Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Heir's Hairs

Don't let the
boy-scout outfit fool you.
By request: The further adventures of Uncle and Nephew . . .

Influencing the young and innocent. Even in families, it's not always a good thing . . .

My Dad is the youngest of eleven children. If anyone asks him if he is related to Owen (his eldest brother) he tells them: Distantly. He's at one end of the family and I'm at the other.

When my Dad was nine, said eldest brother lived close by with his family. A wife and their eldest son, two-year-old Brian.
Brian adored his much older uncle.
He toddled along after 'Unca Mark' whenever he could.
Usually a good thing.
Occasionally . . . not.
My Dad had the twice-daily chore of milking the cow.
Brian loved to go along.
Just because.
It was a fun, companionable time for the two boys.
All was well.
One day, Brian's mother sat him in a chair in the kitchen and prepared to give her small son a haircut.
She combed the unruly locks into submission.
"Ouch!" Brian  said.
"Sorry, dear, but you have some tangles."
"Ouch!" Brian said again. "Mo-om!"
"Almost through."
"Ouch!"
Brian glared at his mom. "If you do that again, I'm going to say 'Sunny Beach'!"
His mother stopped combing. "What?"
"I'm going to say 'Sunny Beach'."
"What?" she asked again.
"Suunnny Beeeach," he said slowly and patiently.
Light dawned an her mouth popped open in horror."You mean 'Son of a . . .'" She gripped his small shoulder. "Where did you hear that?!"
He stared at her, not understanding her panic.
She gave his shoulder a little shake. "Where did you hear that?!"
"That's what Unca Mark says when the cow kicks him!"
Two things resulted from that haircut.
1.  Brian actually did get his hair shortened.
2.  "Unca Mark' received a bistering lecture on language and its proper uses.
Oh! And . . .
3.  I just realized that, when it came to cursing and getting after . . . erm . . . someone (see here), my Dad didn't have a leg to stand on.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Saying No to the Cookie

Cookie Monsters
Cookies. 
The ultimate in snack foods. 
That perfect balance of sugars, grains, fats, and deliciousness.
And the most unique and perfect forum for getting small, semi-disguised chunks of chocolate into your mouth.
Chocolate that you can savor, but dismiss as insignificant when tallying your calorie count at day's end.
Or at least I can.
I love cookies.
And I make the mistake of baking them on a regular basis.
Call me a glutton for punishment.
Or just a glutton.
My six children have been raised on my cookies. Mostly with some form of chocolate as a noteworthy ingredient. 
They love those small handfuls of pure perfection as much as I do.
Bliss.
But life, and reality, tend to sneak up on you and smack you soundly, just when you aren't paying attention. And so it was with my cookie consumption.
I was going merrily along, enjoying my cookie-filled life until, one day, I drug my favorite and freshly-laundered jeans out of the drawer . . . and couldn't do them up.
Now I know this has happened to many of us, and certainly is nothing new, but it was a first time for me.
And it made me . . . unhappy.
To make matters worse, which we all try to do far too often, I decided to step on the scale.
I should note here, that the person who invented the scale, and non-stretchy clothes, was a nasty, evil individual.
But I digress . . .
I had to make some changes.
Or buy a new wardrobe.
Finances won. Losing weight was in order. And the first thing to go was my mostly-cookie diet.
I baked one last batch . . . and started eating them as though they constituted my last meal on earth.
Finally, heroically, I put the lid on the still-half-full cookie jar and left the room.
But they . . . called to me.
Cookies do that.
Finally, I could stand it no longer. I answered that call.
I went back into the kitchen and discovered that my beloved cookie jar . . . was empty.
At first, dismay.
Then, relief.
"Who ate all the cookies?"
From somewhere in the house, my daughter, Tiana's voice, "Tristan!"
Then my son Tristan's voice, "Sorry!"
Me. "Thank you Tristan! I just couldn't leave the silly things alone!"
A pause, then my daughter's voice again, "Tiana!"
The cookie doesn't fall far from the tree.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

