• Member Since 12th Jun, 2013
  • offline last seen Oct 17th, 2020

Velvet_Divan


An English major, a furry, a geek with a tempestuous swirling cauldron of hobbies and interests, now here to spin some yarns for you.

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(8/24/2020 update - I commissioned new cover art for the story from https://twitter.com/Marstruc ! I've wanted an image like this for a long time and finally got it.)

Applejack has tried everything she can think of to turn things around at her family farm, but every month brings disappointing sales and further expenses. She feels the weight of responsibility for the farm and its imminent failure bearing down on her harder every day, and every failed attempt to fix things drives her deeper into depression.

Old habits kick in, and friends' searching questions are deflected, sidestepped, and eventually even answered with outright lies.

Sweet Apple Acres, the Apple family, and even the Elements of Harmony are all in greater danger than all but one mare knows, or will admit.

(Approved by Twilight's Library once upon a time.)

Chapters (10)
Comments ( 103 )

Glad to see this one get posted, m'dear. I still firmly believe this is the best thing you've written.

I enjoyed this one very much, and I'm glad to see you posted it, after your initial lament to Ponibius's fic. You have nothing to worry about from that, as your story here distinguishes itself immediately. I'll be following this one despite that sometimes stories about money issues hit close to home, as I really want to see how all this plays out and to see the results of her losing the farm. I've actually not seen or read any other fic about Applejack losing the farm that is both completed and doesn't have a happy ending where she recovers the farm. Here's to hoping for bittersweet catharsis or maybe something darker!
:pinkiehappy:

Love this! Please continue!

Looking forward to more of this!

I always thought in Bats that while the whole 'let's not hurt Flutters feelings' is all well and good, the others kinda seem to forget that the Acres is AJ's bread and butter when they take off a chunk of fruit bearing trees to appease a bunch of ugly bats.

I will be watching this, yes yes! :ajsmug:

I am generally not a fan of first person perspective stories, but you have managed to entice me. Continue please.

4184861 They're not my favorite either, but because of the nature of this story it was necessary. While I could have conveyed the same information with a third-person perspective, it would lack an intimacy I felt was vital in telling this story right.

4166622 The germ of this story really came from seeing all the rotten things that befall the farm or pull AJ away from it, and Applejack's apparent shortcomings as a businessmare. There's a logical consequence to all of that...

4165977 I think you'll find plenty of bittersweetness in the chapters to come. ;)

I am intrigued and wish to see how this turns out

You know, I love your depressed version of AJ. She is very real and I say it as someone who went through depression. It's painful to read about someone, who used to be the strong and dependable one. It's painful to see my favorite character so broken. It's painful to know that this time it's not going to be okay. But it only means that you really managed to show her emotions... and it's wonderful. I especially liked that part when she thinks about herself as about an accessory to Twilight and her friends. She lost faith in everything. Her family. Her home. Her friends. And - what's the most painful - in herself. You nailed it. You really showed how someone with depression thinks and feels. Good job :ajsmug: I hope you'll update it soon :pinkiehappy:

Given that she and the others are basically the town's emergency response team, she should really demand a stipend. The town could easily afford it once they slash the funding for the town guard or police or whatever, who seem to be utterly useless in every single way possible. Just like the Royal Guard*!

*Sorry Shiny, but you and your boys are essentially glorified lawn ornaments that can answer stupid questions from tourists. When 'small town librarian' is a more dangerous job than 'Royal Guard' its pretty much confirmation that your life is meaningless.

4229044 That last part. That last part just got me. :rainbowlaugh:

4229044 Agreed wholeheartedly! Although they are awfully good at wife throwing.

Nice. This chapter (just like the first one) left me with urgent need to see what's going to happen next :ajsmug: Good job! :pinkiehappy: I can't wait to see how you'll expand this story.

New chapter :pinkiehappy: Funny, because about an hour ago I was wondering when you're going to post the next chapter... Well, time to read! *squeals happily*

A) Was the stapler red?
B) Have you been studying business history? Because thats a classic stunt by the rich and powerful right there. Jack up taxes and expenses to drive the targets out of business, purchase their property for a song, then profit with the help of tax loopholes and clever accountants.
C) Has Applejack considered the traditional responses of growing marijuana or opium poppies, or setting up a meth lab? AB's alchemical knack would come in handy there.

And I suppose there might be some sort of 'farm relief' she can file for, though I vote for 'burn the farm, salt the earth, collect the insurance'.

Great story, continue!

Oh wow, I loved the shout-out to Abalorn's story.. Maybe AJ can go into the liquor business, she's named after it, yeah? Still, wow, loving this story. :ajsmug:

4254804 The stapler's color does not register for Red Tape, because color does not affect its function. (It's battleship gray though.) No, I haven't been studying business, but it doesn't surprise me a bit that I'm unintentionally imitating life there. Commit atrocities for money? Easy choice for many.

