August 9, 2013
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These last few days before Thanksgiving, I have been thinking about Thanksgivings past, those days when my siblings and I were growing up on the ranch.
For some years now, our family members have been leaving notes to one another on the dining room table, usually on the placemat where that person usually sits at mealtime. This note-leaving activity became more important after our sons and their families moved away from Craig.
“The Silkworm,” written by Robert Galbraith, is the second Cormoran Strike novel. The book, for adults, is published by Mulholland Books, Little, Brown, and Company (2014). Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. Her first Cormoran novel was “The Cuckoo’s Calling.”
With all my appointments and paperwork, I don’t have a lot of time to bake. This week, however, my car is going to be in the shop for repair of its heater (and not a bit too soon), so I’m going to stay home a little more — at least for a few days.
The weather has been so mild, and suddenly (within minutes it seems), it has turned cold. So all day I’ve been keeping track of what it’s like to try to adapt to the frigid temperatures here at Pipi’s Pasture, and the following is what I included in my notes.
A couple of weeks ago, while I was at Downtown Books in Craig, I was delighted to find a brand new book by Craig Johnson. He is the author of 10 bestselling novels set in Absaroka County, Wyoming and featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire. The books are so popular that they have inspired “Longmire,” the A&E drama series, starring Robert Taylor. Johnson’s new book, “Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories,” is published by Viking Penguin (2014).
My little cottage office is located in our front yard, right next to Pipi’s Pasture. My son Jamie designed and built the office for me some years ago, and I love it.
This column features one more recipe in the pumpkin butter category, but this one is a little different. It is for “Pumpkin Preserves.”
The artwork for “The Midnight Library, “ written and illustrated by Kazuno Kohara, is striking, indeed. The pages are done entirely in light orange, dark blue, and black, and the combination of colors makes the midnight setting feel very real. This 2014 picture book is intended for young readers.
Sidney Sheldon was a master storyteller, the author of over 20 hard-to-put-down (for me, impossible-to-put-down) best-selling novels. Besides novels, he wrote screenplays for 23 motion pictures, and produced and directed four television series. He is the only writer to have won an Oscar, a Tony and an Edgar!
I’ve always enjoyed the Halloween time of year, mostly because I like pumpkins and scarecrows and all of the other decorations that go along with it. These days kids mostly spend Halloween in Craig where they trick or treat downtown or attend church parties, but we still leave the porch light on when Halloween night rolls around and have treats on hand — just in case.
In September, I reviewed “Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece” — a children’s book by Patricia Polacco. Then recently, while at the Moffat County Library, I found another new book by Polacco. This book, like many of the other author’s books, is taken from her heritage. So I couldn’t help but review it, too.
Each change of season means a change in routine for ranchers and the getting-ready chores that go along with it. Right now, for example, livestock is being moved home from where the animals pastured over the summer. And before they can be moved home, fences along fall pasture have to be checked and hay yards buttoned up.
“How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?” was written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. It’s an older book (copyright 2007) but no matter — it’s a great read. This book has lots of information about pumpkins and a message for readers besides.
I’ve been doing livestock-related chores a good part of my life, and I’ve had my mishaps, incidents that have turned out being a little messy but otherwise not serious. Most of them have been due to bad judgment on my part. My family thinks I need a flag so I can wave it when I get into trouble.
Most people know Robin Roberts as a co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Before that, she was a long-time anchor at ESPN — for 15 years, as a matter of fact. When Roberts was a child, her mother used to say, “Everybody’s got something.”
This week’s book for readers ages 8 to 12 is very special. It’s the young readers edition of “Pay It Forward.” The adult version of the novel, same title, was written by author Catherine Ryan Hyde 14 years ago. That book was an international best-seller, and it became a major motion picture.
Last week, my sister Darlene Blackford, who lives in Rocky Ford, sent me a clever picture book for children. She thought that my Children’s Literature (college) students and I would enjoy the book. We did enjoy the book — very much — and appreciated the creativity that went into writing and illustrating the story.
“Meeker” was written by Kristin Bowen and is the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series. The book became available Sept. 1. It is a collection of over 200 vintage photographs showcasing the White River Valley.
“Leave it to a cow” are words that you might hear around a ranch. Roughly translated, the words mean: “A cow might do anything” or “When the unexpected happens, a cow is probably involved.”
