DIY: Dish Soap? Really?

Find washing soda, borax and more natural cleaners at or Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio.

Find washing soda, borax and more natural cleaners at or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Over the last year, I’ve been able to experiment with homemade laundry soap and homemade dishwasher detergent. After that last bit, folks were writing in, asking about dish soap–you know, the kind you use in the sink, not the dishwasher.

Now, I have to say, the few times I’ve run out of dish soap, I just watered down some of the laundry soap, added a little bit of vinegar, a pinch of washing soda, and used really, really hot water. Rinsed the dishes in very hot water and vinegar too. Everything turned out fine, except the skin on my hands got pretty dry, even though I’d worn rubber gloves. Continue reading

Backstage at Lehmans: What You Don’t Know About Our Durable Denim Rugs

The loom at MCC Connections where denim rugs (and other types of rugs) are made.

The loom at MCC Connections where denim rugs (and other types of rugs) are made.

You may know that our Tough Woven Denim Rugs are made at our local MCC Connections Thift Shop. But do you know how those rugs happen?

They’re woven by hand on a vintage two-harness loom the size of a Smart Car, by volunteers like Lavern Yousey, who’s been at the shop for 2 years. “Everything starts back in the sorting area, where the donations come in. Folks drop things off, and we even get things mailed in.” (More on that mailing-in thing later.) Continue reading

The Frugalista’s Homemade Maple-Flavored Syrup

Step-by-step guide and kit will help you tap maples like a pro. Click the picture to find out more.

Step-by-step guide and kit will help you tap maples like a pro. Click the picture to find out more.

We absolutely LOVE maple syrup. But the real stuff can be pricey, and most artificial maple syrup is full of preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and other yucky ingredients. Until we learn how to tap our maple trees and boil down our own syrup (yes, it is on our list of things to do here on our homestead!), this is the recipe I make to satisfy our craving for maple-icious pancakes. Continue reading

The Frugal Domestic (Or, How To Spend To Save)

One of the many benefits to living a frugal life is that when a good deal comes around I am able to take advantage of it. Because we didn’t over-indulge for the holiday season I was able to purchase a few necessary items of outerwear at a fraction of the regular price recently.

Stretch Your Dollars By Tracking Expenses
I think every homemaker needs a domestic economy notebook–literally meaning the economy of the household. It should contain a sampling of easy, inexpensive recipes for basics like bread and beans. It also needs to contain a list of staples with the usual prices listed so you will know when a sale is really a sale and not just a gimmick.

Take white flour, for example. I have notes in my book about the regular price, the sale price at the supermarket and the price for a 50-pound bag at the bulk food store. Now I can make an educated decision to purchase flour when it hits my target price per pound. I couldn’t do that if I didn’t have the cash reserve to take advantage of a good sale. Being frugal makes that possible. Continue reading

Job opening for Web Developer

Immediate Full Time position open for Web Developer. Click on “more” to view  job description and application submission details.

Join a growing company founded on over fifty years of dynamic customer service and time-tested values. Contribute your specific skill set and talents to a team that uses innovative techniques to sell the tried and true. Discover the full scope of your abilities in a “yes we know your first name” kind of atmosphere.

At Lehman’s we know first-hand that it takes authentic people to sell authentic products. For us, it’s a lifestyle. We’re a company where IT Techs grow their own vegetables and Vice Presidents know the ins and outs of oil lamps. We’re serious about cultivating a community that utilizes the best of what employees have to offer, all while staying true to our roots. If you’re looking for a company that offers a promising future firmly built on a successful past, then we invite you to pursue a career at Lehman’s.

Continue reading

Cheesy (and Delicious) Recipes

Enjoy certified organic raw milk Swiss cheese. Now on sale at (for a limited time only).

Swiss cheese is for more than sandwiches and crackers. Here are some wonderful ways you can enjoy it in your meals, too.

#1: A Filling Appetizer
Years ago, fondue was the way the Swiss survived the winter. They took their stale bread and dipped it into a pot of melted cheese. Now, it has turned into a fun appetizer. Add more to dip, like ham and vegetables, for a great meal as well. Continue reading

Dreaming of A Perfect Gardening Season

My computer is whirring away, sparkling with gorgeous images of perfect vegetables and fruit. My mailbox is bulging with seed catalogs that just keep coming, tempting me with gorgeous pictures and prose that captures my imagination.


Find your zone before you grow! Click on the map for more information.

Dragon’s Tongue Beans. Purple potatoes. Moon and Stars watermelons. Wouldn’t they look fine against the fence? It’s way too easy for me to get carried away and order far too many seeds and varieties that are not reliable in my climate. I might wish I was zone 5 but wishing won’t change the fact that I’m solidly in zone 4.

I belong to a lovely group called the Hilltown Seed Savers Network. We are dedicated to creating a seed bank that is specific to the high hills of Western Massachusetts. We have hosted several trainings and one hugely successful seed exchange. Our next event is scheduled for February. We will be getting a group together to discuss what varieties are the most reliable right here. I’ll be waiting to put in my seed order until then. Continue reading

A Short History of Aladdin’s Magic Lamps

The Aladdin Genie III lamp, replacement chimney and mantles are in stock now at Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio or

The Aladdin Genie III lamp with replacement parts kit is in stock now at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio or

Being a man, I like to collect – or maybe a better word would be to “amass” – tools. And the rule of thumb when buying tools you intend to use often is to “buy the best quality you can afford.” The same holds true for appliances you intend to use in your home. To that end, the best oil lamp you can own is an Aladdin lamp.

Just like the way all Clydesdales are horses but not all horses are Clydesdales, or all Corvettes are cars but not all cars are Corvettes, likewise all Aladdins are oil-burning lamps … but all oil burners are definitely not an Aladdin.

An Aladdin lamp burns better, more efficient and looks good doing it. Whether aluminum, brass, clear or colored glass base, pedestal, lamp or hanging, these lamps are built to offer more than a lifetime of dependable use. Continue reading

Kale Is The King of Cold Weather Greens

Russian Red Kale in cold frames, December 2012.

Russian Red Kale in cold frames, December 2012.

It’s time for a tasty and versatile seasonal goodie – kale! Cold weather is when kale comes into its glory and following our recent holiday feasting, it is a healthy addition to the menu.

Kale, like most greens, is happiest in cool weather and a frost will make it much sweeter as starches turn to sugars. As late as last December, the Red Russian Kale was still flourishing in my various cold frames (see photo) and depending on the temperatures, I normally can continue harvesting this hardy green through the dead of winter. Continue reading

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