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 26, 2021

Gone: a poem

 Let me be one of the first to die

Do not let me say good bye

Place no more words inside this mouth

Upon this tongue that falters

without the scrapings of a pen


I am inexplicably

on the verge of tears

and simultaneously led

to a cave of grim placation

no goldfinches to sing to me now

green has withered

to the shape of a shadow


Mud fills my ears and eyes

senses dull to the

tingling of a piano playing

a sheet of black rises

above the rainbowed lines


I am enveloped in your

cold black arms again

sinking to the grey

as the clock ticks on the wall

to an empty room

where a cat sleeps in the sunlight

waiting for no one.




Saturday, December 11, 2021

Wrestle for Keeps: a poem

Watch daughter study

Watch son wrestle

Wrestle on mat

Wrestle with words

Words left unsaid

Words slip off tongue

Tongue in cheek

Tongue tied in knots

Knots in muscle

Knots hold us here

Here among the crowd

Here all alone

Alone not lonely

Alone with memories

Memories long forgotten

Memories of the past

Past is gone

Past comes to bite you

You come to visit

You will help

Help with chores

Help me out

Out of the closet

Out in the open

Open the door

Open to anything

Anything can happen

Anything under the sun

Sun and sand

Sun and moon

Moon glow at night

Moon and stars

Stars are falling

Stars in her eyes

Eyes on potato

Eyes can’t see

See the signs

See what’s coming

Coming to get you

Coming home

Home from work

Home is family

Family ties

Family secrets

Secrets to tell

Secrets to keep

Keep hearts forever

Keep remembering love




Form poem: The Blitz



Monday, October 25, 2021

The Good Guys


Not everything that makes you jump is scary.

When you are sitting in your living room relaxing on your couch and something small and black crawls above you on the ceiling, then drops to the floor and skitters away, what do you do?  If you are my sister, you either jump onto the nearest table or grab a broom and go into attack mode (I have an absolutely hilarious story of a house centipede that visited my sister in the shower).  If you are my son or me, you take the moment to follow the little guy across the floor, teach your mom how to send a video on Snapchat, and thank the eight legged arachnid for its service.   

In my treks in the fields, I not only look for the pests that are harming the crops, I keep my eye out for—and find—critters that are helping the farmers.  These critters are called beneficial insects [although technically, they aren’t all insects—I know, I know; it’s just a technicality, but I just had to mention it].  Most of the good guys are predators.  That means they eat the pests that eat the plants.  Probably not the first thing you think about when you hear The Lion King’s “Circle of Life”, but it’s a mini version of that. 

Here are some critters that I have found in my travels that aid us in our production:




Lady Beetle

This insect is commonly called the ladybug, although it is a beetle, not a true bug.  Most people recognize the different versions of the beetle, or adult form.  I personally love the larvae—they look like miniature gila monsters.  Both the larvae and adults love aphids, and that is usually what brings them to corn fields. 




Praying Mantis

Praying mantises, or mantids, are amazing hunters.  They are known for their front legs, which are held upright together until used to grab their prey, and have triangular heads held on a flexible “neck” or elongated thorax.  





Spiders aren’t insects; they have two body sections and eight legs (insects have three body sections and six legs).  Not all spiders build webs.  Some jump on their prey, some build underground tunnels, some use water, and some even use their silk as a trip line.  





Daddy Long Legs

Like spiders, daddy long legs aren’t insects, but they aren’t spiders, either!  They are arachnids (and so are spiders) but are called Harvestmen, so are kind of like cousins to spiders.  Their mouth parts are actually closer to a crabs, so they are omnivores—eating prey and “garbage”—and their legs can break off in sections if they are threatened. 




Stink Bug

I’m sorry this photo isn’t great, but these guys just don’t pose well for a photo.  Most stink bugs—and yes, they are true bugs—are pests.  That is, they suck the juices out of plants.  We as agronomists have treatment threshold levels for them just like any other pest.  However, there are some stink bugs who prey on other insects, like this one that I found snacking on a thistle caterpillar in a soybean field.  The nymphs usually eat the same thing as the adults but they may look a little different from their parents. 




