Like Geese, We Flew: Lighthouse Family Moves Inland

It was time, and like geese we flew.  After nearly 14 years of remote coastal living we were drawn once again to the North.  Late in the spring we finalized our decision and began to make arrangements knowing full well that it would be October before all the pieces could fall into place – far too late to make a homesteading start on our land in thclip_image004e North.  We began to pack anyway, a long tedious task  involving building of crates and very careful wrapping of everything we owned.

Since he had to go by small boat and go early enough to avoid heavy seas, “sea horse” Teff was the first to leave.  You can see his adventure here.

Next to go were all our household goods…. crates and crates of them went down the boardwalk, to the highline, down to the workboat, and onto the ship.
clip_image010One of our big concerns was a place to winter.  With temperatures dipping to -40F, we knew that tenting wasn’t an option.  Since our work is done via the web, we had to have internet connection as well.  Inquiry and word of mouth eventually turned up a rather remote log house that needed “sitting” until the end of March.  With 6 of us, assorted critters, and plants including our mobile orchard, it would be a tight fit but it would fill our needs nicely.
This place had a small barn for critters, a cold-room for our trees, a huge empty Great Room for our crates, but only one bedroom.  Fortunately, the sitting room was large enough to serve as a pseudo bedroom for the 4 kids.  Perfect.  clip_image014We would be able to get the long and difficult transit out of the way, have shelter for the coldest months, a place to work, and best of all, be ready for an early start in the spring.

Nearly three weeks after we arrived, our boxes and crates arrived.  The Great Room filled quickly.

Everything was in place just in time to settle down for a winter of bonding with our new guardian dog…

That puppy grew….…and grew…and grew…and grew…

Stay tuned to see how he fit into our new place and how, this spring, we began to tackle The Homestead project.

And what we learned about shipping containers…

Eat Your Weeds!

Foraging for wild greens is an age old practice, and here in Ohio it’s the perfect time of year to grab a buckdscf4146 (2)et and take a hike to search for supper ingredients. While you wait for your garden seedlings to grow, you can take advantage of the delicious and nutritious greens nature provides. Many of the wild greens available this time of year are packed with vitamins and minerals, plus many have cleansing qualities to help clear our bodies of toxins we accumulated over the winter.

Dandelion is probably the most common one, and the young greens make a tasty salad or can be used as wilted greens. Traditionally, dandelion is served with a hot vinegar dressing and topped with hard boiled egg and bacon. There are even a couple restaurants in Holmes County that feature Dandelion Salad on the menu during the spring season. Dandelion greens are best eaten young as they become more bitter when the plant flowers. The flowers are the ingredient used in dandelion wine, plus they can be dipped in batter and fried. Continue reading

Finishing What I Started

Editor’s Note: In the last edition of Lehman’s Front Porch Newsletter (April 9th), I used a quote from this article as the opening to my “editor’s notes.” If you thought I found that quote on my own, you’re dead wrong. In truth, I had just read the following article by Sherry, and I was so inspired by HER use of the famous quote that I “stole” it and used it before this article was even published. I hope as you read on, you’ll understand why I was so taken with this quote from Goethe – and I also hope Sherry can forgive me for my reckless fit of fancy… S.N.

Five years ago, I moved into a house that I was surprised to find passed final inspection because of how unfi87588391nished the inside was.  This was a house I had put my heart and soul into designing (an effort that took nearly two years), and then acted as General Contractor – something that should come with a warning label, “Do Not Try This While Working Full Time” – for nearly another year.  The interest-only construction loan was costing about a full mortgage payment each month, having been drawn to its limit, and ready or not, it was time.  For the first few weeks, I would look at the ragged edges of sheet rock around the windows and doors and smile, knowing I could do the simple forms of finish carpentry myself, having tried it at my former home in North Carolina. Continue reading

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These are the “Bear” Facts

By Brigit Brown, age 10 (Editor’s Note: Brigit is the daughter of newsletter contributor Judith Costello.)

It was many years ago. I was three years old. This was back when we were still living in Taos. I was playing with 87769678a dog we called Bear. Bear is huge with floppy ears and a stocky body.
I was so small I could barely keep up with him. Jurgen, my stepdad, was sitting in a lawn chair half sleeping, half watching me. My mom and brother were in the house making lemonade. I looked up hearing a noise near my head. There was a butterfly! I started to chase it. It flew happily around teasing me. I tripped on a tree root and the butterfly got away. Darn.
I saw the shadow of a dog. I thought it was Bear coming to rescue me and scold the butterfly for making me fall. I looked up as the shadow got closer only to find a huge dog, bigger than Bear. I lifted my head again. The dog snarled at me and two others came from behind him. I started to cry. I didn’t know what to do. I hugged the ground. Then I heard barking and more snarling. Bear had come to my rescue! I got up and ran to Jurgen’s side. Continue reading

Dutch Oven Gathering set for May 29 at Lehman’s

The third annual “Dutch Oven Gathering at Lehman’s of Kidron” will be held Saturday, May 29, 2010 from 10:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.

