Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, March 17, 2023

The Housing Market

“This one. See?”
I followed Sally’s pointing finger. It stopped about a third of the way down the page of the flier she was holding.
At a beautiful home on an acreage somewhere outside of town.
“Mr. Baggins stopped by and gave me this flier. What do you think?”
About Mr. Baggins bringing my sister real estate fliers? Ummm…
“Mort and I are going to go to the open house this afternoon and have a look. Wanna come?”
I thought of the lovely book I was just getting into. And my special date with Peter later tonight that I had bought a new dress for and…
Just then Ivy Jean Gunn of the sweet face and very loud lungs sounded off somewhere in the house.
I set down my book. “You know what? I’ll drive!”
I squinted at the picture and typed the address into my phone. “K. Let’s roll!” I led the two of them into the garage and, from there, into the car. “Did anyone check for motorcycles?” I asked.
You have to know that, since the birth of Ivy, the entire family has been a bit skittish about backing the car out of the garage without doing a ‘stray motorcycle check’ first.
“It’s right there.” Mort pointed.
“Ah." I pushed the button for the garage door. "Then we’re off!”
Sally and Mort were happily discussing the selling points of the house we were going to see. (Well, Sally was. Mort just, in his ‘Mort’ way, smiled and grinned.) Suites, extra room. Extra rooms. Outbuildings. A shop. Barns.
I nearly stomped on the brake. Barns? A picture of the damage Sally could do if she had some actual, you know—horsepowerburst in living colour into my mind.
Heaven help us all.
But I’m nothing if not determined, so I kept going.
“Turn right at the next intersection,” the GPS voice said. In a southern accent that sounded more like ‘tun rat at the next intusection.’
I turned.
The house that slowly came into view was, in a word, spectacular. It went on and on and on.
I think I gasped. I should have gasped. It was bigger than the home town we grew up in.
“Oooh! It’s a win!” Sally squealed. “Morty, honey! It’s our sanctuary!!”
Mort shrugged and grinned.
I pulled the car into the wide, circular driveway.
Sally was out of the door before we stopped. She looked around. “Huh. Why don’t they have any signs?”
I frowned. She was right. Nary a real estate sign was in evidence.
“Maybe we’re early?”
She shrugged and, taking Mort’s hand, towed him to the front door and tried the knob. “Well, it’s open, so come on in!”
We did.
The foyer was amazing. And huge. A chandelier the size of my bed at home looked…normal.
“Perfect!” Sally enthused. “Oh, I’m so happy right now!”
An archway to the left led into a bright, immense, living room. Or drawing room. Or…what do they call these rooms that are so large our whole house could sit comfortably in one end and a group of forty could still find seats and carry on a conversation in the other?
Right. A cathedral.
I didn’t get much chance to get much more than an impression, though.
Because there, on one of the numerous couches, was a man.
Stretched out and obviously asleep.
Huh. Maybe he was early, too?
Just then a woman came around the corner, drying her hands on a kitchen towel. She stopped and stared at us. “Jes?” she said, with a distinct Spanish accent. “What can I help you with?”
Sally looked at her. “We're here to see the house.”
“Yeah.” Sally tipped her head to one side. “The open house.” She held up the flier and the woman adjusted her glasses and bent to look at it.
Then the two stared at each other.
I think that’s when I finally realized we had entered a set of stunning front doors, passed through an amazing foyer, and were standing in a beautiful cathedral-sized room…all in the wrong house.
I looked at the address on my phone. Then reached for the flier. The picture was a fairly close match. Oh. Walker Lakes Station. Not Walker Lakes Street. Huh. What are the chances?
On a good note, Mr. and Mrs. Cavallero have laughingly agreed not to press ‘breaking and entering’ charges.
And may be coming to dinner on Sunday.
We’re going now to see the real house.
I’ll let you know how it goes.

Today’s post is a writing challenge. Participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post with the understanding that all words be used at least once. All the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
Today, I’m using: match ~ sanctuary ~ win ~ chances ~ happy
Submitted by my BFF Karen at Baking in a Tornado
Thank you, my friend!

Now check out my fellow bloggers! 




Thursday, March 16, 2023

Germ of the Dog

The thief.
We buy our cheese in a large block.
We have a lot of mouths to feed.
And every one of them is a cheese-lover.
Also: grating said cheese leaves an interesting pattern of little grooves on the main piece.
And: We raise Old English Sheepdogs. Our big male is named Chiefy.
On with my story . . .
Husby and I had been out for the evening.
The kids, ages eight to nineteen were home.
Watching TV and eating . . . what else? . . . cheese.
Putting it on bread.
Then toasting the two together.
Periodically, someone would come out to the kitchen, prepare another round and disappear into the TV room once more.
When we got home, the snacking and movie-watching was still ongoing.
Or at least the movie-watching.
The food had not yet been put away.
Okay, I admit it, I’m a bit OCD when it comes to food being left out.
Spotting the large block of cheese sitting on the cupboard, I made my disgusted face and instantly turned into uber-annoying SUPERCLEAN MOM.
I picked it up.
Now, usually, when the kids are making snacks including cheese, they would simply slice pieces off.
The end of this block looked as though they had been grating it.
Hmmm. Not common, but not unheard of.
I sliced the grooved end off the cheese and ate it, then wrapped the main block and put it into the fridge and generally tidied up.
Then I went into the TV room to join my Husby and the rest of the family.
My daughter turned to look at me.
“Mom! Did you see that Chiefy has been eating the cheese?”
I stared at her. “I thought you had been grating it.”
“Nope. I came upstairs and there he was chewing on the end. I pushed it to the back of the cupboard, but left it there ‘cause I wasn’t sure what you’d want done with it.”
“Ummmm . . .” I thought of the piece I had just eaten and felt a little green. 
(Lucy Van Pelt from Peanuts has nothing on me when it comes to dog-germ-phobia. I know. I know. Weird, coming from a ranch girl.) 
“I’ve taken care of it,” I said finally.
I had.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


