Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hitch up your wagon for Pioneer Week!

Pioneer Week: November 3 - 10, 2008Now 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!


Marino said...

Sounds fun, I'll give it a go. I'm kinda halfway through a Buy Nothing Six Month challenge atm so am doing some of that stuff already.
My blog is

Madz in NZ

knutty knitter said...

Already do most of this. We hope to have everybody biking from next week. We are saving for the last bike now.

I can't really imagine not making food from scratch. I was brought up that way. I have tried the odd pre-packaged meal but I can't say I've liked them much. We do indulge in the occasional hamburger from the local fish and chip shop but that's the limit really.

I might try candle power to give that feel of authenticity. I remember power cuts all too well - lived in the country when growing up and they were a fact of life for ages until the grid was finally upgraded.

viv in nz

Anonymous said...

I will try. We live a pretty basic existance. I cannot live without my computer but water and power saving are constant goals. Just imagine the joy of baking bread in an unairconditioned Queensland, Australia home. I will generate enough heat to warm you all.

ruchi said...

Dude, Crunch, I'm in, but if you think CNN isn't going to be on ALL DAY and through the wee hours of the night on Nov 4th, you're craaaazy!

I guess this means I have to learn how to make bread. :)

And figure out how I'm going to procure a loaf pan.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a intresting time. Since we have all the stuff we harvested from the garden the week should be at least a healthy eats week.

It's do-able for us. Especially since we already do alot of it anyway.

Anonymous said...

I'm in!!! I do a lot of these things already, but it will be fun to be strict about it. It will be especially good to be more mindful of water usage and I've always wanted to make my own peanut butter! Now I HAVE to do it! Can't wait!! :D

(Will have to drive my son to therapy, though!!)

Jena said...

I would suggest that this would be a good excuse to visit your local historical farm if you have one. I think the one in my area is open for the holidays. It is usually interesting to see the way they did things back then and try your hand at it. Plus it shows your support and enables projects like that to keep going. I only thought of it because I'll be picking up a shift driving horse-drawn carriages in a nearby toursist town Nov. 8th and I know that business is struggling right now. Just a thought! :)

Oh, and I'm in for sure!

Farmer's Daughter said...

Yay! I'm in.

jewishfarmer said...

I'm definitely in - do I need a sunbonnet? I think I definitely do need a sunbonnet.


Mandy said...

Sounds like a challenge. I think that I will be able to do this, but it will be hard convincing my husband!

Marimoy said...

I think I may have to do this challenge. Sounds fun.

CuriousNomad said...

Ooh, me!

Green Bean said...

Yee Haw! I'm totally except for, like Ruchi says, on election day. I'll be big time into the electronic media - internet refreshing every thirty seconds, CNN blaring - that day. I'll give it the old Little House on the Praire try but for that.

TDP said...

Ditto for me on election day. I'm in for everything else. Does this mean I shouldn't use my rice cooker?

Arduous- my grandma sometimes baked quick breads using clean used tin cans . 12oz or 16oz can, cleaned out, top off. Pour the batter in 3/4 of the can, bake. She'd sometimes do this enmasse for christmas gifts. Might work for you, might not need a loaf pan. It might work with yeast dough, you'd just have to fill it only 1/2 full to allow rising. Down-to-Earth has instructions on how to use clay flower pots as loaf pans. I have her blog listed on mine.

EJ said...

I already do most of this (except internet/computer for work). Count me in but no sunbonnet needed here, more likely wool hat.

Jen BK said...

Sign me up....I think I already do most of what you are asking. My sister calls our place...Pioneer it is an amusement park of something. Here's a great pizza dough recipe I use weekly:

1 cup flour (to start)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon yeast
Mix these together and set aside.

1 cup water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Heat these until they are v. warm.

Mix the heated water/oil to the flour and yeast, mix in enough flour to make a dough (at this point I usually add another cup...I make it a mix of white, wheat, and flax meal). Knead until it is elastic (not very long). Give it thirty minutes to rise in a buttered bowl and covered. Roll into the crust and put it on a cookie sheet/baking stone with cornmeal sprinkled on it to prevent sticking. Top it and then cook it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

To make ahead and freeze:
Follow the above instructions:
mix, knead, rise, roll out, then poke it all over and bake it for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. You can freeze it naked or freeze it with all the toppings already on it. You still bake the frozen ones at 400 for 20 minutes.


CuriousNomad said...

sweetie and I watched disk 2 of Frontier House from library last night. Maybe I can segue that into pioneer week! (disk 1 was several months ago.)

Check it out for additional ideas (like toilet cloths, not addressed on LHotP!)

Judy T said...

