Living Outside the Cloud

alli-gardening

As a 17-year-old, I am part of the last generation raised before The Smartphone Era. My baby photos are glued into scrapbook instead of stored on laptops. The movies I watched as a child were on big boxy tapes and not slim DVDs. I learned everything in kindergarten from real textbooks, instead of an iPad. Continue reading

How To Make Cold Process Soap: Step By Step

finished soap

Homemade soap. It’s something that’s always been on my radar, but nothing I ever thought I’d try myself. My grandmother and at least two great-grandmothers made their own soap Continue reading

Are You Ready? September is National Preparedness Month!

A potential lifesaver in emergencies, and a helpful light on countless other occasions. This bright LED flashlight never needs batteries, so it's always ready to use. A best-seller at Lehmans.com.

A potential lifesaver in emergencies, and a helpful light on countless other occasions. This bright LED flashlight never needs batteries, so it’s always ready to use. A best-seller at Lehmans.com.

Are you ready? We’re in the thick of seasonal change, with summer sliding into fall. Hurricane season still has a month to go. Although many weather sites say tornado season ‘ends’ in July, folks in the Plains states may beg to differ. And in the upper northwest and the mountains, there could already be some snow.

Throughout the month, we will feature preparedness articles so that you and your family can stay safe. We’ll take a look at Lehman’s best preparedness products too–the ones my fellow employees and I have in our own homes.

And don’t forget: the National Weather Service, the American Red Cross, and Ready.gov are all available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The advice on these sites is time-tested and reliable. Let’s all do something to be better prepared for emergencies this month! Stay tuned.

 

 

Applesauce Day

apples in bowl lisa amstutz

Late summer means it’s time for one of my favorite traditions: Applesauce Day. For years, the kids and I have spent a day or two each summer making a year’s worth of applesauce with my mother. It’s a family tradition that grows sweeter every year.

This year, the day was extra-special because for the first time, we did not have to buy any apples. Our young trees produced a bumper crop of chemical-free, mostly worm-free apples. We did a batch of Transparent apples and a second batch of Summer Rambos. Continue reading

Maintaining Your Woodpile

wood 2

It’s said the hand of the Creator can be found in many places, depending on who’s doing the looking or listening. Some see beauty or majesty in a sunset, or looking across the Grand Canyon, staring up at the roof of the Sistine Chapel or listening to a particular genre of music. Among other things, I find great beauty in a nice woodpile. Yeah, I said it — a good store of wood for the winter.

There’s just something comforting about seeing a winter’s worth of wood all lined up in neat rows under a lean-to shed roof, or along a fencerow, or even in a well-formed pile … all stacked just so, to allow for maximum air movement and drying (a.k.a. seasoning). Continue reading

Our Olive Oil Lamp: A Fixture of the Rural Night

olive oil lamp5

I have come to know darkness as a fact of rural life. When the sun sets over the Green Mountains, ceasing to bathe the lush Vermont landscape in its golden evening light, the darkness of night makes itself abundantly known. 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

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