I don’t personally have a photo of this one, and it actually isn’t the pretty adult that we have to thank for the benefits of predation.  The green fly-like adult with lacy wings (called a net-winged insect) feeds on nectar and pollen.  The larvae, sometimes called aphid lions, are clever huntsmen who look similar to lady beetle larvae (without the orange coloring).  They have been known to “dress up” in lichen and dead aphids to disguise themselves in order to get close to a meal! 




So the next time you see something that crawls and you have the instinct to jump, take a deep breath and realize that they are just doing their job, too—good guys keeping your crops safe! 


Photos all courtesy of Julie S. Paschold.  May not be used or copied without permission of author.

Written September 4, 2019

Reposted here permission of author

Julie S. Paschold

Saturday, October 9, 2021

College Chemistry Memories


I remember Radiator Hall.

I remember thinking the windows are so small, how can they let the light into the chemistry labs above?

I remember walking into a lecture hall for the first time, the seats stretched out before me, rows and rows of hard plastic and wood beckoning, facing a man that looked both tiny and tall at the same time.

I remember Dr. Carr, who taught me that if you loved someone, you would brew their coffee starting with cold water because the water would be cleaner and there would be less impurities dissolved initially into it.

I remember seeing Dr. Carr always in striped button-down shirts and a bow tie in my mind even though I’m sure that’s not all he wore, with wire rimmed glasses and short light brown hair, almost blonde.  I don't even know if he wore glasses or what his hair color was, but that is how I remember him, these many years later.  

I remember the sticks and balls of organic chemistry molecular models, discovering the intricacies of how the smallest particle of something is put together, how that organization creates properties that makes each piece of matter behave the way it does, freeze and boil and move and bond and react and look the way it does, make it what it is.

I remember the feeling of seeing my preschool sweetheart for the first time in so many years as I walked out of the lecture room after class one day, realizing it had taken college to bring us back together, that we hadn’t seen each other since we were five years old, where holding hands meant going steady and all was innocent and I didn’t know the meaning of hurt in the world and even as my eyes brightened and we talked and reconnected, how little I knew then at twenty of the world than I do now and how I would like to go back and warn myself of what’s coming, what’s out there, what’s yet for her to encounter in this big world she looks at so trustingly yet, walking out of that lecture hall and into the sunlight, holding her hand above her eyes to block the glare. 


Tansy Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold


Saturday, July 31, 2021

Funny Looking Critters in Your Field


A repost of a fun blog.....

WHAT IS THAT???!!?!?!

That thought has crossed my mind as I scout crops, when I accompany my son fishing, and as I walk outside along my favorite trail.  I have received that question from producers after I’ve been in their fields.  (And, frankly, insects have always fascinated me.  I wanted to be an entomologist in grade school when all the other girls were dreaming of being fashion designers! ha!)

There are some very interesting looking critters out there!

I will focus on insects in soybeans because that is where I’ve been spending the most of my time when I’m outdoors lately.  Most of the time, these guys do munch on leaves, but they aren’t at a distribution and concentration intense enough to cause worry or warrant treatment; they are either an annoyance to tolerate or novelty to be curious about.  Once in a while—like in 2018 with the thistle caterpillar—an unknown phenomenon creates an unusual proliferation of a certain species, and treatment is needed before the critter eats your livelihood. 

Without further ado, let me introduce to you some peculiar looking creatures.

Green Cloverworm

This insect is almost neon green and has two white “racing” stripes down its sides.  The green cloverworm is the larvae for a bland brownish moth.  When you touch or bother it, the larvae wiggles around.  The soybean looper looks similar, but has one less set of legs in the middle of its body, and it walks in a “loop” like an inchworm. 

Japanese Beetle

This insect is a beetle with a copper colored body and shiny green head.  Its antennae are feathered, and it has six white tufts on each side of its abdomen.  When it feeds on leaves, it doesn’t eat the veins, creating a skeletonized or lacy look.  It also likes corn silks.  They tend to hang out together, so you can find these guys in groups, climbing all over each other.  Japanese beetle larvae are white, c-shaped grubs with orange-brown heads. 

