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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".

Bat Moms Do A Lot Of Hanging About

Aug 4, 2020
Jerome Clarysse - Pixabay

Bats are wonderful, mysterious creatures: they swoop gracefully through the night, and sometimes through our nightmares. We fear what we don't understand, and most of us know little about bats. They behave in strange ways: only breeding when it's rainy, giving birth upside down, and sharing as a group the responsibility of nursing young.

Dominik Schraudolf (Pixabay)

After seeing Dr. Cate Shanahan on television, Food Guy Greg Patent is all-in with her advice about cooking fats and oils to avoid. Greg gets worked up telling Food Guy Jon Jackson about PUFA*-rich seed oils (*"polyunsaturated fatty acids.") that Shanahan says cause metabolic damage and inflammation.

With familiar mastery, Russell Rowland, the author of In Open Spaces and Fifty-Six Counties, returns to rural Montana to explore a small town torn apart by secrets and suspicions, and how the tenuous bonds of friendship struggle to hold against the differences that would sever us.

Geology student studying the limestone near Farlin, MT.
UM Western

Last summer I was helping teach a geology field camp near Dillon. On our way back to the Birch Creek Outdoor Education Center each day, after long hours in the August sun spent identifying and mapping incredible exposures of rock, we would drive past a few crumbling cabins beneath an unweathered cliff face footed by large piles of scree.

This was once the town of Farlin – a long-abandoned copper mining camp at the base of the Pioneer Mountains. Shortly after the dawn of the 20th century, it was home to hundreds of men, women, and children. Inextricable from the experience of Montana, ghost towns like this one now dot the landscape they once extracted.

Nymphal froghoppers (Cercopoidea) avoid dessication and predators inside a froth of plant sap.
Michael L. Baird (CC-BY-2.0)

If you take a walk through fields this time of year, you can't help but notice what looks like gobs of frothy white spit on the stems of grasses and weeds. If you brush away the spit, you'll find a bright green froghopper or spit bug with shiny black eyes.

Recipe: Tart Cherry Streusel Tart

Jul 26, 2020
tart pie cherries
Rita E. (Pixabay)

Greg Patent makes the most of tart cherry season by preserving as much of the fruit as he can while setting aside cherries for this recipe. "Fresh sour pie cherries are as precious as rubies," Greg writes. "Bright and shiny like the gems they resemble, the sour Montmorency cherries have a short season (only 2 to 3 weeks in July) in western Montana, so I always pick some off a neighbor’s tree to use fresh and enough to freeze."

Alan Pelaez Lopez crossed the Mexico-US border at age 5 as an undocumented migrant. In this interview, they discuss various elements of their journey, from childhood to adulthood, as well as how they use art as activism. Alan Pelaez Lopez’s poetry offers an unflinching look at how humans treat one another, from the afro-indigenous slave trade to modern US legal practices that threaten a sense of history, identity, and deep humanity. In the face of all of this, Alan Pelaez Lopez retains a voice of resistance, love, hope, and even joy. This is an interview full of necessary truths, told from the heart.

Lockdown Cookbooks: Nostalgia Springs Eternal

Jul 19, 2020
Bruno/Germany (Pixabay)

The Food Guys, Jon and Greg, discuss cookbooks they returned to while staying home during the spring of 2020. They're all old favorites, loaded with "context," and for Jon, they've reminded him of some tried-and-true but forgotten recipes that he's since resumed making.

Curious, alert, and keenly observant, these essays probe the boundaries between what is here and what is gone, what is present and what is past, in elegant prose.

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