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Saddle Up Saloon; Walk About

Saddle Up Saloon

“Dang it, Pal, what’s she doing here? I told ya! Barely been a week an’ here she is. Cain’t jist leave us be.”

“Lighten up, Kid. Don’t fergit, ever’one’s welcome at the Saddle Up Saloon, even our writer. Now shush…. Howdy, D. Avery.”

“What d’ya want?”

“Nice to see you too Kid. Hello Pal. I was just out wandering.”

“So yer lost?”

“No! I recognized the Saloon, thought I’d wander in.”

“Ya got lost!”

“No, Kid, all who wander aren’t lost. More important, even though I don’t always know where I am, I know where I’m not.”

“So here ya are. Jist ignore Kid. Seems ta have a permanent burr unner the saddle. What ya been up to?”

“Walking old trails, Pal, checking out new ones. Look at this.”IMG_1830.jpg

“Oh, thet’s purty. Thet along one a yer trails?”

“Nowadays it’s a public trail, but as a kid I used to fish that brook when the softwoods were so thick it was like cool dark night at noon time along there. It’s out back of my old high school; friends and I used to ski this area in our free periods. I’ll admit, it’s much better skiing now with the groomed trails. There’s a lot of steep back there.”

IMG_1835“So, you like ta jist check up on things in thet neck a the woods?”

“Yeah, I guess so. And it’s an honor to be one of the featured poets on the Poetry Loop. That Loop got me thinking that maybe you two might want to blaze a trail from the saloon.”

“Hate ta admit it, Avery, but that ain’t a bad idea. Could start at the Poet-tree.”

“You’re smelling what I’m stepping in Kid.”

“An’ this bein’ a world wide establishment, we could cut quite a trail! Mebbe ask folks ta share their familiar favorite walks with us here at the saloon. Mebbe they’d share an inspiration from their walkin’ place. Wouldn’t be at all surprised ta see the Poet Lariat spin some syllables.”

“Why here she is now! Hey Jules!


fearless too young to

understand consequences 

adventure drew me


Now I’m on the flip side getting senior discounts. But I still like me a good stroll in the woods. Theres a special word for that shirin-yoko – forest bathing. And I got to venture up some really nice trails up at Hawk Mountain which is part of the Blue Mountain Ridge and Appalachian Mountain Range. Besides the hawks you can see Bald Eagles and just a great expanse of the valley below. But you need to be prepared. Bring your own water and snacks and always only leave footprints. Best to do with a companion or group… though that takes away some of the being alone and enjoying the woods. 


old enough to know

wandering off alone might

not be at all smart


0.png“Thet one’s a trailblazer in poetic forms I’m thinkin’.”

“Yep. Might jist inspire other folk. ”





“Kid, ya reckon we should enlist the Ranger ta hep folks along the trail? Ya know she’s a tramper of moors. Here’s a picture from the route a her guided walk through Jane Eyre territory. If’n ya zoom out ya kin jist ‘bout see the manor house which is supposedly Charlotte Brontë’s inspiration for Thornfield.”

North Lees from Cattiside 8 March 2020

“Jeez, Pal, ya almost sound like ya know what yer talkin’ ‘bout. Here’s what Anne Goodwin has ta say ‘bout all her moor trampin’:

A bee buzzes past my ear as a meadow pipit springs from among the purpling heather. A tortoiseshell and small heath butterfly weave in and out of each other’s flight paths. Across the shoulder-high bracken, the knock-knock of a stonechat. A patchwork of field and forest spread across rolling hills. My conscious mind on nothing else, I’m surprised when it comes to me: the resolution to a plot problem; a delicious image; a perfect phrase. A story that unfolds a little farther each time my boot hits the peat.

Of course, some gets lost in the drive home, but nothing beats a walk across my beloved moors to progress my writing. Treading familiar paths, I recognise, not just the landmarks, but the ideas I’ve formulated there over the years. The steady rhythm puts me in that state of reverie that nourishes creativity. A long walk not only carries me over the hurdles I’ve met in my fiction, but ameliorates the physical ills generated by long days at a computer.

Anne’s talked b’fore how her walkin’s related ta her writin’. An’ lissen ta this from her Early morning walks in the age of covid, her latest Carrot Ranch flash:

Home to breakfast not rocked with rage but inspired by writerly blossom.

Wunder how many folks is like that when they git out an’ walk.”

“Mebbe they’ll let us know in the comments. Hey, is that…?”


“Look agin. Thet’s Charli Mills hersef, come by ta share her walkin’ place with us.”


Over gnarled roots gripping ever-eroding dunes of silica sand, I step. The settled grains of quartz form a drum skin and my steps become a sacred beat. I pause. Breathe deeply of cool air and sun drenched pine needles. The surf is lulled tonight, casting pinks and lavenders across the lake that is absorbing a molten copper sun. I walk on the edge of forest and beach and tumbled rocks of the earth’s record. Trivial matters of modern living fade with each step. I am the drummer. Absolved.”

“Whoa. Thet’s some real fine writin’ Shor— Charli Mills.”

“Ahem. Ms. Mills? You know that’s eleven less than ninety-nine, right?”

“Now you lighten up, Avery. Thet don’t matter. Folks kin write any amount they want fer this, an’ kin write any form or genre they want.”

“So I could use this haiku?

walking in circles

all who wander are not lost

simply on their way


“Yep. Seems like thet circles back ta where we started, with ya wanderin’ in from the Poet’s Loop.”

IMG_1834.jpg“It is quite a loop. The selected piece for station #11 is 99 words written for a Carrot Ranch prompt! Superior was inspired by a day at the inland sea up at World Headquarters. Guess all roads, even roads home, lead through Carrot Ranch.”

“Reckon. If yer roamin’ this way. Hey, where ya goin’?”

“Me? I’m going for a walk!


taking a first step

getting out of my own way

feet lift off the ground


See you later Pal. Kid. Good luck catching stories and poems of Ranchers’ walks this week.”

“Yep, folks, do tell. Where do you walk? What inspires the walk? What does the walk inspire? What’s yer walk about?

Saddle Up Saloon; the Band Plays On

Saddle Up Saloon



Co-written by Susan Sleggs, Veteran Stories columnist here at Carrot Ranch and contributor to the Rochester Veterans Writing Group book, United in Service, United in Sacrifice.



“Kid! Are you up there in thet Poet-Tree? Git down from there!”

“Yer barkin’ up the write tree, Pal, but leave me alone. I’m a settin’ up here workin’ on ma standup material. We gotta have some kinda ennertainment  fer the folks this week.” 

“Yep, thet’s whut I wanted ta talk ta ya about. Kid, ya ever noticed they’s a lot a vets aroun’ here?”

“Duh, Pal, the Ranch is jist down the road. A course they’s vets aroun’. Like if one a the hosses gits sick. The vets come from the hoss-pital. Oh, gotta write that down.”

“No, Kid, vets.”

“Right, the doctors that come check on the cattle, give ‘em their im-moo-nizations. See what I did there? Oh, I got this this week, it’ll be Kid, the standup comic. Did ya hear ‘bout the veterinary surgeon who was a comic? All her patients was in stitches.”

“Not thet kinda vet! Veterans, we’re gonna have veterans inta the saloon this week.”

“What could be better ‘an vets on a Ranch? But animal doctors ain’t as ennertainin’ as me.”

“Git down outta thet tree an’ shush or yer gonna need a doctor. Now jist lissen. I hired a band ta ennertain the folks in the saloon this week. An’ they’s all veterans.”

“You hired the ennertainment? Independent a me?”

