Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, June 30, 2023


The two men stood there, staring,
Their task quite beyond their ken,
It would have been so easy,
With a ladder. And a pen.

Tasked as they were with gauging
Just how tall the flag pole was,
But lacking proper tools, you know,
The task had given pause.

Then finally, a passerby,
She noticed how they stared,
She thought that she could help them both,
This girl had come prepared!

And taking wrench and muscle,
She loosed a bolt or three,
Then laid that pole upon the ground,
And got down on her knees…

Then carefully, she measured it,
T’was twenty-six feet, just,
She nodded to the men and left,
They stared back with disgust.

“She didn’t help at all, you know!”
One, to the other, said.
“What we needed what the flagpole’s height.
She gave the width, instead!”

Karen asks, "Write for me, please?"
We write because she's the Bee's Knees!
And we love her, you know that’s true,
So this is what we writers do . . .
We craft a poem based on a theme,
With pencils, sharp, and eyes agleam,
Each month we write and have such fun
We can't wait for another one,
With FLAGS this month, how did I do?
Please go and see the others, too:

Baking In A Tornado: Seeing Red

Thursday, June 29, 2023


In honour of International Camera Day: Cameras

I received my first camera the Christmas I was nine.
Together with one film.
A twelve exposure.
I hoarded those pictures judiciously. Carefully.
Only taking pictures of very, very special occasions.
And then, only when conditions were especially perfect.
I used up that first film in 32 seconds flat.
We had pictures of wrapping paper.
Kids admiring just-opened gifts nestled in a pile of wrapping paper.
And Mom stuffing more of said wrapping paper into the trash.
Okay, I admit it. Wrapping paper was the most exciting thing I could come up with.
Which says something about my life.
I should also mention, here, that my camera also came with a packet of little bulbs that you could press, one by one, into the flash. After they had been used, you pressed a little button and they would be forcibly ejected. This was an especially handy feature when brothers were hanging about. It’s amazing just how fast a brother can move when he has been shot with a little bulb of flaming-hot, molten glass.
Just FYI.
Moving on . . .
For the next few years, I snapped pictures of friends.
Doing . . . stuff.
Of pets.
Mine and other people's.
And vacations.
Most of them blurry and unrecognizable.
“Okay, this is a shot of Great Aunt Maud. Or of Old Faithful. Take your pick.”
In college, I was handed a ‘real’ camera.
With dials and buttons and switches.
And sent forth into the hinterland to ‘take some shots’.
I will admit that my picture-taking had improved.
Now, people were easily differentiated from, say, cakes.
And my basketball players looked like basketball players.
Not the LCC square-dancing team they were usually mistaken for.
On or off the court.
In fact, my picture-taking skills had improved so much that I was given the position of official photographer in our Journalism class.
A promotion that came with its own dark room.
Yessiree. On any given Tuesday evening, I could be found in my darkroom.
Now why does everyone smile when I say that?
It’s true.
I was developing.
Okay, yes, I usually had a young man in there with me.
But, inevitably, their idea of what goes on in a darkroom and mine were vastly different.
Hmmm. I think I know now why they looked so surprised when I told them to, and I quote, “Sit over there and stay out of my way!”
Back to my story. . .
Following college, I was given a ‘point-and-shoot’. A camera that guaranteed perfect pictures. Without any input from me.
For several years, it faithfully recorded early years of marriage. Baby arrivals. And family life.
With one ore two side trips into ‘someplace green’.
Until that momentous occasion when it died.
Never to go again.
After a normal grieving period, I got another point-and-shoot.
No more films.
No more trips to the store, picking up or dropping off.
That little camera and I were inseparable.
Until that day.
When I got my new phone.
This was why.
Edmonton, Alberta at sunset.
Of course things have continued to improve, but I will stop there for now.
I admit that I sometimes think back to my little flashbulbs.
And the ejector that was so effective.
But only fleetingly.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

