Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Saturday, April 21, 2018


Mom and Aunt Grace.
Making do. Even on holidays...
A friend told me a story.
A true one.
About his grandfather during the food rationing days of the Second World War.
The friend's grandmother had been to the grocery store and purchased, among other things, a new tin of pepper.
Which she set on the table.
Her husband picked it up and studied it for a moment. He looked at her and said, “This pepper is half peas!”
“Oh, for heaven's sake!” she said. “I thought I looked at it!”
I should explain, here, that, during the war, creative ways of extending food were discovered and explored. They called it ersatz. I'm not sure where the name came from, but it was expressive. Many different readily available foodstuffs were dried and powdered and added to other foods not so easily come by. Corn meal, for example, was widely used.
The use of dried peas, though not as usual, was not unheard of.
Back to my friend's story . . .
Another can of pepper was procured the next day.
Again, the grandfather picked up the little tin.
“Huh,” he said. “This one is half peas, too.”
His wife snorted in disgust. “Well, there's only one kind left,” she said. “I'll try that one tomorrow.”
She did.
She proudly set the third little tin on the table in front of her husband and proceeded to get his dinner.
He picked up the tin and peered at it closely. “Yep,” he said. “Half peas.”
“What?! I looked at it! Where does it say . . .” her voice trailed off.
Her husband was pointing at the 'Pepper' part of the label. “Here,” he said. “See? P-E-P-P-E-R. Half of the letters are P's.”
Oh. P's. Not peas.
She didn't upend the tin over him or anything drastic like that. I know I would have been tempted.
But I'm sure they had pepper to last until the turn of the century.
This story reminded me of my Mom . . .
Raised during the Depression years, Mom knew very well the days of rationing and going without.
She learned very early to 'make do”. And to purchase things quickly, when they became available.
She often spoke of a large, twenty-five pound tin of peanut butter, for example. Oil on peanut butter rises. The first two-thirds of the container were edible. The last third had to be run through a meat grinder to make it spreadable.
But they ate it.
Several large cans of cherry jam appeared at the local grocery. Her Dad quickly snapped one up.
At first, cherry jam was a treat.
Served at every meal, it became a bit tiresome.
Still, it disappeared.
In her own home, Mom tried to practice what she had been taught throughout her life. Waste not want not, she often told us.
Some of her attempts were successful.
Others . . . not so much.
When there was no milk cow on the place, she tried to extend the life of the milk container in the fridge by added powdered milk to it.
Fooling no one.
She tried purchasing the cheapest brand of peanut butter.
Unfortunately, her children hadn't been raised during the Depression and were finer-mouthed than their parents.
The cheaper peanut butter languished on the shelf.
Finally, in desperation, she bought the favourite kind. Which disappeared in a flash.
Coining the phrase, “I'm going to stop buying that peanut butter. You kids just eat it!”
She made her own roast beef sandwich spread by running cold roast beef through the meat grinder, along with some pickles. Then mixing in some mayonnaise.
That one was a hit. We kids loved sandwiches spread with beef and pickle hash.
I'm sure that, through the years, Mom saved our family a boatload of money with her careful ways.
Unfortunately, my children were even finer-mouthed than we had been.
One day, one of my kids saw her adding water to the ketchup.
I had seen her do that before. It made the ketchup a bit runnier, but still tasted okay.
The child was horrified and told all of his siblings.
And she became, forever, the grandma who put water in the ketchup. The lesson in frugality and making do was completely lost.
P.S. I've been known to put water in the ketchup, too. Don't tell my kids . . .

In other news: The blog Tour for A House Divided continues.
Christine Till, world famous Marketing Mentress, joined the fun!
Review of A House Divided

