“Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes — Labor Day Specials!”

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, the end of summer was marked by the Labor Day Holiday Weekend, with the following Tuesday always the first day back to school. Times have changed, with so many school districts now restarting early to mid-August.

So, Little Red Bear thought it might be a good idea today to dedicate this week’s recipe selections to the coming Labor Day Holiday next week, in order to give you the week to gather ingredients and be ready ahead of time for the weekend.

Our inbox overflowed with autumn pumpkin recipes this week, and “Mickey’ Not-So-Scary Halloween Party” already started at Disney a few days ago, but we are going to hold off on autumn things in lieu of one more taste of summer before heading into the annual Fall Pumpkin Rites of Passage.

If you are new to our Sunday morning recipe sharing and missed the first Little Red Bear Recipes Post explaining what we are doing, simply tap on the link to check it out.

So, in honor of Labor Day next weekend and the end of the summer season, here are some notable summer recipes, a few sides and a few treats, that we found to savor the flavors of Summer one more time!

Apple Cranberry and Almond Cole Slaw

This cole slaw is made with Gala Apples, Cranberries, and Almonds, using mostly Greek Yogurt instead of mayonnaise for a healthy and delicious twist on an old favorite. And incorporating apples and cranberries, this slaw will transfer right into the coming fall and holiday seasons, as well.

Apple Cranberry and Almond Cole Slaw Recipe

Barbeque Spice Roasted Potato Nuggets

These Potato Nuggets, seasoned with your favorite barbeque dry rub, are a perfect accompaniment to any dish coming off the grill — steaks, burgers, barbequed chicken, and more.

Barbeque Spice Roasted Potato Nuggets Recipe

Berry Feta Spinach Salad with Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing

If not up for Cole Slaw, this salad makes a beautiful and delicious dish for company, with festive strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.  Oh — and did I mention that it also features Candied Pistachios?

Berry Feta Spinach Salad Recipe

Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Okay, so your Labor Day Weekend plans don’t include stay-at-home barbeques or dinners with friends. You’re going to be out and about enjoying the last holiday weekend of summer. Awesome — we’re right there with you! So how about some lighter fare?  These delightfully fresh Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches perfectly fit the bill and are amazingly good.  Little Red Bear and I used to do sort of the same thing on Ritz crackers — a spread of cream cheese, a cucumber slice and sprinkle of dill weed on top for appetizer snacks. Little Red Bear and I skipped the Seasoned Salt in the recipe, but kicked it up a notch by stirring a packet of Good Seasons’ Zesty Italian Dressing Mix into the cream cheese first.  Oh, so good. The dill weed is what makes it! But if you do not have fresh dill weed, no worries. The dried dill weed seasoning is still amazing with this.

Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches Recipe

Red, White & Blue Cheesecake Cake

Company is coming for dinner and what to do for dessert?  A cheesecake? Or a traditional cake? Around these parts we love both, so why not put them together? This patriotic colored Red, White & Blue Cheesecake Cake will be a holiday showstopper any time of year! And it is simply a layer of cheesecake sandwiched in between tinted layers of vanilla cake.

Red, White & Blue Cheesecake Cake Recipe

Patriotic Flower Pretzel Bites

Speaking of patriotic holiday themes, Little Red Bear and I both loved these Patriotic Flower Pretzel Bites as wonderful side treats for parties and get-togethers.  But here is where we got creative. With the recipe calling for Red, White & Blue Holiday M&Ms to make the flowers, we figured that we could use any holiday-themed M&Ms for a neat holiday side dish treat any time of year — the Halloween mix colors for a Halloween party, blue and white for Hanukkah, the green and red blend for Christmas, red and white for Valentines, and so on. So while this recipe is patriotic themed, it could be adapted for just about any holiday party or event. It’s also a recipe that the kids would have a blast making up for you, too! And, have you ever enjoyed the white chocolate covered pretzels?  If not, you’re in for a treat. And if so, well — you know what we’re talking about here!

Patriotic Flower Pretzel Bites

Indoor S’Mores

S’Mores are a summertime and autumn favorite, roasting the marshmallows over an open fire or the remaining hot coals from the barbeque. But what to do if it rains?  Make them indoors, of course!  Little Red Bear loved this recipe because it let him have yet another treat to make up in his cast iron skillet.  This is a baked-in-the-oven S’Mores Dip for dipping the graham crackers into while staying dry out of the rain. No reason to miss out on the S’Mores due to inclement weather any longer, and the kids will love the great dipping action and fun! But a caution — don’t let anyone lick the leavings from the skillet until it’s properly cooled down though.  Ain’t that right, Red?

Indoor S’Mores Recipe

As a bonus, if wanting to stick to a Patriotic theme and to keep in mind for next year’s Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays, here is a fun recipe for an American Flag S’Mores Dip, too. The marshmallow colors come from red, white and blue sprinkles which form a crystallized coating when baked in the oven. The recipe also includes a link to a Rainbow S’Mores Dip, prepared in the same manner, perfect for Easter and other times.

Fresh Glazed Peach Pie

I was able to get some fresh peaches from the local market this week and they were delicious, so thought this Fresh Glazed Peach Pie a perfect late summer treat.  The glaze, using peach-flavored Jello, works to keep the peaches fresh. This recipe is perfect for Little Red Bear and me, using a prepared pie crust to keep it simple and quick for the holiday weekend.  And as readers are aware, Little Red Bear is a biscuit champion, but cannot make a decent pie crust to save his soul. And with an achy back, I don’t want to bother.  So the prepared crusts work great for us!

Fresh Glazed Peach Pie Recipe

If you enjoy these new recipe features, please tap the Like button below and feel free to Comment and let us know, and we will be on the lookout for more interesting and fun recipes to share with you each Sunday morning as we go along.  And remember, all of these recipes are added each week to our “Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes” board on Pinterest for you to access anytime.

If you have a family favorite or vintage recipe that you would like to share, please snap a photo and send it along to us. We’ll be happy to add it in for the benefit of others.

Thanks as always for spending part of your day with us!  And as we head off into a new week, paraphrasing what Henry Ford said — the person who thinks they can and the person who thinks they can’t are both right.  Which will you be?   – Jim (and Red!)


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free blog to be able to offer the most pleasurable 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 here, please consider Becoming a Patron of this site and my writing work, helping my friend Little Red Bear and me to be able to continue improving and expanding our outreach to others. 


                         “One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.”                   – Henry David Thoreau

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!


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

“Good food is always best when shared with good friends and family.” – Little Red Bear


“Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes #2”

This is an interesting time of year. With so many schools back in session, it seems as though summer should be over, yet we are still two weeks away from Labor Day Weekend, a holiday traditionally marking the end of the summer season for many.  So a bit of a confused mix right now of Summer/Back to School/Anticipating Autumn sense and feel about it. The recipes that Little Red Bear and I came across kind of reflected that confused state, with some summer recipes still holding on and many fall themed making their appearance now. We’re going to hold back on all the Pumpkin Everythings for a little while longer.

If you missed the first Little Red Bear Recipes Post last week explaining what we are doing with Sunday morning recipe sharing, simply tap on the link to check it out.

Here are some of the recipes which caught our eye this week, with a few summer holdouts and one notable autumn dish featuring one of our fall favorites, butternut squash . . . . . .

Healthier Skillet Peach Crisp

Little Red Bear and I look for any excuse to use our favorite cast iron skillets and this recipe fits the bill perfectly.  A summery treat, using fresh peaches while they are still around.  The topping is made from healthy Old-fashioned Rolled Oats.  A wonderful summer treat served plain or with an ice cream or whipped topping to make it extra special.

Healthier Skillet Peach Crisp Recipe

Iced Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread is a breakfast favorite and snack here all thru the year, and Iced Cinnamon Raisin Bread is even better! I rarely purchase bread, making all of my own. This recipe calls for King Arthur Flour if available in your area, which is the flour I solely use and recommend for the very best, consistent results.  In addition, the recipe maker’s name is Mavis Butterfield.  We have a town in the Little Red Bear stories named Butterfield, where Myra Cookson recently opened her Pie Pantry & Goodies Shoppe as readers of the “Pine Holler Christmas” story know. So, between the King Arthur Flour note and the name of Butterfield, this wonderful Iced Cinnamon Bread Recipe just seemed like a perfect fit.

