• Member Since 7th Jan, 2012
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Applejack's love for her farm and her family define her. They're the two things in her life which keep her going: the only motivation she needs to get out of bed every morning. Her brother, her sister, their grandmother, and—and the three of them, keeping their family orchard going strong together. It’s the life she always wanted.

But Sweet Apple Acres has taken a hit in recent years. It’s hard to ignore how, so recently, the four of them used to be the five of them, or how the farm’s account is running as dry as the fields themselves.

But it’s just a phase; a bad one, but they come and they go, like the seasons themselves. Applejack knows it’s just a matter of persevering, and staying the course. Better days are just around the corner.

Chapters (4)
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Comments ( 113 )

Jeez, Poni, one chapter in and you're setting the stage for a world of pain for poor AJ.

I can't tell you how proud I am of you.

Solid start! Here's looking forward to more.

Well, that's a good way to cause Applejack a ton of pain. And it looks liket things are only going to get worse as the story goes. :applecry:

Oh dis gon b gud!:rainbowwild:
In a sad way:ajsleepy:

Sounds like there's a lot of hardship going around: the farm's in debt, and things are decaying around the apple family. It seems they have no real source of financial assistance, AJ's alienated a lot of potential help, parts of the farm seem to have been sold off to the neighboring Carrot family (who are selling the apples from the trees that came with, instead of replanting), and the dark cloud around things isn't helping.

The Apple Family's pride will drag them toward the event horizon and once passed, things will only get worse before they get better.

Next chapter's forecast: mostly cloudy with a chance of feels.

hashbrowns were done, I pull them (tense correction needed)

Well, had to read it 'cuz I'm a fan of your work, but I'm a draft's worth of revisions away from posting a story with enough similarities to this one that I really just want to bang my head on the wall for a week now. :raritycry:

a applejack rarity shipping? ....... hoping it is a falling out and not a case of get da bitch outta here itus.

.............. overall the story is shaping up good. damn good I would say. though why in the world would anyone buy from flim and flam after what they pulled? seems they are also well known conmen in equestria so anyone buying a product produced by them would be unlikely........ not to mention anyone associated with them would be alienated too.
other than that the set up is pretty good.................

though I might add. supportive friends, and the god dman monarchs of equestria. their friends would try to help best they can. hell its rainbow dash who is in charge of the weather after all.
......... even if they cannot keep the farm, they would never starve or be homeless. Celestia would not permit one of the mares that saved her sister to suffer......... though they would probably not want to get luna involved. her solution might be to destroy carrot tops farm and send her to an asylum or something as a solution or something.
I always have that come to my mind every time I see a story like this. in this case the thought far from ruins the story it still kinda lingers. would celestia knowingly let one of the mane si to be destitute?

This is a very distant alternate universe, in fact we can't be sure the Elements are around at all, or if Princess Luna has been redeemed. For example: Raindrops is running the weather in Ponyville and Fluttershy isn't the local animal caretaker.

In short, Applejack doesn't have many friends, and she's chased away any help.

4060233 that seems a little.......... contrived. it is far from made clear that this is even a universe where the mane six either never or have not yet formed........''

not to mention the complifcations to follow that. why did they not gather together? if they did not join together then what happened to nightmare moon? how can you even eplain those circusmtances when there is no way applejack would even be aware of ngithmare moon?


This sounds like Applejack's side of the story that began in "Winning Pony: Road Not Taken," which would mean that Fluttershy and Cloud Kicker are married and living in either Cloudsdale or Canterlot. The story focuses more on Rainbow Dash and Rarity, and doesn't mention what happened to Twilight or Pinkie Pie...

This story could be the answer to some of the questions raised there.


Well this story shares it's alt universe with Road not Taken where you can get Rarity's take on the whole situation. There, as here, the elements are not mentioned and haven't been taken up by Dash, Rarity, or Fluttershy.

The year isn't clear either, so it might be before Mightmare Moon's return, but in both cases the authors haven't elaborated because those events don't have any hold on these particular stories. My personal theory is that the elements are still dormant, and if Nightmare has returned then she likely hasn't been cured and may simply have been imprisoned instead while Celestia searches for a solution.

Heck, I might end up writing that one myself.

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As pointed out, this is a Alternate Universe story, and is related to Chengar Qordath's "Road Not Taken" story. The mane six have not gotten together in a recognizable fashion due to some AU shenanigans. Some of lordofmyth's questions might be handled in future stories, but this one right here is focusing on Applejack and her struggles.

4060406 I never found the alternate universe tag very reliable. if you think about any fanfiction is alternate universe. it is events occurring that do not happen in the series in any form.

we will have to see I guess. it might have helped if you gave a few details on what makes it an alternate world to begin with though. I was thinking that it was based on the series world coming in after all.

