Being on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, I get asked questions frequently, but I don't always have the time to answer all of them. I figured this would be a great opportunity to cover some of your specific questions in regards to living a homestead lifestyle.
Join me in this episode of the Pioneering Today Podcast (episode #408) as I answer your homesteading questions.
Stay tuned next week for part two of my Ask Me Anything series, where I'll be discussing more of the financial side of homesteading. And check out this homesteading Q&A from a previous podcast series.
Questions in this Podcast
- What are the best types of storage containers (especially for bulk flour)? Check out these posts for tips on buying bulk foods and how to store bulk food here.
- What to do with expired canned goods? Spoiler alert: I don't go by expiration dates.
- How to tell if canned goods have gone bad? Pro Tip: Botulism spores don't have an odor! Learn how to prevent botulism here, and grab my book Everything Worth Preserving or join the Pioneering Today Academy and take my canning course for a whole section on botulism safety tips.
- Can any green bean be eaten as a dry bean? Learn how to grow beans here.
- What is the best pressure canner? Check out this post on choosing the best pressure canner for you. And read the pros and cons of electric pressure canners.
- Questions on building a barn. My answer? Don't!
- My concerns about resilience to climate change.
- Things to do in the fall around the homestead. We're not slowing down. This is one of the busiest times of the year!
- Are glass lids safe for canning?
Verse of the Week: 1 Corinthians 4:7
More Posts You May Enjoy
- De-clutter Your Home Month by Month
- Does Gardening Save Money
- Gardening by Month Series (Garden Tasks by Month)
- How to Preserve Food When it’s Too Hot to Can
- Hot Climate Gardening Tips
- Planning our “Farm Stay” Homestead
- How to Take a Vacation When You Have a Homestead
- Best Vegetables for Small Spaces and Self-Sufficiency
- 4 Tips to Success In Growing Your Own Food
- Seed Packet Information – How to Read Seed Packets for Gardening Success
- How to Plan Your Best Garden & Harvest for a Year's Worth of Food
- The Ultimate Seed Starting Guide: Planning, Starting, & Mistakes to Avoid
Hey, pioneers, welcome to episode number 408. Today's episode, I am going to be answering your guys' questions. So, every now and then when you've been podcasting as long as I have, I... Obviously, this is episode number 408. That is a lot of episodes. So, sometimes I'm like, "Man, I am not sure what to talk about this week. What I do want to record?"
There's other times where I know exactly what it is that I want to share with you guys, what I want to teach, et cetera. But I was not sure what to record for this week's episode. So, I hopped on Instagram, and if you are following me on there, thank you for those of you who submitted your questions, super excited to answer them, and I just said, "Hey, ask me anything."
So, today's episode, this may end up being part 2 because I'm going to see how far I actually get answering the questions, which is why there may be a part 2, I'll know as we get closer to the end, because I said you can ask me anything you want, homesteading, business-related, personal life. Whatever it is you want to know, I am your open book and I'm going to share.
So, you are going to get a lot of different topics covered today based upon the questions, and I kind of think that's fun. So, I'm going to start out with the questions that are more based on homesteading and then we'll see how far we get because we may do a Part 2 that's more on the business side because there actually was a couple of different questions regarding more business related still in relation to homesteading.
So, we are going to jump straight into the episode. And if you are watching this on YouTube, because we do the podcast on video now, you will see I have a brand new... I feel like I'm an official podcaster now, even though I've been doing it for years. I have a real podcasting mic and so it's kind of fun, and we'll see if you notice anything on your end with improved audio quality.
But short story behind the reason I actually have this new mic is I rewrote my very first book, which is The Made-from-Scratch Life. So, that book, I originally wrote in 2014 because I usually write books about a year before they actually hit release or released and published... available to the public. So, it's almost been 10 years ago since I wrote that book. So, the publisher came to me and said, "We would love to do an updated version of this."
So, The Made-from-Scratch Life is going to be releasing in January. So, I've added new content, so it's longer. Added some more stuff. Super excited for it. But it's also my very first book that has an audiobook. And so, I am doing the audio for the audiobook, which if you did not know this, the author is not always the one that gets to do the audio recording of their own book. It's really interesting.
