MTPR

Arts & Culture

Author interviews, food, natural history, poetry, and more from "The Write Question", "The Food Guys", "Field Notes", "Home Ground Radio", "Front Row Center", and "Reflections West".

'Field Notes': Flowers & The Fibonacci Sequence

Jul 4, 2016
Black-eyed Susan
Jason Hollinger (CC-BY-2)

It's summer, and wildflowers are dotting the hillsides and forests. You might find yourself plucking petals off those flowers, trying to determine if he loves your or she loves you not. If you're a hopeless romantic who repeats this ritual year after year, you will notice a happy coincidence — more often than not, he or she loves you. This could only mean one thing (besides that you're worthy of adoration). Empirically speaking, this means that more often than not, flowers have an odd number of petals.

P.D.

Does saturated fat increase our risk of heart disease?  For forty years, doctors have advised Americans to avoid animal fats and stick to polyunsaturated vegetable oils, for heart health. But there's more and more skepticism about that recommendation. The Food Guys share news of a study from forty years ago which sheds new light on the topic.

Kids Like You And Me: Hearing Loss

Jun 29, 2016
Colin Mutchler (CC-BY-2)

"The Pea Green Boat" provides a unique and nurturing place to hear stories about how it feels to be excluded, mocked, and bullied because you’re different, in color or ability – or how it feels to be accepted despite those differences. This week, Annie talks with 9-year-old Dutch about his hearing loss and how he felt when he discovered he was different. She also talks with Dutch's mother and his speech language therapist about teaching Dutch to advocate for himself.

Recipe: Spicy Rhubarb-Strawberry Chutney with Chicken

Jun 24, 2016
Flickr user, Jo (CC-BY-2.0)

Chutneys are one of the glories of Indian cookery. They can take from minutes to hours of cooking time and they offer all sorts of tastes. Fruits of all kinds find their way into chutneys. Some can be made into preserves, like sweet tomato chutney, bottled and kept indefinitely. Others are thick sauces and are eaten fresh with meats, vegetables, or fish.

Crow Tribe Legislative Branch

R. Knute Old Crow grew up on the Crow Reservation, dreaming of being an architect. But hardship intervened, and Old Crow became a welder. He put himself through college, got into politics, and today, he's in his third term as Speaker of the House of the Crow Nation, looking to change the tribal economy's lack of opportunity.

Biodiversity Heritage Library (CC-BY-2.0)

This is a Field Note about greed. My greed.

Recently the dogs and I were out joyfully stretching our legs on a sunny, blue-sky late winter day. The dogs were far ahead of me across the grassy hills when I saw a fox! It saw me, too, but it just kept going about its business in the grass, poking around over by the gully. I know that gully.  It’s full of secrets, hidden under the downfall, in the hawthorne trees, or in woodpecker holes that riddle the twisted old aspens.

Need To Get Rid Of A Cabbage? Make Coleslaw

Jun 19, 2016
Takeaway (CC-BY-2.0)

Traditional meals across Europe feature some sort of long-lasting pickled cabbage salad; there's krautsalat in Germany, insalata capricciosa in Italy, kapusta provansal in Russia and Ukraine, and  veckosallad in Sweden.  Traditional American coleslaw features finely-sliced green or red cabbage, sliced carrots, whole milk, vinegar, sugar, mayonnaise and buttermilk. It's a staple of summer picnics and barbecues and can be made far in advance.

'Field Notes:' Reflections On Knowing A Wild Place

Jun 17, 2016
Allison de Jong

Montana has so much to offer for those who love wild places, and I’ve spent much of my time here exploring all the new spots I can in our lovely state. Yet there are a few places that I find myself returning to again and again. My favorite may be Glen Lakes in the Bitterroots.

Don't miss the first episode of Invisibilia Season 2, airing Sunday June 19 at 6:00 p.m. on MTPR.

In the second season Alix, Hanna and Lulu will delve into the ways invisible things can shape our world views, the effects we have on each other's well-being, and the various norms we conform to without even realizing.

Extremophiles: The Berkeley Pit's Silver Lining?

Jun 15, 2016
The Berkeley pit in Butte, Montana.
NASA (CC-BY-2)

This story almost begins on a dark and stormy night in November of 1995, when 342 snow geese landed on Berkeley Pit Lake. Unfortunately, this was no ordinary lake and the story did not end well for these birds.

'The Alchemy Of Baking' Explained

Jun 12, 2016
P.D.

“You can cook a piece of chicken, but it will still be just a piece of chicken. I prefer the alchemy of baking.”

Since Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there’ve been a fair number of hunting and angling organizations active in wildlife conservation. And if you pursue that passion in big, wild country, there’s one designed for people like you: Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Land Tawney from Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is our guest on this episode of “Home Ground Radio."

Flickr user, Stacy Spensley. (CC-BY-2.0)

"Everybody loves stuffed mushrooms," asserts Food Guy, Jon Jackson. Greg Patent has suggestions for stuffed mushrooms, made either as an appetizer or a main dish. First, look for mushrooms whose caps are 2-4 inches in diameter. Remove and chop up the stems; they'll be the basis for the filling.

Private enterprises use advertising to promote what they do. For government agencies, that’s usually forbidden. So we know very little about what public employees do, or whether it’s worth the money. That creates fertile ground for barroom experts and politicians to take potshots at them. Rich Bechtel has seen a lot in forty years in government, and what it takes to make it work.

For many years the Flathead valley was well known for hard-edged polarization around natural resource issues. That’s been changing, thanks to people like Stoltze Lumber’s Paul McKenzie and Dave Hadden of Headwaters Montana.

