The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tales from the Clothesline

Many of you won't be surprised that I am writing about a clothes line since I've mentioned it before, but you know what? I am so excited about having a clothesline again. It's been about 15 years since we've been able to hang clothes outside. We've used a few creative indoor clotheslines from time to time over the years, but the last time we were able to hang clothes outside was in the spring of 2000. Now is the time for us to have a simple, effective,
outdoor dryer available to us again. A few days ago we moved the antenna towers and mowed down the tall grass in preparation for our new adventure in drying clothes outside.



Frank installed turnbuckles on the end of each line so we can tighten them up as needed. I thought this was a great idea!






You'll notice that the clothesline is very close to the outdoor kitchen. That will make it very convenient when I am also washing the clothes outdoors, not just drying them. More about that process once we have the kitchen
completed. As I took the first load of laundry out of the washer, I had this vague memory of sorting the clothes before loading them into the clothes basket and heading outside. I'll probably relearn how I want this done as I get used to this new, old routine. We have a plastic clothes basket that I could use, but I've chosen to try out a metal bushel basket instead. Every plastic basket we have had eventually breaks off at the handles and has to be replaced. I plan on this lasting more than my lifetime.

I seem to have that radio on all the time, don't I?

I have had this clothespin apron for many, many years. I don't remember who made it or gave it to me, I only know that I didn't make it. We used to have one with a hanger in it that you could hang on the line. I like the apron better. 



Back in August as my birthday approached, Frank asked me if there was anything I wanted. At first I couldn't think of anything, but then I remembered something. I had recently read about Herrick Kimball's clothespins. For those of you that aren't familiar with Herrick's blog, he is over at the Deliberate Agrarian. He also works from home creating and producing items for his homestead based company, Planet Whizbang. I contacted Mr. Kimball about my interest in his Classic American Clothespins and found out they would be available in early October, but since we didn't have a clothesline yet, that worked out just fine.


I recently received my clothespins and yesterday was the first opportunity I had to try them out. I was surprised how much larger they are than the regular, store bought version I have been using for years. The stainless steel spring is larger also, and easily holds a pair of jeans or thick jacket. Not only are these clothespins sturdy, they are made from beautiful ash wood. I expect these clothespins will last us a very long time. If you go to his site, you will find that Herrick sells out of his clothespins very quickly. His production run of 8000 is already gone. He did mention in an email that he may have an extra run of 8000 available sometime later, you'll have to check with him if you are interested.

Ladies please don't be offended, but I've always just thought of us as girls, regardless of age. Now that you understand that I want you to know, as I took the clothes out to the line, hung them up with my new clothespins, stood back and admired my work, that I was one happy girl. A little kooky, huh? You know, why do all that work? I told my friend Grace the other day how excited I was to have a clothesline again, and that I expect some folks to think I was a little off my rocker. There is a young mother that lives close by, and she told me she loves hanging out her clothes, she feels like she is saving money for her family. She's right, and then there is the advantage of the sunshine killing bacteria, the clean, fresh fragrance without artificial chemicals, and the stiff scratchy feeling of the towels. We were very surprised at how quickly the clothes dried. Frank commented that it was much faster than the dryer.

We broke down today and changed the sizes of our t-shirts. Frank and I were still wearing the shirts we wore before losing almost 50 pounds and they are hanging very loosely. We hate to put something away before it is good and worn out, but it was time to 'down size' our clothes. 


As I was hanging out this batch of shirts, Frank 'Wilson' Feral arrived and had me laughing so hard I could hardly take this picture. He is one funny man, and I am one blessed woman.


It is truly the simple things in life that fill my heart and soul with a deep, abiding joy and sense of contentment. Seek out what fills your soul. When you are in the midst of stress or strife, dip from that well of contentment and take it in stride. In the coming days our stress levels are not going to go down, they are going to continue to increase to a fever pitch. The
Our sheepskin prayer rug
uncertainty of the future has already caused many to lose hope, lose their temper, lose their families and, for some, lose their life. The stress of the coming collapse can bring the most stalwart and courageous to their knees. We find ourselves in prayer on our knees, side by side, every night before we go to bed. It gives us strength and binds us together like nothing else can. Seek that which will give you strength to face the coming days, weeks and months as our uncertain future unfolds. You will need it.

Until next time - Fern

42 comments:

  1. That is lovely. I like those clothes pins too. I love a clothes line. I haven't had a dryer in years and all drying is on the line. You can smell sunshine. Nothing is as good as sheets line dried.
    I am in Australia. Some of my US friended told me they are not allowed to have clothes lines. I was amazed by this! How terrible. Well I love your line! Enjoy it. xx

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    1. "You can smell the sunshine." That is a great description, Annabel, a great description!