These pictures say it all!
From this:

Through this:

To this:

And finally, this:

86 pies reduced to 14. Happy Pi Day, everyone!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


Until Covid, we Tolleys celebrated every March 14 (3.14) with Pi(e).
It was busy.
It was delicious.
Then the 2020 Covid lockdown came—quite literally the day my daughter and I were to make the pies.
We sighed and put our rolling pins into storage and waited for the all-clear.
This year, it came.
So yesterday, we (my daughter and two of my granddaughters) spent a few hours making pies.
70 of them to be exact. 10 different kinds (in no particular order): Cherry, Blueberry, Apple, Rhubarb/Strawberry, Peach, Pumpkin, Banana Cream, Coconut Cream, Chocolate, and Lemon.
And today, we have invited our friends and neighbours to come in and eat pie!
I wish you could join us.
I’ll let you know how it goes...
Everything has to start somewhere...

Our crew.
I’m absolutely thrilled that the next generation is learning the joys of the rolling pin!

Ready to go!

Monday, March 13, 2023

Unhelpful Literature

 Welcome to Poetry Monday!
Now I know the topic for today is Butterflies, but I'm bending it a little.
Oh, I'm still going to talk about winged insects. 
But... oh, never mind. Just read on...

The rain poured down persistently,
For days he’d stared out wistfully.
A last, he stood with arms outspread,
“I’m bored,” he, to his mother, said.
She thought about it for a time,
(Impressed I say all this in rhyme?)
And then suggested to her son,
“If all your chores, indeed, are done,
The only thing I can suggest
For you, a hobby would be best.”
“A collection, maybe? Moths? Or stamps?
Now go – and to your room, encamp.”
The little boy gave it some thought,
Decided moths were what he sought.
Donned raingear, to the store betook,
To find himself a research book.
Then home amid the raindrops sped,
Threw coat, and landed on his bed.
He read for several hours there,
Then came to mom in clear despair.
“I’ve read that book from end to end,
But failure did the words portend.
For though I read so eagerly,
No single ‘moth’ word did I see!”
His mother frowned and asked to look,
Obediently, he fetched the book.
She turned it over, understood
Just why it did him little good.
‘Advice to the Beginning . . .’, true.
A wealth of facts from those who knew.
But the last word in the title there,
Had caused her fine, young son to err.
It stood out plain from all the others,
The last word there (you’ve guessed it) ‘Moth-ers’!
Advice to 
Beginning Mothers
You can see where he went wrong.

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?

Strange, and just a little scary
Buzzards, next week, are our quarry!

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!)...
Butterflies (March 13) Today!
Buzzards (March 20)
Celebrating Earth Day (March 27)
Maps (April 3)
Golf (April 10)
Safety Pins (April 17)
Pigs in Blankets (April 24)

Sunday, March 12, 2023

My BBB's and ME

 Every eight weeks or so, it's my turn to host my wonderful Best of Boomer Bloggers tribe. 
A true highlight!
This month, my bloggers started their adventures along Consumer Protection Bay, went along Nostalgia Avenue, past the corner of Women's History Boulevard, along Truth Alley, made a right on Spring Street and ended up in the historic Grand Central Market!
I love these guys!

First up, Rita Robison:
Have you heard of National Consumer Protection Week? For Rita R. Robison, consumer and personal finance journalist, it’s a big deal, and she wrote about it last week. Take a look at Robison’s article for actions consumers can take every week to stand up for their rights, including filing complaints and findinghelpful financial information.

Next is Carol Cassara:
As each year passes, Carol Cassara finds more of her blog posts are tinged with nostalgia, a subject she addresses in this weeks piece about "hiraeth" -- a longing for lost places of our past. And in her case, her youth.

Celebrating women who tell our story is this year's Women's History Month theme. This inspired Jennifer, of Unfold and Begin to share 12 Quotes for Women's History Month from some of those women who are being celebrated.

It was Aldous Huxley who said that facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored! But when it comes to facing up to our painful experiences or moving out of toxic relationships, we often act as if facts do not exist. Denial of pain is something that Corinne Rodrigues of Everyday Gyaan has written about in her post The Truth Shall Set You Free.

Followed by Laurie Stone:
The other day Laurie stood in her yard when she heard that lovely sound. Against the blue sky was the familiar V-formation of a dozen geese, trumpeting their arrival like noisy house guests. She watched, feeling that familiar stirring. Spring is coming.

Then Rebecca Olkowski:
Rebecca Olkowski with finally got a break from the torrential rain that Los Angeles had been experiencing. She hopped on the L.A. Metro and took herself Downtown to the historic Grand Central Market for a bite to eat. Read about it on her L.A. travel blog here.

In this week’s post, Meryl Baer of Beach Boomer Bulletin takes time to recognize Women’s History Month. A history major, a woman, and a writer, she pays homage to three Victorian writers, the Bronte sisters, who blazed a path, unknowingly, for generations to come. 
Then finally, Me! 
In the modern day, the use of so-called 'expressive metaphors' has become more and more prevalent. But it is possible 'clean up one's language', as discovered by Diane's Mother-in-Law...

And that's a wrap!
I hope you enjoyed these wonderful bloggers as much as I do!
Thank you for joining us!

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The newest in my Christmas Series


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Read it! You know you want to!

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What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

Join me on Maven

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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

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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!

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Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?