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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

Prather’s Pick: 'The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit' is sure to ruffle feathers

“The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” written by Beatrix Potter, was published in 1902. The book was beautifully-illustrated with the author’s watercolor paintings. In the story, Peter Rabbit disobeyed his mother who told him that he must never go into Mr. McGregor’s garden. The book is a classic.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Popcorn Balls and Popcorn Candy

The other week, I asked readers for popcorn ball recipes, and I got two calls — one for popcorn balls and the other for popcorn candy. I can hardly wait for the weekend so that I have time to try the recipes.

Pipi's Pasture: 2013 4-H Achievement Night, part 2

There were lots of awards and other recognitions during the 2013 Moffat County 4-H Achievement Night, held Nov. 13 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. In fact, there were so many that this week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” has more results to report.

Prather’s Pick: 'Heaven is Paved with Oreos' is a coming-of-age book

Sarah Zorn has a very “interesting” grandmother. Known as the family as “Z,” this 63-year-old granny can make an adventure out of most anything — like shopping for pencils, planning a diet (sometimes just one color of food each day of the week) or reading the fortunes in fortune cookies.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Thanksgiving recipes

We’ll celebrate Thanksgiving this coming week, so cooks everywhere have been searching for their family favorite recipes.

Over a Cup of Coffee: 2 more cookie recipes

The holidays are nearly here, so everybody’s talking about food. This week, I had requests for two cookie recipes: peanut butter and oatmeal raisin.

Pipi's Pasture: Achievement Night 2013

On Nov. 13, 4-H members, their families and leaders looked back on the many accomplishments of the 2013 program year. The annual 4-H Achievement Night was held at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. This week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” salutes the 4-H members and leaders.

Prather’s Pick: “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns” is a book you can’t put down

I so admire Janet Sheridan’s talent for writing. I thoroughly enjoyed her new book, “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns: Memories, Musings and Observations.” After I started reading, I couldn’t put her book down. I read while supper cooked, while waiting for students to arrive and while filling the livestock water tank. I even took the book with me when we helped my brother gather cows one day and was waiting at the gate. I read the book in a short time — then I wanted more.

Pipi's Pasture: Nearly winter at Pipi's Pasture

It doesn’t seem like it was very long ago that I was writing “It’s Fall When…” in my column. How can it be time for winter already?

Over a Cup of Coffee: Sugar Drop Cookies

Miner and Darlene Blackford, my sister and her husband from Rocky Ford, host an open house in December. They’ve been doing this for years and years. So Darlene already has started baking and freezing goodies for the event.

Prather’s Pick: “Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage” is an interesting read

Susan Shillinglaw spent twenty-five years researching and writing “Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage” — this week’s featured book. The book, published in 2013, can be found at the Moffat County Library. Shillinglaw is a leading expert on John Steinbeck’s life and work. She directed the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State University from 1987 to 2005. During that time she edited the “Steinbeck Newsletter,” organized conferences, taught classes and lectured — all about Steinbeck.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Chocolate Drop Cookies

I’ve baked “Chocolate Drop Cookies” a bunch of times. The recipe is easy to make, the cookies have a great chocolate taste and you can vary the recipe, too, depending on the ingredients you have on hand.

Pipi's Pasture: Animal behavior and weather changes

Years ago, when we lived on the Front Range, one of our neighbors, an older lady, used to watch Benji, our son’s dog, when he was outdoors. Sometimes Benji rolled around on the ground, both legs up in the air as he rubbed his back. “Stop that!” our neighbor yelled at Benji. “When dogs roll around on the ground, it means that the wind will blow.”

Prather’s Pick: 'The Fish with the Deep Sea Smile' is full of aquatic fun

Children will be attracted to the artwork from the time they pick up the book because the fish and some of the plants on the book’s cover actually sparkle. The text of the book is done in delightful verse, which sometimes is printed in a wavelike motion, and on one page, it runs along the line from a fishing pole.

Pipi's Pasture: Updating the fair book

The 2014 Moffat County Fair is roughly 10 months away, but fair board members, extension personnel and county fair volunteers already are busy making plans for the event. That includes getting the 2014 fair book ready for the printer.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Slow-cooked taco meat loaf

This week, Stacy Gray, from the 5 Bar Angus Ranch in rural Craig, sent me an intriguing recipe. I received it just yesterday, so I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.

Pipi's Pasture: Planning pavilion projects for the fair

This is the time of year when 4-H and FFA members choose their livestock for the coming year, especially the market animals since they need to start feeding them. During November and December (by January), 4-H members also select those general 4-H projects that they wish to complete during the coming year. The target date for completion of all of these projects is county fair.