“Yep, I did, Kid. In anticipation a Independence Day.”

“Hmmph. Thought we made decisions ‘bout the saloon t’gether. If’n ya wanna do somethin’ independently, include me next time. We’ll be co-independent.”

“Kid, we ain’t got time ta be squabblin’. We gotta set up, git the stage ready.”

“Have I heard a this band?”

“Reckon you have if ya been readin’ Susan Sleggs


“Oh, I have. It’s been killer.”

“Bad word choice, Kid, but yeah, Michael and the Band of Brothers is gonna play the Saddle up Saloon this week. I’m ‘spectin’ ‘em any time now.”



“This band ain’t a bunch of hippies is it, cause I see a painted up van comin’ inta the parking lot. Wait. It says Veteran Music Van.”

“That’s them, Kid. Does the van have wheelchair license plates?”


“Hmmm. I’m gonna run inside and watch to see how their leader gets out.”

“I kin see ‘im. He’s put a metal square thing on its side outside the van door, now he’s attachin’ a big skinny wheel. Well, looky there, he’s puttin’ another wheel on the other side. Dang if it ain’t a wheelchair and the driver just lowered hisself into it. He’s only got stumps of legs. What happened?”

“Kid, I was explainin’ about vets. He lost ‘em in Afghanistan. IED.”

“Well you couldn’t tell by his face, he’s got the biggest smile I seen in a while. Good thing we got ramps. That old guy gettin’ out t’other side looks a might serious. Wait. There’s another vehicle comin’ in.  Pal?”

“What Kid?”

“You been funnin’ me? These guys is all different ages and colors, how kin they be brothers?”

“Military Brothers I keep tellin’ ya. Git down and we’ll go talk to ‘em in person.”

“I’m comin.”


Lit Kit looked when she heard boots on the saloon floor. An average-size man sporting a beard, ponytail, and tartan tam on his head walked to the bar, stuck out his calloused hand, and said, “Mac McCarthy, the ol’ man of the Band of Brothers, known to have some sort o’ squeezebox with me everywhere I go. Your place looks great with all the red, white, and blue decorations. I’ve got a few McCarthy tartan scarves for the crew. If we get into the Irish music, you might feel like donnin’ ‘em.”

“Thank you. I’m sure Kid and Pal will appreciate them,” she said as she tied one of the scarves around her waist.

Kid slipped behind the bar while Pal went to meet the band. “You must be Michael. I talked to you on the phone.”

“Yes. Happy to be here. Setting up the electronics is Kurt, Tyrell’s bringing in the drums, and Thad, Mac’s son, plays the banjo and tin whistle.” As each name was said, the person looked their way to give a small friendly salute. They were all wearing tailored military camouflage short sleeve shirts and black jeans, except Michael, he had on shorts.


Kid asked Kit, “You think they look like brothers? That man just said one is t’other one’s son. How kin he be both?”

Michael overheard Kid so wheeled over to the bar and looked at him. “I think I can clear up your confusion if you’ve got a couple minutes to watch a video. The soldiers you’ll see in it are different like we are, and the wars shown are different, but we’ve all been a part of some war so we know what it’s like to be away from home, to fight for what our country tells us to and we’d all do it again if we could. The words describe us pretty well. Here, take a look.” Michael handed him his cell phone and pressed play on the Lyric Video Version of Toby Keith’s American Soldier.




The band continued setting up while Kid watched the video, and then he repeated it so Pal and Kit could watch. Kid said, “Now I git it. These guys unnerstan’ what it was like ta serve. Sacrifice. Most of us don’t.”

“Jist like I been sayin’.”

“Hey Kid.”

“Yeah, Michael?”

“Would you post our play list?”

“Sure thing. Um, Michael? Do you mind if I do ma standup comedy between sets?”

“But Kid. I was going to do standup.”

“Ya were?”

“But you do it.”

“Ya sure?”

“Yeah, I don’t have a leg to stand on.”


“Yeah, Kid, you’ve got a leg up on me in standup comedy.”

“Ha, ha?”

“It’s okay, Kid. I lost my legs, not my humor.”

“Yer quite a guy, Michael. I’m real glad you and the Band of Brothers are playin’ at the Saddle Up. I got yer playlist. Do you take requests? I wonder what songs folks would want ta request.”

Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue  –  Toby Keith

Where the Stars and Stripes and The Eagles Fly  –  Aaron Tippen

God Bless the USA  – Lee Greenwood

Ragged Old Flag  –  Johnny Cash 

Red Solo Cup  –  Toby Keith

Friends in Low Places  –  Gath Brooks

Chicken Fried  –  Zac Brown Band


“Folks, ya’ll feel free ta leave yer requests in the comments. I’ll start it— John Lennon’s Imagine.


Veteran Stories by Susan Sleggs


Michael and the rest of this band of brothers are recurring characters penned by Susan Sleggs. They are usually playing at Mac’s bar, the No Thanks Needed. Read Susan’s columns and flash fiction at Carrot Ranch and at



Pal & Kid are free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact them via

Saddle Up Saloon; Nix Fix

Saddle Up Saloon

“Howdy, Pal. Take care a yer hoss then set a spell.”

“Kid! Yer s’posed ta be gittin’ the Saloon ready! What’re ya doin’ jist settin’ there a’whittlin’?”

“Whoa! Ya kin stop yer yellin’ at me Pal. It ain’t what it looks like.”

“Looks ta me like yer settin’ on yer ass jist a’whittlin’ when yer s’posed ta be gittin’ the Saloon ready fer thet quiller. She’s gonna have a re-tirin’ shindig fer D. Avery.”

“Looks kin be receivin’, Pal. I ain’t jist settin’ on my ass. Ma cell phone’s in ma back pocket. Got it set ta vibration.”

“What? Why?”

“A cell phone, Pal. Got it muted so we kin still hear the crickets. An’ if yer really astute you’ll see that first bit’s 99 words and has this week’s Carrot Ranch prompt word in it. Got the phone handy ‘cause I’m givin’ that so-called writer a ours a bit more time ta change her mind. But so far she says she ain’t comin’ by. Ain’t gonna be no shindig.”

“Reckon ya should text the quiller an’ offer ta refund her deposit.”

“There weren’t no deposit. Nobody aroun’ here has ta PAY, PAL. Though they could.”

“Huh. So if thet re-tirin’ shindig ain’t happenin’ we ain’t got nuthin’ goin’ on here this week. We ain’t got no ennertainment or nuthin’ lined up fer the saloon. Dang thet D. Avery! Why ain’t she comin’ by?”

“Says she cain’t be hangin’ ‘roun a saloon on a school night, still has two more days a school.”

“Ridin’ thet one right through ta the buzzer, ain’t she?”

“Yeh, mebbe that’s it.”

“Yer face is all scrunched up Kid. Is it thet phone goin’ off in yer pocket, or are ya thinkin’?”

“I’m thinkin’ on why she won’t let the quiller throw her a party.”

“Mebbe we should git Doc Ranger ta come by.”

“Should Doc Ranger anal-eyes the matter she’ll only figger out what I already been tellin’ ya— D. Avery’s a pain in the ass.”

“The Ranger’s got degrees an’ sech fer this kinda ponderin’.”

“Thinkin’ the only two degrees relevant here are 0 and 360. They both point north.”

“Seems like thet’s goin’ full circle. If thet’s whut D. Avery’s doin’, why not celebrate?”

“Thinkin’ she’s a chicken, is what.”

