Montana Public Radio

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".

Why Do Red Crossbills Have Scissor-Like Bills?

May 31, 2020
Red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)
Pixabay

As winter faded into spring and the last remnants of snow remained in shadowy patches atop higher peaks, I wandered into the Rattlesnake Wilderness, outside of Missoula, Montana.  The air was filled with male songbirds singing to attract a mate for the season. The crackling call of the corvid, the rasp of the chickadee, and the delicate honk of the red-breasted nuthatch were giving way to the springtime calls of warblers and thrushes. 

Recipe: Morel Mushroom Lasagna

May 31, 2020

For Montanans, the 2017 summer of wildfires led to a 2018 bonanza of morel mushrooms. Food Guy Greg Patent found some for sale and put them to use in morel mushroom lasagna, a delicious and light alternative to meat lasagna.

Wave Books

Can poetry fail us? Can it feel too precious in times of great upheaval? Prageeta Sharma interrogates these questions and more in her collection "Grief Sequence," published after the death of her husband. In this interview, we begin by discussing the relationship between poetry and grief, both in regards to her loss as well as the collective uncertainty of COVID. We also grapple with themes of misunderstanding, witness, and beauty in an effort to make sense of the what it means to be human. Prageeta speaks to us from her shelter-in-place residence in Claremont, CA.
 

Sportswriter Chad Dundas has covered wrestling and mixed martial arts for ESPN, NBC Sports, the Associated Press, Sporting News, and since 2019, full-time for The Athletic. But like many Montanans, he doesn’t hold down just one job: he’s also an acclaimed novelist and short-story writer, a podcaster, and a wrestling promoter. Today on Can Do, we're asking: how does a solo practitioner hop between multiple gigs while keeping track of businessy details like contracts and taxes?

Dates
Pixabay

Looking to cut down on processed sugar when baking and cooking? "Food Guys" Greg and Jon recommend substituting dates, a naturally sweet little fruit from the Middle East that's packed with health benefits.

A moose near Missoula, MT. Moose in Montana are some of the smallest moose in North America.
Josh Burnham

On a sunny June day, I was standing among a group of budding naturalists, sketching the bark of a cottonwood tree. Suddenly, I heard a series of quiet gasps and more than a few titters ripple through our small crowd. Someone had spotted a cow moose and her calf crossing the path just a few feet away from us. We all turned to watch them on their route to the Bitterroot River.

Ana Maria Spagna

Ana Maria Spagna joined us via phone from a tiny closet in her remote cabin in Stehekin, WA.  Before her life as a successful writer & professor, Spagna worked trail crew for 15 years. In this interview, she discusses the friction between commitment and longing as well as her relationship with modern conventions like the internet and chainsaw. Spagna holds these contradictions with grace and humor, a quality that extends far beyond the words on the page.  "Uplake" was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award.

Graphic reading 'what's yours story'
iStock

Montana Public Radio will host StoryCorps for 4 weeks to record the stories of local residents and preserve them in the Library of Congress

StoryCorps, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of people from all backgrounds and beliefs, will utilize a new virtual platform to record remote interviews in Montana from June 3 - July 3 as part of its Mobile Tour.

Lazuli bunting, Oakland, CA
Doug Greenberg (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

There are poems on the wing upon the mountainsides – fraught with beauty and peril.  A female bunting with grass in her mouth is one such poem. In May, lazuli buntings return to the mountains and valleys of Montana.  Lazuli – stone of azure, jewel of the sky.  As spring ripens into summer, the males with their blue hoods and russet breast bands sing from atop shrubs and trees, and begin the rite of passion.

'The Food Guys' List Their Favorite Superfoods

May 17, 2020
Raspberries, one of the "superfoods" favored by The Food Guys
Pixabay

Grocery store shelves and website search engines groan under the weight of "superfoods" guaranteed to help you weight less, ache less, and generally perk up. From Food Guys Jon and Greg, here's a list of real superfoods, lurking in un-hyped peripheries of supermarkets and farmers' market tables. They're rich in bioavaiable forms of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

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