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. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Just looked over my comment. Writing too fast with cranky fingers that have their own ideas about what letters/words should appear on the page. Didn’t proof enough. Ah well, the thought is there. Sent from a slightly flaky but truly grateful follower–grateful that I can rest my heart and mind and concentrate on the beauty in life.
    Rosemary, one more time (teehee)

  2. Margie Terry says:

    OMG Susan – I’m sitting here in PA with my Pumpkin Spice Latte reading your blog post and I see the name of the winner of your “Autumn Goodies” – Stacy with no last name, just Stacy and she has an 11 year old daughter and my first thought was – it’s my Stacy so I immediately call her to ask her if she knows she is the winner of Susan’s giveaway?! Her response – she didn’t enter this giveaway!? Oh Darn!! Congratulations to the other Stacy though!! Maybe next time! Aren’t you just loving this early “Fall” weather?! I LOVE it!! And speaking of England – my Stacy also informed me that Kate is expecting again?! I must have missed the announcement with all the “Diana” 20th anniversary stuff going on………..I love everything “England” and want to go back again so badly but I am not comfortable about traveling abroad which is not a “good thing” especially since I have relatives in Holland and Germany! I’m hoping soon………..Take care…..

    • sbranch says:

      It’s hard to travel, but you can soften the effects if you try, and the memories, learning, growing, experiencing, admiring, and enjoying are SO ridiculously wonderful, it makes it all worthwhile!

  3. julia walker says:

    Many thanks, Susan, for another “mini-vacation.” Your Gandhi quote is above my computer(“more to life than increasing its speed”). How do you manage to do all that you do every day? I know having a loving help-mate helps + being surrounded by natural beauty. I am so thankful that you care to share your life with all of us. Gratefully, Julia

    • sbranch says:

      Some days I do nothing. It just looks like I do a lot because I crush everything that happens in 2 weeks, including all dreams, into one blog post!

  4. Jen says:

    Thank you for a lovely blog entry. I always look forward to a new one. Do be careful with your new raccoon critter friends. If they get inside the house they will wreak havoc (says someone who knows firsthand)!

  5. Donnie says:

    Thanks for the delightful catchup. I’m going to try your packing tip – I tend to just toss in a bunch of stuff and then suffer with indecision. We like to stay in a place several days for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I want to know the people, really experience where I am. Thanks for always bringing joy and smiles.

    • sbranch says:

      You’re going to love this packing thing. Even if it’s just two outfits, at least you have something where everything actually goes together the way you like!

  6. Sally Roth says:

    Thank you Susan, I love your uplifting and beautiful blog, celebrating what I considered to be the best things in life!
    I’m in England (Cornwall) now for a holiday with my family, what could be nicer?! oxox

  7. Karen C. says:

    Hi Susan. I purchased your Santa tea cup. I love the saying on it; it brings me back to my childhood. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving, which is when we start decorating for Christmas. It sits in my hutch waiting for November. I know I can use it anytime, but I love using all my Christmas things for that special time of year.
    Thank you for your blog. I check every few days looking if a new one was posted, it makes me happy and takes me away to a magical place.

  8. My friend and I are planning a trip to the UK in a few year’s time. We can’t wait! (Of course wishing it were next year in time for the picnic….but who knows…maybe you’ll have another one the year we go! 🙂

    I’ve just started hosting nature walk and journal classes for kids. I’m SO excited! It feels just like a Beatrix Potter sort of thing to do!! We go out with clipboards on walks and identify nature and write down our observations. Then we record it into journals — and each child has a miniature watercolor set I made out of old altoid tins! It’s too much fun. (Okay, a little work too to get it prepped.) Oh, and each week we are having a “nature hero” — someone who recorded nature like Lewis & Clark from their trip out west, and of course Beatrix Potter!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s a wonderful thing to do, teach them how to see! Yes, I can see it’s going to be a lot of work, but you’re going to make their entire lifetimes so much more fun. Remind them of their purpose in life, to protect it, like Beatrix did!

  9. Caroline says:

    I think you will like this quote, “I can’t walk from the bedroom to the kitchen without something weird, wacky, or wonderful happening.” -Dave Gale
    Dave Gale is my friend’s uncle:) He wrote a book called Ready About: Voyages of Life in the Abaco Cays.

    Today we leave for Portugal where we get to live 2 weeks out of the year in a Fairy tale kingdom:) But life at Home is also SO beautiful. Hard to leave! It’s funny; even with college age children, it never seems like a good idea on the day I fly away. God bless all the girl friends!

  10. Hi Susan…in the midst of unpacking my sewing nook in a closet in our new space I stopped for a break, found your new post, my dear husband asked “are you ready for a cup of tea” and I said “YES…there is a new SB post and she said get a cup of tea!” I so enjoy your cozy comments, love the idea of staying two weeks in a spot ( we are hoping to do that in Normandy next year…) and want to tell you that I always love when you put “the moon belongs to everyone, the best things in life are free” in your post – my mom ( raised during the depression and very frugal so if something was free that was great) always sang that song. Brings back a dear memory and a little bit of her into our new space. Can’t wait to get my 2018 calendar….I always did a wall calendar at school ( and saved them, laminated them, and hung the artwork/quotes all over the library), a small calendar for my kitchen desk, and a purse calendar for me. But, now that I have retired ( the first time in 34 years NOT going back to school) I have to move up to the blotter calendar – since we retired and moved to this lovely community we have made so many new friends and need a big calendar to mark our lunch and dinner dates, times for walks, movies, going to explore the farmer’s market and auctions…etc. Feeling blessed to have SO much going on in our lives. Thanks again for the post…have a fabulous Fall day !

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds wonderful Ann . . . and you should know, in the middle of your comment, I started singing, “The moon belongs to everyone, 🎵 the best things in life are free . . . ” 🎶 joyful song, my mom sang it too. xoxo

    • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

      I know we have to be careful, in this day and age, to protect our identities…but I wish I knew where some of these nice retirement-style communities are, where life is so good with things to do in a safe and comfortable…hopefully beautiful…environment; I am so interested because we’ve decided, husband and I (aging baby boomers), to move/relocate for this next chapter and thus need to try to work out the right place for ourselves! The description here sounds heavenly to me! We do have three sets of friends who are finding their ‘heaven’ in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.

  11. Deborah Hatt says:

    Thank you for all your happy thoughts and lovely paintings and photos. God created an oh-so-lovely world, and I appreciate your quest to shout this very message from the rooftops.

    Though I cannot even imagine being able to travel to England, I love going there vicariously through the lens of your excellent camera. Thank you for this.

    Happy Trails, dear Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure. And yes, oh my goodness, this beautiful earth, this gift. How can anyone ever not know their purpose if they look around and see what we’ve been given? xoxo

  12. Nanci says:

    In what village are you renting that darling thatched cottage? Precious!! I’m glad to know why you always take a ship now as my sister and I were wondering. Lots of luggage!! Haha! What Lake in the Lake District will you be near?
    I’ve been there once and we stayed in Near Sawrey and outside of Ambleside. Oh to go back!!

  13. Kathy Branch Spicer says:

    I have been very ill since last Friday with the flu (I’m back to work today but struggling) and I decided, as much as I have to catch up on here at work, I needed a little tea break and your blog. Thank you for taking me off to faraway places. I felt the sunshine of your dapples in my windowless office (the dreariest thing I could ever imagine in any work environment and it is slowly sucking the life out of me to have no way to see the outside world). And of course, little Jack, the little raccoon, sheep, the pup walking in the lane, all of these things made me smile. I needed your blog today, just as I need it every time it arrives! THANK YOU.

    • sbranch says:

      Can you put a mirror on your wall? It will help a little with the light reflection. I can only imagine. Do you escape at lunchtime to the sunlight? Hope you’re feeling well and all back to normal Kathy!

  14. Ridgely in Oregon says:

    Lovely post! Autumn is my very favorite time of the year, it seems to be slow in coming here in the PNW. We are still dealing with excessive heat and smoke from all the fires surrounding this area. It seems the whole Wesr Coast is on fire. I love your mode of traveling–when I was a teen I dreamed of traveling the world and spending a month in each place, living with the locals and really getting to know the culture. My economic reality has not made that possible, so I travel vicariously through your posts and through the many travel books written by folks who have done just what I dreamed so long ago!

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t that wonderful? That these days we can stay home and still experience the joy of travel through books and movies, and especially youtube videos!

  15. Pam says:

    Congratulations Stacy, and another beautiful blog Susan, thank you.

  16. Monica Poling says:

    Susan, have you read Susan Allen Toth’s books/memoirs about traveling through England? You might find her a kindred spirit. Your posts are so delightful and always brighten my day! Thank you! ❤️

  17. sharon taylor says:

    Hi Susan, We, meaning my husband, children and grandchildren our REALLY counting our blessings. Two years ago my husband had a Cardiac Arrest, he was saved by emergency hospital staff. One year ago – September 15 my 13 year old grandson had a Cardiac Arrest while in gym class. We cannot express our gratitude enough for the Fire Men that saved his life. Each and everyday we say thank you. And this October we will be celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary. We might, and that’s might be meeting a friend in London, England at the end of October. What a lovely way to celebrate!!! Thank you Susan, again for bringing joy into our hearts. Oh, I just made your bookmark.

  18. Jena says:

    I’ve extended my day which was supposed to be like a quiet piano music soundtrack by finally reading your blog. It was as dreamy as I had hoped it would be.

    We have a trellis covered in wisteria, fall blooming clematis, and golden climbing roses that is now in serious need of fairy lights. I can’t wait to light it and extend its enjoyment factor into the night.

    Fairy lights are magic and magic makes our sometimes uninviting world more welcoming.

