Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, September 22, 2023

My Unknown Adventure

Another memory from Little Brother, Blair!

Speaking of that summer in the Quonset...
Okay, I don’t remember this...
My dad told me about it after it happened.
In order to explain just what happened, I have to provide a bit of background...
When I was young, not having the ‘walk-around-in-the-dark superpower’, like my little sister did, I was afraid of said dark.
Needless to say, I liked my night light.
Also: When I went to bed at night, I would hide under the covers.
Mom told me that it was not healthy to cover my head so I had devised a special way of arranging my bed covers so that I could snuggle down and still have a tunnel that provided ample air to breathe.
Enough exposition…

In the summer of 1968, my family moved from our house on the ranch to a quonset on an acreage just outside the town of Milk River.
Dad planned to use the acreage as the headquarters for the ranch and his veterinarian practice.
A new house was being built on the property, but it was going to be at least 3 months before it was completed. Thus, the quonset.
For the “summer”.
It was a great adventure. Like camping, except, I got to sleep in my own comfortable bed.
The quonset was huge—and open—so dad strategically placed the large moving boxes so that we had our own bedrooms.
We also had living room and kitchen areas.
I can’t remember what we did for showers. I guess I was at the age where that wasn’t very important.
I had my very own bedroom space with my dresser and bed. I really liked it except there was no power.
And no night light.
I regularly buried myself under my covers when I went to bed at night.  It was a cold summer and mom made sure we all had lots of blankets to keep us warm.
This next slice of this story is the part I don’t remember.
I am reciting from what dad told me...
One evening, my parents went out on a date night. According to Dad, they had a lovely time. Forgetting for a short period that they even had any kids. (Okay, that’s my input…)
Then returned to our quonset home.
It was after our bedtime, so they did the rounds of all the kids to see that we were settled in our beds.
Everyone was sound asleep, except me.
I was nowhere to be found.
Quickly, they searched everywhere in the Quonset. No corner, empty box, or piece of furniture was left unchecked. They even did a quick search of the area immediately around the Quonset.
Nope. No me.
I’m quite sure both of them were remembering the animal with the spooky growl my mom had heard a few nights earlier and thinking it had snagged me, perhaps during a midnight potty run.
They were terribly worried and decided to call the police.
Just before they made the call, for some reason, Dad walked into my bedroom space and sat in the chair that faced my bed. He was terribly worried and trying to think if there was somewhere I might be.
As he sat in the chair and looked over at the pile of blankets on my bed, he suddenly got the thought that he should pull them back a little.
Which he did.
There I was, right there, asleep. Blissfully unaware that I had been missed by anyone.
Well, unaware until the following day when Dad told me.
By the way, I’m not afraid of the dark anymore.
Though I did go through a period of fearing to walk through my house in the dark unless I shuffled.
Need I say more?

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Hickory Dickory's Clock Dock

From the “What-on-earth-was-that-in-aid-of?’ files…
Okay. How many of those reading haven’t heard of Hickory Dickory Dock?
Yep. I thought so.

I recited/sang it ad infinitum/ad nauseam when I was a youngster.
I kid you not.
I loved it!
Even though I really couldn’t understand it.

We’re talking about a little mouse running repeatedly up a clock, then, when said clock strikes the hours of: one, two, three, etc., the mouse runs down.

First of all, doesn’t that mouse have anything better to do? I mean I’ve heard of clock-watching, but isn’t this taking it to a whole new level?

And there’s the ‘repeating an action and expecting a different result’.
Isn’t that the very definition of insanity?
Well that was my understanding.
What are your thoughts?

Yes, I know it’s a mouse. And yes, I know they have very small brains and really can’t be held accountable for their actions.
Pretty poor excuse.

And what is it hoping to find at the clock top? A spectacular view?
Because, let’s face it, if the views aren’t stellar, I’m not climbing anything!

And a view would have to be truly spectacular to tempt one to at-tempt a possibly perilous and certainly sweaty and laborious climb more than once! Right?

I just had a thought. Mice will go almost anywhere if there’s food involved. (I am totally with them on this…) What if there’s food up there?

