Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Line Drying Clothing Saves More Than Money

I was very blessed to get to know my husbands Grandmother, Mrs. Minnie. She lived to be 97 and died in her sleep, a nice way to go. A fire ball red head in her younger days, she was pure fire to the end. She was also amazingly smart about life. Mrs. Minnie was a school teacher until she wed in her late 20's and went on to have 5 children. Sadly she was a widow before the oldest was 13. Mrs. Minnie sat on her front porch with a loaded shot gun when she learned the state was coming to divide her kids up between her brother in laws to raise. She did not use that gun, but I understand she did point it at the sheriff who said if she could keep "them kids fed and clothed," he would stay out of it. She did, all 5 went on to finish their education and 4 went on to graduate from college, one did not as he went to war.

Mrs. Minnie taught Sunday school for well over 50 years. She even taught in the nursing home were she spent her last few years. When I met her, she was kind and full of advise for our up coming marriage. She shared with me the modern things she liked, including the clothes drier. I recall her with great fondness saying to me,"I don't know why on earth anyone would hang out clothing to dry, it's just plain silly." I just smiled, I knew she was remembering her life in the early 1900's of Monday morning washing day, and line drying diapers in the middle of winter over the fire place. With all due respect, this is the one area I could not agree with Mrs. Minnie about. I have a passion about line drying clothing.

Automatic clothes driers use and waste a great deal of energy. I never understood running a hot machine in the middle of summer, and the air conditioner at the same time. More than that, line dried clothing last longer. The wear and tear in a drier breaks down the fabric much faster. Plus, I admit, the smell, oh the smell of fresh dried linens and towels, nothing makes my house smell better. So how do you successfully line dry? Believe it or not, there are some rules.

First, know if you can even have a clothes line on your property. City and other codes may not allow such. Then choose what works best with your yard and situation. I use a retractable line that will hold several loads, but when I am finished, even the poles are removed from the yard and the area goes back to normal. Small wooden folding units are great on non windy days or inside. Dry whites in full bright sun. This helps them to naturally bleach and will help get rid of any yellowing or stains. Dark colors do not need to be placed in full sun. dry late in the day or in the shade. Sometimes of the year many not be suitable due to pollen and allergies. For those times I hang the clothing up inside or if they have been outside and have pollen on them, toss in the drier on air fluff to clean them up.

You don't need to use fabric softener if you line dry, because there is no static cling. What I like best about line drying is the natural work out. Bending, stretching, carrying, walking, it's a physical workout. When my children where small, I had them help hand me clothes pins and count the number of shirts, socks, or whatever as a learning tool. When they were older, they helped fold and carry in the baskets of clothing.

How much do I save not using a drier? In all honestly I do not know in energy, but I do know in the cost of buying machines, have saved a couple thousand. I do know that the work out time, the time spend hanging out clothing bring me peace, and that is a savings as well.

I think of Mrs. Minnie sometimes when I see shirts blowing in the breeze, and I smile. I am happy she got to have her automatic drier and see so many advances in her life time. Yet I am happy I held onto a few old fashioned ways, if nothing more than to remember how things used to be done.....back when.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's Valentines Day What to do This year

I looked at the calendar yesterday and panicked. Valentines Day is upon us and I have not started a single project.  For many this is the day for lovers, ever see that long line of men at the grocery check out with last minute cards, flowers and candy? For others, it's about being a school room mother who makes cup cakes and helps with a party. But for some, Valentines Day is a reminder they are alone. No sweetheart, maybe the children are grown or you have never had any, and all the people around you make you feel lost and empty on February 14th.

Surprise, it's not about you. This is not a day to focus on you and your life, it's a day to give back. If you are one of the people with nobody to share the day with, or have small children, this is a day to spend on others. Here are a few tips and ideas we have done over the years.

1. If you are an animal person, make today about visiting the local animal shelter. The workers there are often unsung heros. Take pet supplies, used blankets and towels, usually you can get a bag full for a couple of bucks and Salvation Army, pet food for the animals and gifts for the workers. A warm batch of cookies and some coffee is a nice afternoon treat. Offer to help walk a dog while you are there.

2. Adopt a family in need. People have different needs, it's not always about money. If you attend church, inquire about helping a family on the prayer list. A family with a sick family member would welcome a meal delivered to their home, bring some valentines themed cookies or cupcakes as well. Make a special get well card for the family member. Look into helping a family home bound with a special needs child, ask them if you can sit while they go out, or possibly take out the siblings for a fun night.

3. Visit the nursing home. Call first to learn any rules and times for meals and snacks. If allowed, take flowers, cards, ect., to residents. Eat a meal with a widow or widower. Ask them to tell you how they met their spouse, what was dating like for them, when did they know they were in love. Some people cannot wait to share, and you can learn a lot about another time in History from these precious people.

4. If you live near a children's hospital, call and find out the rules for visiting. Some places will allow you to hold a party in sun rooms for the children. Take craft supplies to help them make Valentines for parent's other children and hospital staff. Read a book to them, Jack Prelutsky It's Valentines Day comes to mind.

5. Reach out to an Army family. Many people have loved ones deployed on this day. Take baked goods or a meal to the family and thank them for their service. Let them know you care.

6. Reach out to the everyday people in your life. Take cookies or cup cakes to the grocery store where you shop most often and drop off at the service desk to share with people at work. Remember the postal clerk and take treats to the post office. How about the trash collector? The police and fire department? All these people are important in our lives, remind them that you know this and today, you are saying thank you.

When we step out of our box and look at all the amazing people around us, we see people just waiting to share a few minutes or even hours with us. Take time to remind others just how special they are to you, and you will discover, the day is pretty amazing, even without a sweetheart to share it with.