“I LOVE My Steam Juicer!”

Great Grapes Storey Books pamphlet

Learn how to grow your own tasty grapes! In stock now at Lehmans.com or at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

As the days speed into winter and fall’s mildness is becoming a memory here in the Upper Midwest, many of us are frantically trying to get everything “put by” for winter. I’ve become quite close to my steam juicer.

We here at Ash Lane Farm have a lovely vine of concord grapes and two heritage apple trees that I try to get into juice every year.

I am allergic to bees so I have to depend on the kindness of my husband, Norm, to take time from his busy life to pick the grapes and the apples.  But once they come inside, they are mine to do as I wish.

We like apple butter, apple sauce and grape jelly, and unsweetened gape and apple juices.  Plus, I make a wonderful apple brandy to give as gifts each year as well as have some for us. We also got elderberries from my sister to make into syrups for colds and coughs. Continue reading

Sights Along The Road: 2013 Fall Vendor Tour

Sure, there are lots of photos of our “Made In USA” small businesses and the great stuff they make to come. But in between stops, there are all kinds great things to see. Here are a few that we’d like to share with you!

Spied along State 31 between Brownsburg and Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Spied along State 31 between Brownsburg and Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Continue reading

Snapshot At A Family Farm

Grandson Camden goes everwhere with his grandfather on the Fitzringer farm.

Grandson Camden goes everwhere with his grandfather on the Fitzringer farm.

One of our regular bloggers, Dori Fitzringer, owns a small farm near the foothills of North Carolina’s eastern mountains with her husband and  family. She’s sent Country Life a snapshot of her adorable grandson, and some thoughts about running a family farm in the 21st century.

When you give thanks this week, don’t forget the family farmer! Dori, thank you for sharing with Country Life.

“In today’s busy world full of new technology and mega-farms small multi-generational family owned farms are not as common as they used to be.  People call us “old fashioned” and I take that as a compliment. I wouldn’t want to live any other way. We are blessed as a family to all live on the family property.

We have four generations that help and work together. It is not uncommon to see my daughter or granddaughter behind the wheel of the pickup truck with a flatbed trailer hooked up and driving through the hay field.  My husband, sons and son-in-law all work on getting the firewood split – while their wives deliver and stack it to each of our homes. Even those who are not able to do all they used to – can still be found watering and feeding the animals or putting labels on honey jars and getting them ready for sale.

It is never boring here there is always something to do – when the harvests are done for one year –  planning for the next season has already begun.”

Product Testing at Lehman’s: Pomegranates and the Power of 3

_MG_3585Months ago, a customer asked us about whether the Power of 3: Slicer, Dicer, Juicer could juice pomegranates. At that time, pomegranates were out of season, and we weren’t able to try them in our first round of product testing. However, during a recent trip to the grocery store, we were excited to see that this super fruit is back in our local area.

So we rolled up our sleeves, once again, and hoped our clothes would not turn red by the end. Continue reading

Talking Turkey About Raising Turkeys At Barefoot Farm

Kathy Harrison, author; Lehman's guest blogger; and human being, just like the rest of us!

Kathy Harrison, author; Lehman’s guest blogger; and human being, just like the rest of us!

We’re Not All Martha Stewart
It’s tempting, when you read a blog post, to believe that the farming life is all fun and accomplishment. Who, after all, is inclined to write about their mistakes and disappointments? Well me, for one. If I only wrote about my successes, I would run out of material in the first week.

Here’s the truth of it. A whole lot of my life is just one disaster after the other. I may write about digging parsnips but I’m not going to waste a lot of ink on how many got eaten by voles. I will tell you about making cheese but not spend a lot of time on the many times my efforts fed the pigs rather than people. And don’t get me going on the fruit. My strawberry pictures were gorgeous but I’m not posting the pictures of the joys of trying to get the row covers on in the wind.