Iced Cinnamon Raisin Bread Recipe

Fried Tomato BLT Sliders

One of our favorite summer sandwiches is a BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich. This recipe takes it to another level, incorporating fried tomato slices using either remaining fresh tomatoes still coming in from the late summer garden, or any remaining green tomatoes for an especially Southern touch to this sandwich.  A touch of garlic powder and cayenne pepper (if you like) add another layer of flavor!

Fried Tomato BLT Sliders Recipe

Perfect Roasted Butternut Squash

Little Red Bear and I love butternut squash and roasting vegetables, so this recipe caught our eye, especially with the fall season approaching around the corner.  Using only a few pantry staple ingredients, this recipe is both simple to prepare and delicious!

Perfect Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe

White Chocolate Caramel Pecan Fudge

This recipe has so many magical words in the title for Little Red Bear that it must be amazing — White Chocolate + Caramel + Pecans.  Wow!  This would be a wonderful fudge treat for both a summer Labor Day BBQ gathering or for coming holiday dinner and party buffets. This fudge simply looks like a “Party Waiting To Happen”, doesn’t it?

White Chocolate Caramel Pecan Fudge Recipe

Sauteed Sirloin Tips With Bell Peppers And Onion

This versatile recipe can be served many different ways simply by altering the seasonings. Prepared as-is with steak seasoning, this can be served together with baked or mashed potatoes and a salad for a weeknight meal.  Using fajita seasoning and warmed tortillas, and you have my favorite fajita dinner.  Substituting Asian seasonings for the steak seasoning, served with rice this becomes an Asian themed dish. Preparing the marinade ahead of time or overnight, the sirloin tips become an easy, one skillet dish to accompany the various sides however you choose to season and serve it.

Sauteed Sirloin Tips With Bell Peppers And Onion Recipe

No-Bake Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake

Many things define “summer” in our family, and two treats high on the list are Orange Sherbert and Orange Creamsicles.  The orangy, cold goodness is almost singularly refreshing on a hot summer day!  So, when Little Red Bear and I came across this Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake, it seemed a perfect treat for upcoming Labor Day Weekend barbeques and events.  And we don’t even have to turn the oven on.

No-Bake Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake Recipe

If you enjoy these new recipe features, please tap the Like button below and feel free to Comment and let us know, and we will be on the lookout for more interesting and fun recipes to share with you each Sunday morning as we go along.  And remember, all of these recipes are added each week to our “Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes” board on Pinterest for you to access anytime.

If you have a family favorite or vintage recipe that you would like to share, please snap a photo and send it along to us. We’ll be happy to add it in for the benefit of others.

Thanks as always for spending part of your day with us. Recalling the old proverb — “A Sunday well-spent brings a week of content.”   Sunday family dinners accomplish more than merely feeding the family, for they nurture as well.   – Jim (and Red!)


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“Kitchens are made for bringing families together.”

                                    “The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking  —                                – love for those you are cooking for.” – Sophia Loren


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

“A balanced diet is having a Chocolate Cupcake in each paw.” – Little Red Bear


Introducing “Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes”

My oldest son is a classically trained chef.  I like to imagine that having cooked all my life myself, that I helped to contribute a little more to his interest and education than merely a pile of cash for culinary school.

Admittedly, with everyone grown and off on their own now and not doing as much heavy cooking as when raising four children, I am still always on the lookout for interesting new recipes, techniques, and ideas for both of us, in addition for Little Red Bear, who is a noted cook himself.  Little Red Bear is widely regarded as baking the best biscuits in the Tri-County area, and renowned for his famous weekly Friday Night Fish Fries, as readers of his adventure stories are aware.

Accordingly, we have many recipes for a wide variety of dishes and treats that come our way each week, and a few always seem to catch our interest more than others.  It occurred to us, Little Bear and me, that we could share some of the more notable recipes each week with you here, especially with the fall holidays and cooking season around the corner soon.

Each week we will feature a few of the recipes which caught our eye, and link directly to the original recipe provider for you.  In addition, I have set up a new Pinterest Board for “Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes”, to make it easy for re-pinning or referring to in the future for everyone. And check out my thousands of other recipes, art and information on other Pinterest boards, as well.

Recipes shared here are simply the ones which stood out as looking exceptionally good, creative, and not unduly cumbersome or requiring deluxe or overly expensive ingredients, skills, tools, or equipment to prepare. Recipes for ordinary folk like Little Red Bear and me, no chefs-in-training here.  Calories, fat grams, salt content and other dietary issues do not enter into it. Little Red Bear’s only criteria for judging a recipe in the end is – “Did it taste good?”

I personally do not eat much meat and no seafood other than fish (because Little Red Bear’s fried fish is staggeringly delicious!), but will share recipes for others because we are not pushing any agendas here. We have not tested all the recipes shared, so do not vouch for them.  It’s all about sharing information and enjoyment.

So then, to begin here are a few of the top recipes which grabbed our attention this week –

Poached Apples with Glazed Pecans

These take me back to the poached apples my Mother would make in the fall and winter, filling our home with the scent of cinnamon apple goodness.  Little Red Bear likes to mix in some Cinnamon Red Hot Candies into the sugar mix when baking.  Per the recipe — “Poached Apples baked in a lovely bath of apple cider that simmers into a wonderful syrup.  Serve them stuffed with glazed pecans, hot or cold with a dollop of whipped cream.”

Poached Apples Recipe

Sprinkled Butter Cookies

Little Red Bear loves melt-in-your-mouth Butter Cookies during the holiday season. The fun sprinkles make these festive cookies perfect year round. Per the recipe — “Rainbow Sprinkled Butter Cookies! These delicious cookies are easy to make and use evaporated milk to make the cookies extra soft! They melt in your mouth!  Roll them around in colored sprinkles to make them more fun!”

Sprinkled Butter Cookies Recipe

BBQ Pulled Sweet Potato Sliders

Having some veggie-loving friends over for a barbeque?  These sliders, made from nutritious shredded sweet potatoes really caught our eye this week.  “Yummy and good for you!” Little Red Bear exclaimed.  With shredded sweet potatoes, onion, red cabbage and carrots, these are veggie-packed awesome!

BBQ Pulled Sweet Potato Sliders

Apple Pecan Monkey Bread

Apples and pecans in a pull-apart Monkey Bread dripping with sugary, buttery goodness for the autumn and holiday seasons!  The aroma of this baking will get anybody out of bed on a chilly morning!

Apple Pecan Monkey Bread Recipe

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies

A “Fluffernutter” is a sandwich typically made with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff served on white bread.  These sandwich cookies are a playful take on the original with a toasty marshmallow and chocolate center sandwiched in between classic, soft and crumbly peanut butter cookies. I would like to tell you that these were delightfully delicious, but Little Red Bear ate them all before I could try one. So, we’ll go by his word on it, I suppose.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies Recipe

Oven Fried Pickles

Little Red Bear and I both loved fried pickles!  With this recipe using one of my favorite ingredients, Panko Crumbs, to add extra crunchiness, and being oven-baked instead of deep-fried for a more healthy treat, we both felt these would go perfectly with any barbeque or fish fry. We like to keep it simple and dip them in Ranch Dressing.

Oven Fried Pickles

Blackberry Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Little Red Bear and I both love blackberries and blackberry dishes in all forms, so when this Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting landed in our inbox we both took notice. Shared on my Facebook page, it immediately started gathering Likes and Shares. The all-natural flavor and color come from an infusion of fresh blackberry puree. How many times can we say “Wow!” to describe this one?

Blackberry Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

If you enjoy this new recipe feature, please tap the Like button below and feel free to Comment and let us know, and we will keep on the lookout for more to share with you each week as we go along.  And remember, all of the weekly recipes are already pinned on our new “Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes” board on Pinterest for you to access anytime.

If you have a family favorite or vintage recipe that you would like to share, please snap a photo and send it along to us. We’ll be happy to add it in for the benefit of others.

Thanks as always for spending part of your day with us.  Good food is even better when shared with good friends. Be the reason someone smiles today!  – Jim (and Red!)


