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[Sweet Apple Acres]...The More Zap Apples Stay the Same. [PM for invite/Apple family welcome]

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This is a general outline of the chronology of events from the episode "Family Appreciation Day" in order to better understand the cycle and the need for preperation. It's important to note that even before the 5th day, lots of stuff like gathering jam materials and ingredients are important to the process, and will be required in order to finish the products as expected.

-clean kitchen

Day one: Timberwolves Howl

-set out baskets

Day two: zap apple leaves appear

-sing to the water while wearing bunny outifts.

-Be kind to the bees

Day three: Crows flock/zap apple blossoms show

-inspect glass jars

Day four: flowers turn to apples

-pink polka dots

Day five: zap apples grow ripe, ready for harvest

Day six: zap apple jam

https://soundcloud.com/l8knight/sound-effect-wolf-howl

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[colour=#000000]It had came to pass. The first sign of the zap apples, timberwolves howling through the woods, combined with Granny's obligatory banging of pots and pans. Applejack never understood how she was able to jump out of bed before anypony else, but what was important was the events to follow. For the next five days, the apple family would work hard to gather ingredients and harvesting tools to get ready for the mad dash that was the fifth day of the zap apple harvest.

They would zap away, quite literally, if they had not been picked before the end of the fifth day. The family was never able to pick all of the trees in one day, even with a little extra help. But then never needed that many apples either. As great as zap apples were, they always had plenty to go around, and store in their cellar through the future seasons. Even if they wanted to harvest all the apples, it would be hard to find that many friendly bees and empty glass jars that could survive Granny's boot camp to be able to properly make the jam.

Zap apple jam had been such a great thing in Equestria, one of the finest things to come out of Ponyville. And not only is it heard about around the world, its established Ponyville in the question, and brought business to the central zones of Equestria that at one time was barren and uncivilized next to the Everfree forest that taunted it for centuries prior. This neck of the woods would never be the same since.

Applejack got to thinking on the morning after the first sign. The dangers of the timberwolves sang a song of joy and excitement, as their cries signaled the beginning of the newest edition of zap apple harvesting. Everypony in town would be excited. But was that enough? At her desk, Applejack started composing letters to send out to her relatives. Many of them had tasted zap apple jam before, but some of them haven't. And even fewer have ever had the pleasure of tasting it within those distant relatives' townships. Applejack wanted to share this glorious product with the world. It would only be a few extra hundred jars, but it should be easy enough to complete, and shouldn't cut into Filthy's profits of his obligatory one hundred first jars. So she sat down at started writing letters.[/colour]

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[colour=#000000]Applejack sealed the letters. She would send one each to Appleloosa, Manehatten, Fillydelphia, Cloudsdale, Canterlot, and Solstice Heights. As she gave them to the blond mailmare who made her daily visit to the farm, Applejack grew happy to know that she was about to share this with more ponies, and it would prove to be the most successful zap apple harvest ever![/colour]

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[colour=#000000]It was the second day, and Applejack could smell the crispness in the air, and those broad yet pointed leaves showed up. Eyup, it was the second sign, right on schedule. Applejack had just finished setting up most of the baskets under the trees, and maintaining the proper water supply for the trees, but also the jam. A cartful of watering containers were set near the barn for Granny's normal singing to the water.

But then, a mailmare. Applejack receive five letters at the same time. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]Fantastic![/colour][colour=#000000] She ripped open the first one with excitement.[/colour]

Dear Applejack,

I'm delighted to hear of this season's crop coming at such a fine time. I have spoken with my parents and, as importantly, the administrators of my academy and have decided to purchase five cases of zap apple jam! Not only will the Oranges taste the deliciousness, but I'm hoping many of my friends- and even enemies- at school as well.

With great admiration and respect,

Valen Orange

[colour=#ff0000]Five cases? Twenty-four jars to a case, that's 120 jars! Well, no big deal. Little guy probably just wants to share it with his new fancy friends. Not mention Babs probably wants a taste.[/colour] [colour=#000000]Applejack opened the next letter.[/colour]

Greetings cuzin’ Applejack all the way from AAAAAAAPLELOOSA!

That’s great news hearing about y’all having ‘nother annual Zap Apple harvest cuzin’ Applejack. Ya know, the fine folks here in AAAAAAAPLELOOSA were talkin’ about the last harvest and the few jars that made it out here during our fine town’s first year and how wonderful they were. Well now that good ol’ AAAAAAAPLELOOSA has grown like a tumbleweed, it sure be a great idea to take you up on yer offer and directly order some of that wonderfully splendid Zap Apple jam!

Thinking on it, ah believe that no less than four hundred jars would be sufficient for our town fer the year, especially since w’all expect more growth in the comin’ days, especially with the new railroad and all. Don’t you fret none about that being too many cuz’, ah guarantee each one will sell here in AAAAAAAPLELOOSA! There is nothin’ like Zap Apple jam!

Say hi to cusin’ Big Mac and Applebloom, as well as to our granny for me. Lil’ Apple Pie says hi to you all!

Braeburn, proprietor of Buffalo Run Apple Orchard.

P.S. We’ll send y’all some of our prized honey glazed apple pies!

[colour=#000000]Applejack chuckled at the idea of her cousin Braeburn's way of spelling Appleloosa.[/colour] [colour=#ff0000] It sure was mandatory for him to go that far. But, heavens to Betsy, 400 jars?[/colour] [colour=#000000]Applejack swallowed nervously, the gulp resonating with her heart beat which began to pace faster and faster. She opened the next letter.[/colour]

Dearest cousin Applejack,

While 'Ah'm flattered beyond all belief that ya'll there at Sweet Apple Acres want to share the Zap Apple Jam with me and mah kin we would need at least four hundred jars of it if'n you planned for us to sell it and be productive. 'Ah know mah sister will want some to be able to sell as well as saving some for us here at the house.

