Wednesday 28 April 2010

The Clothesline . . .

The clothesline was a new forecast
To neighbours passing by
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link
For neighbours always knew,
If company had stopped on by
to spend a night or two.

For when you'd see the fancy sheets,
And towels upon the line;
You'd see the company table clothes
With intricate design.

The line announced a baby's birth
To folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes were hung,
So carefully with pride.

The ages of the children could
So readily be known,
By watching how the sizes changed,
you'd know how much they'd grown.

It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
The nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
haphazardly were strung.

It said, "Gone on vacation" now,
when lines hung limp and bare.
It told, "We're back!" when full lines sagged,
With not an inch to spare.

New folks in town were scorned upon,
If wash was dingy grey,
As neighbours raised their brows, and looked
Disgustedly away.

But clotheslines now are of the past,
for dryers make work less.
Now what goes on inside the home
Is anybody's guess.

I really miss that way of life,
it was a friendly sign,
When neighbours knew each other best,
By what hung on the line.

~author unknown

One thing that I have really enjoyed over these past few weeks, is simply being able to hang my clothes out on the line in the back garden. We have never had a clothes drier over here. We have always air dried our things. Back in the cottage, I had a line strung up in the laundry room, which is where our clothes and things mostly hung out to dry after they had been washed . . . thankfully there are only two of us, so it has never been a hardship for us, although it is easy to understand, and I have experienced the need of having a clothes drier when you have a growing and large family to take care of.

But there is something so very special and sweet about seeing a line of wash hanging in the garden . . . a lift here and there of a hem, sleeve or pantleg by a gentle breeze that passes, seems almost like a cheery wave from an old friend.

And can there be any smell more lovely on this earth that that of fresh sheets on a bed that have spent an afternoon hanging out to dry . . . they smell of sunshine and fresh air, and of homey comforts and days not long gone . . . nor forgotten.

My mother hung her clothes out to dry for most of my growing up years, no matter the season. In the winter time, her fingers would get all chapped, cracked and frozen from the sub zero temperatures of the Canadian winter . . . Most days the clothes would be brought in at the end of the day, not so much dried . . . as frozen stiff, and then . . . they would hang in the utility room next to the furnace over night . . . In the summer time, the sound of the sheets flapping and snapping in the wind was such a comforting sound, and once again that smell . . . oh what a wondrous thing it was . . .

I like to bury my face in the clean laundry after I have brought it in. As it gets folded and put into the ironing basket, I have a sniff or two . . . and my mind takes me back to those days of my childhood . . . the sight of my mother standing on the laundry stoop, the wicker laundry basket by her feet, her arms stretched up and pinning . . . that snap of the wooden pins . . . her voice ringing out in laughter and conversation with neighbours caught in that same dance of home comforts and loving ministration . . .

I am so glad that I have a heart and mind that is open to the joys of simple things . . . that I have arms and hands that are capable and strong, and able to do these things of a day . .. these homely little chores that bring me so much pleasure and peace.

There is something special about the sight of clothes hung lovingly on a line . . . it speaks to the heart and soul in a delightfully wonderful way. I hope and trust it will ever be so . . .

Speaking of home comforts, I made us a delicious casserole for our tea the other night. Our days have been full as of late, with goings to and fro and much activity. Some days there has not been a lot of time to cook a meal that takes a lot of time. These are the days that I reach for something quick, but there is no reason that quick has to be boring, or lacking in flavour. I always keep a tin or two of chili in the store cupboard and often have a container of it in the freezer as well. It is nice to have it heated up and in a bowl, but it's even better to have it done this way. Sure to become a family favourite! (And perfect for laundry day when quick and easy comes in mighty handy!) It's also very easy to resize and make according to how many you are feeding.

*Chili Dog Casserole*
Serves 5 to 6 people
Printable Recipe

Delicious! I use my homemade chili in this, but the recipe calls for tinned. I just always happen to have a container of homemade chili in the freezer and it's no problem to thaw it out. I highly recommend! Quick easy and very scrummy!

2 (15 ounce) tins of chili with beans
1 package of smoked frankfurters (10 in pack)
10 8-inch flour tortillas
10 ounces of strong cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F. Lightly butter a shallow baking dish. Wrap the tortillas around the frankfurters. Place half of the chili in the prepared baking dish. Cover with the tortilla wrapped franks. Pour the other can of the chili over top and around the tortilla wrapped franks. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Cover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, uncovering the last 5 minutes to brown the cheese. Serve hot with a salad on the side.