Can you imagine growing a watermelon so big that the hollow rind can be used as a hay shed or growing tomatoes so big that you have to climb a ladder to saw them off the vines? That’s how big the garden produce grows on the ranch at By-Golly Gully, Texas.
Last week, I read three novels for adults, and all three kept me engrossed to the very last page. This week’s “Prather’s Pick” features one of the books. (I’ll do the others eventually.) “Last to Know” was written by Elizabeth Adler, the author of 29 novels. The publisher is Minotaur Books (2014).
This week’s column was inspired by our son Jamie. It happened when we were talking about the hurried lives we all have and sometimes not taking the time to notice the small things.
This week’s book is a cleverly done photographic picture book. The author is Terry Border who is well-known for his intriguing photography that involves the use of common everyday objects such as food, wire, paper clip, tape and others.
School will be starting in a little over a week, and people are wondering, “Where did the summer go?” The rush is on to buy school clothes and back-to-school supplies and to perhaps do some of the things that were planned for summer but didn’t get done.
I’ve been a fan of Gary Paulsen’s books for years. If I counted the titles of his works, listed inside his newest book, correctly, he has written about 53 books, mostly for young people but some fiction and nonfiction for adults — and some picture books besides.
I love the fall season, and it seems to me that there are already signs of the seasonal change. Mostly it’s a feeling, I guess, but I’ve been trying to pinpoint the signs.
“My name is Alter Wiener, and I am an ordinary person with an extraordinary past.” That’s the way “Gifts from the Enemy” begins. The picture book for children was written by Trudy Ludwig, and the beautiful oil painting illustrations were done by Craig Orback. White Cloud Press is the publisher.
I was talking to my sister Darlene Blackford of Rocky Ford this past week, and the conversation came around to county fairs. Darlene, whose sons Adam and Brian have graduated from college, remembers one year when Adam received a beautiful jacket for having the Grand Champion chickens at their county fair.
Esther, the almost-10-year-old leading character in this week’s featured book, wants to be accepted by her mother. Ma, a superstitious woman, seems to push Esther away when the girl wants a hug, even though she hugs the other siblings in the family. So Esther vows to do whatever it takes to get her mother’s approval.
I think that we sometimes tend to take our body parts for granted. Take our opposable thumbs, for example. Have you ever tried to do something without using your thumb — like writing, for example, or grasping a glass of water? There are so many ways that we use these wonderful thumbs!
Author Lou Dean is a Northwest Colorado resident, living at Blue Mountain, near Dinosaur. That’s where she writes — a lot. She has written numerous articles for major magazines and eight books, which include memoirs, young adult novels, and nonfiction.
During the summer, lots of people look forward to camping out. Sleeping in a tent, sitting around a campfire, fishing and cooking outdoors are just some of the highlights.
I assume that most of my “From Pipi’s Pasture” readers have figured out that I enjoy taking care of my cattle — for that matter, I enjoy rural life in general. However, readers may not know that I have been a teacher for over 40 years, and I love that part of my life, too.
Some recent stories in the Craig Daily Press have covered changes in open class entries for the upcoming Moffat County Fair. So, if you have just moved to Moffat County — or if you have lived here for some time but have never exhibited anything at the fair — you might be wondering what “open class” is all about.
This week’s novel for adults begins in Paris, France on an autumn evening in 1962. Eby and George Pim are on their honeymoon. Although they were supposed to be gone two weeks, the newlyweds have been gone four months.
My garden is just pitiful this year. I planted seeds too late and left bedding plants inside too long, all because I was worried about frost.
Summer! It’s what we yearned for back in January when the weather was cold and snowy and the roads were icy. It’s what we yearned for in May when it rained, snowed and frosted. Summer is finally here!
Most busy parents leave their children with Grandpa and Grandma at one time or another so that the grandparents can “babysit” their grandchildren. However, the children might look at babysitting the other way around. “How to Babysit a Grandma,” by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish, was brought to my attention by my sister, Darlene Blackford, who lives in Rocky Ford. Darlene conducts workshops for early childhood teachers so she’s always looking for children’s books that she can use.
If you enjoy reading mysteries, the kind that have you sitting on the edge of your chair as the tension builds, then this week’s novel for adults is for you.
It’s nearly the Fourth of July here at Pipi’s Pasture, and I’ve been trying to remember how we celebrated the holiday when my sisters, brother and I were growing up on the ranch at Morapos. I’ve talked to my sisters; I’ve talked to my brother. Nothing much stands out. I think it’s because July is a busy time of year for ranchers, and in those days we couldn’t afford to take the time off to celebrate.
