When I was a kid growing up on the ranch, our family occasionally went on a day-long fishing trip up on the White River, some miles from Meeker. We always left the camping area early enough so that we could see the deer coming into the meadow of one of the ranches on the way home. It wasn’t that we didn’t have any deer on our Morapos ranch, but they weren’t as plentiful as they are today.
“The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus”, this week’s nonfiction book for kids, has received two awards — The Robert F. Sibert Medal and the Caldecott Honor for illustration. The intriguing book was written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. It is published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (2014).
A few days ago it officially — by the calendar — turned summer. Here I’ve been writing about winter and spring at Pipi’s Pasture for what seems to be a long time so now it’s summer’s turn. Here’s what I’ve noticed about early summer.
This week I did use the Crockpot once — to cook a piece of roast beef until it was tender. When I got home from work I made sandwiches with the beef, cheese, and sliced Jalapenos for my husband Lyle and none for me. I wrapped the buns in aluminum foil and put them in the oven until the cheese melted. This is one of our favorite sandwiches, and the leftovers can be warmed for lunch.
The imagination is a wonderful thing, and that’s what this week’s picture book is all about. “This Is Sadie” is a great book about a little girl and her great big imagination.
One day this past week I got up early and fixed a crock pot of potatoes and a pork roast. Boy, did it smell good when I got home, and it was great to have a nutritious supper, too. So yesterday I hunted for the little recipe book that came with the crock pot. I never found it, but during the search I found a recipe for “Rhubarb Rolls” that I wrote on a piece of rose-decorated stationery. I have no idea where I got the recipe or if I have tried it before. Anyway, we have rhubarb now, and some of you might have some, too.
The Country School Reunion that I’ve been writing so much about so much lately was held Saturday, June 13. It was fun to meet up with people we hadn’t seen in years and, in some cases, years and years. We learned about Moffat County country schools that we’d never heard of before. In short, the reunion was a huge success, and my sister Charlotte (Osborn) Allum and her husband, John, were here to enjoy it with me.
Lots of people have read “American Sniper,” the autobiography of Chris Kyle, a #1 New York Times bestseller. The Academy Award-winning movie, “American Sniper” was based on the book.
This week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” salutes former Moffat County country school students and teachers and welcomes everyone to the very first Country School Reunion to be held today, June 13, at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. A special welcome goes to those who have come from out of town for the event; that includes my sister Charlotte Allum and her husband John of Fort Collins.
This week we have been moving cattle from Pipi’s Pasture to summer pasture, and along the way we pass the Morapos School. As we pass by the school building, I think about those school days of long ago. As I wrote in last week’s column, I have a hard time remembering all of the teachers and the kids that went to school there by years. However, I do remember some things about our school days.
My sisters, Charlotte Allum and Darlene Blackford, and I have been working on a cookbook of our mother’s recipes. I think that these two recipes lend themselves to summer cooking.
Kids like to read books about tractors, such as the picture books about “Otis” and “Big Tractor” — books previously reviewed in this column. This week I found “Tractor Mac: New Friend” one in a series of books about a red tractor, and I was impressed because during the story, the reader learns how to go about solving a problem.
The weather hasn’t been nice enough for barbecuing yet — at least not at our house. It would be nice to eat steak, hamburgers and other grilled foods, but we’ve been sticking to our usual casseroles and soups and other dishes that we tend to eat more in the winter. This week I pulled out two Mexican casseroles that I haven’t made in awhile.
Early this morning, when I was walking to the corral here at Pipi’s Pasture to do chores, I noticed the smell of the sagebrush that grows in a nearby field. I don’t usually notice the scent at all, but perhaps this morning was different because of all of the rain. Anyway, that smell triggered memories of the days when my siblings and I went to the Morapos School all those years ago.
If you’re a fan of Craig Johnson’s Longmire mystery series, you’ll be delighted to learn that his new book, “Dry Bones,” came out May 12. I have not read it yet, but since my husband Lyle is a Longmire fan, I ordered the book for him through Downtown Books. He has finished reading the book already, and I think he enjoyed it as much as the other novels in the series; he has read them all.
We’re so thankful for all of the moisture. The rain has greened up the pastures, and a little water is even seeping into the summer pasture ponds. It’s wet—that’s for sure.
