Wednesday, June 02, 2010


The reason I moved to the country.

Well, maybe not the only reason. But a big part of it. I wanted to hang my laundry on a line. I wanted that scratchy feeling of air-dried -- sun-dried -- bath towels. I wanted to hang up my clothes on a warm sunny breezy morning and have them dry before I was finished. I wanted to have that fabulous fresh air smell in my sheets.

When my realtor asked me why I was ambivalent about the house, I told him I didn't see a place to install a laundry line. He laughed, and at my request, gave us this line as a selling present (what a weird thing, a selling present, or whatever they call it).

It sat in the garage for the first year. We weren't sure where to put it, and the woods were so close to the house, and the pachysandra so thick, there wasn't really room for it in our yard. Back, only, the front has too many trees, not to mention pachysandra. But then Dave got the bright idea to take his mother's lawn mower -- she has a yard service now and doesn't use it -- and mow down all those nasty vines. The pachysandra is actually receding a bit, and he immediately put down grass seed. And now we are getting grass in our back yard! Wow!

In the meantime, our friend Peggy suggested, since we didn't know where to locate the thing, that we put it in a bucket of cement -- she had just the bucket for us -- and let it stay portable. The only problem is that the center pole is meant to be partly in the ground, and if we leave it in the bucket, the lines to hang the clothes are so high I can't reach them. There's two parts to the pole, though, and Dave took out one of them. Now it's so low, pants almost touch, but most stuff is okay.

Oh, and the other problem is, we never bothered to take it down last fall until a branch fell on it and smushed the bars. Dave put a split on them and made it almost as good as new. Good thing we made it portable, though, as I've decided I want it out the door off our kitchen instead of the garage. I bring the laundry up from the basement through the house and out onto the deck and down to the yard, but that's okay. I like being able to see it from my bedroom, or the kitchen; it's a good reminder to bring it in.

We had had a line just off the porch to a tree, but it was so tall, and it wasn't on a pulley, that I couldn't reach most of it. This works better. Dave is thinking about attaching the second pole and bringing the entire thing close to the edge of the deck. Then I could stand on the deck near the grill and hang laundry from there. I'm not so sure that's a good idea -- for one thing, I doubt I'd be able to rotate the thing to the other side of lines, never mind reach the middle ones -- but if it did work, I'd be really happy.

Still, this is fun. It'll need to get raised up a bit eventually, but for now Lily can reach it pretty well. She helped me hang some clothes on Monday -- don't hang my bras out there, Mama! -- and then helped me bring some of it in. This was a big, big load, full of lots of tiny stuff, like socks and underwear, so it took forever, and a million clothes pins (I used almost all of the three packs I had) to hang it up. Taking it down is easier, of course.

And then folding it is lovely. It smells good, it feels good, it's really dry, and and really warm. I can't wait to hang my sheets.


  1. PS -- that's our wild mountain laurel in bloom. Very pretty. we have it in front too.

  2. But don't you get bugs on your clothes?

  3. I'm jealous! Not sure I'd hang all my laundry (i.e., socks), but some sure would be nice. I installed a mini rack thing from Ikea in my new tiny, but efficient laundry room (the room that used to be an office, a nursery, an art room, and then an office again, in that order). I love my laundry room. Laundry can be poetic.

    Funny story to tell Lily--in Pakistan the girls didn't realize that all laundry gets hung by the servants in the very visible backyard and Yasmine was mortified to see her teeny tiny thongs drying in the breeze and servants actually snickering at the sight! Kindly snickering, but snickering none the less!

  4. and, damn you're good at blogging! ;-) xoxo

  5. no bugs, no. We have ants in our dishwasher, though...

  6. I might as well add:

    Our town is so eco-friendly that there is a movement to air/sun dry your clothes.
    You think I make this up?

    Also, our town is about to start a program where our not-usually-compostable trash will be composted i.e. chicken bones, paper plates.

    Ah, the simple life can be so complicated.

    I may sound like I'm making light of it, but I'm actually quite proud of our town... OK, it's actually a city, but a visitor would call it a town.

  7. You really did not need to move into the country to air dry your laundry. I live right in the middle of a city of 100,000 and I do not own a dryer for my family of four. I air dry everything year round. My secret is a couple of these clothes drying racks. I can either put them outside if the weather is cooperating or I can set them up in my house.

    It is a great way to reduce your electric bill by 6-10%. Also since I am drying here in town I can save more energy since I can use my bike or walk for most errands and to get back and forth to work.


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