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[Fillydelphia] A Country Field Trip [PM for Invite]

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((OOC Note - OOC Discussion thread is here))

Cheerilee was so excited! One of her favorite perks of being a schoolteacher, adventure and an opportunity to teach and travel all rolled into one, was the field trip! And she loved travel as much as she enjoyed teaching, never going anywhere outside of Ponyville without her trusty camera currently strapped around the magenta mare's neck.

This field trip was to show the younger foals of her class all about the profession of farming. Most ponies knew a farmer or two, especially in such a small town as Ponyville, but very few of the younglings knew what happened behind the scenes at a farm unless they grew up on one, like young Applebloom. The original idea had even been to take the foals to Applebloom's home, Sweet Apple Acres, but the large farm was always so busy and didn't have the spare time to give an all-day tour - and besides, sometimes the young foals learned best when they were visiting someplace that wasn't so familiar that they'd stopped seeing it! Fortunately, Applebloom's older sister, Applejack, had an alternative - her cousin's much smaller farm outside of Fillydelphia. So several letters back and forth, the flurry of permission slips, and an uneventful train ride later, here was the small farm AJ had arranged for them to visit: Tiny Apple Valley.

The farm lived up to its name - far, far smaller than Sweet Apple Acres, but no less as picturesque and charming, nestled away into its little valley with its colorful apple trees and a few small chicken coops, with the main barn standing over it all. A pony emerged from the barn doors, walking their direction, and she hoped this would be AJ's cousin Apple Bumpkin, proprietor of the farm.

Before the farm pony could reach them, Cheerilee turned to give one last bit of guidance to her class - larger than usual, with several foals from other areas of Equestria coming along on the multi-school trip. "Here we are colts and fillies! Now, be sure to stay on your best behavior, it was very kind of Miss Apple Bumpkin to allow us on her farm, and we need to remember to be respectful and courteous! And pay attention - remember that you all will have to write a paper about what you learned here this weekend for homework." She could hear the groans already, but it was an education trip and she was determined they would come away a little bit wiser. Now, all she could hope was that the class would at least stay… somewhat orderly and not get into too much mischief.

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Bumpkin trotted in place for a moment as she examined all of the foals. With a nod and a grin to Cheerilee she spoke.

“ 'Ah'm just glad ya'll could make it out'n here ta see how work gets done differently, depending on the style of farm ya'll go to.” She was grinning massively as she looked on with shining eyes. She leaned in close to Cheerilee and spoke softly to her.

“ 'Ah'm sorry that 'Ah ain't much to brag about, but I really like your mane. Ya'll be the best lookin teacher 'Ah ever seen. But what 'Ah wanted to say is that mah chicks are going ta be runnin bout and 'Ah just wanted to know if yer class knew how to handle chicks.” At that one of the small yellow chicks popped out from Apple Bumpkin's hoofkerchief and started chirping as it looked around. She had put it in there this morning as it was sleeping in the middle of the walk way of the chicken coop and made it impossible to get around unless you picked it up. She had forgotten it was in there but with a grin and a soft pat to the head it nestled back in and seemed to just stare at Cheerilee with eyes that asked if she would carry it. Bumpkin returned her gaze to the fillies and colts that were scattered about behind Cheerilee and gave them a huge grin and a wave. She knew they most likely thought she was crazy for being so full of energy but it wasn't everyday you were graced with the presence of the teacher of your favorite cousin. On top of that all, Cheerilee was famous among the Apple Family thanks to all of the good things that Apple Bloom had said about her and Bumpkin knew that all of those things had to be true so it was on her utmost pleasure to be the one to introduce Tiny Apple Valley off to the foals.

“ 'Ah don't mean to take ya'll away from your ogglin. But 'Ah'm Apple Bumpkin, cousin of this'n here Apple Bloom!” She points out Apple Bloom with a huge grin then goes back to speaking. “Here on ta farm ya'll will get ta see what goes on at a typical day, any questions or comments please bring them forth as 'Ah always have an open ear to alternative ideas so just get my attention by hollerin at me or asking Cheerilee to give me a nudge if ya'll too scared of me!” She grinned massivly again and turned around to face towards the farm. “As ya'll can see there isn't much to Tiny Apple Valley, but that is the beuty of it. We spend a majority of our time doing business with other farms then actually financing anything huge here on our own farm. Over yonder is the Farm House, should ya'll need a break just go in there and sit down at the table and relax. But remember that your amazing teacher has told ya'll to make sure that you know there is a paper due on what ya'll learned here! So don't take a break for too long, less you plan on cheetin on that paper of yers, but that aint a good idea cuz Cheerilee here is smart and she'll catch you.” Bumpkin was beside herself, she had heard all of the talk of Cheerilee but here she was IN PONY standing RIGHT INFRONT OF HER. She also commented to herself of the sheer number of foals that came for this little event and hoped that she could keep them all interested.

