Monday Musings — Useful and Proven Advice From An Old Farmer

Happy Monday! 

Some folks do not look forward to Mondays, and that’s putting it mildly. In fact, a good number of otherwise sensible folks even dread them, starting to get sad and depressed already on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Why spoil an otherwise perfectly good Sunday? That just seems silly.

In general terms, why get all upset and stressed about anything that hasn’t and may yet never happen?  If things do take a turn for the worse later, there will likely be plenty of time and opportunity to stew and fuss about it. Not that I really recommend that approach either, because worry and anger never help or accomplish anything.

Speaking only for myself, I look forward to every Monday morning as a fresh start on a new week, and a chance to fix all the things I messed up in the last one.

So – Happy Monday! Saddle her up and here we go again!

Going thru our stack of accumulated writing notes the other day with my story friend Little Red Bear as we are back to work on his next collection of stories again, I came across a wonderful piece that I had forgotten about with all of the Coronavirus COVID19 things grabbing my attention lately.

It is entitled “Advice From An Old Farmer”, and although it can be found in many different versions on many different websites, it appears that the credit for the original piece goes to the former Judge and Texas State Legislator Roy English, author of several books featuring his wit and no-nonsense humor.

You just know when someone offers the sound advice of “Don’t skinny-dip with snapping turtles” that they likely may have a good bit of insight on other important life matters, as well.

Regular readers will recall that I started a new feature a few weeks ago entitled “Monday Musings” based upon the Monday thoughts I share with residents of the seniors’ community where I am Resident Manager. You can find the first ones here — Stay At Home,  Wearing A Face Mask To Protect Others, and Never Ask For a Second Opinion!

Register today to be notified of every new post and feature to stay in touch! Never any spam and all the material here is shared free of charge. Now, I know that sounds like an election year campaign promise, but the difference is I truly mean it. Scout’s honor.

Here is today’s message, sharing the “Advice From An Old Farmer” by Roy English. Little Red Bear and I think it generally applies to a lot more than farming today  . . . . .

Advice From An Old Farmer

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight, and bull-strong.
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
A bumblebee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered . . . not yelled.
Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.
Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.
Don’t judge folks by their relatives.
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
     Live a good, honorable life.  Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.
Don ‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with watches you from the mirror every mornin’.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Good judgment comes from experience and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.
               If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.

Most times, it just gets down to common sense.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

It is my sincere hope and wishes for you that this message found you and your loved ones well and in good health today and that everything continues the very best.

I encourage everyone to keep practicing good hygiene with regular handwashing and faithfully observe the recommended practices of Social Distancing, Sheltering At Home as much as possible to avoid unnecessary exposure, and wearing Facial Protection Masks to stop the spread of the COVID19 virus, especially as some areas begin to open things back up again soon.

In one way or another, every one of us is feeling the effects of the COVID19 virus these days. It can be challenging, but focusing to stay present in the moment and not worry about future things, which are unlikely to occur at all, is particularly important to lessen stress levels and maintain our health. Please be gentle with yourself and others. A kind word or simple gesture can be life-altering and may go a very long way right now in helping someone to cope with it all.

In a world where we can choose to be anything, please choose to be kind.  And together, we will get thru this! — Jim  (and Red!)

PS — As a friendly reminder, Little Red Bear and I have changed some Amazon marketing structures and eliminated all royalties on his “Adventures of Little Red Bear” stories to make them as affordable as possible for leisurely and relaxing reading during this time for everyone. They are always Free with Kindle Unlimited. 

And if you have already read and enjoyed Red’s adventures, we would sincerely appreciate if you could take a minute to leave a review to help others find their way to the books.

Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”

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About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

       “A single rose can be my garden . . .  a single friend, my world.” – Leo Buscaglia

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles Schulz

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      “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”       – Maya Angelou


An Astonishing New Free Short Story — “The Three-legged Chicken”

This little writing site of mine has always been about freely sharing materials for everyone’s enjoyment and (hopeful) benefits, and will continue to do so.

With so many of us confined-to-quarters with the Coronavirus Shut-In situation for the foreseeable future, I will be posting and sharing a few more pieces from time to time for folks to enjoy reading while helping the time pass.

The following is a short story I just finished for the enjoyment of residents here at the senior living facility where I am the resident manager. The story was inspired by old folk tales and a joke told by the comedian Buddy Hackett years ago.

Again, hopefully bringing a smile and helping the time pass for everyone.


