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[Ponyville's Countryside] Mixed Fruits and Veggies (Ended)

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[colour=#ff0000]"I can't believe it took us this long to formally meet our new neighbors, Big Mac. They seems like a fine bunch of farm ponies, don't they Big Mac?"[/colour][colour=#FF6600] Inside the barn's kitchen, Applejack grabbed several articles of fruit and vegetables including multiple colours of apples, a couple oranges, a maize lemon, a couple stalks of corn, and few heads of cabbage, and two large carrots and put them all into her over sized saddlebag. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier. It's always nice to meet other families in the farmin' business, isn't it Big Mac?"[/colour][colour=#FF6600] Applejack continued to prepare herself for a short trek across farms.

The Carrot family farm, which was just a few hoofs shy of Sweet Apple Acres' territory, was the location that Applejack and Big Mac were visiting. Despite being the friendliest of ponies, the busyness of the farm, having to rebuild the barn after a few unfortunate shortcomings, having the recent calendar filled with training dates and travel dates for Applejack's rodeo in Canterlot, and spending the next three days after the rodeo running away from her friends and the pinkie promise police, Applejack had no time to visit other ponies' farms. She was already acquainted with most of the farm folk in Ponyville, having done business with them down on the market. But a relatively new family had started a farm practically next door to Sweet Apple Acres and it had taken the apple ponies this long to realize it.

Applejack shimmied her saddlebag full of fixin's onto her backside. It was heavy enough to require a belt that strapped together on her belly-side. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"Why, I believe that pony I ran into during the running of the leaves was one of them ponies we'll meet today! Carrot Fields, I believe was his name. He was so shy and nervous around me, heh heh."[/colour][colour=#FF6600] Applejack poked at Big McIntosh as she chuckled. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"I bet him and Fluttershy would get along real well, wouldn't they Big Mac?"[/colour][colour=#FF6600] Applejack winked to her brother before walking slowly out of the barn. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"Hey Big Mac, I'm ready to go, are you? Hay, what are you bringing with you anyway?"[/colour]

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Big Mac looked at his sister, raising an eyebrow slightly at the question before nodding his head back to the small wagon that he'd finished hitching himself up to - it's cargo consisting of a jar of zap apple jam, and a mixed bushel of freshly bucked apples and some of the remaining zap apples from the last harvest...still all fairly ripe and generally good to eat. Alongside that, a freshly packed basket of various apple goods; The Red Stallion had adamantly wanted to make sure that the carrots felt that the apple family appreciated having them as neighbours, first and foremost. " Jus' a few gifts - Ah figured we'd best go prepared - good first impressions an' all! "

Mac was, admittedly, a little curious to know just what kind of folks these new ponies were, and what trade opportunities might exist between them - many farm families in equestria would often get by with a little 'exchange is fair robbery' approach, and could often negotiate interesting ideas for business, service and produce sharing.

Mostly known as the traditional 'Ya'all Scratch my back, and I'll mow your lawn/give you an apple tree/give fair mentions' approach to farm relations and business!

Of course, his sister being who she was brought up mention of fluttershy, which simply made him chuckle slightly and nod his head in agreement...although the thought of the naturally nervous pony getting to know anypony she wasn't immediately familiar sounded more like a challenge for Applejack herself to tackle than anything else.

Sometimes her mind was just so strangely set in forcing the issue, whereas Mac was more of a 'see how it goes' approach - although admittedly, that wasn't the way his mind worked on the farm...no amount of wondering grew crops on it's own.

" Ah do believe we're good to go, AJ! " he says, nodding his head once again firmly in AJ's direction - indicating that the time had come for them both to set off and see where this little endeavour of apples and carrots would lead. He just hoped that nothing would go TERRIBLY wrong on this otherwise harmless introduction!

Edited by Robikku Pegasus

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Purple Haze was eagerly cooking up a storm. Finally, she'd been bugging her big brae to head over to meet the neighbors, but it was always too busy. Planting, harvesting, selling, taking care of Purple. He liked to watch her bucking the apple trees, sure, but never took the time to go over and say hi. She'd told him time and time again, but ... ah, he never listened to her.

She scooped a carrot mash onto a burrito shell, added some cheese, folded it over, and tossed it into a buttered pan, the hiss of frying crackling loudly. She needed to be ready for company! Finally, they were going to meet and have a proper neighborly dinner! This was so exciting! She went over to the next pan, and taking a hot pad in her mouth, she grabbed the handle and gave it a few flips. her favorite signature food - garlic-fried carrot sticks - flipped over and over, sizzling happily. She opened the oven and checked on the carrot cake, smiling. It would be done in about 15 minutes. Main course, appetizer, desert, everything seemed to be going well. She took a spatula and flipped the carrot enchirito over in the pan, letting it sizzle some more. The cooked side was a lovely golden brown, sealed shut. Now, all she needed was guests!

