Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Next Generation

Bergs. My best people.
Marrying into a family is a happy, joyous proposition.
It can also be daunting and just a bit scary.
Even when everyone is on the same page—linguistically speaking.
Aunt June joined the Berg family way back in the sixties.
A city girl, she had a lot to learn about her future husband’s ranching family.
That had nothing to do with . . . ummm . . . ranching.
His parents had immigrated to Canada from Sweden.
He and his siblings were first-generation Canadians.
And Swedish terms largely peppered the family’s daily speak.
So to speak.
Such terms as (forgive me, but I’m going to write these words as they sound, which will probably horrify my Swedish relatives.) Hell. Ringadongen. Shurkfasta. And the ever popular Yamen Ha Do Sit Promaken.
And these were just the words she encountered on her first visit.
Perhaps some explanation is in order . . .
Approaching the house, Uncle Leif and his future bride were met at the door by my MorMor, (Mother’s Mother) and invited in. “Just hang your coats here in the shurkfasta,” she told them.
Okay. That wasn’t too hard to figure out. Coats. Hang. 
This may not be so bad.
They walked from said shurkfasta into the large kitchen, where one of the boys was trying to save a step and attempting to pour milk from the crock into a glass. 
“No! Hell with the pitcher! Hell with the pitcher!” MorMor said.
Admittedly, future Aunt June’s ears pricked up at that one. But she soon figured that too. Pour.
She even figured out from the conversation about wrangling cows that a ringadongen was a coulee.
Smart girl.
But the one term that stumped her was ‘Yamen Ha Do Sit Promaken?!”
Said with just a touch of wonder and amazement.
And even a bit of head shaking.
Let’s see if we can figure this one out.
Someone was doing something amazing.
And MorMor was watching.
And she said: that phrase.
Okay. That’s as much as I’m going to tell you.
Let’s see what you come up with . . .
Aunt June happily joined the family.
And learned to appreciate, and even participate in the occasional lapses into Sweglish.
It was a very special price to pay for happiness.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Gen(d)erally Confused

Girls raised on a ranch, doing 'ranch stuff' alongside the men, are often mistaken for yet another of those men.

Until someone gets close enough to see that there are definite differences.
It's the original 'gender confusion'.
Now, on to my story . . .
Enes, my Mom, like her daughter after her, was raised on a ranch.
Surrounded by brothers.
I had three.
She had eight.
I had sisters.
She didn't.
She spent her days working alongside her brothers.
And playing sports.
I spent my days occasionally crossing paths with my brothers as they worked.
And playing make-believe.
No big surprise that, of the two of us, she was the one with the biggest muscles.
And the most athletic ability.
But like me, dressed in jeans and shirts, and with fair hair cropped short, she was often mistaken for yet another brother.
Shortly after she and my father were married, they were invited to join with the rest of their rural Milk River community in an afternoon pot luck and a game of baseball.
Mom excitedly prepared yummy eats. Sandwiches, salads and her special 'out of this world' pie. And grabbed her baseball glove.
The two of them spent a wonderful time, eating and visiting. Mom got to know many of her neighbours.
The nearest of which lived nine miles away.
Finally, the food was packed up and the game began.
Mom was picked early. She was obviously young and strong.
And there had to be an even number of guys and girls on each team.
Her 'captain' didn't realize that he'd just picked a ringer.
Mom walked up to the plate for her first turn at bat. The ball came towards her.
She swung.
Remember where I mentioned that she had played sports with her brothers?
She often beat them.
The bat connected with the ball with a healthy 'crack'.
And sent it out of the park.
So to speak.
The ball shot over the outfielder's heads.
They stared at it blankly for a moment.
Then started to run.
Her team was ecstatic.
One young team member crowed loudly, “Atta Boy! Enes, old girl!”
And the confusion continues . . .
I know, I know. Who'd of thought . . .

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Toddler Painting

 The day started out normally enough.

Babies playing quietly while I snatched a couple of minutes online to look at drapes.
“Hmmm—the green or the teal?”
It had taken days to narrow my choices down to these two and my husband’s frustration with me was growing. “Make a choice. Any choice! If you don’t like them we’ll send them back. Need I remind you the neighbours can see into our bedroom when the lights are lit? And no, I don’t want to keep on shutting them off. The lights, not the neighbours.”
He was right. I wouldn’t admit that to his face, but I will to you.
I sighed. Green. Or Teal?
Feeling a bit parched from my time perusing, I decided a nice cup of herbal tea would be in order.
As the water was heating, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t been hearing anything from my toddlers for the past minute.
Silence is golden. But in a toddler, it’s suspicious.
I quietly moved toward the living room where they had been playing.
If they were happily engrossed in something harmless, I did not want to draw their attention. Then I’d have to entertain them.
And my drapery decision would be put off just that much longer.
I stopped in the doorway. Both of them were on the couch and I could just see the tops of heads. They looked all right. Happily engrossed in something.
Could I leave them alone for a while longer? I took a step back toward my kettle and future cup of tea.
Then, something told me to look a little closer.
I still tried to walk quietly, figuring I could just peek over the couch without them knowing. I moved nearer.
And that’s when all thought of leaving them on their own or drapes or decisions went right out of my head. In fact, everything went out of my head.
Because my toddlers had been busily--happily--engaged.
Little baby hands painting each other with diaper cream.
I admit it, I screamed.
And ran.
Did I scramble for cleaning supplies? Wipes? 
A fire hose?
My camera.
You understand. This needed to be recorded.
For the slide shows at their weddings.
And posts on Facebook.
Yeah. I’m on it.

Monday, March 29, 2021

On a Stick

Each week, we search for something new,

A matter that would interest you,

When searching topics thin or thick,

We thought of of ‘Something on a Stick’.

Now what would you imagine we

Could find as poet wannabees,

To rhyme with ‘stick’ and manage, still,

To find those things this topic fills...


First, some things, as kids we loved,

The foods that on a stick were shoved,

Like hot dogs, cookies, pudding pops,

Corn on the cob was always tops,

Some cotton candy. Meatballs, yes!

Truly those things were the best!

And cheesecake pops, bananas—froze

(I'll make some. Come for one of those!)

Then waffles, pancakes, fried cheese, too,

And lollipops to name a few.

As adults, we all still indulge,

The trouble now? These make us bulge!

Like things on skewers, bacon, fish,

Or shrimp. Or sushi, if you’d wish,

Kebabs are fun. And PBJ,

(Sand-wiches made a different way!)

Some grapesicles or other fruit,

A skewered salad can be cute,

Some turtle pops, or some grilled cheese,

Some chicken tenders if you please,

All are yummy, cold or hot,

Some homemade and some store-bought,

Yep. ‘Finger foods’. Don’t you agree

That fork-free is the way to be? 

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 our poems should be a snap,
We'll talk of reading a road map!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks...
Something on a Stick Day (March 29) Today!
Read a Road Map Day (April 5)
Favorite invention (From Mimi) (April 12)
National Garlic Day (April 19)
The ocean or beach (From Mimi) (April 26)
The best thing about spring (From Mimi) (May 3)

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My FIRST murder mystery!

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Now available at and .ca and and other fine bookstores.

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Hugs, Delivered.

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New Tween Novel!

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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

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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

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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?