“Now, what sha'll we look at or do first?” It wasn't really a question, more of an out loud thought, but she left the door open for anypony to jump on it and give their input on what they wanted to see or do first.

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Remington was one of the several foals running in a jagged line of fillies and colts behind Cheerilee. Remington was from Cloudsdale, a young red pegasus pony who hadn't yet gotten his wings strong enough to flutter himself successfully off the ground. He wore a watch on his left front hoof, useful for keeping track of time, as he easily lost track of it. Remington was not a hyper pony. In fact, there was a good chance he might be the most calm and collective kid in the group. He was, however, very enthusiastic about his opportunity to visit different places in Equestria. His teacher in Cloudsdale made a cooperative trip with Miss Cheerilee from Ponyville. Unfortunately, Mrs. Stratus couldn't make it.

Remington moaned. He wasn't totally against homework. But how could he resist the sound of a class choir's negative reaction to such an unpopular assignment? He was definitely one of the kids. He patiently watched the interaction between sweet Miss Cheerilee and Miss Apple Bumpkin. It was a collision course between a poppy caffeinated perky attitude with a twist and twang of southern style accents. The drawl of the apple pony intrigued Remington. He couldn't understand how a pony could have such an accent. He was excited when she mentioned that there was an opportunity to rest inside the house.

Bumpkin asked openly, mostly in Cheerilee's direction what they should do first. Remington, quite adorably ran up and asked, "Do you guys have any cows!?"

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(OOC: oops, missed that RIverhippo posted. I hate this medicine... :blush: )

Snails looked around happily, nearly bouncing with excitement beside Snips as he tried to take in all the sights of the farm.

*Ah wonder what kinda bugs live aroudn here ah havent seen in Ponyville... * he wondered to himself.

He suddenly noticed a certain red pegasus foal as one of the guest students for the day. "Hay, Snips!Theres that one foal ah told ya about, from that adventure ah had at th' fair! He's an awesome singer too, even if he sleeps a lot."

Just then, Cheerilee told them to pay attention to everything because there would be homework on it.

Snails predictably joined in the chorus of groans abut that news.

Suddenly, Apple Bumpkin started speaking and he flicked his ears forward to pay attention, his tongue sticking out of one corner of his mouth in concentration...

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Timid stepped beside Cheerilee and listened intently to the teacher's instructions. He was another guest student who came from Canterlot participating in an exchange program of sorts. He was excited to be Cheerilee's student for a week as it afforded him a reprieve from all the hustle and bustle of the city streets.

He stood in awe, staring at row upon row of apple trees as Apple Bumpkin explained about her farm and the paper that was to be written about the trip. He didn't groan at that bit and instead levitated a pencil and pad to take notes with as he smiled and asked, "You ever have sheep? My dad in the Islands is a shepherd.". "This was going to be the best week ever!", he thought in his head as he shook with excitement, his metallic gold coat glittering in the sun.

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Jupiter "Jynx" Nexus

Jupiter did his best to look over the heads of all the foals in front of him. He was one of the smaller foals in the group, and had the misfortune of being in the back of the group. He heard the group moan as the teacher from Ponyville (Ms. Cheerbaby, was it?) announce that there would be homework about the field trip. He didn't mind, after all, homework was just like schoolwork... only you did it at home! Jupiter did his best to try and wiggle his way to the front of the crowd, but the other foals were too tightly packed, listening to Ms. Cheerbaby and one of the Farmers (Jupiter missed her name as well) talking about life on the farm. Several foals raised their hooves to ask questions, but there was only one question on Jupiter's mind.

"How many stars are you able to see all the way out here?" he asked enthusiastically. Without thinking, he looked up into the bright-blue daytime sky, half-expecting to see stars twinkling down at him, even with the sun high in the noontime sky. He heard several snickers from nearby foals, and his cheeks turned a darker shade of orange as they flushed in embarrassment. He dug at the earth with his hoof, he had almost forgotten that he didn't know any of the ponies in this class, and none of them really knew how much he enjoyed talking about the night sky and learning about astronomy.