    All my best,

    • sbranch says:

      It does, and we do it for ourselves, for our friends, and neighbors, makes a better world. Little bit of light in the darkness. xoxo

  19. Karen Schrimpf Saunders says:

    What a lovely post Susan!!💜 If only we could go outside and enjoy the last days of summer but alas…I happen to live in Grants Pass Oregon…one of two towns that have hazardous air quality. Yesterday we were blessed with rain and it helped. Poor Oregon is burning up😩
    I have quite a collection of your China!! Cake plate with top, teapot and cups, sugar and creamer, and now all your cups. My weakness!!! I hope Irma stays away from you and you can enjoy the last days of summer!!☺️🌷🌷🌷

    • Karen Schrimpf Saunders says:

      PS……update about me and my one-less-kidney body!! I want to thank the girlfriends for their kind prayers. My doc just informed me I had clean margins. My poor kidney weighed between 3-4 lbs!!!😳 Yikes!!! I’m having a slow recovery but all in all doing well. I just wanted to thank all you sweet souls for your support. You are definitely a blessing to me and I am grateful for your support in my time of need. You all are the best❤️ And most of all if it weren’t for you dear Susan….we wouldn’t exist and be such a mighty force!!!🌷🌷🌷

      • sbranch says:

        Yay Karen! You did it! Congratulations, I’m sosososososososo happy!!!! A mighty force, that’s what we are. Keep getting well, the prayers won’t stop, I’m so proud of you. Onward and upward! 😘

      • Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

        Karen, it’s so good to see your post! I’ve been thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers. I’m happy your surgery went well and that you’re on your way to recovery. It’ll take a while, but try to listen to your body and please don’t push yourself. I go next week for labs, chest X-ray and CT scan, followed by a cysoscopy the following week. This is my first check up since my kidney cancer surgery last February, and I’ll be glad to have it behind me, but I truly believe all will be well. Hugs to you❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Hooray for rain, and praying for more more more! xoxoxo

  20. Linnie Nolan says:

    Hello Miss Loveliness!!
    I once had a black & white “tuxedo” Kitty Markus who lived to be 23!! He was always “Meo~yelling” at at me if I ever broke any of his Kitty standards!!
    This blog post is filled with joyful images all the way through and through!!
    Sending warmth love Linnie

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

    hello and good afternoon Susan, Girlfriends. amazing what 2 days of rain can do for us… the smoke levels are down a bit and the air for once smells sweet and clean, not like a dirty ashtray. the trees, plants, shrubs and pines all got a good bath and the road dust and ashes are cleaned off of them, and good news from the fire area.. the rains helped to slow it down. with the cooler temps and higher humidity they hope make some progress with this fire. the cats are much better, less meowy and more purrs and the barnyard brats are doing better, more spunk and sass and less squabbling. I was giving some consideration to taking down and washing the curtains, but I think I will wait on that job until the fires are out. in the meantime I plan to put out my Autumn decorations, and enjoy the coming of Autumn. oh I forgot and we have more rain predicted for next week, I even get a break from all the watering I have been doing, if this keeps up I can finally roll up the hoses and hang them up in the shed along with the sprinklers and hang those up in the shed until next summer. it was so cool this morning I actually got to wear my warm comfy slippers and I love my comfy slippers.. they keep my feet so warm and toasty. enjoyed a good hot cup of tea and now its back to digging out the Fall decorations and start putting them around, I love the Fall, my favorite time of the year. you have a great day today, stay cool, comfy and stay safe. think I may do some more baking for the fire station as well… nice fresh bread for sandwiches and toast… might as well since I have to bake some for us as well. Autumn blessings to everyone…… hugs……. 🙂

    • So happy you have rain. With all the hurricane coverage on tv, I was worried about you all in the NorthWest. Happy Fall. September is Apple month. I was a KIndergarten teacher for many years. So classroom and home was always decorated with themes of the month. Apples cents, Apple door decoration, apple garden flag apple pie! Stay safe. Hooray for clean air! 🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        thank you Peggy, I know its apple season around here, we have a few apple trees around us and we do enjoy them. so do the deer…. 🙂 !!! its raining today, a good drenching rain, so hopefully that will help with the fires, keep your fingers crossed. hugs…. 🙂

  22. jan lane says:

    Thank you, Susan, for sharing lovely memories, thoughts and music. Such a blessing.
    Love seeing photos of England. I am just now remembering the 3 mos. which I spent this spring, staying with my mum in law, in Southwell, Notts. I had so many lovely long walks in the countryside. I hear the songs of many kinds of birds. I hear the bleating of the little lambs, I hear the sound of rain falling on leaves, I smell the fresh grass. I miss it so every time I leave.
    I hope the earth settles soon. I agree, these are extremely frightening times. Even so, we must cherish each day we spend with our loved ones, and believe as we have never believed before, quite earnestly…………in Goodness.

  23. Mary Parsons says:

    Dear Susan,

    Your pictures of the English Countryside and the shadows in your house have cheered me. The wind and the furies are all around me now. I live in California so it is not the weather kind. God’s plans are not for me to understand. But I know that “the sun will come out tomorrow”. You have given me peace with your upbeat words and homey sensibilities. Thank you.

    Sincerely

  24. Charissa says:

    Oh Susan You just inspire me in all that you do. I got asked to contribute to a very small self published book that my friend is making on tips for experiencing luxury in your life everyday and in my comment I just had to mention you and your small treats… “To me, luxury in my life is all about about the little things. Like taking time to notice the beauty of nature and not letting it pass by. Making time for myself and having the best pot of tea I can make while reading something that truly inspires me (Susan Branch for me🙂). Listening to music that makes my heart soar. A continual succession of small treats. Giving to a person in need. Making someone’s day. Making my husband feel like he can walk into any room of people and know he in the most loved person there. And lastly, being content and thankful for what I have.”

    Your post is magical as always.

    CONRGATS to STACY!!!

    I am a little heartbroken about the departure of your squirrel couple. I loved them. I am going to just believe they went on holiday somewhere because no one would move from your house on purpose 🙂 I hope the new guy is nice;)

    Your mugs are so great. I got the Autumn, MV, and Santa from the new batch and am just in Love They really are the best mugs I own and make everything taste better. I can’t wait for the new designs!!!! They look fabulous. Any GIRLFRIENDS needing mugs that are no longer available might want to call Wishful Thinking in McKinney TX (469) 714-4303 Ask for Patty 🙂 I was just in the store this week and she had a few of each left and will ship. Hip hip hooray for all English cottage and tea coziness!!! I can’t wait for your trip. I was hoping to make the picnic, but some things have come up, but I will be there in spirit along with everyone else:):)

    Thank you for all the travel tips and everything else Hugs to the 3 of you and 1 to Siobhan xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for reminding us about Patty, dear Charissa. Also, your words “Making my husband feel like he can walk into any room of people and know he is the most loved person there.” SO sweet. I think those two squirrels were babies, and then they went off to make their own families. I think they are the ones hanging from our bird feeders every day! I want to tag my critters so I can follow them!

  25. Penny says:

    Sooo many comments! Just wanted to say, we have done just that! Rented houses for two weeks, and snuggled in, and acted like we were locals! All over the world! But twice in the Cotswolds! Have great friends to go with, and sometimes others join us. In highly recommend it! Once you have visited the big cities, of course.

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

    Hello Susan, Girlfriends just popped back to celebrate… we have blue skies, honest we have blue skies out there now….. WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!! hugs everyone…. 🙂

  27. Gretchen says:

    Ah, another wonderful visit with our lovely Susan. Thank you for bringing lovely thoughts into my day. Have you ever watched Penelope Keith’s Hidden Villages? It is streamed on Acorn. Penelope travels around Great Britain with her trusty guide books, written many years ago, and visits small villages. She gets to know the residents and takes part in their special traditions. Your post about the right way to travel reminded me of this program. Are you staying in two, different houses, the cute, little thatched roof cottage and larger, lovely white house called “The Castle?” I am looking forward to traveling with you via your photos and beautiful prose.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve watched all of the Hidden Villages series, loved it so much, want more! We’re actually going for maybe 10 weeks this time (always a bit longer every time) so we will be rent five houses total, and these are two of them so far. Glad you can join us ~ armchair travel with good imagination is a nice way to go! We do it every time we watch Rick Steves!

  28. Linda Freymark says:

    Hi Susan! I’ve tried to post a comment a few times, but never see them. I’m new to your blog, and enjoy it very much! You have WONDERFUL giveaways…such a sweetheart! Your books are GREAT!!! I love your art also. I’m so glad I found you!!! Hope to be your friend across the miles as we journey on day by wonderful day! LOVE and HUGS from Linda!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I think I answered one of your other comments Linda, but I hope you see this one! Nice to meet you, welcome to the land of kindred spirits! xoxo

  29. Teresa O says:

    Love, love your travel tips! Yes, yes we’ll take it slow & experience with all the senses all the beauty that England has to offer when we visit in May! Thank you, oh wise & wonderful lady.

    • sbranch says:

      You will love it. I hope it rains and we can get on a boat again, and cross the lake … it was so beautiful with all the raindrops pooling the water. xoxo

  30. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    That little count your blessings card has been on my fridge for years and serves as a gentle daily reminder. Merci for the musica, and for your always darling posts. I am especially grateful today for a lovely morning after days of horrific air quality from the fires. My heart goes out to all the girlfriends and others who are living through disasters right now. The wonderful scientists have been warning us for years, and it feels like the future has arrived with a vengeance. Anyway, loved tending my patio pots this morning, gathering in sweet little tomatoes, drinking from my adorable Autumn mug. Your creativity just seems to shine brighter with time, and we are the lucky recipients. Still longing for the little Courage vase! And the cookie plate! And more mugs! Oh my!❤️ P.S. Re Twitter, I don’t think it is “political” to spread facts rather than rumors, or to stand up for fairness. Just saying.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s so true. We were warned. I hope that the people (congressmen) who denied we were facing this are experiencing backlash from their followers. I hope it’s not too late for us to do something. Because it’s going to affect city after city, next time it could be us … and it can easily take our economy down. Wait till it hits Wall Street! THEN they’ll do something about it! Oh yes, Rosanne, I so believe in facts, right with you. Look where the lies can take us! And much worse that this. Working on courage, working on mugs, everything! xoxo

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        I have had the same thoughts about our economy. I worry most for my grandkids and the future generations. Oh our poor, beautiful, enchanted Earth. Right now with kitty curled up on my lap, I am gazing out the glass sliding door at a gorgeous crape myrtle in all its glory and thanking Nature for such beauty to lift our hearts. And no pressure on your creations. I love having them to look forward to! ❤️💕❤️

        • sbranch says:

          Watch your elected officials, if they don’t care about global warming, then they have to go. Our children deserve better than this. In our individuals smallville worlds, ten minutes a week for phone calls to elected officials could make a difference. The lobbyists working for the money people and against us, spend a lot more than ten minutes a week doing that, but there are more of us than there are of them.💞 The important thing is that we believe in our power. We are the people after all.😘

  31. Laurie, Nico's mom says:

    So very many things in this blog to thank you for! Joe and Jack, whom I never get tired of seeing. Your garden in the last bit of summer. The clip of Julia Child. The tv show was a bit before my time and of course I’ve never thought to look up episodes. Leave that to you 😉. I have a copy of Julia and Julie that I use for company in the kitchen. And of course the travel tips! I’ll get back to England some day!
    With our last bit of summer, my hubby and I are planning a garden party for our 25th anniversary. With you for inspiration there’ll be lots of cobalt glass, sunflowers, white linens and burlap, blackboard quotes and bunting. Lots of food too! Wish you could come. Now that would be a party! 🌻🌻🌻🍾🍾🍾❤️❤️❤️
    Lots of love,
    Laurie
    =:3

  32. Di Word says:

    The wonderful music of Vera Lynn made me cry. Especially I’ll Be Seeing You. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      She’s wonderful, and especially fitting when you have her singing in the car on the backroads of the English Countryside!