Silver Spotted Skipper

This insect is the larvae to a brown butterfly with a silverish-white spot on its wings, hence the “silver spotted” in its name.  It has a distinctive looking larvae that turns many heads, with the light green body, dark brown head, and orange “cheeks” or “eyes” that make it easy to identify. 

Thistle Caterpillar

This insect is the larvae to the painted lady butterfly, whose wings are a decorative orange, brown, and white.  This year, I’ve heard lots of comments about people seeing these butterflies in swarms, and picking them out of the grilles of cars in great numbers.  The small larvae are darker, almost black, with small “thistles” or spikes on them.  As they grow, they use webbing to wrap themselves in the leaves that they eat, creating a safe “home”.  Here, their fuzzy brownish black heads work quickly to eat the leaves, leaving lots of big black frass (a cool name for poop....or a rock band.....) as they grow into more colorful, spikier caterpillars. 

Gorgone Checkerspot

Okay, I’m not completely sure about this one—I found it south of Wahoo, Nebraska on a sunflower leaf.  But the closest I could find was the larvae to a gorgone checkerspot butterfly, who does like sunflowers and is found in our area.  He was kind of cute and was posing so beautifully that I just had to take his photo. 

Soybean Gall Midge

This one is so tiny there is not a great chance you’d actually see these guys in the field.  But their damage is so terrible they kill the entire plant when the larvae burrow into the base of the stem.  They’re cool because they are a newly discovered species, and I just confirmed them in one of my fields.  So, yeah, this is my photo, and these guys are only known to us for a couple of years now.  They are the orange maggots to a striped midge fly that’s equally as tiny as its larvae. 

Thanks for reading!

Photos all courtesy of Julie S. Paschold.  May not be used or copied without permission of author.

July 24, 2019

Julie S. Paschold

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Why I Don't Suicide


Facing the truth isn’t always easy.

The truth about my mental illness is that with it come thoughts of suicide.  I didn’t choose my illness, and I didn’t choose my brain.  What I can choose is what I do about those thoughts.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because who would take my cat?

Sometimes I don’t do it

because my kids are too young

to sort out my stuff just yet.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I don’t have the energy.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I don’t have the brain power

to come up with a plan.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I couldn’t afford the hospital bills

if I failed.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I don’t want to have to

explain it to everyone.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I don’t want to pass my debt

on to others.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I don’t want others

to have to see the pain I truly am in.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I can’t

explain it to anyone.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I can’t afford the therapy.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I tell myself

I can handle it for just one more day.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I can convince myself

the voices are monsters in my head

telling me the wrong things.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because my cat comes up to me

and nudges me in a way

that I know he is saying he loves me.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because someone calls or texts

just to say hi.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because the piano music I’m playing

speaks to me in a way that says

just hold on.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because a high school classmate

posts a message describing

their own struggles

and I know I’m not the only one.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I find a message

my son left a long time ago

on a notebook for me.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I know my daughter

saved my life once upon a time.

Sometimes I don’t do it

because I can journal my way

through it.



Tansy Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold

Saturday, May 8, 2021


This was originally written in June 2019, when a certain soybean pest was first discovered.  I am reposting this blog here.

Have you ever seen something that was actually something else?  Or, rather, have you ever thought you saw something, but it actually was something else?  Not necessarily as extreme as the whole Baby-Ruth-in-the-swimming-pool drama (what movie was that anyway?), but in life, we seem to come upon things, or people, or events, or places that seem to be what they’re not.  Early in my science classes, I learned about the “false advertisers” of the caterpillars that have spots to pretend to be snakes, the viceroy butterflies who mimic the markings of the poisonous monarch butterflies, or the stick insects that look like twigs and leaves that even look like they sway in the wind! 

I have learned that not everything is what it seems.  That is why, in agronomy and in the field, I have to look twice to identify those imposters. 


