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The new old-fashioned way. February 19, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading, recipes, wit and wisdom.
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As you all know, our friend Ben and Silence Dogood aren’t big on buying new stuff. That’s why we call ourselves Luddites. We can spend hours in an antiques mall admiring old things—things that were used, valued, and loved by previous generations, sometimes passed down through many generations. But please don’t ask us to go to a shopping mall, anytime, anywhere. Mass-produced, cheaply made, generic, and unattractive aren’t words that work for us. We agree with the sign in front of a local antiques mall that says “Go Green, Buy Vintage.”

But of course, there are exceptions. We were just reading a post, “A Little Perspective,” over at Cinj’s Chat Room (http://cbmvwag.blogspot.com/), in which Cinj was urging us all to become a little more self-reliant and a lot more reasonable in our views on how much is enough. This is a mindset we can wholeheartedly endorse. But if you choose to become more self-sufficient, to grow some of your own food, do a little home canning, even hang out your laundry rather than running the dryer, you need the right tools and resources in order to succeed.

Silence and our friend Ben are fortunate in this respect: We live in an area with a large Amish and Mennonite population, so we can go to stores like Weaver’s Hardware just outside the nearby village of Lyons, PA and find everything from canning supplies to kerosene lamps, as well as a huge selection of garden seeds and books on gardening, livestock, cooking and canning, and other DIY topics. (And yes, they have quite an assortment of clotheslines and clothespins.)

But what if you don’t have access to a store like this? What if you want to give your kids beautifully crafted, USA-made wooden toys instead of cheap plastic imports? What if you’d like to get a set of durable glass storage dishes and stop worrying about what’s leaking out of that plastic and into your food, or buy a well-made wheelbarrow, a stoneware water cooler, or ingenious hand tools such as an angle weeder?

There is a source, and its catalogues are an education in self-reliant living: Lehman’s (www.lehmans.com, with 24/7 ordering at 1-877-438-5346). Established to supply non-electric products to the Amish and Mennonite populations surrounding Kidron, Ohio, Lehman’s still offers an incredible range of human-powered and old-time (but still useful) tools and supplies. But it also offers modern self-reliant aids like solar-powered and hand-cranked flashlights, radios, and the like. Our friend Ben and Silence have never been disappointed by any of the items we’ve purchased from Lehman’s over the years (Silence got her starter canning system from them). Our one regret is that we can’t afford to buy more! 

We suggest that you head over to www.lehmans.com, order a catalogue, and check it out for yourselves. If nothing else, it’s bound to inspire you to think of at least a couple of things you could do to reduce your bills and be more self-reliant! And for you lucky folks living in the vicinity of Kidron, Lehman’s has a huge store. Please let us know if you visit them—we often imagine roaming the aisles and checking everything out (including the gorgeous wood cookstoves). Maybe one day…



1. Galen Lehman - February 19, 2009

Thanks for another kind recommendation! I enjoy reading your blog! If you are ever in the Kidron, Ohio area, stop in and see us!

Wow, Galen, we’re honored!!! Never expected that you’d be one of our readers! Please let us know if there’s a topic you’d like to see us posting on, and we’ll keep fantasizing about a trip to Kidron—someday!!!

2. nancybond - February 19, 2009

Thanks for what looks like a very useful and interesting link!

Thanks, Nancy! You’ll love it!

3. fairegarden - February 19, 2009

Hi OFB and Silence, how cool to have the owner comment! Wow. I will check out their site, thanks. And to see more of my sunroom, look here:http://fairegarden.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/serious-about-seeds-still-fun/. I left a reply to your comment but thought I would visit you and leave it here too. I do use electricity though. 🙂

Thanks, Frances, we’ll run over and check it out! What with our Molly being so ill, we’ve been a bit behind in our blog reading lately. And we designed our greenhouse for passive solar, but also have electricity for lighting and wintertime heat. Otherwise, our plants would really be up in arms!

4. shibaguyz - February 20, 2009

What a great resource! We’ve been preparing a post on resources for the frugal living folks out there (like us!) and this is definitely going on the list!

That is excellent, guyz! I can’t wait to see your list!

5. Cinj - February 20, 2009

I’ll have to check that link out, it sounds interesting. How cool is that the owner reads your blog? My sister lives in Ohio. I’ll definately need some more supplies soon!

I feel flattered that you mentioned me. Isn’t it great how we get each other thinking about things that we want to write about?

It IS great, Cinj! You and the other bloggers I read regularly, especially on Blotanical, are a constant source of inspiration to me!

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