Sally Beauchamp, children’s librarian at the Moffat County Library, brought this week’s book to my attention a while back. “My Country ‘Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights” is a picture book intended for children, but I learned a lot while reading the book, and I’ll bet other adults will, too.
Blueberries are a favorite at our house. This week’s column features a cheesecake with blueberry pie filling spread over the top. Although I haven’t tried it, I think that you might substitute another kind of pie filling — like cherry, for example.
This summer, I’m helping two mother cows feed their calves — at least for a while. The calves are nursing on their moms; the cows are nurturing their calves, but I’m not sure just how much milk the babies are getting.
“A Boy and a Jaguar” is the true story of Alan Rabinowitz who, as a boy, struggled with stuttering. The book’s beautiful illustrations, rendered in acrylic and charcoal, were done by painter Catia Chien.
Yesterday morning when I was at the corral doing chores, I heard the sounds coming from a litter of brand new kittens — a late batch of kittens, perhaps. The baby cries were coming from a stack of hay bales, and my first thought was, “Oh, no! Kittens in a hole between the hay bales. I’ll have to move the kittens around before long!”
This week’s book for adults starts out as if it’s fiction, but the book is a true story of the incredible rescue of 50 children from Nazi Germany. Gil and Eleanor Kraus, an American couple, spearheaded the rescue, which turned out to be “the single largest group of unaccompanied children brought to America.”
Whew! It’s been a busy week here at Pipi’s Pasture, but we finally have the cattle settled for summer, and we’re starting to get the garden planted. I’m even beginning to get a ton of work-related paperwork under control. Next week things should calm down a little bit.
Each Moffat County spring is similar to the last, yet unique in its own way. The uniqueness has to do with the weather “events” that take place in winter and early spring.
From time to time, while watching the news or special documentaries on television, we learn about the auto makers’ plans for cars of the future. We’ve heard about cars that run on discarded vegetable oil and cars that run on natural gas, but I’ll bet that you’ve never heard of a car that runs on a “ton of sauerkraut” or spaghetti or a car that is carried from place to place by a bunch of balloons or large rubber bands.
We don’t have a chicken house here at Pipi’s Pasture. We don’t have any chickens or any other poultry, for that matter, but for some reason I’ve been remembering the old chicken house on the Morapos ranch where my siblings and I grew up.
Children love “big words” (like the names of dinosaurs), and the funnier-sounding the words are, the better they like them. Besides that, the book is highly imaginative and colorful, and the “beastie” characters in the book aren’t scary at all. I think kids will enjoy having the book read to them over and over again.
This week, I took a couple of recipes out of a looseleaf notebook that I’ve kept for more years than I want to admit. These recipes were given to me by my mom, Judy Osborn.
Right now, turning the cows out onto summer pasture is what’s on the minds of our family members — and the cows.
Terry Carwile, of Craig, recommended this week’s book. It’s the true story of an incredibly strong, talented and spunky woman who found a unique way to provide for her 10 children. “The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less” was written by Terry Ryan.
Kids have terrific imaginations if they’re encouraged to use them. Some of our most fun play came when my siblings and I found a way to “make do” with whatever we had, wherever we were.
Rebecca Winter, the leading character of this week’s novel, is a well-known photographer; in fact, she’s the youngest person ever to win the Bradley Prize. Rebecca became famous for a poster, “Still Life with Bread Crumbs,” thus the title of the novel. “Still Life with Bread Crumbs” was written by Pulitzer-prize winning author Anna Quindlen. The novel, with a 2014 copyright, was published by Random House.
All those years that we were growing up on the ranch, my siblings and I had plenty of time to play. We received toys for birthdays and Christmas, but we had only a fraction of the toys most kids have today. We certainly didn’t have computers, video games or the electronic gadgets that kids enjoy at the present time. We didn’t even have a television set in our home until I was a teenager.
“Colorful” is one of the words that describes this week’s picture book for kids. Besides that, it’s just plain fun, and the book has a message about bullying, too. “Peanut Butter and Jellyfish” was written and illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. The book, copyright 2014, is published by Alfred A. Knopf.
The two characters in this week’s picture book for kids are about as different as can be — a tiny mole and a great big “Lumpy-Bumpy Thing” (a crocodile, I think, although I suppose it could be an alligator). “Dangerous” was written and illustrated by Tim Warnes who illustrated the Little Tiger Books. The book is published by Little Tiger Press (2014).
