Monday, June 19, 2017

Chicken update

   Happy Belated Father's Day!  Since getting back from my trip Wednesday, my only tasks (other than mom and wife) are getting my ground cover plants in the ground, watering plants, de-chaos-ing the house, and taking care of chickens.  Our little orphan Annie is doing well, and getting some real free-range time while we're outside playing and doing chores.  She is much more social with us; she sticks pretty close, and our dog Sam is doing wonderful.  Not much for herding, though.  That puts another thing on the to-do: How to train my herding dog how to herd.  For now, I have a pirate chicken!

   We lost one chick while we were gone - got picked (or rather, pecked) on too much by the other bigger chicks.  My neighbors were watching them for the week, to the delight of their grandkids, and separated the little one, but it still didn't make it.  So now I have 3 baby chicks and Annie.  These poor animals.  Between losing chickens and nursing half-dead house plants, its a wonder my kids survive! ☺  The little chicks got some outside time near Annie, so (hopefully) it won't be so strange when they show up in "her" coop one morning.

   And of course the garden is in full swing.  So far no green beans or lettuce came up (old seed), and the celery I transplanted was a little too small, and didn't make it, either.  Rabbits ate some of my pepper plants, but everything else looks good.  And mulberries are in full season - time to get picking and make some jam!  Lots on my plate still, but I am determined to enjoy the season.

Joyfully yours,

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Ultimate Failure in Chicken Keeping

   I was all ready to show pics of my injured chicken's splinted leg, which I'm pretty sure was broken, and status update on how I was able to put her back the other birds without any pecking issues, and how it was healing (that's her laying down, but she hopped around quite a bit)....

   ...and then we failed.  I failed, Hubby failed, and Handsome Boy failed (of course, being a boy, to a lesser degree of responsibility).  I had a late meeting, Hubby fell asleep, and Handsome Boy was watching a long movie. 

   And no one put up the chickens.

   And then there was one.

   They got eaten by a raccoon, we're pretty sure.  There were some feathers, a few blood spots, and wing.  And a big fat raccoon was spotted in the next door field the following night.

  So there is one left, our little orphan Annie.

   I can't just have one chicken - they're social, right? - so there will be another round of brooding for us, whether it's store chickens or from a friend.  Our local farm store has one (last?) order of chicks in today.  And we will be redoing the fencing.  To be somewhat fair, the green plastic-coated wire fence was only meant to keep the chickens in, we knew it wasn't any good against predators, except our dog and kids.  I think we'll be investing in an electric poultry net setup, but haven't quite decided.  I think it's the best fit for what we want to do.  Not that we don't still have to put the birds in the coop at night, but if we're late, or forget again, at least it's something.  Plus it should/will be able to move around a lot easier, as well as be more than big enough to go around the areas I want to chicken(s) to clear.  More thought on that, obviously.

  And as I feel sad for my dead chickens, sad for my lonely last chicken, and plan for better security for the next round of chickens...I made chicken soup.  And it was good.  Ironic?  Or life goes on (for some)?  I feel bad for the egg chickens I lost, because I was supposed to care for them and keep them safe, but I didn't.  They had a long productive life ahead of them still.  And Annie is all alone.  My meat chickens were never alone, and ran the course of their short life as they were meant to, and now they fill my freezer.  I don't feel bad about that at all.  I am thankful for all of those chickens as I mourn the waste of the others.  It is the way of homesteading, is it not?

   I will have another break before my next post - let's just say it involves family and the beach. Until then!

Joyfully yours,

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Where have I been??

   It's been 3 weeks since I've posted, but you gotta make hay when the sun shines, right?  Or, in my case recently, you gotta pick up an awesome deal on kitchen cabinets at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in the next county, 'cause you are so ready to put real cabinets in your kitchen and not have open shelves anymore.  So my dining room is full of kitchen cabinets while I figure this whole kitchen redo.  Let's just say it involves a new floor and 2 new windows to frame out and install, so it's a bit of a project.  I did get the uppers in, and am super pleased with that progress.

