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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

Prather’s Pick: A memoir about healing in the wild

Debby Parker was her given name. She was also known as “Wild Child,” her trail name, and after she finished walking the Pacific Crest Trail, she became Aspen Matis.

From Pipi's Pasture: Waiting for daylight

The credit for this week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” goes to my sister, Chalotte Allum, of Fort Collins. One early morning, a couple of weeks ago, Charlotte called me and said that she had an idea for my column. Charlotte gets up early, and that particular morning she was waiting for it to be daylight so that she could use the natural light to choose the colors of fabric she was using to make a quilt. One thing led to another, and pretty soon Charlotte was thinking about the time we all spend “waiting.”

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making a frosted meat loaf

This week’s recipe comes from Geraldine Coleman of Craig. She sent me a packet of recipes the other day, which included a recipe for “Best Ever Meat Loaf” and then how you can make a “Frosted Meat Loaf” from it. I love meat loaf, and this recipe is a little different because it calls for cream of mushroom soup. I haven’t made it yet because I discovered that I don’t have any mushroom soup in the pantry. Next week!

Prather’s Pick: A Danielle Steel novel

This past week I found myself without anything to read so one afternoon, between appointments, I stopped at the library and quickly browsed the new book section. I noticed “Undercover,” a novel written by Danielle Steel, on one of the display racks.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Results from General 4-H Projects Competition

This week’s column congratulates the 4-H members who exhibited in the General Projects Division at the 2015 Colorado State Fair in August. In order to exhibit at the state level, 4-H members qualified during competition at 4-H Completion Day at the beginning of the Moffat County Fair.

Prather’s Pick: A novel with a theme

I think there’s a theme in this week’s novel for adults, and although I haven’t been able to put it in words yet, I think there’s a message about birds and flight.

From Pipi's Pasture: 2015 Colorado State Fair livestock results

Each year “From Pipi’s Pasture” salutes the junior exhibitors who competed in the Colorado State Fair events. This week’s column is devoted to livestock and dog projects; next week’s will focus on 4-H general project exhibits.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Ginger’s green tomato mincemeat

As I sit writing this week’s column, I’m thinking that when I’m finished I need to go find covers for my flowers and garden. Word is that once this rainy patch clears out of here, we’re in for a frost — more than in the past week or so. I have lots of green tomatoes and some cabbage (plus other stuff) out there. This week’s recipes call for green tomatoes and cabbage!

Prather’s Pick: A heartwarming book

Before getting to this week’s heartwarming picture book, I want to let readers know that my husband Lyle and I drove to Steamboat Springs on Wednesday night to attend a talk and book signing by author Craig Johnson. He has written 11 books in the Longmire series and has another book coming out in May.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Mary’s cornbread and jam

One morning this past week, though our thermometer registered in the 40s, I was surprised that the hose at the corral, where I fill a stock tank, was icy to the touch. It ran water so I thought that there must not have been any frost.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Diane and the pack rat

There are always lots of mice, ground squirrels, skunks and raccoons around Pipi’s Pasture, but this summer is the first time since moving here that we’ve had an encounter with a pack rat. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t dealt with them before, and one thing is for sure — pack rats are smart animals. They are hard to catch.

Prather’s Pick: Man vs. squirrels

This has been a summer for various kinds of varmints. Among them are mice, rats, raccoons, skunks and squirrels. So it’s very possible that area residents have uttered the words found in the title of this week’s picture book for kids.

Prather’s Pick: A Kate Burkholder Novel

There are a lot of different things going on in this week’s novel for adults, but the focus is a mystery centered around what was found after a tornado. The setting of “After the Storm” by Linda Castillo is Painters Mill in Holmes County, Ohio, where the population is Amish, Mennonite, and English, a mixture of diverse cultural and religious beliefs.

