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.
“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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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!
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.
“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.
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.
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.
On a spring day like today, when the snow is blowing like crazy, I’m reminded of Easters past, when my brother, sister and I were growing up on the ranch. We looked forward to Easter pretty much the way we looked forward to Christmas. However, the likelihood that we would be able to find eggs and our baskets outdoors was slim, indeed, and it didn’t really matter whether Easter came in March or April.
“The Bunny Who Found Easter,” written by Charlotte Zolotow, was first published in 1959, and then the copyright was renewed in 1987. This week’s picture book for children is a new rendition of the old classic tale, published in 1998. The illustrations for this book were done by Helen Craig.
Whenever I think about Easter dinner, I think of strawberries and fancy gelatin salads. This column features two recipes for salads with strawberry gelatin and one of the recipes for frozen strawberries, too. These recipes might be used for desserts if desired.
The snow is slowly melting here at Pipi’s Pasture, including the mountain-like piles of drifted and plowed snow. In fact, the ground is mostly bare. Here and there we find a sprig or two of green grass, but right now the dominant color is brown.
“The Story of the Leprechaun,” a picture book for children of ages 3 to 8, is a charming tale for St. Patrick’s Day. It was written by Katherine Tegen and illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert.
This week’s column features two more of the recipes courtesy of Tamara Curtis. She adapted some of her cookie, bar, and brownie recipes to “The Diary of Anne Frank,” and some of the treats will be sold at the concession stand during intermission of the play at today’s matinee and evening performances. (Other recipes from Tamara were featured in last week’s “Over a Cup of Coffee.”)
Sometimes we change our routines here at Pipi’s Pasture, like Tuesday, for example. That’s when we started feeding big round bales versus the small bales we have been feeding since October.
I found “Come Rain or Come Shine,” a Mitford novel by Jan Karon, with the new books at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Library. I spent several days with this charming book — not that it took that long to read. I just wanted to spend extra time savoring it.
It’s March already, and here at Pipi’s Pasture there are hopeful signs that spring isn’t far away. I’ve been thinking about months of March in the past, when I was growing up on the ranch, and March in more recent times, too.
Dr. Seuss’s birthday is March 2. Over the years, children have enjoyed the books written by Theodore Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss. Some of the books have become movies, enjoyed by adults and children alike.
Awhile back, Geraldine Coleman, of Craig, sent me a couple of packets of recipes. Among them are some recipes for using rhubarb. They sound delicious, but I’ve been holding onto them all winter, waiting for rhubarb season. Well. I can’t hold on any longer. Maybe it’s because I’m looking forward to spring. Whatever it is, this week’s column features two of Geraldine’s recipes.
Keeping three stock tanks filled is a time-consuming but essential part of chores here at Pipi’s Pasture. Filling tanks goes on once a day — every single day — from October until late May and summer, too, although there aren’t many animals here then.
You may have already savored the four “Pioneer Woman Cooks…” — with different ending titles — books, written by Ree Drummond. In 2015, she published another cookbook.
Because I’m so busy, I favor recipes that are easy to put together and, of course, delicious and nutritious. I also like to make recipes that call for ingredients that I have on hand. This week’s two recipes, courtesy of Patty Myers, are all of the above.
From minus degrees to temperatures in the 40s — the change came in a hurry. As I write this column, the temperature is in the 40 degree range, the wind is blowing, and the snow is going. The driveway is slush or standing water, the snow has a puckered look, and the snow-ice mixture, packed down since December, is breaking through.
I wish that I had found this week’s picture book earlier in the winter. It’s “The First Day of Winter,” written and illustrated by Denise Fleming. I didn’t find it until now, but there’s still plenty of winter left, including snowman-making days.
Some people look forward to eating out on Valentine’s Day; others enjoy a dinner at home. This year Valentine’s Day falls on Sunday so if you have the day off from work, there’s a little more time to prepare a dinner — not that it needs to take a lot of time.
When my brother, sisters and I were growing up on the ranch, January was a pretty uneventful month, at least to us. Christmas was over, and there weren’t any holidays during the month. There was lots of snow so we didn’t go to Craig very often — maybe not at all during January. But that didn’t mean we didn’t have fun.
Groundhog Day has just come and gone. This week’s picture book for children is about a groundhog, but the story takes place in summer when Groundhog likes to sit propped up against a tree, to sleep, and to watch the clouds go by.