Friday, April 20, 2018


I popped the top off a bottle of guava juice yesterday.
I caught a whiff.
And that little whiff transported me, for just a second, to my Aunt Grace’s kitchen.
I’m not sure why. I’m fairly certain she didn’t keep bushels of guavas.
But nevertheless, that’s what happened.
My Aunt Grace wasn’t really my aunt. She was actually married to my Dad’s cousin. Which made her my dad’s cousin-in-law. And my second cousin-in-law? Sooo, Second-Cousin-In-Law Grace? ‘Aunt’ was just easier.
Aunt Grace and her family lived on the next farm to my family.
Which made us neighbours. A few miles apart.
I loved going to her house. Not only was her daughter, Jeannie, one of my best friends, but there were always good eats emerging from Aunt Grace’s huge kitchen.
Aunt Grace had a big bin that opened out from beneath her lower cupboards. A bin full of flour. I had never seen anything like it and thought it was the coolest thing ever. There also may have been a second bin full of sugar, but I’m not certain so you didn’t read it here.
Ahem . . .
She was what I call a ‘dump’ cook. She would take a bowl, dump a bunch of stuff in it (without measuring, I might add).
Aunt Grace, Far left.
It would be burnt on one end because the oven wasn’t level. But delicious everywhere else.
On the wall opposite the table, where one was guaranteed not to miss it, Aunt Grace had a cat clock. I know you’ve seen them. A small black and white cat. With a tail that swings as a pendulum and great, staring eyes that go back and forth with every tick.
It was quite hypnotic.
Jeannie and I spent a lot of time in that kitchen. Eating that food. Watching that clock.
Second from right.
Or simply stealing foodstuffs (ie. eggs) to add to our own amazing culinary mud masterpieces out in the yard.
Aunt Grace was fun, funny and had the best, most infectious laugh. She was a talented writer, a hoot

at parties and a warm and giving friend.
I loved being at her house. And I loved her.
She’s been gone nearly four years, but, for just a moment, she and her kitchen were as clear as if I had just seen them moments ago.
Amazing, isn’t it, what can flash through one’s mind from one. Single. Whiff.

Aunt Grace

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


They're getting more and more clever!
And not in a good way . . .
Yesterday, I received a call from 'Fed Ex'.
I put in the quotes because it really wasn't them.
Although it took a moment or two to realize it.
First, a little background . . .
A few months ago, Husby and I were floating about in the Caribbean in a tall ship.
The very best of all the world has to offer.
I accept no other opinions.
Ahem . . .
Two people on board that sailing were noted for their outstanding good sense, good humour, and outright willingness to make our trip the best ever.
Just FYI? They succeeded.
In an effort to try to repay just a little of what they had given us, we asked if we could send to their children (far, far away at home) a couple of my Christmas books.
Our offer was graciously received and addresses duly exchanged.
Move forward a couple of months . . .
I sent off my two little packages of books via my son, who works for Fed-Ex.
The real Fed-Ex.
All was well.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from someone claiming to be from that popular shipping company.
The conversation went something like this:
Her: "Hello, Mez Tolley. I am phoning to tell you that your package sent to xxxxxxxxx was deliverable because the recipient could not afford to pay the import tax and duties."
Me: "Whaaat? Why were there duties? It was a gift."
Her: "I don't know why there were duties."
Me: "How much is the bill?"
Her: "We need the amount of $560.00 East Caribbean Dollars."
Me: "For $15.00 worth of books?! That were a gift in the first place?! That's nuts!"
Her: "So how would you like to make the payment."
Me: "I wouldn't. Just send them back. This is stupid!"
Her: "I'll have someone call you tomorrow to see if we can clear this up."
Me: "Do that."
I'm still waiting for my call . . .

On a better note:
The book tour for my newest book, A House Divided, starts today!
Here is a link to the first reviewer, Minette of  Southern Belle Charm.
Thanks so much, Minette!
I'll love you forever!
Southern Belle Charm

