AHHH, SEPTEMBER . . .

Hello Darling People, thank you for your patience! Go get tea! It’s long! Lots of  MUSICA ! Because, it’s AHHH September, and we are so lucky. 💞

From my kitchen wall, it’s this month’s calendar page ~ I’m sure many of you recognize it, even with morning light dappling through the trees and through the kitchen window!  But soft, what light in yonder window breaks . . . it’s Autumn . . .

Autumn! (Even though it’s not quite yet! It’s acting like it around here!) 🍁Autumn, which, I’ve decided, is my spirit animal. Look at that dappling! Those boards there are because Joe’s putting new gutters on our house. Must do that every twenty years.

Here’s my other spirit animal yelling at me because I went out to hang clothes on the line! “Come home, mommy, don’t leave me!”

What a pair. My darling people. 💞

Well, I promised you “Travel Hints” today, and Travel Hints you shall have! But first off, we have a Giveaway to give away. Ms. Vanna lolled in her bed all day yesterday, waiting for me to finish, but today, she is OUT of here, so I have to hurry! (She has a
lunch date in Edgartown but is hanging around, zipped into her shimmering green mermaid suit, to do her duty, dive deep and pull out the name of our lucky winner!) Here’s  our lovely little September gift: Gingerbread Cake Tea (delicious, you’ll love it!), my new Autumn cup to drink it out of, two of my newest back-in-print cookbooks to inspire you with Autumn recipes and home ideas while drinking your tea, plus, for the season (for all seasons!): Gratitude! Can’t wait to find out who the winner is. SO many Girlfriends have entered ~ this is by far the most comments, and the most delightful comments, ever left on my blog, you are just the Best Girlfriends ~ if you’re ever sad about the state of the world, read your wonderful comments ~ it will cheer you right up! But still, despite the 3,300 entries, your odds of winning are still waaaaay better than the lottery! PS, I’m so glad you’ve loved the Zucchini Bread! 😘 So everyone cross your fingers!The winner is … Well, I only have a first name on this little slip of paper …  and it’s a name others might have, so let’s start with a detail she mentioned in her comment: our winner has an eleven-year-old daughter who loves to read Willard with her … I hope that narrows it down a bit. Our winner is STACY!!! Congratulations, Stacy!!! Being chosen from so many makes this a Red Letter Day for you! I have an iCloud email address (another hint) for Stacy, and I’ll write and let her know, so she can tell me where to send the books, and who to sign them to! And to all the rest of you, I loved every moment of this, thank you for that absolutely amazing demonstration of Joie de Vivre!

We make such a nice village, don’t we? Thank you! 👏 I promise, we’ll do it again!

Now, before we start with the Travel Tips, I thought I would show you our newest discovery…

So see that big Linden tree? See the upstairs window on the left of that tree?

We used to see these two little furballs all the time from that window, living in a hole on the back of the tree. We haven’t seen them in a while, and now we’re sure they found a new home, because . . .

Guess who lives there now? We just found out … there’s a perfect view from that upstairs window, almost eyeball to eyeball with that tree, and the other day Joe came RUNNING down the stairs to get his camera yelling, “Hurry get upstairs, you gotta see this!”  I didn’t know whether to be happy or not, we have a raccoon! But he sure is cute.

Between kitty, boyfriend (that’s Joe, permanent boyfriend), squirrels, birds, turkeys and now a raccoon, I’ve been busy designing new mugs!  Lowely came over today and we did pretend-drinking from it. It’s for Valentine’s next year, we’ll have them in the Studio the first of January. I think they are ridiculously darling and Lowely did too. I do, I do, I do, I do, I do. Would you like to see the back? I can arrange that . . .

Here it is! It’ll be a lot prettier when it’s the real thing, but I think you get the gist. The handle is pink floral, and the bottom says, “Of thee I sing” with musical notes.  It’s like a little story!  I can’t wait to see it in person. We will have them early next January, and when we are a little further along, I’ll put them up for presale. And, by the way, because so many of you have asked, there are a few cups left from the last collection, with such minor blemishes that they barely show, but we have discounted them, even a few Autumn cups are there …  but I would say hurry if you want one, because they are almost gone. Also, British Girlfriends, we have a retailer in England now, called Nursery Thyme, with an online store (and a real store in Devizes, Wiltshire), who is now carrying my cups, so you can get them without the crazy shipping charges from the USA!

And while we’re speaking of “almost out” . . . we are almost sold out of these two books. Going back for another printing for each 🤗, but we won’t have them until January. And, because we are in charge (how wonderful), soon they will not be available on Amazon, because we will be hogging the last ones for our Girlfriends, so if you find them gone, and you have in mind a signed copy of either of these for your holiday gifts, try our website.

I’ve also been in touch with the company that’s been working on the cookie plates and other luv-lee new things ~ they made the decals and we’re getting closer, but I’m not wild about how the writing has come out (it’s the one on the right). Needs to be better. So I sent them a photo of our mug to show them how it’s supposed to look and they say they can fix it!  Just want you to know I’m still working on it! I’ll let you know when they have it right!

As I design cups or do new art for next year’s calendar, I listen to musica, and I love to have the TV tell me a story. Sometimes I listen to the news, but it’s getting worse, I’m gobsmacked by the size of these hurricanes and the fires and whatever fresh hell comes after that. Lately, the news has also gotten more unbearably nuclear, with homeless and stranded people living in fear, wandering this earth of such riches, so unfairly distributed, and sometimes I really can not stand it, being a child of God and all.  So, I do what I can. And let Frank sing, Be Careful it’s my Heart, and then I turn to France in 1949! For spiritual sustenance! Heart! Beauty! The things that humanity was born to adore. I take a deep breath and let happiness and believing-in-good flow back in to my soul. It’s a great gift to have complete charge of the clicker. So off to France we go!

And listen to luv-lee French musica as I drive down long allees on my way to . . .

Paris! Where I will go to cooking school with . . .

Julia!

Paul comes into the kitchen while Julia is cooking, he says, “And for dinner?” He looks around, settles on a bowl, has a taste, looks at her, and says, “Mayonnaise?” I paint, listen/watch the movie, while my shadow makes himself indispensable through cuteness.

Julia made me hungry . . . so I put her on hold, and out to the windy garden I go, to gather delicious sun-warmed September tomatoes … to curl up in my chair with a little crisp iceberg, some mayonnaise, salt and freshly ground pepper, and voila, summer treat extraordinaire! Julia, I know, would agree. Except the mayonnaise is not homemade, so maybe I take that back. But she would enjoy the relishing, of that I am sure. She was a such a good relisher! Famous for her relishment of life, she spread the “utter bliss” of her passions far and wide, making relishers out of all of us! See what can happen? 

And speaking of heaven, while in the garden, I can’t stop bringing in the hydrangea.

It even looks good when it’s dead!

I was determined to make my garden last as long as humanly possible this year. We just planted more flowers (added reminder: everything is on sale right now), and some cool weather crops like lettuce and arugula and herbs… flowers like white cosmos that grow high over the fence and blow in the wind and from my kitchen window, my picket fence garden looks like a garden of wildflowers.

And mums the word!

We’ve been grabbing on to these last few days of summer, with a vengeance.  Even when rain threatens, we are determined. Drops began to fall, out comes the roll of plastic . . .

Save the table! Do not let the butter drown. Don’t allow the little holes in the salt shaker to close up! Don’t make us pour rainwater off our plates before we can eat! The men jump into action, rolling out plastic over the Teahouse of the August moon (the last people who owned this house called the arbor by that lovely name).

And the sprinkles stopped, and we were able to peel the plastic back, in the nick of time, for cooling breezes . . . On with the party! This is a small contingent of the delightful Hall family, Joe’s sister is on the left, and her children, plus some outlaws, like me. And the person peeking out behind Joe’s niece, Jen, on the right, is Siobhan, here visiting us from England!

After everyone left, I went looking for the moon, and found it, peeking through the trees just behind the Teahouse, still glowing under the twinkle lights, draped in a bit of blowing plastic …

Twinkle lights on the roses . . .

That moon reminds me, one of our Girlfriends, D’Anne,  asked me if I would put up the Full Moon Bookmark we make every year … the one with all the Native American names for the full moons on it? Remember?

. . . so, just in cases you didn’t get one, HERE it is again! Just click there, print it out, fold it in half, cut it out, and you’ll be ready for the rest of the year . . . the full Harvest moon is tonight! There was an online controversy this hear, was it the Harvest moon, or the Corn moon? I went for Harvest … it sort of means the same thing, corn and harvest … but, either way, it should be big and beautiful tonight!

So let’s go traveling, shall we? In order to give my travel tip in the right way, I have to talk about houses ~ you know how much I love houses, all houses really because for us lucky ones, they are temples of love, but there are a few that deserve special recognition, and England is FULL of these kinds of houses, all different, most made by hand, before there were power tools, and each one a total piece of art. They have names, like Buttercups up there. Don’t you just want to knock on the door and say hello, could I please come in for a cup of tea? Could it be from a blue teapot? Could you please turn on French musica? Thank you, oh yes, I will have a cookie, I mean, biscuit! These wonderful houses are a big part of my travel tip for today! Cuz you know, we’re going to England next year . . . and you’re coming too, either for real, or virtually, and we want to do it right, so we’re making plans. We want to stay in a cute house wherever we go, with a fireplace, because we deserve this, don’t we Girlfriends? I mean we don’t do it every day.

I took a photo of this house because it’s so cute, it doesn’t even look real. It’s like a child’s drawing of a house. And so many of these darling English houses are rentable, for the weekend, for the week, for the month. All anyone has to do to find one is Google, “self-catering holiday homes in England” (Self-catering means there’s a kitchen!) . . . and voila, take your choice, there are lots of photos, you choose what part of the country, what size, how much, everything. (I realized I’ve secretly been painting this house for years, I just didn’t know it.)

Here’s a big house and a little garden house. I will take the garden house, you guys can have the big one! I’m coming over, put the kettle on ~ and then let’s go for a walk!

