Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, July 29, 2022


Today’s topic is WEATHER.

So,first, an oldie many will have already seen:

“Look to the cows,” said Dad, the wise,
“And you will come to realize,
That by their actions, you can tell,
The weather patterns, fair or fell.”

And so I watched, and so I saw
That he was right, my smart ol' Pa.
And he knew what he talked about,
If you're predicting rain. Or drought.

The cows, they crowd together tight
And you know cold will be the night.
They seek the shed and shelter warm
If rain or snow will be the norm.

Then turn their tail and duck their head,
When wind is shrieking round the shed.
But stand out grazing peacefully,
If sun and warmth are meant to be.

But just today, I got a scare,
From cows around me everywhere,
For when I stepped outside my door
And glanced towards the purple moor . . .

(Oops, Alberta's where I live, you see,
And so I meant the wide prairie.)
My cows weren't where they're s'posed to be,
They sat on branches. In the trees.

So now I have to figure out,
What they’re predicting hereabouts.

And then something new.

It MENTIONS weather...

John and buddy, Keith, were on a golfing holiday,

But a blizzard came and forced them to postpone their play,

When it became too difficult to see through driving snow,

Asked at the nearest farmhouse if a roof they could bestow,

A pretty woman answered, said, “A widow, new, am I,

It would not be appropriate. My neighbours would decry.”

She nodded toward the barn, “But you are welcome, there, to stay,

“And you should be quite comfortable. It’s clean and filled with hay.”

The two men thanked her, headed to the barn to get some rest,

Then rose up in the morning after sleep that was the best!

They finished off their trip, the weather did cooperate,

And soon they both were back at home and working eight to eight,

Nine months went by, a letter came, t’was sent from where they’d gone,

And issued by a lawyer and addressed to our friend, John,

He read it. Then he left his office, walked along the hall,

Stopped at buddy, Keith’s, then smiling, asked if he recalled

That night they spent tucked in the barn (as weather boiled without)?

Well, Keith, he nodded. Asked his friend what this was all about?

“Did you visit our sweet hostess while I slumbered deep?

And did you give my name for yours before you fell asleep?"

Well, Keith turned red, embarrassed as he stammered a reply,

“I’m sorry, John,” he said. "What's up? Please know I will comply!”

Well, John just shrugged. “I’m happy that you can be counted on,

That lady died and left her fortune to your good friend, John!”

Karen asks, "Write for me, please?"
We write because she's our Big Cheese,
And we love her, you know that’s true,
So this is what we writers do . . .
We craft a poem based on a theme,
With pencils, sharp, and eyes agleam,
Each month we write and have such fun
We can't wait for another one,
Sooo...this month, how well did I do?
Please go and see the others, too.

BakingIn A Tornado                 


Thursday, July 28, 2022


How do you get your motor running?
I had slept in. Again.
It was summer. I was seven. It was acceptable.
Everyone else was working outside.
Well, except for mom who was busy with my little brother and baby sister.
Somewhere else.
I had the kitchen to myself.
My day had come. I could get my own breakfast!
I got down the bran flakes and poured a generous helping into my bowl. I grabbed the sugar, the Nestle Quick and a spoon and assembled them next to my cereal, together with the tallest glass I could find.
Then I went to the fridge for the all-important ingredient to tie the whole meal together. That white miracle heavily flecked with cream that, when poured over cereal or mixed with chocolate powder, produced gustatory bliss.
Fresh milk. 
The door opened.
I know I must have let out a solid gasp. Because there, on the shelf that normally held the big, frosty-cold jug was . . . nothing.
How could that be?
Never had there been nothing!
Had Old Bossy passed on to greener pastures?
Had all of the cow milk-ers passed on with her?
I closed the door, then whipped it open again.
Still gone.
I tried a few more times, but with the same result.
My life was over!
I looked at the bowl and glass sitting together on the cupboard.
At the box of Nestle Quick beside them.
Then I looked at the tap.
The tap that was always full of fresh, healthy, sulphur water.
Hmm . . . could work.
I grabbed my glass and filled it nearly full of water. Then I carried it carefully back to my place and set it down.
So far so good.
Prying the lid off the chocolate powder, I scooped out a heaping spoonful and tipped it into the glass of water.
Then I mixed happily and put my spoon down.
My taste buds gleefully anticipating the first chocolatey contact, I took a sip.
I probably don’t need to tell you that my little experiment didn’t . . . work out. That the liquid refreshment I had hoped to create wasn’t refreshing.
Or even palatable.
Even after the addition of several more spoonfuls of chocolatey deliciousness.
Yes. My first attempt at culinary creativity didn’t get a passing grade.
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop me.
P.S. Sulphur water on cereal. Also horrifying. Even with extra sugar. Just FYI.

