Lucky Prescott’s kitchen was a mess. There were bowls and spoons everywhere, and most of the countertops were covered in flour. She was hosting a “Best Friends Baking Day.” Every so often, Lucky, Abigail, and Pru—the PALs—would get together to make all sorts of yummy treats.
Today was special. Abigail wanted to try out some new recipes that she’d invented. Baking was one of her favorite family traditions. Usually the girls would take over the kitchen at the Stone household. But today there had been one problem: Abigail’s little brother, Snips, was being really annoying. He kept marching through the kitchen, banging pots and pans with a wooden spoon and asking for a taste of something sweet. It was really interrupting the girls’ creative process.
So Lucky had suggested they move to her house. It would be nice and quiet. Especially since her dad, Jim Prescott, had promised to practice his harmonica at the depot from now on.
“Abigail! Pass me that pie tin,” said Lucky. She wiped her forehead with the back of her hand. A big smear of flour stayed behind. She didn’t care.
"Here ya go!" Abigail chirped. She had already buttered her favorite pie tin. Now all it needed was the crust..and the fruit filling! Today's specialty was blueberry.
The secret ingredient in Abigail’s new recipe was a handful of cranberries. She said a splash of tart would bring out the sweet flavor of the blueberries. Lucky wasn’t sure about that, but she was excited to taste the new flavor. Cranberries always reminded her of autumn. It was going to be the perfect treat for a crisp day like today.
Pru carefully rolled out the crust with the rolling pin and laid it in the tin just as Abigail had taught her.
“Nice work!” Abigail nodded her approval. It was very easy for the crust to tear. “Now pour in the blueberries.”
“I’m on it!” Lucky smiled as she poured the sugary mixture into the shell. “Should we do a lattice top?” On a previous Best Friends Baking Day, Abigail had shown her friends how to cut strips of dough and weave them together on the top of the pie. It looked really neat.
The girls decided it might be better to try something new. “How about some fall leaves?” Pru rolled out another piece of crust. She stamped a leaf-shaped cookie cutter into it. “Or a horse!”
“Ooooh, good idea, Pru.” Lucky nodded. She began to look through her cookie cutters for a horse-shaped one. Even though the pie was just for the three of them to enjoy, it was still fun to make it look like a showstopper.
After they’d decorated the top with leaves and horses, the girls popped the pie into the oven to bake. Then all there was left to do was wait. Well, that and the cleaning-up part. It was not their favorite, but when Lucky, Abigail, and Pru worked together, cleanup usually went pretty fast.
But before they could start, Jim Prescott popped his head in. “What’s that smell?”He took a long, deep sniff and smiled. “Is it blueberry?” “We’ll save you a slice, Mr. Prescott!” Abigail laughed. “As your payment for letting us ruin your kitchen.” “Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me!” Jim gave a thumbs-up. “Well, I’ll leave you girls to it, but I just wanted to give you this first. It’s addressed to ‘The Miradero Herd!’” He held up a crisp white envelope. It had a gold wax seal with a heart symbol on it. Lucky recognized that symbol right away. She darted over and took the letter from her father’s hands.
“It’s from the Frontier Fillies!” Lucky exclaimed. She and her friends had recently become a part of the Frontier Fillies, an organization for girls and their horses. Each town had their own group, called a “herd.” The Miradero Herd was a little bit newer than some of the others, but they had quickly caught up by earning badges in the Boots and Bows event, the Majestic Mare display, and all sorts of other fun activities at the Frontier Fillies Jamboree that summer.
Lucky held up the envelope. “It’s from Ms. Hungerford! Should I open it now?”
“What are you waiting for?” said Pru, then she thought better of it. “Actually, maybe you should wash your hands first.”
A blueberry covered in sugar syrup ran down Lucky’s wrist. She licked it off. Aunt Cora was always reminding Lucky to wash her hands.
“Oh yeah. Good point.” Once Lucky had washed up, she carefully lifted the golden seal and read aloud. “Kind salutations to the current holders of the Hungerford Heart—the Miradero Herd!”
Pru and Abigail smiled with pride.
The three of them had worked very hard to win the coveted prize at the Jamboree. Snips had almost messed up their chances when he’d tried to sabotage the other herds’ turns during the events. But it had all worked out in the end. The other herds had voted for Miradero to win because they had displayed the four qualities that represented the award: honor, compassion, valor, and honesty.
Lucky continued reading: “I am pleased to inform you that we have decided to hold the first-ever Frontier Fillies Winter Jamboree! There will be winter trail rides, log cabins, and of course...the chance to
earn more badges.” Lucky felt her heartbeat quicken. She loved earning badges and sewing them onto her sash.
“Wow!” Abigail clapped her hands. “That sounds so fun! I bet Boomerang would love a winter trip. Just imagine it—trotting
through the snowy woods....Oooh! We could make a snow-horse!”
Pru nodded. “We obviously have to go.”
“Obviously!” Abigail echoed.
But there was more. Lucky kept reading. “To get the first event off the ground, each herd will have to plan a fund-raiser. The herd with the most contributions to the Winter Jamboree will win a special prize— the Golden Horseshoe Trophy!”
“Ooooooh..” the girls said in unison. A trophy? They were definitely intrigued. “I wonder how many karats are in the Golden Horseshoe Trophy,” Abigail joked. “Get it? Because horses love carrots!” The girls giggled, each imagining placing the trophy on a special shelf in the barn. It would look so wonderful! Of course, they had to actually win it first. It would be amazing to be the holders of the Hungerford Heart and to be the first-ever winners of the Golden Horseshoe. It would prove how great the PALs were at being Frontier Fillies and at being a team! Now all they had to do was clean the kitchen, and come up with an award-winning fund- raiser! Lucky just hoped it would be a piece of cake...or pie!