Airing my laundry (I just know this will excite you as much as it does me!)

I’ve posted a number of times about my clothesline woes and accomplishments. Many people likely think I’m insane to be so passionate about such a thing as a clothesline. I probably am a little.

So what’s the deal? We bought our home 2 years ago, we chose it for proximity to the girls’ francophone school (one of two in all of HRM) in hopes that it would make things easier for everyone down the road. Now it means we’re not as close as we’d like to be to a lot of other things… groceries, transit route, libraries, etc. etc. but we were okay with that as we’re an active family who will often walk further and/or use transit rather than take the dreaded C-A-R. Unfortunately, until the girls get a bit older, it means that one of us needs to drive on all days that both of us are working, as the children need to be picked up from their after school program and toted back home.

But, I’m off-topic already.

Our ultimate goal would be to have an eco-friendly home in an eco-friendly environment where we can at least reduce our own family carbon footprint significantly over time. So. We purchase our home in a relatively new neighborhood where most people don’t hang their clothes out to dry. Now, I have grown up with clotheslines. We’ve almost ALWAYS lived somewhere that our primary source of clothes-drying was for the majority of the year (with the exception of the North West Territories) was the outdoor line. After my marriage ended, I moved with the children back to the city I call home. I had no choice but to rent an apartment, and therefore had no clothesline, just a little clothes horse that could not serve the family well for the majority of our needs. I missed my line terribly.

I was so excited to be moving into our own home where we could hang clothes (I refused to even look at properties that might have enforceable covenants against clotheslines – these are thankfully, less and less likely to be enforced these days). However, there was (expectedly) no clothesline already in place when we moved in.

So we began the task of determining how and where to place one. As it turned out there was no feasible spot without installing a post into a pile of rocks. Where we live there is not a home that gets built without significant blasting happening first in order to get through the bedrock and actually lay a foundation. Needless to say it would also take a HUGE amount of fill to be brought in in order for there to be any more than a thin layer of dirt atop the rock. So, we opt to go with the clothesline umbrella. It still requires a hole, but nothing nearly as substantial.

I was very excited to use the line and enthusiastically hung my laundry day after day, but the umbrellas are not built with any kind of durability, especially to withstand the kind of winds we get in our parts. Given that I use the line so frequently, I was not one to take the line down between uses. Needless to say, we had replaced it 4 times before giving up.

The next solution was a temporary fix. We run a line from the front porch to the only tree that was serviceable, knowing it will not be long enough to accommodate even a full load of laundry at times (and was very close to the house, so therefore too sheltered). The plan being to dig a hole (out of rock!) in a better location and erect a post (cemented in) for a more apt solution. This took some time. I plugged away using the smaller line and some supplementary clothes horses.

From Scenic

Ian is a trooper, and loves a challenge, so he started digging and digging, and digging – this needed to be a significant hole to accommodate the underground section needed to support a long enough post to work well. At some point he gets the idea to borrow our neighbor’s sledgehammer in order to break up the rock. The neighbor suggests what he really needs is a jack hammer. Oh joy! A power hammer half the size of Ian! He’s loving this plan. So off he went to the hardware store to rent the jackhammer.

After half a day of pounding, the hole is an acceptable depth (I am careful not to even attempt to act as foreman of such efforts, and therefore took his word for it) the post is erected, leveled, with guy line and all, and cement poured. I then must wait an entire week for it to set! Ian readied the line, installing pulleys, etc. all but for actually installing the wire (so as not to tempt me before the necessary week went by).

Finally I get to put the clothesline to use! I can’t tell you how exciting this is. The line goes out in the open where it gets lots of sun and air circulation (wind!), and is long enough to hold two loads of laundry (easily).

From Scenic

The first use looks hysterical, as the line always stretches at first, and it’s a windy day so I cannot use the separators that help keep the line from sagging too much (resulting in the line getting completely tangled from the clothes whipping around it).

Once it’s had a chance to stretch we get the line adjusted properly and I put it to the true test. Between the new and improved line, and the previously installed short line – I can hang nearly four loads of laundry! This is significant given we live in an area where the rains (and/or fog) may not let up for weeks at a time, except for the occasional day or two of reprieve. With a family of four active individuals, two being girlies who LOVE dressing up, we wash a LOT of laundry.

From Drop Box

Many thanks to my beloved for indulging me. Our pocketbooks (via power bill) and the environment thank you too!

About Trish

family legacy curator, social justice advocate, blogger, amateur photographer, reader, cyclist, runner & swimmer, mom of two

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13 years ago

I wonder how long it will take for the electrical savings to outweigh the cost of the post, clothesline kit, and jackhammer rental. 😉 I suppose if NSP gets their way with yet another rate hike, it won’t be long at all!!