I mean, what if that’s where the clock keeps his lunch?
Go with me on this.
It would be safe (well, discounting the whole ‘recurring mouse’ erm…thingy.)

Think about it. Mr. H D Clock assumes (reasonably) that, barring someone actually seeing him put his lunch there, no one would ever guess. Makes total sense.

Okay, okay. Clocks don’t pack a lunch. And they’d certainly be frowned upon if they ever stopped to actually…you know…eat.
And then the lack of internal organs.

So we’re stuck with a little mouse who decides every hour (on the hour) to run up a clock. Then, frightened by the chimes, runs down again.

I think we need a do-over (Oops. Not a 27!):

Hickory Dickory Dock,
Two Mice ran up the clock.
The clock struck one.
The other ran away…
I admit, I’m totally with the clock on this one.

The rhyme is thought to have originated as a counting-out rhyme. Cumbric shepherds in the nineteenth century used the numbers Hevera (8), Devera (9) and Dick (10).

The Exeter Cathedral astronomical clock has a small hole in the door below the face for the resident cat to hunt mice.
Take that, Mr. Mouse!

Today’s post is a word challenge! 
Each month Karen, Mimi or I choose a number between 12 and 50 and the others craft a post using that number of words one or multiple times.
This month’s number is: 27
It was chosen by Karen of Baking in a Tornado!

Now go and see what my friends have created!

Monday, September 18, 2023

Cheap Cheeseburgers!

 My Husby and me had six kids, I love them all, it’s true,
Though life when all were still at home, was something of a zoo!
And mealtimes were a challenge, you know there was quite a price,
To feeding all those tummies something more than beans and rice!

But somehow, we succeeded and, yes, each of them was fed,
With soups and stews and roasted meats and treats and fresh-baked bread,
And as they grew, so did our bill, the cost near had us broke!
Our eldest two ate just as much as all our other folk.

One day—I don’t know how—but Husby got some coupons for
McDonald’s. Yes, the fast-food place. The kids thought they’d explore
This place they didn’t get to much, we just could not afford
Their ‘magic’ burgers, plain or ‘cheese’ that all our kids adored.

And so we went and ‘ordered up’, our kids were really keen,
And when the food arrived, t’was more than they had ever seen,
A pile of burgers, neatly wrapped, and all were fresh and hot,
Some included melted cheese and some of them did not.

I can tell you, on that day, our kids all ate their fill,
Of hamburgers and cheeseburgers…without a crazy bill!
And as they downed those tasty toasties by the bucketful,
For the first time, ever, eldest sons said they were full.

It didn’t happen often, leastways not when we were out,
That those two boys were satisfied enough to laugh and shout,
But laugh and shout, they did, and when they’d all joined in the fun…
They thanked their dad most graciously for everything he’d done.

I don’t expect a lot, I don’t. It really’s no concern,
I don’t need fancies, don’t need ‘stuff’, for nothing do I yearn,
What memory, do I have now that fills me with such joy?
That time we hit McDonald’s and, at last, I filled my boys!

Photo Credit: Karen of
Cause Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we all besought
To try to make the week begin
With gentle thoughts,
Perhaps a grin?
So KarenCharlotteMimi, me
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Next week time for some extremes!
We will all be talking 'bout our dreams!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks (with a huge thank-you to Mimi, who comes up with so many of them!)
Cheeseburgers (September 18) Today!
Dreams (September 25)
Birthdays (October 2)
Family (October 9)
Dictionary (October 16)
Talk Shows (October 23)
Mischief (October 30)
Watermelon (November 6)
Grandma's Kitchen (November 13)
The Bus (November 20)
A Pet's Life (November 27)


