Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, July 31, 2020

Uphill Both Ways

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the kids going back to school in the midst of a pandemic.
Although Husby and I are firmly in the 'need an education' camp, we are also firmly in the 'safety' camp.
Because both of us are, through no fault of our own (I blame my mother for having me in 1955), in the 'at risk' camp.
But all this talk about school and 'having it rough' has brought back my memories of school in the small southern Alberta community of Milk River in the early '60s.
When I rode the bus...
 Picture it with a few more bumps and bruises.

You've heard the stories from the past where kids had to walk to school through eight feet of snow.
Both ways.

Husby's stories even include having to carry his horse!
Well, those didn't apply to me.
I rode the school bus.
Which was an adventure in itself.
Stay with me . . .
School buses in the early sixties were very similar to those driven today.
I'm almost sure there was an engine under the oversized and bulbous hood.
They had a driver.
And lots and lots of kids.
But busses in the sixties had a few 'extra' features.
Forms of entertainment that simply don't exist in our more modern world.
Too bad.
Busses today have powered windshield wipers that are sturdy, dependable and have several settings.
They keep on working through rain, snow, sleet, hail.
In fact, anything that may be thrown at the all-important front windshield.
The bus that carted me to and from school had wipers, too.
Just not the kind you see today.
It had what is known as 'vacuum' wipers.
I'm not sure what made them work.
But I know what didn't.
Revving the engine.
If it was raining hard and the road was on an even grade with no challenges, all was well.
But if the bus was required to do something untoward . . .
Like move faster.
Or go up a hill.
The engine would rev.
And the wipers would quit.
The driver would have to roll down the side window and stick his (or her) head outside so they could see.
If the driver took his foot off the accelerator, the wipers would start again.
Push the pedal down? They stopped.
It was enormously entertaining.
But not nearly as much fun as when the bus was required to go up Angel's Hill.
Yes. We really had an Angel's Hill.
Oh, it's not what you're thinking.
It was simply the hill that led to the Angyal family's ranch.
But I digress . . .
Our rather aged vehicle had a hard time going up that hill.
Sometimes, if we had a larger than normal load (perhaps all of us kids had eaten breakfast, for example), the bus wouldn't be able to make it.
We'd have to get off and trail along behind till it reached the top.
Well, we younger kids would trail.
The older kids would push.
Whereupon (good word) we would all clamber back aboard and happily find our seats once more.

Huh. I just realized that we did have to walk uphill to get to school.
Both ways.
Pushing the bus.
Beat that!

Thursday, July 30, 2020


Watch out! She'll get you!
The morning milking happened . . . early.
Before any of the younger kids were stirring.
It was a peaceful time.
Just the milkmaid (ie. me) and the cows.
The afternoon milking, though, was quite different.
While the milker was with the cows, the bustle of afternoon chores was going on all around.
Talk and laughter as the kids fed chickens and pigs.
Held buckets for the calves.
Hauled feed.
Opened and closed gates.
Chased kittens.
It was a busy, happy time.
And the baby generally was left with little to do.
Tristan, said baby, was five.
He had helped feed.
And now was looking for Mom.
I should mention, here, that our little milk barn had two rooms.
One for the business part of the operation.
And a waiting room with a little pen.
I was milking Kitty.
One of our two, gentle little Jersey milk cows.
Bunny was in the outer room, already milked and patiently awaiting her freedom.
Tristan came into the barn.
"Mom?" (Real conversation.)
"I'm here, sweetheart."
"You done?"
I could hear sounds of someone small climbing the gate of the pen.
"Can I wait here?"
"Sure, sweetie. I'll just be a minute."
A heavy sigh. "Okay."
"Did you help feed?"
"Yeah. Are you coming?"
"Pretty soon."
"Okay." Suddenly, "Mom! Mom!"
"What's the matter?"
"Mom! This cow is coming over!"
Cows are intensely curious. If something comes into their sphere, it needs to be investigated.
And smelled.
And tasted.
"She won't hurt you."
"Mom! She's getting closer!"
"She won't hurt you, sweetie!"
Then, indignantly, "Mom, she's getting . . . sniff on me!"
Cow sniff.
In a world full of troubles, if that's the worst that happens . . .

Monday, July 27, 2020

Life's Leaves

Those heralds of spring, their soft, misty green,
Suffuse all the trees, give them life, make them preen,
And all through the garden, the plants take their cue
With colour and scent, all of nature renew.

Then like sands in a glass, time moves quickly along,
With lengthening days and returning birds’ song,
And leaves daily grow till they’re full. And their hue
Becomes richer. And deep as with life, they’re imbued.

They dance in the breeze and they gleam in the rain,
And shine in the sun as o’er nature they reign,
A long, lovely cycle of varying days,
As to man (and all life), they delight and amaze.

Too soon, with the passing of seasons, then they
Succumb. In the shortening days, are arrayed
With colour—rich blazes of orange or red,
Bright praise to life lived (and of slumber ahead).

When I lay on soft grass and look up at the leaves,
And see them give life to the birds and the trees,
I wonder if we’re like the foliage up there,
And its sun and its wind, like life’s joy or despair.

Though their life is shortened (their months are like hours),
Are they not like us with their sunshine and showers?
Don’t we try, by example to succor and lead,
To soak in the sun and to dance in the breeze?

And then, as life’s autumn creeps slowly away,
Are we not filled with colour that brightens the day?
From all our experiences—joys or defeats…
That busied our fingers and hurried our feet?

As a youngster, I laughed through my misty green years,
Then grew richly hued jug’ling kids and careers,
 And now that I’m older, I can happily say,
I’m bright crimson with joy in my sweet autumn days.

Cause Monday’s do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we all besought
To try to make the week begin
With pleasant thoughts,
Perhaps a grin?
So all of us, together, we
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, it's not a lot to ask,
The four of us will speak of 'masks'.

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!

Grab and Add!

Search This Blog

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?