MTPR

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

Flickr user, Kim

Greg and Jon discuss Greg's recipe for crisp, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, inspired by Ruth Wakefield's original Toll House "chocolate crunch" cookie recipe. Brown rice flour, tapioca starch and potato starch substitute for wheat flour. "For any chocolate chip cookie, you must refrigerate the dough at least overnight," Greg commands. "It's the magic of chemistry at work in your refrigerator."

Flickr user, Audrey

Passionflower is a beautiful climbing vine native to the Americas whose corona reminded people of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus during his crucifixion. It's a sedative, milder than valerian or kava - often, you'll find it used in combination with other calming herbs like lemon balm. Passionflower calms the nervous system, reduces anxiety, and soothes insomnia and muscle spasms. Scientists think it increases levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Don't use passionflower if you're pregnant or breastfeeding; it's a uterine stimulant that can over-sedate your baby.

For a state in the richest nation in the world, it's an awkward truth that many Montanans go hungry. In Helena, approximately fourteen percent of residents face hunger. Host Brian Kahn talks about it with Ann Waickman, Executive Director of Helena Food Share.

Who comes to Helena Food Share?   

"We really try to never have to come in here, but we usually end up here a few times a year.  I haven't been paid in three weeks and my wife's job just won't cover all our bills."  -HFS Client

Flickr user, Ian Jacobs

"It was fall, and my favorite heirloom house plant had outgrown its container, so I replanted it in a larger pot. To do this, I used some potting soil that had been sitting in sacks in the backyard. Soon after, the house was teeming with little flies. I knew they came from the potted plant, but I had no idea what they were. It turns out they were dark-winged fungus gnats, which feed off fungus in potting soil. These persistent little insects have followed me from one rental house to another over the past two years.

Mark Gorseth

Mark Gibbons began his "relationship with booze" at "watering holes, western bars, those dens of iniquity, as integral a part of the western landscape as horses or teepees...Fueled by alcohol late into the night, bars surely held unpredictable wildness, danger and vice; but in small western towns, the bar was the social center of the community." Poet Ed Lahey recalls a working-class Butte bar in "The Ballad of the Board of Trade Bar:"

Clay Scott

Mountain West Voices producer Clay Scott gets a trim in the Columbus, Montana shop of Bob Harsha, a 93-year-old barber who has been cutting hair in the same location since he was 18.

(Broadcast: "Mountain West Voices," 12/1/14. Listen weekly on the radio, Mondays at 3:00 p.m., or via podcast.)

It's hard to miss the "Got Milk?" ad campaign encouraging us to drink more milk, but this week, "The Food Guys" make a case for moderation in milk consumption.

Considering the high rate of lactose intolerance, milk allergies, and alternative sources for calcium and vitamin D, Greg and John recommend going easy on cow's milk. 

They discuss a July 2012 New York Times opinion piece, "Got Milk? Don't Need It," by Mark Bittman.

Franz Eugen Köhler

The Efik people of the region that is now Nigeria used to force people accused of crimes to suffer a trial by ordeal: they'd be fed calabar beans, a known poison. If the accused died, they were judged guilty. If they lived, they were "proven" innocent. There's some pharmaceutical basis to this. It turns out that the poison of the calabar bean is absorbed in the mouth, where a guilty person might try to hold the beans, to avoid swallowing. For the guileless who swallowed them whole, the emetic properties of the beans might cause them to throw up the beans and escape poisoning.

Flickr user, Tim Evanson

"In the late Cretaceous period, from 90 to 65 million years ago, Montana had a lusher climate than today. The Rocky Mountains formed one edge of a vast inland sea - Fort Peck was beachfront property on the edge of that sea. There are three distinct sedimentary rock formations from that era running through the area. The T. rex, "Peck's Rex," was found in the Hell Creek formation in 1997, just inland from the ancient coast. The sparsely-fossilized Fox Hill sandstone is a remnant of the beach itself.

Larry Miller

Lynda Sexson shares a Zen parable of the West, involving a baby and a pack of compassionate coyotes. Her tale mirrors Gary Snyder's "Smokey the Bear Sutra:"

"And he showed himself in his true form of

SMOKEY THE BEAR

  • A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and
    watchful.

Flickr user, Chandrika Nair

Greg and Jon are coconut appreciators. They discuss shredded coconut in candy, cookies, cakes and pies; coconut milk, which in baking can substitute for cow's milk; coconut water (in young coconuts); and coconut oil, with its high smoke point.  Coconut oil, once thought a culprit in heart disease, has recently undergone a rehabilitation. How do you open a mature coconut?

Flickr user, Holly Wilson

Born in Missoula, living in Brooklyn, NY, Amanda Browder's colorful and collaborative fabric art designs come to the Montana Museum of Art and Culture at the University of Montana-Missoula this fall.

Flickr user, BigRedSky

It's 1848 and you're heading 2,200 miles up the Missouri River, spending two months literally pulling the keel boat upstream. When you arrive at the American Fur Company trading post of Fort Benton, you're in for a surprise. It's a barter post rather than a military fort, where Blackfeet and white traders exchange goods, not hostilities. In fact, many of these traders are related through marriage.

Flickr user, Kirill Ignatyev

You might have brushed by it in the forest, where this hairy-looking symbiosis between algea and fungi perches on tree limbs. The look of the lichen usnea explains its nicknames: "old man's beard," "tree's dandruff," "women's long hair," and "beard lichen." For centuries, it's been considered a handy medicinal. People grab some to dress wounds, or take it internally for infections or oral inflammation. But in the 1990s, when manufacturers of weight-loss drugs started adding sodium usniate (usnic acid) to their formulas, several cases of liver damage emerged.

