Friday, March 14, 2014

Bush Stone-curlew and Hills Hoist

In Kuranda, I was called out of the building afterwards to see some birds. I took photos.

They looked at first glance like road runners. Not that I thought they were, but that's the first bird they reminded me of. Not their posture, and not their eyes, but something about their shape and movement and coloring. But that's probably mostly because I'm not a bird person, so all of you who see the 45 ways in which they are NOTHING like road runners, feel free to know how very little I know about birds.

But guess what I know about now?

I showed the photos to Caroline, of my host family in Mount Molloy. I pointed at the pipe with a crank and asked if it was a water pump of some sort. I was picturing some sort of rotary wankle hand pump. She said it was a clothesline called a Hills Hoist. You can put the clothes on it while it's lowered and then crank it up higher. To get more sun and air, I guess.

In Scotland I saw clotheslines in the houses that people load up and then hoist with cord and pulleys and then hook it so the clothes are up in the high ceiling where the heat is. My granny had a quilt frame that could be hung from the ceiling with cord and pullies—lifted up for meals, and lowered again for quilting. Lanterns and chandeliers that held candles used to be lowered to light, lifted high up to burn.

So. Maybe it's a Scottish thing. Maybe it's just a thing.

I was telling Jo, my Adelaide hostess, by chance on the way from the airport. She said she has a clothesline but it doesn't crank up.

So I did my laundry and she went to show me her clothesline and though she hadn't noticed before, it was *one of those*!

I looked them up. They're still manufactured, in different sizes, and cost between $450 and $600 but they certainly last a long time, and work well. This one Jo didn't know had a mechanism worked fine. The first turn of the crank was about as hard as an outside water faucet that's been shut hard on the washer all winter. One hard turn and then it turned very freely. There's a little hole above the crank that says "oil here." It didn't need any, but if it had, there it would go.


Unknown said...

They're well known amongst Australian children for swinging on.

Sandra Dodd said...
I read some of the comments, and it seems really fun. This one at Jo's house seems strong enough.

Jo said...

I feel bad for not knowing I had an icon in my yard!! I'm going to crank it up in winter!

Jo said...

Oh, i saw the swinging post! We will get Kai to try it out!

Unknown said...

Awesome clothesline, *and* awesome birds!!

Karen Lee said...

There is a really funny story about a boy swinging on the clothesline in the book, "Just Annoying" by Aussie author, Andy Griffiths (he's a bit of an icon for funny fiction aimed at maybe 5-11 year olds?). It's a very silly story!! (chapter 9 in the book)

"9. Swinging on the clothesline
Andy's parents attempt to stop him from swinging on the clothesline by tying a large, fierce dog to it. But all Andy sees is an opportunity to harness the brute strength of the dog to propel himself even faster."

Unknown said...

Wow, the things us Aussies take for granted:) You can't swing on the plasticy versions like the one we've got. The whole thing would crumple. Sandra, what do Americans hang their clothes on? Are your clothes lines just straight ones? I'm now intrigued.

Unknown said...

Ps We love Andy Griffiths, Karen and love that particular story:)

Unknown said...

Oh and another thing....we went to visit a local bird guy for a homeschooling get together last year and he had a pet curlew. It was the cutest bird ever. It followed him around like a puppy and was really protective of him. It even went for a couple of the littler kids because it thought they were a threat:) It was a sweety but also a force to be reckoned with for the 2 year olds!

Sandra Dodd said...

Maybe remember how expensive they are these days before introducing Kai to the possibility of breaking it. :-)

Sandra Dodd said...

Kim, there are different kinds of clothes lines different places, but in the west where I live they tend to be a post with a cross piece (steel, or some older ones wood) with wires (usually four or five) from one side to the other.

But I've seen the umbrella sort with a center pole, but never anything as solid as this Hills Hoist. It really is a great design.

At my house Keith made me one single line on pulleys that I can hang things on from the back [kind of a] porch, and then run them out where they are too high to reach. Hard to describe. Usually we use the dryer, but I use that line pretty often—it just won't hold a whole washer load and it's four rooms away.

Natarsha said...

When I was a kid, we were told (I cannot remember by who) that curlew's were 'evil'... I suppose because of the noise they make... : ) I chose not to pass that on to the girls, as who likes to feel like the boogeyman is going to come and get ya in your own front yard!

Curlew's singing:

Sandra Dodd said...

(Made that link work. It worked in e-mail notifications, but to make a link work in a blogspot comment, or if you're writing html, the directions are here:
It's just a bit of code.)