Apple Strudel – Carrot Ranch

I gave my brother peeled apple slices. He placed them one-by-one on the strudel dough that we older ones helped stretch across a cloth on our dinner table. He put some in his mouth. Then came the raisins to scatter on the dough. When it was finished I held him so he could watch our mother lift the cloth underneath the strudel, roll it into a long, thick pastry that fit on a cookie sheet and place it in the oven.

We made many strudels for Christmas and everyone helped.

I’ve never had a dessert that tasted so good.

Linked to Carrot Ranch where Charli Mills offers the theme of family traditions.

Also linked to Crystal Grimes’ Holiday Blogging Party.

Skokie Lagoons

Avocado Toast – Carrot Ranch Story

For years Bill enjoyed beer, pizza and ice-cream. When diagnosed with an autoimmune disease he changed his diet.

Someone told him to stop drinking beer. He stopped. Someone suggested avocado toast. What’s that?  He was told it’s obvious what that is. So he tried it. Someone said to stop eating pizza. Is that because of the wheat? Yes. There goes the toast.

Bill’s weight sank to normal and he felt better. He noticed he was spending less on food than before. Thankfully no one told him to stop eating avocados, but then he no longer asked them for advice.

Linked to the Carrot Ranch November 12 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of “avocado toast”.

A very short story of mine, “Friday the 13th”, appeared in Whispers and Echoes. I am grateful to the editor Sammi Cox for accepting it.

Wide Lake Michigan

Lost Time – Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction

Thinking back Bill wished he did things differently years ago. Not that he would have had any basis to change given what he knew then, but he wished he knew then what he knew now.

His son Clifford was screaming obscenities at him. He saw himself through his father’s eyes and cringed. He realized he deserved the scorn, but for reasons Clifford wouldn’t acknowledge.

Bill regretted all this lost time.  How could he make things right now?  He considered praying and cringed again. Was it a miracle, he wondered, when embarrassed he bent his knees, cringed and finally understood?

Linked to Carrot Ranch November 5 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of “lost time” for these stories of 99 words.

Red Autumn Trail

Water and Rescue

When Lydia was playing in a shallow pool about four inches deep she stumbled and fell face down into the water. The problem is she did not stand up.  She kept her face submerged in the water.  She was very young.

Her father was watching her and saw what happened.  He got up out of his chair, stepped into the water and lifted her. He and his wife wiped off the water.  Lydia smiled.  That was enough water play for today.

It wasn’t a dangerous rescue.  Some rescues are routine, but imagine the consequences if they had not happened.

Linked to Carrot Ranch October 30 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of “life savers on any body of water”.

A short story of mine, “Unexpected Call”, appeared in Whispers and Echoes. I am grateful to Sammi Cox for accepting it.

All that blue at the horizon is Lake Michigan

Spooky Swamp

This woods is gorgeous, but it has a peculiar swamp.  

Those who’ve found it became wealthy from unethical dealings.  Envious of their wealth others found it.  They became wealthy, too, but at similar costs. If the swamp knew you might pay, it would appear to you.

Decades later their bodies putrefied.  Neighbors heard the screams. They prayed for a miracle that the curse of putrefaction be removed.  

A traveling preacher advised them, “Accept Jesus, repent and turn from your immorality.” They hissed back, “We’ll repent to any stupid God you like, but that money, our money, belongs to us.”

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s October 22 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the challenge of a spooky tale told around a campfire.

Autumn Trail


While raking leaves Bill thought back to the farm his parents had with asparagus, pickles, pumpkins, corn, hay and soybeans.  The chores back then were not so bad. He hoed corn from the beans and stacked baled hay.  There was the busy time of  harvesting, but harvesting had to be done.

The worst were those chickens. He’d reach his hand under a sitting hen to gather eggs only to have it pecked.  Sometimes he’d shoo them off the nest.  Sometimes they wouldn’t go.  

He wouldn’t want some hen doing that to him, but he had to get those eggs.

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s October 15 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of chores.

Whispers and Echoes published one of my very, very short stories, “Lecture”. I wrote it for the Tiny Terrors theme and I am grateful to Sammi Cox for selecting it.

Among other challenges this month, Ronovan Writes announced an annual spooky 13 challenge today and the Carrot Ranch Rodeo is going on.

Trail Through Autumn Trees

Kid Gloves

“You see how those trees hug the shore. They didn’t wear kid gloves to do that. They grabbed on with everything they had. You’re going to have to deal with Bernard the same way.”

“How many times do I have to tell him to stop drinking? He’s like a misshapen piece of fired pottery that can no longer change.”

“Those trees look unchangeably misshapen to me as well. The problem is not every tree that grabbed the shore was able to hold on long enough for strong roots to develop. 

“If Bernard doesn’t change he’ll fall off the shore.”

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s October 8 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the them of “kid gloves” for these 99-word stories.

More Tree Roots

Dusty Trail

The horse stopped.  Bill saw the rattlesnake ahead of him. It was coiled ready to spring. Bill and the snake stared at each other waiting to see who would make the first move. 

Bill had no fear of snakes.  Indeed some people thought he was one himself especially with the crafty way he dealt with people.

The snake began acting strange.  It uncurled itself.  Instead of leaving in the brush it twisted itself into a circle and put its tail in its mouth.

That was all Bill needed to see. He pulled out his revolver and fired.

“Stupid snake.”

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s October 1 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of dusty trail for these 99-word stories.

Near Cripple Creek

Snacking on Jezebel – Carrot Ranch

“How would you distinguish Baal from Yahweh?”

“Yahweh gets things done.  After the prophet poured oil on Jehu, proclaiming him king, he ran off.  Jehu’s officers thought the prophet was an idiot until they heard the announcement: Yahweh anointed Jehu to drain the swamp.  Jehu killed Jehoram and Ahaziah. At Jehu’s command eunuchs threw Jezebel from her window.  While Jehu and his men got refreshments, dogs snacked on Jezebel.”  

“That’s a gruesome story.”

“Jehu killed Ahab’s entire family and anyone he could get his hands on associated with Baal.”

“I see. Beware when Yahweh has His fill of you.”

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s September 24 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of snacking. You can read more about Jehu in 2 Kings chapters 9 and 10 where it is told in more detail and better than I have.

This is Yom Kippur. Although unrelated to the story, after listening to Jonathan Cahn’s Yom Kippur Broadcast, I put the finishing touches on the story:

Jonathan Cahn Yom Kippur Broadcast
Prairie with Mist in the Field

Mice, or Rather the Mouse

“There isn’t much we mice can do.”

“Let alone one mouse”.  

“What has a lion ever done for us? He’s probably trapped for a good reason.”

And so they tried to discourage Tamar from helping the lion escape from the ropes binding him.

“If you’re going to help him, don’t lecture him about his diet.”

“He might eat you.”

“Or smash you.”

Tamar recognized him. He’s the one who let her go. A quiet voice told her to gnaw the rope and then get out of the way.

So she did and when she did the other mice helped.

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s September 17th Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of mice. This is a retelling of Aesop’s Fable of the Lion and the Mouse.

Morning Praise
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