Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Winners!


I'm thrilled to announce the winners of the draw for my books!
First, I'd like to thank everone who entered. I was touched that so many were interested and wanted to read something I wrote! :)
So... The winners, chosen at random by two blindfolded granddaughters:

SnowMan the 'real' story behind the song, Frosty the Snowman.

The winner is: Veryl Stockdale


Gnome for Christmas The adventures of an efficiency expert at the North Pole.

The winner is: Claudette Esterine

Words Life in Rhyme

The winner is: Penny Cameron











Congratulations to the winners and a huge thank you to everyone who entered!
(Winners, please forward your mailing address to me via email: dtolley@shaw.ca)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Last Day for Free Books!

Last day!


Until midnight tonight, I will be taking entries.
Three lucky people, drawn at random, will each win one of my new books!
All you have to do to qualify is visit my website: www.dianestringamtolley.com
That's it. That's all. Respond here with 'Visited' and a word to describe your visit and you will be entered.
Good luck!

 Driving a busload of happy, young scouters on rain-slick roads John Benjamin Frosst is faced suddenly with the unimaginable. In a fraction of a moment, he makes a decision, selflessly offering his life in exchange for the lives of innocents.
Now confronted with the knowledge that the comfortable existence he had expected is in tatters, Ben realizes that, instead of doing the serving he loves, he must now humbly receive it from others.
Hampered by this new reality, the fine man that is still Ben Frosst discovers the term ‘handicapped’ is only a starting point from which to find new ways to give and to help.
That service comes in many forms.
And, with enough love and support, anything is possible.
 Sometimes, life simply doesn’t turn out the way you plan.And that's okay.
Diane Stringam Tolley’s newest Christmas novel is a charming, heart-warming story of sacrifice, love and the strength of family and community.
...............................................................................................

“For some of us receive one gift,
And some, another. True.
Her gift was drying silverware.
And mine? Is telling you.”

Diane Stringam Tolley’s Words is a collection of thoughts and feelings from six decades of living.
A happy romp from childhood to old age. Ranch to city life.
In rhyme.
And isn’t life just a little bit better in rhyme?
...................................................................................................

North Pole Society is uncomplicated.
Prosperous.
Happy.
But everything the Elves of the North Pole hold dear is about to be challenged and, perhaps, changed forever.
Can a society that has survived – even thrived – based on love and goodwill, endure the advent of modern ideas. Incentives programs?
Buzz words?
Can generations of innocence, helpfulness, friendliness and generosity outlast the introduction of an effiency expert?
Will the love that forms the beating heart of North Pole Society survive? 
In her long-awaited sequel to (Kris Kringle’s) Magic, Diane Stringam Tolley has created a tale of friendship, perseverance and the enduring power of love.

