!)

And I can see why . . . Ahhh, family!

Here comes the french fry thief …

This is where we were eating. Very good view from the roof for the french fry thieves. See the three jars down there,  on the left on the railing?

Sun tea. My kind of restaurant.

Here we are in Menemsha (where Jaws was filmed) … walking the jetty, looking at the boats …

Joe got us a plate of ice-cold oysters to share . . . (Jess and Cory again, who run five miles a day or so, even in the humidity!).

Delicious! Icy, shivery, like liquid silver! (If you’ve never had them, don’t worry, they taste MUCH better than they look!)

Here we are, Paige, Joe, Cory, Ben, Beckett, and me … al fresco eating at it’s very best!

While Maggie and Eliza looked for buried treasure . . .

. . .and found it, tiny little shells and beach glass, the best sort of Island souvenirs. (Love the color on Eliza’s nails!)

One day we were looking for these two…found them leaning against the washer and dryer in the pantry. Why? We don’t know . . . Wyler’s T-shirt says “Shark Proof.”

Little pile of sweetness ~ Cousins! Maggie, on the right, is going to be a writer. She was telling me about the Warrior book series she’s been reading (by Erin Hunter) … all the characters are kitties in clans (such as Riverclan or Thunderclan), with names like Tigerstar and Squirrelflight.  She was SO excited and animated telling me about these stories, now I want to read them!

We so enjoyed every moment with them . . . and then as quickly as they came, it was over, poof! and off they went …  but the memories, along with summer, stayed …

So we went looking for some more

Freshest air in the world, salty, windy, lovely sound of the waves . . .

We went to visit Joe’s niece Jennifer and her husband Mark … they live in New York, but they’ve rented this “camp” by the water every summer for years. We had gazpacho (con tomatoes!), salad, and quiche! When I see Jen, I think of this quote . . . ❤️

You get to their house by a very (very!) long dirt road through the woods and scrub oak . . .

The house is unfinished inside, has no insulation, it’s the opposite of fancy, but really comfortable, perfect for reading and dreaming . . .  this is the view from the kitchen window . . . there’s nothing out there but the wind . . . I could barely keep my eyes open!

It was a perfect day for a walk on South Beach ~ that’s Mark and me and Jen, Joe has the camera.

Looking back from the beach to the house …

Can you picture yourself here? Deep breath of ocean air, feeling drowsy? . . . ommmm . . . .

Sometimes people ask me what to do when they come to Martha’s Vineyard, and honestly, this is more or less it. You listen to the screen door slam. It’s the opposite of what to do, it’s more like how to be!

And so, you know Girlfriends, it’s time . . . you have been so patient . . . but Vanna has arrived in all her glory . . . and it’s time to give away the luv-lee journal of Beatrix Potter.

And my story of finding her in the English Countryside, at the end of a very long path I began to walk when I was around 22.

Don’t forget, you lucky winner, about the secret that’s hiding in the back of the Beatrix book!  SO, who shall it be darling Vanna? I want you to know, Vanna’s toenails are polished gold, they’re shiny, like earrings, and she is now perched, toes curled and clutching the edge, on top of my art table. Now she’s up, graceful as a swan, and over, and INTO the vat she dives, with all your names, swirling down and down and down . . . scissor-kicking her way to the bottom, a whirlwind of papers, flying around and through the air now . . . and . . . here . . . she . . . comes . . . clutching one fluttery piece of paper, and now, handing it to me . . . the winner of our luv-lee little giveaway, chosen especially by Vanna from over 2,000 entries from all of you darling kindred spirits, is YOU, dear KERRIE FOLEY, (but only if you promise not to DIE if you win, like you said you would do in your comment!). Because you just did win!

CONGRATULATIONS, KERRIE! I’ll email you; you can reply with your address ~ I’ll sign both of your books and pop them into the mail for you.💞

AND, now it’s almost time for me to go write a new WILLARD, because by the time I’ve written it, and you receive it,  it will almost be September, we will be feeling it (eeek with joy), and I have new news to share.  Make sure you and the ones you love are signed up for this little bit of “All Good News” celebrating the change of season, that starts off a little like this (in case you’ve never seen it):And, oh my goodness! Just as I was about to sign off . . . UPS pulled up outside my window, be still my beating heart … I grabbed my camera . . .

. . .  and ran to the kitchen door, because I feel like I’ve been waiting forever, and now, Hooray! It’s my turn! So many of you have been writing on Twitter and Facebook to tell me you got your cups! And I’ve been whining and moaning because mine hadn’t come yet!!! But just as I was finishing this post, here they are! (Yes, three boxes, I told you I was doing my Christmas shopping!)  Sorry, I was too excited to hold the camera still . . . and then I took a big time-out for the grand opening of the cups …

Ta-daaa! First box I opened turned out to be the Bluebird of Happiness. How appropriate! I love it! 

(‘Course the moment I grabbed the camera and began to run to the door, my shadow was right behind me!) What is it, what is it? A cup? Are you kidding? All this for a cup? 🙀

And then, more appropriate timing . . . the next one out was the Martha’s Vineyard cup!  Then the Santa cup, and then the darling new smaller size, Autumn. Which means, I am SET! 💙What a nice note to end on! Blessings to you all…. I hope you are loving these last lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer, these ARE the good old days!  Thank you for all your sweet comments, Girlfriends. More fun for us to come soon. And now . . . I’m going to make a cup of tea! XOXOX

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1,097 Responses to In the Good Old Summertime

  1. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Beautiful post. Beautiful family. Visiting Martha’s Vineyard is on my bucket list!

  2. Izzy says:

    Gorgeous time and place. We spent a few summers on Nantucket and if it was anything like your Vineyard Island we actually had a dehumidifier in the basement to keep the wet dew away… I love your illustrations .

  3. Diane M. Ely says:

    Today, my mugs arrived. They are so great, Two Isle of Dreams, one for my friend who will visit Martha’s Vineyard with us in two weeks, and an Autumn cup and a Bluebird! Thank you for your wonderful creativity!
    Just so happy,
    All the best to you! cannot wait to see what you will come up with next, tea plate?

  4. Tina Mandeville says:

    Oh how I LOVE very bit of this post, Susan! Sheer summer nirvana!!!

  5. Hi Susan! We just got back from vacation – we went to Atlantic City and spent 4 glorious days at the beach and walking the boardwalk! We had a wonderful time, and I was feeling a bit sad getting home, when I saw your blog post! How awesome it was to read all about your summer and your sweet family, and Joe’s, too! I LOVED the photo of you and Joe in the candlelight and how you said the memories stay!!! YAY for memories!!! And great big congrats to Kerrie!!!! Oh, and I got my set of cups in the mail, too. They are WONDERFUL!!!! Thanks!!!

