Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, August 27, 2021

To Relax

We came to Banff, we always do,
We love it so, though it’s not new,
A chance to hike with kids and packs,
Play games and eat…and just RELAX!

We’re not as many as before,

Just 15 of our thirty-four,

With half the grandkids, (only nine),

But still a busy busy time!


We’ve toured the Bow in a canoe,

And hiked for hours not a few,

Climbed walls of stone and played some games,

Saw wildlife to loud acclaim.


We’ve talked and shopped and had such fun,

It’s sad to know we’re almost done,

This vacay’s built to its climax…

Soon we’ll go home,THEN we’ll RELAX!

Today's post was a challenge from the inimitable and totally awesome Karen at Baking in a Tornado

Visit her and see what she’s done with the theme!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Frog School

Cute. Or slimy. You decide.
Twenty Froggies

Twenty froggies went to school
Down beside a rushy pool,
Twenty little coats of green,
Twenty vests all white and clean.

"We must be in time," said they.
"First we study, then we play.
That is how we keep the rule,
When we froggies go to school."

Master Bull-frog, brave and stern,
Called his classes in their turn,
Taught them how to nobly strive,
Also how to leap and dive.

Taught them how to dodge a blow,
From the sticks that bad boys throw.
Twenty froggies grew up fast
Bull-frogs they became at last.

Polished in a high degree,
As each froggie ought to be.
Now they sit on other logs, 
Teaching other little frogs.                              
                                  by George Cooper

I realize that this sounds like a children's poem.
Because it is.
But I didn't learn it until grade twelve.
Biology class . . .
We were in the 'dissection' part of our school year. The part that I, the daughter of a veterinarian, found most fascinating.
But that many of the other girls (and even some of the boys) . . . didn't.
We were scheduled, as part of the class, to walk down to the 'Fish Pond' and catch our own frogs.
Great! Field trip!
But first, our teacher, Mr. Meldrum, handed each of us a copy of the aforementioned poem.
We thought it was cute.
And clever.
And easily folded into paper planes. Okay, not everyone thought it was as cute as I did.
Then we set out.
The walk down was enjoyable. Beautiful late-spring day. Warm sun.
And boys. (We were speaking of biology . . .)
It didn't take long for us to reach the pond. We spread out and began to pounce on the dozens of frogs who made the peaceful waters their home.
Well, most of us did. There were the inevitable few who couldn't bear to touch the 'slimy' little things.
In no time, we had collected enough of the little squirming bodies to have a frog each.
One strong lad (yes, I meant to use the word 'lad') was elected to carry the precious bucket. The rest of us enjoyed the short walk back.
Then, to work.
We spent the rest of the morning performing various operations on our hapless little victims.
Fortunately, our teacher knew very well what he was doing and instructed us in the proper methods of 'painless' observation.
It was an interesting morning. And far too short.
When it was done, I was the only student who took the poem home.
Or so I thought.
Some months later, when our school yearbook was handed out, I realized that other students in my class were actually paying attention. Closer attention, even, than I was.
There, in the 'Last Will and Testament' page, beside one young man's name, were the words: "Being of sound mind and beautiful body, leaves said body to be dissected by twenty froggies who go to school."
And a fitting tribute.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Fifty Day #3

Today is Fifty Day!

And that means another challenge to tell a story using ONLY fifty words.

Thank you so much, Adela, for opening this new world to me . . .


She swoops, dips on the ice. Spins.

I stare at her and see, for the first time, not the one who cooks delicious meals. Cleans. 

Cuddles and kisses.


I see the one who was offered University scholarships. Pro baseball positions.

But who wanted nothing other than that of ‘Mom’.

This is such a fun challenge!

Care to join us?

Simply leave your link in the comments section!

We look forward to reading!

Monday, August 23, 2021

Nearly Parenting

Mark, right and Erik, with Grampa Tolley in the background
To complete his master's degree, my husband moved our (then) little family to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Also know as Winter-peg or Windy-peg - either one is apt.
And I found myself, for the first time, living in a large city.
There was the usual adjustment period.
Okay, I'm lying, there was no adjustment 'period'.
I never did adjust.
For eight months, my (then) two sons and I hardly left the apartment, unless accompanied by my husband.
Funny how grocery shopping can start looking like a 'date'.
I was homesick for my prairies and open spaces.
I did get a lot of reading and sewing and cleaning done. And my boys discovered the wonder of 'cable TV'.    I soon learned just how much they watched . . .
Grant had taken us for a drive. He had an errand to run and his family was suffering from 'cabin-fever', a common enough ailment in Canada in the winter.
No, really. You can look it up . . .
Grant was making a quick dash into the mall.
Now those of you who know my husband know that a quick dash anywhere, isn't.
Quick, I mean.
The boys and I were sitting in the fire lane in front of the Zellers store long enough to celebrate birthdays.
Yes, I'm exaggerating, but you get the picture. It was quite a while.
Erik was buckled into his car seat directly behind me, happily blowing bubbles and Mark, his older brother by eighteen months was opposite him, with the clearest view of the storefront.
I was reading.
Mark was chanting something, just loud enough to be heard.
It took a couple of repetitions before I noticed.
I put down my book.
"Mark, what are you saying?"
He repeated it.
"What?" Sometimes, deciphering almost-three-year-old speech takes a Master's degree. And where was the one person in our family with such a degree???!
"Say it once more."
What on earth was he talking about?
I looked where he was looking.
The front of the Zellers store.
Suddenly, it hit me.
He was reading the letters over the front doors.
Zed. E. Eleven. E. R. S.
Well, almost.
It made perfect sense! If you were two.
What a clever boy!
And I had raised him.
Okay, for a very few seconds, I did a bit of back patting.
Very few.
Then reality set in.
The only reason he knew all of those letters was because of his copious amounts of time spent watching Sesame Street. On a good day, he could catch the program twice!
Funny that my son's showing me how advanced he was, showed me, at the same time, what a neglectful parent I had been.
I'd like to say that things changed.
And they did.
Afterwards, when Sesame Street came on, I was watching with him.
Before long, we were nearly on the same reading level.
A few more months in Winnipeg and I might have caught up to him!


The three met in a New York bar, then made a night of it,
Some drinks, some laughs, and, sure enough, did ‘paint the town’ a bit,

Then finally, they found themselves atop the Empire State,

Looked down upon that dizzying height, then started a debate . . .

“The wind is strong up here, you see,” the first guy told his mates,

“That if you jumped, it’s blow you back. You’d not meet Mister Fate!”

The second one, he looked at him, said, “Man, you’ve got to be

“The craziest guy I ever met. To believe I’d have to see!”

The first just shrugged and said,”Watch this!” then jumped right there and then,

And sure enough the wind, it blew, and brought him back again.

The second stared, thought this was great, said he’d give it a try,

Then copying his newfound friend, he leaped and tried to fly.

For him, the wind did not help out, and that, my friends, was that,

The poor man fell the whole way down and landed with a ‘splat’.

The third friend had been watching all along. He shook his head,

Disgusted at what he’d just seen, sad his new friend was dead,

He looked at his companion, said, “That was a piece of work!

And, Superman, when you are drunk, you really are a jerk!”

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’s the best one of them all...
We’ll talk of MONSTERS, big or small

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks...
Wind (August 23) Today!
Monsters (August 30)
Shoes (September 6) From Mimi
Defy Superstition Day (September 13) Also from Mimi
Remembering 8-Tracks (September 20) Another Mimi

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?