Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, December 15, 2023


Sally and Mort are moving.
No. Seriously. They bought that ranch they were looking at and are planning a move just after Christmas.
Part of me tingles with anticipation at the thought.
Imagine. A life without the constant worry at the back of your brain about what mischief Sally is getting into somewhere under the roof you share.
Okay, you’re right. Of course, I will still worry. It will just be from a longer distance.
And maybe one step removed.
I have to admit I love the ranch. Space features large in describing it: Large house. Large barns. Large pastures.
Large trees surrounding the house and barns and pastures.
I haven’t been there a lot. Peter and I have been planning our wedding so Sally and Mort have been traveling back and forth on their own—or with Dad—supervising the ongoing renovations.
Because of course, one must renovate to make a house one’s own.
Or maybe they’re just redoing everything in cast iron or plastic.
Sally will be living there after all.
Anyways, between their excitement, and Peter’s and mine, and Mom and Dad’s over their anticipated next baby, there hasn’t been even a remotely unhappy face in our house for weeks!
In fact, it’s hard to recall the last moment we may have felt the least bit negative.
Until today…
You have to know that, when Sally celebrates, she c e l e b r a t e s. The whole enchilada. Nothing stinted.
And she is really anticipating moving into her ranch.
So I know there will be celebratory…erm…stuff.
A brass band. Maybe a parade.
Okay, I’m exaggerating about the brass band and the parade.
But the fireworks? Real.
Sally had a big box of them sitting between the beautiful little storage shed near the house and the fence that ran along the closest pasture.
A fence none of us realized was electrified.
Something like this could only happen in movies.
Or in Sally’s life.
Of course, this was the day that Peter and I decided to visit and ooh and aah over the progress being made.
Dad and Mort were over by that box of fireworks. Dad was investigating them—seeing what they needed to be safely set off.
He’s like that.
Mort was playing with his new lighter.
Because of course he would be playing with a lighter in the one spot in all of creation where it really wasn't the smart thing to do.
Here is where I admit I have no idea why Mort has a new lighter. He doesn’t smoke. And neither does anyone in our family. I’m thinking it has something to do with being on a ranch now and needing to be able to ‘live off the land’ at a moment’s notice.
Anyways, he and Dad were talking while Dad investigated and Mort…flipped.
Then Dad went to stand up. And reached out, naturally, for the top strand of that fence.
That none of us realized was electrified.
Till then.
Dad is made of tough stuff—former marine and all that—but he wasn’t ready for the charge that shot through him.
I swear his hair stood on end. He jumped and shook and beat a rapid tattoo on the ground with his heels.
And that’s when things really fell apart.
Trying to get his balance, he reached out rather blindly for something to hold onto and again grabbed the wire.
This time, his arms shot out.
The one hit Mort right in the glasses.
Then knocked the lighter from his hand.
Said lighter then arched—with uncanny accuracy—straight into the box of fireworks.
The resultant fireworks show could be seen clear back in the city.
Or so I’m told.
Dad and Mort barely escaped with their hides intact.
The side of the shed is toast.
And Sally is quite disappointed that she missed the whole thing.
Not one to leave things undone, I understand that she’s on her way into the city to procure more fireworks.
I probably should warn you that, if our family can accomplish that kind of damage without Sally, just imagine what will happen with her present.
May heaven smile on us all.

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: 
undone ~ recall ~ unhappy ~ glasses ~ tattoo
Thank you, my friend!
Now go see what Karen did with my words!

Monday, December 11, 2023

Snow Boots

He went out as the morning sun,
Made new snow glisten bright.
The world was still, the air was cold
The storm passed with the night.

He carefully prepared his mount
With blankets and with tack,
The snow had stopped, the wind had died
He had cattle now to check.

The two of them moved carefully
Into the world of white.
Their breath streamed out behind them
Making clouds in morning light.

But it wasn’t long before he stopped
And looked about him there.
Then pulled his ‘cell phone from his coat
And dialed his wife with care.

“Hi, Hon!” he said with chatt’ring teeth,
Just thought I’d give a call,
To let you know I’m heading back,
Things don’t look good at all.”

“The snow out here’s too deep,” he said.
“It’s cold and wet, I’ve found.
It’s reached the tops of both my boots
It’s hard to get around.”

His puzzled wife said to her man.
“Your boot tops aren’t tall.
“I don’t see how a drift that deep
Could hamper you at all.”

Her husband frowned, “They don’t,” he said.
“Well, they don’t bother me.
But this poor horse I’m sitting on.
He simply cannot see.”
Daddy in winter . . .

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, my favourite thing of all...
It's COOKIES. Join us, have a ball!

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!)
Winter (December 11) Today!
Cookies (December 18)
Christmas/Hanukkah/Holidays (Dec. 25)
The Future (January 1 My last Poetry Monday)

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?