EmBAREassed


I like to swim.
It’s the one exercise during which nothing hurts.
And at my age, that’s an enormous plus.
I don’t go as often as I used to, but still try to make it three times a week.
And work hard while I’m there.
It’s a matter of efficiency . . .
I also have a rather distinctive swimming suit. Made it myself.
It’s . . . modest. Something really, really necessary as I age and my body slowly succumbs to gravity and certain parts need more and more control to keep them . . . controlled.
A few days ago, I was working my hardest. Plowing through the water like a determined hippo. (And those things can move! Just FYI.)
I noticed the lifeguard, occasionally. Guarding life.
When I finished and showered, and was donning footwear and packing up in the front foyer, I noticed said lifeguard coming toward me at flank speed.
He obviously had something to say.
To me.
Immediately, my mind leapt to different scenarios: He wanted to hire me to teach swimming. He was so amazed at my prowess that he wanted to sign me up for the upcoming swim meet – senior’s class. He wanted me to take the job as coach and trainer for the local swim team. He . . .
“Um, Ma’am? Are you the one who was wearing the blue-striped swimsuit?”
He wanted me to make him one of my special, discloses nothing, swimsuits! I smiled. “Yes?”
“You have a big hole in the backside of your suit.”
Oh.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hay!

Farm kids have all the fun.
Except when they don’t.
Maybe I should explain.
In my day, hay on the farm was cut by machine. Bound into bales – also by machine. Gathered into neat stacks in the hay loft or hay shed.
And left there smelling warm and fragrant.
For some reason, it always made me think of baled sunshine.
We kids would spend hours lugging said bales around and constructing intricate forts and ‘hidy-holes’.
Many a day was passed dreaming dreams from inside a dark, sweet-smelling stronghold.
Heaven.
In my Dad’s day, hay on the farm was cut by horse-powered mower. Gathered using a horse-drawn rake. Moved using a great hay sling. And piled into massive mounds of loose, fragrant wonderfulness.
Sheds on either side of the large barn housed the farm animals. But much of the barn itself was given over to an immense pile of newly-gathered hay. A perfect place for a young boy to spend hours working . . . on his imagination.
Building a fort was quite a different prospect in these circumstances. All one had to do was put one’s head against the wall of the hay pile and . . . push. The soft, loose hay gave way and one could burrow through much like Bugs Bunny on his way to Miami Beach (See here).
Ten-year-old Dad made a positive warren of the place.
When a boy finds something really, really fun, he generally wants to share it with a friend or companion.
Or, barring either of those, a young nephew will serve almost as well.
Enter four-year-old Brian, son of Dad’s eldest brother. Sweet, malleable, totally trusting, eager. A perfect companion for an adventurous devil-may-care farm kid.
Dad drew him into the barn and showed the small boy how to push his way into the hay. Brian thought it was greatest trick ever and started in with enthusiasm.
And that’s when the whole plan came to grief.
Because little Brian suffered from asthma and was allergic to the timothy in the hay.
Oops.
Within seconds, his eyes were swollen nearly shut, he was coughing and sneezing and – well, let’s just say it - was one thoroughly miserable little adventurer.
Fortunately Dad recognized that all was not as it should be and managed to drag his companion from the hay and hurry him to his mother where Brian was soon made comfortable somewhere far, far from the nasty old timothy.
Dad felt bad. Bad enough that he never again invited Brian back to his magical little hay-strewn world in the barn.
But not bad enough that he didn’t get him into trouble in other ways.
Remind me to tell you about it . .  .

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Putting the 'Bat' in Bathtime


This
plus this


                                                                                                            
equals this.

