GMO Decisions

Side Note: WOW! I can not believe Monday is Christmas. Where has this year gone? I Have many things to thank God for. We have had a few health concerns on both sides of the family but with those scares we have hope. The lord is watching over us. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

Good afternoon Picking Wild Flowers! A couple months ago I wrote a blog post about “Lets Talk Organic.” My love for agriculture has made me passionate about the issues that surround us all. FOOD!! We all eat. We all need food. We all have an opinion. I tried to stay pretty neutral last time but I received a note from a reader indicating that I just made things more confusing. I honestly believe in all types of agriculture. Diversity drives our world. Diversity of businesses drive the economy, diversity of schools/colleges drive education, diversity of people drive society, and diversity of farming methods drive agriculture. But because I want to be clear and concise, I will write this post with personal thoughts and opinions.


Monday I presented a lesson called GMO Decisions to a class of Linn-Mar high school students. The purpose was to expose students to modern agriculture issues, scientific solutions, and the outcomes of those decisions, while discussing the sciences of biology and biotechnology.

I approached the students with the question- If you could solve any food problem what would it be? So I will ask you the same question. If you could solve any food issue what would it be?

Okay let’s start with the basics. What is a GMO? GMO stands for genetically modified organism. GMO is not a thing but rather is process. There are only 9 GMO crops currently on our grocery shelves. Arctic Apples (non-browning) have been approved but they are not commercially available yet.


I view GMOs as the modern form of plant/animal breeding. Think back to the very beginning of domestication. Dog breeds are a product of selective breeding. Growing up we had Missy and Duke. Missy was an Australian Shepherd+ Blue Healer. Duke is a Yellow Lab+ Husky mix. Both of our dogs are a product of crossbreeding.

Lets step forward in time. We now have advanced breeding. Identifying traits on the gene level that are desired. For example, artificially inseminating cattle. We pick out a bull based on the pedigree. Will the bull be easy calving? Will the calf have horns? etc.

Is seedless watermelon a GMO? No, seedless watermelon is produced through crossbreeding + Colchicine. Colchicine is a naturally occurring flower chemical that intervenes with normal cell division. When added to seeds the female eggs produce twice as many sets of chromosomes. When we pollinate the new flower with an original flower we get a watermelon with three sets of chromosomes resulting in a seedless watermelon. Seedless grapes and bananas are the result of cloning and that may sound scary too but cloning plants is pretty easy. Many plants can be propagated by taking a cutting or by growing an offshoot.


Grafting is another form of selectively growing food. Grafting is the process of transplanting a scion (desired fruit) to a stock plant (desired trunk/size). One student stayed after to ask me a few questions about grafting. Why do we graft? I answered with, “It takes years to grow a tree and trees grow to be very tall. By grafting we can decrease the height, thicken the trunk, or grow certain trees in climates they might not be native to (palm trees in Utah).” She also asked why people seem to fear GMOs but they don’t fear grafting. Grafting is similar to selective breeding. Joining two physical things. We fear things we can’t see and we can’t see GMOs but we can see a graft on a tree trunk.


There are many benefits to genetically modifying-

  1. Disease resistance
  2. Increase in production
  3. Less food waste
  4. Environment tolerant
  5. No nutritional difference
  6. Insect tolerance (resulting in less pesticides)

Three ways to genetically modify-

  1. Silence a gene (turning off the light)
  2. Moving a gene (transporting a gene to a different spot on the chromosome)
  3. Adding a new trait to the gene sequence


Now lets debate- LABELS

I am in favor of labels. I believe we have the right to choice but I only believe in labels if they are going to create clarification. Labels that are misleading make me so mad!! For example, diet pop! Diet pop is not healthy!

I have added a photo of Himalania Fine Pink Salt to this post. Why do you think I might be a little mad about this NON-GMO label? Salt does not have DNA meaning it can not be genetically modified. Every fine pink salt product you pick up is GMO free so why add the label? We are creating a fearful society!

