Monday, September 04, 2006

Another (final?) bat update

We are finally rid of those bats, reported on earlier (here and here). I'm not sure if it's due to the wonderful suggestion of Pea to shine light into where they're hanging out (couldn't resist), or the fact that the berry supply that had attracted them in the first place had simply run out. That was helped along by the regular appearance of a flock of birds that also took a liking to those berries, but with actually more annoying consequences than the bats. The bats stayed only from dusk and left before it got light. The birds moved in during the daytime. You might recall that I mentioned a clothes hoist near the berry-bearing tree in the photo I took. Well, those berries have a rather quick-acting and explosive effect on the innards of those birds, with the result that I'd have to rewash about 1/3 of every load of wash I put out. My solution was to get some old sheets and peg them onto the top of the clothes hoist which protected most of my wash. It worked well!

The rotary clothes hoist is very iconic in Australia, and is so practical (read more about it here). In our first house we inherited one that used to be driven by water power. A hose was hooked up to it, so after hanging up the clothes, to raise the whole thing up you just needed to turn on the water at the tap which would then push it up to catch more of a breeze. That feature had been dismantled by the time we bought the house, but I don't know if I would have been game enough to try it. I could think of all sorts of unwanted scenarios happening! I rely on muscle power to crank up the washing.


Alice said...

Our Hills Hoist used to descend very quickly if you just twisted the handle sideways. Very handy if you were rushing to get the washing off the line just as it started to rain. Alas, that facility 'died' a few years ago and now I have to wind it down like everyone else. I think they are a great clothesline - much better than the pull out ones or those that attach to the wall. Of course, you do need a reasonable amount of room in your yard.

We had long lines supported by wooden props on the farm. A couple of drawbacks were that you had to keep moving the basket of washing as you worked your way down the line, and the lines couldn't turn around to take advantage of the wind direction.

Being one of a family of seven children, one of my jobs as a child was to poke all the socks and hankies through the wire netting fence to dry. There were far too many to peg on the line, so threading them through the fence which ran around the backyard was a perfect solution.

Val said...

Alice, I remember seeing washing propped up like that years ago. I always wondered though about how the sheets were kept off the ground until the wash was ready to be propped up. Very clever idea about poking small things through the wire fence. Years ago when we used to stay up on our bush block for a few weeks at a time (those times will come again!), I'd love to do my washing at the laundromat in Castlemaine, then take it back to the block and use metres of fenceline as a clothes line.

In the 40s and 50s in NY my mother had a setup with 2 reels which had a continuous loop of washline between the house and a pole - she could stay in the one place and move the line away from her as she hung up the wash. Of course only the bottom half of the line could be used. Hope that makes sense!

Jeanette said...

Hi Val
My sister uses shade mesh over her
hoist to keep her washing clean from birds (mainly cockies) and in the summer a shade for her washing to help stop clothes fading .
I was also 1 of 7 growing up and with the clothes line going from one side of the yard to the other using a prop to prop it up and if strong wind or the prop fell it all had to washed again. thank heavens for the invention of the hills hoist.

Val said...

Jeanette, what a great idea about using shade cloth. I must try that next time.

I never hang red or black things outside as they fade to horrible oranges and greens in the sun.

John Cowart said...

When we used to leave the laundry on the line over night, small birds called wrens found that my pant's pockets made perfect nesting places. Hardly a week went by withoug a startled bird flying around inside our house brought in with the laundry and chased by cats and kids in a mad circus.

Glad your ingenuity overcame the bat problem.

Susie said...

Glad your bat problem seems resolved for now. I can imagine how messy they must have been around your clothesline.
I know exactly the type of line your Mom had in NY. I had one just like it when we were first married. Now mine looks more like your current one.
(Oh and the zuchinni? The one you see in the picture appears to be the sum total of the crop!..terrible year!)

Annette said...

We had one in our backyard in California. I remember having to go out and clothespin the wash to the lines or go and unpin it and bring it in to be ironed and folded. They invented drip dry no iron clothes before I moved out, and I am glad. I don't do ironing. If the dang thing needs it, I don't buy it. Neither will I buy anything that can't be washed and dried in a dryer. I remember getting our first dryer in 1969. It was a big deal.

Glad the bats are gone!

Granny said...

What a great clothesline discussion and I remember them all (although I've never seen a water powered rotary - neat).

We have zoning restrictions in this country (mostly homeowner's association rules rather than actual zoning) that won't allow clotheslines. I've never heard of anything quite that stupid. They don't want to "spoil" the pristine beauty of the neighborhood but they don't care about saving electricity and the environment.

So you've swapped guano for bird doo-doo? Some tradeoff.

Alice said...

Val - the props were actually tied to the clothesline wires so you could actually push the line up a bit higher to avoid sheets dragging on the ground, just the same as with a rotary line.

We had several lines, one of which was about 40 metres long. We lived on top of a hill so it could be quite windy at times. One day, after washing and then hand wringing (we had no wringer at the time) eleven sheets 3 times - from the washing water, the rinsing water and finally the blue water - I took them down the orchard and hung them all on this one long line. There was a strong northerly wind blowing, and there's something about wind that makes me slightly crazy and euphoric, and just as I was delighting in the wind whipping these sheets horizontal, the line broke. The sheets finished up in the next paddock (field). Fortunately it had recently rained and the grass was long and clean so I didn't need to rewash any of the sheets before hanging them on other lines. I was laughing as I told Mum what happened, but she just looked at me pityingly and said, "You really have the strangest sense of humour."