'Ah have already asked around and while 'Ah'm sorry for my late response we will in fact be needing a huge order or about four hundred jars. The renowned tale of its taste sure lured its way into mah town down here and sparked what seemed to be a buying frenzy.

Thanks so much Cuz,

Lovingly,

Apple Bumpkin.

[colour=#ff0000]Another 400!?[/colour] [colour=#000000]This was getting out of hoof. How in the world was Applejack going to honor all of these orders? She opened another one.[/colour]

You wont believe how many ponies in Cloudsdale want some of our family's zap apple jam! I originally only told my co-workers over at the weather factory, but word spread all over the place. I think we'll need about 450 jars just to satisfy everypony here. Good thing you've got that zap surplus, huh?

Please let me know ASAP how long it'll take to prepare the order to Cloudsdale.

Your Cousin,

Sugar Apple

[colour=#ff0000]Even Cloudsdale was getting in on this! "Consarn-"[/colour] [colour=#000000]Applejack cussed out loud before stopping herself from finishing it. Instead of lamenting verbally, she just ripped open the next letter.[/colour]

My dearest cousin AppleJack ! I would love to place an order for 450 jars of your famous Zap Apple Jam! It is a huge hit at my bakery and I am sure my customers will pay out the nose for it! The Apple Family will make a nice profit from my end to be sure!

Your dear Cousin

Pink Lady

[colour=#000000]Applejack facehooved. What was she gonna do!? Why were all these ponies under the impression that she had this surplus of zap apple jam just lying around with no one to eat it. Well, probably because she had made it read like that in her letter. [/colour][colour=#ff0000] Probably should have reworded that.[/colour][colour=#000000] One more letter. Applejack cringed.[/colour]

Dear Applejack,

I have spoken to the headmistress of Princess Celestia's School, and she has agreed to my proposal to have the school purchase 150 jars of zap apple jam. Due to the magical properties inherent with zap apples, it is deemed that the jam made from the fruit will have incredible value as a potion ingredient. I'm sure the student body will appreciate the opportunity to learn all the alchemical uses of zap apple jam.

I am sure that 150 jars will be enough to cover the school's needs for up to a year. I would be most grateful if they can all be delivered on schedule. In the meantime, give my warm regards to Big Macintosh, Grandmother Smith, and little Apple Bloom. I hope everything remains well at Sweet Apple Acres.

Yours truly,

Auntie Marie

[colour=#ff0000]Ok. 150. Not bad. At least some pony in this family understood moderation. Wait, what's this?...[/colour]

P.S.: My nephew and nieces around the city wanted me to ask you if you could ship 500 jars to them. They're confident that they'll sell well in Canterlot.

[colour=#000000]Applejack threw all six letters in the air, let them fall, and she fell down in frustration. This was a nightmare. She wanted to cancel all of these orders. But how could she? She invited people to take orders, and thats exactly what they did. There was no doubt they had plenty of trees to cover the costs. But could she have enough ponies to pick apples on day five? She had to tell Granny right away.[/colour]

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There was no mistaking what Filthy Rich heard the night before yesterday; the howls of the Wolves of Everfree. Seldom can the cries of the timber menaces heard from Ponyville itself; in fact, that could only mean one thing. The zap apple harvest was ready to commence, and for Mr. Rich, that signified that it wouldn’t be long now until his annual Zap Friday sale.

The Zap Friday rites that occurred every year were the dearest tradition of the Rich family. Ages ago, the entrepreneur Stinkin’ Rich purchased one hundred jars of zap apple jam and distributed them for free in a bid to lure customers to his then-new general store. Needless to say, that promotion put Rich’s General Store on the map and in the black. Even though the quaint country shop has now given way to the mega-sized Rich’s Barnyard Bargain’s with its mega-low prices, Zap Friday remained a beloved event for the Rich family and their employees to organize each post-harvest.

As per custom, Filthy Rich took it upon himself on Day Two to inspect how the harvest was going. As he remembered, today would be the day that Mrs. Smith would be singing to the water wearing that adorable bunny outfit of hers. As the sun shined brightly on the countryside, Mr. Rich leisurely made his way over to Sweet Apple Acres.

Arriving at the apple orchard, Filthy couldn't help but take in the sweet aroma of apples that filled the entire area. It didn't take long for him to catch sight of the Apple family matriarch, "Granny" Smith. [colour=#8b4513]“Hello there Mrs. Smith!”[/colour] the earth pony stallion eagerly shouted from afar while waving his foreleg; [colour=#8b4513]“Am I right to believe that the zap apple harvest has come up again?”[/colour]

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[colour=#00FF00]"A, B, C, D, E, F, G!" [/colour]sang a bunny suit wearing Granny Smith as she hopped over the many watering cans she had lined up in the front yard. Indeed it was Zap Apple harvest time at Sweet Apple Acres and the elderly mare was faithfully following the tradtions of the Zap Apple growing process to the letter (literally). She stopped her dance when she heard the voice of Filthy Rich.

[colour=#00FF00]"Howdy Filthy! That's right! Harvest time's a comin'! The timberwolves are always the first sign! Say, could ya spare yur daugther to come help us... whatever her name is.... bein' a friend of Half Pint, thought she might wanna lend a helpin' hoof!"[/colour]

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Slightly pouting from being called "Filthy", Filthy Rich did his best to ignore Mrs. Smith's transgression and answered where his daughter was; [colour=#8b4513]“I’m sorry, but Diamond Tiara is indisposed today. But if you need the help, I’ll see if I can get my daughter out here tomorrow, rain or shine!”[/colour] Last year, Diamond threw up a little resistance when her father told her to help the other foals help out with the harvest; like any good child however, she eventually acquiesced to Filthy’s “authoritative” prodding. Hopefully, little Tiara would have the time tomorrow to drop by Sweet Apple Acres and meet up with her dear friend Apple Bloom.

