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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Blubarb Pie

We have planted most of our garden, and so far one row of onions is up. As I was checking out the garden I noticed that some our young rhubarb plants are about ready. What a great time for Mary Burnett, of Craig, to send me a recipe for “Blubarb Pie” (Blueberry Rhubarb). There may be three cups of rhubarb from our plants to make Mary’s pie!

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Enjoying our garden

I look forward to this time of year because I can start working in the garden. Our garden is enclosed in a fenced yard (to keep out the deer) right next to Pipi’s Pasture.

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Prather’s Pick: A rusty but trusty tractor

This year there has been a lot of flooding in our country, and that’s what I thought about when I found “Farmer John’s Tractor,” a children’s picture book.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Making Swiss Steak

This week I was thinking about how long it has been since I’ve made Swiss Steak. My husband Lyle experimented with making Swiss Steak years ago, and I have used his recipe for years — but not lately.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: It’s almost time

It’s almost time! In less than two weeks we’ll be moving the cows, calves and bulls to summer pasture. They’re ready, and so are we!

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Prather’s Pick: An act of heroism — a true story

I don’t often review books about the military (I should) because I have a hard time getting through them, but this week I have an extraordinary book to recommend to readers. My husband Lyle brought the book to my attention; he had just finished reading it and thought it was written in such a way that I would enjoy reading it, too. He was right.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Making carrot cake

The rhubarb is growing and soon I’ll be planting the garden. I can hardly wait for the luscious vegetables. This week, however, my mind is on carrot cake, one of my husband Lyle’s favorite cakes. This column features two recipes — one for cake without frosting and one with frosting. The frosting recipe, by the way, might be used with other cakes as well.

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From Pipi's Pasture: Days that are a little less than great

Sometimes things happen here at Pipi’s Pasture that make the days a little hectic. I’m not fond of negatives so I’d prefer to refer to those days as “a little less than great.” To illustrate, I offer the following examples, some of which actually happened this past week.

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Prather’s Pick: A children’s book about food allergies

Last week while I was looking for books that celebrate mothers, I came upon two more picture books, and they’re great. I’m featuring them this week before I set my notes aside and lose them. The first book deals with a child’s needs, and the second one is just plain fun. Both books can be found in the children’s room at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Supper recipes using hamburger

This week I tried a new recipe that I found in a periodical. It sounded good so I thought if it was good I’d try to get permission to reprint it in this column. It was a disappointment. So this week I found two recipes from my files that are good. I’ve made both of them several times.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Happy Mother’s Day, Mama Cat

Among the residents at Pipi’s Pasture — the cows, cats, wildlife, and humans — there are lots of mothers, including me. However, this week my thoughts are on one mother in particular, a cat known as “Mama Cat.”

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Prather’s Pick: Books that celebrate mother

This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day, and this week’s column celebrates mothers everywhere with two picture books intended for children that are guaranteed to be enjoyed by readers of all ages, especially mothers.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Unusual Spaghetti Recipes

Last week I wrote about a recipe that I used to make when I hadn’t been married too long. This week I was thinking about when I used to make a spaghetti casserole that had hot dogs on top. The hot dogs were left long, but I made a lengthwise slit in each one and filled it with cheese. I think the cheese was from slices that had been cut in strips. The casserole dish was put in the oven until it was hot and the cheese had melted.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Only 2 more cows to go!

After two months of calving season here at Pipi’s Pasture, it’s almost over — as far as the actual calving, that is. (We still have to keep an eye on the calves and brand before “turn out.”) But we’re down to two cows — just two more to calve! When it comes to the chore involved with calving, the cow-checking is probably the most draining so when that’s finished, I’m grateful.

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Prather's Pick: You'll be Plumb surprised with this novel

“The Nest”, this week’s new novel, is a first for author Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. It is published by HarperCollins Books (2016). The novel’s story is about a dysfunctional family, the members of which scheme, lie, cheat and even steal to get what they want. The leading characters are the Plumb siblings — Leo, Bea, Melody and Jack. The plot revolves around The Nest, a joint trust fund to be shared by the siblings when the youngest, Melody, turns 40. That’s going to happen in February.

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Over a Cup Coffee: Macaroni and Hamburger

Recently I’ve been remembering recipes that I cooked up years ago, when I had young children. Amazingly, I recall the dishes but not how to prepare them. I think that I cooked some recipes — like a meat loaf — out of my head, not from a written recipe. (It’s too bad that I can’t remember how I made the meat loaf because it was moist and my husband Lyle liked it.)

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Ucky has a calf

On April 9, Ucky had a calf. That doesn’t seem to be a big deal because cows have calves all the time, but Ucky is about 20 years old, her bones creak, and her teeth are deteriorating — in other words, she’s old.