  33. Asha says:

    Oh Susan! As always, you have made my heart sing with this cozy, lovely post. I feel like I’m traveling through England right along with you and Joe. I. have to tell you that I purchased all your new mugs which I proudly display on a shelf in my kitchen. So many compliments about my lovely mugs and I proudly say they are Susan Branch! Can’t wait to get the newest to add to my collection. Love from Central Massachusetts.

  34. Sandra Garber says:

    Dear Susan, as always, I loved your blog. I wanted to share with you that my sister and I each one, unbeknownst to the other, bought two of yours Christmas mugs–one for our self and one for the other. I could not keep what I had done a secret from her. When I told her, she started laughing because she had done the same thing. Great minds.

  35. Dionne Street says:

    Thank you so much Susan for your blog. I always enjoy reading it, but it was such a pleasure this time. You see, I live in Katy, Texas and we were affected very badly from Hurricane Harvey. It looks like a war zone here with everyone’s belongings sitting at the curb. Their homes are empty and ruined from the floods. Luckily, my home was spared, barely. It is so depressing looking around my hometown. Everywhere you look, you cannot escape it. It’s even on the TV nonstop. So you see, it was a nice break to come and spend time with you on your blog. Thank you for making the world a little sweeter!

    • sbranch says:

      I can just imagine, I’m so sorry.😥 I’ve always felt that for the women stuck in war-torn countries, finding beauty must be such a challenge when all is so sad and ruined around you ~ and now some of that has come here. Don’t forget flowers Dionne, one little flower in a vase seriously does make the world a tiny bit better. And something lovely to read. Don’t ever think you’re alone, every time I’m with friends, you are always the number one topic of conversation and concern, our friends affected by these terrible weather patterns and fires, we know that next time, it can easily be us. xoxo Love to you and yours.

  36. Judy Young says:

    I just saw this blog, guess I have been busy this week! So lovely to read and enjoy with a cup of tea in my Martha’s Vineyard cup. I really have to order some of your Gingerbread cake tea. My 70th birthday was last weekend and friends gave me your 2018 calendar and gift certificates to shop with you. I’m saving them for mugs! The certificates are just a sheet of paper with a little block and a certificate number that they printed off the computer. Hope these are legitimate and I wonder how to use them. Usually you have to put in your credit card number when ordering?? Love the Castle Cottage cup! I hope you eventually do an “England” cup with a little English house or thatched cottage, a pub, a tearoom (in fact a “Tearoom” Cup would be wonderful. You could have a steaming cup and saucer of tea, scones, cake, tearoom signs, etc. What do you think.? I’m placing my order now for one of those!!!

    I am so grateful to you Susan for noticing all the little things in life that bring us joy. This world is becoming increasingly harsh if you watch the news (and it is addictive), devasting hurricanes and floods, fires and such, not to mention North Korea. Goodness, we need you so much to keep our hearts afloat and to take our minds off the bad news. My heart goes out to those in Texas and now Florida. Can’t even imagine what they are having to endure. Blessings to everyone in those areas.

  37. shanna says:

    Loved your post. Awwwww, Jack. Eeeeek, Raccoon! Have you named him yet?

  38. Anne Luther says:

    I agree with you re not rushing around and all that England has to offer. My husband who is English and I have been dozens of times. Most of our trips were spent in hired London flats and self catering cottages. However, last year we stayed in a flat with no AC during a major hot spell, with stairs and no neighbors. For the first time I felt isolated, what if something went wrong who would hear me scream in the night? Huffing and puffing up the stairs with groceries and hot. Our final days were spent in a hotel for the first time in a long time. It was bliss. No groceries to buy, just room service a call away, perfect temperature and help at the touch of a button. As a result we plan to stay in country hotels & manor houses this Dec when we go for the month. Will let you know how that feels for a change and if it is worth the price.

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes, when we’re driving a long distance, we will stay the night at a country hotel. We love them, so charming and old and historical, with pretty gardens, but you’re right, very expensive and somewhat formal. Wonderful for a change though, the restaurants and pubs in those hotels, are perfect for reading the paper and having tea!

  39. Jean Carrington says:

    As usual I thoroughly enjoyed your blog, especially the flowers. Please keep up the shadow work. I do love it.

    • sbranch says:

      Almost no day goes by without me taking a picture of some other wonderful shadow. Enjoying, so much, this play of light!

  40. Brenda Stokes says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for sharing your love for life. Your words have the gift of healing! I am watching a special on the Smithsonian Channel that I believe you would enjoy. It is named “Sky View – The Mystical Places of Britain and Ireland.” I think it would make your visit next spring even more magical! Love, Brenda
    PS First you meet the Beatles and then Paul McCartney praises your book – how can life get better!

  41. Cindy B. says:

    Have you ever read “How the Heather Looks” by Joan Bodger? It was first published in 1965 but is a delightful read about a family that went to Great Britain on a quest to see the places that inspired many English children’s classics. They knew the authors could not have written such detailed descriptions just “out of their heads” so they went to see them for themselves. You might enjoy hearing a few things they found out about Beatrice Potter and Near Sawry….I mean, really, can you ever get enough of Beatrice? Being familiar with your reading favorites, I think this one might make the list.

  42. Debbie Boerger says:

    Weeeelllll, Hurricane Irma is taking care of thinning out my “stuff”. We live 2 blocks from the water on upper Tampa Bay, Hillsborough Bay. We know we’ll have water in the house from the storm surge, but with the winds strong, we may have just rubble. My long awaited consultation with a neurosurgeon down in Portland is Monday afternoon at 3 PM. At the same time as old Irma is doing her worst. Bet my blood pressure will be high. Tom will drive down in a few days with a generator and some tools for our daughter….and may be able to salvage a few things. As my dearest and oldest friend says…..Oh, well…………………….with a little lilt in her voice. She has moved way over a 100 orchid plants into her house. Folks we know who weren’t ordered to evacuate (our area definitely was!) have fixed up an interior room with a mattress….to sleep on or to get under if needed.

    OK Sue and Girlfriends, I know you are tired after Hurricane Harvey, but please send good thoughts to everyone in Florida.

    Thanks for this wonderful blog, Sue. Those new cups are just lovely. I especially love the pics of your adorable Men! Both are so handsome! Do you ever take Jack out on a harness and leash? We had a neighbor in Tampa that used to walk her dog and cat together. Maybe it was a dog in a cat suit ; )

    Mucho love,
    Debbie in Maine, on my porch watching the golden sunset while my vat of split pea soup simmers. Southern buttermilk cornbread in an old iron skillet make it perfect.

    • sbranch says:

      All so sad, but one bright spot is that you are safe. I hope it isn’t too bad Debbie. We won’t forget any of our friends in the way of the hurricanes. I hope the news keeps following as the clean up begins. We put Jack into a harness only once, and learned our lesson. He was a bucking bronco until he slithered out of it, which took some doing as it was very tight, but he was having none of it. He’s a cat, and knows his mind. Hope your Dr. appt went well. xoxo

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        Did I actually read that the lurking & heading-northward Hurricane Jose could actually affect Cape Cod? Yikes. I can’t recall at this moment, Susan: Have you ever suffered a hurricane there at the house in Vineyard Haven? I know she’s a big ‘ol sturdy girl from the 19th century who’s seen her share of storms….but, still…a bit foreboding! Maybe I heard it wrong; there seems to be a string of hurricanes churning out there right now!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, we’ve had hurricanes, and in fact a tree fell on the roof of Holly Oak. Had to get a new roof. Jose is coming this way, but it’s supposed to weaken … we will likely get high waves and things like that, but not much more.

  43. Amylisa says:

    Love this post! Love Julie & Julia! And I love your picture, Count Your Blessings Out Loud. It is now my desktop wallpaper. So beautiful!

  44. jeanie says:

    It’s like reading a letter from my best friend when you do a new blog post. What a big smile I have. The world is whirling and burning and quaking and flooding and blowing and yet right here, this moment, I’m wrapped in cozy warmth and safety and pure joy. I needed this today, so thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Basically, it ain’t over till it’s over, and until it is, if it is, we should be dreaming and loving until the very last moment we can.xoxo

  45. Tana says:

    I can’t tell you how important your wonderful posts are to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting my thoughts in such a peaceful, happy place. You don’t take my thoughts and prayers away from the places that they need to be, but you give me a hand into the best parts of the world for a few minutes and it makes me stronger for the hard places. Does that make sense? Without you I couldn’t be as strong as I need to be. I love your posts. Happy is sooooo good! Love you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      It does make sense. Because we need to have both: reality, so we can make a difference, and the sweet things too, because that’s also a perfectly true reality.😘 Realness and truth does matter. But so do kitties and falling leaves.

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        Yes, we definitely need kitties and falling leaves, pumpkins and tea. A host of things. Because the world…at least my world…keeps getting scarier. Just found out we’re one of the ones hacked with the Equifax breach. So, more of living with vigilance and red flags (and worry), and I’m just so tired of it all (in this case, such a helpless feeling, to know someone will likely find a way to take over my entire identity). Then there’s the nagging thing of being nuked; the ‘this’ this week, and now ‘that’ next week (neverending); how to find peace and how best to not go insane when it seems like you’re the weathervane and no matter where you stand, there’s trouble north/south/east/west. Didn’t life used to be easier? Simpler? Was it ever THIS rigorous (and confusing)?

