Laundry musings

Not the neighbor's laundry. (Photo taken in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on October 22, 2011.)

Recently the neighbor’s laundry has caught my eye.  Not in a “I want to photograph it” way.  But in other ways.  Responsible ways.  Mundane, domestic ways.

Not the neighbor.

The neighbor I’m writing about lives across the street in a century (100+ years) farmhouse.  She’s older than I am, but I’m not sure by how much.  At least a decade.  Possibly more.  It’s difficult to tell because she’s the type of woman who has worked hard all of her life, and continues to work hard.  She has a big garden, mows the lawn during the mowing months, and hangs out laundry almost every day, even on those days it looks like rain.

Taken on a bicycle ride in Lancaster County.

Her adult son and daughter live with her, but she’s the one you see out there every day doing the outdoor chores.  Raking leaves.  Pulling weeds.  Shoveling snow during the winter months.  Hanging laundry year round.

(Lancaster County, PA. October 2011.)

Oh wait.  I don’t see her hanging the laundry.  And that’s part of the point of this blogular musing.

Every morning, while I am in the kitchen filling the kettle with water to make a pot of tea, I look out the window and see the laundry hanging out on the neighbor’s clothesline.  She must pin it up pretty early as I’ve never seen her doing it.  It’s just there, no matter what time I get up in the morning.

(Lancaster County, PA. October 2011.)

I’m in need of a work ethic like that,  particularly when it comes to the laundry.  Because of our travels (far and near), day trips, and a whole host of other things, the laundry around here has managed to work itself up from a molehill to a whole range of mountains.

(Lancaster County, PA. October 2011.)

I think that’s the reason behind my recent obsession with the neighbor’s laundry habits.  I want to be like her.  One load a day.  On the line.  First thing in the morning.

(Lancaster County, PA. October 2011.)

I’ve written quite a few posts about laundry including Laundry Day and The Ironing.  Prior to the Laundry Day post there were (more than) a few posts regarding my competition with the Sisterhood of the Mormons who were living in the same apartment building while M and I were in Sabbaticalville.  No matter how early in the morning I was able to get up, they always beat me to the laundry room, filling up all of the washers before I could get there.  The good old days.

(Lancaster County, PA. October 2011.)

It’s not so much an obsession as it is one of those daily necessities in life.  You would think that with only two people living here, the laundry wouldn’t be so bad.  Au contraire.  The various hats we wear in life require different costumes to go with them.  There are the paycheck-work clothes.  The outdoor work clothes.  The indoor relax-around-the-house clothes.  The out-on-the-town clothes.  (Honestly, since we’re jeans and t-shirt kind of people, our out-on-the-town clothes are not exactly fancy dress clothes.)

(Lancaster County, PA. October 2011.)

The problem, as I see it, is that we have far too many articles of clothing.  If we cut back I’d have to do the laundry more often, and there wouldn’t be enough clothing to make mountain ranges of laundry.  Simplifying is a great solution, but it will take some time (and some convincing, I would imagine).

In the meantime, I’m going to establish a daily laundry habit.  One load of laundry washed and hung out to dry each day.  If it’s too wet or cold for hanging it out, I’ll use the dryer.

Today's glimpse of the pond

Today was a catch-up day.  Several loads of laundry have had their time out on the clothesline.  It’s a good day for drying the laundry outside.  It’s cold, dry, sunny with cloudy spells, and the wind is blowing hard.  Things are drying quickly out there.  It’s a nice way to conserve energy, and there’s nothing like the scent of fresh air for perfuming clean laundry.

Not Amish laundry. Not the neighbor's laundry.

As you may have noticed, most of the photos for today’s post are from our trip back east last month.  During that trip we managed to fit in a few bike rides, one of which was a 12-mile loop through a small section of Amish farmlands in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

I could have brought you the photos without an entire post about laundry, but laundry is on my mind today so, laundry it is.

Thanks for stopping by to visit.  Sorry I’ve been so busy with the washing, drying, and folding. Hopefully I’ll have something more interesting to blog about tomorrow.  🙂

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49 Comments on “Laundry musings”

  1. milkayphoto says:

    Cute post! We don’t dirty enough clothing in one day to warrant doing laundry every day. I can imagine those with children have NO IDEA what that is like. 😉

    Friends used to ask me how I got my husband to do laundry. The answer is simple: I owned more underwear than he did! 🙂

  2. ehpem says:

    Posts about the mundane things in life can be some of the most interesting. I love the way you are going on about laundry and in the middle of it all, bang like magic, there is a cow. Listening to laundry flapping in the wind, no doubt. That’s probably a laundry tag from a dry cleaner in its ear, don’t you think?