All Shapes and Sizes

Look at this!
I caught a snake. Garter variety.
The banks of the river abounded with such things, as well as frogs, tadpoles, minnows and other slithery, slimy denizens of the milky water.
It wasn't unheard-of for my mother to be the calm recipient of a bullfrog, salamander, and cup full of minnows . . . all on the same day.
Okay, so, squeamish, I wasn't.
And my mother was a saint.
But snakes, we usually had a harder time catching. Actually laying hands on one was a treat. An achievement.
I know. We probably should have explored other hobbies . . .
I was understandably excited about my snake. I wanted to share.
I decided to take it to school.
I can't remember just how I managed this. Perhaps my Mom helped me by putting it in a shoe box. But it, and I, somehow managed the long bus ride.
Then I was the center of attention as everyone on the playground crowded in for a peek. In fact, my snake was so popular that my teacher arranged for me to take it to every classroom to show the kids.
For the first time in my young life, I was the center of attention. I was popular. I was famous.
Yes, well, it rather went to my head . . .
To make my snake a bit more visible, the principal offered me his own glass fishbowl. Now it could be seen at all times.
I thought it was terrific. I don't suppose the snake was very impressed.
I walked into each of the six classrooms, filled with importance. Then I would talk about my snake . . . ummm . . . knowledgeably.
"This is a garter snake. I caught it by the river. It's kind of cold and . . . smooth. It can swim. It eats frogs and other stuff."
Hey, I was six. That was as knowledgeable as it gets.
Then I would reach in, grab my snake by the end of its tail and lift it out for everyone to see. The snake would, obligingly, stretch up and flick its tongue.
Ooohs.
This went on for the lower five grades.
Then, the last class. My oldest brother Jerry's class. The grade sixes. The big guys.
I was more than a bit intimidated.
I carried my sideshow exhibit into the class and went into my spiel. Then I lifted my snake. And stared in horror as the last two inches of its tail . . . broke off.
The poor thing dropped to the floor and began a frantic slither towards somewhere else.
Several girls screamed.
I quickly pounced on it and scooped it up, dropping it back into the goldfish bowl.
Order was restored.
Then I realized that I was still holding the piece of the snake's tail. Flushing, I dropped it in with the snake, then quickly seized the bowl and scurried out of the room.
My 15 minutes of fame were over.
For the rest of the day, my snake sat on the shelf at the back of my grade one classroom.
After school, my Mom was waiting for me at the bus stop. She loaded my brothers, George and Jerry, my snake and I into the car.
On the way out of town, she pulled over into the campground beside the river.
"Okay, Diane," she said, "let the snake go."
I stared at her, horrified. Let him go? But he was mine! We'd been through so much together!
She nodded.
Heaving a sigh, I opened the car door and carried my prize to the riverbank.
I looked back at her.
She nodded again.
Now, I should point out here, that I could have simply taken my slithery friend out and laid him in the grass beside the river. Or even set the bowl down and let him crawl out there.
But no. Instead, I made my way down the very edge of the river and tipped up the fishbowl to drop my companion and friend into the milky water.
And unwittingly added an exciting postscript to the story.
Because I also dropped the fishbowl.
My principal's fishbowl.
I did try to make a grab for it, but it quickly slid out of my reach and disappeared. I stared at the place where it had last been seen.
I was in so much trouble.
I remember looking at my mom, horror written across my whole face. She just rolled her eyes and shook her head.
She was so accustomed to me.
She must have sorted things out with my principal, the first of many such exchanges, because I never heard anything of it and it was soon forgotten.
But I often think of my little garter snake friend and wonder just what happened to him. Dropped into a foreign world, miles from his home. Part of his tail snapped off.
Did he survive? Even prosper?
I like to think so.
But more thought provoking is the fact that I had absolutely no fear when catching and handling my snake.
If he had been a chicken?
Totally another story.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Got Clean?

Okay. I admit it.
Sometimes kids have a strange idea of what’s funny.
Let me explain . . .
My brother, George, and I loved watching TV.
Like millions of other baby-boomers before and after us.
And, between our beloved slices of Gunsmoke, Woody Woodpecker, Bonanza, Ed Sullivan and Disney we were electrified by the ads for snowier wash, whiter teeth, hot drinks good to the last drop, better cleansers, stickier bandages, fluffier pastries, softer bread, happier soft drinks and new, new, new contraptions.
We had the jingles - indeed most of the ads - memorized.
Often, putting them to our own distinct uses.
George had a beloved T-shirt.
One he insisted on wearing daily until it was forcibly (sometimes surgically) removed for cleaning.
When it was returned to him, clean and fresh, he would happily re-don it for yet another cycle.
Said shirt justifiably began to show the wear.
Tiny holes started to appear along the seams and in a couple of places on the front.
These were happily ignored until, inevitably, they grew to sizes where ignorance could not justifiably be bliss.
And this is where he and I thought things took on a whole new hilarious angle.
Mom had been agitating for George to retire his adored shirt.
George was resisting.
Their dialogue was ongoing.
Finally Mom took the shirt and held it up, pointing out the obvious wear and gradually widening holes.
George took it and he, too, held it up. “This shirt is not only clean,” he said. He placed his eye up to one of the larger holes. “It is clean clear through!”
Okay, the makers of Fab laundry detergent probably didn’t have holes in mind when they created their ads. But George and I thought it was totally apt.
And totally hilarious.
Mom? Not so much.

Don't forget to enter the contest for my three new books!
Only two days left!
Enter here!
It's easy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cooking. In Heaven