'Leave The Pineapple, Take The Pizza'

May 29, 2016
Flickr user, Edsel Little (CC-BY-2.0)

The Food Guys have a yen for pizza and pizza-making accessories: pizza stones, pizza peels, and the pièce de résistance: an outdoor portable wood-fired pizza oven. They're fans of baking Italian thin-crust, lightly-topped pizza outdoors in summer, when an oven, fired up to 750 degrees F, can cook an entire pizza in ninety seconds. (Or so claims Greg Patent.)

GMOs: The Food Guys Remain Skeptical

May 25, 2016
Flickr user, ElizaIO. (CC-BY-2.0)

Greg Patent and Jon Jackson don't trust the claims of agribusiness regarding the safety and importance of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. "The industry asserts it's like natural plant breeding. But anytime you insert genes from one species into another, you're disrupting the entire genetic structure of the organism. Putting a bacterial gene into a rat or a plant might have long-term effects on the physiology of the rat or the plant," says Greg Patent.

Whitebark pine.
Famartin (CC-BY-SA-3)

I first visited Glacier National Park in June. Though winter had only recently loosened its grip on the Crown of the Continent, there were blue skies and sunshine as I hiked up a high-elevation glacial basin. The temperature was a balmy 60 degrees.

When the law is broken, law enforcement and the courts step in and lawbreakers often end up in jail or on probation. All this takes time and is very expensive, and the system can only handle so much. According to Chief Justice Mike McGrath, many of our courts have passed the limit.

'Field Notes': Calliope Hummingbirds

May 15, 2016
A hovering male calliope hummingbird.
Kati Fleming (CC-BY-SA-3)

It is mid-May, and I am living in a wall tent on a farm in the Mission Valley. The tent is white canvas, and sits next to the largest apple tree I have ever seen. The largest limb hangs high and wide and reaches over the top of the tent. This time of year, springtime, bees and flies and other pollinators dart between blossoms on that high limb. And inside the tent, all lit up with sunshine, it feels like the canvas house is humming and buzzing. This spring, I feel like I’m living in a cloud of wing beats.

'Home Ground': Meat & Morality

May 15, 2016

Since our species evolved some 200 million years ago, we’ve eaten what we could find — whether meat or plants. But with 7 billion people on the planet, the climate changing, and animals raised in factory farms, vegans say that if we have a choice, eating meat is morally wrong. Lisa Kemmerer weighs in on this episode of "Home Ground Radio".

Spring Vegetables Have Sprung

May 15, 2016
H. Alexander Talbot (CC-BY-2.0)

Food Guy Jon Jackson poses an observation and a question. "There's a certain period in the spring when you think, 'Is this a period of starvation?' Well, historically, it was. Everything is greening up, yet it's a period of scarcity for food, because plants aren't readily available. We have markets today, so we don't think about that so much. But if you're a cook, you're thinking, "What's coming on? It's springtime and I need something."

Driving through Montana’s vast fields of grass, wheat and barley, the landscape looks unchanged. But in the last 60 years a lot has — rippling through the state, altering how we Montanans relate to each other. Farmer Joe Perry knows.

'Home Ground' Talks Healthcare Costs

May 12, 2016

You must have something that will cost between $35,000 and $50,000. But when you sign on the dotted line you don’t know what the bill will be or how good the product is. It sounds crazy, but you’ve just described much of the American medical system!

Cottonwoods: Where Wildlife Take Refuge In Winter

May 11, 2016
Black Cottonwood in Winter.
USFWS Mountain Prairie

Thinking about plants in winter recently, I remembered a particular good-sized cottonwood I saw while walking along a riverbank. What was its story?

From James Halfpenny’s fascinating book “Winter:  An Ecological Handbook,” I learned that cottonwoods, like many northern trees, have very special adaptations to survive the long, cold winters. They begin their “hardening” process in the fall, as temperatures begin to drop and the amount of daylight decreases.  Leaves typically fall during this stage of hardening, but the process continues as winter settles in. 

First Edition Shakespeare Plays On Tour In Missoula
flickr user Andrea Parrish-Geyer CC BY-ND 2.0

Barbara Koostra, director of the Montana Museum of Art and Culture, and Julie Biando Edwards, associate professor at the Mansfield Library, talk with MTPR's Michael Marsolek about an important piece of Shakespeare history coming to Missoula.

Hercules's Payoff: Italian Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

May 2, 2016
Carmelo Domini (CC-BY-2.0)

Recently, "Food Guys" co-host Greg Patent attended an olive oil competition in Perugia, Italy. The Ercole Olivario is named for Hercules, several of whose mythic labors were aided by the wood of the olive tree.   What are the competition's judges looking for?  "A spiciness, a pungency, a grassiness - and a balance among these qualities."

'Field Notes': Bird Watching At The Polson Dump

Apr 24, 2016
Gulls at a Belfast dump
Burns Library Boston College

Bird watching at the Polson dump is not for the faint of heart. The task requires an unnatural tolerance of gigantic machinery operated by large men wearing overalls and permanent looks of disapproval. But if you're serious about observing gulls, you need to go to where trucks discard trash at the edge of town. Evidently it's much easier for gulls to pick through our leftovers than to catch freshwater shrimp and fish.

Clay Scott

In this episode of "Mountain West Voices:" A Montana couple talks about wind, sustainable energy, and their (mostly) successful attempt to live off grid.

For more than 100 years, state fish and wildlife agencies have accepted the job of managing wildlife, usually but not exclusively those which are hunted for meat or trapped for fur. Managing in concept involves assessing and improving habitat, monitoring populations, setting seasons and bag limits on animals that can be taken - in short, allowing harvest while maintaining a health population. So imagine: you're supposed to manage wolverines. Mission impossible? Our guests today, who work for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, talk about wolverines and the challenges around managing them.

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