Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Trouble Indicated

 Firstly, because some people asked, Peter’s and my wedding plans are progressing, but that is a story for another day.
Today it’s all about Ivy Jean.
Who is walking.
Now in a normal household, this is cause for rejoicing.
In ours…
You have to remember that she is the exact double of Sally.
Exact. Double.
Right up to the mischief part.
Ivy Jean started crawling at about six months and immediately began getting into stuff.
Then she went almost immediately from crawling to toddling around, holding onto furniture.
Of course this meant putting everything higher and higher to get it out of the way.
Do you know the definition of a toddler? Someone two feet tall with an arm reach of eight feet?
Yeah. That was coined for Sally.
And lives on in Ivy Jean.
And the whole ‘putting things up’? It’s something we haven’t mastered yet.
And therein hangs a tale.
As the saying goes.
Back to Ivy Jean...
Yesterday, my baby sister came out of the bathroom, waving something clutched tightly in her chubby little hand.
I ran to her because 1. Peter-and-I-were-babysitting-due-to-Mom-and-Dad-having-to-go-out.
And 2. Ivy-Jean-wasn’t-supposed-to-be-in-the-bathroom-and-who-left-the-door-open?!
Okay, technically, Sally and Mort were also babysitting, but they had had something ‘important and secret to discuss’ (Sally’s words) and had left to go for a walk and hadn’t returned, so Peter and I were ‘it’.
I grabbed the ‘something’ out of Ivy Jean’s hand and stared at it. It was a home pregnancy indicator.
I turned it over.
I looked at Peter and my face must have been a picture because he slowly set his coffee cup on the table and stood up. “Gwen, what is it?”
“Didn’t Sally just finish making an appointment with the doctor?”
He frowned. “You mean just before she and Mort left?”
He shrugged. “I guess so. What’s up.”
I held out the indicator.
His eyes went wide. He looked at me. “Sally?”
“It must be.”
He sat down again. “Oh.”
“My thoughts exactly.”
“But she…” He didn’t finish that thought. “Could she…” He didn’t finish that one, either.
I rubbed my forehead. “Remember when she decided that getting a cat was a good idea?”
“And when she jumped out of that helicopter?”
“Or went after that would-be thief?” I looked down at the indicator. It hadn’t changed.
“And got caught hanging off a mountain in Hawaii?”
Of course, I had to tell him about some of these. He was the one fortunate person who missed most of them…
“Or when she got kidnapped?!” we said together.
“Sally, a mother,” I tapped my forehead. “I just can’t quite get my brain around it.”
Peter shook his head.
I got up to stir the squash soup bubbling on the stove.
And rescue Ivy Jean, who had given up trying to grab the indicator out of my hand and was now pushing a chair over to the kitchen counter.
Just then, the front door burst open and Sally and Mort burst in. “We have news!” Sally crowed.
I moved closer to Peter and he clasped my hand. I’m not sure, but I think each of us took a quick, sustaining breath and held it.
Sally opened her mouth, but Mort forestalled her. “We’re finally going to buy that ranch we’ve been looking at!” he shouted.
I blinked and Peter and I exhaled together. “Erm…what?”
“That ranch!” Sally said. “You know. That one we—”
Mom and Dad stepped into the room behind them, big grins on their faces. “We have news!” Mom crowed.
Dad walked over and scooped up Ivy Jean. “You’re going to be a big sister, Jean-Bean!” he announced excitedly.
Peter and I looked at each other.

Use Your Words is a writing challenge!
Each month, I exchange words with my friend and intrepid leader, Karen of Baking in a Tornado 
Neither of us knows what the other will do with her words.
This month, Karen gave me: 
squash ~ coffee ~ return ~ doctor ~ secret
Thank you, my friend!
Now go see what Karen did with my words!


Tuesday, November 14, 2023

An Ant Problem

Just as long as they keep on marching... somewhere I'm not...

The ants go marching one by one,
Hurrah. Hurrah.
The ants go marching one by one,
Hurrah. Hurrah.

The ants go marching one by one,
(The little one stops to suck his thumb)
And they all go

Marching down…
To the earth…to get out…of the rain…
Boom. Boom. Boom.
Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.

