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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

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!

From Pipi’s Pasture: Being positive

Spring season on the ranch brings with it lots of work. To name a few jobs, there’s calving and lambing, branding, getting the fields ready for haying season, irrigating and fence repair so that livestock can be let out into summer pasture.

Prather’s Pick: Danielle Steel’s latest novel

The titles of Danielle Steel’s books are listed on one of the front pages of this week’s featured book, her latest novel. There are 93of them, plus three nonfiction books and a book for children. “Prodigal Son” is published by Delacorte Press (2015).

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making chicken noodle soup

With the recent stormy weather came the craving for soup so this week I made a beef vegetable soup. It got me to thinking about our son, Jody, and his chicken noodle soup. We’ve never gotten the chance to enjoy his soup, but his family loves it. More than once, Jody has called us to visit while he waits for a chicken to finish cooking. He uses an oven-baked chicken for the soup, and I’ll bet that he uses some of the drippings in the chicken broth, too.

From Pipi's Pasture: Remembering the teacher’s house

Last week’s column was a recollection of what it was like to be a country school teacher. In the column I wrote that my sisters and I attended the Morapos School through the eighth grade and then attended high school in Craig. I goofed. Our sister Darlene attended seven grades at Morapos and then went to eighth-grade at the Craig high school. When I talked to her a few days ago, Darlene explained that having country school kids attend eighth-grade in Craig was a sort of “trend” in those days. It was intended as a sort of transition before starting high school.

Prather’s Pick: Millie plays hide-and-seek

This past week I came upon the funniest picture book ever. “Millie and the Big Rescue” was written by Alexander Steffensmeier who lives in Germany

From Pipi's Pasture: The many jobs of the country school teacher

Since hearing about the Country School Reunion that is being planned for this summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about the country schools, especially the Morapos School which can still be seen on our family ranch property.

Over a Cup of Coffee: A Mexican casserole

I have several recipes for Mexican casseroles, most of them that require layering of the ingredients. This week’s “Enchilada Casserole” is a layered casserole, too, but the ingredients are different. Also included in the column is a recipe for a fruit salad that you can serve with the casserole. Enjoy!

Prather’s Pick: An almost perfect murder

As I read this week’s book for adults, I couldn’t get one thought out of my mind: “How could something like this have happened?” And yet it did.

From Pipi's Pasture: Suddenly it’s April

Suddenly it’s April! It always amazes me how different one year can be from another and yet how similar they are. This April is a little different compared to others because spring weather arrived in March. I can remember Aprils past when we had lots of wind and snow, resulting in deep drifts that had to be shoveled out before I could do chores at the corral, and the lane had to be cleared before we could go anywhere. That might still happen—we just have to wait and see.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Potato side dishes

This morning, over a cup of coffee, I pored over my file of potato recipes. Since I’m baking a ham for Easter dinner, I won’t have drippings to make gravy so I have to think of something other than mashed potatoes for a side dish. I usually make a potato or pasta salad, but I thought I’d check out another potato recipe.

Prather's Pick: A book to help kids remember the rules

“Clark the Shark”, a picture book intended for ages 4 to 8, is another book that can be used to teach kids (both at home and at school) as well as to entertain them!

Over a Cup of Coffee: An April Fool’s surprise

April Fool’s Day is coming up. So is Easter. This week’s column has a surprise that you can serve your family for April Fool’s Day, and it has another chocolate cake for Easter. Both recipes are from “1000 Recipe Cook Book” (1951), a cookbook that an elderly friend gave me about 35 years ago.

From Pipi's Pasture: Easter Memories

When I think about this year’s upcoming Easter holiday, I can’t help but marvel at how quickly the years have passed. Our sons grew up a while ago, and now our grandchildren have grown up, too. So, I doubt that we will have an Easter egg hunt at Pipi’s Pasture this year, but there have been lots of them out here in years past and oh, what memories we have!

Prather’s Pick: Another Kennedy biography and more…

There are two books in this week’s column, a biography and a book of outdoor activities for families. First of all, last week’s column was a review of “The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved” by Christopher Andersen. I didn’t have room in the column for yet another biography, this one about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Chocolate Easter Cake

Easter is just two weeks away — can you believe it? The shelves in the stores are loaded with delicious Easter candies, mostly chocolate. It’s a challenge to push a cart down the candy aisle without loading it up with goodies. All of the thoughts about chocolate have made me think about a menu for Easter.

From Pipi’s Pasture: A country school reunion

Since this column’s beginning, I’ve written quite a few stories about the Morapos School, within walking distance from our ranch home, where my siblings and I attended school. (Our brother Duane Osborn also attended the Hamilton School.)