Bathtime.
For the youngest member of a family of 11 and in the year 1931, this meant much heating of water at the kitchen stove.
Hauling of said water to the washroom.
Filling of the washtub.
Then relaxing in deliciously hot water.
The best part of the week for my dad.
On this particular occasion, though, Dad’s bathtime would include something unexpected.
And definitely unwanted.
A visitor.
As he was sitting back, enjoying his few moments of bliss, something small flew in through the open transom over the door.
It did a couple of circuits around the room as the little boy in the bathtub watched, wide-eyed.
Finally, it lit on the sheer curtains on the small window high up on the outside wall and folded its wings.
Resolving into something small . . . and furry.
A bat.
The two regarded each other for a few breathless moments.
Then, eyes glued to his visitor, dad did the “quickest washing job of my life”, wrapped a towel around his little, naked body and found the nearest far-away place.
One of his older brothers went back in to take care of the unusual – and totally unwanted – bathtime visitor, and all was well.
From then on, however, when Dad took his bath, his preparations included filling the tub.
And closing the transom.
Then keeping his eyes carefully trained upward as he performed a quick wash.
And got out of the room.
Hmmm.
I wonder if the introduction of a bat into bathtime would shorten the length of some of my teenagers’ showers.
Just a thought . . .

Monday, March 23, 2015

Signed

Two small boys were patients in the same hospital room.
One of them was my Dad, Mark.
Age: eight.
He had been admitted to hospital for the sole purpose of having his appendix removed. He wasn’t particularly uncomfortable at the time, but the doctor had so decreed.
And removed it must be.
The day of his surgery arrived.
In those days, a folder containing a chart and/or other pertinent information was hung at the foot of every bed in the hospital. Doctor’s orders and observations were recorded there. Nurse’s actions and observations, ditto.
As of that morning, Mark’s folder contained a singly-worded sign.
“FASTING”.
Yikes. Mark, the active and usually well-fed small boy was being denied food.
Don’t you wonder why it’s called fasting?
At no other interval does time move more slowly.
Just a thought . . .
Mark knew what the word meant. But his appetite wasn’t about to be denied that easily.
Grabbing a pen, he made a tiny, little change.
Then, satisfied with his ingenuity, he sat back on his bed and waited for lunch to arrive.
Promptly at noon, an attendant appeared with Mark’s roommate’s tray.
She set it down and started back toward the doorway.
Mark sat up. “Wait! Where’s mine?”
She looked at him. “You’re fasting.”
“No, I’m not. Look!” Mark slid down to the end of the bed and held up his chart.
The woman took it and peered closely.
At the ‘FASTING’ sign.
The one which now read ‘FeASTING’.
She levelled a look at the grinning boy, then turned on one squeaky rubber-soled white shoe and left.
Mark didn’t get his lunch and he duly reported to the operation theatre for his little procedure.
Without anyone acknowledging his inventiveness.
Sigh.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Some days later, his mother received the bill for his hospital stay.
Itemized carefully in the list was a charge for $3.25 for ‘One Sign’.
Oops.
I guess someone noticed after all . . . 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Water, Water Everywhere