Probably the most common example of mistaken identity in corn is misidentification of purple leaf sheath as physoderma brown spot.  Later in the growing season, as the stalk widens, the leaf sheath tends to collect particles.  When moisture and heat react with these leftover dust, pollen, and “trash” particles, they discolor the leaf sheath, leaving a benign purplish, blackish spot on the top where the leaf is connected.  Often, this is misidentified as physoderma brown spot, a fungus which can develop into a stalk rot.  Purple leaf sheath isn’t a disease—it’s just a funny looking spot similar to a mole on your arm. 

Sometimes, when a new disease is found in the area, people begin to “see” it everywhere.  Recently, bacterial leaf streak was identified in corn.  This is a bacteria that causes wavy leaf lesions that are yellow in color when backlit.  It can look like other diseases that cause leaf lesions, especially grey leaf spot.  Unfortunately, grey leaf spot is a fungus and controlled by fungicides, which will not control bacterial leaf streak.  Sometimes corn leaf blotch miner feeding can look like bacterial leaf streak because they feed on the juicy inside of the leaf and leave the outside film.  Other times, sun scald or wind damage can look like leaf lesions from a disease. 

Another disease that’s new to our area is tar spot.  This is one that looks similar to our common or southern rust, but there are slight differences.  A rust is called that because it “rubs off” when you scrape at the lesions.  Tar spot does not.  The spots are usually dark in color, and not the rusty color that common and southern rust start out at, either. 


And, last, but certainly not least, was the one that baffled me last year.  I was near Pender in a soybean field.  This grower had quite a bit of flooding earlier in the year, and had lost some of his field from that damage.  The growing season turned into a hot one.  This brought quite a bit of disease to the corn, which didn’t surprise me.  I expected some disease to show up in his soybeans as well.  That is why, when the edges of two of his other fields which were close together showed symptoms of what seemed to be phytopthora, it didn’t alarm me.  The patches of droopy, dying plants were just one more thing for this poor guy to have to treat.  However, when I went to check on the soil and root system, the roots weren’t brown and rotting like the rest of the plant!  This isn’t classic phytopthora at all!  My puzzlement was alleviated this winter at a conference when I discovered the clever little soybean gall midge, a new species discovered in the area affecting soybeans.  The larvae of this little striped fly burrows into the soybean stem, killing the plant and causing symptoms that look like phytophthora without the root rot.  Huh.  One more imposter to put on our list and remind us why we always need to keep our eyes peeled and our minds sharp! 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Julie S. Paschold

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Chemical Resistance Part Three: What To Do?


Chemical Resistance Part Three: WHAT TO DO?


In Chemical Resistance Part One we discussed how misusing chemicals can create “superbugs” by creating a chemical memory that critters pass to their next generation (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; nothing in science is 100%). 


In Chemical Resistance Part Two we discussed the three main ways chemicals are misused that create these superbugs: using only one chemical for treatment (a boxer using only a right handed uppercut), using the wrong chemical for the wrong critter (antibiotics used on a virus), and using the wrong dose (the chemical storm isn’t the appropriate strength). 


Again, I use the word “superbug” and “critter” to describe any pest that causes problems and requires treatment methods, be it bacteria, virus, fungus, insect, arthropod, or weed.  The words “chemical”, “medication”, “drug”, and “pesticide” are usually used interchangeably. 


But what can we do to prevent superbugs from taking over the world?


There are three general ways to treat and prevent critters developing resistance to chemicals used as pesticides:

a.       Use more than one specific chemical, making sure that the different types of chemicals affect the pest in a variety of ways.  In the world of pesticides, this is called using multiple “modes of action”.  If possible, use non-chemical means as well.  To use our “Rocky” boxer superbug example, this would be choosing a number of moves to defeat our opponent, utilizing uppercuts, jabs, crosses, hooks, ducks, and even shoeshines with both hands.  And move those feet! 

b.       Make sure you know what critter you’re fighting.  If visual details don’t tell you (in the form of symptoms or identification of the pest), call an expert (like a doctor or agronomist), and send in a sample to a lab to be identified.  {Nerdy note: Lab rats are cool and know so much!}

c.       Use the right dose.  Have a large arsenal that includes more than just treating symptoms with chemicals after the fact.  Consider all factors needed to make an informed decision.  Can you prevent future problems?  Take ALL the medication; read the labels!  Know how to use the chemical. 