Friday, September 15, 2023

Teeth-ing Problems

Mort pointed. “Who’s that guy in front?” He pulled the book closer. “There’s something funny about his face.” He looked at Sally. “He looks like he lost his teeth somewhere.”
I turned toward the couch where Mort and Sally were sitting, thumbing through a yearbook.
Sally was wearing a little grin.
She looked at me and I smiled.
“It’s a…rather long story,” Sally said, finally.
Mort raised his eyebrows. “I like long stories.”
Sally looked at me expectantly.
I rolled my eyes and, clutching Peter’s hand a little tighter, said, “Promise you won’t think badly of me?”
He just laughed.
For the record, that isn’t a response.
“Sally and I were nearing the end of school,” I began. “Grade twelve. We’d made it. The top of the heap. The kings and queens of the school. And the town.”
Sally laughed. “Speak for yourself. I’ve always been royalty!”
She wasn’t wrong.
“Anyways, there was this teacher, Mr. S. And he was the nastiest, meanest man there ever was.” I made a face. “Oh, he was nice to the ‘A’ students—including Sally and me, fortunately. But he would pick a struggling student every year to drive out of school.”
Peter shifted in his chair. “Seriously?”
I nodded. “Yup. He had a reputation. We’d heard about it, but only got to see it first-hand when we finally reached the upper echelons.”
Sally snorted and rolled her eyes. “Upper echelons!”
“You know what I mean. Anyways, there was this one guy, Randy. He was struggling. Wasn’t happy about school in the first place. Struggling with family connections at home. Just kinda—lost. The sort of guy who needs a bit of honest encouragement and a teaspoon or two of basic human kindness.”
Peter tightened his grip on my hand and I gave him a brief smile.
“He was the one Mr. S had singled out that year. Used to watch for him to come into the school and make a beeline for him and start haranguing him. ‘What are you doing here? You’re wasting your time and ours! You should quit and just go find a job!’ That sort of thing. It was pretty awful.”
Sally’s smile returned. She sat and twisted one earring.
Peter frowned at her. “Smiling, Sally-girl?”
Her smile widened, but she said nothing.
“Sally’s jumping ahead to the rest of the story,” I said. I smiled, too. “It was pretty sweet.”
“Well, you’d better get to it, because I’m wanting to strangle that Mr. S with my bare hands about now,” Dad said.
I turned to see him coming down the stairs toward us.
I raised my eyebrows. I’d like to have sent this former marine after Mr. Nasty just to watch the inevitable outcome. I cleared my throat.
“Anyways, Mr. S finally succeeded. Randy stopped coming to school.” I rubbed my forehead. “A real feather in his cap, don’t you think?”
“Better be getting to this ‘good part’ or I’m going to go hunting this ‘Mr. S’.”
I smiled at Dad, once again grateful for him in our lives. “Well, Sally and I had an appointment with the school counselor. Something all the kids had to do. Something about ‘planning-their-futures-now-that-they-were-on-the-cusp-of-growing-up’.” I shrugged. “Real important stuff.”
Dad crooked an eyebrow and gave me a look. “It is.”
I laughed and held up my hands in surrender. “Okay! Okay! While we were walking to the counselor’s office, we had to walk past Mr. S’s. And, through the partially open door, we saw him taking out some false teeth! I mean, who knew he even had them?”
‘You stole them?” Mort asked, pointing to the picture.
“Patience, my son.” I grinned. “It was a few weeks later and we were at the big closing school party and corn bust. You know, where everyone eats too much and regrets it for about six hours?”
“Speak for yourself,” Sally said.
I laughed. “And they were calling everyone together for the big picture.” I pointed to the book on Mort’s lap. “Mr. S started toward his car and Sally and I knew instantly what he was going to do.”
“Clean the corn out of those biters?” Peter asked.
“Yup.” I looked at Sally. “We followed him.”
“But…how did you get them?” Mort asked.
“Actually, it was quite easy. We snagged Angela—Mr. S’s special pet—to come with us to get him for the picture. She was only too happy to oblige.” I smiled in remembrance. “Actually, it worked out perfectly! When we arrived, he had just removed his teeth. Angela went up to him and he shoved them out of site on the passenger side of the car and turned to talk to her with one hand over his mouth. Then I quietly opened the passenger door and Sally reached in and grabbed them. We rolled under the next couple of cars, then, when we were far enough away, stood up and made our escape.”
“Where did you put his teeth?”
“Tossed them into the creek on our way back to the picnic site.” I grinned. “We were sitting with everyone else by the time Angela returned saying that Mr. S was having problems. The principal finally went and got him.”
“The funniest thing was that he always insisted on being in the front row of the pictures. This time, he tried to go to the back, but the principal wouldn’t let him. So there he was, toothless for all the world to see!”
Sally looked down at the picture. “Quite satisfying.”
“He never caught you?”
“Nope. He left the party right after the pictures and wasn’t in school for the next week. He must have found somewhere to get some new dentures made in a hurry because when he finally returned, he was sporting some shiny new ones.”
Dad chuckled. “Sometimes a little payback feels so good.”
“It didn’t really help Randy. But, you’re right. It felt good.”
Peter laughed. “Sooo…the moral is: don’t anger either of the Hart sisters.”
I pinned him with a gaze. “Or if you do, hang onto your teeth!” 