  6. Cecelia says:

    Oh, Susan, I got my cups today!! One for me and one for my friend who had two families of bluebirds in her garden this year. The cups are so lovely-the china is so thin and delicate and the design is precious. I can’t decide if she needs hers now or if I have to wait for Christmas. Thank you for your love of all things wonderful.

    • sbranch says:

      I am having the same problem. Going to dinner at a friend’s house tonight. Do I take her a cup now (NOW NOW) or wait until Christmas? I want to do it NOW, and for all we know, we won’t be here at Christmas! So I think NOW is going to win the day! xoxo So happy you like it Cecelia, thank you!

  7. LINDA S> LORENZ says:

    Hi! Eye surgery was a piece of cake!! Of course I was asleep during it so that helped ALOT! Dr was very excited that my retina was not detached, and he got out as much of the blood as he could, it will take time he says for my eye to heal, and hopefully I will be able to see something! Got your book about your childhood and found that we have a lot in common, my Mom was 17 when she married my 9 years older dad, and was 18 when she had me! Mom is now 84, and I am 65, my middle sis is 62 and my baby sis is 58. Dad sadly passed away in 2013. Loved your family pictures, you have a great family! So I read your book with one eye, in 2 days, and loved it all!
    Our family grew up in the Bronx NY, playing in our yard with our two boy cousins who lived with my Aunt and Uncle in our two family house with a huge porch painted green. Your thoughts about the 50s and 60s brought back alot of happy memories! THANKS! And that you actually met THE BEATLES!!!! SO COOL!
    One of my idols was BEVERLY SILLS the opera star, and I got to meet her on a plane trip my friend and I were taking to Mexico, I was so in awe of her I could not say a word and she still gave me her autograph! My other idol happened to be Elizabeth Montgomery, and though I never met her, I have a lot of ELIZABETHS in my life, I was born in ST ELIZABETHS hospital in Manhattan NY, my moms middle name is Elizabeth (first name Helen) and I have a cubic z heart necklace
    replica of the necklace that she wore on Bewitched, and a hand written letter from Erin Murphy who played Tabitha! I had written to her when Elizabeth Montgomery passed away. WHEW! I have gone on! Time for more eye drops! So till next time, hugs and love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Xoxo

  8. LINDA S> LORENZ says:

    Almost forgot, my Mom and Elizabeth Montgomery were born the same year 1933,
    Liz on April 15th my Mom on August 26! (Happy birthday MOM!)

  9. Daniela Medina says:

    Hi dear Susan, i am wondering if you ever drew or painted a compass?if you did, i love to see it. i hope my traduction its ok .:)Thank you.

  10. What a lovely summery post. I loved seeing the photos of all the fun times your family has had with you on the Island! Family times are the best of times. I adore Tomato sandwiches. Always have, always will, especially on homemade bread with some salt, black pepper and miracle whip. I get this love from my mother, who at the age of 85 still has one every day for her lunch. This love affair of hers and mine has been going on for years and years. I don’t think we will ever change! enjoy the rest of your summer. It is already on the wane here, although in truth I don’t think it has ever truly arrived where I live up in Chester. Am sorely tempted to put the heat on this morning, but I won’t! I live in hope! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I read that Rachel, my English girlfriend, was tempted to do the same thing! We have rain this morning, but not chill … I’ll take this over the heat and humidity! You have just made me SOOOOO hungry! It should be light in about an hour … I’ll go to the garden and see what has turned red!

  11. Jean Shaffer says:

    Loved this post! Hearing how you spend your summer days with family-so normal(?). Would love to someday visit Martha’s Vinyard and explore many of the sights you have shown. Enjoy the remaining summer as we await the coming glorious fall!!!

  12. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Here in Salem, Oregon we are in the direct path of the solar eclipse coming Aug 21. We will view it from our backyard, but I am not looking forward to the masses that are predicted to descend on Oregon. Just got an email from our seafood market saying to buy early as they are worried the roads will be gridlocked and their suppliers will be delayed. I guess we will stock up a little on food (and wine!) as for a storm, hunker down at home, and wait for the human hysteria to pass! I kept hoping it was just the media blowing it out of proportion, but apparently the hotels and camp sites all over the state have been booked for months and the National Guard is ready. It feels like an invasion is headed our way!

    • sbranch says:

      Eeeek. I think I know how you feel! Yes, good time to hunker down… you’ve got it all in your own back yard!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        down here in southern Oregon, we are getting some of the overflow from up around the eclipse path of totality, those that cannot get rooms now, or campsites have started to hunker down around here, and its getting crowded. think i’ll be just watching the barnyard crowd to see how they react to all this and to the eclipse… sure has us all working hard on filling egg orders. LOL!!!! 🙂

  13. Naomi Jones says:

    I simply love how to you use the old fashioned and the new fangled to share your heart. I feel like we are kin because you have shared yourself so much. I am reading Jan Karon’s novels (starting with At Home in Mitford). Have you read them? I think you’d love them. They are charming. After I am done with them, it’s time to start your trilogy over again!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s been a long time, but I did read them! Yes, the new is wonderful, but not so wonderful I’d want to give up the old! Gotta have both!

  14. Mary Shearer says:

    I got my Autumn and bluebird mugs today!! Yay! They are sooooo beautiful!! The bluebird is for myself and the Autumn is for a friend. Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  15. Denise says:

    Ahhhhh Colorado! great photo 😉 My friend Janeen + I were the ones that had Joe sign our special cookbooks while in line at the Tattered Cover last year…. hehehe ….. no humidity here!!!

  16. Judy Matthew says:

    Very entertaining description of the visit by your family members. They are fortunate to be able to visit you and your delightful home on Martha’s Vineyard. Wish I had taken my two sons when they were young to the east coast to experience that different life style.

  17. sharon taylor says:

    Hi there Susan, I’m am so impressed that you read and answer peoples emails. I’m wondering as I’ve noticed not everyone gets an answer, how you decide whom to answer and those you read but have no comment. I think as much as your loved and everyone loves reading your blogs because you lift up our lives and dreams and everyone wants to feel as if they are your only girlfriend, I was sad because I didn’t get a response when I wrote about the roses in your garden. Phew got that off my chest. Now looking forward to Willard. And yes here we are into the middle of August, sliding into fall. Loved your family visit story.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry Sharon, I hope no one ever takes that personally! Because, I don’t really decide. I want to answer them all, but in the back of my mind I know I need to finish the Willard (or get to the market, it’s always something) so I have to force myself to go past a few, until I can’t stand it any longer. So, it’s very willy-nilly. Sometimes I’ll wake up to find 300 comments waiting and it’s just not possible to answer every one, since I really do have to work. Thank you for understanding. I do read and love them all.

