Margaret's Garden, Part 18 by:DeusLibra

Margaret woke up, walking over to the bathroom and dry-heaving for a few minutes. Though she wasn’t going to admit it, it had been becoming a more regular part of her day than she had anticipated. She took her daily pills and got dressed, walking out onto the deck as the sun crept over the fence, shining brilliantly onto the garden.

The field had been fully plowed and planted, the sprouts of tomatoes just barely peeking out from the dirt and glistening with morning dew. The herd had managed to plow the area that Bill had rototilled within only a couple weeks, and with the exception of about ten rows she had left empty, the field had been planted with a variety of crops, including eggplant, pumpkins, peppers (only bell), onions, garlic, and many others.

But for now, there was an even more important crop to take care of. Margaret gazed over at the original field, filled with rows and rows of radishes and smiled. Today was the day of the radish harvest.

Margaret was excited, having driven into town yesterday to buy ingredients to make her famous pea and radish salad for dinner, as well as a couple new set of jars to pickle the surplus for later. And she would need them. Margaret had no idea what went on in the digestive system of the tiny ponies, but their excrement was the best damn fertilizer she ever used, the radishes swelling to the size of golf-balls within a little more than a month.

Margaret watched as the sun began to shine straight into the fluffy coops, just barely able to make out a yawn as the fluffies began to stir. She watched with a smile on her face as Grapenut shuffled his way out of the coop, looking around sleepily before seeing Margaret. He smiled and began to run over. “Mummah Mawgawet!”

“Hello dearie! Did you sleep well?” Grapenut nuzzled his head against her pant leg. “Gwapenut hab gud sweepie pictcha!” Margaret leaned over and lifted him, placing the pony on her lap and softly rubbing the base of his wings as they fluttered happily. “Really dearie? Tell me what happened in your dream.”

Grapenut weaved a nonsensical story of sketties, babies, and flying as the rest of the ponies woke and began to walk out of their coops to play, frolic, and go back to sleep in the sunlight. Margaret smiled as Victoria walked out, two of her foals on her back and the third riding atop Archibald’s head. Her foals, all varying shades of silver, had managed to pass the lickie cleanies test, but Margaret was still worried some of them would have a genetic defect like their mother. So far they had been developing at a normal rate.

The same couldn’t be said for Cider. His mother’s betrayal had caused him immense emotional distress, and for the last few weeks he had continued hoof sucking, well beyond the range of time a fluffy should stop the habit. Much of the fur around his left hoof was gone, the skin chapping quickly in the dry Kansas air. She watched as the unicorn hobbled his way out of the coop, still furiously sucking on his hoof. He wasn’t able to walk properly, and he would most certainly be unable to work.

Unfortunately, Margaret couldn’t do much to help. Short of driving him over 100 miles to a fluffy psychology specialist, the best she could do would be supportive of him and pray he kick the habit himself. It kind of reminded her of when she tried to get Leo to stop smoking, but with more hugs.

Margaret shook these thoughts from her head. Right now there were more important things to do.

“Line up!”

The fluffies bounded over to her, Button rolling the now immobile Bullet into place. After giving the fluffies a breakfast of oats, apples, and yogurt drizzled in honey, Margaret pulled on a pair of gloves, turning to face the herd with a big smile. “Dearies, today is a very special day!”

“Wat am ‘spechul day’ mummah?” Button asked curiously. Margaret’s smile grew even bigger. “I’m so glad you asked!” She walked over to the field. “You guys have been doing such a good job taking care of the radishes, they are ready for harvest!” She pulled up a radish to demonstrate, the plump red root glistening in the sun as the fluffies gasped in wonder.

“Do pwanty nummies weawwy taste good?” Grapenut asked, a small dribble of saliva hanging out of his mouth. “They do indeed, dearie.” Margaret stood up straight, using her apron to brush the soil off the radish. “And after we finish the harvest, I will cook you all a VERY special dinner!” Margaret wasn’t sure her smile could get any bigger as she received a chorus of high pitched cheers from almost all the fluffies. Almost.

Margaret watched as Button stared at her with a mixture of sadness and uncertainty. Walking over to him, Margaret knelt down beside him, pulling off her glove and stroking his head softly. “What’s wrong dear?”

Button turned to her sadly. “Button nu’ wan num pwanty fwiends.” Margaret kissed him on the forehead. “Oh you are so sweet dearie.” She hauled him onto her lap, stroking his back as the fluffy giggled. “The planty friends aren’t going to truly go forever sleepies.” Button turned to her in shock. “Weawwy? Dey wive in tummy?” Margaret laughed. “No, dear, they become a part of you.” Button still seemed confused. “What mummah mean?”