Me and my first 4-H calf.
I'm the nerd in the glasses and cowboy hat.
Twelve was an important age in the Stringam family.
That anxiously awaited, feverishly anticipated time when one was finally considered a grown up.
And, at long last, able to join the 4-H Calf Club.
Well, it was a highlight in our family.
Moving on . . .
Yep. 4-H. No end of excitement.
First, there was the all-important choosing of the calf, which enlisted years and years of experience and an eye for perfection. ("Umm . . . I want the red and white one over there! Nooo . . . I mean the red and white one over there . . . Wait! I want that one! He's cute!")
Then there was the twice daily ritual of feeding said calf. (Accomplished for the first day by me, and thereafter by my brother, George. For the entire six calves and six years I was in 4-H.)
There were the monthly meetings where we were expected to hand in our record books. (A concise documentation of our calf's daily diet, inevitable weight gain, and any other pertinent information. Frantically estimated and scribbled before/during the meeting.)
Then, twice a year, there were the 'calf tours'. (Where we exclaimed, more or less knowledgeably over each other's calves. And then, more importantly, had a wonderful dinner at one of the homes. Usually one of the families of Hungarian descent. The best cooks in the entire world. Mmmmm.)
And finally, at the end of the year, we loaded our now-enormous darlings into trucks and headed into Lethbridge for the final show and sale.
The reward and culmination of a year of my brother's hard work.
Beyond exciting.
Three days of meeting new people (i.e. boys).
Flirting.
Walking along the midway and eating 'fair' food. (Taste - amazing. Nutrition - negligible.)
Attending the dance.
Sleeping in the dorms.
Oh, yes. And grooming and showing and selling our calves.
Waving good-bye.
And then, way beyond exciting, the annual club trip where the club members, together with their families, would embark on a journey to . . . somewhere wonderful.
And exciting.
We toured all over Alberta and into Montana and Washington and saw . . . stuff.
One trip, in particular, stands out.
And in my usual long-winded way, I've finally worked myself around to it . . .
We had travelled into Washington State, planning to camp at a brand-new and ultra modern campground, which, according to the pamphlet, was home to an enormous swimming pool and other amazing features.
It was the hottest day of the year.
And air conditioning hadn't been invented yet.
Our caravan of ten or so vehicles pulled into the campsite and ground to a dusty and exhausted halt.
There were trees.
Tables. 
And water hydrants.
But little else.
Apparently, the pictures in the brightly-coloured pamphlet had been artist's imaginative renderings of amenities that would 'some day' be part of the campground.
Us kids gathered around the giant hole that would one day be a swimming pool and said a silent farewell to the fun we could have had there.
Our parents started to set up camp.
It was hot.
One of the dads hooked a garden hose up to a hydrant and started to spray the dust off a table.
Another Dad filled a pitcher to add to the radiator of his over-heated truck.
They looked at each other.
Hose, squirting cool water.
Pitcher, filled with equally cool water.
Hottest day of the year. (I know. I already said that. But it really was.)
Pool that only existed on paper.
It was a no-brainer.
The fight was on.
By the time it ended, Every. Single. Person. in the campsite was soaked.
More than soaked.
If you were moving. You were a target.
Let me rephrase that.
If you were breathing, you were a target.
A group of moms were sitting in a safe (i.e. dry) place, watching the fun and laughing uproariously (real word - I looked it up) thinking that their age and authority made them exempt.
Oh, the folly.
My brother, George, spotted them and immediately noted two things:
1. They were dry.
2. This was unacceptable.
He filled a bucket with water and waited for them to notice him.
They saw him standing there and, staring in disbelief, slowly got to their feet.
"George?!"
"George!"
"No, George!"
Begging availed them nothing.
In a moment, they were as soaked as the rest of us.
The fight lasted most of the afternoon, and, by the time it was finished, everyone was wet, cool, and happily exhausted.
Much the same condition we would have been in if the pool really had existed.
I don't remember much else about that particular trip.
Everything else paled when compared to "The Water Fight'.
4-H.
Six years of experiences.
Of growing up.
I miss those times.