  18. Beth from Iowa says:

    Good Morning Susan,

    I checked the photos carefully and did not see the kitchen sink out on the lawn they must have missed that while building Mission Control!! We love seeing all of the kids in our families – but they can be exhausting. Kudos to all the Girlfriends who are moms I don’t know how they do it!!

    My mugs arrived and they are absolutely the BOMB!!!! My husband carefully tinged the side and they have a lovely ring – the true sign of good china! They arrived while we were on vacation so fortunately no delivery people were tackled in said delivery.😜 I also hope cardinals could be included in new designs – you know we will keep buying them.💖

    Have a great rest of the summer – it’s cooling off in Iowa – the state fair is going to have a record turn out this year!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Iowa State Fair, what fun! State Fair, also one of my favorite movies. I’m sure you’ve seen it a hundred times! Me, too ~ the curtains! The aprons! The puffed sleeves! I can sing all the songs. Sweetest ever.

      • Beth from Iowa says:

        They have a lovely display in the State Fair Museum dedicated to the movie – play it on a small screen!! The actual fair is a bit larger and more modern – but still really amazing – it’s one of those events that just gets better every year😉. They will definitely see 1 million plus visitors this year👏.

        • sbranch says:

          My mom and grandma, grandpa, great grandmas, and further back than that, were born in Iowa. I feel connected, and call myself Sioux City Sue. (Because they’re from Sioux City, and I love the way Gene Autry sings it!)

  19. Deborah in Odessa says:

    I love my mugs! Got the Bluebird of Happiness and Autumn. So beautiful.I then ordered another Bluebird for my darling Ava, because she loves your things too. She is 9. Keep on Keeping On!! you are doing great.

    • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W Tx says:

      Deborah, glad you have survived all the storms you have had your way! We have had wind, thunder, lightning…..little rain!!🙃 And of course it is hot!
      Aren’t the cups wonderful?

      • Deborah in Odessa says:

        Hi, Chris. thank you ,yes survived and yes it is hot. I love the cups. I hope all is well with you. I actually think of you often.

  20. Kathy Thurman says:

    Martha’s Vineyard is on my bucket list. One of these days…… ⛴

  21. Yvonne Bumanglag says:

    Aah! Summer you love and hate butbthats life 😉 . Love the post smiling as always afterward.

  22. Helen Farrell says:

    Love seeing you and Joe enjoying fAMILY TIME. Have a wonderful rest of August.

  23. JudyH says:

    What a wonderful post. I see the smiles and love and I’m reminded of the summer visits of my upstate NY cousins. Between the 4 of them and 7 of us we had so much fun! Memories! Oh sometimes we got in trouble! Two of them are now here in Florida and when my sister and I get together with them it is like reliving those days. Oh how we laugh and talk about our fun times.

  24. Paula says:

    What a wonderful family visit you had!! I miss family get togethers, everyone seems to busy ??! Yes Yes to tomato sandwiches Yummy !!!
    Silly me I would not think you would have humidity where you live ?!
    Lovely picture of you and your Joe sitting in the outdoor evening.
    p.s. I hope to find some Sea glass on my visit coming soon !!

    • sbranch says:

      We didn’t used to have humidity, didn’t have an air conditioner for years and years, no one’s cars had air conditioning either… until maybe 4 years ago, we gave in and put in window air conditioners because we were melting. Walk the beaches and don’t give up, you’ll find sea glass!

  25. Mary in St. Louis says:

    Everything in this post is beautiful, and so exciting ! I love all things summer. Spent a week in Florida with kids and grands, and just love being on any beach ? I could just sit and watch the ocean all day , but I love playing with the kids in the water, and collecting shells . Glad you are also having a great time this summer. Thank you for sharing with all of us . xoxo

  26. Marilyn says:

    Love your site ! It was nice to meet your family . Wishing the summer days lasted longer. Love you all n God Bless

  27. Sylvia in Maine says:

    This looks like such a great time!! Beautiful pics!

  28. Barbara Irvine says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe !! Have a wonderful day, and I’m sure Sue and Jack have something special planned to celebrate.

    The cicadas and katy-dids are making a racket at night now, which means summer is coming to a close. Sorry to see it end, but I love autumn … well, I love every season, each so different and enjoyable.

  29. Laurie Brandriet Keller says:

    My first day without our grand babes after six weeks can be sooooo lonely. I thought I had better start with something I knew would feel great so I picked your latest post. It worked and I am off for my 3 mile walk with a smile and a song in my heart. I love youuuuu!

  30. Debbie Boerger says:

    My first week with doctor approved, legal medical marijuana. Have any of you Girlfriends tried it? Not much difference in the pain, but it certainly relaxes the muscles so you can sleep. I have to keep a journal the first month to zero in of what works for me.

    Still smiling after going over this post again. Among my Favorite Things is the sound of children playing. I never had any biologically, but I was an elementary school teacher, doting on my friends’ kids and openly high-jacking their grandchildren. We always left our house unlocked here in Maine, because I kept an old dometop trunk full or educational puzzles, and science kits to go into the woods and explore. Also a lending library of Natural History books. Somebody was always coming in trying to identify some “bug” or wildflower. When they all grew up and left, I was the one with empty nest syndrome.

    Thanks, Sue, for sharing,
    Debbie in Gawgus Down East Maine

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t tried it, but I’m SO happy it’s helping you sleep, Debbie. I pray the pain goes too. We have a grammar school down the street and can often hear them playing at recess. It’s a good sound. Has old-fashioned foreverness about it. Take care Debbie. xoxo

  31. Pat Johnson says:

    How wonderful the visits with family and the fabulous pics to share your surroundings. I always enjoy seeing your “homeland” and close my eyes and imagine what it must be like in person. Right now I am in my little cabin (3 rooms & a screen door that bangs shut) in Newport, Washington. It sits on a quiet street with deer and a resident squirrel, interesting spiders spinning webs and wonderful neighbors. This is where I come to visit my son, his wife and the Grand-dogs. They have a new Corgi puppy — so cute. Everyone needs a place to run away to – this is it for me. However……….I was in a cabin in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – across from the Teton mountain range – before I came here. Am I blessed?? You betcha!! Of course I miss the Grandkids and the Great Grandkids. If I get them in a good mood, I can talk to them on the phone. Summer is always a time of discovery for me. I discovered RAIN yesterday and today it is SUNSHINE and BLUE sky. Don’t always have this at home. Sending love your way and to all the girlfriends!