Back to the moment on hoof, Filthy Rich remembered that he had business to attend to; [colour=#8b4513]“So, I take it that I’ll be getting my one hundred jars on schedule at the usual time?”[/colour] By this time, this routine had become a mere formality of a question; the Apple family had never let the Riches down with delivering the zap apple jam shipment on time... ever. Still though, old habits died hard for Mr. Rich.....

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[colour=#00FF00]"Of course ya are! I always save the first hundred jist fer you, Mr. Rich!" [/colour]Granny Smith shouted as she finished her last round of jumping and reciting. [colour=#00FF00]"Your grandpappy and me go way back! Zap Apple jam was one of the first things he ever sold! Gotta carry on our family traditions, don't ya know. And thanks fer offerin' me a diamond tiara, but I ain't inta wearin' hats. Course I did wear a bonnett back in my filly days, but that's cause all us pioneer pony ladies wore'm back then. Anywho, if'n yur daughter wants ta pitch and help oncest we git started, that'd be swell! Speakin' of youngin's, I wonder where AppleJack is now? She's always got us so organized when it comes to Zap Apple harvest time."[/colour]

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[colour=#000000]As Applejack ran up to where Granny was talking, she could see that Filthy had showed up to touch base. Apparently he heard the howls, too. His taste for money ran like clockwork. Applejack couldn't blame him. A lot of business was to be had. A lot. Too much this time, maybe.

She started to get within earshot just as Filthy mentioned his one hundred jars. Applejack stopped behind her Granny and gave a nervous swallow. She then heard Granny's response about how happy and excited everypony would be, and how Applejack was always on top of things. Applejack stepped forward. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"Oh! Yes! We're gonna have a great tahm getting all these zap apples off their jams and made into trees."[/colour]

[colour=#000000]Applejack waved innocently towards Filthy and they turned Granny around and whispered to her in private. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"Ah just got the letters from the other ponies in the family. They've made orders for about 2,500 jars of jam!"[/colour]

[colour=#000000]Applejack poked her head up at Filthy and smiled. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"Yup, we got everythang under control. Heh. No worries here. You just go on now and we'll have you jars ready on the sixth day!"[/colour][colour=#000000] She waved to him in order to give him encouragement to walk away. Applejack couldn't think straight with that kind of pressure around her, and she needed to figure out a way to make this work, assuming it was even possible.[/colour]

[colour=#ff0000]"Granny, what should we do? We've never made that many jars of zap apple jam in one harvest!"[/colour]

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Filthy Rich listened respectfully listened as Granny Smith rambled on about his grandfather and not needing a diamond tiara. When it came to the art of conversation, Mrs. Smith’s advanced age definitely showed much of the time. Yet Mr. Rich knew better than anypony outside the Apple family that the old mare’s storytelling skills remained sharp whenever it was of greatest need. Having worked hard on the apple orchard for nearly all her life, Filthy believed that the green earth pony had earned the right to be a little kooky at times anyway.

Once Mrs. Smith made mention of Applejack, the younger mare appeared on the scene as if on cue. Filthy Rich noticed that something seemed to be distressing the cowpony; aside from the nervous gulp, the stallion also noted how she seemed to mix up jams and trees in one sentence. Applejack’s altering between providing assurances and whispering in her grandmother’s ear also caused Filthy to think that something was up.

In the end though, Filthy Rich had confidence that the orchard would get his shipment ready in time. Instead of pressing Applejack further, the store owner simply shrugged off his concerns and happily said;[colour=#8b4513] “Ah, it’s good to hear that everything is on schedule. I’ll be back in four days for my one-hundred jars. Since it looks like the two of you are busy, I’ll just leave you two be and get a move on. Have a good day now!”[/colour] And with that, Filthy waved the two farewell and began walking out of the orchard, leaving the Apples alone to attend to their business.....

*Exit Filthy Rich... for now*

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Granny Smith listen to the words of her oldest granddaughter. At first, she has a smile on her face. Then, as it dawns on her, the elderly mare goes into panic mode:

[colour=#00FF00]"Jumpin' Gee-hoss-a-plat! Thar's only one thing we kin do about this!" [/colour]the gray maned mare shouted before she produced her hard green army helmet from behind her back and placed it squarely on her head. [colour=#00FF00]"It's time to call in reinforcements! We gotta git us some more troops on the ground! We've gotta mission to complete, and we're gonna need all the horsepower we kin harness to git the job done! Let's git them troops here, PRONTO!"[/colour]

After her speech, she took her helmet off and looked at AppleJack.

[colour=#00FF00]"Er, what did ya jist say ta me, deary?"[/colour]

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[colour=#000000]Granny Smith always had a way with words. She also was hard of hearing those words, even though they were her own. But no amount of forgetfulness or a bad hip was going to cloud the elderly mare from expressing her wisdom. It wouldn't always be in the sweetest sounding words, sometimes it wouldn't make sense to someone who wasn't in the family. But Granny's country slur resonated with Applejack, and it said this: There was no way failure was an option, and we needed to get as many family members on the farm to help.

Applejack nodded her head to the confused green elder, and then ran off back to the house. She had some letters to write.[/colour]

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[colour=#000000]There was a russeling in the air. Dark clouds started mysteriously closing the sky. And a choir of caws could be heard from the distance, getting louder and louder. It was the third day.[/colour]

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Apple Pie went and got the mail for her Braeburn as she normally did when he wasn't around. She saw a letter that looked very important it seemed to be from Applejack! That means that it has to be opened RIGHT AWAY!

