HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY EVERYONE!  MUSICA  Good Morning!  I’m thrilled to say there are twenty-seven hundred entries for our Spring Fling Giveaway, wow!  That’s almost shocking!  But don’t worry, you still have a much better chance of bun bunwinning this than you do the lottery! Isn’t that comforting? I woke up this morning to another hundred and fifty new comments ~ so I don’t think we’re done!  I thought I would give it one more day so everyone has a chance to enter and announce the winner TOMORROW, with a new post to show you how I’ve been decorating for spring.  (Remember this is Smallville, don’t get your hopes up too high on the decorations!)

Make a wish

Wishing you the Luck of the Irish and a big pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. Don’t forget to wear something Green so you don’t get pinched!  

One of our Blog Girlfriends (Lorene) mentioned something interesting in her comment that I thought you all should know: She said the reason they carve an “X” in the top of Irish Soda Bread is to let the fairies out.  Be sure to do that, Girlfriends! Let the fairies fly! 

In the meantime I’ll be in my same old spot . . .

art girl

So, until tomorrow . . . an Irish Blessing and a wee bi’ o’ the sampling’ for ye . . . w’ love from Paddy McSue. 

St.Patricks Day recipe

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Snow Walk, and Garden Giveaway

Today we’re going to mix it up, a snow walk and a garden give-away all in the same post!  MUSICA for slow dancing, Girlfriends. . . 

Martha's Vineyard

go outside and play

birds in the snow

Yesterday, for the first time in weeks, maybe even months, we had My House in the Snowa sunshiny, lovely 42º.  We scrambled into our boots and RAN ourselves out the door, for the first walk in all of that time!!!  Our lawn is still covered in snow, but it’s quietly beginning to melt making a continuous little river down our driveway, joining the slightly bigger river on the street, and heading down hill to the harbor.  We weren’t sure what the dirt road that takes us out to the ocean would look like, but we were willing to try, especially when we saw what was going on in the maple tree outside the kitchen window:


The photo isn’t clear, but that’s OK, those orange spots are Robins! If this beautiful day is good enough for them, it’s good enough for us!


birds in the snow

 so here we go


. . . walking very gingerly . . . It was melting, like a slushy in some parts (the good parts) but there were long lumps of shiny wet ice, and some nice stretches of mud. . . We plot which direction we should fall in case we need to, realizing no one brought a phone, if he breaks his leg, he lays there while I “run” for help. It would be sad.  


The birds were singing, Joe’s trying to figure out where the sound is coming from . . .

Yellow Bird

See him? Way up top in the middle of the picture?  He looks white but he’s a goldfinch, he can’t clap his hands so he shows his happiness with song.

The pond

The goldfinch has a really nice view!  When we walked out of the canopy of the woods, we had our first view of the pond ~ we could see it was still partially frozen . . .


But I have to say, despite how cold it looks, the warm sun on our faces felt as much like spring as breathing into a bouquet of daffodils!  Off came my hat and gloves, unzipped goes the jacket.  THAT’S how nice it was out there!

Are you coming

I’m always behind him . . . he waits, as the ever-patient guy that he is, hands on hips . . . 

Fisherman's shack

Can’t just walk right by this little red fisherman’s shack and not stop for a photo . . . crazy man.

a garden

flower border

mud is better

See those broken square-looking things on the ground (talking mostly to the Californians and Floridians right now)?  They are giant ice chips.  When a car goes through a partly frozen puddle, the ice breaks up and scatters. That’s something you don’t see all the time. See how patient Joe is while I take pictures of them?  

the sound

We made it to the water, and I have to tell you, it wasn’t easy…. First we had to go through the deep snow in the yard of our friend’s house, then across their deck . . .


And down that very furthest set of stairs ~ see it back there?  After that, finding a high-ish tide, we had to climb over each rock-piled breakwater, maybe five of them . . . yes, you’re right, I know what you’re thinking, it was heaven out there.  (BTW, while we’re away from home, we had our bedroom windows wide open (for the first time this year); the ceiling fan was on full blast blowing out winter air and exchanging it for fresh spring air, and we knew we were going to sleep like babies after our walk to the sea!)

sea shore book

someone was here first

We discovered that others had been there first.


