Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, August 26, 2022

When Furniture is Fun

You know I love my furniture, I’m just a fixtures hack,
Why, me and my recliner, we two go way, way back!

A guy was just caught robbing the local furn’ture 'lair',

The law was swift in acting—that bad man got the chair.
A friend of mine makes furniture, ‘tis there he spends his days,
He fell into the upholstery machine. He's recovered now, they say.
To whoever stole my polish, ‘bout the outcome I won’t hedge…
Please know that I will find you. And that’s my final Pledge.
Someone stole my credit cards, in the chairs wing spent some time.
I found out when the bank told me my card had been reclined.
Saw some sea birds ordering stuff—for people, they were labeled,
I thought Ikea sold to folks, but I guess the terns have tabled.
The furniture factory said they were a ‘mirror inspector’ wooing,
I told them I had interest because, "That, I could see me doing."
A ventriloquist dummy died, t’was polish made the lad diminish.
It was a slow death, certainly, but had a lovely finish!

The salesman said, “This sofa will seat five with little strife.”
But I don’t know that many without troubles in their life!
My boss said, "After what you did. You're fired! You’re toast! You’re banned!"
But I’m regretting nothing. Sometimes one must take a stand.

Karen asks, "Write for me, please?"
We write because she's the Bee's Knees!
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:

Baking In A Tornado: FavoriteChair

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Making A Friend

The Hill. Picture taken before the erection of 'The Tower'.

The Stringam ranch buildings were ringed on three sides by high cliffs, and dominated on the fourth by a high hill. 
As a result, there were only two entrances to the ranch, on either side of said hill.
As a fortress, it would have been ideal. Easily defended and defensible.
As a playground, it was perfect.
From the top of the hill, one could see, quite literally, for miles. The lack of any trees or large vegetation allowed for a completely unbroken view to any horizon.
And if one climbed up the tower perched firmly, but terrifyingly on top of the hill . . . well the possibilities were endless.
As I well knew.
From much experience.
On many occasions, my heroic mother did the sprint to the top of the hill, scampered up the tower, and plucked her small, but adventurous, daughter from the jaws of certain death.
Death being the sudden stop at the foot of the tower.
I just thought I'd point that out . . .
There was much of the Olympiad in my mother. I think of the numerous air and land speed records she broke, all without the witness of a single stop-watch or measuring stick.
But I digress . . .
The hill was also the resting place for the moldering bodies of many, many derelict machines, both agricultural and civil.
Parked neatly in rows were such identifiable things as threshers, mowers, combines, tractors, rakes, cars and trucks, all having outlived their ‘best before’ date.
They had all been replaced by something new and improved, but had not been sent to that great ‘tribute to rust’ that is the local parts yard because of the possibility, however slim, of still being useful.
It was this collection of . . . old and intriguing, that drew my older brothers and myself day after day.
They, to explore and dismantle.
I to . . . get in the way and fall on something sharp.
Our responsibilities were clearly laid out, and we did them with a will.
From my brothers’ point of view, imagine the potential.
Armed with nothing more than a screwdriver, wrench and pliers, you could attack and dismember any of the inmates of this glorious, magical place.
You could tap into engines and other secret places and uncover intricate systems hidden to the incurious and unaware.
You could emerge, covered in grease, but triumphantly holding aloft something unidentifiable.
(Four years old. Remember?)
Moving on . . .
The three of us spent many happy hours there.
They in their grease and machinery parts.
I exploring and imagining worlds.
For three ranch kids growing up on the prairies, it was truly the place where dreams come true.
And then, into our peaceful little world came . . . the rabbit.
It wasn’t anything unusual, as rabbits go. A large jack. Cream and dark brown fur. Long ears and . . . really jumpy legs.
I should mention here that I was - and am - crazy for animals. Any animals. This rabbit would be the perfect pet for me.
At least from my point of view.
It had other ideas.
At first I approached it slowly, hand out, friendly smile firmly affixed. 
It sat up and eyed me, nose twitching.
Then when I was still several steps away, it hopped. 
In the wrong direction.
Stupid rabbit.
I moved closer once more. It waited until I was, again, several steps away, then it . . . you get the picture.
This went on for some time.
Finally, running short of patience, I increased my pace.
It caught on to the change in strategy with astonishing speed, and also moved faster.
I ran.
It ran.
This was getting us nowhere. I finally flopped down on the ground and scowled at it.
It stopped and looked at me again.
I stood up hopefully.
It ducked into an irrigation pipe.
Ha! My . . . erm . . . strategy had worked! It was mine!
I carefully blocked both ends of the pipe and ran to get Mike’s cage.
A little background here.
Mike was our Saint Bernard.
He was huge.
But he hadn’t always been so.
When he had first come to live with us, he had been a puppy. For about two weeks.
Then he had outgrown his little wire mesh kennel and moved right into the only other place big enough to house him.
The garage.
That had left the kennel vacant.
And totally right for a pet rabbit.
I lugged it to the top of the hill.
Now the tricky part. How to coax the rabbit into his palatial new home.
I opened the door of the kennel and pulled one end of the pipe inside.
Then I went around to the other end of the pipe and began to lift.
Fortunately for my four-year-old muscles, aluminum irrigation pipes are fairly light. I lifted the pipe higher and higher, until I was stretched nearly to the limit of my height.
It wasn’t far.
But it worked!
I could hear the rabbit scrabble for purchase inside the pipe and finally give up and slide downwards.
I smiled broadly as his furry rump emerged from the end of the pipe.
He landed in the cage.
I was filled with triumph.
And elation.
And dismay.
The moment his feet touched the mesh of the kennel, he was off like a shot.
Through the bars of the cage.
Who knew that a four-inch wide rabbit could fit through a two inch wide space?
I watched, disappointed, as my pet headed for somewhere far away.
I kicked at the cage.
Stupid cage. 
Then I noticed that some of the rabbit’s fur had caught in the mesh. I plucked it off and examined it. I rubbed it on my cheek.
I stuck it in my pocket and patted it tenderly.
My rabbit.
A few days later, when Mom was doing the laundry, she discovered the little patch of rabbit fur in my pocket. But, being my mother, she just shook her head and smiled.
And later, when Dad was loading pipe to start irrigating and found one with an end stuck inside Mike’s old cage, he did the same thing.
After all, they were my parents.
They knew me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Aunt June

