Clothesline Love

“Have you been sniffing stuff again?” he asks.


It’s time to do laundry, and I have just announced this fact to the Bearded One, who manages to get absolutely filthy each and every day here. He’s been cleaning up Tropical Storm Iselle debris for three weeks, and has turned the project into rehabbing gardens and tending to the new bananas. Neat stacks of twigs, sticks, and branches dot the landscape now.

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“Of course I’ve been sniffing stuff,” I say. I sniff everything, it’s what I do. “You are out of T-shirts. We’re gonna have to do the laundry.”

He pauses and stares across the landscape.  His banana patch is taking off. “Tomorrow.”


This is an offer of an actual plan, something he is loath to make, so I pounce. “Done.”

Until then, I will wash out my favorite top and lightweight cotton cropped pants and his favorite soft old underwear and hang them on our new clothesline. Which he rigged between two palms out front between the gate and the house.

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Our “simple” off-grid life is still pretty complicated at this point. The solar panels are installed but not yet hooked up to the inverter nor to the battery nor to wires in the house. So we use a small generator to run the water pump (toilet, sink, and shower water from the catchment tank), computer, printer, and fans. The fridge, stove and hot water heater are propane, and will stay propane. The big solar system generator is also propane. But our small generator is ethanol-free gas.

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Each week we haul in some combination of propane, gas, and drinking water, and will continue to even after we have the solar running.

Right now I’ve got to start the little generator so I can wash out the favorite clothes and get them on the line. It’s sunny and windy today, the perfect combination.


I walk around the side of the house to the utility area where the new catchment tank sits. The bank of 4 solar batteries is still covered by plywood protecting them from Iselle. That’s also roughly where the Bearded One is pondering space for a movable washer and dryer.  On big dollies.

I head under the house and duck walk to the where the little red generator sits on its pallet.  I greet it, check its vitals (are the shims in place that tilt it just the way it likes?), turn the switch to On, plant my left foot on its side and pull the rope. Starts right up. Always a noisy relief.

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Lightweight clothes wash and wring out easily, but it’s still a lot of work. At least I have running water with the generator on. Clothes washers, in my opinion, are the best invention of mankind.

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I’d also like a dryer. Some days are just too wet and humid to dry anything, and I could run a dryer off the big generator. But I could also live without it. Lots of families do. Dryers take a lot of electricity, solar or otherwise generated.

Clotheslines are all over Hawaii. Colorful layers, odd combinations of people’s stuff, the overlap and flap of lives. I love our clothesline. So does the Bearded One. He comes over to help me hang the little tub of clothes. He kisses me from behind as I pin up my tissue thin orange top.

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I laugh and turn around and sniff his neck, a nice long snuffling sniff — he smells wonderful — then I kiss him back.  Laying it on the line.

24 responses to “Clothesline Love

  1. Even in Paradise the washing needs to be done! But how many get that gorgeous vista of clothes drying in the breeze and exotic greenery all around – not to mention a bearded man kissing your neck as you peg up the wispy garments …… sigh! xoxo

    • Aloha Pauline! No clotheslines in Seattle…it’s just so cool and wet all the time. I didn’t grow up with one, either — except seeing my grandmother’s when we visited in the summer. She hung the clothes in the basement in the winter. I like the outdoors smell from the line…and the kisses, yes! 🙂

  2. LOVE this!! And your new clothesline in the sunshine.

  3. This was a peaceful post. I love the smell of outdoor dried clothes. So fresh and clean. Even better with a pash (kiss) lol

  4. Brings JOY to my heart to read about you two lovebirds snuffling in the flush green spaces of your lives!

  5. Christine Widman

    Aaahh – clothesline love. Kisses on the back of the neck.
    Here I know both.
    I love hanging our B&B cotton sheets on our clothesline. Feeling the air. Hearing the ravens burbling at me. Seeing the mountains…the sky. Then the extraordinary scent of fresh sheets off the line as I iron & fold them.
    And best of all is that tingle when my love comes over from his repair of an irrigation line or filling the bird feeders to kiss that sweet soft spot.
    Our lives – miles and miles apart – and still connected.

    • Aloha Christine! I thought of your clothesline and those lovely B&B sheets when I put out our blanket yesterday. Just to air. You really are the Housekeeper of the Wind.

      We planners have to nab plan commitments whenever we can. 🙂

      The Bearded One has been mulching the little bananas. They need lots of moisture. There aren’t as many this close to the ocean…many more further inland. We are running out of pineapples now. They have been soooo good. Lots of new fruits to learn. Honi-honi (hugs and kisses) xxoo

  6. Christine Widman

    The Bearded One and me – “I don’t have a plan.”
    Tell him hurrahs about his banana patch.
    Hawaiian bananas are a delicacy of heaven.

  7. And suddenly…”there you are!” You are Hawaiian…you have flipped from being North American and now you are 50 state full on Hawaii with a flappy clothes line, a trade wind husband and stolen kisses among the palms and the banana circles. Would your 20 year old self EVER have believed this Ms Christi? 🙂

    • My 20 year old self was 75! 🙂 “I have walked through many lives, some of them my own, and I am not who I was, though some principle of being abides, from which I struggle not to stray.” from THE LAYERS by Stanley Kunitz. I’ve memorized the first line! And the last…”I am not done with my changes.” Love you, Fran. 🙂

  8. What a lovely post! You turned a chore into something beautiful.

  9. Hello Kristie and Keith all the way from Olalla and Port Orchard. I have always enjoyed reading your Blog. Thank you for take time out of your wonderful life to share our thoughts, your humor, and your endless wisdom. I stumbled across the following website and you two were the first thing that popped into my thoughts. Thought you and some of your followers might enjoy it. Love from Debbie ……a walk down Wiley Lane.

    • Aloha Debbie! And Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much!) for the comment and the link. 🙂 It looks interesting — chock full of info.

      Did I meet you at Lorie’s? I’m thinking you are the Debbie that I met there. In any case, what an upper to read this luscious compliment. 🙂 Hugs and love to you! xxoo Christi

  10. I love clotheslines, too . . . nothing like clothes and sheets fresh with the sun and wind . . . and how sweet to have wee kisses while hanging out the wash . . . make for perfect days, don’t they?

    • Aloha Linne, and I see where you have just had SNOW in Canada. In early September! Guess you’ll be bringing in the clothesline early this year. 😦 Mahalo for reading and checking in. Hugs xxoo

  11. Yes Christi, you are correct. Lori is how you know me. We processed chickens together and I delivered beautiful strawberries to you. We chatted on the road many times during our coming and going. I love reading your blog. I completes my week. Thank you.

    • Yes! I think of Lori often and hope she’s doing well. Wiley changed so much when she left. I never got over it! I love that you love the blog, Debbie, and that you’ve taken the time to comment.:) Mahalo to you, and much aloha xxoo

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