He smiled to himself and fought back the embarrassment. So who cared if a couple foals he didn't know thought he was weird? That didn't make him so. Like his father would say: "Many ponies thought our world was flat until it was proved otherwise," so all Jupiter would have to do was prove that he was a normal pony, just like everyone else, and all these new ponies would accept him as a friend! Jupiter's smile grew even bigger at this thought, and in anticipation of the answer to his question. This field trip was going to be excellent!

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Caramel was happy to allow foals from out of the area visit the farm. Not only did she think it important for foals of all types and persuasion to understand the workings of farms, but it would also make for excellent PR. 'Local Farm Family Plays Host to Schoolfoals" had an excellent ring to it and she was in no position to disabuse them of the notion it was purely for the purposes of teaching. The advertisement down below? Purely coincidental.

Still, the foals deserved a good time and she knew that she could be entirely too dry and uninteresting for foals. That would be a better fit for Bumpkin, who despite being a young mare seemed to have the energy and personality of a much younger filly. So she had consigned herself to working on financial paperwork for the day, occasionally glancing outside of her window to keep tabs on the field trip.

Then she realized that she had failed to get from her sister some obscure piece of information relating to the total amount of braeburns sold in the past two weeks compared to the number bucked and the number of trees producing those apples. Without that, her data was incomplete. That was not appropriate. Sighing to nopony but herself, she got up and trotted downstairs, back out to the farm, and towards the barn from where she heard a whole gaggle of voices. She eventually poked her way in and saw that the entire class had arrived. A moment of panic given to a smile, though at that moment as foals asked simple questions. Rather than introduce herself, she decided the best way to sandwich herself in for a second was to take charge and answer a question. If anything, she was a stockpile of information.

"We can see many, many stars out here, but I imagine fewer than you may think. We live close to a very big city, which means we tend to see fewer stars. It is still very, very pretty at night. And we also do not have any cows as this farm is too small," Caramel answered with as much sweetness as she could muster, which made her a little uncomfortable.

But not as uncomfortable as Apple Bloom, who stood amongst the fillies and colts in class silently for the longest time.It wasn't because she was ashamed of Tiny Apple Valley or her extended family, nor because she had fallen asleep on the way over and was still waking up, her mane feeling sort of tangled. As much as she loved Apple Bumpkin, she was a little embarrassed about how excited she was to be around Cheerilee. Apple Bloom had said plenty of nice things about her to Bumpkin but...well...Apple Bloom was feeling just a tiny bit embarrassed. She swore to herself that she wouldn't ever feel that way after she brought Granny- well, more like tried to ensure she didn't show up but she did anyway- to Family Appreciation Day and she blew everyone's tails away, but she couldn't help it! Everypony in her class was gonna think she was some sort of teacher's pet. Or that her cousin was a little insane. She didn't like either one of those options!

That made answering Remington's question a bit more attractive, more comfortable.

"Nah Remmy, it ain't like back at Sweet Apple Acres wher' we have som' sheep. Place's just too small!" She squeaked from near the back, feeling victorious.

"Very good, Apple Bloom. That is right. We have no sheep. We only have limited space and animals like sheep take up large tracts of land. There is a sheep farm nearby, however. We can sometimes...uhh, smell it. Anyway, Bumpkin, do you have your...itinerary for this all set? Also, do you have the figured for the Braeburns...?" She asked, her voice lowering as she asked her sister for the figures, not wanting to be dragged for too much longer along for the ride.

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Sweetie Belle's eyes opened up really wide at seeing that *adorable* little fluffy yellow chick! Sure, she'd seen chickens before, but they'd all been grown up ... none of them had been nearly as sweet and cute as that lil' fluffball! She hadn't really expected to see anything new, here ... after all, she hung out with Apple Bloom at Sweet Apple Acres all the time, but she couldn't think of having ever seen such a cute lil' fuzzy chick before, and tucked away in the kerchief like that! Well, it was just too much! Sure, she'd failed to get her cutie mark for chicken wrangling, but maybe those chickens had just been too old!

She hurried forward to smile brightly up to Apple Bumpkin. "Hello there, Miss Bumpkin! Do you remember me? Can I see that chick? Oh my *gosh* she's so adorable! I've never handled a chick before, could you teach us how? Maybe that'll be my cutie mark, taking care of chicks! Then I can help you here at Apple Valley, taking care of chicks!"

