Back to profile

Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

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.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Those perfect fall days

As I wrote this column, I heard the television weatherman say that there might be snow in the mountains. Can that be happening already — and just as I’ve been getting my mind set for some beautiful fall days?

Over a Cup of Coffee: A new dessert

This week my column begins with two thank-you notes. First, thanks to Iva Decker, of Craig, who gave me a plate of popcorn balls and some peanut brittle.

Diane Prather: A hilarious tall tale

Can you imagine growing a watermelon so big that the hollow rind can be used as a hay shed or growing tomatoes so big that you have to climb a ladder to saw them off the vines? That’s how big the garden produce grows on the ranch at By-Golly Gully, Texas.

From Pipi’s Pasture: General projects results from State Fair

Each year, “From Pipi’s Pasture” honors the Moffat County 4-H members who exhibited at the Colorado State Fair. Exhibitors qualify during judging at the Moffat County Fair. To be able to participate in the judging at the State Fair is a big deal. This week’s column is a listing of the judging results in General Projects.

Prather’s Pick: A thriller with some romance, too

Last week, I read three novels for adults, and all three kept me engrossed to the very last page. This week’s “Prather’s Pick” features one of the books. (I’ll do the others eventually.) “Last to Know” was written by Elizabeth Adler, the author of 29 novels. The publisher is Minotaur Books (2014).

Over a Cup of Coffee: Remembering spiced fruit

I was looking through my old cookbook that no longer has front pages, and I turned to a page that featured recipes for pickled and spiced vegetables and fruits that can be used as “accompaniments for meats.”

From Pipi’s Pasture: Smelling the roses

This week’s column was inspired by our son Jamie. It happened when we were talking about the hurried lives we all have and sometimes not taking the time to notice the small things.

Prather’s Pick: A unique photographic picture book

This week’s book is a cleverly done photographic picture book. The author is Terry Border who is well-known for his intriguing photography that involves the use of common everyday objects such as food, wire, paper clip, tape and others.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making different types of enchiladas

As I type this column, I’m looking out onto a gray-looking scene, no doubt indicating more rain. We’re grateful for the moisture but hoping that it didn’t set the haying operations back too far.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Back-to-school memories

School will be starting in a little over a week, and people are wondering, “Where did the summer go?” The rush is on to buy school clothes and back-to-school supplies and to perhaps do some of the things that were planned for summer but didn’t get done.

Prather’s Pick: A hilarious book for young adults

I’ve been a fan of Gary Paulsen’s books for years. If I counted the titles of his works, listed inside his newest book, correctly, he has written about 53 books, mostly for young people but some fiction and nonfiction for adults — and some picture books besides.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Get ready for fall cooking

This is a great time of the year to cook because there is so much produce available through the Farmers Market and fruit/vegetable stands. I’m told that Palisade peaches are ready. This week’s column features two recipes for using fruit.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Signs of fall approaching

I love the fall season, and it seems to me that there are already signs of the seasonal change. Mostly it’s a feeling, I guess, but I’ve been trying to pinpoint the signs.

Prather’s Pick: A true story of extraordinary kindness

“My name is Alter Wiener, and I am an ordinary person with an extraordinary past.” That’s the way “Gifts from the Enemy” begins. The picture book for children was written by Trudy Ludwig, and the beautiful oil painting illustrations were done by Craig Orback. White Cloud Press is the publisher.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Fun fair memories

I was talking to my sister Darlene Blackford of Rocky Ford this past week, and the conversation came around to county fairs. Darlene, whose sons Adam and Brian have graduated from college, remembers one year when Adam received a beautiful jacket for having the Grand Champion chickens at their county fair.

Prather’s Pick: ‘What the Moon Said’ is an intriguing book for youth

Esther, the almost-10-year-old leading character in this week’s featured book, wants to be accepted by her mother. Ma, a superstitious woman, seems to push Esther away when the girl wants a hug, even though she hugs the other siblings in the family. So Esther vows to do whatever it takes to get her mother’s approval.

Over a Cup: Ideas for using leftover ham

It’s so hot that I ought to be featuring recipes for cold things — maybe smoothies or cold fruit drinks. (Does anybody have any recipes for cold drinks?) However, recently I have been trying to figure out how to fix quick, nutritious meals that fit into my busy schedule. So this week, I looked in my files for recipes that I’ve never tried for using leftover ham. That way I can fix a ham and use it for several meals.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Dealing with an injured finger

I think that we sometimes tend to take our body parts for granted. Take our opposable thumbs, for example. Have you ever tried to do something without using your thumb — like writing, for example, or grasping a glass of water? There are so many ways that we use these wonderful thumbs!

