Un-Pinching Your Pennies

We like to talk a lot about frugality ’round these parts. And with the tough times folks have been facing lately, the value in such advice increases tenfold. But can I be honest with you? It’s getting — well — a little old.

And excessive. Haven’t you noticed that so many articles you read about saving money say the same things? Forego that Friday morning latte and brew it yourself. Don’t get your nails done on payday — paint ’em at home. Don’t have that date night at a restaurant — cook a romantic dinner in your own kitchen. Vacation? Fuhgeddaboudit — try a staycation!

And sometimes we need that advice. We can benefit from a nudge out of our routine. We can stand to be reminded that superfluous spending cuts into our budgets without adding any additional joy.

But what about when it does?

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Born Again Vegetables

by Tim Matson

Three  vegetable  gardens,  a  patch  of  herbs,  a  spreading  orchard,  a bed  of  blueberries,  and  a  field  of  raspberries  and  blackberries––when people first see this place, the question is bound to be asked: “Isn’t it a lot of work?”

The answer is yes. There are days in the thick of the growing season  when  he  carrots  need  thinning  and  the  potato  bugs  need zapping  and  everything  aches  for  a  water.  That’s  when  visions  of white  blankets  of  murderous  frost  dance  in  my  head.  Or  at  least that’s  how  I  used  to  feel,  before  I  discovered  some  shortcut crops that help trim garden overtime. Now instead of growing everything under  the  sun,  I  relax  a  little.  While  the  neighbors  are  out  raising plastic cloches in the spring mud, Ellen and I dig into a fresh salad. Friends are likely to be planting in the middle of a gale while we’re adding  greens  to  an  omelette.  Where  the  food  comes  from  is  just outside our kitchen door. Continue reading

The Kidron to Hollywood Connection

What do Jacob Miller, an Amish dairy farmer in northeast Ohio, and Brad Pitt, the Golden Globe-winning Hollywood star, have in common? They both shop at Lehman’s, the country’s most famous old-time general store.

Where else could Jacob find the butter churns, cream separators and glass milk bottles he needs for his cows? And where could Brad (or more accurately, his production staff for the film, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) find candle-making supplies, oil lamps, washboards, boot scrapers, shopkeepers’ bells, corn planters and milkhouse brooms?

Providing merchandise to movie production companies looking for historically accurate period pieces is a growing segment for Lehman’s. Virtually every major movie set from 1800 to 1950 purchases authentic set pieces from the store. Cold Mountain with Nicole Kidman; Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp; War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise; Disney’s remake of Little House on the Prairie and many more. Continue reading

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Spring Greens

It is the time to head to the cold frame with your scissors and gathering basket.  If you haven’t planted yours yet – there is still time to plant lettuces and other greens.

Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce Seeds

Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce Seeds

Here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge in North Carolina we have warm and cool weather this time of year.  This fluctuation of weather makes growing it in a cold frame ideal. Late spring freezes and snow can be covered and protected against.

You can plant and cultivate traditional lettuce as well as try some baby greens of vegetables such as; beets, cabbage, bean sprouts and snow pea sprout.  Do you have access to edible flowers? They need to free from any sprays or harmful treatments.  Pansies add a happy face to a fresh garden salad. Continue reading

Six Favorites for Spring Cookouts

Cooking outdoors always seems to make the food taste especially good.  Here are some recipes to make your grill and your guests sing this season. Get out there and enjoy the gorgeous weather, your family and your grill! Recipes are courtesy of Dori Fritzinger (author of From My Family Recipe Box) and taken from Lehman’s 55th Anniversary Cookbook. Bon appetit…

Kids’ll Love ‘Em Burgers (Dori Fritzinger)
1- 1 1/4 pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons steak sauce (such as A1)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano (or 3/4 teaspoon dried)
1-2 tablespoons finely minced onion Continue reading

The Therapy of Handmade

When we consider the back-to-basics movement, there are a few questions that present themselves over and over again. Why have the crafts of the past gained so much momentum? Why do we still insist on the substantiality of books in a Kindle era? Why were knitting and crocheting at the heart of a revivalist movement among America’s youngest and most modern women: college students? And why are the unapologetically anti-establishment types purchasing land and raising livestock like their austere great-grandparents did? I have the answer. It’s the therapy of handmade.