Friday, March 20, 2015

D and D

It will always be ‘That Night’.
The night my friends and I learned first-hand that drinking and driving don’t go together.
It could have been so much worse . . .
Lethbridge, Alberta is a city of about 50,000. Forty-nine miles north of Milk River.
For the kids of my home town, it was the ‘big city’.
The place for movies and fun on the evenings when two-movie-a-week Milk River had rolled up its sidewalks.
In the hands of a steady, careful driver, it took a good part of an hour to get there.
And some planning ahead if one wanted to get to a particular movie on time.
Me and a group of my friends had stuffed ourselves into a car belonging to a friend of a friend.
And I do mean ‘stuffed’.
I’m not sure how many people were in there.
Let’s just say that, if we’d had seatbelts, there would not have been a sufficient number.
Moving on . . .
We made the trip and arrived at our movie with plenty of time to spare.
Happily, we got in line for tickets.
It was then that our driver/car-owner announced he wasn’t interested in seeing, to quote him, “Some stupid movie”.
Instead, he would wait until we were finished.
In the bar across the street.
We watched him go.
Not really worried. Thinking he would be responsible and ensure he was in condition to take us all safely back to Milk River on that long, dark highway home.
We enjoyed the movie and emerged into the cool evening air some two hours later.
One of the boys went into the bar and emerged with our driver.
One of them was not walking very steadily.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you which one.
Our driver had spent his time trying to drink everyone else in the bar ‘under the table’.
Whatever that means.
I think he had won.
“Rrrready t’go?” he slurred at us.
I don’t know about the others, but my little teen-aged heart stopped right there.
My date put his arm around our driver. “Buddy,” he said soothingly, “I’d better drive.”
“Wha’d’ya mean?! I can drive!!! SSS’MY car!!!”
“Bud, you’re drunk. You can’t even see the steering wheel!”
“SSS’MY car!!! Ssstealin’ my car!!!”
“No, Bud, we’re not stealing your car. You can sit right next to me and we’ll all get home safely.”
“SSS’MY car!!!”
“Yes, it’s your car, and you can sit next to me . . .”
“No onesdrivin’ MY CAR!!!”
This went on for some time.
I hurried to a nearby phone booth (google it) and called home.
Getting my sleepy father out of bed.
“Daddy! Our driver’s drunk!” I wailed over the phone.
He was awake immediately. “Don’t let him drive!”
“We’re trying not to, but he’s so angry!”
“Don’t let him drive! Do you think you can convince him? Do I need to come and get you?”
I looked over at my friends, grouped around my date, who was still trying to talk to his friend. My date was saying something and the driver was shaking his head forcibly, nearly sending himself tumbling with the simply action.
“I don’t knooow!”
As I stood there, my date propped up his friend and stood back. The friend/driver nearly fell over – saved at the last moment when someone grabbed his arm.
Finally, to everyone’s relief, he nodded.
“I think they’ve convinced him,” I said. “We’re on our way.”
Happily, everyone piled into the car, with my date behind the steering wheel and our would-be driver beside him.
We left the brightly-lighted city and started out along the dark highway.
We didn’t get far.
“I ssshould be drivin’! SSSS’MY car!!!”
My date looked over at his friend. “You’re too drunk, Buddy,” he said. “I’ll get us all home safely.”
“SSS’MY CAR!!!”
He grabbed the wheel.
The car swerved sharply and my date took his foot off the accelerator and finally regained control as the boy sitting on the other side of the ‘driver’ wrestled him back into the middle of the seat.
“SSS’MY CAR! SSSSTEALIN’ MY CAR!!!”
“No we’re not stealing anything!”
“I’m Drivin’!” Again the driver reached for the wheel.
My date pulled over to the side of the road and turned off the engine, pocketing the key. “Let’s walk this off,” he suggested. He slid out of the car and pulled the ‘driver’ out behind him. “C’mon Buddy, let’s walk this off.”
The two of them went around the car to the ditch and started walking up and down, my date talking quietly and the ‘driver’ shouting more and more incoherently.
Lights appeared behind us.
Grew brighter.
A pick-up truck.
One we all knew very well.
Another friend and his date pulled over in front of us.
“Trouble?” he asked.
I went over to them. “Our driver’s drunk,” I said.
“Do any of you want to come with us?” he asked.
Relief flooded over me. “Well, I do!” I said. I went back to the other car. My date was till walking up and down with his friend, talking softly and soothingly. “Does anyone want to catch a ride?” I asked.
One other person scrambled out of the car. “I do,” they said.
“I’m going with Dennis!” I called to my date.
He waved. “Do!” he said.
I climbed into the truck and made room for the other person.
For a few seconds, we watched my date continue to walk and talk, trying to convince our agitated ‘driver’ that he really was in no condition to drive.
Then we drove off, the car and my other friends disappearing into the darkness behind us.
I felt like I was abandoning them.
Half an hour later, I was walking through my front door.
My relieved parents met me as I came in.
“What happened?” Dad asked.
I told them.
They shook their heads. “Thank the Lord you had enough sense to keep him from driving,” Mom said.
“Well, they were still trying when I left,” I said. “I don’t know what happened after that.”
Later, one of my other friends called to say that they had all gotten home safely. My date had managed to calm the ‘driver’ enough to get him back into the car. And the rest of them were able to keep him from grabbing the wheel.
We learned two things that night:
1. If there’s any possibility you’re going to be the driver . . .
2. Don’t be stupid.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Crutch(es)

