Save Seeds, Plan Ahead: How B. Girard Does Garden 2014

Tasty fall harvest!

Tasty fall harvest!

Our seed order has been placed and major braggathon on the frugal me. This is the end of the fourth year of gardening for us, and in true form I have gone big already for year five!

And by go big I don’t mean that I am growing a garden that would feed the masses, since I don’t, and don’t intend to. This is about us, after all and about being frugal and sustainable, which I am learning are two things that are so completely intertwined in so many ways that they are practically impossible to separate. Continue reading

Pour On The Clean With Liquid Laundry Soap

Before I started working for Lehman’s, I taught public speaking for several local universities and community colleges. One speech that the students really seemed to like was the demonstration speech. About three years ago, I had a student who showed the class how to make powdered and liquid laundry soap. I much prefer the liquid version. Continue reading

Local Brothers Cook Up One of Our Best Holiday Goodies

Richard and pose in front of their giant gas baking oven, which is nearly 8 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

Richard, left, and Steve pose in front of their giant gas baking oven, which is just under 8 feet tall and 12 feet wide. It can bake 50 loaves of stollen at once. The brothers moved the vintage oven from a school that closed to the bakery.

Everyone knows that Ohio’s Amish country bakeries are the best anywhere. Now we can share a traditional holiday treat with you: stollen bread.

There are all kinds of German and Swiss traditional foods that pop up during the holiday season. Stollen is a rarity, and we’re pleased that we can work with our region’s best bakery to bring it to you from now until Christmas.

A yeast bread that dates from the Middle Ages, Stollen is a one-of-a-kind German treat. Packed full of tasty dried fruits and nuts, our stollen was developed by a family-owned bakery in nearby Holmes County. Continue reading

Recipe of The Week: Grand Granola Hits The Spot

When family chores call for attention I try to keep meals as simple as possible. They need to nourish, of course, but they also need to be flexible. Many times, the meal is ready but one of us in a place where we can’t be drop what we’re doing. If Bruce is haying or harvesting and rain threatens or if I’m canning produce and everyone is hungry but me, I want some grab and go kind of meals at the ready. Continue reading

Re-enactors Camp In Style With Help From Lehman’s!

My husband and I are living historians and demonstrate our “old time” crafts at historical rendezvouses.  We also used to work for Three Rivers Park District (formerly Historical Murphy’s Landing), a living history museum.  We have been trained to present ourselves as people living in the past and try to get there as closely as possible.

It’s challenging to keep up a “period correct” portrayal. But for us, it’s easy too!  The difficult part is the research to make SURE that what we use is accurate in every detail.  The easy part for us is  that Lehman’s has many items that are necessary to carry off the illusion of living “back then.”  We do not have to scrounge around in antique shops, hoping to find something rare and expensive to use.  Continue reading

Candlemaking at its Best: Meet our Local Chandler

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Christine working on her Bayberry Pillar Candles. Available at our store in Kidron, Ohio or at Lehmans.com

There was a time when everything was made by hand – no automated machines or computerized factories, just the labor of hardworking people. While times have changed, we still come across people embracing the “old-fashioned” way of doing things. Our local chandler, Christine, is one of those people.

Unlike other shops, Christine makes every candle by hand. There are no automated machines or conveyor belts – she does all the work herself.

“People have said, ‘Why don’t you expand? Why don’t you automate?’ That’s just not me,” Christine tells Country Life. “It goes back to my artistic side. I wouldn’t be happy as a manager.” Continue reading

Word From The Range: Mark’s Still Looking For That Cowpony!

Our wandering cowboy has checked in, this time from New Mexico! In addition to being featured in the local newspaper, he’s been checking out rodeos, working ranches and looking for that perfect pony, putting together his history ranch horses in the US.

Right now, Mark Pendl is in Mountainair, New Mexico, working as a painter, repairing his truck and finishing some winterization on the trailer that carries the Lehman’s logos, and serves as home for him and his two dogs, Toby and Maya.

Toby and Maya romp through some scrubland in the Southwest.

Toby and Maya romp through some scrubland in the Southwest.