Prather’s Pick: Lou Dean’s latest book is a wild ride

Author Lou Dean is a Northwest Colorado resident, living at Blue Mountain, near Dinosaur. That’s where she writes — a lot. She has written numerous articles for major magazines and eight books, which include memoirs, young adult novels, and nonfiction.

From Pipi’s Pasture: A special letter

I assume that most of my “From Pipi’s Pasture” readers have figured out that I enjoy taking care of my cattle — for that matter, I enjoy rural life in general. However, readers may not know that I have been a teacher for over 40 years, and I love that part of my life, too.

Open Class offers a variety of fun at fair

Some recent stories in the Craig Daily Press have covered changes in open class entries for the upcoming Moffat County Fair. So, if you have just moved to Moffat County — or if you have lived here for some time but have never exhibited anything at the fair — you might be wondering what “open class” is all about.

Prather’s Pick: ‘Lost Lake’ is a feel-good novel

This week’s novel for adults begins in Paris, France on an autumn evening in 1962. Eby and George Pim are on their honeymoon. Although they were supposed to be gone two weeks, the newlyweds have been gone four months.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Zucchini recipes

My garden is just pitiful this year. I planted seeds too late and left bedding plants inside too long, all because I was worried about frost.

From Pipi’s Pasture: It’s summer!

Summer! It’s what we yearned for back in January when the weather was cold and snowy and the roads were icy. It’s what we yearned for in May when it rained, snowed and frosted. Summer is finally here!

Prather's Pick: A lot to be learned from ‘How to Babysit a Grandma’

Most busy parents leave their children with Grandpa and Grandma at one time or another so that the grandparents can “babysit” their grandchildren. However, the children might look at babysitting the other way around. “How to Babysit a Grandma,” by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish, was brought to my attention by my sister, Darlene Blackford, who lives in Rocky Ford. Darlene conducts workshops for early childhood teachers so she’s always looking for children’s books that she can use.

From Pipi’s Pasture: A special parade

Last week while I was wracking my brain, trying to bring back some memories of childhood Fourth of July celebrations, I remembered a recent Fourth of July parade that we attended with our son Jody and family. This story didn’t happen in Moffat County; in fact it took place in Utah, but it’s involves hard work and dedication, and it’s a heartwarming story, too.

Prather’s Pick: 'Never Look Back' is a thrilling police mystery

If you enjoy reading mysteries, the kind that have you sitting on the edge of your chair as the tension builds, then this week’s novel for adults is for you.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering the 4th of July

It’s nearly the Fourth of July here at Pipi’s Pasture, and I’ve been trying to remember how we celebrated the holiday when my sisters, brother and I were growing up on the ranch at Morapos. I’ve talked to my sisters; I’ve talked to my brother. Nothing much stands out. I think it’s because July is a busy time of year for ranchers, and in those days we couldn’t afford to take the time off to celebrate.

Prather’s Pick: A book to celebrate 4th of July

Sally Beauchamp, children’s librarian at the Moffat County Library, brought this week’s book to my attention a while back. “My Country ‘Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights” is a picture book intended for children, but I learned a lot while reading the book, and I’ll bet other adults will, too.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Yummy blueberry dessert

Blueberries are a favorite at our house. This week’s column features a cheesecake with blueberry pie filling spread over the top. Although I haven’t tried it, I think that you might substitute another kind of pie filling — like cherry, for example.

From Pipi’s Pasture: A cow named 'Ucky'

This summer, I’m helping two mother cows feed their calves — at least for a while. The calves are nursing on their moms; the cows are nurturing their calves, but I’m not sure just how much milk the babies are getting.

Prather’s Pick: ‘A Boy and a Jaguar’ gives voice to those with speech issues

“A Boy and a Jaguar” is the true story of Alan Rabinowitz who, as a boy, struggled with stuttering. The book’s beautiful illustrations, rendered in acrylic and charcoal, were done by painter Catia Chien.

Over a Cup: The story behind the ‘$250 Cookies’ recipe

Awhile back, probably a month or so ago, this column featured a recipe for “$250 Cookies,” a recipe that I had found in some newspaper years ago. (I have made the cookies, and they’re delicious.) So then about May 15, I received a letter from an anonymous reader with a story about the cookies. I usually do not put recipes or other information from anonymous readers in my column, but this time I have broken my own rule. This column deals with that story, an intriguing one to say the least.

From Pipi’s Pasture: More animal stories

Yesterday morning when I was at the corral doing chores, I heard the sounds coming from a litter of brand new kittens — a late batch of kittens, perhaps. The baby cries were coming from a stack of hay bales, and my first thought was, “Oh, no! Kittens in a hole between the hay bales. I’ll have to move the kittens around before long!”

Prev