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What is Towel Day

 
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Towel’s Day is a fun holiday that was started by the fans of Douglas Adams. In 1978, at the age of 26, he wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It was so successful that it would become  books, stage shows, television shows, computer games and even a movie.

His fans wanted to give him a fitting tribute.  The commemoration was first held 25 May 2001, two weeks after Adams' death on 11 May.  It is celebrated each year on May 25th.

It is during this day that his fans carry towels around with them, because in the Douglas Adams book  " The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy"  towels are described as one of the most massively useful things that an interstellar hitchhiker can have with them.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a story about the adventures of Arthur Dent, the last surviving man on Earth after a Vogon constructor fleet demolished the planet to make room for a hyperspace bypass. Fortunately, Arthur Dent was rescued from Earth by a human-looking alien writer named Ford Prefect who writes the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and helps Dent escape the destruction by hitching a ride on a passing spacecraft. After his rescue, Arthur Dent then explores the galaxy with Prefect and heads on a myriad of adventures.

In the book written by the fictitious Ford Perfect also called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,  the importance of a towel to interstellar travelers is revealed. To paraphrase the book, a towel can be used to keep yourself warm on the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; it can be soaked in water and used as a weapon in hand-to-hand combat, you can wrap it around your head to ward off noxious fumes; you can wave it as a distress signal during a time of emergency; you can lie on it on the marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V and you can, of course, dry yourself off with it.

People who want to celebrate this day do so in a number of different ways;  they take a picture of themselves with a towel and post it to social media using the hashtag #towelday. Some reread the books, or if they haven’t read them, start reading them. People can also listen to the original radio show, throw an H2G2 themed party or head over to a local Towel Day Event.  The number 42 and fish are also significant to the book.


 
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I LOVE towels. Large towels, small towels, towels in form of bathrobes (why would I want a bathrobe that wasn't made of absorbent towel-material?!). Here's some of my normal--and not so normal--uses for towels. What are yours?

  • Tiny towels--aka washrags--or towels cut into washrags. These are excellent wipes for cleaning a poopy bum, and get washed along with the cloth diapers. By not using disposable wipes, I send less to the landfill, save money, and don't put weird chemicals on my babies bum. A triple win!
  • Small towels/washrags. I have a separate set of these little towels used for wiping down the counters and table...and my little one's messy face!
  • Hand towels: Not only are these great for drying hands and dishes, they're also great for cleaning up spills on the floor. I also give my son a hand towel and a spray bottle and let him go to town spraying and wiping the floor. It keeps him busy AND I get a cleaner floor. Score!
  • Hand towels and large towels: These are great for drying off slides and wagons so the kids can play without getting themselves sopping wet.
  • Large towels can also double as blankets for cold/wet kids if you can't find an actual blanket.
  • Old towels: The good parts can be cut into washrags (I did this with my old terry bathrobe), or composted if made of natural material, OR, laid on weeds or grass and covered with mulch to smother the weeds/grass and make a garden bed!


  • I not-so-secretly want some of these lovely towels!
     
    Anne Miller
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    I have used towels in all kinds of ways:


    Our favorite use is at the dinner table like napkins.

    I have used towels to make drapes or curtains for windows, especially during winter as they help insulate from the cold.  The velvet like towels look especially nice.

    I use them placed on my counter tops next to the range to protect from grease splashes.  It is so easy just to throw them in the wash and put out fresh ones.  I color coordinate with my kitchen colors.

    Beach towels can be used as tablecloths for picnic tables.

    I use them to cover the recliner to help keep it clean.

    When camping, I have used folded towels for pillows.

    Old towels have many uses in the shop, laundry room, to wipe off wet seats on the golf cart and mule.




     
    gardener
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    Small towels can be used as baby wipes or family cloth.

    A baby swattled in a towel is like being swattled in a large cloth diaper.

    Towels make decent pool and beach clothing.  Saves on schlepping and drying.

    A moist towel hung near a fan can act as make-shift air conditioning.

    A moist frozen small towel makes a teething toy or injury wrap.

    Towels make great dress-up clothes.

    A towel makes a great washable rug that will absorb lots of water.  Old towels can be use knotted together for this sort of explicit purpose.

    Towels can add padding to hard surfaces, making it easier to kneel or lie down.

    Towels  wrapped around a hot pot recently removed from flame can help it stay warm longer.

