For those of you who are interested in doing Pioneer Week next week, I thought I'd repost some of the "rules" of the week for you to follow along.
I'll be off from work next week and so I'll have a lot more latitude to livin' like a pioneer. For my part, I'll be planning on making all our food from scratch, so that will include a ton of baking and eating out of the garden.
I will be using minimal electricity and line drying all of our clothes next week. Since we don't have alternative sources to cook from (in other words, a wood stove), I'll still be sticking to our range, but maybe I'll try to grill more stuff just to simulate cooking over fire.
As for transportation, I will try not to use the car all week. Since I'll have the kids with me, this will be more difficult, but maybe we'll take the bus or walk if we need anything. And this will give me an excuse to use my new cargo bike.
It will be harder keeping the kids entertained without transportation or electronics, but that just means that we'll be doing a lot of reading and games and probably going on hikes nearby, playing with neighborhood friends and working out in the yard.
Pioneer Living Rules
1. Food: During Pioneer Week, you must make all your meals from scratch. This isn't really as hard as it sounds particularly if you start now. 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.
2. Energy usage: Keep your energy usage low by keeping the A/C (or heat if you live in the other hemisphere) 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.
4. Transportation: Walk or bike 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 all week, you don't really need to buy anything, now do you?
Finally, remember this isn't all or nothing! If you can only work on one area for the week, that's totally fine. And, if you haven't already signed up and are interested in Pioneer Week, leave your name in the comments!