Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, June 23, 2023

Sister's Dolly

See? Adorable!
How come my sister had one?!
And why couldn’t I?!
Life wasn’t fair!!!
Maybe I should explain . . .
For my first Christmas, my big sister got a doll.
Well, to be honest, so did I.
But hers was amazing.
Dressed in a gorgeous pink satin dress with tiny white socks 
and adorable little shoes, she was the most beautiful thing 
I had ever seen. She had Auburn hair, like my sister and a 
cute little face with eyes that opened and shut.
No word of a lie. If you held onto her hands, she could walk!
She was perfect.
Now, I must admit that I recognized none of this when the doll 
first appeared in our household.
My recognition of her perfection happened a few years later.
When I discovered this treasure sitting in lonely glory on my 
sister’s bed.
Did I mention lonely?
Now there’s something I should probably point out here: there 
were two things I could not stand to see when I was little.
1.      A naked doll. (Just imagine how cold they must be!)
2.      A lonely doll. (Oh, the poor thing!)
Okay, yes, I had issues, but I was nothing if not sympathetic. A 
lonely doll was just asking to be played with. Even if one had 
been told – many times – to LEAVE MY DOLL ALONE IT'S JUST 
Pfff. That was just silly. Why would anyone have a toy they 
didn't play with?!
I scoped out the neighbourhood, than scooped the treasure 
off the bed and proceeded to walk her all over.
Do you know how many baby steps it was from one side of 
my sister’s room to the other?
A lot.
We played happily for some time.
Or at least until discovered by my sister.
Usually said discovery was in the form of: “Mom! Diane’s got
my doll again!”
Whereupon (good word) I would answer from somewhere 
under the bed: “Do not!”
This went on for months.
Until I discovered that one could actually buy horse 
Of every colour and breed.
And in all different sizes.
After that, my sister’s little beauty remained in lonely glory 
on the bed.
And the sisterly conversation in her room changed to: “Mom! 
Diane’s got her horses all over my floor again!”
And me, again from under the bed: “Do not!”

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Mostly Magic

He looked at me. “So? What’s your wish?”
I scrunched up my face into my most impressive I’m-thinking-about-it form and . . . thought about it. 
So many options. 
So much to choose from. 
I opened my mouth, expecting something of import to emerge. What came out was, “Ummmm . . .”
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.
He sighed heavily and started tapping on the palm of one hand with a . . . Rats! I knew what it was, but the word ducked around the corner before I could bring it forward. I finally settled for calling it a wand. He tapped on one hand with a wand. “C’mon, lady. Make a wish. I really don’t have all day!”
I blinked and gulped and nodded. Maybe I could try . . . or . . . no . . . what I really wanted . . . Suddenly a brilliant suggestion presented itself. “Could I have a combination? A mixture?” I whispered hopefully.
He shrugged. “Please keep in mind I’m not a wizard,” he said. He scratched his ear and glanced toward the window.
Not a wizard? But I thought . . . I looked toward the window, too. The streetlights had come on and were casting pools of gold on a black street; shining bravely in a dark and moonless night. It appeared that a wind was starting to kick up. I could see bits of litter being blown around. I shivered and turned back.
He was watching me. “Well . . .?”
I took a deep breath. “I’ll have a Double Magic Burger with everything on it except the cheese. And a side order of Onion O’s and . . .” I again glanced outside “. . . a Wizard-size mug of chocolate.”
He dropped the spurtle (I finally remembered the name of it!) he had been fiddling with to the counter and punched some buttons in the cash register. “Fine. You’re order number 16.” He took the ten from me, efficiently made change and then nodded and looked past me.
I stuffed my change into my purse and quickly shuffled to one side.
“Welcome to Magic Burger,” he said to the person in line behind me. “What's your wish?”