Doing what she does best . . .

There's one in almost every family.
That wonderful Aunt who collects children and adults around her like a rock star.
Our family has one.
The Aunt, I mean, not the rock star.
I will call her Aunt June.
Or AJ for short.
Where she is, there are changing hair colours.
Plenty of hugs.
And much laughter.
She might be tiny, but she's mighty.
She was one of the last to join my mother's family, marrying the youngest brother, Leif.
And has been a joy to the entire family ever since.
AJ was a city girl.
She and my Uncle met at a dance class.
It was love at first . . . step? Twirl? Swoop?
All of the above.
They courted.
People did that back then.
They did that, too.
And set up housekeeping.
*  *  *
AJ knew that her new husband came from a long line of ranch stock.
Known horsemen and women.
She decided that she need to fit in.
She would take riding lessons.
Presenting herself at the local stables, she was paired up with a gentle horse.
She groomed it.
Talked to it.
Hugged it.
Even got up on its back.
When telling the rest of us about this experience, she exclaimed, “It was such a sweet gentle horse. I could climb all over it and it never even moved!”
Whereupon (good word) Uncle Leif, in his quiet, dry manner said, “Because it was stuffed!”
That earned him a smack on the shoulder.
* * *
AJ has long been a great favourite with my children.
Have I mentioned that my children have a rather bizarre sense of humour.
Heaven knows where that came from . . .
When our eldest son was married, AJ and the rest of the great Berg family were all invited to the festivities.
Two of our sons brought a clipboard to the party.
I wasn't sure why.
Until AJ showed up.
She was met by the aforementioned sons . . . and their clipboard . . . as she queued up to enter the building.
“Aunt June.”
Obvious checking of a 'list'.
“I'm sorry, Ma'am, you're not on the list.” Turning to Uncle Leif. “You, sir, you're okay to go in.”
“Oh!” Aunt June said, laughing. “You come here! I'll show you a list!”
Remember where I said tiny, but mighty?
That would apply here
* * *
At the time of my eldest daughter's wedding a year later, our second son was deployed in Bosnia. We had a life-sized picture of him made and hung on the wall in the foyer of the church.
Life-sized is, for him, really, really tall.
In the picture, his hand was extended.
Written beside this hand were the words, 'You must be this tall to get into the reception. Except for you, Aunt June. You have KP. Get to the kitchen!'
We were all standing in the reception line, greeting and smiling.
Suddenly a loud cry emanated from the front foyer.
We all looked at each other.
“Aunt June is here!” my Husby said.
* * *
When our military son was preparing for his overseas tour, AJ was more than a bit concerned.
She insisted that he couldn't go unless he received her 'official permission'.
Finally, my Husby drafted up a letter for her to sign.
In it, our son's 'commanding officer' agreed to:
  1. Ensure that Erik ate well and was happy and healthy.
  2. Was in no danger.
  3. Was tucked in at night.
  4. Jammies donned.
  5. And Teeth brushed.
  6. With his teddy bear.
  7. And that said CO would read him his bedtime story.
All in return for her support.
AJ signed.
Then kept close tabs on our overseas son.
* * *
I was recently at a gathering of my wonderful Berg family.
AJ was there.
Warmly welcoming everyone – and I do mean everyone - with a firm hug and lively interest.
Does your family have an Aunt June?
If not, we loan her out.
Sort of a 'Have Hugs – Will Travel' program.
There's certainly plenty of love to go around.