She glanced out the window and saw two of them coming over the hill - the orange mare and her big brae! Purple Haze let out a delighted little squee and gave out a call. "BIG BRAE! BIG BRAE! THEY'RE HIE!" She bumped her hip against the table, sliding the platter off onto her back, A pitcher full of a reddish-orange juice slid off onto her back - a juice made of carrots, tomatoes, spinach, and a number of other fruits and vegetables. She paused at the oven to give the pan a flip, tossing the fried enchirito out to land next to several of the same. Four glasses filled with ice. with a different brightly-colored straw each, clinked as she walked her way out onto the porch, sliding the tray onto the little table out there, and began pouring the juice into the glasses for their guests.

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Carrot Fields was out in the newer part of the fields; there was simply so much to do today, and first priority was to clear this field for planting. It was a dirty job even on the best of sunny days. Sure, there was little in the way of mud, but still plenty of dirt and dust, an unusual amount of which seemed to have worked its way into Carrot's coat and mane. He certainly didn't mind being dirty at all - and it was part of the job, a sign of good hard work, and it wasn't as if any fillies were around.

Pulling out the last of the weeds with his teeth, Carrot was already feeling a little nervous. Purple Haze had managed to arrange a get together with their neighbors, the Apples. Carrot had never been to their farm, although everypony knew of it - it was by far the largest around the region, certainly several times bigger than his own modest but productive and proud farm. He had met the orange mare that lived there at the last Running of the Leaves, she was even prettier up close than he had imagined when watching her from over the hilltops, bucking those apple trees with those powerful legs. And he had quite the imagination!

Carrot's mind was on that pleasant subject as he hooked up the cart to himself to pull away all the weeds and stones when his sister called to him. Carrot looked upwards, confused. They couldn't be *that* early, it was only ... What?! When had the sun gotten that high in the sky?! "Oh no ... Oi cannae let th neighbors see me loik this! Oi look loik some sort of balmy grimer!" Carrot Fields looked about, trying to think of something quick. He raised his voice to call back, "Ach, tell 'em Oi'll hie over in a wee bit, Purple!" Carrot worried as he hurried the cart to the barn. I hope she didn't think I sounded upset! She is always suspicious like that. Nahhh, she'll be too busy worrying over her dishes.

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A short walk along the road to Fillydelphia that spanned the length and depth of the apple farm was all it took before Applejack and Big McIntosh topped the crest of the last hill before the Carrot family's land. When they were spotted by Purple Haze, they heard the shouting and squeaking of her excited voice. Applejack reared in response. "Yeehaw! There it is, Big McIntosh!" Applejack galloped down the hill to the farm's entrance and finished with a light trot up to the house. She could see plenty of low-laying carrot fields in every direction with a barn behind the house.

Applejack saw that Purple Haze was setting up a table on their porch and headed in that direction. "Howdy, Purple! This was such a fine idear, gettin' farmin' folk to meet each other and all. But where's your brother?" Applejack had heard the rustling of a farming cart, but it wasn't Big McIntosh's. She could see at a distance a gray pelted stallion hurrying himself to the barn in haste. "Oh hay! Is that him, sugarcube? I'd love to go meet him and see his barn setup. Why, we just had to renovate ours thanks to an unfortunate barn fire."

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The walk had been a pleasent and short one, and Mac had simply enjoyed being able to quietly appreciate the sun and the soft breeze running through his mane as he'd pulled the small hitched-trailer behind him to the fields of the carrot family, whom he had personally wanted to visit...they seemed like decent enough folks and he'd never really gotten to know them ever since they moved in a little while back. Now was most definitely a time to fix that small error, however!

AJ had already gotten to talkin' to whom he had come to understand was known as Purple Haze - he hung back, smiling a little in acknowledgement of her a moment in greeting, but allows AppleJack to rattle off her brief chit-chat, before coming to the idea that it may well be worth checking out their barn, which he couldn't find himself disagreeing with at all. Considering everything that had happened the last few months, he muses to himself quietly, it'd be interesting to see somepony elses barn!

with a brief, firm nod to his sister, he begins to make his way alongside her to their next 'destination'...still hooked up to the trailer all the while!

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Purple Haze propped her feet up on the table as she carefully poured four glasses of the nice cold drink, the handle of the pitcher held carefully in her teeth. It was her own special blend of fruits and vegetables, and oh, she hoped they'd like it! She set the pitcher back down and dropped down from the table, smiling up to Applejack and Big Macintosh. "Aye, thankee! An' welcome tae th' Carrot family plot! Oi'm roit thrilled tae have'ee o'er! Neighbors should be visitin' often, roit?"