Late last fall, when meteorologists were predicting the upcoming winter, some experts suggested that the elements of the 2016 winter might be powerful for some parts of the U.S., even likening the winter to a monster. I don’t know that the winter has been monster-like, but residents of Northwest Colorado might agree that it’s been “powerful.” When I think back to my childhood winters on our Morapos ranch, this one seems similar to those times.
Valentine’s Day will be here soon. This week’s column features a cookie recipe with pieces of maraschino cherries in the ingredients, a pretty cookie for the holiday. Also included in the column is a recipe for a pork chop casserole — not necessarily for Valentine’s Day but because it is delicious.
A book review from Diane Prather.
It’s still winter, but some ranchers are already getting ready for calving season — some may already be into the season. Here at Pipi’s Pasture, we will start calving about the first week of March. Hopefully the weather will improve.
Chicken noodle soup has been the menu at our house this week — and at my brother, Duane Osborn’s house, too. I remember when our mother made chicken and noodles when we were kids. Actually, I mostly remember the noodles. Mom made them, using egg yolks and flour and some other ingredients, rolled out the dough on a floured board and left it there to dry. As the dough dried, it drooped, and she watched it carefully so it wouldn’t fall on the floor. I can still see her cutting the dough into noodles. They were thick and delicious.
“The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” was written by Mitch Albom, author of “Tuesdays with Morrie.” It’s a new (2015) book, and it’s superb!
This week I was delighted to hear from Heidi Balaraman who lives in Colorado Springs. Heidi used to live in Craig and went to school here. She has contributed several Indian recipes to “Over a Cup of Coffee” in past years, including “Malaysian Tomato Chicken” and “South Indian Fish Curry.”
I don’t know about you, but most of my days are pretty positive, with a few glitches here and there. And then, once in awhile there is a day when everything goes unbelievably well — all day long. It seems as if a day like this is almost effortless — a great day.
This time of year is known for its snow and cold — and also for the strep, colds, flu and other diseases. Helping kids understand more about these illnesses is what Librarian Christy Gonzales had in mind when she showed me several little books written by Charlotte Cowan, M.D.
Last week’s column featured a recipe for a ham and potato soup. This week it’s a ham and potato casserole and a salad.
First of all, this week’s column has some more information about the 4-H program. (Last week’s column covered 4-H enrollment that is taking place now.) Then this week, JD Sexton, Moffat County Extension director, sent along some information regarding 4-H leaders.
On Monday, I had an absolutely delightful conversation with Claudia Grisenti, granddaughter of L.H. “Doc” Chivington, author of this week’s book. I was wondering about the “Doc” part of his name. Grisenti said it was a nickname — all cowboys had nicknames — but she doesn’t know how he got it.
Every now and then “From Pipi’s Pasture” devotes a column to 4-H and/or FFA work. That’s because I was a 4-H member for about 10 years. From the time I was 8 years old until I was 18, I was a member of the Hamilton Busy Beavers 4-H Club, along with other young people from the Hamilton, Morapos, Williams Fork, and surrounding areas.
Last week when I was browsing the new books at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries, I was drawn to a book on display because I saw “Sidney Sheldon” printed on the cover in big letters. When I picked up the book I found that its title was “Sidney Sheldon’s Reckless.” The novel was written by Tilly Bagshawe. I have always enjoyed Sidney Sheldon’s novels because his plots were full of twists, his writing style was lively, and it was hard to put the novel down at the end of a single chapter. He was such a versatile writer that he received an Oscar, a Tony and an Edgar — and as far as I know, he was the only author to receive all three awards.
I didn’t know what to expect family-wise when it came to meals for the Christmas holiday. If the weather was decent, there was the possibility that we’d have one son and family just before Christmas or the other son and family Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. So I fixed a couple of salads and baked a ham and had other dishes in mind just in case.
One morning this week I met Cricket’s heifer calf when I walked onto the feedlot. (Cricket is one of the twin cows that I have written about previously. I held her heifer back when we sold calves this fall.) She waited for me to walk up to her, made eye contact, and stood there staring — actually glaring — at me. I got the message even though she can’t say a word.
I read “Christmas Bells,” a novel by Jennifer Chiaverini, during the holiday break, and even if the Christmas season is over, I decided to review the book anyway. In writing the novel, Chiaverini has woven historical and contemporary fiction together. It’s fascinating.
It’s 2016, and we humans have been talking with friends and family about our hopes for the New Year. In fact, we started making predictions regarding this next year’s weather before summer was even over. I guess it’s just human nature.