Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, March 31, 2023


 One of Daddy's stories...

Not sure about the rest of you, but me? I would be scared,
To haunted houses, I’d not go. Not e’en if someone dared!
But Jade was made of tougher stuff. She had no fear at all,
And haunted houses she’d seek out—they had the girl enthralled!
Jade paid no mind to goblins and for ghosts, she had no dread,
Not even when we pointed out to her, “Girl, they’re all dead!”
Sooo, let’s get back to haunted homes, one in par-tic-u-lar,
A creepy house the edge of town, t’was really quite bizarre!
No one had ever stayed the night, and long it’d stood alone,
And only old folks could recall when it was someone’s home,
Well, it was great for Jade and, toting sleeping bag and stuff,
Determined she would spend the night, prove she was ‘tough enough’,
At first, she got things figured out, she found a place to sleep,
Set up her bed, then smiled as she envisaged slumber deep,
But just as sunset passed and darkness settled all around,
Jade stopped what she was doing. Wait! Did she just hear a sound?
And sure enough, right through the door, a casket did appear,
Filling Jade with unaccustomed nervousness and fear,
She screamed and stared running t’ward the door just opposite,
Concerned about her fearless reputation? Not a bit!
She darted through the open doorway, slammed the door quite hard,
Breathing better only when the door was locked and barred,
But did it stop the casket? Didn’t even slow it down,
And Jade found herself looking for the far side of the town!
And room-by-room she and the casket (an unlikely pair),
Ran together through the house from ‘here’ as far as ‘there’!
And just like that, she reached the end, she'd truly given all,
Watching as the casket slowly drifted through the wall,
She found the room devoid of either furnishings or trim,
With nothing there to help her, Jade was feeling rather grim,
In the shadows, saw a flask. T’was all the room did show,
She heaved it at the casket just as hard as she could throw!
And just like that, the casket stopped, as dead as dead could be,
Jade stared at it. Now what on earth? Moved forward cautiously,
Again picked up the bottle, this time scrutinized it close,
(Whilst keeping one eye on the casket), set to diagnose,
Jade was surprised at what she read—a thing you don’t see often,
It was a bottle of cough syrup. And sure, it stopped the coffin!

Once a month, we are issued a challenge to write a poem based on a theme.
It is, in a word: fun!
This month’s theme: Syrup
Hmmm...what to do with that?!

Want another serving?

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Happily Writing

 When I was young, my goals were: Marriage, children, writing.
And I did it.
Husby had a good job. I got to stay home with my Littles.
And write.
Marriage (check).
Children (check).
Writing (check).
Well, my goals have changed somewhat now that Husby and I have achieved retirement
Now they look something like this: Marriage, children, grandchildren, writing.
I'm still on track.
I recently published three romances.
And had such a lot of fun doing it!
Thank you for coming along on this ride!

DevonSelf-exiled to the outrider's cabin of his family ranch following the death of his young wife, Devon struggles to find the will to live.
When a young woman is thrown from a moving train and into his world, he is forced to forget his own heartbreak as he attempts to protect and care for her.
Together, the two of them confront the demons that threaten them, their future happiness. 
Even their lives.

Melissa: Young and Innocent, Melissa escaped her old life and built a new one.
Now everything she has worked so hard to create--her business, her very life--are threatened by a madman in a mindless search for revenge.
And just when all appears lost, Cain emerges from her past.
Is he here to help, as he says?
Or has he returned to torture her one last time?

The Babysitter: A kidnapping ring is operating in Edmonton--targeting the very youngest and most vulnerable.
Called in to help care for her sister's baby following a debilitating accident, J'Aime is concerned only with keeping her small niece safe.
Then is snatched by the very kidnappers from whom she tried so desperately to protect her small charge.
Now, J'Aime is locked in a battle to save herself as well as her niece.
Will the two of them--and J'Aime's heart--survive?

I'm having fun!

P.S. All are available at and!

