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

All About Leeches

Feb 15, 2015
Flickr user, Michael Jefferies

"Some people seem surprised that I don't keep fish in the large aquarium in my home. Instead I have mud and debris, plants, insect larvae, beetles, hydras, scuds, crawdads...and leeches. I collected all these goodies from ponds and sloughs in the area. This fall, I noticed that one of the leeches, a good-sized sucker, was clinging to the side of the aquarium, out of the water. I wondered if it was trying to escape to find a winter home in less soggy mud. To find out, I went to the library and came back with a three-volume set of books all about leeches.

Flickr user, Julia Rubinic

Greg and Jon discuss a 2013 New York Times article by Kenneth Chang titled "More Helpful Fatty Acids Found in Organic Milk." Chang writes: "Whole milk from organic dairies contains far more of some of the fatty acids that contribute to a healthy heart than conventional milk."  Greg distinguishes between omega-6 fatty acids, which abound in the typical American diet, and o

courtesy of the Wilderness Institute, University of Montana

Karin Schalm recalls: "I moved to Montana when I was 25, fleeing my grief. I was searching for a new sense of home. In the wilderness of the Rocky Mountain Front, I felt a familiar sense of belonging among the rocks, icy creeks and wind-bent trees.

Brian Kahn talks with writer Richard Manning, co-author with Harvard Medical School professor and M.D. John J. Ratey of the book "Go Wild." (2014 Little, Brown).

From the book's introduction:

Steve Hillebrand, USFWS

"While some animals get off comparatively easily in the winter by hibernating, or by gorging and then fasting, the short-tailed weasel has to hunt every day to keep its blast-furnace metabolism stoked. With a heart rate of several hundred beats a minute and little in the way of fat reserves on its long and slender body, the animal must consume half its body weight daily.

Flickr user, Anna Lynn Martino

Beef stew with rice, onions, bacon, tomatoes and cheese: that's the basis for Julia Child's recipe for "Boeuf À La Catalane," or Catalan Beef Stew. It became the jumping-off point for an adaptation by Greg one night as he improvised on this "hearty dish from the Spanish Mediterranean corner of France," with "a green salad, French bread, and a strong, young red wine" the recommended accompaniment.

Jordan Konkol got a summer job helping geologists explore for platinum in Alaska. He recalls a moment from that remote place, standing on a high ridge in summer daylight at 11:00 p.m., "...feeling silence extend in every direction. I recalled a line of Joseph Conrad: "this also has been one of the dark places of the earth.""

Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" describes the "darkness" in the Thames River, downstream from London:

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.

Pages