Mark Your Calendar Now–Quilt Auction is Coming Up Fast!

An MCC quilter explains techniques as a young observer looks on.

It’s just over a month away, on August 4: The Ohio Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale and Auction. Or, as folks around this area say, “the quilt auction.”

Detail of quilt block.

It’s much more than just a quilt auction, although over 100 handmade quilts will be auctioned off during the event, which is August 3-4, 2012. It’s actually a chance for you to contribute to a wonderful cause that effects change at home and abroad.

Plan to go both days–and don’t miss the quilt auction at 10 a.m, Saturday, August 4. Visit for details. Stay tuned for updates as the event gets closer.


Harvest Time ‘Cheat’ Speeds Produce Production

Garden Hod, available at or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

First of all, you need at least two youngsters to help you gather the produce, and they should be armed with laundry baskets. At least, that’s what Mom always said. Once all hands were on deck, and expectations for the day outlined, picking in our large suburban gardens began. We picked early, before the dew was dry. Continue reading

Q&A: Sweeten Up with Stevia

Many folks have mentioned that this is their first summer growing stevia, a wonderful alternative sweetener that’s a nice complement to homegrown berries and other produce. There are so many views on harvesting, drying and use that I went to our expert on organic gardening, Karen Geiser, and she shared how she and her family use their homegrown stevia. —Editor Continue reading

Glamour Camping Catches On All Over

Glamour camping–glamping–is catching on everywhere.

The glamper’s dream dinner table.

What is it, you ask? It’s camping for those of us who prefer a nice glass of iced tea to cowboy coffee, a real bed (or as close as we can get) to a cot, but still want to enjoy the outdoors. We envision picnic tables with tablecloths. We prefer to sit in real chairs, chairs with backs, not something that’s a couple of pieces of nylon slug between poles. We see ourselves cooking mouthwatering meals in well-seasoned cast iron pans swinging gently from a tripod mounted over a beautiful campfire. In short, we imagine a woodland journey that’s a little more upscale than your typical bedroll-and-bugs trip. Continue reading

Meatless Monday: Breakfast and Lunch

Were you tempted to try the meatless Monday suggestions from June 11? Well, if last time was a success, you’ll love these breakfast and lunch recipes. If you weren’t quite sure, try these simple solutions to help ease you into having a vegetarian day each week. I’ve mentioned how you need complementary protein, Continue reading

Ten Things For A Tip-Top Picnic

Handwoven Amish Picnic Basket

Handwoven Amish Picnic Basket available at or at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

The perfect picnic doesn’t need to be a traditional stereotype. Think of a picnic and a few things come to mind: the checkered blanket spread out on the grass in a country setting. A wicker basket full of delicious foods meant to be savored over the course of many relaxing hours away from the world. The sound of the birds and the whistle of the wind through the trees are all that can be heard in this idyllic setting.

While a bit romanticized, this about sums it up. The nice thing about the long-standing spring and summer tradition however, is there are no rules. The blanket need not be checkered and the basket can be something other than wicker. And in all honesty, even the countrified setting isn’t necessary. Many an urban picnic has happened much to the delight of the participants. Continue reading

A Day in (the Best of Ohio’s) Amish Country

Although contributor Allison Ervin wrote this a few years ago, you’ll still find all the Amish country institutions she mentions below, many better than ever. But plan to spend at least half a day at our Kidron store–it’s bigger now than it was when this first appeared!–Editor

By Allison Ervin, writer, age 10

Enjoying ice cream

Enjoying ice cream

So you’re in Amish country, looking for something fun to do. Here are some of the great things that I enjoyed when I visited Wayne and Holmes County recently. A good way to start your day in Amish country is by visiting the store Lehman’s, in Kidron. There’s lots of unique and fun things you can buy there that are sure to brighten up any day. If you are a child, or have children with you, there’s a huge toy selection and there are toys you can play with. Lots of their products are non-electric and eco-friendly like their wood burning stoves. The store is very big, which means there is a lot you can look at. You will see many things you thought weren’t made any more.

After you leave Lehman’s, head up the road to the store P. Graham Dunn in Dalton, where they make Continue reading

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Some Basil A Day Keeps Skeeters Away

I don’t know about where you live, but our muggy, humid summer days are filled with swarming mosquitoes. You know the kind, the ones that especially love the sweet, plump flesh of a toddler!

Last summer, in my search for an all natural insect repellent recipe, which would have to be safe enough to spread on my baby’s delicate skin, I discovered the simplest, most effective remedy I’ve found yet…FRESH BASIL!

Not only is basil a delicious herb to add to your favorite Italian dishes, it also acts as an amazing, straight-from-the-garden pest repellent.

I was extremely skeptical the first time we tried it out. Especially on my kids, seeing as their sweaty little selves just seemed to be magnets to mosquitoes. But after rubbing them down with fresh leaves, and letting them run around the yard for a few hours, I was super excited to find that none of the children had a single mosquito bite on them! Amazing!!

I am LOVING not having to spray the kids with who-knows-what anymore! Now when they go outside, they head straight into the garden to rub down with some freshly picked basil leaves before going to play.

It’s safe, effective, and free!! Gotta love that basil.

Keep-Your-Cool Cooking

When the weather heats up, avoid this.

Everyone knows that the best summer cooking is done outdoors.  Keeping the house cool is much easier if you take advantage of cooking outdoors when the heat won’t stop.  The traditional barbeque is tried and true.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks or chicken – they’re all great on the grill.

But have you ever thought of using your crockpot?   What?!?  The crockpot in the summer?  Yes, you read me right.

I don’t know about you, but my summer days are busy. And it stays light so late that my days are long, too.  If you are going to be out in the garden all day, you’ll come in hot and dirty.  The last thing you want to do is cook. Continue reading

It’s The Pits!

Every now and then we make a discovery that completely changes the quality of our lives. Take seedless watermelons, for example. It sure is fun to chew my way down to the rind without having to pause and spit! Who knew? Along those same lines, imagine for a moment that you could have a fresh sweet cherry with no pit. Or, even better, imagine a pit-less cherry with no sacrifice in taste.  Continue reading