Taking my hobby to the next level!

Good afternoon and happy snowy Monday! Thank you for taking the time to read my latest post. Your kind words helped reassure that I am heading in the right direction. I am working on designing our new FarmHouse Flowers website. My goal is to have it up and running by summer 2020.

I am currently doing a challenge called Last 90 Days. You might have seen it if you follow Rachel Hollis on Facebook or Instagram or if you were watching when they talked about it on Good Morning America. Is anyone else participating? Rachel is the author of best selling books: Girl Wash Your Face and Girl Stop Apologizing. Her last 90 day challenge encourages participants to end the last 90 days of the year stronger than we usually start the first 30. The challenge includes 5 daily tasks: drink half of your body weight in ounces of water, practice daily gratitude, goal setting, exercise and wake up an hour earlier. I have really enjoyed the challenge and I am seeing lots of progress! My water intake has seen the most improvement!

But goal setting has also seen improvement. Rachel has us write down our goals as if they have already happened. Her theory states that if our minds think the goal has already been accomplished than it will do anything it can to make it a reality. Sort of like a to do list. I was hesitant with this at first. It felt odd to write down; “Tyler and I have a larger home with more storage,” “I eat with portion control in mind,” or I have a growing flower business.” But what is so crazy… is that we are making progress in all of those areas. Tyler and I have had many conversations about our home, I am seeing results with my meals/workouts, and I have made huge gains with my flower hobby. All in the last couple of months!

Seeing our goals on paper has helped us chart out the steps it will take to reach it. A couple weeks ago I was doing some research on tulips when I came across the author of the first flower book Tyler gave me 3 years ago! She has an awesome four-part video series about fall planting. The videos really gave me confidence to include tulips and daffodils in my garden for next year. In the completion of the free fall videos, Erin, Floret Flower Farmer and author, talked about her upcoming online course.

Tyler and I did some research and learned about two Iowa flower growers, that we look up to, who also took the course. There are over 100 past participant testimonies! After much discussion, I am excited to announce that I am enrolled in an online flower workshop. I am beyond excited to take my hobby to the next level. Course content includes; starting seeds, harvest, extending vase life, marketing, pricing, arranging, and more.

The class officially begins in January…just in time to implement what I learn in our next growing season! I am beyond excited and nervous. Thank you for reading and believing in me! Stay tuned as I share more about my journey!

Floret workshop class of 2020

Exciting flower news!

Hello Picking Wild Flowers! This is my 89th blog post! 89th!! That seems crazy. I began this blog three years ago on February 6th, 2016 as a way to journal my thoughts about all things food, fitness, farm and faith related. Overtime it has evolved and is currently a space for me to write about anything and everything!68253296_10218488599879972_2803747658622042112_nThe title for the site came from the song “Pickin’ Wildflowers,” by Keith Anderson. I have always loved the lyrics: “Sneak away for a couple of hours, you and me baby picking wildflowers.” There is something calming and beautiful about the idea of walking through a field of flowers. I realize that isn’t what the song is about… but for me it was about being in a place that makes me happy haha.68565367_10218488595279857_9078482616499306496_nI loved spending time in the greenhouse at Iowa State University! It felt so calming to walk through a room full of plants and flowers! This is where my dream for growing my own cut flower garden began. It began as an idea that just wouldn’t seem to go away. I made my first arrangement that fall. I carved out a pumpkin and potted some mums. I had so much fun and found it to be very therapeutic. Come to find out, my Great Grandma Ball loved flowers and gardening! I must have inherited the passion. 70015227_10218682036515767_6318774053586862080_nWhat began as a slight interest soon turned into a fun hobby. I began by replanting dad’s garden bed in the front of his house. I also made a few arrangements for family and friends. But, it wasn’t until I met Tyler that I began thinking about the possibility of growing my own cut flowers. Mom always had a garden growing up so I thought I would probably grow vegetables but it didn’t occur to me to grow my own flowers. 69655202_10218566630630692_8239161499084390400_nTyler and I began researching. We learned about drip tape, tilling, flower varieties, weed fabric, etc. and that following summer we had our very first cut flower garden. It is hard to believe that we are wrapping up year three. Previously my flowers have been for myself but I hope to sell some arrangements to all of you next year. 69236920_10218519863701548_8197760690115575808_nThis site, Picking Wild Flowers, will always hold a special place in my heart, but I think it is time for a change. Picking Wild Flowers is getting a new look! I am in the process of creating a new brand for our flower garden and my personal blog. 68751633_10218519820140459_1146851646370742272_nPicking Wild Flowers is transitioning to Farmhouse Flowers! The idea to create a new brand came from many conversations with Tyler. Where do I see this hobby going? Do I plan to grow the garden or remain the same size? How will the brand reflect the product I am producing? I decided that Farmhouse Flowers better suits my mission. The name came as an inspiration from the family farm. Multiple generations have grown up on the farm. Grandma Ball had her big garden right behind the house. The old farm house has a vintage charm and my goal is to carry that into my arrangements. Josie, Grandpa’s last cow, had to play a special role. You can see her name and silhouette in the logo below. The new website will allow room for growth. 

