My grandmas had clotheslines stretched out across their yards. I remember being sent out to hang damp tea towels in hot summer sunshine, and getting distracted by a grasshopper. In Plenty, Saskatchewan, I thought we had the world's highest clothesline, stretching from the fire escape stair landing of the two story bank building to a utility pole beside a shed in our yard. When we moved to the city, we had one of those funny umbrella-type clotheslines that whirled around in our yard for a time, and when that went, I forgot about clotheslines for a long time.
It wasn't until my husband and I bought our first home that I realized what was missing. Our next-door neighbours had a clothesline, and how I envied them! Everything from fur coats to quilts got a good airing every spring, and clothes hung out on the line every week. I knew when it was Tuesday by the fact that the laundry was out, and I knew my neighbours were away or it was raining if it wasn't.
When we found our present home, one of the first things I noticed was the dual clotheslines in the back yard. They felt like good karma, and I was almost ready to buy our dreamhome on the strength of the clotheslines alone, except the house had more wonderful features that won us over completely. Now my warm sunny Fridays or Saturdays involve the pleasures of pinning clothes to those lines, watching garments flap in the breeze, knowing that windfarms in Southern Alberta aren't working to power my dryer because I am.
If you've ever smelled sheets fresh from the line, felt the crisp fabric of a cotton shirt dried in the sun, enjoyed the way the wind dances through different garments, and thought about how your grandma probably did the same thing when she was your age, you'll know why I'm hooked on my solar/wind dryer. You won't think me crazy for writing an ode to a clothesline, or for having four of them in my basement laundry room when the temperature drops below freezing for five or six months of the year.
Electric dryers can account for up to 15% of household electricity usage. Saving money, conserving energy, preserving clothes from the wear and tear of tumbling around in hot air, and being reminded of my grandmas are more than enough reasons for me to love my clotheslines. If you haven't tried one yet, I dare you. It doesn't take much to string up a line...