twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Spike was looking pretty haggard when he got back from the train station this afternoon. The fireworks had a late start and he probably pushed himself a little too hard to keep going for the entire event. He disappeared into his room and I only saw him again for a brief period this evening. We'll tidy up the hay pantry first thing tomorrow morning. I have the brooms, mops and dust bins all lined up and we'll use the same initial bale stacking plan I used last year. It will be a breeze!
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Spike is off on Fireworks Duty in the Crystal Empire overnight. I've been out watching the play of light streaming down from the Crystal Empire. The crystal ponies are content and so am I. I've made arrangements with Applejack to cart my first cut hay to the castle in a few days and I will have Starlight Glimmer's help to hoist it. When Spike gets back, we'll give the hay pantry one last cleaning, just in time to store the fresh hay there. It's already pretty clean, Spike has been diligent and I tend to stack the unused hay racks in a corner when I go there.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Cloudsdale sent sheets of rain to Ponyville today, a downpour to make up for the dry spell we'd had for the harvest. Now that the clouds have cleared, everything looks so clean and fresh. I hadn't noticed the dust before the rain washed it away, but the dry soil had started to blow around and the short grass in the pastures wasn't holding it back. I gathered my books near the door to the balcony where I could hear the waves of rain wash across the stones and smell the mist and spray. Starlight Glimmer retired to the silence and isolation of the library.

Starlight Glimmer told me something odd today. She told me that Maud had mentioned that with the right rock you could rule all of Equestria. Maud may have been jesting, it's hard to say with her, but then she may have been serious. I've seen a few magic-channeling rocks here in Equestria, such as the one that used to be in the heart of the Changeling Hive, so "the right rock", for the right kind of magic, is not far fetched. What dangers would such a rock entail? If I got that desperate, would I dare look for this rock? Could it be tuned to the Magic of Friendship? If Maud knows this, there could already be ponies out looking for such a stone.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Ponies have been hard at work all day carting bales of hay out of the pastures and either sending them to the lofts or straight to market. The ground is getting dry and Cloudsdale should be dowsing us with showers tomorrow. Meanwhile the pastures are still. The stiff stems of the trimmed timothy grass have yellowed and the ground is crisscrossed here and there where the hay wagons have passed, and trampled where the summer Sun Celebrants pronked and paraded. After Celestia lowered the sun to rest and the long summer's day gave way to a warm summer's night, the fireflies awoke and filled the fields with lights.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The party lasted until well past dawn. The field ponies were the first to break away from the galloping herd and trot home for a few hours of rest before heading back out to loft some more of Ponyville's finest bales. After breakfast at Town Hall, I helped clear the tables. Everypony is pretty tired, so we'll do a proper clean up tomorrow. The market and the entire town will have been very quiet all day. Most shops will be closed and the clouds sculpted into giant effigies of the Royal Princess Sisters are still there in the sky over the Western Pasture. From my vantage point of my high balcony, they seem to be looking down on the churned up ground and a few dropped streamers and lanterns where the town's ponies had frolicked and stamped in approval of the lowering moon and rising sun. I brought my lantern home and I've hung it in the library by last year's lantern. They're bookending the doorway. Maybe I could ask Rarity to make me a Summer Sun Celebration tapestry to hang in the entrance hall. I think that would be appropriate for a Friendship Castle.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The all night Summer Sun Celebration party is in full swing at Town Hall. I'm taking a breather from all the ponies line-stomping to the loud music. A few yaks have decided to join us this year and they seem to like Pinkie's balloon avalanche and stomping in time to the music. I'll go back soon for some more of Pinkie's punch and then the pre-dawn lantern procession, it's the highlight of the Summer Sun Celebration now here in Ponyville. Maybe there are some of those crispy peppermint hay cookies left. On my way home I stopped for a while to watch Fluttershy coax a whole bunch of fireflies to follow her from the pastures to Town Hall for the procession. It's amazing how she connects with so many critters.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Ponyville's Summer Sun Celebration event is just days away and Pinkie has dozens of ponies hard at work making fresh paper lanterns and poles to replace a few that were lost or broken last year. I'm helping Pinkie keep on top of organizing all her helping hooves. Rarity has been at Town Hall all day putting up the decorations. She also had a look at the Summer Sun streamers she'd made and she said that the streamers are still looking good. So she just went and refreshed the spells that make the cloth float in the breeze. She added more glitter too, so the streamers will sparkle like fireflies gone mad when the morning sun hits them. Fluttershy has been having rehearsals with her dawn chorus birds. She's also going to recruit her fleet of fireflies for the event, but not until tomorrow night. Insects have short memories. Meanwhile, Mayor Mare can't wait for the party to start. I think the Summer Sun Celebration party and lantern procession has become her favorite event of the year. She even went and checked my check list on the preparations!

