Beth Anne Austein

Host and Producer

Beth Anne Austein has been spinning tunes on the air (The Folk Show, Dancing With Tradition, Freeforms), as well as recording, editing and mixing audio for Montana Public Radio and Montana PBS, since the Clinton Administration. She’s jockeyed faders or "fixed it in post” for The Plant Detective; Listeners Bookstall; Fieldnotes; Musicians Spotlight; The Write Question; Storycorps; Selected Shorts; Bill Raoul’s music series; orchestral and chamber concerts; lecture series; news interviews; and outside producers’ programs about topics ranging from philosophy to ticks.

Ways To Connect

Kenton Rowe

Cory Caswell has worked as a hired hand on Wyoming and Montana ranches since he came west as a teenager, not staying in any one place longer than a few months. He talks about his hard, unpredictable but satisfying life as itinerant ranch hand.

(Broadcast: "Mountain West Voices," 2/2/15. Listen weekly on the radio on Mondays, 3:00 p.m., or via podcast.)

Flickr user, Mike Licht

Jon and Greg speculate that widespread under-appreciation of parsnips is due to their resemblance to "an anemic carrot."  Jon recalls the sweet and flavorful parsnips kept buried in a box of soil in the root cellar by his gardener father, the taste of which approached the mythic sweetness of mature parsnips left in the ground all winter. Greg suggests roasting them, puréeing with potatoes, deep-frying them as chips, or including them in a recipe for root-vegetable custard.

Flickr user, Alexey Kljatov

"It almost makes you dizzy to look straight up into falling snow. People love watching things fall through the air: autumn leaves, fireworks, even skydivers wafting to the ground on their parachutes. On this winter day, I begin to wonder if the grammar school adage is true. Are all snowflakes unique?

Forest Service Northern Region

Growing out of forest restoration efforts around Helena, Montana, in 2014, a cooperative stewardship agreement between the state of Montana and the U. S. Forest Service was developed, the first of its kind in the United States.

courtesy of the Lahey family

"You come to Butte, Montana direct from seven exhausting years in the city, seeking solace, expecting blight, and finding home."  Missoula native Regan deVictoria fell for Butte "as you do a man with a harelip despite deformities, and later, because of them." Poet Ed Lahey was born to a family of Butte miners in 1936. From his adopted home of Missoula, he looked back at The Mining City:

Clay Scott

As a child on the Crow Reservation in Montana, Peggy White Wellknown Buffalo was taken from her home and sent to Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools out of state, and forbidden from speaking her language. As an adult, she has dedicated her life to helping Crow children connect with their history, their culture and their place.

Michael Marsolek talks with pianist Margery McDuffie Whatley and University of Montana piano professors Steven Hesla and Christopher Hahn about Whatley's January 25 performance in the School of Music's "Celebrate Piano" series.  Whatley's program includes Beethoven's Tempest Sonata, and "all sorts of piano bonbons" -  short works by Chopin, Saint-Saens, Mendelssohn, Debussy, and Liszt.

Greg Patent

Greg describes two baking workshops he attended recently, taught by pie baker Kate McDermott and pastry chef Mindy Segal. Greg learned that the fats he uses for pie crust - butter and rendered leaf lard - are also favored by McDermott, who keeps her mixing bowls, flour, and fats chilled till it's time to make pie dough.

Retron

"Take a dozen railroad whistles, braid them together, and then let one strand after another drop off, the last peal so frightfully piercing as to go through your heart and soul." According to biologist Stanley P. Young, that's a stockmen's take on the sound of a howling wolf pack. But it'll come as no surprise to any dog owner that while howling is the most recognizable of four different wolf vocalizations, under various circumstances, wolves also growl, whimper, and bark.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Visits to poet Stephen Behrendt's favorite places in the West linger in his memory and imagination as "places of mind," where blue skies and the fragrance of sun-baked evergreen needles connect him more intensely to his surroundings than the "whitish Great Plains summer sky, heavy with humidity" of his home in Nebraska.

From Behrendt's poem, "Tracks:"

Lambert, a small Eastern Montana town near the Bakken oil fields, copes with sudden and dramatic change.

(Broadcast: "Mountain West Voices," 1/19/14. Listen weekly on the radio on Mondays, 3:00 p.m., or via podcast.)

Brian Kahn talks with Dana Toole, Bureau Chief of the Children's Justice Bureau in the Montana Department of Justice, and Rep. Jenny Eck, member of the Montana Legislature. The topic: initiatives at the DOJ to improve how the department responds to victims of child sexual abuse, and prevention strategies.

Michael Marsolek talks with Greg Johnson, artistic director of the Montana Repertory Theatre, and actor Mark Kuntz, about the Rep's touring production of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," adapted for stage by Simon Levy.

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Greg and Jon continue their discussion of Ari LeVaux's online column, "Irony Alert: Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat" with information from a second article cited by LeVaux: "Do Gut Bacteria Rule Our Minds?" by Jeffrey Norris, UC San Francisco -  itself summarizing new research review findings:

Flickr user, Chris Moody

"Not long ago, I grabbed my boots, a small cooler, and a turkey baster from our kitchen. In just a few minutes, I had broken through the ice on the shore of the Bitterroot River, sucked up some water from under rocks, and squirted it into the cooler. I moved on a bit and watched two muskrats, while I listened to chickadees singing with the sounds of the river behind. This was natural history at its best, almost. It was about to get better. I returned home where my microscope was waiting to show me what minute life forms I had captured.