And this darling thing, you’ve already seen ~ is the one we rented for our trip to England next year. And that’s what I wanted to talk about. The kind of travel tips I have for you are not normal. You can read about what kinds of suitcases are best, or which little zipper bags or zip-lock baggies are good for packing, about rolling vs folding, and how to consolidate, and how to bring nothing but a toothbrush, or whether or not to bring your pillow (which I find ridiculous) but I leave that to the experts because we are total failures at all of that. On my first trip off-island with Joe when we first got together, I asked him what I should bring, and he said, “Everything,” warming the cockles of my heart and, unbeknownst to us at the time, setting the tone for our entire future. We are no good at any sort of consolidation, we took 13 bags last time! That’s one reason we go on the ship, no airline would let us get away with 13 bags. For tidy packing tips, let Rick Steves help, he’s a professional. So, here’s what we are good at:

We’re good at this, the smell of grass and wide open spaces. When I was younger, I thought the way you’re supposed to travel is to see as MUCH as humanly possible and cover as much ground as you could each day. Run from city to city, museum to museum, face buried in tour book, wearing the same drip-dry outfit every day (true, I had to burn my travel clothes when I got home, I could never bear to wear them again), but I was checking off the “to see” list. Done, did that. ✅ I could be in six countries in two weeks easy. I could be in a perfectly darling place, and leave it before I even saw everything, to run to the next perfectly darling place. Why? I did not know. Then one day, Joe and I rented a sweet house for two whole weeks and stayed there the entire time and that’s when the real travel began.

Because we unpacked. And spread out. Hung our clothes in the closet. Because travel is hard enough, it’s lovely to have a home to come to each night. We put our toothbrushes in the medicine cabinet and flowers into a vase. And made ourselves comfy. And felt no pressure to get a move on. We could make our own morning tea.

We got to go to the same market for two whole weeks ~ we didn’t have to start over with “Sat Nav” (GPS) every time we wanted to find a loaf of bread.

 We tried all the luv-lee new and interesting things we discovered at the market . . . more than once! We learned which was the best butter, the most delicious milk, our favorite kind of bacon . . .

We took the ingredients “home” where we could cook our own delicious dinner together if we wanted, and be homey, and light a fire, or eat outside, and relax at the end of a long travel day and not always eat restaurant food. Because we had our own house. And we were staying for a while. We weren’t in a hurry.

While the laundry was going round and round in our washer and dryer, we could watch Poldark, or BBC and the Chelsea Flower Show, or the English National Sheepdog Trials, listen to the church bells from down the street (there’s always church bells down the street) and live kind of an English life, con Musica!

We could walk to our favorite bakery and butcher shop . . . and talk to people, and get to know the butcher and find out he not only owns the butcher shop but he also has a farm where he raises his animals. We got to know the area, as if we lived there.

Between the castles and gardens we were visiting every day, we discovered our favorite tea rooms …

And went often enough to say hello to the owner . . .

And discover which was our favorite taste treat!

We found the local antique store filled with English china, and, might I add, “eek” . . .

We’d be in one place long enough to read the paper and find the charming local festivals and plays and circuses where the real people went, where we were the only tourists (try that at the Eiffel Tower), because all the rest of the people attending lived there … and we’d talk to the apple farmers and look at what they’re wearing, and driving, and cooking, and what their children sounded like while we drank cider in paper cups. We have all this spare time for the little things, because we’re not spending it moving to the next place and relearning everything.

We walk out of our adopted town in all directions, in a different direction each time, and found adventures, and glimpses of heaven in unexpected places . . . because all the small towns in England have these ancient footpaths that go hill and dale, along rivers, through meadows and fields of sheep and bluebells that lead to the next little town and so on, all over the country . . .

And we talked to the people who walked there, and pet their dogs . . . they like Americans and we like them! We would hear about their children, and their trips to the US, they would tell us the history of the fairy ring we had just passed, or the stone circle just beyond the next hill, all kinds of talk.

It was an experience we never got while driving in a car . . . or while repacking, looking for our next hotel, or where we could wash our clothes, and missing almost everything else. And we did not suffer from “only seeing one place.” Because, we drove out to find something new every day, and if that’s what you are looking for, then what “new” is better than another “new” 200 miles away? The thing about England is that no matter where you are, there are always so many things to see. The place is crammed with history! And new is new, and all new is amazing and good. So why not stay in one place and from there, fan out? Because learning a place and its people is better done the slow way. Two weeks is the perfect time. We’ve tried one week, which always seems too rushed, we’ve tried ten days, not quite good enough, but we’ve learned two weeks is perfect for us. Now, this is just me and Joe, and only a suggestion that’s probably not right for everyone ~ we’re lucky because we can take our work anywhere, and arrange our time so we can do this. But if you ever feel like a jack-in-the-box in your travels, you might just stop traveling. Even if it’s for three days. And stay. And say hello, glad to meet ya.You can find your favorite pub, walk over with your books, make yourself at home, say “Hey” to the guy behind the bar, write in your diary, be a fly on the wall and watch every thing, and while away the afternoon . . . it’s very graceful. And, as the wise women say,

So that’s my tip, and I’m sticking to it. And guess what Girlfriends? Yup. Here’s where we’re going to stay for two weeks next May in the Lake District . . . I don’t think we get this whole house … but I know that’s our door up the driveway and I know that across the street is a beautiful lake.  And I know we’re bringing Kellee and Sherie with us! And you know what else?

I’ve been working on a special cup to celebrate our BYO Picnic Basket Party next May 11 to which you are ALL invited . . . A cup with frolicking lambs and bluebells, oh my! Coming in January, to add to the excitement and the getting ready.

And the back?

Oh yes, it’s Jane Austen, and our adventures, and our picnic on the lawn of Castle Cottage in Near Sawrey, where Beatrix Potter lived for thirty years, that’s where we’ll be a-meetin’ up ~ from everywhere! On the bottom of this mug it says, “Memories are made of this.” Have you put the date on your calendar yet? I promise, for those who can’t make it, I’ll blog it . . . so, one way or another, be there or be square.

And I do have packing advice, I’m not totally lame, I figured out this little system back when I first met Joe and I still do it. Just in cases I actually have to look good, go out to dinner on the ship, go to a picnic or something, I’ll have the right things . . . and as long as I don’t forget my list, it always works like a charm.

One more thing, just making sure, did everyone get their WILLARD? Because if not, click there and you’ll have it! If you’d like Willard delivered to your email, click HERE to sign up for the next one . . .

Now back I go to my lovely shadows . . .

Have a wonderful day, Girlfriends. Stay safe, say prayers for all in need, watch for the moon, and do this, for the magic . . . Kiss . . . and parting Musica

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653 Responses to AHHH, SEPTEMBER . . .

  1. Charl says:

    Hi Susan!
    Thank you for delivering sunshine via your blog today!
    I wanted to let you know that I am enjoying my bluebird cup immensely! I noticed and appreciated all of the details you considered when designing it! I love how it rings like a bell…a sure sign of quality! (Us tea-drinkers are picky about our teacups! LOL.) You didn’t miss anything… it is pure perfection!
    Best wishes,
    ~C

  2. Jan Tilton says:

    You brightened up my day as just heard my father is dying. Reading the Willard and peering at your delightful cups and dreaming of one day traveling to England gave me a little happy moment. Thank you! XO

  3. Caroline says:

    Thank Susan for another lovely post! You are really special and wonderful; soulmates with so many including me:) My husband and I travel just like that to Portugal where we stay in Casa Joana, the house where we were sent on our honeymoon, 26 years ago! Every day we fan out from home and are astounded by the beauty, charm and miracles we can walk or drive to! We leave Friday!!! only for a week but soon soon soon I am sure we will be able to stay 2 weeks. It all just sounds like heaven! We can’t speak the language but am amazed by far one can get by saying “please” and “thank you” and “Good day!” We also know how to say, “I would like that piece of cheese and that piece of sausage and a carafe of your house wine”:) Blessings on everybody’s week!! Caroline

  4. Cyndi in NC says:

    As usual I hated to come to the end of this blog installment. I love hearing about Martha’s Vineyard or a book tour or riding the train with you. But when you talk about England I’m all yours! *L* I’d love to go to the market or the butchers and have a pint at the local. I can do that with you and Joe and the wonderful friends you introduce us to that become our friends also. Little Jack’s face at the screen door was precious! I know your heart swelled when you saw your boys looking out at you. Enjoy the Harvest moon tonight!! Hugs to all.

  5. Donna Hardin says:

    Lovely blog…I love showing off Jack to my 16 year old son…he loves his markings…and I can always get one of those great smiles from him when he sees Jack. Your trip details makes me want to go back to England…so happy you can go and take Kellee and Sherie with!

    I was in Saugatuck, MI…near the water…I pretended I was on Martha’s Vineyard…and the B&B we stayed at was yours. 😊 I like dreaming! Have a great evening.

    • sbranch says:

      I like your dreams Donna! xoxoxo

    • Elizabeth Hill says:

      What a sweet thing to read about Saugatuck, because my parents honeymooned there, back in the 50s! We lived in Chicago back in those days (the 60s after I was born) and took trips up the coast of Lake Michigan, and I remember playing in the huge sand dunes!! Such a magical place.

  6. Sherill Anderson says:

    Dear Susan, I always love reading your blogs. This isn’t meant to be printed online unless you want to. I purchased your 2018 calendar–the one which is 7″x7″. It is lovely and I will use it for a Christmas gift. However, it is too small for how I like my calendar. I get one each year from that “unnamed source” which is 7″x9″ with a spiral ring on the left and one page for each week of the year. I know you plan years ahead but hope you will consider this size for the future. Thank you! Sherill Anderson (from Seattle WA where it is hot, smoky and the air is filled with ash from nearby forest fires).

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I see, you have a planner, and mine are wall and desk calendars. I license my art and design to a company, and they are the ones that get to decide what products to put it on. So far, they haven’t wanted a planner…probably because they don’t do much with spiral rings. But I can ask!