When my brother, sisters and I were growing up on the ranch, we spent some worrisome days just prior to Easter. We looked forward to the holiday, and we worried that we might not get to have an Easter egg hunt. Our dad always said that an early Easter meant an early spring, but in Moffat County it really didn’t matter whether it was March or April; it could always storm.
This week’s book for young adult readers (probably aimed at middle school age) has an unusual title and a rather unexpected plot. “Stay Where You Are & Then Leave” was written by John Boyne, the author of “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” which became a Miramax feature film. The novel was published by Henry Holt and Company (2013).
County fairs have been around a long time. Perhaps they began as a way to celebrate the end of the summer harvest. Whatever the reason, I can imagine how people must have looked forward to county fair.
This week’s book, written by Elizabeth Sims and published by Writer’s Digest Books, is not only filled with valuable information about the writing process, but it’s fun to read, too! “You’ve Got a Book In You” (a stress-free guide to writing the book of your dreams) is written in a humorous, down-to-earth style. Sims has dedicated the book “to anyone who has ever looked at a shelf full of books and thought, ‘I wonder if I could do that.’”
Carol Haskins, Moffat County Fair coordinator, says if you enjoy competing in the open class pavilion competition during the Moffat County Fair, take some time now to think about which of your favorite projects you might enter in the 2014 fair. Perhaps it might be a painting or photograph, scrapbook pages, a short story or poem you’ve written, a masterpiece made from Legos, needlework or a wide variety of other projects. Decide what you’d like to tackle and then sit down and work on it as you watch the snow come down.
Kids of all ages, including young-at-heart adults, will enjoy “The Easter Egg” written and illustrated by Jan Brett. What a delightful book to share with children this Easter season! Besides that, the book can be left out on a coffee table for everyone to enjoy. Adults will be amazed at the illustrations that can only be described as “exquisite.”
According to the calendar, it’s spring. Spring in Moffat County means that there likely will be wind, rain, hail, snow and sunshine all in one day, just like it has been today at Pipi’s Pasture. It also means that for most ranchers, calving season is underway. That’s what most ranchers are talking about, anyway. You know it’s calving season when…
Sometimes I have a morning that starts out with some kind of a mishap, like spilling coffee grounds all over the floor when I’m making the coffee or, worse yet, missing the reservoir in the coffee maker and pouring water all over the counter.
This week’s picture book for children was written by Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls in the “Little House on the Prairie” series on television. It was illustrated by Julia Kuo, the creator of “20 Ways to Draw a Cat and 44 Other Awesome Animals.”
It’s calving season here at Pipi’s Pasture. Yesterday, one of our granddaughter Megan’s cows surprised us by having twins. We usually get a set of twins each year, but it’s this cow’s first experience with twins. Since Megan lives in Bailey, she hasn’t gotten to see the twins yet. One thing is for sure, though: Megan will love them.
According to the folks at Downtown Books in Craig, the Walt Longmire mystery series is popular — so popular that the books aren’t on the shelf very long. Written by Craig Johnson, the series is about eight books in all. The leading character is Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire. The books inspired the A&E television drama “Longmire.”
This week, the monthly Moffat County 4-H Newsletter arrived in the mail. When I saw the Hamilton Busy Beavers 4-H Club mentioned with the 4-H Council, I was reminded of those years long ago when I was in 4-H. I belonged to the Hamilton Busy Beavers Club, and I don’t like to think about how many years ago it was!
Picture books that retell well-known tales are popular these days. In this week’s retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” Little Red is a pencil. Teachers might want to check out this book, especially if their students are ready to learn about the parts of speech and the steps to writing a story.
Each time the season is about to change her at Pipi’s Pasture, I just can’t help myself — I have to write about it. After all, it brings changes to what is going on in the agricultural community and, for that matter, the rest of our community as well.
This week’s novel, set in the early American West, 1860, is based on a real court case from the Oregon Territory. Phillip Margolin, author of “Worthy Brown’s Daughter,” has plenty of experience with court cases. Besides being an author, he has a background as a criminal defense attorney and has handled thirty murder cases. Although he has written 17 bestsellers, this is Margolin’s first book of historical fiction
As I type this week’s column, I’m watching the snow as it comes down sideways. It’s a blizzard. So I’m thinking about baking a hot casserole for supper. This week’s column features two casseroles, both of which I’ve cooked up several times.