Montana Historical Society

Thoroughbred horses are Catherine Melin Moser's passion, but moving to Montana, she discovered something she hadn't know: winners of several of America's preeminent horse races in the 1880s and 1890s were raised on Montana bunch grass. Racers Spokane, Ben Holladay, Tammany, and Scottish Chieftain were raised by Montanans Noah Armstrong, Samuel Larabie, and Marcus Daly, and were winners of the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes, and other races.

Clay Scott

Last week we heard from 103-year-old Margaret Carranza, who came from Mexico to Montana's Yellowstone River Valley when she was a girl to work in the sugar beet fields. This week we will hear the story of how her family finally acquired a farm of their own - only to have it taken away.

Randy Stiles

As part of a plan to address climate change, a proposed 2014 EPA rule would reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants nationwide by an average of 30% by 2030. (Montana's proposed target is 21%.) The EPA's Clean Power Plan has directed states to develop strategies to reduce CO emissions.

Flickr user, Steve Snodgrass

Jon and Greg discuss a November 2014 online column by Ari LeVaux, "Irony Alert: Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat." LeVaux's piece examines recent findings, published in Nature, that mice who were fed artificial sweeteners in their water developed glucose intolerance.

Michael Marsolek talks with Arlynn Fishbaugh, Executive Director of the Montana Arts Council, reviewing the council's work in 2014. MAC spearheads a program that teaches professional artists across Montana how to improve their business acumen, and Fishbaugh shares the results of a report about the financial impact of this program on artists' families. The link between cultural tourism and art is also a focus of the council.

Flickr user, Teddy Llovet

"Skiing next to a creek north of Missoula on a morning so cold that ice crystals dance in the air, the world seems silent, asleep. Then a brilliant melody pours forth like a breath of spring. The sound seems to come from the water itself. I ski closer to the ice-lined creek and a splash in the shallows reveals a stub-tailed, plump little bird whose dark coloring blends perfectly with the drab gray rocks. This is a dipper, or water ouzel, a year-round native of Montana's rushing, forested streams.

A Brief History of Butte, Montana

"In 1864, men in a hurry journeyed to the region known as the headwaters of the Missouri. Called by gold, they were in a rush to acquire and ascend, whether through gold-mining, freighting and selling goods to the miners, raising wheat and cattle, organizing and leading a new government, or other, less reputable means."  Ken Egan describes the collision between native cultures, with their traditions of gift-giving, oral history, and piety, and a burgeoning population of American opportunists. 

Clay Scott

The first in a two-part series about Margaret Carranza, a 103-year-old, Mexican born woman who spent her life as a beet worker in Montana's upper Yellowstone River valley.

From Hitler's 1941 invasion of Russia until the Nazi surrender in 1945, 24 million Russians died. Yedika Ivanonva served as a medic in the Red Army for all four years of the Soviet-German war. Now 94, she recalls: 

Flickr user, Emily

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 1/4/15. Listen weekly on the radio at 11:50 a.m. Sundays, or via podcast.)

Notes below are taken from Greg Patent's March 4, 2008 "Missoulian" column, where Greg first introduced the recipe (bottom) that Jon Jackson has since adapted to include poblano and chili peppers instead of chard:

Flickr user, Charles Peterson

"By the 1930s, conservation groups across North America teamed up to help save the trumpeter, of which only 69 were known to exist. Various projects restored and increased breeding, wintering and wetland habitat, including the new Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Montana. Trumpeter populations rebounded and reached almost 35,000 swans by 2005.

Lindsey Appell

"We were told coal would save us, the same year we learned about boom-and-bust economics in our social studies textbooks." College-bound Lindsey Appell couldn't wait to leave Roundup, Montana for Missoula, but soon she began to feel "the pull back to the prairie. The scent of wet sagebrush sends a shiver of longing through me now...There are no true sunsets in a bowl of mountains. No blood-orange autumn skies, casting harsh shadows across grizzled ponderosa hills and sandstone crags."

The Helena Business Improvement District and Downtown Helena Inc

In small or medium-sized towns, "anchor" stores benefit many nearby businesses. Billie Shepard, owner for the last seventeen years of The Pan Handler Store on Last Chance Gulch in Helena, MT, thrives on supplying cooks with their tools and demonstrating how to use them. She also provides health insurance, sick leave and vacation pay to her employees and frequently helps pay for their training and education.

Clay Scott

Producer Clay Scott visits Montana State Prison, where Native inmates are taking part in a traditional sweat lodge ceremony. As they wait their turn outside the sweat lodge, they talk about life in prison, and their memories and dreams of life beyond the walls.

(Broadcast: "Mountain West Voices," 12/29/14. Listen weekly on the radio on Mondays, 3:00 p.m., or via podcast.)

Forthepeople1969

Greg shares his recent successful improvisation of two appetizers, or canapés, which he accomplished with some basic know-how and the ingredients in his freezer and cupboard. If you know how to make pâte à choux (cream puff) dough, a Mornay sauce, and blanched greens, you, too, can carry off these hors d'oeuvres with the panache of A Food Guy. Or, as Jon would recommend, just improvise your own.

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