Friday, February 10, 2006

My Type of Cabin Fever

It was another stormy day today ... Spent my afternoon doing what I do many afternoons: baking bread and patching clothes. I'm constantly amazed at how one slide down the hill can put huge rips in snowpants! I also decided that one pair of my husband's jeans will make the rag bag if I find them to be mended one more time! I asked Jim if he would promise never to wear that particular pair of jeans to town, but he said he couldn't make any promises!

Mending gives me plenty of time to think of other things. Our friend Steve (Mountain Fire Keeper) was itching to get out in the garden and plant seeds, but I am itching to get outside and hang clothes!

Last spring Jim and the boys created a makeshift clothesline that was strung between trees and held up in the middle by a support made out of young trees. I had to slop through the mud to get to the lines, but that was okay, as I enjoyed hanging clothes. There is an art to putting clothes on the line: all the socks together, shirts, jeans, etc., so they look organized. I never lacked for company, either, as for some reason the cats (3) and dogs (2) would follow me down there and keep me company with each load. Our dog Selah was very good at stealing a clothespin to chew on, so I had to keep an eye on her to make sure I didn't lose too many. One cat in particular would always attempt to climb into the laundry basket, and I don't remember how many times I would have to shoo him away.

The fall of 2004 was a real trial as far as washing clothes was concerned. We hadn't been able to hook up the dryer, so I had to hang everything on hangers on 2 poles suspended from the ceiling above the wood stove. Since we are living in just the basement with no main floor we had insulation at the ceiling, and with no windows all the moisture from wet clothes and just living in general collected in the house. I remember one night in particular when we actually had it raining in the basement -- with no humidity outside! What a mess. In the spring when it warmed up Jim pulled down the insulation and we attempted to dry out the floor joists and everything else. Of course there was mold, so we sprayed that with a bleach solution. I was so thankful when it warmed up enough for the clothesline to be constructed, and I wore knit gloves underneath rubber gloves to hang our clothes outside. Up here there is usually a wind -- and often a stiff one -- so I have to make sure they are pinned on good and tight.

During hunting season this past fall we had more company down by my clothes lines; a moose made that area her habitation for about 4 days. I was worried that she would be irritated by the dogs or the boys, but they all left her alone and she stayed where she was. One morning when we got up we noted that she was gone.

There is talk that eventually I will have permanent lines closer to the house, but for now, I am still dreaming of getting outside with a laundry basket full of wet clothes!

PS -- Instead of insulation in the ceiling this year, we have 260 square haybales sitting on top of our roof and then covered by a large blue tarp. We have stayed nice and toasty warm, and there have been no more unwelcome showers of humidity in the house!


Anonymous said...

My clothes line starts in April and runs through an easy Oct. also, Lynn. Nothing like a morning, hanging out the wash, swatting bugs, and having the opportunity to leave it to "air out", if you don't have time to bring it in-ha!! Just another "hillbilly friend" :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn!

I guess you and I have different dreams of spring!

Hopefully we can get your lawn seeded to reduce the mud that you and your family has to deal with. Maybe even build a permanent clothesline after the lawn is established.

Best wishes!

Emily said...

Oh, you've brought back some memories for me. I used to love hanging out clothes in our back yard when I was a girl. After leaving home I spent almost 30 years living in apartments. One of my first exclamations when we bought our property was, "Oh boy! I get to have a clothesline! Honey....could you.....?" One more thing on our to-do list!

Scott Holtzman said...

Well bravo for the "economy of space"! I'm sure that the hay won't go to waste this spring either.

We here in Catskill NY do our drying via the old radiator heat in the rooms. Drys out over night, no humidity. We have a dryer, just not much use for it I guess.

Sure do like them rocks in the photo - they'd make a nice foundation, supose I'm covetin' a bit, but not to worry neighbor your far enough away to avoid my temptings! (::grin::)

Lynn said...

Emily, I know all about "to do lists", as I have a long one! I guess it's one thing at a time, as time and money are available.

Scott, those "rocks" in the clothesline photo are actually concrete hunks that MountainFireKeeper brought up from town for us after someone broke up their driveway. He made a beautiful patio in front of our basement out of the hunks -- it even has a pattern! You are welcome to our real rocks any time, we have plenty of those as well! My husband Jim is from New Hampshire, and I seem to remember plenty of rock walls and foundations out there. Not so many rocks in NY?