In the agronomic world, there are three types of pests: Weeds, Diseases, and Insects





a.       Herbicides have different methods of killing weeds.  Their modes of action include stopping the synthesis of amino acids (what makes up proteins) or lipids (what makes fats), stopping photosynthesis (how a plant makes its own sugar or food), and messing with growth regulators or cell membranes.  {Nerdy note: want to give a plant a permanent?  Give it a growth hormone disrupter like dicamba.  Plants do not like perms.}  Non-chemical methods of weed suppression include crop rotation, tillage, narrow row spacing, changing the crop’s planting date, and roguing unwanteds that escape other methods (c’mon, what teen living near a farm hasn’t walked beans?!?!?). 

b.      The best way to know what you’re up against in a field as far as weed pressure and type go is to actually go walk in the field—all of it.  Identify the weeds correctly.  Take photos or samples to someone if you don’t know for sure. 

c.       Don’t stop with knowing what kinds of weeds are out there, where they are, how big they are, and how many of them are out there, but know the history of the field as well.  What problems has this field had in the past?  What crops have been farmed in the past?  What are the tillage and irrigation practices?  What else has been used or tried?  Read the label for the herbicide: What mixes of chemicals are best for the weeds out there?  What adjuvants need to be used (or avoided) to make the chemical more effective?  Does the chemical need to be incorporated into the soil to intercept roots or coat the leaves of the weeds?  Does it need rain to activate, or need to dry a certain amount of time before there is precipitation?  Is it a residual, or does the chemical only work on contact?  If this overwhelms you, call an expert—find an agronomist!





a.       Many crops have a number of hybrids or varieties that have been tested to be resistant to several diseases.  If you know a field has had trouble with a certain disease in the past, choose the right seed to prevent problems from occurring.  Modes of action for fungicides include stopping respiration {Nerdy note: fungi breathe, did you know that?}, rupture cell membranes, stop growth or mitosis (their method of reproduction), and messing with metabolism (how they use energy or get their food). 

b.       What exactly is the problem with the crop?  If it is a disease, make sure the symptoms only point to the one disease.  There are laboratories that test for this.  Many crop diseases are fungal, but there are bacterial and viral infections, too.  Is it a nutrient deficiency?  Perhaps the crop needs fertilizer.  Is it a root issue?  The soil could be water logged, or there could be a drought.  Is it from insect damage?  {Nerdy note: There is a new species of insect called the soybean gall midge that attacks soybeans whose symptoms mimic the disease phytophthera.  Tricky little critters.}

c.       When choosing a chemical, are you using seed treatment when planting or foliar spray once the symptoms are showing?  Does the chemical get placed in the soil or on the plant?  How long does it need to dry—check the weather.  How developed are the plants?  How severe is the disease?  Where is the disease located in the field—confined only in spots, along the edges, or in the whole field? 





{Nerdy note: This category includes arthropods and other creepy crawlies that are insect-like, too.  Mites, which are a pest, are actually cousins to spiders and not insects.}

a.       Some crops have traits that were bred to prevent specific insect damage.  Insecticides have modes of action that alters, inhibits, or interferes with how the pests breathe, grow and develop (like moulting or hormone development), metabolize food and energy, nerves, and muscles.  Many pests have natural enemies, and introducing or encouraging beneficial insects can help keep a low threshold number. 

b.      What exactly is the true case of the problem?  What is the pest?  Many larvae and beetles look alike or have variety within the same species.  Know what damage they cause and how they act.  Do they feed on the leaves or the roots?  Do they bore through the stems?  Do they hide in the grain or lay their eggs near the top or bottom of the plant?  What does their frass {Nerdy note: this is a fancy word for poop} look like?  Capture a critter, take a picture, pull apart and sample the plant—send these in if needed. 

c.       What is the developmental stage of the pest and the crop?  If it is a borer, are most of them in the plant already?  Is the crop almost into the next developmental stage—for example, is the corn almost done tasseling and silks turning brown?  Are the larvae changing into pupae or their adult stage (beetles or moths)?  It might not be useful or economical to spray a chemical if the pest or crop is changing or hiding already.  If using a chemical, read the label.  Like I discussed in the weed section, know the history of the field. 