This is so DEPRESSING. :applejackunsure:

Really looking forward to seeing how it goes from here.

Come back to the non-sad tag side Ponibus.:pinkiesad2:

The deadderpyverse is enough sad for the entire rest of the winningverse, no need for you to go there too.:fluttercry:

I shoulda known you'd have your hands in this mess!

Great start here, Poni!

4059990 My advice? Just go for it. There is no truly unique idea at this point, it's just a matter of what you do with it and how.

4059933 I think at this point, they're already passed the event horizon. Although the implication of event horizon is that it's no longer possible to come back.

Seriously, reading this, all I can see is how bleak the Apple's situation is with no foreseeable way out, you've really captured that. Now, I do look forward to what you do next. Offer them a way out? Perhaps through Twilight (who has conspicuously not been mentioned at all yet in this alt universe)? Kick them even more while they're down?

In any case, nothing short of a miracle will bring them out of the gutter they've fallen into. But that's what stories are about, aren't they?

Now I am picturing an absolutely at the end of her rope AJ being found by Rarity (and Rainbow, as it happens).

Cue very tearful reunion.

Also, not cool Raindrops. You very thoroughly deserve to lose your job for this.

Welp, this is definitely the darkest timeline as far as AJ is concerned. Funny how the universe works. In a world where Cloud and Shy are happy, so many others aren't.

Poni, you heartless bastard. I salute you!

........... here is another unfortunate problem i just realized. they would have lsot the farm from flim and flam to begin with if they were part of the story.
the only reason they could match the machine was because aj's friends helped, and they only loss then because it forced flim and flam to ignore quality, and likely health protocols, in order to make up the loss they were getting.

this is a pretty good story but flim and flam is jsut to oquestionable a part to it.

4063494 well, since it's an AU it's possible that event went differently than canon. The beauty, in my opinion, of alternate universes is that any number of things could go differently and change the final outcome of the universe created.

Indeed. The whole point of an alternate universe is that it's not canon.


Thanks for catching that.

And feel free to post whatever fic you wrote. As long as the work is your own and contains your own ideas, you'll be fine.


I just want to write one sad story! Just one to show I can do it!


Clearly the key to everypony else's happiness is for Cloud to be sad.

Good God... Life has really been taking a nail studded bat to AJ and her family, huh? Mind if I ask about her clan? Kind of seems odd that family would bail on her like that.

Love it so far, by the by^^

Okay... Seeing as it's you, Ponibus, you have my interest enough to see what happens next.

By the by, I caught a word-confusion misuse - which is a rarity (ahaha) for you. (It's so unusual in your work it leaped out at me.)

"Silence hanged between us for a tense moment." Should be "hung."

As I've heard it said, meat is hung but only men are hanged.

(I.e. "hanged" is only valid as the past participle when referring to the method of execution.)

Un...less... Unless... Silence was a pony or one of the farm animals or something. I mean, I know you have gone to the Sad Side of the Force, but that may be taking it a touch too far... That would be simultaneously extremely dark... and extremely hilarious.

Oh dear, I'm not going to be able to not picture that now; AJ and Rarity staring at each other, plates frozen around them, in a deep and meaningful subtext-laden moment...completely ignoring the random dead pony Silence just sort of swinging between them...

I'm sorry [1]. I'll just go now...

[1] This is a lie.

An Applejack story will always have my attention, but one written by Ponibus? Color me interested!

1. I wish old people would listen to reason :ajbemused: The other generations had more family to work. Right now, the work of two ponies has to feed five mouths and a number of livestock. They could work 24/7 and it probably still wouldn't be enough. And AB can do anything she wants. I'm actually working on a one shot about a pony whose profession is legally changing pony names.
2. I've been forced into a conversation kinda including me so I feel you pain AB and your protectiveness AJ :twilightblush:
3. I'm not sure how long the Apple farm can go on.....:applecry::ajsleepy::eeyup:
4. Favorite, Like, and Love :rainbowkiss:

I like! One thing, though.

I was a might bit younger and spryer than her,

I believe the words are "mite" and "sprier."

Other than that, loved it! Looking forward to more of this.


Thanks for catching that, fixed.


I'm going to say that their family hasn't bailed on them so much that Applejack and the others are a bit too stubborn to accept a handout. It'll be covered a bit more in future chapters, but they have been offered labor jobs on other farms to help them out financially.


Yep, I had to wrong words, so fixed.


I think you got the responses to mine and Ebony Gryphon's quotes mixed up.

(Which I'm only saying so that nobody else gets confused...)


You are correct. What I get for quickly trying to type up replies while also doing edits.

Okay... I'm a little slow, so please correct if I'm wrong... Going to her clan, her family, is seen as a handout... but shaking down her old lady every once in a while for the bits to replace lost seeds or a new irrigation system... isn't.
AJ's a putz....