I had to audition to do my own audio recording for my own book, and thankfully, they liked my voice well enough, but I had to upgrade my recording microphone for quality for the audiobook. So, that's why you see this lovely new mic. And the new updated edition of The Made-from-Scratch Life will be releasing this January. So, if you're on my email list or followed me on social, I will be sharing more about that as those things become available.
So now, back to the very first question. So, this one comes from Honey Decock and it says, what is the best type of storage containers for bulk items, especially flour? Okay. So, the best items for bulk... so when you're saying bulk, in my mind, that's obviously more than a gallon size. So, if it's anything that's like a gallon, half gallon, quart, et cetera, then of course I just love my glass Mason jars. It is really hard to beat a Mason jar because you can get them to be airtight.
Obviously, glass is going to keep out bugs and pests. And I just love a good Mason jar, even the bigger ones, for storage. But I don't really consider, I guess depends on what the item is, a gallon to be truly bulk food storage. So, when I'm thinking anything obviously above what would fit into a gallon, and usually, let me think here, if I have five pounds of something, most of the time I can get that close being on what the size of it is.
So, thinking like cocoa powder or popcorn, for example, usually I could probably about get that into a gallon, maybe a little slightly more, but just kind of for context. But for bulk food storage, I really love the five-gallon food safe buckets that have the gamma lids. So, I actually have a YouTube video on that and a blog post on bulk food storage, and I will share that link. We'll put it below the video if you're watching this on YouTube.
And then, if you're listening to this, my old-fashioned podcast listeners, you know you can always find the blog post that accompanies all the podcast episodes. Go to melissaknorris.com/408. I can't even do the numbers with my hands. Melissaknorris.com/408 because this is episode number 408 and we'll have all of the links to this and with a Q&A that's very helpful so that you can go deeper into some of the answers.
So, five-gallon bucket with the gamma lid is my favorite. Now, bigger than that, we actually do have some of... the only thing is usually a five-gallon bucket, I can fit in different areas throughout the house and even in shelving units. When you start to go bigger than that, then it becomes a little bit more problematic, obviously, to find the place to store those. But I do also like the big 55-gallon drums.
They are like a hard plastic and they have watertight steel lids, too. So, that would be for things that I would be storing for super long-term storage like wheat berries. I would not be putting flours just because our family size, I wouldn't go through enough flour fast enough that's already been ground to probably store that in a 55-gallon barrel. But things like wheat berries because those store for an extremely long time, they don't really go bad.
Things like salt, salt never really goes bad. Those types of items I would totally store, if you're looking for really large bulk, in those 55-gallon food safe barrels. So, those are really the best. There also is a two-gallon food storage buckets that you can get and have the gamma seal, like the tight lids. I like the gamma seals because you don't have to pry the lid off every time.
You can just unscrew it and then you can screw it back down, but it is still airtight and they work really good. So, pretty much buckets really anywhere from the two to five-gallon are my preferred for the bigger bulk food storage items. Okay. This one is from R. Sager 0234 and says, what do you do with expired canned goods? This is a great question. I don't really go by expiration dates, to be honest.
I think expiration dates for the most part are more a best-by date or a suggested, this product is at its peak flavor, all the things, by this date. So, when it comes to expiration dates, it's not like the food is good today and then tomorrow it expires, and so therefore tomorrow it's not good anymore. So, it depends on how long it's been expired and how it's been stored.
So, if I bought the item brand new and I know it's been stored in an area that's not been exposed to a bunch of heat, a bunch of direct sunlight, et cetera, then if I find an item that's expired, I'll open it and look at it, examine it. If it's a canned good from the store like a metal can, I make sure that there's no leaking, there's no bulging, there's no obvious signs that something is wrong with that food.
If it literally has just been, say it's been six months past its expiration date, I open it up and as long as it looks good, smells good, et cetera, I go ahead and use it, provided as I said, there's no weird bulging, there's no weird leaking, seepage, et cetera, from the can. And it looks good and it smells good, all those things, I just go ahead and use it. Home canned goods, really, it's the same thing.
Did I can it so I always know it was done in a safe, tested procedure? There is no active bubbles, there's no broken seal, all those kind of telltale signs that something is wrong with it or it hints it went bad. But I have used canned goods just where lack in food rotation where somehow a jar got pushed to the back, it didn't get brought forward. It happens and it's been a jar that I canned five years ago.
