1. Member Since 13th Oct, 2013
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I'm a long time science fiction and animation fan who stumbled into My Little Pony fandom and got caught -- I guess I'm a Brony Forever now.

Latest Stories

  • T Dancing Alone

    YOH 1505: Moon Dancer has resumed her friendships. But can she overcome the damage of her alienation?  · Jordan179
    15,578 words · 207 views  ·  18  ·  2
  • T Audience Reaction

    YOH 1548: Rarity is not pleased with High Concept's Succession ad on the Twelfth Equestriad Interview show.  · Jordan179
    2,867 words · 315 views  ·  23  ·  9 · sex
  • T Undying Love

    Celly and Dissy have fallen in love. But another is jealous of their happiness, and dark dreams threaten their happiness. Can Love conquer all?  · Jordan179
    4,517 words · 301 views  ·  30  ·  12 · sex
  • T Fools and Drunks

    Spring 1505. Snips Fields and Snailsquirm Carrot do something a bit dangerous to celebrate Snails' sixteenth birthday. What could possibly go wrong?  · Jordan179
    7,573 words · 261 views  ·  27  ·  5 · sex
  • T Love Starved

    Compound's lost her administrative post and been assigned to what amounts to a suicide team. Will she have to spend these last months of her life alone? Or will she find friendship in the least likely of places?  · Jordan179
    5,934 words · 179 views  ·  17  ·  1 · sex · gore
  • T Can You Go Home Again?

    A Pinkie Pie who lost her way comes home for the holidays, bringing her best friend and dearest love for moral support.  · Jordan179
    3,731 words · 339 views  ·  20  ·  3 · sex
  • T Ruminations in Stone

    Wind Whistler, trapped within Discord in the form of a stone statue in the gardens of the Royal Palace of Canterlot, muses on many things.  · Jordan179
    2,293 words · 294 views  ·  23  ·  1 · sex
  • T The Fall of Hive Hunger-Prime

    Theoretical-Infiltrator Compound, pressed into service in her Hive's last desperate need, muses on how it all went wrong as she awaits her end.  · Jordan179
    18,028 words · 315 views  ·  26  ·  4 · gore
  • T A World of Illusions

    Three girls encounter some unusual events at Canterlot High School.  · Jordan179
    4,174 words · 553 views  ·  32  ·  5 · sex
  • T His Mark On History

    Across the Stormy Seas to the east of Equestria, on the continent of Taura, the ponies of the Running Water are oppressed by their Griffon overlords. Can young First Strong Messenger strike a blow for independence and change history?  · Jordan179
    4,405 words · 155 views  ·  14  ·  2 · gore
  • E Royal Business

    When Spike is called away to Canterlot on Royal Business, he expects to have to do something for Princess Celestia. Instead, he winds up being interviewed by Princess Luna and fed a lot of gems. Life can be tough for a young Dragon!  · Jordan179
    9,491 words · 1,290 views  ·  58  ·  2
  • T Substitute Mentor

    Wise Dreamer was the mentor of the Pony magician Trixie Lulamoon, but he can't be everywhere at once. When the Humanoid Trixie is fated to fall into Nightmare, Wise Dreamer, busy in another dimension, must find her a substitute mentor.  · Jordan179
    6,164 words · 317 views  ·  26  ·  8 · sex · gore
  • T Divine Jealousy and The Voice of Reason

    Late Season 4: When Discord discovers that Fluttershy has another love interest, will he attempt a traditional solution? Or can a Voice of Reason stay his hand?  · Jordan179
    73,965 words · 1,277 views  ·  84  ·  17 · sex
  • T Dragonshyness

    Fluttershy endures one of the most frightening experiences of her life. (It is a testament to the utter terror that can be Fluttershy's life that confronting a full-grown Dragon counts as only "one" of the most terrifying days of her  · Jordan179
    38,857 words · 1,000 views  ·  59  ·  4
  • T Pinkie Sense and Sensibility

    When a young mare happens to be both her own pony and the Pink Daughter of Paradise, love and life can get complex and strange  · Jordan179
    15,879 words · 934 views  ·  33  ·  3
  • T Collateral Damage