The ranch cook. With Chris and Jerry.
Mom could make anything taste good.
And it didn't matter what she had going in her life, meals were always plentiful and on time.
She would serve a full, cooked breakfast of ham, eggs, pancakes and oatmeal, with lunch simmering on the stove and dinner baking in the oven so both meals could be produced quickly as soon as she got done gardening, cleaning, doing chores, driving us kids to school, picking up whatever was needed from the hardware/feed store/grocery, or attending one of her numerous Hereford club meetings/quilting/sewing bees.
Sometimes I contemplate the scheduling nightmare that her life must have been.
Thinking about it makes me tired.
But back to the food . . .
When Mom was 10 years old, she went with her dad and brothers up to the Berg family's 'other place' to cook while Grandpa and the boys brought in the hay crop.
She often described the little wood stove she used for her meals.
“It had the littlest oven,” she told me, “just big enough to fit in one pie.”
She was making pie???!
At ten years old???!
By herself???!
In a - gasp - wood stove???!
Okay, amazing just doesn't quite cover it.
By the time I was ten, I figured I was doing extremely well because I knew how to eat pie.
But I digress . . .
So, at the age of ten, she was doing all of the cooking for her father and three older brothers.
Well, she certainly learned how to cook.
Mom could open the fridge (that same fridge that one of us kids had just looked into and pronounced, 'empty'), and produce a hearty, rib-sticking meal.
In minutes.
And totally without the aid of a microwave.
Okay, she had all the modern conveniences. Electric stove. Running water.
Toaster.
Cheese Whiz.
But still, the meals she could produce!
Her roasts were works of gustatory art. Her pastries and pies had to be tasted to be believed.
Even her vegetables were unsurpassed by anything available in the vast dining world.
Mom could take cauliflower that she had grown and frozen. Cook and serve it in such a manner that not a scrap was left over.
I tried it with my kids.
Somehow, when I prepared frozen cauliflower, it just came out . . . soggy.
And disgusting.
I did learn how to make her pies. But that was all.
To this day, my siblings and I contact each other regularly, asking if anyone knows the recipe for . . .
No one does.
When I cross over to the other side, it will be with a pen and paper in hand.
The first thing I will ask Mom will be, “What the heck is your recipe for your angel food cake topping?”
Notice I said 'heck'. That's because you can't use anything stronger in Heaven.
Where I know Mom is.
Cooking.
*  *  *

Don't forget to enter my book contest!

All three of my newest books are on offer.

It's fast.

And easy!

Go here

You won't be sorry! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Book Contest

My books are in and I'm announcing a contest!


For the next five days, I will be taking entries.
The three winners, drawn at random, will each receive one of my three new books. All you have to do to qualify is visit my website: www.dianestringamtolley.com
That's it. That's all. Respond here with 'Visited' and a word to describe your visit and you will be entered.
Good luck!

 Driving a busload of happy, young scouters on rain-slick roads John Benjamin Frosst is faced suddenly with the unimaginable. In a fraction of a moment, he makes a decision, selflessly offering his life in exchange for the lives of innocents.
Now confronted with the knowledge that the comfortable existence he had expected is in tatters, Ben realizes that, instead of doing the serving he loves, he must now humbly receive it from others.
Hampered by this new reality, the fine man that is still Ben Frosst discovers the term ‘handicapped’ is only a starting point from which to find new ways to give and to help.
That service comes in many forms.
And, with enough love and support, anything is possible.
 Sometimes, life simply doesn’t turn out the way you plan.And that's okay.
Diane Stringam Tolley’s newest Christmas novel is a charming, heart-warming story of sacrifice, love and the strength of family and community.
...............................................................................................

“For some of us receive one gift,
And some, another. True.
Her gift was drying silverware.
And mine? Is telling you.”

Diane Stringam Tolley’s Words is a collection of thoughts and feelings from six decades of living.
A happy romp from childhood to old age. Ranch to city life.
In rhyme.
And isn’t life just a little bit better in rhyme?




...................................................................................................

North Pole Society is uncomplicated.
Prosperous.
Happy.
But everything the Elves of the North Pole hold dear is about to be challenged and, perhaps, changed forever.
Can a society that has survived – even thrived – based on love and goodwill, endure the advent of modern ideas. Incentives programs?
Buzz words?
Can generations of innocence, helpfulness, friendliness and generosity outlast the introduction of an effiency expert?
Will the love that forms the beating heart of North Pole Society survive? 
In her long-awaited sequel to (Kris Kringle’s) Magic, Diane Stringam Tolley has created a tale of friendship, perseverance and the enduring power of love.

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael
Now available at Amazon.com and Chapters.ca and other fine bookstores.

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Ghost of the Overlook

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My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!
New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

Gnome for Christmas
The newest in my Christmas Series

SnowMan

SnowMan
A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.

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My novel, Carving Angels

My novel, Carving Angels
Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic
What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

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 . . .

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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.

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

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.

Pearl, Why You Little...

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

The Marketing Mentress

The Marketing Mentress
Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

Coffee Row
My Big Brother's Stories

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Semper Fidelis
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