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.
Winter is here, and if the weather keeps being so snowy, you might want to spend more time in the kitchen — perhaps baking cookies. Last week’s column featured two recipes from my mother’s (Judy Osborn) recipe files. This week I chose two more.
“The Night Before Christmas” was written by Clement C. Moore a long time ago, but it’s amazing how many picture book plots are takes on the poem. Settings include everything from the desert to the barnyard. Take this week’s book, for example.
Making and decorating sugar cookies is a tradition in some families. There are lots of sugar cookie recipes floating around out there. This week I went to my notes for writing a cookbook, a “work in progress” for my sisters, brother and myself. I looked through some of our mother’s recipes (our mother was the late Judy Osborn) and pulled out two of her rolled-out sugar cookie recipes. (She had several recipes for these cookies.)
This past week my sister Charlotte (Allum) and I enjoyed sharing memories of Christmases past when we were growing up on the ranch at Morapos. We have two siblings, Darlene (Blackford) and Duane (Osborn), who are younger than we are. Charlotte and I are just two years apart so we have similar memories of Christmas and sometimes even received the same gifts.
If you enjoy action/adventure/thriller novels, and if you enjoy novels with plots involving technology and drones, this week’s book is for you. (It would make a great gift for somebody who enjoys these storylines, too.)
Officially, winter doesn’t start for another week-and-a-half or so, but it’s winter to me. I have written about all of the other times of the year so I can’t help but think about December.
Kids like to help cook, and they like it even more when there are cookies, cupcakes or cakes to decorate. They have terrific ideas when it comes to decorating, too. So they’re sure to enjoy making a Snowman Cake, maybe on one of the next few days when it’s supposed to storm.
Before Thanksgiving I featured a recipe for a sweet potato casserole with a crispy top made from brown sugar, nuts, and other ingredients. I made it for our Thanksgiving dinner, and it’s good. Our son Jody especially liked it, and he took the leftovers home.
I found this week’s funny book only recently while I was browsing through the books in the children’s room at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries. It would have been a great selection for Halloween, but I hadn’t found it then.
One afternoon this past week while I was waiting for the stock tank to fill — when I do some of my best thinking — I thought about my reasons to be grateful. Some people reflect on reasons to be thankful during the Thanksgiving holiday, but I connect my reflections more with the time of the year. After all, it’s the end to a busy season.
Enjoying family, food and traditions during Thanksgiving
When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, family members might look forward to the side dishes, like stuffing and salads, even more than the ham or turkey. This week’s column features two side dishes.
I enjoy Elizabeth Adler’s novels so I was thrilled to find “One Way or Another” with the new books at the Craig Moffat County Library. The novel, with a 2015 copyright, is published by Minotaur Books. Adler has written 30 novels.
I goofed when I wrote last week’s column. Though I can’t remember making “Double-Layer Pumpkin Pie” before, I did get to savor a pumpkin dip that our daughter-in-law, Cindy, made a couple of weeks ago when we stopped for lunch on a cow-gathering day at my brother Duane’s place. The dip was made from similar ingredients as the pie, and it was delicious. The recipe for the dip comes from a web site, and I don’t have permission to print it.
The cattle have been gathered, and they’re all back at Pipi’s Pasture for the winter. Once they’re home, it takes a few days for all of us, humans and cattle alike, to get into a routine again. Then we family members begin to check out the calves.
A few weeks ago, I reviewed a kids’ picture book, “How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?”, written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. In the book, the students from Mr. Tiffin’s class carried out an investigation to see which of three sizes of pumpkins had the most seeds. (Mr. Tiffin is a very creative teacher!) In this week’s book, also by McNamara and Karas, Mr. Tiffin’s class visits an apple orchard. “The Apple Orchard Riddle” is intended for ages 4 to 8.
Each year, around this time, I bake “Pumpkin Bars” that are moist and delicious. This week’s recipe, from my “to try” file, is similar. Both recipes direct using a 15x10-inch pan, but I usually use a 13x9-inch pan and then baking the bars longer if they don’t test done after 30 minutes.
This week’s column continues with the story about the topsy-turvy kittens that were born here at Pipi’s Pasture a few years ago. One out of the five kittens was normal; the other four had some type of nervous disorder, apparently some type of genetic or birth defect, that caused them to stagger and topple over when they walked — thus the name “topsy-turvy.”
This week’s book is intended for young adult readers. It’s “Apple and Rain,” a novel written by Sarah Crossan and published by Bloomsbury Children’s books (2014).
All of these thoughts of pumpkins have inspired me to find more pumpkin cookie recipes. (I featured one a few weeks ago.) This week’s recipe is from my file.
The other afternoon, while I was filling a stock tank at the corral, I was watching the cats and remembering the years that the topsy-turvy cats lived at Pipi’s Pasture. I have written about the stray cats before. They come and go at our place. Some of them stay with us awhile. I feed them all, and it’s the cats’ habits to stay either at the corral or around the house, usually not both places.
This week’s column has two recipes for soup. The weather has been warm, but it’s bound to change sooner or later, and soup just hits the spot during cold weather. Actually, soup is good most anytime.
Last weekend we brought the cows, calves, and bulls home from summer pasture. Coming home to Pipi’s Pasture is always followed by a short period of adjustment for the cattle — and us, too.
Pumpkins! They come in all sizes, are brightly colored, and they’re fun to carve. That means removing all the pulp and seeds. Did you ever wonder how many seeds are in a pumpkin? Does a large pumpkin have more seeds than a small one? That’s just what Mr. Tiffin’s first grade class is about to find out.
This has been a busy week with work and getting ready to bring the cows home from summer pasture. I’m planning on feeding the family and other helpers ham and potato salad so that won’t be hard to get ready.
Last week’s column, inspired by my sister, Charlotte Allum, was fun to write, and it made me think too. Yesterday evening, Charlotte called. She and her husband John had just returned home from a trip. She was laughing — yawning, too — as she asked, “Do you know what I’m doing? I’m waiting until it’s time to go to bed.”
Debby Parker was her given name. She was also known as “Wild Child,” her trail name, and after she finished walking the Pacific Crest Trail, she became Aspen Matis.
The credit for this week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” goes to my sister, Chalotte Allum, of Fort Collins. One early morning, a couple of weeks ago, Charlotte called me and said that she had an idea for my column. Charlotte gets up early, and that particular morning she was waiting for it to be daylight so that she could use the natural light to choose the colors of fabric she was using to make a quilt. One thing led to another, and pretty soon Charlotte was thinking about the time we all spend “waiting.”