Saturday, January 12

Farm Photo 1/12/08: Winter Wash & Dry

You've Heard Of Slow Food? This Is Slow Dry

I love my clothesline and use it all year round. There's nothing like the smell of sheets and towels that have been air-dried on a fresh breeze. Because I'm a certified shrinkmaster, even in winter I shy away from our dryer. (Okay, okay, the crazy thing terrifies me, especially now that it seems to have only one temperature: Flame. Thank god the air-only setting still works so I can fluff up bath sheets without too much fear of turning them into washcloths.)

January weather in Missouri isn't real conducive to line drying, though, so the dirty laundry has really started piling up. You know it's bad when you can do an entire load of only reds and pinks--and it's a king size load. I'm just grateful the sheep don't wear clothes.

Click here to see the R-rated version of today's photo.

Want to see more?
I've aired my clean laundry a couple of times before. You'll find it hanging here and here.

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  1. Wow! I am suitably impressed! I would love to start line drying my clothes. My problem is where to put the line? My husband's not really a fan.

    So how long does it take your clothes to dry like that? And at what is your cut off temperature? I'm guessing somewhere above freezing. :)

  2. Love your blog!
    For us folks with allergies, line drying makes things worse, especially in spring & summer. But I do it often anyway.

  3. You got me....I looked!

  4. I cannot hang my clothes outside because I have too many birds. I don't think I need to say more, do I?

  5. I'm so jealous! I miss hanging laundry out on the line. Here in Michigan though it's kinda tricky in the winter since we get so much snow. I'm trying to figure out how I can dry it indoors until Spring.

  6. This was my first time visiting your blog. I will definitely be back...I loved it!! I've already saved it as a favorite!!

    Have a wonderful day!

  7. For those of you who want to line dry but don't for outside environmental reasons (birds, allergies, winter, etc), you can do what I do: air dry inside.

    There are zillions of kinds of drying racks that are made for indoor use and fold up flat and small for storage. Just google clothes drying rack. I pick them up and move them into a sunny window, near a heater vent, or outside if the conditions permit.

    Also, this works great in the winter if you've got the heater going.. the heater speeds the drying and the clothes make the air more moist!

  8. God, I LOVE your blog:)

  9. I love the smell of clothes when they are hung outside. Especially in the winter. They are extra clean smelling. The biggest misconception about clothes lines is that clothes won't dry in the winter outside. Clothes drying is dependent on humidity rather than temperature. They may initially freeze but then will soon dry.

  10. But they DO wear clothes! They are just ... preknit!!!

  11. Hi Sarah,
    Well I suppose you could line dry just your clothes and not your husband's. ; )

    Drying time really varies with the weather and the season. On a hot and breezy summer day, the first things I hang up are dry before the last ones are on the line! Usually it's more like a few hours, sometimes longer.

    As for cut off low temperature, I don't like to hang laundry on the line if it's going to freeze. My mom was here hanging up sheets once and came back in to report that the first sheets she'd put up started feeling really weird. Then she realized they were frozen stiff! I've heard people say they beat the frozen clothes to help them dry, but that's really not good for the fabric. If it's that cold outside, better to dry them indoors--or blow it off until a warmer day. Besides, when it's that cold out, my fingers go numb hanging the laundry up! ; )

    Hi mnmom,
    Wow, I didn't think about allergies being affected by wearing line dried clothes. But I can understand why you still do it. Joe has bad allergies, but he'd be the last person to tell me to stop hanging the laundry outside--we both love how it smells so much. Plus he's allergic to all the fabric softeners and things that make indoor dried laundry smell 'nice.' : )

    Hi Dee,
    Hee hee, thanks for 'fessing up!

    Hi Beverly,
    LOL, I know exactly what you mean about the birds. I'm pretty lucky because there aren't trees right above our clothesline, but more than once I've gone out to check the laundry and wondered how I missed such a big spot on something--usually my favorite tee shirt. Then I realize it was a direct hit from a passing bird!

    Hi DG,
    You can dry clothes indoors! It can be a bit of a pain, especially for things like sheets and towels or even just big loads of wash, but it can certainly be done. I use folding 'accordian' drying racks (click hereand here to see pictures). Mine are wood, but I would have bought the metal/chrome ones if I'd known about them. And now I'm coveting this giant one--56 feet of drying space! How cool would that be? (Yes, I get really excited about things like clothes drying racks, LOL.)

    The ones I have now do have a tendency to break, but maybe that's only because I have a hunky farmguy clomping around--not to mention when there was a lamb in the living room. (I wasn't inside at the time, but Joe swears that broken one was all her fault.) The good news is that you can fix broken drying racks with duct tape! (I love that stuff--my life in The Shack is held together with duct tape and giant clothespins. Heck, The Shack is partly held together with duct tape and giant clothespins! ; )

    There are other options, too. I also put shirts on hangers and hang them in doorways. When I was a kid my mom had a clothesline in the garage, which seems a little odd now that I think about it (we didn't have one outside though we did have a fairly good sized backyard) since there was no breeze and the sun didn't shine on them, but they didn't have to go in the dryer and didn't take up space in the house.

