About My First Book Horizons and How to Order

Introducing My First Poetry Book, "Horizons"

  My first poetry book, Horizons (Atmosphere Press)  AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AND AUDIOBOOK NOW!! SEE BELOW TO ORDER!!!! Embark on a captivat...

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Chemical Resistance Part One: How?


Chemical Resistance Part One: HOW?


When you have a cough, the sniffles, a fever, or just plain feel awful for a long enough amount of time, chances are you’ll be headed to the doctor’s office.  Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to kill the “germs” causing your symptoms.  Recently, there has been increasing attention brought toward antibiotic resistant germs, or bacteria who aren’t killed by the chemical in the drug anymore.  So even if you take the medicine, you stay sick!  The bacteria has become resistant to the chemical. 


How does an illness that you have relate to agronomy?  Well, the same thing is happening to our crops.  A plant can get a disease, too.  And a “germ”, be it a bacteria or other critter, that attacks humans isn’t all that different from critters that attack plants.  There are three basic areas I think of when it comes to chemical resistance in crops.  They relate to three kinds of chemicals or pesticides we use to “treat” or kill pests that ruin our fields. 

  •          Diseases, which many times are fungi and killed by fungicides
  •          Insects, killed by insecticides
  •          Weeds, killed by herbicides


There’s more information regarding chemical resistance than I could go into even if I wrote every week for a year, but I want to go over HOW a critter can become resistant to something that used to kill its predecessors.  When you get sick, there are different kinds of critters that could be causing your illness.  There are bacteria and viruses.  Similarly, a plant can get “sick” from a bacteria or fungus.  There are many different kinds of weeds—in fact, ANY kind of plant can be a weed if it’s growing somewhere we don’t want it!  Different kinds of insects each plants.  All of this diversity is great—but when we use the chemicals wrong, they can seem to gang up on us. 


We know that, in science, nothing is 100%.  That includes chemicals designed to kill critters that cause damage.  When a disease causes problems, it’s because there are too many critters living on the plant that it can’t fight off or tolerate all of them using it for a resource.  A drug or pesticide is designed to kill most of the disease, so the plant (or host) can live on. 


Imagine a diseased area with lots of fungi “critters” on it:


After being treated with fungicide, most of the critters die, leaving only a few left:


You’ve heard the phrase, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”?  That’s true here!  The remaining critters that survived the treatment “remember” that chemical, and pass this “memory” on to many of its next generation.  The next time that fungus gets out of control…



….and we treat it with the same fungicide, more critters survive because their genetics “remembered” how to do it from last time. 


If this happens too many times, we have critters that become resistant to the drug or chemical, so it doesn’t work to kill them anymore. 

They are superbugs!!!



In a way, we’ve created our own problem. 


Stay tuned for next time:

Chemical Resistance, Part Two: WHY?


Thanks for reading!

Julie S. Paschold


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Soil v Dirt

I didn’t begin my University education in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.  I was pre-med.  I loved biology.  But as I looked down the long road of required coursework in order to earn my M.D. and realized how much blood I might have to be dealing with (I really don’t enjoy blood), I hesitated.  My dad, who graduated from UNL with his B.S. in Agronomy in 1972, suggested that I take an agronomy course.  Agronomy is also called crop science, which is like applied botany, and botany is like applied biology, so I said “sure”.  Dr. Rick Waldren was my first Agronomy professor (I still have the bright green covered, wire-bound textbook!).  He liked his job, and it showed.  He made learning about epicotyls and glumes kind of fun! 


When I decided to change my college major to Agronomy, I soon found a job working as an undergraduate research assistant for the soil fertility project at UNL.  On my first day, Dr. Dan Walters, my new boss, asked me an important question.  He said in order to work for him, I needed to know the answer.  His question:


“What is the difference between soil and dirt?”