      I think there are some places that have restrictions on what can or can't be in someone's yard. Some folks live where they have a Homeowners Association that decides what is allowed and what isn't. We don't have anything like that at all out here, and many places across the country don't either. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  2. i wear husband's dead t shirts as 'night attire'.

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    1. I cut them up and strain the milk through them. (-:

      Thanks, Deb.

      Fern

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  3. I'm right there with you on the satisfaction of hanging clothes to dry. When we bought our current home in 2000 we had an electric dryer and the house had a gas line. We could have spent the money to have the electric hooked up or even bought a gas dryer. Neither was cost effective at the time. So my husband strung a line from the house to the garage and several lines in the basement. I have been hanging the laundry for almost 16 years and I still get excited every Spring when he re-hangs the outside lines. ( I know have a proper clothes line outside )

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    1. The clothes line I used to use was a single line strung between three trees. Sometimes a few pieces of laundry had to be rewashed since the birds left decorations for us. This is the first 'proper' clothes line we've ever had. Enjoy yours in whatever configuration it comes. Thanks for sharing, Yart, it's good to hear from you.

      Fern

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  4. Fern,

    My clothesline is out on the side of the house. Several months back, I asked Bulldog Man to run some para cord close to the house, making a clothes line right out my back door. It's convenient, now I just have to go out the back door instead of out the front door, and around the house. And I have a good chunk of the para cord under the porch cover. This works out great for colored clothing with fading from the sun.

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    1. Isn't it interesting how we change things for the better, Sandy? Sounds like you found a good solution for your laundry. Thanks for the para cord story. (-:

      Fern

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  5. I am still waiting for a good clothesline! I too love hanging clothes outside :)

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    1. You never know when a good clothesline will show up, Sandra. If you didn't live so far north I might say you could ask for one for Christmas, but I think the ground might be a little hard by then. Thank you for the comment.

      Fern

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  6. Your written description of your clothesline and what it means to you is beautiful. I, too, think of myself and other ladies as "girls". No apologies needed.
    My birthday is this month and last night TMTPFIA (the man that pays for it all) asked me what I wanted. I emphatically replied, "NOTHING", as I'm overwhelmed with "stuff". However, the clothesline is on his list of to-do's, although at this time it will be one line that runs the length of our deck. A full size four line clothesline-mahal is on my list of future items, but we don't want to put one up yet, as we may sell the big doublewide and build an apartment in our shop and I would want the clothesline much closer to that building.
    Love the smell of sheets from the line, love the memories your writing just evoked.
    Thank you, Fern.

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    1. You'll have to let us know if the deck line shows up in time for your birthday, Susie. It's funny how we never forget the smell of sheets dried on a clothesline. That is mentioned more than any other item. I wonder why......

      Fern

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  7. One of the first things I did when we moved to the country from the suburbs last year is put up a clothesline! I love it so much I find myself washing sheets, blankets, etc more often than I used to just so I can hang them out to dry- LOL!

    We ordered several small lots of clothespin samples to test them all out for function, including some from Herrick (they are wonderful quality). In the end, we settled on a very heavy duty stainless steel clothespin. They are about $1 each and can stand up to ferocious wind. Downside - they don't look as nice & nostalgic as a wooden clothespin. But in the end, function & price won out. (they are not made in China!)

    I can tell you what they are if you want, just reply to this and I'll let you know. I don't want to post it unless you are interested for yourself or your readers since it's kind of advertising for some company.

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    1. Thank you for describing the different clothespins you considered. It's always good to learn more. If someone wants to ask you about the company, please don't hesitate to share. It may help them out.

      We didn't have any laundry today, so there wasn't anything to hang out. But we did wash a load this evening that I will be able to hang out in the morning, and I look forward to it. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  8. Congratulations on your clothesline being ready! I envy your new clothespins - I did not make it in time to get a set. Ah well, maybe next time. I am glad to see Mr. Kimball get a great response to each group of them he does. :)

    The "Wilson" photo is awesome - gave me a good chuckle.

    I feel the same way as you and your neighbor about hanging clothes out to dry. We live on a military installation and every bit of electricity I don't use means money in our pockets - if I can keep us using less than the neighbors, we will get a rebate of the money we pay toward the utilities. That little check goes right to savings whenever we can get one. (The "green" part of me wishes more neighbors used fewer resources, so I'm torn there, wishing they'd use less to be more sustainable, but glad enough that they keep using so we are paid back for using less. It's an odd spot. LOL)

    As Deborah above, I too use my husband's "dead" t-shirts for sleepwear. When they are too ragged for even that, he takes them back for garage rags. They are nice and broken in for me and less money to the overpriced "gift wrapping" in the catalogs, according to him. hahaha!

