Kerosene Lamp Love

Amethyst Glass Lincoln Drape Lamp

Amethyst Glass Lincoln Drape Lamp

Greg’s post about his oil lamp and the responses to it had me feeling nostalgic. When I was young (very young!) Grandma used sit in her rockeralongside a table in the living room, reading by the light of a coal oil lamp. I can see her reading there now, the lamp throwing rounded shadows that swayed and danced as she rocked.

Although she called it coal oil, the fluid that burned so brightly might have been kerosene. There is little distinction between the two fuels, but coal oil is distilled from a combination of cannel coal, mineral wax and bituminous shale, while kerosene is distilled from oil. Kerosene burns brighter, longer and cleaner than coal oil and it smells (a little) better, too. Continue reading

The amazing strainer! 18 qt of apple sauce from a bushel in 2 hours

Roma Food Mill

Roma Food Mill

One of my favorite products is our food mill & strainer. It turns any soft fruit into a smooth puree’ with no seeds or skins. Making apple sauce, tomato sauce and jam is as simple as pouring in the fruit and turning the crank.

With optional attachments, it can even turn pumpkins into pie filling and vegetables into even diced salsa. There’s also an attachment to make jam that is seed-free.

It was one of the first Lehman’s products we bought when we set up our household almost 30 years ago. But, someone borrowed it two years ago and they liked it so much that it never came back! (Read on for a full review of the strainer by Galen Lehman.) Continue reading

The Real Brownies

A surprise for the wife – revisited
The bakers edge pan is getting a work out. Since I despise the idea of baking from a box (all due respect to Betty Crocker), I thought I would try to make brownies using the recipe in the instructions for the pan. The first batch came out very nicely. Took them into work, they were enjoyed with rave reviews. The second batch went to Westview manor where my wife works. They were cleaned out (along with a batch of special recipe chocolate chip cookies) in no time flat.

So I thought I would blog these brownies. They really are easy to make, I clocked them at a half hour prep time (with several stops to watch Brett Favre on Monday Night Football). I know this is considerably more time than the five minute box, but from what I understand the results are well worth it. Remember I do not like brownies, the women in my life do. Continue reading

Getting the Most out of Lehman’s Country Life – RSS

My mom has an awful time understanding technology. One of the best methods I have found to help her understand technology is to equate it to something she understands. My mother is a very intelligent woman, holding a Masters Degree, she worked in an office most of her life. When she got her first computer, she could not understand what was going on when Windows informed her that there is insufficient memory to run the application.

She would say that I have “10Gbytes of memory” (dated isn’t it)!

What she did not understand was the difference between storage memory and system memory. I told her that the storage memory was how big of a file cabinet you have to store folders, documents, etc. the system memory was how big your desk is to put those documents and folders on for use. That helped her considerably.

I will be writing a series of articles to introduce some of our more technologically challenged to some of the marvels that are available. As I find more marvels I will be adding, and introducing them.

I would like to introduce the readers of Lehman’s Country Life to the idea of RSS (Real Simple Syndication).

“Great” you say “but what does it mean to me”?

What is RSS?

I saw a blog posting elsewhere that described RSS as (Ready for Some Stories) I thought that was good. In one simple click you can get all the latest postings from Lehman’s Country Life and your other favorite blogs as well as the comments. Uber Cool huh? Most of the modern browsers have a built in feed reader including the latest release of Internet explorer (version 7) from Microsoft and FireFox from Mozilla. You can also utilize the services of some of the feed reading services on the web like bloglines or google. Some additional reading can be found at What is an RSS Continue reading

A Surprise for the Wife

What is it with women and chocolate? Whatever it is, it seems to make them happy, so is the case with my wife. Whether it be some of the “specially made” chocolate chip cookies, or a pan full of brownies, it just seems to make her happy. Me, a good steak dinner, but that is not the point. The wife will eat every brownie around the edge of the usual 13″ x 9″ pan first, leaving the rest for the kids or as the last pieces eaten. I don’t get that either, but again, not the point.

When we got a sample of this Baker’s Edge pan at Lehman’s, I knew it was something that the wife would like. Well, today I purchased one and brought it home. Since I get home before her, I thought it would be a nice surprise to have some brownies waiting for her. She hasn’t felt well the last few days (the weather in North East Ohio has been a trifle damp- right Sarah), I thought this may help cure the blues. Not such a bad guy am I?

The box it came inwhat is in the boxThe pan comes packaged in a nice sturdy box, complete with instructions for use and a spatula made for the pan. The pans surface has a nice non-stick coating, only time will tell how it will hold up. The instructions suggest washing the pan first so I got my son on that job, while I started mixing the batter. Continue reading

Loving a Wood Cookstove

I’m not really a nut about cooking, but the closest I’ve ever come to really, really enjoying it was when I had the wood cookstove.