   It's also planting season, and I started seeds WAY too late.  I did get in beans, peas, rutabaga, cantaloupes, watermelons, squashes, and corn in the garden.  I am going to buy some tomatoes, potatoes, and maybe a few others to get growing while I wait for my seedlings.  I am working with old seeds just to stop hanging on to them - yes, I am one of those who keeps seed packs for multiple years.  But I am clearing out my stock this year and whatever grows, grows, and whatever doesn't, doesn't.  They weren't growing to grow in my seed packet bin, that's for sure, and if they don't germinate, and least they're out of the house, I gave them a chance, and I will have only fresh seed next year.  Suprisingly, I had some from MyPatriotSupply (I'm not an affliate) dated 2011, and they sprouted fine!

   Let's see, what else? Meat chickens went to the processor (awesome lady) and we finished the construction portion of the old A-frame chicken coop, so the egg-layers are living outside.  One got her foot smashed yesterday when the door prop fell and the door landed on her foot.  She's separated from the others for now, and it's a waiting game to see how she does.  It's a bit swollen and she's not putting any weight on it, but she is hopping around and eating, so I take that as a good sign.  But I've never dealt with an injured chicken, so it's research time, aka call my friends the chicken whisperers!

   So with all that going on, this is only the third time I've sat down at the computer since my last post.  Last week I tried to get a kitchen program to lay out the cabinet design, which didn't work anyway; I ended up getting graph paper and cutting squares, and using it as math reinforcement and life skills with my son.  And yesterday he and I ordered some homeschool goodies for next year from the Build Your Own Bundle sale at Build Your Bundle (last day, by the way, and also not an affiliate).  I got some reading in (mostly audiobooks), got some visiting done, and with that, the month has just seemed to fly by.

   Now that I'm back on the keyboard, I will finish getting the meat coop pictures up, and some of the refurbed A-frame coop.  But first I have a seasonal question for all of you.

How do you deal with your children's school papers?

   Whether your kids are public, private, or homeschooled, they have created so many papers by the end of the school year.  What do you do with them all?

Joyfully yours,

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Chicken count: 56 + 5

   Well, we lost another meat chicken.  She was the smallest.  For the last three days she was really slow, and when she would sit, the others would literally walk on her instead of around.  Poor girl.  She was eating and drinking, though, so we let her be, but in the morning she was gone.  I don't like losing animals, even when I know they're going to end up in my freezer.  She didn't have any obvious injuries, and no discharge or any other sign of illness.  Just sort of slowed down and died.  I suppose I should have cut her open to see what I could find, something like Justin Rhodes did with his fat chicken.  A chicken autopsy.  Okay, that just sounds funny, and it's sad to lose a chicken.  Moving on.

   So, my meat chicken count is down to 56.  On the other hand.... I got my egg layer chicks! Five blackie mixes.  I don't know what - I think Black Austrolorp?  The fertilized eggs went to a friend who incubated them (in her machine, not herself, of course, that would be really funny) and gave me 5 chicks.  They are so cute. 

   Yesterday I spent the rainy morning sewing up some blankets, and the somewhat sunny afternoon finishing my tree cutting adventure from the other day.  Now I have four limbs to make posts and some cross pieces to attempt a "rustic" arbor by the road to grow my clematis on, and a bunch of Y branches for a shelf project.  I don't do well with cold, so having something to do inside and outside is almost a necessity for me in the spring and fall.  Not that I don't have plenty to do already, but these are things that have been floating around in my head, and as long as I have to cut trees down, I better get my materials while the gettin's good!

   I've got two recipes to share from last week, and all the pictures of the meat broiler coop.  Speaking of which, I hope the sun comes out sometime today.  I have to fix the roof since the wind blew it off the hinges. It's currently tied down in the front, like normal, and permanently screwed in at the back.  And it is super windy right now.  That is going to bear trying to hold it and get the food in, let alone hold it up to fix it.  Fixing it might be a wait till Hubby gets home so I have 4 hands project.  I'll have 4 and 2 half hands if I get Handsome Boy involved.  Plus it's chilly and sprinkly/rainy outside - not my kind of weather.

   Guess it's a day for more sewing, staining, and organizing my hiking pack, at least until the wind dies down.  Glad I can still get something done!

