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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

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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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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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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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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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Prather’s Pick: A must-read thriller

Isn’t it wonderful when you find a book that you just can’t put down? This week’s book is one of them. “Before the Fall” was written by Noah Hawley. He is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer, receiving an Emmy, Golden Globe, PEN, Critics Choice and Peabody Award. He was the writer and producer for the television series “Bones.” Currently he is executive producer, writer and showrunner on the “Fargo” series.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Recipes for using apples

This week we picked a bumper crop of apples from our two fruit trees. One tree produces a variety of Gala apples. They turn red and are delicious when eaten raw. The other tree produces some type of yellow-green apples that are best used for cooking.

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From Pipi's Pasture: Routines

Routines appear to be boring — the same tasks done in the same way twice a day, every day for months. It’s not that the tasks themselves are boring because there are other variables such as the silly things that the cattle do, having cats around, and so forth.

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Prather's Pick: A Book about a different kind of school

Please don’t think I’m crazy. I know that it’s not Groundhog Day. However, I found this week’s cute and educational picture book for children, and if I don’t review it now I’ll probably forget come February. Besides that, the book is all about a school, even though it would have been in session for a while now. “Groundhog Weather School” was written by Jean Holub and illustrated by Kristin Sorra. The story begins on Feb. 2.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Scalloped potatoes with mushroom soup

This weekend, weather permitting, we will start digging the Red Pontiac potatoes in our garden. So then I’m going to make Geraldine Coleman’s recipe for “Scalloped Potatoes Supreme,” which calls for cream of mushroom soup and chopped green pepper. Geraldine sent another batch of recipes. Thanks, Geraldine! Her recipe follows.

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From Pipi's Pasture: An equinox storm?

The equinox, defined by Webster’s New World Dictionary, is “the time when the sun crosses the equator, making night and day of equal length.” It also marks the beginning of autumn.

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Prather's Pick: The story of the forgotten crayons

Previously I reviewed “The Day the Crayons Quit,” a most imaginative children’s picture book, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. The point of view of this book was unique, indeed, because some unhappy crayons told the story. This week’s column features the sequel to this book — same author and illustrator. Published in 2015, it’s “The Day the Crayons Come Home.” This time, some former crayons want to be rescued.

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From Pipi's Pasture: It’s September

Fall is my favorite time of the year, and it lasts such a short time. I love the fall colors, decorating the house, walking in the fallen leaves, the just-right temperatures and, perhaps most of all, the pumpkins.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Cooking with eggplant

As promised, this week’s column features another of Geraldine Coleman’s recipes for using garden vegetables. The recipe for eggplant is intriguing.

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Prather’s Pick: An FBI thriller

“Insidious” might be a word used to describe an individual who is treacherous, sly or underhanded (or all three). It is also the title of this week’s FBI thriller. “Insidious” was written by Catherine Coulter, a New York Times bestselling author of a bunch of FBI thrillers, including three novels with J.T. Ellison.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Geraldine’s zucchini recipes

One of the perks from writing this column is hearing from readers — by both phone and mail. For example, recently I received a card from former Craig resident Robbie Estus whose 8-year-old granddaughter Nina made the “Cake Mix Cookies” from a recipe that appeared in the July 30 column.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Skunks and a rattlesnake

I remember a summer of about two years ago when there were lots and lots of butterflies of every shape and size flying around Pipi’s Pasture. In fact, the insects were all around the county. We saw them at summer pasture when we went up to check the cows. They flew onto the car’s windshield as we drove along the highway. They were pretty, and they didn’t do any harm. There were just a lot of them all of a sudden — probably caused by some phenomenon of nature.

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Prather's Pick: A story told from photos

This week’s book is the first in a series of three. “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” was written by Ransom Riggs in 2011. The novel was written for the young adult reader; however, adults will also find it fascinating. The book will be made into a movie. The book is unusual because it is a “found” novel; that is, the fictitious story was found in some old photographs. Some of them were rather strange, even bizarre. It happened like this.

