Sunday, April 15, 2012

New clothesline

Over the years that we have lived at Windy Poplars Farm, we've had a few different clotheslines. The first was a short line from the end of the house to a pole in the ground. When I think of it now, I see little toddler clothes and our dog Lucy running underneath it. The second one was a pulley going from our old shed, now long gone, out back to the telephone pole. Then we tried lines between the maples out front, but they were too long and often blew down low to the ground in our strong winds. We tried putting one on the porch but it was too shady. And then a few years ago, we settled on the 'umbrella' type. It worked okay, but it wasn't easy to hang the big comforter cover, and I didn't like the way the lines were so close together. In terms of the spot it was in - it made the yard off the kitchen too crowded. It wasn't easy to walk in that area with daylilies on one side and the picket fence on the other. So, for a while now, I've been wanting a different kind of clothesline in a different place.

Where best to see pictures? Pinterest, of course! You must know what this is, right? I'm not on Facebook, so I can't be a member of Pinterest, but I can still search and look at all the wonderful photographs. As soon as I saw this


and this,


I knew just what I wanted in a clothesline. So yesterday, on the first Saturday of Tom's April vacation he built a new one. We put it a little further away from the house, down next to the north pasture fence. It's a lovely little spot with an old Snow apple tree and a tumbledown stone wall nearby. I like walking out to it - past the vegetable garden, down a path between an old honeysuckle bush and a lilac. It is in a spot where the sun lingers late into the day, and I will be able to see the sunset as I take down the clothes (west is left of the clothesline). I am so very pleased.



To give you an idea of the old and new locations, I took these pictures from the kitchen steps.

Looking right, the old clothesline

Looking left, the new clothesline



I'll end with a poem about hanging clothes. If anyone knows who wrote it, please let me know.

A Clothesline Poem
Author Unknown

A clothesline was a news forecast, to neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep when clothes were hung 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 tablecloth” with intricate design.
The line announced a baby’s birth, from 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 also 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 and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows, and looked the other way…
But clotheslines now are of the past, for dryers make work much 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.

69 comments:

  1. I have many fond memories of hanging clothes on the line for my mother (though I'm sure I grumbled then) and the mad dashes to grab the dry clothes off the line when a sudden rain shower swooped down from the mountains. BTW loved the poem. Glad to have discovered your blog.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by and leaving a note. I've just briefly visited your wonderful blog, and I'll be back soon to read more thoroughly!

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  2. That tumbledown stone wall is divine. I used to love hanging the baby clothes on the line.

    I didn't realize there were clotheslines on Pinterest - I'll have to poke around that. Is there not a way to have pinterest without FB? that's too bad. There are tons of great recipes there as well.

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    1. I did too.
      You can look and search but you can't 'pin' your own pictures or 'repin' others unless you are a member. You can certainly use the recipes!!

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    2. I made a board of clothesline! And I love looking at them already. I even put up one of my own pictures - the basketball jerseys. Feel free to visit me, if you can.

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    3. Apparently I can look at 'pins' but not 'boards' at Pinterest. :<(

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  3. Our garden is long & narrow, which makes siting a washing line difficult. And, as I worked full time, I used a tumble dryer for years. Then, last summer, The Man Of The House made a multi-line similar to your's, but set diagonally across the garden, from fence to fence. Now I can peg things out and they smell of fresh air and sunshine, like my mother's washing! Love the poem by the way.

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    1. I so loved reading this. Could you post a picture, perhaps? I'd love to see in in your garden. Do you hang everything? I find if I hang something with elastic, it gets stretched out. I haven't hung towels either because I like the softness they get from the dryer, but I think I'm going to try soon, and see how rough they are.

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  4. What an interesting way to look at life. So many places now have "rules" about whether or not you can have a line let alone what type. Fun poem. I like your new line. It reminds me of the line I had where I used to live.

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    1. I did a post on this a few years back:

      http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2008/09/right-to-dry-my-kind-of-politics.html

      I am still amazed there are laws for such things. Seems to me there are many more important things to think about.

