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".

You May Be Tough, But You're Not Tardigrade-Tough

Jun 9, 2020
Dr. Diane Nelson, N.P.S. (PD)

It’s early summer time in the Northern Rockies, a time for some bears to go into a hibernation-like state.  Yes, you heard that right: bears that hibernate in the summer.  What kind of bears are these, you might ask?  They are the waterbears, also known as tardigrades.

UM geographer and social scientist Sarah Halvorson during her fall 2019 run of Bhutan's Snowman Trek.
Courtesy of Sarah Halvorson

University of Montana geographer and social scientist Sarah Halvorson studies the mountainous region across the Pacific Ocean known as High Asia.

“High Asia just offers just an incredible foray into amazing mountain geography and mountain building processes, but also the opportunity to interact and learn from really unique communities that have been living in that landscape for thousands of years,” Halvorson said.

Last fall, Halvorson joined three other Missoula women on a 21-day expedition in the Himalayas known as the Snowman Trek. It takes hearty travelers across 14 high-mountain passes, all over 14,000 feet in elevation.

The Food Guys' Guide to Making Pasta

Jun 7, 2020

To a novice cook, making pasta from scratch sounds like a daunting task, and it does take some time and patience. Still, if you've got a food processor, a hand-cranked pasta machine and a pot of boiling water, it's mainly a process of flattening out a dough made of flour and eggs.

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.

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