P.S. Aunt June just celebrated her 80th birthday! Happy Birthday to the sweetest woman I know! We love you, Aunt June.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Electronic AGE

For three days, we had been travelling across the country with a one-year-old.

It was a wonderful, educational, exhausting time.
And I learned something about electronics.
Yes. Electronics.
Maybe I should explain.
First, a little background...
Kids now seem to have an affinity for anything ‘electronic’.
If I have any problems with my computer or anything that attaches to the wall with a plug or adapter, I hit ‘control-alt-delete’. Then shout for my son or son-in-law.
They hit a couple of keys and I’m once more off and running.
And these abilities start at a very early age.
Our four-year-old grandson was nearby as his father typed in the password for his computer, then loaded and played a game.
Only nearby, mind you.
A few days later, his mother walked into the family room and found her son playing his father’s game.
I should mention that this is a bang-bang, shoot-shoot game, but not spectacularly gory or detailed.
“Hey!” she said. “How did you get on there?!”
The son giggled and fled.
A short time later, his mother called his father at work.
“You left your computer on!” she said.
“No, I didn’t.”
“Well, you must have! I just caught our son on your game!”
There was silence on the other end of the line. Then, “I haven’t been on the computer for days,” he said. “The computer would have long gone to sleep.”
“Well then how . . .?”
“He had to have watched me type in the password.”
“But he’s only four!”
“It’s the only explanation.”
Now, back to that day . . .
Compared to our one-year-old, our four-years-old was . . . old.
And this incident, I watched, seated beside said one-year-old in the back seat of the car.
She grabbed her mom’s cell phone.
Flipped it over.
Switched it on.
Slid the lock.
And immediately started punching buttons, rearranging some, cancelling others.
All as fast as you could blink.
Faster, even.
So simple, even a child could do it . . .
This Gramma needs help.
Is there a child out there?
And she's good with other things as well!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Almost an Angel

“Be an Angel, Teddy-Bear!” I told her as she rose,

And as I changed her diaper and her pjs for some clothes,

But she just grinned her toddler grin, already off to seek

That something new to get into—a step ahead of me.


I tidied up the table, tucked away her little things,

Knowing, as I did so that her tiny feet had wings,

And she already was ahead, cause, though her stride is small,

She compensates by moving fast as she runs down the hall.


Her first stop was the bathroom, and though I grabbed her fists,

Already she was soaked with toilet water past her wrists,

Then, dried and clean, she made a fateful dash for the milk pail,

(I’d tried to tend it earlier, but clearly, I had failed.)


Another wash, another shirt and she was off again,

This time, headed for the playroom and her fav’rite train,

I took the time to catch my breath, what harm could Teddy do?

With toys designed to entertain, and none to break or chew.


But she managed, Teddy did, somehow she broke that train,

Then made a bigger mess by flushing spent parts down the drain.

I know you’re thinking what is wrong and why can’t I keep up?

You have to know she’s not alone, I’ve others—plus a pup.

Oops, sorry, while I stopped to talk, my Teddy Bear made tracks,

I'll tell you, she does not allow her Mama to relax!

This time she found the diaper creme. And something you should know,

It's covering propensities when applied from head to toe.


And so my day goes by, I’m pulling her from scrape and scrape,

By supper time, I feel as if I’ve earned a hero’s cape!

Between my household duties and attempting to keep watch,

I mostly end up far behind in toddler hop (and) scotch,


And all my begging: “Teddy-Bear, just be an angel, please!”

Falls on heedless ears as off she scoots on hands and knees,

And though I manage to corral (at meal times and such),

It never lasts quite long enough to help me out that much...


Then finally, bedtime rolls around, she’s had her bath and book,

And prayers and cuddles and she’s safely tucked in bed in nook,

A sleepy kiss and off she drifts. Then, as she slumbers soft...

I realize she IS the angel I requested oft! 

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'll have to make a choice...
It's 'bats' or 'herbs'! Let's hear your voice!

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!)...

Be an Angel Day (August 22) Today!

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

Labour Day (September 5)

Chocolate Milk Shakes (September 12)

Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19)

Field Trips (September 26)

Name Your Car (October 3)
Octopus (or something squishy) (October 10)
Most Memorable Italian Meal (October 17)
Bathtubs (October 24)

Halloween -or- your favourite Knock-Knock Joke (October 31) 

Oatmeal (November 7)

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?