She tore open the letter and read it out loud 'to herself.'

[colour=#00ff00]"So...seems like Applejack needs some help down in Ponyville."[/colour] Apple Pie sat now in the middle of her room and rubbed her hoof on her chin as she made a very in thought face at her wall. [colour=#00ff00]"Surely Braeburn wont mind if I go pay my cousin Apple Bloom a quick visit and help out with the Zap Apples. I think."[/colour] She got up and swiftly packed her bags, it seemed to take her all of ten seconds to pack 'everything she needed' into one bag. Unlike her trip to see Pinchy she didn't have to bring a ton of Apple Pies with her so that made her luggage lighter. She placed the letter from Applejack on her desk next to a note that she quickly scribbled out.

[colour=#00ff00]"Dear Braeburn,[/colour]

[colour=#00ff00]Read the letter, make your choice, then go go go go go go GO![/colour]

[colour=#00ff00]Lovingly,[/colour]

[colour=#00ff00]The already gone,[/colour]

[colour=#00ff00]Apple Pie."[/colour]

She quickly set out the door and found the nearest carriage station and requested a ride to Ponyville asap. She would have to remember to sell more Apple Pies when she was around as her fair to Ponyville was starting to cut into her bonnet fund. With a giggle Apple Pie raised a hoof to the sky and struck a dramatic pose and with the words of a true adventurer,

[colour=#00ff00]"TO PONYVILE GOOD SIRS!"[/colour]

They began to dart off towards the town where her cousins awaited her.

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Apple Fritter was trotting around her house, as she was, to put it simply, bored. She decided the mail should've come by now, so she walked outside to go see what she had gotten. Probably more bills or whatever. She opened her mailbox, taking out the few letters that were in there. [colour=#00ff00]"Lesse here..."[/colour] She said as she looked through her mail. [colour=#00ff00]"Bill, bill, letter from cousin Applejack, bill..."[/colour] She said before stopping herself and backing up. [colour=#00ff00]"Letter from Applejack?"[/colour] She said, taking the letter out of the envelope and reading it. She nodded a few times as she read it, and then let it drop from her hooves as she rushed inside to go get her saddlebag. The letter had asked her to help, and help she shall. She ran out after she was prepared, trying to find the shortest route possible to Ponyville. [colour=#00ff00]"Ah'm comin', cuz! Don't ya worry!"[/colour] She yelled, running off towards where she thought Ponyville would be.

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Apple Cider just happened to go outside after the daily cider check to make sure that the barrels were fermenting the way they were supposed to, when she noticed the mail flag was up on her family's mailbox. "Not a common occurrence," she thought, so she moved over to the mailbox and peeled open its door. Inside was a letter, addressed from her foster father Big Gulp and her foster mother Autumn Gold. Not one to turn away a little mischief, she carefully unsealed the envelope and removed the letter. The letter said:

[colour=#daa520]"Howdy there, Cousin Applejack. Am so sorry, but will be unable to make it to this years zap apple harvest. [/colour]

[colour=#daa520]Big gulp threw his back out while moving a barrel of cider and I'll be havin' to take care of him until he's able to move around again.[/colour]

[colour=#daa520]Sorry for any trouble this has caused, won't miss the harvest next year."[/colour]

Autumn Gold

Not one to turn aside some Jam, or perhaps some Zap apples to make some special new cider with, she grabbed a small cider barrel, everything she would need to make cider from the delicious rainbow apples, and sought her way out to Ponyville, by way of the Ponyville Express. She rode the train for just a little while, as it was not a long journey, just a little too far to walk carrying cider-making utensils. But she made quick work and was soon standing in front of Sweet Apple Acres.

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Sugar Apple still couldn’t believe the news she got earlier today; Sweet Apple Acres needed the help of the entire extended family? It had been almost a year since the last time the purple pegasus had significantly helped out on an Apple family orchard, her job at the Royal Weather Factory being as busy as it was. Then again, she did feel bad having helped put her cousin Applejack into her current predicament. Maybe it had been a bad idea to order all those jars in the first place?

.....No way! Sugar Apple was an Apple pony, and Apple ponies always looked out for one another come heck or high water! Once she gave her employers notice that she’d be gone for three days, she flew away from Cloudsdale as swift as she could and high-tailed it over to Ponyville. The journey had been a bit rougher than usual thanks to seasonal stormy weather systems, and the mare didn’t have time to pack some of her namesake sugar apples. To her relief however, the skies cleared up by the time she entered the airspace above Sweet Apple Acres.

Yet the purple pegasus refrained from landing just yet. Sugar Apple remained high above the air and decided to wait for more ponies to show up before making her customary... "entrance".....

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Pink Lady landed in the exact same way she did at the reunion! On a flying machine! She got out and removed the goggles, fluffing her mane slightly to make sure the wind hadn't spoiled it and headed up to the farm, she grinned seeing others were already there! She had more than eagerly replied to AppleJack's letter and was there to kick out with hind-legs trees, gather honey, do whatever it took to make the best ZapApple Jam the Apple farm had ever made!

"Darlings I am here!" She called out, merrily trotting over to her family.

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[colour=#00FF00]"It's the third sign! It's the third sign!" [/colour]Granny Smith shouted repeatedly to all those on the farm who would listen to the elderly mare as she ran around the main barnyard and into the special Zap Apple grove. [colour=#00FF00]"Applejack! Big MacIntosh! AppleBloom! Git ready! It won't be long now! Hope them reinforcements git here soon. We're gonna need'm!"[/colour]

After her long ranting, the gray maned mare headed back to the house. She had some glass jars to lecture and pink pokadots to paint!

