Pinyon? Pinion? Piñon? However you spell it (or say it), today’s Growing on the High Plains concerns another regional state tree. New Mexico lays claim to the pleasant pinyon pine, a fairly small evergreen that thrives across the Southwest. Because these hearty trees don’t need a lot of moisture, the pinyon tends to do well in xeriscaped spaces across the High Plains. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed the aromatic wood of the pinyon around a campfire, or a pinch of pine nuts as a snack? Though the pinyon bears many gifts, they don’t come easy.

Saviorism and Entitlement

Feb 3, 2021

My name is Jessica Sadler and I am a Science Teacher and STEAM facilitator in Olathe, Kansas. I am here with the other book leaders to discuss The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. This story follows a family of Baptist missionaries from Georgia to the Congo.

There are many exceptional themes that can be found within this novel. Of them all, I resonated most with the theme of Saviorism and entitlement, both of which hold serious consequences.

David Condos / Kansas News Service

GREAT BEND, Kansas — Joey Bahr walks out to the front of his yard along a blacktop county road. He stops in a ditch and points to an orange-and-black sign that marks a buried fiber-optic cable.

But for Bahr, the cable running beneath his feet is off-limits. It’s owned by a neighboring internet service provider and is merely passing through on its way to a nearby town.

The Big Man Upstairs

Feb 1, 2021

Hi, I’m Marcy McKay from Amarillo, author of Amazon’s #1 Hot New Release, When Life Feels Like a House Fire: Transforming Your Stress. I’m excited to be a Radio Reader for High Plains Public Radio’s Book Club.

In The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Nathan Price is a preacher in the 1950’s who drags his wife and four daughters from their Georgia home to save the wicked souls in the Congolese jungle of Africa.

Not a Fan

Jan 29, 2021
Leon Brooks, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Hi, I’m Valerie a radio reader from Topeka and I just finished Genesis which is part I of the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. The book is part of HPPR’s radio readers book club this go round with the theme cultures in common.

First, a confession: I love Kingsolver. The Prodigal Summer is one of my favorite books. BUT this is my second try reading the Poisonwood Bible and I am NOT a fan. The book is about a missionary family of Baptists that go to the Congo for a year. It’s set in the 1950s and told from the point of view of the 4 daughters and the mother.

The Price of His Failures

Jan 27, 2021
Radio Okapi, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hi, I’m Phillip Periman from Amarillo, Texas. I will be one of the discussants for the Radio Readers Book Club this spring.  The first book we read, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, published in 1998, has a story that resonates today. In the novel, the Reverend Nathan Price, an evangelical Baptist missionary from Georgia, takes his wife Oleanna and his four daughters Rachel, the twins Adah and Leah and their baby Ruth May to a remote area of the Congo.  It is 1959 -60 and the Congo is struggling to rid itself of Belgian rule.

Different Color Crayons

Jan 25, 2021

Hi, I’m Marcy McKay from Amarillo, author of Amazon’s #1 Hot New Release, When Life Feels Like a House Fire: Transforming Your Stress. I’m excited to be a Radio Reader for High Plains Public Radio’s Book Club. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver tells about Nathan Price, a 1950’s preacher who drags his wife and four daughters from Georgia to save the wicked souls in the Congolese jungle of Africa. It’s a powerful novel about politics, religion, sin, redemption and everything that makes for a great story.

As the stacks of new music piled up throughout a  tense and trying 2020, High Plains Morning did its best to sprint through the bulk of our regional artists and get them in rotation for all you morning music lovers. However, the sheer volume of album submissions meant a LONG road to catching up!

After a record-breaking year helping families in need across the Texas Panhandle, the Amarillo-based High Plains Food Bank continues churning out food boxes around the clock. Today, we spoke with Tina Brohlin, HPFB’s Director of Development, about their organization’s need for volunteers in their warehouse facility, primarily assembling food boxes for expedited delivery. “Due to the increased demand and distribution, we critically need volunteer support to get food out to individuals and families across the Texas Panhandle,” Brohlin said.