    Towels wrapped around a cold drink will help it cool longer on a hot day.

    Towels make decent blankets.

    Towels help even out wobbly tables.

    Towels are excellent weapons. They act as a whip, shield, distraction,  flag, they are disarming,  a snare, blinding,  and much more.

    They are easily turned into a carrying sack.

    They help cool you off when they are wet and help warm you when they are dry, thus helping prevent heat stroke and mitigating shock.

    When wet, they can be used to smother small fires.

    They can be rolled for insulation under drafty doors. Or hung over a loose door for a tight fit.



     
    Anne Miller
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    Happy Towel Day!

    Here is a video to enjoy, the voice is Douglas Adams himself!





    Does anyone what to share some pictures of towels? 42 or ??
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Not the best picture, but I made it last night when all the kids were sleeping, so the lighting was horrible



    So far, we've got 30 uses for towels. I wonder if we can get to 42!
     
    Anne Miller
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    I have sown towels together to make appliance cover for the kitchen.  At the time my kitchen theme was mushrooms and I used mushroom printed towels.

    I covered a pillow with a towel to make a dog bed.


    I got a wedding present made from a towel like this one:




    Here are some other pictures of things made with towels:













     
    gardener
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    did someone already say car seat cover to protect upholstery, and or to protect bare legs from very hot car seat in the summer?
     
    steward
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    Not made out of towels, but I did feel pretty special when this was my order number a while back:



    Happy Towel Day!
     
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    Happy towel day, 2018 everyone! I don't have a cool towel or a picture to share. Just wanted to mark the day.
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    We're up to 38 uses for towels. We just need four more!

    Here's one I just thought of: Snapping a wet towel at someone! (Not to hard, of course!)
     
    master steward & author
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    Some towels I've helped make


















     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Okay, Nicole, I'm trusting your count, though Amit already talked about using towels as a weapon, so is towel snapping a repeat?

    Here are three more:
  • using towels as personal or family cloth (cloth toilet paper thread)
  • re-purposing towels as mutton cloth or freezer wrap (see discussion on reducing trash that starts here)
  • use for making homemade poultices! (plaintain poultice thread)


  •  
    Kim Arnold
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    I have a couple quick uses:

    * I drape towels across drying racks to dry herbs (specifically dandelions in the picture) before making an infused oil

    * Old towel strips weave together into great, absorbent rugs to put by the door or beside the bathtub/shower. That's a great project for a peg loom.

    * Yesterday I wadded up a beach towel in the bottom of a grocery bag to prevent a bag full of fresh asparagus with water from tipping over and spilling on the way to work where I was going to deliver it to a friend.
    IMG_0824.JPG
    [Thumbnail for IMG_0824.JPG]
    Dandelions drying on a towel
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    R, your handwoven towels are the most beautiful! So, so lovely!

    One or two more uses:

    When out gardening, I was using a towel to sit and kneel on to do some chopping and dropping and thinning of less desirable plants.

    Though when I moved off the towel ever so briefly, the recently feral cat, Gert decided to lay on it. So I gave up and moved on down the dirt path without the towel. *Then* Gert decided my lap was better than the towel (as in the picture attached). Go figure! Such is the life when we spoil our critters!

    I also leave towels out for her as washable cat beds, too.

    So...Nicole, did we reach 42 yet??

    gardening-with-Gert-early-May-2018.jpg
    [Thumbnail for gardening-with-Gert-early-May-2018.jpg]
    gardening with Gert, so much for using a towel to sit on!
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    I missed using it as a weapon and I don't know how else you'd use it as a weapon other than snapping it. So, I guess I didn't get us to 39!

    Amit already mentioned family cloth.

    But! No one has mentioned the poulices or vegetable wrap. That brings us to 40!

    Aaaaaaand, Kim just added three more. That brings us to 42 and then 43! Extra pie and apples for Kim for getting us to the magic number!
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Speaking of towels and cats, we lay a towel inside our cats' boxes to make a cozy place to sleep. And, we use an old towel to lay in front of their kitty litter box to help contain the spread of kitty litter (we use woodstove pellets as kitty litter so we can compost it. Once they pee on it, it turns to sawdust, which can get a tad messy!)

