Farm Family Collection

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.

March 9, 2022

Welcome to Carrot Ranch Literary Community where creative writers from around the world and across genres gather to write 99-word stories. A collection of prompted 99-word stories reads like literary anthropology. Diverse perspectives become part of a collaboration.

We welcome encouraging comments. You can follow writers who link their blogs or social media.

Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.

How To Farm A Blog by Hugh W. Roberts

“Have you tried farming out your blog posts instead of cluster-publishing them?” asked the blogging genie.

“Farming them out?”

“Yes, another word for scheduling. Instead of publishing too many blog posts and overwhelming your readers, farm them out by scheduling them over a more extended period. Your readers won’t feel swamped.”

“I like that idea.”

“And don’t forget to farm out the posts you want to reblog. Instead of reblogging them the same day the original post is published, allow them to grow and farm them out a week later. After all, farming and blogging are all about growth.”


Ohm Farm: An Obituary by Geoff Le Pard

Iodine Roentgen, owner of Little Tittweaking’s nature-free farm died yesterday after accidentally ingesting an isotope. His name will remain synonymous with his herds of self-replicating beef carcasses and of self-supporting udders producing a base lactate that only require minerals, fibre and flavouring to be fit for human consumption; and his crops that, through the constant application of chemicals, pesticides and a total no fly zone for all pollinators produce grains of uniform size, appropriate colouration and an unfortunate lack of nutrition. He will be buried in lead to prevent any further radioactive contamination. No flowers please.


Behold the Longleaf Pine by Miss Judy

In the Carolina hills the longleaf pine grows on a woodland farm. Standing tall, strong and straight, its gangly limbs hang with long needles and pineapple-size pinecones.
Ideal for electrical poles, farmers have a more sustainable business from the trees, needles. Year after year “brown gold” is sold at roadside stands, garden stores and to landscapers. It’s natural regeneration.

Trees shed the needles creating a pine straw carpet on the woodland floor. Farm workers harvest the straw using racks and blowers, fluff to eliminate debris and pinecones, then feed into a baling machine which presses and wraps for selling.


The Farm by Bill Engleson

“Planting time’s close,” father says.
Mother nods, asks, “can we afford…?”
Father, sipping tea, agrees, “Yes, think we can. Room and board’s a lifesaver.”
I listen from outside. We have a two-room house. We live in one room. The teacher, Miss Baxter, lives in the other. She’s our second teacher. Miss Malone was our first. She was sweet. Too sweet. The mayor’s son courted her. Now she’s Mrs. Walford.
Or will be come November.
Miss Baxter came in August.
She’s nineteen.
Not pretty but she laughs.
This is what we grow.
And teachers.


Farm Family by Mitch (Finlandia University)

I’ve never lived on a farm, in my life.

I’ve helped with chores, before, but those were always fleeting, and were new experiences, not hard work.

Perhaps I wish I could have tried, though.

Not now, of course, but I do wish the experience was a less foreign one to me from once upon a time. Working with animals is something I do enjoy, particularly, and it sounds pleasant to be so near to so many different kinds of creatures.

At the edge of my familial connections, I have farm-working relatives. Maybe I should give them a call?


Farm Life by L.B. (Finlandia University)

Cleo and Asher have been farming for years, if you define farming as growing and harvesting something. It started as a window sill garden in a cramped New York City apartment. An ever-growing fondness of growing herbs and making their own spices turned into lots of grow lights, shelves, and DIY’s. Until a large inheritance hit Asher’s bank account, and he convinced Cleo that they should buy a house with a little land to continue their gardening hobby. She said yes, one thing led to another, and now Cl-Ash Home Spice’s is on store shelves everywhere.


Farm Chores by Sue Spitulnik

The topic of the day at the No Thanks was the farm accident that took the life of Old Ted, a well-liked regular.

“What’s his wife gonna do?”

“There’s a couple hired hands.”

Mac listened to more comments then said, “You fellas could help out. Anybody can feed chickens, clean stalls, and mow the grass.”

The three young vets looked at each other. Scott answered. “Why not? Better than sittin’ here.”