Years ago, when I was very young, six or seven at the time, my family all got into the car one early summer Saturday morning to take a “drive to the country.” That’s how my father would always put it – taking a “drive to the country.”

“The country”, as he referred to it, was the old homestead and farm where my mother had been raised, near McKittrick, Missouri just outside of Hermann, off Highway 19. If you crossed over the Missouri River and landed in Hermann, you probably blinked and missed McKittrick and went too far. Nowadays, McKittrick is home to the world-famous “Joey’s Bird House B&B” on Main Street. But you probably knew that already, being so renowned as it is, so I shouldn’t have wasted your time telling you again.

My father never said the words “drive to the country” in a happy, “let’s hurry up and get there” tone. That’s how I felt, but he did not share my youthful exuberance. A “drive to the country” always ended up being work for him, as my two aged uncles who lived on the farm at the time, Coley and Ellis, two old bachelor brothers who had never been married, always had a list of chores that needed to be done. “We could surely use your help with (insert the chore for the day here) before y’all head back to town, Rudy.”

Rudy was my father’s name, of course, being short for Rudolph, spelled the old German way with a “P” as he would always point out, just like the legendary reindeer. But no relation, my father being of Alsatian heritage as he was and the famous reindeer being from somewhere in the Yukon territory, having hung out with Yukon Cornelius in the day, as I recall.

My father, a city boy with no love for the country or outdoors, would dutifully help out with whatever chores they requested. He came to realize over time that it was best if he just agreed, did the tasks, and remained on speaking terms with my mother. She would visit with family and he would work. Did I mention that he never really liked going to “the country?” His least favorite chore was cleaning out the chicken coop, and after having helped him on one occasion when I was older, I can’t say I disagreed with him. After that, I realized why our family seemed to invariably have fried chicken at Sunday dinners. It wasn’t about cuisine; it was about revenge, pure and simple.

And that brings me to the point of all this. On that one Saturday morning, as we were going on along Highway 19 on the way to my uncles’ farm, a chicken suddenly appeared running alongside the car down the center stripe of the road. Which it actually was at that time, a narrow two-lane, winding blacktop road, as I recall. The term “Highway” can be a misnomer in our state when driving thru the backcountry and Ozarks areas. “Highway” looked good on the fold-out gas station maps and sounded alluring and enticing to tourists thinking about venturing into the state, but in reality, most of the side and back roads at the time were straight-as-a-snake curvy and just plain old “shake your false teeth loose” rough. Another of dad’s expressions.

Anyway, back to that chicken, the one we left running alongside the car as you may recall from a minute ago. My father was driving along at a brisk forty mile an hour clip, a good speed for a winding country road in the early ‘50s. He looked out his side window and exclaimed to us all – “Look at that. A chicken is running alongside the car!” I will never forget his exact words. He said – “Look at that. A chicken is running alongside the car!”

Perhaps feeling challenged by the fleet fowl, my father sped up to 45 mph. So did the chicken, keeping pace right alongside.

From my backseat observation window, I noticed that the chicken was running alongside in an atypical manner, although I didn’t know the word ‘atypical’ or what it meant at the time, of course. Just using it here for you now to indicate that something didn’t appear normal in the way the chicken was moving, in a rather unconventional manner, you see. After a minute or so, thru further study and examination, I then determined that the chicken had three legs. Really, count ‘em – One, Two, Three Legs!

My father sped up to fifty. So did the chicken.

We accelerated up to 60. My mother was about to come unglued, as frequently doing 60 on a hilly and winding country road could result in a quicker-than-planned trip to the cemetery back in the day before life-saving seat belts were invented.

My father floored it and zoomed up to 65, and at this point, apparently having reached its own destination, the chicken sped up even more, dashed ahead of us and cut right in front of our car to sprint up a gravel side road leading to a nearby farmhouse.

My father slammed on the brakes, having passed the gravel road at such speed, immediately threw the car into reverse, and then sped up the road in pursuit of the chicken, gravel and road dust flying everywhere.

Standing in the nearby barnyard was the farmer, dressed in dusty blue overalls and wearing a straw hat that looked like it may have been original Civil War issue. My father leapt out of the car and headed towards the farmer, with my mother and me hurrying behind to catch up.

“Did you see that chicken that just ran past?” my father blurted out, half out of breath.

“Yep,” replied the farmer, calmly.

