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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

Over a Cup: Christmas candy

This week I’m featuring two candy recipes. One of my favorite fudge recipes has a chocolate bar in the ingredients, and I think it makes the fudge taste rich.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Christmas wish lists — just for fun

Sometimes I think of some pretty goofy things. For example, just after the last snowstorm I saw four magpies fly into the crab apple tree outside the window. (Remember when I had seen two magpies last week?) Anyway, the tree was covered with new snow — a lot of it — and as the magpies flew from branch to branch, the snow fell to the ground. I wondered what they were doing there; were they looking for dried crab apples? And then I wondered what they would put on a Christmas wish list (if they knew what that was). Would it be crab apples or grain or bird food?

Prather’s Pick: A book for lawyers

This week’s book would make a great gift for a lawyer! I found it while browsing through the Christmas books in the children’s room at the Moffat County Library — not that it’s the place you would ordinarily find books for lawyers. “Lawyer’s Week Before Christmas” is a picture book with a story and illustrations on each page. The illustrations help tell the story and add depth to the story, too. Picture books are usually intended for kids.

Over a Cup: Making holiday bars

The past few days I’ve been thinking of holidays past and people I’ve known who made their special Christmas sweets. For example, my sister-in-law, the late Florence Van Tassel, made peanut brittle and other candy every Christmas.

From Pipi's Pasture: Magpie memories

One day this past summer, I thought I heard the chattering of a magpie. The sounds immediately brought back memories of the birds at the ranch when I was growing up.

Prather’s Pick: A novel written by a Colorado author

This week’s novel — just in time for Christmas — was written by Sandra Dallas, who lives in Denver. She has written 12 novels previously. “A Quilt for Christmas” is set in Wabaunsee County, Kansas, in 1864. Will Spooner has joined the Kansas Volunteers in fighting the confederates. He has left his wife Eliza and two children to care for their farm.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Recipes for between holidays

So now we have used up the leftover turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and the other side dishes — everything that was left from Thanksgiving dinner. Now we’re looking for different recipes to cook up between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (At least that’s the way it is at our house.)

Prather’s Pick: A superb new novel

It seems that I have been reviewing lots of new mystery/suspense novels lately. That also goes for “Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult, this week’s featured book — except that this book is a little “different” (for lack of a better word) than most.

Over a Cup: Thanksgiving leftovers

I’ve just cleaned up the dishes — most of them anyway — and I’ve managed to get the Thanksgiving leftovers in the refrigerator. Now all that’s left from the holiday is finding a way to use all of the leftovers.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Achievement night 2014

This year’s Moffat County Achievement Night was held at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion on Nov. 19. This night is always special because it recognizes the many accomplishments of the 4-H members during the past year. This week, “From Pipi’s Pasture” salutes the achievements of the 4-H members and their leaders.

Prather’s Pick: Pumpkins galore

It’s a tradition to reflect on our blessings during the Thanksgiving holiday. Jose and his family, characters in this week’s picture book for children, are undoubtedly thankful for their pumpkin harvest.

From Pipi’s Pasture: A note on a napkin

For some years now, our family members have been leaving notes to one another on the dining room table, usually on the placemat where that person usually sits at mealtime. This note-leaving activity became more important after our sons and their families moved away from Craig.

Prather’s Pick: A Cormoran Strike novel

“The Silkworm,” written by Robert Galbraith, is the second Cormoran Strike novel. The book, for adults, is published by Mulholland Books, Little, Brown, and Company (2014). Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. Her first Cormoran novel was “The Cuckoo’s Calling.”

Over a Cup: Taking some time to bake

With all my appointments and paperwork, I don’t have a lot of time to bake. This week, however, my car is going to be in the shop for repair of its heater (and not a bit too soon), so I’m going to stay home a little more — at least for a few days.

From Pipi’s Pasture: You know it’s cold when…

The weather has been so mild, and suddenly (within minutes it seems), it has turned cold. So all day I’ve been keeping track of what it’s like to try to adapt to the frigid temperatures here at Pipi’s Pasture, and the following is what I included in my notes.

Prather’s Pick: A new Longmire book

A couple of weeks ago, while I was at Downtown Books in Craig, I was delighted to find a brand new book by Craig Johnson. He is the author of 10 bestselling novels set in Absaroka County, Wyoming and featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire. The books are so popular that they have inspired “Longmire,” the A&E drama series, starring Robert Taylor. Johnson’s new book, “Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories,” is published by Viking Penguin (2014).