Prather's Pick: "The Ides of April" is historically mysterious

This week’s novel for adults is a new (2013) book at the Moffat County Library. It’s a mystery, set in Rome, the Aventine Hill, in March to April AD 89.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Minestrone Soup with Meat

As I’m typing up this week’s Over A Cup of Coffee, I can’t help but notice how dreary it looks outside. It’s dark and rainy — a day for soup. This week’s column features two soup recipes. If you try them, remember that you can adapt the recipes to your liking!

Pipi's Pasture: Sloppy fall days!

It’s funny how different one year can be from another. For example, last year we brought the cattle home from summer pasture the first weekend in September and fed them expensive hay until they went back to pasture in late May. This year, we’re thankful that there was enough grass, helped along a little by September rain, so that the cattle could stay on pasture until October — last weekend, to be exact.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Cooking Banana Squash

Surprisingly, even though I planted the garden late this past spring, we harvested some banana squash. It’s my favorite variety of winter squash.

Pipi's Pasture: What if ...

Are you one of those people, like me, who worries about everything, especially the “what ifs?” Right now, with the change in the weather and all of the winter work that has to get done, there are plenty of “what ifs” here at Pipi’s Pasture.

Prather’s Pick: 'Pirates Love Underpants' is a lively picture book

One can’t help but admire the creative abilities of picture book authors. Just coming up with ideas for the books is an incredible talent. Take this week’s picture book, for example. “Pirates Love Underpants” (2013) was written by Claire Freedman and illustrated by Ben Cort. (The writer and illustrator live in England.) The book is the newest addition to the Underpants series, which include “Dinosaurs Love Underpants” and “Aliens Love Underpants.”

Over A Cup: Making a corn casserole

This week Shirley Stehle, of Craig, called to tell me how she makes chokecherry jelly.

Pipi’s Pasture: Fall is upon us!

During the past two or three months, we’ve pulled hoses around on our yards and gardens, trying to keep the plants from drying up; we’ve hauled water to our livestock; and we’ve cranked up the house fans in an effort to stay cool. Suddenly — or it seems suddenly — we’ve gotten some moisture, the grass has greened up, the daytime temperatures have been cooler and it has frosted.

Prather's Pick: "These Few Precious Days" is a miraculous must read about Jackie, JFK

It has been nearly fifty years since John F.Kennedy was shot to death in Dallas. A brand new book, released this August, begins on that tragic day — at 12:30 p.m., Nov. 22, 1963. “These Few Precious Days: The Final Year of Jack with Jackie” is a biography. It isn’t just about that terrible day, however. After the first chapter, the author goes back in time, remembering the thousand days that Jack and Jackie Kennedy occupied the White House, especially their last year together.

Pipi’s Pasture: A September snow

The recent rains are proof that we just can’t predict what the weather will be like from year to year, even month to month. Out here, in the area around Pipi’s Pasture, the short grasses have gotten enough moisture so that they’re green again, much like spring. Our lawn is emerald green, just as it is in May.

Prather's Pick: 'Click, Clack, Boo!' a frightfully fun book for kids

Children will enjoy the lively words used to describe the Halloween goings-on at Farmer Brown’s barnyard, including the “creak, creak, creaking," “crunch, crunch, crunching” and more as the words are repeated during the story. As with all of the other Cronin and Lewin books, this one is sure to be a hit with children and the adults who read it to them.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Marcy’s Chocolate Cherry Cake

This week’s recipe is one of my favorite chocolate cakes ever. I found it in the May 13 issue of “The Fence Post.” The recipe was submitted by Marcy Dyer, of Pierce.

Pipi's Pasture: Bringing Pipi home

The hot, dry days — until now — of summer have flown by, and suddenly, it’s time for area ranchers to be thinking about bringing the cattle and sheep home from summer pasture. That goes for our family, too. Before long, we’ll be hauling our little herd home for the winter.

Prather’s Pick: 'The Burgess Boys' is beautifully written

This week’s novel for adults is a must read. I started reading it when I came home from the library Thursday afternoon, read a little Friday — because I was busy — and by late Saturday afternoon, I’d read the whole thing. “The Burgess Boys” was written by Elizabeth Strout, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Olive Kitteridge.”

Over a Cup of Coffee: Green beans with zucchini

Thanks to Mary Burnett, of Craig, we have some zucchini recipes to use with our late summer garden produce. I had hoped to try her “Italian Zucchini Bake” from last week’s column, but our weekend was so hectic that I didn’t take the time to make it. Maybe this coming weekend!

