Mondays are usually laundry day here on our corner of the farm. Unless we’ve used our day off from tending the store to go to town, I usually tackle sorting the loads of laundry as soon as Merritt’s off to do his day’s projects. It’s the kind of thing one wants first-of-the-week energy for. Especially today. I always wash the sheets and towels every week. But sorting the laundry this morning meant putting Ruth on our bed and digging through the clothes bin, holding outfits up to her, pulling a few pants on her chubby little legs, and deciding which to wash up for her to start wearing. Everything had been getting a little short in the legs, and I realized that as she was already wearing one 9-month outfit, it must be time to pull out the rest. But she’s only 5 months–and small for her age! Ah the randomness of clothing sizes.
Normally I keep it to three or four loads on Mondays, with an occasional emergency-really-dirty-clothes load sometime during the week generated by my husband’s dirtier tasks such as pressure washing the swather, fixing an irrigation leak, etc. But with Ruth already out of onesies from the last week’s greater-than-usual number of “leaks”, and me running short on kitchen hand towels from my exra-ordinary cooking schemes of the previous few days, as well as all Ruth’s next-size-up clothes, it totalled six loads. Ah but there’s something satisfying about taking an overflowing clothes hamper and dirty laundry stacked high all around it, and turning it into neat laundry basket-loads of clothes.
For our wedding, someone gave us a laundry basket filled with staple grocery items. It was the perfect size to fit on my closet shelf, so I bought three more of them. Little did I know I would often have more than just the typical dark cold, dark warm, light cold, light warm. Now it’s dark cold, light cold, baby cold, dirty warm, bleach cold, with unending variations.
I do as much cold-water laundry as I can to save energy. But in fact, I’m doing the most energy saving just by hanging my clothes out on the line. We were reading in a recent This Old House magazine that Merritt got from the library about all the eco-friendly “green” things you can do for the environment. Hanging out your clothes to dry was there on the top list, including directions for making a clothesline (the one my hubby made me looks so much nicer, of course, because he’s an artist as well as a builder!). Apparently next to a refrigerator (perhaps because you open it so much?) a clothes dryer is the top energy-guzzling home appliance. I do it more for the reduction in the power bill than I do it “for the environment.”
Neither do I hang clothes out to dry all year around. Freeze-drying doesn’t work very well, I’ve discovered, and my clothes take on a unique musty odor after being exposed to numerous rains and freezes. Our little house doesn’t have room for all the drying racks that would be necessary for drying four or more loads of laundry inside — plus we’ve found that with our concrete floor and the fact that we don’t keep it 80 degrees in here all day long, clothes just don’t dry that quickly in here during the winter (interpreted, five clothes racks, blocking every available walkway, two or three days a week: the reason we own a dryer). And I’m thankful we don’t have allergies at our house, because the economy of hanging clothes out on the line would be a serious threat to allergy-prone people around here with all the dust we generate. (Just visit my house in the summertime — or the wintertime [wood stove!] — or hop in my car in the summer. You’ll see by the thick coating of dust everywhere exactly what I mean.)
There was not much method to my madness today. I’m still learning the art of hanging out baby clothes versus maternity clothes. A load of baby clothes takes up just as much room, and lots more clothespins! I’m also experimenting with using an apron to hold my clothespins. I’ve previously used an adorable Bolga-style basket. But that means precariously balancing the basket on the chair I also use to hold my laundry basket (bending over clear to the ground was somewhat of a problem last summer, considering my pregnant tummy!). The problem is my apron pockets bulge with just one load’s worth of clothespins (no doubling up on two items per pin on this windy knoll!). And I don’t want to leave the pins out on the line to get all weathered and splintery. So I’m still experimenting.
And the washer buzzing gives me more laundry to experiment with. So I’m off to enjoy this gorgeous spring sunshine, and pray away the predicted thunderstorms, at least until my laundry is dry, please, Lord.