This past week, Prather’s Pick, in Wednesday’s Craig Daily Press, reviewed a new cookbook. “Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love” was written by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day. Besides reading through the cookbook, I checked out my “to try” files, looking for recipes that might appeal to us during this rainy weather. I found one for “Sausage Stew” that has some ingredients that many of us harvest from our gardens in late summer — a great way to use zucchini.
This past weekend I read a cookbook — I actually read it, not just looked through the recipes. There’s interesting information in the book for reading, and I enjoyed it a lot. I found the cookbook with new books at the Craig Moffat County Library. “Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love” was written by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day. The book is published by Artisan, a division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc. The authors have previously published “The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.”
Diane Prather shares her love for gardening each year — under the watchful eyes of the cows and calves.
Last week’s column included a request for recipes using dandelion greens. Miriam Zimmerman of Craig called me midweek to see if I had heard from any readers.
This week’s book is written for teen readers (juvenile/young adult), but older readers will enjoy reading it, too. I liked it a lot! It’s an inspirational book and a true story. “I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives” was written by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch (who helped Caitlin and Martin tell their story). The book is published by Little, Brown and Company, 2015.
On Sunday mothers everywhere will be celebrating Mother’s Day. That’s gotten me to thinking about other mothers. Yesterday while I waited for a stock tank to fill, I was looking out at the mother cows in Pipi’s Pasture. The cows had finished their breakfast and were stretched out, chewing their cuds. In some cases, their calves were lying right next to them, and the mothers lovingly touched them with their noses.
Yesterday morning when my husband Lyle and I were feeding the cows, Miriam Zimmerma, of Craig, came by for a visit. Not only that, she came across the pasture, hopped up on the feed trailer (boy, is she agile), and helped me put off the hay. (Miriam’s bread recipe was featured in this column about a year ago.) After we finished feeding, Miriam and I were looking around outside, and she noticed the dandelions.
Susan Mallery is the featured author in the May/June 2015 “Writer’s Digest.” According to the magazine’s interview with her, Mallery has written over 100 novels! Imagine! Her genre is category romance, and her novels are so popular that she is a “New York Times” bestselling author.
It’s been an even busier-than-usual week here at Pipi’s Pasture. The second of my twin first-calf heifers, the smaller of the two, had her baby. I have been checking her at nights for awhile now, but this week she looked close to calving so I had to be even more watchful. Hats off to ranchers who have to calve out hundreds of first-calf heifers! Having to get up at all hours during the night really drains the energy from one’s body!
I used to make scalloped potatoes for my husband Lyle and me, using milk. I’ve been thinking about how I made them because the side dish didn’t require many ingredients, and I could make a small dish so we didn’t have a lot of leftovers. Finally, this week I came upon the recipe. Notice that there are some variations, all of which would be delicious.
The word “special” will come up often in this review. It comes up often in the text, too, because the book is about special things, and… the book can only be described that way; it’s special!
Spring season on the ranch brings with it lots of work. To name a few jobs, there’s calving and lambing, branding, getting the fields ready for haying season, irrigating and fence repair so that livestock can be let out into summer pasture.
The titles of Danielle Steel’s books are listed on one of the front pages of this week’s featured book, her latest novel. There are 93of them, plus three nonfiction books and a book for children. “Prodigal Son” is published by Delacorte Press (2015).
With the recent stormy weather came the craving for soup so this week I made a beef vegetable soup. It got me to thinking about our son, Jody, and his chicken noodle soup. We’ve never gotten the chance to enjoy his soup, but his family loves it. More than once, Jody has called us to visit while he waits for a chicken to finish cooking. He uses an oven-baked chicken for the soup, and I’ll bet that he uses some of the drippings in the chicken broth, too.
Last week’s column was a recollection of what it was like to be a country school teacher. In the column I wrote that my sisters and I attended the Morapos School through the eighth grade and then attended high school in Craig. I goofed. Our sister Darlene attended seven grades at Morapos and then went to eighth-grade at the Craig high school. When I talked to her a few days ago, Darlene explained that having country school kids attend eighth-grade in Craig was a sort of “trend” in those days. It was intended as a sort of transition before starting high school.
This past week I came upon the funniest picture book ever. “Millie and the Big Rescue” was written by Alexander Steffensmeier who lives in Germany
Since hearing about the Country School Reunion that is being planned for this summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about the country schools, especially the Morapos School which can still be seen on our family ranch property.