They're fine. Nothing wrong with them. Like I said, I don't really go by expired. That's more a best used date by. And as long as it looks good, smells good, et cetera, I'd go ahead and use it up. Now, if it was like you know that it's just... you're not sure, maybe somebody you... I don't know, I've had where we've had to clean out different houses, different things like that where you don't really know how it was stored, then I don't know that I would risk it at that point.
And so, if it's something that you suspect has botulism poisoning or has botulism in it, then there are very specific ways that you need to dispose of it. You need to wear gloves, you don't want to inhale it. Things have to be boiled, have to be sterilized. So, that's very different. It's just to the point where you're like, "I don't really know if it's good or not. I don't really feel comfortable eating it."
You could put it in a compost pile. You can take it to the dump, however you would normally dispose of food. And a follow-up to that says, how can you tell if canned goods have gone bad? Well, I guess I should have read that in correlation because I kind of answered it. But in general, bulging, seeping, active bubbles, it doesn't look right. You know what a canned cranberry should look like, if it smells odd.
Now, the thing with botulism though, back to that, especially home canned goods, botulism has no odor. You can't smell it, you can't taste it. So, that is making sure that things have been canned using updated safe procedures, tested recipes times, et cetera, for that food, which is why I have both my book Everything Worth Preserving that walks you through that as well as our home canning course that is also inside of the Pioneering Today Academy.
So, if you are a member of the Pioneering Today Academy or you have that canning course, go through it. I walk you through all of that, including what to do, exactly how to safely dispose of things if you do suspect that there is botulism. And you can also grab my book Everything Worth Preserving if you're like, "Okay, I want to make sure that I am canning and using all the different food preservations in a manner that is tested and safe so I don't have to worry about that."
This one is from Sonny Side Up CT and says, can any string bean be eaten as a dry bean? Yes, absolutely. So, any green bean, be it a string bean or a non-string bean, because not all green beans need to be strung. There are stringless green bean varieties that you don't have to string them before you eat them, but they're still green bean.
But any of those, provided that you let it develop long enough to develop the bean inside the pod, can be eaten as you would any type of shelled bean or as a dried bean. So, you just have to let them develop long enough. Now, there's some varieties that have more flavor than others, so that would be something you could kind of test out. But yeah, any type of green bean, you can also eat as a dried bean.
You just have to let it develop to that point. Okay. This question is from Regina Dela Sosenas and says the best pressure canner. Okay. This one, there is really no best pressure canner. And I have a full blog post that will walk you through all of this, including links. So, again, that will put in the blog post, that'll be in the video description that accompanies this episode. But the short of it is, there's some factors to come into. First, expense.
What's your budget? The All American is my favorite brand, but it is more expensive than say Mirro or Presto. So, that's something to consider is your budget. The biggest thing that you need to consider is your stove type because that is going to dictate both the brand and the size. So, within the different brands, be it Presto, I'm not sure if Mirro is actually still in manufacturing.
That was the first brand of pressure canner that I bought 24 years ago now, and at that time they were being manufactured. I don't know if that brand is still in existence or not, but Presto is very similar to it. But you have to know your stove type. So, if you have a glass top stove, then you are not going to be able to use the All American because of the way the bottom is and because they're heavy, and so it'll likely crack it.
But if you have a coil electric or a gas propane or liquid gas stove, then you can use any of the models, totally fine. If you have an induction top of your stove, then I believe there's only one pressure canner, and I think it's from Presto, that you can actually use on that, that will actually heat up to the way the metal is.
Now, you can get side burners both outside like a propane burner and certain electric burners, provided that you have a big enough base so that the pressure counter can sit on it without tipping and is large enough electricity-wise that it can raise and keep the pressure up, heat-wise. So, you have some options there, even if your stove type is not ideal.
The other thing though of your stovetop is also your clearance. So, if you have a hood or a microwave or even cupboards up above, we have a microwave that's built into the cupboards and it has a fan in it in place of an actual hood. And so, my All American, which is the 21 and a half quart, that is the tallest that I can go. If it was any taller, it would actually hit.
