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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Broccoli cheese soup

It’s been warm and spring-like, but undoubtedly there will be lots more snowy days before spring really arrives. That means that there’s still time left to enjoy soup, like this week’s recipe for “Broccoli Cheese Soup.” The second recipe for “Spanish Noodles” is quick to prepare and yet good, a recipe to fix when you don’t have much time.

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Prather’s Pick: Celebrating the works of Dr. Seuss

When I taught children’s literature and inquired about my adult students’ favorite children’s author, they almost always replied, “Dr. Seuss.” Because of his wacky words, rhyming verse, and ingenious artwork, Dr. Seuss is indeed one of the most beloved children’s authors. Besides that, his books leave all readers — young and old alike — with messages about life.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: A surprise casserole

First of all, I’d like to thank all of the readers who sent letters and called with recipes for mincemeat. There hasn’t been enough room in the column to print all of the recipes I received, but I’m setting some of them aside until Thanksgiving and Christmas 2017.

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Prather's Pick: A novel about racism

I have just finished reading “Small Great Things,” a novel written by one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult. She is a genius at crafting novels so that the reader cannot put her books down, and then the message is often haunting.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Feeding top bales

During a good part of the winter, we feed small, rectangular bales (we feed round bales a little later). Lyle loads the bales on a 4-wheeler-pulled trailer, drives them out to the feedlot, and scatters them around the lot — two trailer loads. My job is to cut the strings and spread the hay out (as much as possible when there are bunches of cows pushing each other around the bales).

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Over a Cup of Coffee: A Valentine’s Day treat

Janine Rinker of Craig sent in the first of this week’s recipes with a note that it is “a favorite Valentine’s Day treat.” Crisom Crumble Bars will be a pretty treat for Valentine’s Day with its cranberry ingredient. Thanks, Janine!

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Prather's Pick: A novel about a prodigal son

This week’s novel is the re-telling of the prodigal son story. “Long Way Gone” was written by Charles Martin and published by Thomas Nelson (a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing), 2016.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: So, now it’s February…

So, now it’s February 2017. The tax forms that were supposed to be filed Jan. 31 have been sent. The registration tag for my car, to replace the 2016 tag has been put on the license plate. The property tax notice arrived in the mail. Maybe some of the bitter early winter temperatures have left (though I know it can be cold in February).

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Prather’s Pick: A book with fascinating illustrations

This week’s featured book is “A Child of Books,” a picture book for children. However, as with so many children’s books these days, the story line and artwork will be appreciated by adults, too. Best of all, children and adults can share the reading experience of the book.

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From Pipi's Pasture: Making do

When I was a kid growing up on the ranch, our family learned to “make do.” It might have been using a jar-sealing rubber — a circular piece of rubber used to seal canning jars — to hold a sole on a pair of everyday shoes. Or it might have been piling thick telephone books — the Denver kind — big storage cans or anything else we could find on top of a stool in order to reach the ceiling when we painted or cleaned.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: A 'Good Common Mincemeat' recipe

On Tuesday, Dollie Frentress, of Craig, called and said, “You’re going to get a kick out of this,” and I did. I hope you do, too.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: More mincemeat

This week’s mincemeat recipes were contributed by Pat Pearce, of Craig. She found them in a recipe box belonging to Claudia Pearce, her mother-in-law. It is interesting to note that some of the old recipes use “mince meat,” two words rather than “mincemeat” that is used today.

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From Pipi's Pasture: A calf with tag number 65

I remember when calf #65 was born. According to the calving record book it was April 9, 2016. I wasn’t expecting my 20-year-old-plus cow, Ucky, to calve last year. I figured that she was too old. Wrong!

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Prather’s Pick: A home full of books

This week’s picture book for children was a Christmas gift from my sister and brother-in-law, Darlene and Miner Blackford of Rocky Ford. (They know that I love children’s books and sometimes use them when teaching classes.) It’s the cutest book!

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From Pipi’s Pasture: So now it’s January…

So now it’s January, and the holiday season is over. What is on mind right now is what is on everybody else’s mind — the weather. It’s hard to focus on any other writing topic here at Pipi’s Pasture because, after all, it is taking three to four hours a day to do all the chores. If you have animal chores to do, you know what I’m talking about; if you don’t you still have to deal with the snowy, wet mess.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: An old mincemeat recipe

This last week, while I worked from home, I had several calls from readers who gave me information and recipes about mincemeat. I’ll share what I learned in this and future columns. I so enjoyed visiting with you all, and thanks so much for the information.