Mac kept his smile to himself, remembering the reality of farm chores. “I’ll take you out tomorrow and introduce you.”

“You think we’ll need boots?” Scott asked, clueless.


One Chapter by Ann Edall-Robson

Seeds in the ground, hay fields turn green. Looking skyward, watching for what Mother Nature deems she will bestow. Will there be too much rain or not enough? Calves are born, and like the postman, they show up in every kind of weather, at no set time. First time heifers need help, seasoned cows birth without a hitch. Crops of grain, hay, and calves. Commodities are a livelihood, dependent on so much, and the price at sale time. Every day, the farmer and rancher work. Days off are few and far between. Just one chapter that feeds the country.


A Vegetarian Was Born by Annette Rochelle Aben

A real farm… Peg could hardly believe her luck. She was going to visit a farm as the guest of her aunt and uncle. As an inner-city gal, this was a dream day trip.

There were animals everywhere. Chickens ran free. Cows were being milked. Pigs oinked hello!

Nothing was as enchanting as the lambs. Soft, tufted wool on their backs that gave off a lotion-like grease when petted.

The dinner bell rang, she joined the farmhands at the big table. She nearly fainted when she saw the ham, fried chicken, roast beef, and lamb stew on her plate!


A Special Friend by Gloria McBreen

I was chosen to go
My brothers could stay
A girl needed a friend they said
A girl like me who cannot see
I didn’t like the plan they had
I wanted to stay with mam and dad
We met in a field
I wanted to hide
She made the first move and stood by my side
Her arms embraced me
I was glad she was small
She wasn’t like the others at all
I have no name I wanted to say
My new special friend could read my mind
‘You’re Blindy the calf and my name is May.’


Lavender Farm (Lynn Valley Stories) by Saifun Hassam

Maggie’s dream of owning a horticultural farm became a reality ten years ago when she inherited a parcel of farmland from her grandfather. A cottage and a rambling barn stood on the land. She continued to work as a bank manager and then leaped into farming.

Lavender Farm was unique. Initially, Maggie grew lavender, selling fresh and dried lavender. Now she grew lilacs, iris, eggplants, and purple plants became her signature. A botanist and a retired farmer brought valuable experience.

She and Hannah (Spuds Restaurant) hit it off as entrepreneurs and friends when they met at the Farmers Market.


A Slowly Collapsing Barn by Gary A. Wilson

Sam Melnick (3rd) traces his roots to 1904 when his five-times great grandfather from Lithuania bought the original seven acres to create the first Jewish chicken egg ranch, a Petaluma family business that grew to employ over 200.

He looked up through the twisted branches of an ancient oak tree, then to the old chicken barn — unused and unusable. Like those branches, the egg business had twisted through the millennia, leaving a collapsing symbol of what had been.

The Great Depression, hatchery closures, technology and animal rights legislation culminated — leaving him to — finally — sell and develop the family ranch.


The Grass is Greener I by Norah Colvin

Holidays with her cousins on the farm were the best. Days stretched from dawn to dusk with unbounded fun the cousins called chores: milking cows, feeding chickens, collecting eggs, riding horses and, sometimes, zooming around paddocks on quad bikes to muster sheep. Her cousins were never told what to do. They’d decide. ‘C’mon, we’ll milk the cows,’ they’d say. Or ‘On your bike. Let’s muster some sheep.’ So many fun things to do. At home, Annabelle’s chores dragged. The more she procrastinated, the longer they took. The days were interminable. ‘I wish there was something to do,’ she’d say.


The Grass is Greener II by Norah Colvin

Holidays with cousin Annabelle in the city were the best with something different to do every single day: watching movies at the cinema, slurping milkshakes in the mall, bowling balls at ten pins, splashing in the council pool. The stores were stocked with treasures they’d never imagined and deciding how to expand the value of their hard-earned saved-up dollars was challenging. One day a bus trip, the next a ferry ride on the river, zooming along streets on motorised scooters or joining a Segway tour; they couldn’t decide which was more fun. Anything sure beat their day-long country chores.


Farm Morning by Michael Fishman

Tim rose with the morning. Even when clouds kept the sun from warming his sleeping face, the sounds of life, nature’s timekeeper, had him up and ready for chores at the same time every day.

