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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

From Pipi's Pasture: The canning jars

Last week when I picked green beans from our garden next to Pipi’s Pasture, I was reminded of the bushels of green beans we kids used to pick out of our huge garden at the ranch when we were growing up. And then I remembered canning season.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Vegetable recipes

There’s so much produce available right now, both from our gardens and from food stands and markets, that it makes me crazy trying to figure out how to use it all. What makes it more frustrating is that I don’t have much time to cook, and pretty soon it will be winter and the fresh produce won’t be available anymore.

From Pipi's Pasture: Between summer and fall

One day this past week I went up to the cow pasture to check on things and to put out some more mineral. The feed is plentiful but dry (please, everyone, follow safety precautions to avoid starting fires in our county), and the cows have lots of water. Everything looked good so on the way home I stopped at my brother Duane’s house.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Summer squash recipes

Even though I planted our garden late this year — with all of the rain and all — we are still harvesting zucchini, yellow summer squash, green bell peppers, green beans and green onions, and a little later we should have some carrots, potatoes, and maybe an ear or two of corn.

Prather's Pick: One cool book

“Cool” is the word that best describes this week’s book for kids. (I think anyone who enjoys sports will enjoy reading the book.) It’s the “Sports Illustrated Kids all New Access: Your Behind-the-Scenes Pass to the Coolest Things in Sports,” published by Time Home Entertainment, Inc. (2014).

From Pipi's Pasture: Next year...

The 2015 Moffat County Fair ended last weekend. However, even before one year’s county fair is over, exhibitors and fair attendees start thinking about the next one. So the “drawing plans” are already being made for Moffat County Fair 2016. That goes double for the people at the Extension Office, the fair board members, and others who are instrumental in planning the fair.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making sauerkraut, Part II

Last week’s column featured Part I of the “Glass-Jar Sauerkraut” recipe, which ended with Step 5, in which the jars were filled. You will need to put last week’s recipe “card” with this one to have the complete directions.

Prather’s Pick: Writing a story together

This week’s picture book is intended for ages 4 and up, and it’s one of the cutest books that I’ve seen in sometime. “By Mouse & Frog” is the story of two very different characters — one mammal and the other an amphibian — who write a story together.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making sauerkraut, Part 1

Years ago, Mom used to make and can all kinds of pickles. She prepared some of them by leaving them in a crock of brine for a while. One time, when Lyle and I were home for a visit, she asked Lyle to bring a crock of pickles up from the basement. Some of the brine spilled on Lyle’s pants and made holes in the denim. We have laughed about “Mom’s Atomic Pickles” ever since. This week’s column isn’t about pickles, but it is about something sour — sauerkraut.

From Pipi's Pasture: Going on without Pipi

Pipi died peacefully on July 23, 2015 at the ripe old age of 23. She was born north of Craig, not far from the Fortification Rocks, on a ranch where we lived at the time. Pipi’s mother was a red, white-faced cow that lived to be 24, and her father was black so Pipi was a brownish-black color with a white strip down her face and a white mouth. She was a cute calf.

Prather’s Pick: Judy Blume's new novel

Although this week’s novel for adults is a work of fiction, author Judy Blume says that the catastrophic events at the center of the plot really happened. Blume writes that she grew up in Eiizabeth, New Jersey where “In the Unlikely Event” was set. In the winter of 1951-52 she was a teenager. That’s when three airplane crashes occurred after takeoff from Newark Airport.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Cleaning out a pickup truck after county fair

The Moffat County Fair is about to begin, so that’s the topic of this week’s From Pipi’s Pasture.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Mom’s rolled oatmeal cookies

This past weekend my sisters, Charlotte and Darlene, came over, and we did some work on a cookbook that we’ve been working on for awhile now. I’ve written a little bit about it from time to time.

Prather’s Pick: A much-anticipated novel

“Go Set a Watchman,” by Harper Lee, was written in the mid-1950s. Although it was written first, but not published at the time, this newly-released novel is a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Many of the characters are the same.

From Pipi's Pasture: A hot summer afternoon

It’s a hot afternoon here at Pipi’s Pasture, reminding me of days past when my sisters and I were growing up. (Our brother Duane had not been born yet.) I remember how hot the ranch house would get after a morning of cooking for a haying crew. So in the afternoon, after the dishes were done and put away, Charlotte, Darlene and I usually headed outside, seeking the shade of the big trees in the yard. Sometimes Mom carried her sewing outside, we spread a blanket under the silver maple tree, and while she darned socks or did some kind of needlework, Mom told us stories.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making fruit butters

Last week this column featured Louise Irvine’s recipe for “Old-style Apple Butter.” The recipe came from a cookbook called “Putting Food By,” given to Louise by her mother-in-law a long time ago. The pages Louise gave me had some other tips for making fruit butters that I thought readers might find useful.