Meanwhile, at a train station in Germaney, a elderly bearded stallion paces back and forth as he waits for the train to arrive.

[colour=#FF0000][colour=#212121]

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[colour=#006400]“I must get to mein sister’s farm snell!” [/colour]Uncle Apple Strudel nervously neighed as he continued pacing. [colour=#006400]“Vhere is dat train? Dis is an Apple Family emergency!”[/colour]

Meanwhile, over at the Hay Family farm Haymaker and Hayseed help their little sister pack.

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[colour=#B22222]“I still don’t know why I gotta spend a whole week at Sweet Apple Acres!” [/colour]Haywire grumbled. [colour=#B22222]“What did I do THIS time to git punished fer?”[/colour]

[colour=#800080]“How about the fire you started over at Apple Bumpkins farm a few weeks ago ta start with?” [/colour]Haymaker snorted as the lanky red maned mare stared down at her.

[colour=#B22222]“But mah classmates helped put it out! Like I told y’all, how was I ta know that usin’ mah firecracker rockets ta apple kick out with hind-legs them apple trees was gonna end up startin’ a fire?”[/colour]

[colour=#800080]“And then there was them fire ants ya set loose in the schoolhouse last week! Do ya know how long I hadda talk to yur teacher to keep her from suspendin’ ya from school?”[/colour]

[colour=#B22222]“That was a prank gone wrong, sis! Them stupid ants was supposed ta..”[/colour]

[colour=#800080]“ENOUGH!” [/colour]Haymaker roared. [colour=#800080]“Yur jist lucky Granny Smith’s allowin’ ya ta work off yur punishment time at Sweet Apple Acres durin’ yur Break Time from school! I have no idea what she sees in ya or why she’s took such a shine to ya.”[/colour]

[colour=#0000FF]“C’mon sis,”[/colour] Hayseed said defensively as the stallion stood between the two sisters. [colour=#0000FF]“Haywire said she was surry fer all that. Give’r a break!”[/colour]

[colour=#800080]“But she does stuff like this all the time!”[/colour] Haymaker yelled, [colour=#800080]“and she’s gotta learn ta be better behaved!”[/colour]

[colour=#0000FF]“Aw! She’s jist grow’n up, that’s all!”[/colour] Hayseed shouted defensively, [colour=#0000FF]“give’r time. I’ll betcha when she grows up, she’ll be a crabby, mean lookin’ sourpuss jist like you!”[/colour]

[colour=#800080]“SHUT UP!”[/colour] Haymaker screamed before landing a front hoof punch to her brother’s jaw, making his head vibrate.

[colour=#0000FF]“Maybe I outta re-phrase mah last words,”[/colour] the stallion’s quivering voice spoke.

[colour=#800080]“Why don’t ya escort Haywire to the train station, and help carry her bags while yur at it?”[/colour]

[colour=#0000FF]“As soon as the world quits shakin’, I’d be glad ta,”[/colour] Hayseed said as little Haywire rushed over and grabbed her brother’s vibrating head with her two front hooves until it stopped shaking. [colour=#0000FF]“Thanks Haywire! At least YOU don’t wallop me!”[/colour]

[colour=#800080]“Call me a sourpuss agin’ and I’ll punch ya even HARDER!”[/colour] Haymaker yelled before she looked down at her little sister with a warm smile. [colour=#800080]“Take care of yurself and be sure ta write us.”[/colour]

[colour=#B22222]“I will, thanks sis,” [/colour]Haywire said before sharing a quick hug with her taller sister. Then she and her brother trotted off in the direction of the train station.

[Exit Haymaker and Hayseed – cameo appearance here]

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Braeburn trotted up to his home in the center of Buffalo Run Orchard, towing behind him a cart of supplies from the town of Appleloosa for the farm. [colour=#daa520] "Apple, Apple Pie, Ah'm back! Ah got the supplies for yer pies from AAAAAAAAAPPLELOOSA!!! Apple?" [/colour] It was unusual for his little cousin not to be right there when he returned, given how much she prided herself in her businesslike preciseness.

Braeburn unhooked himself from his cart and galloped inside, [colour=#daa520]"Apple Pie! Y'all here?! Now where did that silly filly get ter?"[/colour] The goldenrod stallion trotted up to his cousin's room and looked inside, wondering against all reason if she had actually fallen asleep during the day.

No such luck. Although Braeburn didn't find his cousin, he did find a letter and a note placed on her desk in such a way that indicated that it was meant to be read. Applejack needed help with the harvest of Zap Apples and Apple Pie had gone on ahead to asset her. Braeburn felt proud and worried; proud his little cousin was so willing to help a family member in need, but worried, and not a little bit upset, that she had gone off on her own. It was his responsibility to look after her for her parents, after all!

Looked like Braeburn was going to Sweet Apple Acres in Ponyville!

As it was in Ponyville though, going to Sweet Apple was the perfect excuse to see Willow Wisp as well. Perhaps she would enjoy herself on the farm, at least she'd get to meet the family; either way to was a sure fire way to see how compatible they really were! Hopefully the answer would be "fully".

Braeburn quickly wrote out a letter to send via the local pegasus express to Ponyville:

[colour=#daa520]Dearest Willow,

I'm coming on down to good old Ponyville to give my cousins at Sweet Apple Acres I hoof with the Zap Apple harvest! I figured since I’d be around your parts – that means neighborhood - we could see each other! Why, it’d be great if y’all came by the farm, perhaps spend the harvest there with me. You’d love the mysterious magics of the zap apples and y’all can meet my kin too! They’d love to meet you!

