November 23: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

November 23, 2017

In the US, November 23 is a day of feasting. Not the date, but the fourth Thursday of November. Thanksgiving we call it, and it centers on a roast turkey.

Legend has it, Benjamin Franklin favored the turkey as America’s symbol. Some people find the thought silly because they find turkeys silly. I spent my formative years between three ranches — two cattle ranches and a turkey ranch. That might sound silly, too: A turkey ranch. When you realize turkeys once roamed before “free-range” became a designer label at the grocery store, then ranch fits.

Paullus Turkey Ranch in California

Instead, the US chose a bully of regal raptors, the American bald eagle. As a national bird, would the turkey have led us to be more thoughtful in our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness? Perhaps. But it would have been weird to eat the national bird once a year for a decidedly American holiday.

Feasting might not be unique, but the foodstuff set upon a Thanksgiving table originated in the “New World.” Potatoes, yams, cranberries, pumpkins and turkey. To this we add the flavors of our immigrant roots. Does my love of butter and bacon reveal Irish DNA? Does the essence of tarragon waft all the way back to 1840s France? Does smoked Spanish paprika reflect the influence of my native California?

This year we revived several vegan recipes. Runner, Rock Climber, and Radio Geek are all gathering  in the Keweenaw. Radio Geek’s husband, Solar Man, is taking the other two back to Wisconsin and Minneapolis (to fly back to Montana before returning to Svalbard, Norway) so he’ll get a second feast with his family in the Twin Cities. With so much food on the menu, we’ve focused on health as much as feast — less white, more greens. We’ve been talking about eating more fruits and vegetables.

The World Health Organization promotes healthier eating with a 5 a Day (fruits and veggies) campaign in many nations across the globe. It sounds simple, but one aspect of food injustice (at least in the US) is that junk food and filling carbs cost significantly less than fresh fruits and vegetables. Expense is a secondary concern to health, and often it prevents consistent choices.

Returning to grow-our-own is an answer. Urban gardening, community gardens, container gardening, gleaning (of fruit trees in neighbors and on city streets), Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), food cooperatives, cheese artisans, family ranches and farmers markets all serve a sector called community food systems. The people involved in these systems seek to overcome the barriers  to 5 a Day through improved access at a local level.

At one time, community food was my beat.

The Keweenaw Co-op is within a few blocks of my daughter and son-in-law’s house. It’s tiny compared to the large cooperative grocer I once worked for as marketing manager. It’s even smaller than the ones I used to audit or assist in developing marketing plans. Size doesn’t matter. It’s the impact. It’s about bringing fresh regional food to people at a fair price. From farmer to diner, it’s meant to be a sustainable system.

Ten years ago, my co-op hired a meat manager who was an old-time butcher with skills nearly forgotten. It might seem as silly as a brass turkey on a flagpole, but butchering skills are disappearing in the US. With the spread of big-box retail like Wal-Mart, meat processing in the US is completed at the factory. “Butchers” in grocery stores receive shipments of boxed product machine cut (or ground), packaged and frozen.

My friend, the Butcher, knew all about carving whole hanging beef. I did too (remember, ranches?). Our store wanted to work with small family producers to grow beef, pork and poultry according to our clean standards (no fed or injections of antibiotics or hormones, and animals must have access to sunshine, fresh air and be grass-fed). We had the market, and the Butcher had the connections.

One of the small family farms we worked with was Ferndale. They knew turkeys and had raised them for three generations with open access (free-range). They worked with our standards, and for many years they became the signature turkey of my co-op. They were one of six stories a year my marketing team produced in video, magazine, photography and social media. My strategy was to express the brand with the stories about the faces and places behind the food we sold

You can go to Ferndale’s website and see remnants of this work. The top right photo is one I took years ago while sitting in a pasture surrounded by white and red turkeys all giving me the curious one-eyed look. That moment feels like yesterday. You can see the soft glow of a setting sun that cast a glow on red glottals. For me, it’s a bit of a legacy. Not the stories left behind in video, print and photography. But the knowing that I was part of the stories.

