#99Word Stories; Beaver Slap

The May 30, 2023 99-word story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a beaver slap. It can be an actual tail slap warning on the water or an imitation. Is a beaver slap the name of something — a new type of burger, perfume, or a sci-fi gadget? Take ecological and poetic licenses. Go where the prompt leads! Submit by June 5, 2023. Please use the form below if you want to be published in the weekly collection. The Collection publishes on the Thursday following the next Challenge. Stories must be 99 words. Rules & Guidelines.

Be sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “High Water Collection” .

Safe Haven by D. Avery

Wintertime was the worst. Then the pond out back was frozen over, the beavers invisible and unavailable to her. She imagined them content and cozy in their lodge, happy they were safe. In the summer her father often complained about them, kept the rifle out, but he was too lazy to set traps under the ice.

Now her father’s glass banged the table, a hard slap of sound, a warning of what was coming next. Sometimes she dreamed of escaping, of swimming underwater and entering the beaver lodge. Sometimes she prayed the beavers would just flood this house away.

In addition to what I post here for the Carrot Ranch challenges, there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and Pal’s responses HERE.

W3 Prompt #54; Elfchen

Wea’ve Written Weekly

This week’s Poet of the Week for the W3 prompt is Sadje, and Sadje’s prompt guidelines are to “Write an elfchen poem (elevenie) with an added challenge to write a second elfchen poem, which opposes the first one.” (Go to The Skeptic’s Kaddish to find out more) Yesterday I saw vibrant patches of dandelions in swirls on an incredibly green field. After a dry spell, it’s good to be back with something for the W3.

Infinite Wonder by D. Avery

golden galaxies
suns starring fields
spiraling in green space

new stars 
from stardust nebulae 
wispy explosions, comet-tailed, alight

#SixSentenceStories; Consequences

This week Denise, at GirlieontheEdge, esteemed hostess of Six Sentence Stories, would have us write using the word “consequences”. Her rules are simply that the response is in six sentences, no more no less, and include some form of the prompt word. Of all the possibilities, this is what I went with. Go HERE to link in and read more Sixes.

Child’s Play by D. Avery

In Vermont spring goes by other names, like Sugaring Season, and the one I enjoy far less as a commuting adult, Mud Season. But, as a child walking up our muddy dirt road in the spring, I found the puddled water and mud irresistible, and would dig trenches with hands and heels to watch the water drain away, harmless play that maybe even helped the messy roads to dry out faster.

When I lived on a faraway island and heard the story of Love Paddack, I totally got what she did, but her mucking about with running water had much greater consequences than my roadwork, and not in a good way.

As a girl in the 1720’s, Love played on an earthen dam at the outlet to what was then known as Wesco Pond, where there was enough of a stream to run a mill. When she went home to Sunset Hill she had left trickling rivulets; when she and the rest of the town awakened the next morning, the pond was gone, never to refill, today a wetland, but not a proper pond.

This would have been a huge loss to the town at that time, and a great mystery, as Love kept her secret until her deathbed in 1792— imagine living with that your whole long life.

Frances Karttunen


Jascin N. Leonardo Finger

#99Word Stories; Color of Hope

The April 24, 2023 99-word story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to:  In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about the color of hope. Who is in need of hope and why? How can you use color to shape the story? Pick a color, any color. Go where the prompt leads! Submit by April 30, 2023.

Be sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Old Lady and the Beast collection” .

Color of Hope by D. Avery

“Why so sad?” Gloria sat across from me in our booth.

I told Gloria how I’d ruined the rainbow picture I’d tried to make for her. The colors had smeared as I painted, and the more I tried to fix it, the worse it got. Now her picture looked like mud.

“That’s the color of hope, Penelope.”

“That’s crazy.” I shouldn’t have said that, but Gloria laughed, then reminded me that my picture contained all the colors of the rainbow.

Then we painted plants growing from rich brown soil, flowers the color of the rainbow.

Gloria’s picture was beautiful.

In addition to what I post here for the Carrot Ranch challenges, there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and Pal’s responses HERE.

d’Verse Haibun Monday; Late Spring

At the dVerse Poets Pub, Haibun Monday is hosted this week by Linda Lee Lyberg. She would have us write a haibun inspired by Late Spring. Go to the pub to link your haibun and to read the others.