The Limits of a Mother’s Care

Jan 22, 2021
Solis-Cohen, Myer, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

The first time I read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, 20 years ago when it was first out, it was a new bestseller, and I was a new mother. Of all the characters, I most related to, and was most perplexed by Orleanna Price, the mother. Though my circumstances were not nearly so extreme, I too felt lost in this new land of motherhood, this small baby wholly dependent on me. Those first few months of parenting are such a shock. Fortunately, my journey into motherhood was not nearly as dramatic, or isolating, as the Congo was for Orleanna.

Some folk albums come at us like a Roman candle, bouncing through tracks of different shades and various trajectories, illuminating briefly and finally fading out. Others, however, approach like a slow-motion silhouette—back-lit, mysterious and menacing (and headed right for us). While I quite enjoy passing through both extremes as a listener, I fear the latter feels far more fitting these days.

To continue our series of honoring state trees of the High Plains, today Growing on the High Plains has a tidy two-fer in the Eastern Cottonwood, which holds the title for both Kansas and Nebraska. A symbol of survival, these gentle giants often signified the hope of nearby water, a bounty of firewood, and potential wildlife in the area. Today, most are familiar with the cottonwood as a source of fluffy white floaters from the female trees, downy puffs clogging up curbs and tickling our noses.

Three Books in One

Jan 20, 2021
First African Baptist Church, Wikimedia Commons

Hi, I’m Marcy McKay from Amarillo, author of Amazon’s #1 Hot New Release, When Life Feels Like a House Fire: Transforming Your Stress. I’m excited to be a Radio Reader for High Plains Public Radio’s Book Club. It was fun to revisit The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, an epic novel that spans three decades. The story begins in 1959 when Pastor Nathan Price drags his wife and four daughters from their Georgia home to save the wicked souls in the Congolese jungle of Africa. There are politics, religion, sin, redemption, family feuds, secrets and more.

The HPPR Radio Readers Book Club is an on-air, on-line community of readers exploring themes of interest to those who live and work on the High Plains. The 2021 Spring Read – Culture in a Common Land will begin mid-January with Amarillo’s Marcy McKay leading a discussion of the first book The Poisonwood Bible. Marcy is a life coach as well as an award-winning novelist. She loves writing AND helping others and lists several things she wants us to know about herself. First, she’s survived both a house fire and raising two teenagers.

The first book in the 2021 Spring Read – Cultures in a Common Land will be The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. The book features the journey of a family headed by Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist. Reverend Price leads his wife and four daughters on a mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959, one of the most dramatic political periods in the African country in the past century. The Prices carry everything from garden seeds to Bibles believing they have what they need but finding something very different.

Cultures in a Common Land

Jan 18, 2021

Hey, you all! It’s 2021—finally!! And HPPR’s Radio Readers is back with a spring read for all of us!  What with all the lessons offered by 2020 (may it rest in peace), we’ve opted for a series of books to help us explore Cultures in a Common Land, as a way to talk about how to live alongside others whose beliefs and ways of being seem not to align with our own.  Know what I mean?

As the weather continues to chill our bones, I thought we might take a moment to appreciate one of the prettiest sights on our High Plains winter landscape. Whatever the variety, the Colorado Blue Spruce remains among the more striking trees in our region. On today's Growing on the High Plains, we'll look at this slow-growing conifer, which is also the state tree of Colorado. It serves as a welcoming home for many winged creatures across the High Plains due to its wide growing range and adaptability across a range of different types of soil.

Today, High Plains Public Radio announces the return of our HPPR Radio Readers Book Club, with three new books  for the 2021 Spring Read, "Cultures in a Common Land." The on-air BookBytes can be heard during NPR's Morning Edition (7:44 a.m. CT) and All Things Considered  (5:44 a.m. CT), each Monday, Wednesday & Friday.