Glad you're all enjoying the story! Please tell your friends about it. The next chapter is a ~16k whopper, so be prepared.

I'm surprised I didn't leave longer comment here... Anyway, it was really good chapter. I love it how AJ struggles to fix everything, but fails no matter how hard she tries. It's very realistic, my family have some financial problems recently, so I can relate to her and understand perfectly how she must feel. It's especially sad, because she has no one to support her and she slowly falls into depression...

I still think she should send Celestia a bill for all the hero work. Honest pay for an honest day's work.

4334079 She's likely gotten relief from the crown in the wake of certain disasters like Discord (that chocolate milk couldn't have been great for the fields) but if AJ couldn't bring herself to ask for help from her closest friends how likely is it she'd ask the princesses for help to dig herself out of a hole she dug herself? As for a general stipend for the Elements, I think the show has indicated their compensation has come more in the way of royal favors like invitations to exclusive events and the celebrity that comes from close association with royalty rather than straight-up monetary gifts.

4334476

True enough. Celestia would be a cheapskate, :trollestia:, and Applejack does have a 'thing' for digging her own grave.

I'm interested in how this story will develop. The primary focus on Applejack's feelings will hopefully lead to some explosive catharsis. Probably involving Blueblood and an axe(He's gotta be the one involved in the tax hike!).

Does the Element of Honesty, member of the Apple and Orange families, have enough pull to start up a farmer's union? Because it's always hilarious to see the upper crust confronted by one.

Dang. On top of having depression, AJ has gone and given herself an ulcer with all of her worrying. Those things suck!

Nice job with this so far. Now I'm just wondering if they are going to be able to fix all of it, and worrying what else you could throw at her. Like Pinkie said, one you've been there it doesn't take much to send you back into the depths.

Reading it I just want to give Applejack a big and warm hug and tell her that everything is going to be alright, even if it doesn't look like that right now... :ajsleepy:

I'm really concerned about her. It would seem that now, when her friends finally know the truth, her situation will change, but I have a strange impression it won't be so easy. It's hard to cure the depression succesfully and it takes a lot of time and help from others. It's hard to be there for someone who often doesn't even remember how it feels to be happy. And it's hard to watch someone so strong in such vulnerable state.

Also, I wanted to congratulate you :yay: It's not easy to write believable story about depression.

4348002 Thank you and Golden-Redhead for your comments! I'm glad you're touched by AJ's plight and so interested in what's to come. Depression is a topic close to my heart, and I feel that I poured a significant portion of myself into this story. I hope through it, readers struggling with that suffocating disorder can come to understand it better, and those with depressed loved ones will learn how to better help them.

I appreciate any efforts you lovely readers make to get more eyes on this story.

Lollipop and a thermometer? Something for both ends!

That part with a doctor was really confusing... I defeated my depression mostly thanks to a very good psychiatrist, who helped me and good doctor is one of the best things that can happen to someone who goes through it. And now, when Granny Smith ended up in hospital, Applejack has one more reason to blame herself, even though it's not her fault. I have a strange feeling that for a moment things will get better, to spectacularly change for worse later. I loved Applejack's interactions with her friends. They seem to be unsure about the situation and it must be hard (especially for Rainbow Dash). On the bright side, they're also determined to help their friend and it made me smile a little while reading this chapter. I wonder if there'll be some arguments between Applejack and them, after all, curing depression is a long and hard process, not everyone is ready, not to mention that often it's frustrating, especially if nothing seems to work.

I really am upset this story doesn't have more likes and comments. This is very well written and it appears to me you've done a lot of research on the topic of depression and stress. I absolutely love this story! You are a fantastic writer.

been for you all since your parents passed,

Why is that in every Appljack fic:facehoof: There's zero proof for them being dead

I'm really loving this

4394295 http://www.equestriadaily.com/2012/12/applejacks-parents-subtle-nod-in-episode.html But even without that scrap and creator confirmation, by the same token there is zero evidence they're still alive somewhere, and every writer is going to go with the scenario that meshes best with their vision.

I have been reading too many "mature" stories because when I saw this line

"How's the food Pinkie's been bringin'?"

Mac licked his lips. "Uh, I might have to start plowin' someone else's fields too to stay trim."

Well lets just say the first thing I thought of was innuendo. Granted it helps that I find PinkieMac to be a lot of fun but still...

4393549
Sometimes you get a crappy Doc. The very first one I saw was some Air Force Lt Col who suggested that I could just simply stop thinking how I did. Then he said I was good after 3 sessions and an anger management class.
It took a near break down in the field some years later to go again.

