Glass #WritePhoto

The first frost had fallen that morning. Dill had waited until the sun had melted it before taking his two westies for a walk. There was still some sparkling white patches of grass in the shadows of the hills and in the distance some of the higher tops looked as white as the clouds that seemed to be touching them.

Dill relying heavily on his metal walking sticks, followed the small stone covered pathway towards the lake. He knew this country well, having spent his whole life out here looking after the flock of sheep. Now, that responsibility had moved to his sons and Dill was free of a burden he had never realised he had carried.

Sitting on a bench his grandfather had built, Dill rested his arthritic limbs. The familiar ache in his chest made itself known and reminded him that he was no longer young. Still though he was defiant that old age would not bet him.

He watched the two westies sniffing about and drinking from the edge of the lake. Soon the water would start to freeze over and in the heart of winter, the lake would become a hard glass surface dusted with snow.

The memory of one winter when he was eighteen always haunted him and the sight of the lake always brought it sharply back.

Dill had been driving the sheep towards shelter when one of the sheep had broken away and gone onto the frozen lake. Dill’s then sheep dog, Kip, had refused to go after it. The black and white dog stood on the edge of the ice barking, torn between chasing the sheep and sensing the danger underneath his paws.

Dill hadn’t been able to abandoned the ewe and had decided to go after her himself. He knew the lake had been frozen for two months now and there was a heavy covering of snow across the surface. He could see the sheep in the distance, her dirty huge fleece making her stand out and her dashing hood prints plain in the snow.

Kip had shadowed him in a shy way and when encouraged still refused to fetch the sheep. Dill had given up and carried on walking, using his shepherd’s crook to steady his footsteps.

Far from the shore, Dill felt the snow shift under his feet and came to a stop as a loud cracking sound started up. Covered by thick snow, it was hard to make out the lines of the break. He had felt a little spiral of fear but pushed on. More cracking echoed off the hills and he thought he heard the sound of water bubbling.

Dill could see the ewe and he was so close but within seconds the sheep disappeared. Her desperate cries echoed in Dill’s ears as did the sound of splashing. Quickly, Dill had rushed onward and found the sheep drowning in a watery hole, edged by jagged ice that looked like broken shards of glass. The force of the water and the sheep’s heavy fleece were dragging her down to her doom.

Grabbing fist fulls of the wet fleece, Dill had tried to haul the ewe out. He struggled as the sheep fought him and the icy water tried to claim her. He tugged and tugged, his own feet slipping on the mushing snow and ice. Kip barked and danced around, unable to help.

Finally, Dill had pulled the ewe out and they had lay on the water snow, both exhausted with lake water running off them. Then, Dill had half carried, half dragged the yew back home. Snow had began to fall and he had thought they would never make it but Kip kept bit at his heels and the ewe’s until they did.

Safe inside, they had sat by the kitchen coal fire for the rest of the night. The warmth melting the snow and chasing the frozen lake water from their veins. The ewe had seemed none the worse of almost dying and Dill knew they had both had a lucky escaped.

One of the westies’ licked Dill’s cold fingers, bringing him back to the present. He patted the dog, speaking softly to it. It was time to go back, Dill could feel the coming snow in his shepherd’s bones. Standing wobbly up, Dill made his way slowly home again where a warm fire and steaming mug of tea with whiskey would be waiting.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/11/14/thursday-photo-prompt-glass-writephoto/ with thanks).

Apple #WritingPrompt

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My favourite apples were those picked straight from the tree covered with water drops from a light autumn shower or droplets from a misty morning.

It seemed like I spent all my autumn days outside harvesting, sorting out the animals and making sure everything was ready for winter. I had lots of help, I was the only girl out of eight children. The joke was my mother had kept trying till she had a girl but I had turned out more boyish then some of my brothers!

I was fourth generation of farmer and it ran strong within me. I had favourite jobs and ones I hated but I still did them all. My best was apple picking. I loved getting the reds and greens off the trees, stacking them in baskets before putting them in the trucks to go to the shops.

There was some comforting about the weight in hand, the smell of the crisp apples under my nose and when I tasted the sweet tang of the fruit nothing could bet it.

One of my brothers joked that it was apple juice that ran in my veins instead of blood. I believed that could be true. Another brother said I had been born from an apple seed mother had swallowed on the advice of grandma. A third claimed they had found me under an apple tree on harvest moon night!

However, I had come into the world my name; Autumn Apple Atkins was fitting and perfect to my ears. Some sniggered at it, others had used it to bully me but to me it was who I was and where I had come from.

My father had promised me the orchard and I could think of no greater thing to inherit then the trees that bear the fruit I love.

 

(Inspired by; https://sarahelizabethmoore.org/2019/11/03/writing-prompt-44/ with thanks).

Apple Harvest

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Four generations of apple trees had been growing in the last field of his farm. Before he had just sold them to anyone who would have them but for the last few years he had kept a barrel or two back.

The idea of hosting a few days of Halloween themed fun had been his daughter’s idea. He hadn’t been that much into it, but now money and publicity was pouring in. A great bonus to the struggling farming business.

Red #CCC

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The tractor belonged in a museum but Hugh couldn’t part with it. There was something about the old fashioned way he liked. This ‘futuristic’ farming which was now everyday life made him feel so dull.