More than a few of us are feeling disconnected from our labor. Perhaps your job has you handling intangibles, like retirement planning or information management. That would make you part of an ever-growing sector of the American economy, a sector filled with people who are itching to make something they can see. Perhaps you feel like just one cog in a giant machine, and being the guy who makes the springs go in ballpoint pens just isn’t satisfying your creative muscle. You’re curious — what would it feel like to see a project through from beginning to end? You wonder if you could make yourself more balanced, more whole even, by learning how to make something you could wrap your hands around. Continue reading

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Eggs: Protein Powerhouses

Stoneware Batter BowlsEggs are a farm family staple – in fact, they are featured in cuisines throughout the earth.  They contain many of the necessary nutrients we need everyday in a healthy diet.  Once thought harmful we now know that in moderation eggs are wonderful parts of a well balanced healthy lifestyle.

Eggs have a large ratio of protein per serving. This factor can make them a smart addition to breakfast choices when trying to loss weight and fight obesity.  USDA studies have shown that people who ate one egg per morning were not as apt to become hungry and overeat the remainder of the day.

Eggs are also a concentrated source of Omega-3.  Omega-3 has been directly linked to fighting harmful cholesterol and heart disease. All these facts make eggs a surprising nutritional tool – as opposed to their recent reputation of being unhealthy for us.

Try this basic quiche recipe to add much-needed protein to your family’s springtime diet. The variations are endless; you can “personalize” it to whatever veggies, meats and cheeses your family enjoys. Continue reading

Plenty of Enough for Earth Day

In Irish the word for plenty is galeor (galore). The word for enough is also galeor (galore).

In thinking about how to celebrate Earth Day, I find this linguistic example is highly instructive. Enough is plenty. And plenty is always enough. Mother Earth exemplifies this principle.

So this Earth Day I’m going to make some unconventional suggestions. First a practice, then some practicality.

1.    Look around you. I mean, really look around your environment – your home, your car, your neighbourhood, your town. Note what you have plenty of – tulips? trees? butterflies? cats? children? traffic? strip malls? food? litter?
2.    Write these all down. Make a list with the heading ‘Plenty’.
3.    Now…look again around your environment – your home, car, neighbourhood, town.  Note down what you have enough of – food? shelter? clothing?
4.    Write this all down. Make a list with the heading ‘Enough.’
5.    Contrast and compare. Cogitate.

What you may find out is that you have More Than Enough.

You may find your linen closet groaning with more bed linen than you need now the kids have left home. Maybe it’s time to collect some surplus and give it to Goodwill.  This is a form of recycling that is also sharing with some people who may be finding it hard to have enough of quite basic items. Continue reading

Power Outage as Blessing? A Different View.

I asked my family the other night… what if all the power went out?  What would we do?   These are  the responses I received.

My 7-year-old got really wide eyed and looked around questioningly… I don’t think he can imagine a world without electricity.  This leads me to believe we may need to have a few practice blackout nights.

My 15-year-old son immediately thought of something vitally important to all 15 year old boys.  Food!  Save the food!  He declared, “Don’t open the refrigerator unless absolutely necessary!”  He is right, keeping the refrigerator door closed will preserve the cold in the refrigerator.  The food will stay cooler until the power has returned.

My ever-practical and always-prepared husband immediately grabbed a piece of paper and started jotting notes.  His list includes a few tips of things to do, but the bulk of it is is all the things that we should have already done before the outage. Continue reading

Goodbye, Good Buy! (And Good Riddance)

We’ve all heard the saying, “My loss is your gain.”  And your gains just got bigger!  70% bigger, in fact! 

Right now, and only until this Saturday, April 23rd, you can save 70% on flood damaged merchandise in our retail store!

The 18” to 36” of water that swept through our store on February 28 left a huge mess in its wake.  Merchandise of every description floated around the store.  That includes giant pickle crocks (that must weigh more than 20 lbs) and full-size refrigerators.  Mud, corn stalks and other farm runoff covered every flat surface less than two feet from the floor with up ½” of slime.

It was our loss.  For the last month, we’ve cleaned, squeegeed and sorted.  At one point, we had two large rooms…as big as an average sized home…full of merchandise, all marked 50% off.  That’s well below our cost, in case you’re wondering.

And, the old saying is true.  Our loss is your gain.  Most of that merchandise didn’t have a whole lot wrong with it.
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