So Domestic: Homemade Bread and the Poor Man's Washing Machine

I'm not sure how many times over the last few days my husband has looked at me and, with amusement, uttered the words, "So domestic."

It's true. I've been entirely embracing my currently unemployed status and trying my hardest to give the stay-at-home wife gig my best effort. Aside from cooking, cleaning, and job-hunting, I've been getting a bit creative to overcome a few obstacles in our home.

The first matter is technically cooking, but I feel the need to discuss it here because it's A) so domestic, and B) #85 on my 101 Things list. This would be the making of homemade bread.

I've made bread a few times before, but it's been a while. Like, a few years. It turned out awesomely, though, and I wanted to give it another try. So, I put it on my 101 Things list. 

I made it this week because, with my unemployment, we're on a very strict budget, and the list of ingredients on store-bought bread within our price range is terrible. It's much cheaper (and tastier) to make your own, so I found a recipe for country-style hearty wheat, and made a couple of loaves.

Oh, goodness. There is nothing like the aroma of freshly baked bread. It fills the entire house with its divinity. And there is also nothing like the taste of buttered warm bread straight from the oven. Golly. So wonderful. This recipe made much denser bread than I was expecting, but I was still very pleased with the results.

Okay, Domesticity Part Two: I've been doing laundry in a bucket.

Our house has a washer/dryer hook-up, but we don't have a washer or dryer right now. *sigh* After blowing through all our change at the laundromat (seriously, these places are ridiculously expensive), we decided to forget that and improvise. We found this cheap and easy (and awesome) prototype on a survivalist blog.

Why, yes, that is a toilet plunger. A new, $2.72 one, which we thoroughly cleaned multiple times before using for this purpose. The other items are a five-gallon bucket and a lid. Matt drilled a hole in the lid for the plunger to fit through (think butter churn) and a few holes in the plunger to reduce water resistance. 

To use, you simply fill the bucket with your dirties, add your soap, cover with water, put on the lid, and churn like an Ingalls girl making butter. 

And um, get ready to tire out in the first two minutes. Seriously. I found that I possess no upper body strength and a great deal of respect for butter churners. I have a whole new appreciation for all the ladies before our time who did laundry by hand, all the time. Wet clothes are heavy. Scrubbing them clean is hard work. 

Since we're also dryer-less, Matt strung up several lines of cheap paracord on the back patio, and I've been using it to hang our laundry. While it's sometimes a bit of a pain, I must admit that I find something deliciously satisfying in hanging laundry on the line. Using old-fashioned clothespins to clip damp clothes on the line, inhaling the mild scent of natural detergent as the fabric sways in the breeze... The pioneer woman inside me sort of loves it. 

Though I'll be grateful for a washer and dryer when we get them, it is satisfying to do the work by hand. It's also incredibly budget-friendly and about as "green" as you can get. And I'll definitely be hanging onto it for future use in the zombie apocalypse.

1 comment

Lacey said...

Oh my gosh!

1. The bread looks delicious. I LOVE baking homemade bread... in fact, I can't remember the last time I BOUGHT a loaf of bread, lol. Once you start baking it it's hard to make yourself stop.

2. WHAT THE HECK you are SO domestic! :P I can't believe you are washing your clothes in a bucket, that is so BA! Lol! The pioneer woman in me is jealous! The communal washing machines for my new apartment unit are quarter operated, so I may be resorting to this method when I go through all of my quarters... lol.