On Being Vain

Ready to work.
If you look closely, you'll note the absence of glasses.
And the presence of the band-aid.
     Before I get Started: 1. My new boyfriend had a medical condition I wasn’t aware of.
           2. The world refused to coalesce into remotely recognizable shapes when I wasn’t wearing my glasses.
           3. I was vain.
There. I think I’ve covered all of the bases.
Would you care to try to convene these statements into a story?
I’m almost sure it would be better than mine.
Fine . . .
My new boyfriend was ‘working’ for my Dad.
Which meant that he spent a lot of time on the ranch, following me around, and occasionally did some actual work.
On this bright summer afternoon, we had been assigned the arduous task of moving the milk cow from her pasture on the east side of the buildings to the more convenient pasture on the west side.
We were on foot.
He was heeling.
I was heading.
Which meant that I was in the front to get in the way if said cow decided to turn in the wrong direction.
He was behind in case she suddenly felt that she couldn’t bear to leave her former pasture.
I should probably mention here that I always wore glasses. There’s nothing more embarrassing than discovering after a lengthy, one-sided conversation, that the person you are talking to is actually the neighbour’s mule.
I will say only that he was a good listener.
Back to my story . . .
On this bright and sunny afternoon, I had removed my glasses because I was trying to improve my tan lines. Large, white, goggle-shaped circles on one’s face weren’t conducive to beauty.
Oh, I also had a band-aid on my nose for the same reason.
Let's not talk about this any more . . .
At first all went well.
Then, they didn’t.
I ran ahead to stand as a human shield when the cow crossed over the entrance to the ranch buildings.
Once I was in position, I turned to ascertain progress.
The cow had turned and was heading back to familiar ground.
Boyfriend had disappeared.
I quickly ran up the road, got around the retreating animal and turned her back in the right direction.
Then spent the next twenty minutes sweating, hollering and cursing.
Oh yes. I cursed. For the whole story, read here. It’s not a pretty tale, but we’ll wait till you get back . . .
Finally, I had the stupid, perverse, ornery, cantankerous, belligerent, of-questionable-heritage, stupid (I repeat the word, deliberately) animal where she needed to go.
Daddy picked me up for the short ride to the ranch buildings.
And that’s when I remarked that my boyfriend, he of the dubious intelligence, had abandoned me.
Had just disappeared.
Dad frowned.
He turned into the drive to the ranch.
Then stopped.
Shoved the truck into reverse.
And, tires squealing, sped back along the main road.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Your boyfriend,” Dad said, coming to a skidding stop.
And there he was. My boyfriend. Lying in the ditch.
How had I missed that?
Oh, right. Glasses.
Turns out that he had a medical condition that caused him, at times, to faint.
Who knew?
Fortunately, he had simply slid down into the soft, thick grass that lined the ditch and slept peacefully in the warm sun until we discovered him.
Dad got him up and we helped him make his woozy way to the truck.
By the time we reached the ranch buildings, he was well on his way back to normalcy.
After we had gotten him seated on the couch and supplied with drinks and eats, Dad turned to me. “Glasses,” he said simply.
 I nodded sheepishly and went to fetch them.
I learned something from this:
         1. When acquiring a new boyfriend, always ascertain possible health concerns.
         2.  Don’t ever try to outguess your optician.
         3. Don’t be vain.
       You learned it here.

Monday, June 26, 2023

A Monday Groaner

My surgeon loves canoeing,
He does it all he can,
He says it helps him with the stress
As surgeries, he plans.

I find his language peppered,
With ‘canoeist’ words and terms,
We’ve all come to expect it,
As he juggles knives and germs.

But now I’m having worries,
At the choice he’s offer-ing,
I wonder if the time has passed,
For changing everything.

Cause he gave me the option,
(I would call it a monition!)
The gas or canoe paddle…
It’s an ether/oar condition!

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 a time for deep reflection,
And mirrors! (If there's no objection!)

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!)...

Canoes (June 26) Today!
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?