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Almost Struck

Still cold here. I'm getting nostalgic about summer.
Almost . . .
Blair in a less threatening situation. A bit less . . .
The calving field (aka: the tree field), was a half mile from the ranch buildings.
Not so great a distance if you wanted a good walk, or a short ride.
But a marathon when you were pushing sick, weary stock.
Dad, always the thinker, came up with plan 'B'. Metal corral panels that could be instantly set up anywhere.
In the corner, next to the road and immediately adjacent to the main gate, he assembled his new acquisition. Shiny green panels of tubular, green-painted steel.
Heavy-duty. Solid.
And set up at a moment's notice.
The answer to all of our prayers.
Okay, we hadn't been praying about it, but you get the picture.
Moving on . . .
We rounded up the herd and pushed them into the corrals which had magically appeared in their own field.
All was going well.
Never say that when ranching. Because the God of Ranching, immediately begins to get creative.
And sends all sorts of 'challenges'.
On this particular day, he sent Nature.
Capital 'N'.
Now, ordinarily, I love storms. The bigger and noisier, the better.
But this storm was a bit different.
There wasn't any wind. A miracle where we lived.
Or rain.
There was only lightning.
And we were standing immediately adjacent (that word again) to metal corrals.
I needn't tell you that lightning likes metal.
My Dad, my younger brother, Blair, and I were busily engaged in . . . cattle stuff.
We really didn't notice the approaching storm until it broke, quite literally, over our heads.
The air suddenly turned a sort of greenish colour.
Then a deafening ZZZZZZZZZZST!
There was a transformer on a tall power pole immediately outside the main gate of the field, not 30 feet from where we were working.
It exploded.
No, really. It was there one moment. Then gone the next.
A curl of smoke rose from the place it had been. Rather hard to ignore.
We all froze in our various positions. Dad and I outside the corral.
Blair stuck in the middle.
With several head of cattle.
Instinctively, he started towards the corral fence.
“Freeze!” Dad barked.
Blair did.
The cattle weren't as obedient.
Now that I think about it, cattle never are.
Obedient, I mean.
But I digress . . .
Let's just say that they were nervous, shall we?
They immediately began to move around, jostling Blair and each other.
“Blair! Don't move!” Dad said. “The next strike will be close!”
Sometimes I hate it when people are right.
Again, the greenish colour.
Again the loud ZZZZZZZZZZST!
Again the exploding.
But what I can remember most is Blair, staring at me from inside that metal corral. That green lightning magnet.
Completely helpless.
I know I did do some praying then.
That second strike hit the next power pole, just down the road from the first one. And then the storm moved away from us.
We started breathing again.
I probably don't need to describe Blair's sprint across the corral. And vaulting of the fence.
Let's just say that the Olympics committee would have been impressed.
For several minutes, we just stood there. Breathing.
Outside the corrals.
Thankful to be alive and safe.
It was some time before Dad could convince us to get back to work.
Not an unusual challenge.
But this time we had a good excuse.
You get the idea...

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Garden 101

 Since his retirement, Husby has taken over the gardening.
After 45 years, I've been relegated from lead to occasional. I couldn't be happier. 
Yesterday, he planted his tomato seeds.
In a little tray on my kitchen table.
It reminded me of something...
Mom. My gardening hero.
In the spring, a young man’s fancy turns to romance.
A young woman’s fancy turns to gardening.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it . . .
It’s warming up! Spring is on its way.
Even in northern Alberta, we have spring.
It just comes later and leaves earlier . . .
And spring means gardening!
My mom was a gardener.
One of those m-m-m-m-major gardeners.
Her patch of vegetables covered roughly two acres.
Give or take.
And was enough to provide the entire ranch population with food for much of the year.
I had been out in her garden from the time I could lift a hoe.
And even sooner (see here).
Not necessarily productive, but learning.
By the time I was married, I thought I knew everything there was to know about gardening.
Did you know that those little plants don’t plant themselves in neat, tidy rows?
They have to be painstakingly put there.
Oh, I admit that I watched Mom string a long piece of twine and follow it with a hoe to make sure her garden was aesthetically pleasing.
But it never occurred to me that her actions had a point.
But I was willing to learn.
My Husby rototilled a large patch of ground near our home.
Armed with a century’s worth of seeds, I started out.
Planting turned out to be quite easy.
Stretch the string.
Follow the line with a hoe.
Plant the seeds.
Cover them up.
Turn on the sprinkler.
I should probably mention that while waiting, you have to keep an eye on things.
Otherwise, the weeds tend to overpower the plants.
In my first garden, I had planted a couple of rows of tomatoes.
I love tomatoes.
I had no idea that they needed to be started sometime in . . . December.
The little plants poked through the ground.
As did the weeds.
The interesting thing about weeds is the fact that they adapt themselves to fit perfectly with whatever vegetable plant they are near.
Thus, tomato weeds look like tomatoes.
Carrot weeds look like carrots.
And so on.
My tomatoes had emerged.
The weeds that accompanied them looked nearly identical.
They even smelled the same.
Which was which?
I studied the two plants.
Finally, I made a decision and started pulling.
Soon the rows were clean and tidy.
Happily, I turned the sprinkler on my garden and went back into the house.
A short time later, my mother-in-law, also a master gardener, came out for a visit.
She stood at the end of my garden.
“Why do you have two tidy rows of weeds, Diane?”
I stared at her.
Then turned to look at my tomatoes.
I had chosen . . . poorly.
Then she gave me a piece of advice that I’ve never forgotten.
“Diane. If you’re in doubt about a plant, pull it up. If it comes back, it was a weed.”
Good advice.
Doesn’t help much, but good advice all the same.

Monday, March 27, 2023

My Planet

Our planet’s quite important, it, we celebrate today,
It gives us all we need to live and grow, (just by the way),
Like food and water, air to breathe, and warmth (to name a few),
Everything we need to help us drink or breathe or chew,
I love the earth and I’ll do what I can to help it live,
I will recycle and re-use, give all that I can give!
One reason more I love this place and want to keep it sound?
It is the only planet known where chocolate can be found!

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 will come at little cost...
With 'Maps' we will not get you lost!

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!)...
Celebrating Earth Day (March 27) Today!
Maps (April 3)
Golf (April 10)
Safety Pins (April 17)
Pigs in Blankets (April 24)
Rhinos (May 1)
Socks (May 8)
Chocolate Chip (May 15)
Musical Instruments (May 22)
Compost (May 29)

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!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?