Thursday, March 20, 2008

Laundry Day!

The sun has finally decided to shine, the clouds have all but disappeared and the wind is blowing. What a beautiful day to do the laundry. I like doing the laundry; actually what I really enjoy is hanging it out. I don't mind throwing the clothes in the washer, but I hate using the dryer. Especially on a day like today.There is just something so satisfying about full lines of clothes hanging out in the sun and gently blowing breezes. What is there not to like? Going out in the fresh air with baskets of heavy wet clothes, and coming in with baskets mounded high with sweet smelling dry laundry? The birds cheerfully serenading you as you go about your work? Or perhaps the feeling of pride in a job well done, as you survey the full lines swaying gently in the breeze? I even enjoy the stiffness of hung-out clothes over the limp, wet-noodle like state in which they emerge from the dryer. [and if you stay tuned in to this "limited time offer" I'll even tell you the *best* way to hang various items up :) ]

Even in the dead of winter I like hanging the clothes out. It's called "freeze drying." (it might be considered a disease by some people) Basically that means if you don't freeze before you get the stuff up on the lines, the laundry will eventually freeze,
ridding it of excess moisture. (Just a note: ALWAYS wear a coat when hanging out laundry to freeze. The goal is for the clothes to freeze not you! Gloves are also nice, but the pins are hard to handle with gloves on.) You can tell when the items are dry by if they are soft. They will still be a little stiff, but after a few experiments you'll be able to tell when things are dry. (Oh, and if you stay tunned, I'll describe the *best * way to hang various items up, but first....)

This method works best on *cold* and windy but sunny days. It really doesn't work as well if it is not *cold*. I mean like at least below 20 degrees. The colder it is the better it works. And did I mention it needs to be *cold*? [Just checking :-) ] Also, it absolutely does not work if it is snowing. I have tried this. Believe me, if it's snowing just give up and try again a different day. The snow accumulates in the pockets and folds, or just plain
sticks all over and when you bring the clothes in they are wetter than when you started. Like I said I tried that. It doesn't work. Not at all. I don't think it would work very well in a blizzard either, since then it is just snowing really hard, but I haven't had a chance to test that theory--we don't get many blizzards in mid-Michigan. (But if you stay tunned, I'll show y'all the very *best* way to hang out various items!) [and I didn't even watch any "infomercials" when I was sick the last few days! :-) ]

Now when you finally bring the frozen (but now soft) laundry in, they may be slightly damp, but either ironing or an hour or so of inside drying (provided you are using hot wood heat and the inside temperature is at least 75 degrees) should finish up the drying process until the clothes are bone dry. (Next! The very *best* way to hang out clothes!)

And now...(drum roll please) The absolute *best* way to hang up big bath towels, long sleeve shirts and...the favorite of men, women and children, the can't be without item, the most dearly beloved piece of work wear ever... Jeans! This is the (almost) guaranteed method for clothes that dry the fastest outside, need the least ironing, and smell better than any other way of doing laundry (that I know of)!

First those big fluffy bath towels: with the basket directly underneath the spot on the line where you wish to hang the towel (preferable at least two to three inches away from the nearest item), grab (don't be shy and delicately pick it up--grab it! Remember it's windy, and you don't want to be chasing bath towels in the neighbors yard a half a mile down the road.) grab, one corner of the towel and pin it to the line. Next, grab the middle of the towel (the goal is to hang the whole thing with the long side on the line) and stretch it taught against the clothesline away from the first corner. Finally, grab the last corner, and pulling it tight, pin it to the line. The finished product should look similar to this: This is the best way, because the water in the towel has a shorter distance to travel as gravity pulls in downward. Unfortunately, this method takes up more line space, but it is still the *best* way to go.

Now for long-sleeve shirts: this is really simple, just grab the side seems and pin them to the line. Also make sure the the shirt is opening towards the breeze to facilitate quick drying. (I know for sure that this the the very *best* way to hang shirts because my Grama said so!)

And on to the jeans: "The Three Pin Method for Properly Line Drying Jeans." This is a bit more complicated, but I'm sure y'all will try it because it is the *best* way around. First pick out one pair of jeans that you want to hang up. Then wear them out in the mud to play and rough-house with the dog. Next put them in the washer, and wash them. [Oops! This was only supposed to be about how to hang them up, not how to get them
dirty! Slight memory lapse there...sorry :) ] That is to say, um, oh yes, hanging up jeans....Pick up the pair of jeans by the and make sure that they are buttoned and the front and back of the waist band are lined up properly. Next grab the side seam and pin the waistband to the line. Then pin the middle of the waistband (right next to the button). Using a third pin, attach the far end of the waistband to the clothesline. Last, but not least, make sure that the legs are straight, and the cuffs (if there are any) are properly aligned. (that last step is the secret to success, don't skip it!) So in the end, you should end up with rows of neatly hung jeans looking like this:While it is best to hang them on a level portion of the line, they have a tendency (at least at our house) to drag the line down until there dragging in the dirt. So unfortunately, we must hang them next to the post.

Also please note: When hanging up clean clothes, make sure your hands are clean prior to handling them. No coming directly from the garden to hang up clothes without washing your hands. Especially white clothes. It doesn't work well. (Just trust me on that one)


Stay tunned for "How to make your own low-cost, easily disassembled, effective (once you figure out how to keep the plastic from blowing off) growing season extending, hoop house"

Until next time,


Anonymous said...

Hey Matthew I finally figured out why I was having trouble connecting with your blog. What a trip to read your well written episodes! Love ya, Gram