Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, July 28, 2023

A Little Bug-gy

The family had gathered for their evening meal that night,
Mom and Dad and siblings, and the youngest—small and slight,
Partway through the meal, that little boy said—from his seat,
“Dad, I was just wondering if bugs are good to eat?”

His father shook his head said,”Son, let’s not discuss that now,
No need to talk of icky things when we are eating chow,
After we are done’s the perfect time for us to talk,
Now eat your supper, Son,” he said. “And after, we’ll take stock.”

“But, Dad!” the boy protested. Said his father, “Son, stop there,
“I’m not discussing bugs while we are eating tasty fare,
“So tuck into you dinner, son, I promise afterward…

“We’ll talk of bugs forever—till your eyes start going blurred!”

They ate their meal in silence; cleaned and tidied up the room,

The boy forgot his question as he swept round with the broom,

And after all was finished, Dad gave his young boy a hug,

And told him, “Son, now is the time to ask about your bugs!”

The boy just shrugged and told his Dad, “It really matters not,

“Cause I’m no longer focused on the answer that I sought…

“There was a reason that I asked that question while we supped…

“You had a bug there in your soup, but you just ate it up!”

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 BUGS this month, how did I do?

Please go and see the others, too!





Thursday, July 27, 2023

Talking Turkey

I am bilingual.
Oh, not in the way you imagine.
My second language really isn't that practical.
Truth be told, I don't even know what I'm saying.
But the fact remains that I can speak another language.
Maybe I should explain . . .
My kids and I loved spending time at Fort Edmonton Park.
It's a stroll through Edmonton's history.
There's a bona fide re-creation of an 1846 fort.
And a small town.
Comprised of 'dated' streets.
1885 Street, devoted to life in Edmonton when dust and mud were king and electricity was something only Jules Verne imagined.
1905 Street, when modern dreams were beginning.
And 1920 Street, where modern conveniences and votes for women have become reality.
There are shops and residences with actors portraying very real Edmontonians of the past.
It was (and is) fun.
And we loved it.
We spent nearly every Thursday there throughout the summer.
Walking on stilts.
Playing games.
Eating baking fresh from the ovens.
Visiting the shops.
Inter'acting' with the actors.
It was a great way to spend a day.
Then we found the flock of turkeys behind one of the residences.
And that's when I discovered that I could speak a second language.
Turkeys make a distinct 'mmmmbladladladladladladladladl' sound.
And I could mimic it.
You want to talk talent?
We stood at the side of their large pen and I 'talked' to them.
The male got quite animated.
He ruffled his feathers and puffed up his facial dangly bits and marched around importantly.
It was very entertaining.
The kids would urge me on. “Come on Mom! Say something else!”
And I'd do my mmmmbladladladladladladladladl.
And the turkey would get apoplectic.
We even drew a crowd.
“Look! That woman can talk to the turkeys.”
Okay. Sometimes, you have to look for your entertainment.
And you have to admit that not everyone can talk turkey.
P.S. Guinea Pigs and I also have a history.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

