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

Disposing of Disposables

dad and son with reusable grocery bags

Reusable grocery bags help save on one-use plastic bags. Keep reading below for more tips and products on how to cut back on disposable items in your home.

Do you realize how many things we buy for no other purpose than to throw them away? Think about it: facial tissues, plastic cutlery, paper plates, plastic wrap, shopping bags, diapers, paper towels, even canning lids. It is estimated the average American throws away nearly $5,000 of disposable goods every year. What could you do with an extra $5,000? Continue reading

How to Use a Breathing Mobile Washer

breathing mobile washerWashing clothes used to be one of the most backbreaking chores for women. There were two reasons for this: the lack of automation, and the lack of modern detergents. The widespread use of both automation and detergents meant that what used to be an all-day task became a simple matter of tossing clothes into a machine, adding some detergent, and pressing a button.

However, this widespread automation means off-grid laundry is almost a forgotten art. Fortunately there have been amazing advances in non-electric laundry options. These new advances will work for those who are off-grid, living in apartments, RVers, or others who don’t have continuous access to a washing machine.

One of the most popular and inexpensive off-grid laundry options is the breathing mobile washer. Continue reading

Pandemic Preparedness with Kathy Harrison

Kathy Harrison

Kathy Harrison, author of Prepping 101, shares her tips on how to prepare your family for the current pandemic.

For more than a decade I have been writing books and articles, teaching classes and presenting workshops on preparing your family for emergencies. I focused primarily on short-term events like fires, floods, hurricanes and winter storms because those were the most likely scenarios. In January, things changed. News reports began to filter in about a novel coronavirus, one with pandemic potential. Early in February, I sent out an email blast to family and friends suggesting it was time to take preparing seriously and get ready for long-term disruptions to supply chains and public services. Some people listened to me. Most didn’t. So here we are. While things are looking more hopeful in some parts of the country, it is clear that this virus is going to be impacting our lives for the foreseeable future. This begs an important question. Is it too late to prepare? To that I say an emphatic no! But where to begin? What are the critical areas to address that can help your family face the winter more comfortably and with less anxiety? Continue reading

Emergency Planning: Preparedness Month is Here

Basic Survival First Aid KitWe have a saying here at Lehman’s, “Be prepared, not scared.”

Preparedness is an important part of living a simpler life. Being prepared just means taking simple steps to keep yourself and your family safe and secure when supply lines are frayed or broken. Before you can plan, you should start with thinking about likely challenges you could face. Power outages and severe weather are common threats for many of us. Continue reading

Building Community as a Preparedness Strategy

neighbor helping neighborLast week our close-knit neighborhood experienced a terrifying event. A fast-moving wildfire swept through, burned one house to the ground, destroyed several barns and outbuildings, leveled fences, and torched majestic trees. Miraculously no lives were lost, either human or livestock.

The older couple whose house was destroyed has been reeling in shock – not just the shock of losing everything they own (except their livestock), but the shock of how strongly everyone has rallied around to help them in their time of need. Continue reading

5 Ways to Preserve the Harvest

carrying harvest in crate

Here in Ohio, we’re knee-deep in yellow squash, cucumbers, green beans and all the deliciousness of a summer garden. My family’s sugar peas were some of the best we’ve ever grown, so good it’s tempting to eat them right off the vine (though, we recommend a good washing first). But we did get a little carried away with some of our planting. We have more cucumber plants then family members. And somehow, we always overestimate how many tomatoes we will eat. (Spaghetti sauce, anyone?)

The wonderful part is that there are many ways to preserve the harvest for later enjoyment, long after the warm summer season has disappeared.

Keep reading below to discover five ways to preserve your harvest now. (We even included some helpful resources to get you started.)

Continue reading

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

The Benefits of Planting Native Plants

butterfly on flowerAll year long, homeowners across the globe do everything humanly possible to improve their landscaping. And with the numerous plant and flower species available at the garden centers and nursery, they are spoiled for choice, and they can give their backyard any look they desire. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t know how native plants can benefit the environment, garden, birds, and even pollinators, EcoPeanut said.

Native crops have evolved over the last few centuries to their habitat; therefore, they can thrive in their native area. And compared to exotic plants, the native ones can also save you time, cash, and resources. After all, just because a crop can grow in a particular region doesn’t mean that it should be planted there. Landscaping with exotic crops can increase your expenses and even outgrow the native plants. 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