Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Froze Clothes

Canadian Entertainment
Winter has come to our corner of Canada.
Winter with a vengeance.
We’ve received a foot of snow in the past two days.
A curtain of the stuff is forming off the side of the garage.
Perfect!
And, oddly enough, it makes me think of laundry.
Laundry?!
Maybe I should explain . . .
During Mom’s very early years, growing up on a farm in Central Alberta, she and her mother did the laundry on a scrub board.
And dried it on the line.
Finally, they graduated to laundry cleaned in a miraculous new wringer washer.
But still dried on the line.
This made for some . . . entertaining times when cold weather hit.
On laundry day, Mom and Grandma would dutifully lug the heavy baskets of wet laundry out to the line to hang.  
In the parched winter air, they dried completely.
But froze solid during the process.
This is where the fun part came in.
Mom and Grandma would haul in the frozen sheets and overalls and underwear and stand them up against the walls in the kitchen and front room.
As the clothes thawed, they . . . crumpled.
Finally, when they were lying on the floor, they were ready to fold and put away.
Who needs modern electronics?
With only a wringer washer, a clothes line and a cold snap, you can have clean clothes and entertainment all in one process.

Genius.

20 comments:

  1. That is fascinating! I never knew what happened when clothes froze. It was the opposite for us, we would start hangin our stuff on the line in the middle of a Southern Nevada summer day and by the time we were at the last piece we could go back to the beginning and take down what we'd just hung up because it would be baked dry. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, JJ - as a northerner like Diane, I find this fascinating!

      Delete
    2. They dry that fast?! Amazing! It's always fun to see how the other half lives! :)

      Delete
  2. I can remember my Mom and Gran doing the exact same thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! I always felt SO badly for my mom, who's hands would be so cold, and purple after she came back in from hanging up those endless amounts of cloth diapers {and not like the ones you buy today -- or get a service to clean for you}. She seemed to be washing cloth diapers daily. All winter long. It was enough to keep me silently hoping to never have kids. lol. Thankfully I changed my mind about the kids part when it came time. Didn't change my mind about cloth diapers though! Ha ha.

      Delete
    2. Heehee, Delores! Oh, the memories, right?
      Lynn, I'd forgotten about the frost-bitten fingers! Yeowch! And I am glad you changed your mind. About the kids that is!

      Delete
  3. I grew up with the story (told by my dad) about the day he and Mom hung up 101 diapers in freezing weather, and how they froze solid, but were completely dry.
    My brother and I were born 11 months apart, so there were a lot of diapers.
    Thanks for calling up that story told and re-told when we were kids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 101?! Oh, your poor mom! But, you know, that must be a world record. We need to call Guinness!

      Delete
  4. I remember my mother doing this as well. Except for the leaning against the walls part, hee hee - I don't really remember what she did with them once they came indoors, I just recall the "boards".

    Susan's comment reminded me of another diaper drying story my parents STILL tell me. They were taking a lengthy car trip when I was a baby. Mom washed my diapers at the motel but they were still damp the next morning. It was summer, so they rolled up a couple of windows with the edge of the diapers caught tightly in them, and the wind created by the moving car dried them in no time. Our parents and grandparents were pretty resourceful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I was just wondering what that looked like . . . Car going down the road with diapers flapping in the breeze. I bet it was hilarious!

      Delete
  5. I love that photo at the top. Absolutely love it!
    We still hang our clothes on lines here in Australia, mostly, some people prefer dryers, but we've never had our clothes freeze. They might get a bit crunchy on a frosty morning if left out overnight, but then they warm up and dry as the day goes on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. Mostly driers here. In fact, there are communities that frown on clotheslines because they aren't aesthetically pleasing!

      Delete
  6. @jenny_o; I remember doing that with my daughter's nappies (diapers) when we travelled across half of Australia to visit the grandparents.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I see the frozen clothes all the time - I live near the Amish and they are sticking with that no electricity thing as long as they can. Winters here are not as cold as yours, but once it hits 10 degrees does it really matter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too right. Frozen is frozen. Once you get there, more is just . . . more. Brrrr...

      Delete
  8. On so true on this one. I remember those kinds of days well. I think that fresh dried laundry from a clothes line smells so sweet. I loved the clothes lines.
    Thanks for the giant smile today and blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LeAnn! I too love the smell of fresh clothes off the line! Just glad I don't have to have the numb hands to actually dry the clothes! :)

      Delete

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