So, imagine my delight when I discovered the Keweenaw Co-op planned to special order Ferndale turkeys for Thanksgiving! I’ve moved on from writing about food and sadly, my friend the Butcher died several years ago. The Peterson’s operation looks strong for the fourth generation. And I am serving my family something more than the 5 a Day. Yes, healthy veggies, but also the continuing experience of our Thanksgiving stories.

And for a special treat — if you like recipes — I’m sharing a few recipes from our feasting table. These are ones that include fruits and vegetables, and can be enjoyed across the globe, not just at Thanksgiving time.

Savory Apple Cider

1 gallon local cider
½ C. frozen blueberries
Peel from 1 lemon
10 whole allspice
20 whole peppercorns
5 whole cloves
¼ tsp. cardamom seeds
½ vanilla bean, halved
½ tsp. cinnamon

Pour cider into a stockpot. Add lemon peel as long strips (not zest). Add frozen blueberries and spices. Heat on stovetop, but do not bring to a boil. Simmer and allow the aroma to infuse the kitchen. Serve after 30 minutes. Keep warm in a crockpot, or store in fridge and reheat later.

Roasted Root Veggies

3 large red beets, peeled and chunked into bites
3 large golden beets, peeled and chunked into bites
2 medium turnips, peeled and chunked into bites
2 large parsnips, peeled and chunked into bites
1 large rutabaga, peeled and chunked into bites
8 large shallots, peeled and halved
12 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
¼ C. olive oil
2 Tbsp. tarragon
Applewood smoked salt to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste

Combine vegetables, herbs and olive oil in a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Turn out vegetables onto two cooking sheets. Roast vegetables 30 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 375°F. Reverse baking sheets (top rack to bottom rack) and continue to roast until all vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes longer. Transfer to platter and serve.

Boozy Cranberry Sauce

1-12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
1 C. sugar
2 1?4 tsp. zest of a blood orange
1?4 tsp. cardamom seeds, lightly crushed
1 vanilla bean

½ C. Scotch (adjust to taste; booze does not boil off, so add to turkey sandwiches responsibly)

Combine cranberries, sugar and zest in an over casserole. Split vanilla bean in half and scrape into cranberry mixture and add bean. Bake uncovered in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove to stir, return to oven and bake another 30 minutes. Pull from over and stir in the Scotch. Transfer sauce to a medium bowl and cool. Cover and refrigerate. Can be made one week ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, near or far. We need a day to break bread, gather around the table and tell stories.

November 23, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Five a Day. It does not have to be five servings of fruits and vegetables. What is needed five times a day? Have fun with what pops to mind for the prompt.

Respond by November 28, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published November 29). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


A Better Five a Day by Charli Mills

Five a day, Mama says. Doesn’t she know how awful they taste? Crunchy raw spindles and squishy flavorless lumps. Good for you, Dad crows. Honestly, I prefer the mash the neighboring farmer drops by our house. Mama says it’s not organic.

My skinny legs chase after tastier treats. Beyond the place where parents coop my culinary dreams I have a secret spot to dream. Beyond our scratch existence meanders a brook with a magical bush. That’s where I found the round globes sweeter than any clover.

Blueberries! I’m in chicken heaven! Better than five insects or worms any day.

You May Also Like…


  1. denmaniacs4

    A Writers Creed

    “You’ve got a stick up your butt about this, right?”

    “I don’t know how you do it.”

    “It’s quite easy once you get the hang of it.”

    “I’m sure it’s easy. But I’m more interested in why you bother?”

    “Wilde once said, ‘Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of art.’ So, I lie at least five times a day.”

    “For art?”

    “For my art, yes. Fiction’s about assembling a selection of lies. Most writing has elements of falsehood.”

    “I’ll never be able to trust a word you say.”

    “Then my work here is done.”

    • Frank Hubeny

      Nice ending in those last two sentences.

    • Liz H

      Whoever said “the truth shall set you free” may’ve been a bit off the mark!

    • Charli Mills

      Brilliant, Bill! I once had a book in my personal library called, “Telling Lies for Fun and Profit.” I hadn’t thought too deeply about how much lying we fictioneers do, and yet it is our art.

    • Norah

      Love it!

    • anuragbakhshi

      Ha ha ha. What a refreshingly wicked take.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Liz H

      The price we pay, indeed. Perhaps we can question what it is we really need. Astute!