She followed Applejack's gaze to the fields. "Aye, that'd be me brae! He likely lost th' time, he's always workin' hard, ye know? Course ye do, ye're a farmer yerself! Oi'm sure he'd be roit chuffed tae see ye! He's likely headed tae his workshop tae get a mite cleaned up! It's roit round that way!"

As Applejack headed round to the barn, Purple Haze smiled up to Big Mac. "Wow, ye're a roit big'n, aren't ye? Wot's it loik bein' that big? Do ye get more of a breeze up there on a hot day? Were ye always sae big? Loik, how big were ye when ye were my size? Must be *real* easy tae buck apples, bein' as big as ye are! Oi bet ye can reach th' tall shelves, too! Why's yer cutie mark half an apple? Do ye like cuttin' apples? Do ye like seeds? Do ye like spittin' apple seeds? Oi once spit an apple seed an' it bounced off th' porch rail an' hit me big brae in th' nose! Are ye Applejack's big brae? Ye're a *real* big brae!"

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Carrot Fields pulled the cart of weeds and rocks up to the entrance of his workshop, a small building connected to the side of the main Carrot family’s barn. He shrugged out of his harness, hoping that his sister, Purple Haze, could entertain their guests for a few minutes while he cleaned up as best he could. What horrible timing! Normally, being all grimy wasn’t a big deal, but not in front of guests! Especially not in front of the young orange mare! What would any filly think, his mane frizzed out all over, completely out of control, and his grey coat stained with dirt and mud. He could just hear his sire’s voice already. “Ye dumbtail! Cannae ye be on time fer anything?”

He rubbed his hoof over a bucket and looked at his reflection, grimacing at the shaggy mess, not noticing the orange mare coming up the path. He gave himself a shake, his coat rippling and his tail whipping across his flanks to beat the dirt from his coat, but it wasn’t enough. There was no time for a bath, but he could at least wash his face. Surely they would understand, being farmer folk themselves. Carrot grabbed the hose on the outside wall of his workshop, holding the hose in his mouth and giving the spigot a twist with his forehooves. The next thing Carrot knew, a torrent of water was spraying wildly from the house, knocking him backwards onto his tail, the hose slipping from his mouth to spray all over the place, soaking him to his skin. Carrot wrestled with the hose, trying to capture it and get it under control, the spout twisting around to shoot directly into his face and making him blub with frustration.

Finally, though, he got the flailing hose pinned down, lifting it up to try again to clean himself off, and found himself looking right at the orange mare. Oh no.

“Ach!” he said, “Glad tae see ye!” Or at least, that’s what he meant to say. As soon as he opened his mouth to talk, the hose he had already forgotten about went flying free, spinning in a circle and dousing everything before spraying him in the face again. “Acblurblegack!”

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A quick trot from off the porch made Applejack realize that she missed out on what looked like delicious carrot juice that Purple Haze had put out for them. At least for now, it would have to wait, for she was very excited to see what kind of a barn they had been keeping. She almost felt too nosey. Applejack was easy to get along with for the most part. But at times, she had problems keeping things to herself.

"Howdy!" Applejack had somehow snuck up to Carrot Fields while he was wrestling a garden hose. And as she soon realized, her greeting startled him enough to lose control of the hose after he had but a few seconds of control. Almost immediately, Applejack dropped her trusty lasso out of her hat and threw it accurately at the spigot. With a jerk of the lasso with her teeth, she turned the water off and killed the violent animation of the hose. Once it had died, she coughed out her end of the rope and continued the conversation casually, almost like nothing had happened. "You're Purple's big bro, heh? I think I know you."

Applejack walked up to the now wet-maned Carrot and used her left fore-hoof to remove the hair out of his face and eyes. Carrot's goofy expression was revealed, along with his identity Applejack already knew of. She looked at Carrot with angled eyes in concentration. But seconds later bounced her expression back to a gleeful one once she knew who she was looking at. "Ha! I knew it! You're Carrot Fields, ain't ya? Remember me from this past year's runnin' of the leaves? Well, actually there we're a lot o' ponies in that race, so you probably don't." Applejack thought for a moment before striking light bulbs in her head. "I was the pony that somehow managed to miniaturize herself. Remember? Tiny me, Miss Granola Gracie, giant pony-eating plants. Heh, heh," Applejack chuckled, "Those ere some fun times." Applejack's eyes watered at the thought of everything that happened that day, along with the lesson that she had learned.

Applejack stepped back and blushed. "So." Applejack shuffled her hoof in the ground for a second as she was a little afraid of an imposition. "Care to let me look inside yur barn and see what kinda setup y'all got here?"

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Watching as applejack started getting a little more forward, he decided that he would wait it out and see just what she would get her nose stuck into - she was always like this around new ponies, and he couldn't help but internally laugh a little as she helped out Carrot Fields by taming his hosepipe with her ever-present lassoo...something that he couldn't help but respect her seemingly natural ability to wield at a moments notice!