        Lately, two of my near-neighbors have been burgled, adding to neighborhood/surroundings unease; I’m still trying to recover from a car accident over Memorial Day; my jacaranda tree fell to the ground in a big wind; our house is inundated with summer ants, inside and out; I’ve got a sick stray cat in my yard I have to do something about. I’ve lost some important paperwork I really need…and I hate to think about WHAT ELSE because you can really get caught in a trap about expecting the worst which is a destructive, negative way to be…

        We all have problems, big & small; we do. But it’s just that they sometimes come in awfully-big bunches to where I want to go back in time, when I perceived it to be less complicated … the mid-to-late 50s/early 60s?!! (Illusion, of course.) I just feel I fight and fight to simplify my life but, despite my efforts, it’s elusive. I guess it means you have to try even harder, right? Otherwise, it’s all joy-stealers. So many spikes of stress to try to deflect. No wonder we’re a nation of insomniacs.

        But then I have to remember what people are going through in Texas and Mexico and Florida…islands in the Caribbean; of course, also too the horrible wildfires which have plagued and caused so much destruction in the U.S. West. Or my husband’s friend who needs a kidney transplant. Life can be just so darn tough for SO many people; it’s not like I’ve personally got a target pointed just at ME. After all, I’m still cancer-free, 4 years out; I have a roof overhead when others don’t; I have clean-dry clothes and fresh water to drink. I have a dog to wrap my arms around and hug. My husband works hard for a paycheck but at least he has a job…

        ….so, blessings…it always comes back to the blessings, which provide their own brand of calm (although some Susan Branch thrown in also does a world of good). Count your blessings and it’ll help stop the woe-is-me.

        I’m now going to dig out the autumn-leaves decor I bought at the dollar store. It’s 90 degrees (f) here every day, but I can pretend Fall is on the way. I, like so many others, love the Fall of the year, even though it’s subtle here in SoCalif. I’ll keep to my comforting rituals and traditions, which will make me feel better. Nobody can take them away from me. Or my cinnamon toast!

        • sbranch says:

          I’m hacked too, Equifax, half the people in the US are. Now we wait a hundred years for them to tell us what to do! I think you need a few days off Vicki. Away from where all these things are going wrong 😢, a different reality, even if it’s just a marathon of Shirley Temple movies! Don’t mean to be trying to “solve” anything for you, forgive me, sometimes so much goes wrong we just need to vent. So consider this, my hand, on the top of your head, rubbing it and saying, poor baby. Deep breath. ahhhhh. xoxoxo

          • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

            Love you: I do. Thank you. We’ve just decided today, in the past half hour, to get in the car and go north, as in north of Arroyo. Just ramble, although we’re getting a kinda late start; but, who cares, we’re taking the dog with us and kitties are fed. We might even stay overnight. All kinds of stuff back in the house and yard to do but, yes, we need a mental health day; you had your finger on my pulse. Other half’s been through a lot, too, because he was hellbent on unselfishly donating a kidney for his friend but, in the end, it’s not medically-wise for my husband.

            Anyway, it’s always a good tonic, isn’t it. Our California coast. I need my gorgeous Pacific Ocean today. Lovely morning, was a cooler night, and it’s only in the low 70s at 11am. I’m off to pack sandwiches. You’re right; take a day away.

            I noticed yesterday that one of my fave trees in town is starting to turn its leaves from green to burgundy and yellow and orange. I had to stop the car; awestruck. It’s Fall. It really is!

            I’m sorry you got hacked, too. Even the gals at my bank got hacked. One good tip from them: Passwords. Change them, often. On all your accounts. My husband says, “Ugh; I can’t even remember all the old ones, how am I gonna remember new ones?” As many as 10 characters, mixed up as lower-case and upper-case letters, numbers and punctuation symbols; gibberish. Remember that great tip YOU had, to use one of your little Susan Branch address books for the very purpose of recording all your passwords? We’re doing that very thing; I tried to find it this morning; I think it has a pale yellow cover. I’d saved it for just the right thing, and this is the right thing!

          • sbranch says:

            Love that you’re getting out of the house. Take musica with you in the car. Go up one. Have Milk Cake at Bayside Cafe in Morro Bay. Cambria is heaven. Enjoy! And worry about Equifax when you get back … Unfortunately, I’m not sure passwords are the problem, it’s that they have our social security numbers, contact info, credit card numbers, bank account numbers . . . the hackers can open new accounts in our names. They can empty our bank accounts. Nightmare! I think they should issue us all brand new Social Security numbers and make Equifax pay for it. Yes, that little address book is wonderful. Everything in one place!

  46. Denise Baca says:

    Hi Susan,

    Counting my Blessings. I am glad that you are so up beat about things. Some how it make me forget what a world we live in these days. If only for a bit. It is nice to know there is always hope in carrying on and move forward. Blessings to those in Texas and Florida. Be safe everyone. And remember tomorrow is always a new beginning. Love all your cups and books. You are an artist, love your work. Time to call it a night. Snooze. ZzzzZzzz :o) Nighty-Nite.

  47. Susan Ainscough says:

    Hello Susan, I wonder if I would be able to come to your picnic in near Sawrey. I live about an hour and a half away and I would love to meet you all.

  48. Connie says:

    Happy Fall Y’all from Georgia. Worried sick over the storm that is hitting in Florida and headed our way. Prayers for everyone!

  49. Thank you, Susan, for making losing so much fun! LOL! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog post today! And CONGRATS to Stacy for winning!! YAY! And it is so nice to read about joyful things as we all watch and worry and pray for the people in Texas and Florida. Thank you once again!

  50. Bev Brewer says:

    Hi Susan—beautiful, sweet post. Recently saw a travel tip that reminded me of my Mom from so many years ago. The suggestion was for travelers who worry about items they may have left “on” to take photos with their phone as they are leaving the house ( front of stove with knobs clearly showing “off”; unplugged iron, etc). My Mom always thought she left the iron on no matter what trip we took, even short ones. In those days the iron was used so much more than today and even sheets and pillowcases were ironed. I don’t think our ironing board was ever folded up much from day to day. Read a cute story sometime later where another family had the same problem and after they were on their trip, the mother began to fret that she might have left the iron on. The husband, familiar with the routine, pulled the stone cold iron out from behind his car seat and said “Oh no you didn’t, because this time I brought it with us!” Love to Susan and Joe from Bev

  51. Sandra says:

    Dear Susan…Autumn is my favourite season too and September especially and my birthday too. My mother has bought for me the Autumn mug…I am so thrilled it will add to a very special collection of your gorgeous things.
    I love JUlie and JUlia too…I love her voice when she is in Paris….what a story and what a way to cook. The nights are drawing in here..time for candles soon..lovely to think of your visit across here in May…….won.t be long
    Thinking now of our many blessings as we watch with horror those hurricane Irma pictures..BLess you and all your sharing and love that comes through your blog.
    Thank you Thank you xx

    • sbranch says:

      It was a horror, wasn’t it? Terrible destruction. Now the business of putting it all back together. I hope the news keeps letting us know how everyone is doing.

  52. Lynn says:

    Love the Autumn mug. Will there be more soon?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we found that the manufacturer in England has a few left over decals. I’ve asked them to go ahead and make all of them, which they will, and ship to us in two weeks. Usually customs takes a while . . . so sometime from three weeks to a month from now they should be available again.

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

    hello Susan, Girlfriends. we are seeing blue sky here, smoky but blue and that makes the place a whole lot better. just means the fires have settled down a bit and helped the firefighters a bit by easier to manage. what a weekend we escaped for awhile to Bandon on the coast for their first annual cranberry festival. Bandon is where the cranberry bogs are for the big juice company ocean spray. anyway the pirate parade was a ball and the Capt. Jack Sparrow lookalikes contest was really hilarious as the pirate make-up artists. then we had the crowning of the cranberry queen and her winning recipe for cranberry sweet rolls. they also had cranberry candies, syrup, drinks and all sorts of fun things to try dealing with cranberries. you know Fall is not too far away with a cranberry festival going on. today was a quiet day here, memorial services for 9-11 remembrances and of course I decided to roll up and hang up the hoses for the season, hang up the sprinklers and put them away in the shed for next summer, watering season is over. and boy am I glad. I don’t mind the watering, that always cools me off, but the hauling out and placing the hoses around to run the sprinklers and get the lawns watered sort of gets tiring after awhile. some of my Fall decorations are up and I am hunting for the rest. time to slow down and enjoy these golden days of summer and enjoy the colorful time of Fall. I can hardly wait for Fall and the beautiful colors and the lovely smells like apples and cinnamon, sage and onions roasting with chicken or turkey for supper, the wonderful aromas of hot tea and hot apple cider. this is my favorite time of year, a time to enjoy and to just be in awe of all the beauty around us. well off to go get dinner prepped, grilled steaks tonight.. he can cook while I fold laundry. LOL!!! have a wonderful evening everyone… stay warm or cool and comfy. hugs everyone…. hugs… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We do the same with our hoses, lay they out on the lawn going slightly down hill so they can drain and dry and won’t split when they freeze in the winter, then roll them and hang them in the barn. Something we NEVER had to do in California where a hose was a year-round thing! Ahhh fall. I made corn-fresh-off-the-cob chowder last night, with sage and onions, and storm windows are just around the corner!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        yummy that corn chowder sounds wonderful, I made clam chowder last week, and boy did it go down fast. its definitely soup, stew and hot meals time again. we have been living on light cool things to eat to beat the heat for so long that we missed good hot meals. the hoses are all hung up, along with the sprinklers for the season, watering time is over and its time to let the lawn do its thing for Fall and Winter. one good mowing, seeding and feeding and its time to call it quits for the year. I love the coming of Fall. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Me too, putting the garden to bed (but not yet!), storms on, wood pile brought in . . . all the bits and pieces that are part of the celebration!

