Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The clothesline

I'm sitting here on the verandah listening to the sky rumbling in all directions.  Some are just low gentle rumblings, others are angry and threatening.  Two fires have started in the hills to our east.  One is already rated safe and the other, under control.  Our Country Fire Authority do an amazing job.

Tonight I will wait until the sky has quietened before I begin the task of feeding the chooks and geese though I know they're there waiting for me.  Now seems like a good time to take a moment and write a post.

I was hanging out the clothes this morning before the sun was too high in the sky; before it became unbearable.  I looked at the line and realised it tells so much about a family if you know how to read it.  Our line is homemade.  We don't like to buy commercial products that use a lot of unnecessary resources if it can be helped. 

It's huge!  That tells you all about Hubby and his bigger is best theory.  Today I was hanging out many tea towels as I often do.  We don't like using plastic so we drape cooling bread, rising sourdough etc with tea towels.  There are heaps and heaps of cloths (cut from old towels so as to reuse an otherwise out-of-use item).  These are used in cleaning and drying our goats udders at milking time.  There is muslin in which the cheese hung.  Again we reduce packaging and the pollution caused by the transportation of commercial milk and cheese.  There are aprons and old nappies used for cleaning cloths.  There are holes in some of the items because nothing gets thrown away while it still serves it's purpose.
On the second strand of the clothesline there is personal information about the inhabitants here.  There are children's clothes in three different sizes; there are women's clothes and men's clothes.  They are not fancy.  You can probably glean that the occupants of this home are practical and not worried about style.  If your powers of deduction are very well honed you may even pick up that these clothes are not 'whiter than white' not just because they are old and second-hand but because we use homemade detergent (which is effective in cleaning clothes but doesn't have chemical whitening agents) and because buying bleach is something this family doesn't like doing.  I do use it occasionally for cloths I've hung cheese in, or similar, for hygiene purposes but not for appearances sake.  I guess it's a balancing act between deciding what standards we feel are necessary and what damage we are doing to the planet.
There are plenty of commercial and packaged products in this home because we can't do it ALL. Heck, I even buy my favourite commercial cheese occasionally but every little bit we do for ourselves is a reduction in greenhouse gasses.  I know many people who live a similar lifestyle to us and believe that collectively we are making a huge impact on the devastating pollution our country causes each year.

What does your clothes line say about you?  Are you well on your way to reducing pollution and unnecessary wastage?


Frugal in Derbyshire said...

This made me smile! it could be our clothes lines (3) They are in our front garden that runs parallel to the main road, so can be seen by many. I often wonder what people think as they travel along in a bus looking over our wall at my random, often raggedy, laundry. We also have 14 beehives in this garden, which causes a lot of interest.
Keep safe

Jennathepiglady said...

My clothes line says that I got my love of using tea towels for everything from you! My clothes are literally wearing out these days, and I find it rewarding to be getting the most value from them that I can, especially if they're second hand and I love them :)

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Our clothes line is like yours and very rarely are there anything other than ratty farm clothes on it and hubby's work clothes. I work from home so hardly ever need goo clothes which means they last for ages and still look like they are quite new. Just today I went to throw an old pair of shorts in the wash when I realised that they were just rags held together with a waist band and really needed to be retired from wear. But if I am honest they have been like that for months.

Selina Baihn said...

love those lines that are sometimes strung between trees :)) i have a very old hills hoist, well the top part anyway, needs to be recabled & has no handle to wind it up & down.
your washing looks good & well loved

Cheryl said...

It's funny that you just wrote this post on reducing waste, I had an epiphany at the butcher's a couple of weeks ago, all over an onion! I know you are a busy woman, but if you get a chance have a read of the post I wrote about it (it's only brief) but it really made me think that I CAN DO SO MUCH MORE to reduce waste in my home.

BTW my clothesline is the most random collection of things! Professional uniforms to rags to the occasional burlesque costume LOL...!

Suzie Simplelife said...