P.S. I’m sure we can find some time together, too, just the two of us!

Yours,

Braeburn[/colour]

Perhaps not the most romantic invitation, but the goldenrod stallion was in a hurry. He had to get to Sweet Apple Acres as soon as possible, for what was more important than family?

One suitcase later, Braeburn was at the Appleoosian station, next stop Ponyville!

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Back in Canterlot, a certain green stallion was having a grand day knowing that it was still his week off and had found out yesterday that Zap Apple season was off. His mother, Sweet Blintze, had received a letter from Applejack and family back in Ponyville's Sweet Apple Acres requesting numbers of zap apple jars being requested in their town. His mother having requested 50 jars of her own while he wanted 5 just for himself along with the other citizens. He was unsure of the actual amount that had been requested, but he assumed it wasn't too much of a problem from the Apple's of Ponyville. This made Greenshot Apple's mood quite cheerful knowing he would be getting zap apple jam in just a few days and he could already taste the pastries his mother would make.

At the moment, [colour=#006400]Greenshot Apple[/colour] was inside the shop of Sweet Blintze's having a cup of herbal tea with two sweet cheese filled blintzes which he loved. The shop was slow at the moment and no ponies had come in, in nearly an hour. Suddenly, Greenshot had noticed her trotting towards him and set a paper on the table from Applejack requesting assistance of the family. Smiling, Greenshot knew this was another grand opportunity to go out and have some fun kicking out with hind-legs some apples out of the trees. His mother had even requested that he should go on out and help out his cousin with the predicament that they must be in with the high demand of them zap apple jam's. After about 10 minutes of eating and another 30 minutes packing a few small essentials: a bow and arrow, a comb and several other things as well as his bag of 50 bits to pay for anything while in Ponyville as well as a ticket going to Ponyville and one when heading back home to Canterlot. At the train station, Greenshot had bought his ticket and awaited the train heading to Ponyville. "[colour=#008000]This is going to be so excited. Being able to help with the zap apple harvest is going to be such a fun experience and I wonder if there is any other family member going to be on board. Just got to wait and see when the train comes."[/colour]

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Willow Wisp was always surprised when she got mail. Not too many wrote to her outside of family, and then the letters she got from Braeburn, since that the easiest way for them to keep in touch over such a long distance. She recognized the postal mark from Appleloosa right away and smiled. Though she was a little confused, as it was actually her turn to respond to the last letter she had gotten, so this one must have been unrelated.

[colour=#0099ff]“The Harvest, here at Sweet Apple Acres?”[/colour] She repeated to herself as she read the note.[colour=#0099ff] “I bet a lot of the Apple Family will be there. I've never really been to anything like that... well I mean I helped my friend Dandy with his flowers a couple times, but that's a lot different than apples. And other than the tree Braeburn and I planted...”[/colour]

She glanced out her window in the general direction of the farm. The Unicorn suddenly felt really nervous. What if she just ended up getting in the way or making a fool of herself. What would all of his family think? Would they even like her, period? What if she scared some of them? And what did one need to bring or wear at an apple harvest?

[colour=#800080]“...Wisp...”[/colour] A voice picked up behind her. [colour=#800080]“You're standing in the way of the door, I'm going to be late to study at the library.”[/colour]

Willow Wisp shook her head and turned to look down at her younger cousin. [colour=#0099ff]“Sorry, Grimmy. I just got lost in thought.”[/colour] She reached out and ruffled his mane and laughed.[colour=#0099ff] “Hey, if you get home and I'm not here, trot on over to the apple farm. I'm going to go meet up with somepony there.”[/colour]

[colour=#800080]“The apple farm?”[/colour] The colt looked a little confused. [colour=#800080]“Oh, is that pony you like to write to going to be in town?”[/colour]

[colour=#0099ff]“You could say that,”[/colour] she gave a nervous laugh. [colour=#0099ff]“Now hurry up, don't want to be late right?”[/colour]

She managed to chase him off without having to answer too many questions, and after pacing her way around her home she decided to just suck it up and go. Though as she made her way toward the local farm she couldn't help feeling like there were bats doing loops in her gut. And it was for that reason she ended up ducking behind a tree and watching for other ponies to show up first. She was sure it would be strange if she walked right up to the Apple family like she was suppose to be there. She'd just have to keep her eyes open for Braeburn since he was the one that extended the invite.

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At the Apple Family Barn, Macintosh was double checking to make sure all the additional equipment was good an' ready for this years harvest - he knew the routine, and was fully aware that the near-ceremonial manner in which the zap apples were harvested made them one of the rarest, and most highly saught after, fruits in all of Equestria. He took his own duties with resolute calm, as with everything else in his life, because he knew that to handle such things needed a calm head...something he was pretty great at!

Still, the wise old matriarch of their active farming family knew what was what, and Mac had seen enough of these to not just never question the events, but to ensure that he did whatever he possibly could to assist wherever possible - whether it be hauling jam-packed wagons between here and canterlot, or getting stuck into assisting with the occasional kitchen task - the red stallion, however, did quietly admit to himself that his cooking skills weren't quite as up to par as his 2 sisters or granny smith, Eeeeenope!

With all of his checks and general duties in the barn currently finished and up to date, it was time for Macintosh to get back into the fray of Day 3 of the harvest....and as much as he was never fond of having flocks of crows around for longer periods than neccessary, this was just one of those weird times that he wasn't gonna argue over...

T'was a sign, afterall, of the zap applin' times ahead!