Use Your Words is a writing challenge!
Each month, I exchange words with my friend and intrepid leader, Karen of Baking in a Tornado 
Neither of us knows what the other will do with her words.
This month, Karen gave me: 
pin ~ school ~ town ~ earring ~ teeth
Thank you, my friend!
Now go see what Karen did with my words!

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Fishing for Cars

Guest Post from Little Brother, Blair!

We had just finished the Christmas season and, not to my liking, I had returned to high school and my normal routine: Drag myself out of bed early, milk the cow and feed the young bulls and heifers, go to school, return home, feed the young bulls and heifers, milk the cow, eat mom’s wonderful meals, go tinker/build something in the shop, go to bed. Repeat.
I admit, the routine got a little boring so if it was broken up some, I was happy for the change. 
One Saturday night, I had just slipped into dreamland when I was suddenly rousted out of my sleep by a banging on the door.
I dragged myself out of bed, wondering why dad hadn’t appeared. I guess he was hoping I could take care of it and he wouldn’t have to.
There at the door were three people who had been to a cabin several miles down the road in the forest reserve area.
Apparently, they had been at a party at said cabin.
Apparently, they had had a good time at the party.
Apparently, that good time had impaired the driver’s ability and she drove off the road into a ditch full of snow.
Apparently, the driver had a very good time at the party.
Now this trio needed their car pulled out of the ditch.
I grabbed some chains, fired up the truck and drove about a mile down the road to where they had taken their unscheduled detour.
It was a beautiful clear winter night.
There was a nice layer of snow in the fields and the moon was bright, which made it possible to see a long distance.
Just a day prior to this encounter with our partying visitors, there was a stiff wind that had cleared the roads and placed all of the snow in the ditches.
Subsequently, the roads had no ice patches on them.
When we arrived at the ‘slightly diverted’ vehicle, I could see from the tracks that the driver had taken a very gradual path off the road, positioning her VW bug on about 2 feet of packed snow.
This gradual path was on a straight stretch of road and I was tempted to ask, “Were you so involved with singing 99 bottles of beer on the wall that you didn’t realize you were gradually driving into the ditch?” 
I looked at the car for an appropriate place to attach a chain. There were two ‘pipe’ type brackets that had once held a back bumper but nowhere to easily connect a chain.
I wrapped the chain around the bracket that held the front bumper, then hooked it to the truck and started to pull.
Watching through the rear view mirror, I saw the chain pull the bracket off the front and lay it and bumper on the snow.
The bumper still hung precariously from the bracket on the other side, but the part I had hooked to was toast. 
I needed to figure out a different solution.
I looked at the bracket and noted that it could be fixed by a good welder, but that wouldn’t help these people continue their journey now. And I didn’t think they would have enjoyed camping in the barn for the night.
I remembered that I had a large bundle of used bale twine in the back of the truck, a collection from all the hay I had fed the cows that day. I used it to tie the bumper to what was left of the front post.
Then, praying it would hold, I wrapped the chain around the pipe bracket in the back of the VW.
I guess my prayers were answered because the car pulled out with little trouble.
The driver was very happy and told me to stop by the A&W in Lethbridge where she worked and she would give me a Teen Burger Platter (my favorite).
But I guessed that when she sobered up, she would be extremely mad about me breaking her bumper. (I avoided A&W for a few months despite my love for Teen burgers. I didn’t want to get yelled at.)
All three partyers piled in the car and headed to Lethbridge.
I prayed they had sobered up enough not to get into an accident.
There was nothing in the papers so I guess they made their destination.
No news is good news!