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Prather's Pick: '13 Ways to Kill Your Community'

If you’re making a list of books to read during the new year, put this week’s book at the top. It’s “13 ways to Kill Your Community” by Doug Griffiths, MBA, with Kelly Clemmer. The book I reviewed is the second edition.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Baking warmth in the wintertime

Winter is here, and if the weather keeps being so snowy, you might want to spend more time in the kitchen — perhaps baking cookies. This week’s column features two recipes from my mother’s (Judy Osborn) recipe files.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Patty’s Raspberry Salad

This week’s column offers up a treat. It’s a yummy salad recipe, made with raspberries, cream, cream cheese, Jell-o and more. I’ll bet it could be served as a dessert. Anyway, the recipe was sent to me by Patty Meyers who lives near Hamilton. Patty got the recipe from Berdna Nicodemus. Patty makes this salad for every holiday dinner. She doesn’t know if you could use fresh raspberries in place of frozen ones.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering New Year’s Day

In those days when I was growing up on the ranch, we didn’t have people in for New Year’s Day — not that I remember anyway. We did celebrate the beginning of the new year with a nice dinner which probably consisted of roast beef, potatoes and gravy, and all the trimmings. During the day, perhaps dinner, we talked about our hopes for the year and made our resolutions, which we might have kept to ourselves.

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From Pipi's Pasture: Remembering Christmas dinner

Tomorrow most of us will be enjoying Christmas dinner with family and friends. I’m remembering Christmas dinners back when I was a kid growing up on the ranch.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: A side for Christmas dinner

It seems like just about everyone serves turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, but that isn’t necessarily true for Christmas. Though turkey is a popular choice, some families prefer roast beef or ham or even something else that’s interesting. This year I’m fixing ham, a pasta salad, fresh veggies, rolls and maybe the vegetable casserole recipe featured in this week’s column.

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Prather’s Pick: A principal’s Christmas

Over the years, several authors have written their own versions of “The Night Before Christmas.” This week’s picture book for kids, first published in 2004 (and with two more printings), is an example.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Christmas cookies

By the time you read this column, it will be just eight days until Christmas. Unbelievable! I’m busy; you’re busy, and that’s all that’s left to say—except that this week’s column features two more cookie recipes that you can bake for Christmas. Both recipes are taken from my old cookbook that has lost its cover and some other pages, too. Enjoy the cookies!

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Prather’s Pick: A different view of the North Pole

“Santa Kid” is a picture book, written by James Patterson and illustrated by Michael Garland, and it has a very “different” plot, indeed.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: The country school Christmas program

Since I’ve gotten to be an adult, I’ve tried to “bring up” the same wonderful feeling of anticipation that I used to have when we kids got ready for the Christmas program at the Morapos School. That was the country school that we community kids attended through grade eight. And the feeling of anticipation? Well, I can’t quite seem to bring it back to mind; that’s what happens when we grow up, I guess.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: A gift of homemade treats

This week we received an “open now” box from our son Jamie’s family who lives at Bailey. We knew the box was coming because our daughter-in- law Brandi called to give us a “heads up” that the box would contain perishables. It is a tradition for her to put together a box like this each Christmas.

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Prather’s Pick: Craig appears in a recent novel written by a Colorado man

This week’s novel for adults was written by Colorado resident Erik Storey, and readers will recognize some of the towns — such as Meeker, Rifle and Craig — in the setting of the book’s plot.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: A childhood Christmas Eve

Each year when the Christmas season rolls around, my mind wanders back to my childhood days when I was growing up on the ranch at Morapos. Whenever I write about growing up experiences, I marvel at how much I’ve forgotten or perhaps how I have chosen to remember things. My siblings often remember events another way. So here it goes.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Signs of winter

As I sit at the dining room table this morning I can see a little bit of snow on Pipi’s Pasture. There are water puddles, too, in the usual places where we find them following rains that put down measurable precipitation. The storm reminds me of one of those days in March when we’re into calving season. However, the first of December is just around the corner. Time has passed with the blink of an eye.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Using Thanksgiving leftovers

There’s nothing better than Thanksgiving leftovers. However, we can eat just so many turkey and hot roll sandwiches. This week’s column features two recipes for using leftover Thanksgiving dinner meats. The first is chicken (or turkey) soup, and the other is a casserole.

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Prather’s Pick: A Thanksgiving book with outstanding artwork

I found “Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanks” on display in the children’s room at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries. The book is edited, with reflections, by Katherine Paterson. I think that the book would be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

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From Pipi's Pasture: A calf named Wind

This is a Thanksgiving story of sorts, a really incredible story about a six-month-old, whitish-gray-brown Simmental cross heifer calf. We don’t usually name calves, but as a baby this little calf loved to run, and as she’d run past me I was reminded of the wind. Thus, the name.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Jaycee’s favorite salad

Our family is starting to make plans for Thanksgiving. Whenever I think about preparing a holiday dinner or even a meal for a big gathering to work cattle, I include a special fruit salad in the menu. It’s our grandson’s favorite salad, and even though it has another name, I call it “Jaycee’s Favorite Salad.” I’ve included it in a previous column, perhaps a year ago, but I can’t resist featuring it again.