If you enjoy your visits here Become a Patron of this site and my writing work, helping to grow and expand our outreach to others. Find out more and discover Patron benefits today!


“Kitchens are made for bringing families together.”

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child


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

“Laughter is brightest where food is best.” – Irish Proverb


 

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Orange Juice — Clean It Up!

Following a rather unfortunate mishap in the kitchen the other morning, it occurred to Little Red Bear and me that, to the best of our knowledge, no one had ever written a poem or advisory about spilled orange juice.  We are told from an early age not to cry over spilled milk, of course. And if we spill salt, a pinch tossed over the left shoulder for good luck will supposedly blind the devil waiting there.

But what do we do about spilled orange juice?  Cry?  Don’t cry?  Splash some over our shoulder?  And what can we learn from the experience?  So, we sharpened our pencils and set to work.

In the end, neither Little Red Bear nor I could think of anything to do about spilled orange juice other than to simply get busy and clean up the mess, being especially grateful that it  was merely orange juice and not our treasured, albeit icky-sticky, honey supply.

And, upon further review, we found the orange juice innocent in the  regrettable and messy spillage episode, and blamed it all on the yellow cup which proved itself to be notably deceptive and unreliable.  And haste, which, of course, we all know what that makes because someone did take the time to develop a proverb about the consequences of haste and waste.

When pouring fresh yellow orange juice into a non-see-through yellow cup,

Take a moment to switch the light on to save five minutes cleaning up.

Pouring in the dark soon leads to over-filling and spilling, you see,

Leaving behind a mighty mess which must be sopped and mopped up by me.

This I have learned from experience, such a true and noble teacher,

Who knew that congenial yellow cups could have this peculiar feature?

Thanks always for visiting with us. A single kind word or act of kindness can turn someone’s entire day or life around.  In a world where we can be anything — be Kind, and the reason someone smiles today! – Jim (and Red!)


If you enjoy your visits here Become a Patron of this site and my writing work, helping to grow and expand our outreach to others. Find out more and discover Patron benefits today!


                    “Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.”               – John Barrymore

            “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.   So, do it.” – Kurt Vonnegut


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

                                      “Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty.                                       It should be offered to them as a precious gift.” — Kate DiCamillo


 

Happy Book Lover’s Day! What Is It That You Love About Books?

In honor of Book Lover’s Day on August 9th, some fellow writing and blogging friends and I are sharing what books mean to us and how we enjoy them. I encourage you to visit their pages as well, listed at the end of this post.

What do books mean to you? Do books and reading hold a special place or memories in your life?

My reading adventures began at a very early age. Diagnosed with a bone disease at age two and going on crutches and then into a wheelchair for several years at age three, my Mother took it upon herself to develop a love of books and reading with me, starting at a time earlier than I can remember. By the time I entered school, I was already reading several levels ahead of classmates.

Looking back, I readily recall five books that not only changed my life, but also continue to influence the interests, choices and decisions I make today.  And that is why I am such a staunch supporter of children’s literacy, advocating reading to children from the earliest age, helping them to get started reading, and then continuing reading with them well after they are reading on their own to show continued interest and guidance.

          “Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.”  – George Bernard Shaw

The five books most instrumental in guiding my life were –

  • “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper. I do not know how many (hundreds?) of times this story was read to me and later by me over the years, but the lesson for a young boy in a wheelchair was clear – “Never give up and you can make it over the mountain, too!”
  • “The Legends of Davy Crockett” put out by Walt Disney. Looking back, the story may have been sanitized a bit by Disney, but the examples were clear, and what better early hero for a young boy growing up in the 1950s than Davy Crockett. His motto became a guide thru later life – “Be always sure you’re right – then go ahead.”
  • “Hammond’s Nature Encyclopedia of America” from 1960. This large book, ordered thru the mail by my Mother, complete with 320 original painting illustrations became my introduction and foundation for study of the natural world, with detailed pictures and information on everything from minerals and rocks, to every classification of animal, geography, trees and plants, climate and more. It was the largest book I had ever seen. I lived with this book in my lap, studying all the wonders of nature, forming a life-long interest and passion.
  • “The Boy Scout Handbook” – This book became my constant study guide for years thru the Boy Scouts, ultimately reaching the rank of Eagle Scout. Thru this book and the scouts, I learned independence, leadership, and a way of life built on character and service to others, while also greatly advancing my interests in the natural world, the wilderness and conservation.
  • “Two Years Before the Mast” – A memoir written by the American author Richard Henry Dana Jr. and published in 1840, captivated my imagination like no other book I had read before. By this time, I had already read “Moby Dick”, “Tom Sawyer”, and “Huckleberry Finn”, all beloved classics, especially those and others by Mark Twain, my favorite storytelling author. But I was familiar with all those stories before reading the books. “Two Years Before the Mast”, recalling a two-year sea voyage from Boston to California on a merchant ship starting in 1834, was a fresh story and greatly impressed upon me how powerful and fun storytelling could be.

“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.” – Marcel Proust

That is why I love books and developing a life-long love of reading with children. Books have quite simply and profoundly impacted and changed my life.  An old saying goes — “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”  I believe the same about books.

I can see clearly now how these five books have worked together, each contributing their parts, to both form the foundation and heavily influence my “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” stories, combining nature and conservation themes with good old-fashioned family and Boy Scout values, with white-knuckled fun and adventurous storytelling to keep it interesting. Mark Twain helps a lot, too.

So – Happy Book Lover’s Day!  I encourage you to make a nice cup of tea (or beverage of choice) and sit down with a good book today.  And if there is a little one around, grab them up for a reading session, too.

I encourage you to visit my wonderful blogger friends next, who will inspire and make you smile with their personal Book Love thoughts.

Cat Michaels — Cat’s Corner Blog

Rebecca Lyndsey — Author Rebecca Lyndsey Blog

Carmela Dutra — Carmela Dutra’s Blog

Julie Gorges — Baby Boomer Bliss

Rosie Russell — Books by Rose

Thanks as always for reading and visiting with us!  Be the reason someone smiles today!  — Jim (and Red!)


If you enjoy your visits here Become a Patron of this site and my writing work, helping to grow and expand our outreach to others. Find out more and discover Patron benefits today!


“So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.” — William James

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”     — Jacqueline Kennedy


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

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.” — Neil Gaiman


 

 

What is Patreon, Why I Joined and What It Means For The Future

If you are like me, you may never have heard of Patreon before. I hadn’t until it was suggested to me and I started investigating.

Growing and increasingly popular among artists, writers, videographers, musicians, and other creators, Patreon is a new, web-based membership platform providing a means for creators to build a subscriber base and receive funding directly from their fans and followers who are seeking a way to reward and provide tangible encouragement, help and support for their creative work, thereby enabling creators to focus on their work and do more.

Historically, “patrons” have directly endorsed and supported creative artists’ work over the centuries.  Patreon is a platform for that to happen once again, by providing fans and followers of creators the opportunity to subscribe as a patron of their work at whichever amount they may choose.

Some patrons may contribute each time a creative work is produced, while other patrons may pledge a small monthly amount to assist the creator on an on-going basis. In many instances, as little as a dollar a month.  Membership participation varies, individual to each creator.

So, if you see a new Patreon button or logo on someone’s page that you follow, or are provided an email link in correspondence, that is what it is all about. A way to reward, encourage, and support the creative work of those you follow and enjoy.

Contrary to advice received over the years, I have steadfastly refused to monetize my writing and creativity blog by incorporating advertisers, and will continue to do so, to never distract from positive messages and enjoyment of visitors, so receive no revenues from this site.

Retired on disability and living on a fixed income which diminishes each year with rising housing costs, medical expenses and inflation, I have become increasingly reliant on revenues from the sale of my teddy bear and other creations in my online stores to offset the costs of the blog and writing, and to make ends meet. At the same time those revenues have been decreasing from more difficult days when hand work becomes more challenging, coupled with more time spent on the blog and writing.

After a great deal of thought I came to the decision to join Patreon to help keep it all going, and as a better alternative to intrusive, annoying and questionably tasteless or shady advertisements running on my blog pages, which I would ultimately have little or no control over.