Tim stood, stretched, and looked with what could only be called love at the farm. He’d been tending this farm, or one very similar to it, for the better part of his life. He told himself he would never change. No, he wouldn’t trade this for anything.

“Timmy!? Breakfast is ready, hon.”

“Ok, mom. Be right down. I’m just checking on the ant farm.”


Hayin’ Season by Greg Glazebrook

Late June in Ontario, Dad’s station wagon pack and pointed northward. It was hayin’ season on my Uncle’s farm and for the next week it was all hands on deck.

Riding the fields, we’d watch our fathers, row upon row, hooking the rectangular blocks emerging from the contraption sandwiched between tractor and trailer, neatly stacking the bales, back to front.

Somewhere in the middle we’d play in the hayblock forts fashioned for us while they toiled in the midday sun.

As always, the harvest would come to an end but we wished we could live on the farm forever.


A Country Stay by JulesPaige

Being from the city, we youngins didn’t know much about the country or farms. Family friends owned a small lodge and had neighbors who were farmers. Thought it’d do us ‘slickers’ some good to see some natural processes. A calf being born is messy business.

Chocolate milk doesn’t come from brown cows. Learning to milk a cow by hand is different from going to the grocers or having it delivered in glass bottles in the ice box by your back door.

Farm work is hard. It was fun though, to hide in the hay bales in the barn loft.


Farm Legacy by Nancy Brady

One of Annie’s favorite memories was vacationing at her aunt’s and uncle’s dairy farm. Her family spent summer vacations and weekends there. A tire swing, cats, calves, and cows were part of her memories.

Twice daily the cows were milked. Finally, though, Uncle Jim sold the cows and planted corn and beans instead when neither son wanted to take over the farm, which had been in his family for years.

The last time Annie visited the farm was after Aunt Betty’s funeral. The house seemed smaller than what she remembered. Yet, the farm had existed for a hundred years.


Hard Day’s Night (Part I) by D. Avery

Twenty-four hours never seems enough for a day on a dairy farm.

Arnold’s wife was perfectly capable of showing the AI man to the cows in estrus while he finished ditching and fencing the back-forty pasture. He was grateful that his wife was such a good farm hand. He hoped he wouldn’t be too tired for her at day’s end again.

Arnold chuckled thinking about the witty artificial insemination man; ‘The can dew man’.

Forty weeks later, calving kept Arnold from being with his wife in the delivery room.

A sudden realization had Arnold moaning louder than the cow.


Hard Day’s Night (Part II) by D. Avery

When finally Arnold left the barn he gathered his thoughts in the cool night air. People often commented that local farm kids all looked alike but then laughed it off as coincidence.

The ‘man with the can’ joked that AI stood for artificial intelligence, but he’d been pretty smart with the wives of overworked farmers, hadn’t he?

The AI man. Promised efficiency and improved stock. ‘I get the job done— no bull!’

Arnold sighed. He wouldn’t confront his wife. Together they would raise the baby well; he’d love it as his own.

Arnold would also be raising a bull.


Farming for Sanity by Anne Goodwin

Matilda heard the cows at night weeping for their murdered calves. But Eustace said the only animals on Ghyllside’s farm were chickens. She must have heard the wind. Or the other women in the dormitory, bemoaning their lost lives.

The doctor laughed when Matilda asked if she might work outside. Only men could join the farm and gardening crews. Female patients may not even tend the rose bushes they passed on Sundays, trooping to church.

Sweating in the bakery, Matilda counted the hours until she’d see her dancing partner. Eustace brought her neither eggs nor flowers, but fresh-air sanity.


Dairy Farm by Sadje

The car came to a sudden halt and I was jolted out of the contemplation of my phone. I looked up to see an unusual sight. A herd of cows was blocking the road. This was not a thing one would normally find on a city road, especially a road that leads to the residence of the prime minister of the country.

I craned my neck to see these twenty or so well fed cows ambling gently across the road. White and black patterned, adults and calves mixed they were free to roam the place.

A traveling dairy farm!


