Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ranch Pets -or- He Almost Got Stuck in the Baler, Can we Keep Him?

Bambi and four of his pets
Baby antelope kisses









A ranch is a different place to grow up.
In many ways.
Miles from any other humans, one never worries about what the 'neighbours will think'.
Also because of the distance between homesteads, one has to become very self-reliant.
One doesn't drive half and hour to borrow a cup of sugar or a can of soup.
One makes do.
And learns to plan ahead.
Kids growing up on a ranch make their own entertainment.
Well, at least they did in the 50s and 60s.
Electronics hadn't been invented yet.
There was one channel on the TV.
And talking on the phone wasn't the private enterprise it is today.
Entertainment consisted of visiting with your family.
Playing games.
Also with said family.
Swinging from ropes in the hay loft.
Riding.
Or reading.
And, of course, playing with your pets.
On a ranch, there were all the usual pets one would expect.
Dogs.
Cats.
And some a little harder to hid in your bedroom.
Ponies.
And then, at least on our ranch, the animals you wouldn't expect.
Oh, we had the usual assortment of barn cats.
The end result of years of 'spur of the moment' cat sex.
We had several dogs.
All brought in from other ranches and, unlike the aforementioned cats, strictly controlled.
And then we had the animals who had been injured or orphaned.
And just needed some care and a place to stay.
A litter of coyote pups.
Discovered by my father after finding a dead, female coyote.
And a seagull.
Found near the road, unable to fly.
Countless frogs.
A snake or two.
Several mice.
Jackrabbits.
Pigs.
Calves.
Assorted baby animals, found by me and subsequently (good word) turned out of the house by my unenlightened mother.
Did you know that a baby porcupine is really, really cute?
Well they are.
Moving on . . .
And several baby deer.
These wilder 'pets' didn't stay around long.
As they grew, they began to pose some problems.
Wild animals, no matter how cute, simply don't domesticate.
No matter how hard you try.
Or how much you talk to them.
Our baby deer, unexpectedly named 'Bambi', got quite aggressive, especially with my toddling baby sister.
I don't know what he thought she was.
But he didn't like it.
And tried to express himself with sharp hooves.
He, like most of them, after tearful good-byes, went to petting zoos in the area.
But, for a time, they belonged to our family.
I still think that befriending them and spending time with them was better than any form of electronic entertainment.
And I'm always right.

10 comments:

  1. All the cats that followed us home weren't allowed in the house. We didn't try her with a dog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wise of you! Everyone knows their limits!

      Delete
  2. Yes you are. Baby coyotes wow! Those must have been cute. How did they behave?
    My son had a mangy one following him up the street maybe waiting for a chance to grab my little pup. A jogger told my son he was being followed so he grabbed the puppy and ran away.
    Coyotes have a hard life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The baby coyotes were so cute! But they really stunk. (stank? stinked?) They were quite aggressive, too. They all went to a zoo. Maybe their descendants are in the zoos now . . . And that coyote was probably after your pup.They are quite cowardly, but have been known to attack people's pets. Smart of your son!

      Delete
  3. I again enjoyed reading your post, I am finding that I look forward to them. I think you are right about the electronics, am I am always right too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoy my blog! I so enjoy writing stories from my past!

      Delete
  4. Oh yes... I know JUST what you mean! :) We have a bobcat lurking around in the rocks about the houses right now that the boys are trying to outsmart... which is fine with me! It keeps them outside! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to spend hours trying to trap a 'new pet'. It's a wonder any of us grow up!!!

      Delete
  5. Every time I come on over for a spell I am treated to a wonderful walk down memory lane!

    We didn't live on a farm, but across the dirt road was an empty barn that someone else owned. I can't count the number of times folks slowed down, opened their car door, dropped off a litter of kittens and drove away.

    We were all softies-I think we had 17 cats at one point!

    Love that you share at No Ordinary Blog Hop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kim! 17 cats?! I think that must be a record for soft-heartedness. I'm calling Guinness!

      Delete

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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 . . .

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