Sustainability At Work

Sometimes I do things because it just makes sense to me at that time. When we moved out to the country the thing I wanted most was a clothes line. I resented the fact that living in town with restrictions against them really bothered me. I can understand it aesthetically, but with wood privacy fences galore, I couldn't reason out in my head about, "What's the big deal?". I LIKE hanging clothes outside. Its good for the environment, my clothes and my wallet. Running the A/C in 100 degree weather June-August here and Texas is necessary if you don't live in the woods. Add running a clothes dryer in the house and the poor A/C system struggles to keep up with the added heat. Thus, my rant.

When we installed the clothes line here, we used 4x4 wood post framework and strung 3 lines of vinyl coated wire in between. Our backyard is fenced in so the neighbors don't have to bear the view of unsightly laundry blowing in the wind. It has worked beautifully and actually dries faster than my indoor dryer.

When we started getting rabbits we realized me needed shade. It was then we built the animal enclosure which encompasses the end of the clothesline frame into its structure. Not long afterwards we added grape vines to grow over the animal enclosure. Its worked wonderfully also.

As I hung a load of jeans out to dry this morning, I looked at the grapes hanging from the clothesline and just smiled. I never thought I would see so many sustainability systems converge at our house.

Can you see the rabbit hutches through the grape vines?

This has provided:
  • solar clothes dryer - saves life of dryer
  • food to eat - both leaves and grapes
  • shade for the rabbits - much cooler and safe for them to eat
  • energy savings - fans for rabbit area reduced, not using dryer, and not adding to the heat level of our house in the summer
  • our clothes last longer because the dryer does damage them over time
  • needed exercise and a chance to soak up some much needed vitamin D for my health
We keep our animals well taken care of so hygiene and odor issues are kept to a minimum. Because I like efficiency, this works for us very well and has for the 2 years that the grapes have flourished.


  1. Love the idea of a grape vine near drying clothes. Here in Poland, like much of Europe, electricity is so expensive that no one uses clothes driers. Apartment dwellers like us us drying racks. I'm amazed how fast things dry, particularly in the winter when the heat's on.

    Back in NJ, where I grew up, my mom loved her linens dried outside.

    Great post.

  2. Thanks. We could be in the same boat in the US is a few years on expensive energy. Scary. I grew up in the country and we often used a clothesline. I really enjoy it. I need to see about getting some drying racks for winter. I like that idea too.


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