My New Pet by Doug Jacquier

The house had a sign reading ‘Exotic Animals – Good Homes Wanted’. An old man sat in a rocking chair on the porch. I said all my friends had dogs but I was looking for something different.

He led me to a ram-shackle sty containing a pig that had its two front legs but none at the rear, which was now supported by a contraption with wheels.

Anticipating my question, the old-timer said ‘We rescued him from a farmer that said the pig saved his only son from drowning and it seemed downright ungrateful to eat him all at once’.


Cashew Farm Memories by Simon

Grandmother, was picking cashews with cashew fruit from the garden.

It was our cashew farm. One evening, the first time I explored the cashew farm.

Grandmother, introduced me to the taste of cashew apple, warned me to eat safe, as it may cause my lip swell. The curiosity in me applied the juice of ripe cashew fruit on lips.

Next morning, my lips swollen, grandmother commented how naughty I was and treated me with love and care.

We both sat together, cooked all cashews, broke the shell and packed a box full of fresh cashews, a day to remember.


Farm Life Sh*t! by Duane L Herrmann

Chicken shit in straw was bearable. Cat shit in sand pile was expected. Dog shit was not so obvious around the house, they roamed. Pig shit and cow shit in the barnyard was normal, and I hated to walk there. Horse shit lasted only the one summer we had a horse. Baby shit was a whole ‘nuther matter. I didn’t want to change my baby brother’s diapers, but had no choice. I was about six when that work was added. The first baby quickly learned control. The second was too small to understand, but felt the pin poke him.


What Crappy Waste by Leonard Mills

We are warm and plenty plenty full tonight because of Sundari’s gifts.
My children snoring like a choir, will not shiver this night.
Thank God, bless Sundari.
My beautiful children, their bellies bulge like matka pot full of hot milk and rice. Tiny shadows snuggling in the light flickering from the hot hot stove.
Thank God, bless Sundari.
I clean Sundari’s udders, collect her dung. I kneed into briquettes ready to dry in the morning sun.
Can you believe in some countries, peoples leave cow dung to rot in the fields for the flies?
What wasteful peoples.
Bless Sundari.


Animal Husbandry by D. Avery

“I don’t think I could be a farmer.”

“It’s good work growing food for the community.”

“I know, but look at them, milling about in their pens. Do you ever get attached? I know we all need the food, but it must be hard having to butcher them.”

“You get used to it. You just treat them well until that time. All they know is that they are well cared for.”

“Hard to believe this species used to run wild.”

“And now they’re farmed. If we hadn’t taken over this planet and domesticated them, humans wouldn’t even have survived.”


Speaking Spell by Kerry E.B. Black

“These are special.”

The old woman knelt beside rows of blood-red flowers, hand-gathering the seeds from their black centers. With a silver blade, she nicked the stems on opposing sides, near the head and below the leaves. Sap bubbled around the wounds. She continued these ministrations until she’d gathered from and scored the occupants of the entire flower bed.

She brushed loamy soil from her knees and collected her basket. “They’re grown from the blood of fallen heroes.”

Once the sap dried, she’d gather the resin. “A spell made with these will allow us to commune with the dead.”


Freedom Colleen M. Chesebro

“Unicorn Farm,” I say into the magicom.

“Astrid, another war has broken out. Queen Maeve requires fifty of your strongest unicorns.”


These magical beasts are like my children. I hate sending them to war. My blood runs cold thinking of their purple blood spilled on the battlefield.

My mind spins. “Steward, I can’t accommodate Queen Maeve. The unicorns are under quarantine for bracken poisoning. They aren’t fit to serve!”

“Be careful, Astrid. The queen will see through your deception.”

“I know.”

I unlatch the main gate to the farm and motion to the frolicking unicorns in the field.


The Janeite Effect by E.A. Colquitt

It’s not mine, this world of cultivation. I live next door – if you can call it ‘next door’, since there’s a long field between my home and the neighbour’s. It’s full of sunlit crops, stretching out before me, doing nothing but grow. The terracotta farmhouse stands in the distance.

All our golden afternoon lies under the best kind of sky: clear, open, blue. Here, I do no toil. It’s a neat paradise.

