Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Saturday, June 4, 2016

Ranch Zoo


Bambi and four of her pets
Baby antelope kisses








A ranch is a different place to grow up.
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 an 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. (It could be entertaining, though. But that is another story.)
Entertainment consisted of visiting with your family.
Playing games. Also with said family.
Swinging from ropes in the hay loft.
Riding.
Reading.
And, of course, playing with your pets.
On our ranch, there were all the usual pets one would expect.
An assortment of barn cats. The end result of years of 'spur of the moment' cat sex.
Dogs. All brought in from other ranches and, unlike the aforementioned cats, strictly controlled.
Some were a little harder to hide in your bedroom. (ie. Ponies. And yes, I tried.)
Assorted baby animals, found by me and subsequently (good word) turned out of the house by my unenlightened mother.
Pigs.
Calves.
And then, at least on our ranch, the animals you wouldn't expect.
Wild 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.
A seagull. Found near the road, unable to fly.
Countless frogs.
A snake or two.
Several mice.
Jackrabbits.
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.
Regardless of how hard you try.
Or how much you talk to them.
One baby deer, given the surprising name of 'Bambi', got quite aggressive, especially with my toddling baby sister.
I don't know what she thought Baby Sister was.
But she didn't like it and tried to express herself with sharp hooves.
After a tearful good-bye she, like most of them, went to a zoo.
But, for a time, they all belonged to our family.
I still think befriending and spending time with them was better than any form of electronic entertainment.And you must know, I'm always right.

3 comments:

  1. Instincts run deep, don't they? I hope your sister wasn't seriously hurt. I feel badly for kids who can't get out in nature regularly, even if it's just playing in a back yard. How do city kids in highrises get to interact with the big outdoors? Parks, I suppose, if they live close to one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We always had animals too. Not the exotica you had, but animals just the same. And birds. And reptiles.
    And I am so very grateful. A living, breathing thing trumps electronics every day and in every way.

    ReplyDelete
  3. what a wonderful childhood you had Diane! so many experiences that kids of today will never know - so glad you share them with us x

    ReplyDelete

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