Nailed It, Failed It: Lessons From Last Year’s Garden

Alli Planting Her GardenIf you have read some of my blogs, you know that I love growing my own fruits, veggies and flowers every summer. It connects me to the earth, relaxes me, and makes the meals I cook with fresh produce all the more delicious. The sense of satisfaction I get from turning dirt and seeds into a fresh salad or salsa is priceless. Continue reading

Paper Gardening: How to Grow a Successful Garden Now

Maine Garden HodJanuary and February – traditionally the coldest, bleakest months of the year – have one highlight, something like the gardener’s version of the swallows returning to Capistrano: the arrival of seed catalogs in the mail. Continue reading

Safely Heating a Yurt With Wood

the yurt before chimney

Here’s a photo of Hannah’s yurt last summer before the chimney was installed.

My 24-foot diameter yurt is a 450 square foot living space, with lightly insulated cloth walls over a wooden lattice structure. When I think about building a fire in there, I think it had better be done safely! I also notice that the space heats up quickly, as it’s not all that large after all, but the heat dissipates quickly after the fire goes out, too. Better insulation than mine would be a must if I needed to count on my dwelling staying above freezing when I’m away for the day. Continue reading

Chicken Co-Op: Homesteading With Neighbors and Friends

Wire Egg BasketYears ago, when all 7 of the kids were home, a flock of chickens was a necessity. I could go through 18 eggs for a single breakfast and custard for that hungry bunch used up another dozen. Things have changed. Only my youngest remains at home and a dozen eggs lasts me for several days, even with the occasional batch of custard. A big flock of layers seems like overkill, especially as most of the neighbors have chickens too. Continue reading

Dreaming of a Garden As It Snows…

Classic Gardner Tool SetPunxsutawney Phil may say there are six more weeks of winter but apparently, he is not from Western Massachusetts. We see snow well into April and a late frost can wipe out the garden in May. So, what’s a garden girl to do while the snow lies deep and yet another storm is forecasted for the weekend? Well, she hunkers down with her seed catalogs, graph paper and last year’s records and starts planning her garden. Continue reading

My Family’s First Maple Syrup Adventure

Maple Sugaring Starter KitThis has been a winter for the record books here in Northeastern Ohio. On our homestead, it’s meant cooped up chickens, lots of carrying water, and making sure everybody in the barn has extra straw for bedding down and keeping warm. Continue reading

How To Light Your Home Without Electricity

The Dietz "Blizzard" lantern was designed in 1898 and earned its name by standing up to high winds. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

The Dietz “Blizzard” lantern was designed in 1898 and earned its name by standing up to high winds. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Editor’s Note: This is article was originally published in December 2016.

For some, the thought of upcoming wintertime power outages comes with a sense of dread or even panic. But there has always been something nostalgic to me about the peace that comes when the noisy hum of household appliances falls quiet. The glowing ambiance of candles or oil lamps gently lighting a room takes me back to bygone days when life had a bit more quality and substance. Continue reading

Why I’m Building a Yurt

a yurtEditor’s Note: Hannah started building her yurt last spring where she now lives. She recorded the beginning of her adventure during the process and is now sharing it with us. Enjoy!

These days are very exciting, because I’m starting to build a yurt to live in. I’ve never built a semi-permanent dwelling before, and to be totally honest I don’t have a lot of construction experience. For this project, I get to learn as I go, taking the advice of neighbors, and, luckily, there’s some room for fudging. Continue reading

Life 140 Years Ago

row of journalsAround this time last year, my extended family gathered at my grandmother’s house for a belated Christmas celebration. As tradition has it, my grandma’s cozy basement was filled with tables and chairs, homemade sugar cookies (Grandma makes the best!), and a boisterous noise that erupted every few minutes as members of my family traded stories and laughs. Continue reading

10 Vital Tips for Maple Syrup Rookies

maple sugaring starter kitEditor’s Note: The following article was originally published in February 2015. It came to us from Scott Ervin, husband of Glenda Lehman Ervin (Lehman’s VP of Marketing) and son-in-law of Jay Lehman (Lehman’s founder). An avid outdoorsman, Scott tried his hand at maple syrup making and learned many valuable lessons in the process. Enjoy! Continue reading