“The dogs have had a rough summer,” he said in a recent phone conversation. “Toby nearly lost a foot when he was bitten by a copperhead earlier in the summer, you know. And then a couple of nights ago, he was minding his own business, doing his business, and all of a sudden I knew something wasn’t right. When I flipped on the flashlight, I saw a mountain lion about 10 yards away from him! Here’s the poor dog, in no position to defend himself, if you know what I mean…” Mark trails off into a chuckle and finally reveals that the cat took off after he hollered at it, and shook the flashlight beam at it.

His other dog, Maya, had her own adventures this summer–the latest was when she had a close encounter with a porcupine. “I was pulling quills out for quite a while,” he said, “but she was so good about it. It was like she knew I was helping her.”

Mark depends on his hand-cranked blender for pancake batter, soups and more. It's available now at Lehmans.com.

Mark depends on his hand-cranked blender for pancake batter, soups and more. It’s available now at Lehmans.com.

“I’m learning so much about ranches, horses, and that way of life. It’s slowly disappearing, but doing this work is helping me such great people and learn their stories. And I’m so thankful that Lehman’s is sponsoring me. Everywhere I go, people are asking about the art on the trailer, and I show them some of the cool stuff. People LOVE the blender!”

He’s ready to take some time to write up the interviews he’s done, and that’ll happen as soon as he gets his truck repaired. “Early in the summer, I had some electrical done, but when the truck died here in Mountainair, I found out that the fuse I needed wasn’t replaced–the guy just used a jumper wire over the thing instead of replacing a six dollar fuse! I’m hoping the rest of the wiring is OK, because I’m ready to head up country before the snows come in!”

“It’s getting chilly to be sleeping out at night now, but everything is so beautiful. It’s so dark, because there aren’t any towns close. At night, I can see the entire Milky Way.”

Amish Family Develops, Designs, Builds Child’s Teepee Tents

Fresh from the sewing machine, this Child's Teepee tent stands next to Sarah's sweet corn bed.

Fresh from the sewing machine, this Child’s Teepee tent stands next to Sarah’s sweet corn bed, all ready to be delivered to Lehman’s in Kidron, or Lehmans.com.

We find all sorts of wonderful craftspeople in the rolling hills of Amish country that surround our store in Kidron, Ohio. The following profile is of the Amish family who makes our Child’s Teepee Tent 1152925. To protect their privacy, we are only using first names. In respect to the traditions of their religion, there are no photos of the family.

Mt. Hope, Ohio, is a pretty typical Amish country small town. There, tourists and locals (Amish and otherwise); cars and buggies rub along. Beside the bigger county roads, you’ll see small and medium-sized shops devoted to wood furniture and other fabrication trades. In and around the town, there are discreet signs hung at the ends of lanes, noting the handcrafts done on the farmsteads. They’re so subtle, it’s not even advertising, really.

Follow one someday, and you’ll end up at a farmstead like the one Country Life visited recently. There, Sarah and her daughter Martha build our Child’s Teepee Tent. Continue reading

Book Review: Seed To Seed

There's still time to save seeds for next spring. Get Seed to Seed at Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio, or Lehmans.com.

There’s still time to save seeds for next spring. Get Seed to Seed at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or Lehmans.com.

One of the most important things you can learn to do when trying to become more self-reliant is to learn how to save seeds for next year’s garden. It used to be that farmers naturally saved seeds from their crops to grow more the following season, but many home gardeners have fallen out of the practice of saving seeds, and rely on nursery plants or a new pack of seeds for each new planting.

Continue reading

Backstage At Lehmans: Emergency Planning Audit

So, am I ready to be a port in a storm? Maybe, with a few adjustments.

For most of my life, I lived in Northeast Ohio, where we used to say, “Don’t like the weather? Wait a few minutes. It’ll change.”

Now, my husband and I are in North Carolina, renting the World’s Smallest Home. (OK, maybe it’s not that tiny, but I sure miss our Amish Country farmhouse.) Although it’s two hours inland from the Atlantic, the Cape Fear River Valley still gets regular tropical storms. It’s hot, summers are humid, and there are tornadoes and ice storms too. With new weather patterns and limited storage space, we have lots of adjustments to make to our shelter-in-place planning. Continue reading