Mac couldn't help himself but smile at the mention of the running of the leaves race - it had been a pretty fun race for all, and he'd enjoyed simply running at his own pace that whole time...sure, he hadn't won or anything, but he'd taken part and done what any proud pony did for the season and that was good enough for him.

Still, coming back to the here and now, he couldn't help but also find himself curious about the setup of the carrot farm - he'd never really had a chance or reason to come over to their residence, and now that he was here he couldn't help but find himself just as interested as AJ in finding out just how things worked around there, and maybe even dig a little deeper into the family themselves...

However, just as he was getting settled into the moment...an explosion of noise came from nearby!

" Wow, ye're a roit big'n, aren't ye? Wot's it loik bein' that big? Do ye get more of a breeze up there on a hot day? Were ye always sae big? Loik, how big were ye when ye were my size? Must be *real* easy tae buck apples, bein' as big as ye are! Oi bet ye can reach th' tall shelves, too! Why's yer cutie mark half an apple? Do ye like cuttin' apples? Do ye like seeds? Do ye like spittin' apple seeds? Oi once spit an apple seed an' it bounced off th' porch rail an' hit me big brae in th' nose! Are ye Applejack's big brae? Ye're a *real* big brae! "

He finds himself bombarded by a small pony with plenty to say - barely even able to get a word in edgeways, Mac found himself helpless and under a verbal barrage.

" Uh...ah - Slow, uh...Slow down jus' a minute there! " He says, trying hard to quell her tide of near-endless curiosity...but it appeared that no matter what the stallion said, it was falling on deaf ears - or at least the ears of a pony who had more questions than seemed possible for one pony to think of in such a small space of time!

Edited by Robikku Pegasus

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Purple half-stumbled to a stop, and closed her mouth tightly, smiling up to Big Mac with an angelic expression as she fights to keep herself from asking more questions ... she squirmed eagerly, all sorts of ideas coming up in her mind about Big Mac and her own big sister. To keep herself from saying anything more, she took down her glass of juice and tucks it between her forehooves, sipping on the straw as she looked eagerly up to Big Mac, waiting for his responses.

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Carrot Fields was momentarily surprised by the sudden loss of water, just standing there, stunned at the events. He couldn't see her, just yet, his soaking wet red mane hiding his eyes. He didn't want to see her, or her to see him, not like this - how horribly embarrassing! Her gentle hoof lifted his wet mane from his eyes, and he saw her amused grin. There was no doubt - this was the neighbor filly he'd watched so many times from afar, and had met at the Running of the Leaves, and she was as every bit as cute as he remembered.

Carrot nodded to her as she tried to remind him about the race he certainly remembered. Dumbtail! Say something to her! It was Carrot's thoughts, but his sire's voice. Carrot shook his head, spraying water and tossing his soaking wet mane to the side, trying to ignore his hotly red face. "Ach, aye! Oi certainly ken th' race, an' ye Applejack!" He couldn't forget the name; he worked so hard to remember it! "Oi mean, Oi'd nae ferget with that crazy shrinking from that poison joke ye ran intae an' all!" Carrot smiled widely. "Er, that is, Oi remember everypony Oi met there, aye? Granola an' her crazy plant, Lyra, an' of course ye! Um ... How'd ye do in th' race? Oi ne'er did find out! Oi got fourth place meself".

The conversation quickly turned to his barn, and she gave an adorable shy smile. He couldn't say anything but yes, not even thinking as he blurted out, "Aye, of course! Oi've got tae kip a towel anyway! Come in!" Carrot trotted forward to quickly open the side door of the barn for his guest, the one that lead directly into his workshop, a room that held all sorts of equipments for building, nice bench, and a whole lot of colorful posters of various mares in alluring and flirtatious poses. It hadn't yet occurred to Carrot what she would think of that or the place in general - he just wished he could figure out how to regain his balance. It seemed a nonstop series of embarrassing events!

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Applejack followed Carrot's guidance into the barn. As soon as he swung open the door, she saw everything that was great inside a barn. Carrot's barn seemed a lot more for personal workspace as the apple's barn was definitely cleaned out often for the purpose or storing product and throwing parties. Sweet Apple Acres was a common reception hall for most of Ponyville's events.

Applejack zipped towards the work bench, where she saw all sorts of tools and blades that accompany a useful work bench. Directly under one of the colorful pinups, Applejack turned her attention to a tool belt. "What in tarnation! Is that a tool belt? Shoot, I wished we had one like this on the farm." Applejack grabbed the tool belt and shimmied it from her head down her spine. She wasn't one for trying on dressed, but a tool belt was definitely interesting to her. She looked at herself judging the appearance. "Whoohwee!" She then spotted a circular saw that was featured on one of his tables. "Is that there a buzzin' saw? Does it work? I wish we had one of those too! It would have made fixing our barn and other fixin's around the farm a might easier. Would you mind if we came over to cut some wood from time to time?" Applejack gave Carrot a raised eyebrow and a raised forehoof, soleside up.