  3. Kel says:

    there is something sacred about laundry flapping in the breeze
    kind of like prayer flags
    mountains of laundry are not sacred though!
    with a front loader machine, i find it takes ages to get through…with such long cycles
    do you use a front loader or top loader, or one of those fancy washes, dries, folds things…..

    • Robin says:

      I wish I had a fancy washer that did the washing, the drying, the folding, and the putting away, Kel. lol! I have a front loader, too. And yes, it takes forever to wash a load.

      I’ve always been attracted to prayer flags. I think that’s why I end up photographing laundry so much.

  4. Boss says:

    This is the first time I am reading your complete blog for the day. To say the least, I am quite impressed with your writing. I read the short portions that appear on FB but for some reason, today, I decided to read the complete post. I, too, love to hang my clothes outside, especially the sheets. You have a wonderful way of taking those everyday chores and making them SO special. Please, keep going.

    • Robin says:

      Hello, Boss! lol! It’s great to see you here at the old blog. Thank you for coming over to visit, and for commenting. It’s wonderful to hear from you. 😀

  5. tedgriffith says:

    There are only two of us at home now and we do a load-a-day. Like you said, we have all the different types of clothing and it just seems to make sense to do a load a day (whites one day, dark the next, lights, etc.) We’ve been hanging clothes outside to dry (weather permitting) for the last 11 years, and I enjoy the quit time it provides. (possible hint on the early start- do a load at night before going to bed, then hang them on the line first thing in the morning) 🙂

  6. I really enjoy musings on domestic chores like laundry, and all the photos of laundry drying on clothes lines was fun. Good luck with your do-laundry-every-day effort. Hooray for laundry!
    Kathy

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Kathy M. I don’t know if I’m ready to say “Hooray for laundry!” just yet, but do appreciate that I’m not down at the creek beating it with a stick to get it clean. 😀

  7. I adored the captions in this very cute post!! When I was in Lancaster last Friday, I didn’t get shots of the laundry which really caught my eye. I enjoyed your captures. Keep the clothes-line commitment.

  8. melfrommass says:

    There’s something so simple about these photographs that made me pause to look through all of them. I live in the city now. Sometimes, I miss living in the country for the lack of Amish people that would drive by with their horse-drawn carriages — this fascinates me.

    Mel
    massachusetts-is-wicked-awesome.com

  9. You know what the best way to tell that cold weather has arrived here is?
    More loads. Bigger, bulkier clothes take up more laundry time. 😦
    I love your photos of the clothes on the lines.Someone up a few comments alredy said it, but they DO look like prayer flags…

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Marie. 🙂

      Not just bigger, bulkier clothes, but MORE clothes since we layer in winter. Ah well. It shouldn’t be a problem now that I’m going to keep up with it. Right? Right! 😀

  10. mimo khair says:

    wonderful collection of laundry photographs. They are nostalgic, pleasing and so romantic in ways. Great work!

  11. I would love to be able to hang laundry, but I don’t think we’re allowed here? Probably a bylaw against it. We used to hang everything including sheets, at my Gran’s, and they smelled so wonderful at night.

    • Robin says:

      Smidge: I have never understood those bans against hanging laundry, especially when people ought to be doing things to conserve energy. That’s one of the reasons why I won’t live in neighborhoods that have homeowner’s associations. So many silly rules about what you can and cannot do on your own property or to your own house.

  12. TBM says:

    I did laundry yesterday. But my effort wasn’t as impressive as the house in PA. I would have loved to watch them hang all of it. I think my neighbors would scream their heads off if I hung that much laundry outside my apartment. Maybe I should move out of the city and have laundry freedom.

    • Robin says:

      TBM: Laundry freedom. lol! I love it. When M and I lived in London, our flat had a drying closet/cabinet. There was a washer, but no dryer so everything had to be hung somewhere. I ended up hanging the sheets on the railing of the staircase because there was no place else big enough.