From Pipi's Pasture: The canning jars

Last week when I picked green beans from our garden next to Pipi’s Pasture, I was reminded of the bushels of green beans we kids used to pick out of our huge garden at the ranch when we were growing up. And then I remembered canning season.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Vegetable recipes

There’s so much produce available right now, both from our gardens and from food stands and markets, that it makes me crazy trying to figure out how to use it all. What makes it more frustrating is that I don’t have much time to cook, and pretty soon it will be winter and the fresh produce won’t be available anymore.

From Pipi's Pasture: Between summer and fall

One day this past week I went up to the cow pasture to check on things and to put out some more mineral. The feed is plentiful but dry (please, everyone, follow safety precautions to avoid starting fires in our county), and the cows have lots of water. Everything looked good so on the way home I stopped at my brother Duane’s house.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Summer squash recipes

Even though I planted our garden late this year — with all of the rain and all — we are still harvesting zucchini, yellow summer squash, green bell peppers, green beans and green onions, and a little later we should have some carrots, potatoes, and maybe an ear or two of corn.

Prather's Pick: One cool book

“Cool” is the word that best describes this week’s book for kids. (I think anyone who enjoys sports will enjoy reading the book.) It’s the “Sports Illustrated Kids all New Access: Your Behind-the-Scenes Pass to the Coolest Things in Sports,” published by Time Home Entertainment, Inc. (2014).

From Pipi's Pasture: Next year...

The 2015 Moffat County Fair ended last weekend. However, even before one year’s county fair is over, exhibitors and fair attendees start thinking about the next one. So the “drawing plans” are already being made for Moffat County Fair 2016. That goes double for the people at the Extension Office, the fair board members, and others who are instrumental in planning the fair.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making sauerkraut, Part II

Last week’s column featured Part I of the “Glass-Jar Sauerkraut” recipe, which ended with Step 5, in which the jars were filled. You will need to put last week’s recipe “card” with this one to have the complete directions.

Prather’s Pick: Writing a story together

This week’s picture book is intended for ages 4 and up, and it’s one of the cutest books that I’ve seen in sometime. “By Mouse & Frog” is the story of two very different characters — one mammal and the other an amphibian — who write a story together.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making sauerkraut, Part 1

Years ago, Mom used to make and can all kinds of pickles. She prepared some of them by leaving them in a crock of brine for a while. One time, when Lyle and I were home for a visit, she asked Lyle to bring a crock of pickles up from the basement. Some of the brine spilled on Lyle’s pants and made holes in the denim. We have laughed about “Mom’s Atomic Pickles” ever since. This week’s column isn’t about pickles, but it is about something sour — sauerkraut.

From Pipi's Pasture: Going on without Pipi

Pipi died peacefully on July 23, 2015 at the ripe old age of 23. She was born north of Craig, not far from the Fortification Rocks, on a ranch where we lived at the time. Pipi’s mother was a red, white-faced cow that lived to be 24, and her father was black so Pipi was a brownish-black color with a white strip down her face and a white mouth. She was a cute calf.

Prather’s Pick: Judy Blume's new novel

Although this week’s novel for adults is a work of fiction, author Judy Blume says that the catastrophic events at the center of the plot really happened. Blume writes that she grew up in Eiizabeth, New Jersey where “In the Unlikely Event” was set. In the winter of 1951-52 she was a teenager. That’s when three airplane crashes occurred after takeoff from Newark Airport.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Cleaning out a pickup truck after county fair

The Moffat County Fair is about to begin, so that’s the topic of this week’s From Pipi’s Pasture.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Mom’s rolled oatmeal cookies

This past weekend my sisters, Charlotte and Darlene, came over, and we did some work on a cookbook that we’ve been working on for awhile now. I’ve written a little bit about it from time to time.

Prather’s Pick: A much-anticipated novel

“Go Set a Watchman,” by Harper Lee, was written in the mid-1950s. Although it was written first, but not published at the time, this newly-released novel is a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Many of the characters are the same.

