Margaret Buranen

Bob Lawson, a member of the Cincinnati chapter of the National Model Railroad Association, built this large HO-scale model of the Southern Railway, which traveled from Cincinnati to Chattanooga, in his Cincinnati-area home (photo courtesy of John Burchnall).

Jody Davis got his first electric train for Christmas when he was 8 years old. But his love affair with trains started even earlier. 

Davis joined Associated Model Railroad Engineers of Coshocton when he was 14, and currently, at 55, serves as president. 

An early start

It’s a familiar story with model railroaders: A childhood fascination with trains leads to a Christmas or birthday gift of a model train set. Retired music educator Bruce Knapp, 81, of North Bend, is still an active participant and member of the National Model Railroad Association’s Cincinnati chapter.

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. 

Gary Stretar

When young Gary Stretar wasn’t playing sports, he was busy drawing something. He didn’t grow up to become an athlete, but two childhood influences cemented that second pastime into a rewarding career.

The first was his teacher in both fifth and sixth grades, Miss Paul. Stretar says he didn’t learn much more in college art classes than what Miss Paul had already taught him. “Teachers don’t always challenge kids to learn more, but she did,” he says. “She wasn’t afraid to teach us [advanced art techniques of] perspective, line, color values. A lot of us in her classes went on to art careers.”

A five-story, 1/144-scale dollhouse.

Whether they’re furnishing realistic-looking rooms in a dollhouse or creating a unique tiny display, for folks who collect and create miniatures, it truly is a small, small world.

Some miniaturists buy completely finished items when they want to furnish a dollhouse or display. Other collectors buy furniture and other items from kits so that they have the fun of doing the craft and painting it however they wish. 

The dollhouses that miniaturists enjoy furnishing are very different from dollhouses made for children. They are smaller and constructed to exact scale, and the furniture and other decorative items placed inside are too small and too expensive for children to play with. 

Cathann Kress with members of OSU CFAES.

Cathann Kress’ introduction to American life and American agriculture didn’t happen until she was well into her teenage years. Before then, her family lived wherever her parents’ Air Force careers took them — mainly the Middle East and Brazil.

Kress took to farm life right away after she moved to Iowa. She enjoyed baling hay and all the chores required for raising hogs, sheep, corn, and soybeans. Like many farm kids, she belonged to 4-H, where she showed sheep and did public speaking. 

Rick Moore with his flock.

Ohio, believe it or not, is the largest wool-producing state east of the Mississippi River. Sheep farms here come in all sizes, from larger commercial operations to small boutique plots. 

Multigenerational

Rick Moore is the seventh generation in his family to raise sheep at Cottage Hill Farm near Cadiz in Harrison County. The farm began as a land grant signed by James Madison in 1816. 

Moore’s son Steven and his father, Stanley — still active at 88 — farm with him. The foundation of Moore’s flock is 250 purebred Merino ewes. In alternating years, some are bred to purebred Merino rams and continue the line of high-quality wool production, while others are crossed with other breeds to produce lambs for meat.

Janet Bowers

For years, Janet Bowers would make truffles as gifts for friends and colleagues, but, she says, “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could do it professionally.” After all, she already had a full-time job as a practicing psychologist. 

Bowers, a member of South Central Power Company, grew up in Chillicothe and went on to work for the National Park Service and as a schoolteacher before deciding to earn her doctorate in clinical and forensic psychology.

Golden retriever

Golden retrievers are beautiful and affectionate dogs. They’re great with children and get along with other dogs and, usually, cats. Those characteristics make them among the most popular dog breeds.

In Ohio, 102 golden retrievers were enrolled in the study. Among them is Montana, now 9, who lives in Oberlin with his owners, Kim and Scott Faulks, members of Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative. 

Montana was a full brother to Ryder, the Faulks’ first golden retriever. “Ryder gave us three wonderful years,” says Kim Faulk. “He was never upset or angry, always loving and trusting.”

The Faulks were devastated when Ryder died of cancer at only 3 years old. Ryder is the reason that Montana is a “Hero,” which is what GRLS participants are called.

Nancy Crow

Nancy Crow’s quilts hang in the Smithsonian and the Museum of Folk Art. They’ve been on exhibit in China, England, France, and other countries. Some of her quilts even appear on the covers of two of Maya Angelou’s books.

Surprisingly, for a fabric artist as accomplished as Crow is, she did not learn to sew when she was young. She became an avid knitter in high school, but didn’t create any fabric art until she took a course in tapestry weaving at Ohio State University. Her BFA and MFA degrees from the university were focused on ceramics art.

Kane Lewis and Rachel Jarman

Nineteen-year-old Kane Lewis’ life changed instantly on Nov. 16, 2019. While he was on a hunting trip, he had a seizure that caused him to fall from his tree stand — breaking his back and leaving him paralyzed. 

Working with state agencies, AgrAbility helped Lewis get a lift to put him on farm machinery, an Action Trackchair that will go over any terrain, and an automatic barn door opener. 

“AgrAbility has given me so much more freedom than I could have expected,” Lewis says. “I didn’t [have to] slow down.”

Just a month and a week after his accident, Lewis was back in college, where his classmates raised $13,000 to buy him an electric wheelchair to get around campus easily. By spring, he was back planting corn and soybeans.