The ponies working the pastures have finished mowing. Some have already started to put the baled hay into their lofts. In two days, all the first cut hay will either be baled or in silage, just in time for everypony to enjoy the party.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The swaths are drying nicely. The fields that were the first to get mowed are now the first fields to be raked and baled. By evening the field below my balcony had been transformed into an abstract tableau of subtle parallel lines punctuated with rectangular dots. As the sun set, the bales cast long shadows. It was very pretty.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The fields are dotted with hay alicorns left by ponies under the cover of the night. Probably young ponies, some things never change, a little harmless midnight mischief builds friendships for ponies young and old. I can see a few hay forts on some of the higher hills and a few hay race tracks. I'm probably going to find reports in tomorrow's paper about grumbling farmers grinding their teeth over having to spend extra time tedding those forts and hay clumps so the hay can dry properly.

It was not a good day to go to the market to buy fresh dandelions and oat sprouts. With every able hoofed farm pony out in the pastures mowing and threshing, there were precious few stalls open with fresh food to sell. Naturally, everypony in Ponyville felt the urge to stock up and panic buying was stripping the market of everything. I took one look at the throngs, turned heel and went home. My larder is not bare and I should be finishing off last year's hay instead of pining for what's curing in the sun in the fields.

Patterns

Jun. 16th, 2017 11:40 pm
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
As soon as the dew was off the grass this morning, ponies have been pulling their clattering sickle bar mowers through the timothy fields all around Ponyville, carving out steadily diminishing rectangles in the sea of green and enveloping the castle in the aroma of fresh cut grass. From the commanding view of my balcony, the slow crawl of the harvesters is hypnotic. The heady, delicious smell that wafts up in the warm air has had me salivating all day. I can't wait for the hay to cure and get baled. Further away, I can see a field dotted with rolls of hay fermenting in starch polymer bags. It's pretty, but it doesn't have the allure of drying hay.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The timothy grass swaying gently in the breeze all around Ponyville is tall and ready to be harvested. Naturally, Pinkie invited us all to her annual 'Surprise Hay Harvest Make Way For The New Harvest Feast And Party Party' at Sugarcube Corner. Starlight Glimmer was there with the six of us, Spike and way too much to eat. By now the temporary role switch between Princess Celestia and Princess Luna was all over the local papers, including the Foal Free Press, and since Starlight Glimmer had been there in the thick of it, all my friends plied her with questions. Starlight was still tired from all the stress of solving the royal Friendship problem and I admit that I was nodding off as well. I haven't had much sleep lately and stuffing myself silly with all the dishes Pinkie and the Cakes cooked up didn't help. We had to leave early, and Applejack too. She's going to be up early harvesting the first cut tomorrow.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I was having trouble sleeping last night so I checked in a few times to see if Starlight Glimmer was up too. OK, maybe more than a few times, but all I could see was that Starlight was thrashing about a bit and muttering in her sleep. I couldn't make out what she was saying. I must have nodded off because suddenly it was sunrise and by the time I cast the music box spell again I had just missed her. She was no longer in bed but I caught a glimpse of her walking out onto the balcony and I could hear her talking with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. The Friendship problem had been solved! Her "gut feeling" plan to make the princesses experience each others duties for a day had worked! I grabbed a toothbrush and teleported straight over so Starlight Glimmer could tell me all about it in person.

She told me that Princess Luna had had a rough day in Princess Celestia's hoofboots and that it had been very tiring following her all day. Starlight said that she had become so exhausted that she wasn't able to accompany Princess Celestia like she had planned, so Princess Celestia went alone as she assumed Princess Luna's role of Princess Of The Night. But the stress of hoping that her strategy would work gave Starlight one tartarus tier of a nightmare, a nightmare that involved both princesses and their evil counterparts fighting it out until Princess Celestia succeeded in vaporizing both evil alicorns. And then she woke up to find the Royal Sisters reconciled.

We celebrated by having breakfast at Joe's Doughnut Shop and browsing in a few bookshops before catching the train back to Ponyville. Starlight Glimmer also bought some lavender blooms for her room. She said Princess Luna recommends them for lending ponies a restful sleep, and after that nightmare she had had, a lavender bouquet sounded like a good idea.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Starlight Glimmer switched the cutie marks on the Royal Pony Sisters!! I can't believe she would do such a thing, on our monarchs! Responsible for all of Equestria, day and night! She's nuts! The Map is nuts! I'm going nuts! I've been casting and recasting the music box spell but she's been moving all day and I couldn't get a fix until nightfall. Now she's back in her room but she's fast asleep and I don't know what's happening! I have a stack of back issues of Poplar Mechanics, Equine and Saddlebagger magazines to leaf through to distract me, but I think I've left bite marks on a lot of them.

Breathe

Jun. 12th, 2017 11:55 pm
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I spoke to Starlight Glimmer again this evening after she had spent time with the princesses and had looked around just in case this wasn't the conflict she had been sent to resolve. Unfortunately, Starlight still thinks that there is some kind of resentment between the Royal Pony Sisters. She thought that she could see the tension during breakfast, which is one of the few times a day that Princess Luna and Princess Celestia cross paths. So, Starlight made arrangements to join Princess Luna for a while on her night shift to gather more data. What she found makes her think that she's on the right track. She thinks that each princess is feeling unappreciated by the other and that that is fostering resentment in both of them. So, what to do about it? Starlight plans on confronting both princesses with her view in the morning! I can tell you I'm shocked. Meanwhile, I'm still stabled here in this rock tree-castle and I can only champ at the bit and wait. I've been doing a lot of breathing exercises. I'd go visit Zecora or something but I've casting the music box spell all day in hopes that Starlight will walk in and give me some good news.

