The Pleasure of Doing Things by Hand

Lehmans Dazey Butter ChurnMany years ago I had a discussion with some friends about how I learned to make butter using cream from our cow. It was an enthusiastic conversation on my part because I was so excited to learn something new and do things by hand.

At the end of the detailed recital, the husband asked, “But you won’t be doing this again, right? After all, it’s a lot easier just to buy butter.”

He’s right. It’s much easier just to buy butter. But the fact is, now I know how to make butter. Whenever our cows give too much cream, I know what to do with it. Over the years I’ve made butter dozens and dozens of times. It’s a component of our diet for which I know every last step – the health of the cow, how her calf is treated, how the cream is handled. From start to finish, the “chain of custody” for that butter never leaves our farm. Continue reading

Bruce the Alligator Man is Coming to Lehman’s

Bruce MitchellEditor’s Note: Mark your calendars – Bruce the Alligator Man from Swamp Adventures is coming to Lehman’s this August (2021)! In celebration, we’re sharing our interview with Bruce. Read on for more about him, about his upcoming visit to Lehman’s, and how to get your FREE tickets to attend this event.

It’s not often you meet someone who wrestles alligators for a living, but that is literally what Bruce Mitchell does. Honestly.

When Bruce married Janet back in 1980, he married into a family that ran the world’s first and largest alligator farm dating back five decades. Tucked in the swamps and bayous of Louisiana, Bruce started farming alligators at the tender age of 20, along with his wife and father-in-law. Continue reading

Leaving the City for a Simpler Life

father and son on farmThe year 2020 has brought about many changes. One of the most exciting is the number of people embarking on new journeys toward a simpler life.

These journeys take many forms. While some people are restricted to growing a windowsill garden in an apartment, a huge number are moving to suburban or rural areas and starting over. In fact, there has been an enormous exodus of people leaving the cities, anxious to find their own version of a quieter and more self-sustaining lifestyle. Continue reading

Meet Anne Of All Trades

anne briggsWhat do you do when you’re a low-tech person in a high-tech world? You harvest the best of both.

Anne Briggs was born of missionary parents and traveled internationally during her youth, but she envied her friends with ranches and roots. “I loved animals and always wanted animals of my own, but we could never have any because of our travels,” she remembers. “I always vowed that someday, if I lived in America, I’d live on a farm.” 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

Skills and Hobbies that Blossomed in 2020

Rolling dough for homemade breadIf you had lots of unexpected free time on your hands, what would you do? What would you learn?

This was the question imposed on millions of people in the last year as our society coped with a lot of unprecedented developments, including the pandemic. But not all downtime was bad or difficult. In fact, with so much time on their hands, hobbies blossomed through 2020 as people refreshed old skills and learned new ones. Continue reading

Gift Ideas for Homesteaders

hands with presentIf your Christmas wish list is average, it’s divided into roughly three categories: big-ticket items, smaller items, and stocking stuffers. If you’re a homesteader, soon-to-be-homesteader, or a wanna-be homesteader, Lehman’s is the place to find all three.

The best kind of gift for homesteaders is something that contributes to self-sufficiency. Does it help grow food? Raise livestock? Provide heat? Produce light? Make a job easier, safer, or more efficient? Reduce costs? Solve a problem? Deliver knowledge? If the answer is “yes” to any of these criteria, then it’s likely to be a welcome gift for the homesteader in your family.

Here are some suggestions for the do-it-yourselfer on your Christmas list: Continue reading

The Life-Changing Magic of Self-Sufficiency

preserving foodThe day we installed our brand-new Baker’s Choice wood cookstove was the day our lives changed dramatically for the better. I mean that literally.

Living in the far north, wintertime heat is no small matter. For the previous fifteen years, our sole source of heat was a small inefficient woodstove located in an inconvenient corner of our house, which left the rest of the house hovering in the low 50s during cold weather. For years, we’d fantasized about having a proper cookstove in a more central location. Continue reading

Meet Farmer John Moody – An Expert on Elderberries, Soils and More

UPDATE 9/1/20: Due to concerns of large events during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Fall Festival has been cancelled, including John Moody’s visit and hands-on classes at Lehman’s.

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“I am not your typical farmer.” That’s the first thing John Moody says when he introduces himself.

In fact, Moody doesn’t consider himself typical in anything. The author of five books on the subject of farming and homesteading, Moody and his wife Jessica are determined to spread the news about the merits of real, honest food and the health benefits that result. (“One fun fact,” he adds. “I am a green belt in judo and performed multiple times in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”) Continue reading

The Road Less Traveled

In 1916, the poet Robert Frost wrote a famous poem entitled “The Road Not Taken” in which a walker faces a forked path in the woods. One path is well-trod, the other path is overgrown. Which path should he take? The final stanza of the poem reads:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Nearly 30 years ago, my husband and I stood at that metaphorical fork in our lives, and we took the road less traveled. It has made all the difference. Continue reading