  13. With four people in the house, plus (almost) daily work-out clothes, I do at least one load of laundry almost every day, and I’m so thankful for my dryer! 🙂

    • Robin says:

      I’m thankful for mine too, Michaela. There are going to be days when line drying just isn’t possible. I’ve been known to hang laundry outside during the winter, but often it just freezes (and so do my hands!).

  14. afrankangle says:

    I admit my thoughts during the post continually changed. Although I was wondering about how tall the lady must use that line, the point about simplicity hits us all like a big club. Then again, the last time I recall hanging laundry to dry (or at least setting it out to dry) was 5 years ago – well, on our cruise ship balcony during a 12-day cruise visiting Italy and Croatia. Clothes didn’t blow away because we were on the back of the ship – but I did have to shake off the fine ashes from the stacks. Nice post and pics!

  15. jenna says:

    Chickens! Squee!
    When you decide to simplify your mountain ranges of clothes, do be sure to chronicle the conversations in which you convince your husband to pare down his 9,000 shirts.

    I used to live amongst motivated, efficient laundry doers. It didn’t rub off.

    • Robin says:

      lol, J! I don’t think that conversation will happen. Instead, the shirts will slowly disappear, one by one. No one will ever know what happened to them, and it will take M a while to notice they’re missing… 😉

  16. skip704 says:

    Very enjoyable musings on laundry. People don’t hang out their laundry in these suburbs. That’s kind of too bad, I think. Anyway, I love all the photos in this posting. When you were in Lancaster, you were quite close to where I grew up, so seeing these pictures was a real treat. Thanks!

  17. carlaat says:

    Love this post. Love the Amish laundry photos and yours as well! I have laundry hanging out today. I’m lucky that my husband usually does the laundry. That’s a good deal! 🙂
    I’m going out of town tomorrow, so did the laundry a day early. I love laundry dried outside! 🙂

  18. SkP says:

    The first one is pretty high – seems like she is afraid of clothing thieves 😀

  19. Karma says:

    Leave it to my bizarre mind, but I couldn’t help but notice the photo with the panties in it! Funny variety of them hung together – little polka-dotted ones, big granny panties and then maybe a thong? LOL!

  20. Dana says:

    I used to love hanging my clothes outside to dry in Alberta. Though the air was (much!) cooler there than it is here on the coast, the breezes were so dry that the clothes would be ready to come in almost instantly! And the clothes smelled SO good.

    There is a bylaw against hanging clothes to dry outside here, which is ridiculous and not at all eco-friendly, so I have to make due with hanging things up on hangers in an empty closet to dry now. I don’t use a dryer unless I HAVE to… like if I were forced at gunpoint or something! Luckily, this hasn’t happened just yet. 😉

    PS: Laundry is my favourite chore. I’d rather do 1 million loads of laundry than clean 10 toilets.

    • Robin says:

      Dana: I’m surprised people haven’t raised a ruckus over those kind of bylaws. I find them ridiculous too. I don’t understand what’s wrong with hanging out the laundry.

      As for laundry vs. cleaning toilets, I’m with you on that one. It’s the ironing that I’d exchange for cleaning toilets. Maybe. 😉

      • Dana says:

        People have raised a fuss, but they are dealing with the people who have also implemented a bylaw against growing vegetables in the front lawn/garden area of a home– the front is for ornamental plants only. 😛

        • Robin says:

          Good grief! I wonder what would happen if I started growing veggies out front. Probably nothing around here. The neighbor’s laundry, after all, is clearly visible from the road and nobody complains about that. 🙂

  21. elmediat says:

    Great post. If the neighbour is never there, just the laundry (everyday), we may have a metaphysical puzzle.Perhaps the laundry is there because you need to observe it. Could this actually be archetypal laundry ? Is it a message from another reality ? It could be a hoax, but then that would mean we were all stung along a false line of inquiry.

  22. CMSmith says:

    This reminds me of when we were in Adams County, Ohio. What is it about laundry on the line that just beckons, come home.

    • Robin says:

      Interesting question, Christine. I think it’s the domesticity of it that calls us. I wonder, though, if that will be true of future generations who don’t have the experience of line dried laundry.

  23. eof737 says:

    For some reason, I thought Amish country when I first saw the laundry…. must be the movies as I’ve seen similar buildings before. Great selections! 🙂


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