“That chicken had three legs!” my father exclaimed. He was nearly frantic about what had just transpired on the road, as even being an over-the-road trucker most of his life he had never been in a chicken race of that sort before.

“Yep,” responded the farmer. “Three legs.”

My father was incredulous at the farmer’s indifference. “Well, don’t you find that unusual?” my father pursued.

“Nope,” deadpanned the farmer again. “We breed and raise ‘em here. Lots of ‘em.”

“You raise three-legged chickens?!?” my father came back. “How?!?”

“That’s simple,” the Farmer explained. “We crossed a regular ol’ two-legged chicken with a one-legged Road Runner to get three longer legs and more meat for folks.”

My father, totally bewildered, pressed on. “But why on Earth would anyone want a three-legged chicken?!?”

“Welp,” the farmer began again, a confused look on his face as to why he would have to explain something so obvious, even to a city dweller, “do you like drumsticks?”

“Yes,” replied my father.

“How about your wife?”

“She likes them, too,” my father answered.

“And the little boy there?” the farmer asked, waving a crooked bony finger and then pointing directly at me. “Does he like drumsticks?”

“He loves them,” my Father replied. “They are his favorite part.”

And they were. My father always knew me well when it came to food. Drumsticks were my favorite. Dad was spot on with that one.

“Well then,” the farmer explained, “there you have it. Three people in your family, three drumsticks. No need to cook up an extra chicken and then have that extra leg and a lot of other chicken parts left over. What sense would that make? None at all, I say.”

“That may be fine and good,” my father agreed. “But what do they taste like?”

“Don’t rightly know,” the farmer replied sheepishly, hat in hand.

“Crossing ‘em with Road Runners as we did, we ain’t never caught one yet to find out!”

© Story James R. Milson, 2020

Thank You for visiting with us and I hope you enjoyed our little chicken race adventure. This was an original story, all of which is true and factual. Mostly.

You can find more Free Reads like this thru the Short Works & Free Reads tab at the top of the page. And that is a true fact, sure enough. If you enjoyed this piece, please feel free to share it with family and friends,  along with other site resources available.

And something I do not do often enough, sending a heartfelt “Thank You!” to both new and established patrons of this site, whose generosity, encouragement, and on-going support help keep this all going and making posts like this possible for everyone!  To find out what it’s all about, visit my Patreon Page to learn more.

Wishing the very best continued Health and Happiness for you and yours! Helping each other, we will get thru this challenging period. Together!  — Jim (and Red!)

If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “How The Teddy Bear Got Its Name”

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)

Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” – W. Clement Stone

This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!

              “It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something.             May I suggest that it be creating joy for others,
sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind,
bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”  ― 
Leo Buscaglia

Little Red Bear Answers Reader Questions — “Where is McNickle’s?”

More reader questions for Little Red Bear!   Here we go with another one . . . . . .

Reader Question from Road Trip Rick in Disoriented, Oregon – “Dear Little Red Bear —  I’m really hungry for some old-fashioned pickles and pork rinds so planning a road trip on Sunday, but can’t seem to find “McNickle’s Famous Pickles & Pork Rinds” country store where you do book signings, anywhere on a map. And my GPS is no help at all.  Where is it and will you be there on Sunday for a book signing when I get there?” 

Answer— That is a very good question, Rick!  And it’s not surprising that you can’t find McNickle’s Famous Pickles & Pork Rinds on a map or in the GPS doohickeys, because it seems to be one of those kind of places that a person can’t find unless they know where it is to begin with.

The best thing to remember is that it is on Shady Holler Road, just west of Knob Lick. The country store is located about half a mile past Turner’s red barn, and across from the split pin oak tree if you’re unfamiliar with the area.  If you find yourself sitting in front of the Post Office in Curly Pine, chances are you most likely missed the barn and went too far.  That old red barn sits back from the road a bit, behind the row of hedge apples, so you need to keep a sharp eye peeled and be on the lookout for it, especially during the summer when the trees have their leaves.  And if that’s the case and you’re staring at a mailbox, we find it best to just go back and start over from where you left and try again.