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Snips trailed along at the side of his taller, much more enthusiastic, friend. He just wasn't a bit excited about this. I mean, come on, a field trip to a farm? There were farms all around Ponyville, so it's not like the foals from Miss Cheerilee's class didn't know what a farm was like. So why'd they have to come to Fillydelphia to see apple trees? They could have seen those back home!

Ok, so the train ride down here had been kinda cool; It had been one of the newer steam-powered engines that didn't require ponies to pull it. The big machine had snorted and steamed like he imagined a big dragon would. He and Snails had ridden with their heads sticking out of the windows (until Miss Cheerilee made them come back in, that is.) It had been a fun trip he guessed.

But now, they were here. Oh boy, grass and trees, you can't see that back home, Snips thought to himself, being careful to not let the sarcastic comment slip out loud. HE'D wanted to go to Canterlot! A BIG city, and filled with unicorns too! In his mind's eye, he pictured a place where everywhere you turned was another magic shop, another book store filled with spell books. Powerful unicorns everywhere, showing off their expertise in magic.

To top everything off, Miss Cheerliee had gone through his bags and taken away all the magic tricks and comics he'd brought with him, leaving only writing materials. Not only were they on a boring farm, they had to write a boring paper about how boring it was! Shaking his head bitterly, he dragged his hooves as much as possible while still keeping up with the class.

Cheerilee had introduced the class to a couple of mares who ran this farm. Snips had pretty much tuned out whatever they'd been saying though, after getting their assignment.

"Hay, Snips! There's that one foal ah told ya about, from that adventure ah had at th' fair! He's an awesome singer too, even if he sleeps a lot."

Snips looked up at his eager friend. Well, if he had to be bored, at least Snails was there to lighten the mood. And if Snails found some new bug for his 'collection,' that's something he could put in the crumby report. Snips turned to the red pegasus colt that Snails had mentioned. "Hey, name's Snips," he said, brightening a little. The colt kinda looked like he was half asleep already. "Are you as bored as I am?" he joked.

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Cheerilee smiled as Apple Bumpkin spoke up, relieved it was indeed their host - otherwise that would have been the most awkward start to a field trip yet. Not that the 'most awkward start' trophy was out of the running - the earth filly made up for being their host by immediately leaning in close and whispering about how attractive she found Cheerilee. What was this mare thinking? Flirting with a stranger, in front of all her students?! Still, Cheerilee wasn't going to cause any sort of scene, not in front of the class, so she just went with polite but obviously awkward smile. She sat back as Apple Bumpkin explained things to the class, still feeling confused about the flattery the strange mare was heaping on her, her cheeks feeling a bit warm at the forwardness. The class responded with a battery of questions, answered mainly by a second mare who had come up behind Apple Bumpkin.

Finally, Cheerilee got a word in edgewise - she could have spoken over the class, but there was no harm in a little enthusiasm, especially if it gave her time to find her balance again. "I don't know if any of the class has any experience in handling baby chickens. Perhaps that can be one of the lessons of the day, here, if you don't mind terribly?" Teaching responsibility and pet care should probably go alright with adult supervision, and an interactive field trip was far better than a simple tour. Judging from the other pony's visual cues, and wanting to set an example, Cheeilee sat down and carefully took the baby chick to place in her own mane.

Happily, Sweetie Belle was immediately on top of that suggestion, a rapid series of questions coming from the little filly. "I think that would be great, Sweetie, but only if it's all right with Miss Bumpkin." She turned to the class, smiling brightly, with the chick still on her head, "wouldn't that be fun? It'll help with the paper too!" She turned to the light yellow earth pony who'd come up with Apple Bumpkin. "And if it would be all right with you, as well, Miss ... ?" She left the question hanging, encouraging her to introduce herself.

- I know a few others are joining in but having posted yet, but I figure it couldn't hurt to help get the ball rolling by replying now.

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Apple Bumpkin followed Cheerilee's gaze over to her sister.

"Oh this'n here is Caramel Apple! She is mah elder sister and she owns the farm basically while the parents are away." She grinned massively as she turned back to Cheerilee.

"Sorry if 'Ah startled you with my complements, its not often that mares close to mah age come around these'n here parts." She pouted a bit and then knelt down to let the chick jump onto Sweetie Belle's head.