“Ya might be onta somethin’ there, Kid. She wrote the book on chickens. Reckon she’s finally found the pluck ta cross the road hersef, see whut’s on the other side. Mebbe it’s jist her time. Check this out:


When comes the time, a road’s the place

The destiny some hens embrace

Chickens rise and leave the nest

To make their dreams manifest.

Their sojourn can’t end unless it begins

So they head out to look within

Pilgrims of regenerate faith

These chickens cross, they go with grace

They cross a road they pass that test

Continue on their illimitable quest

Till comes the time when they stop, content

They know themselves and where they went.


“D. Avery wrote that? And published it? And gave up her day job? Yikes. With a plan like that, no wonder she ain’t inta celebratin’. Sure hope her students kin do better math an’ her. Sayin’. Here’s a thought that might cause some dissension; maybe she’s crossing without any intention, maybe just wandering, not paying attention; maybe road crossing hens aren’t worth any mention.

“Yer bein’ kinda harsh, Kid. Leavin’ a career’s a big deal.”

“She’s kinda harsh, Pal. Listen ta this:


For all you who have wondered why’d

the chicken cross— here’s the scoop:

it’s not about the other side;

she just couldn’t abide the coop.


She’s leavin’ friens an’ kids behind in that coop, Pal, quittin’ on ‘em.”

“Thet’s enough, Kid. Mebbe she’s modelin’ somethin’ good fer folks, ta take a risk an’ take car a yersef. Reckon they’s all happy fer her. Look, here’s Will, a colleague a hers:



“Huh. Seems like our so-called writer knows shift. Kinda remin’s me a someone…”

“Here’s another colleague a hers:


My mentor has been a mentor a time or two.

She says ‘it’s been a wild ride, and I end with you’.

Who knew I could fly up to the sky?

She did, from the start.

My mentor taught me many lessons of how to be

the type of teacher who was thoughtful like she.


Applied mathematics.

Who would build benches, fences & trust.

Who would do what is right & do what is just.

My mentor reminded me to work & to play

life was short she always did say.

When it came to emails she’s taught me less is more.

The words were important but must come from the core.

My mentor was a chicken & I her squid.

Dede, thank you for everything.

Love Always, the Kid


“The kid?”

“Relax, Kid, it’s a different kid, aka the Cisco Kid, aka, Squid. She’d been a fourth grade writin’ student a D. Avery’s, then ended up bein’ a math teacher with her.”

“Well, yer right, Pal, there don’t seem ta be no hard feelin’s.”

“But there are feelin’s. We’ll leave her be, let her git through the final school days with her kids.”

“But Pal, what about the folks that come by the saloon? We still ain’t got nuthin’ lined up.”

“Let’s jist ask folks thet might come by ta reflect, mebbe in 99- or 59-words a prose or poetry tell ‘bout a time they made a big change fer themselves. Could be a made up story even; kinda hard ta tell the dif’rence ‘roun here anyway.”


“So if folks come by lookin’ ta relax an’ sech, we hand ‘em an extra prompt? ‘Cause our so-called writer nixed a shindig here at the saloon? Hmmph. Told ya that D. Avery’s a pain in the ass.”

“Yep. But she’s our pain in the ass. Write on, D.”




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 now serve up something fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact them via

Saddle Up Saloon; Art Showin’

Saddle Up Saloon

“Wow, Lit Kit Libation Slingin’ Librarian and new bartender at the Saddle Up Saloon, this art show is happening!”

“Really Kid? I can tell there’s no word limit here. Just call me Lit Kit already. But yes, the bar is busy.”

“Yep, Lit Kit, there’s sure  a mess a folks here ta show an’ see visual art work.”

“Heehee. Some a them make Shorty look tall. Look, there’s Ann Edall Robson. An’ who’s that sippin’ a tall glass a Sauvignon Blanc?”

“You two don’t get out much, do you? That’s author-illustrator Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. And she’s been the lead buccaneer captaining Friday Fictioneers for the past eight years. Look, I have to tend the bar. Go talk to Rochelle, she’s interesting.”

“Howdy ma’am. Welcome ta the Saddle Up. I’m Pal, this here’s Kid.”

“Yer a author-illustrator? Soun’s like a chicken-egg conundrum. Which comes first?”


“It’s okay, Pal, it’s a fair question. As to which came first, I have always wanted to be a visual artist and have drawn and painted as long as I can remember. I spent two years at the Kansas City Art Institute in the early 70’s debating with my teachers what art was. My greatest influence as an illustrator was Garth Williams who illustrated Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Books. I’ve illustrated for others but, aside from a couple of book covers, my career as an illustrator has never taken off. ASFTJ Cover ArtBut my last published book, A Stone for the Journey, is a hardback coffee table companion book replete with short stories to go with my trilogy of novels. My novels and the coffee table books are Jewish Historical fiction, which I refer to as the dark side of Fiddler on the Roof.

The flurry of painting started over the past 6-7 years. I began with painting sepia portraits of my characters beginning with Lafeyette Tillman who was the second black officer on the Kansas City police force.

Officer Lafayette Alonzo Tillman with copyrightI wrote character studies for the novels and put them in my blogs. My publisher liked them so much he proposed to publish the coffee table companion book. Who was I to turn down my dream book? He wanted full color illustrations. Someone else saw the illustrations and suggested I have prints made and offer them in art fairs. Meanwhile I shared my painting process and finished pictures on Facebook. I had two requests for Havah lighting the Sabbath candles (Gut Shabbos) before I had a chance to get them printed. Moonlit Night is a scene from the book. Once I’d finished the book I searched for subjects to paint. Wine glasses came first…then seascapes, most recently flowers…pretty much anything. If it catches my eye, I paint it. I also do portraits on commission, as you can find on my art page.

Gut Shabbos with copyrightMoonlit Night with CopyrightWine at the Getty with copyright


“Kid! Pal! A moment?”

“Excuse us Rochelle. Whut’s the matter, Lit Kit?”

“We have a problem… some sort of infestation…”

“Looks like an infestation a artist types. Jist serve ‘em like anybody else.”

“No. I keep seeing… little cowboys… in chaps…”

“Oh, chapfaeries! That kin only mean one thing! Toj must be here somewhere. Cain’t wait ta see more a her work since the Poet Tree sign.”

“Okay, if you’re not worried about these… chapfaeries, I’ll get back to work. I’ll tend bar, you two go tend to all these artists.”

“You bet. Look, there’s Toj now, all the way from Rabbit Bay, MI. Hey Toj! Good ta see ya at the Saloon again. Whoa. These paintings are amazing.”





“Thank you, Kid. You can see more of my work at Red Rabbit Studio .”

“Reckon I would like ta hop on over there! Why here’s another artist come back fer more. It’s the quiller, Bonnie Sheila from Crescents & Coils. What are ya showin’ t’day?”

“I thought I’d show a couple of pieces that D. Avery likes.”

“Had ta drag her inta this, did ya? They’s somethin’ sketchy ‘bout her visual art.”

“Be kind Kid. I know she was working on a paint by number picture.”

“Hmmph! Seems calculated. Heck, she cain’t even stay in the lines with her literary art. But she’s got a good eye I s’pose. These are beautiful pieces, Bonnie Sheila.”

“Thank you.”




“Is that your jewelry too?”

“No, my son is the jeweler.”

“Shorty’d like thet the goldsmith has taken ta workin’ with rocks!”



“Oh shift! Speakin a Shorty an’ rocks! Look’t this installment from World Headquarters.”FullSizeRender-2



“Do these photos count?”

“She says she’s collaboratin’ with Lady Lake. Reckon it’s art. But what about these next ones?”

