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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

From Pipi’s Pasture: Looking back on January

Congratulations go to the exhibitors who attended the Arizona Livestock Show in December and the National Western Stock Show in Denver. “From Pipi’s Pasture” will feature the exhibitors in a upcoming column. Right now some of the 4-H and FFA members are still competing in Denver.

Prather’s Pick: ‘When Books Went to War’ is a fantastic read

This week’s nonfiction book for adults is enlightening, to say the least. “When Books Went To War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II” was written by Molly Guptill Manning.

Over a Cup: Thinking of Valentine’s Day

Feb. 14 is only about a month away, so I’ve already been thinking about recipes for celebrating the holiday.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Walking the obstacle course

Feeding the cows here at Pipi’s Pasture each winter morning is a little like walking an obstacle course. The course begins at the gate to the pasture, continues on to the part of the feedlot where hay is spread out, and ends back at the gate. The obstacles are the situations/obstructions that make the course a little tricky to maneuver. The goal isn’t to beat a certain time; it’s to make it back to the gate without falling down or getting knocked over. Sound ridiculous? Read on.

Prather’s Pick: A magical book about friendship

The snowflakes that floated down around me this morning as I did chores were just the right consistency for making a snowman — maybe even a snowman friend like the one in this week’s picture book for children.

From Pipi's Pasture: Flu season on the ranch

With all the colds, flu and other stuff going around right now, my brother, Duane (Osborn), and I have been trying to remember if people talked about a flu season when we were kids growing up on the ranch. We’ve been trying to remember how often we were sick any time of the year.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Mary's taco soup and more

This week I received a recipe for taco soup from Mary Burnett, of Craig. Mary has contributed several recipes to this column, including some zucchini recipes, a recipe for autumn stew and others. I look forward to receiving your recipes, Mary. Thanks!

Prather’s Pick: Another fantastic book by Jodi Picoult

I was running an errand in Craig the other day, and it was stormy. In fact, I was in a hurry, fearing that the weather might worsen and I’d face a blizzard on the way home. So, knowing that I needed a book to review for “Prather’s Pick,” I checked out the new selections on a book rack at the grocery store. When I saw “Salem Falls” by Jodi Picoult, I grabbed it up. I recently reviewed her latest novel, “Leaving Time,” which was awesome.

Over a Cup: Seafood chowder

New Year’s Eve was quiet. I made clam chowder, and we had cheese, sausage and crackers to go with it. Soup was just what we needed on such a cold night.

From Pipi’s Pasture: It’s really cold

I’ve written several weather-related columns before, including those about the cold. But now it’s really cold, and the cold is what we’re all talking about. It’s so cold that…

Prather's Pick: A creative nonfiction book

“The Boys from the Bushes”, this week’s featured book by Lou Dean (Jacobs), is a carefully researched true story of three Oklahoma boys who competed in horse races that were held in pastures.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Recipes for pie crusts

I was going to make a cream pie with cherry pie filling on top for Christmas dinner. The recipe is on a card, given to me by a friend some years ago. I’ve made the pie a bunch of times; it’s delicious.

From Pipi's Pasture: Being thankful

As all of you know, the past few weeks, especially the past few days, have been busy as we have tried to get ready for Christmas Day. So on Christmas morning, after we had fed the cows here at Pipi’s Pasture and after the roast beef was simmering in the oven for a late-afternoon dinner, I had a few quiet minutes to sit at the dining room table and watch the fluffy snowflakes fall and ponder my columns for Saturday’s paper.

Prather's Pick: 2 books for children

This week’s column features two books for children, one older book and another that is brand new. The first book, a Christmas book, was written in 2008. “Drummer Boy” was written by Loren Long, author of the popular “Otis” books (Otis being a tractor) that have come out in recent years. (The newest is “Otis and the Scarecrow.”)

Over a Cup: Christmas candy

This week I’m featuring two candy recipes. One of my favorite fudge recipes has a chocolate bar in the ingredients, and I think it makes the fudge taste rich.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Christmas wish lists — just for fun

Sometimes I think of some pretty goofy things. For example, just after the last snowstorm I saw four magpies fly into the crab apple tree outside the window. (Remember when I had seen two magpies last week?) Anyway, the tree was covered with new snow — a lot of it — and as the magpies flew from branch to branch, the snow fell to the ground. I wondered what they were doing there; were they looking for dried crab apples? And then I wondered what they would put on a Christmas wish list (if they knew what that was). Would it be crab apples or grain or bird food?

Prather’s Pick: A book for lawyers

This week’s book would make a great gift for a lawyer! I found it while browsing through the Christmas books in the children’s room at the Moffat County Library — not that it’s the place you would ordinarily find books for lawyers. “Lawyer’s Week Before Christmas” is a picture book with a story and illustrations on each page. The illustrations help tell the story and add depth to the story, too. Picture books are usually intended for kids.