Blog posts will remain a place for me to journal my thoughts but I hope to focus the topics a bit! The current Picking Wild Flowers blog will remain live until I have the other site up and ready to go. The new logo design is below. Let me know what you think of the new look! Farmhouse flowers

I hope you are just as excited about this transition as I am! Thank you for taking the time to read Picking Wild Flowers! It means so much to me!


Tequila Update

For those of you who read my last post “Caring for Tequila,” I wanted to hop back on and give an update.


We saw no signs of improvement so the vet came out to take a second look. This time the vet brought a squeeze chute with them. This type of chute squeezes the cow gently to keep them from moving around. The vet needed to take a closer look and our chute just wasn’t keeping her still enough. We didn’t receive good news. From the sounds of it, she has quite the wound. Something likely punctured her in-between her toes, causing damage to her bone and joints. To learn what our options are we need to take her somewhere; but the problem is we can’t get her to walk farther than a couple feet, let alone onto a trailer and into a vet’s office. The vet gave her another dose of antibiotics which has a withdrawal period of 45 days. This antibiotic helps with pain and infection. We are currently doing our best to keep Tequila comfortable. It is important to keep her wound clean. We are hoping she improves enough in the next week or so to take steps to help cure her but if she doesn’t we might need to make the tough decision to cull her following the 45 day withdrawal period.


We have continued the Epsom salt foot baths. We are pretty lucky that Tequila is tame. We would not be able to do this with most cows. Each evening dad, Megan, Tyler or I catch her with a halter and soak her foot for 10 minutes. We finish by spraying her wound with Iodine. This helps keep flies from bothering it. If you look closely in the photo above, you will notice her ankle is swollen. The swelling has actually gone down but there is still a noticeable difference.


Meet her calf! Her calf is just as healthy and spunky as ever and he takes the opportunity to nurse while we soak her foot. He has become quite tame himself over the last few weeks. Tequila is still providing him with milk but he is getting close to weaning so our calves get supplemented with hay, grass and creep feed (feed for calves). Tequila isn’t moving very far so we have her in a pen with water and hay.


The other cows are out on pasture but as you can see they were ready to move to the next pen! Soon they will be receiving hay as the grass growth is slowing down for the season.

I know this wasn’t the update on Tequila you were probably hoping for but I want to be 100% transparent with all of you. It is important to me that we share the real story of agriculture… both the good and bad days. And on all days we do our best to care for our animals.

I love the new Iowa Farm Bureau campaign and partnership with Fareway!  #RealFarmers, #RealMeat #RealFood! If you have questions about antibiotics, livestock footprint, hormones, etc. Please ask! I will do my best to answer any questions you might have!