So, ha ha, read any good books lately?
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The map table activated this afternoon, shortly after Spike got back from the Crystal Empire. He was passing by the throne room on his way to get a late lunch and he saw the table transform into a topographic map of Equestria. He ran to get me and I got there just after Starlight Glimmer. It was her cutie mark that was circling a spot on the map, and that spot was Canterlot. I can still hardly believe it, The map called a pony who doesn't have a throne in the castle and sent them to Canterlot. What's even more unnerving is that the Friendship Problem is probably between the two royal princesses. That's like the worse case scenario. While the three of us were staring at the map I tried to believe it was something else, two cooks disagreeing on a recipe, or the royal hairdressers arguing over combs, but now Starlight has told me she thinks there is something eating at the friendship between the two princesses. She went to see them when she got to Canterlot this evening, seeing that she was on a Friendship task and sent there by the map itself, all of which is very unusual and worth telling the princesses. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna claimed that everything was fine in the royal household but Starlight Glimmer thinks they may be in denial. I found out all this because I cast a spell that I'd learned not long ago from Transformations and Transportations, The Magic Of Being Two Places At Once. It allows you to appear as a wind-up music box figure halfway across Equestria where you can talk to anypony in the room. It's like Moondancer's Haycartes spell variant, only better. The Princesses have provided a room for Starlight while she's in Canterlot looking for and solving the Map quest. Starlight has decided she's going start tomorrow morning by accompanying the princesses during their routines, she wants to see if there is any merit to her gut feeling that something is not right in the royal sisters' friendship.

I'm nearly walleyed with worry. What if she's right? What if Princess Luna has a new nervous breakdown, so soon after returning from one thousand years of exile? That could be disastrous! The Tree sent Starlight Glimmer to solve this?? Maybe the table has still not recovered from the time Starlight Glimmer used it as a catalyst for a modified Starswirl time travel spell. What's next, the Map summons the Cutie Mark Crusaders? Or Zecora? Or even Trixie? I'd ask Starlight Glimmer more questions but she's gone to sleep. How can anypony sleep in a time like this?
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I attended the Ponyville Hayboard meeting today and the conclusion we came to was that demand for our hay has dropped off and we may have to reduce production or risk creating a hay glut. When the yaks of Yakyakistan started buying from us it artificially inflated demand for our hay. Everypony wanted some of what was suddenly perceived as a rare commodity, which in turn made our hay sell so fast that it did become a rare commodity. Now we hear that our buyers have more hay than they can eat, and that's going to drive prices down. Thus, the big question was, do we let some of the new fields lay fallow this year, or do we harvest the grass and use it to build hay lofts? In the end, we chose to leave most of the new pastures unharvested. This pleased our wildlife representative, Amethyst Star. A fallow field is different from a harvested field in which critters flourish there. Ergo, an old field ecosystem will boost Ponyville's biodiversity.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Earlier today Cloudsdale sent us a sprinkle. After that cleared I went out to stretch my legs and get in a little grazing. Of course the belly-deep grass was wet and I got soaked everywhere except along my back, but I don't care, I wanted to feel wild, free and rebellious. Nopony was watching so I got away with it! Now I've brewed a pot of Zecora's chocolate peppermint spice tea and I'm going to read a few articles in the latest issue of the Journal of Cultural Equinology and Magic, before Starlight borrows it. Then I'm going out to watch the Crystal Heart lights drift overhead until the wee hours. The Crystal Ponies, they get me.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I thought I might grab a few books and a few dandelion and bedstraw sandwiches and spend the afternoon on a blanket in the western pasture. But the grass has grown so high that I felt like I was caught in a well every time I settled down. It's almost time for the first cut, so the stems are tall and thick. Good for hay, good for ponies, not so good for having a view during a picnic. So I went back to my balcony. The balcony is closer to my library and to my kitchen and we have oat peppermint swirl ice cream in the ice box.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Rainbow Dash is off Wonderbolting, Rarity is either up to her eyeballs in designs or trotting the fashion districts of Manehatten and Canterlot, Fluttershy is very busy with her spring orphans, Pinkie always has shop duty or a party on the go, and Sweet Apple Acres keeps Applejack busy. I went down to Sweet Apple Acres to see Applejack in action this morning. I found her out in the corn field, weeding. I helped her lug a few baskets full of weeds over to the compost heap and we stopped for a mid morning snack in the kitchen. First cut harvest is to happen very soon and she's looking forward to getting those fresh bales to market.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
There's this stall in the market that sells these amazing little bundles of spiced spring grass. It's fresh picked, tender bunches of grass, artfully tied and spiced. Some bunches are spiced with peppermint, others with cinnamon, or vanilla, chocolate, salt and pepper, licorice, lemon, alfalfa, dandelions... dozens of flavors and variations. They're so delicious, I could eat them all day... except they're very expensive. I only bought a few.
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