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Prather’s Pick: Who ate the turkey?

I know that it isn’t Christmas, but I couldn’t wait until December to review “The Christmas Turkey Disaster,” the 66th (!) and most recent book in the “Hank the Cowdog” series. The “Hank” books are written by John R. Erickson and illustrated by Gerald L. Holmes. Both men live in Perryton, Texas. Erickson is a former cowboy who has written books for both children and adults, but he is best known for “Hank the Cowboy.” In addition to “Hank the Cowdog,” Holmes has illustrated cartoons and textbooks.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Baked pasta casserole

I found this week’s recipe on the back of a 16-ounce box of Kroger penne pasta. I cut the recipe in half to make it more “manageable” for two people, so we don’t have so many leftovers. I’ll make this recipe again, and when my family comes, I’ll make the entire recipe, maybe even more.

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From Pipi's Pasture: April 2016

I was recently visiting with someone who hasn’t lived in Craig very long. When I mentioned that a big storm — according to today’s forecast — is headed our way, possibly bringing snow, she made a face. I know that she was thinking, “But it’s April!”

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Prather's Pick: The library dragon returns

Even though this picture book is intended for children, there’s a message for all ages — perhaps more than one message. “Return of the Library Dragon” was written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Michael P. White. It is based on “The Library Dragon,” also written by Deedy.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: More raisin pies

This week’s column features two more raisin pie recipes that I couldn’t fit into last week’s column. These recipes were sent to me by Geraldine Coleman, of Craig. Thanks, Geraldine!

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From Pipi's Pasture: Favorite kitten nests

Part of the spring ritual here at Pipi’s Pasture is the birth of kittens, all from mama cats that came here as strays, settled down and stayed — some for years now. This week Lyle told me that he had found a batch of newborn kittens belonging to a one-eyed black mama cat. She has them hidden in a small opening in one side of our wood shed.

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Prather’s Pick: Swift River Valley novel

“The Spring at Moss Hill,” this week’s novel written by “New York Times” bestselling author Carla Neggers, is a romantic mystery. It is the latest in the Swift River Valley series of novels. The book is a mystery, but it is not a suspense thriller that involves a murder.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Rhubarb-Raisin Pie

When my siblings and I were growing up on the ranch, we learned to eat everything. We worked hard, we were hungry at mealtime, we didn’t have much (hardly any at all) “convenience” foods from the grocery store, and we couldn’t afford to be “picky” eaters.

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Prather’s Pick: A new suspense thriller

This week’s novel, a suspense thriller, was written by Joy Fielding, a New York Times bestselling author. You may know her for “Someone is Watching” or another of the over 20 novels she has written.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: An almost always snowy Easter

On a spring day like today, when the snow is blowing like crazy, I’m reminded of Easters past, when my brother, sister and I were growing up on the ranch. We looked forward to Easter pretty much the way we looked forward to Christmas. However, the likelihood that we would be able to find eggs and our baskets outdoors was slim, indeed, and it didn’t really matter whether Easter came in March or April.

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Prather’s Pick: Bunny searches for Easter

“The Bunny Who Found Easter,” written by Charlotte Zolotow, was first published in 1959, and then the copyright was renewed in 1987. This week’s picture book for children is a new rendition of the old classic tale, published in 1998. The illustrations for this book were done by Helen Craig.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Strawberry Salads

Whenever I think about Easter dinner, I think of strawberries and fancy gelatin salads. This column features two recipes for salads with strawberry gelatin and one of the recipes for frozen strawberries, too. These recipes might be used for desserts if desired.

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From Pipi's Pasture: Hidden under the snow

The snow is slowly melting here at Pipi’s Pasture, including the mountain-like piles of drifted and plowed snow. In fact, the ground is mostly bare. Here and there we find a sprig or two of green grass, but right now the dominant color is brown.

Prather’s Pick: A story for St. Patrick’s Day

“The Story of the Leprechaun,” a picture book for children of ages 3 to 8, is a charming tale for St. Patrick’s Day. It was written by Katherine Tegen and illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: More Recipes from Tamara

This week’s column features two more of the recipes courtesy of Tamara Curtis. She adapted some of her cookie, bar, and brownie recipes to “The Diary of Anne Frank,” and some of the treats will be sold at the concession stand during intermission of the play at today’s matinee and evening performances. (Other recipes from Tamara were featured in last week’s “Over a Cup of Coffee.”)

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Feeding off the trailer

Sometimes we change our routines here at Pipi’s Pasture, like Tuesday, for example. That’s when we started feeding big round bales versus the small bales we have been feeding since October.

