Our Amish Neighbors

All Amish groups are not the same - but why, and what are their differences?

All Amish groups are not the same – but why, and what are their differences?

How about a little lesson? We’ll keep it short and interesting. Let’s call it: Some

things you always wondered about the Amish and Mennonites, but didn’t know who to ask.  

I am a Mennonite who lives in an area of Ohio with a very large Amish and Mennonite population (in fact, it’s the world’s largest).  Allow me to share a very brief overview about the Amish and Mennonites in these parts.

There are four distinct groups of Amish living in the Kidron, Ohio area.
These are:

  • Swartzentrubers
  • Dans, also called Danners
  • Old Order
  • New Order

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Positively Downton!

Many of us here at Lehman’s enjoy the ragingly popular “Downton Abbey” series. And

downton abbey house

Photo source: www.telegraph.co.uk

maybe it’s our trained eyes, but when we see something on the set that could be straight out of our store, we get a little excited. As some of you know, Lehman’s has become sort of a “one-stop shopping” destination for many film crews and set designers, especially for period pieces like “Downton Abbey.” And while it would take quite a bit of digging to find out if any of the things we spot came directly from us, we still like to point them out – “Hey, that’s just like the one we carry!”

If you’d like to bring a little bit of Downton to your home, you may be interested in some of the things we’ve noticed on the show. Read on… Continue reading

4 Ways You Can Learn From Great Depression Wisdom

My 85-year-old grandmother was a young girl during the Great Depression, and her family, like many others, went through some extremely hard times. Her father, an aspiring white beanstruck farmer, lost everything, and several of her six siblings were literally “farmed out” until her parents got back on their feet and could afford to feed them again. Her only brother went to stay with a farm family at the tender age of eight, to work for his room and board. As the baby of the seven, my grandmother stayed at home. She remembers sitting on her father’s lap as he read the newspaper, perhaps scanning the help wanted ads.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without,” but I wondered if Grandma could give me some specific examples of what her family did to get through those hard times…joyfully and happily, even!

I’m blessed to live right next door to Grandma, so I recently asked her about ways I can apply some of that hard-earned wisdom to my own life, in 2015. Here’s what I learned. Continue reading

What “Amish-Made” Really Means

What’s so great about Amish-made?

Lehman’s, in Kidron, Ohio, is located in the heart of the largest Amish community in the world.

Many people think of Lancaster County in Pennsylvania when they think of large Amish communities, but Lancaster’s community of 30,000-35,000 is actually second in size to the approximately 40,000 Amish that live in southern Wayne and eastern Holmes County, Ohio. These Amish people are our neighbors, our friends, our customers and our vendors. Continue reading

Grandma’s Apron: Nostalgia Lives At New Year’s Eve

Our friends at the Antique Stove Association published this in their newsletter some time back, and for me, at least, it certainly captures the spirit of the holidays that I want to pass along in my family. Do you remember Grandma’s apron?

Best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year from all of us at Lehman’s and Country Life!

Grandma’s Apron
I don’t think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. 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.

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Behind The Scenes At Lehman’s: The Cover Cookie Recipe

Pearl Taylor

Pearl Taylor

Recently, Lehman’s sent out a fall catalog with our Steel Nutcracker on the cover. Sharing space with it was a plate of cookies. And it appears that people went (pardon the pun) nuts for them: we got requests from all over about the cookies!

Below, you’ll find a Lehman family cookie recipe that will give you cookies very like those shown on our catalog cover. A big thank-you to Pearl Taylor, sister of our founder, Jay Lehman, for sharing the recipe. Enjoy!

Don't have your fall catalog yet? Click the photo for a link to get it!

Don’t have your fall catalog yet? Click the photo for a link to get it!

Swiss Cookies or Swiss Bon Bons
1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. powered sugar
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. soda
1 t. cream of tartar
Nuts or maraschino cherries for the tops

Cream butter and powered sugar. Add remaining ingredients and beat thoroughly. Chill dough 1 hours. Make soft balls, flatten slightly.  Top with nuts or cherry halves. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Makes 5 dozen.

Re-enactors Camp In Style With Help From Lehman’s!

My husband and I are living historians and demonstrate our “old time” crafts at historical rendezvouses.  We also used to work for Three Rivers Park District (formerly Historical Murphy’s Landing), a living history museum.  We have been trained to present ourselves as people living in the past and try to get there as closely as possible.

It’s challenging to keep up a “period correct” portrayal. But for us, it’s easy too!  The difficult part is the research to make SURE that what we use is accurate in every detail.  The easy part for us is  that Lehman’s has many items that are necessary to carry off the illusion of living “back then.”  We do not have to scrounge around in antique shops, hoping to find something rare and expensive to use.  Continue reading

Handbuilt Since 1878…and 1993

On left, #78, Lehman’s Own Reading Peeler. On right, an original Reading, c. 1976.

One of the Lehman’s products with the longest known history is Lehman’s Own Reading 78 Apple Peeler. It’s one of those cool gear-driven Victorian era contraptions that does one thing — peeling apples — and has done it exceptionally well for over 130 years! Continue reading

Dietz Lanterns: Lighting the Future

Gerry Dietz retired as President of R.E. Dietz in 1967, and his brother John became the President. In 1970, they closed the Syracuse factory and moved their remaining kerosene lantern production to Hong Kong.

Ten years later, the Hong Kong factory was manufacturing 1.5 million lanterns per year, becoming a great success. Dietz was still innovating, producing a line of battery powered emergency flashers for highway construction and floating traffic lights for barges. Records from the period show that, at times, Dietz had cash reserves of more than $600,000.

The Dietz Original Lantern is available today. Click on the image above to order.)

But running the factory half a world away must have been difficult even though Dietz had talented managers in Hong Kong. For example, the “76” lantern, meant to commemorate the Bicentennial, was produced two years late, in 1978! That was one year after I started working at Lehman’s, and I still remember receiving the first shipment of those lanterns.

1978 was also the year that John Dietz retired. The presidency was taken over by Edward Reynolds, the first non-family member to run R.E. Dietz. And, demand Continue reading