Hi Linda my clothesline is the long retractable type that lives under the roofline of our entertaining area...and gets easily packed away when we entertain...and quickly pulled back out when needed is so handy being undercover as I can hang washing all year round...rain hail or shine. Thankfully was able to give away the dryer years ago.

Margaret said...

Oh my, that pic brings back memories of just such a line when we lived on the farm, my toddler daughter had her own little line from the clothesline post to a nearby stump and I made her a peg apron, which was sometimes ALL she had on, she would hang out doll clothes, face washers, hankies etc. from her own little bowl.It was all part of a very frugal Birthday present after buying the farm.
A home made peg apron, pegs, a length of clothesline,a washing bowl, a jar of washing powder,a teatowel, a small bottle of detergent,a dishmop and a cooking apron....hours and hours of play and imagination.
My clothesline these days is a fold down style in an outdoor room off the Western side of the house, very convenient and weather proof.

Anonymous said...

Our clothesline itself is a second hand one from Gumtree and like yours it is covered in less than perfect clothes. Frayed bits and stained bits, hang me downs and rarely anything new. In fact the only new items to grace the line are our "smalls" and work shirts. I'm using bought detergent at the moment as I bought a box (and some soaker :( ) to try and breathe new life into some of the shirts. As much as the chemicals grind at my soul I balanced up purchasing new shirts with their environmental footprint vs the environmental footprint of some eco detergent and some less than eco soaker.A compromise. Some of them lived to see another day. :)
As for our bedsheets, we had white linen but with our homemade powder which I generally do use they had greyed so I simply bought some fabric dye and revamped the bedroom and the sheets. It's a great way to hide marks and greying, it's cheap, fun and a good way to extend their life. :)

purplepear said...

Ours is an old Hills Hoist which has seen better days having blown over in a very strong wind last year and now has a very lopsided look to it. Pegged on the line are articles very similar to the ones you have described minus the children's clothing. Reducing waste and pollution is a large focus for us here, dealing with it in much the same way as you.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post Linda. Your achievements in living an ecologically sustainable lifestyle are really inspirational. My parents had a goat first and then a cow for milking when I was a child. A big commitment but great reward. Especially when you make cheese as well. My clothesline has mostly me made clothes on it and hardly any cleaning cloths.

Kim said...

We have a line similar to yours Linda and I think our line says ...'You should wash more often ' ....the line is so big I can do a huge wash and fill up the whole line! Oh and my favourite thing is washing all the farm stay's all in white and as I watch it flapping in the breeze I can pretend I am a bit posh , even though I don't get to sleep on it!

Linda said...

Hee hee Gill! You have your washing on display! There are days I would cringe at that.

Jenna I loved the day you wore the teeshirt covered in plum stains proudly down the street! It screamed 'I love my family and I'm in the process of preserving fruit for them.' Lol

Fiona, they sound like a good favourite pair of shorts! What a shame they've had their day.

Selina, the old hills hoists were great! You should put out an ad on a buy/swap/sell and see if anyone has an old shaft for it!

Cheryl, I loved your post!

Suzie, I would LOVE an undercover clothesline in winter. We end up with clothes hanging on horses all over the house!

Margaret, what a beautiful picture you painted. You inspired me to do the same with my children yesterday! They had so much fun!

Rabidlittlehippy, that's exactly the balancing act I was talking about! When nothing is automatic but a geat deal of thought goes into the best way to proceed for environment/vs living well. Love the dyeing idea though I'm too lazy. I live happily with stains.

Kate, I love the idea of your lopsided clothesline! It's great to see all these comments from the MANY other people living thoughtfully!

Louise, I'm not sure that we are living a sustainable lifestyle as well as we should but we certainly try. Good on you for making your own clothes. I would love to have the time to do that. One day.....

Kim, Hahahaha! Glad you enjoy feeling posh sometimes! Perhaps you could sneak a night or two in your own farm stay sometimes!