Two weeks ago, “Pipi’s Pasture” honored the 4-H/FFA members who competed in the 2014 Arizona Livestock Show. This week’s column honors the Moffat County 4-H/FFA members who exhibited at the 2014 National Western Stock Show.
Readers may wonder what the letters “J” and “YA” — sometimes found on the outside spine of a book — are all about. Sally Beauchamp, children’s librarian at the Moffat County Library, told me that “J” (juvenile) and “YA” (young adult) mean the same thing, but the “J” designation is newer. These letters indicate that the books are intended for fifth through 12th grades. However, it depends on the vocabulary and content of the individual book as to the exact reading level.
“Bad Kitty Drawn to Trouble” is the 10th book in a series of “Bad Kitty” books by author and illustrator Nick Bruel. This new book and other Bad Kitty books can be found in the children’s room at the Moffat County Library. The author’s purpose in writing this book was to show kids how books are written. Included in the chapters is information about the elements of a story.
It’s Feb. 1 already, and I’m remembering back to when I was a kid, growing up on the ranch. It was about this time of the year that we started thinking about Valentine’s Day. It was an exciting time for us because there would be a Valentine’s Day party at school, and some years our family would host a potluck supper around Valentine’s Day.
“Fortunately, the Milk” was written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young. The book is intended for ages 8-12, but if you’re an adult reader, don’t let that stop you. You can read the book of about 110 pages in a hurry — it’s filled with action, and, best of all, you will chuckle all the while. Better than that, read it to a kid.
I have been reflecting on January 2014. Time has passed in a hurry, and when I look back on the month, I find it has been pretty typical for January.
My sister-in-law, Florence Van Tassel, passed away Jan. 10. Florence and I did lots of stuff together, so I have many fond memories of her. One of the things I remember about Florence was her talent for cooking.
“The Birthday Queen” is a new picture book (2013) by Audrey and Don Wood. It is published by The Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic. The illustrations in the book are done in bright colors, making it especially appealing to children.
This week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” has information about upcoming events at the Moffat County Extension Office in Craig. The first one is a workshop that will be held at the Moffat County Extension Office on Jan. 29. It’s “Farm and Ranch Management for Women in Agriculture.” The workshop, to be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m., is intended for women and other interested parties who want to learn more about farm and ranch management and to better understand their properties.
Horrified. That’s the way I began to feel after I got forty or so pages into this week’s featured book. The book is “Newtown: An American Tragedy,” written by Matthew Lysiak, a journalist and staff writer at the New York Daily News. It is the story of the tragedy that took place Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Many of the community people did not have electricity in the early years, so even if there had been television or computer games, we couldn’t have enjoyed them. We did have battery-powered radios, however. We kids enjoyed listening to cowboy programs, and at night we all listened to our favorite programs. It was another way we passed the winter months.
Kids love snowmen, and they will enjoy this week’s picture book about an extraordinary snowman. “Snowzilla” was written by Janet Lawler and illustrated by Amanda Haley.
Suddenly, it’s Jan. 4. The holidays have come and gone. We’ve dined on turkey, prime rib, ham and all kinds of sweets. Now, if you’re like me, you may want to fix something entirely different — like a casserole, perhaps. This column features two casseroles.
The dining room is one of my favorite places to sit and write, especially in winter. For one thing, it’s warm and cozy. For another, there are three large windows on the west side of the room, and through them, I can check out the winter scene without having to be out in the cold (even though I spend about four hours per day outside doing chores).
This week’s column features two new picture books for children. The books can be found in the children’s room at the Moffat County Library.
“Family gives us strength and builds our character.” It’s a quote written by Demi Lovato for the Dec. 25 entry of her book, “Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year.” The book is this week’s Prather’s Pick.
Soft snow is falling on Pipi’s Pasture. It’s a Christmas card scene for sure. As I watch the snow fall, I’m thinking about this year’s Christmas season. I will remember it for the warm memories, particularly those memories of giving from the heart.
Awhile back, this column reviewed “Otis and the Tornado,” a picture book written by Loren Long. Librarians tell me that the books about Otis are popular with children. Up until now there have been three Otis books: “Otis,” “Otis and the Tornado,” and “Otis and the Puppy.” Now, just in time for the holidays, Long has published yet another book: “An Otis Christmas.” It’s this week’s featured book.