    I think this now brings us to 46!
     
    r ranson
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    eco-friendly fly swatter.  Slightly dampen towel then flick it really hard at the fly.  Fly(s) be dead.  
     
    garden master
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    You guys are froods that really know where your towels are at!!!
     
    gardener
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    I use towels as a filter.  Like you would do with cheesecloth
     
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    Wet a towel and wring it out and put it under a dish on a tray, or between two dishes, they stay put. In a pinch you can use paper towels too. Old catering trick.

    When packing, especially the kitchen, I use them as packing materials between breakables.

    Yes r, exquisite towels. Thank you for sharing another thing of beauty to contribute to my beauty quota for today.
     
    master steward
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    jocelyn, fred and i are about to watch:  https://amzn.to/2GPSiSG
     
    gardener
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    1. Water pre-filter when backpacking in the wilderness, etc.
    2. Tourniquet.
    3. Signaling to a search & rescue airplane or boat.
    4. Could make a sling or a slingshot.
    5. Increased visibility during hunting season.

    Earth. Mostly harmless. Never forget your towel though. Thanks for all the fish.


     
    Mike Barkley
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    OH. And another thing. You can strain melted beeswax through a towel to remove any debris. Not the best method but it works.
     
    gardener
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    Did we reach 42 yet?  !!!  

    I didn't read the full spiel of everyone's posts so I don't know if these have got in on the list yet:   So here are my additions to the Permies Hitch Hiker's Guide towel list.  I love it.  Great idea.

    Salad spinner (Low tech version), a bulk amount of washed greens can be placed in the center of a large towel, and then bundle the entire towel around it.  Gripping all 4 corners in one hand, whirl the towel around your head you are going to sling the lot of wet greens at Goliath.  The centripetal force throws the liquid off the greens into the towel, which wicks through the towel and flies out into the air.  Best done outdoors.  Sometimes it takes two dry towels to properly spin dry a lot of greens, but it works.

    Berry picking:  Spread under a berry bush, flattish but with some wrinkles.  Shake bush, and pick berries.  Berries land on it when the bush is shaken or are mistakenly dropped when picking fast, and are caught in the thick fibers and intentional wrinkles.  

    Berry cleaning:  Set up on a slant, spill berries so that they roll down the towel into a bowl while all the leaves and sticks are left on the towel.  

    Worm gathering:  Wet a towel and lay it flat on the lawn overnight.  In the morning, lift the towel and gather the worms.

    When the towel is old and has served not only as a super towel for decades, but also as a bunch of dishrags for a while until they are threadbare:  use the dishrags for starting potatoes.  While other farmers are dreaming of planting potatoes, but the ground is partly or mostly frozen solid or snowy and spud planting is still weeks away...  Take a dishrag and a bit of soil that you have stashed for starting seedlings and go to your basement, or greenhouse where it's a bit warmer.  Having removed them from the root cellar you have since warmed the potatoes for a week in a pail in the house and now they are primed.  They want to sprout.  Put a bit of soil on an old ratty dishrag (that was once your faithful trusted towel), and place a potato on it.  It will create eyes on the upper part and roots on the lower part rooting into the rag.  When the soil is workable enough to put this in the ground then dig it deep enough to completely bury the sprouting eyes.  Take a one gallon milk jug with the cap off and the bottom cut off, over the spud to protect it from late spring frosts. When everyone else is just getting started on potatoes, you will be way ahead of the game, pulling a summer crop before anyone else.      
     
    Roberto pokachinni
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    Oh, and one that is sort of quasi permacultural.  To save energy when using an electric dryer (If for some reason you simply must) throw a dry towel in with wet laundry.  It will absorb a great deal of the water and speed up the drying process, reducing energy consumption.  
     
    Lee Gee
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    Neck roll, especially when performing cpr.
     
    Kim Arnold
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    Nicole Alderman wrote:Aaaaaaand, Kim just added three more. That brings us to 42 and then 43! Extra pie and apples for Kim for getting us to the magic number!



    Thank you, Nicole!
     
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    A woman in North Conway, NH, makes and sells a product called "The Skinny Towel." It comes in various sizes and colors, all named after various places in the Mount Washington Valley, My favorite is Pinkham Notch.  They are the perfect size to use wet draped over your neck while gardening in the hot weather. My husband uses his to wrap around his head like a bandana. When wet it not only keeps him cooler, but absorbs the sweat.    https://skinnytowel.com/
     
    This will take every ounce of my mental strength! All for a tiny ad:
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