Pipi's Pasture: Colorado State Fair livestock and dog results

The results are in for the livestock and dog shows held during the 2013 Colorado State Fair. Moffat County junior exhibitors brought home lots of ribbons, some of them champion and reserve champion awards.

Prather’s Pick: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” is a fun read

I first read this week’s picture book when my sister, Darlene Blackford, gave me a copy. She said that she loves the book. I do, too! It’s “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” written by William Joyce. I’ve been trying to think of the words that best describe the book. It’s “fanciful” — certainly it’s imaginative — but the book is more than that. There’s a message about the power of reading, too, and the reader is left with a comforting feeling when the book ends.

Diane Prather: General 4-H Projects at 2013 State Fair

The 2013 Colorado State Fair is winding down, and the judging results are in for the general 4-H projects.

Over A Cup: Mary’s zucchini recipe

A couple of weeks ago or so, I was walking past the garden when something jumped up in front of me and landed just over a clump of onions.

Prather's Pick: "Starry Night" has soul despite tragedy

In 2010, Isabel and her rope-team partner Peter were climbing Ala Izquierda in the Bolivian Andes when they suddenly fell 1,100 feet. Isabel and Peter were severely injured. Isabel survived. Peter didn’t. The book is “about” Isabel’s struggle to survive the icy conditions with a broken foot and then finally to drag the foot over the ice in order to reach a place where she could send light signals and get help for Peter. It’s about her struggle to walk again following ten surgeries (by the time this book was published and then still more surgeries) and the rehabilitation that followed. Some pages in the book are devoted to her earlier life, too.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Chocolate Zucchini Sheet Cake

This week’s recipe is another using zucchini. I think the recipe might have come from my stepmother, Mary Osborn, who made lots of zucchini recipes. I think I have made it before.

Pipi's Pasture: A school day routine during years past

School is about to start, so pretty soon the school bus will be a familiar sight here at Pipi’s Pasture. I notice the bus because the driver and I are on the same schedule. I’m doing corral chores when the neighborhood kids get on the bus in the morning and then again in the afternoon when they come back home. Sometimes, the bus even has a stop on the county road right next to Pipi’s Pasture.

Diane Prather: Young adult novel is an “enchanting” read

“The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail," a novel for young adults, is an example of storytelling at its very best. The story is absolutely enchanting.

Prather's Pick: 'Saving Laura' is an action-packed page turner

Author Jim Satterfield was in Craig awhile back for a book signing at Downtown Books. This week’s column is a review of “Saving Laura,” his newest book. (Autographed copies of the book are available at Downtown Books.) Local readers may find this book intriguing — I did — because it has, in part, a local setting. When I opened the book to chapter one, I was surprised to find that the novel begins in Baggs, Wyo. at the Drifter’s Inn, in fact.

Pipi's Pasture: County fair show boxes hold a wealth of memories

Recently, I was looking at a photograph of two steers in a barn stall at the fairgrounds during the county fair. Also in the photo was a rather large wooden show box, painted green with a 4-H clover on the side. The show box was in front of the stall (where exhibitors usually place their show boxes). The photo got me to thinking about the show boxes so that’s the subject of this week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture.”

Prather's Pick: "Prairie Chicken Little"

Remember “Chicken Little” — the classic tale about the chicken who thought the sky was falling? This week’s picture book for kids is a retelling of that tale. “Prairie Chicken Little” was written by Jackie Mims Hopkins and illustrated by Henry Cole. This 2013 book is published by Peachtree Publishers.

Prather's Pick: “Dozens of Cousins”

During the summer, some families travel to reunions where kids meet aunts, uncles and cousins. That’s what “Dozens of Cousins” — this week’s picture book for children — is all about.

Remembering Moffat County Fairs of the past

Each year when county fair time rolls around, I think back to those years when my sister Charlotte (Allum) and I exhibited at the Moffat County Fair. Some of those memories are the subject of this week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture.”

4-H provides youth with a variety of skills

According to J.D. Sexton, Moffat County Extension 4-H youth development and agriculture agent, “4-H is the largest youth organization in the country.” And while 4-H members keep busy all year long, late summer is perhaps the busiest time of all for them.

Prather's Pick: "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead"

Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook. She’s also the author of this week’s featured book: “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.”

Over a Cup of Coffee: Cottage Cheese Pie

When my siblings and I were growing up on the ranch, we couldn’t be picky about what we ate.

Twin calves named Jiminy and Cricket join the pasture

Twin calves Jiminy and Cricket were born at Pipi's pasture this spring.

Over a Cup of Coffee: 2 salads in 1

Slow cooker or barbecue — it’s the way to escape the kitchen heat during these hot days.