And a little bonus today:
A picture of Husby, camping in the rain. Any resemblance to any garden figurines you may know is entirely unintentional.
Sort of . . .

Wednesday, July 27, 2022


A bunny munching in the garden, happy as could be,

Was startled by a hungry fox who pounced on him with glee!

“Lunch!” the fox said, licking lips, preparing for his feast,

(This shouldn’t come as a surprise; you know they’re hungry beasts,)

But Bunny cried, “Don’t eat me! You must wait a day or two.”

The fox, he frowned and stared. (He thought the bunny’s brain askew!)

“Why must I wait?” old Foxy asked. And Bunny said, “Because…

I’m finishing my thesis. The result will give you pause.”

“What on earth could you write that would make me miss my lunch?”

“‘The Superiority of Me o’er Things with Teeth and Munch’.”

The fox, he laughed. “I’m greater far than ever you could be!”

“Well come into my burrow, Fox, and you and I will see!”

The fox just shrugged and followed Bunny deep into his den,

Did not emerge and strangely, he was never seen again.

A few days later, Bunny friend, again was out about,

Was cornered by a wolf this time. (It made him want to shout…)

Instead, he told the wolf exactly what he’d told the fox,

Presenting to the predator what surely would flummox,

Just like the fox, the wolf just laughed. “What could a bunny do?

You know I’m far superior to all you could construe!”

But Bunny shrugged, said, “Follow me!” and led that wolf away,

And never more would wolf be seen right to the present day!

A day or two went by and Bunny saw one of his own,

A chap who’d witnessed both encounters, wanted to be shown

This thesis mentioned--all about how rabbits were so great,

Was it really true? Or did our Bunny merely prate?

Bunny shrugged and led the way, down, down into his lair,

Showed off the desk and clutter caused by days of writing there,

A pile of fox bones to the left, with wolf bones on the right,

And in between a well-fed lion, munching a last bite…

The moral of this story’s clear, your title doesn’t matter,

The subject and the research? Less important than the latter,

What could you do that instantly makes you the ‘thesis whiz’?

What’s most important has to be who your advisor is!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Making Do(n't)

Mom and Aunt Grace.
Making do. Even on holidays...
A friend told me a story.
A true one.
About his grandfather during the food rationing days of the Second World War.
The friend's grandmother had been to the grocery store and purchased, among other things, a new tin of pepper.
Which she set on the table.
Her husband picked it up and studied it for a moment. He looked at her and said, “This pepper is half peas!”
“Oh, for heaven's sake!” she said. “I thought I looked at it!”
I should explain, here, that, during the war, creative ways of extending food were discovered and explored. They called it ersatz. I'm not sure where the name came from, but it was expressive. Many different readily available foodstuffs were dried and powdered and added to other foods not so easily come by. Corn meal, for example, was widely used.
The use of dried peas, though not as usual, was not unheard of.
Back to my friend's story . . .
Another can of pepper was procured the next day.
Again, the grandfather picked up the little tin.
“Huh,” he said. “This one is half peas, too.”
His wife snorted in disgust. “Well, there's only one kind left,” she said. “I'll try that one tomorrow.”
She did.
She proudly set the third little tin on the table in front of her husband and proceeded to get his dinner.
He picked up the tin and peered at it closely. “Yep,” he said. “Half peas.”
“What?! I looked at it! Where does it say . . .” her voice trailed off.
Her husband was pointing at the 'Pepper' part of the label. “Here,” he said. “See? P-E-P-P-E-R. Half of the letters are P's.”
Oh. P's. Not peas.
She didn't upend the tin over him or anything drastic like that. I know I would have been tempted.
But I'm sure they had pepper to last until the turn of the century.
This story reminded me of my Mom . . .
Raised during the Depression years, Mom knew very well the days of rationing and going without.
She learned very early to 'make do”. And to purchase things quickly, when they became available.
She often spoke of a large, twenty-five pound tin of peanut butter, for example. Oil on peanut butter rises. The first two-thirds of the container were edible. The last third had to be run through a meat grinder to make it spreadable.
But they ate it.
Several large cans of cherry jam appeared at the local grocery. Her Dad quickly snapped one up.
At first, cherry jam was a treat.
Served at every meal, it became a bit tiresome.
Still, it disappeared.
In her own home, Mom tried to practice what she had been taught throughout her life. Waste not want not, she often told us.
Some of her attempts were successful.
Others . . . not so much.
When buying frozen orange juice, she always added an extra can or two of water to make it go further.
It certainly went further--actually lasted for days. (and days...)  
When there was no milk cow on the place, she tried to extend the life of the milk container in the fridge by added powdered milk to it.
Fooling no one.
She tried purchasing the cheapest brand of peanut butter.
Unfortunately, her children hadn't been raised during the Depression and were finer-mouthed than their parents.
The cheaper peanut butter languished on the shelf.
Finally, in desperation, she bought the favourite kind. Which disappeared in a flash.
Coining the phrase, “I'm going to stop buying that peanut butter. You kids just eat it!”
She made her own roast beef sandwich spread by running cold roast beef through the meat grinder, along with some pickles. Then mixing in some mayonnaise.
That one was a hit. We kids loved sandwiches spread with beef and pickle hash.
I'm sure that, through the years, Mom saved our family a boatload of money with her careful ways.
Unfortunately, my children were even finer-mouthed than we had been.
One day, one of my kids saw her adding water to the ketchup.
I had seen her do that before. It made the ketchup a bit runnier, but still tasted okay.
The child was horrified and told all of his siblings.
And she became, forever, the grandma who put water in the ketchup. The lesson in frugality and making do was completely lost.
P.S. I've been known to put water in the ketchup, too. Don't tell my kids . . .

