Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Defying winter in Minnesota January 10, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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WITH SNOW MELTING from rooftops and sidewalks under a bold January sun, I lugged a laundry basket of thermal long john tops outdoors to hang on the clothesline.

The visual contrast of those shirts on the line against the backdrop of a snow-filled backyard imprinted by rabbit, squirrel and other animal tracks nearly made me laugh aloud. I was taunting Winter, daring her to keep me from a task I enjoy, although less often in the cold and snow than in other seasons.

But with a respite from sub-zero temps here in Minnesota, I grabbed the opportunity to trump Winter, to prove that, yes, if I want to hang out laundry in January, I will find a day warm enough to do so. There’s something to be said for defying Winter.

As the cold of 20-degree temps numbed my fingers, I felt a sense of satisfaction in this methodical task of hanging laundry. Clip, clip, clip. And then, after the dozen shirts dangled from the line, I stepped back inside to brew myself a mug of coffee, to thaw my hands and to delight in my momentary triumph over Winter.

TELL ME: If you live in a cold weather state, do you hang laundry outdoors in winter?

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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21 Responses to “Defying winter in Minnesota”

  1. we will be up to 50 then 56 this week so there would have been clothes on the line except it will be raining also which means they will still be hung on racks inside – sigh. I love how you love to hang out your washing – me too. c

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    I recall hanging laundry in our basement. It is a good way to keep the house humid.

  3. Joyce in Kansas Says:

    It’s been awhile since I’ve hung many clothes outdoors in our Kansas winter but this post brings to mind the years before I had a dryer – the thermal clothes froze so stiff they stood by themselves when you brought them in to finish drying, the smell of diapers that had frozen dry (the sweetest smell ever!)

    • I hung many a cloth diaper on the clotheline. Not because I didn’t have a dryer. But because I love hanging laundry outdoors. And you’re right about the smell. It’s like sky and sun and earth all woven into the cloth.

  4. I never hang laundry outside simply because we have lots of white pines that drop sap on things in our yard. I’m constantly cleaning our deck chairs in the warm weather. I love my clothes dryer! I do have a rack for stuff to air dry in my laundry room, though. Not that same as being outside, but it’s as good as it gets. Love your winter-defying actions. Happy New Year, Audrey!

  5. Boy does this bring back memories of really cold sheets hung out to dry in the MN Winter – ha! Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  6. I didn’t hang out laundry but I did turn the heat off for a few hours and cracked the windows. I love the fresh air and our house gets so dry that it doesn’t help my sinus issues. It was 40° the last two days but the winter weather is supposed to kick up this evening.

  7. Beth Ann Says:

    So you are a converted coffee drinker now? Did the winter cold turn you to that? I salute your hardy spirit of hanging those shirts out. I would opt for the dryer on days like you are having.

    • I drink one cup of coffee every morning. When I bought a coffee maker about a year ago, I started with the one cup thing. I was “forced” into buying a coffee maker by my coffee drinking adult children. It was silly for them to always drag along a coffee pot when I could purchase one for $20.

  8. Jackie Says:

    I most certainly would but for me that means treking out through the garage and around to the back of the house where my sturdy iron clothes line poles are situated. I will wait until spring to start up one of my favorite thing to do. I, like you Love hanging out clothes! I love the photo…makes me smile 🙂

  9. Valerie Says:

    Good for you Audrey.
    I opened a window for awhile – to get the sneezes out!

  10. Littlesundog Says:

    We do not get nearly as cold as you do, and snow is a real novelty here – it will snow a bit every winter but it’s melted in a few days. I hang laundry out all year long. I put laundry off though, if the temps are below freezing.


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