Technology ruled the land. The robots did all the work from sow to harvest and looking after the animals. Humans were only needed to fix the robots, read the results and eat the food.

Hugh, riding around in the tractor, could just picture a world were there were no humans because the robots had found a way to be without them and that was a very dark future to be facing.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/06/05/crimsons-creative-challenge-30/ with thanks).

 

 

Pumpkins #FFfTPP

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The pumpkin harvest had been great which had left the farm with a surplus, so they got inventive with selling them.

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2018-week-37/ with thanks).

 

The Hole #FridayFictioneers

The hole kept filling with water and Farmer Brown had had enough. He threw the spade away and climbed out.

‘I just don’t understand it!’he shouted.

Neighbour, Farmer Turner, stared over the fence and said, ‘it’s a natural spring. Never gonna stop flowin’.’

Farmer Brown stormed away and told his wife. She sent away some of the water to be tested.

Months later, the results came back; high in minerals.

‘This is our fortune!’ Farmer Brown’s wife cried, ‘bottled drinking water!’

And years later, they retired early and deeply wealthy, leaving their mineral water bottling company to their children.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/05/30/8-june-2018/ with thanks).

 

Somewhere In A Farmer’s Field

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Tony walked through the pumpkin field, looking for the perfect one to turn into a prize winning Jack O’ Lantern. However, he couldn’t seem to spot one. All the pumpkins seemed too small and dis-formed. In fact, only a handful were orange colored and the rest were yellow, green, white, brown and black.

He stopped in the middle of the field and looked around. Deep down he knew the perfect pumpkin was out here. He put his hands in his pockets and began walking again. Rain began to fall, softly at first then harder, but he ignored it and fixed his eyes on the pumpkins passing his feet.

In the distance, he could hear a tractor and the sound of cows. For a few madding moments he thought Farmer Jones had taken the perfect pumpkin for himself. Of course everyone wanted to win the Harvest County Fair. Surely, the farmer had better things to put in then a Jack O’Lantern though and hadn’t they always had a good deal with buying products over the years of being neighbors?

Tony shook his head and carried on walking. Out here, somewhere, he knew the perfect pumpkin was just waiting for him to pick it up and carve out his final master piece.

Potatoes

Lily stood by the sink and peeled the potatoes. She stared out of the kitchen window as she did so, daydreaming as a soft rain fell into the now bare garden. Only days before it had been a minefield of ready vegetables and herbs, now there was only freshly turned mud and grass. The apple tree was still out there though, but its branches were now empty and bracing itself in the cold winter wind.

With the potato peeled, she placed it in the sink of cold water with the others. Lily picked up another one and applied the metal peeler to the potato’s skin. She had been half tempted to leave the skins on after she had scrubbed them clean, but Jack- her husband- didn’t like the skins and so far she had been unable to convince him that they were good.

‘All this self-sufficient stuff,’ Lily grumbled.

She turned the potato over and peeled the other side, before putting it into the water. Actually, she thought as she looked into the sink, we’ve not done that badly this year. For the hundredth time she counted the potatoes. There were six in the sink and another ten waiting to be peeled. Plus, there were some smaller ones, which she wasn’t sure what to do with yet. Maybe just boil them? But these ones are good for the pie.

Lily turned back and selected another potato. Arming herself with the peeler once more, she began again. She hummed along to a song on the radio, which she had left on, but turned down low in the background. She cast her eyes over to the stove and saw that the stewing beef was still cooking nicely. The chopped carrots and onions were in the pan next door, sitting in cold water and waiting to be turned on.

Plopping the newly peeled potato in, Lily grabbed another one and stopped. Out of the kitchen window she could see a ginger tom cat on the back fence. Frowning, she watched the cat moving across towards the chicken coop. The chickens and the rooster seemed unaware of their stalker. Lilly banged on the window. The cat, if it did hear the noise, didn’t stop.

Lilly threw down the peeler and potato, went to the back door welcome mat and pulled off her house slippers. She yanked on her wellies and opened the door. The cat paused on the fence. She stepped out and stomped over.

‘Shoo! Shoo!’ she shouted and waved her hands in the motion.

The cat hissed and arched its back. Lily got right up to the fence and almost in its face, before the cat decided to flee back the way it had come. Putting her hands on her hips, Lily turned around and surveyed the garden. To her left, the chickens, behind the wire mesh, were now clucking and staring at her. To the right, Gertie the goat and Gus the pig were also watching her from their pens.

‘It’s not dinner time yet,’ she told them all and marched back inside.

She shut the door and changed her shoes. Going back to the potatoes, she wondered why she had let her husband drag her into this. Maybe this is his substitution for children? She thought, though just getting a dog or two would have been better. Sighing, she went to the meat and stirred it. She then checked the carrots and onions, before realising that she hadn’t turned them on due to having to sort out the potatoes. Speaking of which, she added and turned back to them.

She peeled the last few, swirled them in the water and then picking each one out, cut them into cubes. These she then put into the pan and switched it on. Stirring the vegetables together, her mind moved on to thinking about making the pie pastry. Lily had never thought of herself as a chef, but ever since Jack had started ‘his little project,’ it had felt like that was what she had become and actually it had given her another way to spend the time, now that she had officially lost her job and another one seemed beyond her reach.

As much as it seems like a struggle and I’ve hated some parts, I could actually start to like life like this, she thought with a smile on her face.