    Ageing ex-Guardspony Falcon Punch takes a dangerous escort mission to prove he still has the right stuff. Will he succeed, or meet his end?  · Jordan179
    32,227 words · 309 views  ·  34  ·  2 · sex · gore
  • T A Robust Solution

    Fluttershy comes to terms with a mistake from her past, and learns how to handle herself in the future, with the help of her good friend Rarity.  · Jordan179
    11,859 words · 759 views  ·  67  ·  5 · sex
  • T The Romance of the Open Road

    Fleeing Manehattan after saving the city, the Great and Powerful Trixie experiences the joys of life alone on the open road!  · Jordan179
    6,895 words · 370 views  ·  25  ·  3

Top Favourites

  • My Little Balladeer The Elements of Harmony find themselves facing an evil beyond their knowledge, armed with an alien magic. In desperation they use their Elements to summon aid and get - a hillbilly with a silver-strung guitar? by Ardashir 151,377 words · 2,548 views · 106 likes · 5 dislikes
  • Lost Cities North of Canterlot, in the far marches of the Equestrian lands near the border with the Griffon tribes, there is a mountain that flies. by Cold in Gardez 9,913 words · 5,814 views · 799 likes · 11 dislikes
  • Without a Hive A young changeling is separated from his hive, and must blend in and survive among the ponies of Equestria. by Phoenix_Dragon 189,652 words · 13,185 views · 1,366 likes · 23 dislikes
  • Traitor The story of "Twilight's Kingdom" from Discord's point of view. by alarajrogers 29,255 words · 2,129 views · 197 likes · 4 dislikes
  • Pony POV Series Season Four: Generation Transitions & Origins Why is Pinkie Pie 'weird'? Why is Celestia? Why is Discord? A connection between G1,MLPT, G3, and by Alex Warlorn 79,042 words · 3,021 views · 158 likes · 6 dislikes

The "Shadow Wars"

The machinations of the Cosmic Concepts have shaped the history of the Ponies for ten thousand years.  But now their mistakes have cracked the Cosmos, and the Shadows seep through to claim our own Universe for their dark and predatory purposes.  If they can gain a bridgehead on Equestria's Earth, this will be but the first step in a war of extermination against our continuum, a war which will end in the destruction of all life in our own Universe.

Can Celestia lead the defense of the Earth and save, not only her little Ponies, but all Earthlife, from utter annihilation?  Can Luna be redeemed from the Shadows and return to her former greatness?  Will Discord prove a powerful ally, or betray them all to damnation?  Can a new generation of powerful beings aid them enough to bring victory?  Or will the Earth die, drained of its vitality by the sinister Shadows?

List of stories in the Shadow Wars universe further down the page.

Now with its own master TV Tropes Page!

Featured Completed Stories

  • Collateral Damage Ageing ex-Guardspony Falcon Punch takes a dangerous escort mission to prove he still has the right stuff. Will he succeed, or meet his end? by Jordan179 32,227 words · 309 views · 34 likes · 2 dislikes
  • Nightmares Are Tragic Nightmare Moon spends a thousand years banished to the Moon, then returns to seek her revenge. From HER point of view. by Jordan179 32,977 words · 4,062 views · 308 likes · 16 dislikes
  • An Extended Performance The Great and Powerful Trixie gives the performance of her life during the Longest Night in Eqeustrian history. Start of Season 1. by Jordan179 26,641 words · 1,298 views · 68 likes · 4 dislikes
  • Twelfth Equestriad Interview Two and a half decades after the final victory over the Shadows, Princess Luna records an interview for the Summer Sun Celebration by Jordan179 15,741 words · 907 views · 53 likes · 10 dislikes

The Flutterarc

  • Dragonshyness Fluttershy endures one of the most frightening experiences of her life. (It is a testament to the utter terror that can be Fluttershy's life that confronting a full-grown Dragon counts as only "one" of the most terrifying days of her by Jordan179 38,857 words · 1,000 views · 59 likes · 4 dislikes
  • A Robust Solution Fluttershy comes to terms with a mistake from her past, and learns how to handle herself in the future, with the help of her good friend Rarity. by Jordan179 11,859 words · 759 views · 67 likes · 5 dislikes
  • Fluttershy Is Free Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy go to see a butterfly migration. Mid-Season 1, immediately after "Call of the Cutie." by Jordan179 10,460 words · 1,256 views · 95 likes · 4 dislikes

List of Stories in the Shadow Wars Series

Here are the stories of the Shadow Wars, roughly in order, including major incomplete and projected works:

Undying Love (incomplete):  Takes place from around 2500 to 1500 years ago.  Discord and Celestia; how he loved and lost her, in a love that is undying, much as they might wish they could forget.