" 'Ah wouldn't mind teach'n ya'll how to handle chicks! Its real easy like, ya just got to be careful since they are not as hearty as full grown chickens." She looked as the chick seemed to dance about on top of Sweetie's head. There was other chickens clucking in the background as the walked about in search of the grain that Apple Bumpkin had left for them. The all gathered around and looked on to Apple Bumpkin who felt their stare in the back of her head and knew that she had forgotten something. "After 'Ah teach ya'll how to handle chicks would ya'll like to learn how to feed them?" She nervously grinned as she knew that she had forgotten to feed them this morning. She looked as the chick settled into Sweetie Belle's mane with a happy face on.

"See Sweetie 'Ah think that she likes ya a lot! Most ponies she runs from, but its just do to the fact she is skittish of new ponies." She grinned even larger then before and looked about to the other ponies hoping that she could answer some more questions before they would begin their lessons. She saw two ponies conversing already and she shot them a gaze that said I'm watching you, so behave but it still had a polite feel to it. She noted that a few ponies seemed bored already but knew not how to speed up the lesson so she quickly walked over and whistled almost silently in front of the chickens summoning a flock of small yellow chicks who promptly jumped onto Apple Bumpkin's back and huddled close. She brought them over and with a nod she spoke.

"Take it easy with them and be gentle, 'Ah'm sure ya'll can handle yerselfs properly!" She then whistled almost silently again and the chicks got off her back some landing not so graciously and they swarmed around Bumpkin attempting to stay in the shadow that she cast.

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Haywire was BORED, BORED BORED BORED! Since she already lived on a farm, all of this wasn't all that new to her. But instead of being disruptive and loud as she has been in the past in school, the rust colored filly decided to be silent, look around and THEN get into some mischief. She didn't want to be rude to Cheerilee or the class' host, so she wore a toothy grin on the outside, but was BORED TO DEATH on the inside. When no one was looking, Haywire made her move. Quickly producing a slingshot, the blonde troublemaker took aim at a low hanging bee hive with a rock. Instead, the pebble struck the tree and bounced off, whizzing high above her gathered classmates until it struck some nondescipt animal hiding in the bushes. The animal gave out a yelp that Haywire pretended not to hear.

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Remington got a quick response, not from the sweet tang of Apple Bumpkin, but instead from a more sturdy pony, of hte same relation it seemed, who had a much more rigid style of lecture. No accent either, which was a little let down to Remington. He had hoped that everypony in this area talked like Bumpkin. "Oh." Remington, feeling a little let down about the absence of cows also was notified by one of his classmates that there were also no sheep in this farm, unlike the vastness of a farm apparently she was from.

Remington saw the yellow filly. He didn't know who she was, and he certainly didn't understand what she was saying, being from Cloudsdale. If Remington wasn't such an easy-going colt, he might have found it strange that she already seemed to know his shorter version of his name, something some of his friends called him. "Oh, are you an apple pony too? Are you related to them?" Remington was a little confused. It was like one of foals in this group was a student teacher. Remington couldn't help but think that she might be a know-it-all type pony, or a teacher's pet. He was sure which. He did not, however, keep him from being polite. "That stinks, cuz I really like sheep. They help me dream every night. I even have a favorite sheep that i find in my dreams that I named Seventeen."

Remington, having noticed that Snails was talking about him, walked over to him and Snips. "Oh hay guys. What? Am I bored? No not really, I think this place is exciting, don't you? I mean, just imagine if we get to churn some of the apple butter." Remington flapped his wings in excitement, but then sat into a relaxed position and yawned.

He did not fall asleep, however. He maintained his excited spirit, the expression could be seen on his face, as his body battled away tiredness for the sake of learning and having fun. Unfortunately though, the tired moments of his yawn and the conversation with Snips and Snails completely cut him off from what was going on in the attentive side of the class. Remington wasn't really paying much attention to what was going on between the adult ponies.

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

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Sweetie Belle's face grew awed as the little chick hopped onto her head, her eyes rolling up as if she could see right into her mane where the little yellow fluffball was nestled into the thick pink-and-purple curls. She breathed slowly, scared of distrubing the chick, or hurting it, or making it fall off.

"Oh, yes," she whispered. "I'd *love* to feed the chicks!" Her voice was quiet, but urgent, sharing her excitement at this task, but hopefully without distrubing the sweet lil' baby bird. "You really think I can?" Her little hooves fell one after the other in a slow pattern as she tried to follow after Apple Bumpkin ... this was like Rarity's deportment lessons, where she had to carry a book around on her head! But so much more important!