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            we still have to get the wood stacked, and more chopped and split up, but the hoses are hung up, along with the sprinklers and put away for now until next summer. I love the coming of Fall, we just get busy as beavers here. 🙂

  54. Sue says:

    YOUR GUEST IS CLIFF!!!!!!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      You are RIGHT! He’s on the Island right now with his wonderful wife Lynette are here from San Luis Obispo ~ we’ve been taking them on Island tours, had them to dinner last night with our best friends Lowely and John, gave them their first silvery Edgartown oysters, taking them to the Campground today … Lynette’s never seen the Island, and Cliff hasn’t been here in 25 years, altho his grandmother, two great aunts and his aunt all lived here, and he came as a child ~ he brought me here in the 1970s for the first time, for Thanksgiving. They are over the moon at the beauty of this place (he forgot), we’ve had lovely fall weather, and of course, we have this adorable architecture. It’s been fun. xoxo

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        You know, Susan, I think this is so full-circle, and really nice. It sorta fills up any remaining holes in the soul. I applaud you and Cliff for being decent with each other, even though a lot of water passed under that bridge. I was so disappointed recently when running into my ex. It’s as if he never evolved; never grew. So aloof and needlessly mum-glum; frankly, rude. I got over it in about three minutes because it just doesn’t matter anymore…but I couldn’t help but think, what a shame and what a loss that we couldn’t have remained friends, chalking off a lot that happened to ‘youth’ (let it go!!) and, for gosh sakes, we’re ‘old’ now (not really, but, c’mon; it’s been 40 years!).

        Do tell Cliff that I’m a Cali girl who absolutely loved his book!

        • sbranch says:

          It does help when growth takes place on both sides!! Your ex doesn’t know what he’s missing, and probably never did! I’ll tell Cliff what you said. Will make his day. xoxo

          • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

            Susan, a sort-of segue. You, Cliff, me; having lived in SoCalif now or then…

            …when you moved to MV/East Coast (which really WAS a big leap across the big USA [and in your life]), how much did you ever miss things of your first home, ala orange/lemon groves, avocado orchards, oaks & sycamores & eucalyptus trees, bougainvillea climbing over a red-tile roof; avenues of majestic palm trees; jacarandas alive May-July in purple-bloom glory; tall mountains, and valleys giving way to the blue-cool Pacific?

            We’re considering a one-last move/relocation in retirement to, yes, ocean, but woods and forests instead (I don’t ‘know’ woods and forests!) and one of the things that keeps tickling my brain is what exactly I’ll miss in my current, nearly life-long environment of SoCalif, which is a second skin. For three years…25 years ago…I actually did live elsewhere, out of state…and, while there, I ached for a Santa Ana wind, if you can believe it; anything to remind me of ‘home’. The thing about that move was that I knew it wouldn’t be permanent, whereas this one will be…and I’m older now; possibly more mature about these things, and what works better for us in retirement. Still…I can’t help but wonder as I weigh pros/cons…

            …and I know that MV was a solution, at the time, for you; a relief; a respite; a rescue. But you stayed. And it means more to you to be there, than back here in SoCalif. I know it had ‘spoken’ to you before you ever lived there…but did you ever get homesick for land of your birth? I’ve, by now at this age, known quite a few people who went away but came back to SoCalif; it gets its hooks into some of us.

          • sbranch says:

            I never let California get all the way away from me, I visit. And where I moved, there are four seasons. It is all just so wonderful, who can choose? Now that I’ve done it, if I was giving advice, it would be, try not to move where you don’t know a soul. It’s best if you have at least one dearest friend of life near you. Oh yes, I’ve said many times, I’m always homesick, no matter where I go.

          • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

            Well, thanks for taking the time to respond to my query about the Calif-homesickness part. Before when I lived out of state, a huge pull was family back in Calif…but I find now, at my ‘advancing’ age, that I’m sorta the last; most of my closest family/extended family in SoCalif has moved elsewhere, or passed on. Good advice, though, Susan – – each place we’re considering has a husband-friend…which is good for him; maybe not as good, for me. But Calif could become our annual vacation destination; hadn’t stopped to really consider that angle!

            I’ll keep pondering…but the more this all ‘gets real’, the more I’m feeling my feet putting on the skids, which I wasn’t expecting (I was the one, initially, who wanted to move, much more than my husband!), so I also need to keep listening to my heart and how sings my soul…

          • sbranch says:

            Really, don’t go if you don’t want to. It’s expensive and it’s hard to start over. Truly is, unless you have to, I would try not to. Look around at all the glory around you.

          • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

            Thanks again for replying to me on this, Susan. I don’t want to make a mistake about moving.

            I live in one of the most drought-ridden slivers of SoCalif and it’s a lot of what put us in momentum for a change…then, we got the rain. We also had bad neighbors for a long while…then, they moved in April. It gets pretty hot where I am…but, we have central air conditioning. The town is economically ‘depressed’…yet a massive, new housing development near us is supposedly going to boost our depleted city with millions. My neighborhood is old and tired, as is our house (it needs a ton of work)…but we also have the lowest property tax rate in the state.

            Many people around the country are choosing to age in place, stay in their homes, keeping general contractors busy…remodeling with an eye to future needs (addition/conversion for a bed/bath on the first floor as one example [no stairs for aging hips and knees!]).

            I’m trying really hard to keep an open mind. I don’t like being indecisive…but one day it seems like such a sure thing (yep, it’s happening; we’re doing it; we’re moving), but then doubt sets in the next day and, well, it begins to be telling (too much flip flop and becoming un-fun). When I just yesterday asked more specific questions of one acquaintance who’s moved ‘way north (Washington), I felt myself feeling less enthused. It’s a lot of high/low, up/down on the emotions. It’s not a small decision.

            So, your own thoughts as a ‘transplant’ are valuable to me as I continue to gather info and weigh options (and I shared what you said with my husband). It may be that I need to look at my particular town and my particular house with different eyes, and take in the whole picture with a fresher view because, where we’re located, in just a half hour or less in any direction N/S/W/E, we really do have awesome stuff to see and do.

            My husband says, “I can live anywhere.” Me, not so much. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Cali girl, born in L.A. but liv’in in the burbs…and my familiar Cali environment & surroundings are core to much of my wellbeing. (Isn’t that sorta the answer, right there, in that sentence?! It just hit me square in the face as I wrote it.)

            I’ll be glad to make the decision, once and for all, so we can go forward and quit thinking about it, whatever choice we wind up making. I need to feel settled in; permanent, as much as can be planned.

            But thanks again for sharing…as you read a zillion comments between this post and your newest. You’re like a drug that puts calm in my brain. Seriously. I appreciate your time.

          • sbranch says:

            You can’t really top that, that the core of your well being is your familiar surroundings. Yup, I think you’ve talked yourself through it. You could move a couple of miles, maybe, if you wanted a different house, but staying local sounds like your happy place.

      • Tawni Urrutia says:

        When I saw that twitter post, my jaw dropped and I gasped…CLIFF!!! My husband said, “Wow, who’s Cliff?” I had to tell him never mind, he LOVES teasing me about Susan Branch! Ha…such a (really cute)stinker!

  55. Anon says:

    Dear Susan,

    First, my heart is wrenching for all those affected by Harvey and now Irma. Please, for all those reading this who have been impacted know that you are in my thoughts and I’m sending loads of love and wishes for an abundance of all that is needed to keep you safe and tend to your hearts.

    Susan, may I ask anonymously for your good thoughts today. I’m quite spent taking care of others and now a very sick loved one. I’m waking today and feeling utterly shattered, physically and emotionally. I have a dream that I’ve been nursing along and is now at the crest, needing much love and attention but I have simply no reserves from which to tap into for energy and fortitude.

    As you will understand, it is essential this remain anonymous but just wanted to put this out to the most powerful woman I know.

    Painfully tired, Anon.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry sweetie. Right now, I promise you, I’m going to close my eyes and see you and send all my love and light right through you, into your heart, through your arms and legs, to fly out your toes and fingers in sparkles, and up over and around your ears and send that bright light right down through the top of your head to spread through your entire body, both inside and out, and my prayer is that you will close your eyes as it’s happening and feel the light, because no matter when you read this, that’s when you can take a deep breath, and feel an overwhelming sense of relaxation and peace and believing in everything good in the world and know that you are a big part of it, of making it happen. Here goes . . .

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        As someone who has cared for my chronically ill husband for 7 years, i feel the pain here. What I’ve learned is that you can’t do it alone! Reach out for help. Find a respite caregiver to come in for a few hours a week so you can do something for yourself, even if it’s just to have lunch with a friend or take a walk. We have a caregiver come in once a week and it makes all the difference! If that is a financial burden there are programs out there. Ask your doctor. Stay connected to the world and other people and pamper yourself in any way you can. Self care is as important as caring for a loved one. Best wishes and hugs.❤️

        • sbranch says:

          What wonderful advice Rosanne. Thank you. xoxoxoxo

        • Anon says:

          Dear Roseanne,

          Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply, so very kind of you. Your words are greatly appreciated.

          If you see my response to Susan, things have greatly improved for my loved one, which make things infinitely better for we family members.

          I am back to nursing my dream to the next phase and feel stronger and replenished, thanks to people such as yourself who have been so very supportive.

          Roseanee, you are doing something so very extraordinary as a caregiver that it cannot be overestimated as to the gift you are giving your loved one. May you experience all the good that you are putting out there to so many, including myself, one thousand times over.

          With enormous gratitude for your concern and beautiful words, Anon.

      • Anon says:

        Dearest one,

        Since reading your reply I have used the visualization you described hundreds of times, with each practice bringing peace, comfort and relaxation. Words are inadequate when it comes to thanking you for this generous gift. It has provided industrial strength succor and taken me down off the ledge, metaphorically speaking, several times.

        My very sick loved one now has access to the appropriate care required to save their life but only after herculean efforts to find the right level of care and an appropriate/expert health care provider on the East Coast, all of which will be paid for by the patient because of the exclusions with the patient’s health care insurance. We are thankful our loved one is on the right path to wellness.

        The dream is moving along on a positive trajectory. I’m taking it one day at a time and that is working well. Should it manifest into reality, I hope some day to be able to tell you, face to face, of the uncanny synchronicities that have made my heart swell, replenished an empty well in my soul and has given me one of the greatest thrills of my lifetime. I could not have dreamed of this happening – it is my England. 😂

        And may I shout a rousing huzzah on your most recent post? I am so exquisitely proud and yet ever so humbled by your gumption to speak what befell your heart for so many days. Well done ye Yorkshire Lass, well done indeed!

        Enormous gratitude and love to thee,

        Anon

  56. Regina Carretta says:

    Thanks for sharing the idea of staying in one place, becoming part of the neighborhood/town, when traveling – so many people rush to see, to do, to go go go……I love your stories of enjoying where you are, seeing the same people, getting to know the shops…..nothing like it….Rick Steves BackDoor books and stories also encourage this way of getting to learn about the world….at this time in our country’s history, this philosophy could really add to creating peace and connection. Thank you for sharing your love of friends, autumn, light, critters……

  57. Saartje says:

    We have been travelling according to your method for ever. I’m a slow person by nature, so rushing around is not something I would like to do when on holiday. We go camping with our four kids. We set up camp for two weeks (I can’t imagine unpacking more than once, it takes us half a day to pack it all back into the car and trailer) and then explore from there. Some day we just spend lounging on the camp site, reading, swimming and cooking a nice meal. This year we visited Delft in the Netherlands, lovely old university town with lots of royal connections and home to Delft Blue. I’m sure you would love it!

