Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Twenty-seven degrees November 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:06 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

THE 17-YEAR-OLD, bundled in his winter coat and stocking cap, poked his head out the kitchen door. “Mom, it’s below freezing.”

“I know. But the sun will come out,” I responded, continuing to pull heavy, wet bath and kitchen towels from the laundry basket and clipping them onto the clothesline.

The door slammed shut.

I smirked, amused that I’d annoyed my son so early in the morning, early being 8:30 given it’s the weekly late-start school day.

As I grabbed the last towel from the basket, my teen stepped out the door, shot me “the look” and shook his head, not even allowing me to reach up and wrap him in a goodbye hug.

“I love you,” I said. “Have a good day at school.”

He didn’t respond. But I saw the speech bubble above his head: “She’s crazy!”

SO, DEAR READERS, are you crazy like me? Crazy enough to hang laundry outside on a crisp, 27-degree morning?

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “Twenty-seven degrees”

  1. Sheila Morris Says:

    You’re not crazy, Audrey! I remember my mother carrying wet laundry up steep basement steps after washing clothes in wringer washer (not automatic) and hanging it in our enclosed, but not heated porch. And when that was too cold, she carried the wet laundry up to the attic, where it was warmer, but dusty and musty. No wonder moms wear out eventually! Take care, ask the boys to take the laundry down when it’s dry!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Ah, I enjoy these stories…so I don’t feel crazy, not that a teen’s comment would stop me from hanging out laundry anyway. I’m a devoted outdoor clothesline user, although I do use the dryer in the winter. I have been known, however, to hang clothes out on a January thaw day.

      There’s something about hanging out laundry that I enjoy–time to think, take in the beauty of the morning… The only time I struggled with laundry was several years ago when I had osteoarthritis in my right hip and could barely walk, let alone haul a basket of wet clothes up the basement stairs. Now I have a new hip and I manage just fine.

      All of this reminds me of a little incident several years ago when I used my dryer for the first time in the cold season, in November. Someone saw the steam venting from my house and called the fire department, thinking my house was ablaze. You can imagine by surprise when the fire truck stopped in front of my house and a fireman knocked on the door. It may or may not have been 27 degrees that morning.

  2. No NO NOOOOO. Memories of running outside to grab drying sheets before it rain off one of those twirly clothesline-go-rounds. (But love the smell of sun dried towels and sheets to this day.)

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, I love the smell, too. As I write, sheets are also drying on the line. Everything is frozen stiff as a board, but the sun is shining bright and they’ll thaw in the warm afternoon sunshine.

  3. Katie Shones Says:

    I just finished hanging my third load of laundry out on the line. Now it is time to wash the sheets. I use my clothesline probably 10 months out of the year. Just think how much energy would be saved if more people hung out laundry to dry.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      That’s right, Katie, just think how much energy would be saved. I think it’s easier to hang laundry out than to tromp downstairs constantly to check the dryer. I hang the clothes out and then I’m done until I have to bring them in later in the day.

      There are just a few months when I don’t use my clothesline. My oldest daughter bought me an indoor clothes drying rack for Christmas about a year or two ago and I use that all the time, too. Wonderful and practical gift.

  4. ceciliag Says:

    YES!! I can’t hang them out today though as it has started to rain, but I have an emergency line in the verandah so that is full already.. I love to dry my clothes with solar power! Lovely to see someone else who does the same I just don’t understand people who do not have a clothes line. Dryers are expensive! c

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Glad you’re in the sisterhood of clothesline users. I would expect no different of you. Readers, you must check out this commenter’s blog. I promise, you will LOVE her writing and photos.

  5. dorothy Says:

    You do understand that in some areas of this country, it is against the law to hang laundry outside. In some areas of the country there just isn’t the space for this. The smell of just dried, outside hung, laundry can’t be beaten! I have not hung laundry out in years. My dryer is fine for me. Guess I’ve changed.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, I’m aware of those ordinances against hanging clothes outside that exist in some places. So sad. If it’s a lack of space issue, I can understand. But if it’s for some reason like residents don’t like the appearance of clothes on a clothesline, then that I don’t understand.

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