“Shorty claims these are the art behind her art…”


Vision Board


Poet dogs and other inspirations.


The Unicorn Room W. Where the literary art takes visual form. (Sidenote: should read 15000 words; artists are not always good at math)


“Now here’s some art I could really git wrapped up in. Quilting!”


Sue Spitulnik/Susan Sleggs made this for a challenge to depict the word ‘Converge’. It was one of 12 quilts chosen to travel New York State with a display of others who depicted the same word, in different ways.


“It’s Carrot Ranch columnist and quilter Susan Sleggs! What ya got here, Susan?”

“I just brought some of my quilts over for the wild rumpus. You might recognize one of the subjects.

Oski is the mascot of the University of California at Berkely.  My bonus children (children I didn’t bear but claim as my own) are both graduates from there so I made this quilt for them. It doesn’t have anything to do with my writing, except, when it’s finished, it is finished, regardless of mistakes.



Max is the little boy in the book Where the Wild Things Are. My new bonus grandson’s name is Max, so I made this as his baby blanket. It is machine appliqued and all sewing is by machine. It is not against copyright laws to reproduce a photo, or character, in fabric if you don’t make any money doing it.”

“Oh, these are wild! Who knew quilting was sech an art form? I sure am glad ya brought yer work by ta share with the folks.”

“Does that make it folk art, Pal?”



“Whoa! Stop. Back up, Pal. Look’t these photographs!”

Buck Mule Deer

“Why this is the work of Ann Edall Robson, all the way from DAKATAMA Country, home to a smidgen a her photographs and the place where the world can purchase them (should they choose to) in almost any form from wall prints, apparel, home decor, and even face masks. All with her photography on them.”

Freight Wagon

4 a.m.

“Well based on these, it’d be worth a gander over ta her place.”

Seeing Double


“Phewie, Pal, that was quite a show. Thing is, I know they’s lots more visual artists out there. Sure hope folks feel free ta add links ta their own work in the comments. Thinkin’ we’ll have ‘nuther Art Showin’ ‘nuther time, too. Mebbe folks’ll wanna be featured an’ will git in touch with us via”

“Hope so, Kid, hope so. An’ folks, if ya see somethin’ ya like, let the artist know in the comments an’ by droppin’ in on ‘em.”


Artists, in order of appearance:

Lit Kit

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 Toj (Teacher of joy, Tammy Gajewski)

Bonnie Sheila   Crescents & Coils

Nick Ray


Susan Sleggs

Ann Edall Robson

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 now serve up something fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact them via

Saddle Up Saloon; Craftin’ Plans

Saddle Up Saloon

“Pal, who’s that jist come inta the saloon?”

“Yer askin’ the wrong person, Kid. Jist shush… Howdy, Ma’am. Yer lookin’ a might lost.”

“Well, I might be lost. I’m not sure where I am. This place looks like the setting of Gunsmoke, except without the guns. Or the smoke.”

“Thet’s ‘zactly right Ma’am, none a thet here. Welcome ta the Saddle Up Saloon, where folks kin jist git away from all their present realities. Kin we git ya a drink? Whoa, Lit Kit’s already got one fer ya at the bar.”

“Yum. A Naughty Nurse. She made it just how I like it.”

“Now how’d she know… Who are you?”

“I’m the quiller.”

“”Not very subtle, are ya? ‘Fraid yer gonna have ta leave. No guns, no smoke, ‘an no killin’ in these parts.”

“Pal, she said quiller, not killer.”

“Oh. Thanks, Lit Kit. Uh, what’s a quiller?”

“She’s the artist.”

“Now, now. Jist ‘cause she’s a stranger ta us don’t make her odd. An’ even if it did, is she really the oddest? Aroun’ here?”

“Artist! She’s an artist Pal.”

“Yes, I’m an artist. Quilling- paper art- crescents, scrolls, loops, teardrops; creative abstractions.”

“This sounds familiar ta me. Why, yer Crescents & Coils! I was hopin’ ta meet you! I’m thinkin’ on havin’ a art show in the Saddle Up. Tell me more ‘bout this quillin’. What drew ya ta this art form?”

“I quill to keep my mind active and I enjoy producing beautiful artistic projects.  I can’t remember exactly how I got into quilling, but I was looking for a new and interesting craft to fill my days after retirement.”

“A new craft? What else do you do?”

“At the moment, I’m not doing any other crafts/art. But, I have enjoyed making flowers from gum paste, cake decorating, photography, basket making, needlepoint, knitting, crocheting, and baking, especially sour dough breads.”

“You are an artist! But ya settled on quilling…”

“I’ve seen some work by several remarkable paper artists and I wanted to see if I could accomplish something along that line. I’m not a painter, but paper art can produce something similar, but very different at the same time.”

image_2784ae5f-c0f1-4fb2-801b-21c9aa6dd312.img_1874“I’d say ya done accomplished somethin’! Like I said, I’d like fer visual artists ta come by next week an’ share some a their work an’ links ta their sites. I’d love ta feature yer work.”

“Thank you, and thank you for the drink, but really I was just looking for D. Avery.”

“D. Avery? The so-called writer?”

“Shush, Kid, be nice. Um, how d’ya know D. Avery?”

“D. Avery and I have been buddies for a long time. You don’t give someone shots in the belly twice a day without bonding.”

“Belly shots! She musta had hydroplania! Rabies! I knew her bite was worse than her bark.”

“Shush, Kid! It’s hydrophobia, an’ it souns like this quiller quelled it.”

“It wasn’t rabies, it was a blood clot. You see, we worked in the same school system for many years. I was the school nurse and her primary physician. Anyway, is she here?”

“No. She is not. Me an’ Pal run this place.”


“We prefer ‘fictional’. There’s a difference, ya know.”

“Easy, Kid. Sorry ’bout that. Kid’s always been techy ‘bout bein’ written ‘stead a writin’ an’ ‘bout bein’ a fictional character. Kinda takes it out on D. Avery.”

“Oh. Sorry Kid. I didn’t mean to cause trouble. I have found D. an exceptional person to have as a friend. Did you know retirement is just around the corner for her?”

“Oh great! Now she’ll be hangin’ roun’ the Ranch and the Saloon all the time. I won’t git a break.”

“No, Kid, I’m pretty sure she’ll be spending more time in her own neck of the woods. She likes to hang out with loons.”

“Like I said…”

“So, Kid, you want to have an art show here at the Saddle Up Saloon next week.”


“Any other plans?”

“Well, was thinkin’ on gittin’ outdoors, havin’ like a poetry loop walkin’ tour. Mebbe at the end a the month.”

“So the saloon is available on the 22nd?”

“Reckon it is.”

“Would you consider letting me give a surprise retirement party for D. Avery here?”

“Not sure how that’d work. But yeah, I kin put my feelin’s aside fer that. What d’ya think Pal?”

“Why not? Mebbe we kin figger somethin’ out between now an’ then. Jist hope we kin keep it a s’prise is all.”

“Mums the word. So Pal, what was this all about? Is there a challenge or anythin’ this week?”

“Huh. Seems more like a exchange a ideas an’ upcomin’ events. Let’s see. We did meet a quiller artist from Crescents & Coils …. then we let it out that next week we’d like ta have more visual artists come by an’ share their work as a link in the comments. I know there’s a lotta folks who combine their literary art with visual art. Hopin’ mebbe folks’ll wanna be featured an’ will contact us via . An’ we’re thinkin’ on how ta pull off a s’prise party fer D. Avery who’s ‘parently givin’ up her day job. Lookin’ down the road fer the Saloon, folks might wanna document a favorite walkin’ trail or destination a theirs ta post. Even further down the road, mebbe jist some sorta book talk.”

