I don’t mean to gloat, but I have to say how grateful I am that in my very own lifetime, I had the extreme pleasure of slow-dancing to this silly young crazy yearning musicsong:  MUSICA   And I know lots of you did too! How LUCKY are we???? Timing is everything!!! Don’t be jealous of us all you loveyoung whippersnappers ~ just put it on, and go to it. But it won’t be the same unless you can think of some way to make your hands clammy and your heart race. Be sure to close your eyes and only move your feet about an inch at a time. Ohhh, Earth Angel, earth angel, will you me mine . . .



Menemsha sunset

That song still makes my heart race, and so does this!  Here we are the other night having dinner at Home Port, a delicious fish restaurant up Full-Moons-Bookmark-2014-166x5001Island in Menemsha, and that, dearest ones, is the sun setting right outside our windows. This time of year we get amazing sunsets. And it all happens to this very special one-of-a-kind MUSICA  . . . (you can play both MUSICA’S at once ~ and you can turn this off if you want, but we can’t ~ it’s a good thing we LOVE it).

Moon over Menemsha

As we left the restaurant to go to our car, voila, down drops the sun and up pops the moon! You know we have gorgeous moon rises on the Island too . . . those and sunsets are just two of the kazillion reasons I love it here . . . Here are a few Island sunsets just for you . . .


Vineyard Sunset

Hello. This is the beach at the end of the walk we take everyday. It’s the nature’s address where I find my best happiness.

island view

East Chop Lighthouse sunset

Here we are at East Chop Lighthouse built in 1869 . . . Look at that sky, one hundred percent real color, no faking anything here!
Bend in the road beach

This is the pond across from Bend-in-the-Road Beach . . . Just driving along and there is your basic sky. Pull Over!

sense of beauty; susan branch art

sunset on Martha's Vineyard

Here we are on the deck of the Aquinnah Shop . . .  overlooking Gay Head at the far end of the Island.

love nature

Sunset on Spring Street

We look out our kitchen door, see a sky like this, and jump in the car to look for the source, like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

sunset on Martha's Vineyard

And here it is, glimmering gold and worth every penny!

Harbor at sunset Martha's Vineyard

So what are your favorite things about fall?  I mean besides the sound of the crickets?

Fall, dishtowels

It makes me happy to listen to them while putting  up my fall dishtowels . . .

Scalloped Potatoes and Sausages

and making the house smell good with one of my favorite fall dinners . . . Scalloped Potatoes and Sausages.  (Page 97 of Vineyard Seasons)

Getting ready to come home

And while putting a little bit of the season on the kitchen door . . .

fall breeze clothes on line

I LOVE the chilly wind, perfect for washing tablecloths and skirts and drying them on the line.

A Fine Romance Lacock England

It’s also a wonderful time for re-reading old books and putting yourself in a happy mood.  I read this one over and over again, reliving one of the best times of my life.  Diaries are a very good thing! Thank you for inspiring me to keep this one!

fall decor

I love my easy decorations like the leaf garland I drape over the sideboard in the dining room . . . 


And my owls, out they come to take their place over the fireplace in the living room.

owl family

and on the kitchen windowsill . . .

fall color

And of course, flowers! I’m really just getting started!


And the crow collection, meeter and greeter at the back kitchen door.

black bird looking back



woods walk to the sea

This morning it was pure nirvana on our walk. I had to wear a warm sweater and a scarf and keep them on the whole time.  A chilly wind was blowing, the sun was shining in the clear blue sky, and bright yellow leaves spotted the woods. It was just as wonderful as you could hope for, filled with singing birds and cawing crows. Like usual, Joe and I played Out of the woods into the open skyMorning Science the whole way out to the water. We noticed a trail of tiny broken pieces of styrofoam on the dirt road, and of course, being naturally scientific, we thought, what’s this? We hashed it over. What could it be?  How could it get there? Conclusion: Possibly bits from insulation that fell off a truck on its bumpy way to the building site for a new house out there. Then we noticed another problem, more alarming: Look at that tree! What happened? It’s hanging by a thread! path in the woodsScientific conclusion: due to little pile of styrofoam at the base of the tree, we concluded the truck with the insulation caught on corner of the tree and cracked it down the middle. The only thing keeping it from crashing to the ground was the tree next to it which the cracked tree had glommed onto on its way down. Additional conclusion: Somebody better do something about that tree before it kills us. Profound perceptions from the two Morning Scientists.  For any of you who’ve never heard of our game of Morning Science, here’s what I wrote about it in my AUTUMN Book.

morning science morningscience2


BOOK NEWS:  TODAY, Tuesday, the printers in Indiana have told us they are shipping the books! It’s so odd how if the clock ticks long enough, we really do finally get there!  How long till The Fairy Tale Girl gets to us via truck?  The scientists are just not sure.  Four days?  A week?Time heals

