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Monday, May 12, 2008

the laundry line


Under the sun.

A spring wind.

Woven basket
holding cotton towels,
wet and heavy.


Wooden pins with simple spring mechanisms,
invented by David M. Smith
of Springfield, Vermont, in 1853.

A wicker basket.




Spare pins weathered.








Two strong, simple Y design posts with four lines.


Cotton sheets
bleached in the sun

ironed by gravity, wind and heat -
smooth on the bed.

An apple tree, blossoms as white as cotton sheets, and as light, as transparent.

20 comments:

André Lemay said...

I would have never thought that you could make such great pictures with a clothes line. I love it. I should strat to look more closely at what is around me.

Ginnie said...

I can smell those sheets, Ruth. I can smell the sun and the apple blossoms as I doze off to sleep on those sheets. I love your clothes line. I always have, always will.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth thanks for reminding me,, I have clothes to be hung out...

I really love that sweet clothes line that I've noticed in some of your other photos... beautiful and functional...
and thanks to david m. smith for creating such a useful manual little tool.. incidently the area we use to live at, was called Springfield too (NB)

great shots!!!

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, Andre.

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Boots, I found out on the weekend that the matter of loving the smell of sheets that have dried outside is a matter of taste. My sister-in-law doesn't like it! I didn't know you love our clothes line. Don is not happy with it, even though he built it. But you know how that goes . . .

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Thank you, Gwen, that's funny about the reminder. I was surprised about the invention of this clothespin design being so early. I would have expected the straight ones without the spring until the 20th century. I wonder if there is a Springfield in lots of US states and Canadian provinces.

Anet said...

Wonderful post Ruth! I love the smell of fresh laundry dried outside. I don't have a clothes line at my house. I really want one, maybe a good project for this weekend. If I can get my hubby motivated. Maybe I'll sell it as a "save us some money project" lol

Sandy said...

Just seeing laundry blowing in the breeze is such a good down home memory (probably for everybody who at some point in their childhood experienced this). Really nice. Can you bottle the smell and market it because I have such a strong memory of fresh laundry mixed with the "green" smell of freshly mowed grass.

Drowsey Monkey said...

Love it! Other people tell me this is odd, but perhaps you'll appreciate it Ruth ... but I love to sit and watch the towels and sheets blow in the wind on the clothes line. I find it so meditative!

We now live in an area where clothes lines are not allowed ... ridiculous, especially with the over use of appliances.

In some communities they are starting to allow them again...thank goodness. I never understood the banning of them! I don't find them unsightly (well, except if people put their undies on there...then that's a bit unfortunate.)

Ruth said...

Anet, thank you! Hey, that would be great if you get one this weekend. I like it when the towels are stiff so you get a good back scratch while drying it.

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Sandy, I wanted to write about that motion in the breeze, it is so deep within me too. You know, I think there used to be, maybe still is, a scent called 'fresh laundry.' I wonder how they make it?

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Drowsey, I'm not going to tell you it isn't odd, but I will tell you I love it too. I find myself hanging up the laundry VERY slowly so I can enjoy that, and the whole experience, which is very sensual for me! Especially taking them off the line, all warm and cozy.

I can totally believe that about a neighborhood not allowing clotheslines, as ridiculous and sad as it is, because I heard a similar sad rule about having to mow in the same direction and not leaving windows open at the front of the house. :|

Anonymous said...

I would not worry if people hung their undies on the clothesline...
People wear undies and they need dried too. They probably need aired out the most. If they are so embarrassing don't wear them in the first place...

Sharon said...

I agree completely with Andre Lemay. You have taken something that is so much a part of our days and made it beautiful.....thank you.

oh, and your little clothespin spacers made me smile. }{

Ruth said...

Hahahaha, Anon.!

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Hehe, thanks for noticing Sharon. :-}

A wildlife gardener said...

There is a definite art in everything :)

Ruth said...

AWG, we need eyes to see it is all.

Deslilas said...

May be you could appreciate this video and old song from an old French ban called "Les 4 barbus" : la pince à linge.
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xuqdx_la-pince-a-linge_music

Heather said...

I love in the photo with the clothes in the basket that a towel is folded over delicately and it resembles a baby pig's ear. Lovely.

Ruth said...

Daniel, I wish I understood French better! I put 'la pince a linge' through a translator, and that didn't make much sense. It was funny, and apropos, but I know it's funnier if you understand!

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Heather, I love that.

Bob Johnson said...

What a novel idea for a post Ruth, brings back memories. When I was a kid we had one pole on a little platform with stairs, we had a fort under the stairs and hung a made up flag on the line,lol.

Ruth said...

Bob, kids with imaginations can play anywhere. And what is up with the fort thing? We had snow forts, sheet forts inside, leaf forts, wall forts. Not that we were militaristic, right? Oh yeah, I had brothers!

Astrid said...

These pictures are a joy for the eye again, I don't own a dryer so I have to hang the laundry on the line, I love the smell of it when it has been outside in the wind and sun.
Yes it might be a matter of taste.

Ruth said...

Astrid, I'd like to get one of those indoor laundry hang dryers with multiple arms for rainy days or winter months, to use the electric dryer less.