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Diane Prather

Stories by Diane

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making a sandwich

People make all kinds of sandwiches. Years ago, when our boys were small, my husband Lyle mixed up mashed bananas and peanut butter and made sandwiches for them. I’ve heard of onion sandwiches, and our son Jamie puts potato chips in his bologna sandwiches.

Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering the Hamilton Busy Beavers

This week, the monthly Moffat County 4-H Newsletter arrived in the mail. When I saw the Hamilton Busy Beavers 4-H Club mentioned with the 4-H Council, I was reminded of those years long ago when I was in 4-H. I belonged to the Hamilton Busy Beavers Club, and I don’t like to think about how many years ago it was!

Prather’s Pick: Teachers should read ‘Little Red Writing’ to help with speech, writing

Picture books that retell well-known tales are popular these days. In this week’s retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” Little Red is a pencil. Teachers might want to check out this book, especially if their students are ready to learn about the parts of speech and the steps to writing a story.

Over a Cup of Coffee: A craving for Mexican casseroles

Perhaps it’s a craving for Mexican casseroles that sent me to my files, searching for casserole recipes. Most of the Mexican casserole recipes I use are pretty similar in ingredients and preparations, so I was hunting for something a little “different.”

Pipi's Pasture: Transitioning seasons

Each time the season is about to change her at Pipi’s Pasture, I just can’t help myself — I have to write about it. After all, it brings changes to what is going on in the agricultural community and, for that matter, the rest of our community as well.

Prather's Pick: 'Worthy Brown’s Daughter' is an intriguing and well-crafted book

This week’s novel, set in the early American West, 1860, is based on a real court case from the Oregon Territory. Phillip Margolin, author of “Worthy Brown’s Daughter,” has plenty of experience with court cases. Besides being an author, he has a background as a criminal defense attorney and has handled thirty murder cases. Although he has written 17 bestsellers, this is Margolin’s first book of historical fiction

Prather’s Pick: A book about being in the middle

Readers may wonder what the letters “J” and “YA” — sometimes found on the outside spine of a book — are all about. Sally Beauchamp, children’s librarian at the Moffat County Library, told me that “J” (juvenile) and “YA” (young adult) mean the same thing, but the “J” designation is newer. These letters indicate that the books are intended for fifth through 12th grades. However, it depends on the vocabulary and content of the individual book as to the exact reading level.

Prather's Pick: The newest book in the Bad Kitty Series

“Bad Kitty Drawn to Trouble” is the 10th book in a series of “Bad Kitty” books by author and illustrator Nick Bruel. This new book and other Bad Kitty books can be found in the children’s room at the Moffat County Library. The author’s purpose in writing this book was to show kids how books are written. Included in the chapters is information about the elements of a story.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Festive Valentine's candy

Next week we’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day. Betty Ann Duzik, of Craig, called with her recipe for Valentine’s candy that she makes each year.

Pipi's Pasture: Honoring livestock show exhibitors

This week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” honors three Moffat County 4-H/FFA members who exhibited livestock during the 66th Arizona National Livestock Show in Phoenix, Ariz., held during the last week of December 2013 and the first week of January 2014. The exhibitors were Jerica DeLong, Andrea Maneotis and Brice White.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Discovering an old family recipe

Reta Osborn of Hamilton called me the other day. She said she had been cleaning out her recipe file when she found a recipe for “Corn Chowder.” My mother, Judy Osborn, had given her the recipe years ago. So, Reta made the chowder and said it was good.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering Valentine’s Day

It’s Feb. 1 already, and I’m remembering back to when I was a kid, growing up on the ranch. It was about this time of the year that we started thinking about Valentine’s Day. It was an exciting time for us because there would be a Valentine’s Day party at school, and some years our family would host a potluck supper around Valentine’s Day.

From Pipi's Pasture: Looking back

I have been reflecting on January 2014. Time has passed in a hurry, and when I look back on the month, I find it has been pretty typical for January.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Remembering Florence

My sister-in-law, Florence Van Tassel, passed away Jan. 10. Florence and I did lots of stuff together, so I have many fond memories of her. One of the things I remember about Florence was her talent for cooking.

Prather’s Pick: A new picture book by Audrey and Don Wood

“The Birthday Queen” is a new picture book (2013) by Audrey and Don Wood. It is published by The Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic. The illustrations in the book are done in bright colors, making it especially appealing to children.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Healthy Vegetable Beef Soup

The Moffat County 4-H Newsletter arrived this week, and I found a soup recipe on the “Family Matters” pages of the newsletter. “Healthy Vegetable Beef Soup” is loaded with nutritious ingredients that can be commonly found in the kitchen.