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  5. This has to be one of my favourite posts. I have a quirky passion for washing lines (and for hanging out washing). I prefer the proper 'line' to those rotary things. I did start taking photos of washing lines but thought I might be arrested for being some kind of pervert :-). But I am going to start again, you have posted some gems and a poem too, aren't I the lucky one?

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    1. If you type 'clothesline' into the search bar, you might find a few others on this very subject! I, too, am passionate about hanging clothes. I have thought of compiling line photos over the years, but sadly there aren't a lot of them around here now. Thanks so much for those lovely, kind words!

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  6. I use to love to hang my sheets outside, but haven't done that in 20 years now.

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    1. Did you stop because of where you live now, or too busy?

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  7. Your land is beautiful, and so it your clothesline. Hope you have a nice wicker basket to carry laundry to and fro
    xx
    julie

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    1. Thank you!
      Funny you should mention that. I was thinking of getting one like my mother used to have but what I have on hand is a cool orange plastic tub that cheers me no end. I'm transporting the clothespins in a little basket. But both things are open for new possibilities as time goes on. :<)

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  8. I loved this post on clothes lines, and the pictures are wonderful! I think of many clothes lines in my own past. During my childhood in Wales during and after the war, all the little terraced houses in the valley towns had their clothes lines in the little back gardens, and Monday, washing day, was spent running in and out to rescue the clothes from the rain. And much later in life my husband and I used to hang our washing on a clothes line in a field in Tuscany -- I have many pictures of that. But most precious are the pictures I took of the washing on the line in the back garden of my father's housein Wales in the very last years of my parents' lives-- the clothes on that line hold memories for me that are deep in my heart. Thank you for this great post.

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    1. Oh, what a wonderful story of your lines. I just loved reading it. Thank you very much for telling me. My Wales story:

      My husband and I and our kids who were then almost 10 and 7 went to England, Ireland, and Wales for a month in 1992. We rented houses in each place. The Wales house, in Llangrannog was so beautiful. There was a garden and a clothesline, but it rained most of the time. There was no dryer, and we hung clotheslines all over that house!

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  9. This somehow touches my heart. I remember my grandmother's clothesline between two green metal poles which I tried to climb to the top and never quite succeeded, and my mother's which was from backdoor to garage but ceased in the late 40s or early 50s when she got a dryer. The both had wooden poles that were used to prop the lines up in the middle. I have only rarely used a clothes line and feel a little guilty now because of environmental issues. The poem is nice, though I know some people from small towns who didn't like their neighbors knowing so much about them. But I don't think I would mind. All the old garden books seemed to show plans that included a "drying yard" with shrubs around so you couldn't see it much, if at all..

    One of my daughters, the strong-minded one, always uses clotheslines. The other wouldn't really consider it.

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    1. Isn't it amazing, first of all, how different our children can be from one another!
      When we had the lines between the maples, we had one of those poles but the wind would blow and lift up the laundry and the pole with it. :<)
      So very interesting about the 'drying yards.' In my childhood neighborhood all the lines were visible.

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    2. Just read the NYTimes obit for Miss Read and the last paragraph seems to tie together your last two posts, the poem is so about this village life.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/14/books/dora-saint-dies-at-98-wrote-of-english-village-life.html

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    3. Thank you so much for leading me to that wonderful piece.

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  10. Clotheslines are a sign that someone is living and breathing in a house, but in Urbia and Suburbia down here a clothesline will earn you a visit from the neighborhood association, as will a swimsuit hung over a deck railing. Maybe this will change now that Nashville has embraced the Urban Egg Era, though roosters are forbidden in the city limits-

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    1. Unbelievable. Who makes these rules? And why do people not rise up against them? I'm shakin' my head. I love 'urban egg era.' Yay!!

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  11. I miss having a clothesline! We live on a dirt road and sometimes it's so dry and dusty that my clothes get dirty again! Love the location that you decided on!

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    1. Wow, that's interesting. We are on a dirt road too, but that has never happened. Maybe we get more rainfall in a year???

