Scrounge Chronicles: Towels in a Kettle

Society of Scrounge Experts

A couple of our kids adopted a dog. It has a case of fleas and mites. I noticed that it had a great personality, in spite of its condition. We’ve been treating it, and it looks better, but it still needs an occasional bath to help it along. We had a nice Christmas celebration, but it wasn’t complete or tranquil knowing that the dog would feel better with a bath.

I washed it indoors, but didn’t want to put it outside in the winter, while wet. So I towel dried it, and let it stay next to the wood stove for a few hours. He also got treats and extra food, basically the royal treatment for a dog.

Then the problem was how to clean the towels, specifically, how to kill any mites that might be on them. One of my sons suggested using boiling water, and I knew that was a good idea. I have an antique kettle, but I needed a way to support it. I remembered that I had some steam heating pipes from a 1930’s RR coach. I pulled 3 out, and used some metal coat hanger wire to secure them together. That wire wouldn’t do much for some situations, but in this case, it was the tensile strength that mattered, and steel has very good tensile strength.

Starting the Fire

Those pipes were free, the trace chain came in a box of assorted things from a rummage sale at a church. I used some scrap wood that was too long to fit in the stove. Trace chain is easy to identify by its long links. It’s the chain used between a mule’s harness and the single tree.

Below are the towels, and the kettle with them in the hot water. I had to move several pieces of green Hackberry wood next to the fire to block the wind. It worked well. I think I read that when the old timers did laundry with a kettle like this, they first scrubbed the clothes with soap and cold water; the hot water was a rinse.

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