4408297 Yeah, I know, it's important to have a doctor, who knows what to do. I hope Applejack will get the help she desperately needs...

Heh, I read this story everyday and recommend it everywhere I can. Dear Author, you did something impossible :ajsmug: I usualy very quickly lose my interest, but this story is different. I can literally FEEL Applejack's emotions and feelings.

4409202 That's the highest praise I could receive I think, that you're feeling what AJ is, weathering every ordeal with her. The only thing better would be hearing that this story helped someone make a breakthrough with their own depression, or helped with someone's understanding of another's. That will be easier once I've finished posting the story, of course. Look for the next chapter sometime this week. Thank you, and anyone else who's spreading the word about the story!

4408297 The research I did while I wrote this story corroborated my own hit-and-miss experience with mental health professionals. I think we put more faith in them because of how fragile we are when we finally seek them out, how vulnerable we have to make ourselves to try and get our problems addressed. When we realize we're just another appointment on their schedule, a block of time to get through, and they're not necessarily any better at their job than the mechanic who forgot to tighten your lug nuts...that's enough to scare some off of such treatment completely. Some of the case studies I read were heartbreaking, spanning decades of suffering that were largely avoidable if good treatment had been available or had actually been administered.

This story is has got me really hooked, so much that I spent time lying in bed contemplating this story. It really shows how wonderful of an author you are. One of the great things about this story is that even though I almost pretty sure that Applejack would never really be driven to extreme depression, this story is written and flows in such away it in these circumstances everything is totally believable and the characterization feels so natural.

Random Speculation: :raritywink:
Even though we do see Applejack seemly getting a hold of her life, taking the first few steps out of the hole with the help of her friends and family, its likely things would get harder. I think even though her friends are there and everyone is working hard to save the farm, I kind of hope this effort fails. I started think of whom or what would probably happen when the farm fails, one thing stands clear that other than the Apples; the Riches (Barnyard Bargains) have a vested interest in Sweet Apples Acres (Zap Apples) and Apple Family Produce. I can imagine Barnyard Bargains purchasing a stake, loan or the entire farm and the Apples becoming employees of Barnyard Bargains. I can only speculate how bad it would be for the Apples (Applejack, Big Mac, and Apple Bloom) becoming indentured servants/ servants / employees of the Riches & Barnyard Bargains (I feel really bad for Apple Bloom :applecry: ).

4412495 No problem, it's my pleasure :ajsmug: I'd like to someday see this story on Equestria Daily.

Brass & tacks remind me of someone, I just can't figure out who. Great chapter!

Alright.. They've shown AJ the pie. Now how many hooks have they baked into it?

4448080 Flim and Flam?





4448234 I have a bad feeling that the answer to that is a lot.





Hope we get another good update again soon! :twilightsmile:

This is a great story! I think they should sell the wood from the western part of the farm, but it probably wouldn't help to much.

4448837
No, the ones I'm thinking of aren't from MLP. I just can't remember where they're from

4448864 Well then, there goes my brilliant theory.

Aside from a very powerful piece on depression and what it does to a person, the best part had to be seeing Pinkie Pie paraphrase Harry Callahan. :rainbowlaugh: Nicely done!

Well what do you know, it looks like there's finally some light at the end of the tunnel for AJ. Here's to hoping that it isn't the Friendship Express!

And on a slight tangent, any idea on how long you plan to continue this for? Just curious to see how long you plan to torment our overworked farmer.:ajsmug:

4458283 The story as a whole sits around 77k words at the moment. I'm revising at this stage, it's mostly what keeps me from posting the rest of it all at once. I don't expect it to gain or lose more than 3k words at this point, but I've certainly been wrong before. The first draft started at 51k back in November.

4459068
Oh, good. That means you only have enough time to maybe mess with her once more before this is all over. Unless you plan on destroying her that is, but since I don't see a Dark tag on it I choose to believe that they will pull through in the end.

APPLE CLAN & PONYVILLE FARMERS ASSOCIATION TO THE RESCUE! I hope.

While the writing is good, I have mixed feelings about the requirement that Applejack and the Princesses have to grab the idiot ball in order for this plotline to work out. Applejack is a national hero who was essential to saving, at the very least, the capital city, the country, and the world on different occasions. It's not playing favorites to keep one of the keys to national security on retainer, and it's hard to see the rest of the Equestrian government (if any) protest if the Elements get paid as well as soldiers drawing hazard pay. And even if the government has to pick up the idiot ball, then the Princesses can just buy out the farm themselves and pay the Apples handsomely to work the farm.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that while this has the makings of a good story, I need to suspend a lot more disbelief than usual for it to work.

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