Flickr user, Bev Sykes

"Bat Hearing," written by Erick Greene, read by Caroline Kurtz.

"Most people know that bats are able to perceive their surroundings using ultra high frequency sonar. But how exactly do they do it?

Stephanie Land grew up in Alaska and thought she was ready for anything the extreme climate could throw her way. She recalls the night in Gold Stream Valley when winter proved her wrong. Judy Blunt's memoir, "Breaking Clean," tells the story of "practical rather than humane" decisions that ranchers along Montana's Hi-Line had to make after the devastating 1964 blizzard.

Flickr user, Thomas Kriese

Jon and Greg discuss a 2013 New York Times opinion piece by Jo Robinson called "Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food," which compares the phytonutrient content of wild plants with that of supermarket produce.

Whitney Hall. Courtesy of the Montana Raptor Conservation Center

Montana's hawks, owls and eagles get injured by collisions with cars and windows (not to mention bullets), by electrocution, and by poison. In some cases, a young bird will "imprint" on humans, leaving it unable to live in the wild. Bozeman's Montana Raptor Conservation Center works to heal these raptors and return them to the wild; about 40% of the birds at the center get released.

Flickr user, Marilylle Soveran

It's not an old wive's tale: cranberry helps prevent and treat urinary tract infections. And it's not just the acidity: a compound in cranberries and blueberries keeps bacteria from sticking to bladder and urinary tract walls. Cranberries are high in several kinds of antioxidants, including proanthocyanidins, which give the ripe berries their vivid red color.

In the 1672 book New England Rarities Discovered, author John Josselyn described cranberries:

Michael Marsolek talks with Jere Hodgin, Mark Metcalf, and Cohen Ambrose about The University of Montana's adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Performances take place in the Montana Theatre, in the P.A.R.T.V. Building at the University:

November 25 and 29 at 7:30 p.m.; 
November 30 at 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.;
December 2-5 at 7:30 p.m.; 
December 6 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Flickr user, Putneypics

"Birds and Seeds," by Brian Williams.

Flickr user, Granger Meador

Kaya Juda-Nelson left Missoula for college in Boston, excited to leave. But when events brought her back to Montana, instead of finding herself lonely or bored, she found that silence and spacious views provided "company as well as solace." In Tony Abeyta's essay, "Tsankawi's Trail," the Navajo painter describes an ancient Pueblo village in New Mexico "where spirits of past and present parallel infinitely:"

Join host Marguerite Munsche Sunday evening, November 23, 2014, for our second broadcast from the Missoula Symphony Orchestra's 60th season, Darko Butorac, music director and conductor. The program, titled "Red, White and True," was recorded November 9, 2014, in the Dennison Theater at the University of Montana-Missoula.

Program:

Onion Ragout

Nov 16, 2014
Flickr user, Travis Price

"It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions" - Julia Child.

Jon and Greg discuss different members of the allium genus - which are actually lilies - and recommend basic tips for cooking onions, specifically onion ragout. Onion quiche, onion pizza, and onions as a side-dish are recommended by Greg. Jon says, "Often I look at a new recipe and if there are no onions, I wonder, "What's wrong with this recipe?"

Flickr user, Jon Bunting

Among the artifacts discovered in the tomb of Egypt's Tutankhamen - objects meant to ease the boy king into the afterlife - were 3,000-year-old bulbs of garlic. Giving as well as receiving, Tut supplied daily rations of garlic to his pyramid-building slaves, for endurance and health. Garlic is a fabulous heart helper: its blood-thinning and anti-clotting abilities may slow down atherosclerosis and lower blood pressure.

Flickr user, Jason

"An Insect's Guide To Surviving the Winter," written by Ashley King, read by Caroline Kurtz.

With the help of fur, hair, or clothing, warm-blooded mammals keep a consistent internal temperature, no matter the air temperature. That's not true for insects. How do they survive the cold of winter? 

Courtesy of IOW

After more than thirty years of broadcasts, the final "In Other Words" show on Montana Public Radio aired on Tuesday, November 11, 2014.

Damon Falke

Nov 12, 2014
courtesy of Damon Falke

Poet and novelist Damon Falke's West is a region that begs us to stop and look closely. Falke remembers a mysterious cemetery, perched on the rim of a plateau, where as a young man he would stop and watch and wait, not quite knowing why. In his poem, "Dove Creek" Falke reveals the deep observation practiced by his father, on trips into the desert:

"...There was my father,

Hunched over a cache of stones,

Sorting them out like so many bones

Clay Scott

Dean Blount was a Cold War-era Russian language specialist in Turkey. Back home on Montana's Fort Peck Indian Reservation, he is trying to ensure that his two Native languages - Dakota and Nakota - are passed on. At the Presbyterian church where he is a lay minister, he has taught his tiny congregation to sing hymns in Dakota.

(Broadcast: "Mountain West Voices," 11/12/14. Listen Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m., or via podcast.)

Kim Metez

Chef Ben Thorpe, a home-schooled native of rural Idaho, is the chef at Fort Benton's Grand Union Hotel. From seminary, to an abbreviated career in classical dance, to ministerial work, then a stint as a wine steward, Thorpe came to his culinary career in a roundabout way. "I think the ability to please people, to take ingredients and put them together, and to see people truly feel happiness, is really life-changing.

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