Patreon provides a reliable means for followers who would like to participate in the process, to help keep both the site and my writing work not only going, but also growing to reach a wider audience with our themes of Children, Family, Kindness, Positivity, Mother Nature and Conservation. That is what it is all about here.

What joining Patreon means, is that thru small monthly pledges and encouragement, Patrons allow me to –

  • Devote a greater amount of time to writing both with Little Red Bear and on exciting new projects in the works,
  • Provide a higher quality experience and educational information for visitors to this site,
  • Reach new readers thru my writing blog, Little Red Bear stories, and other new ways,
  • Continue spreading our positive messages to new audiences,
  • Maintain this site free of advertising and easy loading for reader enjoyment,
  • Be able to continue providing free original reading material, poetry, and wholesome entertainment for all ages.

If you are interested in becoming a Patron and would like to learn more about what it involves, simply Visit my Patreon Page and discover the exclusive rewards in store for Patrons as my Thank You – including writing updates, sneak peaks of upcoming releases, extra materials not able to be included in stories and books, the ability to participate in my Patron community, and much more.

Sharing kindness, positivity, and care for Mother Nature, together we can reunite and unify the pieces to help bring about a better future for our children and grandchildren.

Thanks as always for visiting with us. If not able to become a Patron at this time, please be assured that my writing blog will always remain free and accessible for all, and thank you always for your encouragement by following along.  – Jim (and Red!)


If you enjoy your visits here, Become a Patron of this site and my writing work, helping to grow and expand our outreach to others. Find out more and discover Patron benefits today!


“Someone’s sitting in shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffet

                                              

“I’ll lift you, and you lift me, and we’ll ascend together.” – John Greenleaf Whittier


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

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi


                                       Enjoy Your Visit?  One-time Tips  Are Appreciated.                               Help Keep It Going For Others!


 

Special Just The Way You Are

It may sound silly and a few may giggle,

Or feel uneasy and then start to wriggle.

But we’re each very special in our own way,

So, taking a moment to let you know that today.

What Mr. Rogers said is truer than true,

I’m grateful for each and every one of you.

And whether you are near or somewhere afar,

Please know that I like you,  just the way you are.


Thanks as always for visiting!  A single word, smile or act of kindness has the magical power to totally transform someone’s day and life.  Be the reason someone smiles today! — Jim  (and Red!)


        “Let everything we do and say be an expression of the beauty in our heart,                 always based on love.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

“The sign of a beautiful person is that they always see beauty in others.” – Omar Suleiman


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

“The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.” – Fred Rogers


 

Peace In Our Time, Hope for the Future

Having just passed another Memorial Day Observance followed by the 73rd anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, although ‘anniversary’ never seems the best choice of word, a thought came to me.

Wouldn’t it be nice, if OUR generation,

Recalling the sacrifices of the PAST generations,

Figured out a way so the NEXT generation could live in peace,

And not be memorialized for their sacrifices by the FOLLOWING generations?

World War I was billed as “The War to End All Wars”.  It wasn’t, as WWI was followed shortly by World War II.  In turn followed soon thereafter by the Korean War.

Two years later, in 1955,  Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller composed a beautiful song which most are familiar with and have sung together on Sundays, but perhaps we need to listen more closely next time and take personal responsibility in its message.

Their song  began —

                                        “Let their be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.                                                              Let there be Peace on Earth,  the Peace that was meant to be.”

        “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”        – Mother Teresa

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”

— from ‘For the Fallen’, by Robert Laurence Binyon

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.” – Dalai Lama

In 1969 during the Vietnam War, John Lennon later added — “Give Peace a Chance.” 

We keep writing and singing songs about peace. Perhaps it is time we finally follow thru to put words into action and give Peace a chance in our time, so our great-grandchildren will not be memorializing our children and grandchildren.

Thanks for visiting with us again. We wish you Peace.  Help the world to find a better way, and be the reason someone smiles today! — Jim (and Red!)


“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa

                   “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”                     – Albert Einstein


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

         “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”                ― Jimi Hendrix


 

Ready, Set, Jump Into Summer! — The 2017 CURRENTLY Summer Blog Hop

Sun screen. Observing shore birds. Relaxing to the rhythm of the waves. Splashing in the surf. Kids playing “Marco Polo” in the pool. Family road trips. Picnics in the park. Watching spring’s wildlife babies taking first flight and learning from their parents.

Buzzing bees.  Kites in the breeze.  Birds singing in the trees.  —  Summer is in the air!

My blogger friends and I are sharing summer reflections and what we are up to at the moment.  Our thoughts, special memories, inspirations and what we are loving, listening to, anticipating, working on, writing, inspirations, and more in our “C*U*R*R*E*N*T*L*Y Summer Blog Hop.”

Please have a read and enjoy. Then visit the other #Gr8Blogs listed at the end of this post for more summer insights and  inspirations.


Currently Loving . . . .

I am currently loving the change of seasons, now from spring moving into summer. Watching the bright freshness of spring’s newly-budded leaves transitioning into  the mature forest greens of summer. The hummingbirds have arrived and are visible darting, bobbing and weaving thru the air. Fireflies in the evening should be making an appearance soon. Parent birds busy all day gathering food for newly fledged young. The garden beginning to take form. Being a native of the Midwest and then having lived in Florida for several years and now having more recently returned to my home state of Missouri, as much as I loved the beauty and beaches of Florida I always missed the traditional flow of seasons here, one into another followed by another.

Loving . . . . Spring into Summer!

Currently Listening To . . . .

Taking a step back to Florida, it was during my year’s in the Sunshine State that I discovered the Smooth Jazz genre of music, listening to a smooth jazz station in Orlando.  So, while loving the change of seasons in my Midwest home, I miss family still living in Florida and times spent together with them there. Listening to smooth jazz music, especially that of Paul Hardcastle, Jazzmasters, Peter White and the like, reminds me of Florida’s bright sunny days and trips to the beach.

And, almost without saying, Jimmy Buffett passing the time in Margaritaville, of course.  I am a Parrot Head Pirate Over Forty, and it is always Five O’ Clock Somewhere listening to Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band with a steel drum serenade. Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes — works fine here, too.

Listening to . . . . the music of summer!

Currently Making Me Happy . . . .

It seems as though it has taken forever, but finally getting settled back into a creative routine following three moves in three years, and having my workroom set up again where I create the teddy bears, old-fashioned raggedy dolls, jewelry pendants and other items for my online eBay Store and Etsy Shoppe. Unpacking boxes and rediscovering materials and supplies not seen in a few years is exciting, and has gotten the old creative juices flowing again.

Happy . . . . to be creating again!

Currently Anticipating . . . .

My online stores have been sadly neglected the past couple years with many things in limbo and in storage sheds, and together with getting the workroom going and working hard now to restock, I am eagerly anticipating the official ‘relaunch’ of my stores in mid-September in time for the holiday season, together with having some of my work and books displayed and available for the first time in local shops and boutiques on Main Street in Old Towne St. Charles, a local historic district. Old-fashioned teddy bears and raggedy dolls should feel right at home there.

Anticipating . . . . new opportunities!

Currently Working On . . . .

Summer is one of Santa and the elves’ busiest times preparing for the fall holiday season, and as one of Mr. C’s suppliers for many years, my summers are no exception. It’s busy times here!

On my worktable right now are an assortment of various sized mohair teddy bears and pandas for adult collectors, together with a growing small army of little, multi-colored mini bears which I refer to as ‘Fuzzie Cubbies’, made from vintage, 1950s plush upholstery fabric in a wide range of colors.

I am also staining fabrics, preparing to restart a line of small, old-fashioned raggedy dolls suitable for children, which I refer to as ‘Little Sidekicks’.   And making hats. And Steampunk attire.  And new wooden Adirondack Chairs and Rockers that I have designed and building. And decorative bonnets for dolls.  And more adult pendants. And, and . . . . .

Working on . . . . keeping busy!

Currently Writing . . . .

When not in the workroom, I am busy with Little Red Bear and his friends writing the second collection of short stories — ‘The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The Second Holler Over!’, for a fall release.  Following the warm reception of the standalone story for Little Red Bear, ‘Pine Holler Christmas: A Little Red Bear Story’, we are also hard at work on another standalone story — ‘Walking With Trees’ — focusing on the health benefits and well-being of spending time in nature, and the reasons why preserving the natural world is so important.  We are targeting a late summer release for this story, but as you can see, we’re pretty busy with a lot of things at the moment, but keeping good thoughts.

