In praise of the washing line

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The washing line is one of those easy to use every day things that are frequently overlooked and in many places and cases it has been displaced by the electric tumble dryer.

Washing_line_wooden_propIt also has to be said that under some local ordinances in the US having a washing line, even in the backyard, is illegal, and thus people have no other option than to use an indoor electric dryer. Thus they cannot be blamed for not using a line; it is not their fault. Much like rainwater harvesting, which also is illegal in many areas of the US and even entire States. Well, guess that's why they keep referring to themselves as the land of the free and the home of the brave. Just to remind themselves how free they are not.

However, here are a number of good reasons why having and using a washing line is more than a good idea. So, if you haven't got a washing line as yet, and can legally use one, then get one set up.

  • No need for expensive equipment or costly electricity bills.

  • Kind to your fabrics so clothes last longer.

  • Minimizes ironing as most of the crinkles blow away.

  • Adds the fresh air scent to your clothes with real fresh air not costly and possibly harmful chemicals.

And, for a proper washing line, unless you use a pulley system, you will need some washing line props. And that brings me to my usual favorite, coppicing, though we shall not dwell on it too long.

There was a time, and not that long ago, when, unless they did have the elaborate washing line set up with pulleys, everyone wanted and needed a couple of washing line props. Some improvised them because they either could not go out into the woods and cut themselves the right sticks (legally) or they were too cheap to pay a coppice worker, a woodsman, for a couple of them, for they were part of the products made by those men of the woods.

The washing line and the washing line props go hand-in-hand, so to speak, unless, as already said, you are using a pulley system to raise and lower the line or you use one of those modern contraptions that fold up.

While there are lightweight metal poles, extendable even, around today, made mostly of aluminium and abroad, the good old wooden ones from local coppice sources are hard to beat and they are also environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Alright! So let's hear it for the humble washing line and wooden props...

© 2016

For more on coppicing and why, etc. see “Managing our Woods”, a small book that explains the whys and wherefores of managing our woods in this way and calls for us to return to that way.