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From Pipi's Pasture: Riding the bus

Now that school has started, I notice the school bus as it passes by Pipi’s Pasture each morning and afternoon while I’m at the corral doing chores. The sight of the bus brings back memories of the days I rode a school bus to Craig to attend high school.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Making baked beef and cabbage — again

I try to check the ingredients and directions for all of my column’s recipes, but once in a while I goof up. That’s what happened sometime in the winter. I didn’t catch the error; nobody said anything (you’re all too kind). Then last week, Robert Meckley, of Craig, called me about “Baked Beef and Cabbage.” He said that I had written in the column that it was snowing so it was awhile ago. He had made the recipe before (successfully), but he was curious about what he was supposed to have done with the other half of the shredded cabbage after he put half in the bottom of the casserole dish.

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Prather's Pick: Back to school with Rappy

We live in a world that is becoming more and more dependent on electronics, leading some people to believe that books, as we know them, will cease to be; everyone will read electronically. However, following the Summer Reading Program, the Moffat County Libraries have numbers to suggest that readers aren’t ready to give up bound books with pages to turn quite yet.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Making Chicken Tetrazzini

I feature lots of recipes in this column for using beef. I know that readers would like some ideas for using chicken, too, so this week’s featured recipe is for making “Chicken Tetrazzini.” (I think you could also use turkey.)

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From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering the “Dick and Jane” books

I thought about back-to-school when Lyle and I were “up Morapos” on Tuesday to turn the cattle into the hay meadow part of the pasture. As we passed the Morapos School and teacherage (the little house where the teacher stayed), memories came flooding back of the days past when my siblings and I attended school there. I could almost smell the sagebrush and rabbit brush that had been cut back from the buildings as they were being readied for school.

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Prather’s Pick: Two nonfiction books for adults

This week’s column has information about two nonfiction books for adults. The first is another book by Susan Branch.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Making Mexican casseroles

Partially because of my work schedule and also because of the heat, my recent cooking efforts have been in what I can best describe as a slump.

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From Pipi's Pasture: Some of my favorite things

On Wednesday I was watering the backyard lawn next to Pipi’s Pasture, and during one change of the hose, a pleasant moment, I noticed the cows that were lolling around in the shade — if they could chew their cud, they would have been — the robins “talking” as they busily picked away at the nearly-ripe chokecherries, and imagining that the grass and trees saying “thank you, thank you” for the water.

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Prather's Pick: A love story

“Falling: A Love Story,” this week’s featured novel is a love story but one with a twist. It is written by Jane Green, a former journalist of the U.K. and author of 18 novels — including this week’s, her newest — 16 of which have been New York Times bestsellers.

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From Pipi’s Pasture: In between summer and fall

The other day I met up with a friend — at the grocery store where it seems that most of us do our visiting — and we got to talking about how fast time is passing. She remarked that it seems like we all waited a long time for summer, and now it’s almost over. I agree. Already there are subtle signs that the season is about to change (and some not so subtle).

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Summer Squash Casserole

It’s interesting how we start doing things one way and continue doing it that way for years to come. Take the way I have always fried zucchini, for example.

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Prather’s Pick: A dog’s view of life

Stella is a medium-size, brown dog with a white nose and feet, a black stripe down her back, and a black tail with a white tip. She’s the leading character of this week’s picture book for kids.

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Summer squash recipes

This is going to be a bumper year for summer squash in our garden. Last year the zucchini and yellow squash took a long time to set on. This year is entirely different. We have is already enjoyed “Sassy Zucchini,” a casserole with zucchini, rice, spaghetti sauce mix, and other ingredients. The recipe was featured in this column not long ago. We’ve also had boiled summer squash with butter and fried zucchini — and we have given away some of the squash, too.

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From Pipi's Pasture: Remembering the Moffat County Fair

The Moffat County Fair is going on right now, and I can’t help but remember those years when my siblings and I were in 4-H and exhibited our animals and other projects at the fair. Actually, my sister, Charlotte, and I are only two years apart in age so we participated in the fairs together — Darlene and Duane came along a little later. There are so many memories about the fair, but I chose three of them.

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