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

That House

You see misfortune. We saw 'scaaaary'!
There was a haunted house in Milk River.
Demons lived there.
You name it. If it was slimy and scary, it had a residence in that house.
We children in the town skipped past on the far side of the street.
Even in broad daylight.
With our ears plugged and talking volubly, so as to drown out any and all noises that might escape that house.
Even so, I'm sure that, on two occasions, I heard screams.
And no, they didn't come from me.
At one time, Milk River's haunted house had been just another normal, ordinary, rather elderly little home.
Situated about half-way down the block.
A family had lived there.
Mother. Father. Children.
But that was where the 'normal' part ended. At least that is what my friends had informed me.
One night, the mother had asked her little boy to go down into the cellar to look for the family cat.
It was dark in the cellar. He had lighted a match to see more clearly.
And dropped it into a vat of kerosene.
What that was and why a vat of it would be sitting in someone's basement, I didn't know, but it sounded dangerous.
Suffice it to say that my facts really didn't hold well under scrutiny.
But I was four.
Who was scrutinizing?
I was too busy shivering in delight.
Moving on . . .
So the little boy dropped his match into the vat of kerosene.
It lit up like a huge torch.
The kerosene, that is.
He and his family barely got out alive.
No one knows what happened to the cat.
The family then disappeared.
Never to be heard from again.
Actually, none of us really knew what happened to start the fire.
It was just one of those terribly unfortunate things.
The family moved away, maybe to a family member's house to regroup.
But reality wasn't as interesting to us kids as the stories we made up.
Once, a group of us actually sneaked into the house and got as far as the kitchen.
Standing in the center of the room was a partially-charred table, still covered with an equally-burned oilcloth and decorated with a bowl of blackened fruit.
We were horrified.
And ran from the house screaming.
I know, I know, intrepid explorers we weren't.
The house was eventually demolished.
Mainly to keep us kids from scrambling through it like some sort of ride in a carnival.
But even after another house had been erected and another family moved in, it remained the haunted house.
Where the family lived.
Before the fire.
And maybe they're there still.
Making noises and screaming at odd hours.
The four-year-olds in the neighbourhood would know.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

In, Through and Beyond

My Sweetie and Me
Newly married.
What a wonderful time.
A time of love. Friendship. Companionship.
A time of discovering for the first time that one has a true and forever friend. Someone to be with. Always.
It's magical.
Then, too, it is the time to discover those frailties that we have tried so very hard to keep from our sweethearts. 
And finally have to admit to owning. 
Like...everyone has bodily functions.
Get over it.
My husband I had been married for a couple of weeks.
He had risen early in the morning and disappeared into the bathroom.
I had stayed where I was. Warm and comfy and still deliciously drowsy.
Soon the door opened and my new husband emerged, but . . . not looking as he had when he went in.
He had blown his nose, while attending to other necessities, and given himself a nosebleed.
Easily fixed. Just stuff a Kleenex into his left nostril.
Oh. And he had discovered a pimple in his right ear. Quickly disposed of. And another Kleenex inserted to blot up any discharge.
Now, back to bed to snuggle with his new wife.
I stared at this apparition who was approaching my bed. It looked like my husband. But it had white tissues issuing from nose and ear. Could it possibly be . . .? I braced myself up on one arm. "Is that one Kleenex?" (Hand gestures to suggest pulling something which had been run into the head through the ear and now protruded from the nostril.)
"Was that a 'harrumph'?"
With a glare, he spun around and headed back into the bathroom.
And firmly closed the door.
He never answered my question . . .

Monday, September 11, 2023

A Game of Memory

Cheating a bit. Here’s a poem from a couple of years ago!

Her man and she were getting on in years, I’m forced to say,
The two of them were speaking with a friend the other day,
Explained to him that they had problems with their memory,
And he said writing notes would help the wife and her Husby.