This might be my longest post yet but stay with me! I have one more label to share with you. Take a look at this photo. It also has a NON-GMO label. Why might I be frustrated with this label? And it is not just because we raise cattle 😛


Here is my frustration… How do we breed? Lets talk about the birds and bees. Meiosis is the process of cell division that creates eggs and sperm. We need both sets of chromosomes to create an offspring. Now tell me, how do we digest food? The DNA in our food is digested into 4 nucleotides and the protein breaks down into 21 amino-acids. Does our set of personal traits change when we eat a salad? No! Genes are passed down from our parents. GM food will be digested the same way Non-GM food is digested. Same goes for livestock. Just because a cow eats GM corn or soybeans does not mean it now becomes a GMO. Animals digest and breakdown food similar to us. Genetic makeups do not change by digesting food. Do you see livestock listed above as a GMO product? I don’t… so I don’t think meat/animal products should be labeled unless it contains a direct GMO food ingredient.

I am a christian. I believe whole heartily that God is leading my path and he has chosen me to teach agriculture. Want to know my honest opinion? GMOs are so cool! Science is cool! It is amazing the things we can do! God has provided us with the tools, motivation, and curiosity to explore his master piece. It is with his help that we even grow food! It is with Gods help that we have advancements in medicine! It is with Gods guidance that we trust in him with all that we do. I have experienced Gods love greatly this year.

Thank you for reading! Opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions of Linn County Farm Bureau.

Merry Christmas!


The Hardships of Farming

The hardships… stories farmers don’t like to talk about. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write this post but I think the world needs to know that farmers are people too and we make mistakes. Farmers are not perfect and I am not perfect. A couple of weeks ago my heart broke for one of our mama cows and her baby calf.


We noticed that one of our new babies had scours. Scours is diarrhea that prevents the absorption of fluids from the intestines. Scours is common among new calves especially if the weather is nasty cold or scorching hot. We treat for scours whenever we see signs. Dad catches the calf and we give it a scour pill (Bolus antibiotic) which helps cure the diarrhea. Before dad left for vacation we gave this new calf a scour pill and put both the cow and calf in a pen close to the house.

Megan and I continued to check on the calf over the course of 24 hours. The calf seemed to be getting weaker and weaker. When the weather is really hot and calves are sick they tend to not nurse which results in dehydration. I gave the calf another pill by hand. Sometimes we use a wand called a pill pusher but the calf was pretty weak and putting the pill in his mouth wasn’t a problem.

Later on we went back to the house. I was looking over the bottle of scour pills and I noticed that they were expired. Usually one scour pill does the trick and I began to wonder if that was why the calf hadn’t seen any improvements. Tyler and I went to Theisen’s and bought new pills, a pill pusher and fly spray.


Megan called to tell me that the calf wouldn’t walk very far. It was growing weaker by the day. She thought it was time to call the vet.

That morning I dialed the vet and told them what was going on. He advised that I try the new pills I had picked up and to give the calf some electrolytes. Electrolyte powder is like Gatorade. It should help keep the calf’s body hydrated. I thought I had all of my boxes crossed off. I picked up new pills, called the vet, fed the calf some electrolytes and called Tyler to see if he could come help give it a pill.

This time around I decided to try the pill pusher. Little did I know that there are two pushers. One for cows and one for calves. I had bought the one for cows… I had also bought the pill brand that Dad buys but instead of calf I bought cow. I might know what I am doing in theory but it is a whole different ball game when it comes time to purchase and act.

