Sunday, 7 February 2016

Blowin' in the Wind.

2013_NL_F31_105I have often said that what I miss most about home is the wind. I miss the feel of the wind, the smell of the wind, and the sight of the wind. Of course wind is usually transparent, so the only thing we can "see" is the effect of the wind, such as how it moves clothes that are hanging out to dry.

As with all of my blog posts, click on an image to see a higher resolution version on my Flick site.

Newfoundland and Labrador has an abundance of wind, and at the same time, energy is also expensive there. Considering the two factors together, it is not surprising that the age-old tradition of hanging clothes out to dry remains commonplace throughout the province. When traveling around, in Town or around The Bay, you will see clotheslines everywhere, and on most days, the clothes will be driven out horizontally.


Clotheslines are usually attached to houses. The size of the house doesn't matter, though. Even on a small house, you will see a clothesline (or maybe even two).


Based on my informal survey as I was doing this photo essay, I would say that the smaller houses are more likely than not to have two clotheslines.


The idea is that the end attached to the house is placed as close to your backdoor as you can get it.


It helps to get this end of the clothesline up as high as possible, even if it means putting the line across the driveway.


In some cases, you will see a balcony purpose-built for the clothes line.


You then attach the other end of the line to a pole in your back yard.


Based on my informal survey, most people seem to prefer using a power pole at the far end.


I think that power poles are often the pole of choice because they are very sturdy and they are usually the right distance from the house. After all, they are designed and installed for an identical purpose: running a "line" to the house. The only drawback is that using a power pole can make for a very cluttered backyard when everyone is using the same pole.



Of course you do not need a full-length, modern-day power pole to hook your clothesline onto; any old power pole lying around that can be re-purposed will do the job quite nicely. It might even be better, because it can be cut to suit!


I could do a whole other photo essay on power-poles, and perhaps one day I will, but for now I will limit myself to a short detour: in Newfoundland, power poles are even used as parking lot markers. A case in point is this one in Gros Morne National Park. The poles around the parking lot where strung with wire to mark the lot's boundary, as a sort of fence. I fear that the combination of a power pole, as short as it was, and a line caused many to mistake the fence as a clothesline. Which is the tie-in to the subject at hand.


You don't need a power pole in your back yard in order to string a clothesline, though. If you have a shed in the backyard, you can use that instead.


In some cases, a clothesline might even help keep the shed from blowing over.


The odd time you might even use the shed as the clothesline anchor and run a line from it to a pole, although the result seems to be sub-optimal.


As you can see, clothesline sag can be a huge factor in designing your clothes line. If you have an uphill grade in your backyard, then you can let the line sag naturally.


If you have a really steep hill, then you can load the line without worrying that your laundry will drag on the ground.


Most people will use a spacer to keep the line from sagging too much.


If a spacer is not handy, then you either use a stick in the middle of the line to prop it up...



... or make a spacer out of a bit of rope and water pipe. And while you are at it, may as well use up those old power line insulators at the same time.


If your house backs on to the ocean, then you have a problem because you won't have a backyard, and you most certainly won't have a power pole or a shed. The solution? Jam a stick into a pile of rocks and attach your clothes to the pole and you are good to go.


Now you might think that putting wet clothes out on a line that's near water will not have the desired effect, namely getting the clothes to dry. But dry they do, and there are plenty of clotheslines next to the water in Newfoundland.



Sometimes the issue is not that you have the sea in your backyard, but that you have an ocean of rock in it. In that case, you just make do with what you can.


If you do not have a pole or two handy, then you can just string a line up along your porch.


The "porch clothesline" thingy is great because you do not have an unsightly pole and line in your yard, which is important if your house is a House.


That was a quick tour around the clotheslines of Newfoundland and Labrador. I will close with a parting shot of a trailer with a clothes line, just in case you still have any doubt as to the ubiquity of the clothesline at home. I mean, clotheslines MUST be a big part of the life in Newfoundland if you just HAVE to have one for the trailer!


This is the last post from my extensive tour around Newfoundland and Labrador in the summer of 2013. You can catch up on any of the posts you missed by clicking through the list below:

Here is a list of links to all of the blog posts from my 2013 tour around Newfoundland:

Cuckolds Cove to Carbonear
Signal Hill
Boat Tour!
Bird Watching!
Whale Watching!
Fogo Part 1: Getting There
Fogo Part 2: Walking Around
Fogo Part 3: The Fishery
Fogo Part 4: The Fogo Island Inn
Twillingate Part 1: Getting There
Twillingate Part 2: Wine, Music, and Whine
Twillingate Part 3: An Iceberg and a Lighthouse
Twillingate Part 4: Down to the Sea in Boats
Trout River and Gros Morne National Park
St. Anthony: Grenfell House and Big Boats
St. Anthony: A Whale of a Tale!
St. Anthony: Ice, Ice, Baby!
Red Bay: A World Heritage Site
Mary's Harbour
Battle Harbour
Point Armour and Gros Morne
Winterset in Summer
Cape Spear
Trinity, English Harbour, and Dunfield.
The Campbell's from A to Z
Blowin' In The Wind

No comments: