Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life on the Ranch

The new barn
I was privileged to grow up on one of the last of the large old ranches in Southern Alberta. Situated half way between the towns of Milk River and Del Bonita, it covered two-and-a-half townships, close to 92 square miles. Our closest neighbour was over nine miles away. A little far to drop by to borrow a cup of sugar, but close enough to help in the case of a real emergency, which was not uncommon on the large spread we ran, and with the number of people involved in the daily workings.
The ranch buildings themselves were nestled snugly in a bend of the South Fork of the Milk River. Towering cliffs surrounded us. Cliffs which were home, at times, to a pair of blue herons, and at all others, to marmots, badgers, porcupines, and a very prolific flock of mud swallows. We learned to swim in that river. We tobogganed down the gentler slopes of those cliffs. We built dams and caught frogs and snakes. I even trapped a full grown jack rabbit – almost.
It was an unusual life, as I have now come to know. At the time, it was normal. We thought everyone lived like we did. Far from any outside influences. Relying on each other. Immersed in the needs of the family and the ranch. For a child growing up, it was peace itself.

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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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