We got the pill stuck in the calves throat. At this point in the day I was hot, sweaty, and tired, but now I had a calf on my hands that was choking. I panicked. I started screaming, crying, and hyperventilating. I had know idea what to do. Tyler was rubbing the calves neck trying to encourage the pill back up but it was lodged to far down. I called the vet again and he said to bring him in right away. We backed Dads truck up to the field and loaded the 130 lb calf into the backseat. I hopped in and sat with him. Tyler drove us 40 minutes to the vets office. It was the longest 40 minutes…

The calf still had scours and was making a mess in the back of the truck but I didn’t care. I would clean it out later. All I cared about was the calf’s safety and health. All I kept thinking was this is my fault. In all my years of showing cattle, raising livestock, and studying agriculture; it has never been my fault. When we loss a calf it was due to natural occurrences. This was all my fault. Why did I not think to check for calf or cow pills? Why did I possibly think that pill pusher was for a calf? I thought I had all of the T’s crossed. But knowing what to do isn’t the same as actually doing it.

We got to the vets office and Dr. B looked down the calf’s throat. He couldn’t see the pill. He looked at me and asked if I would be okay with him doing a tracheotomy. The surgery only lasted 20 minutes and soon Dr. B was wrapping the calf in bandages. We went home with a two week old calf with a tube sticking out of his neck to help him breath. We put the baby back with his mom, but she began to lick his tube and we had to remove her from the pen. All seemed to be going okay and the chances in him surviving increased. We gave him a bottle and let him rest for the night. The next morning he was standing and walking around. I have never been so happy to see a calf walk!

But that night he seemed weak again. He was laying down with his head between his two front legs. He wouldn’t raise his head to eat. I felt so crushed. He was up walking around not long before. Megan and Tyler stayed to feed him the bottle and Dad and I went to check on the rest of the cows.

When we got back Megan and Tyler were outside of the barn. Their faces weren’t happy. The calf died drinking his bottle. Megan said he went peacefully. His breathing slowed and he stopped sucking. I was devastated. I have never felt so heart broken over the loss of a calf.

We put the cow back out into the pasture and buried the calf.

I was really hesitant to publish this post but I wanted all of you to know how much these cows mean to me. I would do anything to keep them happy and healthy. I have a lot of learning to do and after this instance I realize that fact even more clearly.

And on the 8th day God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker! So, God made a farmer!



New Everlasting Happiness

Good Morning Picking Wild Flowers and Happy Monday! I thought I would kick off your week with a little food for thought. I was scrolling through Google trying to find inspiration for this week and I came across this short but perfect quote. “New Beginnings and New Everlasting Happiness.”

New Beginnings and new everlasting happiness

I practice Lent, a religious holiday that begins on Ash Wednesday and continues until Easter Sunday, and yearly I like to give up something that challenges me to rely on God’s help. For those of you who know me well, I have a bad habit of picking my lip when I am bored, nervous, or stressed. For the past three years I have tried to give this up and as soon as Lent is over I go about my normal ways. Well not this year friends! This year I want to focus on the true reason we practice lent, to lean on God for help in all things! Did you give up something for Lent this year? If so, comment below :).

THINGS to take

New Beginnings,” what does this mean? The more I sat and thought the more joy I felt. This quote represents Easter as a time to rejoice the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus died for our sins and with that we are forgiven. The second half, “New Everlasting Happiness,” puts a smile on my face. Each year is a new opportunity to see the beauty before us. I love this quote too, “The story of Easter is the story of God’s wonderful window of divine surprise,” (Knudsen).

The beauty before us… I bring you an Easter arrangement. I hope my class design puts a smile on your face this week.

Today’s arrangement is inspired by topiary design. “Topiary is the horticultural practice of training live perennial plants by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs and subshrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes.”

Recipe: Alstroemeria, white and yellow Daisy, and Aster.

I had a lot of fun with the topiary. It is a unique design that helps to celebrate Easter. The bright colors and odd shape highlight the symbolic relationship between the colors and elements of Easter.

Here is a FUNNY…

THINGS to take (1)

Happy Easter!







Merry Christmas

Dear Readers,

Merry Christmas!! This week we celebrate the birth of Jesus! Matthew 2:10- “when they saw the star they rejoiced.”

