Not so much cleaning as yard work (gardening?). I made a simple lamb stew, with very little effort this week. Before we went on the weekend hardware store trip (1pm) I threw 2 small packages of lamb stew meat (neck bones) into the crock pot with a bay leaf and covered 2/3 with water. I turned it to low and we left. This weekend was the first nice weather we've had so far this year so I felt both obligated and determined to get stuff done outside. If a fit of laziness I got nothing done on Saturday, so Sunday was my last chance. The lumber yard is closed Sundays, so we went to Lowes to peruse the fencing materials (super disappointing). I did however get one potted plant marked 1/2 off (a pink heather plant) new garden clippers that promise to stay sharp 5x's longer, a spading fork (i broke both pitch forks on the rocks in the yard already) 1 cu ft bag of compost, and some bright colored string for marking out fence levels and such. We made a trip to the new Winco (grocery store like Costco and Walmart in one) and stopped at the Tacos Tumbras to grab some tacos (real tacos, not american tacos). The last stop was the NW seed & pet for the annual seed purchases, a mix of flowers and food stuffs. I also noticed the price for bagged compost was much better here (of course it was) so I'll come back for a bunch more when we plant the vegetable plot. We still have to wait 5 weeks to plant seeds outside so maybe I can get some started inside this year.
After we returned home I was determined to get some stuff done outside because it was so nice and still so light (~4:30pm). I cut down a 10 section of our pointless wire fencing (it doesn't keep anything in or out of the yard) and made a 3' diameter compost bin. I moved the fritillary to the front yard and divided it in 2 sections in front of the clematis to hide the ugly parts and shade the roots. We also planted the heather, some purple coneflower plants I got as Costco a while back, and moved the current bushes from the back to the front.
Of course after all this, it was 7pm when I got back inside to finish dinner. I chopped up onions, carrots, potatoes and celery and sauteed the onions and celery before adding the rest of the vegetables to a big pot on the stove. After skimming the fat off the top of the crock pot and removing the bay leaf, I added the broth contents to the stove pot along with 1 can of minced tomatoes. I let this simmer for 20ish minutes to cook the carrots and potatoes. While the vegetables were cooking I scraped off the meat from the neck bones. Uh, don't do this. It's a pain in the but and the meat is mostly fatty and not worth it. IN the future I'll probably pick up some shoulder chops at the same time and chop and throw those in with the veggies to cook (and just toss the neck bones meat and all when you're done with them). After adding some salt and pepper, it was done! Because the bones simmered so long all the good collagen stuff came out and thickened the stew and gave it that buttery mouth feel.
It really was easy and I even got some more work done in the yard at the same time.