Corruption at Nightfall (incomplete):  Takes place over a thousand years ago.  The tale of Prince Crimson Quartz and Lady Tourmaline of the Crystal Empire, and Princess Luna of Equestria; and how the Empire fell into darkness.

All the Way Gone (projected):  The story of how Princess Luna of Equestria fell into the Nightmare.

Collateral Damage (complete, 32,231 words):  In YOH 1481, some 19 years before the start of Season 1, ex-Guardspony tries to deliver a vital package from Appleloosa to Canterlot -- but unknown to him, an elite Changeling Infiltrator is on his trail!  Characters include Falcon Punch, Princess Ceymi, and a 9-year-old Cheerilee.  Dark tragedy, with gore and (very limited but horrifying) sexual content.

Pinkie Sense and Sensibility (incomplete):  The birth and early life of Pinkie Pie and her sisters.

"Ruminations in Stone" (complete, 2,292 words):  Spring, YOH 1500, a couple months before Luna's Return.  Wind Whistler, trapped within the stone statue of Discord, muses about her past and future.

Nightmares Are Tragic (complete, 32,976 words):  S1E1-2, June 21-22 YOH 1500, The Elements of Harmony, from Luna's perspective.  The core story of the Shadow Wars continuity, introducing its interpretation of the Mane Six and especially of Princess Luna and the true nature of the Shadows.

An Extended Performance: (complete, 26,639 words) S1, June YOH 1500: Side-story to Nightmares Are Tragic, detailing how Trixie defended her show against the Shadow Coven in Manehattan on the Longest Night, and what Celestia was doing while all this was going on.

A Long Night at the Hippodrome (incomplete) S1, June YOH 1500:  Side-story to An Extended Performance, detailing how Trixie's old friend Piercing Gaze dealt with the Longest Night at his theater in Baltimare.

His Mark On History (incomplete, S1, June YOH 1500:  Can First Strong Messenger make his mark on history by striking a blow for the freedom of the South Speaker Ponies of Taura?

The Romance of the Open Road (incomplete) S1,  YOH 1500:  The Great and Powerful Trixie leaves Manehattan and takes to the road to win her fortune -- a road that will lead her to Ponyville.

All the Way Back (incomplete) S1, YOH 1500:  How Princess Luna, purged of the NIghtmare, recovered her power and sanity, making a place for herself in the strange new world of modern Equestria.

Least Noticeable and Little Flappy (incomplete):  S1, YOH 1500, contemperaneous with E5 "Griffon the Brush-Off"  How "Least Noticeable" Claire Pie, Pinkie's gigantic invisible twin sister, saved a little flappy creature and made a new friend.

Dragonshyness (complete, 38,854 words): S1, YOH 1500, contemperaneous with E7: "Dragonshy."  The most terrifying day of Fluttershy's life, as she must finally face the creature she most dreads -- a full-grown Dragon.

Royal Business (incomplete): S1, September YOH 1500, a bit after E7 "Dragonshy."  Spike is called away on royal business to meet with Celestia, but he winds up spending a while as Luna's guest.

A Robust Solution (complete, 11, 859 words):  S1, YOH 1500, just before E12 "Call of the Cutie."  Fluttershy reveals a shameful secret from her past to Rarity, who helps her friend understand and surmount its emotional legacy.

Fluttershy Is Free (complete, 10,464 words):  S1, YOH 1500, after E12 "Call of the Cutie."  Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash go to see a butterfly migration, and Fluttershy reveals a dark secret of her origin.

"A Meeting by Moonlight" (complete, 2,932 words): S3, YOH 1503.  Princess Luna visits Twilight Sparkle one night and tells her a tale of the Age of Wonders, revealing more than she means to in the process.