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    1. Melonie, I was trying to take a close up picture of one of the clothespins for his article when up pops 'Wilson'. I laughed so hard, I could hardly take his picture. It was great fun!

      It's interesting that not only can you save money by hanging out your clothes, but you can save even more money by hanging out your clothes. We have so many rags to use up, I don't know if we ever will. We just hate to throw out something that is still usable. Thanks for sharing.

      Fern

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  9. Anonymous from the Mat-Su Valley here again. I love clotheslines and miss having one outside, but our property doesn't allow easy flat access to one from my laundry room. In the summertime, I sometimes hang clothes, especially whites, on metal drying racks in my wonderful second story greenhouse. Clothes can be dry out there, literally, in minutes! ;-) The rest of the year, I often hang the clothes in the kitchen in front of my toasty wood stove. Again, it doesn't take long for them to dry.

    I'm from OK and TX, though, and I always hung out clothes growing up and as a young wife and mother. Yes, a truly satisfying experience! Like doing dishes! And yes, I am completely serious!

    Have fun doing laundry, Fern!

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    1. Clotheslines come in all shapes, sizes and locations, Mat-Su, and it sounds like yours is even mobile. I can't say washing dishes is anywhere near as fun as hanging out the clothes, though. You may need some help, or something. (-: I'm sure there are plenty of people that would say the same thing about me. It's always good to hear from you.

      Fern

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  10. Turnbuckle eh? That Frank fellow is pretty smart. You should consider keeping him around for a bit

    Mark

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    1. The man is a genius, Mark, not that I am biased or anything like that. I can tell Frank I would like or need something, like the outdoor kitchen he is building for me, and he will come up with a great idea. I plan to keep him around for eternity. Thank you for the comment.

      Fern

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  11. I cannot even imagine life without my clothes line. Ok so I'm lucky - no snow and even in Winter (most of the time) I can get our clothes dry. Life in Australia is good...lol.. I honestly think the best part of hanging clothes on the line is just spending time outside in the fresh air. It doesn't matter that it's a chore/job. I'm outside listening to the bird life, checking out my garden and watching my dogs play. When DD is helping me we chat over what needs to be done that day. It's our planning time and at others it's our chill out time.

    I don't have a dryer. Been there done that and won't ever again. Clothes are hung in front of the wood stove when they absolutely won't dry in the winter or if it's raining. And the smell of freshly sun dried clothes - nothing beats it.

    Enjoy your clothes line Fern. Love the photo of Frank/Mr Wilson. He makes me laugh to.

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    1. Great comment, Calidore, I can tell you really enjoy some of the simple things in life. Just like me. I hung out three loads today, it was great!

      Fern

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  12. Fern - i am sooo glad that you have your clothesline and can enjoy such simple pleasures!!! we hang our clothes on the line even in winter...we have 2 clothes lines hung from the ceiling in our computer room and as we heat with electric, our house gets pretty dry in the winter. but after letting clothes freeze out on the outdoor clothesline, we then bring them in to the clotheslines in the computer room and as the clothes defrost - they add extra humidity to the air in the house. and the frozen clothes bring in that beautiful outdoor smell as they dry and add moisture to the air in the house.

    i am so glad that you are back to drying your clothes outside and benefitting from the fresh air smell of sheets and towels and clothes drying in the sunshine - i swear it's medicine.

    that pic of Wilson is pretty funny! i appreciate how much you appreciate having your clothesline back...i am going to check into those clothespins. we are big believers in - "if we can't get it handmade in canada, then the next best place is handmade in the US". i am glad that you did this post so that other people can check out the deliberate agrarian...our little blogs can help spread the word about people doing excellent work! and our blogs while the internet is still up can work as a "trading post" - which is what your last post was all about.

    keep up the good work Fern and Frank! we're all here and learning together. thank you sooo much for your thoughtful comment on our last post about our puppy...it really hurt to have to return her after so much work...but your thoughtful comment made us both feel so much better. thank you again.

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Freeze dried clothes are really funny, Kymber. When I first started hanging out clothes, I didn't think they would dry if they froze, but they do. It's weird and very interesting how that can happen. Makes the fingers a little stiff working in the cold, but it's very doable. The clothespins work great, even for heavy things like coats. I have yet to have one slip off or not hold like the store bought I have always used. I am very pleased with them.

      Kymber, all we can do is try our best, which is what you did with your dog. You made a good choice. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  13. Love the Wilson picture!! I've hung clothes out for the past 40 years. I turn our jeans inside out before hanging and turn them back when I take them off the line, it will take some of the stiffness out of them and only takes a couple of minute to turn them. Enjoy you clothes lines.
    Have a great week!!
    Sue

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    1. Interesting technique with the jeans, Sue, thank you for sharing with us.