Joyfully yours,

Thursday, April 27, 2017

My new fitness routine

   I am away from my CrossFit - have you noticed?  I think ... 5 weeks now?  Too long to be calling myself a CrossFitter, that's for sure.  I got busy (I know, lame excuse) with other projects, and honestly was not getting enough sleep to give up an hour to the gym.  Now that I'm home I get enough sleep but the gym is a half hour away. I want to build the gym back into my routine, I really did enjoy it, but in the meantime, I haven't given up on the journey to the healthy part of the happy and healthy homestead.  I'm on what Hubby jokingly calls FarmFit, which is just a fun way of saying "I keep busy working around the homestead."  Here's some proof:

FarmFit :)
   Sure, I have a trailer for my little riding mower, but it was a small trek from the cinder block pile to my garden, and using the wheelbarrow saves a little gas and builds a little muscle.  So I get to save money and get a workout while the job gets done, in about the same amount of time.  Bonus!  So, instead of going to the gym alone, I am working around the property, hiking, and playing with the kids to stay fit.  Speaking of which, now that I planted my new cedar trees, I need to patch my bike inner tube to go riding later this week, after I chainsaw some big logs into firewood.

   There's always something!

Joyfully yours,

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dehydrating Fruit - What do you really need?

  Oh, the beloved dehydrator.  As much a part of my food preservation system as my pressure cooker, boiling water canner, and vacuum sealer.  I've been making homemade banana, strawberry, mango, apple and other fruit chips for years now, as well fruit leathers, dried veggies, dried herbs, and even some dehydrated dinners for the trail.  We eat them as the fruit chips as snacks and as part of homemade trail mix while camping, hiking, etc.  The kids are so used to real fruit chips, they won't even eat the store bought stuff - they think it's gross.  You know, the sugar-coated kind that comes in a clam-shell case.  A couple years ago, we were out running errands, it was one of those days I was not prepared with snacks in the car, and my son asked for some strawberry chips.  Okay, sure, why not?  As a special treat.  Well, why not is that they're covered in sugar and soaked in preservatives, but let's put that aside for a moment.☺ He ate one and almost spit it out.  "What's wrong with these?  They don't taste like your strawberry chips.  Here, you can have them.  I'll wait."  This from a hungry 2nd grader.  Oh, yeah, Victory for Mom moment.  When your little ones can tell between real food and processed, manufactured food.  I was so proud.
   So, for any who haven't delved into dehydrating, fruit is the absolute simplest thing to start with.  And you don't need anything fancy.  I started off with a hand-me-down dehydrator and trays like this one:

   It doesn't even have a dial, you just plug it in and it turns on.  The temperature is controlled by turning the top vent, and you rotate each tray from bottom to top (or vise versa) to get each tray dried at the same rate.  It worked great, and it was free, so I was all over that.

   Then Hubby upgraded me to this one from Sportsman's Guide (no, I don't make money off the link):

   He is so awesome. This has 10 trays, a 12 hour timer, and temperature control.  And he got me some liners for fruit leathers and mesh tray inserts for small stuff like banana chips, herbs, and anything else that would fall through the trays.  I am all set with this thing!  And I passed my other dehydrator down to my neighbor, who was enjoying my fruit snacks and asking about which one she should buy.  Buy??  No way, pass along the goodness of free useful stuff!

   Back to fruit chips.  What do you really need to make them?
  • A heating device.  A dehydrator (homemade or store-bought), an oven, a hot car, a tray in the sun (this doesn't work in Michigan, but in those 'dry heat' climates it does).
  • A cutting device.  A mandolin or other type of even-slicing device is handy and makes it go quicker, but if you have a knife and can make relatively even cuts, that will work fine.
  • A holy surface.  Some type of tray that allows air to circulate all around the fruit. Dehydrator trays, cookie cooling racks, even window screen.
  • Good fruit.  Overripe or under ripe fruit is no good.  If you put not-so-good fruit in, you get not-so-good dried fruit out.
   See? It doesn't take much.  To dry, all you do is cut the fruit, lay it on the trays, turn on the dehydrator/oven/sun and let it happen.  And it is so yummy, and cheap!  Have you looked at fruit roll-up or banana chip prices?  Eek!  Buying fruit in season and on sale and then preserving it (in any fashion) is an easy way to stretch your budget.  Getting fruit on the cheap is a post for another day, but as for dehydrating, I'll show the banana chips next.

Joyfully yours,

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Book Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell /Town hall sheep?