"Feeling Adrift"  (complete, 4,938 words):   S3, YOH 1503,  right after "A Meeting by Moonlight."  Princess Celestia tries to help her sister deal with her feelings of alienation and loneliness.

Divine Jealousy and the Voice of Reason (incomplete):  S4, November YOH 1504, right after "Equestria Games" and before Twilight's Kingdom.  When Discord discovers he has a rival for Fluttershy's love, he consults his inner Voice of Reason for advice.

Substitute Mentor (incomplete):  Pony Earth segment is between S4 and S5, January YOH 1505, while the Nightmare Delusion Humanoid Earth segment is AD 2016 and the Angel of Illusion Humanoid Earth segments are AD 2010 to 2016.  Can the Humanoid Trixies be saved from madness and their worlds from devastation by the Humanoid Piercing Gaze?

Fools and Drunks (incomplete):  April YOH 1505.  Snips and Snails decide to celebrate Snails' 16th birthday by gping into the Everfree doing something a bit more unwise than usual.  Will Snails finally tell Snips about Glittershell?  Will the two teenage colts even survive?

Love Amongst Monsters (incomplete):  Starting YOH 1508, concluding YOH 1512.  Ill Wind, a brilliant Pegasus scientist, works to complete a vital engineering project for High Commander Windvane, and may find romantic as well as professional success.

Love Starved (incomplete):  February-March, YOH 1515.  Compound is reassigned to the Provisional Hive Defense Swarm, which she knows is a near-suicide post.  But in what she assumes to be the last days of her life, she makes two very good friends.

The Fall of Hive Hunger-Prime (incomplete):  April, YOH 1515.  Compound and her friends struggle to survive within the last of Queen Hunger's hives as it falls at the end of the Great Changeling War (1513-1515).

Twelfth Equestriad Interview (complete, 15,741 words):  June YOH 1548, 48 years after Luna's Return and 24 years after the final victory in the Shadow Wars, Luna and Twilight are interviewed on TV on the night of the Summer Sun Celebration.

"Audience Reaction" (complete, 2,867 words):  June YOH 1548, side-story to Twelfth Equestriad Interview.  During the historic interview TV broadcast, Rarity and Spike deal with an attempt to sabotage Rarity Enterprises' perfume campaign.

Aug
30th
2015

Introduction:  The most famous agricultural product of Ponyville is apples, and a family of apple farmers figure importantly in MLP:FIM.  So I thought it would be interesting to explore the topic of apple farming.  Some of this information might be useful in writing fanfics involving Sweet Apple Acres and/or the Sweet Apple Acres Siblings.


I. Apple Trees:  Apples, of course, are the fruit of apple trees.  Apple trees (malus domestica) are deciduous trees (which means they lose and regrow their leaves every year) in the wild rose family.  The tree originated in Central Asia (Eastern Turkey on Human-Earth, one of the regions where Honey Tongue and Noble Rose wind up visiting on the Quest of the Sun Mare on Equestrian-Earth) where its wild ancestor (malus sieversii) is still found today.  

The trees are large if grown from seed, but small if grafted onto roots ("rootstock").  A Human-Earth apple tree stands 6-15' tall in cultivation and up to 39' in the wild.  Size, shape and branch density in cultivation are determined by method of trimming.  

Blossoms are produced in spring simultaneously with the budding of the leaves, and are produced on spurs and some long shoots. The 1.2" to 1.6" flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades, five petaled, with an inflorescence consisting of a cyme with 4–6 flowers. The central flower of the inflorescence is called the "king bloom"; it opens first, and can develop a larger fruit.

There are ~ 7500 known cultivars of apples on Human-Earth, and probably at least as many on Equestrian-Earth, where an ancient monomaniacal clan has been assiduously breeding them for at least four millennia -- we must assume that many of the more delicate apple-cultivars of the Age of Wonders perished in the Cataclysm -- but only to the extent that those Apples who survived the global disasters couldn't prevent it).

Apples are extreme heterozygotes and do not breed true when planted from seeds (this is of immense advantage in resisting disease in the wild, as they can rapidly micro-evolve to defeat parasites).  Hence, most new cultivated apple trees are produced by grafting (that's why most of the trees on Sweet Apple Acres are fairly small).  

