Written July 12, 2009
I'm a bona fide weirdo, I've decided, as I have unearthed yet another little startling revelation about myself this summer: I LOVE hanging clothes out to dry on the clothesline. Who knew?
I love any excuse to be outside, and there's just something delicious about hanging the clothes. Feeling the hot breeze instantly cooled when it hits the damp clothes and hearing the wind snap the clothes like an ornery jock popping his buddy with a towel in the locker room. It's just lovely for some reason. I can't explain it. The caveat is that I am certain I will not enjoy doing it in winter, so I will go back to using my dryer.
I suppose while I'm confessing, I should also confess that I actually made homemade laundry soap a few weeks back and I'm loving that, too. For about $7, I made enough soap for 600+ loads. And, I have enough supplies left over to make at least 2 more batches. Sure beats the 90 loads of Tide I was paying $20 for, plus this stuff is easier on our septic system. And, if my family had extremely sensitive skin, which we don't, it'd be easier on our epidermis, too. With farm laundry for 6, this is the best investment I've made yet! [laundry soap recipe to come]
Apparently, at some point in the past year, I died quietly in my sleep, and my Grandma Potts' industrious spirit decided to have a second go at life, this time in my body. If I begin telling stories of ant families and insisting my kids dance an Irish jig when we plant potatoes, call for a priest because it will be time to give Grandma the heave ho. There were times when I wanted to hide Grandma's stupid Reader's Digest "Back to the Basics" book with all its coffee-can-cheese-making, lye-soap-boiling, cottage-cheese-curdling nonsense. Now I love all that stuff. My poor kids.
Below is a little ditty about clothes lines.
Love from the farm,
(P.S. Oh, one more reason I love hanging out clothes? Because, when I bump open the screen door with my hip to carry the heavy basket of wet clothes out to the line, I get to hear the door SLAM behind me. And that, after all, is one of the things that sold me on this place. My slamming screen door. Which Mike has promised that he'll never replace as long as we both shall live. I'd like to exact the same promise from my children, for after we've passed.)
THE CLOTHES LINE POEM
Clothes line was a news forecast to dry.
It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.
For then you'd see the 'fancy sheets'
And towels upon the line;
You'd see the 'company table cloths'
With intricate design.
The line announced a baby's birth
To folks who lived inside
As brand new infant clothes were hung
So carefully with pride.
The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed
You'd know how much they'd grown.
It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.
It said, 'Gone on vacation now'
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, 'We're back!' when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare.
New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
And looked the other way.
But clotheslines now are of the past
For dryers make work less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody's guess.
I really miss that way of life.
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line!
~Marilyn K. Walker