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Ready to go.
Pictured L to R: Anita, Blair, Dad, George, Jerry,
Missing: Mom, Chris, Diane and the potty.
Traffic has slowed to a crawl. Not a usual thing for a small, semi-hard-topped, two lane, secondary road twisting through the foothills of Southern Alberta.
The Stringams join the end of a line of cars.
Dad peers ahead through the windshield. "Huh. Weird." 
"What on earth could be causing this?" Mom spits on a Kleenex and starts to scrub the face of her youngest son. "Careful with that chocolate bar, son, you're getting it on your father."
"Can't see, yet. But the line will be straightening out soon and . . . ah!"
The line has done so and disclosed the culprit.
A house.
White clapboard.
Two storey.
Not something you see in the middle of the road every day.
Usually that's reserved for bungalows . . .
The house creeps along. The Stringams creep along behind it, more cars joining them every minute or so like the growing tail of some large, unwieldy monster.
"Mom! I have to go potty!" Little brother, Blair, is standing on the front seat and has started doing the dance.
"I wonder if he knows we're here." Mom pulls the potty out from under her seat. "You'll just have to go while we're moving, dear. We don't want to lose our place in line."
Right. Because the Stringams will be left behind as the rest of the line of traffic moves off at 10 MPH?
"Mom! I hate going when the car is moving!"
"Well, try not to miss." She turns to Dad. "How long till the turn?" 
"At this rate? About three days."
The family is heading to the relatives for dinner. Mom and Dad are beginning to hope that their food tastes 'just as good the second day'.
Mom opens her car door and dumps out the potty, then wipes it out with the spit Kleenex, stuffs it back under her seat and drops the used tissue into her handy-dandy paper bag trash receptacle.
She glances around at her brood. Four are scattered across the wide back seat.
Important note: Seatbelts and safety measures haven't been invented yet.
Jerry and George are arguing over a car magazine. Chris and Diane are reading. Diane is getting rather green around the gills.
Mom frowns. Might be a good time to distract Diane. She glances out the window, hoping to spot some horses. The only thing known to pull Diane from a book.
Blair is now happily parked in the front seat between Mom and Dad, looking at the pictures in one of his brother's comic books.
Anita is perched on Mom's knees, nose against the window and half-filled bottle of cream soda in her lap.
"Mom! I wanna drink!" George has given up trying to wrench the magazine from his older brother and is now sitting with his arms crossed on the back of the front seat.
"Okay. I just get one here . . ." Mom mimes taking a glass and turning on a tap. "There you go!"
"Mom! A real drink! Of Pop!"
Dad glances back at his second son. "There'll be plenty of pop in the well when we get there!" 
"You can have some of mine!" Anita offers her bottle.
George looks at the pale-pink liquid that started out a brilliant red and makes a face. "That's okay. I can wait."
"Mom? I'm car sick!" Diane has emerged from her book on her own.
Not a good sign.
Again the potty comes into play. Diane now sits with it on her lap.
"How much further?" Chris has come up for air.
"A year or two," Dad again leans forward and peers through the front windshield.
"I'll tell a story!" Mom volunteers. She proceeds to drag out her Reader's Digest and regale the family with a humorous gem about being raised in the ghettos of New York.
The story winds down and she closes the magazine.
George sighs. "I'm bored."
Mom blinks. That was fast. Then her face lights up. "Let's play a game! How about 20 questions?"
Jerry drops his magazine to the floor. "Okay! I've got it!"
"Animal, vegetable or mineral?"
"Is it dead?"
"Hey! You can't have maybes! Only 'yes' or 'no'!"
The game is played to its usual conclusion.
And another round starts.
Blair and Anita have fallen asleep.
Mom rescues the offensive cream-soda bottle just before it tips over. She again opens her car door and discretely empties it out onto the road.
Diane imagines, for a moment what it must be like to follow the Stringam's car at 10 MPH. Heads bobbing about. Car door opening periodically to expel various fluids.
"Oh, look!" Dad grins and points. "The house is pulling over!"
Mom laughs. "Now that's not something you hear often!"
Mom always manages to keep her sense of humour. It's a gift.
Slowly, the line of cars begins to pull out around the house like a stream finding its way around a large, recently-dropped stone.
Dad pulls up beside the house driver and gestures to Mom, who rolls down her window. "Why don't you get a travel trailer, like everyone else?" he shouts with a grin. 
"I'm so sorry!" the driver shouts back. "Were you following me long?"
About four years, three months, twenty-one days, and thirteen hours, Dad thinks. "Oh, no. Not long!" 
They wave to each other and the Stringam car moves off.
Just another family car trip.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Bobbi Cow. And Me.

The best season of the year when one lives on a ranch.
And as seen through my mother's eyes.
A poem by Enes Stringam . . .

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

God planned to make things new and bright,
That's why He made the spring.
When birds and creatures everywhere,
Their sweet new babies bring.

Bobbi Cow, some years before,
Was born on icy ground;
Froze her tail and ears right off,
Before the calf was found.

We called her pet;
She had a fearsome face.
Now she and I were bound here in
An anxious, awesome race.

All through winter, cold and dark,
Mother creature’s bellies grew.
Embarrassed, but a little proud,
I blushed for mine did, too.

All of the cowboys' bets were on,
As to who would win the race;
The boss' wife or Bobbi Cow—
The milk cow on the place.

One by one, the days groaned by,
As I suffered all their cheer.
"Bobbi Cow will win, you'll see!
Her time is very near!"

