Saddle Up Saloon: Snowed In

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at  https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com

December 16, 2022

Welcome to the Saddle Up Saloon where we feature interactive characters, real-life authors & poets, the occasional Carrot Ranch announcement, and a Cowsino story game every first Friday of the month. You can learn about the craft of creative writing, introduce your own characters to the Kid & Pal crew, discuss the writer’s journey, and be part of making literary art accessible to anyone.

“Shut the front door Kid! The snow’s driftin in.”

“Yep, it’s really comin down out there Pal. Even a virtual ranch ain’t ‘scapin this weather. But whut’re we doin? Thought Carrot Ranch was stuck in the ditch with tech troubles.”

“Shorty’ll dig the Ranch outta thet mess, Kid. In the mean time all the ranchers is takin a break, mebbe tendin ta themselves an families, mebbe stoppin by the campfire ta chat. Mebbe, if they’re lookin fer a prompt they’ll pop inta the Cowsino. It’s still open.”

“Well, if everone’s on a break, whut’re we doin here?”

“Really, Kid? Where would we go? We live here. Asides, there’s always sumthin needs tendin, ‘tween the Ranch an the Saloon.”

“Yep. I been busy gittin ready fer this snowstorm.”

“Ya fed the hosses an cattle?”

“Yep. An I drove way up inta the far reaches a the ranch ta leave off some feed fer the unicorns.”

“Thought ya didn’t believe in thet.”

“Well, jist in case. Cain’t have em goin hungry. Left em some hay, some magic beans from Pepe an Logatha, an a course a bunch a carrots, carrots a all colors, all shapes an sizes.”

“Ya done good Kid.”

“Thanks, Pal. I also was out there building snowfolks.”

“Ya been playin in this storm?”

“Not zactly playin. Figgered rollin the snow up inta snowballs is a way ta contain it, keep it from pilin up quite so deep. But it’s comin down so fast, I had ta stack the snowfolks one on top a the other. Looks like jist a few out there but there’s more, they’s standin on each other’s shoulders.”  

“They soun like real supportive snowfolks, Kid, the sort we’d ‘spect at Carrot Ranch.”

“Pal? I hate ta put more problems on Shorty’s plate, but I’m gittin worried.”

“Bout whut?”

“Tween feedin the unicorns an givin all them snowfolks a nose, I’m worried the Ranch might run outta carrots!”

“Ya never need ta worry bout thet, Kid. Theys carrots aplenny, year round, thicker’n stardust. So brush thet snow off an you take a break too.”

“What’s all this, Pal? A celebration?”

“Let’s leave thet up ta people’s ‘maginations. Jist know thet the Saloon is warm an cozy with lights an all the Ranch Yarn characters are here, sharin food an drink an stories ‘mongst themselves till the Ranch is up an runnin again. Real folks is welcome ta join in too, or kin send their characters by. We’ll look fer ya in the comments.”

“It’s real nice Pal. Bet them lights shine roun the world!”

“Yep. They do. Annii. May the light of peace an goodwill shine for all.”

“Annii.”

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and built the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

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36 Comments

  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    “Really, Pal, we’re openin the saloon ta ever’one, ‘cludin characters, ta come in outta the weather?”
    “Yep, Kid, an ta celebrate the season.”
    “Well, I reckon not ever’one celebrates the same, but mebbe they’ll ‘preciate this song, sung ta the tune a “Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”:

    Oh rest ye weary blo-oggers
    It’s okay to take a break
    set here by the fi-ire
    and your thirst here slake
    fergit fer now yer Word Press woes
    their motives so opaque

    Oh ti-ime for re-est and repose
    Rest and repose
    Oh ti-ime for rest and repose

    Writers from aroun the world
    gather at the Carrot Ranch
    where they share their stor-ories
    where they take a chance
    share their words and hone their craft
    among the hearty Hands

    Oh ti-ime for re-est and repose
    Rest and repose
    Oh ti-ime for rest and repose

