Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Time & Clotheslines

I'm so out of the loop with writing. Even after school ended, the graduations were over, the relatives had gone home, and I finally caught up with ALL THAT LAUNDRY (phew!), I wasn't ready to write again. I love writing, but that groove of the kids being in school is gone and I've been directing traffic here ever since. All but two of my children are gone tonight, so it's a little quiet and I have time to ponder a bit. What to write about? I'm really not sure.

I just looked out the window and even thought it's well after 8:00 at night, it's still light outside and it hums that summer sound. I just love summer days. The warm air seeps into my soul and makes me smile from the inside out. My very favorite thing to do in the summer is to hang clothes on the line. I used to do it for all of our clothes when we lived near Sacramento with hot, hot summers. We had a tiny 110 dryer that didn't took forever to dry our clothes, so I used the clothesline whenever I could.

Our two oldest girls were little then and would play in the yard while I hung the clothes. My husband bought a long railroad tie (big square-ish post if you're not familiar with the term) at a yard sale and put it on top of the two posts that held up the clothes line. He hung two swings from the post and the girls would swing while I hung the laundry. Sometimes it was so hot that the first clothes I hung would be dry by the time I finished hanging the last of the load.

Some young boys from down the road would run by with their soaker water guns, threatening to spray us. I'd throw them off by asking if they'd come spray my head -- just soak it like crazy to cool me off. It felt wonderful, just wonderful.

I just looked for a photo of that clothesline and found just one -- but it's way in the back right side of the picture -- hardly visible. And no clothes are on it. I must have been caught up! I don't even see the swings or the railroad tie. This looks like it was close to the time we moved away. Maybe we removed it before going, I don't know. But I still get that warmth from seeing that setting. This was when our oldest son was a baby -- 14 years ago. I'll keep looking for photos though. I was pretty positive I had a few of the girls swinging with clothes up above.

Back to hanging clothes, it's somehow as satisfying to me as getting a good fire going in the wood stove. I feel a connection with the earth as well as knowing I'm doing something productive (my brain yearns for that at all times -- call me crazy). And it's just a peaceful, pleasant thing to do. It's not quite as warm where we live now, but when that sun comes out, I run and put clothes on the line.

Our climate is generally cool and moist. In fact, one thing I have to really be mindful of when I use the clothesline is getting them off before the sun falls over the redwood trees. If the clothes are still there once the sun has gone down, chances are, the clothes are cool and moist -- sometimes even damp. There have been many times that I've just left the clothes on the line for another day to dry out again (hoping some deer with ticks doesn't brush by them during the night). There have been a few times that I've done this 2 or 3 days in a row -- mindless me!

This time of the year, though, it's warmer, sometimes even hot (today, I'm thinking we hit the 80s -- woo hoo!) and the clothes dry faster and I can use it multiple times. Very, very fun!

In light of gas prices, insane propane bills, and a search for other ways to perform our modern day tasks, I wish I could find other ways to do things by hand -- using the sun or other sources to help eliminate cost and fuel dependence. The wood stove helps a bit (when I can find wood at a decent price or use tree trimmings from our yard). I just need to find a way to get hot water w/o the propane -- $200 a month for that and a little cooking with the gas stove is just too much. I'll do some research and will let you know what I come up with. Until then, I'll be smiling in the sunshine while I hang my clothes! :)


  1. Wow that is plenty of laundry.
    You need help. Try a cordoclip clothesline. It will save you time.
    Send your blog to the manufacturer and they may give you a break on the price.

  2. Thanks for the mentioning of the cordoclip clothesline. I looked it up and it looks like it could help a lot of people. I'm fine with my regular clothesline and wooden clothespins though. Just love the simplicity of it all.