From Pipi’s Pasture: A workshop for women in agriculture

This week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” has information about upcoming events at the Moffat County Extension Office in Craig. The first one is a workshop that will be held at the Moffat County Extension Office on Jan. 29. It’s “Farm and Ranch Management for Women in Agriculture.” The workshop, to be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m., is intended for women and other interested parties who want to learn more about farm and ranch management and to better understand their properties.

Prather’s Pick: ‘Snowzilla’ a cool read for children

Kids love snowmen, and they will enjoy this week’s picture book about an extraordinary snowman. “Snowzilla” was written by Janet Lawler and illustrated by Amanda Haley.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Making casseroles galore

Suddenly, it’s Jan. 4. The holidays have come and gone. We’ve dined on turkey, prime rib, ham and all kinds of sweets. Now, if you’re like me, you may want to fix something entirely different — like a casserole, perhaps. This column features two casseroles.

Pipi’s Pasture: Winter get-togethers at the ranch

The dining room is one of my favorite places to sit and write, especially in winter. For one thing, it’s warm and cozy. For another, there are three large windows on the west side of the room, and through them, I can check out the winter scene without having to be out in the cold (even though I spend about four hours per day outside doing chores).

Prather's Pick: 2 charming picture books

This week’s column features two new picture books for children. The books can be found in the children’s room at the Moffat County Library.

Pipi's Pasture: New Year’s resolutions

In just a few days the year 2013 will be a memory. For our family, the year has been one of a variety of changes, One of the biggest changes has been the out-of-state move for our son Jody and family. We can’t help but wonder what 2014 will bring.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Chocolate Cherry Cake

A while back, probably early fall, this column featured a recipe for “Chocolate Cherry Cake.” The recipe first appeared in the “Fence Post.” It had been submitted by Marcy Dyer, of Pierce, and I enjoyed a nice visit with her when I called to get permission to reprint the recipe in “Over a Cup of Coffee.”

Prather’s Pick: ‘Staying Strong’ an inspirational memoir

“Family gives us strength and builds our character.” It’s a quote written by Demi Lovato for the Dec. 25 entry of her book, “Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year.” The book is this week’s Prather’s Pick.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Strawberry Fruit Delight

Last week this column included a tip from Marlene Tate, of Meeker, (when she sent in a popcorn ball recipe) about making popcorn balls. She said she moistens her hands with water before working the popcorn into balls. A reader said that she had tried Marlene’s tip and it works.

Christmas at Pipi’s Pasture

Soft snow is falling on Pipi’s Pasture. It’s a Christmas card scene for sure. As I watch the snow fall, I’m thinking about this year’s Christmas season. I will remember it for the warm memories, particularly those memories of giving from the heart.

Prather's Pick: 'An Otis Christmas' is a heartwarming Christmas tale

Awhile back, this column reviewed “Otis and the Tornado,” a picture book written by Loren Long. Librarians tell me that the books about Otis are popular with children. Up until now there have been three Otis books: “Otis,” “Otis and the Tornado,” and “Otis and the Puppy.” Now, just in time for the holidays, Long has published yet another book: “An Otis Christmas.” It’s this week’s featured book.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Marlene’s Popcorn Balls

I haven’t made Iva Decker’s popcorn balls yet, but I did try the popcorn candy recipe that Dixie Jones gave me. I had a little time so I chose a recipe that I could make in a hurry. I’ll make Iva’s recipe soon.

Pipi’s Pasture: Winter memories

I’ve never liked winter. I don’t like snow (although I know that we need it), and I don’t like the cold. The only thing I might enjoy about winter is ice skating — if I knew how. I was born in February when Moffat County was experiencing a severe cold snap. My dad told me that it was 52 degrees below zero. He remembered how difficult it was to get a vehicle started so that he could drive into Craig from the ranch to visit his newborn daughter.

Prather's Pick: 'My Story' a difficult read about Elizabeth Smart

At about 2 o’clock on the morning of June 5, 2002, Elizabeth Smart was taken from the bedroom of her Salt Lake City home. She was just 14 years old, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family. Elizabeth was held captive for nine months. “My Story,” written by Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart, is her memoir of those horrific nine months. The book, copyright 2013, is a new one at the Moffat County Library.

Over a Cup of Coffee: An autumn stew

This past September, our son Jamie and grandson Kenny went on a hunting trip to Alaska where they got two moose. They packaged the meat and flew it home, and they shared some of it with us. So when Jamie and Kenny were here a couple of weeks ago, I made a moose stew.

Pipi's Pasture: Record book awards

There were lots of awards Just think how important record keeping is in our lives. We keep medical records, information needed for figuring income tax, business records and a whole lot more. That’s why record keeping is included in 4-H and FFA project work; it is a valuable skill for young people to learn.

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.