They decided they would try it out, and write things faithfully,
Improve communication ‘tween him and his Honeybee.
I’m here to say the trial could be labeled a success,
For though they spurned their friend’s advice, they were happy, nonetheless.

When sitting watching ‘telly’ Husby got up for ice cream,
Politely asked his wife if she would like to share the dream,
She said, “I’d like a bowlful, Dear. But you should write it down.”
He shook his head, “No I’ll remember. What am I, a clown?”

She shrugged and said she wanted toppings on her frozen treat.
Some whipped cream and a cherry, both, would make her bliss complete.
“And please, my dear,” she said again. “You’ve simply got to write.”
He said, “I think that I’m detecting just a note . . . of spite.”

And off he went, quite message-less, into the kitchen there.
And she heard fridge and cupboard doors as something was prepared.
When he’d spent some time, she thought, an inordinate amount,
At last returned. She looked at him. “What have you been about?”

He handed her a plate containing ham and scrambled eggs.
She stared at it, then up at him, and calmly crossed her legs.
And reaching for the plate, she said, “Your mind’s a sieve, at most!”
“And, my dear, you’re getting old, ‘cause you forgot the toast!”

Photo Credit: Karen of
Cause Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we all besought
To try to make the week begin
With gentle thoughts,
Perhaps a grin?
So KarenCharlotteMimi, me
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Next week will be fun, I know
With Cheeseburgers, we’ll have a show!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks (with a huge thank-you to Mimi, who comes up with so many of them!)
Remembering (September 11) Today!
Cheeseburgers (September 18)
Dreams (September 25)
Birthdays (October 2)
Family (October 9)
Dictionary (October 16)
Talk Shows (October 23)
Mischief (October 30)
Watermelon (November 6)
Grandma's Kitchen (November 13)
The Bus (November 20)
A Pet's Life (November 27)

Sunday, September 10, 2023

My BBB’s and Me

 It’s my turn again! When I get to host my amazing Blog Sisters in the Best of Boomer Bloggers!

First up is Carol Cassara of Carol A. Casara, Writer:
"But, wait!" Have you ever felt misunderstood? the need to explain yourself? Carol Cassara offers advice on her blog in "Let Them Be Wrong About You."

Next is Laurie of  Laurie Stone Writes:
Recently, Laurie’s husband Randy and she were sleeping soundly in the wee hours when their terrier, Libby, started barking. Only this wasn’t the dog’s usual “hearing a raccoon meandering outside” half-hearted growl. This was a full-throated, loud, angry protest. Libby leapt off the bed and stood by their front window, yapping in a maddened frenzy. Nervous at what she’d find, Laurie crept over, 
and peeked out.

And Jennifer of Unfold and Begin:
Heard about affirmations but you're not sure how to use them or if they even work?  Jennifer, of Unfold and Begin, shares results from a recent study on affirmations and writes about how
embracing affirmations can shape your mindset.

Then Rebecca Olkowski of BabyBoomster:

Are you ready to start bouncing on a trampoline? Rebecca Olkowski interviewed a man who is an expert in this, and he is over 60. Find out the 
benefits of using trampolines and how they can help you stay healthy over 50.

Followed by Meryl Baer of Musings of a Shore Life

Meryl Baer of Musings of a Shore Life 
managed to avoid getting Covid 19 - until now. Vaccinated and careful until now, she succumbed to the illness and tells us how she coped in this week’s post - Summer Sticks Around and Covid Comes.

California’s expected adoption of a law banning 26 chemicals used in U.S. cosmetics is a reminder that, as consumers, we need to be aware of what’s in the cosmetics we use, says Rita R. Robison, consumer and personal finance journalist. Take a look at her article on California’s action and check for toxin in the cosmetics you use at the Environmental Working Group’s

Then ME! Diane of On the Border:
During the summer of 1968, Diane's parents moved their family into the newly-constructed quonset in anticipation of a future move into their not-yet-completed home on the ranch. It was a summer of adventure for the kids. For Mom? Adventures of a different sort as told in her journals...

And that's a wrap!
I hope you enjoyed these posts from my amazing friends as much as I did!
Thank you for reading!

