Thy Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbors Clothes Line (and how to make fabric softener sheets)

“Ooh, look at that one!” I exclaimed and pointed, my mouth slightly ajar. “I love that one.”

‘Tis true that our walks together over the past eighteen years have included gaping at properties we want, but we just bought our first bit of land this year so my husband replied, “That place is a mess! We just bought our own land!”

“No,” I pointed, “look at that clothes line!” I waved at it. My sign that I love it.

“In the spring,” Doug said.

I can’t wait! Oh, I know the wind has been gusting over 40 miles an hour the past few days and it is a balmy 26 degrees right now (minus windchill), and it is a strange time to be dreaming of clothes lines, but farmers and homesteaders live perpetually in the spring. I know just where I will put it.

This all began a very long time ago when our new (mind you- new) dryer crapped out on us again and smelled like it was going to catch fire. I rigged a makeshift rope across the yard to our very-nearby neighbor’s house in the suburbs. The next house didn’t have a dryer. The next house had the longest, oldest, sturdiest, most beautiful clothes line on the property. I even hand washed clothes on that property. The next one had a beautiful line as well. As did the friend we lived with complete with a buck who stayed near me while I hung clothes. (Rather enchanted place. I will be writing about that on my other blog We rigged a clothes line at the last house, but the new puppy pulled the clothes off and ate them. And here I am, in a lovely house- the nicest we’ve had- with a new dryer and longing for pins in my apron pocket. The smell of spring and soil and summer and sun upon the clothes as I hang them quietly in the fresh air, my eyes on the mountain ranges, listening to birds sing, and taking a moment to restore.

Work pre-electricity was a place of meditation, a time of prayer. Beading, sewing, washing, painting, farming, animal care, cooking, and hanging clothes were all ways of being in the moment. Mental health is associated with domestic chores.

In the meantime, I learned a rather good trick. In lieu of commercial fabric softener sheets, dampen a washcloth and sprinkle ten or so drops of lavender essential oil on it. Throw in with your clothes. It works great!

What are your laundry tricks?

The Many Uses of Lavender


Lavender has so many lovely uses, many that you may not be aware of.  Lavender easily grows in a pot on the porch.  Opt for English lavender.  Folks do tend to only think of French lavender which is astounding with its single stems and fields of purple waves but French just won’t stand up in our climate.  English lavender develops a nice woody base and with a good straw covering will survive in winter if planted in the garden.

Lavender is wonderful in food.  Add it to thyme, oregano, or basil when preparing dishes.  It also makes a very nice tea.  Blend it with any black tea, Earl Grey is nice, or a green tea with lemon and lavender is unique and refreshing.  Lavender boiled with simple syrup to make lavender lemonade is astounding.

Medicinally lavender works in many ways.  It is a mild nervine, or pain reliever.  It levels out stronger nervines like skullcap, valerian, or California poppies.  It won’t work on its own for pain, but is a great supporting actor.  It also helps with stomach upset along with lemon balm and mint.

It is a star in healing emotional issues.  Just think about smelling or seeing lavender.  It instantly improves mood.  It does that internally as well.  It is used with hawthorn, St. John’s Wort, and roses for severe depression.  By itself it can lighten one’s spirits and helps heal heartbreak.

It can be added to smudge herbs to help infuse love and positivity into a space.

The essential oil can be used topically (never ingest essential oils, not even multi-marketing ones!) directly on wounds or bug bites.  Put on pimples to make them vanish. Use with aloe on a burn.

Lavender has many helpful uses.  If you pick up a plant from the nursery today you will have your own lavender medicine at the ready!