Over a Cup: Making holiday bars

The past few days I’ve been thinking of holidays past and people I’ve known who made their special Christmas sweets. For example, my sister-in-law, the late Florence Van Tassel, made peanut brittle and other candy every Christmas.

From Pipi's Pasture: Magpie memories

One day this past summer, I thought I heard the chattering of a magpie. The sounds immediately brought back memories of the birds at the ranch when I was growing up.

Prather’s Pick: A novel written by a Colorado author

This week’s novel — just in time for Christmas — was written by Sandra Dallas, who lives in Denver. She has written 12 novels previously. “A Quilt for Christmas” is set in Wabaunsee County, Kansas, in 1864. Will Spooner has joined the Kansas Volunteers in fighting the confederates. He has left his wife Eliza and two children to care for their farm.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Recipes for between holidays

So now we have used up the leftover turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and the other side dishes — everything that was left from Thanksgiving dinner. Now we’re looking for different recipes to cook up between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (At least that’s the way it is at our house.)

Prather’s Pick: A superb new novel

It seems that I have been reviewing lots of new mystery/suspense novels lately. That also goes for “Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult, this week’s featured book — except that this book is a little “different” (for lack of a better word) than most.

Over a Cup: Thanksgiving leftovers

I’ve just cleaned up the dishes — most of them anyway — and I’ve managed to get the Thanksgiving leftovers in the refrigerator. Now all that’s left from the holiday is finding a way to use all of the leftovers.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Achievement night 2014

This year’s Moffat County Achievement Night was held at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion on Nov. 19. This night is always special because it recognizes the many accomplishments of the 4-H members during the past year. This week, “From Pipi’s Pasture” salutes the achievements of the 4-H members and their leaders.

Prather’s Pick: Pumpkins galore

It’s a tradition to reflect on our blessings during the Thanksgiving holiday. Jose and his family, characters in this week’s picture book for children, are undoubtedly thankful for their pumpkin harvest.

From Pipi’s Pasture: A note on a napkin

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.

Prather’s Pick: A Cormoran Strike novel

“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.”

Over a Cup: Taking some time to bake

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.

From Pipi’s Pasture: You know it’s cold when…

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.

Prather’s Pick: A new Longmire book

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).

From Pipi’s Pasture: Cleaning the dining room table II

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.

Over a Cup: Pumpkin preserves, blueberry coffee cake

This column features one more recipe in the pumpkin butter category, but this one is a little different. It is for “Pumpkin Preserves.”

Prather's Pick: A library that opens at midnight

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.

Over a Cup: More pumpkin butter along with apple butter

This week’s column features another recipe for pumpkin butter. It’s a recipe “adapted” from one for an apple butter so this week readers get two recipes in all — one for “Spirited Apple Butter” and another for “Spirited Pumpkin Butter.” The recipes were sent in by Virginia Cromer, of Craig.

Prather’s Pick: A Sidney Sheldon sequel

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!

From Pipi’s Pasture: Halloween now and then

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.

Prather’s Pick: Cherished pieces of lace, II

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: More pumpkin treats

When I was a kid growing up on the ranch, Mom made her own pumpkin for pies and breads — that is if the garden pie pumpkins matured.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Autumn on the ranch

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.

Prather’s Pick: Counting pumpkin seeds

“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.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Putting up the flag

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.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Two more awards

Each year when the 4-H and Future Farmers of America market animal show ring competitions are finished during the Moffat County Fair, the exhibitors await the results of two more contests — figuring the rate-of-gain (from the weigh-in of the market animal at the beginning of the project to the weigh-in at the fair) and the judging of the carcass contest. For some exhibitors, these are the most important results of all. (Ranchers and feeders of livestock probably agree.)

Over a Cup of Coffee: Cooking with apples

Recently we picked the apples from the trees in our front yard. The apples are small but especially delicious this year. We’ve been enjoying raw apple slices dipped in caramel and peanut butter, but there are so many apples that I’ve been looking through my files to find recipes for cooking them up. I’ve found two recipes.

Prather’s Pick: ‘Pay It Forward,’ the young readers edition

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.

Prather’s Pick: Unhappy crayons

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.

From Pipi’s Pasture: State fair livestock results 2014

Several 4H members from Moffat County exhibited livestock during the recent Colorado State Fair at Pueblo, Colorado. What a learning experience to be able to exhibit animals with 4-H members from all over the state, and what a big deal it is to place in competition.

Prather’s Pick: A pictorial history of Meeker

“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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making soup

This past weekend, our son Jody said that his family was having chicken noodle soup for supper. It was going to be homemade, too. They had put two chickens in the oven to bake and were going to cut up chicken and put it with noodles in a bouillon broth. Boy, that sounded good!

From Pipi’s Pasture: Leave it to a cow …

“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.”

Prather’s Pick: An inspirational book for young people

This week’s book has a message for children (perhaps even adults) who have a problem speaking to audiences. It doesn’t matter whether the audience is made up of classmates or people who have come to watch a performance, some young people just freeze up. It’s terrifying for them.

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