I wouldn't be able to fit it between the top of the... the bottom, excuse me, the bottom of the microwave where the fan is, the top of the pressure canner. If I got any that was taller or larger, wouldn't be able to fit on my stove, it would come up against that. So, you do want to think about height and make sure that you have enough clearance for whatever size pressure can you get if you have stuff above your stove like that.
So, aside from that, the other thing to consider is the size of the pressure canner itself. So, if weight on... you don't have a glass stovetop, so weight is not an issue. Also, your ability to carry it. So, the bigger it is, the heavier it is. And then, you have to put your water in it. And if you don't have a pot filler, that's something you're either going to be carrying multiple trips of water to get into the pressure canner, but just making sure that it's something that you can lift and move.
So, if you have a shoulder injury, a neck injury or something like that where you can't carry really heavy things, then getting one of the really big ones, that might be something that you're going to be thinking about. Now, technically, at this time of the recording, there are some electric pressure canners on the market. And I have a podcast episode video here on YouTube that I did on that with my opinion on electric pressure canners.
You can go and listen to that. I don't personally recommend them. And another thing that actually I was thinking about just this past week is we were doing a ton of canning. We're in the middle of harvest season right now. A weekend before last week, that canner was going almost all day long for three days in a row. And we now have a propane stove, but I canned and cooked exclusively on an electric stove for over 24 years.
That's all we only had growing up was an electric stove. It's all I used until last year, we actually got a propane stove put in. And so, my husband and I were chatting and I'm like, "One of the great things that I love about this stove is even if the power goes out, I can still can. I can cook and can and it's not affected by having electricity."
And even though we have a generator, I know that if the power's out for an extended period of time, because we've had power loss for almost, our record here has been just shy of 14 days, was like 13 days and 12 hours or something. So, I know what it is to go without power for a decent amount of time. And we have our generator, but your generator will not operate, or at least ours didn't, wouldn't operate and you have to have the gas for it to keep it going.
Wouldn't operate our electric stove enough that I could reliably run my pressure canner on it. And so, if we have an extended power outage like that, I like knowing that I don't have to try to run a generator to power an electric pressure canner that if food was starting to go, for some reason, we couldn't keep the deep freezer going and I needed to can up a bunch of the meat that we had in our deep freezer, I could do it on my propane stove with my pressure canner because it's not an electric pressure canner without worry.
So, to me, it's just a peace of mind thing is one of the other, besides some different safety factor concerns that I have, that I would not go with an electric pressure canner. So, my favorite brand is the All American. I really like it, but I can for decades using a Mirro and Presto pressure canner and they worked fine. Really has to do with your budget.
And I will say if you have little kids and you're just starting canning or you don't have kids yet, but you plan on having a family, you will probably be canning more as time goes on because I know very few people who start canning and are like, "I don't want to do this anymore." Most people start canning and they're like, "Where has this been all of my life?" And you end up just wanting to can everything.
And every year, you can more and more and more. So, the reason I say that is because I started out with a smaller Presto canner. My husband and I were newlyweds, and then we had a family of four now. We have our two kids. And I am so happy that I have my All American. I ended up upgrading about seven years ago now, I think, to that one. And it's a double stacker. So, I can do 19 pints at one time in the All American.
And I am so happy for that because pretty much takes almost the same amount of time. It's the same amount of propane used and time to run 19 jars in one go round than it is if I were to only put seven in there. And so, my old pressure canner could only hold seven jars at once. And so, now, I can operate and do 19 in the same amount of time using the same amount of, not electricity because it's propane stove, but you know where I'm going.
So, I would say probably if you're kind of wavering, go for the one that will hold a few more jars. Okay. This one is from Rebecca Mather and Rebecca asks, building a barn, what to have in mind, especially when not sure exactly what livestock or your needs are. Okay. Well, Rebecca, I would not build a barn first. I would not build a barn if you don't really know what livestock you're going to have because in most cases you don't actually need a barn.
We have raised cattle for 20 years with my husband and I. And then, I grew up raising cattle with my dad on our family farm, well, from the time I was born. I helped him feed as far back as my memory goes. I was a part of that. Would drive the truck for him, helped him go and get hay in the summer, helped him build fence, all the things. And for beef cattle, you don't even need a barn.