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Bramble Rose pranced merrily down the road, excited at the day's prospects. For the last few days, he'd been visiting Sweet Apple Acres every day. What an opportunity! So few studies had been made of the Zap Apples, and here he was right at hoof, with the opportunity to study them himself! How exciting! The slight purple unicorn very nearly danced, his long silvery mane bouncing about him, and humming a merry little tune that he and his cousin Bluebelle used to sing together whenever they met.

His saddlebags were stuffed with notebooks, though most of his gear was already at the farm, nestled away into the barn. He paused, lifting his face to look up at an airship passing by overhead, shielding his eyes with one hoof. [colour=#808080] "Oh, how lovely!" [/colour]he chirped happily. [colour=#808080]"A stimulating research project, a passing airship ... it's almost like being back home in Canterlot!"[/colour]

He whistled his merry tune again as he turned round the bend to head up to the farm. [colour=#808080]"Hey there, Applejack!"[/colour] he cried out merrily. [colour=#808080]"I saw the crows passing by this morning! How very exciting!"[/colour]

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Back in Canterlot, Ingrid Marie did not take the ill news from Applejack too well. Over at Celestia’s School, a whole bunch of midterms were scheduled for next week, so students naturally clamored the week before getting advice from their magic counselor. If Miss Marie hadn’t placed an order, she would have thrown AJ’s letter into the trash and went on performing her duties. Of course, having ordered 650 jars of zap apple jam changed the equation drastically. So reluctantly just this once, the counselor decided to take time off for the next few vital days to help out at Sweet Apple Acres, but not before having announcements posted that she’d host cram sessions the day before midterm week started.

Since Counselor Marie took time to make arrangements with the school’s students though, she didn’t arrive at the train station until the Friendship Express was just about ready to depart for Ponyville. Hence, the beige unicorn didn’t get a chance to notice her nephew Greenshot Apple beforehand as she almost immediately boarded the train and took a seat. As she sat down, a dejected-looking Ingrid grunted, knowing these next few days would be tough on her. After all, Ingrid hadn’t done any sort of farm work at all ever since before she attended magic school.....

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Elsewhere above Sweet Apple Acres, Sugar Apple saw that it was now the opportune time to make her customary entrance. Just like back in a recent family gathering, the pegasus emitted a wailing siren-like drone as she dived towards the ground. As always, the drone got louder until Sugar was barely above the heads of the assembled ponies before she pulled up and loudly buzzed overhead, giving off a hearty [colour=#800080]“Yeehawwww!”[/colour] all the while. Once she slowed down, Sugar Apple came in for a landing in front of the barn and announced; [colour=#800080]“Howdy, y’all! Sorry ah don’t got enny sugar apples this time around, but ah hope ya’ folks won’t mind this one time.....”[/colour]

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GrannySmith1WithText.png

Stepping outside of the kitchen for a break, Granny Smith spotted Sugar Apple coming in for a landing nearby. The elderly mare smiled at the words of the Pegasus mare.

[colour=#00FF00]"Of course we don't mind that, Sugar Apple!" [/colour]she said as she gave her a quick hug. [colour=#00FF00]"We're all jist happy ta see ya! I sure hope the others in the family git here soon!"[/colour]

Meanwhile, at the Ponyville train station, little Haywire just stepped off the train and took a seat on a bench next to a pony who's face was covered with the newspaper she was reading. The rust coloured filly didn't have to wait long until another train arrived. Stepping off that train was a bearded stallion that she had met before.

[colour=#B22222]"APPLE STRUDEL!" [/colour]Haywire shouted as the elderly stallion galloped up to her to give her a quick hug.

[colour=#006400]"Fraulien Hayvire!" [/colour]he said after releasing the hug. [colour=#006400]"Vhat are you doing here? Did you hear about dee emergency at Sveet Apple Acres also?"[/colour]

[colour=#B22222]"Emergency? Whatcha talkin' about, sir?"[/colour]

[colour=#006400]"It is Zap Apple season, und dee family has more orders den ever! Applejack vas asking all Apple Family members to come und help vith all dee Zap Apple making dis time!"[/colour]

[colour=#B22222]"OH MY STARS! I had no idear that was goin' on. I'm goin' ta Sweet Apple Acres cause I gotta work off my punishments. I'll gladly lend a hoof to help Granny Smith and the Apple Family!"[/colour]

[colour=#006400]"Very good, fraulien! Applejack vill need all the help she can get!"[/colour]

[colour=#FF8C00]"Then I will assist her as well!" [/colour]the voice behind the newspaper spoke out. [colour=#FF8C00]"Applejack and her friends are fine ponies and since I have some free time, I would be proud to join you both in this noble endeavor/"[/colour]

[colour=#B22222]"Pardon me, ma'am, but who are ya?" [/colour]Haywire asked.

[colour=#006400]"Ja! Who are you, fraulien?" [/colour]added Apple Strudel as the mare lowered her newspaper to reveal that she was actually.....

250px-Ms._Harshwhinny_id_S3E12.png

[colour=#FF8C00]"My name is Ms. Harshwhinney, and I was impressed with Miss Applejack when I met her in the Crystal Empire a short time ago. Since the location of the next Equestria Games has been set, I've taken a leave from my job for some rest and relaxation. Helping out on Applejack's farm sounds like the perfect opportunity for me to get away from city life and get some fresh air and exercise. Do you think she would allow me to volunteer to help with your dilemma?"[/colour]

[colour=#B22222]"Don't know about that thar DE-LEMMA stuff, but I'd figger she wouldn't mind some extra help!" [/colour]Haywire shouted.

