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

Enter to Win Your Christmas – On Us!


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 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 and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

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

How To Can Homemade Soup

Homemade canned soup – the ultimate convenience food!

I love soups of all kinds. They are a one pot meal. Fewer dishes, for one thing – gotta love that. Soups can stretch your food budget. A little meat goes a long way. And you can use leftovers in delicious combinations. If you start soup early and let it simmer slowly it will make your house smell wonderful!

Crock pot soups are the best. No last minute rush to get dinner on the table. Soup is a great excuse to make my homemade bread. I’m such a bread person!

Prepare ahead of time by canning your own homemade soup. It is easy to do, but there are a few safety tips to remember. Soup always needs to be pressure canned. Remember, any vegetable or meat will be a low acid food and all low acid foods must be processed in a pressure canner for safety. Do not add noodles, rice, flour, cream or any milk or any thickeners. All these can be added when you heat the soup to serve it. If you are using beans or peas they must be cooked prior to canning. Continue reading

Perfect, Make-Ahead Pumpkin Muffins

Read on for Kathy's favorite muffin recipe!

Read on for Kathy’s favorite muffin recipe!

The days are still warm but the nights hold a chill, just a hint that fall is around the corner.

In the heat of summer, breakfast is often just fruit and yogurt or a cool smoothie. But fall calls for more substantial fare. Kids are heading off to school and time is at a premium too, so having meals both quick and hearty is a boon to busy homemakers. Back when I was seeing 8 kids out the door each morning I got in the habit of preparing breakfast the night before. It’s become a habit that still makes good sense, even though I now have only one child at home. Continue reading

Simple, Un-Boring After School Snacks


This chunky, yummy granola is full of wholesome, protein-filled ingredients. In fact, no sugar is added, unlike other store-bought granolas. At and our store in Kidron.

This chunky, yummy granola is full of wholesome, protein-filled ingredients. In fact, no sugar is added, unlike other store-bought granolas. At and our store in Kidron.

After school snacks don’t have to be boring. They can be fun to eat and easy to make. Whether your children are snacking at home or on the go, there is a common thread: growing bodies need fuel to keep them going. It doesn’t matter if they are little ones or teenagers. A hearty snack after a busy day can give that boost to keep your family going until supper.  Continue reading

The Amish Way

The old barn before rebuilding.

An old Amish barn before rebuilding.

A lot of folks idolize the Amish, and envy their way of life — even wishing there was some way they could live like that. It is a good life, but one that requires long hours of hard work, with many less conveniences than the rest of us enjoy. It is possible for any of us to live very simply, but the Amish lifestyle is so intertwined with faith and community, that to truly live like them would almost require joining them or a similar group. The Amish are devoted to a lifetime of living by the Bible and the obeying the rules of the church. Living in community and helping each other is one of the prime factors of their culture — both a blessing and a deep commitment to the group. Continue reading

Figs: The Overlooked Fall Fruit

fig tree

On a dewy morning in early spring we purchased a small fig tree in a gallon pot at our farmer’s market. Planted in a mostly sunny spot, that tree is now soaring over seven feet. Every year that once-little fig tree rewards us. From early September on through into the frost it provides us with an abundance of sweet chewy figs. This beautiful tree doesn’t ask for much care, just some simple trimming in the winter to stop crossed branches and allow the sun to reach the center fruit buds.

The fresh figs from our tree are delicious,and  they can be used in a wide variety of both sweet and savory recipes. Continue reading

Remember Y2K? Here’s What We Learned – And What You Can Learn.


Without a doubt, the Y2K scare helped put Lehman’s on the map. Thousands of people seeking non-electric ways to survive — wood stoves, water pumps, grain mills and oil lamps —  sought out our (then) small company starting in 1998. To say our company experienced a massive spike in business is an understatement. Lehman’s was absolutely inundated with catalog orders, phone calls and customers in our store, all wanting to prepare for the worst.

Our President, Galen Lehman, reflected on those days recently.

“The earliest people thought it was going to be a much bigger disaster, and they were purchasing more extreme items, like grain and grain mills, and water pumps – ways to protect their food and water supply,” he said. “They were preparing for a long-term outage.”

By buying water pumps and grain mills, folks were preparing for months or years without electricity.  Grain, for example, can be stored in a dry place for years, retaining its value as safe, nutritious food.  When preparing for hard times, it’s important to think about exactly what you are preparing for. 

Continue reading

USA-Made Still Matters To Us

There is a big sign in our office with a picture of my dad. sign in officeIt says, in part, “We believe in offering products made in the United States wherever possible. When we offer imported items, we choose the best quality we can find.”

This is not just something we say to sound good. We spend time every day, sometimes hours every day, hunting down USA-made products.

I will make this claim and stand by it with confidence: We have more USA product in our store by any measure (percentage of units, percentage of dollars sold, percentage of inventory value) than any other hardware store you will visit. 

But, now I’m worried that the words “USA-MADE” might be disappearing! Here’s the problem: Whole segments of American industry have been decimated by Chinese competition. Continue reading