    • sbranch says:

      No doubt that I would love that Saartje … your camping trips sound dreamy. We used to go when I was little, and there were lots of kids in my family too ~ those starry nights in the forest with the campfires are in my memory forever.

  58. Kate says:

    Hi Susan,
    You are so talented and best of all you are using your talents to bless so many lives!!! The comfort that your posts give is unmeasurable. You show us that happiness is right in our own homes no matter what is on the news. Thank you for all of your giving!

  59. Nancy McCarty says:

    My husband will retire next year and I really appreciate your advice for staying in one place for two weeks! The world awaits us and we are excited to explore it that way! thank you!

  60. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Susan, Small world as we’ve met in SBA @ Book Signings, CALM Author’s Luncheon and I too hung out @ the Cigar Factory in the 70’s. Also frequently restaurant named (I think) the Spy Glass…..Those Were The Days My Friend!

    Thanks so much for being such a positive part of my life. Much love,
    Sandra

  61. Meg Diskin says:

    Reading this entry caused me to rewatch Julie and Julia! I remember your efforts to make Julia’s recipes in your memoir. Hoping to win!

  62. Antonia lutz says:

    Now I’m longing to travel to England but sadly not in my budget maybe my next life

  63. Wendy says:

    dear Susan, have just rediscovered you. As a full-time caregiver of a deaf elderly parent in late-stage Alzheimer’s, cannot express how much joy reading about your creative life brings me. Much of it is hard work, but you make the giving look effortless – and make the rest of us feel grateful to receive!

  64. Helen Bobro says:

    I truly love your blogs, cook books, books and mugs – I love the whole package. You seem to live your life as most people dream of doing. Well done and carry on Susan Branch!!!

  65. Diana @gardenthymewithdiana says:

    I see the recipe boxes but when I try to go to the site to order one it doesn’t show up. Can you help? I want to order one so much. Thank you! Diana Moore.

  66. Debbie Boerger says:

    Ahhh………..Home to my very own place, safe and dry (too dry) in Maine. Tampa dodged a very big bullet. We awoke on Sunday to see that our area forecast to receive large storm surge. All neighbors evacuated ahead of Irma, so we came to the acceptance that we’d lose everything, long with thousands of others. Tom called USAA and had them start a file, making it easier to get an adjuster out. But WHEW! Irma move just enough back to the east to spare us any serious damage. Still no power, but soon, we’re told.

    Today, Thursday, Sept. 14, is independence day for me. No surgeon is going to come to my aid on his white stallion waving a shiny scalpel. I now accept that this type of severe arthritis pain in the neck is not helped by fusing the cervical vertebrae. My Tom Terrific has been chauffeuring me around, cancelling all his favorite things to go here and there. Doing all the shopping, working on things outside and inside. I am so very fortunate that I found him…. And, we’ve had dinner with my ex and his now ex. Tom even went out to dinner with Bob when I came up to Maine early. Better to make ex’s into old friends than tote that load of anger around, right?

    Boy, this is getting lengthy, but I wanted to add my voice to your great travel advice. My first two trips to the UK were in my 30’s, frenetic driving to a different place every night. Tom and I do England your way. Pick a location, book a self catering place and make forays out every day. Longest time in one place was Rodmel, halfway between the southern coast and Lewes. Over a week. We walked as many footpaths as possible. One day we took a new one and found ourselves walking between two homes, both of which we could touch standing in one spot. I glanced up to a cheery greeting from a lady in her kitchen. A wave and a smile. The English don’t think of their footpath system of openness as being a burden, probably because they are walkers.

    My best Maine girlfriend is making a quiche, bringing it over for supper. She has no TV in her “camp”, and comes here to watch Masterpiece Theater. A recorded Endeavor. Tom is giving me the fish eye, telling me I need to get on with the exercises.

    Thank you dear Susan, for all the love you inspire,
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Love you, love Tom. Love your new freedom, love your exercises. You go girl. Those English footpaths are pure adventure aren’t they Debbie, you just never know where you might end up. A wonderful country to protect such things as footpaths “for the people.” Gives you hope for the world! Here’s to our ex’s! To love and forgiveness and a fine and clear understanding of the shortness of life.😘

  67. Lorraine Nylund says:

    Love the newly designed Valentines mug ! I would love a more masculine version of this mug to give to my Hubby. He needs little reminders once in a while that I love him very much. We all get caught up living our busy lives and need this . I love that you put so much thought in to your designs ! Thank-you Susan !

  68. Anne Miller says:

    Hello, Susan, I am just back from spending time with two of my daughters in NYC. My heart is full of gratitude, but it is so hard to part. I was looking for a tonic and found your new blog. Perfect! Sursum corda….Hearts lifted. We are fortunate girlfriends.

  69. Laura says:

    Susan, I am FINALLY sitting down to enjoy reading your lovely post. As someone who has 3 kids (middle school, high school, and a freshman in college), life is fast right now, and I’m the type that tends to pack as much in as I can while vacationing. But it is so lovely to slow down with you, and to enjoy your garden, and your art, and your countryside meanderings. I’m a relatively new reader here, and you are just delightful. Thank you also for the full moons bookmark. I’m rather enamored with the moon and with books, so this is perfect!

  70. Bobetta Douglas says:

    I love the sound of your way of traveling! Really getting to be a part of the life of wherever you are visiting. My very busy, keep ‘er moving, needs to see it all, hubby would never go for it though. Even your packing list is full of personality! Fruit shoes and Lizard sandals? I need pictures of these magical outfits! I’m certain you will have another enchanting trip and will have to settle for being a blog traveler with you. So grateful that you do share all your lovely adventures with us girls back home.

    • sbranch says:

      Both those pairs of shoes were made by a woman here on the Island in the 80s, I wore them to shreds. The fruit shoes were backless, slip-ons, rose colored over the toes, green suede heel (like a watermelon) with a little bouquet of “fruit” ~ plums and oranges and cherries, with leaves, on the toe. The Lizard sandals, were pale green, mottled like lizard skin, flip flops, but very delicate. xoxo

  71. Denise says:

    Susan,
    I’ve been on vacation in the kick-a-poo valley in central Wisconsin and came upon a sale raising money for a shelter for kitty’s, and low and behold a susan branch little book of love. I had to purchase it to help with the cause, I know you would approve of course! I now have 5 of your lovely books. just saying.
    Love,
    Denise

  72. Pam Butterick says:

    Just settled long enough to read this. It’s so transportational, like magically talking to you in person.❤️
    My dad had a gorgeous voice and it was he who sang The Best Things in Life Are Free, and now you have brought his voice back into my memory. I was starting to forget it. A gift among so many that you give. (Tears here😥😍)
    I am starting to pack now for a trip on the Queen Elizabeth…and two sets of weather, cool England and Atlantic Ocean and then warm Greece. I’ve been doing exactly what you described!
    Maybe, MAYBE, we’ll be able to do a lengthy stay in Britain one day…I have relatives in England and Scotland, and we have visited, but for too short a time.
    Prayers ongoing for the devastation brought on by climate change and the devastation in our government. I’m praying for more and more people to WAKE UP and stand against it and make change happen.
    Thank you for highlighting so much good and beauty. Along with MUSICA. Fabulous❤️🎶❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh, isn’t that the truth, just the smallest thing can remind us and bring back so many happy memories. You’re heading out Pam! How wonderful! My prayers join yours and all of ours, for a better world. It isn’t because we don’t have the hearts for it, because we do. xoxo

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

    good morning everyone, Susan, and Girlfriends. hello!! wow it was chilly this morning, we hit 48 degrees last night and slept with our flannel sheets on and the quilt……. brrr it was cold. then it was nice and chilly this morning with the temp to go up later to 78 degrees, I think Fall has finally announced its arrival.. WHEEE!!!! I got to wear my warm and toasty slippers, had 2 cups of hot tea and I am putting the last of the Fall decorations up and will start to work on the windows with the leaves ( window clings) . tonight its stew for dinner, along with a good salad. I think I timed the rolling up of the hoses just right.. by Monday we are supposed to be in the sixties and they are already talking snow elevations. we still have the Chetco Bar fire going, but the rains we got slowed it down quite a bit, unfortunately with that rain came lightning and it sparked off a new fire a few miles away from the Chetco, the Indigo fire its not too far from us, and just another thing to deal with. so far it has only burned about 123 or so acres and they are hoping to get that under control and out soon. we have blues skies, smoky but blue and it is a relief not to see smoke drifting in among the trees outside. you can still smell the fire, but it is not as nasty as it was ( like a dirty ashtray…YUK!!!) so hopefully the firefighters are getting a handle on it and will bring it under control. the barnyard crowd is doing very well, mama and babies are fine in the pen with the rest of crowd and this weekend we are getting some new birds, Quails. I have no idea how the ducks, chickens, geese and turkeys will react but the more the merrier. besides we can sell quail eggs to folks for a small price. why not we sell duck eggs, turkey eggs and goose eggs to folks along with chicken eggs. the babies won’t start laying until winter, takes about 6 months for young hens to lay. I’m listening to TCM this morning, The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHavilland, love that movie. got to go lay down some fresh straw for the new arrivals, plus it helps keep the birds warm during the cold months. and I have to get that stew started. wishing you all a Happy Autumn, only 6 more days and its here. Autumn blessings…. have a great day and a great weekend. hugs…… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Camelot was on just before Robin Hood, I was right there with you Pat! How fun you have all those lovely kinds of eggs! And now Quails! Six days until the real Autumn! Hooray! We have a hurricane in the Atlantic inching its way north… keeping my eye on it, beautiful here today.