“Where do you think nummies go when you eat them dearie?” Button cocked his head. “Poopies?” Margaret grimaced. “Some of them, yes, but others are used to make you grow big and strong.” Button looked down at his hooves, nervously shifting around. “Weawwy?” his face grew dark again. “Buh Button stiww nu wan num pwant fwiends!”

Margaret gave him a hug. “The plant friends have lived a long, happy life already Dearie, thanks to you and all the rest of the herd. Why, they lived the happiest life they could have.” Button squiggled around in Margaret’s arms until he faced her. “Weawwy?”

“Yes, they did. And now, at the end of their lives, before they go forever sleepies, they want to give back to you.” Button gazed out at the rows of radishes. “Button unnerstan’ mummah.” The pony squirmed his way out of the old womans arms, trotting over and nuzzling his head against the radish leaves, cooing softly. “Tank ‘ou pwanty fwiends! Button wiww miss ‘ou!”

Margaret smiled, the moment ended as Archibald trotted over and nudged the woman’s leg. “Mummah, how hawvest wadishes?” Margaret turned to see the rest of the worker fluffies lined up in excitement, their tails flicking back and forth in anxious excitement.

Walking over to the fluffies, Margaret redonned her gloves. “Gather round, let me show you how to pull the radishes up safely!” The fluffies formed a semicircle around the old woman as she crouched down next to a radish. “Alright dearies, watch carefully.”

Margaret waited until she was sure the all the fluffies were paying attention. “So, first, grasp the radish by the base of the stem,” She grabbed the leaves as close to the ground as she could, “Like so. Now, pull slowly” Margaret began to slowly pull the radish up “But firmly.” Slowly, the bright red root was pulled from the soil. “There, now when you have the radish, bring it over to me so I can wash it up.”

Margaret was delighted by a chorus of “Otay mummah!” as the herd swiftly (for fluffies) went to work, pulling up the radishes and bringing them over to form a small pile on the deck. Margaret went inside and retrieved a bucket of water, sans spoiled brat foal this time, bringing it out onto the deck along with a scrub brush and pairing knife, and set to work, rinsing off the dirt with the brush and bucket before cutting the leafy tops and the tiny root at the bottom off and tossing it into a basket.

Sooner than Margaret expected, the basket was filled, but the radishes kept coming. She looked over in surprise to see that the field was little over a third harvested, the legs of the ponies caked in dirt as they brought radish after radish to the old woman. Margaret made her way inside to the unused garage, fishing around until she found a couple more baskets, walking outside to see a mountain of radishes piled on the deck.

And so it went, radish after radish rinsed, topped, tailed, and tossed into the basket, a trail of dirt forming between the deck and the field as it clung to the soft fluff of each pony. Margaret made sure the ponies took a break every fifteen minutes so as not to exhaust themselves, the ponies resting in the shade next to her as she continued cleaning the radishes. The mares and their foals watched the proceedings from the shade cast by the coops, the mummahs all humming a tune to the foals, who drifted in and out of sleep.

Finally, after many hours of harvesting, the field was empty, the radishes washed, and the fluffies playing among themselves. Margaret chuckled to her self as Jackson nailed Grapenut with a flying hug that sent them both into the muddy patch that was the field, coloring both ponies a deep brownish black as they devolved into a fit of giggling. It was evident that a round of baths would be necessary before dinner.

Margaret made her way inside, filling her favorite stockpot with water and setting it to a boil before hooking a hose up to her faucet and leading it outside. The sight of the washbasin certainly took the pep out of the ponies, but still they dutifully lined up for their bath, Bumbler leading the line.

“EEP!” the fluffy squeaked in surprise as Margaret lowered him into the warm, ankle deep water. “I’m sorry dear, we can’t have you stay dirty.

“It am otay, mummah.” Bumbler muttered quietly. Ever since Punky had been tied up, whipped, and banished from the garden, the dehorned unicorn had mellowed out, even to the point of calling Margaret “mummah.” And while he certainly wasn’t her favorite pony, she had forgiven him, even growing a bit fond of him.

“Alright,” Margaret lifted the sodden pony out of the basin, placing him to dry on the sunny deck, “Stay on the deck until I rinse down the mess, alright dear?” Receiving a short nod, Margaret continued on to wash the next pony, who she surmised to be Grapenut based on the wings. It was basically a guessing game with how dirty the ponies were, and her failing eyesight.

The sun was beginning to near the horizon when she finally finished, dumping the water in the grass and using the hose to spray the trail of dirt back field. Margaret went back inside, placing about a dozen large mason jars into the stockpot of boiling water to sterilize them, before moving on to prep the dinner.