“Believe in the magic of the season! The magic of Christmas is not in the presents, but in his presence.”

Designing sure does put a smile on my face and I feel so blessed having the opportunity to utilize Gods floral creations.

I sure needed a lot of coffee for this gorgeous winter arrangement!! Grandma and Papa asked me to design a centerpiece, but little did they know I would get a crazy idea and run with it!!

“Star of David” 

I am very proud with how the recipe for “Star of David” evolved and transformed into a beautiful holiday centerpiece. Continue reading for step by step directions 🙂


Step one: Choose a square vase of your choice. I loved the way the drawer looked rustic and vintage but still classy.

Step 2: Research ideas and buy supplies.


Step 3:

  • Begin by adding base flowers first. I started with Baby Breath and artificial greens.
  • Add focus flowers
  • Fill in the gaps
  • Add other items (pine cones, berries, candy, etc.


Step 4: Create a floral arrangement for someone you love with all the extras (mom) 😉


Last Step: Deliver them to destination with amazing and handy boyfriend!!


Thank you for reading! I hope you have a very very Merry Christmas!! Remember why we celebrate!


Picking Wild Flowers




Don’t Worry! Be Happy!

mbjblHappy Friday Picking Wild Flowers! This week I began the daunting but exciting task of looking for a job. I hope to find a career that allows me to express my passion for agriculture through writing and hands on work.

Worry started to seep into my thoughts and the more I tried to push it away, the more it continued to grow . Before I knew it I had a huge weight on my shoulders. This is when I decided to turn to God.


I began a study on my bible app called Worry-Finding Peace. The study focuses on the what and why behind worry.

“Ultimately, worry comes down to two things: fear and a lack of trust.”

“God wants us to face the future with confidence.”

Proverbs 3 states: Trust on the Lord with all your heart and don’t rely on your own intelligence.

God has provided for me up to date so I am going to trust God with this next huge chapter of my life. He has a plan for me and I need to learn to trust more.

I am letting my worry go by praying to God and focusing on the small things that bring me joy! We have many blessings in life and right now I am very thankful for Fall.



“Hoodies, Hot cocoa, boots, jeans, cuddling, crisp air, flushed cheeks. I live for Autumn!” Who else is excited to consume all things pumpkin???


I am very excited to announce that there may be a few changes occurring on my blog, Picking Wild Flowers, in the coming weeks. As I mentioned above; I am beginning to think about my future which includes praying to God about all all of my options.

Below is a little sneak peak.


I am very excited about this addition to the blog! Can anyone guess what it might be?? Comment below. 😉

God’s Nature is My Nurture

It was nice to have the week off before heading back to Ames. I was able to focus on packing and really taking time to myself. This week I completed a section on God’s powerful nature.

nature 11

God’s Nature is really my Nurture. Looking at the stars at night, walking/running down gravel paths, watching the sun set, hearing the birds sing, examining wildlife footprints on freshly fallen snow- All of this he has done for us.

The study was centered around: introducing the world, diving into the great depths, and finishing by showing praise and appreciation.

In Genesis: God created humans to rule over the birds, mammals, and every creeping thing. All was for us; to be in the image of him.

nature 8

We were not there when earth was created; so how could we possibly have an understanding to how vast and wonderful the world really is?

Job 38: Who holds in the seas borders? Who Commands morning and night? Do we know the depths of darkness?

God is the only one who controls nature. He uses sarcasm in Job to get his point across. The world was not created in seconds. God took his time and added a lot of details.

nature 10

Job 39: The ostrich leaves its eggs in the ground and lets them be warmed by the earth. Letting God and the world take the fate of the eggs in their hands.

