Little wooden soldiers at work

When I lived in Minneapolis, I co-owned a couple of sailboats. (In the land of 10,000 lakes, a few can actually be sailed, and some of them were in town even.) I was much better at the important things like drink orders or boat repair routines than I was a sailor, however. One boat was all wood (a Melges C-Scow, 1968). It was held together, quite literally, with epoxy, and thus its name was the Epoxymoron.

Nowadays, well, I live on a much bigger lake. I neither have the motivation nor the deep pockets to continue my sailing habit. But I still know how to catch the wind.

This is how I do it now.

The wind is very consistent here, coming west off the lake. In no time at all, our clothes are dry and smell just wonderful. I do use vinegar in the rinse cycle to keep the towels from getting stiff, though a crunchy towel can be an acquired taste. Part of the clothesline is in the sun, but most is in the shade. And sometime around Mother’s Day Tom bought us another line: an umbrella-type one. (I try hard not see the significance of buying a household item for a holiday, as he has yet to buy me a vacuum for a birthday, though for my 40th I did get a tiller….)

When we bought the house, we had the basement plumbing redone to accommodate a decent laundry room. It took a while for us to get the new dryer hooked up. (I’ve been a huge fan of the Whirlpool Duet line, having had them in our city house, too. Lots less water and soap used, and it spins things super dry.) We had a cloth-diaper-wearing baby then, and it was winter, then spring, before we had everything completed. We hung everything out to dry then, too, though we had to string up lots more lines in the (warm) basement. I do remember, though, that every time I would get the damned diapers on the outdoor line, it would rain. The neighbor would chuckle and call us and say, “El, we need rain, why don’t you hang those diapers out again?”

Well, we’re doing it again now, but it is not for lack of a dryer. Global warming has something to do with it, though.

(But I can still fix a mean drink.)

6 responses to “Sailing

  1. What a beautiful sight! I don’t understand why so many people find clotheslines, and clothes out on them offensive. I think it makes a place look homey and well lived in. We have a retractable clothesline that runs from the chicken coop to our large locust tree.

  2. awwww…pretty. I can almost smell those clothes right now. And crunchy towels are an acquired taste. They do seem way more absorbant.

  3. Beautiful, beautiful photo.
    Cranky and I are stringing up a clothesline in our sunny/breezy backyard… But it’s only going to be one line, about 10 feet long.
    Yours looks… pleasant!

  4. I grew up with clothslines. My first memory is of my grandmother’s line, held up with sticks with y’s in them to push up the line. I FINALLY convinced my Husband to string me a line at home. It’s about 75 feet long, but is in the part of the yard that gets a good breeze. I love the smell of laundry fresh off the line.

    We sail here too. We’ve got a Fish Class Racing Yacht, 20 ft long, and a Dragon, 29 feet long. Dragons are popular in Cleveland on Lake Erie, where we got ours from last year, and up in Toronto. There are only two here on the bay.

    Love the photo.

  5. I don’t really have a tumble drier – well there is a dryer cycle on the washing machine but it is so useless that no-one would ever be tempted to use it.

    Laundry is the thing I get most fed up with – here in Scotland it rains a lot and that means that we can oftenb not line dry and the washing ends up on racks in the house.

    Euan is planning a drying tunnel attached to the shed so that we can dry things outside when it is raining – that failing I might try the polytunnel.

    Not having a drier is probably the most eco thing I do – it would be so much nicer to have piles of fluffy clothes!

  6. Ang, I don’t understand the putdown either. Even in the movies hanging clothes = either poor people or dumb rurals like me.

    Meredith, you’re right. They are more absorbent. And a stiff towel will wake you up, I am telling you!

    CC, look into the collapsible ones. I should post a pic. It holds almost 3 loads, and it collapses like an umbrella and you can put it away before you offend anyone. We got it at an old-fashioned hardware store, cheap.

    Jules, I am glad to meet another sailor! I think there’s a real rhythm you can get into when you dry your clothes outside. Folding them somehow seems easier.

    Jane, well, I am waxing on all happy about clotheslines when it is both dry, warm and windy. Wait until winter and it’s wet, cold and windless, and I won’t be singing the same tune. But putting them in the polytunnel would give you a big excuse to hang out in there yourself…

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