Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mentioning the Unmentionables.

I don't have a picture of my clothesline yet, just the sunset on The Poor Farm.
Also,  I could use some new chair cushions if you see some at a garage sale,
 but they must be paisley, checked, solid, flowered or striped. I'm very particular.

What a great crazy week. Our wonderful daughter Raven was married several days ago and then yesterday was her "I-Do BBQ" reception. Friends and family from out of town and out of state visited, local officials visited the future septic system site  and the grain bin house building site (don't get me started, let me just say not near as much fun to have around as the out of town friends and family) and we bought a washing machine.

Yes, a new washing machine. But NOT a dryer. We don't plan to own one of them ever again. The new washing machine though was indeed one of the weeks highlights. For the last month we've been dependent on the generosity of friends and family for washing our clothes as well as a few visits to the local Laundromats.

Wow. I don't know where psychology students do their internships now but they should stop immediately and begin hanging out in Laundromats. The Full Monty hangs around many a spin cycle and several interesting thesises, thesi?, could easily be hammered out in between the arguments over who trashed who most vehemently on Facebook or who took the last quarters from the change box. Like they did last week, like they always do.

Real arguments recently witnessed.

This change in laundry status has been another eye opener for us as homesteaders. In the past I might've wiped up a little juice or tea with a dishcloth and then casually tossed it in the laundry hamper, just because we had TWO washer dryer sets in the house, now however; I wait until the rag is stiff enough to block open our caravan door before I will concede it needs laundering. Laundromats are expensive and ironically, very dirty.

I do miss the convenience of washing clothing willy- nilly as I pleased but I am a bit appalled by the amount of water and energy I wasted. Reckless they call me. Keith often hung out his chores clothes on the clothesline but I was too busy (aka lazy) to do the same with our good clothes and household linens. I was a dryer pimp, using it shamelessly even when the sun shone bright. You see, some couples have separate checking accounts, hubbie and I had separate washer/dryers. The manure clothes were washed in the basement while everything else got special treatment upstairs.

But now, fabric segregation has come to a full stop. All we have in the caravan is primarily chore clothes, and they all smell bad at the end of the day. So after getting the new washer we were thrilled to set it up and immediately not thrilled to realize we had bought a high efficiency piece of worthless-non-agitating-water-phobic-bucket-of-bolts. We gave it three tries, even read the manual and followed directions but that stupid thing was meant to wash executive client whitey tighties not the jeans, heavy socks and button down shirts of real working lower class folks like ourselves. So back it goes tomorrow.

I am now in the market for an old fashioned ringer washer, the kind that really agitates your clothes instead of just teasing them. I need a bully washer.


  1. We inherited a front loader from my MIL and used it until it died. And when it did, we bought a used top-loading, agitaging one, which now actually cleans our jeans instead of just talking nicely to them (and leaving them still dirty). I've been on the lookout for an old timey wringer / washer that doesn't have an "Antique" price tag on it. Which you know isn't even going to be actually USED by someone but put on display in their "country" home.
    Rant over.
    And good luck on finding your bully washer.

  2. You haven't known clean, until you've washed your laundry in a boiler. ;)

    1. This is basically boiling your clothes in a pot. My mum swore by it for white, soft nappies. You got rid of any soilds, then soaked them in a pail of soapy water. Then they were squeezed out and put in a pot of boiling water. It not only got rid of stains, but it also makes the fabric fluffy because it removes all traces of soap matting the fibres.

      I'm sure there is more to it than I've explained, but that's the brief I've heard of. My mum was taught about the boiler method from immigrant women, who swore it was the only way to clean your clothes.

    2. I found this online for another description:

      Although they recommend soap is added to the boiling water. Perhaps there's a step I missed?

  3. Donna, try checking good ol' Sears for a plain old fashioned no bells and whistles single agitator washing machine. You know the kind that look like a hold over from the 50's. I bought one to replace our one year old fancy dancy all the bells and whistles model - a machine that was very nice to look at but could not wash one pair of jeans let alone two or three! Our repair guy told me that it is not wise to buy any washing machine or dryer that has a start button - stay with the good old fashioned turn the knob style. Also, you if you really do want a wringer washer - Leman's Country Store should have what you want - they sell to the Plain Folks and Amish (and me) ;-)

    1. We were able to find a regular agitating type back at Menards. A GE model and after three loads today I am quite happy. Of the 15 models they had on the floor only two were non- high efficiency!

    2. I agree TOTALLY with Thistle Rose Weaving about the mechanical knob controls for the machine. We converted to front-loading HE machines about 15 years ago and really liked them. The second one lasted 2 years beyond the warranty, but this year basically beat itself to death. So I went with a top-loading HE. The well lasting only 6 months a year has a lot to do with the HE decision. Goodness this machine is a pain. I can't fill it as full if there are heavy clothes or I feel like I'm stressing the machine. And heaven help me if I make the mistake of mixing a cotton blanket in with the sheets and synthetic comforter... It will spend all day repeating the same cycles to try to make it balanced. And if I stop it after a drain portion of the cycle and rearrange, it just starts the whole routine over again - fill, stir it up a bit (translation: screw it up again), and try to drain and spin. Over and over and over. Completely killed that HE thing by using more and more water. All I wanted to do is turn the dial to drain and spin because it's now been rinsed so many times there couldn't possibly be any soap left. But it wouldn't let me shut it off. I even went to the basement and cut off the breaker for a full minute. When power was returned, that stupid computer remembered exactly where we were and kept up the routine. It took well over an hour to finally get the job done. If I'd had my machine from 1987, it would have been over in 15 minutes. The next machine will take me back in time. I saw them at Sears while drooling over this one. *sigh*

  4. Himself thought I was crazy when we moved to our house in PA and I told him I didn't care about a dryer. I wanted my own washer though, having lived the apartment life for however many years and the fights that can ensue, wet clothes flung, etc. He insisted that we have a dryer as well. We got a good deal by getting both, so we did. And I had him hang the clothesline first thing. We never replaced the washer, but we did have to replace the metal clothesline poles twice (first time snapped in a storm, second time, rusted out after 20 years or so), and the line several times.

    Moving back to the coast, I didn't factor in the salt in the air, which affects line drying. Your clothes dry okay, but if you let them on the line until too late in the day, the dampness really sets in and your clothes go back to feeling damp.

    I also discovered that clothes hung on the line when it's below 20°F will freeze before they dry. Peeling them off the line then hanging them inside to dry might be noisome for some, but the benefit is the room where you hang them gets that fresh, outside-on-the-line smell, which is a real treat in winter.

    Also, if you get a lot of snow in winter, you may have to get a little creative with how you hang your clothes. We had a snowier-than-usual one, and I draped sheets or anything else long across two or three lines, to keep them from dangling in the snow. I also finally sucked it up and bought a heavy duty wooden clothes rack for those times where I had to take the wash off the line because the snow decided to become a blizzard.

    Um, yes, I do have a dryer in my house, but I never think to use it. And really, that outdoor smell did my heart good when it was subzero and snowing.

    here endeth the epistle.


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