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Timid, still taking notes, felt something whiz past his head and ricochet off a tree. This was followed by the yelp of an animal who was probably hit by whatever it was that went by him. Turning around, he noticed a red filly that he had met before during a visit to the Nimbusgait Lakes. Trotting over, he asked, "Are you Haywire? I believe we have met before, during a little excursion to the Everfree? At least I think we did..." Returning his attention to the teacher, he still had one ear cocked, listening for a reply while following Sweetie Belle and Apple Bumpkin, with a huge smile on his face.

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Snails gave a playful rear-up as he successfully got Remington's attention.

It had been a bummer that all of Snips' cool stuff had been confiscated untill the end of the field trip but hanging out with new friends would help.

He blinked as Remington suggested churning apple butter. He got a silly grin as his mind wandered off without him again "I like Apple butter...yummm!"

Suddenly a rock zinged off a tree nearby and buzzed over his head into the bushes, and causing something to yelp.

Looking around, he saw Haywire hide a slingshot "Ah think Haywire is bored again, eh?"

Snails suddenly noticed Apple Bumpkin with a flick of chicks on her back and Sweetie Belle with one in her mane "Hay look! Dey may not be bugs, but chicks are so funnnn."

He looked at Snips and Remington. "Howabout we handle a chick and feed em, then tell Apple bumpkin about somethin yelpin over there, or should we find out what yelped sos we can tell her what it was?"

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Jupiter Nexus

Jupiter smiled when he saw the small chick emerge from the curly hair of the white and lavender filly, and shuffled his way to the front of the group next to her. He had never seen a creature as small as the chick before. It looked at him, and gave him a quizzical "Tweet!"

He turned to the filly beside him, who was walking along as carefully as possible to keep from disturbing the chick. "Do you think it has brothers and sisters? I hope they like me as much as this one likes you!" he said, trying his best to imitate the smooth, graceful cantor of the filly without much success. He stumbled on the bumpy dirt road leading to the chicken pen, and gave up trying to be graceful.

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((OOC Note - If you have a foal and haven't joined yet, you are of course still welcome to, we will play it as they just didn't say anything until now))

Cheerilee smiled as she was introduced to Caramel - she hadn't been told that someone else would be giving a tour, but it wasn't unexpected with so tightly knit a family as the Apples. "Well! It's just *lovely* to meet you, Miss Caramel! The students will be delighted to hear what you have to share about your experience with the farm, I'm sure! And with you helping, perhaps we can break the foals out into several smaller groups, and each of us take one group for lessons!" Cheerilee was delighted that things had turned out to make it easier for the foals to get a positive and educational experience from this trip!

Cheerilee's smile became a little more awkward when she looked towards Apple Bumpkin. She still wasn’t quite sure what to make of the young mare’s overly affectionate approach, but she didn't want to assume anything - ponies might act differently out here. Why, when she'd visited Itaily on a summer break, once, the ponies there were kissing her on both cheeks as a greeting! "Well, thank you for welcoming us with open forelegs, Miss Bumpkin; I really hope everypony in the class will bring home something valuable from this trip!" Cheerilee turned around enthusiastically; it was time for the tour to kick into gear. “Listen closely everypony, Miss Caramel here is going to give us a brief explanation about the farm, and we're all going to give her our full attention! If you're quiet and listen carefully, then when we're done with that, Miss Bumpkin will show us how to handle and feed some of her baby chickens! Won't that be fun?" She gave a great big beaming smile; everything was going great so far, even if it began with a little awkwardness.

- POSTING CYCLE RULES: You may post once 4 other characters have posted.

- Please do not post more than once a day, and try to post once every few days to allow others a chance to write in.

- Please remind users kindly to reply promptly if they need to, and let them in on any story developments you would like them to know about. We have the PM group and the OOC thread for planning.

- If you have more than one character, please post both of them at the same time in the same post.

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Caramel was never one to fully disgorge the secrets of the family, but at the same time she so rarely was asked about her role in the vast collection of Apple Family assets that stretched from one end of Equestria to the other. An almost giddy smiled escaped from her as she considered Cheerilee's set-up.

"Well, Miss Cheerilee, it can be boiled down rather simply. You could call Sweet Apple Acres the soul of the operation, Buffalo Run the heart, and Tiny Apple Valley..." She said as she trotted with Cheerilee next to the foals, who were having a wonderful time inspecting and annoying the chicks.

"We're the brain." She blurted out simply before stopping to add the pieces together. A moment later, she nodded and continued her trot.