Prather’s Pick: A new biography about John F. Kennedy Jr.

Recently, while browsing through new books at the Moffat County Library, I found two new biographies about the Kennedys. I was surprised to find them because so much has been written about the Kennedy family, it doesn’t seem that there could be anything new to write about. I was wrong.

Over a Cup of Coffee: A St. Patrick’s day menu

Tuesday is St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve been trying to remember what Mom fixed for a meal to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day when I was a kid growing up on the ranch. I can remember Cloverleaf Rolls. She made these a lot anyway when baking hot rolls. But I can’t recall the main dish that she cooked up for the holiday. Most likely it was a cabbage dish, but maybe she made corned beef. I don’t know why I can’t remember.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Things are good...

This morning the air temperature was so warm that I didn’t have to break ice on one stock tank, my sinus cough is almost gone, and both of the twin calves, born yesterday afternoon, are nursing on their mom, so things are good here at Pipi’s Pasture.

Prather’s Pick: A St. Patrick’s Day story

St. Patrick’s Day is about a week away, but this week’s column features a picture book to celebrate the holiday so that you have time to find the book if you decide to read it to your children or students. The book has a 2002 copyright, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a good book.

From Pipi's Pasture: Playing in the water

All it takes is for temperatures to be in the single digits, like this morning, for me to appreciate tank heaters, even if they are costly to operate. Tank heaters, placed in stock water tanks, keep ice off the water. Sometimes when it’s below zero or a cold wind blows, a layer of thin ice forms on the water, in spite of the heaters, but once the ice is removed, the cattle have ice-free water all day long.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making a tuna noodle casserole

This week’s column features a recipe for tuna noodle casserole — not that tuna casserole isn’t a fairly common dish to make, but this recipe is a little different. It has chopped green onions and Velveeta cheese in the ingredients.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making a stew

Last weekend we visited our kids and grandkids (Jody, Cindy, Jessica, and Jaycee). It was a cold, windy day, and they had just finished putting the makings for potato chowder in the crock pot. Cindy said they would have a nice hot supper for such a cold day. So that made me think that it won’t be long before we’ll be changing the menu from soups and stews to barbecued hamburgers and steaks. This week’s column features a recipe for a great stew. I’ve made it a lot of times. Enjoy during this cold spell.

From Pipi's Pasture: Itching their way into spring

Cattle like to “itch” themselves just about anytime, but they really get carried away in the spring time of year. First of all, they have all of that winter hair. Then, the weather is getting warmer, their skin is dry, and they just feel uncomfortable. They probably feel as we do when we have dry, itchy scalp or skin.

Prather’s Pick: A book about germs

A teacher at heart, I’m always on the lookout for young adult and children’s books that can be used with the classroom curriculum. This week’s picture book, intended for ages 4 to 8, is an example.

From Pipi's Pasture: The sounds around us

This past week I have been listening to the sounds of the birds here at Pipi’s Pasture. Some of their songs seem to be heralding spring. So that has gotten me to think about other sounds around us, most so familiar that we may take them for granted. This week’s column is dedicated to the sounds around us.

Prather’s Pick: A romantic thriller

This week’s Prather’s Pick reviews “River Road,” a suspense novel by author Jayne Ann Krentz. She has written an impressive number of novels — more than 50, in fact. Her contemporary romantic suspense novels are under the name Jayne Ann Krentz, while her futuristic and historical romantic novels are under the pseudonyms Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick.

Over a Cup of Coffee: A question about 'Pudding Fruit Salad' and more

Since I’ve been writing about pudding, here’s a good dessert for Valentine’s Day. This is a well-known recipe. I may have even included it in this column before. I’ve made it a lot.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making the pudding salad

Two weeks ago this column featured a recipe for “Pudding Fruit Salad.” Last week’s column addressed some concerns that Evelyn Tileston of Craig had about mixing up the pudding. Since the recipe calls for heating the fruit juice in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, Evelyn was concerned that the liquid would be so hot that the instant pudding would clump. I thought she had a good point.

From Pipi's Pasture: Valentine's Day at Morapos School

Here at Pipi’s Pasture it doesn’t look anything like the Valentine’s Day I remember when I was growing up on the ranch. There was a lot of snow on Feb. 14, and it was cold. But, I don’t think my siblings and I cared about the weather — if we didn’t have to worry about going to Craig to get our valentine supplies, that is — because we had plenty of holiday-related activities to keep us busy.

Prather's Pick: Who is stealing the books?

All of the animal characters in this week’s picture book like to read. At night they have a routine. Everybody settles down with a book, and the parents read to their children. “The Snatchabook” was written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty, a husband and wife team. The couple lives in Wales.