More home comforts lie in wait on The English Kitchen today, where I have baked some tasty Strawberry Jam Tarts, sure to bring out your inner child!!!


  1. Yes..memories of Mom and hanging the cloths job was to gather them in and it was always a fun job! Your food looks so good, both of them! Come say hi :D

  2. One of my simple pleasures is walk, it is used to be run, through the damp washing after hanging it on a hot sunny day. We hang our clothes outside or in a covered breezeway. Only when it is very wet or I feel extra lazy is it tossed in the drier.

    Have a brilliant day.

  3. Hello my friend!

    I think it's wonderful that you have a place to hang your clothes in the sun! I wish the weather would get a little better here -- ours would be soaked or blown a few streets over with how windy it is lately. I love the smell of clothes hung out to dry in the sun!

    Have a wonderful week!


  4. Ah, the comfort of fresh laundry! Clothes lines take me back to childhood, as we had one growing up. Here we don't have a washing line, but air dry clothes. The clothes drying is such an energy hog, I really only use it for washing/drying duvet covers and bedding in the winter months. I don't hang laundry out in spring, as hubby can sometimes be bothered by spring allergies. But I like doing the laundry. I like the task of ironing. I just love homemaking! Happy Day, dear friend :o) LOVE YOU ((BIG HUGS))

  5. I do wish I had a place to hang out my laundry. The smell is just wonderful. You are blessed by being able to do so. I've had a dryer most of the time and use it regularly. It was really great when the children were all young. Now that I'm on my own it wouldn't be bad at all for just me to hang things out. I hope your Wednesday is a wonderful one!

  6. I photographed my washing line today. The clothes looked so lovely against the background of the mountains, and it's such a rare treat to hang them out, and know that they'll dry. Tonight I will wear my fresh (unironed!) pyjamas, and enjoy their sweetness.

  7. there was a summer when my parents decided to use a clothesline to help save money(the electric bills in texas during the summer are outrageous!!) and i remember hanging clothes up. a lot of work for a family of 7! but i remember that smell-you can't get that smell from a clothes dryer!

  8. Once again it amazes me how much we are alike. I have fond memories of hanging clothes with my mother no matter the weather.
    Here in CA we have sun 355 days of the year so I hang my clothes almost every week. I have a clothes dryer but I prefer the crisp feel and fresh smell of clothes that have been hung outside to dry. As I hang and then later take down my clothes I think of my mom all those years ago... and now that I know this task is a favorite one of your too... I will also think of you.

    We are subbing at the temple today so I need to get busy. I send love, Lura

  9. So lovely to enjoy the simple pleasures life has to offer! My mama always says that you'll live forever enjoying the small things instead of waiting for big things to happen.

    Glad you are settling in and enjoying the days!


  10. Marie - I absolutely promise.....on my honour...that when I sent you that text this morning about it raining on my washing I had not read this!!!! Must be telepathy!

    I remember when we were little, so were all the other kids in the street. You could see straight away if someone had a new sib because all the terry nappies (diapers) would be on the line, fluttering their happy announcement. On the other hand my mum and her cronies, over a cuppa, could often be overheard saing".....but did you SEE her nappies?" LOL

    You can't beat fresh sheets though, air dried in the garden. Mind you, I wouldn't - couldn't - leave them all day outside just to have them freeze solid. Dad's work trousers used to stand up on their own too.

    love, Angie, xx

  11. Marie, your blog makes great middle of the night reading. It's been almost two years since I first found your posts & filled my quiet hours with your inspired thoughts. Now I've got an "I can't sleep" night & you've made me feel cozy again.

    We haven't had a clothes dryer since we came to England. Just like a dishwasher, it's on our "someday" list. Yesterday I put Rose's duvet out on the line. As I brought it back in, just in time for bedtime, it smelled & felt so pure. Just right for sweet dreams.

  12. very sweet post ...I love clothes hung outside to dry. The poem was so sweet...I never heard it before. Thanks for sharing. Is that your laundry area??? It is so sweet!! Hugs, Mica

  13. I love hanging my clothes out to dry, there is nothing like it, especially the scent of air dried clothes. :)

    Loved your post and that chili dog casserole, OH MY.

  14. Wow what a great recipe. Comforting and delicious all at once!


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