      • Ritu

        True indeed!

    • Norah

      The thought that we in Australia might ever suffer Vit D deficiency was once scoffed at by someone who should have known better. Now it’s a fact that many suffer the deficiency due to sunscreen use and indoor lifestyles. I know what you mean about rattling with pills. Well done.

      • Ritu

        Thank you Norah! When I was diagnosed a couple of years ago, I wasn’t surprised… the UK doesn’t exactly come high in the sunshine stakes!

    • Charli Mills

      Vitamin D is an important one and can often take people by surprise, but considering how lifestyles have changed, it’s become needed. I like to go outside when it’s sunny to get my dose!

      • Ritu

        I do get outside with my class daily as we have outdoor play regularly, but most of the time, there is very little sun!!!! So that little golden pill is definitely needed!

    • Liz H

      Diversity in Delight, for all the basic love groups!

    • Norah

      Ah! A lovely diet! 🙂

      • pensitivity101

        Literally! Thanks Norah.

    • Charli Mills

      We always need a variety of our daily five, right? I enjoyed where you took this prompt!

      • pensitivity101

        Thanks Charli.

    • Norah

      Five great pieces of advice!

    • Charli Mills

      Five bites of sage advice. 😉

  2. Juliet Nubel

    Hi Charli,
    My brain went on a little walk with this one. On a path I didn’t know was there…


    Heather pulled the pink woollen hat over Emily’s curls.

    “What do you need to do at school today?”


    Emily knew their routine by heart. “Smile. Laugh. Enjoy… I can never say the fourth one.”


    “Yeah, that. And play.”


    Heather prayed hard that her daughter would taste these five ingredients every day of her life, both now and later.

    The yellow bus arrived and Emily skipped aboard, grinning at the driver. She turned to wave.

    “Sleep well, my petal-face.”

    “You too, Mummy. You must try hard too.”

    Heather smiled. It was a start. A very good start.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      That was a lovely walkabout. May we all s.l.e.e.p. well.

      • Juliet Nubel

        Thank you! Yes, let’s s.l.e.e.p. every day

      • julespaige

        I wanted to let you know that I had two service people come to my home in the last two days… I had some ‘issues’ that were not their fault – so I tried to put them at ease with laughter, but I left them with your concept of S.L.E.E.P. – I wrote it in a little notebook that will hopefully help me remember good things. I often leave books I’ve finished reading in odd places and I think – with your permission I would like to leave bookmarks in them with your S.L.E.E.P guide. How would you like me to credit you? Full name, initials?

    • julespaige

      I like that very much. I think it should be a banner in every classroom in every school. Maybe even near the mirror that we wash up at every morning.

      • Juliet Nubel

        Thanks Jules. I’m all for that banner!

      • julespaige

        You should create it and sell it! 🙂

      • Norah

        I agree, Jules. It’s wonderful!

      • Juliet Nubel

        Hi Jules, I didn’t see your message above because I don’t think it was a direct reply to me but to D. Avery, perhaps? So I’m sorry for not replying before. I’m very happy indeed (and flattered) for you to leave SLEEP bookmarks. You can use my whole name if you like. Thanks for thinking of this fab idea. I’m touched! 🙂

      • julespaige

        Juliet – I just stuck it in last night…
        I myself use a nom-de-plume for most of my writing – so I just wanted to check.
        I think I will then also pass SLEEP on to my DIL who is also a teacher. And maybe even stick some ‘SLEEP’ into the books I gift my grandchildren with. 😉
        I do hope you work on those banners 🙂 Maybe get in touch with an education company. Good Luck with that. 🙂

      • Juliet Nubel

        Hi again Jules. I’ll have to think about that banner idea. Not really sure where to start, however. The SLEEP idea was just something that came into my overactive brain after Charli’s prompt.

      • julespaige

        I’m with you on the overactive brain part and no where to go… But maybe you can figure it out? In the mean time make up a few book marks and stick them in library books 😉

    • Liz H

      To S.L.E.E.P. perchance to dream
      Of a kinder, gentler world.

      • Juliet Nubel

        Yes! Thanks for your comment, Liz.