    ‘Ceptin fer Word Press’
    capricious lust for change
    all our writerly blog sites
    would be easily maintained
    but Word Press holds the happy keys
    their engineers ordained

    Oh ti-ime for re-est and repose
    Rest and repose
    Oh ti-ime for rest and repose

    Oh rest ye weary blo-oggers
    It’s okay to take a break
    set here by the fi-ire
    and your thirst here slake
    fergit fer now yer Word Press woes
    their motives so opaque

    Oh ti-ime for re-est and repose
    Rest and repose
    Oh ti-ime for rest and repose

    • Anne Goodwin

      Not being a fan of Christmas, I’m skipping your choruses and singing along to the tune of Hobo’s Lullaby
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MS9QZBx-s4
      and wondering what Kid and Pal would make of that.
      Ps. Has WP messed it up for everyone or is it only at the Ranch?

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Hey there! Thet’s a lovely hymn ya’ve shared Ms. Goodwin. Are ya back ta chorusin an singin these days?
        Think it’s jist Shorty’s collectin machine thet’s busted, but folks seem ta git riled bout Word Press. WP changes like the weather but’re less perdictable. But it ain’t so bad, jist takes some tinkerin.
        Speakin a weather, thanks fer bravin the snowstorm an stoppin in!

      • Anne Goodwin

        Glad you like it. Sadly, I’m still restricted to singing online.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      LOL, D. You nailed it! I got a lovely laugh out of this bit of verse. WP engineers ordained!

  2. Jules

    (Emme is a character from an ongoing story…She was ‘rescued’ from an orphanage…I may incorporate this little bit into the next episode of my series of “Spot On?”. Joy to all Merry Berry, Happy Holly Daze and Love Lights to all ~Jules)

    Emme was told she could wander anywhere she wanted – any unlocked door was open to her explorations, of Mrs. Gertie Simple or ‘Aunt Gertie’s’ home. The huge family room had decorations from all of the different women who lived currently or at some other time with Aunt Gertie. There were little plaques telling about the holidays or cultures that different people celebrated. This was a joy filled home, a castle of dreams. Perhaps Emme, who had yet to speak to anyone, would ‘gift’ them the present of her voice and sing a lullaby she had remembered her own parents singing to her… before they disappeared.

    • Anne Goodwin

      Sounds a lovely home. I’m intrigued to know if she’ll find her voice.

      • Jules

        The direction of the story is guided by prompts. I’m taking a break from the story until next year… I’m hoping she will – eventually. ~Thanks

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Jules jist blew in! An she’s told a story roun the fire.
      Thanks fer bringin Emme aroun, Jules. I recognize her from previous installments. Reckon she could have hersef a grand time in thet castle a dreams. Mebbe she will find her voice an tell more a her tale.

      • Jules

        …Next year – I’m taking a break from ‘Spot On? for the rest of this year 🙂
        ~Thanks.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Aunt Gerie’s home sounds wonderful. Here wishing you a wonderful season filled with love, joy, family, and friends (that’s us!) ??

      • Jules

        🙂

  3. Ann Edall-Robson

    “Miss Ann.”

    “Yes, Buttons?” She answered without looking up from the journal she was writing in.

    “We were wondering if you could do us all a favour.”

    “What kind of favour, and who is ‘us all’?”

    This time she looked up with a smile on her face. Thoughts of the characters, Buttons, Kylie, Norman, and Mus danced in her head. They were always popping in when she was busy working on something else. What adventure were they going to take her on this time?

    “Well…all of us are the ones you’re thinking about right now.” The barn cat replied.

    “The favour?” She asked, tapping her pencil on the page.

    “We would really like to go visit with our friends Pal and Kid. You know, the ones we met a while back at the Saddle Up Saloon.”

    Button had gotten her attention with his request.

    “Buttons, it’s minus 40 degrees outside and travelling to the Saloon at the Carrot Ranch is not a wise thing to do.”

    “But, Miss Ann…” He pleaded.

    “Besides,” she said, “it’s Christmas and I’d like you all to spend it with me.”

    The disappointment on his face tugged at her heart.