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        well the guy with the quails didn’t show up so I have no idea what is going on or what happened, hopefully he will show up today. oh boy another hurricane, that is about all you need now….. keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, hopefully this one will fizzle out. well I have a question, who do you call to complain about an obnoxious neighbor. he has illegal sheds and structures all over his property, he has trash piled all along the fences, and transients and drug addicts living on the property under plastic tents near our fence, we know there is drug manufacturing going on there and selling, some of these bums go out onto the road and try to sell to the kids going to bus stop at the corner and we ( all the neighbors) want to get rid of this guy but who do we call and for what??? so far the people are told to call won’t help us what do we do and who do we call???? oh and its raining here today, a good drenching rain so that should help the firefighters and the cooler temps… low 60’s most of this week… Fall is coming fast, only 4 more days. I can’t wait. hugs……. 🙂

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        stay safe, I think that is Hurricane Jose’ coming your way with Maria following behind. send some of that rain here, our firefighters will be most grateful for the relief. stay safe. hugs…… 🙂

  74. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA says:

    I am very late in getting Willard and this post read! It didn’t occur because I was eating bon-bons (but wish I were!). Use my Blue Bird tea cup almost daily, but soon it will be time to bring out the Autumn one! More to come and cookie plates too!!! And a new Bookmark – I have printed and lamented every single one! Be still my heart!
    I LOVE your watercolors as much as I do reading your stories!
    Thank you so much Susan!

  75. I’m a little sad. Oh, It’s my fault….but a little of the blame goes to Irma.
    We spent most of last week prepping for the hurricane….waiting and worrying…and we evacuated last Friday. It was hard to find a place to stay; it was hard to find gas; there was the worry that we would find no house or yard when we got home. We ended up in Birmingham, AL. LOVE YOU, Birmingham. I mean, they knocked their socks off to help everyone (most guests at the hotel were from Florida), We are home (yes, it is still standing). We have electricity.
    We are cleaning up the mess. I was going to order my bluebird cup….but, guess what??? you are out. 🙁 so very sad. My question is: Will you be getting any more cups in?? I certainly hope so, as I need to celebrate with the “Bluebird of Happiness” cup. I will keep my fingers crossed. Thanks Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m SO happy you are okay Cynthia, what a frightful experience. And I wish SO MUCH I had extra cups, especially after all you’ve been through, but I don’t ~ at least as far as I know. But please do check with Sheri@susanbranch.com to make positively sure. I know there are a few of the other designs floating around, perhaps there is a hidden bluebird cup also. The manufacturer recently let us know that they had a few extra decals leftover for the Martha’s Vineyard, Love, and Autumn cups, so I ordered them and those mugs will arrive in about a month. Hope this helps. Welcome home! xoxoxoxo

      • Cynthia Rothbard says:

        Oh, Joy…I will check with Sheri (fingers crossed). Even if one is not available, I hope that (at some point), you can make the Blue Birds again. It just knocked my socks off…. (hey, I could have pre-ordered, so ‘my bad’). I have a hard time with decisions of luxuries. My Mother always said, “If you love it, buy it when you see it, because when you finally decide, it might be gone”. She is smiling, over the rainbow.

        • sbranch says:

          I know, I’m the same way, really hard to decide! And I hate to be a “salesperson” about these cups, but I do try to say, as gently as I can, watch out, they will be gone, because it’s awful when someone who wants one doesn’t get it! It’s just that the manufacturer makes us buy such a huge number as a minimum ~ so, when I presell them, I know how many to get and I figure we’re safe. Later, to reorder that huge number again, when most people already have them, that’s hard to do, money wise and tax wise (IRS taxes you on unsold goods still in stock at the end of the year, which of course, we found out the hard way!). It’s all complicated and boring for most people. But we’re little, so it’s either this way or no way at all! I’m thrilled that we are able to do this! Quite a dream come true. Fingers crossed there’s a birdy out there with your name on it!

  76. Paula says:

    ~Susan~
    Such a delight each and every time reading your blog letter!!
    I must say my daughter and I enjoyed our short visit last Friday to the “Vineyard”. you were right one day was not enough time !! we took the public bus out to the cliff and it is Beautiful !!! and sorry to say the bus driver did not know who you were .From there went into Edgartown, very lovely and had the best coffee ice cream cone !! yummy !! Brought my keepsake charm for my charm bracelet!! went to Oakbluff, walked around the gingerbread cottages, very quaint, and again sorry to say the one shop keeper did not know of you, must be island secret , hehe. Oh we meet a lovely couple on the bus from England, they said they travel the states often. So if we have the chance to visit again one day we will know to stay at least two days, and that we will not have to visit certain towns, because how many shops do we really need to go into !!!??! we would like to see the history of the island not all the shops!! While we were staying on the main land all 5 days the weather was perfect!!
    Everyone was so very very nice in Rhode Island too !!
    Have a joyful weekend !!
    Paula
    IN

    • sbranch says:

      I need to leave my house more!!! LOL! I’m so glad you enjoyed the Island Paula! The good thing about a one-day trip is that you get the lay of the land and know what you want to do next time. This Island is more about long walks and beach days than most anything else, although we do have some very cute shops!

      • Paula says:

        ~Susan~
        LOL, I was like what ?you don’t of know Susan Branch!!missing out on such wonderful journey she brings to all that read her books, and blog!
        You are right indeed , now we know the lay of the island for next time!! Can not wait until that day !!
        Have a lovely weekend!
        Paula
        IN
        p.s. looking at my pictures now thinking wish I was there !

        • sbranch says:

          I have always slipped a little under the radar, even here on the Island, so it’s not such a surprise to me … that’s why we’re like this secret little club here. We know about all this stuff, but definitely not everyone does! I’m so glad you loved the Island!

  77. Karen says:

    Susan! Just found your blog after reading “A Fine Romance” Love it! Just what I needed. Traveled to England last year and Ireland this year. I saw so many places just like your photos. I really like the tip to stay put for a bit. We drove both islands during our trips and it was wonderful but the Lake District was so beautiful that I want to go back there and maybe staying there for a bit next time and fanning out as you suggest would be even more enjoyable. Have a fabulous autumn!

  78. Betty Benefield says:

    Dear Susan,
    Greetings from Tennessee where we had a “touch” of fall weather last week, but this week summer returned! We made a trip to the apple orchard yesterday, and I plan to make apple dumplings later today. YUM!
    Reading your blog and your plans for next summer is a great respite from storms, fires, earthquakes, politics, bomb attacks in London, and all other “news” that upsets us. Of course, music soothes the soul, as well.
    Thank you for bringing rays of sunshine into our lives with your writing, painting, music, and peeks into your life at home and away.
    Hope your autumn is full of beautiful colors, delicious smells, crisp air, and all things bright and beautiful! Enjoy!!

  79. Fan in California says:

    I had the opportunity to go inside Castle Cottage several years ago when it was between tenants. So interesting to see where Beatrix lived. When she lived there, fans could just come to the house and visit. The docent from Hill Top pointed out the exterior staircase and told us that if Beatrix saw people approaching that she didn’t want to visit with, she would escape down the staircase!! I agree on the staying in one place — you can experience things that you wouldn’t have if you are only there a day or two. That was how we were able to go on the docent led tour of the area around Hill Top and see the inside of Castle Cottage. An extra special memory!!

  80. D'Anne R. Paratore says:

    I am at a loss for words, Ms. Branch – your sprinkles of kindness are worth more than the grandest intention. Was it Mark Twain who said
    “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can see”?

    Thank you for the Moon Bookmark and finding the “Autumn” cup! Shari had called me – you made the party complete!!
    I am having a Hunter Moon Party – this is when we gather before hunting season – we celebrate as a prime time to hunt during the post-harvest, pre-winter period when conditions are optimal for spotting prey. It is a rush hunting by the moon as our ancestors did.
    Your book mark is my gift to all, a bit of clemency perhaps?
    And, at the end of the party, we are going to draw some shotshells out of a hat who ever gets a broadhead, will win your “Autumn” cup !!

    And yes, we gather telling our stories of the one who got away and the year no one had Thanksgiving dinner, and I made everyone “stone” soup!
    If I may share with you and all my girlfriends out there that hunt?
    There was one year, I was sooo excited I could see this huge gobbler was all fired up. His head was bright red, waddle extended, and feathers puffed up which made him look like a turkey on steroids. His fan was fully extended as he danced in a tight circle around the receptive hen. I crawled closer when his huge fanned tail blocked him from seeing my approach. That’s when I could hear him sweet talkin’ his partner. He would spit, purr, drum, rattle his wing feathers and softly entice her closer. I could hear in my ear piece my partner to “shoot, shoot” My gosh it was within 20 yards, easy peasy right? I could not take my eyes off them, the dance was soooo magical under the moon –
    I reached and shot, not with my gun, but my telephoto lens.
    Trust me, no-one will let me live that one down.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for the bookmark inspiration D’Anne, I’m glad you got it! Re: turkey story, I like your style.

  81. I just re-read your blog dated 8-23-14, which thankfully I saved years ago. I’m so glad I did, as I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again. I feel as though I just went on an end of summer mini vacation. It was a lovely trip the two of you took and kindly shared with all of us. Thanks, Susan. Love, Barb

  82. Ellen Botts says:

    Oh, Susan and Joe: Do hope and pray Jose/tropical storms blow out to sea. Please let us know how you fared. Love, Ellen

    • sbranch says:

      All is well so far, I think it’s being downgraded and will only give high seas and some breezes. We are so lucky!

  83. Julie Huff says:

    We’re gearing up for the fall color explosion in MI! I’m reveling! I feel your heart, we’re so blessed to enjoy a free market economy in the US, that way any one of us can distribute their wealth as their heart dictates. And when you see how other governments oppress their own citizens- all you can do is pray for this world.

    I’m with you, the news drives me crazy and I find I just turn it off after catching the drift, then investigating was is real, fake, or overblown! Then I watch a Doris Day movie. She has the most wonderful voice. No one has diction or enunciation that matches hers.

  84. Crystal says:

    Dear Susan, Thanks for sharing your lovely photos, stories and paintings. I love reading your blog posts. I always find it so uplifting and fun to read. A lovely break from vaccuming or any other job. I was feeling a bit down as I have been limping around with knee trouble lately. Your blog is always like a breath of fresh air. Thanks for doing what you do so well.
    Your friend in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.
    Crystal

    • sbranch says:

      Hope the knee is better soon Crystal. Thank you for checking in! Say hello to beautiful Minnesota for me!