Every day I stroked her side,
Lamenting the ways of women.
She switched her tail and tossed her head,
Her only thought was winnin'!

On that night, I tossed and turned,
There was no thought of resting,
Within the womb, the baby stirred,
The time had come for nesting.

We fired up the four-wheel-drive,
Just at the crack of dawn,
With wheels spinning and sparks a-fly,
The mighty race was on.

Each of us was sure she'd win,
The adrenaline flowed all day,
Me, in the delivery room,
And Bobbi in the hay.

Bobbi, then, received her cue,
(The same as her archrival,)
Urged on by a wildly cheering crew,
As they watched her calf's arrival.

And in the bright delivery room,
I pushed with all my might,
Afraid the babe would not be born,
And choke to death this night.

My hair and gown were soaked with sweat,
My strength began to fade,
And then one last colossal push,
Out popped our howling babe!

Then, suddenly, the race was done,
But who really cares who wins?
As I cuddled my darling baby girl,
And Bobbi licked her twins.

There were no losers, only champs,
It was a tie, you see.
A miracle and a Mother's love,
Transformed the cow. And me.

Bobbi and I declared a draw,
Both wiser and both thinner;
The light of love shone in our eyes,
Each one of us a winner!

Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we three besought,
To try to make the week begin,
With gentle thoughts--perhaps a grin?
So Jenny and Delores, we,
Now post our poems for you to see.
And when you’ve read what we have brought,
Did we help? Or did we not . . .

It's warm! 
Come back next week for fun,
When all three welcome Mr. Sun!

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Dad and 'The Help'.

In the cattle world, when animals are ‘taken to market’, it’s usually advisable to get them there the night before the actual auction.
That way they can ‘shrink up’ (lose some of their water weight) before the auctioneer’s gavel is raised.
Enough background . . .
The heifers were due at the auction market that evening.
And there was only Dad to get them from pasture to corral.
Then from corral into truck.
With two people, it would be an easy procedure.
Dad gave it some quick thought. Then walked quickly to the ranch house and conscripted Mom, who was just slightly pregnant with their first baby.
It was actually easier than it sounds. Mom, though usually busy with the household chores, was always eager for a breath of outside air and a chance to spend time with Dad in the barnyard.
She pulled on her boots and followed him happily.
Mom stared longingly at the saddle horses as they walked by, but shrugged and continued to follow Dad when he said, “This’ll be easy. It should only take a few minutes. We can do it on foot.”
Later, after three hours of galloping around, trying to follow Dad’s shouted instructions as the ten heifers ran in ten different directions, a sweating and exhausted Mom flopped down on the cool grass and decided she’d just stay there forever. Those wretched heifers had outfoxed, outwitted and outrun her for the last time.  “Stupid animals!” she said to no one in particular. “I hope they drop dead!”
When she heard nothing from Dad, she sat up.
Seated on his favourite horse, he was gently bringing the little herd into the corral. Man and skillful horse accomplished the impossible task in seconds.
Mom groaned, stood up on rubbery legs and walked over to where Dad was struggling to lift the stock rack on the truck. “Need some help?” she asked hesitantly.
He gave her an eyebrows raised ‘what could you do?’ look.
“Ummm . . . I could help you grunt,” she whispered.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Flying Boots

Mom and kids at the 'front' entrance.

Dad and kids at the 'back'.
Behind that door? The Stairway.
New, still-unfinished house.
Large family.
Little kids.
What could possibly go wrong . . .?
The House-in-Town was nearing completion.
Now you have to know that the Mark and Enes Stringam family had always been ranch dwellers. And that said ranch was 20 miles from town.
The older kids were in school, necessitating much driving back and forth along that always-adventurous 20 miles of—depending on the day—gravel, mud, ruts and/or dust.
99 % of it driven by Mom with four little kids in her car.
My parents came up with a unique solution: Build a house in town and move the family there. Thus, instead of Mom driving to the town and back, Dad would be driving to the ranch and back.
Less people in the car.
And no little kids.
Back at the house, there were a few things that still needed doing—floor coverings. Doors to be hung. Cosmetics, really.
In mid-1956, the family moved in just in time for school.
Things started out well.
Dad off to the ranch each morning.
Older two kids off to school.
Mom, toddler and very mobile baby at home.
Now one of Mom’s biggest worries was the long stairway to the basement. Bare, wooden steps.
And no door at the top.
She barricaded it as best she could with a wooden child’s gate at the top.
But with workers and other family members going up and down, keeping said gate where it should be was . . . difficult.
Now George, nearing three years old, was fascinated by boots. Particularly his mother's, which he found easy to slip on and off. And Mom, neatness person that she was, insisted that all boots be removed and stored just inside the ‘back’ entrance.
I should probably point out that this entrance was ‘back’ only because it was secondary, not because of location. In reality, it opened into the house only a few yards from the ‘front’ entrance.
Directly onto the stairway going down.
That same stairway that didn’t have a door.
Thus George playing with the Boots was, by necessity, near the Stairway.
I take a long way to get where I’m going, don’t I . . .?
Suddenly, Mom heard the unmistakable sound of a small body thumping and bumping down the stairs.
In an instant, she knew what had happened—toddler, boots, stairs—and went into ‘flight’ mode. Reaching the bottom just shortly after her son.
It could have been far worse with those rough, unfinished steps. But George emerged with only bumps, bruises and fear.
The remarkable thing?
The little soldier kept his boots on.
Both of them.
Right through the scuffle. 
I guess we all hang onto what's important.
Well done, little soldier. Well done.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Half Baked

