Real Food, Real Life: City Girl Churns Butter

Alison and her husband Jacob.

Alison and her husband Jacob.

This might be the coolest blog post I’ve written in a long time, if not ever. It’s all about the magical, real essence of butter. Continue reading

Little Lessons From Anna’s House

amish farm spring_bruce stambaugh

Recently I had the privilege of visiting Anna*, a longtime friend of my grandmother’s. Penpals for decades although they live just a few miles apart, they met in an apple orchard and immediately bonded over their shared frugal ways.

Anna is a 70-ish widow who belongs to one of the strictest orders of the Amish, so I expected her house to be very bare, almost austere. But I was wrong. Like Anna, her house was a delight in the purest and most innocent sense. In fact, Anna’s house taught me… Continue reading

Family Beekeeping: Make A Plan for Next Year


Beekeeping is becoming very popular these days.  Part of the reason is that many people want to get back to the land, grow their own food, and be self sufficient.   Another reason is because the bees are dying, and people want to help.  We’ve all heard about it.  It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder.

The disappearance of bees is frightening because we depend on them for pollination.  It is interesting to note, however, that honey bees are not native to the United States.  They were imported from Europe by the early settlers.  Will we still have food if all the honey bees disappear?  Yes, but not nearly as much.  Honeybees have greatly enhanced our ability to raise large quantities of fruits, nuts, and field crops — so losing them hurts.

Small, well-tended apiaries seem to have a better chance of survival, so it is heartening that many folks are getting involved in this fascinating pursuit.  In fact, many people keep bees in urban settings — even putting hives on roofs of buildings to keep the bees’ flight paths above traffic and away from nearby people. Continue reading

Six Simple Tips for an Allergy-Free Picnic


Party Trays

A durable and reusable helper for parties, picnics and barbeques.

A picnic should be a fun gathering of family and friends where everyone can relax and have a nice time together. However, for many people attending a picnic can cause stress and panic. No, I am not talking about the dreaded conversation with your awkward uncle or the pressure from grandma to find that special someone. I’m talking about coping with the spread of dishes put out for meals.

For many, the serving table full of its tasty fare, chock-full of traditional picnic dishes can cause stress. In a time when there are so many fad diets, intolerances and medical needs involving food, there are many people that can’t just eat what everyone else is eating. At our typical family gatherings there are folks with food allergies, diabetics and vegans all needing to eat. So here are six simple steps we always use to help everyone have a nicer mealtime. Continue reading

Celebrate International Picnic Day! (Safely)

picnic essentials

Handmade by the Amish, our serving tray adds rustic charm to your picnics, parties and family dinners. At and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Handmade by the Amish, our serving tray adds rustic charm to your picnics, parties and family dinners. At and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Tomorrow is International Picnic Day! Whether you are at a ball field, a concert or just flying a kite in the park, having a picnic is one of the official signs of summer and relaxation. So that everyone enjoys the moment and you have no regrets later, keeping the food safe should be a priority. Here are a few tips to make sure that happens:

COOL IT. Coolers are essential. If you are planning on staying all day, take two. One cooler can be used for the beverages and food that will be eaten first and a second one that won’t be opened until food is needed later in the day. Remember that cold air descends, so place ice packs on top, once the food is packed. Also remember that everything should be Continue reading

Then and Now: Mother’s Day

Create a gorgeous (and delicious) meal for Mom in your own home. Purple canning jars at and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Create a gorgeous (and delicious) meal for Mom in your own home. Purple canning jars at and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Since Lehman’s is celebrating 60 years in business this year, we thought it would be fun to reminisce about how Mother’s Day gifts and celebrations have changed (or not!) over the decades. Here’s what we learned, along with our top 2015 ways to spoil mom on HER DAY.

1955 to 2015 – Mothers of the 1950s were mercilessly marketed to by makers of “domestic” products like vacuum cleaners, cleaning supplies and the latest kitchen gadgets of the time. Today, some moms would be offended if their children wrapped up a blender, but on the other hand, we know some homesteading mothers who would be absolutely delighted with a brand-new grain mill, chicken coop or pressure canner. So obviously, make sure to choose a gift that YOUR mother will appreciate, whether it’s pampering or not! Continue reading

Our Favorite 100% Whole Wheat Bread (Glenda’s Secret Recipe!)

Glenda Lehman Ervin, our vice-president of marketing, swears by this “family secret” bread recipe.