Peak cottagecore. Ha!

But how long can I stay? Because I know that to open my eyes means returning to… there. My real world: darkness, danger.


Billy by Leanne Lieu

Billy laid his head on Sarah’s lap as she stroked his graying head, back, and droopy ears, his eyes half open. She retold the story of when he joined her family.

“I found you hiding behind a dumpster wheel,” Sarah said. “Your mama must’ve been so sad you were gone. We would’ve adopted her, too.” She paused. “You kept me company when I did my chores, hiding behind a shovel when I milked Patty, and behind me when I fed the chickens.” She smiled when Billy found playmates with the chicks, who were more his size. “I love you.”


Inheritance by Margaret Leggatt

“To the good life,” Dad would say, downing a cold beer to wash away the dust. We’d sit outside at day’s end, talking cattle prices or breeding plans.

My grandfather cleared this land, and Dad built up the herd with good management and intuition. I’d worked beside him through droughts, floods, bushfires and disease. He trusted me to carry on after him. I bided my time. He’d never have understood.

I raise a glass to him now, looking over reforested acres, and listening not to the lowing of grazing cattle, but the rhythmic whoosh of a hundred hilltop turbines.


Don’t Fence Us In by D. Avery

“Kid, if ya really cain’t come up with anythin fer the prompt, mebbe ya should farm it out, have someone else do it fer ya.”

“Might have ta. Mebbe you could tell bout yer cousins’ Turnip Farm, Pal. Pal, what’s the dif’rence tween a ranch an a farm? Like why ain’t this Carrot Farm?”

“Reckon one dif’rence is thet this is a free range place, lotsa wrangling an roundin up but no cultivated pastures.”

“So we ain’t pasture-ized…”

“An we ain’t homogenized neither Kid. Ever response ta the prompts is unique an individual.”

“Like all the wunnerful ranch hands!”


Thank you to all our writers who contributed to this week’s collection!

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  1. Sadje

    Thanks for the sharing

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for your contribution!

      • Sadje

        My pleasure

  2. Norah

    What a great collection. You are really cultivating a great group of writers and harvesting wonderful stories here, Charli. Such a variety of twists, fun, surprises and even sad stories. Thanks everyone for contributing to such a cornucopia of stories.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for your appreciation, Norah! When we experience creativity in collaboration, we connect more to it individually.

      • Norah

        That’s an interesting though. I’ll ponder on it.

    • Charli Mills

      Oops! I did miss it, Anne. Thanks for sharing it here (and I added it to your title in the Collection).

  3. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Dang, Norah and Anne beat me to the farm metaphors. And it is indeed a great diverse crop of stories. There’s fertile writing ground at your ranch! A very satisfying read, for sure.

    • Charli Mills

      Organic carrots for everyone who writes in such productive soil, D.

  4. Colleen Chesebro: WordCraftPoetry

    What a wonderful group of stories Charli. I’m a city girl, but I learned my way around a farm and ranch in Montana when I worked for Dearborn Ranch, in Wolf Creek. I have some of the best memories of black Angus cows, ever! LOL! <3

    • Charli Mills

      That was an astounding place to learn farming and ranching, Colleen. We were so close to meeting back then!

  5. suespitulnik

    Great stories from familiar names and some new ones. Thanks for sharing your characters.
    I especially liked the “farm that grows teachers,” and the blind girl and calf becoming friends. Miss Judy’s story of the longleaf pine needles reminds me of my neighbor who sweeps other neighbors’ driveways of long pine needles to use as mulch.
    Being from small dairy farm country, with so many of them no longer working, I enjoyed the walk down memory lane.

    • Charli Mills

      When we share stories we get company on the road to our memories, Sue. Until Miss Judy and you mentioned the long pine needles, I had no idea they made good mulch.


  1. The Janeite Effect – E.A. Colquitt - […] To read the full collection, click here ???? […]
  2. #99Word Stories; Robotic Writer | ShiftnShake - […] sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Farm Life” collection from last week. And there’s always…
  3. Robotic Writer #99WordStories | Norah Colvin - […] Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Farm Life can be read at the…

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