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  12. A clothesline chronicle. Love it. I heard a radio story a few years ago about a family in some (appalling) gated community or some form of strictly controlled suburban development who were attacked (as in, terrorized) because they had put up a clothesline. They were moving ASAP, as I recall. Let a thousand shirts and towels wave!

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    1. Great story. It just seems like really personal freedoms are being taken away. A clothesline? Really. Not serious in the scheme of things.

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  13. I got out of the habit of hanging out -- spent so many years in chilly and rainy Oregon, where hanging out wasn't much of an option. (When the sun finally shined in the summer, I would want to spend my time in the garden, not at the clothesline). In our early years, we spent a couple of years in the high desert country near Alturas California -- I do remember hanging diapers there -- they would freeze on the line in the winter!

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    1. I know some people do hang in the winter. I may do some research. :<) I have an inside line in an upstairs room when it is raining or snowing.

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  14. I love this post and all the comments. I have a rotary clothes line and do find it difficult hanging out duvet covers and so often dry those in the tumble drier. I always dry towels in the tumble dryer too - so much softer!

    When I was a child tumble driers were still far in the future and everyone hung their washing to dry on clothes lines strung the length of their gardens. Talking over the garden fence when hanging out the clothes was a neighbourly activity. But there was an unspoken rule - do not hang out your washing on a Sunday and to this day I still feel a twinge of guilt if I hang washing out on a Sunday!

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    1. I so loved this. Thank you! I suppose hanging the wash was 'work' and one wasn't supposed to do so on Sunday?

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  15. Who would have thought there is so much about something as simple and basic as a clothesline? Thank you for this post!
    I hope you won't find carrying the laundry basket all the way too heavy and uncomfortable, it seems quite far from your house.
    For lack of a balcony or proper garden/yard, my clothes always dry on a foldable rack in my bedroom. I open both my big windows wide and let the sunshine in (facing South), so my clothes almost feel as if they were dried outside.

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    1. It isn't that far, and the walk is so very pleasant. I can see what's coming up in the veg garden, and watch the progress of the flowers.
      You have the perfect drying solution!

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  16. Hi Nan: Isn't it funny how the simplest things in life, in this case a clothesline, often give us the greatest joy and bring back fond memories. When we moved to our present house we made the decision not to use our dryer, partly to save on electricity bills, but also there is nothing I love better than pegging out clothes. In the spring, summer and fall, I hang the clothes outside, and in the winter, in the basement on lines my husband strung in his workshop. In the almost six years we have lived here, we have only used the dryer twice. Enjoy your new clothesline Nan, and thanks for this lovely post.

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    1. Does that mean you hang towels? Are they very rough? I'm going to try hanging one today and see what it is like.
      I loved reading this.

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    2. HI Nan: Yes, everything gets hung outside, including the towels. No, they aren't quite so soft as those put in a dryer, but after a while you don't even notice it. Plus they smell of fresh air, not the sickly fragrance of those dryer sheets.

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    3. I've never used a dryer sheet. I've got a towel on the line right now. It's in the high eighties here with a great breeze. Perfect drying weather!

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    4. I just can't do towels. It was SO rough. :<)

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  17. Love your new clothesline Nan! The location is great too! I miss having a clothesline but the HOA's down here won't allow one. Not even a retractable one. I can understand their reasoning but I still miss one. Especially when I wash sheets and they just don't have the wonderful outdoor smell. Take care and enjoy it!

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    1. What is their reasoning, if you don't mind me asking? I can see not putting your old stove outdoors, but a clothesline?? It would set such a good example if these organizations made that one little change in their rules.

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  18. This post brought tears to my eyes, Nan. I've done some post on this subject too. http://www.exurbanis.com/?s=clothesline

    I'm so very happy that clothesline weather is back and we're outdoors again!

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    1. I'll be over to look. There are some older ones here too. :<) It is just beautiful here today.

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  19. I have hung about 5 washer loads out today as we came back off holiday yesterday.We also have a dryer but i usually only use it to dry something needed in a hurry.I love bedding washed and dryed outside.Although we have to hang it high due to stray tom cats if you understand!!