    • Norah

      Juliet, I just love this. Did you create the SLEEP acronym yourself? It’s very clever and totally apt. I’m rapt!

      • Juliet Nubel

        Hi Norah. Yes I did. I love trying to find words to fit letters and vice versa. I’m glad you liked it. Thank you for commenting 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, I love it when my brain goes on a walk of discovery! That’s a good. And what a beautiful discovery, a sweet tale of a mother’s love. We could all use SLEEP daily!

    • Norah

      I agree! Time to celebrate!

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch Parinitha! I enjoyed the playfulness in your dreaded five a day.

  3. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Brrr. 20 degrees and windy in the spot where I get the neighbor’s wifi. I’ll read and comment later. My ten digits are cold.

    Glory Be

    Three is a mystical number, and seven, for sure, but five, the mean of the two, five can be trouble. It doesn’t have to be, but it can be.
    Those five fingers, are they clenched into one fist? If so, trouble; something might be struck, nothing can be held. Be mindful of what those five fingers grasp, more mindful of what they let go of. Stretch those five fingers skyward, press against the other hand, doubled power, decadal symmetry, two hands pressed in prayer.
    Count on one hand the blessings you have reaped. Use both hands to sow more.

    • Frank Hubeny

      The last three sentences are especially nice.

    • Liz H

      Nice…Truer words were never written!

    • julespaige

      Enchanting may not be the correct word.
      But it also reminded me of the sentence to not point your finger… since it has a nail on the end of it…

      Also to think before speaking, using our two ears to listen twice as hard before using our one mouth to speak.

    • Norah

      A nice piece of philosophical wisdom poetical shared. Pondering …

    • Kate

      Wonderful response!

    • Charli Mills

      You are 7 degrees colder than the Keweenaw! You need to find an indoor source for your wifi. At least it hasn’t numbed your brain. Brilliant intro with focus on numbers leading to wise and powerful formulations involving the hands. Nice!

    • Liz H

      Ah sibling rivalry!

      • Reena Saxena

        I am sure they will remember and laugh later in life. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Your flash captures one of those moments where as a parent, you do a double-take. Fun!

      • Reena Saxena

        Thanks 🙂

  4. Judy E Martin

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Charli. It sounds like you have certainly incorporated your five a day in those delicious recipes. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Judy! We ate well. Now I think I’m over having five servings of turkey a day, though! 😀

      • Judy E Martin

        HA! Christmas is not that far away where you can have yet more turkey! 🙂

  5. Frank Hubeny


    Bernard set an alarm on his phone to ring five times a day with the message “Smile”. This annoyed some around him which helped him smile.

    When Bernard’s lips froze into a crescent moon pointing up that was when he annoyed the maximum number of people and puzzled the rest.

    Eventually his brain got the memo. His heart relaxed. Even people he annoyed stopped being annoyed. Bernard’s pleasure in annoying them waned like that moon on his mouth since what’s the point? When they heard the beep, they’d smile and say, “Smile, Bernard, you idiot!” He no longer minded.

    • robbiesinspiration

      A great take on the prompt, Frank.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Recently heard that research shows smiling and laughing are good for your health, and even a fake smile helps.Fake it till you make it. I am just reading here now, see that you and the Kid went in a similar direction.

      • Frank Hubeny

        I read a book by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman last summer called “How God changes your brain” (2009) which is where I read something similar about smiling–even yawning–if I remember it correctly. That was a motivation for this story. I think you are right that faking a smile is better than not smiling at all.

      • Charli Mills

        I’ll have to look up that book! Sounds interesting. I’m on a Brene Brown binge at the moment. She just came out with Into the Wilderness, and that reminded me I had wanted to read Rising Strong, which made me want to reread her book on Vulnerability.

    • Liz H

      Practice makes perfect…thank God they’ve got an APP for that!

    • julespaige

      Any humor helps. And my family love sarcasm.
      Brought a smile to my face 🙂

    • Norah

      Smile wrinkles and laugh lines indicate a happy life. And they have an app for that? 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Your character is transformed from the practice, which I think is a lot like writing flash. We flash smiles until the brain gets it, and we write flash until the brain recognizes creative mode. I like how others respond, too in the story. Great one, Frank!

