I've been thinking about a non-electric washing machine since we stopped using the dryer (currently using clothesline and drying rack). I got the idea from Lehman's, which sells a ready-made manual washer for way too expensive a price for us. They also sell washtubs and a steel frame for a more affordable price--but still too expensive.
So, I was overjoyed yesterday, stumbling across this old double-basin washer at an antique mall, for $20. It even has spigots on the bottom (hard to see), that drain the water. With the addition of a plunger, or the fancy Rapid Washer that Lehman's sells, we are good to go. It is my hope that we'll be able to use the water we capture from our roof in our rain barrels to provide water for washing. Then we'll be able to drain it into a mulched basin that will replenish ground water and add to the moisture available to our garden. I'm still in need of a wringer, which may make itself available, or if all else fails, I can buy one from Lehmans.
I will be excited not to have to pay money for the electricity, nor for the chlorinated drinking water our washer currently uses. Then we'll be able to give our electric washer to someone else who can use it. Of course, during the winter, we might have to use tap water to wash clothes, although it seems plausible to divert our used shower water to wash our clothes. Otherwise, I can do it the old fashioned way of starting with the least-dirty clothes (the whites), and use the same water to wash progressively dirtier clothes before I drain it.
Little by little, the homestead is coming together. With this beautiful day, Don is out chopping wood for the stove, and K is out making mud pies. What a blessing to be alive to enjoy it.