Non-electric appliances that I love #1

The Lehman’s hand washer

The first thing that I learned when we got our solar electricity up and running was that anything that heats or cools probably required more electricity than we could spare. Our first attempts at refrigeration, using a mini-bar sized 12-volt fridge amply demonstrated the truth of this.
Laundry being one of the chores I am most fussy about, I have gone through a number of strategies. In our first year, I used a wash board and a plunger like device to do laundry. The downsides were clear- it was time consuming, shredded our jeans, and wringing the clothes out was a drag. Plus, in winter my hands were a mess. We started taking our clothes into town, but there aren’t any self service laundromats, so we had to have our laundry done for us. Getting strange socks back with our clothes creeped me out, though.
When we first came out here, we brought a petrol-powered generator with us for the construction of the house. It now lives at the bottom of the land, in a friend’s carpentry workshop. I had assumed that since the generator had powered the circular saw, drills, and other big heavy tools, that it would power a washing machine as well. Without going into too much detail, let me admit that I was mistaken and that I discovered this the hard way. That was a day that I could think of nothing else to do but sit down and cry.
Shortly after this heartbreaking discovery, my mother sent me the latest Lehman’s non-electric catalog. I can’t remember how I first came across it, but the Lehman’s catalog has been invaluable since we moved down here, and many of my dearest non-electric appliances either came from there or I learned of them there.
Anyway, leafing through the catalog, I saw the Lehman’s hand washer and I knew that all was not lost – I could have my laundry day!
On our most recent trip to NY, I ordered the washer. It was shipped in pieces, and the wash basin just happened to fit nicely, if snugly, into my largest duffle bag. For some reason no one seemed concerned about the large metal vessel in my luggage, and it arrived in Turkey without incident.
Now it stands in the garden and serves us almost daily – between our own copiously dirty clothes (muddy spring) and all of Baki’s old baby clothes and diapers, we need to wash pretty much every day. Baki helps me with the wringer, though, and the actual washing doesn’t take that long. It makes me very happy to have laundry day back at home where it belongs.

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