Farming isn’t just sticking seed in the ground, waiting around, and then harvesting in the fall.  It involves noticing details, and knowing them, too.  You don’t have to know everything, though—that is what experts are for.  Get a hold of an agronomist or a lab rat. 


{Nerdy pun warning}

When you’re out standing in your field and see something that puzzles you, find someone that is outstanding in their field to help you have an outstanding field!!!!!


Thanks for reading!

Until next time,


Julie S. Paschold


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Chemical Resistance Part Two: WHY?


In Chemical Resistance Part One: HOW? we established that misuse of a chemical intended to fight off a disease can lead to chemically resistant “critters”, or superbugs.  I use the word critter to describe any pest that can cause a need for pesticide: be it bacteria, virus, fungus, insect, or weed. 


But WHY would a chemical be used in the wrong way? 


There are several reasons:


a.      Only one kind of chemical was used over and over again in the same place to kill the same thing.

b.      The chemical was used to kill the wrong critter.

c.       The wrong dose was used, so the chemical wasn’t effective. 


In the first case, if we use only one chemical, and use it more often, more generations of the critter are exposed to it, selecting the superbugs faster.  Think of it this way: when a boxer is fighting, he needs to learn several moves and series of actions in order to take their opponent down.  He wouldn’t think of fighting using only a right handed uppercut, would he?  His opponent would be ready for him, and demolish him right away.  They would know what to expect.  Same thing with using the same chemical each time: the critter is prepared, and able to deflect the hit every time!  It’s a superbug!



Remember how I described the “diversity” of critters that can harm plants (or us)?  If you have a virus, and take antibiotics, the antibiotics won’t kill the virus, because that’s not what the drug was designed for.  It’s made to kill bacteria.  And any random bacteria that happen to be hanging out during your viral infection can hide out and is exposed to this antibiotic—having the opportunity to save the “memory” of the chemical.  So the next time these critters overpopulate and you have a bacterial infection, that drug won’t treat it as well.  The bacteria’s progeny will have a “memory” of the chemical, and more will survive.  Enter: superbugs. 



In agronomy, plant diseases are usually fungi.  But there are also viruses and bacteria that cause plant diseases as well.  If we aren’t positive of the source of a disease, and use a fungicide to try and kill a bacteria or virus disease, the fungi present—but not causing enough damage to trouble the plant—can develop a resistance to that fungicide.


In the third case, we see the importance of dosage.  If you read your small print that comes with your antibiotics, it will urge you to take your medicine as directed, the full dose, and not to stop even though you feel better.  Why is this?  Your doctor wrote you a dose that will effectively kill the infection that is causing your illness.  An effective “chemical storm” that will take care of those critters.  If you stop early, or don’t take the whole dose correctly, you are diluting the chemical that the bacteria are exposed to.  So more bacteria will survive: they don’t have to “hold their breath” as long or as forcefully, so to say, until the chemical storm is over.  You might feel better temporarily, but when more critters survive, more critters have the drug “memory”, and those critters can create even more critters. 



In a field, the agronomist takes into account many factors, such as the developmental stage of the plants, the type and severity of the pest infestation, time of the growing season, weather, and soil conditions.  These factors determine the right kind and dose of pesticide to use.  In a similar manner, if not enough of a pesticide is used, or if it isn’t applied at the correct time, more of the pest can survive and fight back. 


Tune in for the third and final conversation regarding chemical resistance: WHAT TO DO? for information how we can treat and prevent superbugs from taking over the world…..


Thanks for reading!


Julie S. Paschold