Gramma and Grampa Berg
It was a magical time. 
Gramma Berg was staying over. 
For days and days. 
And she could always be counted on for a snuggle, or a story, or a song, or a treat.
In that order.
Gramma moved slowly. The result of having a shattered kneecap. I only knew that she couldn't get away from me.
Oh, and that she had crutches.
I loved those crutches. It didn't occur to my four-year-old intellect that they were a necessary part of Gramma’s mobility. I saw only that they were just right for me. 
I would put the little bar (intended as a hand hold) under my arms and, with the top half of each crutch weaving far over my head, hop from one end of the house to the other. Then back. Then back again.
All day.
Sometimes I would mix it up a little and hold up the left leg instead of the right. Either was exciting. 
And daring.
Okay, I was four. My life to date hadn't been filled with momentous events. 
But I digress . . .
There was one problem with my fascination for Gramma’s crutches. She needed them. And I usually had them.
Somewhere else.
Something had to be done.
My Dad, always excited at the prospect of a new engineering task, saw an opportunity. He would make new crutches. My size. Happily, he spent many hours in the blacksmith shop, designing, measuring, cutting. Crafting. Finally, voila! Crutches. Perfect four-year-old size. 
Excited, he brought them to the house. 
Unfortunately, it was nap time and I was blotto on the couch.
Not one to let such a minor thing as a sleeping child thwart him, Dad stood me up and thrust the crutches under my arms.
I can picture it now. Small, skinny, white-haired child – literally - asleep on her feet. Head lolling to one side. A tiny snore. (Okay, my imagination’s good. I admit it.) Her dad holds her up with one hand while trying to brace the crutches under her arms with the other. For this story, a Dad with three hands would probably be advisable. She folds like cooked spaghetti. He tries again. Same result. Finally, defeated, he lays her back on the couch and braces the crutches against it for her to find when she is a bit more . . . conscious.
Which she does.

From then on, my crutches and me were inseparable. They were even tied behind when I went riding. I almost forgot how to walk. Strangers to the ranch would shake their heads sadly at the little crippled child making her way across the barnyard. Then nod and acknowledge that she sure had learned how to move quickly, poor little mite. I felt guilty for the deception. 
Well, a little. 
A real little.
Okay, not at all.
I certainly learned to manoeuvre those little crutches. The only thing I never mastered was walking while lifting both feet at the same time. And, believe me, I tried.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch house, Gramma was delighted to have her crutches back. She could get around once more. She could be portable, helpful, useful. All the qualities she found so satisfying. 
She could even challenge me to a race.
I won.
Me. Age four. With some friends.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pioneer Stock

My mom was a writer.
A prolific writer.
She passed away nearly 14 years ago and I'm just scratching the surface of all she left us.
Here is a poem I discovered yesterday tucked away in one of her journals . . .
Thank you, Mom!


Fresh, clear air from East to West
And room to come and go,
To watch the prairie grasses wave,
And feel the cool winds blow.

To hear the Whisper through the trees,
And watch the morning light,
The little prairie creatures stir,
The ducks and geese take flight.

To see the lazy shadows play
Across the hills at dawn,
And watch the golden sun rays touch
A mother and her fawn.