Caring for Tequila

Happy Friday Picking Wildflowers! I hope the title for todays post made you click on the link because I have an important topic to talk about today! Tequila is a past show heifer of ours. She was given a name that complemented the dam’s (cow) name which was Vegas. Our show calves always had a name that went with a theme. We don’t name all of cows, just the ones we showed.


A couple weeks ago we found Tequila limping on her front right foot. She would barely put any weight on it. Megan and I were doing chores that weekend while Dad was out of town so we decided to see how it looked when dad got back on Sunday. It is currently breeding season so we thought there was a chance she just twisted it or landed on it wrong when the bull mounted her but she continued to limp so we decided to get her in to take a look. We noticed that she had a cut on her pastern (right above the hoof). The cows are grazing in a pasture with a pond so she may have received the cut on a rock or next to a fence but either way we knew she was in pain so we needed to help.


This is where I get passionate about this topic. At this point in the story, we know Tequila was in pain and we needed to do something. We called the vet and the next available non-emergency appointment was three days away. So in the meantime we got her in the chute and treated her with an Epsom salt foot bath to clean the wound. We also gave her a shot of Norocillin which is a generic brand of penicillin. Penicillin is an antibiotic. There is a fear with some consumers about the use of antibiotics. Personally I believe in providing the best care for our animals and if that means treating them with an antibiotic then that is what I will do. Every antibiotic has a withdrawal period meaning the farmer has to wait a required amount of time before taking the animal to market. Most farmers will only give antibiotics when necessary.


I was at the grocery store and saw meat that had a label “never received antibiotics.” I would rather know the meat I purchased came from a healthy and happy animal that might have been given an antibiotic once in it’s life; than to know I was eating meat that came from an animal that “never received antibiotics” but could have been a sick animal that the farmer didn’t provide care to. Just a side note, it is against the law to feed pigs and poultry antibiotics so if you see a label on meat that says “antibiotic free” all pork and chicken products are tested for antibiotic residue and the label is a marketing tactic.  


A cow weighs between 1200-1500 lbs and Tequila only received 1 ml per 100 lb of her body weight which was approximately 12 ml. The antibiotic is given for infection and pain. There is a withdrawal period of 14 days. We hope Tequila recovers from this infection but if we did have to take her to market we would wait 14 days. Just like people, antibiotics leave the cows system.


Tequila’s recovery continues. The infection has healed a bit but we may need to have the vet take another look. She still won’t put any weight on it. We continue to do the Epsom salt bath. I hope this weekend she feels a bit better. Our ultimate goal is to make her comfortable while she heals! We have her in a pen with her calf, hay and water.

Summer Flowers

Good evening Picking Wild Flowers! The month of July passed us by in a blink of an eye! We’ve had a super busy and fun summer including birthday boat rides, mountains in Colorado, ice cream at the fair and many wedding festivities! I have also enjoyed spending time in my garden…even in this heat!


Here are a couple of my recent arrangements! Currently I am harvesting Zinnias, Statice, Marigolds, and snapdragons.


I had an adorable helper this weekend! She said her vase of flowers was picked for her mom! How sweet is that! ❤ Kendra your daughter is so precious!


Besides flowers; we harvested radishes, a few tomatoes and lettuce. The sweet corn should be ready soon and the sunflowers are reaching close to 8 feet tall.


Elizabeth also had a blast helping Megan and I with chores! The cows are enjoying their time in the pasture! Soon they will be transitioning to the next paddock.


Until next time!

Cut Flower Update

Good evening Picking Wild Flowers! It has been a minute since I wrote a flower update so I thought I would hop on here quick and give you a look into what has been happening with our cut flowers… by the way not a whole lot with this rain but Tyler and I did purchase our first implement! We are the proud owners of a 3-point King Kutter XB gear driven tiller. Okay so I am not that knowledgeable about the tiller… hence why I am not in any of the photos but wow oh wow is this tiller a game changer! P.S. I am learning! 


Not only was it a game changer, but an opportunity to pull Grandpa Richards garden tractor out of the garage. The tiller even matches! 