The Waterford Stanley Cookstove

The Waterford Stanley Cookstove

We had this old house that was built around wood stoves, pre 1900 style, with a central chimney and a kitchen that just cried for a woodburning cookstove. My husband, patient man, indulged me, even though he didn’t even like to cut wood (I wound up doing a lot of it myself). Anyway, we set off on a quest and after asking around, soon found a real treasure. My brother-in-law’s father had two of them in a shed about three hours away.

Off we went in the old Chevy truck (a story for a different time), reasoning that if one of them was workable, we could just bring it home.

Well, never to do things halfway, we brought both of them home – for $50. Who could pass up a deal like that? After another $50 or so in stove bolts, rust remover, soap and water and stove black, we got one of them in working condition. There was even a coal/wood grate and a lid lifter that fit the lids. I was thrilled! Continue reading

It’s a Trifle Damp…

Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.  ~Kin Hubbard

So true. Today it’s rain, rain, rain. Rained through the night and it’s still coming down this afternoon. (Another good quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is…let it rain.”)

Instead of the work around the yard and flowerbeds that desperately needs to be done, we’ll all be spending a cozy evening inside. Seems like it will be a good soup-making or cookie-baking evening. Or perhaps a relax-with-a-cup-of-tea and magazine evening. Then again, I could always reorganize the coat closet or put away the summer things…

What do you do when rain puts a damper on (ha ha) your outdoor chores?

Technology by the Oil Lamp

Oil Lamp and Computer with iPodIt is often a running joke in my world, programming by the light of the Amish Double wick. As a hopeless techie and programmer, I am forever attached to technology. This does not mean that I cannot enjoy some aspects of life without electricity.

The Amish Double Wick lamp is one of the first purchases that I made from Lehman’s. I find candles very comforting and relaxing but sometimes lacking a bit in light output. Incandescent lamps are far too bright, besides they do not have the soft glow or dancing flame that is so soothing. Forget fluorescent lamps, they say the cycle of the lamps is imperceptible to humans, I dislike it none the less. At Lehman’s I am fortunate enough to have a desk lamp with an incandescent bulb, that is on the entire time I am at work. It serves to offset the fluorescent lamps of the office. I do not think Galen would want me to run an oil lamp at the office, I should ask him though. What do you think Galen?

My version of the Amish Double wick is one of the last examples with the old style font. It holds a lot of oil, which gives me a lot of time between fill ups. The oil I use (Lamplight Ultra-Pure) does not smell, give off any fumes, cause me any headaches, and burns clean. I try to keep the wick trimmed properly but this is an art I have not mastered yet. Filling the font is done in the garage, the large gallon size bottle is sometimes difficult to control and the font suddenly fills faster toward the top, spills are frequent. Continue reading

Rendering Lard: A First-Timer’s Guide

Lard in JarsRendering lard – is it really as hard as “they” say?

Back in the “good old days,” lard was the only fat that was used besides butter for cooking, baking or even spreading on bread for a sandwich. Lard has been used for centuries and centuries, ever since people began realizing what could be processed from a pig. Perhaps you have heard the statement, “the only thing not used from a pig is his squeal!”

Now, as we all know (or have heard), lard is the best for cooking, frying and baking. Almost any old recipe will call for lard. Any new recipe will call for shortening (Crisco or any other brand). Continue reading

The Great Bread Challenge

Ever since Elaine (One of Lehman’s buyers) told me to take a Terra Cotta bread pan with a crack in it home to test, I have been into making bread. She told me that the manufacturer said it was normal for a Terra Cotta pan to have these characteristics. Elaine wanted to know if, through use, the crack would get worse? Nope, it has not, in fact I like this pan a lot. Recently I stopped by the store to pick up the dough bowl that I have had my eye on for a long time. This is a wooden dough bowl that is intended to be used for bread rising. According to Sarah’s copy (our copy writer and the editor of this blog) and research on the internet, I find that the bowl provides the insulated environment that is perfect for the bread to rise.

Bread rises perfectly – Baked goods stay warmer
A welcome relief to bread bakers everywhere! You know how difficult it is to find the perfect spot when it’s time to let your bread dough rise. Our dough bowl is the answer. It doesn’t retain cold so bread dough rises perfectly. Insulates, so baked goods stay warmer. Absorbs oil (which helps season it), so fried foods stay crisp.

Another nice feature is the bowl does not need to be oiled, in fact it soaks up oil that comes out of the rising dough.

While at the store I picked up another terra cotta bread pan (being so satisfied with the first). The recipe I use makes two loaves so, typically I use the terra cotta pan and one of my standard glass pans for the recipe. As I was making my loaves of bread for the week this past weekend, I wondered how big of a deal it was to use the dough bowl. Then as I loaded the loaves in the new terra cotta pan that just got seasoned by my son and wondered how much of a difference these items make in the quality of the bread. I am going to answer that question below. Continue reading