Some people go by the first robin but I haven’t seen one yet. However, the grackles and the redwing blackbirds are at the bird feeder already. Actually, my first day of spring is when I can hang out the laundry on my ‘solar dryer’. That’s right, the clothesline, which in my case, is a 4-sided affair that is perched at the SW corner of our second floor deck.
In these times when we are inclined to save electricity, there’s nothing more satisfying than letting the sun and breeze dry your washing. Clothes seem to smell fresher too. Laundry, like cutting the grass, is one of those chores that seems endless but you can always get satisfaction out of getting the job finished because you can see the results immediately.
It wasn’t always like this with our modern machines. I grew up learning how to do laundry with a ringer-washer that had many steps involved before you could even begin to hang the clothes and sheets on the line. There was no such thing as a dryer to begin with so here are a few of the steps:
– Take the basket of laundry (usually a week’s worth) to the basement and fill the washer with hot water from the laundry tubs with a hose.
-When the tub was full, you then added washing soap (detergent hadn’t been invented yet) and if you were washing whites you also added a cube or two of Reckitt’s Blueing… then you added your laundry and turned on the machine which was a tub with a central agitator.
– After an hour or so, you took each piece out of the dirty water and ran it through the ringer (being careful not to let your fingers get into the ringer rollers). The squeezed out pieces would be left in one of the double laundry tubs while you then used the filling hose to empty out the rest of the dirty wash water.
-Next you would fill the washing machine up with warm water, (after you had cleaned out the remnants of the scummy wash water) put the washed laundry into that and turned on the machine again so that everything would be thoroughly rinsed for half an hour or so.
– Then you would run everything through the ringer again and subsequently pump out the rinse water
– The freshly squeezed laundry was then taken out to dry on the clothesline, usually running from the back door to a tree at the end of the yard. In winter everything generally froze so a thawing out period was called for after everything was brought inside.
Because washday was usually on a Monday, you can understand where the term ‘Blue Mondays’ came from. Now my current washer does damp dry my clothes and sheets and hanging everything out on my ‘solar dryer’ is my spring treat.