Today on High Plains Morning, we heard from Rachel Flores, Executive Director at the Amarillo Art Institute (AAI), about two upcoming exhibits in the Texas Panhandle this Spring. So if you’re an artist and want to submit your work, mark your calendar! There will be an exhibit hosted by The Art Center in Dumas, Texas in March. The works on display will be from students, members, and instructors of AAI. The deadline to submit is March 5 at 5:00 p.m.

The City of Amarillo Public Health Department is currently administering COVID-19 vaccines to all individuals identified in the State of Texas Phase 1A and 1B Vaccine Allocation Plan.

--Phase 1A: Includes front-line healthcare workers, staff, and residents of long-term care facilities.

Rollin Bannow, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The art of calling and killing coyotes is competitive stuff. 


Sometimes people cheat — bagging kills before a contest and then trying to pass them off as fresh at the final check-in. 

As we have all seen, it’s not easy keeping communities connected throughout a pandemic—especially when the groups with whom you work already have a possible language barrier and cultural differences that make socializing a challenge. Today on High Plains Morning, we talked to Ryan Pennington, the Executive Director of Refugee Language Project in Amarillo, TX. He’s presenting the first-ever Amarillo Refugee State of the Union on Tuesday, January 12th at 7:00 p.m.

Today's Growing on the High Plains takes us on a page-flipping trip through one of my favorite seed catalogs: R. H. Shumway's. Rather than spoil it, just take a listen. It's been around since the 19th century, and the produce sold within still manages to delight modern patrons with its lively images, racy naming, and a variety of options to rouse the hearts of even the most seasoned gardeners.

It’s a new year, which means a new semester for students. At higher-education institutions across the region, administrators are gearing up for the graduating class to hit the job market. Today we spoke to Karl Kimsey at West Texas A&M University.

Every year's end marks the beginning of planning season for gardeners that enjoy making cold winters a study in preparation for the Spring planting to come. I'm no exception, and today's Growing on the High Plains will let you in on a little tradition I have as the calendar flips from one year to the next. Perusing the impressive variety of seed catalogs offers a spark of excitement of what's to come. What strange fruits might make the cut in the coming year's garden? How will I honor the  memories of gardens past  as I plot the layout for Spring?


If you got a live Christmas tree this year, consider using it as mulch or planting it in your yard to share with the birds after the holidays. 

On today’s Growing on the High Plains, I share some tips on replanting Christmas trees in your yard. Replace ornaments and trimmings with strings of berries, fruit and bird seed for your feathered friends to enjoy.

Whether this Spanish winter melon goes by the name Santa Claus, Piel de Sapo (or “Toad Skin”), cucumis melo, or Christmas melon,  it’s one of the few that are sweet as honey that “dew” well in the colder seasons. Today’s Growing on the High Plains shares my experience with cold-weather melons, while peeling back the shiny, blotched skin of this rare treat.

Thanks so much to Tina Brohlin at the High Plains Food Bank for sharing an update on how things have been in the Texas Panhandle during the challenges of 2020. It’s a relief to know that our generous communities continue to come together to take care of those in need, and it’s a great reminder before the holidays to think about our neighbors who might be struggling. Hear our full interview on the link below:

For more information about the state of food insecurity in the region, here are a few statistics and fast facts from Tina:

As we spend this week honoring the thousands of HPPR members that support this station, I'm reminded that the end of the year is upon us—as is the chill of the holiday season. Today's Growing on the High Plains takes flight with one of the brightest spots on the pale, winter landscape to which we all come accustomed during the cooler months on the High Plains. Let's talk about our bright buddy, the cardinal. Of all the birds spotted on a snowy bough, he's the one you simply cannot miss.

Today, we spoke with Rachel Flores, the Executive Director of Amarillo Art Institute, about the latest iteration of their annual Holiday Market and Potters Show. Despite the many delays and adjustments to the schedule, these two events are UP AND RUNNING, with safety procedures in place to protect the shoppers, the vendors, and the volunteers.