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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

Prather’s Pick: A book about germs

A teacher at heart, I’m always on the lookout for young adult and children’s books that can be used with the classroom curriculum. This week’s picture book, intended for ages 4 to 8, is an example.

From Pipi's Pasture: The sounds around us

This past week I have been listening to the sounds of the birds here at Pipi’s Pasture. Some of their songs seem to be heralding spring. So that has gotten me to think about other sounds around us, most so familiar that we may take them for granted. This week’s column is dedicated to the sounds around us.

Prather’s Pick: A romantic thriller

This week’s Prather’s Pick reviews “River Road,” a suspense novel by author Jayne Ann Krentz. She has written an impressive number of novels — more than 50, in fact. Her contemporary romantic suspense novels are under the name Jayne Ann Krentz, while her futuristic and historical romantic novels are under the pseudonyms Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick.

Over a Cup of Coffee: A question about 'Pudding Fruit Salad' and more

Since I’ve been writing about pudding, here’s a good dessert for Valentine’s Day. This is a well-known recipe. I may have even included it in this column before. I’ve made it a lot.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making the pudding salad

Two weeks ago this column featured a recipe for “Pudding Fruit Salad.” Last week’s column addressed some concerns that Evelyn Tileston of Craig had about mixing up the pudding. Since the recipe calls for heating the fruit juice in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, Evelyn was concerned that the liquid would be so hot that the instant pudding would clump. I thought she had a good point.

From Pipi's Pasture: Valentine's Day at Morapos School

Here at Pipi’s Pasture it doesn’t look anything like the Valentine’s Day I remember when I was growing up on the ranch. There was a lot of snow on Feb. 14, and it was cold. But, I don’t think my siblings and I cared about the weather — if we didn’t have to worry about going to Craig to get our valentine supplies, that is — because we had plenty of holiday-related activities to keep us busy.

Prather's Pick: Who is stealing the books?

All of the animal characters in this week’s picture book like to read. At night they have a routine. Everybody settles down with a book, and the parents read to their children. “The Snatchabook” was written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty, a husband and wife team. The couple lives in Wales.

From Pipi's Pasture: A prize-winning paint named Buster

This week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” honors a horse. This past November, for the second year in a row, he won the “All-Around” title at the World Paint Horse Show, an annual event held in Fort Worth, Texas.

Prather’s Pick: Surviving a blizzard

This week’s book is timely, indeed, considering all of the media coverage about the recent blizzards in the eastern part of our country. “Blizzard” is a beautifully-illustrated (Caldecott Honor) book, written by John Rocco. The story is based on his own experience with a blizzard when he was 10 years old.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Thinking fruit

It must be the spring-like weather or something, but I have been hungry for fruit lately.

From Pipi's Pasture: Stock Show memories

It’s been nearly 50 years (gasp!) since I exhibited steers at the National Western. Since then I have kept in touch with it through our grandchildren, Kenny and Megan Prather. I know that there have been lots of changes since I was a junior exhibitor and know that more changes are being planned to expand the facility.

Prather’s Pick: A memoir about being HIV positive and bullied

This week’s book is written for young adults, but older readers will learn a lot from reading it, too. “Positive: Surviving My Bullies, Finding Hope, and Living to Change the World” is a memoir, written by Paige Rawl, with Ali Benjamin. The foreward to the book was written by Jay Asher.

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.

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