Hanging Out All Winter

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Today is a good day for laundry here in the Mid-Atlantic mountains and mine’s out there already and it’s just after 9:00 as I start writing here. When you peg your clothes out to dry, you have to be more cognizant of the weather and I consult my tried-and-true Weather Underground with an eye to both laundry and, in the winter, moving wood up and to the house from the woodlot. One of the downsides to living on a mountain is that our woodlot is down a tier from the house so it must be trailored up with a tractor. In wet weather the lawn tractor has trouble getting its footing.

Another aspect of mountain living is that we never see the sunset. What does this mean for laundry hanging, you may ask. Well, the sunny day here is short; we can lose the sun mid-afternoon in winter so the prime time for drying is gone at that point. This necessitates the clothes being out there as early as possible; many times I’m hanging and watching the sun come up, which is a whole other post. That gets me out there at close to the coldest part of the day.

I try to reduce my outside time by snapping out the articles to be hung when I take them from the machine. This, friends,is the key to cold-weather laundry drying–give each thing a good SNAP! like you may have learned in gym class. it breaks the surface tension of the water or something (I’m sure somebody will tell me but I’m sorry to be too disinterested to know). The Twins often come in to see what Mommy is doing and so sometimes when too curious of the basket of wet things by standing in it, they get an apron or something snapped in their general direction. Sometimes I do snap clothes at them just to be a pill. In any case, they leave highly annoyed with little cat ears all back and miffed.

Out at the line which is thankfully close to the house, I stood on frosty grass for the first load this morning. My hands quickly get cold and less nimble. (I might try a pair of those fingerless gloves). I get a LOT less choosey about what gets hung next to what; usually I keep the socks together and also the undies. I have to stop a few times to blow into my hands. By the time I’m heading for the door, my hands are pretty frozen.

Ice cold hands, in turn, beg a hot chocolate or cup of tea once inside and when I’m really on top of my game, I boil up some water before going out so a piping hot cup is ready to warm up my cold red hands. This, in turn, begs a sit-down and a quiet few minutes of morning before the next load. Do I wish I didn’t have to freeze out there to get dry laundry? Sort of. But knowing that a warm cup is waiting makes it okay. I’d miss that few minutes getting full feeling back into my fingers really. It reminds that when things are less than convenient a little reward is surely coming.  We’re programmed to avoid unpleasant sensations and being too cold is definitely one, but I get a certain satisfaction in getting out there, gutting my way through freezing, and then coming in to my warm house and hot cocoa. Yeah, it was really, really cold–so what?

All in all, winter laundry isn’t so bad.

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