Seasonal Storms Readiness Primer

This article originally ran in summer 2012. There are useful tips for year-round storm preparation, though, and I hope that you’ll use them and be ready for incoming winter weather. — Karen Johnson, Editor, Country Life

From our preparedness/homesteading blogger Kathy Harrison! In stock now.

From our preparedness/homesteading blogger Kathy Harrison! In stock now.

Like most young boys, I often dreamed of living without modern creature comforts. In my ideal world I would use candles for my light, cook over an open flame, and eat canned goods and jerky.

Eventually I got my wish- about five years ago during an exceptionally bad winter when the power lines came down. For five days my family endured frigid temperatures with no phone service or electricity. The grocery and hardware stores in the nearby towns were in the same shape, leaving everyone to find their own way to survive. Continue reading

This Centerpiece is For The Birds (Literally)

Here at Lehman’s, we love to be crafty and thrifty at the same time. This HOLIDAYCENTERPIECEScenterpiece idea is great on so many levels: it’s simple and rustically beautiful, inexpensive, a wonderful children’s activity, and you can feed the birds afterward so nothing is wasted. What’s more, it goes together in just a few minutes, and youngsters as little as 3 can help.

After the holiday, have fun popping the popcorn and stringing it with the cranberries. This could be a great evening activity to do while watching the football game, or for the next day when the children are still home from school. Drape your popcorn and cranberry garlands outside on trees, bushes, fences, even picnic tables, and watch the birds come back again and again for some cold-weather snacks.

You will need:tgiving1

Directions:

1. Pour popcorn into the canning jar(s), layering colored popcorn as you wish and filling jars a little more than halfway. For perfectly same-sized layers, use a measuring cup for the popcorn.tgiving2

2. Pour fresh cranberries on top of the popcorn layers, filling jars almost to the top.

3. Press a tea light candle into the cranberries, making sure no parts of the cranberries are touching the candle itself. (If you’re wanting to leave these lit for long periods of time, use battery powered tea lights.)

4. Tie twine, raffia or ribbon of your choice around the top of the jar(s). I used Lehman’s  jute twine for a totally natural look.

5. Arrange on the table in whatever way you wish: a single jar surrounded bphoto 1by pine cones and pumpkins, a grouping of jars accented by your favorite plate, basket or a pretty table runner. The possibilities are endless. Voila – your table is beautiful, and the birds will be thankful this holiday, too!

Here’s another idea: Instead of centerpieces, layer the popcorn and cranberries in half-pint canning jars, tightly seal with lids and bands and write your guests’ names on the lids. You’ve now made table place settings that double as take-home favors. Simple, natural, festive and fun.

Classic Turkey Brine Recipe

For super moist, flavorful turkey this year, brine that bird!

Shelley, Lehman’s Merchandising Assistant, has been brining her family’s Thanksgiving turkey for the past couple of years, and she shared her simple recipe with us. We’re passing it on to you! Brining the turkey for at least 12 hours before roasting makes it extra moist, and this recipe gives the meat a slightly sweet flavor (which Shelley says her brood loves). Try it this year – it’s quick, easy and it just may become part of your Turkey Day turkey_087.tif1024x768traditions.

Classic Turkey Brine

You’ll need:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup coarse salt (such as sea salt or pink salt)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 orange, juiced and rind finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 turkey, 12-15 lb (thaw turkey and remove giblets before brining)
  • Ice (enough to cover turkey)
  • large stockpot and/or storage container with lid (such as a 5-gallon bucket or 4-gallon bucket)

Directions:

In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients except turkey and ice. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Chill. Place the turkey, brining liquid and ice in stockpot or lidded bucket and let stand up to 12 hours (overnight works well). Roast and feast!

DIY: Building Your Own Fermenting Jar

Try pickled beets in the Perfect Pickler! It's available now at Lehmans.com.

Try pickled beets in the Perfect Pickler! If you aren’t sure about making your own fermenting jar, it’s available in two sizes at Lehmans.com.

When I was little, my mother made pickles in crocks. It seemed like a lot of work with many steps to finally get to a tasty pickle. I recently found out that what she was doing was fermenting the cucumbers and that it’s not hard to do! And in the last couple of weeks, I have gone from thinking probiotics were just capsules or something in special yogurt to making my own sauerkraut. How did I not know that lacto-fermented foods are good for you?

Airlock fermentation systems like the Perfect Pickler™ are attractive, but to stay within my budget, I created my own. Here is what you can do to make your own airlock fermentation system.

Continue reading

Pickle Your Fall Vegetables With A Lacto-Fermented Process

recycled paper cutting board

Durable! Our employees swear by our Epicurean® Cutting Board. At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or at Lehmans.com.

I have always made a lot of pickles. We eat something pickled nearly every day. Pickled beans and beets are our favorites with carrots and cauliflower nearly as popular. We like bread and butter pickles too. Lately, I have been making a lot more lacto-fermented pickles than traditional canned pickles in brine. We can make a ½ gallon of pickles and eat them over the course of a few weeks and then just make up another crispy batch.

The process is really simple too. All you need is a sharp knife and a cutting board and some ½ gallon jars. Almost any vegetable can be fermented although a few things don’t appeal to me. I have tried pickled greens and found them, well; odd is all I can say about them. Continue reading

Lehman’s: When You Want to Think Out of The Big Box

Glenda Lehman Ervin

Looking forward to the holiday season, I know I’ll be spending a lot more time at our store in Kidron. One of my favorite parts of being there is giving store tours. I love the face-to-face interaction with customers. I enjoy answering questions and pointing out unusual “nooks and crannies” stories about our store.

Recently a busload of visitors requested a tour (seriously, it was a busload, I am not using the vernacular as in a “busload of questions”).

