Scenes from a suburban homestead

13 Sep 2006

I realise this is an Autumn scene but it is also a lovely painting and half the world is heading into Autumn so I've joined in.

My husband has been spending a lot of time in the garden lately mostly doing a late pruning of our fruit trees. Time got away from him this year and so some blossoming branches were lopped but the trees will be better for it.

But before the loppings could be dealt with something more pressing had to be taken care of. His present for Father's Day was a new mix for his beer brewing kit. Beer brewing used to be an annual ritual but had fallen by the wayside. Fortunately and typically he still had all the beer bottles so now they have to be washed and sterilised and then the beer making can begin.....

After the bottles were found it was time for a spot of green carpentry. That means using green rather than seaoned wood although it is quite a "green" way of using garden waste as well. Mr Wren is well known for never wasting anything so every year he methodically cuts up all the prunings into kindling for the fire. It is then stored till the following winter and is great for a crackling fire. Anyway this year he is attempting to make a stool using pear wood and pussy willow wood. This is the start of it , the two top pieces will not be together but will be joined to the edges of the seat.

The pussy willow grew from what looked like a dead stick about as thick as your little finger and 18 inches long. It was put into a small hole about 8 inches deep and filled with water then dirt and left to do its thing. It did!

My husband is intent on coppicing it, something that probably should have been started when it was a smaller tree but we'll see how it goes.

While all this was going on I was doing the washing. This is the ubiquitous Hills Hoist found in many suburban back gardens since the 1950s,although it is becoming less common. I cannot believe there are some places in the US where you can't hang your washing out. Is that true or an urban myth?

After the washing I went inside for a quiet sit and think and a cuppa. I think some knitting was probably on the agenda as well.

9 Responses to “Scenes from a suburban homestead”

  1. My DH is a big brewer. He does all grain. He has taken old cags and converted them to brew pots, so he can do 10 gallons at one time. It is just about time to brew his pumpkin ale. Everybody’s fav !! Clarice

  2. You've been busy! I absolutely love the stool your hubby made, it's absolutely excellent and a great way to re-use garden waste! :)

    I also love to see washing out on the line, we have a washing line similar to yours, and it's one of my favourite 'chores' to put the washing out - it smells so much nicer than room-dried. I've heard American's talking about not being able to hang their washing out on the line - it's insane, does that mean everything has to be tumbled?! Talk about awful for the environment!

    What are you knitting? :) Take care

  3. It certainly is true that there are some places where us Americans can't hang out our laundry. In fact, I only know one person who actually uses a clothes line (and I don't live in the city!).

    I like your pussy willow!

  4. Hi Jenny,
    My husband used to make wine, but that has fallen by the wayside here. What a great idea for a stool! And yes, there are some places, I hear, where you cannot hang your laundry.

  5. It is common in newly developed subdivisions for there to be covenants or "rules" that govern whether or not you can hang out washing (and how you can/must decorate for holidays, and what types of vehicles can be parked in the drive, etc. Alot of concern for appearance and property value. We live rurally for a reason!) Older subdivisions, and many rural areas, it is not the case. Where I live, there are lots of us who still hang wash.. although my current work life means I don't do it so much in the autumn/winter. But I did this summer. For the first 6 years we lived in this house, I had no dryer at all...and I used cloth diapers. That was a bit odd for most Americans. But I was SAHM with only 2 kids then, so it was easier to accomplish, and easier to hang the wash indoors by the woodstove in the winter.

  6. What fun pictures! Now, what are you knitting?


  7. It is so true about it being against some housing associations rules about hanging your laundry out on a line. I think hanging laundry on the line is actually kind of beautiful. I think there are worse things to be worried about. Luckily we moved and do not have a housing association now. I loved all your photos today.

  8. Hi Jenny
    I'm attempting home brew this year. Ginger tends to if I'm offline for a while you know what's happened!

  9. thank you for the autumn picture :)

    Almost no one hangs their laundry outside around here. And I sheepishly admit to preferring the scent of fabric softener to line dried clothing. But then, I don't have Tasmanian air.

    I heard it mentioned on a documentary that Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world. Perhaps I'd enjoy the scent of Tasmanian air-dried laundry.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.