    • Norah

      Words – food for the mind and soul. Five a day? But I want more! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Robbie! And I’m the opposite — for all my cooking and creativity on the stovetop, I’m not much of a baker. 🙂

  6. Kerry E.B. Black

    Written by Kerry E.B. Black

    The compassion of enfolding another within loving arm can heal wounds unseen. Thus our days begin with a hug, and God willing they end the same way. After a hard day at school, I greet my children with a cup of warmed cider and open arms. As they traverse the pitfalls of homework, I use cuddles as encouragement. After dinner, when they clean their plates and complete their chores, I give them a big embrace of gratitude. Soon they’ll be too grown to understand their value, so while I have them within arm’s reaching, I’ll share with them hugs.

    • Liz H

      Lucky family!
      Please be my Mom.

      • Kerry E.B. Black

        Come on over. There is always room for another!

    • Norah

      Love it! I’m sure your children do too!

    • Kate

      I love giving and receiving hugs. In our house whenever my Hubby or the boys ask me to do something I tell them it will cost them. They all know the price is a hug and sometimes two.

    • Charli Mills

      Hugs are two-way gifts! I was big on hugging my children, too. Now that they are grown, they are all still good huggers. Five a day, any day!

  7. Pete

    It was a manic compulsion that drove Barry Bingham to lick the five fingers of his right hand every morning. The urge struck first at dawn, when he gripped the worn door handle at the gas station where he got his morning coffee. Turning the sports page in the breakroom, Barry’s fingers were just begging for a dip. And again at lunch, when Barry finished off the cheese puffs and eyed his furry fingers. By afternoon Barry was slurping away again, flushing the toilet, checking his hair, and hustling back to work.

    Barry took a lot of sick days.

    • Liz H

      Ew. Bet his coworkers were feeling a little sick, themselves. Lol!

      • Pete

        Ha, looking at this post again, I blame turkey, naps, and three days away from the computer for this strange post…oh, and this is the last time I take my four year old’s suggestions for a prompt!

      • Liz H

        Thank your 4-year-old. Brilliant!

    • Norah

      I bet he did!

    • anuragbakhshi

      Ha ha ha. Imagine being Barry’s colleague or customer, and him insisting on shaking your hand constantly. Ewww.

    • Charli Mills

      Characters need great compulsions and this definitely gives Barry a memorable quirk! I’m laughing that you took advice from your 4-year-old! He’s brilliant and you should retain him for adding quirks to other characters. But suddenly, I have the urge to go wash my hands…

  8. Norah

    Hi Charli, I hope you and your family had a wonderful time in each other’s company over your Thanksgiving holiday. What a treat to have all you brood home to share this special celebration. Is that what inspired your “chicken” flash? It’s very clever with your choice of words – so many good ones there. Interesting the similarity between the chicken’s attitude to food and our own.
    I found your recipes interesting, too. Thanks for sharing them. I especially like the sound of the roast root vegetables, though your recipe sent me checking for what the vegies are. I’ve not heard beetroot referred to as red beets before, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a golden beet. Rutabaga is another interesting one. They look very similar to turnips to me, or possibly swedes. I’m not fond of that variety of root vegies because of their bitter taste. (Or was that just how my Mum cooked them?) Parsnips are nicer roasted than I recall them being in my youth, with all the goodness boiled out of them. Shallots is a tricky one. We seem to use the term differently down here, and what we call shallots, hub (from N. Ireland) calls scallions. So your recipe has been as much an education for me as a feast for you. I hope you enjoyed your feast as much as I enjoyed my education. Actually – more – more than I enjoyed my education! 🙂
    Oh, and I didn’t know that the turkey was native to North America. How fascinating, and how wonderful to have a Ferndale turkey to assist your celebrations!

    • Norah

      Hi Charli, it was a bit circuitous but I got there in the end, in the company of Mr Potato Head.
      This challenge was wonderful food for thought. Thank you.

      • Charli Mills

        Mr. Potato Head! That’s brilliant!

