Another Small Step Toward Self Sufficiency

I have a confession to make. I consider myself something of a homesteader, but, in 20+ years of housekeeping, Marlene and I have never had a clothesline. We have instead used a watt-guzzling electric clothes dryer. It was a convenience and a luxury I justified on the basis that Marlene had her hands full with children and homeschooling and housekeeping.

All of this changed last weekend, though. We still have the electric dryer but we also now have a deluxe Amish-style clothesline in the back yard.

We saw Amish clotheslines several years ago on a family vacation to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Every Amish farm had a very long length of clothesline, typically inclined from the house way up to a corner of a barn.

We liked those clotheslines and I determined then and there that we really should have one. Marlene actually wanted one. Her mom had a clothesline. Most agrarian folks do and, for that matter, a lot of Moderns do too. They’re nice to have, even if you have a dryer too. Besides, this was back before Y2k and we were thinking about the looming probability of no electricity. Whatever the case, a clothesline just makes good sense.

So when we got home from that trip, I looked up clothesline hardware in the Lehman’s catalog. I bought two big clothesline pulleys (with ball bearings!), 150 foot of vinyl-coated clothesline cable, a spacer, and a ratcheting clothesline tightener. And when it came in the mail, I stored it away in my shop.

Now here we are, only six years or so after I bought the parts, with our new Amish-style clothesline. It’s a beauty.

I hooked one pulley to the house with a big eye hook. The other pulley is tied to a tree 24-feet up in the woods behind our house. After ratcheting it tight, I had less than 2-feet of excess cable to cut off. The pulleys work wonderfully; the line moves effortlessly.

Marlene, who has been asking me to put the clothesline up for sometime (like, around six years) is very happy. We can finally cross that job off the “honey-do” list.

And I’m feeling pretty good about it too. Now I’m looking at the Lehman’s catalog again. They’ve got a nifty hand-operated washing machine
in there. Won’t Marlene be surprised when that shows up!


Matt Davis said...

Funny! I remember as a child having a clothes line in the back yard. My aunt had one all the way up to the mid 80s. I wonder if my wife would be as excited about a clothes line and hand washer as Marlene is.

Please fill us in on how well laundry is going at your place.

Anonymous said...

Im glad there are some people with some commen sense left on the planet. I live in a deed restricted community in Florida and my neighbors just about flipped out when I putup a clothesline. Even though it was aganist the covenants the laws have been changed in this state prohibiting the use of renewable resources. I actually grew up in Up-State NY and remember my mothers pulley type clothisline. It was set up from a room inside so the dint even have to go out to hang the clothes. In Florida you can dry clothes faster outside than in a dryer year round.