Goodbye June…Hello, National Ice Cream Month!

The Ice Cream Bible at Lehmans.com

Expand your dessert skills: includes recipes for gelato, frozen yogurt and sorbets. At Lehman’s in Kidron or at Lehmans.com.

June’s a big month for us at Lehman’s. We’re smack in the middle of Ohio’s Amish Country, which means we’re surrounded by dairy farms. Dairy products are big business in our area of Ohio. But there’s one dairy product we love more than any other…ice cream!

And July’s National Ice Cream Month!

Why celebrate with boxes of stone-cold-frozen bricks from the grocery when it’s just as easy to make your own? Here at Lehman’s, we can offer you some of the easiest (and most enjoyable) ways to make your own ice creams. Ice creams that will be fresh, sweet, and homemade, exactly to the tastes of you and your family! Continue reading

The Backyard Barista: Best Caprineccino Ever!

 To round out the Dairy Month of June, Jenna Wogenrich, homesteader and author joins Country Life to share how her goat makes the perfect cup of joe!

Alpine doe goat

Jenna’s Alpine doe goat, Bonita, one of several productive animals at Cold Antler Farm.

I put off keeping dairy animals for a long time. They were intimidating to me, as I think they are to a lot of farm-curious folks. Unlike other livestock that has a lot of flexibility surrounded your schedule and their care – an animal with a full udder has a very specific dance card. You and she have a tango twice a day, every day. It’s a serious commitment, but let’s not take ourselves too seriously. Raising goats is a lot of fun and I am going to share with you just one of the many reasons why a backyard goat could make your life a whole lot better:

The most amazing cup of coffee in the entire world!

Continue reading

How Do Canning Jar Lids Work?

How Canning Jar Lids Work Canning jar lids work by forming a vacuum seal during processing. The sealing compound on the lid sits against the jar and forms the all-important seal with the screw band holding it in place.

As the food in the jar is boiling during processing, oxygen is pushed out of the jar. As the food cools the lid will be sucked down and the rubber seal will form a tight seal keeping out air and protecting the food from any further contamination until the lid is removed. Standard canning lids are not reusable. The screw band part can be used over and over but the flat lid is a one-time use. After use the sealing compound will become indented which might interfere with a new seal. Continue reading

Blogger Kathy And Family Break Free From Plastic Bags

The Ecobags Shopping Tote is 19"Wx15-1?2"H, made from recycled canvas, and is available at Lehmans.com or Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio.

The Ecobags Shopping Tote is 19″Wx15-1?2″H, made from recycled canvas, and is available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Plastic bags are ubiquitous in the United States!  We use 100 billion plastic bags each year. That number is too large for me to wrap my mind around. The retail industry spends $4 billion on these bags. That’s an awful lot of money for something that generally lands right in the trash stream.

Less than 3% of plastic bags are recycled in the USA. Plastic bags are petroleum products. Producing this volume of bags contributes to air pollution and energy consumption. It takes 1000 years for a polyethylene bag to break down. It’s important to note that bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade. This means they break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits. Once they contaminate the soil or waterways they enter the food chain where animals consume them. This contributes to the endangerment of many at-risk species. The reality is that 1 billion seabirds and mammals die each year because they consume plastic bags. It’s a  slow and painful way to die. Right now, fewer than 5% of US shoppers take advantage of reusable bags but we can change that. Continue reading

American Gardens: Birke’s Garden Diary Hilarious, Helpful

Thoughts on the Garden: May 19, 2014
For us, this gardening season (so far) has served as a reminder that we are not in charge of our garden and how things will work out. There’s been rain, sleet, heat-then-freezing-temps-back-to-back, and my Indianapolis garden plot is looking battered.

Despite months of planning, re-arranging, re-planning and…let’s call it dreaming about the perfection that will be this year’s garden, we are now officially 3 weeks behind plan.

Radishes gone to seed...at least I can save the seed!

Radishes gone to seed…at least I can save the seed!

We have harvested a grand total of three (you read that right, 3) radishes, and they were minuscule, because everything is either languishing in the chill or bolting to seed before setting full roots.

The peppers and tomatoes went in on May 19, 2014, the latest I have ever planted anything, and it’s because I didn’t want the poor little plantiwuzels (totally a word) to freeze in the ground, but I had to get them in, because they were starting to not like being in seedling pods.

And don’t even get me started on the sunflowers just poking their little leaves out, because those are the support system for the cucumbers, so those JUST got seeded out. Slackers all around me. I NEED cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, fresh from the vine, for my continued happiness. Does Nature not understand my needs here? And no, buying them is not the same, I have been forever ruined for hothouse produce. Continue reading

Baking Day: A Chocolate-Cinnamon Dream!