From Pipi’s Pasture: Cleaning the dining room table II

My little cottage office is located in our front yard, right next to Pipi’s Pasture. My son Jamie designed and built the office for me some years ago, and I love it.

Over a Cup: Pumpkin preserves, blueberry coffee cake

This column features one more recipe in the pumpkin butter category, but this one is a little different. It is for “Pumpkin Preserves.”

Prather's Pick: A library that opens at midnight

The artwork for “The Midnight Library, “ written and illustrated by Kazuno Kohara, is striking, indeed. The pages are done entirely in light orange, dark blue, and black, and the combination of colors makes the midnight setting feel very real. This 2014 picture book is intended for young readers.

Over a Cup: More pumpkin butter along with apple butter

This week’s column features another recipe for pumpkin butter. It’s a recipe “adapted” from one for an apple butter so this week readers get two recipes in all — one for “Spirited Apple Butter” and another for “Spirited Pumpkin Butter.” The recipes were sent in by Virginia Cromer, of Craig.

Prather’s Pick: A Sidney Sheldon sequel

Sidney Sheldon was a master storyteller, the author of over 20 hard-to-put-down (for me, impossible-to-put-down) best-selling novels. Besides novels, he wrote screenplays for 23 motion pictures, and produced and directed four television series. He is the only writer to have won an Oscar, a Tony and an Edgar!

From Pipi’s Pasture: Halloween now and then

I’ve always enjoyed the Halloween time of year, mostly because I like pumpkins and scarecrows and all of the other decorations that go along with it. These days kids mostly spend Halloween in Craig where they trick or treat downtown or attend church parties, but we still leave the porch light on when Halloween night rolls around and have treats on hand — just in case.

Prather’s Pick: Cherished pieces of lace, II

In September, I reviewed “Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece” — a children’s book by Patricia Polacco. Then recently, while at the Moffat County Library, I found another new book by Polacco. This book, like many of the other author’s books, is taken from her heritage. So I couldn’t help but review it, too.

Over a Cup of Coffee: More pumpkin treats

When I was a kid growing up on the ranch, Mom made her own pumpkin for pies and breads — that is if the garden pie pumpkins matured.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Autumn on the ranch

Each change of season means a change in routine for ranchers and the getting-ready chores that go along with it. Right now, for example, livestock is being moved home from where the animals pastured over the summer. And before they can be moved home, fences along fall pasture have to be checked and hay yards buttoned up.

Prather’s Pick: Counting pumpkin seeds

“How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?” was written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. It’s an older book (copyright 2007) but no matter — it’s a great read. This book has lots of information about pumpkins and a message for readers besides.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Putting up the flag

I’ve been doing livestock-related chores a good part of my life, and I’ve had my mishaps, incidents that have turned out being a little messy but otherwise not serious. Most of them have been due to bad judgment on my part. My family thinks I need a flag so I can wave it when I get into trouble.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Two more awards

Each year when the 4-H and Future Farmers of America market animal show ring competitions are finished during the Moffat County Fair, the exhibitors await the results of two more contests — figuring the rate-of-gain (from the weigh-in of the market animal at the beginning of the project to the weigh-in at the fair) and the judging of the carcass contest. For some exhibitors, these are the most important results of all. (Ranchers and feeders of livestock probably agree.)

Over a Cup of Coffee: Cooking with apples

Recently we picked the apples from the trees in our front yard. The apples are small but especially delicious this year. We’ve been enjoying raw apple slices dipped in caramel and peanut butter, but there are so many apples that I’ve been looking through my files to find recipes for cooking them up. I’ve found two recipes.

Prather’s Pick: ‘Pay It Forward,’ the young readers edition

This week’s book for readers ages 8 to 12 is very special. It’s the young readers edition of “Pay It Forward.” The adult version of the novel, same title, was written by author Catherine Ryan Hyde 14 years ago. That book was an international best-seller, and it became a major motion picture.

Prather’s Pick: Unhappy crayons

Last week, my sister Darlene Blackford, who lives in Rocky Ford, sent me a clever picture book for children. She thought that my Children’s Literature (college) students and I would enjoy the book. We did enjoy the book — very much — and appreciated the creativity that went into writing and illustrating the story.