I'm in. I'll have to talk the hubby into it though. I don't have to make my own cheese do I? I already pretty much cook from scratch but I might draw the line there. I do get cheese from a nearby dairy that uses milk from the local Mennonite community.
Ditto the election day comments. We'll be watching. At least the World Series will be over by then or I'd never get my guy to agree!! Baseball is the only sport he follows and he is a lifelong Phillies fan. J

z.briedis said...

once again i see that women are the heart and soul, blood and bones of any transformation revolution evolution holistic progress that makes sense and from which none suffer.

like many, these are already tenets i live by. so count me in.

CoCargoRider said...

military style shower - this is funny. I did some service and military types took some of the most wasteful showers unless in the field.

Oh and by the way, we are in

Erica said...

What a great post. My daughter just turned 4 and loves pioneers. We were just reading the book today about what it was like living in a covered wagon!

Anonymous said...

Count the Handyhouse in. My first Crunchy Challenge! At the very least, it will be a quick primer in how we're living right now, although I will also be tuned in on Election Day until the results, bitter or otherwise, are revealed.

Anonymous said...

I'm in!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a challenge! Im in for myself and the kidlet, but my husband will be a harder sell. Will see what I can do!

Greenpa said...

well I think, if you're gonna get real about this, you should have to move ALL your potty activities OUTSIDE, where they belong.


ok, kidding. We'd be up for it- but- we're really already there. One of my favorite jabs from the neighbors- a couple years ago, Spice met one of the neighbors in the grocery store, and cheerfully announced that she and I were going to "camp out" for our anniversary- and they asked in serious puzzlement- "How can you tell?"

We'll happily be pulling for the rest of youse guys though.

TMC said...

Yay! Another good reason to wear my bonnet! I'm in!

Anonymous said...

Count us in..although because I'm traveling out of state this coming week (and hubby might be tempted to heat the house more than what I'm trying to keep it at)-I told him that we are participating in "Pioneer Month". Yes, devious of me I know-but I figure if I start now with the heat, by the time Pioneer Week is actually here..he'll be on board with all aspects of it!

Anonymous said...

i'm in!

Anonymous said...

I think we're living the pioneer lifestyle around here most of the time. But still, taking the oath would be a good extra step!

I also wanted to let you know that we're doing a giveaway over at for a free Natural Pod set of stacking wooden rings. Come on over and check them out!

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I already do a lot of this stuff too. Except that my husband cooks our meals from scratch. However I do make the bread. We even have the outfits!

Hannah said...

I'm in, too. Sounds great! In fact, we're doing a practice run today, making a totally backyard meal including cooking the dried beans and grinding the corn. Off to put on my bonnet and apron...

Unknown said...

Count me in.
Like others here, I do all of this at varying levels. Wasn't going to bake bread until we were on the homestead, so will give it a go through the Pioneer week. And will (try to) get hubby off the telly!

Riana Lagarde said...

we will be living like that by default (lol) as of this friday for about a week or two or three... caudron cooking on the open hearth, fireside chats and no phone, or internet as we move into our new to us very old stone house.

what a great idea for everyone to try, it should be really fun and we always learn new things along the way whenever we challenge ourselves.

ps I am related to Laura from Little House, guess it's in my blood

Sharlene said...

I am in. But I am a little upset you didn't encourage some type of prairie dress code. I will even get my kids to play like the prairie kids did. I may not give up the tv entirely with the election coming but most of the other stuff I do already. Time to bake some bread!

Kelsie said...

I'm IN! I do most of this anyway, but I've been very, very bad about the cooking from scratch thing, lately. I'll be re-reading Little House In the Big Woods & Little House On the Prairie in preparation (and because I want to).

scifichick said...

I would love to participate, sign me up!

It's me said...

Ooooh... that might be hard. 10 November is my beloved Marine Corps birthday. I haven't made any rum, so how to celebrate? :)

I'll give it a try, but I'm putting the 10th as an exception.

Tiff :o) said...

Sounds like fun! Count me in...but DH doesn't really care to join in so I'll do what I can. My friends and I each do one thing each month then share with each other what we learned while working on our thing. This month I'm capturing wild yeast (I just got my starters started today because of moving). I have 4 different kinds of starters started today and the majority will be done right at the end of the month. :o)

Chile said...

I love the idea of this, Crunchy, but I'm going to pass this year. Starting my own foodie blog is taking a lot of time and actually will be forcing me to get back to a little bit more pioneer spirit.

Will you run this one again next year? I can do it then much better with my own place.

Humble wife said...

We at the Double Nickel Farm are in on this challenge, and I began explaining on my blog how we are going to accomplish each rule.

Anonymous said...

I'm in! My husband thinks I am nuts! lol

Kristen said...

I'm in as much as I can be!

I'm with some of the others, though-on Election Day, I'll be glued to Fox News!

Anonymous said...

We'll do a day or more, but not the whole week.

Unknown said...

Signing up for the challenge. We're watching Colonial House as a prep. If we finish in time, we'll watch Frontier House to get the kids in the right frame of mind. We're pledging to do the stuff we already do and use candlelight in the evening instead of electricity. We'll also try to walk more.

