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".

Clark's Nutcracker
Ryan Mitchell (CC-BY-2.0)

As a bird biologist who studies bird songs, I immediately recognize most sounds I come across in nature: the winnowing of a Wilson’s Snipe, the smack of a Dark-eyed Junco, the zee-chubbity-chub of a Rufous Hummingbird, just to name a few. For me it is a matrix of sound, as diverse and varied as the surrounding landscape. When I hear a strange sound in nature, I can’t give up until I determine its source.

The Hidden Costs Of CAFOs

May 26, 2019
Beef cattle factory farm.
Flickr user SRAProject (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

Concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs) are often credited with being an efficient and cost-effective way of raising animals. "The Food Guys" disagree, pointing to hidden costs such as heavy antibiotic use, a staggering amount of waste produced by CAFOs, and poor treatment of the animals. "The Food Guys" delve into these issues in the first of their two-part series on CAFOs.

In a place like Gold Fork, sometimes a secret is the only thing that’s really yours.

Ana, Davis, Erik, and Georgie know that best. Bound together by a horrible tragedy from their pasts, they forged a friendship that has lasted through high school. In a town full of weekenders, they all know what it’s like to be dead enders, fated to stay trapped in a tourist destination for the rest of their lives.

Bug Bytes: Honey Bee Waggle Dance

May 21, 2019
When you see a bunch of bees visiting a particular patch of flowers, it’s not because they randomly stumbled upon this great food source. They are there because other members of their colony told them about its exact location.
(PD)

The next time you discover a new restaurant that you love, try telling your friends about it through interpretive dance.

That’s what you would do if you were a honeybee.

Western meadowlark.
Kevin Cole (CC-BY-2 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

It’s spring in the Rocky Mountains, the air is filled with birdsong and my feathered neighbors are back again. Recently, a pair of American robins arrived and set up housekeeping in the neighbor’s maple tree, just as a pair did last year. There’s a song sparrow in residence again in the lilacs near the creek, belting out its bubbling song. Riding my bike to work takes me past a small field, and sure enough, there’s a western meadowlark back again singing from the same telephone pole and claiming that field for his own.

When Bob Quinn was a kid, a stranger at a county fair gave him a few kernels of an unusual grain. Little did he know, that grain would change his life. Years later, after finishing a PhD in plant biochemistry and returning to his family's farm in Montana, Bob started experimenting with organic wheat. In the beginning, his concern wasn't health or the environment; he just wanted to make a decent living and some chance encounters led him to organics.

Flickr user, Makeri

About morel mushroom season, Food Guy Jon says: "The morel hunt is a pleasure in itself." Other Food Guy Greg points out that you can also hunt for a pound of mushrooms at your local farmers market. (He recommends seeking out vendors who sell mushrooms by weight, using a scale.) The versatile morel can be made into a side dish, into pasta sauce or soup, or an appetizer over toast points.

Over eleven books and over twenty years, Pete Fromm has become one of the West’s literary legends. A Job You Mostly Won’t Know How to Do beautifully captures people who, isolated by land and by their actions, end up building a life that is both unexpected and brave.

Bug Bytes: Bombardier Beetle

May 7, 2019
Bombardier Beetle - Paussinae subfamily, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique.
Credit Judy Gallagher [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

If any beetle was said to have an “explosive personality,” it would have to be the bombardier beetle.

They may appear to be your average, everyday beetle, but they’ve got a surprise up their tiny little sleeves — or more accurately, their rear ends. They’ve got some serious junk in the trunk.

Bug Bytes: Moths Vs. Butterflies

May 7, 2019
Assorted Moths (Lepidoptera) in the University of Texas Insect Collection
By Insects Unlocked - CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61293267

In this corner, weighing in with approximately 700 different species in the United States … the Butterflies. And in the opposite corner, weighing in with over 15,000 species in the United States … the Moths.

While butterflies get most of the attention, moths dominate the order Lepidoptera (comprised of moths and butterflies) with 90% of the known species. But when looking at an individual, how can you easily tell which is which?

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