Irene Rawlings

The Clothesline

Everyone washes and dries clothes. Most of us have early memories of clotheslines and of the simpler times they represent. Even people who don't hang their clothes out have fond feelings for a time when towels hung out on the line smelled like spring.

What is a clothesline? A clothesline can be colorful Amish quilts hanging out on the front porch of an Iowa farmhouse, an old-fashioned skirted bathing suit drying on a rusty nail in a Maine summer house, a long row of dish towels haphazardly hung on a ranch house line, wool socks drying on a steam radiator in a tiny New York walk up, white sheets flapping furiously in a fierce prairie wind that comes just before the rain or blue jeans frozen stiff on a wintry line in Montana.

Hanging laundry on a line is one of modern life's luxuries. It represents time. Time to be alone. Time to think, even to meditate, accompanied by the repeated actions of hanging clothes--stooping, straightening, lifting, hanging, breathing, watching the clouds. There is a spirituality in the simple, positive actions of this everyday activity.

Selected Works

Non-fiction
Hanging the laundry is a labor of love that connects us to our mothers and grandmothers, and to the simpler times spent sharing recipes, remedies and closely held secrets over the back fence. With tips for creating a fabulous laundry room, information on laundry collectibles, hints for easy care of heirloom linens and traditional wash-day recipes like lavender ironing water and verbena soap, The Clothesline puts a positive spin in everyone's rinse cycle.
From restored trailers to all-weather tepees, whimsical yurts, converted packing crates, modular ski pods, inflatable one-room huts, renovated train cars, vintage wooden boats, and even a 747, Portable Houses takes you behind the scenes to meet the designers, architects, builders and owners who will inspire you to choose the portable life style. Illustrated with photos of some of the worlds most ingenious portable structures, this book shows how to make movable homes functional and practical by including tips on acquiring travel tools and gear, problem solving and converting the dream into a highway-legal reality.
What's stronger than campfire coffee and wider than the Montana sky? It's the bond shared by Sisters on the Fly, a group of more than 2,000 women, ranging in age from 22 to more than 90. They enjoy fly fishing, playing poker for pennies, cooking food in cast iron (heavy, yes, but you don't have to go to the gym quite so often) and telling tall tales around the campfire. Sisters on the Fly find (sometimes for as little as $50 in a farmer's field), restore and travel in their uniquely decorated "homes on the range." Their one-of-a-kind vintage trailers have iconic names such as Sister Sioux, Rhinestone Cowgirl and Calamity Jane. Sisters on the Fly features tales from the open road, chic trailer décor, recipes that would make John Wayne himself weak in the knees and plenty of hints and tips to help transform a vintage trailed from "trashed to treasured."

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