Life is an Adventure for Jo Lucas Master Gardener of the Year 2018
Everywhere she goes, Jo Lucas finds something to enjoy. For her, life is discovering new things on a daily basis. Part of this she credits to meeting the love of her life, Don Lucas, who had a spirit of adventure like no other.
Their adventure began in Cody, Wyoming where they were married…with an elk hunt for a honeymoon. Since then hunting, fishing, gardening and many other activities filled their lives until just recently when Don died as a result of an accident.
Their adventures could fill a book and have created many fond memories for her. They made friends wherever they went.
In New Hampshire, they both shot a bear and the bearskins still hang in her house today. She was sitting in a log yard when a bear appeared lumbering through the logs, getting closer and closer. She decided there was no choice but to shoot it and killed it with one shot.
But bears aren’t the only thing on her hit list. Moose, elk, antelope, turkeys and other small game have all been part of her adventures from Maine to Alaska. She’s visited 49 of the 50 states with Hawaii still on her bucket list.
Ice fishing in Maine provided an unusual experience as temperatures were down to -20 and -30 degrees when they took a snowmobile out on the ice. Sometimes when they were ice fishing, they had a portable shanty to use as a windbreak. In Alaska, salmon fishing captured their attention.
Sometimes they used a camper, but most often tents. They had a special cook tent and then several sleeping tents a short distance away just in case an animal would decide to invade the cook tent overnight. Two dogs and a pistol kept her feeling a little safer wherever she happened to camp.
Back home in Guernsey County, Jo enjoyed large gardens and a fruit orchard. From these, she made delicious salsas and jams that she sold at the Farmers’ Market during the summer season.
As a youngster, she grew up in the 4-H program in the Millersburg area, where horses were her passion and project. But on Thanksgiving, everyone went turkey hunting. It was a family tradition!
Since Jo’s move to Guernsey County, she has been involved in the community in so many ways. Jo was the auxiliary president who brought back the idea for Wonderland of Trees at the hospital. That first year, there were six trees and six wreaths.
Other community organizations that are lucky to have her assistance are the Soil & Water Conservation Board (vice-chairman), Ohio Association of Garden Clubs (district treasurer), Mt. Herman Church (treasurer), Hopewell Homemakers, and Adair Ladies Bible Study at Antrim. Perhaps it should be mentioned that Jo has a degree in accounting.
In the last couple of years, she decided to go back to that early passion from 4-H of training and showing horses. These days she assists at Breaking Free Therapeutic Riding Center near Norwich. This facility helps the handicapped improve their physical, psychological and cognitive behaviors through association with a friendly horse. Veterans are always welcome.
Working here has given Jo real pleasure as she volunteers as barn manager. She gets horses ready for riding by exercising them beforehand. Yes, sometimes she even rides herself.
Jo Lucas loves the out-of-doors in so many ways but gardening is one of her favorites. She was recently named OSU Extension Guernsey County Master Gardener of 2018, a well-deserved honor. Jo was one of those original Guernsey County Master Gardeners.
She remembers her days in 4-H and all the help the advisors gave, so felt it was her turn to “give back” to the community. She has shared her knowledge of gardening with hundreds of Guernsey County elementary school children.
Ag school days, master gardener classes and workshops are a few of the ways that she has given back. Over the past few years, she has hosted three pruning workshops at her home.
Local OSU Extension Educator, Clif Little, praised Jo by saying, “I can sum up her work as a Master Gardener volunteer as hard-working, energetic, friendly, generous and very interested in learning. She is the type of person that will always help when we offer gardening classes.” That says it all!
But one place that Jo is a bit dangerous is in a plant nursery. She enjoys trying new plants and searches for them wherever she goes. Sometimes she comes home with almost too many.
There are still a few places on her bucket list and both relate to ancestry. Her grandparents came from Austria and Ireland so those are two places she would enjoy exploring.
Of one thing you can be certain, Jo Lucas will not be sitting in a rocking chair watching the world go by. She’s always ready for an adventure as she strives to learn something new each day.
If you have interest in becoming a Master Gardener in Guernsey County, contact Clif Little in the Guernsey County Extension Office at 740-489-5300.