Prather’s Pick: Harper Lee's new novel — Part 1

The other day I purchased the new novel, and when I was getting ready to go through the checkout line to pay for the book, I spotted what I thought to be a magazine on a display rack. The cover caught my eye because it was a photo of Gregory Peck reading “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It turned out to be a LIFE Book: “The Enduring Power of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’” So I bought it, too, hoping that it would help me remember Lee’s first published novel. It’s been a long time since I’ve read “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The LIFE Book was all that I’d hoped for and more. I read it cover to cover, and then I decided to write about it in this column and write a review of “Go Set a Watchman” in the next one.

From Pipi’s Pasture: The prairie flower

Life can be hectic for everyone. Take ranchers, for example. This time of the year there are cows to check and to move from pasture to pasture, fences to repair, livestock water to check (and sometimes to haul), hay to put up, and then all the chores to keep the household going. If this is coupled with work outside the ranch, there’s even more hurry, hurry, hurry to get it all done.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Louise’s Apple Butter recipe

Of all of the butters and jellies my mother canned, I remember Apple Butter the most. A favorite after school snack was fresh-baked bread, buttered first and then spread with Apple Butter. Most of the time Mom made the butter with windfall apples. (She never wasted anything.)

Prather’s Pick: Three ‘Pete the Cat’ books

This week’s column salutes a cat — not just any ordinary cat, either. Pete is a blackish-blue cat with light brown eyes that take up most of his face. He sometimes wears clothes over his slender body. In short, he’s one cool cat.

From Pipi's Pasture: Getting ready for the fair

What’s going on at Pipi’s Pasture this next week isn’t happening right here. Even though our granddaughter, Megan (Prather), doesn’t live here, we’re getting ready to give her our support when she competes in the Park County Fair at Fairplay, Colorado. We have been there at the fair in previous years to watch her exhibit her animals and other 4-H projects, though.

Over a Cup of Coffee: An unusual pizza

This week’s column features two very different recipes, each one from “1000 Recipes Cook Books”, # 3 and # 7, published in 1949 and 1951 by Dell Publishing Company. These cookbooks were given to me by a dear friend, Grandma Downs, way back when our children were small.

Prather’s Pick: Another book about Chris Kyle

This week’s book can be found at the Craig Moffat County Library on the shelves with new books. “The Life and Legend of Chris Kyle: American Sniper, Navy SEAL,” written by Michael J. Mooney, was originally published as an e-book by Little, Brown and Company (2013). It was published as a First Back Bay paperback in 2015. The paperback is updated, with a new epilogue.

From Pipi’s Pasture: The deer and the marigolds

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.

Prather’s Pick: The first thesaurus

“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).

From Pipi's Pasture: Signs of summer

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Two New Casseroles

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.

Prather’s Pick: A wonderfully imaginative book

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Rhubarb rolls

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.

From Pipi's Pasture: An always-to-be-remembered reunion

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.

Prather’s Pick: Memories of a Navy SEAL’s wife

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.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Welcome to the Country School Reunion

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.

From Pipi's Pasture: School memories

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Mom’s recipes

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.

Prather’s Pick: A book about reaching a goal

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Two easy Mexican casseroles

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.

From Pipi's Pasture: Memories triggered by sagebrush

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.

Prather's Pick: A new Longmire novel, a farm story and summer reading

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.

From Pipi's Pasture: It's wet here in the pasture

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making a sausage stew

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.

Prather's Pick: A new cookbook

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.”

From Pipi’s Pasture: The rewards of planting a garden

Diane Prather shares her love for gardening each year — under the watchful eyes of the cows and calves.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making salads with a variety of greens

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.

Prather’s Pick: A letter that changed two lives

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.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Celebrating Mother’s Day at Pipi’s Pasture

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.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Remembering Mom’s Cooking

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.

Prather’s Pick: A mischief bay novel

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.

From Pipi's Pasture: Harmony at the Corral

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!

Over a Cup of Coffee: Scalloped potatoes

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.

Prather's Pick: The special things about you

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!

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