But, Ethel McNickle is adamant that the store remains closed on Sundays, so you might want to plan a Saturday trip.  As for the book signing, Ethel assures me that she will have a number of pre-signed books on hand for you when you get there.  But don’t look for me.  Summer Saturdays are for fishing, not sitting inside talking.  If you want to talk about the book, just mosey on down to Perch Lake. Don’t worry, I usually bring along a few extra fishing poles for visitors if you forget yours.  Out-of-towners dropping by to talk and fish seem to turn up quite often ever since the book went out last year.  And if you don’t like fishing, that’s not a problem, either. We can always use another hand or two cleaning ’em.   Hope that answers your questions, Rick.  Drive safe. — Little Red Bear

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Please keep those questions and letters coming, don’t be bashful.  We’ll get to them as best we can here for you.  And if it’s really urgent, just smear a little honey on the envelope seal.  Red will be sure to get to that one first!

Happy reading, and thanks as always for stopping by!  And remember folks, life is simpler when you plow around the stump.   – Jim (and Red!)

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Little Red Bear Unable to Attend Book Signing Event

Still mending from a leg injury suffered on the writing set a week ago, Little Red Bear will not be able to make the scheduled book signing and personal appearance at “McNickle’s Famous Pickles & Pork Rinds” this coming Saturday, located on Shady Holler Road, just west of Knob Lick.  The country store is located about half a mile past Turner’s red barn and across from the split pin oak if you’re unfamiliar with the area.  If you find yourself sitting in front of the Post Office, chances are you most likely missed the barn and went too far.  Remember, the barn sits back from the road a bit behind the row of hedge apples, so you need to be on the lookout for it.  And if that’s the case, it’s best to just start over from where you left and try again.

Bobo and Lily, black bears and recurring featured characters in the “Adventures of Little Red Bear” stories, will be taking Red’s place and happy to do so, being the good friends and neighbors that they are. They will be bringing a good supply of autographed Little Red Bear pictures, along with pre-signed books available for purchase, and will be autographing books themselves, as well.  Lily has even volunteered to demonstrate the famous “Lily Bear Shuffle” if Earl and Lester bring their banjos along.

 Village Country Store, Cold Spring Village, Cape May, NJ

Village Country Store, Cold Spring Village, Cape May, NJ

Ethel McNickle will generously be giving away free samples of her prize-winning pickles and pork rinds, famous countywide, to all in attendance.  Ethel’s second cousin once removed  will also be there for the event, with samples of her new and locally grown “Lorene’s Greens & Beans”.  As you may recall, McNickle’s Pickles was founded many years ago by Ethel’s twin grandfathers,  Fickle and Tickle McNickle, who always used to say — “If your pickle don’t snap, it ain’t worth a cr–!”  (it’s a ‘G’ rated blog)

And be sure to check out Ethel’s blue ribbon Plumberry Preserves while there, too.   Bobo won’t be leaving without a few jars, so you might want to show up early before they run out.

So, we’re sorry to say that Little Red Bear will miss the event and he feels just gosh-awful terrible about it, but be assured that Bobo and Lily will more than make the trip worthwhile for you.  Not to mention Ethel’s pickles and pork rinds.  And if someone tosses Bobo a beach ball, well — there’s no telling the show he may put on!  As a note though, just so you’re not disappointed, Lily has been instructed not to let Bobo anywhere near a bicycle.  Our Backwoods Indemnity and Bite Casualty Insurance plan is stretched past the limits with Little Red Bear’s injury, and poor Aunt Ivy has nearly picked her herb garden clean already, this being so early in the season and all. Simply can’t risk any more character injuries at the moment and still meet the bills next month.

The Vermont Country Store

The Vermont Country Store, Weston, Vermont — September 2012 via The Mr. Hunter Wall Blog

And just one more thing before we let you go.  While he is laid up, now is a good time to remind everyone to send in their questions for the “Ask Little Red Bear” feature.  If you have a question that you’ve been sitting on about any of Red’s past or coming adventures, there’s no need to sit any longer waiting for it to hatch.  Don’t be shy — just ask away!  Red and I will be happy to try to find or make up an answer for you.  No dating or relationship questions though.  We need all the advice and help we can get in that area ourselves.

Thanks as always for visiting with us.  Hope you get a chance to drop by McNickle’s Pickles on Saturday!  If I can get away from writing with Little Red Bear while he takes a restful nap in the afternoon, maybe I’ll be able to drop in myself for a few minutes.  I do love those pork rinds!  And someone please save me a jar of Plumberry Preserves.  — Jim  ( and Red!)

Artwork -- "Mt. Airy Old Country Store II" by Dan Carmichael. (Prints available at

Artwork — “Mt. Airy Old Country Store II” by Dan Carmichael. (Prints available at

“The Adventures of Little Red Bear” Available on Amazon

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