      • Sherill Anderson says:

        Thank you Susan! Maybe there’s a simple way to do a page for each week without the spiral. Here’s hoping! Love, Sherill Anderson

        • sbranch says:

          I’ll ask them! xoxo

          • Linda Pintarell says:

            And maybe with an overall monthly calendar in front of the weekly part. That is what I need and I do love the spiral binding. You had a planner some years ago that was perfect but I think it would only published for one year. Am I right about that?

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, I loved it too…but that company didn’t want to make them anymore, so that was that.

  7. Marybeth Ferrie says:

    Susan,
    Thank you for bringing light into a dark world. We so desperately need it!
    God bless you…xoxo
    Marybeth

  8. Anita Ramsey says:

    This wonderful, cheerful & entertaining post was just what I needed this evening. Missing my husband, my son & the sweet little business we had…feeling quite melancholy. I hope some day I can visit England, Ireland or Scotland…where my ancestors are from, & your travel tips somehow gave me a vision of what might be a reality some time in the future. I don’t know how it can happen, but I do believe it has to be a dream first. Thank you for all that you give…the gift of yourself & your wonderful outlook on life. Love the second pic of Joe & your furry sidekick at the screened door! It looks like a painting.

  9. Shanna says:

    Congratulations, Stacy! And thank you, Susan for reminding us about the Harvest Moon tonight. I can hardly wait to see it-hopefully the smoke from the fires here will not obscure it.

  10. Nettie says:

    What can I say that I haven’t said before??! I love you (but who doesn’t)and the way you look at everything.. my dear girlfriend Debbie who lives around the corner from me and I are always referring to you and all the things we have in common. I love knowing there are so many women who appreciate all the simple things in life everything from an old linen to a simple flower growing gives us joy.
    Thank you for sharing the very essence of who you are, I feel honored and very grateful.

    • sbranch says:

      You are sweet to tell me Nettie … we are all so lucky to know how very little it takes to make a happy life. It changes our world, even if we can’t do quite as much about the bigger one, we set the example of creative contentment and that’s not nothing.

  11. Tricia B. says:

    Hello Dearest Susan! Thank you for sharing your lovely world. I just want to thank you for the sunshine your blog brings to my day. Adorable pictures of your “boyfriend”, Joe and sweet Jack. I love how Jack is calling for you. Too Sweet!!
    The cottage you and Joe are going to rent in England…looks to me like it is white with Mint Green accents and door? OMG!! It is so cute! I hope you are able to take photos of the inside! I love it. Of course…all of the cottages there…I mean, please..I will take them all!! 🙂 Thank you for the travel tips…packing…well, like you I always take lots of suitcases…even if I go away for a weekend. I like to make my space/hotel room extra cozy. Congrats to Stacy for winning the giveaway…how exciting for her! Yay! 🙂
    My mind is on all of our Houston and surrounding areas girlfriends. GOD love them…I am sending up prayers. Florida girlfriends…take cover and be safe. More prayers.
    Thank you again for sharing your world. Love Hugs and Prayers, Tricia B.

    • sbranch says:

      I know, I may not be able to LIVE in a thatched-roof cottage in this lifetime, but I can rent one for two weeks and get that little gigantic desire off my list! I wonder what it smells like in that house, does the thatch make it smell green, or like lavender or something? ‘Bout to find out! 😃 And my prayers are mixed with yours for everyone in harms way. xoxo

      • pat addison ( cave junction, OR) says:

        my cousin stayed in a thatched cottage in England and had a marvelous time, she the whole cottage had a fresh herby scent to it and it was quite pleasant after a light rain. 🙂

  12. vicki says:

    Loved all your musings…..Started dieting so I can fit into one of your many suitcases next spring on the English trip! Full moon, autumn on its way…I’m in heaven! Best time of year for dreaming! Sweet dreams to you, dear Susan…

    • sbranch says:

      We may even be bringing an extra suitcase this time, for all our travelers, we want everyone to be comfy…💞

  13. I skimmed your blog today. I am saving it to relax and enjoy tomorrow after I drop my granddaughter at middle school and take a cup, (yours, of course) of coffee out onto my deck. We are expecting cooler weather and Sun tomorrow. I will enjoy it all before we are greeted by Hurricane Irma here on the NC coast. Thank You for giving me something to smile about. Love you, Susan!

  14. Kathleen in Michigan says:

    Thank you for another wonderful post. A dream of mine (#1 on bucket list) is to visit England and Ireland, so your information and lovely pictures are most welcome. Just wondering if there is an area or town/towns that you would recommend to a first time traveler? I always look forward to your posts and with the previous post I paused to watched “Suspicion” and have begun to look for and appreciate the shadows in & around our home. Thank you so much

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back Kathleen! If you have a chance to read my book, A Fine Romance, I give a pretty good tour of the English Countryside, with tips and stories, castles and cottages and gardens to visit, and maps too. Then you can decide for yourself where you’d like to go!

  15. Linda Pintarell says:

    When I started to travel in my mid-20’s for some reason I knew I did not want to jump from place to place…day to day…but wanted to stay in one place long enough to get to know the area, people and cultures. I bought a one-way ticket to Europe…and stayed a year. It was cheap way back then in the late 60’s. Moved from place to place when I was ready…sometimes staying in youth hostels. It sort of set the tone for future travels and rarely have you found me with tours groups/buses. Has happened in certain circumstances (i.e, African safari) but not too often. Love to ensconce myself in a place for a while…just like you.

    • sbranch says:

      I would think a tour with like-minded people would be fun, add quite a lot to an adventure like that! But holding still is wonderful. Sometimes we even “take the day off” when traveling, and stay home (in our rental), and read and do nothing!

  16. Liz from Michigan says:

    Just received my Autumn book! So delighted to finally have my very own copy! Back when you first published it, I bought two as gifts for dear friends who enjoy the beauty of Autumn just as much as we do – I just never bought one for myself and then they were gone! Bringing in lots of hydrangeas, too! This year I am trying to preserve some using the glycerine and water soak….

  17. Frances McGuinn says:

    I just love reading your letters. They are just wonderful and transport you to a special place, to enjoy every moment of reading them. Thank you so much!!!!

  18. Nancy says:

    Lovely post as always. You brighten my day when I read it. I had a wonderful week in a rental on Earls Court Rd. in London in June. It was great to have two floors to spread among my three daughters and two teen granddaughters. A place to put ourselves and our things down and forget about hotel hours. Pizza at ten PM and fresh coffee at ten AM. Liberating and so nice to be in a neighborhood. On an earlier trip we visited Hill Top Farm. Being a Beatrix Potter fan it was a delight to see the area.
    Smiles

  19. Susan,
    I love coming home and finding your beautiful newsletter in my e-mailbox. That sounds profoundly weird since I still love the idea of a “snail” mailbox which I hope never goes away. I sit down with a glass of iced tea since it is still 90 degrees here in Temecula, CAn and read your fun anecdotes about life, travel, friends and the hint of Autumn. It is my spirit season as well. Autumn has not provided even a teeny, tiny hint of the weather to come here, but I cannot complain as I am so grateful that I am not having to evacuate because of fire or rain. My goldendoodle, Zoe, sleeps at my feet and I am content.

    Thank you for keeping my spirits up!

    Cheryl

    • sbranch says:

      Counting our blessings, not having to evacuate (at least not today anyway), and our beloved petty pets. All good! xoxo

  20. Judy D says:

    Smoke from wild fires is horrid here in the Portland OR area too. The entire west coast and into Montana are having major fires. Can hardly wait for the fall rains to come. But no hurricanes for me, thank you very much!

  21. Jessica Small says:

    Thank you Susa n for your wonderful blog and stories. We also do England for two weeks, renting a flat on the River Wey in Weymouth and w e love it. I am originally from the UK and love going back there, especially the shopping and sightseeing, going to old castles, seeing all the history and pretty narrow roads. The flowers are also beautiful.

    Yes the ship’ the best way to go. We came back on Queen .Mary 2 with friends in May and loved it. The most relaxing vacation ever!! We were lucky to have a smooth crossing. We live on Cape Cod and I have been over to Titcombs when you have been there.

    Thanks again. Inakways enjoy your blogs!!

  22. Patti G Columbus OH says:

    Susan
    I am recuperating from surgery and find myself reading and rereading Willards and Blog posts and website and Facebook! The treat of quotes and photos and drawings and recipes and Musica while sipping tea from one of your cups keeps me going!

    I have a suggestion for another cup–a Girlfriend Cup! I would buy three right off the bat for my special BFFs! Keep sending the good vibes out into this crazy world of ours! You are the best kind of BFF!

    With gratitude and big hugs,
    Patti

    • sbranch says:

      I think I have one designed for this next collection that will fit your bill, Patti! Feel better soon! xoxo

  23. Mary J says:

    A friend asked me yesterday how can such sad disasters befall us. Not to make light of the seriousness, but seeing the way our country’s people pull together during these difficult times is a reminder of what is truly important in this life. It gives me hope in these dark times. Just as your blog does. My day is always so much sweeter after reading your words. Thank you, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      People are amazing, all the unsung heroes, neighbors helping neighbors, that’s the real us. xoxoxo

  24. Leslie Freeman says:

    Oh my, did this touch my heart. We lived in England for 20 years, came back Maine in 2012… and I miss our life there every simgle day. This post brought tears to my eyes. Your philosphy of travel is exactly like ours, and what a revelation when we figured that out many years ago! Can’t wait for your next trip. All those years there and we never got to the Lake District! This may be my big chance! Save room!

    Thank you again for all the ‘good stuff’ you share with us.❤️
    Leslie in Maine

  25. Linda Lorenz says:

    Dear Susan,
    Hi! Loved your blog! Very busy in the garden pulling weeds, and had to put a jacket on! Downright nippy! Going for my 2nd eye injection next week, and then hopefully get ready for trip to Maine with my Mom! This will be the first time that I have ever gone anywhere alone with Mom, it used to be my two sisters and Dad, all of us together, But now Dad has passed, and my sisters have there own lives, so it will be just Mom and I! (and a bus load of other folks!) Hope that we have fun!
    LoveXOXO

  26. ⛵️🛶barbara miller says:

    Hello, Susan, I agree with stay-traveling. Find a place to stay and enjoy where you are. We did this a number of times.once on a San Juan island, Puget Sound, on Whidby Island also in Sound, in Oregon we stayed at the same cabin a few times and enjoyed little jaunts around. It is not how many miles we put in but our relaxing . We read, paint and see. The river (ocean) that flows by the door never looks the same way. Sometimes we go to places where great books we have read were written about.(the egg and I, only when I laugh,the boat that wouldn’t float.). Thanks for your packing tips.we always bring our tea kettle just in case!