So, really, I would not go through the expense of building a barn until you know exactly what livestock you're going to be running and if you even need a barn for them because a barn is a very big, big expense. I'm used to having a microphone attached to my head. So, apparently talking with my hands, I'm going to hit the microphone and either tie them down and put them in my lap. So, with a barn... you don't need a barn.
You can get by with a smaller shed. So, animals, depending on what the animals are, chickens obviously needs a coop. We use chicken tractors. I don't even use a stationary coop. I find chicken mobile tractors are much better, and I use those for our laying hens all winter long, including snow, cold weather, all the things. For pigs, we never use a barn either.
They do need to have shelter, but we simply used pallets and just created a little area that they could go in. We could put some hay in so that they had an area that they could bury down and stay warm in. In very little cases do you actually need a barn to raise livestock? If you have a dairy animal, especially a dairy cow, and you have really cold winters or really harsh winters, they will need an area that they can get dry and a little bit more protection from the weather.
Our dairy cow, they're just not as hardy as beef cattle, but that doesn't mean you have to have a full on barn. You could have simply a shed, a run-in shed that they could go into. And that's going to be a lot cheaper and serve you and be just as effective. So, really, the barn would be, if you were doing square bale hay storage, barns can come in very handy for that.
But you can also have a hay shed that you can just stack and put those in and then you go out and feed from, or we don't even feed the square bales anymore. We use the big round, they look like marshmallows, the big round hay bales. They're haylage. And so, they are fermented grass hay. And they actually have higher protein, better nutrients for the cattle, and they don't have to have any type of storage because they're wrapped.
They're already wrapped, and so they can stand within the elements and they're just fine. So, we go that route. So, we don't even have need of a barn. So, I would hold off on building a barn until you know that it's livestock that you are going to continue raising and then evaluate what your needs are at that point in time. As I said, we're 24 years into homesteading. We don't have a barn here at our property.
We did buy the farmstead, which is a 40-acre, farm last summer and there were existing barns down there, but believe it or not, they were in such bad shape and needed so much rehab. We haven't used them for our animals at all. We're right now working on shoring them up to hopefully be able to use them a little bit this winter. But we've raised cattle, pigs, chickens for 24 years without ever having a barn.
Okay. This question comes from Rebecca and says, is resilience to climate-induced environmental disasters on your mind, acid rain, fire, drought, et cetera? Okay. Rebecca, this is a really good question, and yes and no. So, when it comes to resilience to climate, absolutely. But everybody's climate is going to be a little bit different, depending on your geographical location.
And so, I'm not really worried about overall... I'm trying to think how to word this in a way that... I don't really worry about a lot of news headlines when it comes to climate, to be honest. What I look at is what's happening in the area that I live in. So, where we live in the Pacific Northwest, we are having warmer and drier summers that are warmer and drier for longer period of time.
This will be our third summer. So, we have always in the summer, even though people think of the Pacific Northwest as being very wet and relatively cool and mild, and that is true in a lot of instances. However, the past three summers, we have had warmer than average temperatures. Two summers ago, we actually were 120 degrees here in June for one weekend.
And then, this year we warmed up and had some really warm days in May. Normally, we don't warm up until more the beginning of July, honestly. And we've had 80-degree days here in October. Right now, at the time of this recording, it's in October. And that's pretty unusual. Though last year, we also had a very warm October.
So, I share that because it's important to know, is the weather shifting where you live and is it just a weather trend or is it something that seems to be more consistent? And so, truthfully, our summers here for the past three years have been drier and warmer, but we've always dealt with July and August having basically no rainfall, I mean none, and having drought-like conditions and wildfire.
When I was a little girl, I remember that there was a really big fire up from us and they actually had the prison set up a camp in my dad's field and they were using the prisoners to fight the fire. I'm in my 40s, so that was like 37 years ago. So, wildfires are always something that's been a danger in our area. So, do I think about it? Yeah, but I don't necessarily worry about it.
So, we make sure that we have metal roofs. I'm not going to put a wood shake roof on any of my roofs because obviously that's something that can catch on fire. Metal roofs are a lot better, especially if you have fire which will be a forest fire and you have embers falling, et cetera. Metal is going to be better all the way around. So, we only roof with metal.