I’ve never liked winter. I don’t like snow (although I know that we need it), and I don’t like the cold. The only thing I might enjoy about winter is ice skating — if I knew how. I was born in February when Moffat County was experiencing a severe cold snap. My dad told me that it was 52 degrees below zero. He remembered how difficult it was to get a vehicle started so that he could drive into Craig from the ranch to visit his newborn daughter.
At about 2 o’clock on the morning of June 5, 2002, Elizabeth Smart was taken from the bedroom of her Salt Lake City home. She was just 14 years old, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family. Elizabeth was held captive for nine months. “My Story,” written by Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart, is her memoir of those horrific nine months. The book, copyright 2013, is a new one at the Moffat County Library.
“The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” written by Beatrix Potter, was published in 1902. The book was beautifully-illustrated with the author’s watercolor paintings. In the story, Peter Rabbit disobeyed his mother who told him that he must never go into Mr. McGregor’s garden. The book is a classic.
There were lots of awards and other recognitions during the 2013 Moffat County 4-H Achievement Night, held Nov. 13 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. In fact, there were so many that this week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” has more results to report.
Sarah Zorn has a very “interesting” grandmother. Known as the family as “Z,” this 63-year-old granny can make an adventure out of most anything — like shopping for pencils, planning a diet (sometimes just one color of food each day of the week) or reading the fortunes in fortune cookies.
I know that it isn’t Thanksgiving yet, but you might want to hunt up this week’s book in time for Christmas. “The Night Before Christmas in Ski Country” is a brand new picture book that readers of all ages will enjoy. This modern variation of “The Night Before Christmas” classic, was written by Suzanne Nieman Brown and illustrated by Dana Schlingman. Both author and illustrator are Colorado residents. The book is published by Westcliffe Publishers (an imprint of Big Earth Publishing), Boulder.
On Nov. 13, 4-H members, their families and leaders looked back on the many accomplishments of the 2013 program year. The annual 4-H Achievement Night was held at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. This week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” salutes the 4-H members and leaders.
I so admire Janet Sheridan’s talent for writing. I thoroughly enjoyed her new book, “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns: Memories, Musings and Observations.” After I started reading, I couldn’t put her book down. I read while supper cooked, while waiting for students to arrive and while filling the livestock water tank. I even took the book with me when we helped my brother gather cows one day and was waiting at the gate. I read the book in a short time — then I wanted more.
Miner and Darlene Blackford, my sister and her husband from Rocky Ford, host an open house in December. They’ve been doing this for years and years. So Darlene already has started baking and freezing goodies for the event.
Susan Shillinglaw spent twenty-five years researching and writing “Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage” — this week’s featured book. The book, published in 2013, can be found at the Moffat County Library. Shillinglaw is a leading expert on John Steinbeck’s life and work. She directed the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State University from 1987 to 2005. During that time she edited the “Steinbeck Newsletter,” organized conferences, taught classes and lectured — all about Steinbeck.
I’ve baked “Chocolate Drop Cookies” a bunch of times. The recipe is easy to make, the cookies have a great chocolate taste and you can vary the recipe, too, depending on the ingredients you have on hand.
Years ago, when we lived on the Front Range, one of our neighbors, an older lady, used to watch Benji, our son’s dog, when he was outdoors. Sometimes Benji rolled around on the ground, both legs up in the air as he rubbed his back. “Stop that!” our neighbor yelled at Benji. “When dogs roll around on the ground, it means that the wind will blow.”
Children will be attracted to the artwork from the time they pick up the book because the fish and some of the plants on the book’s cover actually sparkle. The text of the book is done in delightful verse, which sometimes is printed in a wavelike motion, and on one page, it runs along the line from a fishing pole.
My family members know that I teach Children’s Literature at the college and that I write a book review column each week so they’re always on the lookout for books that I might be able to use. The children’s picture books featured in this week’s column are examples.
This is the time of year when 4-H and FFA members choose their livestock for the coming year, especially the market animals since they need to start feeding them. During November and December (by January), 4-H members also select those general 4-H projects that they wish to complete during the coming year. The target date for completion of all of these projects is county fair.
This week’s novel for adults is a new (2013) book at the Moffat County Library. It’s a mystery, set in Rome, the Aventine Hill, in March to April AD 89.
As I’m typing up this week’s Over A Cup of Coffee, I can’t help but notice how dreary it looks outside. It’s dark and rainy — a day for soup. This week’s column features two soup recipes. If you try them, remember that you can adapt the recipes to your liking!