Seeing new birth and the cycle of life really shows God’s nature at work. How could something so perfect and pure be created in the midst of floods, wild fires, elections, and everyday world news? The answer: its possible with God’s help and doing.

nature 6

Psalm 8: Praise for the creator

Psalm 8 really focused on praising God. The verse uses the term majestic. I personally have never used that word to refer to God but it fits everything I have read about nature to a tee. The section goes into depth about entering into a harmony, one that is of a delicate balance.

nature 3

Its remarkable how even the sun and moon provide for us everyday. I tend to take a lot of the things God has blessed us with for granted and this passage has really made me think about slowing down and literally smelling the roses. Many things about God’s Nature is my Nurture. I have grown to love running, playing with my dog outside, tending to cattle chores, and taking a nature walk down to our creek.

All of this was provided for me; just like nature was provided for all of you.

Enjoy the last bit of summer!! 🙂

Women in the Bible had Courage

Wow this week is just flying! Last weekend was packed full of fireworks, parades, 5Ks and socializing. Through the craziness I made sure to spend time with God each day. I have been working through a study that looks at the stories of women in the bible.

Fourth of July Cookies

I have noticed a reoccurring theme of courage. The study began with the first women God ever created; Eve. Eve’s first ounce of courage was shown when she confessed her sins to Adam. It took even more courage to place her sins in front of God. It is often easy to run and hide like Adam and Even did in the Garden of Eden but God wants us to come to him with our trespasses.

I decided to read while the cookies were in the oven

The study walks through the lives of Sarah and Rebekah in Genesis 18-24. Sarah was much to old to have children but God provided for her and she trusted in the lord to raise Isaac up to be a follower of Christ.

I added red dye but it turned out to be more pink haha

Judges 4 was really inspiring; Deborah was a judge, leader, poet, and prophet. She lead her nation to victory and beat an army of 9,000. Women often get overlooked in the bible but Deborah stood out among the crowd.

Adding the chocolate chips!

The study continued on to Ruth, Esther, and Mary. Mary had more courage than I ever will. She made sacrifice after sacrifice but gave no second thought to saying yes to having Jesus. Mary endured doubts from Joseph, friends, and family. She had to watch her son die on the cross but in the end Jesus saved her just like he saved all of us.

Final dozen in the oven. Red with blue sprinkles!

I have learned a lot about what it takes to say yes to God without hesitation. Am I there personally… no. But I will always be working to better my relationship with God and that means opening my mind to courageous acts and humble responsibility.


Chocolate Chip Cookies were a hit on Fourth of July. Want the recipe!?!? Look on the back of the chocolate chip bag!

Secret tip # 1- Do not cook the cookies for the full time. Take them out right when they are beginning to brown. They will be soft and chewy.

Secret tip #2- Don’t melt the butter; let it thaw before hand.


Flowers, Coffee, & The Goals of a Christian Life

Last week Mom, Megan, and I planted the garden and some beautiful flower pots. I felt free being able to unplug for the morning; just soaking in all of our many blessings. So often we rush through our day moving from task to task. Being in the moment is an art that is hard to perfect but every time we practice we get a little closer to really enjoying all of the little things.


My relationship with Jesus is like a growing tomato plant. Not quite mature but the potential is there!


Each time that I read the bible and each time that I attend church I grow another leaf. This summer is an opportunity to follow a path that God had planned for me. I will be coordinating STEM Camps for elementary students (BTW follow me this summer as I embark on a new journey… more to come)!


A few weeks ago I heard a beautiful quote from Harvest Vineyard Church. I find myself rereading it often and wanted to share it with you.

“The Goal of the Christian Life is not to simply get us into Heaven but to get Heaven into us,” Richard Foster.


I find this quote to be simple in words but complex in meaning. It is easier to say that we want to have a personal relationship with God than it is to put in the work and effort to keep that relationship.

While flipping through my bible this morning I found a prayer card from my confirmation days. Bringing me back to the time when my relationship with God was new and thriving;  I plan to utilize this sort of prayer method throughout the summer to keep my motivation high and my time with God beneficial.

ACTS Prayer Method 

A: Adoration- praising God

C: Confession-admitting our faults and weaknesses

T: Thank- Giving Thanks for God’s Grace

S: Supplication- Asking God for help for others and for ourselves.

