Co-op People

close up of white turkey in a field

Plump hens and toms are living on borrowed time these days at Bowman and Landes Turkeys near New Carlisle in Miami County.

Baby turkeys, known as poults, arrive at the farm the day they hatch, each weighing one-fourth to one-third of a pound. The poults initially spend time in climate-controlled barns but quickly move, at 6 to 8 weeks of age, to outdoor ranges equipped with feeders, water, and shade shelters. Fencing keeps them in and predators out.

"Celebrity" - one of Mac Worthington's signature looks. He is best known for his metal sculptures.

A Mac Worthington piece of art is almost instantly recognizable. Worthington’s work (he’s best known for his metal sculpture) can be found in public, private, and corporate collections across the country and around the world.

Worthington was born in Canton, the son of artists. His father, Jack, made many of the bronze busts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His mother, Marion, worked with enamel and silver. 

Before turning to art, Worthington built washing machines, served in Vietnam, and worked for a finance company — all good experiences that proved useful when he opened his own galleries.

We all take a trip down memory lane once in a while, reminiscing about special times and meaningful life events.

That experience helped her realize two things: first, that she proudly came from a long line of strong, influential women; second, how important it was to engage with her grandmother, listen to her story, and record her family history before it was lost forever. “Listening is good for all of us,” Sanders says. “When they tell their story, it gives them purpose. There’s a reason they’re here.”

Visitors also can get up close and personal with a bevy of the farm’s residents, such as Bob, a Percheron horse.

Where do the batteries go?” Ann Culek always smiles when she recalls the curious little boy who couldn’t figure out the workings of an old-fashioned marble run one afternoon in the farmhouse at Slate Run Living Historical Farm.

Operated by Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, the farm is part of Slate Run Metro Park, situated in the splendidly scenic countryside between Circleville and Canal Winchester.  It’s a South Central Power Company member, but because the farm preserves the lifestyle of an era before electric cooperatives served rural Ohio, visitors never see so much as a light switch, let alone the modern office equipment that occupies the farmhouse’s second story. 

Dave Salmons with the trophy that gets passed around among the friends in his shooting group.

At first glance, shooting clay pigeons and working on electric power lines may not seem to have a lot in common. But Dave Salmons, who’s no stranger to either endeavor, sees some definite commonalities.

Salmons picked up the hobby about 17 years ago after visiting a local fish and game club, and quickly found it got his competitive juices flowing. Competitors walk through the woods, stopping at stations where they take aim at clay “birds” — targets mechanically thrown into the air.

Each competitor shoots 50 targets, keeping score and trying to improve over time. 

The Christian Children’s Home of Ohio is perfectly nestled on 163 acres of former farmland just north of Wooster.

About 60 years ago, the pastor at a church in tiny Rittman, near Wooster, heard about a young person who needed a safe place to stay.

When the property was first acquired, there was a barn, a couple of outbuildings, and a farmhouse that was converted to the first foster home. Since then, five more cottages have been added to the property — each set up similarly to the original farmhouse. Cottages are separated by gender and age and can house as many as 36 residents at a time. 

“Our kids have experienced severe trauma, so one of the things that we really want them to know is it’s okay to just be a kid,” says Kevin Hewitt, CCHO’s president and CEO.

Jackie Driscoll explores her 8-acre pollinator garden in Lorain County. A master gardener volunteer, she’d been gardening since she was 8.

Jackie Driscoll paints her landscape with a palette of colors from native plants.

Driscoll has been gardening since she was a child. Her mother, who kept gardening until she died at 88, planted the joy of gardening seed in her daughter, and it still flourishes.

Jackie and her husband, Brian, lived in a Cleveland suburb while their children were growing up. Their property was small, but Driscoll kept adding plants to it. “My husband finally said, ‘You have to leave some grass,’” she recalls. 

Stacey Shaw, safety director at Holmes-Wayne Electric, says he often just lies on the ground and watches his 10 hives, each of which, he says, has its own distinct personality.

Encountering thousands of bees could be a little disconcerting — maybe downright terrifying — for most of us.

Likewise, Stacey Shaw, safety director and line supervisor at HWEC, has at least 10 beehives on his property near Millersburg, with up to 100,000 bees in each one. “Sometimes, I lie down on the ground and just watch them,” he says. “Each hive has its own personality. Some are really docile, and then you have some that can be more aggressive. But the term ‘worker bee’? They earn that. As soon as daylight comes, they head out strictly for work; they work nonstop until dark and then do it all over again the next morning.”

Bill Pyles taught himself the art of steel blademaking while he recuperated from surgery, and ended up as a champion on the competition series Forged in Fire, thanks to Damascus steel blades he created such as the one above.

Butler Rural Electric Cooperative member Bill Pyles gave himself a valuable piece of advice after a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: “Never say never.”

“After three days of (watching them make blades), I thought, ‘I bet I can do that,’” says Bill, a self-proclaimed tech geek who works for a company in California. 

As it turned out, he was right.

Bill has a wife, Judy (who now refers to herself as a forge widow), four kids, four dogs, and two cats. He’s been a volunteer firefighter for Milford Township for 23 years and is also a part-time beekeeper. He seems to excel at anything he sets his mind to.

After he talked to his wife, he purchased his first small forge for $150. He already had everything else he needed.