   This book is far from new, it was published in 1945, but it was new to me up until a month ago.  I'd heard the reference to it, but didn't realize for a long time it was referring to a book.  I thought it was a reference to a setting with lots of creatures, like, you know, maybe a farm, with lots of animals.

   So for those like me who somehow missed this classic in high school, it is a satire on the Russian Revolution. The story is about a farm where the animals are tired of being mistreated by the farmer, revolt, and take over running the farm.  The pigs, being the smartest, take charge.  They lay out the Seven Commandments, learn to read and teach (mostly unsuccessfully) the other animals how to read, direct the work, and otherwise rule the newly re-named Animal Farm.  All is fine until someone wants more than others and the Commandments get ... bent.  I won't spoil the details - I recommend read the book, or listen to the audio book read by Richard Brown.  I went through my library's online service (they use hoopla) and listened on my phone.

   There's all kinds of remarks and political opinions on this book I won't get into, but I did think of this story when I was listening to the news the other day.  At certain points in debates, one animal gets the sheep to drown everyone else out with a chant that, effectively, stops the debate altogether.  It reminded me of the town hall meetings where people with real questions wanting a real dialogue are getting drowned out by protesters yelling and chanting until they shut down the meeting.  I'm not a conspiracy theorist or anything, but who is teaching those sheep?
   Okay, to end on a happy note, the sun is now up and I'm going to check the fruit in the dehydrator, get another cup of coffee, and figure out how to tune my mower.

Joyfully yours,

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chickens 2017 - The chicks

   You know those kind of people who are prepared for things before they commit?  I'm not really one of those people.  Usually I have some kind of idea, especially if it is my idea and not being forced upon me.  But I am never totally prepared.  I was in the middle of the dining room built-in buffet project when I committed to having my son's birthday party a few years ago.  So, in true fashion, I put in an order for 60 meat chicks when I had no home for the chicks (cold outside) and no coop for the chickens.

  So, Yes!  I put in my order and payment for 60 meat chicks, with one week to get a brooder ready, and 6 layers chicks, due 3 weeks later.  The layers are coming from a friend who is putting some of her fertilized eggs  in the incubator this week. I was not able to go with a local breeder for the broilers, so they came from the Family Farm & Home, on sale.  Which is why I went ahead and ordered them even though I wasn't ready.

Failure #1: Last year we did we did 10 chicks inside the house.

   They started in a tub in the bathroom, then in the actual bathtub (thank goodness for a second bath), then outside in an enclosed mobile coop.  We decided after that - no more chickens in the bathroom.  It needed a total wash-down and airing out for days.  Not again, no, thank you.

This is what we came up with for the chicks in our unfinished basement.  We did change to all red lamps for heat, hanging right in the middle, and a white lamp hanging from ceiling for light during the day.  We only had one heat lamp, feeder and waterer, and the wire shelf, so everything we had to buy.

Failure #2:  60 chicks grow really fast.

   Did you know that 60 chicks take six times more room, food, and water than 10 chicks? Who knew?  Okay, I'm no idiot, I knew that.  But this was the difference between knowledge and wisdom.  Knowing and understanding are not always the same thing.  We quickly ran out of room for these chicks to be comfy.  We had them split up, first into 3 tubs, then 4, and we were filling food at water in each tub 3 times a day - 4 by the time they moved outside.  They had feathers, but not fully feathered out, and the temperature was still too low to go without heat lamps, but they were about 2 days away from not being able to move around inside the tubs any more. So we had to make their outside home work, ready or not.

   Quick note: I added about a tablespoon of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar to a gallon of water for them from day 2, and they had no problem.

Failure #3: Dead chickens.

   We did lose one chick the first day, one chick the third day, and another chick after a week and a half.  Every one of them were found under other birds, apparantly smothered.  I ordered 10 more than we actually need for loss and give aways, so that wasn't an issue.  It bothered me, though, these poor little guys, getting squished when they had plenty of room, and heat - even in the middle of the night they were next to each other, but not huddled in a solid mass.  I'm told this happens, and we haven't lost any more since.  I used it as a teachable moment and moved on.

   Next up...the broiler coop project. Until then,

Joyfully yours,

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's like permanant vacation....

