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Diane Prather

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Prather’s Pick: A book with a World War I setting

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).

Pipi’s Pasture: The positive spirit of the county fair

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.

Prather’s Pick: Writing a book can be fun

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.’”

Pipi’s Pasture: Showing off your creativity

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.

Prather’s Pick: A book for Easter

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.”

Pipi’s Pasture: It’s calving season when…

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…

Pipi's Pasture: It's one of those days

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.

Prather's Pick: 'Daisy and Josephine' is an adorable tale

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.”

Pipi’s Pasture: A tribute to Megan

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.

Prather’s Pick: The Walt Longmire books

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.”

Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering the Hamilton Busy Beavers

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!

Prather’s Pick: Teachers should read ‘Little Red Writing’ to help with speech, writing

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.

Pipi's Pasture: Transitioning seasons

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.

Prather's Pick: 'Worthy Brown’s Daughter' is an intriguing and well-crafted book

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

Over a Cup of Coffee: Baked Beef and Cabbage

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.

Pipi's Pasture: Results from 2014 National Western Junior Livestock show

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.

Prather’s Pick: A book about being in the middle

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.

Prather's Pick: The newest book in the Bad Kitty Series

“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.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering Valentine’s Day

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.

Prather’s Pick: A book that will make you chuckle

“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.

From Pipi's Pasture: Looking back

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Remembering Florence

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.

Prather’s Pick: A new picture book by Audrey and Don Wood

“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.

From Pipi’s Pasture: A workshop for women in agriculture

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.

Prather’s Pick: ‘Newtown: An American Tragedy’ is a horrifying tale

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.

Pipi's Pasture: Winter get-togethers growing up, part II

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.

Prather’s Pick: ‘Snowzilla’ a cool read for children

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making casseroles galore

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.

Pipi’s Pasture: Winter get-togethers at the ranch

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).

Prather's Pick: 2 charming picture books

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.

Prather’s Pick: ‘Staying Strong’ an inspirational memoir

“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.

Christmas at Pipi’s Pasture

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.

Prather's Pick: 'An Otis Christmas' is a heartwarming Christmas tale

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.

Pipi’s Pasture: Winter memories

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.

Prather's Pick: 'My Story' a difficult read about Elizabeth Smart

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.

Prather’s Pick: 'The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit' is sure to ruffle feathers

“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.

Pipi's Pasture: 2013 4-H Achievement Night, part 2

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.

Prather’s Pick: 'Heaven is Paved with Oreos' is a coming-of-age book

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.

Prather’s Pick: “The Night Before Christmas in Ski Country” is a modern holiday tale

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.

Pipi's Pasture: Achievement Night 2013

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.

Prather’s Pick: “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns” is a book you can’t put down

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Sugar Drop Cookies

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.

Prather’s Pick: “Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage” is an interesting read

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Chocolate Drop Cookies

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.

Pipi's Pasture: Animal behavior and weather changes

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.”

Prather’s Pick: 'The Fish with the Deep Sea Smile' is full of aquatic fun

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.

Prather’s Pick: 'Coyotes in the Kitchen' is an adventurous picture book

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.

Pipi's Pasture: Planning pavilion projects for the fair

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.

Prather's Pick: "The Ides of April" is historically mysterious

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Minestrone Soup with Meat

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!

Pipi's Pasture: Sloppy fall days!

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.

Prather’s Pick: 'Pirates Love Underpants' is a lively picture book

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.”

Over A Cup: Making a corn casserole

This week Shirley Stehle, of Craig, called to tell me how she makes chokecherry jelly.

Prather's Pick: "These Few Precious Days" is a miraculous must read about Jackie, JFK

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.

Prather's Pick: 'Click, Clack, Boo!' a frightfully fun book for kids

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.

Pipi's Pasture: Bringing Pipi home

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.

Prather’s Pick: 'The Burgess Boys' is beautifully written

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.”

Over a Cup of Coffee: Green beans with zucchini

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!

Prather’s Pick: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” is a fun read

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.

Over A Cup: Mary’s zucchini recipe

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.

Prather's Pick: "Starry Night" has soul despite tragedy

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Chocolate Zucchini Sheet Cake

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.

Diane Prather: Young adult novel is an “enchanting” read

“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.

Prather's Pick: 'Saving Laura' is an action-packed page turner

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Ground beef soup and ground beef casserole

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.

Pipi's Pasture: County fair show boxes hold a wealth of memories

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.”

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