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve always brought ours too…always take it on the train. But we finally learned that you NEVER have to worry in England, there is always a tea kettle no matter where you stay!!! But we do bring our big mugs!

  27. Judy Jennings says:

    Not many things make me happy these days, but your blog ALWAYS does. Thank you.

  28. Judy from KC says:

    Thank you for reposting your travel tips about packing the cute outfits. I forgot the part about writing it down. I will start doing that ! Especially for longer trips that will help me not to get overwhelmed with the thought of what to take. I also purchased the zippered bags you mentioned once. I love them and plan on getting my sister some for Christmas and perhaps putting a sweater or little gifts in them . They sure help keep everything organized,
    I am praying as well ,for all the catastrophes going on. Doing our part each and everyone seems so small but we can do small things with great love as Mother Theresa use to say.

    • sbranch says:

      I adore those zipper bags. Others have told me to use plastic bags, but the squares have depth, ALL my socks fit into one. So when I unpack, I just pull it out throw it in a drawer and unzip it. Pretty wonderful!

  29. J Lord says:

    We went to England last fall and by design we decided to stay in one place on the Cornwall coast and take the train out each day, for a day trip, to explore a new location. (We planned it this way because we are “fraidy” cats and didn’t want to drive on the “wrong” side of the street. LOL). We found so much charm where we stayed that we ended up cancelling most of our day trips and explored local. It was so much fun! We ended up getting to know people and returned nighty to a great pub we found on our first night for dinner. It changed the way I have viewed traveling, for sure. Your observations are right on!

    • sbranch says:

      Once you try it that way, you never want to go back to the other! Sounds dreamy!

      • Mary Windemuller says:

        I love that! We incorporate both into our travels. We are in Suffolk right now, but did spend a week at a beautiful self-let for a week in Buckland, the Cotswolds, a couple of weeks ago. We are in England for 5 weeks and wanted to incorporate a few never before seen counties into our trip while enjoying old favorites!

  30. Gloria Cheney says:

    Here you are again–a treat in my email. Thanks so much for your delightful visit with me.

  31. Ann Woleben says:

    The picnic cup is calling me. Love the lambs! Knowing I can’t travel to England, the cup would be almost like being there. Well, not really, but almost! Temperatures here in Virginia are in the mid 80s, but yesterday I saw the first pumpkin at a roadside market and I began to think about pulling out the autumn wreaths, candles, linens and dried gourds. Waiting to see if Hurricane Irma comes our way. Prayers lifted daily for hurricane victims and fire victims; your post brings peace in a time of chaos. Thank you for sharing.

  32. jayne reimers says:

    I’m new to your blog but already absolutely hooked!! How can I find out the details of the trip?

    • sbranch says:

      Go to the right-hand column on my blog, scroll down to COMING SOON/EVENTS, click there, and voila … all the info you need. It’s really simple, come to Castle Cottage, in Near Sawrey, in the Lake District of England on May 11, 2018 at noon and bring your own picnic basket and a blanket to sit on. More details include a tour and other things on the Events page. See you there Jayne!

  33. Linda Miller says:

    Susan,

    Another cozy blog that made for an enjoyable evening read. Your blogs are an adventure into the wonders of nature and travel. Thank you for such lovely journeys!

    Happy Autumn,
    Linda

  34. Bobbie Calgaro says:

    Thanks for the lovely post and the wonderful travel advice. Now that Jim and I are retired, we want to see the country. I think taking it in two week increments like that could be fun. Have a good September. I am looking forward to cooler days and changing leaves.

  35. Liz Hand says:

    Thanks for such a cheery post. I always enjoy hearing from you. Looking forward to touring England with you virtually.
    liz H

  36. You have taken my heart back to England! What a lovely post – especially for us who LOVE ENGLAND! And to put a cherry on top – the musica! “She” is one of my very favorite songs and it is bea-u-ti-ful in French. I had never heard that before. Now I’m going to have to watch Nottinghill and enjoy the accents and the soundtrack with “She” the first way I heard it – in English. And then I will add the French version to my music library. Thank you for so many lovely surprises – the picnic cup is precious!

  37. Rita Baker says:

    What a surprise seeing your raccoon visitor. I live in a city in Orange Co., California, less than half a mile from a freeway. We’ve been seeing lots of squirrels, cottontail bunnies, falcons, hawks, & lovely white egrets nesting in the trees over our community pool. Possums used to be seen in our backyard flower beds, but just last night imagine my surprise when a HUGE raccoon walked past my patio! P.S. So happy to know you’re going to Ireland. Like I said in the last post, you will fall in love! Again.

  38. Mary Brehm says:

    Hi Susan! Finally getting to read your post now. (I thought I’d get to read it when I got home from my cleaning job, but the day got away from me ) I’m laying in bed and listening to the rain and while your musica plays. My kitty is laying next to my head and purring away. I love the picture of Jack and Joe.
    I just finished re-reading Isle of dreams. Your story is so wonderful and it inspires me to be more positive and strive to do better in my life. I only know you through your books and blog, but I feel such sisterhood with you and when you were sad in the book It broke my heart and when you were happy it just made me so happy for you. I have been puttering in my house for days making things sparkle and putting out little fall touches. It’s so much fun.
    Your trip to Enland is going to be amazing i’m sure and how wonderful that Kellee and Sheri get to go with you.
    It has been raining here for days. Hope it dries out soon.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, Mary, been puttering. Planning a lot of puttering today! Rug man is coming tomorrow to clean our rugs. It will be beautiful then! xoxo

      • Mary Brehm says:

        I had a full cleaning schedule this week, Monday through today, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and it being a nice day. So much to do, not sure where to start. It has been dreary and rainy here all week.
        My darling kitty threw up on my couch cushion the other day. I scrubbed it and put it out on my deck to dry and then the rain came before I had a chance to bring it in. Now it’s sitting out there a big soggy sodden mess. Good Lord….Now I want to get a new couch : (

        • sbranch says:

          I know I shouldn’t laugh, but that’s the kind of thing I do! I know, new couch!

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            well here is an idea to help you out, if the couch finally dries out or you get a new ( and that is a pretty good reason to get one I think) I put a slipcover over it and if the kitties do something like throw up on the couch, I can take the slipcover off and wash it and not worry too much about the couch.

  39. Marilyn Bunte says:

    I sure love reading your uplifting and inspiring notes about what is going on in your life.

    We are suffering with the fires on the Columbia River Gorge area. The beauty of area brings you to tears because 30,000 acres are going up in smoke because of carelessness.

    England would be my dream to visit and possibly live. Of course we all watch BBC I recently found Escaping to the Countryside. I think you could say I am addicted to the series. I have a few priceleess memomentos of Beatrice Potter and my Tasha Tudor books led me to dream about England over the years.

    Fall is such a cozy time of the year with the fireplace lite, wonderful smells coming from the kitchen and I love candles burning for atmosphere.

    Enjoy the season🍁
    M

    • sbranch says:

      SO hideous when beauty is destroyed, such a terrible waste. I’m so sorry Marilyn, I know I would be crying every day if I was there with you. Nature is a miracle though, someday this will be a terrible memory. Blessings on you and yours. Happy Fall!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        Marilyn that is so sad, the fires here were mostly caused by lightning, but to hear that a stupid and obnoxious 15 year old started that fire with his illegal use of fireworks is really infuriating. I hope he gets the maximum penalty throw at him, and I hope they can get that fire under control soon… sending prayers and good thoughts for your area…hope you are getting some of this good drenching rain we are enjoying here in Southern Oregon.

  40. Connie Castle says:

    Connie Castle from Michigan;
    Loved your latest blog and tips on packing for travel–excellent ideas. Autumn
    has come early to Michigan too, even some leaves on trees have started turning.
    But I am so excited to see the Castle Cottage cup you are designing. I love it
    and can hardly wait until January when it can be ordered. It is perfect–love the
    gamboling lambs and bluebells. And then to hear “She” , a favorite song of mine
    at the end in French. Got out my copy of NOTTING HILL to watch this weekend–Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts were wonderful together. Thank you for
    all your positive thoughts–will look forward to your trip to England and the blog
    to follow. Susan, even though I can’t make to England next May, this has still been a ‘red’ letter day!

    • sbranch says:

      I listened to the French She at least seven times yesterday, and now I need to do it again… it has “thrill factor” in it for me, spine strengthening musica! Castle Cottage, coming soon, Ms. Castle!

  41. Kay says:

    Oh, I envy you and your 13 bags and relaxing ocean cruise to Europe. My husband travels internationally for business all the time and I tag along whenever I can. But we’re usually on a timetable with no time for leisure on the way. I always go when he’s heading for Paris (my favorite city in the world), and it’s there we learned long ago to always rent an apartment. I love starting each day walking down the block to the nearest boulangerie to buy a lovely freshly baked croissant to take back and slather with marmalade while I lounge and plan my day. When our “ship” comes in (or we win the lottery), we are so buying our own place there. Oh, and your garden and yard are so beautiful and inviting. I spend lots of time photographing our large flower garden as well. These days spending time in our garden is saving my sanity!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s wonderful when you get to go back to a place you love, that’s another great way to choose your best bakery! xoxo

  42. Karen Seward says:

    Thank you for another Beautiful Blog, Oh how I would Love to take a trip to the English Countryside and would Love to find some Lovely Tearooms, Still reading “A Fine Romance” Im a slow Reader, I also have someone I should call “My Shadow” my Darling Cat Timmy he’s always with his Mommy (me), Bye Susan hope you have a wonderful Day Tommorrow……Karen Seward,Oceanside, N.Y.

