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Bob Lind, Published April 13 2014

Neighbors: Old wood-piling practices go up in smoke

A column about the use of clotheslines in the past was “precisely reminiscent of the way my mother used it, and it brings to mind a (non-clothesline) story from the male side of housekeeping,” writes Ed Hentges, Fountain City, Wis.

Ed says a childhood friend from Valley City, N.D., sent him the column because “he knows I enjoy reminiscing.”

And he passes on his reminiscences of when, “We burned wood, and the saw rig would pull into our driveway to saw cord wood into furnace size, which would then be piled outside until there was room for it in the basement.

“My brothers and I would have the task of carrying it from outside and handing it to our dad who was piling it inside. The rule was ‘one piece at a time,’ so that if you ever tried to hand him a couple of smaller pieces, he’d sound the reminder.

“Another rule,” Ed writes, “was that you must pile wood ‘bark down,’ and if the occasion arose when one of us would try and slip a piece upside down in a v-shaped niche on the pile that would accommodate it nicely, the ‘bark down’ rule would be cited. No exceptions, nice niche or not.

“I often observe woodpiles now that that heating method has come back into practice more frequently, but I have yet to see one that lives up to the ‘bark down’ rule. Young people nowadays,” Ed observes, “just don’t observe precedence!”

Hanging it all out

But going back to the old clothesline, “It’s not a thing of memory for me, because I use my clothes line a lot in the summer,” Karen Nelson, Portland, N.D., writes.

“I like to hang out all my rugs, sheets, blankets and towels on a windy day; they don’t take long to get dry.

“The clothesline is also good to hang jeans on to dry more quickly.”

So thanks to Karen for reporting that the clothesline is not totally a line out of the past.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com