Returnings by D. Avery

Late spring? I don’t think so, late winter having just tucked tail. There’s still snow in the woods and on the mountains. But the sap buckets and taps are put away. Despite chilly, rainy weather the trees are leafing out, the buds unfurling, expanding ever so gradually, each a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. My daffodils are finally showing their sheathed bulbs, peeking straight up amidst the foliage; it will be a while before they relax and nod their yellow faces to the sun.

The ice is out of the lake completely. The bald eagle doesn’t have it as easy now that the returning ducks aren’t crowded into small patches of open water. The loon pair is back, busy keeping the geese off of their nest.

The bears are out. A walk in the woods shows scratched up logs and stumps. Deer are in the fields and clearings, happy to have easy feed again. Turkeys are everywhere, the toms strutting and fanning their tails.

Maybe it is spring. I have heard the peepers and even wood frogs— heralds of spring. But not late spring.

starlight songs

vernal orchestra

twinkling bright

#99Word Stories; Dark Eyed

The April 17, 2023 99-word story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to:  In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story of something/someone dark-eyed. What could be a dark-eyed situation? Or is it a dark-eyed beauty? A dark-eyed junco? Maybe it’s a futuristic piece of technology. Go where the prompt leads! Submit by April 22, 2023.

Be sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Old Lady and the Beast collection” from last week‘s challenge.

Rabbit by D. Avery

I try not to tense up in my stillness. I wait, listening, controlling my breath so it doesn’t give me away.

Hunting’s about taking everything in, about knowing what to look for, and where. The winter hare, crouched perfectly still, disappears into the snow, invisible but for its shiny black eyes that watch the muzzle rise. At night, the racoon makes its escape into the tree branches, but its eyes, red in the searching light, provide a target.

I stay hidden, perfectly still. I listen to the hunter taking everything in, searching for me. My eyes are shut tight.

In addition to what I post here for the Carrot Ranch challenges, there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and Pal’s responses HERE.


Every Wednesday Crispina Kemp posts a photo that we might respond with something CREATIVE.

Roamsick by A. Kid


I’m just A. Kid, and here’s what I did

I decided to travel and roam

but this sky is so blue

and now I am too

for it reminds me of the blue skies back home


Is that a Poet Tree, as empty as me?

not full and lush like back home

all this rhyme

takes me back in time

with the ranch and the range all I’d known


I’ve crashed some scenes, just ask Colleen

stepped into stage lights that shone

but I don’t need a slam

to know who I am

this Kid is going to find the way home.

#SixSentenceStories; second Second

This week, Denise, at GirlieontheEdge, host of and participant in Six Sentence Stories, serves up “second“. Her rules are simply that the response be in six sentences, no more no less, and includes some form of the prompt word. Go HERE to link in and read more Sixes.

I need a second to catch my breath. A character has escaped my pen and is managing to stay two steps ahead of me. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but seems to have a sixth sense, even left the Six Sentence Cafe & Bistro after only a second beer— unprecedented! The Bistro was Kid’s second stop. Couldn’t resist the Poetry Slam. I wonder if there’ll be a second one someday.

Second Rate by D. Avery

Some days you're slammed, and man oh man, how your cookies do crumble
You run your race but find that your pace has slowed to a shuffling stumble
So you stumble in as the floor lights are dimmed, as a figure steps up to the mic
and renders a soliloquy so poetically but something just doesn’t feel right
Recognition and realization wash over you like icy-cold dread
for up on the stage, (audience raptly engaged), are the voices you hear in your head. 

It’s hard to accept when they get more respect it’s like some sort of penance
But you put in your time searching for rhyme and the ever elusive sixth sentence
And this poem’s up to nine, if you’re counting lines, past time to exit stage right—
Gather your crumbs! Get outta here bum! Follow your mares into the night—
I am compelled to leave after twelve, but here is how I have reckoned
this isn’t a trick or a double of six, it’s just that Denise served up seconds.

#SixSentenceStories; Second

Yeehaw! Whilst D. Avery’s gone off lookin fer me at Word Craft Poetry, I’m already havin my second adventure. Yep, I’m an escaped fictional character, A. Kid, usually kep outta the way, tucked inta the Ranch Yarn pages here at ShiftnShake. I’ve ventured away from a virtual Ranch, an lookee here! A virtual Café & Bistro an they’s holdin a Poetry Slam!

