Homemade “Fast Food”

During the summer months, I do a lot of canning. We have been fortunate that the garden has done well for the last 2 years. We thank the horses for that!  They keep us in clean, organic fertilizer. With the abundance of produce, I have had the opportunity to experiment with canning partial or entire meals. We try not to buy processed foods. I try to make everything. Condiments, sauces and everything else. Continue reading

Rabbitry, Part 2: Tanning Hides

In this article, the author discusses how she’s using the skins of the rabbits she butchers for meat. This article may not be appropriate for all readers.

My adventures in livestock this past season means that I have four sheep hides and four rabbit hides in my basement, waiting for their opportunity to be put to use.  I have tanned two rabbit hides so far, with varying success, but I thought I’d add to the many voices online that explain the hide-preserving process.

There are several methods of tanning hides—you can use bark from trees, high in tannins; you can use acid to pickle the hide; or you can use a “brain-tanning” method, which is what I have been doing.  The key in the whole process is to take the skin of the animal, which is perishable and will rot, and preserve it by keeping bacteria away and keeping it soft and supple. Continue reading

Rabbitry, Part 1: Meat Rabbits

In this article, the author discusses both how she raises and butchers rabbits, with specific steps on how she dresses the rabbits out for meat. This article may not be appropriate for all readers.

Getting Started
I’m a vegetable farmer in Minnesota, bound to the seasons, and I was confronted with a slow spring in 2013.  As I was waiting to be able to start planting in the field (that finally happened on April 28 and was followed 3 days later by 15 inches of snow), I had a lot of creative energy to use.  So when a friend was trying to get rid of her rabbitry so she wouldn’t have to move it across the country with her, I jumped on the idea.

I had a tiny bit of experience with rabbits going in, from a farm internship I had right out of college, but mostly I had to figure everything out on my own—I asked friends, searched the web, and paged my handy-dandy Encyclopedia of Country Living for advice.  I learned that about 150 years ago, rabbits and chickens were about even on the dinner table, but somehow chickens got the upper hand in the market and now we hardly ever think about rabbits as meat! Continue reading

Retail Therapy On The Cheap Spurs Creativity

I sometimes hear my friends talk about retail therapy, the act of going shopping to ease them out of a funk. I will confess that it doesn’t usually work for me. In fact, it’s just the opposite. If I impulsively purchase something of limited value, I feel terrible. It feels as though I have traded my life’s energy for nothing. It’s disrespectful to me and to the limited resources available to all of us.

Recycled Glass Tumblers

Wine bottles are upcycled into adorable tumblers! At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio or at Lehmans.com.

A bargain, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. I love getting a great deal on something I know I will use all the time or a tool that will make my life easier.

I enjoy the hunt, the sorting through piles of junk at a swap meet or carefully examining a rack of sweaters for the red cashmere twin set that I have been coveting. I also love looking for something that has upcycling, refurbishing or repurposing potential.

The weather here has been just dreadful. It’s twenty below zero one day and raining the next. Continue reading

The Aladdin Lamp: An Emergency Essential

One of our merchandise department folks sent this piece along to share how he and his family used their Aladdin lamp to get through the recent “polar vortex” cold snap. (And they’re using them again this week, ’cause it’s still cold!) He’s an expert on Aladdin lamps, and you can use his tips for your lamps too!
                                                                               –Karen Johnson, Editor, Country Life

The view from Lehman's offices: the cold weather keeps the snow around.

The view from Lehman’s offices: the cold weather keeps the snow around.

I live in northeast Ohio and we just came through one of the coldest spells in Ohio history. Temperatures dipped to well below -10° F with wind chills hovering around -30° F. In the course of one 24 hour period, temperatures dropped from 45°F to -8° F. Ouch! Today the temperature is 16° F and it feels warm.

Of course these drastic temperatures were accompanied by power outages, lack of pressure in natural gas lines and other calamitous incidents where things broke or didn’t work as intended. As a result, many people were, perhaps, not “left out in the cold,” but “in the cold” nonetheless.