Serious apple fanatics farmers (like the Sweet Apple Acre Apples) would also grow some from seeds to experiment with new varieties.  Distinguishing which grafts came from which donors would be very important in developing new varieties, which is why the Sweet Apple Acres Apples name and know personally many of their most favored trees.  A successful new variety could be of immense competitive advantage, and you can be sure that Granny Smith has developed many of them.

Apple trees can't self-fertilize; they must be cross-pollinated.  The usual pollinators are bees (and now you know why Applejack is perfectly comfortable working with them).  Honey bees are the most common pollinators in cultivated apples.  Note well; fertilization must occur for the fruit to develop, which is why this is vital even if you're not trying to breed new varieties.  The required apiary may be kept on the orchard, or brought in for hire by a beekeeper.

There are four to seven pollination groups in apples, depending on climate (with some samples):

    Group A – Early flowering, 1 to 3 May in England (Gravenstein, Red Astrachan)

    Group B – 4 to 7 May (Idared, McIntosh)

    Group C – Mid-season flowering, 8 to 11 May (Granny Smith, Cox's Orange Pippin)

    Group D – Mid/late season flowering, 12 to 15 May (Golden Delicious, Calville blanc d'hiver)

    Group E – Late flowering, 16 to 18 May (Braeburn, Reinette d'Orléans)

    Group F – 19 to 23 May (Suntan)

    Group H – 24 to 28 May (Court-Pendu Gris - also called Court-Pendu plat)

One cultivar can be pollinated by a compatible cultivar from the same group or close (A with A, or A with B, but not A with C or D).

Varieties are sometimes classified by the day of peak bloom in the average 30-day blossom period, with pollenizers selected from varieties within a 6-day overlap period.

(from "Apple - Pollination" on Wikipedia)

Some cultivars, if left unpruned, will grow very large, which allows them to bear much more fruit, but makes harvesting very difficult. Depending on the tree density (number of trees planted per unit surface area), mature trees typically bear 40–200 kg (88–441 lb) of apples each year, though productivity can be close to zero in poor years. Apples are harvested using three-point ladders that are designed to fit amongst the branches. Trees grafted on dwarfing rootstocks will bear about 10–80 kg (22–176 lb) of fruit per year.

Crops ripen at different times of the year according to the variety of apple. Varieties that yield their crop in the summer include Gala, Golden Supreme, McIntosh, Transparent, Primate, Sweet Bough, and Duchess; fall producers include Fuji, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Chenango, Gravenstein, Wealthy, McIntosh, Snow, and Blenheim; winter producers include Winesap, Granny Smith, King, Wagener, Swayzie, Greening, and Tolman Sweet.

(from "Apple - Harvest" on Wikipedia)

I will point out first that the Apples don't need no stinking three-point ladders to harvest, since they can applebuck -- more on that in section III.  They might still need ladders for pruning and thinning, though, as I doubt that even Applejack can be that precise with her back-kicks.  And any unskilled hooves they hire on for a harvest might need the ladders.  (And be much less productive, which is why AJ and Mac prefer to do that part of it themselves).

The most common real pests that afflict apple trees are mildew (which destroys the flowers, and may be dealt with either by changing the conditions which enable the mildew to grow or burning the infected plants (the last is something the Apples would hate to do); aphids (insects which suck out the plant juices with their needle-like mouthparts); and apple scab, a fungus which withers the leaves and fruits.   Other diseases include fireblight (a bacterial infestation which can destroy a whole orchard if allowed to spread unchecked) and note this is indigenous to North America; rust (a fungus which attacks the fruit); black spot (a fungus which attacks the leaves); codling moths and apple maggots.  Human-Earth apple trees are raided by deer (we don't know if the sapient Deer on Equestrian-Earth ever do this) and mice (probably true on Equestrian-Earth as well).


II. Agricultural Cycle

Here is the cycle of an apple orchard about 80 miles north of Los Angeles, in relatively warm dry country:

Winter Months:

Pruning: rids the trees of unproductive wood and promotes new growth in the coming season.  The trees are dormant in the winter.