      • Norah

        Thanks, Charli. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Norah! I was surprised that turkeys would be the common food among us. I, too, went searching for food after your comments. This led me to discover that rutabagas are indeed Swedish turnips! They are popular here in the Upper Peninsula. Beetroot, now that’s an interesting term! I grew both golden and red beets in my garden. Just those two roasted make a pretty dish. I’ve heard of scallions but they make me think of green onions. This is fun. We could probably banter back and forth about food terms. This year I also baked purple yams. Their skins were so gorgeous and the flesh creamy. We enjoyed our feast, and that turkey was so delicious. I even made 6 jars of bone broth and a big pot of soup! But enough turkey for now!

  9. julespaige

    I’m pretty sure I posted here, but it’s disappeared…
    (maybe I put it in the wrong space?)
    so one more time :
    Who’s Counting?

    Who’s Counting?

    Trying to get five fruits and veg in a day, Claire added to her
    salad. Dates, avocado, dried apricots, to the already blended
    greens of spinach and young spring greens mix. Cucumber,
    tomato, onion, celery and colorful peppers got chopped up
    too. Add some tuna and peanuts and you got a whole meal.

    Or did one portion of that mix equal just one serving? There
    had to be a way to lose the extra five pounds from Thanks-
    giving. Half of a large grapefruit was waiting to be a mid-day
    snack – as well as those cute little peelable oranges.


    • Norah

      We feast and then in famine. That’s just how it goes. 🙂

    • Kate

      I find I get cravings for colourful lunches like the one you described above. Instead of tuna, I go for grilled salmon… it’s all still yummy. Great take on the prompt.

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, sounds like Word Press added calories by eating your flash, Jules. It didn’t show up in spam. Not sure how a spam salad would taste! Your flash salad and citrus fruit have me thinking of a snack, now.

      • julespaige

        Depends on how well one likes pork… Spam with a capital ‘S’ 🙂
        Spam kind of like scrapple or grits, an acquired

  10. Annecdotist

    Happy Thanksgiving, Charli! I respect anyone who grows their own food, although I don’t eat meat myself. Before the popularisation of five a day for fruit and vegetables, I followed the vegetarian version of the big five food categories: grains, pulses, dairy (no good for vegans), fruit and veg. My 99-word story isn’t about food, however, but a tribute to my latest review – and to the discipline of the 99-word story itself!

    Five a day, no more no less

    Angels of Nigeria? Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo

    • Norah

      Good one, Anne.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Anne! We had a good holiday and plenty of food with lots of vegetables and wild rice. I made a vegan pumpkin mouse with an almond flour crust and coconut “cream” and I also had plenty of Cool Whip for the pumpkin pies. Cool Whip is not a food, in fact, I think it’s made of grocery bags or milk cartons. It’s fake cream, but it’s vegan! I have too much of the buckaroo DNA to go meatless, though I buy meats conscientiously, like the Ferndale turkey. I enjoyed your clever title and precise characters, sticking to the quota count regardless of temptation.

  11. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    “Why ya grimacin’ Kid?”
    “I’m smilin’. They say smilin’ can change yer mindset. But I tell ya, Pal, I’m strugglin’ with Shorty’s 5 a day prompt.”
    “So keep smilin’. Five times a day.”
    “Hmm. Five laughs a day would be good an’ good for ya.”
    “Seriously! Contagious giggles, love those, almost as much as a real good belly laugh.”
    “Gotta be in the right company fer those. How ‘bout laughin’ aloud at yerself fer doin’ somethin’ stupid, or even fer doin’ somethin’ right?”
    “Yeah. I also like the ‘Ha!’ of revelation and recognition.”
    “Five laughs a day then. Ha!”

    • Norah

      Five laughs a day is the minimum required! Thanks for adding to mine. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        There are actually certified belly laugh yoga instructors!
        maybe we should bring one to the Ranch. But we all do well with the Ha! of revelation in the flash department. Fun new Ranch Yarn, D.!

  12. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Charli Mills, I too often neglect to comment on your fine flashes, probably because of their location way up there tucked under the prompt and the post. While I was delighted with your flash this week, I must express my worry for you, having chickens as characters. What is genre is that, anyway, Chick Lit?

    • Liz H

      Chick Lit…Ha! Will have to chew on that a bit.
      Blueberries, fresh off the bush and still warm from the sun. Thanks for bringing back some good summer memories, Charli!