This wasn’t exactly easily answered.  First, there is a whole branch of science dedicated towards studying the first, and I was just starting in on the classes!  Soil isn’t just the strange stuff that we walk over and build houses on and plant gardens in.  Soil is a whole world unto itself, a living, breathing entity; an ecosystem with minerals, air, water, and more living creatures than you or I could count.  Plants don’t just use soil to grow their roots into in order to anchor themselves from blowing or washing away.  Roots “drink” the water, “breathe” the air, and uptake nutrients that the plants need to grow and live.  Think of them as hairy, fingerlike straws.  Living on these roots and in the tiny air holes and water bubbles are living creatures—bacteria and fungi and other tiny organisms that co-exist with the “bottom half” of those green things that stick out of the ground.  Intricate chemical and biological processes take place.  So complicated, in fact, that scientists have given “soil” a science of its own.  Soil is its own little world.


To the average person, there is no difference between soil and dirt.  The words are used interchangeably.  So when Dr. Dan asked me the difference, I was stumped.  Was this a trick question?  WAS there a difference? 

He smiled, and, after requesting that I purchase a pair of steel toe Red Wings from the store in Havelock for our field work, he explained. 


Soil is indeed a complicated substance, something I spent the next seven years learning about….and just “scratched the surface”, so to say. 


But dirt?  Dirt is that junk under your fingernails and between your toes.  Dirt is what is stuck on your shoes and gets tracked in on the floors and scatters on your furniture.  Dirt is the reason you jump in the shower and pull out the cleaning supplies.  In other words, dirt is determined by “location, location, location”.  The answer was simple after all.  Dirt is soil where you don’t want it. 

My first Agronomy textbook, from “Agronomy 101” at UNL in 1995.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Not an Empty Garden: a poem


Not an Empty Garden


You on the outside looking in

may see an empty garden here

with cracked sidewalks

and barren spaces

but look closer behind my door

and find I have saved the best

of my fruits

from prying insects and encroaching weeds

my gate open only

to those who bring sunshine

and fresh rain to my garden.

You will see what happened here

while farming in my younger years

the crooked rows and eaten crops

the stolen grain and diseased leaves

no longer exist

and roots grow deep

into rich, dark soil for the few that care.

So come to my gate

call out my name

and in the sun or rain

I will come out to play

to dance in my garden with you


despite it all

I’m still standing.


September 24, 2020

Tansy Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold


Inspired by Elton John’s “Empty Garden”

Norfolk Public Library Writing Prompt to use favorite song lyrics in a poem

Friday, September 4, 2020

You said No: Preying Mantis


You said no


I found a dead preying mantis

on my picnic table today and wondered

what omen

this predicted.


a chapter closed

as you said no for the final time.

I had asked you

to go to counseling:

you said no.

I had asked you

to stop yelling at me and threatening me:

you said no.

I had asked you

to stop calling us names:

you said no.

I had asked you

to manage your money:

you said no.

This last time I had asked you

to pay a portion of your half, your part

to show you care:

again, you said no.

I will ask no longer.

Tonight, under the full moon,

I walked behind your house

and on your car

I placed the last item of yours

I was holding on to:

the Christmas stocking I meticulously made

with your name on it.

In this gesture I set you free

and let go of the man I saw:

the man you could have become.

You said no too many times.

The preying mantis still lies


on my table outside,

no longer the predator

hunting and seizing those

vulnerable souls

unfortunate enough to leave open

hearts and wallets,



Tansy Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold

September 3, 2020

Monday, August 17, 2020

Breakup: A Villanelle

 Having a little fun with the villanelle form:

She said, “Never again

will you be anything

I need.”  To get out of here


is all I can think of

if she really meant that thing

she said.  “Never!”  Again,


I think of our love

and there must be something

I need to get.  “Out of here


I can rise above

like a bird on a wing,”

she said.  Never again


seeing my little dove?

And to do?  There’s nothing

I need to.  “Get out of here.”


It’s as if she gives me a shove

and my heart can no longer sing.

She said, “Never again.”

I need to get out of here.



Tansy Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold

August 16, 2020

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

That Will Be Enough

The couples are on the dance floor and
my photo app reminds me of where
we used to be years ago
on this date:
kissing, in the park, smiling.
I believe we may have been happy once.

I wanted you to help me feel financially secure
            and work actively on your past money mistakes.
You wouldn’t.
That would’ve been enough.