A Winning Talk

For a few glorious months I exercised horses at the racetrack.
It was a perk to dating a young man whose uncle kept a string of racers.
Picture it: Cool early morning of a summer day. The sky is lightening to a cloudless blue overhead while the horizon glows a clear apricot.
The smell of fresh hay and grain and horses and manure as men and women begin hauling feed and cleaning stalls. Grunted early morning greetings as humans pass.
The metallic ring of tack as saddles and bridles are inspected and fitted.
The snort of a horse. Stamp of hoof.
The track, groomed and dampened by a couple of passes of the rakes and water truck, gives off its own distinctive smells of wet earth and sawdust.
The morning of a perfect race day.
There is a whole production before, during and after the actual running of a horse race. A coordinated and extensive ballet of people and horses, all moving in and amongst each other. Grooming. Inspecting. Saddling. Wrapping. And each with the same goal.
The finish line . . .
It was my duty as second horse-exerciser to also do that most mundane of jobs, the grooming.
And I loved it. 
To run the brushes over the sleek coats. To pause and bury one’s face in the neck of one’s horse and just . . . breathe.
Paradise for the horse-lover.
Which I was.
I remember the first horse I readied for a race.
A three-year-old clear bay filly whose complex, hyphenated name escapes me, but who I called, ‘Lemon-Go-Lightly’ after a popular hair-lightener of the day.
Well, it made sense at the time . . .
She was slated for the two o’clock race and I had half an hour to get her ready for it.
I spent most of that time brushing.
And talking.
Yes. Talking.
I told her how beautiful she was. And how fast she would run. And how she’d leave all of the other old nags in her dust. I whispered into her ears and wrapped my arms around her neck and whispered into that as well.
Over and over, I told her how amazing she was and that she’d be running the best race of her life in just a few minutes.
Then I handed her over to the tack team with the words, “Today, she’s going to win!” They stared at me, then proceeded to saddle and wrap and lead my pretty baby out to her rider.
I started grooming another horse, but listened to the familiar sounds of a race being run.
I really wasn’t surprised when she came back - a winner by more than three lengths.
I knew she could do it.
After all, we had discussed it.
What I didn’t expect was her owner following her to the barn.
He stared at me for a moment. Then, “How did you know she was going to win?”
It was my turn to stare.
He went on. “This was her fourth race and she’s never placed above ‘show’. How did you know?”
I should mention here that race people are, quite often, a little superstitious . . .
I blinked. “We discussed it,” I said finally.
“Discussed it?”
“Yeah. While I was grooming her. I told her that she was the world’s fastest runner and that she was my pretty girl and that she was going to win.”
He frowned thoughtfully. Then turned and left.
I shrugged and went on with my tasks.
But later, I noticed that all of his groomers were talking to their horses. Whispering inanities into their ears. Praising them.
Labelling them winners.
P.S. I hear it works on people, too.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023


Would you put these two together?
Yeah. Me neither.

Growing up in the great outdoors gave me an appreciation for all things . . . outdoors-y.

IE: horses.
But sadly, instilled in me a complete ignorance of the finer points of creating a beautiful home.
IE: embroidery.
My Mom ran a very efficient home.
She cooked, cleaned and organized.
And even, on occasion, helped in the barnyard when the need arose.
With all of that, somehow, she also found time for the pretty things in life.
She embroidered pillowcases and tablecloths.
Runners and handkerchiefs.
Even tea towels.
And did them beautifully.
Unfortunately, the urge to 'pretty' things up had been left out of my makeup.
Or so I thought.
It was merely dormant.
After the birth of my first baby, I was suddenly bitten by the sewing bug.
I had to sew.
A lot.
I started out simply: overalls, pants and shirts for my boy.
Then moved on to more complex: dresses for me.
And blue jeans.
But that is not what this story is about . . .
From sewing practical, functional garments, my next logical progression was to the finer stitching.
My Mom would be so proud.
I got hooked, quite literally, on counted cross stitch.
Wall hangings.
I loved it.
Whenever there was a break in the day's routine . . . and even when there wasn't . . . I was back on the couch.
I should point out, here, that I had always been a 'night owl'.
Preferring the hours after my kids were in bed, to indulge in whatever pursuit was currently consuming me.
Usually reading.
Occasionally watching TV.
Now, my staying-up-in-the-evening time was taken up with those fine little needles and yards and yards of cotton floss.
I made dozens of beautiful pictures and hangings.
Working far into the night to complete some intricate piece.
It was a peaceful moment in time.
Until one evening.
Allow me to describe . . .
It was quiet there in the night.
Everyone in the household was asleep.
All the lights - save the one that snared me and my comfy armchair in a noose of gold - were off.
I worked silently away.
Consulted my pattern.
Switched colours.
Continued on.
Then I started to feel . . . creepy. Like someone was watching me.
I lifted my head. Peered intently into the shadows of the kitchen and hallway.
No one.
I went back to my stitching.
Again, that feeling came over me.
Again, I looked.
I was really starting to get spooked.
I tried to concentrate on my work.
I had only put in one stitch when I was nearly overwhelmed by the feeling that someone, somewhere, was silently watching.
I dropped my sewing into my lap and peered toward the kitchen.
Then I turned and looked the other way, into the living room.
And nearly died.
Two eyes were indeed staring at me.
From about two inches away.
I screamed and pressed one hand to my suddenly hammering heart.
It was then I realized that the two large, staring eyes belonged to my son's Bopo the Clown which was standing directly behind my chair.
The eyes didn't blink or move.
They didn't have to.
Just the sight of them staring at me out of the dim light was enough to totally shatter my night.
I did what any normal person would have done.
I 'bopped' Bopo in his large bulbous, red nose.
I hit him again.
Sigh. I felt marginally better.
But it was definitely time for bed . . .
The next evening found me back in my chair.
Needle firmly in hand.
And with Bopo turned forcefully to the wall.
Beauty definitely doesn't need a beast.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Apt-lee Named