There's a bit of a difference between asking your spouse for some money and asking your cousins, aunts, and uncles for some cash. After all, you tend to see yourself as more closely tied to your spouse than you would your cousins. Given those that are married tend to live together and pay the same bills. While you would have few to no financial ties with your cousins.

Comment posted by Ebony Gryphon deleted Mar 13th, 2014


Poor AJ. She just has none of the luck.

having a hard time buying their business is this falling apart considering how old and big their family is.

also flim and flam would have acted as the parasites they are and consumed whatever carrot top had and then run for it.

Liking the AU so far. It certainly makes a spin on the 'what ifs.'

"When we hit out lowest point, we are open to the greatest change" - Avatar Aang, The Legend of Korra

Applejack is an awful business pony.

Guessed it helped when her family founded the town to start with.

:rainbowderp: Wait, what? These timeline changes must go back further than first thought...

Guessed it helped when her family founded the town to start with.


"Guessed it helped when her family founded the town to start with."
Ooh, interesting. Is this a bit of Winningverse canon that I've forgotten, or is it a sign that the PoD for this AU is actually farther back than I'd thought?

Bronchitis. That won't be cheap.
Is anyone else seeing this story reaching a point where AJ cracks and Rarity and Rainbow find her at the end of her rope? (Hopefully not literally...)
Nope, but she also is distinctly lacking in the ability to minimize the problems and maximize the good things. She is frustrated with Granny's stubbornness, but she is far to stubborn herself. Too bad she never met a certain purple unicorn scholar...:ajsleepy:
The Flim Flam thing I agree with. They weren't business ponies and never would have entertained a fair proposition unless backed into a corner. I was having trouble with the rest too, until I saw the part where the Carrot's founded Ponyville in this AU, and not the Apples. That starting lack of an advantage is now piling up with AJ's mistakes (this in particular.) and the problems inherent in running a farm, and the AU seems more plausible now.

4203896 .............. acutally that makes this universe even less plausible to me. that is changing a central factor to the entire series as a whole and yet nothing really came of it. how could there be a sweet apple acres if it were not the apples family? hell even more so, it is the Zap Apples that helped found ponyville as well. it is what drew so many families and business ponies to this area and allowed the community to sprout up and grow.
In other words carrot's family would have to have been the ones to discover the zap apples, built a farm on the acres there, and the apples family....... well to be hones its more than likely they would be somewhere else. they were gathers of seeds and nomadic. either they would have continued or settled somewhere else in equestria.

that is the problem with just arbitrarily making something alt universe like that. cause and effect. it is the apples that founded the place because of the zap apples. carrot's ancestors would have had to be the ones to find and use the apples in order for them to be the founders. and thus the apples would never have settled in ponyville. perhaps they might have when they heard of the village, but they would not be owners fo the farm and would fill some other niche in the community.

there is an entire history here that has been completely changed. and changed far too much for it to merely mean that someone else founded the village and everything else is the same.

4203896 ....... something i once read that handled this a little bit better had a lot of sensible changes. had it that instead of celestia ruling the kingdom, her pain and shame was so great she isolated herself into the everfree. sooo many differences in the future.
one of my favorites was that Applejack's cutie mark was completely different. it was only seeds rather than apples, if representing something similra.
another is that Rarity's proffessions was completely different. she hunted for precious gemes.

most of all there really was no ponyville. all of these lives affected, whether directly of indirectly, by celestia were changed by her absence.

this is not quite far back as celestia becoming a hermit changed but it still changes the entire town and coming events.

Why must you torture Best Pony so?:fluttercry:

Applejack has enough tenacity any Kicker would be proud of.

Will AJ be able to pull her family, and her farm, back together? Tune in next time for another exciting chapter of When Better Days Are Past!


Being old and big alone isn't going to keep a business from failing. There are certainly plenty of examples of that in history. Just look at some of the recent bank failures, or the collapse of Sears. Also this is one farm within the whole Apple Clan. Most of the other farms probably aren't doing as badly as Sweet Apple Acres.

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There are a number of changes that Chengar and I have made for this little AU.


There are a lot of factors for why AJ's farm isn't doing very well. Both historical and due to AJ herself, and now they're synergizing to really pound on poor AJ.

The thing with the FlimFlam brothers is that the Super Cider Squeezy 6,000 did produce good cider and quickly. The problem being is that the two of them are too dumb to have seen the good thing they had, and set reasonable goals. If somepony had perhaps sat them down, reasoned with them, and made them sign a contract to keep themselves from getting screwed...


Because I am a terrible person and should feel bad for what I'm doing to AJ. And trust me, this story is depressing to write, it really is.

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