    “Okay.” She said quietly. “I’ll see what I can do, but no promises. I’ll have to check with Miss D and Miss Shorty to see if there are special hours for the Saloon during the holidays. If we are able to drop by anytime, we could maybe fit it in before we go to see Harrison on Christmas Day.”

    “Miss Ann, you don’t have to take us. We could go on our own like we did last time. We wouldn’t want you to miss seeing your grandson.”

    “And miss out on all the fun you’ll have at the Saloon? I think not!”

    The crusty cat smiled, as only a cat can. With a flick of his tail, he headed towards the barn to tell the others that Miss Ann was once again going to use her imagination to take them on another adventure at the Saddle Up Saloon. They could visit with their friends and meet new ones. But, best of all, they could wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      “Yeehaw! Pal! Miss Ann and all her lil characters is comin!”
      “Well, now ain’t thet a fine present, all them bein present here at the Saddle Up. Thet lot’ll have no problem gittin through the snow, an a course they realize the saloon’s open 24/7, no matter whut. Now start warmin some milk fer them visitin critters.”
      “Only if you start warmin up a story. Reckon Miss Ann wouldn’t mind settin a spell by the fire an hearin one a yer tales.”
      “Hmmm…”

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        We are looking forward to hearing one of those tales. I am sure this bunch of characters will have one or two they will want to share around that fire, too.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        “Well, alright, Miss Ann, I’ll tell ya a story, but I’ll tell ya first off, don’t go thinkin this is some sorta tall tale, cuz it ain’t. Cain’t be a tall tale cuz the mc of it’s our own Shorty.”
        “So it’s a short story?”
        “Shush Kid.
        See, as we know, Shorty’s squirreled away up there at Headquarters, up there where terrestrial geography gives thet Lake Superior the finger.”
        “The Keweenaw Peninsula?”
        “Yep. There.
        Shorty’s up there diggin hersef outta all kinds a messes an plowin a path fer the Ranch an fer hersef ta make tracks on. But even as she was hunkered down finishin up her school work an sech, she was innerupted by forces beyon her control.”
        “Ya must mean the holidays, yep, they ain’t no escapin em.”
        “Well, there’s thet too, but what I mean, Kid, is snow!”
        “Shucks Pal, lotsa folks git snow.”
        “This Superior snow comes down from the sky fer days on end. Comes down an comes roun from all directions at once. So a course Shorty had thet ta shovel too.
        Shorty bundled up an commenced ta shovelin, her faithful dog Maus barkin encouragement. She used what she calls a Yooper Scooper, what some call a sleigh shovel, an she pushed thet snow but the wind kep pushin it back. Wind kep pushin an pullin til Shorty got turned aroun then the Yooper scooper got turned aroun, then Shorty saw the handle through the squall an grabbed ahold of it. Problem was she was standin in the scoop an then the wind gusted even harder an next thing ya know she’s sailin down Roberts Street a-ridin thet scoop like it were a dog sled.”
        “Yeehaw! That’s some sorta sleigh ride! What happened ta Maus?”
        “Maus was right there with her on thet scoop, hangin on ta Shorty who was hangin onta thet handle, both of em bouncing all over thet snowbound hunk a land whilst thet fierce ol lake kep churnin an blowin thet white stuff all over till Shorty couldn’t no way see where she was headed. Couldn’t tell up from down, jist held onta thet Yooper scooper handle.”
        “Where’d Shorty an Maus end up, Pal?”
        “Thet’s jist it Kid. They couldn’t see in all thet snow, an likewise they ain’t been seen. Reckon they’re still out there somewhere, ridin out the storm.”
        “On a Yooper scooper.”
        “Yep.”