  32. Ann Y. says:

    What a wonderful time you shared with your family – how lucky they all are to have you in their lives! And how nice for you to share all of them with us! I am finally connected back to the cyber world after moving last week…what a whirlwind. Downsizing, house to apartment, new area….lots to do and learn. Unpacking now and have the kitchen and bedroom almost up to snuff. But…we have had two initial mugs since the day we were married over 40 years ago and the one with my husband’s initial became a casualty of the move. Big chip out of the top. Sadness…but then I realized – this is an excuse to get new “bluebird of happiness” mugs to enjoy in this next chapter of our lives. Summer has been crazy, but fun…and now we are looking forward to a cozy Fall. Our new place has HUGE windows across one wall and looks out to farm land…so far we have seen two groundhogs playing tag and a very big owl sitting on a branch checking out everyone moving into this new building. Can’t wait for the leaves to turn and to get out my Autumn book and cozy up. God bless !

    • sbranch says:

      I do believe I saw this comment earlier and answered, but just in case this is a glitch, then Happy New Home Ann! xoxo

      • So sorry, Susan…you did. My computer went totally mad, had to get a new hard drive, and now that we have moved today ws the THIRD time in 2 weeks that the technology person for this development had to come and check our computer, internet, and “hey, your Tivo looks totally different from anyone I ever saw”….so we “are experiencing technical difficulties” and I apologize for the duplicates. Thank you for your kind thoughts….Hooray for Fall…it is GORGEOUS here today !

  33. Nancy Ross says:

    An exciting day for sure! Met the mailman as he was making his rounds and he had a package for me….the cups arrived and they are beautiful! The colors
    are so lovely and such fun to see these cups in person after reading about them for so long. Think of all the miles they’ve traveled ~ I am going to e-mail my cousin in England to let her know about them and perhaps she can get one there for herself. Thank you for making this possible ~ enjoy your summer days and fabulous garden. Nancy from California

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

    hello Susan, Girlfriends, good afternoon. its a nice warm summer afternoon, around 82 degrees… hard to believe after 90’s and 100’s but what a refreshing change, hope it lasts awhile. got the laundry out on the line and the broom ready to go after the turkeys and geese if they start yanking things off. Fall is coming up fast and I can’t wait… I love the Fall. I think love the cooler temps as well as the lovely colors. plus its good porch sitting weather to watch the tractors chug by from the fields and head for home or the gas station, and to listen to the Katydids sing in the evening. soon it will be time to roll up and hang up the hoses for the year, hang up the sprinklers, put away the clothesline and go back to the dryer and start collecting small branches for kindling wood to start the fire with. I can’t wait!!!! also time soon to harvest the last of the summer veggies and the pumpkins and put the pumpkins up on the hay bales in the sun to cure them… they get a richer and deeper color from doing this. its just about apple season, and I love getting fresh apples for the house. I just love that French fry thief, back in San Diego I always called them chicken thieves, they would swoop in and steal you fried chicken right off the plate. and they loved their fried chicken. have a great day and evening everyone, stay cool and enjoy…. Fall is coming!!! hugs everyone…. 🙂

    • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

      thought I would share a summer treat with you all from my neighbor.. blackberry mint ice pops!! you will need 9 tablespoons of sugar; 9 tablespoons of water; 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice ( it has to be fresh); 1/4 teaspoon mint extract; 6 1/2 cups of blackberries. make a simple syrup with the sugar and water, combine until dissolves completely. set aside to cool puree the blackberries in a food processor ( or a blender ) add simple syrup, lemon juice and mint extract, stir well and strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl, pressing the pulp with a spoon or ladle to get all the juice. pour mixture into ice pop molds leaving a little room at the top, insert sticks. freeze until solid and enjoy. a nice cool treat for a hot summer day. enjoy!!! hugs…….. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I love how much you enjoy your surroundings Pat … Thank you for sharing! xoxoxo

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        thank you Susan. I always loved watching things, observing how things behaved and reacted. I love watching the wildlife around here, but I will admit I could live without the possums.. they are such pests and I wish they would leave the kitty litter buckets alone.. I have big buckets ( paint buckets) and I fill them with the dirty kitty litter, then when they are full they get hauled off to be dumped. but I wish those possums would quit digging around in them and tracking that dirty littler all over the back patio. why they want to dig in the litter is beyond, considering what they cats did and how nasty is it… ICK!!! but I love watching the squirrels, the deer, the birds and the barnyard crowd, it gets pretty lively around here at times. and now that the county fair is over with, only only the Tuff Truck competition left on Labor Day and then the summer is done with and its time to get busy with the harvesting. I love the Fall, so goodbye to Summer and Hello to the Fall. the katydids will be singing real soon, I love listening to them, don’t you??? hugs… 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          We have cicadas, I don’t think we get Katydids, but in the cacophony, who knows! Love it no matter what!

  35. Carmel says:

    I know between all your social media sites you’re getting a “gazillion” comments and pics of the arrival of your mugs but I just have to add mine: Yay, they arrived today!! Bird song IS the first nature thing I hear in the morning and the the Martha’s Vineyard theme reminds me to keep dreaming and planning another trip there. I love MV so much. Most of all, the arrival of these charming mugs sprinkled a bit of joy after a difficult and sad weekend in our country. I do believe in our wonderful country and all the goodness in it.
    Note to our girlfriend Karen who had kidney cancer surgery last Friday: still praying for you and sending light.

  36. jeanie says:

    Oh, to return home from vacation (although when you are retired, in some ways every day is a vacation) and find a new blog post waiting for me. Like you and your clan, I have been sucking the last bits of joy from summer — sunshine and woods walks and counting bunnies and water play! I just finished a post about the art camp my friend and I do each summer at the cottage and it is the epitome of summer perfection. Painting all day, walking in morning and dusk, a little dining out, a little dining in, water and more water. Oh, isn’t life good in our parts of the world? Doesn’t joy just pour out of everything? I love your Vineyard summer — and all of a sudden I am reminded that one year ago tomorrow, we left for our first (and I hope not only) Vineyard holiday. It was the most magical. time. Life is so good!

  37. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Dear Susan,
    Help! my email address got lost and I never received your Aug. 8 blog, didn’t know it existed until tonight. I’ve sent a note to Customer Service and Feedback, and hope I’ll be put back on your lists. Meanwhile, your Aug. 8 blog was wonderful, as always. Summer at the beach triggered childhood memories for me also, summers on the Cape when I was little and Cape Cod was small and untouched. Thank you for the memories. And for the lovely Beatrix Potter thoughts. I remember seeing the Beatrix Potter Journal many years ago and loving it, just couldn’t fit it in my budget then. I know whoever wins the Journal will receive a true treasure. So now it’s 11:30pm and I have miles to go–tomorrow–before I sleep, so I’d better try and get some rest now. Enjoy the waning days of summer–and the Solar Eclipse next Mon. the 21st!! Love to you, Joe, and all, Rosemary

  38. Mary says:

    Hi Susan… totally not blog related but I didn’t know how to reach you otherwise. Yesterday I had reason to call your CA store; I have to tell you, I was so impressed by the kindness and understanding I received! There was no hesitation in resolving my problem. Sherry was so kind and eager to fix the situation at hand. Never have I experienced customer service like this! p.s. the mugs are lovely – as are all my SB treasures. I hope you have a wonderful day !

