Growing Tomatoes, Part IV: Productive Maturity

inthegreenhouse1At this time of year in your garden, spring has definitely sprung and the threat of frost is either past or diminished to near zero. You’ve weeded, double-dug and enriched your tomato beds and they’re looking so beautiful and inviting you’re tempted to climb in, yourself. The few young weeds that have sprouted since bed preparation have been ruthlessly eliminated with but the slightest effort.

In the greenhouse or the cold-frame, or maybe just that sunny window ledge –a pretty crowded one, by now— are your gorgeous, bright green tomato starts in their 1-gallon pots, some of them a foot high or more and threatening to get even leggier if you don’t do something. But hold those horses, because there are a few small steps yet to take.

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Weaving on a Straw Loom

Have you ever looked at a simple plastic fast food straw and seen a weavingwoven-bracelets loom? Well, most of us probably haven’t and we’ve been missing out on a wonderful craft project. This project is weaving on a straw loom. I am not the most talented person when it comes to crafts involving sewing, knitting, or crochet but this project was easy and fun. Simple household items like plastic straws, yarn, and tape can create a one-of-a-kind woven bracelet.

Use fast food or packaged straws and wash any used straws so that they are clean and unsticky. Cut the straws into two 5″ sections. Make sure that the ends are even and tape them together at one side. Right now I bet you are thinking that this is insane or trying to figure out how this is going to work but trust me. This will be a project that you will repeat over and over. Continue reading

A Mother’s Day Menu for All Ages

Mother’s Day – that special day in May set aside to remember 30334633our Moms. For some of us it is gathering for a large reunion of many generations, all enjoying their meal together. For other families it may be a specially cooked breakfast served to Mother in bed.

In my household the celebration centers around a Mid-Day meal. Why do we pick a late lunch or early supper? Mother’s Day is on a Sunday and because it is a school night, an early gathering gives time for baths, quiet downtime from the day’s excitement and maybe a chance at a reasonable bedtime.

Here are two menus for you to try depending on your plans; both are designed to be easy for the grown-up in charge (not Mother – remember, she is off today!). Continue reading

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Turn off the TV and play!

Spring is looking better than ever after the cold winter we45385538 had.  I’m so ready for the color, the warmth and the time to be outside.  We know that there may still be some windy, chilly days ahead and to avoid the ‘spring fever’ grumbling, here are a few ideas to engage children in fun learning activities.

  • Have a picnic outside if it’s nice, inside if it’s not.  Grab a couple of books, a blanket and enjoy a relaxing lunch on the floor.  Make it a color picnic if you wish, and incorporate all the foods, clothes, and walk looking for items of a specific color.
  • Rice or beans are a great sensory items for children to play with in a small tote or container.  Place it on a tablecloth or sheet for easy clean up and allow them to pour, fill, dump and measure with different containers. Continue reading

Fighting for Life (A Kitten Story)

My daughter’s science project looks at the exponentialtiny-baby-are-you-breathing numbers involved when a single feral cat gets pregnant producing up to twenty kittens in a year. Then the kittens produce kittens and the colony expands. We have trapped two mommies and the drama has begun.

But the gift of life is still a breathtaking wonder to behold!

The cat Brigit calls Spot, gave birth to five babies. By the time we checked on her in the barn cage, one kitten had been shoved away. It was cold and limp. Lifeless. Brigit didn’t want to touch it. Death is a fearful thing. But I gently eased the body of the little Calico out of the cage and rubbed it.

If only it weren’t so cold. If only I could rub it back into life.

As I massaged the little fur ball it began to move, ever so slightly. All we knew for sure was that it wasn’t dead—yet! That was enough to change everything. Nine-year-old Brigit hopped on her bike to get help from a neighbor who is an expert on cats. Continue reading

Sheep are Next by Popular Vote!

Young Colt Mural in the Buggy Barn

Young Colt Mural in the Buggy Barn

My name is Sue Steiner and I am the artist painting the farm animal murals in the Buggy Barn.   A couple years ago I painted the outside farm animal murals and now I am working on adding to the murals in the Buggy Barn,  an authentic century old post and beam structure used by the Amish to store buggies and house animals.  The buggy barn in the store was dismantled on the farm and reconstructed in the store.  My job has been to add the ‘animal’ element to the barn.   Jay Lehman has been busy adding antique farm implements and tools in the buggy barn just as you’d expect to see in the real thing.   It is becoming quite an interesting place!  I particularly enjoy seeing the young kids faces when they see the animals.

On many Fridays from 10-2:00 you can find me working on the latest mural.  As I am nearing completion of the young colt painting (pictured above) I have begun to tally votes for the next farm animal to go in the Buggy Barn.  I’ve been asking people to leave comments here or to give me their vote when I am in the store painting.  Some of the suggestions I’ve recieved have been barn cats, piglets, goats, calf, mouse, oxen and llama.  Popular vote has been the sheep goes in next.  You can see my rough sketch with chalk below the roosting chickens as I am beginning to plan out what I will paint.

rough sketch of ewe

rough sketch of ewe

I am letting you determine what goes in after I complete the sheep so if you want to register your vote now is your chance!  Feel free to say any of the animals already mentioned or one of your own choosing.   I am game for what you all decide- provided it makes sense that it would be seen in an Amish Buggy Barn!

To see when I am scheduled to paint again click on the Events tab on the top of this page.

Thank you!

Garden Themed Arts and Crafts Demos

Feline Garden Fantasies by Vicki Boatright

This week visitors to Lehman’s will be treated to some fun, free and informative demos in the Buggy Barn.  In keeping with the start of the growing season the demos will have a gardening theme as people  gear up to plant gardens and take advantage of the newly expanded garden room at the Kidron store.

Friday’s Demo 10:00am – 2:00 pm

Feline Garden Fantasies by Contemporary Folk Artist BZTAT

Artist Vicki Boatright, known as “BZTAT” (pronounced bee-zee-tat), specializes in whimsical drawings, paintings and prints of cats, dogs and other companion animals.  BZTAT will create a painting of a cat frolicking in the garden in her unique, contemporary style as part of her demo.   Her use of bright colors and uplifting themes are a hit with all ages so be sure to stop by! 
Life is an Adventure!
Vicki Boatright
Art Adventures Studios

Saturday’s Demo 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Ron Hardy will share some of his garden themed art as he carves daffodils and other spring flowers in wood.  As many of you know Lehman’s carries a wide assortment of wood carving tools so if inspiration hits after you watch Ron you can find the right tools to try this on  your own!

To see upcoming demos and special events please click on the Events tab on the top of this page.

Local Artisans

Check out the Events Calendar on this page to see the schedule of local artisans sharing their knowledge and skills in Lehman’s Buggy Barn as demos.   We are fortunate to have a wide variety of local, talented folks from the Ohio Arts and Crafts Guild who welcome the chance to talk with visitors to the store on topics of interest such as environmentally ‘green’  activities, farm related arts and crafts,  pottery, wood carving, farm animal art, rural landscape oil paintings and gardening.

This week Devona of Clevernesting will be back with her garden themed crafts using recycled items normally thrown away.  Last week she shared with us seed catalog art, plastic grocery bag woven baskets and coffee bag seed starter pots.  You’ll enjoy her enthusiam as she shares her wealth of ideas and tutorials on how to make the most with the least using commonly found items! Continue reading


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