  85. Char Rizzico says:

    Hello!
    Just before Hurricane Irma was headed for GA, I decided to go to the library and find a book that I could fall into and forget about the storm for a while. As I walked around the book isles, your book, Isle of Dreams, shouted to me “read me, read me!”. I could not put the book down. So many beautiful pages of colorful artwork, interesting quotes, real life pictures, details, a yummy recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes, and so much more! I loved reading this book and will be looking for more of your books at the library. Looks like you did get the fairy tale dream life after all.

  86. Carolyn Rector says:

    Be safe dear Susan as Hurricane Jose passes by. My prayers are for you and yours and your lovely island.

  87. Debbie Boerger says:

    We’re certainly hoping you and all of the Massachusetts islands suffer no real damage after ole’ Jose moseys (very confused storm!) stage right, cools and disappears. But….it’s a great excuse for a “Snuggle In”.
    So very sorry for all the people who were devastated by Harvey, now being hit by Maria…and looking at the other storms teed up behind her. Terrifying.

    You, Joe and Jack stay safe inside. Aren’t we glad we both got a new roof this summer?
    Mucho love,
    Debbie in Maine

  88. Sandy says:

    Thank you, Susan, for your latest post. Sometimes I just want to hide my head in a pillow and pretend I don’t know all the stuff about how our government works. But, as Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And part of the something we have to do is become aware of the hidden movements behind the facade we see.

  89. Norma says:

    Here, here to your lobbyist article. Your changes sound great; let’s make it happen.

  90. Lisa Van Valkneburgh says:

    I agree with everything you wrote in your latest blog. You leave off by saying that you are now going to freeze your credit. Well, good luck! I have tried three times now on different days to no avail, and that’s with all three credit agencies.

    I give all the information required and affirm that everything is correct. When I think I’m done, I’m told by all three agencies that “my request cannot be processed”!!! That’s trying via the telephone. Going online is a joke. They want you to submit your ENTIRE social security number. Yeah, I’m really going to give the hackers another chance to steal my identity. Uh, huh!

    Were you successful in freezing your credit? I wonder how many of your Girlfriends were able to do so. Probably none of them. I don’t know of one person who has been able to. I have called all my representatives in Congress and my state senator to ask what can be done about these three credit bureaus who take our information without permission and then will give us no access to themselves in order for us to freeze our credit. I think that this, too, is a crime!

    Thank you, Susan, for this most timely and important blog.

    Warmest regards,
    Lisa

    • sbranch says:

      Exactly what happened to me. I tried all three, went through all the form filling out on line, then the same thing as you. Then one of them tells me I have to get together a MONUMENTAL set of papers and send them through the MAIL. Paper to them, the losers. I called my bank here on the Island and was slightly reassured. They put in some extra firewalls of protection around our accounts. Should be a crime, really. But no. We suffer, they go skipping off to the bank! grrr. Warmest regards right back to you, fellow sufferer, xoxo

  91. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Sending love, prayers and assistance to all in need around the world. Holding positive thoughts to the outcomes rather than dwelling on negativity which simply adds energy to it.

    Yes, Tiny Tim, God Bless us Everyone!

    • sbranch says:

      Reminds me of this: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Reinhold Niebuhr

  92. Karen Haskett says:

    Love your Comments about money in Politics! SOooo TRUE! I was also a Perot voter back in the day. ANyway I wanted to ask you to consider an 11 oz mug with hydrangea and a picket fench and clothes line for your Spring design. meanwhile I want the picnic in England one so badly! can’t wait to order it! AS always, I love you 🏡❤️ And everything about your fairytale life… and your blog content is wonderful!
    THank you!

  93. Kathy says:

    Thank you for your delightful books and inspiring blog (and you have every right to talk about whatever you want to talk about; no one is forced to come here!).
    I also enjoy Willard. Just wanted to say that the last one had a quote supposedly said by Amy in Little Women (“Butter! Oh, isn’t butter divinity?”). But Amy never said that (neither did anyone else in the story). I only noticed it because I’ve read that book about twenty times. I verified by doing a search on my E-reader.
    Thank you again for brightening the world with all of your lovely creations & books.

    • sbranch says:

      Shoot! I think I liked it better when I thought she DID say it! That darn fake news, slithers in everywhere doesn’t it. Now I have to fact-check my quote sources! I should have known. It was too cute to be real! Ha ha ha, thank you so much Kathy! I would rather know the truth than to go on being an idiot in public! Not that this will stop THAT, but it snips off at least one little corner of it. xoxo

      • Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

        I prefer thinking she said it too….puts an positive light on the moment for me!

        Wasn’t there something in Alice in Wonderland re dipping the broken pocket watch in butter to fix it since it was “the best butter?”

        Fried in butter egg sandwich on Wonder Bread with Best Foods mayo and iceberg lettuce great start to my day!

        • sbranch says:

          I COULD NOT AGREE MORE. That is a sandwich from heaven! LOL, thank you for the reminder, I know what I’m having for lunch!

          • Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

            Neglected adding the “best butter” for breakfast fried egg sandwich on Wonder Bread was British, grass fed cows butter I had bought and used on your Johnny Cakes with Canadian Maple Syrup last weekend….

            YUM

      • P.J. says:

        The quote sounded really familiar to me, too, so I looked it up, and apparently it’s from the 1994 MOVIE version of Little Women, my personal favorite. (I would have bet on Elizabeth Taylor in the 1949 version, but not according to imdb.) So, vindication of a sort. Keep up the good work!

  94. Toni from Sylvania OH says:

    Hi all. I am Toni’s husband. she is on your site almost daily. As for a credit freeze, I logged on to Experian and ONLINE I filled out a 90 day temporary freeze quite easily. They share the info with the other two credit bureaus, Trans Union, and Equifax. I got through about 9 PM and had no problem. Daytime is quite buzy so try at night.

    Jim M. Sr.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Jim! So nice to hear from you! My Joe and you must have been at Experian last night at the same time . . . he got us through too. Thank you so much ~ you two are proof positive that it can be done! Say hello to Toni!

      • Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

        Thanks for the nudge, I just contacted Experian & waiting for their reply with fingers crossed.

        AAA Auto Club of So Calif offers a service I signed up for…
        Basic credit bureau notification is free*

        Premier coverage of notification & assisting if identity is
        stolen, lost wallet, etc. is $8.95/month*

        I chose Premier for peace of mind….just sharing info with you but NOT making recommendation of what’s best for you.

        GOOD LUCK!!!!!

        *if you’re an Auto Club Member

  95. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    “English Country (grass fed) Butter” to be exact on your Johnny Cakes with Canadian Maple Syrup, American bacon and Fair Trade Organic Bolivian Blend Coffee – WOW

    I ate half the batch of Johnny Cakes (which tasted like my Grandmother’s) by myself! Thanks, Susan! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Well, thank you so much Sandra, now I have to get out of my chair and go get me some butter!!! Thinking about the vehicle: should it be toast? Perhaps a fried egg sandwich? Possibly blueberry corncake? YUM!

      • Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

        It was ambrosia on your blueberry corncakes – bacon not required but perfect salty accompaniment 🙂

        Relieved your weather is better, Susan.

        Have you considered a large cup with animals you write about – Your Shadow, raccoon, squirrels, cows, sheep, rabbits, etc. It’d be a great year round cup for us fur lovers!

        • sbranch says:

          Planning on it…too many ideas! Not enough time! I’m afraid my poor Girlfriends will say STOOOOOOP!!!

          • Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

            We’re patient, Susan, you’re worth it!

            I’ve been a fan since your first cookbook, reading all of them cover to cover. Delighted you’re such a part of my life – an inspiration.

            Reading Fairy Tale Girl now limiting # of pages per day so it lasts longer. Love you tore out last 2 pages of her book – I’d never thought of it! Do you think the ditz really noticed?

            Can’t believe she used your Lazo black soap! Gross – But it’s great soap!

            Take your time, Susan, and enjoy your journey.
            Just your being available as such a Dear Friend helps us all have better days.

            Remember to put your oxygen mask on first, Sweetie.

            Much love and Namaste, Sandra

          • sbranch says:

            Ha ha! I hope she noticed, I’ll never know, but since that would have frustrated me to the nth degree if the last two pages of my book were missing, I thought it was a relatively benign way to drive her insane! I know, my soap. She deserved to lose those pages. xoxo

  96. ~Del Gato gordo y descarado~ says:

    Here is something I thought would interest you,
    free retro style recipe cards/downloads, they are pretty cute.
    Happy Day to all~

    metv.com/lists/download-and-print-retro-recipe-cards-from-metv

  97. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    You probably already know this – but in case you don’t for your calendar:

    February 22 is Japanese Cat Day
    October 29 is National Cat Day

    October 3, 1226 St Francis of Assisi

    Any excuse to celebrate our adorable, loving, playful, affectionate, talkative, furry companions 🙂

    When I was in Goa, India I discovered St Francis’ body was in a glass casket in the local Catholic Church – Speaking only English, somehow, I was able to hire a cab to pay my respects. Upon arrival, discovered it’s St Francis Xavier. Graciously paid my respects. Goa is a Portuguese Colony and St Francis of Assisi was Italian.

  98. Denise Marie says:

    I love the dappling! And thoroughly enjoyed your three diary books, I’m so sad that I’ve finished them all! I learned, I laughed, I cried! Also I’m inspired, thank you!

  99. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Please bow your head and observe a moment of silence. It is with deep regret I inform you I’ve finished TheFairyTale Girl today 🙁

    Yes, I’ve read your other two marvelous books, read cover to cover most of your cookbooks since the 80s, memorized Willard from his inception which I’ve saved, and memorizing Blog!

    Sitting at the kitchen window with Grasshopper, mouthy, lynx point Siamese curled up on table too with his paw covering his blue eyes. We have a beautiful Indian Summer day and I can see the ants crawling up the pine trees on top of the mountains it’s clear. Off to swim my daily laps and figure out what to do with my life since I’ve consumed about every word you’ve written. (I have no TV)

    Enjoy your 73 degrees and kiss Jack for me…..delighted you keep him indoors!
    XOXO Sandra

  100. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    P.S. The Fairy Tale Girl is fantastic – as usual. Brought back so many memories.
    We wanted so much to be grown up, married with babies – preprogramed.

    My babies are the best! Four legged, purring, fuzzy, affectionate, personality plus creatures, that talk back and demand what they want…..their head butt thank you melts my heart every time.

    • sbranch says:

      Jack and I head butt too, it’s my favorite thing. Forehead to forehead. We are so lucky that our petty pets exist, what a GIFT! Thank you Sandra!

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