A lot of reading, study and research involved in my writing, of course, keeping Red and I even busier, as all of the Little Red Bear stories are meant to not only be Entertaining, but also Informative and Educational, as well. Red is very good with research. He has a special quiet place he retreats to for study, but will not share with me where it is.

Writing . . . . Little Red Bear Adventures!

Currently Grateful For . . . .

I am Currently and Always grateful for YOU!  Thank You to everyone who visits and follows my work here and on other social media sites.  Thank You for your kind comments, thoughts and encouragement.  Without YOU, I would merely being having conversations with a bear residing in my head.

It is followers, like YOU, who bring it all to life, hopefully for the benefit of many, making this blog, my writing, and works devoted to Children, Family, Positivity, Kindness, and Mother Nature possible.

Little Red Bear and I are grateful for . . . .  YOU!


Thanks as always for your time visiting with us.  That is what we (Little Red Bear and I) are currently up to, and as you can see, it is shaping up to be a very busy summer here!

I encourage you to please visit and follow my awesome and talented blogger friends below to see what they are CURRENTLY up to this summer, also.

And — be the reason someone smiles today!   — Jim (and Red!)


C*U*R*R*E*N*T*L*Y Summer Blog Hop Pages To Visit!

Julie Gorges — “Baby Boomer Bliss”
Tracy Bryan — “Children’s Author”
Auden Johnson — “Dark Treasury”
Sandra Bennett — “author”
Carmela Dutra — “carmela Dutra blog”
Cat Michaels — “Cat’s Corner”

And hey y’all, if you’re pumped about writing your own “C*U*R*R*E*N*T*L*Y” post now, simply add your family-friendly Currently blog link to your blog post in the comment section. We’ll visit and give you some blog love too!


“A Kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” – Steve Maraboli

 

Love Is A Four Letter Word That Children Spell — “T-I-M-E”


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

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


 

Finding Beauty and Joy in the Simple Things

One of my Mother’s favorite old sayings was — “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Children, so freshly arrived in the world, seem to infallibly retain and demonstrate that ancient wisdom and knowledge for us over and over, as they rejoice and find merriment in the very simplest of things.  Those things which we so often overlook as we grow older.

What parent hasn’t had the experience of giving something we thought wonderfully awesome and shiny in our eyes, only to have our child toss it aside and be deliriously happy playing with the box for hours upon hours instead? That is a strong message if we think about it.

One of my favorite country artists, John Sloane, has captured this adage of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” perfectly and in a fun way, in his painting “To Each Her Own.” The Mother, having stepped unaware over bothersome ‘weeds’, is picking beautiful, delicate and exquisite lilac flowers; while her daughter is delightfully filling her basket with the ignored, bright and cheerful little dandelion treasures in bloom behind her.

“Someone who finds joy in a simple pebble will be surrounded by beauty wherever they go.” — Little Red Bear

The world is filled with beauty and wonder all around us, if we aware to its presence. But when we become so focused with tunnel-like vision on our goals and that which we are so stridently seeking in life, we miss out on all the simply beautiful joys and moments as we rush past. Many of which may never come again. Especially with those box-playing children. The most simple things most often bring the most happiness.

Joining with the little girl in John Sloane’s painting, I am a big fan of the commonly simple dandelion. If you would like to learn more about dandelions and the important role they play in nature for the survival of bees and other pollinators, please check out —  “Please Don’t Pull The Dandelions — They’re Nature’s Gift!”

Thanks as always for your time and visiting.  A kind gesture can reach a wound we cannot see — so be kind — and the reason someone smiles today!  — Jim  (and Red!)


Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” — Vincent van Gogh


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

“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa


 

 

Chapter Six of The Ozarks Ostrich Crisis: “To Market, To Market”

Note to Readers– This is Chapter Six of a continuing Weekly Serial Story freely shared only here for followers of my Writing Blog.  If you missed the beginning, you can catch up HERE for the beginning and previous chapters. Follow the Blog now to be informed of every new post and update.


Pieces of glass flew everywhere as the window at first shattered and then seemed to explode from the force of a heavy, grey granite rock hurled from outside, startling everyone and causing all the bunnies to scurry in fright beneath the table to shelter from flying bits of glass.

Thump-a! . . . Bump-a! . . . Thump-a! . . . .

The rock hurtled, careened and bounced across the cabin’s wooden floor, finally coming to rest against the far wall.

Wearing boots and not wanting any of the others’ bare feet to be cut on broken shards of glass, I motioned Little Red Bear and everyone away. Carefully stepping around the larger glass splinters, smaller pieces crunched and crackled beneath my feet as I made my way across the room.

Reaching the rock, I carefully picked it up to find a message, painted in bold red letters on the flat bottom.

I held it up for Little Red Bear to see.

“LOOK OUTSIDE”

Little Red Bear quickly tossed me a broom from the corner.  I hurried to sweep up the shattered window glass pieces from seemingly everywhere, anxious to see who or what was to be found outside.

Had the weasels ganged up and overwhelmed Albuquerque while guarding the rabbits? Holding him hostage?  Worse?  Had the coyotes run wild and taken potential story characters? What had been done that they wanted us to see?  Thoughts raced thru my mind while hurriedly sweeping glass.

Before I could finish, another rock came sailing in thru the now open window space, striking the far wall and falling down in a loud “CLUMP” on the floor.  I walked over to find another message awaiting . . .

“WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG?”

I worked even faster to clear the remaining few pieces of glass from the floor and tops of tables.  

Emptying the last dust pan filled with broken glass into the trash can, I joined Little Red Bear, already slumped and frowning, at the broken window.

A short distance from the cabin, the smallest ostrich, the one whose protest sign Little Red Bear had ripped apart earlier in the day, stood with his tongue sticking out atop an upturned wooden rain barrel, forcefully waving a freshly painted new sign while wagging his head in an unhinged, wibbly-wobbly, deranged back and forth manner, taunting Little Red Bear.

RED BEAR IS SO UGLY HIS MOTHER

HAD TO BORROW A BABY

TO TAKE TO CHURCH ON SUNDAYS!

Then, aware that we had each seen the new sign, the ostrich flipped around, shaking his backside and tail feathers at us while displaying the reverse side of the sign.

AND HE SMELLS BAD!

“Sticks and stones, Red,” I reminded, trying to comfort and gently moving him back away from the window and sign message. “Sticks and stones.”

“My Mother never borrowed nobody’s baby — or cub — to take to church,” Little Red Bear grumbled in protest. “That little ostrich is just makin’ up stuff. To be hurtful. That’s not nice.”

“No, it’s not nice, Red. Don’t let it get to you. Just remember – ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”

“I suppose,” Little Red Bear replied, rather dejectedly, “but right now I’d like to take a few sticks and stones to that guy’s bones.”

“You know that wouldn’t solve anything and just serve to make matters worse. Just let it go and be the bigger man.  Err, bear. Be the bigger bear. You know what I mean.”

“Yeah, yeah. Maybe the next sign will be about you, and then you can be the bigger man.”

“Well, Red,” I replied, patting and ruffling the hair on his shoulder. “There’s always tomorrow. Hold on to that thought if it cheers you up. We never know what the morning will bring around here right now, so we’ll see. Maybe they’ll do that for you.”

We both laughed.

“But in the meantime,” I continued, “we have a window to patch and guests to make comfortable for the night. It’s time to get bunnies in blankets.”

“Bunnies in Blankets! Oh, that sounds good.  Let me get this here window covered and I’ll get some started and made up real quick for us!”

“No, no, Red.  Not those Bunnies in Blankets.  Henrietta’s baby bunnies — I need to round up some comforters and blankets for them to go to bed and keep them warm tonight. It’s getting late. Do you always think about food?”

“Well, not always.”

“But maybe?”

“Well — maybe.”

We both laughed again.  Little Red Bear patched the broken window with some large sections of cardboard for the night, while I prepared bedding areas for Henrietta and her family of bunnies.