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Test

From an old story/joke my Daddy liked to tell. 

Oddly enough, it is true!

Her family had all been awaiting this call.
When at last they could meet her intended.
Unsure if a wedding ball’d someday befall
Or if spinster-hood ever portended.

But a young man, she'd met who was perfect, she'd bet,
In whose honour and love she felt sure.
So homeward she'd set, their opinion to get,
(And to say that her choice would endure.)

Her father shook hands with her handsome young man
And questioned him closely a while.
They talked of his clan, and he asked him his plans,
Then he turned to his girl, with a smile.

“From all that I hear, you have nothing to fear.
But if his standards aren't mine and your mother's
Don't worry, my dear,” he said. "When that's clear,
He'll be buried out back with the others!”

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, I hope will never end...
I’m talking of you, my girlfriends!

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!)...

Old Jokes (July 25) Today!

Girlfriends (August 1)

Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night (August 8)

Lemon Meringue Pie Day (August 15)

Be an Angel Day (August 22)

Bats -or-  More Herbs, Less Salt (August 29)

Sunday, July 24, 2022

My turn for My BBBs!


It's my turn and I couldn't be happier!
Once every eight weeks, I get to host my amazing friends for our Best of Boomer Bloggers recap.
It's fun.
It's informative.
And I still can't believe I get to be one of them!

Let's just start right in, shall we?
First up, we have Jennifer of Unfold and Begin!

Feeling motivated and ready to tackle the projects at hand can be daunting, especially if you're just watching the clock unable to figure out how to start? Jennifer, of Unfold and Begin, suggests these 25 affirmations for productivity and to conquer procrastination.


 Then we have Carol of Carol A. Cassara: Writer!

Semantics. They're important. We want to be sure we are saying what we mean. And on some hot button topics, we ned to do more listening than speaking. Over at Carol Cassara's blog today, she talks about the common claim "I don't see color" and what it really means to the people involved. 

Then on to Rebecca at BabyBoomster!

Rebecca Olkowski, with is up in Napa, California taking care of her brother’s pets for a few weeks, so she wrote a post on the benefits of petsitting for seniors. In addition to enjoying the beautiful scenery, drinking great wine, and exploring, she is managing a menagerie of 3 large poodles, chickens, 4 cats, and a bird.

And Laurie of Laurie Stone Writes!

Sometimes we discover sides of ourselves we never knew we had. Laurie Stone’s recent find happened as she scrolled down her favorite videos on Instagram. Reels of beautiful nature scenes, lovely interiors, and inspirational people often help her escape the stress of today’s world. Then she had an idea. Why not post her own videos? Little did she know that moment would change her life in three wonderful ways

Then Meryl of Beach Boomer Bulletin!

Summer ushers in the season of farmer’s markets. Meryl Baer of Beach Boomer Bulletin is a proud member of a group of volunteers offering a unique market service - free advice. Folks of all ages consult on any topic, and as the group’s motto states, "“it may not be the best advice, but it’s free.” Baer describes the team in this week’s post, Open for Business: Old Coots Giving Advice.

And Tom from Sightings Over Sixty!

Tom from Sightings Over Sixty has some friends who recently retired and are now thinking about relocating. They were looking for some advice since they knew Tom and his wife relocated after they retired a couple of years ago. The friends are considering several locations on the East Coast as well as possibly Colorado. So to help his friends -- and maybe the rest of us -- Tom has come up with Relocating in Retirement: A Checklist -- things to consider when scouting out a place to live after you retire.

Followed by Rita at Rita R. Robison Consumer and Personal Finance Journalist

Raspberries are delicious and nutritious, says Rita R. Robison, consumer and personal finance journalist. Read all about these wonderful berries in her article “How to Freeze Raspberries.

And lastbutnotleast...ME! Diane of On the Border

Diane's Dad was full of advice learned from over nine decades of 'doing'. One gem of wisdom he shared has mapped out her life!

And that's a wrap! Tell me you enjoyed this as much as I did! 

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!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?