Monday, February 24, 2014

Getting Ready for Spring Gardening

We started our first seedlings in early January.  It didn't take long to run out of space.  I had tried to economize by buying the smaller seed trays (from Johnny's) but it became evident fairly quickly that I would have to repot them in peat pots as they outgrew the seed trays.  Annoying. 

Anyway, we have hundreds of seedlings growing nicely.  Keep your fingers crossed that they'll all grow in the garden!  Marc already tilled two of the three gardens so they're ready to hill up and plant. 

We can't wait to get started and get some fresh vegetables growing.  But wait we must.  We are used to a USDA zone 8-9 in Texas, in which gardening could be done year round.  It's a bit different here.  We're in zone 6B.  Without a good greenhouse, nothing can be grown outside in winter.  In Texas, potatoes were traditionally planted on Valentine's Day but here it's St. Patrick's Day - a full month later!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Freeze Dried Laundry or Sublimation is Sublime

This picture shows laundry drying on a clothesline with snow on the ground.  The temp is around 22 deg. 

Since we moved, I've been hanging out all laundry to dry. We do have a dryer but it's in the other house and we haven't moved it over cause we are planning to remodel the laundry area and need to do some rewiring first. Also, I enjoy hanging out the laundry because I really like the fresh smell and the fact that it's FREE.

Hanging out laundry in and of itself is simple however, to ensure that you always have clean clothing or sheets at the ready takes some planning and work. Line drying in the summer is a breeze (pun intended) but in the winter it's a bit more work.

I had heard about "freeze drying" laundry in the winter but had never tried it and didn't know anyone who had.  I googled it and found that wet laundry does in fact dry even at below freezing temperatures. Apparently the process is called sublimation (as opposed to evaporation in warm temps).  Sublimation basically is when the water in the clothing freezes and then turns directly to a gas without going through the liquid state.  Humidity is the important factor - if it's too high the laundry may not dry completely in one day.  And yes even jeans and towels dry in freezing temps!

I keep an eye on the weather, using the Weather Channel app on my I-phone. When a nice sunny or low humidity day is in the forecast, I plan to do a lot of laundry at one time on those days.  Sometimes I wash the night before so it will be ready to hang in the morning. I need a large supply of clothespins in order to get a lot of laundry done at one time. I have to get the laundry out early so that as soon as it's sunny it will start to dry. I have to get it in before it gets dark so that the dampness won't set in. It sounds like a lot of work but I think the payoff is worth it.

The minimum washloads I do per week includes three loads of clothing, one load of sheets, one load of blankets, two loads of towels and one load of kitchen towels. According to the Cost Calculator on the website Project Laundry List, I am saving approximately $221.90 per year by line drying those 8 loads of laundry.  That's really a lot of savings. 

Of course if you line dry laundry you MUST have a Clothes Pin Bag.  If you sew and want to make one of your own, visit my Etsy shop and instantly download your pattern today!