And then, beach booty!  Big piece of dark blue beach glass!  


ice chips

More ice chips.  I kind of love them.  Like to break them with my toe. Makes a good noise.  Two nature things happened out there that I didn’t take pictures of: A.) (Pat, you should probably skip this part.)  Because some rather large animal was dead.  I didn’t look because in my accidental half-second glance I could see it was all elbows, knees and feathers and other less identifiable furry parts, and despite my well-known interest in science, this was really not my cup of tea.  Joe looked, he decided it was a coyote AND a turkey, entwined together on the beach. Wow!  We skirt by it, my eyes covered with my hat, and we fall immediately into Morning Science discussion: First off “are there coyotes on the island?”  I didn’t think so. Otherwise I’ve been living in a fool’s paradise thinking we had no kitty-eaters on Martha’s Vineyard.  So, let’s say it was a deer. A deer and a turkey?  girlart“They don’t fight, they don’t eat each other.”  So then here’s what must have happened:  That thing (whatever it is, but it can’t be a coyote) killed the turkey, then, sadly, but deservedly, choked on a bone, fell over and died on top of it. (I just realized, this is kind of like talking about Downton Abbey.) 

iced leaves

Anyway, lovely leaves embalmed in ice.  The other nature thing we saw was a pair of birds mating on the road.  That was a first, I have never seen birds do that.  As a scientist, I had never thought about what those little devils did when we left them alone.  We thought they were dead at first, they weren’t moving at all, we didn’t even know there were two of them, till Joe looked closer to figure out which side was up, because this was one weird looking bird.  More Morning Science ensued when all of a sudden, the girl escaped!  OK, I did get a picture of the chase . . .



This is the little father, in hot pursuit! Ah, spring. Quite the adventure!

tire tracks

Tire tracks become puddles . . . Look around, where is the best place to put your foot?  Safest would probably be IN the water.



Time to go home . . . so far we have 100% not fallen down!


And we manage to keep it that way! Usually our walk is 45 minutes, yesterday it was an hour and a half.  That’s from making sure we didn’t break our necks.

Loving the Day

Front row seat to the melting of the snow. (OMG, is he not the most adorable thing in the world?)

hearts and flowers

winter garden

So we all know the snow will go . . .


And waiting for us, under all the ice are our little snow drops (these are from last year, this year’s crop is frozen stiff right now, but soon).  Because, it’s coming, only another week until official . . .


Kitchen gardens

And in honor of the moment, when we are all teetering on the verge of spring, I would love for one of you to enjoy my favorite garden book of all time . . .

flower border

Kitchen Gardens

It’s called Kitchen Gardens, an unassuming little book wonderfully written by Mary Mason Campbell with illustrations by Tasha Tudor.

Kitchen gardens

But it’s by far the most inspiring garden book I’ve ever read.  There are other books with much more detailed information, and definitely glossier pictures, but no book has ever moved me into the garden faster and happier than this one.

flower border

Tasha Tudor illustration

It was published in 1971 and I was lucky enough to happen upon it as my first garden book. “I love how Mary Campbell wrote about the “sunshine, fresh air, and privacy of our gardens. . .”

flower border

To plant a seed

Kitchen gardens

 I thought I would sign this book for you and also add a watercolor bookmark (I’ve been cutting up the bits of paper I use for testing my pen or watercolors and making bookmarks out of them).

flower border

Kitchen gardens

flower border

If you want to be entered for this giveaway, all you have to do is scroll to the bottom of this post and look for the tiny word “comments” — and leave a comment. Your comment can be just one word if you like; that will be enough to enter you for the drawing. For those of you who get my blog via email, you will have to go to www.susanbranch.com and scroll to the very bottom of this post and find that tiny word . . . “comments” ~ for some reason, they don’t seem to send a “comment” button in an emailed blog. 
October 2016Last but not least.  I told you I finished the new calendars for 2016? I thought I would give you a little preview . . . This is “October” for the wall-calendar, and don’t worry, there are pink from me to you with lovepumpkins on the bottom part.  For thee, from me. 

Something else for thee: click on “shopping” at the top of the blog, scroll to the bottom of the column on the left, click on FREE STUFF!  Spring-themed stationery, bookmarks, tags — and computer wallpaper! 

And just one more thing I wanted to tell you:  My (our, because I’m always thinking of you when I’m writing) new book is being edited even as we speak. That means the writing part is almost done, after that I’ll paint it and add the photos and hopefully we’ll have it in about six months, maybe by the time we make our first fires next autumn.  I know the title.  But I’m afraid to say it out loud yet.  So let me get used to it, maybe next time! You’ll be the first to know!


  Until we meet again . . . Love you, love us.  XOXO

P.S. Don’t forget . . . St. Patrick’s Day is coming!


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