After going without for about 3 years, my good neighbour gave me a washing machine, It doesn't work yet, but I think I can fix it. The first job though, is to build a new Laundry as my old one is storing a couple of arm chairs, the hens are laying eggs in them and I don't want to disturb a happy routine..

It's all part of a bigger picture..
I need water for my trees which are suffering in this drought we're having on Waiheke. The thing is, I probably still have plenty of water in my water tank as I don't have a Washing Machine or Hot Water and my kitchen sink drains into a bucket which we take outside to empty, so we don't get through a lot of water around here. The thing is I'm reluctant to put clean drinking water straight on my trees without getting a little more use out of it first, so in that way my new washing machine will provide water for my thirsty trees.


My shiny modern washing machine next to the old bucket laundry system.

Behind, you can see a clump of weeds next to some pipes against the wall of the house. That is going to become my new laundry!

You can see how dry it is, the grass barely manages a hint of green.

On the right, you can see my mini food forest, actually more of a jungle, but it has the most delicious peaches as well as grapes fruiting at the moment.


.. A closer look at the weeds.. Note the rusty old mesh frames sticking out the bottom corner, 'There's no such thing as rubbish in nature, only resources and what we choose to do with them' I heard somebody say that on the radio one time, but I think it's worth adding that things, especially living things, have an intrinsic value of their own which goes beyond any use that we might want to put them to as 'Resources'


Next Day:
A quick trip to Placemakers for Cement and Builders Mix.
I grew up in Christchurch and learned there wasn't much that you couldn't do on a bicycle. Most of my life, I've not owned a car although I do drive them often enough.



See how that mesh came in handy, I love how that sh*t works out!



Now the framing is complete but I want to wait for the concrete to cure before I put any more nails in. I'm loving this little project and it's really getting me out into my back yard. There are so many really amazing blessings out there, many of them the legacy of an elderly couple who's home this was for so many years.


Tuesday 16th Feb..


Now at last our lovely washing machine is safe from the rain, and it is raining too. Not enough to end the drought but enough to give me shocks off the angle grinder I was using to cut the roofing iron. (Don't worry folks, my outdoor power sockets are RCD protected for safety.)

There is still a lot of work to do on the little wash room yet but now at least it can rest for a few days while I do other things..

... And many other things indeed I have done but..


Hey, I now have a functioning washing machine with it's own rudimentary gray water system! I've only used it twice in the last 3 weeks but hey it's cool I like it.

The End.

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Comment by Dinah Dunavan on February 23, 2010 at 6:21pm
We splurged and bought a front loader. It uses less than half the water of a top loader and is way easier to use than my old method of two tubs and a hand wringer. Remarkably the clothes are cleaner too, and I can dally on the internet while the wash is on.
Comment by Kali on February 16, 2010 at 4:18pm
yes well i have a notice up at the supermarket for a replacement wringer machine, but if that is not successful will have to upgrade, an elderly fellow contacted me who fixes up washing machines, he had the top wringer part in his shed and offered it to me but it doesn't quite fit. I will buy a machine from him if I need to, his shed is a marvel of neatly piled parts and many machines on their way to ressurection.
Comment by Jacob. on February 16, 2010 at 3:07pm
Hi Kali, Thanks for comment. I can feel my South Island roots stirring. I have the utmost respect for the West Coast'ers, it's an honour to meet you.
Your back yard sounds fantastic, tho I get the sense you'd rather tidy it up a bit, yourself. STUFF is always a great dilemma for me because I basically like tidiness but on the other hand there are very few things I can look at and say 'Yes, that's rubbish and has no further use, I'm going to throw it into a whole in the ground to become part of a horrible toxic stinking mess and I'll never want it back again.'

Funny, there was a wringer washing machine in my house when we bought it but it was gone on possession date. It was beautiful, in perfect nick, been here since new I recon. Shame, they probably didn't even want it themselves..

I still bare the scars of a childhood fascination with an earlier wringer. It was red and wooden. Most ppl think I'm talking about a Mangle which was for pressing your clothes, but this was a ringer. You clamped it to the centre wall of your concrete twin wash tubs and turned the handle as you fed the clothes through the rollers from one tub to the other. The water shoot would automatically drop over and pour the water back into whichever tub the clothes were coming from. A Very cool thing for a 3 year old boy!

I wonder if it might be time for you to splash out now and upgrade to a fully automatic washing machine? It's not the same and only does an approximate sort of a job on your laundry but it does save you a bit of time you could use elsewhere.
Comment by Kali on February 15, 2010 at 4:55pm
great blog! my trusty wringer washing machine has been in the wars lately the agitator handle rusted off and the wringer only works one direction but it keeps on keeping on as my husband is a fix-anything kind of guy. He has a large collection of 'resources', all stuff I would happily biff in a skip, but which he proudly says, 'see I knew it would come in handy" when he uses some random item just perfect for whatever job he has on. I don't know what the neighbour is going to think when he finally builds a two storey place behind us to try to get a view of the sea, he will cop an eyeful of 'junk' and weedy wilderness I just know he wont understand. Things like a trampoline frame on its side which beans climb up, old fluorescent orange roadworks netting and fishing nets draped over the chicken coop, stacks of tyres full of weeds and worms and unkempt areas full of bee-forage...

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