      • suespitulnik

        Howdy Folks, Sorry I missed wishing you all a Merry Christmas before the day. I got new eyes, really, got rid of cataracts, and my step-daughter got a new knee, and it took a lot more appointments and healing than either of us expected. She’s finally home, and my house is quiet so I am playing catch-up. I’m hoping to meet up with Miss Ann’s friends at the saloon, and even though it wasn’t a laughing matter, imagining Shorty and Mause riding down the hill on the scooper had me laughing out loud. Do you remember last year Shorty told us she does indeed live in a house on a hill? I’m a might afraid of falling on the ice myself, but it sure would have been a sight to see. I’m wondering if it might have actually happened, and Shorty went off to Ghost Farm to hide in with ever so cute baby goatses? She’ll surface at the right time I’m sure, even if it isn’t the time we expect.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Sue, this Shorty tall tale is made up, as far as I know she an Maus are fine and hunkered at headquarters. Was kinda hopin her ears would itch an she’d come out ta play, but reckon she’s got lots ta do jist now.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      “Aw, Jeez, Kid, yer nose is all red. Been sippin nips from behind the bar?”
      “Slipped out fer a bit, Pal.”
      “Where’ve ya been?”
      “Was over ta Jennie’s place an heard a story.”
      “Well, she is a masterful storytelling teacher, thet Jennie. But how’d ya find yer way through all this snow?”
      “I had some hep, Pal, otherwise I’d a been lost fer sure. But it was worth the trip. Jennie shared a back story ta a familiar Christmas time story our readers an writers might be innerested in. Click HERE ta git ta there.”

  4. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:

    If you’re looking to step out of the cold and snow and into a warm and cheery place, head into the Saddle Up Saloon. There’s a fire burning in the fireplace, stories are getting told, songs are getting sung. Drop in and feel free to bring your characters or share a story or song. Good cheer is always on tap at the Saddle Up.

  5. robertawrites235681907

    A most entertaining and uplifting read, perfect for the season. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thank you, so glad you could drop in. Best wishes for you and yours as you celebrate the holiday season.

  6. Colleen M. Chesebro

    It’s freezing! Have you ever heard the saying it’s colder than a witch’s teat? Francis Van Wyck Mason coined this phrase in his mystery novel, “Spider House,” in 1932.

    This phrase probably originated in the 17th century. People believed witches suckled their familiars from teats on different parts of their body. These witch marks didn’t bleed when pricked, so people thought if you had strange spots on your body, it proved you were a witch!

    The “cold as a…” expressions are fun to create. How many descriptions can you come up with to denote cold weather?

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Reckon yer in need of a hot bev’rige, Miz Chesebro! Thanks fer brrrr-ringin us somethin ta riddle an fiddle with. I’ll git back ta ya with a simile fer cold. After thet bevrige, cuz I’m drier an a popcorn fart.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        LOL! Grab you a hot tottie, D. Merry Christmas.

  7. Norah

    Glad to know that Kid and Pal are still around. Happy Holidays!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Norah! We heard you were hibernating. Sort of. Hope you are enjoying summer and your family and some rest. Happy Holidays to you!
      And yep, the Saloon is always open.

  8. suespitulnik

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS, WHICHEVER ONES YOU CELEBRATE!
    MAY 2023 BE A HEALTHY, PROSPEROUS YEAR FULL OF FAMILY, FRIENDS, GOALS MET, AND MANY MORE PUBLISHABLE WORDS WRITTEN.
    I AM ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT MY INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS MADE POSSIBLE BY CHARLI AND CARROT RANCH LITERARY.

    • Jules

      Best to you and your Sue!!
      Speady recovery and love light into the New Year!

      • suespitulnik

        Thanks, Jules. The same to you and yours.

      • Jules

        🙂

  9. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    “Kid, it’s been real nice sharin stories an visitin roun the fire an catchin stories in the Cowsino, but I wunder how things is at the Ranch.”
    “Yep. We been holed up in the Saloon fer quite a spell, Pal. But I’m tellin ya it’ll be a challenge ta git outta here.”
    “Cuz a all the snow? Is it still stormin out there.”
    “Storm quieted some time ago Pal. Didn’t mention it cuz I was enjoyin ma sabbatical. But I reckon it’s time ta head back.”
    “So whut’s the challenging part Kid?”
    “99-word challenge! Shorty’s posted at the Ranch!”

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