It’s funny how different one year can be from another. For example, last year we brought the cattle home from summer pasture the first weekend in September and fed them expensive hay until they went back to pasture in late May. This year, we’re thankful that there was enough grass, helped along a little by September rain, so that the cattle could stay on pasture until October — last weekend, to be exact.
One can’t help but admire the creative abilities of picture book authors. Just coming up with ideas for the books is an incredible talent. Take this week’s picture book, for example. “Pirates Love Underpants” (2013) was written by Claire Freedman and illustrated by Ben Cort. (The writer and illustrator live in England.) The book is the newest addition to the Underpants series, which include “Dinosaurs Love Underpants” and “Aliens Love Underpants.”
This week Shirley Stehle, of Craig, called to tell me how she makes chokecherry jelly.
It has been nearly fifty years since John F.Kennedy was shot to death in Dallas. A brand new book, released this August, begins on that tragic day — at 12:30 p.m., Nov. 22, 1963. “These Few Precious Days: The Final Year of Jack with Jackie” is a biography. It isn’t just about that terrible day, however. After the first chapter, the author goes back in time, remembering the thousand days that Jack and Jackie Kennedy occupied the White House, especially their last year together.
Children will enjoy the lively words used to describe the Halloween goings-on at Farmer Brown’s barnyard, including the “creak, creak, creaking," “crunch, crunch, crunching” and more as the words are repeated during the story. As with all of the other Cronin and Lewin books, this one is sure to be a hit with children and the adults who read it to them.
The hot, dry days — until now — of summer have flown by, and suddenly, it’s time for area ranchers to be thinking about bringing the cattle and sheep home from summer pasture. That goes for our family, too. Before long, we’ll be hauling our little herd home for the winter.
This week’s novel for adults is a must read. I started reading it when I came home from the library Thursday afternoon, read a little Friday — because I was busy — and by late Saturday afternoon, I’d read the whole thing. “The Burgess Boys” was written by Elizabeth Strout, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Olive Kitteridge.”
Thanks to Mary Burnett, of Craig, we have some zucchini recipes to use with our late summer garden produce. I had hoped to try her “Italian Zucchini Bake” from last week’s column, but our weekend was so hectic that I didn’t take the time to make it. Maybe this coming weekend!
I first read this week’s picture book when my sister, Darlene Blackford, gave me a copy. She said that she loves the book. I do, too! It’s “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” written by William Joyce. I’ve been trying to think of the words that best describe the book. It’s “fanciful” — certainly it’s imaginative — but the book is more than that. There’s a message about the power of reading, too, and the reader is left with a comforting feeling when the book ends.
A couple of weeks ago or so, I was walking past the garden when something jumped up in front of me and landed just over a clump of onions.
In 2010, Isabel and her rope-team partner Peter were climbing Ala Izquierda in the Bolivian Andes when they suddenly fell 1,100 feet. Isabel and Peter were severely injured. Isabel survived. Peter didn’t. The book is “about” Isabel’s struggle to survive the icy conditions with a broken foot and then finally to drag the foot over the ice in order to reach a place where she could send light signals and get help for Peter. It’s about her struggle to walk again following ten surgeries (by the time this book was published and then still more surgeries) and the rehabilitation that followed. Some pages in the book are devoted to her earlier life, too.
This week’s recipe is another using zucchini. I think the recipe might have come from my stepmother, Mary Osborn, who made lots of zucchini recipes. I think I have made it before.
“The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail," a novel for young adults, is an example of storytelling at its very best. The story is absolutely enchanting.
Author Jim Satterfield was in Craig awhile back for a book signing at Downtown Books. This week’s column is a review of “Saving Laura,” his newest book. (Autographed copies of the book are available at Downtown Books.) Local readers may find this book intriguing — I did — because it has, in part, a local setting. When I opened the book to chapter one, I was surprised to find that the novel begins in Baggs, Wyo. at the Drifter’s Inn, in fact.
When mornings start to turn cold, I begin thinking about cooking up a pot of soup. Recently, I made “Ground Beef and Vegetable Soup,” in fact, I’ve made it twice.
Recently, I was looking at a photograph of two steers in a barn stall at the fairgrounds during the county fair. Also in the photo was a rather large wooden show box, painted green with a 4-H clover on the side. The show box was in front of the stall (where exhibitors usually place their show boxes). The photo got me to thinking about the show boxes so that’s the subject of this week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture.”