[colour=#006400]"Javol! Dee vay she wrote in mein letter, I believe you vould be most velcome to come vith us! Dee farm is a short valk from here und if vee leave now.."[/colour]

[colour=#FF8C00]"Please, Apple Strudel is it? Allow me to provide our transportation," [/colour]Ms. Harshwhinney said as she walked out into the street, placed a hoof to her mouth and let out a loud whistle. Immediately a taxi carriage galloped up to her. [colour=#FF8C00]"There we all, you may all ride with me. Let's help the young filly with her luggage."[/colour]

[colour=#B22222]"I'm Haywire, and we sure do thank ya fer duh ride, ma'am!" [/colour]the blonde filly said as the three loaded the luggage, hopped into the carriage and rode off together towards Sweet Apple Acres.

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Apple Cider trotted slowly up the farm road, looking in the direction of the zap apple trees, the large blue flowers already showing themselves on the trees.

Knowing their life cycle, she knows the fruit will come soon, and that time is short. She would have to start setting up a portable still so she could refine the rainbow apples into delicious new Zap apple cider. Making a new type of cider was no laughing matter.. and without proper sampling and tasting the cider could spoil or over-ferment, causing the cider to turn deliciously alcoholic.. while that would likely be unwanted in a commercially sold cider and more for Calvados or Applejack, she was sure that with her years of cider-making experience that she would be able to pull through and make the first ever Zap apple Cider..

She walks up the walk and finds a nice empty spot that isn't being used for anything else, and begins constructing the still for the Cider she will soon make. Barrels and tubes connect to each other, a large basin with a cloth filter, and other cider-making implements are set up, ready for zap apple input. Now she would go to help the apple family with their preparation.

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-I was expecting everypony to show up during the third day. However, if you have reservations on having a character arrive during the fourth or fifth day as a way of diversifying the story, I will allow it. Just know that it may be awhile before we break into the next days.

@Willow and brian, I have reviewed the role play thread Sweet Apple Lemons. If it is alright with you guys, I would like to proceed with the idea that Applejack already knows Willow. She does not, however, know that her and Braeburn are a thing. So until she finds out that Willow came because Braeburn invited her, she will assume she is just visiting the farm on her own regard.

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[colour=#000000]Applejack was in a daze. She lifted the empty bushel baskets and placed them next to all of the orchard's zap apple trees. She was so into what she was doing, that at first she didn't even realize the purple stallion gasping his excitement towads her. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"What? Oh yes! They sure are, uh, so'm'."[/colour][colour=#000000] Applejack was obviously in fret. This was going to be the toughest zap apple harvest yet, and she reminded herself every ten seconds of the task at hoof. And unfortunately for Bramble, Applejack couldn't share too much enthusiasm for the beauty and nature of this particular apples trees. But it was to be expected. [/colour][colour=#ff0000] "Ah sure hope that my kin arrive soon, I would really hate to have to do all of this on my own. Ugh, who am I kidding, I can't even kick out with hind-legs an entire orchard by myself, let alone kick out with hind-legs all the zap apples off in one day. I don't want this help, I need this help."[/colour][colour=#000000] Applejack spoke her thoughts out loud to Bramble. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"Hey Brams, I don' mind if you're here an' all. But when this farm is being over run by Apple ponies kicking out with hind-legs every last zap apple in existence, trah to stay out of the way,"[/colour][colour=#000000] Applejack softly scratched Bramble's undersnout, [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"alright Sugarcube?"[/colour]

[colour=#000000]Just then, a large airship landed in an opening on the farm. [/colour][colour=#ff0000] "Pink!"[/colour][colour=#000000] Applejack quickly trotted over to her cousin to greet her, but by the time she had gotten there, she had seen Sugar Apple fly in, Apple Strudel talk with Granny Smith and Haywire, Apple Cider and a surprise visit from Mrs. Harshwhinney, a pony she had met in the Crystal Empire. [/colour][colour=#ff0000] "Ah'm so glad you guys are here! You don't know how much you're going to help us out. You just wait!" [/colour][colour=#000000] Applejack winked. At first she was ready to entertain them, but then she realized again that this was going to be hard work. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"Alright, we gots some apple buckin' to do! But we can't do it until the fifth day, which is two days from now. Until then, Big Mac and I need yer help setting out baskets and making kicking out with hind-legs preparations, and Granny needs help with supplies for the apples, which according to what we plan, will need to be all turned into jam on the sixth day." [/colour][colour=#000000]Applejack started pacing back and forth, almost like a drill sergeant. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"Any questions!?"[/colour]

Applejack.pngMadden.pngGranola_Gracie.pngArrow_Plain.pngMiracle.pngRemington.pngSugar_Rush-1.pngCoconut_Lime.png

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Granny Smith came outside long enough to greet all the new arrivals and hear AppeJack's speech. Though her granddaughter began to designate jobs to be done, the gray maned Apple Matriarch also had some tasks she needed help with,

[colour=#00FF00]"Strudel! Git yur army hat on! We got a lot more jars ta fill this time around so I need extra help talkin' to'm!"[/colour]

[colour=#006400]"Javol, mein sister!" [/colour]Apple Strudel neighed with a salute as the bearded stallion reached over and put on his Germaney spiked Army helmet as Granny put hers back on.

[colour=#00FF00]"Come with us, Haywire! Need ya to haul in glass jars fer us, think yur up to the task?"[/colour]

[colour=#B22222]"Yes ma'am Granny Smith!" [/colour]the rust coloured filly neighed with a salute as she followed the two elderly ponies to the room where the jars were kept. Hearing what AJ needed, Ms. Harshwhinney walked up to her.

[colour=#FF8C00]"I would like to help set out baskets and learn the proper procedure to kick apple trees," [/colour]the regal looking mare said sternly. [colour=#FF8C00]"I came to help you and your family in your time of need. I fully intend to pull my own weight around here. Give me a chance to prove it to you."[/colour]

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