So when I tell you all about the pleasure of canning turkey and how good it tastes and how convenient it is to have all the lovely jars filling up the shelves in my pantry please know that there is more to the story than a lovely afternoon in the canning kitchen. Continue reading

Perfect for Seasonal Gifts, Maple Apple Butter Cooks Up Quickly

Monday, we shared our blogger Kendra’s trick for keeping apples and pears that you’re freezing looking fresh and tasty. Today, a brand new guest blogger shares her recipe for Maple Apple Butter–perfect to make with some of those frozen fruits. Jen, in her own words, is “a lifestyle blogger living in an urban area just outside Washington, DC.” She and her husband work hard at living a balanced life, focused on their family. Continue reading

Stick To Tradition With Classic Advent Calendar!

Advent Tree Calendar

Retro in spirit, new in design! Pick up your Advent Tree Calendar now at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or at Lehmans.com.

Felt Advent calendars, the first “official” decorations of the holiday season in many homes…and one of the few that children could actually touch!

Remember that feeling? The soft fuzzy felt, and how it magically stuck to the calendar, watching the days until Christmas Day…there’s nothing like it.

Now you can pass it on, because Lehman’s Advent Tree Calendar is still available! (In fact, it’s on special!) Continue reading

Balloon Boats Are Yin And Yang Of Lehman’s Products

Meg Freeling, today’s guest blogger, is from Sound Learning in Columbus, Ohio, and is a teacher and business consultant. This article is the result of recent conversation she had with Galen Lehman about Lehman’s products, their points of origin, purchasing practices and the philosophies of need, purchasing and production.

Locally-made cedar Amish-Made Balloon Boat, signed by the woodworker!

Locally-made, handcrafted solid cedar Amish-Made Balloon Boat, signed by the woodworker. Available at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or at Lehmans.com.

I have always loved beautiful wood, and as a teacher, I have an eye out for wooden toys that would interest a child, offer a chance to make something happen, provide an intriguing and delightful experience, and inspire new thoughts and possibilities.  I recently found one that was new to me in the Lehman’s Hardware Store catalog — a balloon-powered toy boat. Continue reading

Pick A Perfect Hostess Gift: Lehman’s Old-Fashioned Bottle Opener

Solid, cast stainless steel, the Old-Fashioned Bottle Opener is easy to use.

Solid, cast stainless steel, the Old-Fashioned Bottle Opener is easy to use.

We’re all looking at the calendar, counting down the days until Thanksgiving. And if you’re like my hubby and I, finding the perfect hostess gift for a holiday visit is always a challenge.

This year, though, we’ve got it handled. We’re going to get a few of Lehman’s Old-Fashioned Bottle Openers for our hostess gifts.

Now, this isn’t some cheesy lightweight of a bottle opener. Lehman’s Old-Fashioned Bottle Opener is cast stainless steel–which gives it a nice weight in your hand. It’s not going to go sliding off a countertop either. It’s easy to keep clean too–there’s nothing nastier than a yukky bottle opener popping up in the middle of a holiday party. And the Lehman’s logo is imprinted right on the handle. Very cool.

Choose Peppermint Ribbon Candy or other classic sweets at Lehman's in Kidron, OH, or at Lehmans.com.

Choose Peppermint Ribbon Candy or other classic sweets at Lehman’s in Kidron, OH, or at Lehmans.com.

Yes, indeed, the Old-Fashioned Bottle Opener is just the ticket–and because we can order it online, and back it up with a selection of old-school candies, it’s the perfect fun, retro-themed hostess gift that’ll arrive before we do, because we can ship it ahead! Continue reading

Saffron Is The Pick of Fall’s Harvest

At Country Life, we know that many of you are gardeners–fearless gardeners to boot! And we know that many of you cook fearlessly too. How many of you have your own saffron patch that lets you do both?

Norma Storms, a reader from northeast Ohio does. She sent in some photos lately about her favorite fall crop: saffron! She’s got a small planting in her front yard, and all her subdivision neighbors just think that her crocus don’t know to bloom in the spring. They don’t realize the flowers are actually an edible crop! Throughout the year, Norma uses the saffron threads in meals. A member of a historical re-enactment group, she’s also used the saffron in banquet dishes for the group too. Continue reading