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Prather’s Pick: Jan Karon’s most recent novel

I found “Come Rain or Come Shine,” a Mitford novel by Jan Karon, with the new books at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Library. I spent several days with this charming book — not that it took that long to read. I just wanted to spend extra time savoring it.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering March in Morapos

It’s March already, and here at Pipi’s Pasture there are hopeful signs that spring isn’t far away. I’ve been thinking about months of March in the past, when I was growing up on the ranch, and March in more recent times, too.

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Prather’s Pick: Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss’s birthday is March 2. Over the years, children have enjoyed the books written by Theodore Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss. Some of the books have become movies, enjoyed by adults and children alike.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Geraldine’s rhubarb recipes

Awhile back, Geraldine Coleman, of Craig, sent me a couple of packets of recipes. Among them are some recipes for using rhubarb. They sound delicious, but I’ve been holding onto them all winter, waiting for rhubarb season. Well. I can’t hold on any longer. Maybe it’s because I’m looking forward to spring. Whatever it is, this week’s column features two of Geraldine’s recipes.

From Pipi’s Pasture: War with hoses

Keeping three stock tanks filled is a time-consuming but essential part of chores here at Pipi’s Pasture. Filling tanks goes on once a day — every single day — from October until late May and summer, too, although there aren’t many animals here then.

Prather’s Pick: A new cookbook

You may have already savored the four “Pioneer Woman Cooks…” — with different ending titles — books, written by Ree Drummond. In 2015, she published another cookbook.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Patty’s quick and delicious casseroles

Because I’m so busy, I favor recipes that are easy to put together and, of course, delicious and nutritious. I also like to make recipes that call for ingredients that I have on hand. This week’s two recipes, courtesy of Patty Myers, are all of the above.

From Pipi’s Pasture: A warm streak in the weather

From minus degrees to temperatures in the 40s — the change came in a hurry. As I write this column, the temperature is in the 40 degree range, the wind is blowing, and the snow is going. The driveway is slush or standing water, the snow has a puckered look, and the snow-ice mixture, packed down since December, is breaking through.

Prather's Pick: Special gifts for a special friend

I wish that I had found this week’s picture book earlier in the winter. It’s “The First Day of Winter,” written and illustrated by Denise Fleming. I didn’t find it until now, but there’s still plenty of winter left, including snowman-making days.

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

Some people look forward to eating out on Valentine’s Day; others enjoy a dinner at home. This year Valentine’s Day falls on Sunday so if you have the day off from work, there’s a little more time to prepare a dinner — not that it needs to take a lot of time.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Looking forward to Valentine’s Day

When my brother, sisters and I were growing up on the ranch, January was a pretty uneventful month, at least to us. Christmas was over, and there weren’t any holidays during the month. There was lots of snow so we didn’t go to Craig very often — maybe not at all during January. But that didn’t mean we didn’t have fun.

Prather’s Pick: An itchy tale

Groundhog Day has just come and gone. This week’s picture book for children is about a groundhog, but the story takes place in summer when Groundhog likes to sit propped up against a tree, to sleep, and to watch the clouds go by.

From Pipi’s Pasture: It’s a powerful winter

Late last fall, when meteorologists were predicting the upcoming winter, some experts suggested that the elements of the 2016 winter might be powerful for some parts of the U.S., even likening the winter to a monster. I don’t know that the winter has been monster-like, but residents of Northwest Colorado might agree that it’s been “powerful.” When I think back to my childhood winters on our Morapos ranch, this one seems similar to those times.

Over a Cup of Coffee: A Valentine cookie

Valentine’s Day will be here soon. This week’s column features a cookie recipe with pieces of maraschino cherries in the ingredients, a pretty cookie for the holiday. Also included in the column is a recipe for a pork chop casserole — not necessarily for Valentine’s Day but because it is delicious.

Prather's Pick: 'Worthy Brown’s Daughter' — looking back on its review

A book review from Diane Prather.

From Pipi's Pasture: It’s almost calving season

It’s still winter, but some ranchers are already getting ready for calving season — some may already be into the season. Here at Pipi’s Pasture, we will start calving about the first week of March. Hopefully the weather will improve.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making chicken noodle soup

Chicken noodle soup has been the menu at our house this week — and at my brother, Duane Osborn’s house, too. I remember when our mother made chicken and noodles when we were kids. Actually, I mostly remember the noodles. Mom made them, using egg yolks and flour and some other ingredients, rolled out the dough on a floured board and left it there to dry. As the dough dried, it drooped, and she watched it carefully so it wouldn’t fall on the floor. I can still see her cutting the dough into noodles. They were thick and delicious.

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