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Watching as Applejack left to follow Carrot into the barn, Mac looked over at Purple for a moment with a puzzled expression - he wasn't quite sure what to make of the small bundle of noise, who was currently sipping idley on her drink...it was all very awkwardly quiet, and he wasn't sure what to make of her curiously mischievous expression - she had the distinct look of an evil genius plotting her next maneuver, and he felt slightly unnerved by her stillness for some reason.

Deciding now was an appropriate time to follow the pair into the barn, he unhitched himself from the small cart and steps in after the pair of them...

"What in tarnation! Is that a tool belt? Shoot, I wished we had one like this on the farm."

He watches as Applejack slips on the toolbelt and gave a small chuckle as he enters fully...if there was one thing Mac knew, it was that AJ loved practical things - she was a sucker for a good set of tools and a job to get stuck into. " Guess we oughta look into doin' that sometime, eh AJ? "

Looking around at the interior, the stallion couldn't help but be impressed at what he could see - although he was trying to overlook the blatant 'other' content that seemed to adorn the walls. Whilst he himself could understand the other stallions need for something pretty to look at, he just couldn't agree that keeping such things in a place where it could be hazordous to let yourself get distracted was a good idea. However, once he had gotten over the initial shock of what was in plain sight, he looks over at the currently talking pair - his sister having just suggested the idea of using their saw, with which he naturally found himself agreeing whole-heartedly.

" Sounds like a good idea, Sis - ah know it'd help speed things along at the farm...we can't keep anythin' like that right now 'cause o' apple bloom bein' at her 'curious age' an' all. Soon as she's gotten a l'il more sense in her head, ah reckon we can look into gettin' one for our own uses. 'course, we'd happily pay ya somethin' t'use it - us apples don't wanna be puttin' others out if we can help it! "

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Purple Haze looked up sweetly to Big Mac ... then ... blinked... turned... watched him walking away!

She put her glass of juice back and went running after him. "Hey, wait! Ye dinnae answer any of me questions, mister!" She ran up alongside Big Macintosh and bounced up to get into his peripheral vision. "Oye, mister, why're ye nae answerin' me?" She danced around in front of his hooves to the other side. "Is it embarassin'? Did ye sit down an' squash half an apple an' that's how ye got yer cutie mark? Did ye drop a knife?"

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Carrot Fields felt a swirl of mixed emotions as he followed the orange earth mare into the workshop portion of the barn. There was pride in the fact that this was part of his home, his farm, that he built using his own hooves; at the same time, he worried - would she be impressed or disappointed? And, of course, just that small tease in his mind - Oh, Luna, wot a bonnie lass!

He breathed in relief at her obvious approval, a surprised smile spreading over his face as she wiggled on his tool belt. The way she swayed when she put it on caught his eyes - she was easily as stunning a mare as the athletes on his post… Oh, Celestia, the posters! Carrot blushed as he realized they were all over the room, but it looked as if Applejack either didn't mind or was ignoring them. Still, he stood there, still and embarrassed, blushing in shyness, only breaking his silence when she asked him about his buzzsaw.

"Aye, it works roit on! Was a gift from th' family back in Fet Loch, part of me "farm warming" party." Carrot rubbed the back of his mane again with his hoof, feeling a bit shy about how she was impressed with his equipment. "Starting a new farm is a big deal in me clan, so they brought a heap of gifts last Spring. An' of course ye kin! Ye kin visit anytime to use it to cut some wood! Oi'd be happy to help, we can cut wood together! That'd be bonnie!"

Ho boy, that sounded dorky and awkward. Why did the pretty fillies do this to him? Fortunately, his little sister came in just at that moment along with the large red draft pony, taking the focus off of his clumsy speech. "Purple, ye know ye cannae just come in here. Oi dinnae want ye tae get hurt, ye know." Looking back and forth at his guests briefly, Carrot decided to put on his friendliest face, "It's alright this time, though, since Oi'm here. Oi was just showing Applejack here th' workshop afore Oi show her the rest of the barn afore dinner; dinner isn't ready is it?"

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As Big Mac walked in, Applejack could see the smug face on her brother as she fondled in Carrot's garage. She wouldn't vocalize it, but part of her wanted to dismiss him altogether. She knew Big Mac would love to tease her in this situation. Something was just keeping him from vocalizing it too. It was an Apple sibling stalemate.

Applejack interjected immediately to Carrot's warning to Purple about the barn space. "Hay! Now wait just a gall darn minute. Purple's getting of age and is a big filly now, and she looks tough enough. She can take care o' herself." Applejack turned to Purple, "Can't ya, girl!?" Applejack trotted up to Purple where she was standing and gave her a heavy pat on the head.