And keeping a fire break around your house is super smart. So, we will use sprinklers to keep a green area around the house. We don't allow a lot of brush to grow up around the house. It's then going to die and just be this tender. So, we do make cognizant decisions in that realm as far as fire goes. And also a plan if something happens and there were to be a fire, would you be able to evacuate your livestock?
That's going to depend on how much livestock you have. Do you have a trailer? Are they trained? All those different types of things. What would your plan be? And just have a plan. So, I don't necessarily worry over much about it, but we take the precautions where we can, as mentioned before, and go on with it. When it comes to drought, yes, that is something I don't worry about, but I'm always proactive about.
So, we get a lot of rain during the winter months. So, are there ways that we can use that rain in cisterns, rain barrels, et cetera, so that we have it during the summer months, we're not set up for irrigation here, that we can use it where need be? So, that's something that we're looking at inputting and doing in this coming year. I don't currently have a cistern system.
Other things are looking at our pasture because for me, I'm more concerned drought-wise with keeping my grass growing all summer because we have a herd of, well, soon-to-be 30 head of cattle. And I don't want to have to buy and feed hay in the middle of summer when normally my grass would be growing, but we're so dry.
So, looking at ways that I can increase the carbon that is in my soil, because the more carbon I have in my soil, the more water it absorbs during the rainy months and then the more it's slowly releases that during those drier months so that I can naturally build up my soil and build up the carbon in my soil so it doesn't dry out, even if we do have extended dry periods.
Looking at maybe seeding in some different types of grasses that do well in a drought scenario in the summer, making sure that I've put those in. Looking at our garden, am I using mulch, especially larger wood chips, again, that will soak up that moisture during the winter months, but then also act as that sponge so that they can solely release that my soil isn't bare and I'm not having to water my garden as much?
I'm not worried as much about drought because that doesn't do us any good to worry about those things, but looking to what I can actually do on my property and have control over and then begin to implement those things. Now, acid rain, no, I don't worry about that because I can't control that. And so, the things that I can't control and we haven't experienced, I don't worry about them.
I have got enough things to worry about that I don't really look at those type of scenarios knowing that there's nothing that I can do right now on my property to mitigate that and it's not something that had happen. So, I would rather put my energy and focus on the things that I know are more likely to happen or we are experiencing and then ways that I can make those changes or adaptations, et cetera, to lessen that negative impact on our homestead.
Okay, this one is from Rebecca and says homesteading things to do in fall and winter now that things are slowing down. Well, I have to say this early in fall at the time of this recording, it is the... just moving into the latter part of October, we're not slowing down yet. This is actually one of our busiest times because we still are harvesting a lot of things from the garden.
I have not had our first killing frost. We had a very light frost this week, but it didn't kill anything. And so, we are still bringing in a lot of stuff from the garden, still kind of wrapping up a lot of things. So, we haven't really slowed down at this point. We're just starting to bring down some of the trellises from the garden as certain plants have just given all that they have to give.
And so, we're pulling those down. We are getting the gutters cleaned before you start to experience the rains of fall. So, we're still in kind of heavy prep mode and have not reached that slowdown phase, but I know that it's coming. And so, usually, in fall that is making sure all of the wood is up, the woodshed is filled, the chimneys have been swept and prepped and are ready to go.
Gutters have been cleaned out. That we have all of... we make sure that actually summer is when all the hay and the firewood get cut and dried and seasoned, firewood. But then, it's getting it from the stacks out in the field where it's been drying into the woodshed that's close to the house. Like I said, summertime is when hay comes in.
If you wait until fall to get hay for that winter, oh, friend, you are very far behind. So, that's already been taken care of. We are making sure though that all of the small engines and generators are ready to go. So, does anything need to be flushed, oil, all those things, so that they're ready to go for winter? We are making sure that any pipes are wrapped, hoses are drained and put up, that the stock water tank heaters are all ready to go.
Did any need to be repaired or replaced from last year that those are getting in? We don't put heat lamps in our chicken coop, but making sure extra bedding is going in there for more of a deep litter to provide them extra protection. Any of the crops that we're leaving in the ground have extra straw on them. Compost piles are getting started or continued to build. Those are the type of the prep things.