From Pipi's Pasture: A hot summer afternoon

It’s a hot afternoon here at Pipi’s Pasture, reminding me of days past when my sisters and I were growing up. (Our brother Duane had not been born yet.) I remember how hot the ranch house would get after a morning of cooking for a haying crew. So in the afternoon, after the dishes were done and put away, Charlotte, Darlene and I usually headed outside, seeking the shade of the big trees in the yard. Sometimes Mom carried her sewing outside, we spread a blanket under the silver maple tree, and while she darned socks or did some kind of needlework, Mom told us stories.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making fruit butters

Last week this column featured Louise Irvine’s recipe for “Old-style Apple Butter.” The recipe came from a cookbook called “Putting Food By,” given to Louise by her mother-in-law a long time ago. The pages Louise gave me had some other tips for making fruit butters that I thought readers might find useful.

Prather’s Pick: Harper Lee's new novel — Part 1

The other day I purchased the new novel, and when I was getting ready to go through the checkout line to pay for the book, I spotted what I thought to be a magazine on a display rack. The cover caught my eye because it was a photo of Gregory Peck reading “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It turned out to be a LIFE Book: “The Enduring Power of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’” So I bought it, too, hoping that it would help me remember Lee’s first published novel. It’s been a long time since I’ve read “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The LIFE Book was all that I’d hoped for and more. I read it cover to cover, and then I decided to write about it in this column and write a review of “Go Set a Watchman” in the next one.

From Pipi’s Pasture: The prairie flower

Life can be hectic for everyone. Take ranchers, for example. This time of the year there are cows to check and to move from pasture to pasture, fences to repair, livestock water to check (and sometimes to haul), hay to put up, and then all the chores to keep the household going. If this is coupled with work outside the ranch, there’s even more hurry, hurry, hurry to get it all done.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Louise’s Apple Butter recipe

Of all of the butters and jellies my mother canned, I remember Apple Butter the most. A favorite after school snack was fresh-baked bread, buttered first and then spread with Apple Butter. Most of the time Mom made the butter with windfall apples. (She never wasted anything.)

Prather’s Pick: Three ‘Pete the Cat’ books

This week’s column salutes a cat — not just any ordinary cat, either. Pete is a blackish-blue cat with light brown eyes that take up most of his face. He sometimes wears clothes over his slender body. In short, he’s one cool cat.

From Pipi's Pasture: Getting ready for the fair

What’s going on at Pipi’s Pasture this next week isn’t happening right here. Even though our granddaughter, Megan (Prather), doesn’t live here, we’re getting ready to give her our support when she competes in the Park County Fair at Fairplay, Colorado. We have been there at the fair in previous years to watch her exhibit her animals and other 4-H projects, though.

Over a Cup of Coffee: An unusual pizza

This week’s column features two very different recipes, each one from “1000 Recipes Cook Books”, # 3 and # 7, published in 1949 and 1951 by Dell Publishing Company. These cookbooks were given to me by a dear friend, Grandma Downs, way back when our children were small.

Prather’s Pick: Another book about Chris Kyle

This week’s book can be found at the Craig Moffat County Library on the shelves with new books. “The Life and Legend of Chris Kyle: American Sniper, Navy SEAL,” written by Michael J. Mooney, was originally published as an e-book by Little, Brown and Company (2013). It was published as a First Back Bay paperback in 2015. The paperback is updated, with a new epilogue.

From Pipi’s Pasture: The deer and the marigolds

When I was a kid growing up on the ranch, our family occasionally went on a day-long fishing trip up on the White River, some miles from Meeker. We always left the camping area early enough so that we could see the deer coming into the meadow of one of the ranches on the way home. It wasn’t that we didn’t have any deer on our Morapos ranch, but they weren’t as plentiful as they are today.