    • sbranch says:

      Both Kellee and Sheri are truly amazing people. They have worked for me for years and years, I feel so lucky to have them. I love that they love each other too. Means we have the perfect arrangement. We are small but we are mighty. I sent your comment to them, they will love it. Thank you, Mary!

  39. janice says:

    Fabulous post. I could smell the salty air and the wonderful food cooking. What a wonderful memory you created for your extended family. Those children are always going to recall their trip to Aunt Susan’s!

  40. kedra sugg says:

    There is nothing better than a visit from family! Except a visit from children in the summer!
    Thanks for reminding us of JOY in the horrific times we are enduring and forseeing in our future.

  41. Sarah Hostetter says:

    My sister, retired and living in Lancaster, PA, and I just finished a long telephone visit during which she told me about you. I am mostly retired and living just outside of Boston, MA, so I immediately looked up your blog. What a lovely thing to share between sisters too far apart.

    • sbranch says:

      “. . . sisters too far apart.” So sweet. Nice to meet you Sarah, say hello to your sister for me!

  42. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Just wanted to wish Joe the Happiest Birthday ever!!!!!!!! Hope his day was extra special!!!!!! May God Bless him with good health and happy days all year long!!!!! Take care of each other! Bye bye!

  43. sylvia in seattle says:

    Got my Bluebird cup yesterday. Love it. So cheerful. Going to make some coffee right now. 🙂 🙂

  44. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, I received my Joe Santa mug and your Gratitude book all lovingly wrapped and packaged for mailing today. The mug is everything you promised. And what a stroke of genius to use plain white boxes with a cute sticker to indicate which mug is in the box. I heard you are working on some new designs. Hope a Winter mug is on the agenda.

    Loved all the quotes and your illustrations in the book. I particularly like the quote by Oliver Goldsmith about things that are old. Over 40 years ago a friend of mine gave me a copy of a poem called “I Love Old Things” by Wilson McDonald that had been hand-lettered ala Susan Branch and framed. Please Google the poem. I’m sure you will love it. Hugs, Elaine

  45. Anne says:

    What a fun post! Thanks for sharing your beautiful family with us. It reminds me of being a kid looking at all of these pictures 😍 I received my Autumn mug the other day and it’s perfect 🍁 Cannot wait to drink my tea out of it! xoxoxo

  46. Annette says:

    Received my bluebird mug. What a joy! I’m so grateful to be a part of the Susan Branch Nation.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I like that! 😊 It’s such a good country filled with the most delightful people! xoxo

  47. I don’t know why, but for the first time ever your blog went into my spam folder! Argh!
    I was going to write anyway, because I love the flip flops walking across the days of August!!!
    Lovely to meet your family. If you live in a charming place they will come. I am finding that out! Our family however spends more time driving here than visiting. Crazy!
    And thanks for the garlic bread recipe, although I do have the cookbook. 😉
    Certain Maple trees around here are showing signs of change. I LOVE Autumn, but we really haven’t had enough Summer with all the rain. Tomatos need sun!

    • Margot in Sister Bay says:

      And it is pouring some more. Woke me up at 0300. It will be a long day.

      • sbranch says:

        We had the biggest knock-down thunder and lightening and pouring rain night before last. TV, phone and computers were out for 12 hours! Island living. But today, it’s gorgeous, cool, and our garden is green and SOOOOO happy!

    • sbranch says:

      It works the other way too, I love it when people I care about move to wonderful places!!! Begin plotting right away! Yes, it’s on the way. We have a cool, clean morning so far today. xoxo

      • Margot in Sister Bay says:

        You can plot a trip over here too. One girlfriend from the blog called me last weekend, but I was heading to her part of the state while she was up in mine! Lol

  48. Christine Morgan says:

    Wonderful post! Nice to see your family and the beautiful beach there. I received my mugs the other day and love-love-love them all. Still using a different one everyday and hand washing because they are so special. Enjoy the remainder of Summer! Fall is right around the corner.

    • sbranch says:

      You can put them in the dishwasher … just in case you’d like to, they do fine! Glad you like them!

  49. Kathie says:

    Dear Susan,

    I LOVE this Willard! I’ve been collecting your cookbooks, books, calendars and stickers for years, but haven’t seen Willard before — until now — thanks to your Facebook page!

    You have a beautiful, fun, adventurous family — which is great! Being from New Hampshire, I love to go to “The Vineyard” as often as possible. It’s a magical place.

    I look forward to more Willards!!!

    Thank you!


  50. Barbara (from Virginia) says:

    Oh, Susan, I painted my bathroom “Woodlawn Blue” today, and LOVE it! Such a wonderful color, that looks great with bright white towels and brushed nickel fixtures. Thank you for passing on the idea. Yes, Summer is almost over because our daughter left for college today, her Senior year. Where, oh, where has time flown! I would have had an anxiety attack with all those people in my home, I’m such a ning-nong about everything in it’s place, so glad you aren’t. Love the changes of the seasons, and Fall is one of the best! Happy Solar Eclipse!

    • sbranch says:

      I love that color…have not tired of it and would do it again! I bet it’s gorgeous in your bathroom! Working at home, being under a deadline, taught me to give up the idea of “everything in it’s place.” But the minute I’m done, I’m a hurricane to get re-organized! xoxo

  51. antonia says:

    I believe I would like to vacation there looks like my childhood

  52. Dorothy Stapleton says:

    I visited a west coast island this summer–Vancouver Island in British Columbia! Have you been there? The tea at the Empress Hotel in the beautiful town of Victoria is a once in a lifetime experience–but I’ve gone twice and I’d go again in a heartbeat 🙂 Absolutely the ultimate!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard about it for years, but we haven’t made it yet. It’s on the list! The never-ending, always-growing list! xoxo

  53. Rachael Beadle says:

    I read your blog and it makes me relax! Take a deep breathe and slow down!! Thank you!!

  54. Donna C says:

    This was such a ‘summery’ post….has everything that a perfect summer should have in it. Enjoy the rest of it and then onto my favorite, autumn. 🙂

  55. Nancy in California says:

    Here’s another fun story from the islands! Susan, did you know about the recently discovered Northern Long-eared Bats on the islands of dreams? And the fact that lovely old houses like yours give them important roosting spots? Squeak on over to the link below and check out your neighbors! So cute!!

    • sbranch says:

      We have them here too! We’ve got a barn and I think they love barns, although we rarely see them.