I like to go through the house and specifically look and make sure that I've got all of our spices and inventory on all the food and that that is bulked up, especially for holiday baking. And then, I know when we hit winter, or really winter isn't technically until, what is it, December 22nd, wherever that solstice falls. So, I do a lot more baking then.
And so, making sure that I've got enough flour and sugar and also with the holiday season. So, kind of just checking. And that's one of the things that we are doing right now if you're in the Pioneer Today Academy is we are doing our holiday ready kitchen challenge. And so, if you're a member, make sure that you're staying tuned for those emails and joining those lives.
But some of the things that we are doing is getting everything organized and ready. But I look forward to... I do way more reading in the winter months because I have time. And here, in the middle of winter, we are getting dark by 3:30 in the afternoon, 4:00 p.m., we're dark. Sometimes it's not actually if the sun is coming out, it doesn't get over the mountain peak where I live at the ridge until 10:00 in the morning.
So, we have a really short period of daylight. Okay. Well, let's see how many times I can punch the mic while I'm doing this podcast episode. I'm sorry for those of you who are watching this on video. You are probably wondering like, "Oh, my gosh, she's going to hit it again." I am very much a hand talker. So, back to this though. I do a lot of reading in the wintertime, and that's when I actually will do some sewing projects.
So, I like to quilt and I like to crochet. So, in the winter months, those are some projects that I can pull out and that I can work on. I used to embroidery, but I have not embroidery for a very long time. So, that might be something that I pull back up this winter. We'll see. But I kind of like to pick a project that I'm working on that is that type of hand craft because when I quilt, I quilt by hand. I do most of my sewing by hand.
I don't actually use a sewing machine very much. I learned to sew by hand and it's just something I can pull on my lap and kind of work at in the evening, and I really enjoy that. So, usually, that's when I have time to do that. It's when I do a lot more organization and decluttering in the house. The house really, during the end of summer and fall, I mean, it is just maintenance mode only. We're just maintaining.
So, I take time really in the winter to go through closets and cupboards and just do all of that. Any type of redecorating or reorganization, et cetera, that's really for the winter months. And just taking some time to relax because we go pretty hard all spring, summer and fall. I mean, there's a lot of times you're getting up at 6:00 a.m. and literally are sitting down at 9:00 or 9:30 p.m. at night. And you're working the whole time.
There's no stopping. You'll prep meal and eat and then you're right back at it again. So, we really look forward to winter as being a time to kind of breathe, to be honest, again, and enjoy the fruits of the labors, full larder, full pantry. And then, start planning and dreaming of what we want to do the next year. What do we want to change? What do we need to bring in in order to do that, that type of thing?
Okay. Looking at our time, this is going to be the last question that I answered. So, we will have a Part 2. And this one is also from Rebecca and says, I'm still unsure if glass lid jars are considered safe today. So, Rebecca, the answer to that is it depends on is it an antique jar or is it a new jar? Because Weck canning jars are used in Europe and those are safe to can with. They use those to can with in Europe.
Those have a glass lid and then they have a rubber gasket and then they have clips that put them onto the glass jar. So, you can can in Weck jars. That's totally fine. But if you're talking about antique glass canning jars that have the old antique glass lids, the answer is no because that glass is so old that it's weaker and is not recommended for canning. So, it depends on the age of the jar.
Antique glass jars with glass lids are not for canning. I use those still for dry goods though. So, you can use those for dehydrated foods, storing dry goods, et cetera. Totally fine. If you're talking about Weck jars from Europe that have, and you can get them in the US. I bought them at some of our local stores, and you can order them online. Those, you can use for canning. I find them to be more expensive, to be honest.
And so, I don't use them for canning because I have so many regular Mason jars, but they're super cute on the shelf. So, I will use my herbs. And I'll store herbs and spices in the Weck jars because they're really fun. They're cute. But I have not personally canned in Weck jars, but I know people that have. And so, you can safely can in them if they are a newer Weck jar and not an antique glass lidded Mason jar. So, hopefully that makes sense.
Well, guys, this has actually been really fun. So, I'm going to save the rest of the questions because they're a little bit more on the money side of homesteading, and we will do a Part 2 Q&A episode of that one. But I did want to share with you our verse of the week. And I'm still in 1 Corinthians. That has been the book that I have been spending a lot of time going through and studying this month.
