Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, April 29, 2022

Jam Dreaming

 I miss jam, I truly do,

Though there are jars (and not a few),

In every grocery store that you

Would ever chance to wander through.

Most with lids that you unscrew

And lined up in a great, long queue,

In colours red (to shades of blue),

Made with fruit (and veggies, too),

And even flowers someone grew,

So, why this ‘I miss jam’ ado?

Do I those ‘store-bought’ jams eschew?

I’m sure they’re tasty, fresh as dew,

And sugar-sweet and good for you,

But just read on, I’ll leave a clue,

So you won’t think that I’m cuckoo…

My Mom made jams from things she grew,

I ate them all, I loved them, too,

So why do I miss jams to chew?

Did Mom’s the others all outdo?

Were hers the famous 'jam break-through'?

So much so, I cry 'boo-hoo',

It’s really Mom I’m missing. True! 

Each month, our Poetry Group receives a challenge: Make poetry--on a theme.

And we do.

This we do for fun!

Go and see what my friends have created!

BakingIn A Tornado 


Thursday, April 28, 2022


Watch it!
You didn’t break rules in our house.
You’ve heard of that tiny, small voice that whispers correction?
Well, it lived here.
And it wasn’t that small.
Maybe I should explain . . .
Our granddaughter, aged 22 months, and her mother lived with us.
Granddaughter was tall for her age.
And very, very excited about having things ‘just so’.
Doors left open must be shut.
In fact, if one was so foolish as to leave a cupboard door open, a small tornado would emerge from the bowels of the house to slam said door.
Even if one was still using it.
In the high heat of the summer, propping the front and back doors open for extra ventilation required permission, in triplicate, and a signed order by the Pope.
And many, many repetitions of “No, Sweetie, Gramma wants it left open!”
Bodily releases of tiny bits of air (ie: burps, sneezes, coughs, farts) though they were extremely funny, were to be immediately followed by a firmly-stated excuse-all.
Or a small, insistent person would appear at one’s elbow. “Say ‘scuse me, Grampa! ‘Scuse me!”
Preparation for mealtime prayer was to be strictly followed.
Even if one wasn’t technically in the room...The business portion of our kitchen/dining room was separated from the eating portion by an island.
If one was in said business portion when grace was being said, and no matter what one was doing there, that person was expected to participate.
“Gramma! Prayers! Fowd arms!”
One day, my daughter and I were bike-riding.
With a small person in the trailer behind daughter’s bike.
Something we did . . . often.
My daughter had, unthinkingly, done her hair on top of her head.
Totally unsuited to the actual wearing of a helmet.
She had then opted to leave her headgear at home.
Big mistake.
It was the longest ride of our lives.
Because every few seconds, a little voice from the rear called out, “Mama! Hemit!” or “Hemit, Mama!” or “Hemit! Hemit! Hemit!”
Ad infinitum.
The point of my story?
Be careful what you teach your kids.
They may hold you to it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Rescue Dog

Us. And Mike as a puppy.
We had a dog. 
Big dog. 
Saint Bernard. 
Very protective. 
He thought nothing of risking his very life defending us from such dangerous things as – the cat. Tumbleweeds. 
The occasional cardboard box, blowing in the wind. 
In the history of the world, no one was safer. 
My parents could relax, knowing that Mike was on duty . . .
It was summer.
Summer meant swimming on the ranch.
How convenient that the south fork of the Milk River curved  around the ranch buildings like loving arms.
Baking in the hot sun while lying on the sandy shore.
Looking up through the cloudy water to see the particles of grit suspended in the light.
The very best of times.
Back to Mike.
Such bliss needed to be shared with our very best friend.
Well it seemed like a good idea at the time . . .
We didn’t realize that Mike was a mountain dog. Swimming hadn’t been programmed into his non-rewritable brain. 
He knew only two things. 
And saving people. 
At first everything went well. 
We swam. 
Mike ran up and down the bank, barking frantically. 
Then, the problems started.
If anyone ventured near enough to grab, he did so by whatever protruded. 
Then drag them further up onto the beach.
To his horror, the ‘saved’ person would inevitably extricate themselves and, without even a thank you, nullify all his best efforts by charging back into the milky waters.
It was more than the 'saving people' part of him could stand.
He started venturing further and further into the uber-dangerous, monster filled water, seeking someone to save. 
He'd find a limb. 
Or a backside. 
Then grab it, and whoever it was attached to, and drag them out of the water kicking and screaming. 
How happy they must be that he was on hand to save them! 
Listen to the sound of their relief! 
He would bark happily and charge in for the next heroic act . . .
He never managed to drown anyone that day. 
A true miracle. 
And we learned from the experience.
After that, when we went swimming, our hero guarded the garage. 
From the inside.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Skewed View

Starting to think about travel again...maybe...
A better view. From our porch.
The history.
The culture.
The food.
The heat.
The warm beach.
The tourists . . .
Husby and I had finally achieved a lifetime dream and were sitting beneath a shady umbrella on a patch of the wide, white sand near Cancun.
 Around us was every classic romantic novel encapsulated.
Creamy surf laving the beach.
Sun-worshiping bodies lying in various positions of relaxation and abandon.
A soft breeze caressing white skin (safely hidden from the February sun), flirting with the fringe of the striped umbrella, teasing the brim of an intricately woven hat and breathing gently across the ice floating in a crimson drink.
With a sigh of pure contentment, Husby leaned back and took a long drink, ice clicking quietly in his tall glass. 
Then he gasped.
I looked at him. His eyes had widened as he stared at something down the beach. I turned to follow his gaze.
And felt my breath catch in my throat.
A large man . . . I emphasize large . . . was coming toward us.
And he was naked.
No. Wait. Beneath a ponderous, hanging belly, did I catch a glimpse of something . . . blue?
The man turned slightly.
I did! Something blue!
I felt the blood drain out of my face. Okay. Something small and blue.
The man had enveloped his cargo in a speedo.
Then, not really concerned with anything as trivial as modesty, had . . . rolled it down.
The result was not a mere infraction of the whole beach-wardrobe code, it was a felonious crime of . . . massive proportions.
I reached for Husby’s drink and gulped.
Lying on a beach in Mexico had been heralded as the ultimate in relaxation and pure, sensual comfort. With limitless views of both ocean and sky.
No one had mentioned the views that one could encounter a little closer to one’s beach chair.
Umm . . . Yikes.

Monday, April 25, 2022


Three brothers lived together in a house just down the block,

All were in their nineties but were made of sturdy stock,

One night the oldest, 96, decided he would bathe,

Drew a lovely bath and then prepared himself to ‘lathe’.

He readied both his soap and sponge, all set to have a scrub,

Then stripping off his clothes, the man moved closer to the tub,

He lifted up one foot, then set it down, now filled with doubt,

And hollered to his brothers, “Was I getting in or out?”

The next in line yelled, “I don’t know I’ll come and help, you clown!”

Started up the stairs, then paused, ”M’I going up or down?”

The youngest, 92, just sat and took a sip of ‘joe’,

He shook his head, said, “Holy smoke, those two are getting slow!

“I hope I’m never bad as them.” He knocked on wood for luck,

“After I see who’s at the door, I’ll be up to help you schmucks!”

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, we will make a fuss,
Over BABIES! Come! Join us!

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!)...

Brothers (April 25) Today!

Babies (May 2)

Music (May 9)

Purple for Peace (May 16)

Turtles (May 23)

Memorial Day (May 30)

Yo-yo (June 6)

Roller Coaster (June 13)

World Refugee Day (June 20)

The Happy Birthday song (June 27)

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!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?