“Ya know we’re still total pantsers, right Pal?”

“Yep. But if we’re the pantsers here, the folks thet come by the saloon are our suspenders. They hold us up.”

“In a good way. I am wond’rin’ what other arts or crafts our readers an’ writers work at, aside from literary art. Wond’rin’ how thet might inneract with their writin’ an’ their creativity. Let’s carry on the conversation in the comments.


Kid and Pal are delighted that the artist Bonnie Sheila of Crescents and Coils found her way to the Saddle Up Saloon this week. An old hand at many things, Bonnie is new to blogging and has found it to be as easy as navigating stormy seas in thick fog. Go to to see more of her work, including cakes and gumpaste. Bonnie Sheila has launched a fine craft of quilling, and while she hails from a faraway island, it is hoped she returns again to the safe harbors of Carrot Ranch and the Saddle Up Saloon.

image_51386724-ff8e-4627-99ec-936de7dffe95.img_1564 ###

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 now serve up something fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact them via .

Saddle Up Saloon; Recipe Rustlin’

Saddle Up Saloon

“Kid! Kid? Where ya at?”

“Back here in the kitchen, Pal!”

“Didn’t ‘spect to find ya here. Don’t think I’ve ever known ya ta spend much time in a kitchen, Kid.”

“Shorty’s sech a fine hand at the chuck wagon on the Ranch, but we’re in charge here, Pal. We cain’t be countin’ on her ta do the cookin’ fer the saloon too. Look, I’m workin’ on menus. I got two fer the vegie-tarians.”

“Two? Why?”

“Well one of ‘em’s with bacon an’ one’s without bacon. Guess some of ’em go that way.”

“Thet’s real inclusive of ya, Kid. Hmmf. Was LeGume heppin’ ya with yer menus? Ya got these sides a brussel sprouts an’ broccoli salad… an’ they’s an awful lot a beans.”

“Fact is Pal, I don’t know how ta make much more’n whut’s there; baked beans, chili, eggplant an’ bean ragout.”



“Bless you. Kid, ya need more an’ this on yer menu. There must be somethin’ else ya kin make. Asides, it’s too hot fer yer hot dishes. Let’s go out ta the bar an’ jot down some ideas. Oh. Speakin a hot dishes, who is thet behind the bar?”

“Dunno, Pal. Uh, hello? Who are you an’ whut are ya doin’ behind the bar?”

“Name’s Kitty. They call me Lit Kit.”

“Are ya? Lit thet is?”

“No, I mix drinks fer others. The “Lit” is short for literature. I’m Lit Kit the Libation Slingin’ Librarian!”

“For real?”

“Actually, yes, more real than most of what goes on around this place. Here, try this. ‘Salad in a Jar’, practically a health drink.”

“Oh, thet is right healthy! Kid, put thet on the menu in the salad section.”


            Lit Kit’s Salad In a Jar

                        Muddled lime, mint, splash of St. Germaine

                        Top with 3-count of cucumber vodka

                        Add some cucumber slices and shake well

                        Top with tonic (Fever Tree recommended)

                        Garnish with a cucumber wheel


“That is tasty! Whut else ya got, Kittil?”

“Easy, there, Kid, ya got my name bass ackwards. If ya think ya can handle it, I’ll set ya up with my Kitty’s Kettled Caliente.”


Tequila infused with pineapple, lime, jalapeno and habanero

                        (I do that myself in my tequila kettle)

Mix that infused tequila with a splash of agave and a splash of fresh

                        lime juice; shake well


“Well thet seems healthy too! Hey, ya wanna work the bar full time?”

“Pal, what about Ernie?”

“Kid, Ernie ain’t been real reliable. One time he disappeared with Frankie; ‘nuther time Danni Gordon drunk ‘im unner the table; he’s bottled some fine corn liquor, but ol’ Ernie’s a lot better at emptyin’ jars ‘an he is at fillin’ ‘em. Druther have him on this side a the bar.”

“You won’t be sorry, Kid. I know the restaurant business. And I can recommend some good books, even YA.”

“Ya? Okay then, yer hired.”

“Pal’s right about yer menu, Kid. What else ya got?”

“Well, that salad in a jar reminded me of somethin’ I useta git complimented on. Cain’t quite recall, ‘cause I do ever’thin’ from memory, but I’m fergitful. Somethin’ like:


                        diced cucumber

                        twice as much diced mango                       

                        Third as much dried cranberries 

                        (did I put red onion in????)

                        lots of chopped fresh cilantro

                        mix that up with a bit of olive oil and hot pepper jelly

                        a dash(es) of hot pepper 


“It’s kinda like whut I mix with watermelon, white grapes an’ strawberries, but I cain’t ‘member if I put cucumber in that or not. Could, I s’pose.”

“Kid, thinkin’ you’ve had enough a Lit Kit’s health drinks. Jeez, we’re gonna have ta grow some cucumbers, sounds like.”

“Pal, on my way here I saw signs fer Carrot Ranch. Is that a place we could get local beef?”

“’Fraid not Lit Kit. There’s a lot ta chew on there, but they don’t actually deal in cattle. Not like thet anyway.”

“Fresh produce then?”

“Lit Kit, the Ranch’s a good place but yer only gonna find carrots ‘an story tellin’ over there. But we sure ‘preciate ya wanna support local growers. ‘An yer right, Kid’s menu needs some additions. Tell ya whut, mebbe folks’ll hep out, leave recipes fer us in the comments section. It’ll be a “closed call” like when Shorty ran her Ranch Recipes post.”

“Speaking of closed calls Pal, when’s last call? When do I start closing the bar here at the Saddle Up?”

“Never. We’re open 24/7!”

“So folks have all week ta leave recipes in the comments. Salads, drinks, or anything they like.”


“Yep. The recipes here in the post seem summery ‘an refreshin’. Ya’ll kin take thet as a prompt fer some special summertime fav’rite dish. Mebbe somethin’ fer the grill? Anythin’ goes, jist leave yer recipe in the comments. We’ll put it on the menu here at the Saddle up Saloon. Jist remember, ya don’t have ta drive cattle, but we hope ya drive safe.”



Lit Kit the Libation Slingin’ Librarian is the recently extricated western persona of a real live person from an eastern drinking village with a fishing problem. As a long time educator and school librarian, Kitty affords her manicures and well coifed hair by working a second job as a magical mixologist whose specialty drinks are usually infused with love, but sometimes just habanero and sometimes both, depending on how her day job went that day. With bars and restaurants in her village closed, this is an opportunity for the Saddle Up to take advantage of Kitty’s newly developed distancing skills and to hire her as a remote bartender. Even though the hours are endless and there’s absolutely no pay, it’s what Kitty has trained for and she is virtually lucky to work in the saloon. She saved Kid’s bacon!


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 now serve up something fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact D. Avery at .

Saddle Up Saloon; Blog Blusterin’

Saddle Up Saloon

“Kid, yer all het up ‘bout somethin’. What’s all the commotion?”

“Pro-motion, Pal. Thinkin’ we gotta work harder at promotin’ this here saloon. Git ourselves out there, like.”

“Hmmf. We’re doin’ jist fine, Kid. I ain’t never cottoned ta talkin’ m’sef up; it’s too much like braggin’ an’ blusterin’.”

“Naw, Pal, it’s jist gittin’ the word out. Lettin’ folks know who we are an’ what we’re about. Try it fer yersef, Pal.”