I wanted you to be interested in spending time
            doing things I like just to be with me
            even if you didn’t like doing them.
You wouldn’t.
That would’ve been enough.

I wanted you to speak kindly to me
            and not threaten or yell or think you
            could say whatever you wanted.
You wouldn’t.
That would’ve been enough.

I wanted to be more important than the movies
            you obsessively watched.
I wasn’t.
That would’ve been enough.

I kept telling you I loved you not only
            for who you were
but for who I saw you could be—
You turned into someone I couldn’t recognize
and someone I was scared to love,
hiding from you in my own home,
seeking solace in sugar and sleep,
isolated from friends and family. 

You told me I was broken
and would never find another.
That may be true—
now every man seems a threat,
has the potential to want more than I can give.
This heart, cracked and shredded,
I guard alone and let no one new enter,
knowing loneliness is the only way
to make it beat again.
To have it in one piece, though misshapen
and misused, cradled in my own arms—
To feel it pulse in the dark protected under my ribcage—
Even if it means I can’t be with another—
That will be enough.

July 5, 2020
Tansy Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

in response to Rumi’s Guest House

This was written as an exercise for the Norfolk Public Library's Writing Lab on Facebook (Norfolk, Nebraska):

in response to Rumi’s Guest House

If I am the guest house
at times there must be a broken window
shaky steps, a loose nail here or there
because this mind, this body aims toward
but does not come close to it.
With welcoming arms
I will show you in,
whether you be pain or joy,
misery or exultation.
I know visitors do not stay forever,
nothing lasts
but all persists until acknowledged.
So enter, you,
sit in my rocking chair, sip my coffee,
rest on my pillow
until that one day you take leave
through my door
ever accepting the comings and goings of
these strange guests until
one day,
this house breathes no more.

Tansy Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold
June 8, 2020

a Norfolk Public Library writing exercise on Facebook

Monday, May 18, 2020

Shared at an AA meeting

 Shared at an AA meeting
--a found poem--

We are the masters of
            self-deception for self-preservation.

I’m going to tell on myself because
            it’s okay to not be okay.

What’s a “new” person?
            If you believe I have a daily reprieve,
            I’m a new person every day.

Being dishonest
            is being brutally selfish.

Trying to be perfect all the time
            is making me just miserable.

I’m praying
            and things aren’t changing—
            but the way I see things are.

May 16, 2020
Tansy Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold

Monday, May 4, 2020

Tansy Season: a poem

Tansy * noun * [Origin: Middle English-tanesey, Old French-tanesie, Medieval Latin-athanasia, Greek-athanatos—immortal, equivalent to a + thanatos—death] * a common weedy composite herb (Tanaceum vulgare) with an aromatic odor, very bitter taste, and finely divided leaves; broadly: a plant of the same genus

sometimes I’ll be
standing in a field
and it looks like I’m
doing nothing

I’ll tell you
I’m listening
with my eyes

today I see
a small plant
with lacy leaves
and delicate yellow flowers
in April
it seems too early
to see blooms
but for these tough winter annuals
this tansy mustard
it’s just another day in the sun
and looking small and delicate
is a ruse
for how resilient
Mother Nature
has created her children
that proliferate
this early

a child of the aster family
cousin of the daisy
Tansy’s root word is a relative of death
meaning immortality and health

like the bitter yellow tansy
I may be sensitive and small
but am weather worn and
stand through storms
ready for what is blown my way

do not see only with your eyes
but listen closely too
very still
and hear as I do
the small fire within

I am ready for the next season

my tansy season

I am tough
but lacy

but strong


every edge cut just so
for you old man weather

this little tansy Julie
grows on
blooms on
lives on

April 30, 2020
Tansy Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Cowboy Trail, early evening: a poem

Writer's Digest challenges us to write a poem each day in April. As I was walking on one of my favorite trails (Cowboy Trail, starting on the East Trail Head along 1st Street in Norfolk, Nebraska), this poem came to me. It was a lovely day yesterday.