Once Grandpa retired from farming, the lane and yard was a big priority to him. He valued keeping it mowed and you could often find him driving this tractor while sporting a farmers tan! It feels special to be sitting in the same seat Grandpa once sat!


The weekend before we bought the new tiller, Dad and Tyler cleaned out the lots from winter and dropped some manure off at the garden! As they were spreading manure on the fields, I was spreading manure around on our garden. We were able to till it in nicely with the soil.

Cow’s manure is a great natural fertilizer for the soil. It helps replace the nutrients lost from the soil with the previous crop, especially nitrogen. Not only is it a great fertilizer, but recycling the manure is a great way to clean up the farm after winter.

The tiller literally hummed through the soil. I wish I had a video to show how smooth it worked! My cut flowers are ready to be planted! They are taking over under my grow light but the garden is a pond right now. I just hope we can get a few things planted soon! Be sure to be praying for farmers as they try to get their corn and soybeans in the ground! 


Diesel loves spending days at the farm! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Grandma Carol

As we approach the upcoming services I have been praying for strength and courage. Our family is going through a very sad time but we know Grandma is in heaven with Jesus and that is reason to celebrate. Grandma lived a full and beautiful life! I have been searching for the right words to express how much Grandma Carol means to me but I am not sure my worldly phrases will do justice. I have been in aw with the outpour of thoughts, prayers and memories being shared. That in itself is a true testimony to how amazing of a women she is.


Grandma taught me so many things but most of all she taught me to have fun and enjoy each day. I feel so blessed to have had 24 wonderful years with her. Grandma Carol was so full of life and was always young at heart.  Grandma knew how to put a smile on my face from the time we went swimming at 5:00 am to the time she celebrated with me at my bachelorette party!


Grandma’s contagious smile is gone to soon but we know this life here on earth is our temporary home and we will be together again one day. I know Grandma is sipping on a Kalua as she watches over her family and friends.


Grandma Carol and I have shared a love for flowers. We have made quite a few different arrangements over the years and I wanted to make one in celebration of her life. I made one recently for her when she came home from the hospital and it was full of spring colors so the arrangement I made tonight is also made with spring flowers. I decided to use flowers that resemble Grandma’s personality- fun, loving and beautiful!

58717924_10217641662027055_9173707908376952832_nI love you Grandma and I miss you so much already.

Third Time’s a Charm

Good afternoon and happy SPRING! It is officially planting season for our small cut flower garden. I was just looking back on the blog to see if there was a recap I could share from last year’s garden but I did not write one post about the garden! Not one! I am ashamed to say it was a disaster but I didn’t realize there was no documentation of last year’s garden so lets just pretend it didn’t exist… haha I am just kidding but I am not fooling anyone if I say it was a success! Wondering why my first year was so much better? Because last year slipped away from me, between wedding preparation, bridal showers, bachelorette party, Florida, work, and our honeymoon, I had zero time for the garden but third time’s a charm right? I can’t wait to get the garden bed prepped for this year but first we need germination!


We are a little late in the season for seed starting but better late than never. This year we are starting Snapdragons, Marigolds, Cress and Statice indoors with the grow light. March 16th was a beautiful day so we decided to keep the mess outside. Diesel loved rolling around in the yard while I planted seeds.


Both of my boys were there for moral support. As you can see, Tyler was thrilled to have his picture taken haha, I would say Diesel was a lot more corporative for this part. But shoutout to my husband for always being there for me!

I also have Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, and Zinnias to directly sow into the soil. Beyond flowers, we will be planting tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, onions and radishes.  I hope to post regularly about the flower garden. My goal is to showcase a few arrangements and maybe, just maybe we will have enough to share!


I can’t wait to continue learning! Trial and error is the best way to learn first hand and that is exactly what I plan to keep doing.

“A flower blossoms for it’s own joy,” Oscar Wilde.


