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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

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Prather's Pick: A handmade book

I found “Martha’s Vineyard: Isle of Dreams” by author-illustrator Susan Branch at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries one Friday, and then I had trouble putting it down all weekend long. I’m not a stranger to Branch’s books. Her first book, “Heart of the Home,” was a recipe book — but no ordinary recipe book. It is a handmade book, handwritten and illustrated with charming watercolor pictures.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: A crispy cookie!

This past month my sisters, Charlotte (Allum) and Darlene Blackford, and our brother, Duane Osborn, spent the day together, talking about growing up on the ranch when we were young, emphasis on cooking since we have been working on a cookbook that we started some years ago.

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From Pipi's Pasture: Moving cows across the road

This coming weekend the cattle on summer pasture will be moved to another pasture, just across the county road from where they are now. No big deal, but the move can be, and usually is, very interesting — especially in the heat.

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Prather’s Pick: An enchanting book

The story is told by an unknown narrator who “knows all,” including the thoughts of a seed and what the Earth tells the seed. It all begins as a woman, known only as “the Nice Lady,” holds a seed in her hand. It is the end of summer and someone has given her the seed for next year. All that the Nice Lady knows about the seed is that it will vine and produce sweet-smelling blossoms.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Lots to laugh about

One morning this week, as I was doing chores, I got a chuckle from the interaction between Ucky’s calf and a big gray cat. (Ucky, remember, is my old cow.)

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Over a Cup of Coffee: A summer salad and yummy casserole

It’s been hot — 91 degrees according to our thermometer! It might be just the right time for a cool salad, and this column features one with some interesting ingredients. There’s a recipe for a casserole, too, and though you have to heat the oven to bake it, I think the dish might be great for a summer supper. Both of this week’s recipes were contributed by Geraldine Coleman from Craig. Thanks, Geraldine!

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Diane Prather: Are you ready for the fair?

Prepping for county fairs is a fun time of the year, and there are always items needed for any 4-H and FAA participants.

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Prather’s Pick: A book about overcoming stress

In her years of ministry, Joyce Meyer has written more than 100 inspirational books with titles such as “Look Great, Feel Great” and “Me and My Big Mouth!” According t the brief biography in this week’s book, she is “one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers.”

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From Pipi's Pasture: It’s haying season

It has just been a couple of months ago — when we had rainy, cool weather — that ranchers were making predictions about haying season. Some thought that the 2016 haying season would be unusually wet; others predicted that the grasshoppers might be bad. The thing about ranching and farming is that a person never knows. Suddenly, however, haying season is here.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Two delicious cakes

For some reason, I’ve been hungry for cake this week, especially chocolate cake. My family likes chocolate cake with cream poured over the top. I like it just fine without it. Anyway, I took some time to hunt through my files, and I came up with this week’s recipes.

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Prather's Pick: A new book about Farmer Brown’s animals

This last weekend when my sister, Darlene Blackford from Rocky Ford, came to visit she brought a new picture book with her and graciously lent it to me. I had not seen it yet, but I immediately loved it!

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From Pipi's Pasture: Independence Days of years past

The Fourth of July is here already, and with it come the memories of holidays of years past.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Celebrating the Fourth of July

On Monday most of us will celebrate the Fourth of July with the usual — a parade, fireworks, and a picnic or cookout. This week’s column celebrates the holiday with two yummy recipes that would go great with your Fourth of July menu.

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Prather’s Pick: A Coming-of-Age Novel

This week’s novel for adults is a coming-of-age story. “The Excellent Lombards” was written by Jane Hamilton. This 2016 book is published by Grand Central Publishing.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Main dishes for hot summer evenings

What to cook for supper when it’s hot — that’s what is on my mind after a day at work. This week’s column features two recipes that I haven’t tried yet. I meant to; I even bought the baking mix for the pie. But, I haven’t taken the time after evening chores to get them ready by 5:30 p.m., our usual suppertime. However, I have made similar recipes that were good. If you try this week’s recipes, let me know how you liked them.

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From Pipi's Pasture: It’s hot…

If memory serves, we haven’t experienced such a hot summer here at Pipi’s Pasture in some time — at least so far.

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Prather’s Pick: A picture book written by a ballerina

In “Firebird,” this week’s picture book for children, ballerina Misty Copeland draws from her own experiences to help a young girl, an aspiring dancer, reach her goal.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Taking a vacation

I don’t take many vacations because of all of my cow chores and all, but this year, since the cattle are out on summer pasture, I decided to take a week off from my away-from-home job.

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Prather’s Pick: Memories of playing outside

Christy Gonzales, librarian at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries, says that everybody likes this week’s picture book for children. I can see why. I like it, too — a lot.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Geraldine’s winter squash medley

This week I was thrilled to receive an envelope of recipes from Geraldine Coleman of Craig. She is a frequent contributor to this column. The recipe for Winter Squash Medley is intriguing. I have only just received the recipe so I haven’t had time to try it. Fall would be a great time to bake it, when we’re harvesting our gardens, but why wait? The casserole would be great served with barbecue. I think Speedy Tuna Skillet would be a great summer evening meal, served over chow mein noodles or hot cooked rice. The other recipes sent in by Geraldine will be featured in this column soon. Thanks, Geraldine!

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From Pipi's Pasture: Another cow story

After last Sunday’s “cow turn-out,” I decided that I needed to write one more column about our cows’ 2016 antsy springtime behaviors. It isn’t unusual for the cows to get fidgety this time of the year with the arrival of warm weather and green grass, but this year they seemed a little more restless than normal. From past experience we knew that they were getting ready for summer pasture, but the pasture wasn’t ready yet. So we fed extra hay. We put out an extra mineral tub. The cows were full and they enjoyed naps in the sun, but they were just plain restless.

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Prather's Pick: Lives of the first ladies

I’ve always been intrigued with the White House — I even visited it one year. Of particular interest to me are the first ladies. So I’ve enjoyed reading “First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies.” It’s this week’s featured book. This new (2016) nonfiction book was written by Kate Andersen Brower who also wrote The New York Times bestseller “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House.”

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Over a Cup of Coffee: A cake made with one egg

When my siblings and I were growing up, Mom cooked using what was produced on the ranch. There were times (I think maybe during winter) when the chickens didn’t lay very well. Mom used eggs for lots of meals, including breakfast. So when I found this recipe I immediately thought of Mom. She would have appreciated a cake recipe calling for just one egg.

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Prather's Pick: A magazine for writers

This week’s column is a change of pace. The review is of a magazine — one that I look forward to finding in my mailbox.

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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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