  56. rhea says:

    Good morning!!
    So this is what humidity feels like. I thought everybody was exaggerating a little bit when they would talk about it and think, “whats the big deal.” I’m dying!! My hair!!! I look like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket. Took 3 showers yesterday……….The windows are dripping wet and I don’t even know if I need to water the flower beds or not because its so hot and moist out but I’m pretty sure my flowers are screaming at me. Ive never been happier to sit in front of my AC unit until I’m freezing. The only problem with that is when you get up to do something it feels like you have to chew the air to get from point A to point B! The good news is that I haven’t run back to California yet and I love having weather! I thought of you this morning while walking my dog. That feeling is definitely in the air even with the humidity. Seems early to me but I swear the sun is going down earlier and there are splashes of color on the maples. Maybe its because school starts earlier now, not after Labor day, but Im feeling the need to pull out our Fall cookbook! I love Fall. Had to say HI and pet Jack for me 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha. Poor thing! It’s terrible. I just don’t go anywhere except at night. Isn’t it gorgeous tonight? So nice out. It’s supposed to break tomorrow, but I’ll believe it when I see it! Definitely sun is going down earlier, and when I go to take Joe his tea in the morning, it’s still dark! Have fun Rhea!

      • Rhea says:

        The stars!!!!!! I love everything about nighttime here. That hum of crickets? The deer sneaking across the lawn to get to the garden to have a little snack. I think I secretly planted it for them because I don’t really mind when they eat my veggies. I have a mama and baby raccoons that wait until I’m in the bedroom before they come out to hit the bird feeders but I spy on them and they’re so cute with those tiny fingers. And the baby bear (we named him Little Bear after the books even though he’s about 150lbs.) waits for the raccoons to leave and then eats the rest of the bird seed. Its so peaceful and entertaining I find myself staring out the windows way too much or not enough 🙂 Have a lovely Sunday with your hubby and kitty..Hugs because I would if I could!!

  57. What a wonderful time you shared with your family – how lucky they all are to have you in their lives! And how nice for you to share all of them with us! I am finally connected back to the cyber world after moving last week…what a whirlwind. Downsizing, house to apartment, new area….lots to do and learn. Unpacking now and have the kitchen and bedroom almost up to snuff. But…we have had two initial mugs since the day we were married over 40 years ago and the one with my husband’s initial became a casualty of the move. Big chip out of the top. Sadness…but then I realized – this is an excuse to get new “bluebird of happiness” mugs to enjoy in this next chapter of our lives. Summer has been crazy, but fun…and now we are looking forward to a cozy Fall. Our new place has HUGE windows across one wall and looks out to farm land…so far we have seen two groundhogs playing tag and a very big owl sitting on a branch checking out everyone moving into this new building. Can’t wait for the leaves to turn and to get out my Autumn book and cozy up. God bless !

  58. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Did you read that Julian Fellowes is making a movie that will be both theatrical and for Masterpiece – an adaptation of the book I just finished, The Chaperone by Laura Moriarity?!! Elizabeth McGovern is one of the stars. Loved the book, and it will make a fab movie, especially with JF at the helm!

  59. Jane says:

    Good morning! A quick question. Just finished. Summer read and want a new novel for fall. My dream would be something cozy and lovely with lots of descriptions of the decorating, cooking, and nesting. Oh, and British! A mystery would be fun. Any suggestions? Btw have you read the Penny Vincenzi novel trilogy which begins, I believe, with No Sngel? Fabulous!!! Foggy here this morning. Wondering about eclipse viewing! Xoxo from Washington state

    • sbranch says:

      Have you read I Capture the Castle? It’s wonderful.

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        good afternoon, well the eclipse is over here and it was exciting to see. the cats got a bit upset when it was getting darker and the barnyard crowd just headed back into the barn and to their roosting places, guess they thought it was nighttime and time for bed, and when the sun started coming back out both Reuben and Jake were crowing and chasing the hens outside. the ducks got quiet and went in to their little corner of the barn, now they are out and quacking and life goes on. it was fascinating to watch it get darker, and cooler ( needed a sweater out there it was getting so cool), and for 2-3 minutes it was totally dark like at night, just totally fascinating. people were driving by with their headlights on, houses had their lights on. wish you all could have been here for the eclipse. definitely it was interesting. hugs…. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I kept watching Jack for signs of eclipse recognition, but he seemed not to know or care. Of course we only had a partial, so it never really got dark.

  60. Jane says:

    That should have been “No Angel”. Oops

  61. Barbara (from Virginia) says:

    Frank Sinatra had a way with singing a phrase. Such talent! You might be interested to know that a local woman, Sandy Lerner, owns the Jane Austen house in England. She has quite a story Ms. Lerner, and is a mover and shaker in the sustainable food movement.

    • sbranch says:

      SO interesting, thank you Barbara … apparently she has just retired from Chawton! That will be a loss!

  62. Debbie Boerger says:

    I think I’ve said this before….Thank you Girlfriends for sharing your good and bad times on Susan’s Blog. We are not so very different, all united under the SB Happiness Umbrella.

    Isn’t it wonderful to have cooler days and evenings? We actually had a fire in the wood stove one morning last week. Raining, cool and damp. This had been a gawgus month. And such a busy month for all the Franklin Friends. I not only couldn’t work on any committees, but I haven’t been able to get to the Historical Society programs. All the villages have them and do excellent things. I missed the Blueberry Pancake Breakfast, that I oversaw for over 10 years. Didn’t get to yesterday’s Fireman’s Breakfast down at the local volunteer firehouse, not did I go to the Picnick in the Park yesterday afternoon. But Mr. Tom brought me a fresh lobster roll. Last night he went next door to play cribbage with the neighbors. I like to think that this is the closest I can come to living in an English Village. Families who settled here in the 1600’s, mostly English, but also Irish and many, many French. Even some old capes from that era. 7 and 8 generations living in the old house. Rumor Godden wrote a novel about hearing the voices of the ones that went before in an old house. Interesting.

    But I’m looking forward to getting “fixed”, and getting on with my life! It’s a gift to be safe and warm in a house we both love. Lucky indeed. No need for TV drama, we have it all right outside, as I know many of the Girlfriends do as well. Love the stories.

    Thank you, Susan,
    Love, Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t hear voices, but sometimes when I’m downstairs, I imagine I can hear from upstairs the running feet of the four children that grew up here before we owned the house. We had lobster rolls yesterday too! Melt in your mouth. Take care Debbie, I’m thinking ’bout you! xoxo

  63. Debbie Boerger says:

    PS, How could I not mention all the Scots?! We even have a bagpipe marching band that competes all over.

