Saturday, March 26, 2011

Using that Solar Dryer

My mother doesn't like machines.  Not a microwave.  Not a dishwasher.  Not a mechanical clothes drier.  I suspect that if mechanical washing machines had been invented post WWII, she would still be using a laundry tub and washboard.  At least once every 6 months she reminds me, "Using the clothesline saves electricity.  It is environmentally friendly."

In California's Central Valley and the surrounding foothills, where once the spring rains end there is seldom  precipitation until the autumn rains begin, the Solar Dryer is easy to use.  Find a spot, string a clothesline, find some clothespins, and hang the laundry.  Wait.  In single digit (or less than 20%) humidity, everything dries quickly, with or without wind.

In those environments where it rains more often, effective use of the solar drier is a bit trickier.  Check the weather forecast.  Check the sky.  Clear,  cloudy or partly cloudy?  Sunshine?  Check the trees.  Is there a breeze?  Marginal?  How badly do you need clean laundry?

It's been one of those days.  Start early, especially if you'll run more than a single load.  Wash.  Hang.  Wash another load.  Hang again.  Wash the next load.  By now, most of the first load should be dry -- unless it was heavy things like levis and heavy-weight knits.  Remove the dry things to make room for the newly washed items.  Keep one eye on the sky.  Will those gray rainclouds drift over YOUR yard?   What is nearly dry?  Will it fit on the little line under the shed roof at the laundry tubs?  What is dry enough to bring inside?

Laundry on a rainy day doesn't happen.  Nor does an emergency load of an evening.  If you live in snow country, you know that frozen laundry thaws to wet laundry.  Plan ahead, plan to be at home to babysit the clothesline on the next sunny day.  Or marginal breezy day.

Clotheslines are good for other things, too.  Displaying quilts -- temporarily.  Drying old fashioned photographic prints.  A mount for Spanish Moss, that silvery-gray air plant that is loved by some florists, but seen by arborists as a parasite akin to mistletoe.  A support for a plastic shower curtain liner while treating for mildew.

Give thanks for sunny days when you need to use that solar dryer.
Don't forget to pray!

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