And I was going to share with you 1 Corinthians 4:7. For who separates you from the others as a faction leader? Who makes you superior and sets you apart from another, giving you the preeminence? What have you that was not given to you? If then you received it from someone, why do you boast as if you had not received, but had gained it by your own efforts?
And then, Verse 8, you behave as if you are already filled and think you have enough, you are full and content, feeling no need of anything more. Already you have become rich in spiritual gifts and graces. Without any counsel or instruction from us, in your conceit, you have ascended your thrones and come into your kingdom without including us. And would that it were true and that you did reign so that we might be sharing the kingdom with you.
So, this is the amplified translation of the Bible, which I really enjoy the amplified translation. I have NIV, New King James. There's a lot of different translations, obviously, of the Bible, but I have found for where I'm at right now, I actually really enjoy the amplified translation. Obviously, it's the one I read from all the time in the podcast, but I know a lot of people have questions about the different translations.
My viewpoint is the one that speaks to you, but read from several translations. I love a Study Bible with study notes. I like reading the same verse from four different, five different translations, understanding what the root words in the original text went. So, was it Greek, was it Hebrew? Those types of things. And getting in there deep. But back to the verses at hand, not the side story of translations.
This one really was speaking... the whole chapter, I should say, the whole book of Corinthians, but specifically Chapter 4, I kind of spent almost a week just going back through Chapter 4 and just really studying and meditating on it. But where this spoke to me is, one, as faction leaders, because I find obviously in government, if you're a United States citizen and going into election year, if you're missing it like, oh, man, you're probably in a good place because it's really hard to miss no matter where you fall on it.
But you see a lot of faction leaders and party spirits, you have to be Republican, you have to be Democrat, you have to be liberal. And oh, it makes one really not like election time, at least that's me. I get so tired of all of these political stances and people just being so sighted one way or the other. But you can also see it happen in communities, obviously religious communities. I mean, we're talking about religion here and this goes back obviously to biblical times.
It's been happening. It's something that happens in human nature, which is why it's being addressed in the Bible. But it's something that I was thinking of myself and really using the scripture because I found for me, if there's a scripture or if there's something in the Bible, a verse, a few verses, whatever, that makes me uncomfortable, then I need to figure out why does that make me uncomfortable. Is it because the Holy Spirit's convicting me of that, that I might be guilty of that?
Is it something where maybe I have a wound there surrounding that, something that's happened in the past and I need to let God come in and heal that situation? But I try to really pay attention, if I'm reading something in the Bible and I feel a reaction to it, we should always feel a reaction to the word of God. But where I really feel something, especially I said, if it makes me feel uncomfortable for some reason, then I think it's something I need to look at.
And so, as I was personally reading through this, making sure I was checking my heart and making sure that I was acknowledging and am acknowledging that in all the things, any successes that I have had, any of the things that I have, any positions I may have be granted or have been granted, et cetera, that those are not from my own efforts. I can think that they're from my own efforts, but they are not from my own efforts.
They are because God has gifted me with them. And I need to check my heart, check my pride, check my ego, all of those things, and remember that anything that I have is from God and not because I have done anything, including salvation. That is, yes, I had to accept Jesus and acknowledge Him as my personal savior, but God called me to Him. God died on the cross before I was even born, but for me.
There was nothing that I did that made Christ save me. That was God's love and that was Christ's loves for me. So, I need to remember that and check myself if at any time I find myself, and I think sometimes we fall into this, or myself, not even on purpose. Because sometimes you can... boasting is usually on purpose, but even that something you don't even realize it.
And so, for me, it was just really sitting and being reflective on this and being like, "Okay, have I boasted or thought that I did something that I didn't do, but it was a gift from God?" And then, making sure that I am... basically, I'm checking myself. Checking myself, taking it before God, taking it to prayer, asking for forgiveness, and then being very cognizant of my words and attitude within those situations or in regards to that.
So, that was just a section that was something that I went back to, as I said, really a lot this week. And so, I thought that that would be something that I would share with you guys in case any of you may be dealing with that, or not. Well, thank you so much for joining me for today's episode. And we will be doing Part 2 on our next episode that will be dealing with finances and business on the homestead and talking money, which can sometimes be a little bit sticky.
So, blessings and mason jars for now, my friends.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.