"On your left"
passing you twenty-somethings
on this trail.
I may be short
but my legs are long and strong.
My life may have surpassed four decades
but my heart. beats. still.
Breaths come in full and deep and even.
Goose and frog
Pup and songbird
express jubilance among my pheromones.
The sun and I
old friends
race each other
in opposite directions.

Julie "Soaring Eagle" Paschold

Friday, January 10, 2020

Twin Angels

            Each Lent season, my uncle would select a person to inspire, cheer, or somehow improve their life.  He called it his “Lenten Project”.  Our family believes in adding to another’s life rather than taking something away—we don’t eat only fish on Fridays or give up chocolate.  We place delight in someone else’s arms. 

            So in Advent, when our church created the “Angel Tree”, I jumped on the chance to have an “Advent Project”.  You see, an Angel Tree is a Christmas tree placed in the back of the sanctuary laden with paper angel ornaments.  Each ornament represents a person—in this year’s case, they were ten mothers and their children from our local women’s domestic violence shelter.  Church members selected an angel, bought something on the wish list written on the ornament, wrapped the gift, and returned it in time for the moms to be able to give something to their kids for Christmas.  These women had left their homes, perhaps in the middle of the night, sometimes with only the clothes they had on at the time, scared, hoping for a fresh start in the form of this organization that provides safe houses, legal help, and material goods. 

            Last year I had selected two moms—one because she had asked for simple household items to start her new life, not anything indulgent for herself: silverware, napkins, pots and pans.  The second one was an older mother in Mexico living in a very poor area of the city; members were headed to a mission trip in her area later that year. 

            This year, as I looked through the angels, I saw many kids that were asking for toys, copyrighted cartoon character-based items, and gift cards.  Not my style of shopping.  Then a little red tag caught my eye.  It was for a five-year old girl needing clothes and a winter coat—and beside her age was the word “twin”.  My eyes sparkled!  That meant there was another tag on the tree—I had to find the other tag with her twin sister on it!!! 

Here’s the letter I didn’t send with the two sets of wrapped gifts that were placed under the tree for the twin five-year old angels this year:

Dear Mom of twin angels,

            Being able to provide gifts for your twin girls means so much to me not because twins are cute or because I got to go shopping or because I like to brag about being able to donate.  Being able to give to your twins this Christmas was meaningful because I myself am a twin, and it was like passing the joy and hope and peace on from one generation of someone who knows what it’s like to be half of something and yet still be a whole to another generation just starting out.  A new generation of twins who will learn what it is like to have a part of yourself walking outside of your body, your brain in another’s head, your heart beating in another’s chest, to hate and love and know and need someone so much intensely more than even yourself. 

            Dear Mom of twin angels—please know that while changing two diapers and feeding two babies and potty training two toddlers and chasing two kindergarteners may be exhausting (just wait until you have twin teenagers!), and there may be times you don’t understand the dynamics between the two of them—what you are nurturing is something special, and something that you don’t come across just every day.  An individual once asked me what it was like being a twin—and I asked them what it was like NOT being a twin!  I couldn’t imagine being on my own as a child—you mean some people don’t share a birthday party?  Egads!  I can’t imagine not knowing my twin—she has been a part of me since before I was even aware of the world as I know it. 

            Also know, Mom, that although they are twins and the same age and both girls, they are also each their own person.  There will be times they don’t want to be attached to each other.  My mom and I went shopping together, and carefully selected outfits that complimented each other so each girl would have comparable styles and one wouldn’t feel left out from the other, but were different enough they didn’t look like mirror copies of one entity.  The coats were selected in the same way—similar design, weight, and style, but just different enough that the girls remember that they are each their own person.  One is not the regurgitated copy of the other.  There will be a day they go their own way—and whatever way they choose, you will have to let them go.  They will each have their own path, and they will be different colors and weights and lengths and journeys. 

            So, Mom, your girls aren’t angels because they are perfect or because they performed well or are an anomaly or were especially cute in a pageant.  They are angels because they brought me joy.  Wrapping and tying the twin gifts was one of the brightest parts of my Christmas season.  

Thank you for allowing me to feel this gratitude, to spread my cheer, to share my blessing with you. 

Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold
January 8, 2020