  43. Carol says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for your writings and your blog. I have read Isles of Dreams twice and have experienced joy in how you’ve captured the vineyard and woven in your discoveries and love of the island.
    What a blessing for you to discover your God given talents in capturing human nature and nature!
    Thank you for sharing- how about writing another book?

  44. Mary Berryman says:

    What more can I say that hasn’t been said??!! Your lovely words inspire and put our minds at ease, giving us a certain peace. You give us a part of the lives that we want, with the antique stores, shops, quilting, baking, loving our pets, being excited about the changing of seasons. finding that perfect quote, sharing a good book, and on and on, you help us with our yearnings. (I maybe should apologize here. I know what I said, I hope others do!)

    I did have to get the new Beatrix Potter book you told us about! It is lovely. I haven’t started it yet but I will when that “right moment” comes to me!

    Prayers to all of the storm victims, and to those who are anxiously awaiting in Florida.

    Mary

  45. Gmapat says:

    The cool air energizes me. I’m all about autumn decor earlier than usual! So grand. As we came home at dusk the Harvest Moon followed us as it rose with an orange glow. Love it! Love it! A friend knitted me a candy corn toboggan style hat. Sooo cute! It is the inspiration for my Halloween costume this year. Pumpkin stacks, pumpkin pie ummmmm, pumpkin cake, pumpkin chili: the newest best thing, we’ve loved it for 2yrs. I’ll be glad to send you the recipe. Happy autumn everyone💛🎃🍁🌝🍂🍎🍐

  46. Julie says:

    I’ve had such a stress filled week my teeth hurt from clenching. Whenever I read your blog, I feel myself slowly unwind, and I escape into your beautifully illustrated world. It’s such a soothing balm and you truly are a gift that contributes good to this angry world. Thank you.

  47. Barbara A Case says:

    Thank you for a lovely interlude. I always enjoy your posts so very much. They are like mini vacations themselves. Take care ! New cups look wonderful !! xoxo

  48. Eileen F says:

    I would love to plop down somewhere for two weeks! We have done our share of 6 stops in 7 days on cruises. Fortunately only unpack once, see a lot, but a sense of hurrying along. We have been in Maui, a week at a time, for several years now, but we’ve done all the things we want to do there. It is just a very relaxing getaway. And we’ve driven here and there, spending a few nights in one place before moving on to the next. Someday we’ll have to pick a place to go where we can spend two weeks and explore from the one spot. I imagine that could take as much planning as moving every several days, if one wanted. Right now, it sounds very good.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, cruise boats move way too fast! But at least you only have to unpack once! You don’t get to know the butcher, or cook dinner or anything like that ~ but you probably meet nice fellow cruisers! Slowing down is a lovely way to go. Especially in an area like New England, or old England, or so many other places, packed with interesting things to see within a small radius.

      • Mary Windemuller says:

        I think it all has to do with our age and how much we travel. Doug and I have been to all of the places we’ve wanted to go and now, at 73, we love and prefer to go back to our favorite places and spend a week, melting into the locals and locale.

        • sbranch says:

          I love that too, but I still get a huge thrill out of seeing something I’ve never seen before … love your words “melting into the locals and locale” ~ just right!

  49. Lori Metschan says:

    Love, love…….😊 So sad I missed out on the recipe boxes, just wasn’t quick enough. But, have to ask when pre-orders for the Winter mugs will be? I can’t wait! Love from the Seattle area………Lori xoxo! ❤❤

  50. Linda Hill says:

    Our September is not wonderful at all. We are in red alert air quality, temps still in mid to high 90’s, no sun because of all the smoke, stuck indoors most of the summer from heat, fires etc.
    My sister fell and broke both elbows–6 1/2 hours of surgery and the highway to get to see her is closed due to fires (a stupid 15 year old boy with his …..fireworks) causing thousands of acres of gorgeous trees, scenery , in the Columbia River Basin to be destroyed. Then several earthquakes (sizable for IDAHO) friends caught in flood waters in Texas, now other friends in FLorida bracin for the storm! What a summer/Fall!
    Glad to know you are having a nice time. I think we have a very angry God and it is very scary…..and who can blame Him?
    Love your post……….nice to know there is sanity out there somewhere even if it is clear across the country. (Must be those West Coast roots–ha!!!!)
    Linda from Idaho trying not to breathe the outside air!

    • sbranch says:

      Praying for rain to come your way and get rid of those miserable fires, Linda. What a nightmare. Yes, I know, there’s no global warming! Be glad, for today, you are not in Florida. Those poor folks, I have NEVER seen 185 mph sustained winds… our hurricanes have had gusts at 120 and that was plenty scary enough. Hugs to you, and to your sister, a huge get well soon.

      • Mary Windemuller says:

        As scripture says, even the earth groans for the return of its Creator!

        • sbranch says:

          So many lovely words … “Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” Psalm 96:12 Creation is God’s beautiful gift to humanity. We are called to care for it.

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            I choose to believe that God is not angry with us, but very disappointed in us and very sad with us. we have let him down by not caring for this planet, and now he is letting us know about it.

          • sbranch says:

            I agree. His gift, flowers and grass, waterfalls and the smell of salt air, birds and snowfall, the ocean, the mountains and deserts, and tomatoes on the vine. We have been so blessed.

          • Rhonda D. says:

            God is not angry with us, He loves us very very much. But He has created us with a free will (otherwise we’d just be zombies), and unfortunately there is a lot of evil in the world. Not everyone chooses to do good with that free will. Scripture says it rains on the just and the unjust. But He has given us all the wonderful promises in His word to help us cope.

  51. Marcy says:

    Your blog always makes my heart happy💗 P.S. …made the zucchini bread and ate a slice while drinking tea from the bluebird cup. Serendipity!

  52. Heather Warren says:

    I get lost in your Willards. I drift off into a place of dreaming, living meaningfully and of contentment. Such a wonderful escape from what is on the sad news where I feel helpless to make a difference in the world. I do know that you know how to make a difference where you are, to find and savor the beautiful in life. You inspire and remind us to keep our eyes out for the good and the lovely, because it IS there if we seek to find it. And, if it is NOT there, then create the beautiful and the lovely and invite your family and friends to join in for in that joining and fellowship is the joy of life. Thank you Girlfriend. xoxo

  53. Diana Crick says:

    I so enjoy my time being with you as I read your blog. I even read it to my husband! We have been watching Escape to the Country, a British show about helping a couple find a new home in the area of England they wish to move to. I have been drooling over the beautiful countryside, the stone walls, the rolling hills and am in LOVE with all the different sheep. The show and YOU have encouraged us to plan a trip to said England next year for possibly two or more months. We had planned to drive here there and everywhere but after reading your words that plan is now out the window and we will do as you suggest, 2 weeks here, 2 weeks there. For sure we hope to join you and Joe at your ” Picnic”. I know it will be the highlight of our holiday. We are Roy and Diana from Surrey, British Columbia, see you next year in May. One last question did a Travel Agent help you plan your holiday, rental car etc. or did you do it all yourselves? Many hugs, Diana

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful Diana, we will see you there. We planned our trip ourselves … you may have already read a Fine Romance, the book I wrote about a two month trip we took to England a few years ago, including my first visit to Hilltop? If you haven’t, I think it might help you with your trip. You can Google everything you need to know, places to rent and so forth. Join the National Trust for free and quick (no standing in line) entrance to all their wonderful historical properties. Spring in England, ooo la wee!

  54. Gill Smith says:

    Wonderful post to start my day Susan! Thank you. Well done Stacy, how delightful for you, you must be over the moon! Gill Uk xx

  55. Kelly Reid Machnov says:

    I hope there is ample room in that suitcase of yours for me!!! When do we leave? Your travel plans are spot on, Susan. In a world where everything seems so sped up, and people in a hurry to know and do everything, you wind up missing the most important aspects of life. To stop and smell the roses🌹, or in this case the hydrangeas! My best gal pal’s daughter is in the Lake District as I type this to you. She had a tour of Beatrix Potter’s homestead today and because it may have been off season she was the only one on the tour…so talk about individual attention. She is then heading to Glasgow to study for a year getting a Masters degree in Library Science at Strathclyde University. See? You have inspired so many!

    Anyway, will sign off for now but did want to send love, and prayers to all in a hurricane’s path. You are in our prayers.

    Thank you for this lovely blog entry Susan. So look forward to your blogs. Best to you, Joe and feline friend 🐾and raccoon 🐾too!

    Best,

    Kelly from Walnut Creek, Ca.🌷🌻🌷

    PS. after a week of over 114 degree ☀️temperatures here in the lovely SF Bay Area🌉🌁, so enjoying this lovely, cooler evening watching the moon float by. 🌖

  56. Martha says:

    Thanks for sharing once again! Love the furry friends outside and inside! The cats white paws are adorable. So cozy and comfy. I am definitely going to purchase at least one of those mugs along with the day planner calendar, desk calendar and wall calendar that I purchase every year.

  57. PJ says:

    Your cheery post was a perfect way to start my day, though I enjoyed my morning coffee, not tea, with your post (there will be tea later today). Thank you for sharing your gifts. Wishing you a blessed day…

  58. Seona says:

    Oh Susan, you always make me appreciate travels around England , it’s lovely to see it through your eyes, I’m guilty of taking it for granted. So exciting about the Castle Cottage mug, definitely put me down for one of those! We’ve just got back from a trip to southern Sweden – I think you’d love it, it reminds me so much of New England with its red wooden barns and green pastures. Maybe on next-but-one trip to Europe eh?! Seona x

  59. Deborah in Odessa says:

    Luv-lee, just luv-lee. Wonderful post. Congrats Stacy, you are gonna luv your prize. I love the idea of renting a home while on a vacation. Totally agree. Luv the new mugs…lol..I am going to have to get a mug hutch. The Ber months are here, my favorite time of yr. My heart goes out to all my fellow Texans. They are suffering much, but working hard to overcome. The fires in the Northwest and hurricane Irma, so sad, scary, heartbreaking. Let us all keep doing things that prove our love for one another.Thanks for the cheer.

    • sbranch says:

      I wish the national news would give us more updates on Texas and Louisiana … I’m not hearing very much about how it’s going for everyone. Hoping that no news is good news, but with what happened, I think it still must be very tough for lots of people. Sending love and prayers Deborah.