To look out o’er the rolling hills,
As far as the eye can see.
And not a thing to mar the view,
Not road, nor fence, nor tree.

And far across the plains we find
At the edge of the prairie.
A ridge of snow-capped mountains rise
In Splendid majesty.

When winter sheds his frosty coat,
And north winds cease to blow,
We see the fragile prairie flowers
Peek through the melting snow.

When all the lights of the Milky Way
Play eternal melodies,
A million winking stars above
Join the Heavenly Symphony.

And, stealing ‘cross the rolling land,
A whispering, gentle breeze,
A haunting, trembling Rhapsody,
Stirs leaves in all the trees.

When the moon begins to float,
Across the balmy night,
Caressing all the troubled world,
With it’s glorious, heavenly light.

We see the prairie antelope
Crest the hill at night,
A silhouette against the sky,
As he pauses in his flight.

As the frogs croak out a lullaby,
And all the Prairie sleeps,
A purple Shadow treads the Trail
Where the Wiley Coyote creeps.

The tattoo of the horses’ feet,
As the stage coach rolls along,
The sweat and grime and clouds of dust,
The crack of the whip at dawn.

And bounding o’er a craggy ridge,
The mocking laugh of Raiders,
We hear the loaded wagons roll,
Stinging, cursing Whiskey traders.

When a fevered child cries out,
There is no way to go,
To drive the faithful horses through
The shocking drifts of snow.

Sit anxiously throughout the night,
Clutched ln fear and dread.
No way to call a Doctor, or
Take the infant in the sled.

To rise with the sun and milk the cow,
And tend the nervous teams,
To pause a bit and watch the flocks
Fly on to other streams.

To eat a slice of thick, dark bread,
Rich butter and some jam,
Bowls of steaming porridge, and,
A slice of home-cured ham.

Hitch the team up to the plow,
And with the help of God,
Glean a frugal living from
The brown unwilling Sod.

O’er Silver Willow, Sage, and, Brush,
We hear the prairie call,
The pioneers of this land are there,
Their silent footsteps fall.

We share so much with those who’ve passed
Their hope, their faith, their tears,
The courage to rise again and again,
Our parent pioneers.

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My novel, Carving Angels

My novel, Carving Angels
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My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic
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About the Mom

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

Pearl, Why You Little...

Pearl, Why You Little...
Everyone should spend a little time with Pearl!

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven

Turn It Up Tuesdays



Moms Who Write and Blog

Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis
I've been given an award!!!

Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from Smashwords.com

Essence

Essence
A scientist and his son struggle to keep their earth-shattering discovery out of the wrong hands.

Essence: A Second Dose

Essence: A Second Dose
Captured and imprisoned, a scientist and his son use their amazing discovery to foil evil plans.

The Babysitter

The Babysitter
A baby-kidnapping ring has its eye on J'Aime and her tiny niece.

Melissa

Melissa
Haunted by her past, Melissa must carve a future. Without Cain.

Devon

Devon
Following tragedy, Devon retreats to the solitude of the prairie. Until a girl is dropped in his lap.

Wot So Funee

Wot So Funee?

Moms Who Write and Blog


The Marketing Mentress

The Marketing Mentress
Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

Coffee Row
My Big Brother's Stories

Better Blogger Network

Make My Saturday Sweet Bloghop

Amanda’s Books and More

I'm a Reader Not A Writer

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

One Sister's Rant

One Sister's rant

Middle Aged Mormon Man

Middle-agedMormonMan

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award
My good friend and Amazing Blogger, Marcia of Menopausal Mother awarded me . . .

Irresistibly Sweet Award

Irresistibly Sweet Award
Delores, my good friend from The Feathered Nest, has nominated me!

Sunshine Award!!!

Sunshine Award!!!
My good friend Red from Oz has nominated me!!!

My very own Humorous Blogger Award From Delores at The Feathered Nest!

Be Courageous!


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