How To Harvest Fruit Without A Ladder

ladder-and-apple-tree

My Dad was born in a tiny bedroom a few steps from the kitchen in our fourth generation Lehman farm.  Grandpa’s original apple trees were still thriving there until just a few years ago.  Some of the nut trees my dad planted with his own hands there are now more than 60’ tall! 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

Keep Your Valuables Safe!

gardenveggies-canned-food

I don’t know about you, but for my wife and I, our canned food is one of our most valuable possessions. Many people can their garden produce for a cheap family source of food. That’s what we did for most of our lives. But, with our kids out of the house, our focus now is on quality. Continue reading

Summer Into Fall: How to Enjoy it With Children

nature walk 2Here in Ohio, we’ve entered that in-between season of not quite summer, not quite fall (my husband’s favorite frugal time – we don’t need the air conditioner or the furnace). It is the perfect time for outdoor activities: the heat and mosquitoes have largely abated, but there’s no need for heavy coats and snow pants yet. We’re simply enjoying gorgeous, eye-popping blue skies, the gradually brightening colors of the leaves and a curious, hurried feeling in the air, probably because we all know what’s coming. In our family we take every opportunity to savor the last days of summer while welcoming fall as it arrives. Here are some simple ways you can, too: Continue reading

Small-Batch Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar

sauerkraut in canning jar

Our favorite gardener and in-store instructor, Karen Geiser, has shared this recipe during her frequent seminars at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio. For those of you unable to make it to the store, here’s her easy method for flavorful, oh-so-healthy fermented sauerkraut. Continue reading

Hot Pepper Treats to Can This Summer

peppers on cutting board

Here in the mountain foothills of North Carolina, July and August are the time to start canning and pickling. Many varieties of hot peppers grow like weeds in our hot southern summers. Here are some great recipes you can make to preserve that sweet, spicy deliciousness and enjoy it all winter long. Continue reading

Sweet, Sweet Sorghum Makes The BEST Cookies Ever

Dave's stack of sorghum stalks, ready to be crushed.

Dave’s stack of sorghum stalks, ready to be crushed.

(Editor’s Note: Last year, Dave Ross tried his hand at growing sorghum, then pressing and cooking the juice into the delicious old-time syrup many people remember. Here are his adventures in sorghum farming!)

Sorghum. At last the project has reached completion. From mail-ordered seeds that arrived in May, to sorghum syrup in my jars on the counter, to molasses crinkle cookies. It was a fun, educational experience, but honestly, I probably won’t raise it again. Sorghum syrup can be purchased from a local Amishman for a good price per quart. Lehman’s also carries it year-round, and that makes the effort of raising, stripping, taking the stalks somewhere to get them squeezed, and cooking down the sweet juice into finished syrup, more costly than buying it locally. Still, there was value and fun in the experience, and I’m glad I did it. Continue reading

Making It Yourself: Why Bother?

Kathy's homemade soap. Find the supplies you need to make yours at Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Kathy’s homemade soap. Find the supplies you need to make yours at Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

I recently taught a workshop on soapmaking at our local folk school. I was telling a friend about it and she asked a pretty profound question: Why do you bother? Continue reading

Canning/Freezing Prep Checklist

These classic clear glass jars have preserved literally tons of fruits and vegetables over the past 125 years. A true symbol of America's past, they still work great for today's home canning.

These classic clear glass jars have preserved literally tons of fruits and vegetables over the past 125 years. A true symbol of America’s past, they still work great for today’s home canning.

Summer is almost here, and our garden is ahead of schedule. We’re getting ready to put strawberries and jam in the freezer and harvest season will be here before we know it. Since I always seem to find myself hunting for missing supplies or running to the store for freezer containers while a pile of produce wilts on the counter, I came up with the following checklist to better prepare for canning and freezing this year. Hopefully you will find it useful as well! Continue reading