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        Deborah I have some family in Texas, Midland, TX. I can only guess they made it through the storm, or did it just pass by and did no harm???

  60. Debbie now from Easthampton says:

    Thanks, Susan, for your love of simplicity…it is inspiring. We, too, love the “stay-cation” with a home base when travelling. We enjoy feeling like part of the neighborhood and pretend we are not really tourists. Walking and public transportation are the best ways to get around to really see the sights. Our last trip to Italy was the best yet since we did master the art of taking one bag: carry-on only for our 17-day stay. It was amazing how it gave us such freedom from many of the stresses of travelling. It is key to have the washer/dryer available and have the home base. I think we could pare down even a bit more if we tried!!! Love and agree with all of the reasons you give for enjoying a favorite area and really feel like one of the “locals”. Enjoy the fall.

  61. Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    First off…congratulations to Stacy!
    Next that adorable raccoon! Hyper-cutalation!! ❤️ When I lived in Ohio I use to put food out on the picnic table for the raccoons and then watch them through the window when they came out to eat. Usually I left them cat food, but they love graham crackers! I remember neighbors complaining that raccoons got in their garbage cans; they never got in mine! Perhaps they should have fed them!!
    And the picture of Joe and Jack……..it makes the heart smile!
    I am anxious for the England trip. This one will really be something! I can’t wait to see the inside of that cute cottage. Save a spot for me in one of the suitcases!! I won’t even tell my family I am going….I shall just slip away! LOL
    I made the world’s fastest trip to Ohio and back, I should have been a long distant truck driver! So I was able to enjoy a morning of cool, saw a couple of leaves turning and enjoyed a sweater evening! Jim just didn’t fare well, I think his traveling days are over. But when we got home our house welcomed us back and we could feel it’s loving embrace when we walked in. Not to mention how happy our dogs were to see us! So all is good. Others have much larger problems as I keep Florida in my prayers and continue to pray for Texas.
    One other thing, I am curious what size the Valentine cup will be? Like Autumn or bigger?

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Chris! The only small cups (so far) are going to be the four seasons. Seems, although there are a few girlfriends who prefer the small ones, most everyone seems to like the big ones best, so that’s the way I’m going. Hope that’s okay with you! Love how you’re slipping away to England, perfect! xoxoxo

      • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        Love both sizes!!

        • sbranch says:

          You are my kinda girl! But of course, we already knew that! 🤗

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            we use to have a neighbor who had tea parties for coon on the full moon. she would set little teacups, plates and saucers for the coons ( this were play tea sets) and they were filled with grapes, cherries, cookies and doughnuts. the coons loved it, but the neighbors ( especially us) did not. those coons got into people’s trash, and got into our henhouse and killed chickens. so we finally told her no more parties for those coons. she didn’t listen and it went on until someone called her daughter and she had her mom put away. now we have obnoxious neighbors alongside of us that leave piles of trash and garbage out along the fences and of course the coons, possums and mice are in that all the time and come spilling over to our property and invade… wish these neighbors would go away!!!

  62. Candice Lyons says:

    Susan, I love this post. It reminded me of the year that my husband and I spent two weeks in London. It was the most wonderful trip and we got a few side trips in as well. It was wonderful not to have to pack and go off again — just as you said! I look forward to hearing (and seeing) all about your trip next year.

    Happy fall — my spirit animal as well!

  63. A.Rose says:

    September is my favorite month of the year. Most say it’s because I have my birthday this month but there are so many more reasons. This is the month when life gets back to “normal” with more structure. Things are better too…crows calling, mums blooming, chipmunks filling their cheeks, light showing more shadows, farmers harvesting their crops,etc. Truly my favorite month. So glad you like it too!

  64. Beth from Iowa says:

    Thanks once again for a breath of fresh air – if we don’t come up once and awhile we will all perish😖!! We are very fortunate here in Iowa – we had a little smoke for a few days (yes it made it this far) I can’t imagine what it must be like in those locations closer to the fires. Please know that if you decide to bug out at any point – we have a guest room with your names on it – (yes even Jack our kitties will make room for such a good looking fellow!) Here’s hoping all the Girlfriends stay safe and sane💕!!!!

  65. Virginia says:

    OT–Did you see that they are having an auction of some of Princess Diana’s things? They include her childhood copy of Beatrix Potter’s ‘Tale of Pigling Bland’ with her childhood signature. She had donated some of her childhood books to benefit a children’s charity in 1997 and this was one of them. I hope they brought joy to her childhood. I like to think so.

    PS–my post of yesterday at 5:05pm is still being moderated. Hope there’s no tech snafu.

    • sbranch says:

      Just me, I’m the only “tech” in town, we had company last night so I didn’t get to “moderate” ~ but I’m here now!

  66. Cynde says:

    Grabbed my coffee this morning with pumpkin spice & took a little armchair trip to the U.K. via your blog. I could see myself living there….it’s we’re the quaint country meets the quaint town life…the shops, the pubs, how I wish we had pubs here, the easy stroll thru the countryside…the best of both worlds. For now I’ll live vicariously thru your blogs, & books, & with fingers crossed to get there myself soon. But as you bought your home in MV that would be me with the U.K., I’m afraid!!! Lol Thank you again.
    Also really loving the mugs. What a sweet away to start my day & usually end it. Every day I pick a different one.
    And a big ty for bringing back the be a elf bead!!! Fingers crossed that the kitty one will be back too….please!!
    Well Susan wishing you a beautiful & wonderful day on MV. Nip in the air here today IL has me in the Autumn mood…canning, hanging wash on the line, dead heading some marigolds, & getting some fall decorations out…😊🍂🍁🌾

    • sbranch says:

      I know how you feel, be careful of your heart! We’re out of kitty charms? We are not keeping up are we? LOL!

  67. I always enjoy seeing England through your eyes. When you live in a place, it is all too easy to become blasé about it.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s shockingly beautiful in England, look at the hedges with the gates in them! I don’t know why I picked that, there are so many special things about your green and pleasant land.

  68. Tisa says:

    Your blog is such a lovely way to start the day, thank you! My daughter & I just watched “Julie and Julia” (again, for the umpteenth time) a couple days ago….sigh…how much Julia and Paul were in love/like! Love all your photos, garden, friends, food, England, artwork, travel tips, etc. Here in Seattle we are suffering like Portland with lots of smoke from uncontrolled wildfires, we need some rain while others are being inundated. Weather world gone cray cray! Hugs to Jack and ‘your Paul’, Joe–your biggest supporter and fan 🙂 Today: banana bread. Bon Apetite!

  69. Margie says:

    Stay safe with Irma looming, and enjoy the charm and beauty that you share with us. You always lift me up with the beauty of your paintings and sayings. Love Willards. If I remember correctly he was your grandfather? I am especially into shadows. They are in a lot of my poems! You have a beautiful voice too! ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

  70. Jud says:

    Hi Susan,
    I’m relatively new to your blog. It’s the most relaxing part of any day. I have read all over your old Willards and are up to May 2013 with your posts. I have read Fairy Tale Girl and Isle of Dreams, I have read each of them twice. I am saving The English Countryside for my fall reading. I enjoy lingering over each of the books. I hope that you have continued journaling and have another memoir in you. Please know you are touching so many lives and I appreciate it. I’m soon going to run out of writings from the past.
    My question to you is when do you think that you will have your new cookie plate in your web store? I’m itching to buy a few as gifts, but don’t think that they will be ready in time for Christmas. I will happily wait until they come in.
    Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. You touch so many of our lives.

    • sbranch says:

      I honestly don’t know… I’m almost giving up on them for Christmas because of how long it is taking. It’s only September, so we’ll see, I keep lighting matches under them! Thank you Jud, very nice to meet you!

  71. Donna says:

    Your posts are always a pleasurable respite in a busy day – thank so much! I enjoy the same method of travel as you. After years of three days here, three there, I have been getting apartments instead. One, in a restored 14th century hamlet high in the mountains behind Cortona called Borgo di Vagli, was amazing. An apartment on the roof of an old palazzo near the Villa Medici this spring had 360 views of all of Rome from the rooftop terrace. Sigh. Staying in one place gives me a totally different perspective and I don’t think I can go back to hotels except for brief stays. Last week’s apartment in Rockport, MA (balcony over the ocean at Front Beach) was a balm for the soul and I loved walking everywhere at any time and getting to know my favorite New England town even better. I’m with you – this is the BEST way to travel!

  72. Barbara Moran says:

    Hi Susan,
    I am so sad to tell you and all the girlfriends that Nursery Thyme does not deliver to the US 🙁 I was so excited to be able to have an Autumn mug but to my disappointment they do not deliver here.
    You know the inner part of my soul, love your blog and everything Susan Branch <3.
    Hugs, Barbara

  73. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    Oh, how I love this blog. More than enough worries on my plate right now, and this was such an antidote. I tend to take each of your new posts in one big gulp, then go back and read them slowly. When I first skimmed this one and saw the back of the Valentine mug I initially thought the two little tea cups on it were a bikini top! Had to laugh out loud at myself.

    Our oldest grandson’s other pair of grandparents live in Port Saint Lucie, and hubby’s cousin and her husband reside in Pompano Beach. Both cities are on Floridas east coast. The couple in Port Saint Lucie have boarded up the beautiful home that they retired to three years ago, packed up their two dogs and a kitty, and evacuated to their daughter’s home in Atlanta. The other couple are probably heading north later today. I am happy they have decided to get out of harms way, but my heart is so heavy for them as well as all the other folks whose lives will be forever altered by the devastation from this storm as well as the one that tore through Texas and Louisiana.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, thrilled they are getting out. It’s what I would do! I’ve been thinking about it, because we’re out here in hurricane area too. Love the bikini top!!! LOL, too cute!

  74. Deb in Wales says:

    What the world needs now is more blogs like this to read. Transport us away from reality! Such fun and happy memories of last year, was it only last year we traipsed across the English highways, byways, lanes, and meadows?

