The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Laundry Day

laundry day_006

Detail* – Rear Yard of one of my homes in London, 2000 Watercolour by Johnnene Maddison

When I wrote a post that expanded on my “About Me” page, I borrowed heavily (like, about 95%) from my online dating profile. That profile was rather easy to write. The hard part was trimming it down. There was one paragraph that I agonized over. I deleted it, restored it, then deleted it again. It started thus:

“I confess: I get a kick from hanging laundry on the line.”

Let’s face it, if that line doesn’t say “take me, I’m yours” I don’t know what does.

Right? I mean, come on, it’s the polar opposite of “come hither”.

But the line stayed. For in my world, hanging laundry on the line is one of the greatest pastimes, ever.

The sentence is revealing, I think. It says that I’m frugal and that I conserve. (If you knew the subtext you’d know it also says that I don’t own a clothes dryer, but that’s another story.) As far as getting a man’s attention, is says that I’m domesticated. At this point in my profile writing I felt is was important to clarify. I didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, so I added:

I’ll wash my socks, and you wash yours.

Who knows what the guys thought when they read that? It’s moot. I met Reiner and that’s all that matters.

Today, though, I relearned what it is that I love about laundry on the line: it is the potential for absolute delight. (No, not Afternoon Delightabsolute delight!)

It’s a perfect drying day: sunny, breezy, and since it’s not the weekend, neighbours aren’t burning their yard waste.

Oliver aka Ollie-bum. He's purring and blinking. He just looks like a sour puss, but he's not.

Oliver aka Ollie-bum. He’s purring and blinking. He just looks like a sour puss, but he’s not.

First load up, and here comes my buddy Oliver. Ollie and I have a long-standing tradition for laundry lovies. He is South’s cat. It took him a couple of years to learn that our yard is a cat-friendly environment. Now, every time I climb the laundry platform, he makes a beeline to join me for a good scratch behind the ears.



Solomon Seal - the hummers love these

Solomon Seal – the hummers love these

Then there are the scents. I wish I could share a link. We’ve got .gif files for images. We should .snif files for scents! If we did, then I’d have you click on the image of the violets or the Solomon Seal. What a perfume! Lily of the Valley abounds, too.  I’d post a picture of our lilacs, but they’ve been traumatized terribly by the winter’s polar vortexes. Clothing absorbs all of these fragrances and laundry fresh off the line smells… just aaaaaah.

And the birds! Colour AND sounds! Oh my word, what a cacophony! The chittering and chattering of Blue Jays, Goldfinches, House Finches, Chickadees, Cardinals, and even the distinct delicate chirp of a hummingbird.

Today’s highlight was the Gray Catbird. His incredible song made me giggle like a school girl. So much so, I had tears in my eyes.

Tears of absolute joy. Not something I experience all that often any more, and that’s why I get a kick from hanging laundry on the line.

laundry day_005

*Rear Yard of one of my homes in London, 2000 Watercolour by Johnnene Maddison. Joey sits at the base of the trellis.

If you watch this video all the way through, you will hear the catbird’s astonishing range as it mimics the song and sounds of his neighbours. According to the narrator of the video, the male catbird has a better chance of attracting a female (for a little afternoon delight of their own) if he has a broad repertoire. It indicates that he’s been around the block once or twice. No wonder I can relate to his singing!





Categories: Blog Blog Blog, Weather Related

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20 replies

  1. When my kids were little I always hung their bedding and diapers on the line. And like clockwork, my next door neighbor would walk outside, look my way and just smile. Sadly, no one in my neck of the woods hangs laundry any more.


    • I first hung laundry on the line as part of the Saturday morning ritual when I helped mom do the wash. Diapers and bedding first up. I’m delighted to say that there are many active clotheslines in my part of town. Granted, it is an older neighbourhood and not one that has been declared (insanely) wash-line-free zone.


  2. Okay, I’m about to be totally verbose. Please forgive me. One, I loooooooved my clothesline. I miss it all the time, especially now, when the weather is warm and the garden is blooming. I have not yet added a clothesline to my yard, because it’s a husband job, and he’s too busy. There will be a summer break for him, and I will remind him how much money a clothesline can save him. Sheets on the line, YUMMY!
    Also, I dunno that I’ve seen a catbird, or that we have catbirds here, and right now I’m not going to get up to get the bird book, BUT we do have mockingbirds, and while I lived in Georgia, we had several in our neighborhood. Their songs are not as subtle or as melodic as the catbird video indicates. They can really get on your nerves quickly, even if you like birds. Each Spring, when they’d mate, they’d stand atop roofs and perform their music. While my husband was deployed or gone to training (Four Springs of Seven There) I had great compassion for that mockingbird across the street. I knew just how sad and desperate he felt. Then when he found a mate, and shut up, I still had weeks, months, even a year left to wait, and I envied him.


  3. That is just a beautiful post Maggie! Your catbird has an amazing range. Fantastic!
    We have a lyrebird that can imitate other birds and things, even a chain saw!! Nature is spectacular!


  4. Wish I had somewhere to hang my washing out. [sob !]
    Ollie does NOT look like a sourpuss: how can you say that ?!
    The catbird is clever and has a lovely tail: would that the same could be said of moi. 😉


  5. I agree with Barbara: A beautiful post. I used to love to take the fresh laundry down when I was a little girl–the fresh smell, and the feel both of the clean sheets and the warm wooden clothespins. It is interesting with today’s “oh we must save energy” views that so many Homeowners’ Associations forbid visible laundry lines. At my Florida house, I had to sneak one in the side yard below the fence level.

    Enjoy birdsong tremendously, like you. Had never heard a catbird, so that was a real treat. Thank you, Maggie.


    • I helped with the wash day chores too. My favourite part was the feeling of clean sheets at bed time. Especially in summer when mom changed the bedding from flannel to cotton. Coooooool!

      I’m glad you like the video. As I mentioned to Barbara, the one song that was not represented was his name song – the bird has a long drawn out meeeeeew, like a kitten. It’s rather one of the less appealing notes. I always prefer when he’s on a roll with his mimicking tunes.


  6. I hope you don’t mind, I’ve put your name forward to answer four questions on writing –

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You have hit on one of my pleasures too. I still prefer bedding and clothing dried outdoors and look forward to the warm sunny days after the long winter. In the summertime, I time laundry day around the weather 🙂
    Some people might call it the fashionable eco-friendly movement. It’s nice that it is, but I just really love the smell and texture 🙂


  8. Our new place came with a magnificent eight strand clothesline held up by T-pipes… Unfortunately, it also came with stone-hard water. Ever try drying off with a towel you can lean against a wall? It is not for the faint of heart or the soft of skin. Still, we worked out our issues and there is nothing so fresh as clothes off the line.


    • Eight? Wow, that’s a super-sized outfit! I’m used to hard water, having lived not very far from the Grand River all my life. It’s particularly bad here, too. It takes a good breezy day to get the same tumble-dried effect of a clothes dryer. Now that I think of it, the only thing I miss about a clothes dryer is the way it de-lints clothing. With several cats hanging about, things can get kinda fuzzy real quick.



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