Monday, June 29, 2009

From disappointment to satisfaction

In my last post, I mentioned that my kiwi trellis has been laughing at me (metaphorically speaking). This expensive, time-sucking, frustration of a contruction was all going to be worth it once the beautiful arguta kiwi covered it and began yielding small, smooth-skinned sweet kiwis. Then, in the heat last week, the male kiwi bit the dust.

Welllll, there is one green leaf left. I still have hope. I am still watering the weakling. And the female is still alive and has most of her leaves. Theoretically, I could still buy another male and plant him next year. Until then, I have a new solar powered clothes dryer!

To be honest, I have never dried my laundry outside. I have an indoor clothes rack that I used for several months until deciding that it was not worth it. I also used to wash my silk sweaters at home in the sink and dry them outside, but that hardly counts.

So, I guess I was addicted to my clothes dryer. For a family with just one child, I seem to do an awful lot of laundry. This is because I am also a neuromuscular massage therapist, so I have a LOT of sheets to wash every week (one set per client). This is my excuse. Please forgive me.

But a perfect confluence of events has forced me to re-think my ways.

1. A nasty heat wave in which my geo-thermal HVAC unit is having a hard time keeping the house under 80 degrees. Obviously, clothes dryers contribute to the heat in the house.

2. A newly built boondoggle which looks suspiciously like a clothesline.

3. A very guilty hausfrau who recently watched this short film about climate change. Must. use. less. energy!

So this weekend, after deciding I was just going to have to do it, I dried two loads of laundry on the structure formerly known as the kiwi trellis! At first, it seemed like it was going to be pretty hard. This was because the line was too high for me, a 5' 2" woman, to comfortably hang our clothes on. I had to lower the line so that I could reach it a little easier. Also, unfortunately, all the laundry that I do does not fit on the clothesline. But, handily, I have an indoor drying rack that will fit all the little things like socks and underwear that are a pain to hang up on the line anyway.

Structure formerly known as the kiwi trellis

I noticed that, yes, it did definitely take longer to hang up my clothes than to throw them in the dryer. I'd say about 20-25 minutes per load (hanging and taking down). So this is a bite in my weekend. However, the clothes only took about an hour to dry outside, which is similar to the clothes dryer. Clothes don't really seem any stiffer, and, as a bonus, my sheets even smell fresher.

Adding 3 hours to my work week... I think I can swing it. Folks, just send your prayers my way so that I can stay on the wagon.

Gratuitous picture of child with sunflowers


Wendy said...

I love my clothesline. What I loved about it, at first, was how organized I was about it. I always folded the clothes at the same time that I took them down, and so, while it took a little longer, I felt like I was saving in the long run, because I didn't have to fold massive loads of laundry BEFORE I could do another load.

I'm not as conscientious about folding the clothes anymore, but I still use the line. I just don't like the dryer anymore, and everytime I use it, I actually feel like it's sucking energy from *me* (I know, it's all in my head ;). I'm trying to talk my husband into taking it, and our furnace, to the scrap metal yard for some extra cash :).

The only time I'm not completely enamored of the clothesline is when we have months like we have this past month - where it rains every day, and I can't hang the clothes outside, but I can't hang them inside, either, because it's just too damp to dry them. I haven't used the clothesdryer, but ....

Hang in there. Once you get the rhythm of it down pat, you'll find that you don't want the dryer anymore. Really. It happens :).

Aimee said...

I bought a clothesline tree, but I got it cheap ($10) because it is missing the spike to actually put it in the ground. I thought that would be easy to find or to jimmy-rig. Turns out, not so much. So currently I am drying the laundry on the fence whenever it is sunny enough and whenever I have the energy. My back really does not enjoy lugging hampers full of wet laundry outside, but I do it, at least half the time.

Chile said...

My sympathies on the almost-death of your male kiwi!

As your house stays cooler and your utility bill goes down, you'll be motivated to keep it up. I hate when it's rainy for days in a row preventing use of my crappy $1.50 thrift store retractable clothesline, but then I just use the indoor racks and shower rods to hang everything. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Chile said...

Wendy, I've put a fan in front of clothes inside on damp days. The airflow seems to help the clothes dry faster.

Lewru said...

I'm glad you guys got it working. That would be way too nice not to take advantage of (in one way or another!). Hope your Mr. Kiwi pulls through!

Anonymous said...

you must have really complex laundry. mine takes 5 mins to hang, 2 mins to take down. folding needs to be done regardless of drying method...

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Anon - I imagine I will get better with practice! I am not counting folding time, just time to put in the basket, first hang all the little stuff on the indoor rack, then walk out to the line, hang up on the clothesline... and the reverse. But at least it's pleasant work.

knutty knitter said...

I got a clothes basket on wheels so it is at my height (4'11") and I fold the washing directly off the line. I've never owned a clothes dryer so I never got addicted to them. I do have access to one if its a real emergency but that has only happened once in the last three years as I have an inside rack for damp days.

viv in nz

littleecofootprints said...

Good on you! Looks like it was meant to be a clothes line all along.

Down here in Australia its winter and i have been struggling to get my clothes dried. I posted a little winge on my blog yesterday about my living area looking like a wash house. Seems i'm not the only one!

You get used to the time it takes after a while...its like many eco changes. Seems to take forever in the beginning - but then just becomes a part of life.

Enjoy the sweet smelling clothes :-)

Alison Kerr said...

Gosh, I can't believe that was meant to be something other than a clothesline.

I really want a clothesline, but I've not yet tackled the legality of it for my neighborhood.

Keep on hanging clothes. I need the inspiration!

Nick said...

Alison above said "I really want a clothesline, but I've not yet tackled the legality of it for my neighborhood."

If the neighbors are a little freaked out by a clothesline (a permanent addition to the yard) perhaps they could be gently conditioned to the idea by seeing a nice wooden clothes drying rack or two being used on the patio or deck during the warm months?

Then after awhile of getting used to the concept they would be OK with the clothesline and neighborhood peace would be maintained...