The Family Lee, they have such fun
Finding names for everyone
Cause they are quite a clever crew,
Their names reflect the things they do…
There’s one who’s solemn as a stone
And Serious Lee, is how he’s known
And one who calls meat: carrion,
Broco Lee: vegetarian,
The one who always shows up late
Is Sudden Lee. You’ll have to wait,
Figures of Speech he just can’t see,
The cousin who’s named Literal Lee,
The one who is always throwing shade,
Sarcastic Lee, watch his tirades!
Definite Lee’s from shyness cured,
He’s the Lee who’s self-assured,
The one you always can foresee,
What else would he be? Usual Lee!
Then Happy Lee. He is so nice,
He gets you smiling in a trice!
There is the cousin in disgrace,
Called Shameful Lee right to his face!
Then, the last cousin, Exact Lee,
He likes all things done perfectly!

I had such fun with these good folk,
They certainly can take a joke!
And I will bless with grand espirit
The day I met the Fama Lee!

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?

Broiled or baked or fried or canned?
Avocados next week, we have planned!

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!)...

Cousins (July 24) Today!
Avocados (July 31)
Moonshine (August 7)
Roses (August 14)
Sea Monsters (August 21)
At the Beauty Parlour/Parlor (August 28)
Newspapers (September 4)
Remembering (September 11)
Cheeseburgers (September 18)
Dreams (September 25)

Sunday, July 23, 2023

My BBB's and Me

 It's that time again!
When I get to host my amazing blog sisters for Best of Boomer Bloggers!

First up is Carol of Carol A. Cassara, Writer:

You've probably seen those ads for Viking cruises. But are they as good as they look? Over on her blog, Carol Cassara tells you all about her latest Viking cruise--to Norway. Take a look at her Viking Cruise Review.

Next is Jennifer of Unfold and Begin:

We all have fears, some are big, some are small. But are you afraid of what other people think? This week, Jennifer, of Unfold and Begin, explores that fear and some steps to take to move past it.

Then Rebecca of

Are you into needlecraft? Rebecca Olkowski, with was given two kits to try out from a company that has been operating since 1746. Her mother, who was a seamstress, would occasionally enjoy a relaxing embroidery session. Rebecca does not have the patience that her mother had with needlework, but others who do will enjoy the gorgeous designs offered and featured on the TV reality show “Making It” with Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. 

You think you know a place, even if you’ve never seen it. After all, you’ve watched it on television. You’ve heard the music. You’ve tasted the food at the corner restaurant. But you don’t really know a city or country until you’ve walked its streets, seen its people, and breathed its air. That’s why traveling, for Laurie Stone at least, changes you in 7 surprising ways….

What’s been your experience ordering items advertised on Facebook? asks Rita R. Robison, consumer and personal finance journalist. Read about her two orders and why she’s unlikely to order from Facebook ads in the future.

Then finally, me! Diane of On the Border:

From the 'Don't Tell My Grandchildren' files...
Diane played hookey once.
With memorable results.
And it wasn't the sneakiness. Or the shopping. Or the amazing trouble she and her friends got into--because they didn't.
Nope. It was for the very last part of the day. As they were getting out of the truck...

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!

Grab and Add!

Search This Blog

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?