The fairy Tale Girl color proofs

But you can be assured, when those books come in, first thing, for those of you who ordered it sight The Fairy Tale Girlunseen (except for the occasional pages like those above), based on Faith and the Adorable Inner Girlfriend Support System Mentality, the very first thing we will do is pop your book into the mail. Makes my stomach quiver to say that.  There is something very scary about a new book.  Always has been, always will be. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see it, see how it all looks together,the paper, the ribbon, how it smells, all that book stuff!

yay!road less traveled

And then, later this month, we’ll be hitting the road, driving the highways and bi-ways of old New England, taking the back roads to Western MA, where we’re spending the night at a B & B that used to belong to my friend Lowely’s grandmother, where Lowely spent summers as a child.  Did I tell you we’re going with another couple?  Our neighbors, two doors, up, Lowely, and her equally adorable man, John. Yes, so we get to see some of Lowely’s roots. After Lowely’s Grandmother’s house, we’ll head up through Vermont almost to the top, to an island in the middle of Lake Champlain for a few days. Then we drive across Vermont to New Hampshire for our book signing at Innisfree Bookshop in Meredith, NH, at 11 a.m.  

Birdhouse at the lake

I took a picture of this bird house the last time we were in Meredith. Gorgeous spot on Lake Winnipesaukee

We get back to the Island in October and then I’m going to write you big fat WILLARD and tell you all about the trip with lots of photos of leaves ~ I’ll do my best to make you feel like you were there.  It’ll be a mini FINE ROMANCE. 

The snug

You probably remember my girlfriend Elizabeth, the one who was redoing an old house down the street from me?  Well, it’s all done and she invited Lowely and me for tea the other day. I only took a few pictures but I thought you’d like to see them.  This is her “snug” the cozy room with the TV in it … see the pillow?  She made that with my Martha’s Vineyard fabric, so I feel right at home here…

Elizabeth and Jack

Just so you can put the face with the person, this is Elizabeth and Jack in one of my favorite pictures of Jack.  The eyes!

Jack and Elizabeth

This one isn’t as good of Jack, but it’s much better of Elizabeth!

kitchen fireplace

Here we are in her brand new kitchen with the beautiful working fireplace! She rents this cozystarry pumpkin place out, believe it or not, so if any of you are looking for a Fall or Holiday getaway in New England, you can go HERE and get more info. (Mention FOSB (Friends of Susan Branch) if you call. Elizabeth told them to offer a special off-season price for my Girlfriends!) It’s got three downstairs fireplaces!  And it’s insulated!!!  This is an important thing if you want to come in the winter! It was written about in a local magazine, you can see more photos here.



She had the table decked out California style ~ California is where Elizabeth spends half her time . . . And, in case you can’t tell, she’s an interior designer!  Here’s her web site!

Tea party

Tea Party which cup?

This is Elizabeth contemplating the big question of any tea party, WHICH CUP????  Sooooo exciting!

my cup of tea

tea time

I love her kitchen chairs. And that little thin china cup, she reminded me, is what I brought her to celebrate when the house was finished. It couldn’t be in better hands. After this moment we were much too busy talking to take pictures!


tea spoon



And now this last photo, back in my dining room, just showing you how fading hydrangeas STILL look pretty! Trying to take my mind off the shipping of the books! SOON! XOXO Bye for now earth angels, Keep in touch!


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But first, we go Ommmmm.

musicHow can so much happen in so short a time? But first, we go ommmmm, we take a deep breath and we make tea. Then we turn on our MUSICA ~ Did I mention that I’m going to tell you the story of where the “MUSICA” came from in the new book? I think you will like it almost as much as the MUSICA.flowerLake Winnipesaukee

Now that we are all kicked back and relaxed, do you remember this gorgeous spot?  Isn’t this the most magical view in the world?  I can hear the lake lapping at the shore and smell the pine trees from here.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Have you figured it out where we are?  Yes!  You are so smart! It’s Meredith, New Hampshire, in 2013, where we went for one of our very first book signings for A FINE ROMANCE. 

moon over Lake Winnipesaukee

And I was taking these pictures from the deck of our room at the most wonderful hotel called Mill Falls at the Lake . . . LOOK at that moon!

Moon over Lake Winnipesaukee

And that was how it looked over Lake Winnipesaukee . . . Wasn’t it amazing?  One of my best moons ever! Well, we’re going back! To the same hotel, to the same bookstore.

Insider Bookshop with A Fine Romance 2013The wonderful Innisfree Bookshop called and invited us (and all of you) and THE FAIRY TALE GIRL for our first planned book signing together! New Hampshire in October? Be still my heart!!!


Fairy Tale Girl Name Tag for book signingsI hope you can make it.  I hope I’m giving those of you who live nearby enough time to plan a balloonslittle getaway. I made name tags for us again so we can recognize each other. The book signing is Saturday, October 3, from 11 to 1 p.m. and I’m sure it will be very festive!  Please come! Put it on your calendar! It’s very pretty there!  Innisfree Bookshop is in the Mill Falls Marketplace. Just CLICK here  to print out your name tag . . .

