Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Saved by Reflexes

Big Daddy. MY daddy's supreme herd champion.
Who does not feature in this story...

Early summer.
The grass is green.
The birds are singing.
The earth smells sweet.
And the irrigation canal is empty.

It was time to bring the heifers, and their attendant ‘boyfriend’, home.
This was a relatively painless job considering that the youngest of the breeding stock were always wintered in the fields closest to the ranch buildings.
One simply had to walk out, circle the small field once, and start the herd moving.
They would find the corrals, and feed, without being directed. Usually.
But between their pasture and our destination was . . . THE IRRIGATION CANAL.
A vast expanse some forty feet wide and twenty feet deep which snaked across the countryside and our ranch. Spanned by a sturdy little bridge.
A sturdy little . . . sideless bridge.
At high summer, this canal was full - sparkling clear water nearly reaching the supports of the bridge. At this time of year, the floodgates had not yet been opened and it wasn't.
Full, that is.
Except for the large, nasty rocks at the bottom. . .
To head from the pasture to the corral, one had to make a slight right turn immediately after crossing the bridge.
A left turn took one to the house and its attendant outbuildings and, eventually, the main road.
Right was what we wanted.
Left was what we got.
In an effort to turn our misdirected herd, I started threading myself between large, warm hairy bodies, working my way forward as quickly as I could by the shortest route possible--through the herd.
On a 20-foot-wide bridge.
I had worked my way almost to the leaders.
I noticed a vacant spot at the extreme left of the bridge. I made for it.
At the same time as the 2000-pound bull.
We collided.
He won. I bounced off that red hide like a blue-jean-garbed tennis ball. 
Suddenly, I was teetering at the extreme edge of the bridge, staring down at the large hungry rocks. They and their willing partner – gravity. They...beckoned.
Oh, this is going to hurt! I told myself.
Then, the author of my misfortune stalked past me.
2000 pounds of perfect, red-blooded, oblivious muscle.
With a tail.
A tail.
Before he could take the fatal step that moved him forever out of my reach, my hand shot out and nabbed that . . . appendage. That glorious, wonderful, life-preserving (rather smelly) tail.
Then I turned to stare down at those rocks.
Which slowly lost their hypnotic grip as each step my oblivious rescuer took pulled me further . . . and further.
I clung to that tail until I was safely across the bridge.
By this time, the herd had seen the corrals--and other cattle--and were heading in the correct direction.
Success was within our sight.
There was only one other problem to be solved.
Someone had to help Daddy up.
He had laughed himself into the dirt.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Near Misses

Daddy, Big Brother George. And me.
I'm the one in the curlers...

Near Misses:

1. When I was just two, Bobby the Cow (the queen of the barnyard) and I had a disagreement. I lost. Turns out she hates children. Who knew?

2. Did you know that mothers are capable of scaling a 100 foot TV tower in mere seconds? They just need toddler-at-the-top motivation. True story.

3. When butchering chickens, it’s probably best if four-year-olds remain somewhere out of the picture. Chicken heads have been known to cause varying degrees of trauma.

4. Chicken-traumatized children would also much rather wrestle 1500-pound bulls than venture into the dreaded chicken house to retrieve eggs from underneath 3-pound bundles of nastiness.

5. Graduation from one’s pony to one’s brother’s spritely gelding may not be all that wonderful. Though it may guarantee a medical emergency ride on Dad’s amazing stallion.

6. When vaccinating calves, always remember the large crossbar of the cattle squeeze. And remember, too, to always look up. Believe me, your nose will thank you.

7. When crossing the barbed-wire fences on a ranch, long pants and good balance are a necessity. Although impressive thigh-to-ankle scars make for a good story…

8. Okay, this wasn’t me, but I heard and it’s still a good lesson: Even from the distance of the house roof, don’t pee on the electric fence.

9. When moving a cow herd across sideless bridges, make quite sure there is a bull’s tail in the immediate vicinity. Your bones will bless you. And it.

10. It’s important to note that even polled (hornless) cow heads are capable of significant damage when they meet human heads. Just ask my traumatized mother. Or me.

Today’s post is a writing challenge. Each month one of the participating bloggers picks a number between 12 and 50. All bloggers taking part are then challenged to write using that exact number of words in their post either once or multiple times. 

This month’s word count number is: 28
It was chosen by: Mimi! 

Links to the other Word Counters posts:

Baking In A Tornado  

Messymimi’s Meanderings   

Monday, October 17, 2022

Pass the Bruschetta!

Italian food, I love! It’s true!

But picking one specific? Oooo!

How does one choose which dish to eat?

With Pizza, spicy; Nougat, sweet?

Spaghetti’d wake me from the dead,

When paired with some Focaccia bread,

Some Ravioli would be nice,

Or how about Risotto (rice!),

Or Pasta Carbonara, yum!

With Panna Cotta’d please my tum!

Bruschetta start and Gnocchi end,

Then Tiramisu ‘tween us friends?

Some Cannoli? Give me lots!

All topped with Marinara sauce!

Or Tortellini, grab a fork,

I love it stuffed with cheese and pork!

But try to choose just one? I’m stumped,

All these and more would get me pumped!


My memorable Italian ‘spree’?

Any one someone makes for me!

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?

Bathtubs, we'll discuss next week,
Joins us--it'll be worth a peek!

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!)...

Most Memorable Italian Meal (October 17) Today!

Bathtubs (October 24)

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

Oatmeal (November 7)
Pickles (In or eating!) (November 14)
Giving Thanks! (November 21)
French Toast--or Breakfast (November 28)
Mittens (December 5)
Poinsettia -or- Potted Plants (December 12)
Muffins (December 19)
Candy Canes (December 26)

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A House Divided is now available at all fine bookstores and on and .ca!

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Read it! You know you want to!

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Join me on Maven

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Available from

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I've been given an award!!!

The Liebster Award

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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?