Friday, September 8, 2023

That Quonset Summer: Final Chapter

Settled. Finally.
Continuing Mom’s Stories...

In the summer of 1968, my parents sold our home ranch out on the south fork of the Milk River, and bought another place nearer to town.
There were myriad challenges.
But the most important was that it was bare land.
Absolutely everything needed to be built.
Construction was immediately started on a new home, and at the same time, on several barns, corrals and outbuildings.
The ranch buildings arose much more quickly than the house.
And that left us in a further dilemma.
Where to live.
The people who had purchased the ranch were justifiably anxious to take possession and our new house was far from completion.
My parents decided to move us into the newly-completed, steel-ribbed quonset.
It was an adventure.
And it's told here by my mother, Enes, from her journals.
(If you missed part one, you can find it here. Part two. Part threePart fourPart fivePart six. Part seven.)
As the summer progressed, new items were hauled into the quonset from the old ranch.
Our summer home began to look more and more like the back yard of a junk dealer.
Soon there was only a foot path past the 'clinic' to the 'living area'.
We had to do more and higher leaping over this and that to find items that we wanted. Happily, we finally became so efficient at finding things we almost knew which box contained what.
It was like watching a movie to see all the different expressions of our clients as we met them at the door.
I often wonder what went though their minds as they drove up to the quonset and faced that huge sliding door with the shingle hooked to the latch which said: Dr. Mark Stringam. Veterinary Office.
They always knocked and waited. So if they felt a little over-whelmed, they at least had a little more time to assemble their mixed feelings and shattered thoughts.
Still, a quick survey never failed to bring a look of shocked amazement and it usually took a few seconds to pull themselves together.
"Everything is sure handy, isn't it?"
"Imagine! Everything you own right here!"
"Sure is cozy in here!"
We had set up our clinic in a corner of the quonset next to the double doors.
And right next to our 'living room'.
Our examining table was three boards on two saw horses.
Clients brought their animals to be examined and we dispensed drugs right there.
One day, we had just managed to straighten the bed covers when we heard a car drive up.
A friend knocked, and then brought in his dog for a distemper shot.
Before we could guess the animal's intentions, he had made a bee-line for the corner of our couch, lifted a leg, and sprayed all over it.
Our friend was so horrified, he apologized for his dog every time he saw us for months afterward.

But all good things must come to an end.
An early snow storm was predicted.
The quonset was chilly in the 'warmer' summer months. What would it be like with the world around it encased in ice?
Sub zero.
And that would just be a start.
There was only one solution. We had to move into our unfinished house.
Throughout the day, with the clouds piling up on the horizon and looking more and more threatening, I carried loads of household goods from the quonset to the car and then drove them across to the house.
It was hard, tiring work, but one look at the horizon would always serve to steel my muscles and lengthen my stride.
By evening, we had a cozy set up in the basement, with a tidy fire crackling in the new fireplace and stuff sitting or hanging everywhere.
We could hardly move.
But at least we were warm!
The promised storm swept over us, howling in frustration as it flew past the windows and chimney, trying to find a crack.
But the house was solidly built and we stayed warm and comfortable inside imagining what life would be like back in the quonset on this night.
For the children, this was just another phase of the adventure.
For me, it was a glimmer of hope that one day, soon, I would again have running water and flush toilets.
And a bath tub!
Sheer luxury!

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!
My FIRST murder mystery!

Blessed by a Curse

Blessed by a Curse
My very first Medieval Romance!

God's Tree

God's Tree
For the Children

Third in the series

Third in the series
Deborah. Fugitive of Faith

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael
A House Divided is now available at all fine bookstores and on and .ca!

Daughter of Ishmael

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

Romance still wins!

Romance still wins!
First romance in a decade!

Hosts: Your Room's Ready

Hosts: Your Room's Ready
A fun romp through the world's most haunted hotel!

Hugs, Delivered.

Compass Book Ratings

Compass Book Ratings

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?

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


A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


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?!

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven


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.

Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from

The Babysitter

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


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


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

Better Blogger Network

Semper Fidelis

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

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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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?