Pal; ridin’ fer Carrot Ranch an’ backin’ up Shorty.”

“Jeez, Pal, that’s only nine words.”

“Thet’s right Kid, jist nine words thet tell who I am an’ what I do.”

“But shouldn’tcha a used 99 words?”

“TUFF call, Kid. Mebbe I already did. Yep, I started with 99 words, then 59, an’ finally pared ‘em down ta jist 9 words. Them 9’s kinda like my tagline. ‘Member, Shorty goes on ‘bout thet exercise fer story writin’, fer visionin’, fer business statements an’ sech. So go ahead, Kid, promote the Saddle Up Saloon, but do it like it were The Ultimate Flash Fiction challenge an’ tell ‘bout the place in 99, 59, an’ 9 words… whut’sa matter, Kid, yer lookin’ flustered.”

“Pal! Yer jist bustin’ my chops. That sounds hard!”

“It’s a tool, Kid, an it’ll git ya more focused on the saloon, hep ya figger out yer mission. An’ even you unnerstan’ thet whut might seem like a chore  at  first is usually a bit a fun learnin’ in the end. Think you’ll find it ta be satisfying.”

“I’ll give it a try Pal, but…”

“Tell ya whut, Kid—”

“You’ll do it with me?”

“Heck no, yer on yer own, but let’s invite anyone thet has a place a their own, a blog, ta promote their blog too. Let’s encourage folks ta think ‘bout their blogs an’ mebbe try this TUFF challenge then leave their 9 word tagline in the comments. Kin even link it, git folks ta visitin’ all aroun’.”

“Yeah, Pal! Like a block party!”

“A block party? Don’t fergit yer setting, Kid. But yeah, a big ol’ blog party with folks promotin’ their sites right here. In 9 words ‘zactly.”

“But wait a minute, Pal. Ain’t that getting’ away from promotin’ the saloon?”

“No. Folks kin still gather here at the saloon anytime ta catch up with one anuther. I ‘spect they’d mebbe comment on the other 9 word taglines an’ report on their visitin’ too.”

“Sounds like we’re offerin’ folks an opportunity to cast their lines, tell ever’one ‘bout themselves.”


“Yep. Folks, try defining yer blog’s purpose in 99 words; focus that statement even more in 59 words; then hook us with 9 words. Ya might even post these versions at yer own site. Tell us who ya are or what yer about here in the comments, 9 words, no more no less.”



The Saddle Up Saloon, a virtual watering hole run by fictional characters, has been distracting folks from the real world since March 23. Located just over the line from Carrot Ranch, renowned ranch hands Kid and Pal opened the establishment to provide an entertaining respite for the world-weary. Except when goat roping went bad… and the proprietors almost losing their heads to a group of guillotine wielding revolutionists… and disgruntled characters turning on their writers… the Saloon is a safe space for folks to relax, unwind, and interact. At the Saddle Up Saloon, good fun is served fresh 24/7.  



The Saddle Up Saloon, located just over the line from Carrot Ranch, is a virtual watering hole run by fictional characters, renowned ranch hands Kid and Pal. Fun is served fresh 24/7, with guests both real and imagined entertaining saloon patrons from the stage and at the bar. Come by the Saddle Up for a refreshing virtual good time.



The Saddle Up Saloon– interactive fun with fictional characters.


“Yeah, Kid, something’ like thet.”


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 now serve up something fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact D. Avery at .

Saddle Up Saloon; Open Mic Poetry Time of the Sign

Saddle Up Saloon

“What’s happening on stage this week, Kid?”

“Poetry. Open mic.”

“Shut the front door!”

“Yep, but it ain’t quite a slam. Fer one it ain’t competitive, an’ fer two—”

“No, Kid, shut the front door, or the back door. Somethin’s gotten inta the saloon, cain’t quite figger whut it is runnin’ about the place. Do ya see ‘em? Jeez, Kid, looks like little … cowboys… in chaps…”

“Pal, have you been samplin’ the wares? Yer eyes is playin’ tricks on ya, is all. Focus, we gotta git tready fer this poetry open mic. Like I was sayin’, with our set up it’s kinda hard ta see an’ hear the spoken word so— ”

“Spoke an’ words? Like spokes of a wheel?”

“Uh, sure Pal, an’ this here saloon’s the hub. So it’s spoken word at the saloon this week. ‘Cept folks gotta write it fer us. So a slim slam, poems of 99, 59, or 9 words, short an’ sweet. Or savory. Or raw. Folks kin jist leave their slim slams as a comment.”

“Kid, shouldn’t ya a done this in April, when it was Poetry Month an’ folks was doin’ thet NaPoWriMo thang? We’re inta the third week a May now.”

“Hey, now, May be, Pal, but April was kinda rough, fact I ain’t so sure there was an April, sure seemed like one long March. Anyway’s this is jist a fun thing ta do any time an’ it’s also ta hep celebrate the tremendous growth a the off shoot poet tree that’s out back a the saloon. Yep, through the miracle a fiction, an’ plen’y a fertilizer, thet little whip grew in a flash an’ is darn near as big as the original back at the ranch!”

“Well, thet’s real good, Kid, folks’ll find inspiration at thet tree. Heck, even I writ some buckaroo-ku at the ‘riginal poet tree. But do you ‘member our first time poemin’? It was fer the 2017 Rodeo, when the Ranch’s Poet Lariat, Jules, gave thet gem of a contest, Septolet In Motion.”

“Oh, yeah, that was a fun form. Fourteen words in seven lines with a break somewheres. Then it was you Pal, come up with the first buckaroo-ku.”

“Yep an’ soon after’s when the ‘riginal poet tree showed up in front a the bunkhouse. An’ now we got this saloon an’ a second tree out back. I jist hope you don’t go gittin’ stuck an’ fallin’ outta this tree like ya done afore.”

“Pal! I seen ‘em, yer teeny tiny cowboys. Quick little fellas, ain’t they? An’ lissen. Is that piano music?”

“Sounds like, Kid.”

“Hello? Kid? Hello?”

“Come right in, the Saloon door’s always open. What kin we do ya for?”

“I think I’m looking for A. Kidd…”

“Well, sure ‘nough, I’m Kid, an’ this here’s Pal. My gosh you’re a jumpy one. Ya got fleas or somethin’?”

“Uh, no. Not fleas. Something else. Faeries.”

“What’s yer name, stranger?”

“They call me Twitch. Yow! What?”

“I’ll bet they do. So what brings ya here ta the Saddle Up, Twitch?”

“Someone by the name of S.H. Ortiz hired me to make a sign. I lost the address where I was supposed to deliver it but recall that the name A. Kidd was mentioned. I gaggled the name and was directed here.”

“D’ya mean ta say googled?”

“Ugh, my words and letters have been all mixed up because of the chapfaeries. Anyway, Kid, here’s your sign.”

“Not sure it’s meant for me Twitch, but let’s have a look. Oh, that is beautiful! But ‘otter pee’? Ya sure yer sign’s meant ta say ‘otter pee’?”

“Ya oughta if ya gotta, Twitch. Restroom’s down thet way.”

“No! Those darn chap fairies moved my letters around. And now I can’t remember what exactly the sign was supposed to say.”

“Relax, Twitch, we’ll hep ya out, won’t we Kid?”

“Sure thing. Pal, ya reckon what Shorty thought was errorists all this time was really chapfaeries?”

“Could be. Twitch, what kin ya tell us ‘bout these here chapfaeries?”