“Why did they have to bring my Mother into it?” Little Red Bear called over from the window. “She’d come straighten ‘em all out in a hurry if she knew about what they’d said.”

I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Yeah,” I agreed, still laughing. “She would reset their clocks all right.  There would be nothing left but a pile of feathers by the time your mother finished with them all if she knew what they’d been saying about her cute little baby bear.”

“Watch the ‘baby’ stuff,” Little Red Bear corrected, laughing himself at the thought of his mother dealing with the ostriches. “There would be feathers flying for sure! Don’t those ostriches know not to ever anger a mother bear?”

“Good thing for them she’s not around then,” I added while spreading the blankets and comforters on the floor for the bunnies.  Henrietta gently tucked each one in with a bunny kiss on the forehead.

“Maybe,” Little Red Bear answered. One could tell that he was still entertaining thoughts of flying ostrich feathers in his mind though, by the half grin on his face.  Then he unexpectedly burst into a fit of hearty and loud laughter.

“Wouldn’t those ostriches be sad to find out that after all of their efforts to make us mad and hurt our feelings, we were still inside here laughing and not crying into our pillows?” Little Red Bear managed to get out, between laughs.

Henrietta’s baby bunnies, snuggled in their blankets, were all giggling too, because laughter is contagious, after all. Henrietta shushed them, of course, while chuckling to herself.

“Yeah well, that’s what it’s all about, right?” I responded. “Not letting them get to us or ruin our day? It’s up to each of us whether we choose to be happy or give over control of our thoughts and happiness to others.  And with you laughing so loud right there beside the broken window, I’m guessing the ostriches might know.”

The prospect of the ostriches being aware that they had not affected him seemed to delight Little Red Bear still more, and he laughed even louder.

In a little while, with the window patched and bunnies nuzzled and settled in, Little Red Bear and I headed upstairs, deciding to call it a night after what had been another long and trying day.

We all awoke the next morning to find the sun peeking up over the treetops. Soon it was shining brightly, warming us on Honey Hill and burning off the night’s fog in Hoppers Holler below; with clear, cheerful blue skies overhead.  A beautiful Sunday morning.

Heralding spring, dandelions were popping up thru what open ground was left unoccupied by the encampment surrounding the cabin. Pink and white dogwood trees were in bloom, scattered thru the woods over the hillsides. The delightful sounds of birds singing, chirping, whistling and warbling filled the air.

There were many birds singing, in fact. The trees were chock full of them, all having come to see for themselves what all the uproar was about in the neighborhood. The encampment of wildlife had grown larger and even more spread out over the hillside as late-comers had continued to arrive all thru the night. Apparently, word of the ostrich protest and goings-on was still spreading over the mountains and thru the hollers.

This morning’s light revealed the construction of a rather large treehouse in the grove of trees on the hill slope out back. Raccoons can be just as busy as beavers when they set their minds to a task. Uncomfortable in their hastily constructed lean-to shelters with so many of Farmer Turner’s contentious hounds encamped nearby, Cooter’s raccoon platoon had constructed an imposing treehouse structure overnight, complete with a swing for the young-uns.

Speaking of the beavers, they completed and already rented out their second and third lodges, with new work begun on a fourth and fifth, with “For Rent” signs of course. Construction is booming it appears.

After spotting what the raccoons had accomplished overnight with their magnificent treehouse, the beavers, considering themselves to be highly skilled carpenters and builders not to be outdone, decided to try their paws at treehouse construction, as well.

Of course, the beavers needed to also construct a nice ladder in order to reach it, not having the natural ability to climb trees as do the raccoons.  A good number of trees would remain upright in the woods if beavers could climb, and not have to chew and fell trees in order to secure out-of-reach twigs and branches for food.  But they don’t, so they do, so to speak.

Little Red Bear and I both agreed the beavers’ treehouse resembled more of a traditional beaver lodge with a second story added than a true treehouse, but if you have a winning design why change it, I suppose.  And we certainly cannot argue with their success, having already rented the new unit out before work was even completed.

Securing the ostrich’s permission to cross the picket line, a family of enterprising chipmunks set up a Farmer’s Market on our front porch and yard. With the help of some beaver carpenters they had quickly assembled stands displaying and selling a large selection of various acorns, nuts, seeds, grains, berries, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, earthworms, bugs, corn, juice, milk and eggs. A veritable little “Nature’s Wildlife Grocery Store” for the campers.

Critters have been filing in steadily to replenish supplies and to do their grocery shopping. Chipmunks are renowned for their food-storing habits and to their credit recognized a ready market for their warehouse of stores and supplies, but I didn’t ask them where they obtained the fresh produce, milk and eggs. Sometimes it is just better not to know. But with all of Farmer Turner’s hounds camping out back, I have a sneaking suspicion where at least some items may have come from.

Dealing with enough issues right now though as it is, and we were running out of food to distribute to everyone anyway. The chipmunks and their market were a welcome sight, to be honest. I will cover whatever is missing from the neighboring farmers after all this blows over. Though, it may get costly if this Ostrich Crisis goes on much longer.

I suppose the ostriches realized too, that it was best for all of us if the assembled friendly and so far, merely curious crowd of onlookers remained that way, and did not turn into an out-of-control hungry mob, so allowed the chipmunks to cross the picket line and set up shop.

Newspaper circulations and revenues are up substantially for both the owls and squirrels. And word has come to me that the weasels are still managing to clip unsuspecting visitors now and then for “camping fees” on the outskirts of the area.

It seems everyone is making money off the ongoing Ozarks Ostrich Crisis except those truly involved in the affair – Little Red Bear and the ostriches. And me – the meat in the sandwich caught in the middle as work has come to a screeching halt on new stories. Isn’t that always the way, though?

But thinking about it, somewhere in there may lie the grounds and basis for a future settlement to resolve all of this, perhaps. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem the ostriches have cared much about anything other than disruption of our writing work so far.

It is amazing how far down the wrong bumpy road one poorly chosen little word or comment can send us sometimes. Case in point – Little Red Bear’s ‘flightless’ comments to the ostriches.

Have said it before and will undoubtedly say it again – words are like toothpaste. Once squeezed out, toothpaste is all but impossible to get back inside the tube again. And thoughts and words are the same way – good or bad – and seem to take on a life of their own once let out.

Having been spoken and let loose, words are out running around on their own for all to hear, and then we must deal with the consequences because they cannot be unsaid. There are no ‘Cancel, Clear, Delete’ options on speech. We can be sorry and apologize for the poorly chosen ones right off, but the words are still out there floating around in the air, and hiding in folks’ memories looking to cause trouble at a later time.

Think twice, speak once. Or better yet sometimes, not at all.  My advice everlasting.

And in Little Red Bear’s case, the consequences of an off-hand comment came immediately in the form of picketing ostriches and an abrupt stoppage of work on his stories. Of course, how could any of us have predicted the ostriches’ reaction to being questioned about their useless wings? Ostriches are indeed “flightless”, after all. No secrets there. Little Red Bear was merely seeking information, even if not in the most delicate way, perhaps. Maybe the world is simply getting a little too sensitive, seeming to almost seek out things to be offended by at times.

Regardless, due to poorly-chosen words or over-sensitivity, the ostrich crisis lives on. New onlookers and campers are still arriving every hour, a steady stream of woodland shoppers keeps the chipmunks’ new market hopping, and the picket lines encircle and wind around the cabin.

Getting back to the ostriches, having observed that the encampment of observers had encircled my home, the ostriches decided that their picket line should also. Just so no one missed out on seeing their protests, I suppose. Instead of merely parading with their picket signs back and forth across the front as they had been the first days, they had by Saturday worn a path around the whole cabin, having taken advantage of the packs of coyotes and weasels to lengthen the picket line.

Today’s new development was discovering that a second circle of picketing ostriches, coyotes, and weasels had been added to the non-stop picketing parade around the cabin, marching in counter-clockwise fashion to the clockwise direction of the first, a circle within a circle rotating in opposite directions. Dizzying to watch.

With so many signs marching in different directions, it seemed that no matter where Little Red Bear went inside the cabin, he inevitably found himself at a window when a “LITTLE RED BEAR IS FAT, UGLY, AND SMELLS BAD!” sign paraded past.

