Monday, March 18, 2019

Making Dreams Come True

Clotheslines are very important to me. I've been hanging clothes outside to dry almost exclusively for years now. I like it, and I like not paying for the propane or electricity for a clothes dryer.

And now, settle in for a short history of my life with clotheslines. Whee! With many links to pictures of Clothesline I Have Known, because I appear to have a slight fixation.


The first clothesline I remember using was when I was growing up in Tucson. We had one on our back patio and my dad was pretty militant about us using it instead of the dryer. It takes clothes about two minutes to dry there, so I can see why he was so insistent about it. I found it kind of annoying at the time--teenagers are like that--but it started my clothesline experience.

The clothesline at Blackrock was always between two trees, as there are many, many trees to choose from there. First it was between the sweet gum tree and a cedar tree. (Bonus photo of that clothesline, because yikes, I have a LOT of photos of clotheslines on this blog.) Until the cedar tree almost fell right over from rot and had to be removed.

Then the clothesline was moved to a spot between a basswood tree, a utility pole, and a tulip poplar tree. Until the tulip poplar blew over in a violent storm. Then we just had the shorter clothesline between the basswood and the utility pole.

At our house in northern New York, there was no clothesline until A. put one up for me under the elevated porch. We eventually moved it to a spot between a birch tree and a spruce tree, so the clothes would get more sun and also not be right outside the back door. It was a pretty short line, though, so it wasn't good for much except hanging out blankets or whatever.

I never did get a clothesline put up at our rental house in the village here, mostly because there was nowhere convenient to run it and we didn't want to dig a giant hole in the yard to put in a standalone one.

When we moved to this house, A. put up a temporary clothesline for me between the fence and the shed. I never intended that to be the permanent spot because it wasn't long enough and also it was exposed to the often-strong winds here that would blow things right off the line with some regularity. The wind also blew loose dirt all around there.

I was determined that at this house, where we anticipate staying for many years and where the weather is good pretty much all year for line drying, I was going to have a clothesline that really worked the way I wanted it to, not just a random one put up wherever there happened to be supports for it. After all my experience with clotheslines in the past, I knew exactly what I wanted.

The preferred style of clothesline in this area is two T-bars of heavy pipe to make a double clothesline. I liked this idea very much and told A. that's what I wanted. With two full-length clotheslines, I would finally have enough space to hang two loads of laundry. I have never had this much clothesline space, and now that I have to do two loads of laundry every other day, I could only hang all my clothes out if I did a load every single day. And then I still couldn't put up sheets and other things.

I also spent some time thinking about where I wanted the clothesline positioned, eventually deciding on the backyard, which is completely enclosed by the house on the south side and a high board fence on the other three sides. This blocks the wind enough that even when it's blowing a gale everywhere else, there's never more than a pretty good breeze back there. Also, there are no trees there, which means no birds perching over the line and soiling the formerly-clean clothes with their droppings.


A. built the clothesline I specified, in the place I requested. I bought some heavy-duty clothesline to put on the frame, some really awesome metal clothespins to anchor the clothes on the line even if the wind is strong (and also to replace most of the wooden clothespins I have always hated because they seem to break far too frequently).

We think it could use an additional prop in the center to hold everything up properly, but other than that easily-remedied issue, I have the clothesline of my dreams now:

Happy sigh.

And as a bonus, A. also made me a compost bin so I wasn't just dumping garbage in a pile in the corner of the back yard:

Incredibly ugly and cheap afghan left behind by Dale. Nothing is more patriotic than a compost bin.

Three cheers for A. He sure knows how to spoil a woman.


Sara said...

Lucky you! I miss having a line. Well I have one, just can't use it unless I want all the clothing to smell like dead fish. Downside of living on the Gulf. Air doesn't noticeably smell but, oh goodness, do fabrics reek. Some people don't notice it. I sure do.

Have you tried a clothline tension-er/tightener? Just a few dollars. They really get rid of slack in the line.

Anonymous said...

I am completely devoted to clothes lines too--from childhood to present day (even though we are the only people in the neighborhood who have one). Mary in MN

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely my most favorite household chore. I love to hang my clothes, sheets, & towels out to dry & have done so throughout my married life. I have never seen the metal clothespins. Where did you buy them? I use wooden ones & they do seem to break easily.

mil said...

I feel really rude to mention it, but I've got to say that the basswood tree is actually a locust. And I think I'll have to do something about a longer line, even though it's just me hanging clothes.

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Linda: Amazon. The hyperlink on the words "metal clothespins" will take you right to the page.

MIL: Locust! Thank you! I kept thinking linden tree, because I remembered the edible flowers (of course it was something edible I remembered . . .), but I just couldn't quite think what it was.

Gemma's person said...

I have the t posts and 4 lines on each of them . One sags so I put a wooden clothesline proper upper.
Have line dried clothes all my adult life.

tu mere said...

I now have two clothes lines in the garage with the tension tighteners on both. Only problem is when your dad is building something that requires sanding. Wet clothes and wood dust definitely don't mix, but that's a rare occurance so, no problem. I didn't always like the "fresh" smell, but now I'm convinced it's the only way to dry anything. Glad you're settling in with another important house addition. Can't wait to see it in person.

Kay said...

I, too, have hung out my laundry ever since I was married, as my mom & mother-in-law did. My line is a T-post 4 wire that Farmer has to tighten several times a year. Nothing smells better than line-dried sheets. I do have to watch out for birds during mulberry season. Those purple stains do not come out easily. And Farmer has been known to mow the lawn when I have clothing on the line. Grass clippings & wet towels do not mix.
It's still cold here but last Saturday gave us a glimpse of real spring. I think this weekend I should be able to hang it all out. That and the first grilled meal of the season means it is really spring, even if the birds and peeper frogs don't agree.

Anonymous said...

Are you still fringe laundering? I still am & haven't looked back.

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Linda: I sure am. And I'm gratified to know you are, too. Just think how much you save on laundry detergent.

tu mere said...

Did you know that when I googled "fringe laundering" your Blog name and information was the first entry that came up. Really blown away that I could access your 2017 blog about your no detergent laundering and rational. Wow!