   I know days will come when being at stay at home mom won't feel like vacation (I'm only on day 4 after all), but I am going to enjoy it as long as possible.  The kids are on Spring Break, so that helps, too.  Call it a honeymoon phase.  It is a very strange feeling, waking up and my biggest decisions to make are what's for dinner and do we go on a bike ride or to the store first today?  Everything else is working on small projects around the house.  I can look at an undone (or more likely, half done) project and think "Yeah, I'm going to do that today," instead of figuring out how to fit a whole day's worth of chores into 6 hours on 5 hours sleep.
   I shouldn't complain about how it was.  I know people who are up at 4am and not home until 7, then they are putting little kids to bed at 8, or shuttling kids to and from sports or music or clubs until 10, day after day, with more sports and clubs and work on the weekends.  And I'm not trying to gloat, either.  I'm not sitting in some fancy mansion with a BMW in the drive while Hubby earns a 6-figure income sitting at a desk.  We've chosen to take the path of being more self-reliant, enjoying simpler pleasures, and going without things that others aren't willing to.
   Yes, I have a five year old vehicle with a payment, but we no longer have cable. Yes, our kids have a video game system, but it was given to us and he just bought 5 used games for a whopping $20, using a gift card from his birthday.  Yes, I still go to the grocery store, but I buy my eggs, beef, pork and lamb from a local farmer and am raising my own meat chickens, and I preserve a lot of my own food.  Yes, Hubby just splurged on that new camera, but I do almost all my clothes shopping (and home goods, books, homeschool supplies, etc.) at second hand stores.  It's a give and take, and the more I "give" - not buying a lot of stuff and buying used - the more I "get" - less time at work to afford it all and more time doing thing, like chickens, together.
   It all get round back to my Joysmithing goal - creating a more joyful life.  The less money I have to spend, the less I (meaning Hubby now, of course) have to earn, and the freer we are to be home as a family.  And whether 'home as a family' means enjoying a fire in the backyard while kids play flashlight tag, or building and fixing things at home instead of shipping it off to a repair shop, we are still doing it together.
   And now it's time to....well, whatever I want, right? 😊 Actually, going to bed at a decent hour has its perks.  Quiet time before kids are up to enjoy some coffee and blog, laundry's already on it's second run, I have some pictures to put in new (used 😉) frames since the cheap ones broke, and then a shopping list.   It really is amazing, how much lighter I feel. I didn't feel stressed about my job before, but this new feeling of freedom really is a feeling of being lighter.  I can't describe it any better than that, but I bet you out there who have made the choice I have no what I'm talking about.  Here's hoping we can all feel this weightless joy.

Joyfully yours,

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Holiday on April 14th!

  No, you haven't missed anything in the news.  This is my own new personal holiday.

   I have 4 more days of working my full-time job before I retire!

   I'm not near old enough to actually retire, but I am quitting work to be home on weeknights to be with hubby and the kids, start homeschooling again, have more time to garden, more time to finish house projects, and more time just to be.  I worked about 19 years in different careers while I became a wife, mother, homeowner, camper, gardener, hiker, chicken raiser, and all the rest.  I enjoy my job, and get satisfaction from doing it well so that my co-workers can concentrate on the job they have to do, but my passion is my family, and the two can't be balanced out anymore.  I am ready to drop the working part.  I am so grateful to Hubby for doing all the financial stuff to get us ready, and supporting my decision.  And before anyone shakes their head and think me naïve, I know I am actually going to have more work as a stay at home mom than going to a job.  And while I won't get a paycheck to take to the bank, I will be paid in so many other ways it will more than make up for it.  Like Handsome Boy says, I am rich in love.
   In other news, since I haven't written in over a month, our meat chickens are here and the broiler coop is finished - what a learning curve!  Our egg layers are in my friend's incubator, the new garden beds are covered in straw waiting for a design plan and Mother's Day (aka planting day), shower tiling is in progress, Mom is mended up and ready to move back home, and spring is here!!!  Otherwise, I'm generally just trying to put my life in some kind of order so I can actually get things done instead of looking around wondering where to start. Ever since the fall holidays, any routine I once had was thrown out the window.  Almost every day has been reactionary.  A list got accomplished on schedule here and there, but not nearly enough.  I am ready to find my new routine.

As Tim Young from The Self-Sufficient Life says, Here's to getting out of the rat race!

