When did it start raining? It is certainly raining incessantly since the start of spring. The constant rain is driving everyone, especially farmers around the twist. We’re talking about it on the phone and trying to manage it at home. When it doesn’t stop, it pulls down the mood.

On Saturday evening, I put out a load of washing. I had checked the weather app and seeing that there was no rain forecast for Sunday, I was organised. I woke about 7am on Sunday. The weather was breezy and dry. My first thought was about my washing. How sad is that? I rolled over for a further sleep dreaming of fresh smelling, soft, dry clothes. I woke again around 8am. The window was wet and there was a light drizzle falling. I was obsessed with the clothes.

With seven people in the house, there is a lot of washing and it takes managing. I have several clothes lines outside in the garden. They are not serving me well lately. I have a few lines in the garage. The damp atmosphere means that clothes take several days to dry there. I have a trusty clothes horse hanging from the ceiling in the back kitchen. I also have a dryer but it is expensive to run and I try to avoid using it. Despite my best efforts, I’ve had to press it into service too often in the last few weeks. I end up feeling guilty. Some houses have lines across the kitchen above the Stanley or Aga range. I remember that was the way in the house where I grew up. New houses have air to water systems with no stoves, or oil fired cookers. Colm and Elaine and David and Julie’s new houses have no fires. They have no radiators either. It will be interesting to see how their washing is managed, especially in long stretches of wet weather such as we’re having at the moment.

Dry spell

I got up and headed out to rescue the washing. It had got a little damp. At least it was nearly dry. It continued to rain all day Sunday despite the dry forecast. Michelle Dillon gave the weather forecast after the 9pm news. Basically no sign of a a dry spell ahead. Tim was answering her back “Ah come on Michelle, you can’t be serious. What are you smiling about?” as she signed off. Somehow, Tim managed to find a window for the contractor to spread fertiliser as we finish the first round of grazing. Grazing is hugely difficult. We are fortunate that we can graze. Many herds of cows haven’t ventured out yet, adding expense and stress to all involved. Fields remain waterlogged and machinery cannot travel in these conditions without doing damage to the ground.

Washing too much

Our way of life as farmers generates an inordinate amount of washing in inclement weather. We wear protective clothing over what I call the yard clothes. Nevertheless, we get wet and have to change often giving rise to more washing, more drying, more folding, more storing away. I despair when I see where a fellow has disrobed in front of the washing machine right down to the skin. I won’t admonish him because I can just imagine the discomfort, the need to get dry and not catch a cold.

Our way of life as farmers generates an inordinate amount of washing in inclement weather

The care of clothes is a task that almost always falls to the woman of the house. It largely goes unappreciated because on the face of it, there’s a washing machine and a dryer there.

But do you ever ponder how your clothes get neatly folded into the drawer or wardrobe? Teenagers don’t think too much on this. An item of clothing may only be worn once before it’s pegged into the wash bin. A demand to tidy the room can result in a pile of even more washing.

So it’s time to learn about folding clothes and hanging them up and wearing them again. Get the family involved in the care of the clothes. Tim is great to rescue a washing from the line if I’m not around. The Easter holidays are here. What a great opportunity to focus on reducing the washing load or better still getting the family on board for folding and sorting.

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