I have several recipes for Mexican casseroles, most of them that require layering of the ingredients. This week’s “Enchilada Casserole” is a layered casserole, too, but the ingredients are different. Also included in the column is a recipe for a fruit salad that you can serve with the casserole. Enjoy!
As I read this week’s book for adults, I couldn’t get one thought out of my mind: “How could something like this have happened?” And yet it did.
Suddenly it’s April! It always amazes me how different one year can be from another and yet how similar they are. This April is a little different compared to others because spring weather arrived in March. I can remember Aprils past when we had lots of wind and snow, resulting in deep drifts that had to be shoveled out before I could do chores at the corral, and the lane had to be cleared before we could go anywhere. That might still happen—we just have to wait and see.
This morning, over a cup of coffee, I pored over my file of potato recipes. Since I’m baking a ham for Easter dinner, I won’t have drippings to make gravy so I have to think of something other than mashed potatoes for a side dish. I usually make a potato or pasta salad, but I thought I’d check out another potato recipe.
“Clark the Shark”, a picture book intended for ages 4 to 8, is another book that can be used to teach kids (both at home and at school) as well as to entertain them!
April Fool’s Day is coming up. So is Easter. This week’s column has a surprise that you can serve your family for April Fool’s Day, and it has another chocolate cake for Easter. Both recipes are from “1000 Recipe Cook Book” (1951), a cookbook that an elderly friend gave me about 35 years ago.
When I think about this year’s upcoming Easter holiday, I can’t help but marvel at how quickly the years have passed. Our sons grew up a while ago, and now our grandchildren have grown up, too. So, I doubt that we will have an Easter egg hunt at Pipi’s Pasture this year, but there have been lots of them out here in years past and oh, what memories we have!
There are two books in this week’s column, a biography and a book of outdoor activities for families. First of all, last week’s column was a review of “The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved” by Christopher Andersen. I didn’t have room in the column for yet another biography, this one about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Easter is just two weeks away — can you believe it? The shelves in the stores are loaded with delicious Easter candies, mostly chocolate. It’s a challenge to push a cart down the candy aisle without loading it up with goodies. All of the thoughts about chocolate have made me think about a menu for Easter.
Since this column’s beginning, I’ve written quite a few stories about the Morapos School, within walking distance from our ranch home, where my siblings and I attended school. (Our brother Duane Osborn also attended the Hamilton School.)
Recently, while browsing through new books at the Moffat County Library, I found two new biographies about the Kennedys. I was surprised to find them because so much has been written about the Kennedy family, it doesn’t seem that there could be anything new to write about. I was wrong.
Tuesday is St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve been trying to remember what Mom fixed for a meal to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day when I was a kid growing up on the ranch. I can remember Cloverleaf Rolls. She made these a lot anyway when baking hot rolls. But I can’t recall the main dish that she cooked up for the holiday. Most likely it was a cabbage dish, but maybe she made corned beef. I don’t know why I can’t remember.
This morning the air temperature was so warm that I didn’t have to break ice on one stock tank, my sinus cough is almost gone, and both of the twin calves, born yesterday afternoon, are nursing on their mom, so things are good here at Pipi’s Pasture.
St. Patrick’s Day is about a week away, but this week’s column features a picture book to celebrate the holiday so that you have time to find the book if you decide to read it to your children or students. The book has a 2002 copyright, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a good book.
All it takes is for temperatures to be in the single digits, like this morning, for me to appreciate tank heaters, even if they are costly to operate. Tank heaters, placed in stock water tanks, keep ice off the water. Sometimes when it’s below zero or a cold wind blows, a layer of thin ice forms on the water, in spite of the heaters, but once the ice is removed, the cattle have ice-free water all day long.
This week’s column features a recipe for tuna noodle casserole — not that tuna casserole isn’t a fairly common dish to make, but this recipe is a little different. It has chopped green onions and Velveeta cheese in the ingredients.
Last weekend we visited our kids and grandkids (Jody, Cindy, Jessica, and Jaycee). It was a cold, windy day, and they had just finished putting the makings for potato chowder in the crock pot. Cindy said they would have a nice hot supper for such a cold day. So that made me think that it won’t be long before we’ll be changing the menu from soups and stews to barbecued hamburgers and steaks. This week’s column features a recipe for a great stew. I’ve made it a lot of times. Enjoy during this cold spell.