The joy of drying sheets outdoors

It is impossible to mimic the scent of Mother Nature no matter how many times man tries – he misses the mark.

There’s something about the smell of natural that cannot be manufactured in a laboratory. You know the smell of the earth warming in the spring, the scent of rain coming from a distance; and of course, the smell of sheets dried in the wind and sunshine.

It’s always a magnificent fragrance, but in the wintertime, somehow it is even more amazing.

Sunny and breezy days  in January provide the opportunity to dry sheets outdoors and bring that wonderful scent to your bedroom.

Sunny and breezy days in January provide the opportunity to dry sheets outdoors and bring that wonderful scent to your bedroom.

While most folks would rather use the dryer; which in my mind uses electricity and yucky fabric softener, I hang my wash as often as I can outdoors. When the weather doesn’t cooperate I hang it indoors on a rack. Yes, my clothes are stiff, but body heat softens them when you get dressed. The dryer actually wears the color out of clothes, especially black; one more good reason not to use the dryer

When the air is cold, the smell from outdoors lingers for days in our bedroom and crawling into bed at night is such a blessing. Well, it’s a blessing just to have a bed.

Laundry day was a huge chore in the olden days. In an interview with Theresa (Meier) Eissinger, from Napoleon, she talks about laundry and clothes.

“After the necessities were purchased came the clothes. Many an evening was spent around the kitchen table with the kerosene lamp in the middle, paging though the catalogs. There was Sears and Roebuck, Montgomery Ward and Spiegel to choose from. The size of the order depended on how much money there was left to spend. After much choosing and discarding, and choosing again, the order was placed from the catalog where they got the best deal. 

“We always had two winter “outfits”; two pair of long johns (how I hated them); two pair of long woolen stockings; two flannel shirts, and two pair of bib overalls. We wore one “outfit” one week – all week. 

“Those clothes then went into the laundry and we wore the other “outfit”. And woe unto us if we got our new shirt or overalls so dirty we had to take from the next week’s outfit. That threw everything out of kilter. 

“We usually got new mittens, but the woolen stocking cap lasted forever and fit from the time we were two until we were 20. We wore hand-me-downs whenever possible, but occasionally we would be unlucky enough to need new shoes. I say unlucky because shoes were purchased at least two sizes too big so we could grow into them. So, we slopped around in new shoes and by the time they fit they looked pretty awful.”

In our time of throw-away-purchases, laundry day and shopping for clothes takes on a whole new dimension. Now our closets are stuffed with options for costuming our selves daily.  There are many young folks who may never have the privilege of drying sheets outdoors… so if I could only bottle that smell… how wonderful would that be?

Of course, maybe we can’t imitate Mother Nature for a reason. Man was not meant to be indoors all the time – so get out and breathe in the fresh air of North Dakota… for those of you who are not here – maybe someday we can bottle that fresh winter feeling and send it to you. 


About spidersue

Working on books, working, gardening, baking, canning, knitting, crocheting, reading, walking, getting older, getting wiser, love my children, love love love my grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Posted by Sue B. Balcom, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The joy of drying sheets outdoors

  1. Bernard Kaseman says:

    Ah yes, remember well those days in mid 50’s. Especially in winter when the bed sheets would be frozen and I would carry them in for my mother one at a time to get them inside to thaw. The fragrance of clothes dried by fresh North Dakota air is something very good.


  2. farrmsnews says:

    I collected many stories of frozen overalls standing in the corner to thaw…. lol. Can’t imagine too many folks wanting to do that nowadays.


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