“My mother baked bread for us each week. How many times I came home to bread still rising in the dough pan, lightly covered with a damp cloth. Better yet, the smell of freshly baked bread, wafting through the kitchen.”

“I don’t have time to bake bread each week,” she says, “but I want my daughter to have those memories.  So I use this recipe and we bake together, on lazy Sunday afternoons or cold winter evenings. Because if I don’t teach her how to bake bread, how will she teach her daughter? The last time we baked bread, the entire loaf was gone by bedtime!”

Our pure Clover Honey is processed just a few miles from our store in Ohio. At and our store in Kidron.

Our pure Clover Honey is processed just a few miles from our store in Ohio. At and our store in Kidron.

Favorite 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Makes 4 loaves.

2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons yeast
2 eggs, beaten
7 to 8 cups whole wheat flour, warmed in the oven

In a large mixing bowl, pour boiling water over powdered milk, butter, salt and honey. After cooled, add dry yeast and beaten eggs. Beat mixture with 3 cups flour. Stir in 2 1/2 cups additional flour. Turn onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Add flour sparingly as needed to keep dough from sticking. Cover and let rest 20 minutes. Punch down and shape into four loaves. Let rise until doubled. Place doubled loaves into greased bread pans. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes.

Editor’s Note: This recipe was originally published in October 2013.

Lehman’s Hacks: Christmas Canning Jar Craft!

Beeswax tealights, Ball® canning jars

Lit with tealights, the jars really sparkle! Find tealights and jars at

The first thing we did was look at Pinterest.

In retrospect, that may have been a mistake.

After all, we’re writers and editors here at Country Life, not semi-professional crafters.But we had a great time making our “disco ball jars” as writer Sarah christened the project, and we hope you will too.

Continue reading

2014 Fall Festival Album

Fall in Amish Country

Fall in Amish Country

If you couldn’t come and spend the day with us at the Fall Festival at Lehman’s on the Square in Kidron last Saturday, we suggest enlarging the pictures and pretending!

The weather was perfect, and so was the company. Our thanks to everyone who stopped in. And a special thanks to Kerrie Elizabeth Kaufmann, who took the great photo of Glenn Kaufmann, working at the spokeshaving bench in the chairbuilding demo area. Continue reading

Join Us: It’s Fall Festival Tomorrow!

Chuck shows a Fall Festival guest how to press cider in 2013.

In just 24 hours, we’re hoping to see you in Kidron, celebrating autumn in Amish Country! Our Fall Festival opens at 10 a.m. and runs through 3 p.m. Saturday at Lehman’s on the Square.

All sorts of free, fun, family-friendly activities are on tap:

  • Pedal Tractor maze for children
  • Corn “sandbox”
  • Just for children, crafts and fun in the Buggy Barn
  • Pretzel Rolling demonstrated by Uncle Henry’s Pretzels
  • Our founder Jay Lehman is autographing our new Phone Booth 1,000 piece puzzle: he took the photo we used for the puzzle!
  • Toy demos and toy try-out area
  • Face Painting
  • Wayne County’s favorite folk (funky, fun) band, Honeytown, plays all day
  • Try some nibbles from Little Town Granola and Uncle Henry’s Pretzels
  • Locally made jams, jellies, and cider will be available for tasting (and purchasing!)
  • Check out the annual Fall Stove Sale in the Stove Room: you can save over $1,000 on certain model purchases and installation
  • Pick up prime country living skills: our staff and specialists will be demoing all day:
    “Cast Iron” Smores: the best, using basic cast iron pans
    Chair Building: Built with traditional tools and meticulous craftsmanship
    See the new Wax Vessels: lovely looks and scent, no candle flame needed
    Cider Pressing: It’s easier than you think with our Stainless Steel Cider Press
    Aladdin Lamps: learn the ins and outs of this popular, practical lamp
This is the savings basket you are looking for!

This is the savings basket you are looking for!

And we know some of you just come to shop, and we’ve got a great deal for you. As you check out, grab a leaf from the bushel basket at the register area. Give it to your cashier, and find out if you’ve saved up to 20% on your purchase. You might even win a free gift!

Facepainting for the youngsters too!

What is it? Check out all the sample and show stations!

Shelling corn

Learning how to shell corn with people-powered corn sheller.

Sampling popcorn

Sampling fresh-popped, Ohio-grown popcorn.


Facepainting is always a big hit.