Luke’s Journal: Spring’s light, laundry, and supper

There is nothing so sweet as the first real days of spring.  The soft, warm rays of the sun appearing over the horizon telling you the long dark is finally over.

Those first few weeks of torture are now past.  The ice is broken, and the lakes are again free for fishing.

The air is perfumed with the buds of new growth and dull colors of browns and greys have been replaced with light greens, yellows, with speckles of blue and pink.

Now is the time of freedom.  Time to open the doors and windows and allow the fresh air to wash away winters musky stench.

It’s also time to take back my own personal section of the wilderness.  I clean off an area from leaves and twigs.  Then I build a fire.  Small at first.  My own little homage if you will.  Then I slowly build it up.  Relishing the mix of fresh, crisp air and the deep, rich smell of the hardwood as it burns.  Then I set up the tripod and hang the pot full of water to heat.  As the water warms, I take the old 550 cord and string it between two trees. I’ve used 550 cord, or paracord depending on how you call it, ever since my clothesline rotted away from a year’s use.  Once the water’s ready, I set myself to spring’s first chore.

My wash line is simple.  A pile of clothes to my left, the wash tub, the rinse tub, and then the line.  I take each item and wash them with care.  My washboard is glass so it will not rust and shred my clothing like a cheese-grater.  The soap is bio degradable and non-perfumed so as to not give away my position when I hunt.  When hanging the clothes on the line, I use a mix of surviving clothes pins and ones I have whittled myself over the winter from various spruce branches.

Once the laundry is done, I dump the water and set up for dinner.  Trout tonight!  A little salt, a little pepper, a little dried lemon zest from the rinds I saved last fall… Delicious.  And a cup of pine needle tea to wash it down.  I use the rest of the water to wash up.

Content, I sit back and watch the laundry billow in the wind like multicolored sails on a sailboat.  It’s wonderful knowing that tonight my house will not be crowded with the hanging of wet laundry as it slowly dries from the heat of the stove.  Yes the added humidity is good during the dark, but having to carefully duck and weave my way around gets old fast.  Freedom is movement.

I light a celebratory pipe while thinking about those words.  “Freedom is movement.”  Spring opens up the earth and gives us that freedom.

3 thoughts on “Luke’s Journal: Spring’s light, laundry, and supper

  1. This reminds me of my grandmother. When I was young, she had a crank clothes washer, and I would help her hang sheets on the line. Nothing is quite as comfortable as line dried sheets and pillow cases.

  2. I love sheets and towels that have dried naturally in the sun and fresh air. They feel and smell so crisp. And I have to say, I’ve never heard of pine needle tea before. Is this something you make yourself or do you purchase the tea bags?

    • I read about it from Tom Brown Jr. in his field guide, “WIld, Edible,and Medicinal Plants”

      page 166: “pulling off to what amounted to a handfull of newer needles…. He began to dice up the needles…dumped these into the hot water and took the pot off the fire. I expected it to taste as it smelled: bitter, piney, and full of resin. What I drank was an absolutely delicious cup of tes.”

      A reader at Native tech warns that pregnant woman should not drink it, saying it’s very bad for the pregnancy. Note that their recipe uses parts of the branches and the flowers as well, increasing the potency of the tea. I say check with your doctor first.

      I also recommend using the newest needles possible from a tree that is away from busy roads and freeways. Plant leaves absorb CO and trace elements mixed with it.

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