Often, when I do a store tour, especially with a large group, I lose half the crowd as they wander through the antique barns that link to form our Kidron store. Sometimes, they’re lost in nostalgia, seeing all the antiques that my dad (and our founder) Jay has collected and and mounted on the walls. Some end up absorbed in a specific department, where they find the kitchen gadget, tool, or stove of their dreams. Some days, at the end of the tour, I look at the group and hardly recognize a single face because so many new shoppers have joined and so many originals are off shopping.

This day was no exception, but I retained about half the original group. As we were wandering through the pantry, which features a number of exclusive, locally-made, handcrafted items, one guest picked up a smallish basket and was rather surprised to see it retailed for just under $40. By the look on her face, I could see she was surprised. After all, I hear that you can pick up a little basket for less than ten bucks at Wal-Mart. (I’d guess, since I don’t shop there).

This handcrafted Amish-Made Desk Organizer is one of several quality baskets you’ll find at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, and online at Lehmans.com.

But when I flipped the basket over, she realized it was signed and dated by the local Amish craftsperson that made it. I mentioned that one of my favorite gifts is to find a basket with a special day, such as September 14, handwritten on the bottom. When you give the present to your mother-in-law, whose birthday is on September 14, it appears that it was made especially for them, on that day.

I then handed the basket to her and when she saw the fine, detailed work, and the sheer weight and substance of it, she understood why Lehman’s prices are not the same as one of the big boxes.

When you price compare, make sure you are comparing apples to apples, or in this case, baskets to baskets. If a chain store is ordering 250,000 of the same shape, size and color from off-shore, and Lehman’s is ordering them one at a time, from a local craftsperson, our lead times may longer, and our prices may higher…and our quality is levels above. You’ll pass a handmade Amish basket from Lehman’s down to your children and grandchildren, because it’ll last.

Our Kidron Store Snowmen Love Being Indoors!

Wooden snowmen at Lehman's in Kidron

Ready to set out in our Kidron store! You’ll see these charming fellows through the holiday season.

Planning seasonal decorations for our Kidron, Ohio retail store is a big job. With 35,000 square feet of space–and many of the merchandise rooms under high ceilings, our decorator has her work cut out for her! “I plan the decorating here for the seasons and holidays, so I’m always searching for ideas,” BJ Trader says.

“Christena Imhoff (one of the store managers) told me that we were going to use snowmen for the the store’s country Christmas decoration theme this year. It really takes larger items to be noticed in this large store!”

“I got the idea for our wooden snowmen from looking on Pinterest. We have a lot of old, unused wood here, so I asked Carl Croskey, who helps me a lot on these projects to round me up some. I drew two patterns. One was Dudley, and the other Al Heart. Carl cut them out, and I took them home and began to assemble the snowmen. There were many steps involved. They were sanded, and I double-coated with white on the bodies, the black hat and carrot nose. There’s a welcome sign on Dudley, and a Christmas tree on Al Heart. I hand painted the details and they were complete. We made 12 of Dudley, one for each department in the store, and 6 of Al Heart for various areas.”

decorations made from stove pipes

They’re in the shop right now, but you’ll see our Stovepipe Snowmen in the Stove Room soon!

The project took quite some time. After the research and getting the patterns cut out, BJ explained that the snowmen took 14 hours to build. “Each one is about 4 feet tall. And then I started on two snowmen especially for the Stove Room. I just completed Smokey and Little Joe at the end of October. They are made of stove pipe. Smokey is 7′ tall.

“Have you heard the old saying,”necessity is the mother of invention”. We had a budget of $200.00 for the snowmen, to decorate the entire store. So we looked at what we had and went to work.”

8 Things You Can Prep Now For The Holidays

Hardwood utensils, made in Ohio.

Choose your favorite hardwood spoon at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, OH.

We’re all looking at the calendar and wondering how the year can go so quickly. Now’s the time to take a moment and make sure you’re ready to entertain this holiday season. No matter if your style is simple or swanky, you can probably use most of these tips!

1. Serviceware: Inventory your serving spoons, meat forks, and related items. Do you have enough? Replace missing or add needed items now, before the rush!

2. Platters and trays: Once everyone’s seated at the table, how will you get the turkey or ham down the line? Make sure you have meat platters or trays, and big serving bowls, like our Stoneware Shoulder Bowls, for side dishes. Continue reading

Turn Clocks Back 1 Hour Tonight!

 

silver metal alarm clock

Daylight Savings Time Ends today! Remember to turn your clocks back one hour tonight at bedtime.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             No power needed! The Chrome Twin Bell Alarm Clock is easy to set, and is one of our favorites at Lehman’s.

What To Do With An Abundance of Apples?

Oh, what to do with an abundance of apples? It has been the year of fruit here in Massachusetts. The trees are weighted down with peaches, pears and apples. There are so many that I’m receiving whole cases as gifts from people who have more than they can eat or preserve. So what to do with this gift from the trees (and from desperate neighbors)?

First of all, if you have your apples in a root cellar or cold storage, you have time to process. It’s not like tomato season!

Lehmans Single Tub Fruit Press

Just getting started in fruit pressing? The Single Tub Fruit Press is an ideal starter press. At Lehmans.com, or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Options abound. I have already pressed 120 pounds into cider. Next up will be canning. I want to do sauce but I also want to do pie filling. On a cold winter’s day, I can get away with a pot of soup for supper as long as I have a hearty dessert. I do NOT have a family that considers a bowl of soup supper otherwise. If the filling is sitting in a jar the whole thing takes minutes as I keep rounds of pie dough in the freezer waiting for the night I need a great dessert or a pot luck contribution. So let’s make pie filling today.

Continue reading