Staff, Susan Branch Studios

Here are some of my favorite people, wearing their name tags from A FINE ROMANCE … that’s Sheri on the left, her daughter Maddie and our friend Bonnie (both of whom came to help last time when all the books came in), and Kellee on the right.  They’re standing in the garden of my California Studio ~ I know many of you have spoken to Sheri or Kellee on the phone, so this is what they look like!


By the time we get to New Hampshire the hills and woods of New England will look like this! Even after all these years, I still can’t quite believe the colors are real! We’re not going to do Autumn artsa lot of signings this year, we’re going to save ourselves for a cross-country tour next May after Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams makes its debut.  We’re going to stay home and enjoy fall and Christmas on the Island this year and cook and paint wonderful things for my second new book! I promise to take lots of pictures in New Hampshire so if you’re too far away, you won’t have to miss a thing . . . we’re also heading up to Lake Champlain, a place I’ve never been, for an actual vacation!!!  Unheard of around here!  We are so ready!  I’ll tell you all about it, we don’t go until the end of the month.

The Fairy Tale Girl

I couldn’t think of going anywhere until that book gets here. If I see a UPS truck, my heart falls into my feet.  But so far, we are still waiting. Kellee and Sheri are on pins and needles too, the studio is all ready to get a whole lotta books!   IN THE MEANTIME ~ I had a party and promised to show you, so here we go! We’ll just have to take our minds off that UPS truck !

more dappled walls

While I chopped, squeezed, measured and sautéed, the sun shimmered through the wisteria onto the wall, which I just LOVE.  Pretty darn fairy-like if you ask me!

shadows and dappled rooms

I have a thing about that kind of light . . .

morning light

The way it lands sort of willy nilly, and puts those lacy shadows on the wall, I just have to take pictures of it. It’s such a moment in time.

dappled walls

Even in the laundry room . . . 

Cocktails in the garden

drinkAnother moment in time.  I adore dappled things, even these big blotches of light through the trees.  We decided to have cocktails and bites of cheese and pickles and smoked fish and olives and gin and tonics with crushed ice and lime wedges in the Adirondack chairs while the sun slowly slipped out of the sky  . . . it was just cool enough for a little shawl, and when it got dark, we had this to look at . . .

clam lights

the arborAll lit up and so pretty. . . But we decided to be comfy and totally bug free, and eat indoors . . .
setting the table

Dish Playtime!  This night I wanted everything to be light and airy, end of summerish with just a TOUCH of fall… 

polishing the silver with cat

And Jack, my little shadow, totally agreed with me!  Just a touch of fall, he meowed catwhile I got out the silverware. Most of my silverware came to me over the years .  .  . a little from my grandmother and lots was collected from flea markets like Brimfield in MA, and from antique stores all across the country . . . it’s very mix and match, but very romantic too. 

setting the table

See summer?  See fall?

vintage glassware

But of course, you can’t get people to look at your table settings UNLESS you include food!

spicy mango salad

I made spicy Mango salad, with red peppers, chopped mint and cilantro, lime juice and sesame oil (from p.82 of the Girlfriend book).  Joe made a brilliant saddle of lamb with rosemary and garlic that was melt-in-your-mouth juicy and

making basil ice cream

basket of tomatoesI also made basil ice cream, to serve with wonderful summer tomatoes that were salted and peppered and drizzled with olive oil and left to sit for a few hours.  Then I put a spoonful of tomatoes with juice in a small dessert bowl, 

homemade basil ice cream

. . . a scoop of basil ice cream on top, then a drizzle of balsamic reduction, and voila! Tastebud heaven.  This is the dessert that reminds us that a tomato is a fruit. It’s a different kind of dessert but easy and fun. I thought we might reprint Heart of the Home next year and add a few new recipes like this one. 

bean salad

I made our favorite bean salad too, with sage and little bits of cauliflower for crunch. I also made a quinoa salad with fresh ginger and currants, green onions, water chestnuts and roasted All kinds of old stovespeanuts. All was served with hot crusty raisin rolls and butter. My goal was to make everything ahead and I did and I was so glad I did!  I got to spend the entire time outside talking with every one . . . it was so easy!

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Was a wonderful dinner party

It was wonderful, dinner for eight, and all my favorite MUSICA was playing. . .


table setting dinner party

All very simpatico and charming, catching up with good friends. Made me think . . .Julia Child

A little credit where credit is due. I wrote this in my Autumn book in 2004 ~ it was in being printed when she passed away.

Julia ChildJuliaChildI really didn’t mean to get into Julia today, but there is hardly a dinner party I have where I don’t say a little thank you to her for her inspiration.  It’s like she reached out of the dark when I was around 22, took me by the shoulders and said, WAKE UP! I’ve loved her ever since.

Moon at the dinner party

And look what was watching over us during dinner!  The MOON! Or was that Julia? 

Country Living British

And so now, it’s cocktail time somewhere, right here, it’s now, and this is my little excitement for today, my new British Country Living just arrived, so that’s where I’m going . . .  Hope you’re remembering to give yourself a little treat, because I know you and you deserve it! small treatsRabbit Rabbit Girlfriends, Happy September




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