As I watched some of these people huddling together to try to stay warm with no light and no heat while being interviewed on TV, I felt sorry for them, and the thought occurred to me that, all they really needed was one Aladdin lamp and their cold and light problems would be over. I’m sure you’re incredulous. An Aladdin lamp? Really? It’s true, and I’ll tell you why. Continue reading

Put Some Honey In Your Beat-The-Bug Arsenal

Tonn's Pure Honey

Tonn’s Pure Honey is non-pasturized, perfect for infusions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, influenza is everywhere. We’ve had a round of it in our house, and it wasn’t fun. I can’t remember the last time we drank so much hot tea– my poor hubby, who was trying to stay warm, drank it by the gallon, it seemed. I drank it strong and a little sweet, to stay awake if he needed something. It was long week, and we used lots of honey and lemon in the tea.

As he began to feel better, I started wondering how I could do the honey-lemon-tea thing more efficiently. After all, I didn’t want to have to run to the store for more lemons to squeeze every time I turned around twice. So I did a little research, and stumbled on this wonderful tutorial on making infused honeys. Continue reading

Candy Keg: S-w-e-e-e-e-t Storage Ideas!

Old-Fashioned Candy Kegs

Old-Fashioned Candy Kegs make great storage bins!

It’s the time of year to tidy up, clear out and organize. Why not think creatively about your storage options? We’ve sold these adorable Old-Fashioned Candy Kegs for ages, and they’re great for storing bulky items.

At 18″ high and 12 1/2″ around, they’ll fit most anywhere. We’ve seen them

  • in entryways, collecting umbrellas, hats, scarves and gloves
  • as kindling buckets
  • as oversized planters (adorable when painted and on a porch!)
  • as small end tables on a deck, patio or ‘man cave’: just cover top end with glass.

But think of this: wall mounted storage. Now, the kegs aren’t huge, but the pine wood slats are pretty sturdy, and will hold light-to-medium weight items. In the garage, fasten a row of kegs to studs with heavy-duty screws, and the kegs could hold things like: Continue reading

Thanks For The Love, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Lehman's Best Ice Cream Freezers are available at www.lehmans.com or Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio.

Lehman’s Best Ice Cream Freezers are available at www.lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Lehman’s Best Ice Cream Freezers were named to the Alliance for American Manufacturing’s “Our Favorite Made In USA Products 2013” list! Thank you so much, AAM!

Made near Lehman’s retail store in Kidron, Ohio, each freezer features

  • Zinc alloy gears
  • Extra heavy seamless stainless steel can
  • Rustproof manganese bronze housing (with grease fitting)
  • Leak-proof white oak tub secured by stainless steel adjustable bands that can be tightened when they loosen Continue reading

A Week With Lehman’s 9″x13″ Rectangular Cake Pan

Recycled Steel Cake Pan

This pan is all-purpose! Cakes, entrees, anything bakes perfectly. Find out more at Lehmans.com or at Lehman’s in Kidron, OH.

A few days ago, I asked my hubby to get the 9″x13″ pan out of the cupboard for me. I was fixing chicken quarters for dinner and didn’t want to stop, wash up, and fish it out.

“It’s right here on the dishrack,” he said. “There’s no real reason to put it away. You use it all the time.”

I thought about it, and you know, he was right. Reviewing my menus from December 29 to January 4, I used it for:

Sunday: Bone-in chicken breast for Sunday dinner: Bone in chicken breast braised in white wine, topped with a sauce whipped up from a bit of oyster sauce, balsamic vinegar, spicy hunan sauce, and water. I covered the chicken with foil, baked at 350° for 45 minutes, and then removed foil and baked for 15 more minutes. Continue reading

Soup Cures All–Even the Winter Blues!

Kathy's Homegrown Chicken Soup

Homemade chicken soup, with homegrown chicken and veggies.

We’ve been sick around here, passing around viruses between family and friends like they were Christmas cards. Nobody feels like eating much and certainly, no one wants to cook either. It’s Soup Days, comfort food of the highest order, light or hearty, filling and full of the goodness of summer herbs and vegetables and home-grown meat. I was shocked to be discussing soup at a town gathering to hear a young woman confess that she would never bother making soup from scratch as it was so easy to pop open a can and heat it up in the microwave. Continue reading