“You know, dang western faeries who wear chaps and just want to be at the center of everything. I could not keep them off the sign. I didn’t know they were attached to the piano wood I harvested from the woods. Every time I turned around, they were dancing on the sign and two of them stuck.”

IMG_5815“Whoa, stop. Back up there Twitch. What is piano wood?”

“The chapfaeries led me to a spot far out in the woods. And there on top of a hill was an upright piano. So I salvaged it. Used some of the wood from it for your sign.”

“Is thet why we’ve been hearin’ piano music?”

“Yes, Pal, when the faeries are around, the piano wood makes music.”

“Huh. Well let’s git back ta figgerin’ thet sign out. If yer sure it ain’t s’posed ta say otter pee, then what? Rope! Thet makes sense… extra letters… rope teet, naw. Trope. Trope Tee? Naw.”

“Twitch, look it that. One a them fairies is tyin’ yer boot lace fer ya.”

“Shhh… ‘Nuther un is workin’ at the letters on the sign… p-o-e-t-t-r-e-e… Poet Tree! Kid, it’s a sign fer the poet tree!”

“Which poet tree? The one back at the ranch by the bunkhouse? Or the one out back a this here saloon? Or is it fer the poet tree at World Headquarters? Dang, I sure wish that Charli Mills kept better track a things.”

“Charli Mills? World Headquarters? In Hancock, Michigan?”

“Yep, that’s right Twitch.”

“Oof. I got turned around. This sign is supposed to be at Headquarters— it’s for the Roberts Street Writery!”


“Well, why don’tcha rest up here at the saloon afore heading back ta the real world, Twitch, least long ‘nough ta round up them feisty little chapfaeries.”

“Yeah, Twitch, hang out a while. Mebbe that sign will inspire folks ta leave some poetry in the comments fer folks ta injoy.”

“Do you have cherry mead behind that bar?”

“Yep. The Saddle Up has anything and everything imaginable. Though I never imagined we’d have chapfaeries.”

“Ok, folks, it’s a poetry slim. It’s open mic all week long at the Saloon. Slip yer poems inta the comments. Try an’ git ‘em ta be jist 9, 59, or 99 words.”


A Poem,  by A. Kidd

No particular reason

Doesn’t have ta rhyme

That’s nine!

Doesn’t have ta be Ranch related

Or ’bout characters at a saloon

Could be, as poems often are

About the sun or other stars

Or the constant moon

Serious or funny, entirely up to you

Limerick or couplets or some buckaroo-ku

In whatever form, leave some nifty lines

That’s fifty-nine!

Going ta the back forty

Jist ta show it kin be done

Inspired by them chapfaeries

So mischievous and fun.

And what a talented artist, that Toj who made the sign

Perfect for Charli’s Writery

An’ guess what? That’s ninty-nine!


The poet tree sign was made by Tammy Toj Gajewski at Red Rabbit Studio, her base in Rabbit Bay, MI. Toj is a ‘teacher of joy’ and happily retired. She earned her BFA at UW- River Falls and her MPA from Northern Michigan University. You can find her walking her dogs in Rabbit Bay and playing with her Chaphaeries in her studio.


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 now serve up something fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact D. Avery at .

Next week- blog blustering!

Saddle Up Saloon; Putting Up a Stink

Saddle Up Saloon

“Ya mean ya ain’t got nuthin’ lined up fer this week? Dang, Kid! We best skedaddle an’ git ta the Saloon ASAP.”

“Jeez, Pal, ya don’t need ta call me a sap, I feel bad enough as it is. Cain’t believe I let Shorty down. Dropped the ball. Screwed up.”

“Enough idioms!”

“Pal! Stop callin’ me names already! I ain’t a idiot. Jist…”

“Jist drop it Kid. Ya say ya ain’t been by the saloon much lately. Did ya leave it locked up?”

“Heck no, it’s open 24/7 ‘member? I left Ornery Ernie ta serve folks ‘at might come by. Last I saw ‘im he was singin’ along ta Willie’s Whiskey River.”

“Oh, fer karaoke? How’d he do with the lyrics?”

“R’fused ta change one line, said tamperin’ with a Willie Nelson song’d be a crim’nal act.”

“Reckon so. Whoa. Stop. They’s a few hosses tied up out front Kid.”

“Yep. There’s ol’ Burt, so Frankie must be in there. Ernie’s mule’s out back with Pepe LeGume’s burro a Canadian affairs.”

“Hmff, LeGume. They’s some hosses here I don’t rec’nize. Thet’s a fine bay on the end.”

“That’s Blackjack. You can look over my horse but speak soft, let him know you’re there. He can’t see.”

“Howdy Ma’am. Reckon we’ll jist follow ya back inside, see whut’s goin’ on. I’m Pal, this here’s Kid.”

“Danni. Danni Gordon.”

“Name sounds f’miliar. S’pose ya’ve met these other characters.”

“I like her horse!”

“Bet’cha do, Frankie. Whyn’tcha try tradin’ her bay fer Burt? Then ya could be the blind leadin’ the blind.”

“Funny, Pal, but you’d only be half right, as I at least have my left eye.”

“I see. Frankie, have ya been keepin’ an eye on Ernie? He seems a little drunk there behind the bar.”

“Oh, he’s alright, he’s only half drunk. Danni here’s got him into Whiskey Ditches, and they’re half water. Water’s good for ya.”

“Uh-huh. Who’s thet settin’ aside a Danni?”

“Hard to keep an eye on that one. Little squirrely; seems a might short on postage.”

“Jist wunnerin’ if she should be heading home, ya know? Oh, here she comes. Ma’am.”

“Charmed, I’m sure. Matilda Windsor. You may call me Matty.”

“Oh, yep. You was here fer karaoke. Done yersef real proud. Kinda surprised ta see ya still here. Ain’t some’un s’pectin’ ya ta be comin’ home?”

“That ‘some’un’ is likely chasing me around Twitter, poor thing. I shall get where I’m going in due time. Karaoke was so entertaining, I thought I’d see what you publicans have planned next.”

“Kid, ya wanna tell the nice lady what ya have planned fer the ev’nin’s ennertainment?”

“Well, I, uh…”

“Sharts? Mademoiselle Gordon, I too am an expert on sharts, but do not know why you eenseest dey be old.”

“Pepe LeGume, you numb-nut has-bean, she’s a archaeologist. Shards. Pieces a pottery an’ artey-facts.”

“Hope yew ain’t lookin’ fer skel’tons aroun’ the Ranch, there Missy. Ain’t nobody got nuthin’ ta hide ‘roun here.”

“Aw, Jeez. Kid, fix Ernie anuther Whiskey Ditch, hold the whiskey. Take over b’hind the bar.”

“I like her horse!”

“Frankie, shush. No more highballs for you!”

“Pal, would you ever stop yammering about my eyeball? You don’t know who these two are, do you?”

“Who? Danni and Matty?”

Who? Danni and Matty? Yes, Danni and Matty! They ain’t round the Ranch regular yahoo characters like you and Kid.”

“Or you and Ernie and Pepe?”

“Touché, touchy grouch. No. They are real characters.”

“Ya mean they ain’t fictional like us?”

“They’re fictional characters. But they each have their own novel!”

“Well, what’re they doin’ here?”

“Same as any of us. Taking a break, getting away from their writers. Lookin’ ta be entertained.”

“Alright, folks, might’s well tell ya. Kid got side-tracked an’ ain’t got no ennertainment lined up.”

“That’s it! Matilda Windsor is coming home.”

“No, wait Meez Matty, Mademoiselle Weensor. Dees steenks, eeet ees true—”

“Funny you should say thet, Pepe.”

