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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

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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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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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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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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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Prather’s Pick: Celebrating the Olympics

Everybody’s talking about it! “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” J.K. Rowling’s new Harry Potter book became available July 31 (which I’ve been told is Harry’s birthday). Check out displays at Downtown Books and the Craig branch of the Moffat County Library. I look forward to reviewing the book!

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Over a Cup of Coffee: Making cookies with a cake mix

Over the years I’ve made recipes that start with cake mixes. Two of our favorites are a chocolate cherry cake and a fruit cobbler. In the case of the cobbler, different cake mixes and canned fruits can be used, and a while back, readers and I had a lot of fun trying different varieties.

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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.