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Monday, July 18, 2011

The Dichotomies of Technology

I read on one of Gene Logsdon's (The Contrary Farmer, Small Scale Grain Raising, etc.) posts recently that using a washing machine is a good way to get clean clothes clean, but that if you have dirty farming clothes, a washboard is better.  He even explained how to use one (not that he admitted that he has, but evidently he's witnessed the wife doing it often enough to be an armchair expert on the matter).  At any rate, it occurred to me that I've planned for laundry when things might go south, but having a good old fashioned washboard might be a big help.  And Gene says they do a really good job of getting clothes clean.  So I sprung for one.  Bought it off of Amazon (my favorite General Store these days - really) for around twenty-four dollars.

I thought it was an interesting statement of our times to see a URL painted on the top of a washboard.

On the one hand, I'm really curious to try this thing, but on the other hand, the only way that I could fit doing laundry this way into my schedule is if the ship really did hit the sand and I don't have a job again and we're living off our soon-to-be PV system's electricity which I need for the fridge and freezer so there's no using it for laundry or anything else so frivolous.  I really hope it never comes to that, but in case it does, I should have the laundry nicely covered, now that I have the washboard.

It goes with the half dozen bars of Fels Naptha soap I bought for a buck six apiece and threw into the back of the laundry cupboard. They don't take up much room and will keep forever.

The only problem I can foresee is that there won't be enough Scotch to get me through all that soap.


Hazel said...

I've bought a new sink plunger (found one with a long handle, made in the UK on!) for the same reason.

With a couple of holes drilled in the edge and in a bucket in the garden it should do the job. But I'm hoping that water + garden might make it appealing enough to be able to use child labour to do some laundry before things go entirely pear shaped! We'll see...

Jennifer Montero said...

I always enjoy your observational humor.

I've never been tempted to use a washboard. I've met women of a certain age in England who have broken fingers from getting them caught in a mangle, an old-fashioned wringer with two heavy iron rollers. I guess it does what it says, to laundry and fingers.

Of course, now that you've added alcohol to the activity, I could be persuaded. And if you get a big enough hangover, you'll never notice a few scraped knuckles.

Please post a follow-up. I'd like to hear if it works, in the opinion of the user, not the armchair expert.

John said...

I'll be curious to hear how this plays out. For the last few years I was filling the bathtub with clothes and soapy water, putting on a Boris Vian album and stomping them like grapes. It took two rinse cycles and a lot of wringing, but eventually got them clean. I tried bringing a washboard into the mix, but must have been using it wrong. It did nothing, and was not nearly as fun as dancing on the clothes. Is there a trick to those things?

If all else fails, a couple barrels, an old bike and some creative welding.....

chesapeake said...

The worst part of handwashing laundry is hand wringing it out. My husband bought a small, low-electricity spinner for us. We wash our laundry in the bathtub in a non-electric little pressurized, hand-crank washer thing we got on Amazon.

Apartment living, you know. Cheaper than the laundromat. I'm just happy that if we lose power in the winter, we'll have clean undies. :-D

Paula said...

John you are just the man to do it. So- was it the jazz version of Vian or the later rock'n'roll version that got you dancing on the suds? And who turned you on to him?

There must be a trick, but I don't know what it is.

The more I know about you, the more I like.

I love your foots-on approach to doing your own laundry.

Paula said...

Chesapeake, meet Jennifer Montero. Evidently what you need is a mangle, which sounds like the birth place of the verb.