The ants go marching two by two,
Hurrah. Hurrah.
The ants go marching two by two,
Hurrah. Hurrah.

The ants go marching two by two,
(The little one stops to tie his shoe)
And they all go

Marching the earth…to get out…of the rain…
Boom. Boom. Boom.
Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.

The ants go marching three by three,
Hurrah. Hurrah.
Good grief! They’re marching three by three,
Hurrah. Hurrah.

The ants go marching three by three,
(The old one (me) stops to rest his knees)
And they all go

Marching the earth…to get out…of the rain…
Ugh. Boom. Boom.
Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.

The ants go marching four by four,
Hurrah. Hurrah.
The ants go marching four by four,
Hurrah-ing some more

They’re still marching
Still in fours.
Till the little one stops to shut the door…
They don’t stop and…boom.

The ants go marching five by five…
Hurrah! And various…
I think there’s more ants…five by five,
Yadda, etc.

See them marching five by five,
Little one checks. Is he still alive?
Lots more yaddas…out of the rain. Boom.

The ants go marching…I think we’re up to six now…
Little one stops to pick up sticks,

Okay, fine. I'll get back to the proper rhythm...

Those wretched ants in groups of seven!
Rah. Hoorah.
Seeing a problem? Groups of seven!
Seriously… Hoorah!

I promise sincerely, groups of seven,
I’ll mourn you forever
If you go to Heaven?
Please start marching down…

I mean up…

Ugh. They’re now marching eight by eight
They have…chutzpah,
But they’re still marching. Still in eights,
Let’s quit! I’m raw!

Look at them marching in ranks of eight,
You know, this song I’m starting to hate,
I’ll go marching down…to the earth…

To get away from the pain…erm rain.
Boom. Boom-ity. Boom.
Boom. Boom. Peaceful. BOOM.

Those ants go marching nine by nine,
Please give me strength,
They are marching nine by nine,
Those rows! Such length!

In even formations of nine by nine,
Oops. Someone fell and broke his spine,
But still marched down…
To the…boom.

The ants go marching ten by ten,
What a sight. I’m in awe.
The ants go marching ten by ten
I need…a chainsaw…

The ants go marching ten by ten,
I’ve got the RAID, let’s say, “Amen!”
And they all will stay there

Down…in the earth…
Forever out of the rain,
Boom, boom, boom
Today’s post is a word challenge! 
Each month Karen, Mimi or I choose a number between 12 and 50 and we three craft a post using that number of words one or multiple times.
This month’s number is: 19
It was chosen by Mimi of MessyMimi'sMeanderings!

Now go and see what my friends have created!


Monday, November 13, 2023

The Taste of Love

When I was young, with Mom I’d go,
To Gramma’s house. In sun or snow,
And there, in Gramma’s kitchen, find,
A treasure ‘f I was so inclined
Of wondrous foods. Such tasty fare,
I’d spend most waking minutes there,
And bask in what I understood
Was Gramma’s love. T’was sweet and good!
Then as the years went rolling past,
My own kids did appear at last,
And oft’ I took then with me when,
I went to my mom’s house. Therein
We’d find all sorts of yummy stuff,
In Gramma’s kitchen. N’er enough
To ever have them say, “We’re done!
I’m sure ‘elsewhere’ will be more fun!”
Cause just like me, they understood
That Gramma’s love bore tasty food.
And now, a gramma I’ve become,
I, cookies bake, or cakes of crumb,
Or breads or soups of boundless mien,
To feed the hordes when we convene,
And how I love to see the grins,
As they all eat, cause Gramma wins,
Why, just today my Twizzle said,
“I just love eating Gramma’s bread!”
And Emma-Gem of stature, small,
Said, “Gramma’s kitchen’s best of all!”
What have I learned from the above?
That Gramma’s kitchen just means ‘LOVE’

Photo Credit: Karen of
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 please come join with us,
As we all talk about The Bus!

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!)
Grandma's Kitchen (November 13) Today!
The Bus (November 20)
A Pet's Life (November 27)
Shoes (December 4)
Winter (December 11)
Cookies (December 18)
Christmas/Hanukkah/Holidays (Dec. 25)
The Future (January 1 My last Poetry Monday)

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