    Debbie in Maine

  64. Hello Susan and the love-lees,
    Gosh it’s almost been a year since the Stourhead picnic- time it flies on rainbow wings! It was a dream come true.
    I just stopped by to check in. We’ve been working our little tails off this summer- trying to clear out our clutter and making an “art deco- ship’s cabin theatre” type room in our basement.
    You look like you had the best time with your kidlets around. Sweet summertime dreams…they are treasure beyond measure.
    I am excited to hear of the upcoming picnic in Beatrix Potter’s Castle Cottage next May. That is amazing. Maybe we’ll get there-you never know. Hilltop and the Lake District was amazing when we visited last September.
    We are off to France in a few weeks- Paris and Brittany. See we even get the “land of enchantment” into our France trip? 🙂
    BTW do you have Acorn TV and if so, have you seen “Penelope Keith’s Hidden Villages?”and “Walks with my Dog” they are SO charming- like a mini break. I think of you while we watch because I just know you’d love them.
    Oh well this reply has become a novel. Love to you all!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes we do get Acorn, Gabi and have watched them both … love them too. Happy travels to you .. hope to see you in Far Sawrey next May!

  65. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan – I just read “MV – Isle of Dreams” for the 2nd time….it really is a gift, you know, that you have of bringing us right with you….I love the people, the descriptions of your early morning appreciation of the dawn, with slippers, cats, and watercolors….it is inspiring for me to have my “small town” life in ever-expanding, glass/steel/boxy Seattle, in my little neighborhood, which has a new bookstore/café, and gardens gardens gardens, and neighbors where we celebrate “elevenses” but really any time of day banana bread, coffee, muffins….and yes, TCM has had some gems, eh? I saw our dear Cary Grant for the first time in “Mr. Lucky” today….it is all such a package of joy for us, as we also do the WORK currently and continually required to respect and help our neighbors…..looking forward somehow somewhere, to hearing your words of wisdom regarding how we love, create, and share, in this challenging challenging period of time…..maybe you could share on Twitter (some of us can read it, but not respond)….anyway love and peace to you….

    • sbranch says:

      It is challenging. And we do want to know, and need to know, and need to do what we can to help, and I agree that we should do all of that. And then we have to carve time out in the day away from all of that, to celebrate the multitudes of joys that life has to offer. We have to do both. And be grateful each day at the beauty around us. That’s all I know . . . xoxoxo

  66. Nina From England says:

    Wow what a wonderful post Susan! It reminded me of my trip to Cape Cod last year with my BFF Gaynor & her family right down to eating lobster alfresco!
    The last time I was over a few years ago with my sister we met you at your book signing for a Fine romance on the Vineyard. But last year when you visited England and had the picnic I’m almost sure it was when we hadn’t long returned from the Cape & NY & Connecticut and so it was back to “School” for us! Next year I’m hoping to be at the picnic at the lakes fingers crossed!
    Anyway just wanted to say thank you so much for telling us about Nursery Thyme in Devizes selling your mugs. I had the Autumn one and my penfriend Angie (who I met through your blog) had the Autumn one too! My Sister had the MV Isle of dreams one. I swear our coffee & tea tastes a million times better in them!
    Anyway must dash now to get my washing in off the line as its gone a little dark outside (or as we say here in the Black Country “Its looking a little black over Bills Mothers!”) I have no idea who Bill or his Mother are though! lol

    The nights are starting to draw in a little here and I don’t want to wish my life away but I am sooo excited that my fave time of year will be here soon and I have just the perfect mug for cozying up in front of the fire with…xxxx

    • sbranch says:

      See? LOL, that’s how you are! Bills Mothers! So funny ~ and cute! Us too, days are shorter! I’m thrilled that you like the mugs … makes me so happy my over-the-pond girlfriends can get them now! See you next May!

  67. kathleen Roberts says:

    your mugs are precious!! the Beatrix potters journal looks like my kind of journal. Thank you for sharing the family fun through pictures.You are my sunshine!~

  68. Linda Who Still Says "Land" says:

    Hello Susan,
    After seeing your hand painted paper version of the bluebird mug at your Grattitude book signing at Titcomb Books in Sandwich on Cape Cod, I fell in love with the pattern and detail. Perfection. I was tickled pink to receive four mugs last week with the best of care in shipping. Blue Bird, Isle of Dreams, Santa and Autumn. I was about to order the nature mug featuring a lamb but see in it’s place is the Love mug. Are all three of the first edition mugs being featured once more for individual purchase? Is the lamb version still available?

  69. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    I cannot even begin to tell you what joy this blog has given me these past couple of weeks!! Thank you for sharing your family gathering with us! I have looked at your blog again and again! I see a resemblance of you in all of your nieces and nephews! What a beautiful family you have!! It was so good to see all of the wide smiles on everyone!! I imagine that all of the children were in wild anticipation over the thought of that visit since the early planning stages of it!! Everyone should be Blessed with having a treasured Auntie, and with you, your niece’s and nephew’s cups runeth over!!! They will all have the happiest, fondest, sweetest memories of you their whole life through, passed on down to their children! I had an Aunt a lot like you. Her love, sweetness and thoughtfulness to me…her stories, hugs and quiet times sitting on her front porch at night just talking and watching the big semi trucks all lit up at night heading south on U.S. 41….. that was the happiest time of my childhood. I was thrilled from head to toe whenever I heard my parents planning our weekend (3 hour) trip to Terre Haute! And now I live here! Close to all the happy places of my childhood and the Man of my dreams!
    I hope that you and Joe enjoy the rest of your summer! I am looking forward to Fall…it is my favorite time of year. I hope that we have a long fall….none of this jumping from summer into winter! This year it seems like it jumped from winter to summer, giving spring only a few weeks. That is Indiana weather for you!! Unpredictable!! Oh!!!!…. I almost forgot….I LOVE my new AUTUMN CUP, MARTHA’S VINEYARD CUP and SANTA MUG!!! They are indescribably gorgeous!!! Drinks even taste better drinking from them!! I drink from the Santa Mug on the hottest days just to feel a little cooler!! Have a Happy upcoming September!!!🍂🍁

  70. Shirley Forsman says:

    I am enjoying my cups–all of them. I’ve been a fan since the days of recipe pages in Country Living magazine (I still have some of the pages that I tore out of the magazines and saved).

    I’m hoping for a cup with a quilt theme.

  71. Mary says:

    Oh what a Willard! I love the recipes! I’m fortunate to have 2 boxes from my Aunt Jessie and my mom. I also have a copy of “Quick Bread” from 1893 which belonged to my great grandmother – I have that framed. Autumn is my favorite too – it was through the Autumn cookbook that I first met you! It’s not only back to school it’s another wedding anniversary and another birthday! September is full of celebration!

  72. Katie Sawaya says:

    Thank you Susan for sharing ‘the simple pleasures of life’ in your Willards. Katie

  73. Anne says:

    It is pouring again in Naples Florida,I look out my windows ..I read Susans blog, I am transported through the pool screen enclosure and see the lake fading away into another stormy afternoon,it is calming in its own grateful for all that she shares and I feel gratitude and love!

  74. Barbara C says:

    I absolutely LOVE the photos of your “moonshadows” during the eclipse!

