Now that I've got a lot of you signed up to Freeze Yer Buns this winter, it's time to gear up for living like Little House on the Prairie.
That's right folks, enough of you seemed interested, so I'm hosting the first ever Pioneer Week in November. From November 3rd through November 10th, those of you brave enough to participate can look forward to a full week of pioneer fun!
What exactly does that mean? Well, it means living by a few simple rules:
1. Food: During Pioneer Week, you must make all your meals from scratch. This isn't really as hard as it sounds particularly since you have a few weeks to prepare. That's right, I'm letting you prepare meals ahead of time to freeze if you won't have time during the work week. But, anything prepared ahead of time must be made from scratch. What kind of things are we talking about?
Baked items: Yeast and quick breads, pizza dough, crackers, pasta, bagels, tortillas, pretzels, etc.
Looking for meal suggestions? Here are a few (I'm not expecting you to keep to a pioneer diet, unless you really want to go for it):
Breakfast: Granola, muesli, oatmeal, yogurt and fruit. Eggs and toast made with homemade bread, butter and jam.
Lunch: Sandwiches with home ground peanut butter, jam. Homemade mozzarella and the last of this year's tomatoes from the garden.
Dinner: Soups made with homemade stock, pasta with homemade tomato sauce, chili, stews served with homemade bread.
Snacks: Yogurt, dried fruits, fruit and vegetables, cookies, homemade ice cream, etc.
2. Energy usage: Keep your energy usage low by keeping the heat low or off, use only one light in the house at a time (or at least turn off the lights when you are not using them) and line dry your clothes. Since you'll be doing a lot of cooking at home, try to coordinate when you are using the oven to take advantage of baking and/or roasting items at the same time. I don't expect you to unplug your fridge or freezer, so don't worry about that.
3. Conserve water: Since we don't all lug our water from the stream for home use, we'll have to do a few things to help conserve water. Besides taking shorter showers (5 minutes or less or take a military style shower) and flushing less often, you can create a great reminder about water usage by turning the water off on most of your sinks so when you go to use them nothing comes out.
Why in the world do this? Well, because it will force you to use the few sinks you do leave on. And of the one(s) you leave on, turn the water down low (via the knobs underneath the sink) so you have little water pressure. It will be hard to have the sink on full blast with little water pressure.
4. Transportation: Walk as much as possible. This will force you to support more local stores if you can't drive across town. If this isn't feasible, then drive or take public transportation. Most importantly, try to combine trips and if you really don't need to go out, stay home!
5. Rethink your entertainment: Instead of spending the week passively watching television or movies, try to engage more with the people you live with or neighbors within walking distance. Get the family back into playing games, music or just sitting around talking and telling stories. If you aren't in the mood for socializing try picking up that long lost craft hobby or start a new one.
6. Watch your wallet: Think of this as a Buy Nothing Week. Since you'll be pretty much eating at home or at home all week, you don't really need to buy anything, now do you?
As we get closer to Pioneer Week, I'll post suggested activities to get you more into the spirit of things. Some will be fun and games for the kids and others will be activities for adults as well as kids.
If you have any ideas to share on what you plan on doing or how else to make Pioneer Week a success, leave your tips in the comments section of this post. For those of you who want to totally get into it, feel free to dress up, just try not to alarm the neighbors.
Now, if you want to participate, just add a comment to this post!