    • Norah

      You, the queen of chicken philosophy, comment on someone else’s use of chicken characters! I’ll have to cross the road and have a think about that. Ha! Chick lit indeed.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for the belly laugh — Chick Lit! Yup, that’s Chick Lit under the sub genre of Ranch.

    • Liz H

      Oof! Rat-catching is a tough life…

      • anuragbakhshi

        As my favorite TV characters Phineas and Ferb would say, ‘Yes, yes it is!’ Thank you so much Liz.

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch! Your character got his quota, five is five!

    • julespaige

      That second list sounds like what I do! 🙂

    • Norah


    • Charli Mills

      I like the tenderness of remembering Grandma through her lists. Nice flash, Susan!

  13. Liz H

    To help us say “Good morning, God!” Rather than “Good God, it’s morning!”

    Morning Blessings

    Wake up. Open your eyes. Or not.

    Stretch from the tip of your chilly nose, through the arms and shoulders, down your back, deep into the gluteus max, into the length of your calves and out through the end of each toe.

    Snuggle deeper under the covers and melt into the mattress. Breathe. Through your nose.

    Deeply inhale morning blessings, those present just before the day’s demands flood in, the ones just an eyeblink away, if only we remember. Exhale all bad dreams, all anxieties.

    Repeat this breath four times more. Rise, and refresh as needed throughout the day.

    • Juliet Nubel

      Lovely way to start the day!

    • Norah

      I like it!

      • Liz H

        I’m glad! Thank you!

    • Charli Mills

      I love it, Liz! I recently went on a retreat and the counselor who led it talked about creating “ritual” in our lives. This is a beautiful waking ritual.

    • Norah

      Sad but true.

    • Charli Mills

      That’s a mighty fine five a day, Jack! I wonder if popular protein shakes are the equivalent?

      • jackschuyler

        Haha! I hope they don’t put steak in protein shakes

  14. Kate

    I’m off to an appointment but I didn’t want to miss this week’s challenge. I’ll return later and add a link to my site with the actual post that goes with the story and a title.
    Marcy took a deep breath. She was about to launch her presentation to the Scrooge of all clients at the ad agency.

    “Mr. Wroth, Christmas is about rekindling hope and joy—”

    “Nonsense. It’s just a day in the calendar. I’m tired of campaigns where our cookies light up children’s faces with Christmas woodo. We’re done here.”

    “That’s not what I’m proposing.”

    “Humph. Go on then.”

    “I’m suggesting people buy your amazing cookies and share five of them a day with others to take their blues away.”

    “Christmas prosaic. I like it!”

    Marcy couldn’t help but roll her eyes.

    • Kate

      I’m back. Charli, unfortunately life took over here and hence I missed the rodeo. I’ve been reading the winners and can’t believe the creativity and awesomeness displayed by all the contestants for each prompt. Kudos to the organizers and participants! And a happy Thanksgiving and start of the Season of Joy.

      I can’t help but be drawn in by the infectious holiday spirit that sparkles around every corner of Victoria right now. It is my favorite time of the year so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I chose a Christmas theme to my little story. I made a minor adjustment to the original one posted above. Here’s the link to the post and the story.

      Here’s the story:

      Marcy took a deep breath. She was about to launch her presentation to the Scrooge of all clients at the ad agency.

      “Mr. Wroth, Christmas is about rekindling hope and joy—”

      “Nonsense. It’s just a day in the calendar. I’m tired of campaigns where our cookies light up children’s faces with Christmas voodoo. Got something else?”

      “I do.”

      “Humph. Go on then.”

      “I’m suggesting people buy your amazing cookies and when they share five of them a day with others it will take their blues away.”

      “Christmas Prozac. I like it!”

      Marcy couldn’t help but roll her eyes.

      • Charli Mills

        Christmas voodoo! A modern-day Scrooge indeed, but Marcy was able to get through. I’m glad you are enjoying the results of the Rodeo. It was certainly a whirlwind of fun. Enjoy your Season of Joy! I’m looking forward to what will light up the Keweenaw.

  15. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

    I’m afraid I’m sitting out this ride. May have flu…maybe an RA flare. Either way, I’m just wiped. Looking forward to the reads!