Dutch oven cooks of all skill levels can come and join in. Individuals as well as groups like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are welcome. Bring all your supplies and a favorite dish or two to cook.

Never cooked in a Dutch oven before and want to learn? No problem, come participate in our Dutch oven training classes. Lehman’s has a large selection of cast iron pots and accessories for you to stock up with. There will also be a youth Dutch oven cook-off with prizes for the winners.

We will start setting-up at 10:00a.m. and plan on eating a great pot-luck style meal at 4:00p.m. There will be plenty of time for set-up, food preparation, cooking and walking through Lehman’s unique store. Lehman’s is known world-wide for their simple, down to earth products and philosophy. Come make some new friends and cook up some good food! For more information or to sign-up, please call or email: Matt Buser – (330) 603-7266 or

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Congratulations to Kim Neeper of Wapakoneta, Ohio! Kim is the winner of our Best of Ohio’s Amish Country email 88349183newsletter signup contest, held back in February in conjunction with The Best of Ohio’s Amish Country website. Kim will receive a $50 gift card from each of the member retailers of BOAC: 1) Lehman’s 2) Homestead Furniture 3) Coblentz Chocolate 4) Amish Door 5) P. Graham Dunn and 6) Keim Lumber. (Click here for more info on these fantastic businesses.)

Kim says Holmes County, Ohio (near Lehman’s) is a favorite getaway spot and can’t wait to use all those gift cards!

Thanks to all who entered – and watch for more contests in the future!

Spring and the Promise of New Life

Louie the Lamb003Editor’s Note: This post comes to us from Renee Miller, Lehman’s Administrative Buying Assistant. Renee and her family have been enjoying caring for an adorable little lamb this spring. Read on…

Renee writes:

We recently acquired a new family member this weekend from a friend who was telling us about the lamb.  Apparently this happens more often than I knew that some sheep can’t or won’t care for their newborns. Anyway, our friend offered us the opportunity to bottle feed the lamb, which may lead to (down the road) a new adventure of actually having livestock on our farm!  Right now, we are just enjoying this new life.

Louie the Lamb004 Louie the Lamb001

Update on St. Patrick’s Day Planting

Editor’s Note: This article is a follow-up to an earlier piece written by Becky Workinger, Lehman’s Customer Service Manager. Becky is a farmer’s wife who loves “digging in the dirt” herself. Enjoy!


Becky's Peas

2nd week of April, 2010
I was so excited to see the peas are up and going, but I was not seeing potatoes, so I dug down to see if they were sprouting,  and there they were, growing much slower than the peas.
Take a look at the picture; don’t you just love the green shoots standing up and stretching for the sun? I am sure that the unusual 75-degree days we recently enjoyed have helped the growth. The 41-degree day we are having today may be not so friendly to them.  I think the row is a little crooked looking, but maybe it’s the angle at which I am standing, using my cell phone to snap the picture.  Farmers are always proud to show off their straight rows of planting their fields and of course in their gardens.  I think there is some old wives’ tale that says the crooked row always has more in it.

I am reminded of the little song we used to sing with the 2-yr-old Sunday School Class: Continue reading

Water from a well even without electricity

If you live in the country, you probably get your water from a drilled well in your basement or backyard. In most cases, the “well” looks like a steel or plastic pipe about 4″ to 5″ diameter that projects a few inches above ground and has a steel cap on it.
Depending on the depth of the well, there’s either an above ground pump (often called a jet pump) or “deep well” submersible electric pump hidden in the well. Need to know more? There’s an excellent article on how electric well pumps work on the Popular Mechanics website.

You can learn about wells on the EPA website (click on their photo, above)

You can learn about wells on the EPA website (click on their photo, above)

Either way, a power failure can leave you high and dry. Because well pump systems incorporate a storage tank (sometimes called a pressure tank), you may have a access to 20-30 gallons even without electricity. But, it’s astonishing how fast it runs out. And, how much you miss access to fresh water after it’s gone!

It’s doubly frustrating, because in many cases you can actually see the water in the bottom of the well. It’s just too far away to reach! Fortunately, we have two ways to solve the problem! Continue reading

10 Questions for Galen…

Lehman’s President Galen Lehman celebrates a milestone birthday this month (April 12th to be exact). We’re not saying which milestone, but we will say the number is an even one and begins with a ‘5’ (ahem).galen

All kidding aside, Galen graciously answered the following 10 questions for us. Read on, and you’ll learn a lot about Galen, and Lehman’s, too. Happy Birthday, Galen!

Your age when you started working at Lehman’s: 15. I remember because they needed someone to haul trash to the dump and we were so short handed that I had to do it before I had my driver’s license! (That’s often how things are done in farming communities.)

Very first job you did and what it taught you: My first job was right here.  And, what it taught me is that my Dad has pretty high expectations, but is also very forgiving.  Over the 35 years that we’ve worked together, I moved from being a rebellious teenager who usually gave Dad a good bit of push back to counting him as my best friend who always had wise advice.  Mom died in 1999, and when Dad remarried a few years later, he chose me as his best man.  That was one of my proudest moments. Continue reading