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    1. I'd hate that- to have to worry about cats spraying. Oh, yuck! The only animal 'incident' we've had over the years is when our late dear Collie was a pup and pulled down the clothes. :<)

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    2. Nan I wondered if your deer might take a nibble from the clothes hanging on the line so near their woods.

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    3. No worries about that. They have plenty to eat in the woods, and in the winter between us and our neighbors they eat like kings and queens. :<)

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  20. Your description of your new clothes line and its locale reminded me of Anne of Green Gables writing about her favorite places in Avonlea.

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    1. I so love the Anne books! And PEI is a wonderful place.

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  21. We did not have a clothes dryer when I was growing up, so my mother hung all our wash out. I remember how wonderful everything smelled from being out in the sun all day. I grew up in a small town back in the 1960s and I remember how clean the air was -- no need to worry about getting anything undesirable on your clothes -- unless it rained! My mother even hung clothes out in the winter. I remember getting jeans off the line so stiff and frozen that they could stand by themselves! Thanks for this post. There's nothing like a clothesline!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your clothesline memories. Happily there still are small towns like this.

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  22. Nan, I love a clothes line.
    Almost like theraphy to me
    as I hang one by one items on the line.

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    1. And you have such a lovely spot to look out on as you hang the clothes.

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  23. How lucky you are to live in a place where clotheslines are allowed! Here in the midst of suburban sprawl, even families who would like them aren't allowed to because of the homeowners' associations. It doesn't look good, you know. ;)

    I think it's so strange - on one hand, the government on every level says we must develop renewable energy. You know, solar and wind. And then we're told we can't have clotheslines, which dry clothes not with electricity or gas, but with - sun and wind!

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    1. You are so right. It is just the oddest thing to me. Women have hung clothes since the world began, and now they can't if they happen to live in certain places. Bizarre.

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  24. Love a clothesline - and a good clothesline poem, too :)
    DIdn't know about pininterest and I am on FB. I seem to be the last to know about stuff - thank goodness for blog friends like you so I can stay in the loop!

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    1. I may know about the loop, but I'm not in it. :<) I just love Pinterest because I can type in say for example 'bookcases' and I get to see cool pictures.

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  25. Silly, silly me!! From a Hill Farm. I know what they are, and so I presumed the hill farm was in England.... and I wondered why there was a lot of references to all things Americana.... until today. I looked at the new clothes line. And then I saw the barn, and the penny dropped! You are on the American sub-continent, not the European one, I think. Well, here's an offer. You "like" lots of the books I read and review, so if you find a new one and you'd like it..... let me know!

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    1. I'm a northern New England girl, born and bred.
      And thank you!

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  26. I enjoyed the poem. I like how the clothes hung up express so much.

    The photos are also lovely.

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  27. Hanging clothes on the line is one of my best pleasures! Lucky you to get new clotheslines just in time for spring cleaning :)

    Thanks for sharing the poem, too...what a delight!

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    1. I wonder if the elves will stop and do some spring cleaning for me. :<)

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  28. I enjoyed this post as usual; you find a poem for everything! I don't have your email in order to invite you to join Pinterest, so try this link http://pinterest.com/landing/ which allows you to request an invite! Hope it works. Looking forward to your return to the blog world!

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    1. Thank you Deirdre but I don't think I can become a 'member' without being on Facebook. That's okay though because I can see all the pictures. I just can't 'pin' any.
      Thank you for your last sentence!

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  29. Lovely post, Nan! I've never had a clothesline, but a few of my neighbors do. We have so many birds flying about, I wonder if I'd wind up doing more washing than drying! :)

    I love the photos and almost thought the second image from Pinterest was taken at your place. Love the lighting in that one, don't you?

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    1. If mine were in a flying pathway I'd be more concerned, but it is out in the open.
      I do so love that lighting. That photo is just wonderful.

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  30. Nan, I love your clothesline! It brings back so many memories. Why hadn't I thought of one for our new home in the Grove? You're right, we'll need to plan for a clothesline! And one as nice looking and as nicely built as yours!

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    1. Aren't you sweet to come over and read this. I am so enjoying the new line.

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