DIY: Start Dehydrating Food with These Simple Tips

diy dehydratingA valuable food preservation method that has been used for generations is dehydration. By removing the moisture from veggies, herbs and meats, it preserves foods for winter consumption. Because minimal heat is used in the process, only a small amount of nutrients are lost (some sources claim about 5%) using this method. Continue reading

The Family Larder: Why It’s Still Important

canned food in jarsLarder may not be a familiar word in our modern times, but it was a very important thing in your great-great grandma’s day. It was the stash of food that families pickled, smoked, salted and preserved for the winter months ahead. A well stocked larder was often essential for survival for the pioneers since many times they lacked the luxury of a grocery store they could frequent if their supply ran short. Continue reading

What’s Happening On The Homestead: Savoring the Harvest

Drying food in a dehydrator

This month we savored the harvest, from baking gourmet treats to drying our fresh produce for later. (Photo by Elizabeth Geiser)

August means everything is ripe on the homestead. After many months of planting and weeding, we are finally reaping an abundant harvest. The garden is gushing forth produce, fruit trees and berry bushes are laden, chickens need processed, flowers need picked almost daily and more. Continue reading

Top 10 Ways to Be Self-Sufficient, Wherever You Are

country-living-grain-mill

By Tim Young of theselfsufficientlife.com

“I want to be self-reliant, but I have no land. There’s no way to do urban homesteading.”

I get it…you hear the voice of self-sufficiency calling you, but for whatever reason, you’re not able or willing to secure acreage.

What can you do? Continue reading

5 Ways to Sink Your Teeth Into Apple Season

apples at market lisa amstutz

Is it possible to have too many apples? It’s been a bumper year for apples on our Ohio homestead. We’ve made enough applesauce for ourselves and our extended family, shared some apples, and they still keep coming. Fortunately, there are lots of other great ways to preserve this versatile fruit and enjoy eating it all winter. Here are a few delicious solutions to try. Continue reading

How to Save Seeds on a Small Scale

seeds in hands

As I plan my garden each spring, I think forward to what seeds I might want to save, and make sure that my garden is structured in such a way that I can do that. I only save easy seeds — I have not yet bothered with isolation tents or hand pollination — so the ones I do save usually come at me pretty easily. Continue reading

Enter to Win Your Christmas – On Us!

NoWorriesNovemberDisplay

Very Cool Customers … and Their Stories

karen g at may daze

Organic Gardener Karen Geiser enthralls a crowd at Lehman’s May Daze Celebration this past spring.

Organic gardener, author, blog contributor, and mother of five, Karen Geiser, is no stranger to country living. She shares her expert advice with customers just as if they have pulled up a chair on her front porch. . . and all the while shelling peas, pitting cherries, or churning butter (depending on what is in season on her farm). 

We always enjoy hearing about fascinating customer connections that happen in our store. And Karen certainly has the pleasure of interacting with many visitors and hearing their stories!

Here are some recent tidbits she reports:

  • Last week I met folks from Colombia, Costa Rica and Brazil (Must have been Latin America day).
  • A fellow from Pennsylvania visits frequently and always tells me about his garlic (which he got from me) that has won several blue ribbons at the county
    Karen Geiser demonstrates our Dazey Butter Churn, which she uses to make butter with cream from her family's Jersey cow.

    Karen Geiser demonstrates our Dazey Butter Churn, which she uses to make butter with cream from her family’s Jersey cow

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  • This week there were many good conversations over edible weeds – around the table were an herbalist from New Mexico and a family from West Virginia who really knew their plants.
  • An interesting couple from Virginia who has lived off grid for many years visited the store to finally buy the luxury of a gas refrigerator – mainly to have ice. It’s hard to believe they could live without a fridge for so long, and they described how they can their butter.
  • This week a lady said she was there from Robinson, IL because she heard me speak at the Master Gardener conference over a year ago. She had no idea she would run into me, and we had a good laugh together as she told me about the things she grew because I recommended them (like mouse melons). I helped her figure out other places to hit for her first adventure in Amish country. She said some of her girlfriends have visited Lehman’s after the conference, too. 

Stop by Lehman’s on Thursdays, from April through early November to visit Karen and learn from her wealth of hands-on knowledge. 

Growing Great Asparagus

asparagus tipsI’ve been learning a lot about permaculture in the past decade and while I subscribe to many of the theories, I do worry that many people who could benefit are turned off by the intensity of people teaching the subject. You don’t actually need classes or certificates nor do you need to dig up your entire backyard. It’s possible to engage in permaculture just by using plant varieties that will provide a source of food over decades.

One of our most productive, perennial food sources is asparagus. We put in bed in many years ago. Each spring we indulge. We eat asparagus steamed, roasted and chilled with a vinaigrette. When we tire of eating it fresh, we dry some (read on for how-to) for winter soups and pickle some, too. Asparagus is also easily frozen.

How to Start and Maintain an Asparagus Bed

A well-planned, well-maintained asparagus bed will produce every spring for decades! Asparagus needs full sun and should begin in a spot with a rich, sandy loam. It gets tall when it goes to seed, so don’t plant it where it will shade other sun-loving plants. You can start from seed (I have a tray of seeds starting right now) but you’ll wait a long time for your first meal. Most people choose to start with roots. They are usually sold in bunches of 25.  Continue reading