"Yes, ours is the brain. As for how it all works together, its all pretty simple. Keep track of how many apples are sold and the demand across Equestria, then you have an idea on how many apples should be sent here and there. Farms produce apples and demand is sated locally before excess produce is sent to the nexus of the transportation network, which is here in Fillydelphia. We then organize convoys and merchants to take them to areas without a direct Apple family farm. The produce is sent in order of highest demand areas to the lowest demand. Anything left is then sent back to the origin farms.

Bit wise, we try to keep it so that a single farm's produce is kept together and goes to the same area. Makes it easier to organize the finances. Bits made across Equestria are sent to Tiny Apple Valley. We then look at the finances of the other farms and use the nation-wide profits to shore up any weaknesses at any of the farms, then split the remainder fifty-fifty. Home farms get half, the rest is put into the family's general treasury. This is obviously just a little simplified because it could take a while to explain in depth. It keeps one occupied, I suppose, and I get a certain amount of pride giving Equestria what she wants, but it is very time consuming. This field trip, for example, pushes back several paperwork deliveries of mine. I'll be up to the wee hours of the morning compensating, but that's the nature of the beast," She rambled on, her voice piercing enough to be heard by the schoolchildren who likely would have been too enthralled by the deliriously cute chicks unless she spoke in such a way. She had seen them every day; she had grown immune to their charms.

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Apple Bloom looked on , her little filly heart barely able to handle the sheer adorableness of the chicks. She had seen more than her fair share on the farm but she knew that each and every one of them was unique in their own way and wasn't prone to grouping them together with like personalities. Some were shy and other excitable, some smart and then others not so smart and through it all she believed that the only difference between ponies and chicks was that ponies could build stuff and talked in a manner she could understand. Though she had started to understand a few of them if only in her own imagination.

She followed the classmates that went to go deal with the chicks, too far away from the front to eagerly participate, eying over several ponies in front of her. She dangled her hoof in the air to get Bumpkins' attention.

"Hey cuz, dontcha have names for all these chicks? Ah know ah do back at Sweet Apple Acres!" She blathered with tremendous excitement, nearly straddling the pony in front of her in an effort to see over them to the chicks.

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Haywire smiled as Timid spoke to her.

"Yep! I'm Haywire! Good to see ya agin, Timid!"

Then Snails walked over and had a plan to 'help' her with the animal she had struck with a rock by accident.

"Snails! Yur a genius!" the happy rust colored filly whispered before giving the lacky colt a quick kiss on the cheek. "Let's do this! Snails, you lead on!"

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AppleBumpkin2withtextattmept2.png

With a large grin and a nod to Cheerilee she looked about at the tidal wave of yellow chicks that seemed to pour out from under her and they began to bound about all the foals with their chirps of happiness and excitement as the full grown chickens glared at her from inside the pen.

"Sadly Apple Bloom, we don have time ta name them all. There is too many of 'em to actually sit down and name then t'all until they get older." She looked about for the one chick in particular who stuck out to her this chick had a white and a brown feather already and she was surprised that it couldn't be found among all the other chicks. "The one in Sweetie's mane is called Sleepy, she is often sleeping in ta middle of ta walk way so we call her Sleepy." Apple Bumpkin giggled a bit as she started to trot towards the pen to quickly feed the Chickens before taking the feed bag and bringing it back over to the swarm of chicks that all turned towards her in unison and fell silent as they just stared at her with unblinking eyes.

"Now what have 'Ah told ya chicks bout tryin to scare ponies?" She gave them a strange looking face and they all started to back up from her which caused her to giggle. She set down the bag of feed and opened the top and put in a small serving cup.

"Ta feed the chicks is easy." She began to say with her mouth full of the serving cups handle. "Ya just dip ta servin cup in ta feed and then hold it down for the chicks to eat out of it. Or ya can just take a bit out and make a pile fer them ta eat. They like either way." She moved back a bit and put the serving cup back into the feed bag and nodded her head to Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom, it seemed like they were the most eager to feed the chicks that were bounding all about but she opened the offer for any of the foals. "Don't be shy now, just pick up ta fee cup or take out some from the bag fer yerself." She began to smile again having a wonderful time already. She turned her attention over to her sister and Cheerilee wondering what they were talking about since she couldn't really hear them over the chirping of the chicks and rambunctious noises of the foals being excited. She twisted her smile a bit to show her sister that something was strange as she noticed Haywire and Snails looking at a bush in a strange way. I hope that in the end that this doesn't end up a disaster.

