Monday, June 08, 2009

The Summer of the Sun

It is officially summertime and the kids and I are lining up a couple of projects to keep us busy without blowing up The Boss Lady's budget.

Today we started working on a solar box oven. I decided on a simple project that the kids can almost build themselves. We are going to adapt the plans to suit our needs and to use materials we have on hand. But soon, we will be munching out on some nachos that the sun cooked for us!

And while we are waiting for the sun to fix dinner, we will be watching wet stuff get dry. We are adding another piece to the urban homestead. I am putting up a clothes line! If having chickens is cool, then I am about to blow the suburbs UP with some cool! I found something like this locally for about $40.

I was hoping to build a line on the cheap, but this way we can use some sunny space in our yard that is not in the middle of the play space.

We started hanging clothes out on a makeshift clothes line last weekend. And I don't think it was much more hassle that running the dryer all day. Plus, the house stayed a lot cooler. Big Bonus that the kids actually liked helping with the laundry. I know that will change - and probably soon. We used a clothes line when I was a kid and I am sure I bitched about it plenty.

One of our neighbors saw our clothes out on the line, except for the undies - The Boss Lady had already hidden them from view, and immediately declared our entire yard to be "pretty white trash looking. Chickens, garden, rain barrels and now a clothesline?"


That type of response makes me more determined to set up a drying operation in the yard. Mainly because I want to teach the kids that living a little more frugally and making less environmental impact is not a bad thing. But also I want a clothes line because I can have one. It isn't illegal to have a clothesline around here. Yet.

We made a decision years ago to buy a natural gas powered clothes dryer. And it has worked out well for us. It is much cheaper to operate than an electric dryer. So we won't really be saving much coin on this adventure. But I bet we end up with some nice smelling drawers.


Cale said...

Personally, I love the smell of line-dried clothes. It instantly brings me back to visiting my grandmother during the summer. There really isn't anything better. Occasionally, I dry our pillowcases outside just for the 'fresh air' scent. I think I'll do that this week when it comes time to put a few loads through the washer...

Russ said...

I like the concept of line dried clothes a lot better than the result. Sure they smell pretty good, but the fabric tends to stiffen and the sun bleaches colors.

The Father of Five said...

Go for it!! I love the idea.. Where I live there we have a homeowners association.

The rules that govern the homeowners association are called covenants..

There is a covenant in place that prevents homeowners from putting up a clothesline. It is viewed as "unsightly".

One of our neighbors put up an "umbrella style" clothes dryer on his deck (non-permanent) and as far as I know was not told to "cease and desist" - so that may be the way to go.

Being of the "big and tall" variety myself, I find that when I use the dryer, my shirt sleeves all shrink... So I hang dry all my clothes in the laundry room.

Maybe a temporary clothes dryer on my deck may be a grand idea!!

What I really want to see are some pictures of a backyard chicken egg being cooked in the backyard solar dutch oven... Maybe even an omelet with garden vegetables!!

Now THAT would be "sustainability" at it's finest!!

Mike said...

Yeah, the longer we live here, the more I like NOT having a Home Owner's Association.

And FOF, you are right on the money.

That is almost how the solar oven idea started. The kids were laughing about frying eggs on the sidewalk when it gets so hot around here.

One thing led to another and now we are building an oven.

The Father of Five said...

I gots to say yous gots some smart kids there Mike...

57plymouth said...

So many reasons to live outside of a subdivision!!

I've been hanging clothes since I got tired of spending money. Soon you will be making detergent and then you will quit buying paper towels.