    I don’t suppose the new accoutrements will include tea bag tidies, by any chance? I think I have enough now to call myself a collector of those, whatever that might be. Just askin’ oh, and of course, availability through Nursery Thymes. Carol is such a lovely lady!

    A bit late to the party, my copy of “Gratitude” arrived. How I love it! I did a review, it went through on Amazon UK though, and so far sits there all alone! I hope it encourages others to buy it because it is such a truly lovely book, not only the art and inspirational words, but the soft touch embossed cover. I seem to pick it up daily, and it is very pleasing on so many levels.

    Someone came to my cottage the other day, glanced casually at the coffee table where I’d been doing a small photo shoot, and said “Do you like Beatrix Potter, then?” I giggled. Then, they asked who is Susan Branch. I may have made another new follower for you {again}

    Great British Bake Off is back in the UK, and despite the furore last year with the changes of channel, it is no different, still full of incredibly talented and inspirational bakers. Same music, same tent in a field, same everything bar the changes in a judge and the hosts. They will take some getting used to, but it’s so lovely to welcome it back for a few weeks of baking bliss. I’m always in total awe, even of the standards of the one who leaves! Even the breaks are welcome, it gives a chance to top up the teapot!

    ~~~waving~~~from Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Oh you darling Deb, thank you for the review! Very few reviews for my books on Amazon UK. Sort of think it’s the English way of minding one’s own business! 😃 You’re a dear for doing that! Glad to hear there are no changes on the Bake Off. It was good just the way it was! Love being mentioned in the same sentence with Beatrix Potter! xoxo The problem with the new dishes, they won’t be made in England. I wish, but the people we work with over there limit themselves to mugs. Maybe I should try to find someone else! Waving, from across the pond, Susan on the Island. xoxoxo

  75. Good morning Susan,
    Congratulations to the winner of the goodies and congrats to you for all the comments that this gift generated. I think I read most of them and enjoyed all the perspectives.
    Have you, by chance, read the Susan Allen Toth travel books about England? They are: My Love Affair with England, England As You Like It, England For All Seasons. They are such fun and she recommends the thumb print approach to visiting England, that is put your thumb on the map and visit every place under it. She was raised in Ames, Iowa, and like your Mom, an Iowa girl for life, no matter where she happened to be living. (She might have been in California when the books were written, can’t recall for sure.) We love your Iowa connection and how great minds run in the same circles: Susan Allen Toth, you and me! We all love England and love to read books about being there.
    Let’s all say a prayer to the Goddess of Goodness that the folks of Florida have the resources to weather this storm. If all the Girlfriends pray it will surely help. Thanks for your inspiration with another great blog.

    • sbranch says:

      I believe it’s true, to the Goddess of Goodness for all that is fair and right and beautiful. Our prayer. xoxo

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        and lets ask her to send more rain to help with the fires, so far what she sent has been a big help!!! hugs… 🙂

  76. Jan says:

    Susan, your blog is just what I needed today. It’s lovely cool weather in Liberty, MO today. Unfortunately, I am not enjoying it. I just found out Tuesday evening that I have shingles! Yikes! My doctor feels, from appearances, I am over the worst of it. I’m at the fun stage of blisters breaking on my back. Anyway, Branch Blister Banter has brought a smile to my face regardless! Thank you! I’m awarding you the “Just What The Doctor Ordered” award! LOL!

  77. Emily says:

    Well I might as well give in…I’m a full-fledged collector now. Your mugs have a celebrated place in my mug cupboard. I love the idea of a cookie plate! The Valentine’s day mug is lovely. I can’t wait to place my order.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m stuck too, so there we are, cup people after all.

      • Sharon from CA says:

        Hello Susan, any chance there will be more of the Autumn cups available ? I love that little cup but didn’t order soon enough and just missed out on the “blemished” ones too 🙁

        Thanks, Sharon

        • sbranch says:

          I just asked the manufacturer in England if they had any left over decals we could get put onto cups, and they said, yes, a few, and I said, I’ll take them all … so I’d say check in with us in 3 to 4 weeks. Yay! I’m going to put the new designs up for presale in a couple of weeks, fyi!

  78. Lorraine says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with your travel logic. Our last trip to England we stayed no less than 3-4 nights in one place (we were there ~3 weeks). We used Rick Steves’ books to find small B&Bs – and he was spot on – but we definitely took everything slow and mostly avoided touristy places. I love the idea of renting a house and will consider that for future trips when we’re able to be away from home longer. We’re planning a trip to Ireland (using Rick Steves again) for 2018 and I’m trying to decide if we can time it right to come to the picnic. It might be tricky, but we’ll see. Fingers crossed… Although, I’m sure it will be fun to attend the picnic via the blog too. Love the mug! That’s a must have regardless of whether you attend in person or virtually, via the blog.

    I’m looking forward to your new products, especially the cookie platter. One thing I would like is a tray. I envision one with your artwork (of course, I would love a tea theme) so I can carry tea, etc. to the back yard easily (the one I have is small – even though it’s lovely, I’d like a larger one too). Anyway, maybe you can put that on your long list of “things to make” for future reference. Just a suggestion…

    I’m not sure if you should be happy about your new neighbor – Mr. (or Mrs.) Raccoon. They can cause a bit of trouble. We had a raccoon who regularly visited our tray style bird feeder and helped himself to our suet. He was quite hefty (we named him Beefy Boy) and eventually he broke our tray feeder. Yes it was old, but I think it would have lasted several years since our largest feathered friends are no larger than an occasional hawk. One night he came to our back door and looked in. I think he was letting us know there was no bird seed for him. Even when I turned on the porch light, he kept peering in. We didn’t replace the tray feeder right away and stopped putting out suet. I think he was annoyed with such inferior food service and moved on. He was entertaining while he was here. And what’s a bird feeder or two between friends?…

    I’d like to echo the sentiments of so many and thank you for the blog. It really is a lovely respite from everything crashing down around us on a daily basis (good grief!). I always make a cup of tea (like you suggest) and it definitely helps set the mood for the day. Frequently, I come back and reread the post, just in case I missed something. It’s always enjoyable the second – or third – time around. Thanks again.

    Peace be with you and yours.

    • sbranch says:

      What would your perfect tray be made out of Lorraine? So happy to have you here! xoxo

      • Lorraine says:

        The small one I have is from England and it’s made of melamine (sp?) – hard plastic. It’s older – not sure if they still make these. I remember, they used to make dishes from this too – I’m sure we had some when I was young. Anyway, I like it because it’s lightweight (and has a lovely picture of a thatched cottage). I had a wood one, but by the time I loaded it up, it was really heavy. So, the material isn’t as important as the weight. I’m aware that some wood is heavier than others, so a lighter wood is an option. I appreciate your sourcing products in England or US.

        • sbranch says:

          I’m not so sure those are being made anymore, Lorraine . . . I find most of my trays, as you described, in antique stores. We have some wonderful very large clearing trays made of lightweight wood, painted cream colored, with decals of violets in the corners. So cute and 50s! Would love to make them again, but have no idea where I’d even start to source such things. So much manufacturing is gone. But the hunt through antique stores is very fun!

          • Lorraine says:

            Yes – I’m always on the lookout in antique malls. Fingers crossed. I’m still anxiously awaiting your new dishes, especially the cookie platter. I love my mugs… Thanks for your feedback.

  79. Linda Tondola says:

    Oh Susan, I never come away from your blog without feeling refreshed! And there’s always SOME thing that you write that I say, “Me too!” This time it’s the hole in the tree with the raccoon! Yes, we have a hole in our tree at the level of our second story. Squirrels usually live there and sometimes birds. But a few years ago we had the enjoyment of watching a raccoon who had set up residence there. He’d come and go as he pleased and we enjoyed watching him maneuver down the tree and waddle down the street. Other visitors to the hole include a screech owl blown here after hurricane Sandy, and a duck! My neighbor just stopped over to give me some sweet corn husk dolls and an absolutely adorable tea cup and saucer with autumn leaves all over them! Our tomatoes are ripening at a maddening rate and I gave her some of our bounty to take back with her. It’s my favorite time of year and I can’t get enough of it! All too soon the snow will be flying but, for now, it’s fall! it’s fall! it’s fall!

  80. I am curious…my comments always say “awaiting moderation” then I never see them. Am I neglecting something when I post?

    • sbranch says:

      I think they’re going up Barbara . . . I only have 4 in moderation right now … although there were about 150 yesterday …

  81. Patricia Edde says:

    Oh Susan! I look forward to your posts to take a little break from the world as it stands right now. I have faith that the pendulum will swing back to a better time but am impatient for it to start.
    First the pic of the raccoon. They really are masked bandits but OH SO CUTE! I love the squirrels too but know they will find another home. I moved closer to downtown Decorah in June so am just building up my bird population, via feeders, again, which a doe and her 2 fawns seem to like also. We also have a woodchuck that has made the little creek in back of the property home.
    I am a dog person but I volunteer at our local Humane Society. There was a cat that had just come back from being in foster care. They called her “Chicken Little” and she was 17 years old. She had been with us since we opened in December 2015. I knew that she probably wouldn’t be adopted at that age so I took her home. She had to have daily infusions for severe kidney problems and that wasn’t always easy to do, but we soldiered on together. I knew she wouldn’t be with Sam (my Dog) and I long, but I wanted her to spend the time she had left in a home. She was a sweet, sweet girl and I renamed her Priscilla Queen of the Desert. She lived with us for 3 weeks and then she passed from renal failure. I really wasn’t prepared for the hole in my heart that was there after she was gone. I truly believe that animals represent the best of us and it was a privilege to share her last few weeks.
    Sorry for the long post but I wanted to honor her memory with someone who loves kitties.
    Anyway, thanks so much for the posts, the wonderful artwork, the scrumptious recipes and for sharing your life with us. I am looking forward to Fall (my absolute favorite season), which I hope will last the full 3 months rather then skipping to an early Winter.
    Toodles

    • sbranch says:

      Making me cry Patricia. Thank you for the deserved rescue. People tell me all the time they don’t know their purpose. They look too far above the earth and miss all the little things that need us so much. Thank you for sharing that. You are a shining light of generosity and love. xoxo

  82. I am back again, having relaxed and read your wonderful blog this afternoon. Wound up not being able to sit in the morning. The dogs needed attention, the bird feeders needed filling, windows were opened to let the house breath the cooler air. I love how you traveled. Years ago when I was a Customer Service Manager for a major tire manufacturer, I traveled around the country to reconcile accounts, collect overdue accounts, resolve issues, etc with our area salespeople and my Cust. Svc. Reps. I learned that a home base hotel and flying out on a Saturday morning offered us a chance to do some sightseeing. Knowing after a long day of training or a day with customers/tire dealers it was wonderful to return to a sort of home base. On return trips I would stay at the same hotels. Lots of wonderful experiences and people. When I returned to teaching kindergarten some years later I could my children tales of these cities and towns and share adventures. My husband and I had planned to travel now that are both retired. Plans changed when my 92 year old dad with beginnings of dementia came to live with us last November. I share your train and boat travels with my husband by reading him your blogs and Willard. Some day we will get to travel again. When we had our own cabin cruiser I packed by rolling due to tight quarters. I still plan well and roll.Thank you for sharing your adventures with us.Love you, Susan, and thank you! Thank you!