So there I am, minding my own business when suddenly, out of nowhere, the craving hits: chocolate… and fresh bread… and cinnamon.

Oh my, I need chocolate filled babka, desperately! I have other things to do, I argue with myself. There’s laundry (we have other clothes). There’s the floors that need to be swept (people will just walk on them). The beds need to be made (we’re just going to sleep in them again tonight).

Thus, overcome by the logic that I have nothing better to do, I embark on a day of making babka; because making babka takes a full day. Continue reading

Glynis’ Garden Fortress In The Desert

Garden is walled and netted on top.

Garden overview–note the net on top to keep birds out.

Out here in the desert, gardening is quite challenging.  I guess that’s why it’s so rewarding.

We live amidst volcanic craters.  They last exploded in about 1100A.D.  Our dirt is volcanic ash and cinder.  Under the cinder is clay.   This type of soil requires constant fertilization and compost.  We also dump old potting soil into it.  We do just about anything we can think of to improve the soil.

Fortunately, the people who lived here before us dumped their compost in the garden area.  They never grew anything, just dumped their compost.  This actually helped when I was cleaning the garden and preparing to grow food there.  We also compost everything, but we have a big composting bin.  The rodents would go crazy in an open compost pile. Continue reading

American Gardeners: Downeast garden is going!

In spite of cool, cloudy spring all of my seeds have sprouted, thanks in no small part to the small greenhouse that protected my tender seedlings from some late frosts. I have found some winners here and I can’t wait to share what I have learned.

Three Heart Heirloom Lettuce Seeds

Three Heart Lettuce greenhouse planting.

Three Heart Lettuce: This is a big hit. It emerged early and the germination rate was excellent. I planted it along with seven other varieties of lettuce and this was the first to poke up. The color is fabulous. The bright, light green is nearly fluorescent and the flavor is very mild with a good crunch. I will definitely let some of this go to seed. I planted the first batch in the greenhouse and another patch outside on the same day. The greenhouse lettuce is much bigger and ready to lightly harvest while the outside patch will provide mid-summer salad. I’m guessing that this variety will not bolt as quickly as some other lettuce does in the heat but time will tell. Continue reading

Behind the Scenes at Lehmans: Christena’s Office Makeover

An ordinary office transforms...

An ordinary office transforms…

This email arrived in everyone’s mailboxes recently. Apparently, Joy, who works at Lehman’s in Kidron, had a wild idea–and Country Life wants to share that wild idea with you!

I am sure most of you have heard through the rumor mill that we redecorated Christena’s office while she was off for the wedding as a surprise for her. 

...into a lovely workspace, with warm color on the walls...

…into a lovely workspace, with warm color on the walls…

We finished it up on Wednesday just in time for her to see it when she stopped in to shop at the store.  I was able to set my camera in the room before she went in and was able to capture her first reaction.  I thought you would all enjoy seeing the video. Enjoy! Thanks to everyone who helped decorate and those who covered other areas of the store so we could finish the room. I love the teamwork that is evident around Lehman’s.”

...and thoughtful decor, including a shelf with organizer baskets.

…and thoughtful decor, including a shelf with organizer baskets.

The office was done in an African theme. Christena had visited Africa last winter, and just adored being there.

Lots of store folks helped out with the redesign, too, as you’ll hear in the video!

The link to the video is below. Here’s hoping you enjoyed it as much as we did! Working at Lehman’s really IS like this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCXargl7wG0

American Gardens: Mountain Garden GROWS!

Radish and carrot plants.

Radishes and heirloom Dragon Carrots from Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, growing thick and fast!

In the foothills of the mountains, between the borders of North Carolina and Tennesee, there’s a nifty little microclimate. In that area, our gardener Kendra is having some great results! She’s sent two updates, one from mid-May, and one from the end of the month.

May 13, 2014:

The radishes and carrots were growing thick, so I harvested the radishes a few days ago to make room for the carrots to grow.

The lettuce is looking gorgeous. I haven’t harvested any yet, but I expect to be able to in the next few days.

Lazy Housewife beans thrive! Heirloom seeds were provided by Lehman's.

Lazy Housewife beans thrive! Heirloom seeds were provided by Lehman’s.

The tomatoes are loving this hot weather, and are looking lovely.

On April 24th I planted the beans. They’re about six or seven inches tall now.

On May 6th I planted the cucumbers, which I’m still waiting on to sprout. So far no problems with pests yet. Keeping my fingers crossed! Continue reading