Looking back at Carrot, Applejack sees behind him a poster of a yellow mare with fiery hair posing on top of a large turret. Applejack zipped up to the poster. She looked at Carrot. "Is that what I think it is!?" Applejack looked at it for a few longer seconds. "It is! Do you know who that is! I know her! Mah friend Rainbow Dash saved her from fallin' to her death during last year's Best Young Flyers competition in Cloudsdale! She's a Wonderbolt, I reckon." Applejack smiled at the coincidence and chose not to question the questionable pose such a mare would set herself in. As she allowed herself, she saw a few more of the same type of pictures posted around the area. It didn't bother her, and it wasn't offensive to her. However, Applejack made a small note in her head to face forward when talking to Carrot. She wasn't going to assume the worst, but she would not want to put herself in a position where Carrot would feel misled.

After what seemed like a bit of an awkward pause, Applejack broke the silence with her booming country voice again. "Hay. Would you mind if I took this one. I'd like to give it to my friend Rainbow. She'd love it!"

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Applejack was currently in her element, it seemed - Mac knew his sister was easily excitable by practical items, such as tools, and her interest level was starting to

make this one fact very loud and proud. he raised an eyebrow as he watched her brashly address Carrots initial dismissal of his younger sis's casual entry into his barn. Mac sympathised with the other stallion - he'd occasionally told apple bloom to mind herself and not approach anything that might cause injury.

" Now jus' hold on a moment, AJ... " He spoke up, giving a small quiet clearing of the throat. " Let's not get start tellin' th' poor guy how t'run his place...ah reckon you'd jus' about flip if anypony told ya'all how to buck a tree, am ah right? " the red stallion stops with a small smug look, before looking at the younger sister of the stallion, purple - whom had followed him in and caused this interesting little discussion in the first place. She had found her voice again, and was firing questions at him that he just couldn't keep up with.

" Ah...uh, slow down, wouldja? " Mac says with a baffled look on his features, glancing over at AJ and her brother with a 'what do?' expression.

" can barely answer if ya'all keep on... " However, the rest of his words after this were lost as the filly continued her verbal outpourings of questions.

He could easily take on most challenges...he could single handedly plough the appleacres farm in a day, buck at least half of the apple orchid in 2, and all of the other odd little jobs around the farm no problem - but when it came to inquisitive, relentless young foals asking him questions at the speed of light, he found himself at a loss. His was a simpler and quieter life, usually - and at least AppleBloom looked up to her big sister if she needed questions answered.

Big Mac was lost in the barrage of questions from an inquisitive young filly - this visit wasn't really quite going as well as he'd hoped!

Edited by Robikku Pegasus

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Purple Haze hung her head as Carrot scolded her... she'd forgotten about that little rule, in fact, caught up in greeting the guests and trying to get the huge pony to answer at least *one* question. Not like she actually followed the rule - but she usually had the good sense to sneak in while he was busy instead of walking in while he was there. But then their guest started to defend her.

She was torn. On one hoof, she bristled a little at anyone taking offense at how her big brae did anything ... but on the other, she appreciated the vote of confidence. "Aye!" she cried indignantly, "I only carved out th' wall that one time! It was an accident! And Oi cannae help it if this place is a fire hazard! Oi doused th' fires soon enough, it's why oi keep a bucket close at hoof when oi'm workin' on me projects! At least, after th' first time ... an' that time wi' th' rutabegas an' the squirrels was a fluke! Ye cannae blame me fer *that* one, can ye?"

She looked up to Big Mac. "An' Oi went quiet and ye dinnae answer *any* of me questions!"

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Carrot Fields only listened as the bonnie orange mare, Applejack, lectured about his sister Purple Haze being responsible enough to be in his workshop area, and then the large stallion, Big Mac lecturing her in return. His two guests were definitely family, alright - all the friendly rivalry and closeness was quite apparent. Carrot wanted to be polite - after all, these were his guests - and luckily enough, Purple Haze started recounting all her numerous "mishaps" while sneaking in here. That made his case pretty easy. Carrot stood up on his hind hooves, gesturing towards Purple with both fore-hooves, and looking at AJ with this "See what I mean?' look on his face. Carrot just smiled and snickered as he came back down on all fours. "Maybe, though, it be time tae start training lil' Purple here with some o' the tools. If she kens tae stay out wie'out permission first!" Carrot gave her a stern look, then smiled, ruffling Purple's mane with his forehoof.

"Oh, and Purple, now dinnae be bombardin' our guest here with all manner o' questions, ye're nae given' him a chance tae answer, are ye? How is he supposed to tell you anything if you don't let him get a word in now and again." Carrot smiled at Big Mac, "she's just curious about you and all, ye know how lil' sisters kin be when they're still foals."