      Fern

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  14. I love the size of those clothespins. I'll have to look into them. I know I love to hang my clothes out on the line. That is until I had a wasp inside of one of my shirts. That was not fun......

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    1. Wasps stings really hurt, SFG. Cut a raw onion slice and put on it, it takes the sting out quickly.

      Fern

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  15. I gave up the plastic clothes baskets too. We got a roll around cart. The kind with the cloth insiders in a frame with rollers on the legs. Target may even sell them..or find one used. If you just have a frame you can put a plastic or woven basket on it instead.

    I sort the wet clothes Say one short side for each of our undies, one longer side for washcloth size things and another longer one for sox and other little things..the middle for all the larger things like towels, sheets and such. Then things are sorted and faster and easier to hang out. Also this is done out of the hot sun! :-) My lines are the metal ones coated in plastic with a turnbuckle too. We have had the same lines up for 20 years. Just wipe to clean when needed.

    For inside drying one thing is you can put a shower rod that has the spring to lengthen it across the short side of a hallway. Or doorway and leave up or taken down when not in use. Or put another higher shower rod in the shower to hang things on clothes hangers or on it. Course there is always the door frame top itself thong coat hangers. Then too there is a device I was given that you actually put up by your door top jam like a slight c that holds hangers too. There is always a way!! :0

    I know one thing those plastic clothes pins are not worth it no matter how cheap. I keep my pins out all the time and they do get dark. I bring them all in and wash and bleach them off and on..rinse well and dry. If I got Herrick's I believe he recommends always taking them off the line and to preserve those beautiful creations I would! :-) I get such a thrill out of seeing the clothe on the line. I always have. :))) Sarah

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    1. Good ideas, Sarah, thank you for taking the time to share them. I know other folks that have the roll around cart, but our ground is so uneven, I'd never make it to the line with one. Frank created a four line, indoor clothes line with dowel rods. One side was attached to the wall of an extra bedroom (in a different house), the other dowel rod could be hung on the opposite wall on hooks, stretching the lines all the way across the room. To speed up the drying process we laid a box fan on four coffee cans, for space above the floor, facing upward. This was very effective and didn't take much energy.

      Fern

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  16. Thank you for the link to the Planet Whizbang site! Glad you got your solar dryer up. I just love mine - except the time a yellow jacket was on one of my damp towels, I grabbed it and - yup - she stung me! ouch! Now I shake everything that I hang on the clothesline before I grab them! :) Your metal basket is a great idea! I am already on my second plastic basket in just six months - I will copy your idea when this one breaks. Thanks again!

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    1. Herrick has some very interesting inventions on his site, doesn't he, Vickie? I haven't seen any bees, wasps or yellow jackets, but the spiders seem to like the clothes I hang out. Thank you for your comment.

      Fern

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  17. I have one of those European umbrella type clotheslines which is better than nothing, but I can't wait to get my "real" clothesline up. The apron is a great idea! Beautiful pins; I've admired them on Herrick's website in the past.

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    1. The apron works great, Leigh, and when I finish hanging up a load of clothes, I leave the apron on a hook Frank put on one of the clothesline poles, along with the metal basket. Works great, and they're both on hand when I need to take the clothes and pins inside.

      Fern

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  18. P.S. I've been trying to figure out an alternative to the plastic clothes basket too. They break too easily! I'll be curious as to how your metal basket works. I've thought of totes, also leaf baskets, but the jury is still out.

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    1. The basket is a metal bushel basket originally meant to harvest food. I like the size since I can't get too many clothes in it. I've been known to overload larger plastic baskets, that's probably one reason they break so easy. I also don't need to be carrying that many wet clothes out to the line here, because of the distance and uneven ground. I am very pleased with this metal basket, and I know it will last much longer than anything else I have considered. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

      Fern

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  19. I have two of the metal baskets with cloth liners. My husband had to replace a roller/wheel once but they are great. Wal-Mart like six years or so and still going strong.

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    1. Good recommendation, Janet, thank you.

      Fern

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  20. I have fond memories of hanging clothes on the line with my grandma. I loved running out to quickly bring in the laundry when an unexpected rain came.

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    1. Me, too Grammy. When I was in high school I made several mad dashes out to get the clothes before a rain. Good memories, thank you.

      Fern

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  21. Oh I forgot another blogger said in her bedrooms her husband has put c hooks into the walls across from each other. Then she stretched individual clothes lines across. She can take each down and put it back as it just fits each line. She keeps each line in a drawer and can put one or all up when needed or not have any up. Fast and easy. Sarah
    My ground here is uneven but the roller cart works for me. Maybe a high sided wagon to pull?

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    1. All good ideas, thank you for sharing them.

      Fern

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