  83. Barbara P says:

    Dear Susan,
    I so enjoyed looking at the beautiful houses in England and it made me wonder if you’ve seen the series on Netflix called ‘Escape to the Country’? I practically binge-watched it over a couple of days and found it just fascinating. It also answered some of my questions about homes in England, such as what they call a ‘lounge’ we call a living room, etc. Each episode a host takes people to look at three properties all over England to see if one of them is what they’re looking for. I also loved seeing all the different counties and there were a couple of homes I would have moved into immediately! I can’t wait to hear all about your trip next year and I know it will be a wonderful experience.
    Now, I must continue to get ready for ‘Irma’ as she’s heading for Florida, although I think/hope she may miss the West Coast. But I worry about everyone in her path.
    Happy Fall to you and yours…we don’t get much of a fall here and it’s the one thing I miss most about living in Chicago.
    Love and hugs xox

    • sbranch says:

      Hope all is well, that is one big mean hurricane! Stay safe Barbara! Loved Escape to the Country, saw them all, then went on to watch the delightful Penelope Keith’s Hidden Villages series which we found on Acorn (I think). All just perfect for taking your mind away to the green and pleasant land.

  84. Barb Lyons says:

    Today is a beautiful day in Kansas, blue skies, not a cloud in sight, soft air and I’m in it on the deck, checking my email, listening to the birds. Sounds perfect, and it is, but made more perfect because I read your blog post. I completely agree traveling is so much better with time spent in one place, getting to know it. We haven’t done it a lot, but the times we have, we become so relaxed, smile enjoyably and make strangers into friends. Thank you for reminding me of this joy. I hope your day is peaceful and filled with contentment.

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

    Another post filled with lovely things – from winsome Jack to the Julias to family, flowers, and full moons! And dappled light to dear “home away from homes,” and new designs for cups. What fun! I am so excited to read about travel because soon, at the end of this month, my husband and I are taking a bus trip called ” New England – Cape Cod. ” It’s going to be filled with fun things to do, but best of all is a visit to Martha’s Vineyard! We should be getting our itinerary soon, and I can’t wait to read what is in store for us that day. If you are oot and aboot some fine day in late September and see someone waving ecstatically, it might be me!

  86. Eliza Waters says:

    My first trip to England was in Sept. so your post has added to my nostalgia. I think vacationing in one place makes the best sense. Would love to get small and jump into your suitcase! <3

  87. Kim from Western Mass says:

    Hello Susan!

    Are you going to have anymore Autumn cups? I keep trying to get one, blemished or unblemished, and it keeps saying “add to wish list”. I want it for real, not in my wishlist!

    Thank you as always for the wonderful post.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, a few more will be coming in about a month … we discovered the manufacturer had made a few extra decals, so check back.

  88. Ellen Clark says:

    I am suffering from shingles and feel really awful right now. Reading your blog has put me in a better place. Thank you so much.

  89. Joanne Conte says:

    Thanks, Susan. I was having a not so great day, but your blog just brightened it up!

  90. Cheryl says:

    Like a lovely letter from a treasured friend.

  91. LauraB says:

    My sweet lady – what a treat this long post has been. (AND that picnic mug!! Och, sooo darling!) I have moved my elderly father in to our country home as a respite from life’s burdens. I return in small ways to my youth and yet we meet as peers…his music is yours, your preference for the vintage and useful my own. But the fears remain – for his health, for the fitting in of a long guest into a life so familiar…this trek through your plans and dreams was a delight. Thank you for taking the time to produce it! Thank you for sharing! I think of you each morning as the Island mug reaches my grasp and I say a quick blessing for you and Joe. Now, if only autumn would reach Texas…

  92. Kathy says:

    I love your blog! It is my favorite and just love it when I see a new entry. I am going to Arroyo Grande next month and was wondering if there are any places or restaurants that I need to check out there? Thanks and have a wonderful day.

  93. Alice - K, TX says:

    Thank you Susan for a beautiful escape today! Your blog came yesterday but was not able to read it until today. Here in the Houston area so many, many lives have been turned upside down by the devastation from Harvey. Everyone is busy reaching out and helping anyone and in anyway they can. It has been so uplifting to see the love and good will that is being shared. Houston Strong! So grateful my home was spared but the company I work for suffered great loss from flooding. Keep Texas in your prayers. We are having beautiful weather this week, now in the 80’s Thank you for bringing more sunshine to my world today!

  94. Tiah Foster says:

    Your blog is simply a joy to read. Thank you. I look forward to following your Spring trip. You do travel right!! Tiah

  95. Tiah Foster says:

    PS–Is there anyway to find our old responses to you and see if you wrote anything in return? Thanks, Tiah

  96. Joy in Alabama says:

    Ooh! In one of the photos of England, there is a photo your teapot that I won last Christmas! I love it and see it everyday in my dining room where we eat all our meals! Thank you so much for giving it away! Here’s a little tea music for you! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9jwPqDVtsTU (Hope this works!)

    We stayed in one pub for a few days in England when we went and it was the best thing we did! The worst thing we did in that same trip was try to pack in too many places in a short time and we missed seeing so many things because we had to make the next train. 🙁 If we ever get to go back (fingers crossed!), we will rent a place with a kitchen! Great advice!

    Happy Fall, Miss Susan! From Alabama where it has been in the upper 70s/low 80s this week! Luxury!

  97. D'Anne R. Paratore says:

    Ha Ha Ha
    ” I’m gobsmacked by the size of these hurricanes and the fires and whatever fresh hell comes after that”.
    We needed this laugh – my family is scrambling to get out of Florida, darn, we just got rid of them, their baaaack !
    Seriously, God speed to all my dear friends

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, hopefully it’s all calmed down and your family has been able to return to their unscathed home!

      • D'Anne R. Paratore says:

        No such luck – they have no electricity for at least 2 months, or water. My nephew called and asked if he could fly up and stay with me and use a real bathroom.
        Cat litter does not work for him – he would rather take out the garbage. LOL
        I told him to write me any essay on what he has learned from this experience and will do differently. He replied,
        “Listen to my parents”.

  98. Patti Fitzgerald from Skippack, PA says:

    Just the other day, I said to myself, “I need another Susan Branch blog to lift my spirits and keep me grounded”, and lo and behold . . . . it was waiting for me in my inbox!! How did you know??!! Divine Providence, I say! And this particular blog was just chock full of so many wonderful tidbits and beautiful photos . . . . I don’t know what to comment on first!

    Actually, the part that hit home with me the most was the Travel Tips. You are so right on the mark about slowing down and immersing yourself in a particular area, instead of turning the trip into a marathon. Then it becomes a vacation, instead of a trip, which is so much more relaxing and enjoyable! The actual act of traveling is stressful and tiring in and of itself – no need to compound that feeling by changing hotels every other night and living out of your suitcase. Unfortunately, I speak from experience – – and we are about to embark on another one of those tiring treks through Spain. This one will involve a lot of driving, too – – my brother-in-law puts these trips together, bless his soul, but they’re wearing us out! Last year, we spent 10 days in Hawaii, at only two different hotels, and it was so much more relaxing and enjoyable! Yes, I’ve seen many, many different wonderful sites across Europe (including England!!), but much of it is now a blur because of the pace of the trips! I much prefer the way that you and Joe travel – – heck, I would actually love to travel with you and Joe, but since I can’t, your blogs and books will have to suffice! (Oh, and they are like little slices of heaven to me!!)

    Thank you, as always, for your wonderful insight into life, and for sharing your soul with all of your Kindred Spirits. I consider it an honor to be included among them!

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll have the chance again, then get into one little house, and just LIVE there, like a regular person, go out and find all the new things around you every day, and you will have an unforgettable experience. And peaceful too, and soft, a cup of tea in your “own” kitchen can mean so much in the hurly burly of travel.

  99. Joy in Alabama says:

    I forgot to ask you- have you read Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell? It’s a beautiful book. I’ve just read it aloud to my daughter, who is doing botany this year for 10th grade. She lists some estates/houses where Beatrix and her family stayed at various times and I wondered if you might be interested in visiting some of them. I bought the book used from Abebooks.com.

  100. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Howdy! I received and and read your wonderful Willard, and was wondering when your blog would arrive. Today I found it had been shoved into my SPAM box–AAKK! So I moved it right back where it belongs. Lovely, uplifting post, with lots of beautiful photos, art, thoughts, recipes, and more and more. I did get to see the Harvest Moon on the 6th, as we were driving our daughter back to college from a short “sleep in my own bed for a couple of nights” visit, and then found your wonderful Full Moons bookmark in your post, which I printed and am adding to my collection of beautiful ways to mark my books. I may not make it Across the Pond next May, but will be following you and armchair traveling. Getting ready for fall now, I’ll pull out your Autumn Book and rummage through for things to do. Hope you and yours will continue to enjoy these wonderful fall New England days, and I’ll be waiting for your next post. Best to all, a hug to Joe, and a chin scratch to your very cool kitty, Rosemary

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