From Pipi's Pasture: A prize-winning paint named Buster

This week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” honors a horse. This past November, for the second year in a row, he won the “All-Around” title at the World Paint Horse Show, an annual event held in Fort Worth, Texas.

Prather’s Pick: Surviving a blizzard

This week’s book is timely, indeed, considering all of the media coverage about the recent blizzards in the eastern part of our country. “Blizzard” is a beautifully-illustrated (Caldecott Honor) book, written by John Rocco. The story is based on his own experience with a blizzard when he was 10 years old.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Thinking fruit

It must be the spring-like weather or something, but I have been hungry for fruit lately.

From Pipi's Pasture: Stock Show memories

It’s been nearly 50 years (gasp!) since I exhibited steers at the National Western. Since then I have kept in touch with it through our grandchildren, Kenny and Megan Prather. I know that there have been lots of changes since I was a junior exhibitor and know that more changes are being planned to expand the facility.

Prather’s Pick: A memoir about being HIV positive and bullied

This week’s book is written for young adults, but older readers will learn a lot from reading it, too. “Positive: Surviving My Bullies, Finding Hope, and Living to Change the World” is a memoir, written by Paige Rawl, with Ali Benjamin. The foreward to the book was written by Jay Asher.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Looking back on January

Congratulations go to the exhibitors who attended the Arizona Livestock Show in December and the National Western Stock Show in Denver. “From Pipi’s Pasture” will feature the exhibitors in a upcoming column. Right now some of the 4-H and FFA members are still competing in Denver.

Prather’s Pick: ‘When Books Went to War’ is a fantastic read

This week’s nonfiction book for adults is enlightening, to say the least. “When Books Went To War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II” was written by Molly Guptill Manning.

Over a Cup: Thinking of Valentine’s Day

Feb. 14 is only about a month away, so I’ve already been thinking about recipes for celebrating the holiday.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Walking the obstacle course

Feeding the cows here at Pipi’s Pasture each winter morning is a little like walking an obstacle course. The course begins at the gate to the pasture, continues on to the part of the feedlot where hay is spread out, and ends back at the gate. The obstacles are the situations/obstructions that make the course a little tricky to maneuver. The goal isn’t to beat a certain time; it’s to make it back to the gate without falling down or getting knocked over. Sound ridiculous? Read on.

Prather’s Pick: A magical book about friendship

The snowflakes that floated down around me this morning as I did chores were just the right consistency for making a snowman — maybe even a snowman friend like the one in this week’s picture book for children.

From Pipi's Pasture: Flu season on the ranch

With all the colds, flu and other stuff going around right now, my brother, Duane (Osborn), and I have been trying to remember if people talked about a flu season when we were kids growing up on the ranch. We’ve been trying to remember how often we were sick any time of the year.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Mary's taco soup and more

This week I received a recipe for taco soup from Mary Burnett, of Craig. Mary has contributed several recipes to this column, including some zucchini recipes, a recipe for autumn stew and others. I look forward to receiving your recipes, Mary. Thanks!

Prather’s Pick: Another fantastic book by Jodi Picoult

I was running an errand in Craig the other day, and it was stormy. In fact, I was in a hurry, fearing that the weather might worsen and I’d face a blizzard on the way home. So, knowing that I needed a book to review for “Prather’s Pick,” I checked out the new selections on a book rack at the grocery store. When I saw “Salem Falls” by Jodi Picoult, I grabbed it up. I recently reviewed her latest novel, “Leaving Time,” which was awesome.

Over a Cup: Seafood chowder

New Year’s Eve was quiet. I made clam chowder, and we had cheese, sausage and crackers to go with it. Soup was just what we needed on such a cold night.

From Pipi’s Pasture: It’s really cold

I’ve written several weather-related columns before, including those about the cold. But now it’s really cold, and the cold is what we’re all talking about. It’s so cold that…

Prather's Pick: A creative nonfiction book

“The Boys from the Bushes”, this week’s featured book by Lou Dean (Jacobs), is a carefully researched true story of three Oklahoma boys who competed in horse races that were held in pastures.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Recipes for pie crusts

I was going to make a cream pie with cherry pie filling on top for Christmas dinner. The recipe is on a card, given to me by a friend some years ago. I’ve made the pie a bunch of times; it’s delicious.

From Pipi's Pasture: Being thankful

As all of you know, the past few weeks, especially the past few days, have been busy as we have tried to get ready for Christmas Day. So on Christmas morning, after we had fed the cows here at Pipi’s Pasture and after the roast beef was simmering in the oven for a late-afternoon dinner, I had a few quiet minutes to sit at the dining room table and watch the fluffy snowflakes fall and ponder my columns for Saturday’s paper.