Compost freezing

We are in Colorado near the mountains. We have many bags of excess compost/steer manure from when we purchased and had trees planted this summer. If we leave the bags outside (where it freezes), will that affect the compost – killing off any live organisms? The next planting projects won’t start until late Spring again where we can get the compost in the ground to do its magic.


Freezing will not affect the compost. It will be just as good as it was in the fall, before freezing. — Jackie

Tattler lids

I have a question about the Tattler lids. I have an unusually high number of lid failures. I am following the directions on the box to slightly loosen the lid before canning and then to tighten it after processing. I bought hundreds of these lids and would like to use them more.

Dana Stine
Singer, Louisiana

I love my Tattlers. And I haven’t found I had any more failures with them than I do with single use lids. Two thoughts: maybe you’re either loosening the lids too much (or not enough) before processing or not tightening the rings soon enough after processing? I’d suggest calling the Tattler people; they’re very nice and helpful. You get instant one-on-one conversation to resolve your problem. They want you to succeed just as much as I do! — Jackie

Dirty windows

I heat with wood. Now the windows are covered with a dirty film. I tried the fancy store cleaners; vinegar, ammonia, and finally lye soap. Now they are worse than ever. Come spring I will try again. Do you have any suggestions for cleaning or any fail proof recipes for cleaner.

Shirley Adkins
McArthur, Ohio

I wash my windows first with dish soap/hot water, then use vinegar and crumpled up newspapers as a “finish.” They come out clean and streak-free. — Jackie


  1. I clean a lot of windows in rentals. Smokers film is the worst. I’ve found Dawn dishwash detergent to be the best cleaner. I don’t know what makes it work so well but it is way better than any commercial window cleaner or any other detergent. I just give a good squirt into a bucket of warm water, apply with a regular sponge, and dry with a cotton towel.

  2. I so remember my mother using vinegar and crumpled newspaper to do windows many years ago. It was all the money-saving rage.

    Good luck flying. Hope you don’t/didn’t go through any trauma with the TSAs.

  3. Good luck with the Tattlers Dana! I fell in love with them as well and canned up a storm this winter without a single failure. I do hope it’s just a tightness issue. That’s a hard one to judge for us self taught canners as everyone “finger tight” is different.

  4. My son freezes his kitchen wastes all week and brings it to us on Thursday in a grocery sack and I throw it sack and all in the barrel and give it a turn. Slimes down better than if he saved it unfrozen; I think maybe the freeze deconstructs the cells a little, which is all to the good apparently.

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