    Hi mommato4,
    Welcome to the farm! What an interesting first post to visit, LOL. Glad you'll still be coming back! ; )

    Hi maiapapaya,
    Yeah, that's the other nice thing about those folding drying racks--you can move them wherever you like. Right now I have one set up near the woodstove. And I never thought about the wet clothes adding moisture to the air! Perfect for us since we run a little humidifier when the woodstove is going because it dries out the air in The Shack so much. I think I need to do another load of laundry and set up another rack! ; )

    Hi Gourmet Peasant,
    Well, thanks!

    Hi IJ,
    You're so right about the humidity factor when drying clothes outside. It's so humid here in the summer that it can be 85 degrees, but if there isn't a breeze it'll take hours for things to dry. And there's a "dry window" in the late afternoon/early evening, too. If you wait too long to bring in the laundry, it gets wet again from the evening moisture. Then we just leave it out overnight and let it dry again in the morning--and once in a while this goes on for days, LOL.

    Speaking of humidity, we actually use the indoor drying racks more in the summer. They're permanently set up because all of our clothes are usually soaked with sweat when we take them off, so you have to hang them up to dry overnight before putting them in the laundry bins. I never knew laundry could be so complicated!

    Hi JJ,
    You're absolutely right! When I was writing this post I almost said something about how fortunately the sheep have built-in, 2 in 1, no need to wash clothes and bedding! : )

    As always, thank you all for taking the time to write. You know I love your great comments.

  12. I would like to dry outside, but the family has multiple allergies. Sleeping on sheets dried in pollens just doesn't work for us. Darn. Instead, I hang a lot of things indoors whenever I can.

  13. our clothes are frozen fresh from the washing too ;)

    lol at the all the reds!!! (we just wear the same thing over and over, cuts down on washing ehehehe)

  14. I was wondering how you had so many red pieces of clothing! Makes more sense if nearly everything is dirty. :)

  15. We feel your pain here in Georgia, too. Okay, so it's not quite as cold here, but it takes clothes forever to dry outdoors this time of year. I usually settle for watching the dryer VERY closely, or hanging clothes up in the bathroom and turning on the ceiling fan. (And yes, a ceiling fan in your bathroom can be a real help.)

    And the pic of the red and maroon undies was hilarious! :-)

  16. a clothesline is probably one of my favorite things to see. some people think they are tacky, but they remind me of my grandma, who always dries her clothes on the line. when i buy a house, this is one of the things i have to have.

  17. LOL, I wondered if you just maybe only wore shades of red.

  18. I started hanging my clothes to dry when I had to start paying for the laundry machines. I can't say that I always do it, (sometimes having my tiny apartment draped in wet sheets isn't convenient) but I find my clothes just feel better. What is that?

  19. I'll take in door wood stove drying in these damp oregon winters ... stiff cold undies no thanks!! : ) I LOVED THIS PHOTO!! such an artist!!

    if it's rainy a line on a porch works well (which I have BUT)... I must admit to the husbands chagrin I'm to lazy to go out in the cold and just drape my wet cloths on all the chairs around the wood stove...

  20. My dryer AND frig went on the blink at the same time last summer -- guess which one I replaced? NOT the dryer!!! Since then, I have been hanging my clothes outside and have LOVED it. I have gotten used to rough towels (I think of it as a spa adventure in whole body exfoliation!). The scent is just wonderful, especially when I wash my sheets. Winter, with fewer good days, has necessitated going to two lines to get everything done.

  21. Not only did I look, I laughed my butt off. Your blog is awesome and yes, I also wondered if red was your favorite color

  22. Hi, Farmgirl Susan - found your blog by googling "line dry laundry winter" (or something like that). I think between your post and all the comments, I've gotten my question answered! I've only been line drying clothes since May and have been thinking about what I'll do in the winter (we live in northern Illinois. We're planning a new house and I've just been asked how much rod space I want in the laundry/mudroom. I think I'll go for 10 feet instead of the five that's in the plan now, for the really bad weather days. And I can always set up drying racks, as you suggest. Thanks for the post - isn't blogland great? I'll come back and visit again.

  23. Here in SW B.C., if it freezes in the winter, there is almost always a wind. The clothes initially freeze, and then the most of the ice crystals are blown out by the wind.
    Does anyone use those racks that lower from the ceiling to be loaded, and then you pull them back up to lift the clothes up and more out of the way. We are from England, so maybe they are a 'regional' thing. They were usually quite long, so great for hanging sheets over.


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