“Pal. Pleaze. What da world needs now ees common scents. Eet steenks, dat Keed messed up, but just serve a prompt. I am trying to get a sense of dees saloon. Dere have been teengs for da ear, and dere have been attempts to reach out to doze weed good taste— why not serve up someteeng olfactory?”

“Ah, jeez, is this one a them puns, er is it yer secon’ languidge sitcha-ashun?

“Ees a call for common scents, Pal. You serve savory libations for the palate, no? Serve up a prompt dat appeals to da nose.”

It’s not a bad idea, Cowpoke. Heck, there’s lots of material wafting off of Ernie alone. I could tell you what a dig smells like. Or Ike’s roses. Or his grandmother’s spaghetti.

“Kid? What d’ya think?”

“I think next week folks should plan on a poetry slim—”

“Don’tcha mean slam?”

Slim, ‘cause it should be short. I’ll git more on that later. But fer t’night, tell ‘bout a smell in 9, 59, or 99 words. Could be a good smell, could be a bad smell, but jist describe it or what it evokes fer you. BOTS, fiction, poetry, whatever.”

“Oui! Dees makes scents! Share your responses in the comment section.”


Warm smells— morning sun, stirred by bacon and coffee. (9 words by A. Kidd)


These characters are here at the saloon without the knowledge or permission of their writers. Danni Gordon, the main character of a work in progress by Charli Mills, may be familiar to you from 99 word scenes presented in the Carrot Ranch challenges. Matilda ‘Matty’ Windsor has also shown up for 99 word scenes, and is the title character in Anne Goodwin’s upcoming novel, Matilda Windsor is Coming Home. A host of characters from that novel showed up at the Saloon a few weeks ago to unwind and vent about their writer.


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 now serve up something fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact D. Avery at .


Saddle Up Saloon; Not Quite Karaoke

Saddle Up Saloon

“Dunno ‘bout this so-called karaoke, Kid. Where’s the soun’ system?”

“Ain’t got sound Pal. The music’s in folks’s heads. Ya gotta carry yer own tune. So yeah, that’s the disclaimer; they ain’t no act’ul singin’. But, see, that way no songs git harmed in the production a karaoke night.”

“But yer ‘spectin’ folks ta change the lyrics a familiar songs?”

“Yep. Let me step up. Show ya how it’s done.”

Yer goin’ up first? Mebbe we should call it chokey-croaky.”

“Gonna do a song ta the tune a Janis Joplin’s “Mercedez Benz.”

“Oh brother!”

“Big Brother, Pal. An’ The Holding Company.”


Oh Boss, won’t you buy me a Dodge pickup truck?  
Ranch hands ride hosses, but my hoss always bucks.       

Cain’t sit tall in the saddle, if yer down on yer luck,
So Boss, won’t you buy me a Dodge pickup truck?

Oh Boss, won’t you buy me some bacon an’ beans?
I ain’t a veg’tarian, but my food’s all turned green.
My tummy rumbles like thunder, the larder is lean,
So, oh Boss, won’t you buy me some bacon an’ beans?

Oh Boss, won’t you buy me a decent first aid kit?
I’m counting on you, Boss, I think I been rattlesnake bit.
Prove that you love me, that you give a shit,
Oh Boss, won’t you buy me a decent first aid kit?

Oh Boss, won’t you buy me a Dodge pickup truck?
Ranch hands ride hosses, but my hoss always bucks.

Cain’t sit tall in the saddle, if yer down on yer luck,
So Boss, won’t you buy me a Dodge pickup truck?
That’s it!                       


“Thank gawd. Hey, look who’s here! It’s thet buckaroo from the Canadian prairies, ‘Quiet Spirits’ columnist, Ann Edall-Robson. Are ya here ta sing us a song, Ann?”

“Think I will, Pal! I do consider Don Gibson to be one of the all-time greats when it comes to old-style country music. His lyrics are easy to sing along to. And I know for certain I danced miles and miles to his song “Oh Lonesome Me. There was seldom a live band at any rodeo dance or cabaret that didn’t include it. Yup, datin’ myself and don’t give a rat’s ass. So here goes— to Don Gibson, I apologize, and I hope you don’t mind how this one came out…


Oh Saddle Sore Me


Everybody’s saddlin’ up for some fun 

I’m wonderin’ if Pal and Kid will ever see the sun 

I can’t get down there quick enough, you see

Oh, saddle sore me


Now, Pal and Kid, they let us all just hang around

We’re havin’ a blast, kickin’ up our heals or layin’ low

A bunch of literary sorts swappin’ lies and readin’ books 

Oh, saddle sore me


We come and go as we please

Or watch it all from the trees

Teasin’, laughin’, playin’ with the words

It’s something we love to do 

While we share a libation or two

With Pal and Kid encouragin’ us from the bar


This must be the way to lose these saddle sore blues

Ignore the world and settle in with this crew 

Ponderin’ our fun takes the place of reality

Oh, saddle sore me.


“Oh my, Ann, ya done real good. ‘Cept now I got a earworm.”

“That’s better than a bedbug.”

“Well Ann, that all depens on who’s doin’ the buggin’, I s’pose.”

“Hey, Pal, it’s Shorty, an’ she’s standin’ tall as kin be right up on stage. Wunner whut she’ll sing.”

“Reckon some ol’ buckaroo song. Shush an’ jist lissen, Kid.”


Git Along Protagonist, by Shorty (To the Tune of Git Along Little Doggies)


As I was out riding one morning for leisure, 

I spied a word-puncher a-writing alone.

Her head was hunched down and her fingers were tapping.

And as I approached, she was writing a tome.


Yippee ki yi ay, git along protagonist,

It’s your grand epic and none of my own.

Yippee ki yi ay, git along protagonist,

Be a best-seller and make us well known.


Early in the springtime writers scan the pages,

Edit and brand ’em and finish their tales,

Round up the scenes, load up the chapters,

Then throw them manuscripts right out in e-mail. 


Yippee ki yi ay, git along protagonist,

It’s your grand epic and none of my own.

Yippee ki yi ay, git along protagonist,

Be a best-seller and make us well known.


 “Hey, Shorty! Ya struck a chord with thet one! Thinkin’ thet song brought a tear ta some writerly eyes. Yer a protagonist at this here bar, fer sure.”

“Thanks, Pal. I appreciate that the Saloon is a safe place for song slingin’, jist as the Ranch is safe fer raw writin’ an’ discoursin’. Hope others give this a go in the comments.”

“Well here comes someone now. Who’s that ranch hand?”

“Kid, that fella looks ta be more of a farm boy than a rancher.”

“Really, Pal, how kin ya tell? One or the udder, looks like he’s got a song ta sing. Shush. Why, that sounds like that John Prine song, Dear Abby. Ha! I love that song.”


“Dear Charli, Dear Charli, my kids are all freaks, 

One’s up in Svalbard and the other two are geeks. 

They all went to school then went their own way, 

Smarter than me but love me just the same.

Signed, Growly Bear Daddy.”


“Howdy, Mister. Ya did a real fine job with that song, don’t think Mr. Prine’d mind at all. Somehow the characters in it seem familiar. What’d ya say yer name was?”

“Just call me Sargent Mills.”

“Yessir! Pal serve this man a beer! Well.”

“Deep, Kid. Stop gawkin’ and make way.

Folks, you or yer characters, step right up, set yer lyrics ta a familiar tune, we’ll follow along in the comments. It ain’t quite karaoke, but we kin carry on anyways.


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 now serve up something fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up as a saloon guest, contact D. Avery at .