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

That Season of the Year

Buffalo cocoons. Ready to hatch...
It is buffalo season.
I know this may come as a surprise to you. Certainly it did to our granddaughter.
Maybe I should explain . . .
We were driving to Banff, Alberta. It was time for our annual week at the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort. The place that has been our summer home for nearly 30 years. 
That year, it was our eldest granddaughter’s turn to spend the week with Grandma and Grandpa, a privilege hotly contested amongst several of the grandchildren. Okay . . . well . . . amongst two of them.
The drive was perfect. Slightly cloudy but not raining or stormy. So the sun wasn’t a problem, but neither were the road surfaces.
Now, I should explain that our route takes us invariably through farm country. Some of the richest in Alberta. Long stretches of rolling hills heavy with nearly-ripe grains. Swaths of luxurious green, newly-mown hay, drying in the late summer sun until it’s ready for baling.
Fields of cocoons.
And finally, we’re to the point of our story . . .
In many of these fields, there were dozens—even hundreds—of buffalo cocoons. Great cylindrical shapes of uniform size, some covered in plastic or mesh, and all simply sitting there in the fields, waiting to hatch.
Yeah, my granddaughter didn’t believe her grandfather, either.
And he described the day of hatching to her so well. When the long-dormant cocoons burst apart and fully-grown buffalo appear. 
“It is quite a sight.  The great, shaggy beasts, hungry from their developmental slumber move off in a herd, grazing, Running in the sun. Happy to be alive . . .”
I’m quoting her grandfather, of course.
Our 14-year-old granddaughter stared at him, skeptically. Obviously she wasn’t about to swallow her grandfather’s ‘this-is-how-things-happen’ story whole like the rest of her siblings and cousins.
Skepticism turned vocal. “Grampa, that’s not right. That isn’t how buffalo are made!”
Her grandfather looked at her in the rear-view mirror. “It totally is! The mother buffalo weaves her cocoons out of grasses, then tenderly inserts a seed into each one. You should have paid attention in Biology class.”
She gave him a disgusted look. “I did.”
Oops. They’re on to us . . .
Newly-hatched. Isn't he magnificent?!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

A Little Feather-Brained

She was supposed to be raking leaves.
But you know how an assigned job can be forgotten. An assigned worker…sidetracked.
It happens to me. Once…
Never mind.
Chicken Little Feathers (of the Merrywoods Feathers) was supposed to be working.

C. Little, as she preferred to be called, had been asked to rake the leaves in the front yard.
Now admittedly, the front yard could only be considered enormous, taking in, as it did, most of the Hinderley forest.

But C. Little, full of energy and good intentions started in with a will.
A full hour later, with several enormous piles of well-raked leaves behind her and several thousand more ahead, she decided to take a well-deserved break.

Any of us would have done it.
She flopped down into one of her heaps of crunchy, brightly-coloured leaves.
For a few seconds, she lay there happily, totally relaxed.
A small breeze sprang up, cooling her slightly over-heated self.

But this breeze, unbeknownst to her, also twirled cheerfully around the giant tree just over her head.
An oak tree.
With dozens of baby oaks—AKA: acorns—nestled snugly against their stalwart parent.
Well most of them were snug.

One or two, not so much.
You can probably guess what happened next.
One of them lost its grip and dropped straight down (Not far from the tree!) onto the head of the little would-be gardener thirty feet below.

Now I know there are often pithy comparisons made between mighty oaks and their tiny, little acorns.
And acorns are comparatively tiny.
But drop one from thirty feet onto your head and see how you feel.
Am I right?

C. Little gasped and straightened, one wing over the rapidly-swelling bruise on her little head. She looked up into the tree and came to the only conclusion possible. A piece of the sky, had somehow become detached and fallen.

That sky barely glimpsed between the thick branches of the towering oak. Okay, yes, there are other conclusions. Each of which would have been vastly superior to the one jumped to.
But we’re talking about a little, feather-headed chicken.

C. Little leaped to her feet and screamed.
Loud enough for one of her nearby friends, Goosy Loosy (don’t look at me. I didn’t name these people) to hear her. She hurried over.
“What is it, Lit? What’s wrong?”

“Loos! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” C. Little pointed in the general direction of up.
Goosy Loosy tipped her feathery head, peered basically along the trajectory of the pointing feather and frowned a rather goosy frown.

She then looked back at C. Little. “I don’t see...”
It was at that precise moment the second of the not-so-snug acorns lost its not-so-powerful hold on its parent.
Hitting Miss Loosy on top of that aforementioned goosy head.

“Gahhh!” she screamed. “It’s true! It’s true!”
Okay, say what you will about panic. It has been known to motivate people to do amazing things.
Most of them bad.
“We must go and warn the king!” C. Little screamed.