Little Red Bear’s restraint to this point, although measured at times, has been admirable. I wonder myself, for the ostriches’ sake – how far do they really want to torment and agitate – a “bear”?

Thinking it might be time to draw the window shades and blinds before things get more out of control. As gentle and good as he is, even Little Red Bear’s tolerance level has limits, as do we all.

With tomorrow being Monday and the start of a new work week, if all goes well a sizable number of the spectators may be packing up and leaving to return to various woodland duties and jobs for the week, perhaps easing the uproar and potentially enabling some meaningful dialogue on the issues with the ostriches tomorrow.

The beaver lodges and the raccoon’s treehouse present an interesting legal quandary. They each constructed them using their own materials, but they are on our property without our permission.  I wonder if the beavers and raccoons would allow me to sub-let the new properties when this is all over? Getting ahead of myself there, probably. This all needs to be resolved first. Peacefully if possible, but with coyotes and weasels involved that’s never a sure thing.

At least, thru the efforts of the enterprising chipmunks and wildlife grocery though, everyone is getting fed now. And that’s always a good thing.

Except, the coyotes and weasels, who have displayed no interest whatsoever in the chipmunk’s market.

That is a worry. Weasels and coyotes are always a worry.  Hungry – doubly so.

But right now, I have to deal with a little piggy who appears as though he’s made one too many trips to the market.  I thought the chipmunks had only set up produce and dairy departments. Apparently there is a section in the back I may have overlooked.

Some critters seem to be enjoying the ostrich protest and events a tad more than others, it would appear. This fellow looks drunk as a skunk.  I had better go outside and get hold of this party animal before Albuquerque the Sheriff pulls him over under suspicion of SWINE – Shopping While Intoxicated Nearly Embalmed.

Gotta go.

To be continued . . . .


Thanks as always for following along and visiting with us! If not doing so already, Follow the Blog now to be informed of every new post and update.

As a special ‘thank you’ for everyone, Little Red Bear has included the Pinterest Recipe for Bunnies in Blankets that he mentioned earlier in the story, a nifty little appetizer featuring Caramelized Baby Carrots in Crescent Roll Wraps, just for fun.  You didn’t really think that we would be harming baby bunnies, did you? Find this recipe and much more on my Pinterest Boards.

Be sure to check in next week as events continue to unfold in the “Ozarks Ostrich Crisis”, a continuing weekly serialized free story available only here on the Writing Blog.  See ya then!

Kindness costs nothing.  Be kind whenever possible, while keeping in mind that it is always possible.   Be the reason someone smiles today!   — Jim  (and Red!)


“Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith.” – St. Francis of Assisi

“Anger helps straighten out a problem like a fan helps straighten out a pile of papers.” – Susan Marcotte


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

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day!    Think Globally — Act Locally!


 

Chapter Five of The Ozarks Ostrich Crisis: “Day 3 Ongoing — The Encampment”

Note to Readers– This is Chapter Five of a continuing Weekly Serial Story freely shared only here for followers of my Writing Blog.  If you missed the beginning, you can catch up HERE for the beginning and previous chapters.


Panic.

Clearly not how Saturday mornings are supposed to start out, with – PANIC – inside and out.

Chased by the weasel, Henrietta the rabbit darted in and out between the legs of the picketing ostriches and coyotes, by now having lengthened their picket line to totally encircle the cabin.

Henrietta raced frantically to escape the weasel, whose plan, as always, was to chase and harry the older bunny until she finally wore down and collapsed, unable to defend herself from the weasel’s final onslaught and attack as he sought to wrap his muscular body around his victim to hold it in place in order to sink penetrating fangs into its brain like a jaguar.

Round and round they went at a breakneck pace, in a life and death agility race around the cabin.

The weasel, a compact ball of energy eating half its own body weight each day and much younger with more endurance, knew it was only a matter of time before the rabbit wore down and he would be able to pounce and claim her for breakfast.

But not this day. Spotting the chase from the window, I hopped as quickly as one good foot would allow, but Little Red Bear had already rushed out to our receptionist’s rescue before me.

Waiting for Henrietta to complete another lap around the cabin, Little Red Bear jumped onto the path behind her as she raced past, placing himself directly in front of the charging weasel.

Henrietta immediately veered right, changing course and making a break for the cabin, leaping up the front porch steps, thru the door I was holding open for her, and into safety. The pursuing weasel made skid marks in the dirt trying frantically to stop before crashing into Little Red Bear’s big foot, swerved at the last second and retreated into the nearby woodline.

“You can stay out here and picket in the hot sun and rain all you want, but we ain’t havin’ none of that!”

Little Red Bear admonished the ostriches and everyone within earshot, waving his right paw at them to emphasize the point in the same manner a mother might scold a misbehaving child.

Little Red Bear walked up to the largest ostrich and faced him, nose to beak. “If you want to carry on your stupid protest, that’s fine. Do it. But you WON’T be harming any of our friends or you’ll be dealing with me!”

He tromped over to the smallest ostrich, abruptly grabbing away the protest sign the bird had been carrying, the one saying that Little Red Bear was “fat, stupid and ugly” as you may recall, broke the stake handle over his right knee and crumpled the sign into pieces between his paws.

“That’s what will happen to you if you harass or harm any more of our friends or story characters!” Little Red Bear declared for all to hear as he hurled the sign pieces into the air, turned and walked away.

The gallery of squirrels, raccoons, possums, chipmunks and other small critters already chased up into the safety of nearby trees by the weasels and coyotes, burst into applause, whistling and cheering wildly for Little Red Bear as he returned to the cabin.

But it’s fair to say, that little ostrich was madder than a wet hen in a fox’s tote sack after his protest sign was destroyed!

Back inside, Little Red Bear calmly sat down beside me where I was checking over Henrietta to make sure she was all right, trying to reassure and soothe the old bunny’s jangled nerves.

“Guess I told them, huh?”

Little Red Bear laughed heartily – the loud, deep, belly laugh guffaw which he so often does and is known for.

“I suppose you did, Red,” I responded, chuckling myself.

Catching her breath after a short time, Henrietta patted Little Red Bear on the foot. “Thought that weasel might have had me there, Red,” Henrietta admitted. “I don’t run quite as fast as I used to, you know. I was starting to wear down. Thanks for saving me. I was just trying to come in to work, that’s all. Figured you boys might need a little help with all this rabble-rousing going on.”

“No need to thank anyone, Henrietta,” Little Red Bear responded. “We all stick up for each other and appreciate your dedication, for sure. You are family working with us here. And your bunnies back in the nest need you.”

“What about them, Red?” Henrietta responded, with suddenly a worried tone in her voice. “Will they be safe now? I should go check on them!”

Little Red Bear gently held her shoulder to keep the mother rabbit from rushing back outside to run and check on her family.

“They will be fine, Henrietta,” Little Red Bear reassured. “I never thought it would come to this but hopefully they all got the message to leave everyone alone from now on. But just in case, we’ll have Albuquerque stay closer now to help keep things in order. On the way back inside, I sent our friend Stanley the Cardinal to find him and to have Albuquerque bring all your bunnies back to stay inside here with us, just in case.”

“Thanks, Red. It’s really not nice or fair what those ostriches and other tormentors are saying about you out there.”

“Sticks and stones, Henrietta,” Little Red Bear replied, with a knowing wink in my direction.

It was at that time Little Red Bear and I simultaneously realized it was quiet. The protesting chants and howling coyote racket had subsided following Little Red Bear’s intercession on Henrietta’s behalf. We looked at each other and sighed. Could we be that lucky? Had Little Red Bear’s outburst ended it all?

Well, seems we’re never really that lucky, truth be told. A moment later the disturbance started up all over again.

Boycott Bear Stories!

No Ostriches, No Stories!

What do we want? Ostriches!

When do we want them? Now!

And continued.

1-2-3-4 – They’re scared and hiding behind the door!

5-6-7-8 – We’re gonna make their stories late!

1-2-3-4 – They’re not gonna be able to work no more!

5-6-7-8 – We’re gonna make their readers wait!