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Prather's Pick: A children’s book about friendship

With Thanksgiving approaching, we’re all thinking about reasons to be thankful. Being grateful is one of the messages in this week’s picture book for children.

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From Pipi's Pasture: More uses for the dining room table

Last week I wrote about how my childhood family enjoyed visiting as we sat around the dining room table eating our family meals. Lyle and I have continued the “tradition” with our own family, and we enjoy it so much that we linger at the table even after we’ve eaten dessert.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Three recipes using mac and cheese

When days are busy, as they have been for me lately, and I don’t have much time to fix supper, I like to turn to recipes like those featured in this week’s column. They’re quick to fix and don’t call for many ingredients.

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Prather’s Pick: An Inspector Gamache novel

Author Louise Penny, who lives in Montreal, has written 11 previous Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. “A Great Reckoning,” the 12th in this series, is this week’s featured book. It’s published by Minotaur Books (2016).

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From Pipi's Pasture: The dining room table

Thanksgiving is less than a month away. Before we know it we’ll be sitting around the dining room table enjoying the turkey or ham and all the trimmings while we exchange conversation with friends and family. So this week I’ve been thinking about the dining room table.

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Prather's Pick: A novel set at a maple farm

This week’s book is a pleasant read, indeed. “Family Tree,” a novel for adults, was written by Susan Wiggs, who has written more than fifty novels. The book is published by William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers (2016).

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From Pipi's Pasture: One more look at Halloween

Here at Pipi’s Pasture most of the fall work is finished. The cattle are home and are settling into the winter routine. The only big “cow” job is weaning calves in about a week. Meanwhile we’re enjoying the last sunny days of October.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Baking with spices

A couple of days ago, Charlotte Guptill, of Craig, called to let me know that she had made the “Apple Nut Bread” from the Oct. 15th “Over a Cup of Coffee.” She made some changes to the recipe that readers might consider.

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Prather’s Pick: A book about a scarecrow

Young readers are sure to enjoy the playful, rhythmic storyline of this week’s picture book. “The Scarecrow’s Dance” was written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Begram Ibatoulline.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Making fall cookies

Last month one of my columns didn’t get printed — it happens sometimes. Anyway, I haven’t taken time to go through all of my flash drives to find out which one it was. I think it was a column featuring one of Geraldine Coleman’s recipes, I just don’t know which one. Also in the column was a recipe for pumpkin cookies. Since then I have had a request for a pumpkin cookie recipe, with spices. So this column includes both the cookie recipe and a recipe for a dip that you might just use at a Halloween party.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering Halloween

Lately the evenings here at Pipi’s Pasture have reminded me of Halloweens past. It’s the full moon that we can see through the naked branches of the poplar trees that grow along the yard fence. It’s the scattered dark clouds that make the bright sky seem a little eerie — like Halloween.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Baking apple bread

We have bags of apples all over the kitchen, all from our own trees. Mostly I have been peeling and slicing the apples and cooking them in a saucepan. I sweeten the apples with sugar, add a little cinnamon, and thicken the juice with a little cornstarch. We eat them that way, with a little cream or whipped topping. It’s really like making a pie except without the crust.

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From Pipi's Pasture: Saving the Luttrell Barn

The old barn on our family ranch at Morapos has stood there some 70 years. Sometimes I wonder, if walls could talk, what stories the barn would tell. Perhaps it would be of a crew of men stacking hay in the loft or of a cow with her head in a stanchion waiting to be milked. Or there might be stories of my sisters and brother playing in the loft or brushing our 4-H steers as they ate their grain in the barn’s stalls.

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Prather’s Pick: Mice and their pumpkin

First of all, a note to fans of Craig Johnson’s Longmire books: his new book, “An Obvious Fact,” came out in September 2016. I haven’t taken time to browse the book displays in local stores to see if the book is there, but you can order it from Downtown Books, which is what my husband Lyle did (since he owns all of Johnson’s books). It costs about $30 in hardcover, including postage.

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From Pipi's Pasture: It’s October

So now it’s October. Here at Pipi’s Pasture the leaves on the poplar trees are turning a gorgeous yellow color, and some of them are already falling to the ground when the wind blows.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Potato options

I can’t believe that we haven’t dug our potatoes or carrots yet, but that’s one of the jobs for the weekend. This month I featured Geraldine Coleman’s recipe for “Scalloped Potatoes Supreme.” I haven’t taken the time to make it yet, but I met up with a reader in downtown Craig a few days ago who did make it. She said the potato dish was delicious. I thought it would be.

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