Another disadvantage of prop lines was when the cows had to walk underneath them on their way to the cowshed for milking. One cow arrived at the shed quite distressed one day. Maybe the bra that she had snagged with her horns wasn't her favourite colour?

Val said...

Wow, who would have thought that a passing comment on a clothes hoist would foster such interesting and amusing stories! Thanks everyone!

I am actually a bit of a laundry freak - the only household chore I like doing is the washing, and confess to occasionally looking out at a full clothes hoist with joy. And nothing compares to sun and wind dried sheets and towels. So although I have a dryer, I hardly ever use it.

Sandy Hatcher-Wallace said...

It seems that granny & I are the only ones who don't have a clothes line at the moment. I remember as a child having to hang out the wash on the clothesline, but we didn't have dryers then.

I'm glad your bat problem is gone and that the berries are also gone so that those messy birds will stay away from your laundry. I would hate to have to rewash everything...once is enough for me.

Meow (aka Connie) said...

Glad the bat problem seems to have abated !! I can't hang washing out the back much of the year, as there are trees over near the hills hoist, and birds poop on the washing all the time ... why is it always the light coloured clothes that get pooped on !! I have a line under my pergola (not attractive, but very practical) which I use most of the year.
Hope you have a great week.
Take care, Meow

Anonymous said...

Hello Val ~~ Just a line to let you know that I am on my 3rd blog.Peter
changed me to Beta and lost my blog, set up another which also got lost, but No3
seems to be working. New url is
Yey for the Hills Hoist !!
Take care Merle.

Val said...

Yeah, I've also noticed that anything about to splatter will be attracted to the light colored areas. For example, when you're eating something with tomato sauce and you're wearing a red and white striped top - if you're going to splatter tomato sauce it for sure will land on the white stripes.

Anonymous said...

Hello Val ~ Thanks for your comment on
my third and I hope final blog. We hope the first one might turn up sometime. We hope !!
If you like to email your address, I will send you some of the jokes Val.
When are you going to see your mother in October? What date? Bet you are looking forward to that as I am sure she will be.
We are getting too many wooden spoons, but glad Fev won the Coleman medal.
Take care Val, Regards, Merle.

Carole Burant said...

Glad to hear the bats seem to be gone now but between them and the birds, your poor laundry sure got the brunt of it! lol I had never heard of a rotary clothes hoist before...see, never to old to learn something new!!

Robert said...

I realize as a guy, my attitude on all household chores is simply "whatever is easier", but I have a serious question.

Why would anyone NOT want a dryer? I think they are great investions, second only to the washing machine. I bought an apartment sized combination years ago, and have enjoyed avoiding the laundry room/laundromat scene.

Sure, hanging clothes out gives the clothes a "good scent", but so do scented fabric softener sheets! Yes, whatever is easier must be done.

And those bats soil your laundry deliberately.

Join the 21st century and help support Maytag or Whirlpool!

Val said...

Guys have every right to have opinions on household chores, and "whatever is easier" is a phrase I would wholeheartedly endorse.

It's not a matter of not wanting a dryer, but realising that there's a natural, environmentally friendly way of getting the washing dry, if there's an opportunity (space, sun, no bans on clothes lines).

But no, no, a thousand times no to scented fabric softeners! The world is afflicted with far too many perfumed products as it is, it's a constant battle to buy stuff that hasn't been perfumed. A memo to perfume wearers: please apply lightly, and preferably not at all when going out to eat in a restaurant. We've had many a meal spoilt by women's perfumes wafting over to our table.

I too would rate the washing machine as number one household appliance, followed closely by the dishwasher. I could get by without a dryer, but I'm glad I have it as a backup.

Kerri said...

Val, this has been one of the most interesting discussions I've read for quite a while. Great subject!Isn't it funny what will generate an interesting conversation. I couldn't bear to live in a neighborhood that banned clotheslines! That's the most backward thinking I can possibly imagine!
We can only hang our clothes out in the warmer season, and then the dryer is a must in my opinion. I love the fresh smell of clothes fresh from the line.
We have two T-poles about 15ft (?) apart and several lines strung between them. Luckily, we rarely have a problem with the birds pooping on the wash.
Alice's tales were lots of fun :)
So glad your bats have moved on :)

Kerri said...

PS Sorry I got so 'fresh' in my comment Val :)

Granny said...

I'm not in a clothesline restricted neighborhood but I don't have line space in the postage stamp they call a yard.

I have a drying rack in the laundry room that I use for some things and I sling blankets and comforters, etc. over our fence. Also have a line across our enclosed patio but the clothes don't get the sun there.

Otherwise, with a family of six, I use my dryer.

Val said...

Granny, I love the ingenuity you've used to get around the no space or sun problem. Here a drying rack is called a clothes horse, something I use frequently too. I was going to do a post on it and include a photo of how many clothes I can fit on it, but I figure maybe this topic has run its course.

Kerri, you've reminded me of the T-pole system. I wonder if we've covered everything...