Carrot smiled back to Applejack with a playful smile, but felt himself turning red as he noticed her attention on the Wonderbolt pinup posters. Thank harmony she wasn't offended at all, although his mind started to instantly wander to how she would look in one of those posters, Oh Luna, she could easily be a stunning pinup mare if she wanted, I can only imagine, farm fillies of Equestria - Carrot shook his head, "Aye, that's Spitfire, she's actually one of the Wonderbolt Leaders! I got tae meet her at the last Gala." Carrot felt rather proud about that fact. "That poster's an REA recruitment poster from when Oi joined, meself. There was printin' issues, it's actually a collector piece! Only ended up runnin' off about 300 of 'em. Th' larger run has different letterin'."

Carrot's ears perked up at Rainbow Dash's name. "Aye, Oi ken tae her - th' cu- .. .ah ... blue pegasus wot has th' rainbow mane. Oi met her tryin' tae find th' post office - she saved me from directions from this odd gray mail-mare." Carrot always had been fascinated by pegasi, and flying, and even when he was busy with his work, he kept up on Wonderbolts gossip and loved finding out about Cloudsdale - so he'd heard about the events of the Young Flyer's competition - in fact, he'd been daydreaming, staring up into the sky, when the Rainboom wave had washed past. He was, though, stunned as he put two and two together and realized that he'd ACTUALLY MET the filly that saved the wonderbolts! Before he could ask more, Applejack was facing right at him asking for the poster. He really liked that poster ... but how could he say no to such a stunning mare? "Umm ... s-sure! Go ahead!"

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Applejack's gleeful smile went to a raised eybrow and a straight face. She continued to defend Purple. "Now com'on McIntosh, where's this sproutin' young filly gonna go in life if she can't even walk into a barn?" Applejack turned to her and Carrot, where Purple was listing the experiences for why Carrot might have reason to worry, and then used it for her own defense. It didn't work.

Applejack raised her eyebrows in shock, and began twiching her right eye as the moment made her realize what this filly was capable of doing. "Rutabagas and the what, now?" Applejack didn't really want to know. She just knew that the look of Carrot's expressions and the never-ending train of thought that bounced violently out of Purple mouth was enough to convince her that there was probably something more needed to know before encouraging her any further. So, Applejack decided to change the subject.

"Oh, thanks, sugarcube!" Applejack reached high for the Spitfire poster and ripped off the tacks with her teeth. She rolled it up neatly and placed it in her hat, topping her vibrant mane with the hat again. "So," Applejack looked at Carrot and Purple, as she began talking to McIntosh, "what's for dinner? I'm so hungry I could eat a whole apple tree!" Applejack trotted to her brother where he was continually being harassed by Carrot's younger sister. "What's questions lil' Hazey?"

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Big Mac was a little uncertain of just how to deal with the situation with Purple...in many ways, she reminded him of Applejack when she was a slightly younger pony, albeit she seemed far more of a rapscallian than AJ ever did. Thinking about it a little more, She even seemed the type of young pony who'd get along well with applebloom...

They both seemed to be capable of driving those older than them crazy!

AJ had suddenly had herself a change of heart about Purple - the brief dialogue shared between herself, the youngster and carrot had indeed revealed that Macs earlier thoughts to AJ about leaving carrot to deal with the rules of his farm were rightfully vindicated - at this small victory, he passes a brief smug grin at his younger sister. " Ah told ya so, AJ! "

The subject soon changed to what the plans for dinner were to be - Mac pauses, and looks over at Carrot with a chuckle - he had brought a few items over with him in the kart from their own farm, having had something of an idea for just this very moment. " Ah reckon...we should have ourselves a picnic! "

It seemed like the perfect combination of ideas - an ideal way of sharing the very finest foods from both families, followed by a nice long exchange of ideas and thoughts between them all. If all went well, this would most certainly make for quite the bridge between the two families nicely - he just had to hope that nothing went particularly wrong between here and then.

Still - back in the here and now, he could see that Purple was still looking at him expectantly, and he finally relented...seeing as she was expertly using the little sister eyes on him that he had seen adopted by Applebloom and Applejack - whilst she wasn't HIS sister, it was the flashbacks to his younger sisters using them on him that finally got him to give one long sigh of defeat. " Okay, okay - Ah'll try an' answer ya questions at the picnic later on, ah promise! "

He hoped that would help keep the young one from giving him another round of 20 questions...however, knowing how Applebloom could be, he wasn't entirely hopeful!