From Pipi’s Pasture: State fair livestock results 2014

Several 4H members from Moffat County exhibited livestock during the recent Colorado State Fair at Pueblo, Colorado. What a learning experience to be able to exhibit animals with 4-H members from all over the state, and what a big deal it is to place in competition.

Prather’s Pick: A pictorial history of Meeker

“Meeker” was written by Kristin Bowen and is the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series. The book became available Sept. 1. It is a collection of over 200 vintage photographs showcasing the White River Valley.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making soup

This past weekend, our son Jody said that his family was having chicken noodle soup for supper. It was going to be homemade, too. They had put two chickens in the oven to bake and were going to cut up chicken and put it with noodles in a bouillon broth. Boy, that sounded good!

From Pipi’s Pasture: Leave it to a cow …

“Leave it to a cow” are words that you might hear around a ranch. Roughly translated, the words mean: “A cow might do anything” or “When the unexpected happens, a cow is probably involved.”

Prather’s Pick: An inspirational book for young people

This week’s book has a message for children (perhaps even adults) who have a problem speaking to audiences. It doesn’t matter whether the audience is made up of classmates or people who have come to watch a performance, some young people just freeze up. It’s terrifying for them.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Those perfect fall days

As I wrote this column, I heard the television weatherman say that there might be snow in the mountains. Can that be happening already — and just as I’ve been getting my mind set for some beautiful fall days?

Over a Cup of Coffee: A new dessert

This week my column begins with two thank-you notes. First, thanks to Iva Decker, of Craig, who gave me a plate of popcorn balls and some peanut brittle.

Diane Prather: A hilarious tall tale

Can you imagine growing a watermelon so big that the hollow rind can be used as a hay shed or growing tomatoes so big that you have to climb a ladder to saw them off the vines? That’s how big the garden produce grows on the ranch at By-Golly Gully, Texas.

From Pipi’s Pasture: General projects results from State Fair

Each year, “From Pipi’s Pasture” honors the Moffat County 4-H members who exhibited at the Colorado State Fair. Exhibitors qualify during judging at the Moffat County Fair. To be able to participate in the judging at the State Fair is a big deal. This week’s column is a listing of the judging results in General Projects.

Prather’s Pick: A thriller with some romance, too

Last week, I read three novels for adults, and all three kept me engrossed to the very last page. This week’s “Prather’s Pick” features one of the books. (I’ll do the others eventually.) “Last to Know” was written by Elizabeth Adler, the author of 29 novels. The publisher is Minotaur Books (2014).

Over a Cup of Coffee: Remembering spiced fruit

I was looking through my old cookbook that no longer has front pages, and I turned to a page that featured recipes for pickled and spiced vegetables and fruits that can be used as “accompaniments for meats.”

From Pipi’s Pasture: Smelling the roses

This week’s column was inspired by our son Jamie. It happened when we were talking about the hurried lives we all have and sometimes not taking the time to notice the small things.

Prather’s Pick: A unique photographic picture book

This week’s book is a cleverly done photographic picture book. The author is Terry Border who is well-known for his intriguing photography that involves the use of common everyday objects such as food, wire, paper clip, tape and others.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making different types of enchiladas

As I type this column, I’m looking out onto a gray-looking scene, no doubt indicating more rain. We’re grateful for the moisture but hoping that it didn’t set the haying operations back too far.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Back-to-school memories

School will be starting in a little over a week, and people are wondering, “Where did the summer go?” The rush is on to buy school clothes and back-to-school supplies and to perhaps do some of the things that were planned for summer but didn’t get done.

Prather’s Pick: A hilarious book for young adults

I’ve been a fan of Gary Paulsen’s books for years. If I counted the titles of his works, listed inside his newest book, correctly, he has written about 53 books, mostly for young people but some fiction and nonfiction for adults — and some picture books besides.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Get ready for fall cooking

This is a great time of the year to cook because there is so much produce available through the Farmers Market and fruit/vegetable stands. I’m told that Palisade peaches are ready. This week’s column features two recipes for using fruit.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Signs of fall approaching

I love the fall season, and it seems to me that there are already signs of the seasonal change. Mostly it’s a feeling, I guess, but I’ve been trying to pinpoint the signs.

Prather’s Pick: A true story of extraordinary kindness

“My name is Alter Wiener, and I am an ordinary person with an extraordinary past.” That’s the way “Gifts from the Enemy” begins. The picture book for children was written by Trudy Ludwig, and the beautiful oil painting illustrations were done by Craig Orback. White Cloud Press is the publisher.

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