Joyfully yours,

P.S.  Go Check out Tim's website and podcast.  He tells his own stories, interviews with others, and chats with his wife.  It's a great show.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Book review: Give Please A Chance by Bill O'Reilly and James Patterson

   Little Princess got this book for Christmas from her Great Great Aunt R.  It is so cute, and both kids love it.  It is a good lesson book on saying please, without appearing as a lesson book.  It is easy to read, with wonderful, full-page illustrations by different illustrators.  That actually brought on a discussion about types of drawings, media, paints, etc, and research on Handsome Boy's favorites.  Princess likes to say "Sure you can" on almost every page, and it has a lot of the simple words she's working on for school.  I also like how the kids in the pictures are different ages, and in a lot of common situations.  It's about 35-40 pages, but only one line on one side, and a picture and "Please" on the other.
   I don't know what ages this is geared toward, but I think anything in elementary or lower would be appropriate.  I'm grateful we got this book as a gift.  It's already been requested for reading a dozen times in a week.  Check it out from your local library if they have it, and buy it if you like it for keeps.
Joyfully yours, 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Beef order 2017 / Freezer storage solution

   I am so glad (and lucky) I am able to buy meat from a farmer.  I know that's not a viable option for everyone, but I would encourage everyone to contact a local FFA, CSA, even your nearest feed or tractor store to contact a farmer that sells their animals direct to consumer.  No, I'm not talking about bringing a cow home to your backyard (although with enough room, I suppose you could). It means you buy the animal from the farmer who's raised it, and they (or you or another party) take it to the butcher, who takes care of the slaughter and wraps it up nice and neat for you.
   Of course, there's more than one way to do it, but that it how my guy does it. And I'm so glad he does.  I don't even ask ahead of time how much it will be. He just asks "Still want a pig?" Or "I have 2 lambs, you want them?" and I just say yes.  The meat is delicious no matter what kind of animal it is and they aren't raised in a 'commercial' environment - he personally is with them at least twice a day to let them out to pasture, check their water, feed them slop, gather eggs, etc.  And pasture means zero to little feed with who knows what in it.  They aren't given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any other 'boosters' that they just don't need.  They live off grass, clean water, and fresh air, and get feed and hay only when it's too dry or cold to support a forage diet. 
   Okay, I'm off my soapbox.  Look at it this way.  I am supporting a local farmer, I am choosing ahead of time all my cuts, and I am getting delicious meat for a very good price.  Just wait, I'll get to that. I can't promise my price will be yours. In fact, it probably won't if your farmer is doing this as a business. My farmer is going to raise these animals anyway, and you can't have just one right? So he might as well get an extra one or two, sell them to friends, and recoup some of his costs. Like I said - I am lucky.
   Anyway, aside from pouring over my cookbooks that have pictures of cuts of meat and trusting in my butcher to help guide me through the unknowns of meat orders, I also had to come up with a storage solution.  I have a big chest freezer that was gifted to us, but once I put those boxes full of wrapped up meat in there, how in the world do I know what I have?  Note: I can't take credit for the original idea.  People have been doing this for years.

   Solution: Make a list.

   Wait, that's it? Yup. That is it. It seems so simple, right? And it is!  A few minutes of work before  stacking up boxes in the freezer makes for infinitely more minutes I am not trying to dig in the freezer just to see what I have.  Hindsight really is 20/20, because I've dug through that freezer more times than I can count. And when I am short on time and don't have a plan for dinner, the last thing I want to do is move around boxes and bags stacked inside a chest freezer!  If you have one, you know what I'm talking about.
   So I list up how many packages of what, and number the boxes 1, 2, 3, etc. so I know what is where, and hang the list on my freezer upstairs.  Now when I am brainstorming the weekly menu or just trying to get ideas for that night, I know exactly what I have.  And I mark it off as I go, so I can make sure I'm using it and when I need to get more.  I  keep a separate list for beef, pork, lamb, chicken, premade meals (dated), homemade apple cider, veggies, and whatever else goes in that freezer. I started doing in for the stand up freezer, too, just so I wasn't digging through cold boxes with the door standing open.
   So if you've ever lost something in your big freezer, take that extra minute and make an inventory, then keep it up whenever something comes in or out.  You will save yourself time and energy, which you can use on more Joyful things in your life.

Joyfully yours,