Talk of Iowa

Courtesy of Sean Sherman

Chef Sean Sherman who is Oglala Lakota was raised on a reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. After he started working in a commercial kitchen, he became interested in incorporating some of the ingredients of his heritage into his food. 

"I had this vision of doing a cookbook just focusing on Lakota foods," he says. "But when I started researching, I wasn't finding the information I was looking for. I had to devise my own education plan and found the basics of Native American food." 

John / Flickr

In September, master gardeners from all over the world will gather in Council Bluffs, Iowa to share ideas and learn from each other. On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa State horticulturists Richard Jauron and Cindy Haynes about the International Master Gardener’s Conference and about what to plant if you don’t want to plant hostas.

D Sharon Pruitt / Flickr

According to professor of psychology, Marianne Lafrance, our hair plays a bigger role in our lives than we might think. She says there is a psychological impact of having a bad hair day. 

In her research, Lafrance found that a majority of people are inclined to have lower self-esteem on bad hair days.

Dhammika Heenpella / Flickr

Home improvement expert Bill McAnally often urges people to fix problems in their homes immediately. With roofs, though, sometimes it pays to wait.

"Let's say it isn't leaking, but it's looking pretty bad. Some people say 'I really need a new roof.' Looks-wise, yea. But if it's not leaking, then stretch it out as much as you can."

He says most people in Iowa never get full usage out of their 75-year shingle warranties because of the storms common to the region. 

Graham Wise / Wikimedia Commons

One out of every three mouthfuls of food comes from a plant that required some sort of pollination, so the declining populations of pollinators across the country is a cause for concern, says Iowa State University entomologist Donald Lewis.

“Since 2006, on the action of the U.S. Senate, there is this week in June when we are supposed to focus on pollinators,” says Lewis. “We have changed the habitat around us that are depending on a variety of flowers, and forms are struggling. That’s the point of National Pollinator Week – bring back the pollinators.”

Guimir / Wikimedia Commons

There's more to Madison County than covered bridges, and some significant historical preservation work will be on display at the Preserve Iowa Summit later this month.

Djh57 / Wikimedia Commons

There’s a new music festival, Hinterland, in Des Moines this summer, and other communities in Iowa are looking to get involved in the summer festival scene. This year marks the third anniversary of Fairfield’s “Fairfest,” a free weekend series of concerts and the Gentlemen of the Road Tour is stopping over in Waverly this weekend.

USDA photo by Darin Leach / U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Earth has been through many changes. We can see the evidence when we study the geological record, but looking ahead is harder.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores the science of predicting climate change.  What do we know about the future of our planet, and how can we prepare for what is to come?

courtesy of Dean Bakopoulos

Sex, love, loss, longing, midlife crises, and midnight runs to Kum & Go: a steamy summer in Grinnell, Iowa is the setting for the new novel Summerlong. For his third novel, Dean Bakopoulos, writer-in-residence at Grinnell College, wrote a story that hits close to home.

"I’m a fiction writer but I’m a fiction writer who really mines my personal life for material. [...] My imagination is borne from the anxious mess of personal demons. When you're that type of writer, you really do have to write about where you’re at, at that moment."

Courtesy of Molly Iverson

When Abbey Almelien Banh was diagnosed with sarcoma, she knew she had a very small chance of recovery. But that didn't stop her from making the most out of her last five years. She took the time to travel with her husband Luong Banh, camp with her family, and keep her loved ones updated on her progress through a blog.

Isidre blanc / Wikimedia Commons

More and more gardeners and entrepenuers are getting started growing hops in Iowa. Diana Cochran, a horticulture specialist with Iowa State University, says its for good reason; Iowa is a great place to grow hops, as long as a grower can keep the plants disease free. 

"They grow well here. It's the humidity that is a factor because of disease. They need well drained soil, but otherwise, the problems that you'll see here really have to do with disease," she says. 

Courtesy of the Justice Corps of Iowa / Facebook

With comic books, science fiction, and superheroes, geek culture is having a moment. Phil Hester, a comic book illustrator and author from North English, Ia, says that is due to its traction in mainstream movies.

“Now all this stuff that you couldn’t dream of looking real, sounding real, and moving in a real way, now can be done on screen. That has opened it up to a sea of people that wouldn’t be caught dead walking in a comic book store.”

Don Shall / Flickr

When looking at Iowa waterways, it's easy to overlook the furrier creatures--otters, mink, muskrats, and of course, beavers.  

"They are engineers, there's no question about it," says Jim Pease, wildlife expert.

Facilities management arborist at the University of Iowa, Andy Dahl, decided to take advantage of that engineering instinct.

"What they've actually done is help us open the vistas. They are almost the perfect employees," says Dahl. "They work the night shift, they don't call in sick; they're so efficient I'm afraid they may jump over me in the org chart."

Oleg Yunakov / Wikimedia Commons

Why won’t my flowers bloom? They used to.

That’s a question that many gardeners are faced with at some point. Aaron Steil, program manager for Reiman Gardens in Ames, says it’s important to remember that gardens aren’t static. Sometimes spaces that were once full sun can become partial shade.

“Occasionally you’ll see this clump of iris that just won’t produce flowers anymore. Some gardners forget that sometimes our gardeners change. Take a step back and look at it with new eyes," he says.

Emily Woodbury

When you put together your perfect playlist, how much of the music comes from your youth?

A new study says that most people stop seeking out new music around age 33, and some people believe that our most important cultural tastes are set in our teen years.

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Scheib

More than two million couples will get married in the United States this year. Forty percent of those marriages will be second marriages for one or both spouses, and often there are kids involved. What’s the best way to approach a second marriage with children in mind?

Rachel Scheib is a stepmom and mother from Des Moines. She says she did her research before marrying her husband, Tim, who has three daughters from a previous marriage.

David Wade Couch / flickr

Though Iowa is known as an agricultural state,  more than 60 percent of Iowans live in cities, and the gulf between rural and urban Iowa is about much more than distance.