Doing a Phoenix

There are some projects that, once completed, fill your very being with warmth and delight. It is these very projects, however, that often epitomise the saying, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder. In other words, what you think is utterly fantastic will, nine times out of ten, get the “What the..?” response when shown off (with the obligatory “Ta Daaah!”) to any Homestead visitors.

One example of this is our Ingenious Clothes Airer; four years on, this is a Homestead creation that still fills us with joy.

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It also comes in handy curing soap;  utterly brilliant!

Made from an abandoned clothes horse discovered languishing on the side of  a local road, a couple of pulleys, and a few metres of sash cord, this device allows us to dry the sort of stuff you want to keep out of visitors sight, inside the house. Tucked away near the laundry ceiling well within the warm breath of the woodburner, but concealed behind a sneaky louvre door, the Homestead unmentionables are guaranteed to dry, whatever the weather. Rain, do your worst!  Sadly, the benefits of this marvel are lost on most of the people we’ve shared it with, some of them even going so far as to inform us of the invention of the electric clothes drier.  We don’t let them dim our light, though. 

Another much lauded Homestead project was that of the rustic arch.  Quirky, cute and one-of-a-kind, we constructed it as a support for the Pinot Gris grape cutting; a majestic entrance way to the Homestead Bicycle Fleet Stable. We’d utilised branches of  the Yew we felled when it’s animal poisoning capabilities were discovered, cunningly knotted together with the obligatory binder twine, and we believed it to be a thing of utter beauty. Whenever we wheeled our bicycles under the rustic arch, with the emergent grape leaves rustling gently overhead in the breeze, our hearts sung.

Ta Daaaah!
Ta Daaaah!

If any of us noticed the leaves rustling closer to the top of our heads as the weeks passed by and the vine bulked out, no one mentioned it. Any furtive straightening of the arch after a spell of blustery weather was also not spoken of. There comes a time,though, when you can no longer hide from the truth.

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“Catastrophic Failure,” the Mechanical Engineer intoned.

But all is not lost! The amazing Ingenious Clothes Airer also suffered a set-back (it turned out the beam wasn’t where we thought it was, and no, it wouldn’t “be fine”) and look at that now! So, this weekend’s project is set: a complete rebuild incorporating that vital Homestead building component we foolishly overlooked the first time round: long nails. 

Just like the phoenix, and our clothes airer, the rustic arch will also rise from the ashes.

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8 thoughts on “Doing a Phoenix

  1. You have great spirit and sense of humour. It is always comforting to hear others’ stories of coping with failures – we just had a serious one a couple of days ago in a big windstorm which has left us scratching our heads. I hope we can learn to laugh about it as you have. I still don’t have the heart to take any pictures or talk about it .

  2. The clothes airer is a most practical invention, just like the airer we used to have when I was young before the days of electric dryers. I, myself, have never used electricity to dry my clothes, Auckland was always so windy everything dried in a twink and I have had central heating since I came back to the UK.

  3. Haha…love tootlepedals comment – maybe one has to be a certain age to get it, though 🙂

    I have bits of fence all over my property slowly giving way under the weight of clematis or honeysuckle – the vigour of vines is amazing. I made an arch once and it kind of shimmied almost from the get go every time someone touched it, let alone if a breeze was up, and I learned after it fell down a few weeks later that it lacked “bracing”. They didn’t talk about that in Girl Guides when I was making bivouacs…

    I think your drying rack in the laundry room is ingenious, and I’m deeply envious that you HAVE a laundry room. My washer is in the far corner of the basement, surrounded by the work bench on one side and all the spare poultry waterers, feeders, heat lamps etc on the other. And a 6 ft ceiling, so no hanging anything I don’t want to bang my head on.

    • Thanks for being so kind about our drying rack. When we moved in, the laundry room was massive and had a huge hole in the floor (when we took up the carpet we discovered the floor was made in part from very absorbent softboard) which the washing machine plummeted into twice when not enough attention was given to balancing the load.
      To be fair re head hitting, with the exception of the Farmer and Renovator, we’re pretty unlikely to be put out by low ceilings not being blessed in the height department.

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