Tilling: the centers of the tree rows must be kept tilled in order to maximize water absorption.

Spring Months:

Rainy Season:  Generally at the end of winter / early spring.

Bloom-Time: The apple blossoms begin to set.  Lasts over 6 weeks.  During this time the tree is most susceptible to disease and frost damage.  The trees must be treated with nutrients to help maintain their health.  After the blossoms have fallen, the fruit begins to grow.

Late May to Late June:

Thinning:  Apples, at their youngest age of formation are about the size of a cherry seed.  Once the apples have reached around 3/4" in diameter, thinning begins.  This is clipping out the smaller fruit and eliminating large clusters.  The point is to direct all the growth toward the larger and healthier fruit.

Weeding:  It's important to maintain a clean and weed-free orchard so that work, particularly harvesting, is easy.

June-September:

Watering:  Water is applied around 3 times/week to the orchard.  Watering is exceedingly important for the health of the tree and the quality and size of the fruit.

July:

Sizing:  The fruit begins to size rapidly; more nutrients are applied to maintain optimal health.

Late July- Early August:

Preparations:  For the harvest and sales season.

Mid or Late August to Early November:

Harvest:  Starts with Gala variety, fresh apples available during this whole period.  At the end of the harvest, it's winter and the cycle begins again.


III. Analysis With Regard to Sweet Apple Acres

First of all, I notice that the show mostly depicts the harvest and sale of the apples, rather than the more boring stages of cultivating the trees.  That's understandable.  Actually (don't let AJ know I said this, she'd never forgive me) apple farming is a rather quiet though industrious occupation most of the time.  You grow trees, you make sure they have the right amount of water and fertilizer, and you protect them from harm.  Then, you harvest and sell the apples.  Repeat each year.

Of course, given where Sweet Apple Acres is located, "protect them from harm" may include from everything ranging from destructive but non-dangerous animals like the Vampire Fruit Bats to wandering Timber Wolves to Discord's old forgotten agronomy projects.  So maybe I'm making this sound more boring than it is.  But then the Apples probably like "boring," as opposed to the alternate possibilities ranging from fireblight-on-steroids to monsters attacking from the Everfree.

Secondly, I notice that Sweet Apple Acres seems to have a very long harvest season. But then, (1) they probably cultivate many varieties, since they're specialists in apple farming, (2) they're in a warm climate (the river between Ponyville and the Everfree seems to be the boundary between a warm temperate and a semi-tropical climate), (3) they benefit both from agricultural and meteorological magic and (4) they are very good apple farmers.  Some real apple varieties are ready for harvest by late summer, so it's not such a stretch to imagine that the Apples might not have some sorts of fast-growing apples which ripen in July or even late June, given the aforementioned factors.

Thirdly, the long harvest season cuts both ways.  It means lots of production for the Acres (and in the case of fast-growing varieties they may be able to bring in two harvests a year!) but it also means lots of work for the Apples.  Harvesting is generally one of the most intense labors that any farmer has to accomplish, and note that the nature of orchards and trees mean that planting is done at a more leisurely pace than if they were growing, say, corn.  (There is some evidence that the Apples also grow some non-apple products, but only on a small scale; so there is much less need for pony-hours on those crops).

Fourthly, applebucking.  Real horses can applebuck, but not with the precision displayed by the Apples.  The applebucking displayed by the Apples is best understood as Earth Pony magic; specifically biokinesis directed through the hooves in a manner analogous to the way that a Unicorn telekineses through her horn or a Pegasus generates her flightfield through her wings.  Applebucking helps the Apples a lot, because it lets them harvest much faster, particularly because they can actually drop most of the apples into the containers they use to transport them.

Fifthly, now I truly understand this song "I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time."  They're singing of a hoped-for wedding in May, in lovely romantic apple farming country.  And this is now officially one of the songs that Sweetie Belle makes famous during the Shadow Wars.  Of course, specifically because so many of the ones who promised to do this didn't know if they were actually going to be able to come back home to fulfill their promise (the same reason why the Andrews Sisters songs were popular in World War II).


Conclusion:  I hope you all find this research useful.  It's given me some story ideas, anyway.

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