June 4-11, Manitobans celebrated International Clothesline Week by putting their linens and things out in the sun. We asked for your best clothesline stories and photos. Thanks to everyone for sharing! You are all so creative. Contest winners will receive a free Green Action Centre t-shirt.
Roberta Hansen, Winnipeg
While I was backpacking with my best friend around Europe, we decided it would be an adventurous idea to stay on an organic farm in Italy for a week. We chose a beautiful farm in the quaint village of Sora. Upon arrival, the farmer asked if I would like to ride his donkey. I obviously said yes, and hopped on the donkey (who wasn’t wearing a saddle or anything that day) without hesitation. After that moment the donkey seemed to have it in for me the entire stay, facing his bum towards me during our cook-off, and those odd stares every now and again…
So clothelines –
I was actually ecstatic throughout our travels that I saw so many clotheslines, apparently people in Europe rarely ever own clothes dryers. I really enjoy taking photos of clotheslines, and USUALLY love the fresh smell of the clothes after they dry!
While we were staying on the farm, the family – requested that we hang our clean clothes on a clothesline that we should build in the fenced in area where the donkey lived. Going with the flow, and taking the adventure, we created our own clothesline with some rope and the tree. We went for a hike. When we got back…the donkey had rubbed up against only my clothes – not my friend’s! My clothes smelled horrible, and had the donkey’s hair all over them! It was revenge!!!!
We rolled on the ground laughing, and took some silly photos before washing our clothes again. It was a hilarious moment, and precious memory.
Francine Martin, Winnipeg
We strung the line up quite simply, two and a half years ago when we first moved to this house, by attaching store-bought plastic-coated wire line from our wooden fence to a tree north of the garden. We use it from very early spring to very late fall. I think I get a disproportionate return on the small investment we made on buying the supplies, in that any time I’m out there hanging clothes on sunny and not-so-sunny days alike, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction. Our neighbours spend mostly all their time in their back yard in the warmer months, so to avoid offending anyone, I hang our unmentionables on a wooden rack in our basement, or drape them over the side of our laundry basket in the greenhouse to cook.
I purchased my home in 2002 and while it came with a washer and dryer – there was no clothesline, so for eight years I used my neighbours’ clothesline. Their clothesline was great but even with the longest wash cycle ‐ I had only 12 minutes to run upstairs and next door, hang all my clothes and get back in time to collect the water for the next load. I re‐use my wash water and because my washer does not have the “suds” feature of older model washers I collect the soapy wash water in 20 l pails. I then pour the water from the pails back into the washer for the subsequent load. It saves both water and soap so I always wait until I have three full loads before washing.
I dreamed of having my own clothesline – but figuring out where to get posts and how and where to install them (I needed enough line for three loads of laundry) was just enough to keep me from my dream. Until a clothesline sale in a flyer caught my eye. For only $30 I would have a line, pulleys and hooks. I simply needed to find places to attach each end. I inserted the hooks in existing fixed structures in the yard (a post and a playhouse), attached the pulleys, strung the line and to my delight ‐ it worked. I absolutely love my clothesline. It is so handy. Now I just have to head up the stairs and out the door. I use a separate hanging rack for small items such as socks, and I place some items directly on hangers. These two actions allow enough of a space saving – that I can indeed fit all three loads on the line. In the event that I run short of space, I use my “tree hanger” – which I previously used for hand‐washed items.
If you are considering a clothesline yourself – go for it ‐ you won’t regret it!
In the winter I hang most of my clothes inside using the hanging rack and indoor lines. I remember both my grandmothers telling me how they used their clotheslines in the winter – and how they had to be careful not to
“break” frozen laundry when they carried it back inside – especially my grandfathers’ long underwear.