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Timid smiled as Haywire remembered him and replied, "It's good to see you again Haywire. I can't wait to see the rest of the farm!". He was enamored by the chicks as they swarmed out of Apple Bumpkins shadow at the sight of the bag of chicken feed. "AWWW!! That is so cute!", he exclaimed as he grinned and bounced a few times, at least, until he felt somepony straddling him to get a better look at the chicks. Startled by this intrusion of his personal space, Timid gave a cry of shocked surprise and bolted right through the bag of chick feed. His coat covered in the stuff and the chicks giving chase, he cried, "I'm sorry Miss Cheerilee! This is turning into Winter Wrap Up all over again!".

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"Oh hay guys. What? Am I bored? No not really, I think this place is exciting, don't you? I mean, just imagine if we get to churn some of the apple butter."

Snips looked at the other colt, feeling a bit confused. He said he was excited, and he did sound excited, but he looked like he was fallin' asleep. Maybe his talent had something to do with sleeping?? Anyway...

The grey colt looked up at Remington and admitted, "Well, yeah, apple butter is pretty good..." Then he muttered under his breath "But we could have gotten that back home..."

Snips looked around and noticed that several of his classmates were all looking after little baby chickens. Well, ok, the chicks were cute and all, but he didn't see the big deal about feeding them... that's when he caught a flicker of motion out of the corner of his eye. He looked just in time to see the ricocheting rock, and the sling it had been fired from. How had Haywire gotten that past Miss Cheerilee?? He'd have to ask her that later, but Haywire seemed to be somepony who was just as bored as he was.

Snails had noticed Haywire's shot too, and the pair moved slowly in her direction. Haywire was talking to some skinny yellow colt as he and Snails moved toward her.

"Howabout we handle a chick and feed em, then tell Apple bumpkin about somethin yelpin over there, or should we find out what yelped so's we can tell her what it was?"

"Snails! Yur a genius! Let's do this! Snails, you lead on!"

An excuse to get away from the rest of the group? Snips was all for this. He'd also noted the kiss that Haywire had given his friend and decided to hold onto that for teasing material later...

The group moved up to the front of the class where the farm pony was explaining how to feed the little birds. With a quick flicker of magic, Snips grabbed one of the cups of feed, but then grabbed it in his mouth. He was practicing his levitation, he really was! But sometimes it was just easier to hold things by mouth.

He started scattering the feed on the ground, when the skinny colt from before sudden bolted, and ran headlong into the feed bag. This looked like the perfect opportunity to get out of here, but this was Snails' plan. He waited for his taller friend to make the first move.

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(First Zecora Post whoo!)

Zecora had been traveling around to get some other ingredients for her brews, her travels had led her to Fillydelphia and led her to the farm, though along the way she had come across a small colt that had gotten separated from the group, said colt was currently sitting on her back due to having gotten tired from the walk with those tiny legs of his! It was really adorable and made Zecora happy to carry the little mint-maned thing on her back like so.

She soon spotted the teacher and the other chaperons of the band of foals and waved a banded hoof "Why hello There Dear Cherillee! I hope you do not mind! But it seems like a small foal accidentally got left behind" She called out in her usual way of making all her words blend together. She trotted over to let the little foal hop down and join the group.

"He is safe, and so small, I hope me joining you wont be a problem at all?" She was more than looking foreward to spending some time with so many small foals.

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The small white foal hopped off Zecora's back and flushed a little bit having fallen behind from the group "Hey every pony!" He didn't really see anyone that he recognized so it was a group of strangers, "Thank you for the ride Mrs Zecora!" He added grinning at her before hopping off to join the other group, He was a big fan of farms!

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When Haywire suddenly kissed him, Snails turned as red as the filly from horn to tail. "Aww geee I uhhhh..."

He sneaked a look at Snips, who had a look that meant he would be teased for sure later.

Numbly, he listened to Apple Bumpkin tell about how to feed the chicks and levitated a cup to his muzzle as well.

Whatever got hit by the riccochet would probably want a bribe in being dealt with, right?

Just then, that shy foal, Timid spooked at somepony getting on his back and promptly got covered in chick feed.

All the chicks stampeded past them chasing the feed on the foal who was running around the place. He nudged Snips and Haywire, whispering "All right, Lets find out what's in there! Ah'm sure Apple Bumpkin will want ta know what it was, eh?"

The blush covering Snails had lightened, but was still there as he snuck off toward the bush...

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