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...

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