The greatest food fight in the history of the world. (Credit: The Great Race.)

Mother stopped in the kitchen doorway.
The look on her face would have been comical, if it wasn’t so . . . not.
Uh-oh. Busted.
I glanced sideways at Sally and she looked at me. I dropped the lime I was holding and it hit the floor with a wet ‘plop’.
Mom stepped inside the room, then stopped again. She was staring down at the floor.
I, too looked down. A large puddle of . . . something that may once have been butter ended right where mom’s white tennis shoes began.
Ummm . . .
She lifted her head and looked right at Sally and me. I was pretty sure I knew what was coming next. “I knew something was up when the doggo came running out of the room with his tail between his legs!”
Nope I guess I was wrong.
“How did this happen?”
Bingo! That’s the one!
I glanced again at Sally. I could see the corners of her mouth turn up slightly.
Mine did the same.
“We . . . ummm . . . we were baking a cake,” Sally began, rather timidly. Just then the timer ‘dinged’ on the stove. She nodded toward it. “See?”
Mom waved a hand, taking in the liberally bedaubed cupbards, walls and floors. “Is this a usual ‘cake-baking’ technique?” Her voice was deceptively calm.
“Ummm . . .” I began. Again Sally and I looked at each other. “I’m going to hazard a ‘no’?”
“And you’d be right!”
“Which is wrong on so many levels I can’t possibly count them!”
Again she waved a hand. “So? How did this happen?”
I scratched my cheek, then realized something was dripping down my face. I looked at my fingers. Was that egg?
“Gwen? Sally?”
“We were baking a cake,” Sally said again.
Mom raised her eyebrows. “And?”
“And things got out of hand,” I volunteered.
Mom nodded. “I can see that.”
I got a paper towel and wiped my face. Yep. Egg. And quite possibly milk. I frowned as I tried to remember the exact chain of events that had led us to the present situation. “I was looking in the fridge for the eggs.”
“And I was trying to find the cinnamon,” Sally added.
“And I found them.”
“And so did I.”
“And I dropped one.”
“Right on my head.”
I looked at Sally. “It was totally an accident.”
Mom interrupted there. “How can you accidentally drop an egg on your sister’s head?”
“Well, I was carrying the container and I had to lift it to get past her and it . . . sort of . . . tipped.” I demonstrated.
Mom snorted. “Sort of tipped.”
“Yeah. And then an egg fell on Sally and—you know—broke open. And then Sally said I did it on purpose, but I really didn’t.”
“She totally did!” Sally broke in. “I mean, why lift it over my head. Why not just go around?” She picked up the container of cinnamon and smiled. “And then I accidentally—sort of—spilled the cinnamon in her direction.”
“In her direction.” Mom folded her arms.
“Yeah. And it—sort of—got on her. You know.”
“I’m beginning to.”
“And then Gwen got the flour,” Sally said.
I made a face at her. “And you got the butter.”
“There might have been a bit of oil in there somewhere.”
“And a couple more eggs.” I rubbed at my face with the paper towel again.
“And a few limes.”
“I know for sure there was a least one cup of milk.”
Sally grinned. “At least one because your hair has reached the saturation point.”
I touched my dripping head. She was right.
Mom said something under her breath.
“Language, Mom,” I said.
Mom puffed up like a toad. “I get to say whatever I want! You two fruit bats have made your last mess!” She took a long breath. “Now clean this up!” She waved a hand. “I don’t care how long it takes. I don’t care how you do it. Get it clean!”
“Could we have a piece of cake first?” I asked.
Mom threw her hands into the air. “Aarrgh!”
“I’m guessing that means no?”
She turned and left.
Sally and I looked at each other.
I gave her a slow grin and tossed an egg up into the air a couple of times.