Edited by Robikku Pegasus

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Purple Haze completely forgot the previous trian of conversation as her big brae went and gave the poster away so readily. She *winced* as Applejack tore it from the wall with no consideration for its value! Good thing her big brae would never have actually poked holes in it - but as the mare slipped it out of its frame and started to roll it up to tuck it away, Purple couldn't help but speak up. "But... but Brae! Ye said it's th' most 'spensive thing ye own, an' Oi'm ne'er tae touch it cause it's th' cornerstone a yer collection! An' e'en though ye'd get a whole stack a bits fer it, ye'd ne'er sell it anyway cause it's from yer recruitment year! Why are ye jes' givin' it away?!"

For once, the question of food didn't distract her, and she'd completely forgotten about the questions she'd wanted to ask Big Mac. Darn it, why was her big brae such a pushover for a pretty filly?!

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Carrot Fields was starting to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed, and it was showing visibly. He had such mixed feelings about handing over that poster, and his sister was making the decision a hundred times more difficult and a thousand times more embarrassing! "Purpllllle ... Ye ken tae th' Carrot family way! Ye're tae be polite and expected tae be extra hospitable tae guests in our homes, and ... er .... an' tae give them ... a personal an' meanin'ful gift! Ah-heh ... " He bites his lower lip and glanced left and right, hoping that Purple Haze wouldn't reveal his ad-libbed lie to his guests. The part about hospitality towards guests was true enough, but the gift giving part he'd made up on the spot.

Carrot had to admit, he almost wanted to ask for it back, but Applejack seemed so happy about it, with that brilliant smile. And he'd met Rainbow Dash, too, and if it'd make her smile as well ... Still, his stomach was twinging uneasily. Maybe he could get another one, somehow... if he ever came into a fortune ...

"Ach, um ... Purple ... dinnae ye have sommat in th' oven, then, fer lunch?" That question sounded a bit more forceful and urgent than normal. He really wanted to change the subject. "Oi'm sure ye've a right plenty questions fer our guests, an' of course, all yer great new recipes tae show us, aye?" He ruffled Purple's mane, then opened the door for his guests and sister. "Shall we?"

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Apple Bloom could never be accused of being lazy, but being forgetful was a more accurate term. Having forgotten to repair a plow that had been used by Big Mac, it had nearly caused...trouble for both of her older sibling.

And so, she was punished with a full morning of weed hunting in the south orchard. The sheer thought of it was daunting- it was the largest orchard and since weeds presented less of a problem to trees than it would present in other areas of farming, it was rarely a priority. The result was a mess of weeds that overran large portions of the orchard. One by one, Apple Bloom had attacked them, digging around them to get room and then using her mouth to bite them at the root and pull them out. It was hard work. It was disgusting work. It was tedious. It was, in short, farm labor and Apple Bloom had gotten so accustomed to it that the harshness of it droned on in the background. What was at the forefront was her over-active mind.

Yeah, she felt awful about nearly hurting her big brother and sister. That was a given, ya know? And she definitely didn't like it when she saw she had more or less destroyed the barn door, and when She deserved this punishment. She wasn't gonna deny that. But none of this mattered because the real story was that she had failed to get her cutie mark again. It always got her down when she failed again, and everypony getting angry with her didn't help matters. Sometimes she wondered if her big sister and brother remembered what it was like to be a filly that couldn't ever do anything right to get her cutie mark. She then gave a giggle- well of course Big Mac wouldn't know, he was a never filly.

After that giggle, her mind righted itself and sailed smoothly. She had failed this time, but she'd get it eventually. One of these times she was bound to get her cutie mark and by Celestia, it would be awesome! Everypony would be so proud of her. This thought was in her head as she finished up the first section of the orchard. How many weeds had she uprooted? Ten dozen? It sure felt like it and the way her jaw hung rigidly told her that she was within a few more of having it lock into place. While it would be a funny face, she figured it'd be hard to eat with her jaw that way. Best to take a rest- even Applejack would have to agree.

She trotted to the farmhouse, completely aware that there was a chance Applejack would send her right back out. When she got there though, the farmhouse was silent. Food was layin' about, almost as if-

"Oh no! I'was today! Gosh darnit, I'm late!" Apple Bloom screeched sadly. Today was the day they were due to visit their neighbors, the Carrots, and here she was being not very neighbor like. She ran into the kitchen and got into the family's stockpile of apple pies- because everypony could agree having a stockpile was important. She fished one out and ran upstairs to get her saddlebag, stuffed the pie, and with an excited squeal, started off towards the farm.

Apple Bloom always loved meeting new ponies, and having farmers nearby would make her life so much more fun. Maybe they had a filly 'bout her age there that she could play with? New friends were always fun to make, and if she found one here, she could discuss all sorts of stuff that only farm ponies would know. It would be nice to be like Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon in just one way, that being the ability to have some topics that only one good friend could relish. After just a few minutes of hard trotting, Apple Bloom saw the neighbors' farm and approached in the best way she thought possible: Loudly.

"HOWDY, Y'ALL! AH BROUGHT SOME APPLE PIE!"

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