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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

From Pipi’s Pasture: Being thankful for many blessings

One afternoon this past week while I was waiting for the stock tank to fill — when I do some of my best thinking — I thought about my reasons to be grateful. Some people reflect on reasons to be thankful during the Thanksgiving holiday, but I connect my reflections more with the time of the year. After all, it’s the end to a busy season.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Side dishes for Thanksgiving

Enjoying family, food and traditions during Thanksgiving

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, family members might look forward to the side dishes, like stuffing and salads, even more than the ham or turkey. This week’s column features two side dishes.

Prather’s Pick: A new mystery novel

I enjoy Elizabeth Adler’s novels so I was thrilled to find “One Way or Another” with the new books at the Craig Moffat County Library. The novel, with a 2015 copyright, is published by Minotaur Books. Adler has written 30 novels.

Over a Cup of Coffee: One more try

I goofed when I wrote last week’s column. Though I can’t remember making “Double-Layer Pumpkin Pie” before, I did get to savor a pumpkin dip that our daughter-in-law, Cindy, made a couple of weeks ago when we stopped for lunch on a cow-gathering day at my brother Duane’s place. The dip was made from similar ingredients as the pie, and it was delicious. The recipe for the dip comes from a web site, and I don’t have permission to print it.

From Pipi's Pasture: Remembering the spring calves

The cattle have been gathered, and they’re all back at Pipi’s Pasture for the winter. Once they’re home, it takes a few days for all of us, humans and cattle alike, to get into a routine again. Then we family members begin to check out the calves.

Prather’s Pick: Learning about apples

A few weeks ago, I reviewed a kids’ picture book, “How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?”, written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. In the book, the students from Mr. Tiffin’s class carried out an investigation to see which of three sizes of pumpkins had the most seeds. (Mr. Tiffin is a very creative teacher!) In this week’s book, also by McNamara and Karas, Mr. Tiffin’s class visits an apple orchard. “The Apple Orchard Riddle” is intended for ages 4 to 8.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Pumpkin Bars

Each year, around this time, I bake “Pumpkin Bars” that are moist and delicious. This week’s recipe, from my “to try” file, is similar. Both recipes direct using a 15x10-inch pan, but I usually use a 13x9-inch pan and then baking the bars longer if they don’t test done after 30 minutes.

From Pipi’s Pasture: The topsy-turvy kittens grow up

This week’s column continues with the story about the topsy-turvy kittens that were born here at Pipi’s Pasture a few years ago. One out of the five kittens was normal; the other four had some type of nervous disorder, apparently some type of genetic or birth defect, that caused them to stagger and topple over when they walked — thus the name “topsy-turvy.”

Prather’s Pick: A girl named Apple

This week’s book is intended for young adult readers. It’s “Apple and Rain,” a novel written by Sarah Crossan and published by Bloomsbury Children’s books (2014).

Over a Cup of Coffee: Another Pumpkin Cookie Recipe

All of these thoughts of pumpkins have inspired me to find more pumpkin cookie recipes. (I featured one a few weeks ago.) This week’s recipe is from my file.

From Pipi’s Pasture: The year of the topsy-turvy cats

The other afternoon, while I was filling a stock tank at the corral, I was watching the cats and remembering the years that the topsy-turvy cats lived at Pipi’s Pasture. I have written about the stray cats before. They come and go at our place. Some of them stay with us awhile. I feed them all, and it’s the cats’ habits to stay either at the corral or around the house, usually not both places.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Soup recipes for cool weather

This week’s column has two recipes for soup. The weather has been warm, but it’s bound to change sooner or later, and soup just hits the spot during cold weather. Actually, soup is good most anytime.

From Pipi's Pasture: Settling in

Last weekend we brought the cows, calves, and bulls home from summer pasture. Coming home to Pipi’s Pasture is always followed by a short period of adjustment for the cattle — and us, too.

Prather’s Pick: Lots and lots of pumpkin seeds

Pumpkins! They come in all sizes, are brightly colored, and they’re fun to carve. That means removing all the pulp and seeds. Did you ever wonder how many seeds are in a pumpkin? Does a large pumpkin have more seeds than a small one? That’s just what Mr. Tiffin’s first grade class is about to find out.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Two quick supper recipes

This has been a busy week with work and getting ready to bring the cows home from summer pasture. I’m planning on feeding the family and other helpers ham and potato salad so that won’t be hard to get ready.

From Pipi’s Pasture: “Waiting” one more time

Last week’s column, inspired by my sister, Charlotte Allum, was fun to write, and it made me think too. Yesterday evening, Charlotte called. She and her husband John had just returned home from a trip. She was laughing — yawning, too — as she asked, “Do you know what I’m doing? I’m waiting until it’s time to go to bed.”

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.