Thank you for reading Picking Wild Flowers. If you would like to try a few other methods of prayer please comment below and I would be happy to message you.

See you next week! 🙂

HaPpY EaStEr


Adriane, Megan, and I decorated Easter eggs this past weekend and although that is not the true tradition of the holiday; it was a good reminder to why we do celebrate.

The Story of Easter

John 13:

Foot Washing– Before the Festival of Passover, Jesus knew that his time had come to leave the world and go to the father.  Jesus knew the father had given everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was returning to God. At this point in the story Jesus knew that he was going to be betrayed and yet he got down on his knees and retrieved a basin. Washing all of the disciples feet.

Announcement of the Betrayal-Jesus announced that who ever he handed a piece of bread to was the one who was going to betray him. After Judas took the bread Satan entered his body. Judas left the place of Passover.

Love Commandment– Jesus ordered everyone to love each other just as he has loved us.

Denial– Peter denies knowing Jesus three times. (Peter was one disciple that stood beside Jesus throughout his time on Earth).

John 18:

Arrest in the Garden– Judas knew that Jesus often gathered in the garden with the rest of the disciples. He brought the guards from the chief priests and Pharisees. They called out that they were looking for Jesus. Jesus said to them “I Am.”

Jesus Testifies– The Priests questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. The trial occurs before Pilate.

John 19

Jesus is whipped and mocked as king– Crucifixion takes place on the cross.

Jesus is buried–  Pilate gave the disciples permission to bury Jesus. They laid Jesus’s body in a tomb near by and rolled a large rock in front of it.

John 20

Empty Tomb– Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the rock had been rolled away. Jesus appears to Mary and replies to her “Woman why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” “I am going up to my father, to my God and your God.” Jesus appears to the disciples. All these things are written that we may know Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit are one!

God made the ultimate sacrifice! Jesus died for all of our sins so that we may have eternal life. This calls for an AMEN

Happy Easter Everyone!

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Lent: Day 7 of No Complaining


Happy Hump Day!! I am excited to be writing another blog post. (I should be working on homework, but I got inspired when I took a break to make an afternoon protein shake. Actually Megan is the true inspiration of this post, my protein shake is just the sugar on top!

Lent began exactly 1 week ago today. Megan and I usually give up something like ice cream or coffee, etc. Something that is only going to better myself for the few weeks until Easter. This year Megan decided to give up complaining. What better way to be reminded of what Jesus sacrificed for us then to give up something that could bring us closer to God? Giving up something that is so challenging is bound to have some hiccups. I decided to join her on this journey. So far I have discovered that as humans we complain a lot! I found myself complaining about classes, schedules, getting up early, and even the bachelor not recording! Even if I fail miserably at not complaining entirely until Easter, it has added a whole new perspective into my life had I not braved the temptation.

1 Peter 5: 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

12717465_10207869154400472_2865064283965066350_n1 Peter 5: 6 shares an important aspect to lent that I had not ventured into before. Giving up something is not easy but God will lift us up in due time. In the past I believed that failing during lent was just awful. How could I not go 40 days without ice cream when Jesus went 40 days with the devil tempting him? But I now believe that we need God to help us do what we think might be impossible. I am going to take lent in strive and be an accountability buddy for Megan just like she will be for me. Not complaining is possible in due time! It only takes 30 days to make a habit ;).

While writing this post I sipped on a delicious peanut butter coffee protein shake! Recipe time for this beautiful Wednesday afternoon!

Peanut Butter Coffee Protein Shake

Blend all Ingredients:12646947_10207869154560476_3884140243225511852_n

1 Banana, 4 ice cubes, coffee protein (complete nutrition), unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop powder peanut butter, 1 scoop cocoa, 1 scoop flax seeds, and 1 spoon of coconut. I added a few marshmallows on top to add a touch of happiness 🙂