Each month, a intrepid group of writers submits a series of random words to Karen of Baking in a Tornado. She then re-distributes them to the others in the group.
My words this months were: butter ~ lime ~ saturation ~ doggo ~ language

And they were submitted by:  Climaxed         
This is so much fun!
Hop over and see what the others have done!

My Brand of Crazy

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Toast to You

Mom’s Breakfast. The best meal of the day.
Not including all the other meals . . .
Radio blaring out the latest country song and today’s beef auction prices.
Bacon sizzling on the stove and blasting the aroma of sweet deliciousness into the atmosphere.
Perfect eggs beaming their ‘sunny-side-up’ smile.
Potatoes in a steaming, melty-cheese mound.
And the unmistakable sound of a sharp knife scraping with purpose over a piece of burnt toast. Eliminating all signs of black, way-overdone-ness.
For all my childhood, that’s how I thought toast was made. Burnt black, then scraped back to the desired colour and texture required by whomever it was being made for.
Imagine my surprise to marry, receive a toaster that had more than just a ‘char’ setting, and discover a world of levels of toasty done-ness.
Move ahead several years . . .
Last night, my daughter and her family were over for supper.
I made a big pot of rich, creamy cauliflower-cheese soup.
Of which there is no more delicious soup on the planet.
I’m quoting my daughter, of course.
She was in charge of the garlic toast.
Made in the oven to the perfect level of . . . perfect-ness.
We got talking.
It’s what we do.
I sniffed. “I think that toast is done.”
Daughter: “Oh, man!” There was a bit of scrambling and a pan of blackened pieces of bread pulled from the oven. “Well, I guess garlic toast is out of the question.”
“Not so fast!” I grabbed a sharp knife, the first piece of toast, walked over to the sink and started scraping. In no time, it had been restored to a lightly-browned, perfectly-toasted state. I handed it back to her.
She stared. “Really?”
I grabbed the second piece and re-enacted the scenario.
Still slightly doubtful, she started buttering that first slice.
Soon, we had a platter full of fairly appetizing, hot, buttery garlic toast.
Now granddaughter had been watching the entire process. And proclaimed her profound doubt as to the eat-ability of the end result.
In strident six-year-old tones.
She finally took a tiny, tentative bite. “Hey! It’s really good!”
She finished her piece and reached for another.
I like to think of it as ‘toast resuscitation’.
Yep. My mama weren’t no dummy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Really Wild

We had the grandkids over,
Our intrepid little band,
A treasure hunt, some laser tag.
We’d lots of fun things planned.

I said, “The sky’s the limit!”
As they started Seek and Hide,
Cause for this day, this gramma
Walked on her wild side!

We scrambled through the brush,
While hunting one and all,
Then scrambled through again,
Looking for our only ball.

We piled in the car,
To play some laser tag,
We ‘weaseled’ through the hurdles
And Gramma waved the flag.

We stopped and ordered pizza,
It just seemed apropos,
Then piled in the car again,
And headed for a show.

Now when the movie finished,
'Twas such a lot of fun,
We got back in the car again,
Cause none of us were done.

We headed back t’wards home,
We weren’t quite finished yet.
We had donuts yet to make,
And records yet to set.

And then the kids were gone,
Their parents took them back,
The house was bare and quiet,
As outside, the skies went black.

This walking on the wild side,
Though much to be desired,
And fun the while it lasted,
Makes Gramma really tired!

Each month we have a topic,
Once Karen's led the way.
So tell me, now you've finished,
How did we do today?

Karen of Baking In A Tornado: Wild Side
Dawn of Cognitive Script: Walking Wild
Lydia from Cluttered Genius: Wild Child
Jenn from Sparkly Poetic Weirdo: Wildly Cautious
Sarah of My Brand of Crazy: The Wild Ride

All of My Friends

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.

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Compass Book Ratings

Compass Book Ratings

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
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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?!

About the Mom

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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
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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
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