  75. Judy Buzby says:

    Just love, love, love the art, photo’s and wonderful thoughts… You are special!

  76. Donna Lee says:

    Your books and the Willard always touch a part of me that lies deep inside, and I usually end up in tears for what might have been. Nonetheless, I love them all and am grateful for the time I spend surrounded by your beautiful world.

  77. Raynore Jones says:

    Either I didn’t submit or my computer has gone wonky. I thought I had lost your blog and posts. Please enter me to win!!

  78. Shalee Sojka says:

    Oh I just love you, Susan! My friend Dana and I think that if you knew us, we would all be best friends! 😊 I hope to win this lovely prize! Thank you! ❤️

  79. Lisa Stones says:

    I am grateful for the Magical Fairy who puts Willard in my inbox. It’s a special kind of wonder-full!

  80. Kathy from Holland, MI says:

    I love the old movies, the old music, and anything with ginger in it. Your latest Willard is just wonderful. I would love to win the autumn package.
    I will be printing several copies of the beautiful bookmark to give to friends.
    Thank you for that. I always look forward to your blog and Willards with fabulous artwork.

  81. Karen Cheyne says:

    Hi Susan
    Being a squirell lover but living all the way down in little old New Zealand it is expensive to get your merchandise but I would love your wee Autumn cup so I’m crossing my fingers that I win. Thanks for the chance.

  82. Judy Evans says:

    Hi Susan,
    I ordered a cup for my mother-in-Law for mother’s day. We were both so happy a with it! I can’t wait to order my own! Like everything you have made it was so elegant and charming!!! You never disappoint, I love all the things you create!!! Keep up the passion you put into everything!!!

  83. Brenda Lee Hayden says:

    Le mew.. le pant .. le poof…l’exhausted 💨 Whaddya know, I finally made it here!
    I must say that this Willard was great fun , great pics and quips –and I pretty much wanna be adopted & become an honorary Stewart now .. no pressure though !
    I recently received my UPS ushered Cups O’ Splendor, too!
    ( MAJOR SQUEALING ensued) Wonderful gifts, if I can part with them all now!
    They ranked extremely HIGH on my official ” Tashmoodley-Doodley ” index .. just sayin ‘
    Bravo ! xoxo

  84. Judith McCarthy says:

    Thank you for a precious “pick me up”…….It came at just the right time. My husband passed away recently and you helped me think of all the sweet memories.

    Willard is wonderful. Thank You

  85. Susan says:

    I love the way you describe the shadows and light; I can always tell when a movie was filmed in NE by the light. I love living here, don’t want to live anywhere else.

  86. Doreen Walz says:

    Hi, Susan 🙂 I love your letters, news, blogs, etc. not to forget shopping, too. Your family pix remind me of our family’s vac. in Isle of Palms and in NC. We all are similar in many ways, a beautiful thing for sure. Thank you for the joy you bring to so many of us. Right back at you. Cross my fingers, toes to win …& hope for the best…whoever gets the Lucky Gold Ring as they say. Thank you again for the chance & for all of the Musica and the Memories always.

  87. Anne Franze says:

    Oh Susan!

    I am sitting on my porch, reading Wilard and giggling to myself, thinking that Willard isn’t the only one who can’t wait for Fall! Like you, it is my favourite season in the whole world!!!
    I love, love, love,love everything about it…… I am so excited for all those school aged kids who have already started buying their school supplies, I am excited for the trees that will be wearing their own colourful fall sweaters…..I am excited for….oh, I can go on and on. I’m guessing you catch my drift (giggle). I am looking beyond the porch and listening to the birds and the cool wind this evening ( little town in Southwestern Ontario, Canada). It is whispering to me…….”Anne, be patient for all the beauty of Fall will soon be here!”. Oh……I can’t wait.
    Thank you for your beautiful gift of Willard! I so look forward to reading it.
    Not only can’t I wait for Fall, I can’t even imagine the happiness and excitement I would feel to be the recepient of the beautiful prize!
    Thank you for the opportunity !

  88. Sandy Cordner says:

    What a wonderful respite from a HOT day! Made things much cooler just reading about Autumn!!
    Love your writing, love your art, love your music, love traveling with you and visiting with you!
    Thank you for the joy you bring!

  89. Naomi Elf says:

    Your photos and gentle words always bring some balm to a hectic, distressed, or gray day for me. Thanks so much, dear Susan, for being a light-bringer. Xoxo.

  90. Sylvia Feil says:

    Thank you, what a blessing to receive your very special newsletter from a magical place you call home. In this time and age the art you so very well craft is kind of forgotten. Many no longer take the time to enjoy life’s pure and simple pleasures.
    You show us how different life can be lived and how joyful and beautiful each moment can be on this precious planet earth we call home. I would love to meet you some day and learn more how you manage to find time to do all you so very well do. Looking forward to all your special gifts you give from the heart to your home 🙂

  91. Sarah Green says:

    Your creativity is such a delight. Thank you for providing a wonderful relaxing site for all to enjoy.

  92. Sandy Miller says:

    I am totally in love with your website and oh how I’d love to be traveling to England and Ireland with you. I will be there in spirit though and I have visited Beatrice Potter’s home Hill Top and I’ll be able to enjoy the picnic like I was there. Thank you for all the beauty you put into everything you do

  93. Carolyn Kelly says:

    Hi Sue,
    Carolyn from Ct saying I love Willard!
    The new mugs are just swell. I would cherish having one.
    Thanks for the chance to be a winner.

  94. Susan yurgionas says:

    What a gift your Willard is! an antidote to the negativity we seem to be surrounded by. Just baked chocolate chip cookies for a co-worker’s birthday tomorrow– the house smells good… Lately I’ve been on the lookout for lemon juicers–the glass kind that you put half a lemon on and twist back and forth. Not too easy to find but that makes the search fun. Susan you manage to find that elusive balance between sentiment/ corn/ the past/ reality–this clearly resonates with all of us. Love your writing!

  95. Syble Ditzler says:

    I feel like I’ve been on vacation when I read Willard and the blog.

  96. Melissa Williamson says:

    My favorite memory is and was the smell of Crayola crayons. Just can’t be beat. Thanks for your wonderful stories.

  97. Arlene from Maplewood says:

    I love your Willards…love your artwork…love your recipes. Thank you for bringing such joy and beauty into the world ❤️

  98. Susan says:

    What a pleasure to read all about your satisfying life.
    My husband and I visited your quaint island a few years ago and loved everything about it.

  99. Susan says:

    You make life so satisfying as we read about your daily life. Life is but a dream certainly describes the life you and Joe live!

  100. Susan says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your newsletter is so satisfying to read. You live a perfect life on the island and it is a pleasure that you share so many things that explain what makes a house a home!

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