Arising once again to make sure the window was closed and looking out to see what was going on, Little Red Bear and I observed the ostriches and coyotes had resumed their picket duties, circling the cabin with protest signs being thrust up and down and waved about in the air for all to see. Except for the smallest ostrich, who was nowhere to be seen.

And now, for the first time, the noise was not coming solely from the front of the cabin, as there seemed to be a commotion going on in the back and from other surrounding areas, as well.

Looking out a rear window, Little Red Bear and I witnessed an impromptu village of woodland critters camped out not only behind the cabin, but also beginning to expand and surround it, seemingly growing in size by the minute. A few curious human onlookers were intermingled amongst the critter encampment to boot! The image of General Custer flashed uncomfortably thru my mind.

An unimaginable display of nests, burrows, bedding and other improvised shelters had sprung up overnight all over our property like mushrooms following a spring rain, and continuing to pop up seemingly in every nook and cranny right before our eyes. Activity and construction was going on everywhere, with more homes and housing than we could begin to count.

Several deer and elk had bedded down in what used to be a very nice stand of tall prairie grass in the back. The skunks and porcupines seemed to be enjoying a secluded area pretty much all to themselves off in the side yard to the right. Best for everyone, I suppose.

Ol’ Cooter’s ‘Raccoon Platoon’ had set up a row of lean-to shelters off to one side, with Farmer Turner’s prize hunting dog Blue and the hounds having raised a row of pup tents on the opposite side.

Grass and leaf huts seemed to be cropping up everywhere!  Find an open patch of ground, turn away for a moment and then look back, and a slapdash home had been erected on the spot in the meantime.

Long lines of varicolored little tents were arranged closest to the cabin in almost military-like precision, fashioned by rabbits from old discarded blankets. “Those add a nice touch of color to the landscape,” I mentioned in jest, nudging Little Red Bear for him to notice. Apparently, the bivouacked bunnies felt safer in considerable numbers.

“With all those rabbits, we are definitely going to need Albuquerque’s help keeping the peace and them all safe now, Red.”

Little Red Bear grunted and nodded in agreement, and pointed out a  very large, jumbled pile of sticks and twigs in the corner of the left side yard.

“Who made that mess?” I wondered out loud.

“That’s no mess, Jim. That there’s a beaver lodge,” Little Red Bear advised.

Indeed, it was a beaver lodge, constructed in hurried fashion overnight by our beaver neighbors in Hoppers Holler, who, as we watched, were busy simultaneously working off to the side on second and third lodges also, with “For Rent” signs in front of each.

“Beavers don’t build lodges on dry ground,” I observed.

“No, they don’t build on dry ground, Jim,” Little Red Bear agreed. “Think about it. It’ll come to you.”

And then it hit me. Flap and Slap, the beaver twins, are good friends, but if they even think about diverting a stream thru my yard to form another new beaver pond, I will . . .

Sorry. Got sidetracked there for a moment. It’s all starting to wear a bit, you see – the protests, chanting, picket lines. The dream that felt like a dream but which burnt my foot and set the old oak tree ablaze from the inside out. Almost losing our receptionist to a hungry weasel right before our eyes. Hundreds and maybe thousands of animals, birds and people encamped on our property, with more arriving every minute. And now the prospect of our side yard being turned into a beaver pond.

“All we need is a ringmaster and a few clowns to make this circus sideshow complete,” I muttered out loud.

“Careful what you wish for,” Little Red Bear deadpanned, with a vacant stare into the distance. He motioned again, to bring my attention to a distant hilltop.

Up on a back hill to the west and overlooking the unplanned and unauthorized campgrounds, teepees were hurriedly being erected. Recognizing the markings, it was apparent that word of the protest and goings-on had also reached Indian John and our good friends over on Bent Feather Creek.

I would never have expected Daniel Yellowhorse to bring along his pet bison though. Just hope those big fellas don’t wander down into the yard section we’ll be mowing later, if you know what I mean.

Off to the southeast I spotted a group of backwoods folk that I recognize from the next county over. Looks like they might be planning to visit and stay a spell, with what appeared to be several outhouses under construction as they were hurriedly throwing together a line of single-purpose buildings in the distance resembling a line of porta potties at the county fair, but disconcertingly more permanent in nature.

Although, I suppose we do need sanitation with all the unplanned guests continuing to arrive in numbers. Appreciate their lending a helping hand with that, after thinking about it more. But what happens to them all when this ostrich mess is over?

The hoped-for peace that I thought the weekend might bring has instead brought flocks and herds of onlookers and looky-loos wanting to be witness to what is turning into the biggest news event in quite a while here. With nearly every critter and human freed up from their weekday woodland jobs and having the weekend off, it appears the entire backwoods populace of the tri-county area decided this was the place to be.

I blame the squirrels.

“WEEKEND CAMPOUT AT LITTLE RED BEAR CABIN! Y’ALL COME!”

Yeah – that was the headline in last night’s special edition of “Squirrelly World”. Explains it all, doesn’t it? Apparently, “Squirrelly World” has a much more extensive reader and subscription base than I had been led to believe.

After the initial shock of discovering the overnight encampment in the morning, I started serving what refreshments I could gather to the potential story characters still waiting patiently in line beyond the picket line. Little Red Bear and I need to keep them on our side as this all unfolds, with still many unfilled story character positions needed for upcoming stories.

They always say the fastest way to a man’s heart is thru his stomach, and I have always found that approach works equally well with critters, too. So, refreshments for everyone in line seemed both the natural and prudent thing to do.

I did not feel comfortable asking Little Red Bear to do it since I feared his presence outside might provoke the ostriches even more after that protest sign smash up and encounter earlier, and to be honest I’m not sure I trust him in close proximity to them again, either.

So, I took it upon myself. While out, I chased off a pair of weasels who were trying to charge arriving campers a fee to enter the area. Weasels, true to their nature – trying to profit from uninvited campers on our property.

Since I was out there already, I tried to again engage the ostriches in dialogue to move this to a settlement and resolution, but they refused to talk at all, saying only that they have now filed a complaint with the NLRB—National Labor Relations Birds. I suspect a Venue of Vultures will arrive in a day or so to start the hearing proceedings, wind currents permitting.

Things will get out of hand sometimes. But tomorrow is Sunday. Certainly, peace and camaraderie can be achieved on a Sunday. So, keeping a good thought and hoping for better tomorrow.

With Albuquerque, the little red fox sheriff, having arrived safely with Henrietta’s little family of bunnies and now patrolling the bunny rabbit tents and campsite area out back to keep the weasels at bay, we all seated ourselves around the table for dinner. It had been another long and arduous day for all of us.

Little Red Bear distributed fresh greens and veggies for the rabbits, and some very special honey roasted carrots he had specially prepared as a treat for the baby bunnies, playfully teasing them with the honey jar while making sure each one took only a tiny piece for dessert, not to overload them on sugar highs and have baby bunnies bounding about the cabin all night.

Little Red Bear’s special carrot treat was never sampled though, as without warning a large rock came crashing thru the front window!

Pieces of glass flew everywhere as the window at first shattered and then seemed to explode from the force of a heavy, grey granite rock hurled from outside, startling everyone and causing all the bunnies to scurry in fright beneath the table to shelter from flying bits of glass.

Thump-a! . . . Bump-a! . . . Thump-a! . . . .

The rock hurtled, careened and bounced across the cabin’s wooden floor, finally coming to rest against the far wall.

Wearing boots and not wanting any of the others’ bare feet to be cut on broken shards of glass, I motioned Little Red Bear and everyone away. Carefully stepping around the larger glass splinters, smaller pieces crunched and crackled beneath my feet as I made my way across the room.

Reaching the rock, I carefully picked it up to find a message, painted in bold red letters on the flat bottom.

I held it up for Little Red Bear to see.

“LOOK OUTSIDE”

To be continued . . . .


Thanks as always for following along and visiting with us! As a special ‘thank you’, Little Red Bear has included the Pinterest Recipe for those Honey Roasted Carrots he made for Henrietta’s bunnies. If you are unfamiliar with Pinterest, simply tap on the image to find the recipe.

Be sure to check in next week as events continue to unfold in the “Ozarks Ostrich Crisis”, a continuing weekly serialized free story available only here on the Writing Blog.  See ya then!

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