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, no! Neither is good. I don’t usually say, hope it’s the flu, but an RA flare can be devastating. I have a cousin with RA. Rest up, Lisa!

    • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

      Deborah, if I weren’t sitting this one out, I’d be right here at the last minute with you!

    • Charli Mills

      The last shall be first… You saddled up and wrote, which is all that matters!

  16. Sherri Matthews

    I know where I want to be next Thanksgiving! What great recipes. I’ve never heard of scotch used in a cranberry sauce, but we do one here with Vodka believe it or not! Boozy which way you call it! I had dreams once of working a vegetable garden. I loved teaching the kids to grow them in CA with their own little patch. One year we had three huge pumpkins, which were magical to me never having seen them before. Loved your flash…I can taste the joy from those sweet purple globes now 🙂 So sorry I missed this one Charli…next week, SJ will be back <3

  17. Charli Mills

    Thanks for your contribution to five a day!

  18. Liz H

    A day perfectly spent!

  19. Charli Mills

    Welcome to the Ranch, Graeme! We now have a Serial Quiller on the loose here! 🙂

  20. Charli Mills

    Fun flash, Joelle!

  21. Charli Mills

    That was a fun one, Judy!

  22. Liz H

    The docs don’t always know best, do they?

  23. Charli Mills

    Thank, Geoff! A tasty response!

  24. Liz H

    Gives a whole ‘nother angle on ‘baby food’! 😮

  25. Charli Mills

    Great pacing and an unexpected twist on five a day!

  26. Charli Mills

    Oh, Liz…! 😀

  27. Liz H

    (hee hee hee!)


  1. Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – The Bag Lady - […] […]
  2. Flash Fiction Challenge – Five A Day #CarrotRanch #FlashFiction @Charli_Mills | But I Smile Anyway... - […] taking a chance on one of Charli’s 99-word prompts over at The Carrot […]
  3. Flash Fiction Challenge – Five A Daay #CarrotRanch #FlashFiction @Charli_Mills | Graeme Sandford - […] taking Ritu’s lead and an Abba song to take a chance on me trying one of Charli’s 99-word prompts…
  4. November 23: Flash Fiction Challenge – Five a Day | Morpethroad - […] Written for: […]
  5. 99 word prompt : 5 a day | Two on a Rant - […] If you want to participate, here’s the link: […]
  6. Keep Counting – Reena Saxena - […] Flash Fiction Challenge at Carrot Ranch […]
  7. November 23rd Flash Fiction Challenge - Five A Day - Judy E Martin - […] is time for another foray into the world of Flash Fiction. This week, Charli from the Carrot Ranch has…
  8. November 23: Flash Fiction Challenge - Judy E Martin - […] via November 23: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  9. Five a Day: 99 Word Flash Fiction | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) - […] response to Charli’s prompt where she […]
  10. (f) CR/ Who’s Counting? (11.25) | Jules in Flashy Fiction - […] November 23: Flash Fiction Challenge November 23, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about…
  11. Five a Day – Carrot Ranch Literary Community Flash Fiction Challenge | jagahdilmein - […] Narrator’s Note: This ultra-short story is in response to the Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s Flash Fiction Challenge. You can…
  12. Five Chores a Day – Susan Sleggs - […] November 23: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  13. Food Inflation: When Five is the New Two:carrotranch | TanGental - […] This story is in response to the prompt from the Carrot Ranch […]
  14. Morning Blessings | From the Valley of the Trolls - […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (11/23/2017): In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Five a Day. It…
  15. Five A Day #flashfiction – Hugh's Views & News - […] as part of the 99-word Flash Fiction challenge with the theme of Five a Day, hosted by Charli Mills…
  16. Mr Potato Head | Norah Colvin - […] This week, Charli challenged writers to in 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Five a…
  17. Christmas Joy in Giving and Receiving – Eloquently Kate - […] Mills’ November 23, 2017 Flash Fiction Challenge was to write a story in 99 words (no more, no less)…
  18. Five a Day (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) – 99 Monkeys - […] installment from The Life and Times of Jane Doe is in response to Charli’s flash fiction promptflash fiction prompt for…

Discover more from Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading