Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, February 24, 2023

Given Away

Invisible for just one day?

What would I do? What would I say?
I could quietly sneak around,
Never worried ‘bout being found!
Listening in on tête-à-têtes,
Solving crimes or teasing pets,
How about a ‘bank withdrawal’?
Then claim I’d not been there at all!
I’d quietly break a rule or two,
No shoes, no shirt? Well, ha! Pooh-pooh!
I wouldn’t have to stand in line,
For anything and that’d be fine!
  See all the movies that I want,
Like a spirit—ghostly haunt,
Take the retail lying about,
Spook everyone as I walked out,
It’d be so fun, it’d be so free,
Thinking only a-bout me!
But there’s a catch to sneaking ‘bout,
I know that I would be found out,
Cause every joint from neck to knees,
Sounds like wood chimes in a breeze,
The snapping, popping noise would prove
Where’er I was whene’er I moved,
The pressure’d be too much for me,
Trying to shush my hips and knees,
So I think I’ll happ’ly stay
Visible just like any day.
A small addendum you will love,
From what was written up above,
The fashion world, you could eschew…
“Not much to look at” would be true! 

Welcome to our Monthly Poetry Challenge!

This month’s theme? Invisible for Just One Day

How did I do?

Now go and see what my friends have crafted!

Baking In A Tornado: Havoc or Haven





Thursday, February 23, 2023

Hiking with the Best

Mom and TYO. Below: Cascade Pond
If there’s a cute way to say something, kids will find it.
It’s up to the adults to remember . . .
Nearly every year, our family vacations for a week in Banff, Alberta.
We love it there.
We have a particular hotel we like to frequent.
Our kids learned to swim in that pool.
Play kick-the-can in the nearby woods.
Use the workout room for . . . working out.
Climb a neighbouring mountain to breakfast at the top.
Wander through the nearby townsite.
Avoid the herds of elk.
Fail miserably at tennis.
Play wall-e-ball in the squash courts.
And sit by the fire in the evenings playing games.
For that one week, we exist in paradise . . .
It is still our favourite destination.
Unfortunately, our little two-bedroom apartment no longer accommodates all of us.
But we arrange for extra rooms and those who can, come.
Now our children are passing their wonderful memories on to the next generation.
Teaching their children in the pool.
Showing them the best places to hike.
And that is where this story is leading.
I do take a while, don’t I?
Moving on . . .
We were doing the ‘little kids’ hike around Cascade Pond.
The easiest one of all.
It is a lovely spot, with trails and bridges in a figure eight around and over a pretty pond.
An opportunity to see nature up close without a too-arduous hike to and from.
The smallest children were with us.
Feeling very important as they participated in their first hike in the wilderness.
Our (then) three-year old granddaughter had stopped with her mother to look at something.
Seeing that the rest of us had moved on without them, she ran to catch up.
It wasn’t far.
Unless you were three.
By the time she caught up to us, she was pressing one small hand to her side. Obviously, someone had developed a stitch.
“Are you all right?” I asked.
“Oh, my feelings!” she said breathlessly.
What can make a stroll through the beauties of nature just that much better?
A little touch of ‘cute’.
Going hiking?
Take a child.
Yep. Just add 'cute'.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023


The incentive
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
We are not gamblers.
We’re not.
But we taught our kids to play poker.
Maybe I should explain . . .
We have a timeshare condo in Banff, Alberta that we’ve owned for over thirty years.
Every year, for one week, that beautiful corner of the world is ours.
But, sometimes, in years past, the weather didn’t cooperate. It rained. (Or snowed, but that is a whole other story for us non-skiers.)
We didn’t mind much.
There was still the swimming pool, where our kids spent 6 hours of the day.
And the cable TV.
A special treat that absorbed another segment.
But for the time usually spent  walking/hiking, we had to get creative.
Board games...
Even better.
So with a deck of cards and a large bag of Smarties, we set out to teach them poker.
I know. I know.
Hear me out . . .
We had the list from our Rummoli game, so we knew that a flush beats three-of-a-kind, etc.
We were ready.
I don’t know what type of poker we were playing.
It consisted of dealing five cards and having one chance to trade some in.
And then betting Smarties.
I should point out, here, that the ‘chips’ kept getting eaten.
Especially by our five-year-old.
Each hand was dealt.
Cards were traded.
Bets were placed.
Hands were judged.
Smarties were claimed.
And the next hand was dealt.
It was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.
To make it just that much more fun, the makers of Smarties had come up with something unique. 
Purple Smarties with a tiny pair of sunglasses printed on one side.
They weren’t worth more.
Or taste any different.
But they were unique.
And therefor valuable.
Throughout the afternoon, my kids learned such phrases as:
‘Your deal.’
‘Cut the cards.’
‘Full house: aces over threes.’
‘Read ‘em and weep!’
‘Who dealt this stuff?’
And the all-important, ‘Ahhhh! I’m out! I’ve got spit!’.
The latter of which was immortalized by said five-year-old when he walked in the door of his grandmother’s. Another non-gambler. “Hi, Gramma! We played poker and I had spit!”
The game officially ended when the last Smartie had been eaten.
That most...educational of all family games...

Monday, February 20, 2023

Being Humble

I've always equated being humble with gratitude.
So for today's Poetry Monday, with its topic of "Being Humble", I'm going to share that gratitude!

‘Please bow your head and all give thanks for blessings you’ve been given,’
I did as I was told, then thought of this old life I’m live-n.
I’ve fam-i-ly, that’s number one and a modicum of wealth,
And food to eat and clothes to wear and yes, I’ve got my health.
With things that I can do that make each day diverse and fun,
And friends and family to help (that keep me on the run).
I’ve tales and articles to write and some to read as well,
And always there’s a grandchild near and stories I can tell.
I’ve got my job, I’ve got my faith, I’m grateful for them both,
And even problems when they come, assuring spiritual growth.
I’m grateful for my childhood, and parents I hold dear,
And all my precious memories that still remain so clear.
My friends both near and far I simply could not do without,
I’m grateful for their caring, even when they bawl me out!
I’m grateful for my country and the freedoms I enjoy,
And happy, too, that I can choose just how I’ll be employed.
My list goes on and on and, yes, it truly humbles me,
When I think of all I have and all that I can be,
And so, today, you’ll find me, folding arms, with eyes shut tight,
For blessings I’ve been given I thank Him with all my might!

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 easy. Little fuss...
'Pineapple' is the theme for 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!)...
Be Humble (February 20) Today!
Pineapple (February 27)
Cookies (March 6)
Butterflies (March 13)
Buzzards (March 20)
Celebrating Earth Day (March 27)
Maps (April 3)
Golf (April 10)
Safety Pins (April 17)
Pigs in Blankets (April 24)

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
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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

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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?