Students Inspired to Help Pollinators

What a great weekend! The fun began at the 2019 Southeast District FFA Career Development Events where Megan and I judged for the first time, continued with our birthday celebration and concluded with Megan and Kyle’s engagement! It is hard to believe it is Tuesday already! With that being said, I have fun Ag in the Classroom lessons ahead of me! But before I log off and dive into this week, I wanted to highlight one particularly awesome activity  from last week!


Students at Harding Middle School were inspired to make seed bombs Tuesday, March 5th after learning about the importance of pollinators! Did you know 100 crop species provide 90% of the world’s food? Out of those 100 species, 70 depend on pollinators. According to the USDA, “pollinators play a crucial role in reproduction of many plants that provide our nations food, fiber, fuel and medicine.”


There are five main types of pollinators: bats, birds, butterflies, bees and beetles. We focused on the Honey Bee. Did you know bees can pollinate 95 different crops? There are three types of bees- worker, drone and queen! We depend on bees to help pollinate crops like chocolate, apples, melons and cranberries. Without pollinators, it would be impossible for these crops to reproduce. Not only do bees pollinate, but they produce delicious honey from nectar and we use beeswax to make candles, polishes and makeup.


So as you can see, pollinators are extremely important to agriculture! To help, students made seed bombs with a pollinator flower mix. Would you like to make your own? Seed bombs make a great Mother’s Day gift, weekend activity or summer project! Just roll a few seed bombs together and toss them somewhere outside in need of some color.

Five easy steps:

1. Mix 4 parts air dry clay (white or red) to 1 part potting soil.

2. Add water- just enough to make clay movable.

3. Add more soil if neeeded.

4. Spoon in flower seeds.

5. Roll into balls and let air dry!

Spring is right around the corner and pollinators will soon be buzzing around. Until next time Picking Wild Flower Followers!


The Real Youth Rodeos

Good morning! For those of you who don’t know me but might come across this post, my name is Morgan and I live in Johnson County. I am a 4-H alum and very passionate about the agriculture industry. We have a small cow-calf operation and I work in agriculture education. 4-H and rodeo livestock have some of the best qualities of life. It has been brought to my attention that there has been protests regarding the youth rodeo at the Johnson County Fair. I would like to paint you a picture of the real youth rodeo- not the animal abuse everyone is talking about- there are bad apples in every bunch but majority of farmers and ranchers care deeply about their animal’s well-being.

Johnson County has a long history of being one of the top livestock shows in the state. In recent years numbers have decreased but that is only to be expected with generations moving from the farm. That isn’t to say the passion is gone. Those involved in youth rodeo, FFA and 4-H animal exhibits radiate passion, leadership and community. I remember being too little to help with chores but always sitting next to Dad in the tractor waiting for the day when I could do the cow walk-through on my own… you see, I was begging to do chores and help on the farm when I was old enough to walk! It is hard to say the same about today’s youth.

I remember the day I turned 9 like it was yesterday! The day I was finally old enough to show cattle! I worked with my heifer and steers day and night! We would walk, wash and brush them. Chores often had me up at 6:00 am and out until 9:00 pm in the summer. That is dedication and hard work in my book! Those animals had the best life possible and even though we had to sell them at the end of the fair, I knew those animals lived a well-served life and their purpose to give us meat was a gift from them to us. God’s plan for creation was well thought out. If we care for animals they will in return provide for us.

Youth rodeo has the same principals… it is not teaching animal abuse. It is teaching youth to have leadership and a strong work ethic. It takes a unique person to get up in the middle of the night to check on a cow expecting to give birth. Rodeo has and always will be a family organization. Rural children look up to those barrel racing, bull riding, etc. Youth rodeo gives them a chance to be part of the story. It keeps youth interested in agriculture and learning about where our food comes from. Mutton busting attracts kids from all walks of life. They get competitors from the city, country and suburbs, and shows can draw hundreds of people.

Just remember if you don’t take care of your animals, you won’t have healthy animals ready for the rodeo. Taking care of the animal is a rodeo’s number one priority.

I understand there are different views but be sure to talk to those involved with the sport. There is always two sides to every story.