Crofting- Trading Time

spring laundry line

Laundry rarely dries stiff here. Wind is constant, and usually strong. My laundry danced as if it was starring in Swan Lake. I have a washer and dryer in the house, and I am using the washer – cold water only – until the new washtub stand is built and I can do laundry outside and get it really clean. But I don’t like dryers, and while convenient in stormy weather and while I was sick, I prefer not to use it.

It was laundry day all over the settlement, apparently. I drove across the river and up the mountain to the garage that cares for my truck, and many neighbours had laundry on the line. I can tell a lot about my neighbours’ lives by their laundry lines. I see green and gold shorts and t-shirts on one line, and say to myself, “Oh, the Anderson kids are playing soccer this year.” And then, further on, men’s coveralls waving and kicking like a chorus line: Bob has cleaned out the barns. Down the road, Nadia has scrubs and turtlenecks on her porch line, so she must be working nights at the hospital.

Spring in the north – the misty pink aura of budding trees is deeper red in some places, cloudy white in others, as leaf buds break through. The rose bushes, presumed dead, are unfurling minute veined leaves. Tulip leaves are pushing through bracken and mulch in front of old wagon wheels, and we found crocuses blooming on the field edge, discards from last year’s Easter plants.

We trade our time for money, not by working, but by not spending. We don’t spend on electricity by using the wind (which is free, and as the schooner captain said, we haven’t run out yet.) We don’t spend on nursery plants by appreciating the incredible landscaping the Great Architect planned for us.

I almost ordered a cape dress for me and trousers for Nicholas on eBay this week, but the cost of the outlay for three pieces of made-up fabric for myself and him came to about what I need to pay for the repair on the truck. So I will trade my time for money – sewing these clothes instead of buying them. And I will sew them on the Pfaff – given to me at a charity sale and then repaired by my husband rather than buying a new one. Time is money – money we don’t need to spend.

The Pfaff, hard at work


16 thoughts on “Crofting- Trading Time

  1. Every year I tell myself that I will figure out how to start my own seedlings for the garden and then next thing I know it is May and I haven’t done so. Since I always plant on Mother’s Day (my own way of getting a break) it is then to late to start the seedlings.

    I have bought a few cape dresses on ebay. I don’t know how to sew anything other than a straight line. I can sew curtains and pillows but not clothing. I have always been envious of those that can.

    I do however save in otherways. I freeze extras rather than throw them out. I hollow out the tomatoes to stuff them in the summer when it is to hot to cook and freeze the centers to make sauce with in the crock pot during the winter. I compost almost everything from the kitchen and recycle what I can. I have taken to heart your food waste project. The only thing that went in trash tonight was the bones from the chicken.

    I cut corners where I can and bake what I can. I do not use the dryer and even in the winter if the boys cannot get me a path to the clothes line, I hang the laundry in the basement. We heat with a pellet stove in the livingroom so the only time we need oil is for dishwashing and bathing.

    I know we can do better. I need to do better. Just think I need to work on moderation or learn some new skills.

    • Sewing is one of those things that once you learn a few techniques, you will realize how much you were missing! Try youtube. April was a terribly expensive month because I was ill. May is looking better.

      • I have a sewing machine and we’ve worked out a truce in the last few years. I won’t attempt to use it, and it won’t make huge snarls of thread around the bobbin, thus inciting me to throw it out the window.

        Perhaps you could earn extra money in your (ha!) free time by sewing for us nincompoops who are hopelessly inempt with a sewing machine? I know I for one would pay for such a service without grumbling.

      • I will be sewing things like aprons and bonnets to sell at the farmer’s market. I don’t know if I’m ready to venture into custom sewing. I have a friend near Montreal that does that sort of thing. If you are interested, I can put you in touch with her.

    • I like being able to get a custom fit when sewing. I am very short-waisted and have muscular biceps, shoulders and calves. I have to buy dresses too big otherwise.

  2. I wash everything in cold water also. Hang the shirts and dresses on hangers and hubby’s trousers over chairs and here, even in winter, dry amazingly fast for it is a drier climate here in NM than in Northern AZ.

    Also dries out my skin more here, especially since we’ve had high winds. Have to slap on the shea butter cream.

  3. clothes on the line must be in the air.. It was a great day for drying here in Maine the wind was blowing good.. I had two loads on the line.. I like to save as much as we can we have a propane dryer inside along with three wall mounts for drying clothes.. The Amish style.. I make my own laundry detergent along with soap @ times.. I have a dishwasher and I make my own soap for that.. I try to save in everyway.. I use night lights and oil lamps -candles. I try to cook from scratch right now I’m spoiled cause I’m still laid up with my achilles tendon so a lot of store bought things to make it easy for Ray.. I re-use plastic bags I put them in the washer and hang to dry.. Make my own teas from mint. I sew a lot of my own clothes make my own dresses and aprons.. Headcoverings I have several styles.. I have a very large garden and can plan to sell produce and jam-jelly again this year. I have my bakers license so I make bread and different things for the stand. Once I get a camera again I will start taking lots of pictures.. Have a good night.. God Bless

  4. We have a similar philosophy when it comes to money. We hang our laundry year round, outside in the spring, summer, and fall months, and in the basement through the winter. People often assume that they need more money coming in then they can live better, but we think it is better to make the money that you currently have available stretch to do the most that it can do.

  5. Wow, that Pfaff is an old beast! I bet it will sew through anything!! I wish I still had mom’s old White, it was fabulous. I’m done all the highland sewing so now I can get to work on new dresses for Ella and I. I buy Colin’s clothes, especially work clothes. They just get wrecked so quickly. The corn stove is likely going off for the year, so we will be back to drying outside too.

    At this time of life I find that I sometimes trade money for time. I will buy some things more processed (eg, grated cheese, Ella t’s and tights) because it’s more important to have the time than do everything from scratch. But that will change as Ella gets older. I’d rather enjoy her now, than wish I had.

    djanon -don’t be afraid to try sewing clothes. It’s really not that hard. Check out this site this is the pattern I use for my cape dresses. It goes together very easily. Best thing is you get all the sizes. So get some tracing fabric and you can get a pattern that fits properly.

    • I think things kids wear through quickly are more economically purchased these days. I woldn’t want to be sewing a stack of knickers every couple of months! I too sometimes go for a prepared basic food – like grated cheese – and when I was sick I didn’t mind at all buying cans of soup and bake at home pizzas!

      I too trace off all the sizes of a pattern! Regular tissue paper works well, if you can get big sheets of it.

      • I like it too, but I need something aprony. I would like this one especially for the younger women, as it is very fresh and feminine looking – and it would be a good summer dress in the warmer climes, where you just don’t want an apron and cape over a dress!

  6. I didn’t use the buttons and have the one with the zipper in the back.. I like my Amish dress pattern and I almost always wear an apron.. I have so many but now I’m changing the style of my aprons.. Aprons sure do good to save on the clothes… I would like to send you an PM where should I send it??? thanks..

  7. Yes please, I’d love to get her info—though it’ll be at least another month before I have spare $ enough to buy a dress. Finding stuff in my size is also hard—think short & umm…well.. okay. Kinda fat. Buxom, long-waisted–muscular arms—if it fits one place it’s tight in another. Endlessly annoying. Thanks!

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