Prather’s Pick: The first thesaurus

“The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus”, this week’s nonfiction book for kids, has received two awards — The Robert F. Sibert Medal and the Caldecott Honor for illustration. The intriguing book was written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. It is published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (2014).

From Pipi's Pasture: Signs of summer

A few days ago it officially — by the calendar — turned summer. Here I’ve been writing about winter and spring at Pipi’s Pasture for what seems to be a long time so now it’s summer’s turn. Here’s what I’ve noticed about early summer.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Two New Casseroles

This week I did use the Crockpot once — to cook a piece of roast beef until it was tender. When I got home from work I made sandwiches with the beef, cheese, and sliced Jalapenos for my husband Lyle and none for me. I wrapped the buns in aluminum foil and put them in the oven until the cheese melted. This is one of our favorite sandwiches, and the leftovers can be warmed for lunch.

Prather’s Pick: A wonderfully imaginative book

The imagination is a wonderful thing, and that’s what this week’s picture book is all about. “This Is Sadie” is a great book about a little girl and her great big imagination.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Rhubarb rolls

One day this past week I got up early and fixed a crock pot of potatoes and a pork roast. Boy, did it smell good when I got home, and it was great to have a nutritious supper, too. So yesterday I hunted for the little recipe book that came with the crock pot. I never found it, but during the search I found a recipe for “Rhubarb Rolls” that I wrote on a piece of rose-decorated stationery. I have no idea where I got the recipe or if I have tried it before. Anyway, we have rhubarb now, and some of you might have some, too.

From Pipi's Pasture: An always-to-be-remembered reunion

The Country School Reunion that I’ve been writing so much about so much lately was held Saturday, June 13. It was fun to meet up with people we hadn’t seen in years and, in some cases, years and years. We learned about Moffat County country schools that we’d never heard of before. In short, the reunion was a huge success, and my sister Charlotte (Osborn) Allum and her husband, John, were here to enjoy it with me.

Prather’s Pick: Memories of a Navy SEAL’s wife

Lots of people have read “American Sniper,” the autobiography of Chris Kyle, a #1 New York Times bestseller. The Academy Award-winning movie, “American Sniper” was based on the book.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Welcome to the Country School Reunion

This week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” salutes former Moffat County country school students and teachers and welcomes everyone to the very first Country School Reunion to be held today, June 13, at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. A special welcome goes to those who have come from out of town for the event; that includes my sister Charlotte Allum and her husband John of Fort Collins.

From Pipi's Pasture: School memories

This week we have been moving cattle from Pipi’s Pasture to summer pasture, and along the way we pass the Morapos School. As we pass by the school building, I think about those school days of long ago. As I wrote in last week’s column, I have a hard time remembering all of the teachers and the kids that went to school there by years. However, I do remember some things about our school days.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Mom’s recipes

My sisters, Charlotte Allum and Darlene Blackford, and I have been working on a cookbook of our mother’s recipes. I think that these two recipes lend themselves to summer cooking.

Prather’s Pick: A book about reaching a goal

Kids like to read books about tractors, such as the picture books about “Otis” and “Big Tractor” — books previously reviewed in this column. This week I found “Tractor Mac: New Friend” one in a series of books about a red tractor, and I was impressed because during the story, the reader learns how to go about solving a problem.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Two easy Mexican casseroles

The weather hasn’t been nice enough for barbecuing yet — at least not at our house. It would be nice to eat steak, hamburgers and other grilled foods, but we’ve been sticking to our usual casseroles and soups and other dishes that we tend to eat more in the winter. This week I pulled out two Mexican casseroles that I haven’t made in awhile.

From Pipi's Pasture: Memories triggered by sagebrush

Early this morning, when I was walking to the corral here at Pipi’s Pasture to do chores, I noticed the smell of the sagebrush that grows in a nearby field. I don’t usually notice the scent at all, but perhaps this morning was different because of all of the rain. Anyway, that smell triggered memories of the days when my siblings and I went to the Morapos School all those years ago.