While ideally she wanted to have them eat the radish plain, the little bit of bite it had may put them off, so she had instead opted for her favorite salad. Slicing around thirty of the radishes into batons, she filled her largest mixing bowl with frozen peas, ladling some boiling water from the stock pot to thaw and re-hydrate the peas. Finishing with some cheese, olive oil, vinegar, and a little bit of fresh mint, Margaret set a portion aside for herself before filling the dinner tray with the radish salad and bringing it out to the ponies.

“Line up!” Margaret’s shout brought the herd running, saliva dripping from their mouths as they hurriedly got into place. The residual heat from the peas had begun to melt the feta cheese, the smell forcing some of the ponies present to gulp audibly. Margaret had considered doing a speech about the fruits of their labor, looking at the ponies now, she could tell they weren’t in a listening mood.

“Here you are dearies, eat up!” Margaret placed the tray down and the fluffies went to work. While usually, the fluffies would chatter amongst themselves whilst they ate, the near silence besides the chewing and smacking of lips told Margaret she had done a great job. Heading back inside, Margaret prepared a pickling liquid and began to cut the radishes into thin disks. She managed to pickle most of the radishes, but still had enough leftovers to add to at least the whole of next weeks meals.

Back outside, the ponies were talking amongst themselves happily. “Fwuffy WUB pwanty nummies!” Dawn excitedly told her daddeh as she bounded around him and her brother. “Dey am gud nummies.” Bumbler agreed, turning to Cider and softly attempting to pull his hoof from his mouth, only succeeding in pulling the foal off balance. “Cidah, nee’ stop hoofie suckwin, nu am widdwe babbeh nu mowe.” He said sternly. “If ‘ou suck ‘ouw hoofie tu much, hoofie come off!”

Cider slowly removed his hoof from his mouth, now covered in a layer of spit and bits of food, and walked off to the coop, placing it back in his mouth as soon as he was out of sight of his daddeh. “Dummeh daddeh,” The red foal muttered to itself, furiously sucking on his hoof.

Margaret came back outside with a warm, damp wash cloth, going around to each of the ponies and giving each fluffies face a quick wipe down before giving them a hug and sending them to bed before noticing Jackson sitting by the field, staring at it sadly. After finishing sending the rest of the ponies to bed, Margaret went to sit beside the two toned fluffy. “Is something wrong dearie?”

“Fwuffy nu know.” Margaret smiled. “The field looks weird without all the plant friends doesn’t it?” Jackson nodded slowly. “I understand. But it won’t be empty for long.” Jackson turned to look at the old woman. “Weawwy? Wat mummah gon’ put in fiewd?” Margaret smiled at him and ruffled his head fluff, the pony giggling. “Well dear, you’ll just have to wait and see.”

Jackson pouted. “Dat nu am faiw mummah!” Margaret smiled, wiping the loose crumbs of feta cheese from his face with the wash cloth. “It’s just the way things are dear.” Margaret gave him a kiss on the forehead. “Now scurry off to bed dear, its past both of our bedtimes!”

Jackson trotted off to his coop as Margaret made her way inside and got ready for bed.

Part 17
Part 19


Reasons its been over a month since last update:
1.) Uni
2.) Depression
3.) Skyrim


all of them more than valid reasons. was it modded skyrim?


Heavily modded.


only good way to play skyrim


Cider’s gonna stir up trouble isn’t he?


seems like we’re gonna get a little conflict out of Cider. Of course, a really easy fix, at least in the short term, for the hoof sucking would just be to give him a pacifier.


The old woman is dieing, isn’t she?


glances at the vortex dashboard listing the 62 mods active on my skyrim game, then the un finished next chapter of the Pack…
I have no idea why that could possibly be a distraction!


I’m at 114 mods myself lol


Margaret is one character that feels real like a really nice grandma


The problem with that is that he shouldn’t be sucking anything at all, and Margaret doesn’t want to encourage the behavior


Ain’t we all

1 Like

Take all the time you need! I love this story!


I’m very very busy right now, will probably be summer before part 19 is out


If you need to take a break until winter to get everything in order then I’ll happily wait. Take care of yourself :slight_smile:


Several companies make extremely bitter creams and/or clear nail polishes designed to discourage nail-biting and thumb sucking.

“Mavala Stop” is particularly nasty tasting.


Man I just read this from chapter one, you have a gift my friend. The reason for the slow updates are valid and relatable (what is it about university that brings on depression?) Been there myself, stay strong.


I squealed happily when I saw the radishes survived Candy. That’s so awesome! I was worried they wouldn’t have their radishes.


Bumbler’s redemption is a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.