“The entire kingdom is at risk!” she added.
Just like that, the two of them were off.
I won’t bore you with the details of their encounters with several other members of the feather-headed variety that ‘peopled’ the forest.

Suffice it to say their hysteria was contagious and leave it there.
Soon there was a panicky, but determined group of would-be saviours on their way to warn the king of the imminent danger to/probable destruction of, his kingdom.

Partway there, they stumbled upon a rather shifty, conniving fellow by the name of Loxy. First name Foxy.
Who, quite notably (and unlike the others) wasn’t panicking.
“Wooah, Ladies and gentlemen,” he said. “What seems to be the problem?”

Now, normally, when one has a mob situation, the individuals in it have ceased to think as individuals.
This was far from a normal situation.
But part of it, notably the not-thinking-for-themselves part, was still very much in effect.

Moving on…
“You might not have noticed it yet,” C. Little started out…
“BUT THE SKY IS FALLING!” The rest of the group chimed in.
Mr. Loxy looked up at the cloudless, blue sky, then back to them. “Seriously?”

Several feathered heads nodded.
He raised a rather foxy eyebrow. “Huh!”
“We’re on our way to warn the king!” C. Little said importantly.
“I bow to your selflessness and industry,” Mr. Loxy said. Again he looked at the sky.

“It’s funny how serene everything looks,” he added. “You’d never know there was a problem.”
“Hah! Remember the Titanic! And how serene everything appeared in the early minutes after striking the iceberg!”
Everyone turned to look at Miss Loosy.

“Say what?” Mr. Loxy said. “Ti-…”
Goosy Loosy’s eyes shifted away. Then back. “…-tanic. It was a ship. That…you know what? Never mind.”
Mr. Loxy stared. “Ahem. Back to our discussion. You’re on your way to warn the king?”

C. Little nodded. “Yes. It’s our civic duty.”
“It’s a long way to the palace from here,” Mr. Loxy said. “Look. Why don’t you come to my apartment and just post things on Forestbook. Everyone will get the message.”

He went on, “And of course they will believe it. And share it millions of times. The king is sure to hear.”
“Oooh! That sounds so much easier,” Ducky Lucky said. He held out one of his little, duck feet.

“All this walking is making my arches fall,” he added tearfully. 
Everyone looked and nodded. Indeed those arches had fallen.
The feather-headed group thought Mr. Loxy made sense (see above vis-à-vis mob mentality) and followed him toward his apartment/lair.

It will probably not come as a surprise to learn that Mr. Loxy, contrary to what he said and what the others believed, had absolutely no intention of helping them out.
Admit it. Are any of you surprised here?

In fact, he was more concerned with what was going into his stomach than what may be falling out of the sky.
I’m sure you’ve guessed that none of the good-hearted but woefully-ignorant citizens emerged from Mr. Loxy’s lair.

There are several lessons here.
1.                When the world around you is panicking, don’t.
2.                Seek credible sources.
3.                Not everyone has your best interests at heart.
4.                Troubles bring out the good/bad in people.
5.                Be one of the good..

Today’s post is a word challenge! 
Each month one of us chooses a number between 12 and 50 and the rest craft a post using that number of words one or multiple times.

This month’s number is: 39

Now go and see what my friends have created!


Monday, June 19, 2023

Tuckered Out Puckering

In honour of National Kissing Day:

My sleep was deep and long, you know
A perfect sleep, it’s true.
And when I woke I couldn’t help
But feel as fresh as dew.

My heart, it sang. So full of joy,
It threatened it’d explode,
And all that happiness. A stream
Which from my soul just flowed!

The person, there, beside me,
Well, I woke them with my kiss,
Said, “I’m so glad that I’m alive!
Isn’t this just bliss?”

Apparently all that cheerfulness,
In future, I’ll contain,
Or I’ll never be allowed to ride
On that airline again!

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?

Canoes are fun. Canoes are cool,
Next week Canoes, right here, will rule!

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!)...

Kissing (June 19) Today!
Canoes (June 26)
Mirrors (July 3)
Teddy Bears (July 10)
Emojis (July 17)
Cousins (July 24)
Avocados (July 31)
Moonshine (August 7)
Roses (August 14)
Sea Monsters (August 21)
At the Beauty Parlour/Parlor (August 28)

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!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?