Monkey swinging in my trees and dust bunnies getting the boot. That's what I've been doing if you've been wondering why I fell off the face of the planet again. The weather has been too nice not to take advantage of and I've been Fall Cleaning. Notice the capital letters. I prefer fall cleaning to spring cleaning and it shows in the my family's faces as the start counting down the days with dread. They know it will be over by Thanksgiving but between now and then they never dare look like they are less than busy ... or I will surely put them to work. <strike the evil momma pose, bwahahahaha>
I've had the house opened up every day - not exactly conducive to dusting but oh well and my house just about quivers in fear when it sees me coming with my broom, dust pan, and bucket of cleaning products. Spiders move back out doors as they know building webs inside will be useless for a good, long while. And the evil, procreating dust bunnies start humming a dirge and giving up the ghost.
The screened lanai was the first thing that needed a serious cleaning. The pavers needed to be bleached and resealed, the outdoor furniture needed to have the cushions washed, and my outdoor kitchen space needed some serious scrubbing. All spit spot now.
Moved on to the living room ... only thing left in there is to burn a creosote log in the fireplace and that isn't happening until it gets significantly cooler. But I did manage to convince the birds in the chimney to take themselves off to a new nesting location. Thank goodness. My oldest son has his bedroom on that end of the house and they would wake him up at all hours as they were night time swallows. Didn't do much for Darth Molly's nerves either.
The kitchen and pantry were reorganized a while back but I decided to reseal the counter tops and polish the wood cabinets again since I'm about to head into my holiday cooking and baking. I still need to clean the ovens ... I have a dual oven set up because I do so much baking ... and recondition the ceramic burner top, but all of the stainless has been cleaned and polished with Sheila Shine. Geez that stuff has been around forever. It's what I used when I worked at Busch Gardens in the restaurants there; we used it on the stainless steel surfaces at the end of the day to protect them. The frig and freezers have also been taken down to the racks and sanitized. I had to replace one of the glass shelves in my frig when my daughter thought "remove from stove top and cool quickly" meant she should put the pan in the frig. Lesson learned and while she was willing to pay for her mistake hubby was able to fix it himself by cutting some tempered glass he had on hand ... it's not like I didn't make some pretty dumb moves when I was learning to cook at her age.
Next up was reorganizing all of our office supplies. That was so much fun ... especially after I dropped the plastic container that holds the gazillion and three paper clips and the one that holds all the staples. I think kids are great ... great for those types of tedious jobs that you reeeealllly don't want to do. LOL. I told the ten year old monkey that if he helped is poor ol' mom out of the mess I'd made that he'd earn himself a Lego. He was all over that so it worked out to everyone's satisfaction in the end. I tell you, running our business out of our home gets a little too interesting at times. I've got over two decades of files out in the barn that I'm working on scanning. I'm about ready to call a temp agency it is so mind numbing.
I've dusted all of the furniture in the house with lemon oil and cleaned the inside of all of the windows. I even took the blinds down and took them outside and cleaned them. Did you know you can take one of those soap dispensers that you screw onto a garden hose (supposed to be for washing your car) and it works great for cleaning horizontal blinds? I've steam cleaned all of the cushions and washed and pressed all of the curtains. Let the kids have any change they found in the sofa and while I can't imagine anyone in this family doing it, some of our guests must have lost a pocketful because by the time they counted it all up there was over ten bucks worth. Seriously.
I'm feeling very accomplished. Humph. I get any more accomplished and hubby has threatened to send me off on a nice, quiet vacation so he can actually get some of his work done. LOL. I still have the bathrooms to scrub this week, bathroom cabinets to reorganize, and the closet I share with hubby looks like I am in serious need of a yard sale; I don't even want to contemplate the garage for at least another day, but I'm girding my loins to go on the attack again starting tomorrow. After the house comes to yard, including the outside of the windows. I've got some trimming and weed extraction that needs to be finished before Thanksgiving week so that right after that I can start setting up the Christmas light display we have every year. In particular the area that I set up the manger scene is looking pretty raggedy and I need to mulch my flower beds before honestly cold weather sets in ... well, cold by Florida standards.
But never fear, I did manage to get quite a bit of writing done. It was either sit at night or I heard from my knees that my feet were going to swear out a complaint against me. Each of the stories listed - except for Winx's story - has several new chapters. Winx only has the one because I'm still trying to find out where Winx wants to take me. She's kinda flighty and ornery.
A Bunch of Wild Thyme
Enduring On The Lake
Life Is A Fractured Fairytale
Up On Hartford Ridge
When All Doors Close
Zombies Aren't Real ... Are They?!
I forgot to mention that I've already started one of my yearly gift giving projects ... homemade liqueurs. I'll put the recipes on the recipe blog. Now personally I'm not a big alcohol drinker. In fact you could probably put everything I've drank over the last five years in one large tea glass but the reason for this isn't some moral quandary but because I have diabetes in both sides of my family as does my husband and alcohol has a lot of sugar in it. Better safe than sorry for our family. I do like to cook with it though hence the liqueurs, cordials, etc. My fruit cakes get wrapped in brandy soaked cheese cloth. I make a rum cake for my brother every year from the recipe that my grandmother used when we were kids ... you had to reach double digits before you were allowed to eat a slice so it was a real right of passage sort of thing. I make beer bread all the time. And here at the holidays and for other special occasions I make candies with special fillings for a few select friends.
Also tried something I've always wanted to try. Rabbit jerky. Yeah, I really did. Local butcher shop had rabbit on sale for $3.49 a pound and I decided what the heck. I already had everything else I needed which included a jerky gun (I normally use it to make ground beef jerky), the seasonings, and my Excalibur dehydrator. Pretty much followed the directions on the following YouTube video.
For Christmas I am going to make my dad some buffalo jerky but boy howdy is ground buffalo expensive. I can get it for $12.99/lb but since I can get ground beef from the same shop for two bucks a pound it just breaks my frugal little heart to have to part with that much money. But it's for my dad, you know?
If you are in the Tampa area the place I'm talking about is called Foodtown Meat Market and it is on Busch Blvd. Not the best part of town but certainly not the worst, and they run a very clean store. They also sell oxtails and goat meat for better than reasonable prices compared to any place else I've found. Their other exotic meats currently available are gator, frog legs, duck, quail, and cooked whole crawfish. Each one gives me way too much scope for my imagination so I'm careful only to bring as much money as I intend to spend when I walk in there.
Well, I'm going to go give my poor tootsies a good Epsom salt soak so they don't complain so much in the morning. I may not be on every day until after I can get this Fall cleaning finished but then again I might ... depends on how I feel at the end of the night and how much soothing hubby's nerves require. LOL!