Seems Denise, at GirlieontheEdge, is hostin Six Sentence Stories, meanin ya jist have ta write six sentences, no more no less, thet includes some form of the prompt word, “second“. Go HERE to link in an leave a poem or story or read more Sixes. But this week theres also a poetry slam being held at the Six Sentence Café & Bistro. An I aim ta join in, have some fun a’fore D. Avery gits back an puts me in my place.

L’ East Ways by A. Kid

Don’t know where I’m at, mebbe Providence done brought me here
Thinkin this Café & Bistro, like a saloon, least serves chow an beer
I’m thirsty from road dust, wandered so far from the Ranch
ain’t used ta the city but thought I might take a chance;
struck out on my own, ta see what I kin do
jist hope these fancy folks’ll serve me, an my hoglet too.

When that tall thin man ain’t lookin, I’ll sneak in my fat pig
Hey! A poetry slam? Here's my secon off-Ranch gig.
Yep, me an my hog hit the road, went out on the lam
we’re lookin fer gigs, like this poetry slam
Cain’t much more put me in a happier mood
cept fer a beer an some a that bistro food.

Cain’t tell if there’s rules, hope this slam ain’t fixed
something bout havin ta work around six?
Fer this I’ll be countin both stanzas an lines 
not my usual word count a zactly 99
I’m away from the Ranch, outta the barns
takin a chance, steppin outta the Yarns.

I’m known as Kid, an I’m far from my range
a fictional character, hope ya don’t find me too strange
an what I took as a pup, turned out ta be swine
but Curly’s real smart, an behaves herself fine
so if it’s okay fer us ta join in this poetry deal
I’ll squeak out some rhymes an my pig will jist squeal. 

Phew, six stanzas, it’s startin ta feel like a lot
but I’ll give it a go and give ya’ll what I got
but suddenly I’m feelin lonesome an lost
missin the cattle an missin my hoss
ain’t cut out fer the city, ain’t cut out fer cutting loose
feelin outta place, away from my usual group.

Yet this is a mighty nice Bistro, a lot a fine folk is in here
an the service is great! Yes thank you, I’ll have a second beer!
I’ll gather my courage fer this poetry slam
an hope ta be ‘cepted fer who I am
All I kin do, is jist do my best
the rhymin Kid from outta the west.

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge No. 316; Special Birthday Prompt

Over at Word Craft Poetry, Colleen says, “This week’s challenge is to create a syllabic form with 65 syllables, or a combination of words that amount to 65. Name the form, and tell us how to write it!” 

Happy Birthday, Colleeen! I give you de-cadence,  a poem of ten syllables (decade) per line plus a final one word closing with enough syllables to complete the required number, ie, 6 lines plus one 5-syllable word for Colleen’s birthday celebration. Rhyming brings the cadence, the decadence is self-indulgence, or indulging another.

While I don’t know Colleen well enough to tell her tale, I tried to match each line to its corresponding decade, as it might have been for her.

in the first decade she gathers wisdom
experiences magic unknowing
stretches impatiently, discovers wings
spends decades just searching, moving, going
finally alights, gives her wings a rest
magically finds that stories line her nest 

Oh no! Kid is here.

“I see whut ya’ve done here, D. Avery. Reckon I’ll git in on this birthday syllabic poetry thing. After all I’m the one started buckaroo-ku at Carrot Ranch.”

Carrot Ranch is where you should be, Kid. Please, just go back.

“I’m seein the world. First stop, Colleen Chesebro’s place. Now step aside, I’ll try yer de-cadence fer Colleen.”

Believin by A. Kid

Least since she was born Colleen’s been alive
hard ta believe she’s today sixty-five
(but roun her ya kin believe anythin)
Colleen an I both live life in full bloom
‘member her poemin at the Saloon?
there shared with us a new form that she had
Double -Ennead!

Kid, that’s fine, I’m sure Colleen will like it or at least will be polite, but you really should go back to the Ranch.

“Sure, D. Avery. Less I git a invitation ta go see more a the world. Come on Curly, let’s go.”

Kid! Dang, that character has escaped my pen.