Robj98168 said...

I will give it a go- BUT IF I END UP MARRIED TO THAT AWFUL NELLIE OLSON I will whine!

Kay's Spot said...

With a 7yr old obsessed with Laura Ingalls, we've been (almost) living like poineers since summer! We really cannot safely walk or ride anywhere in our area - no sidewalks and young kids on a local highway has potential for disaster, but I'm in for the rest.

Anonymous said...

I've already done most of this after Ike, except some of the foods were packaged LOL

And although I'd really like to participate in full, I doubt hubby would cooperate when it comes to his lunches. But I'll do breakfasts and dinner. I've been meaning to play around with making pasta anyway, and now's as good a time as any ;^)

I already do the energy stuff (easy to do when it's not really cold where I live LOL), and although I watch how much water I use, I've been slipping. I think the hardest part will be butter.

Anonymous said...

Ah heck, my account is down, so I blogged about it at my Wordpress acct:

Off to buy flour, veggies, and milk 8^)

Cave-Woman said...

I'm in.

I could stand to cook my meals at home exclusively for a while---that, and it will be nice to cut back on our expenses.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Segwyne said...

I was waiting to sign up until I got the okay from DH. I already cook from scratch 99.9% of the time anyway, so that won't be any different. I think the biggest changes we will be making will be to use our hurricane lamps for light, no dryer (hubby is a nurse's aide and has to have fresh, clean clothes every day, so I can't skip to washing clothes by hand once a week) and no computer or TV. The computer will be hardest for me. I will put my e-mail on vacation and turn off all my blog subscriptions. No Ilargi, no Sharon, no Kunstler, no Crunchy! Oh no! I can survive this. It will be a good time to catch up on my Christmas knitting.

Carpe Diem said...

I've been excited to begin Pioneer Week, but forgot to sign up. Please add me!

Gina said...

Been feeling a little 'over-challenged" of late, but this one is too good to resist. I'll try my best (fortunately, already do many of the things on the list); been falling short on the cook from scratch lately due to work tiredness (i.e. convenience). This challenge will serve to get me back on track!

Ashley said...

ok, ok... I've been putting this off, wondering how I'd be able to pull it off. It's one of the bussiest work weeks for me, not to mention elections. But I'm going to do it. I'm going to give my best.

I already know that Saturday is out (I coach colorguard and our last band review is Saturday... that I'm driving to), and I need to use the computer a couple times just to check on medical info for a relative... beyond that, I know I can give my best effort.

Do I need to watch Colbert on election night? Do I need to drive to work? No (though, my legs will be sore after marching, but it's all good... makes up for no workout videos). All this "no tv/no internet browsing" will give me plenty of time to finish reading my textbooks for class.

So I'm in.

Connie said...

Oh yes. This is great. I know, I too do a lot of this but it will really put on the pressure to focus.

Now, I *know* you don't expect us to not watch the elections on the TV.

Like the rest of the stuff, I really try and not alarm the neighbors. Sometimes I more successful than others.

Anonymous said...

I am with knutty knitter on the made-from-scratch food thing. I have never known anything different but we will play. I think candle light is a great idea. Maybe we will have a dipping party.

Indigo, madder, marigold said...

I'm in. Won't have to change too much since I've already frozen food in preparation for the new baby and the hubby won't let us turn the heat on! heehee
Now, buying nothing...eesh...all those cravings come. I'll try to be good!

Jen G said...

We are in. Yesterday I even picked up a pioneer hat from freecycle.

My blog is
We are on a 1yr mission to be compact.

Have a great week.

Allie said...

I forgot to post this yesterday, but I'm in.

Food: The food products that were already in the house that were pre-bought I'm still going to use. But I won't buy new ones, and I haven't bought anything in anticipation of this. I'm just really anal about food storage and have a hard time justifying cutting into my study time to can tomatoes and such when I already have so many cans sitting on my shelves.

I already bake all my own bread, and I already make everything from scratch, so I don't see any real change there. But I will try to make more rustic foods (or maybe even I will make more period foods instead). Right now I'm somewhat obsessed with fully actualising the potential of every food item that crosses my path, so I will consider the furtherance of that as counting for the 'no processed foods' part.

I might make some candy.

Buy nothing: Easy. I'm really busy replenishing my savings after the hurricane, so I can't buy anything anyway. My question: If you have gift cards, does the use of those constitute "buying" something? If so, I won't use those either right now.

Using very little electricity: check.

Water: I will only take one or two baths this week (plus washing my pits and privates in the sink). I will flush the toilet less.

Transportation I'm stuck on. I work 35.6 miles from the house. Though I will continue to combine all my trips as possible.

This sounds like a fun furtherance of the habits I've been trying to develop recently! Thanks!

Sandy said...

I'm a little late joining in ... but I'm all for it. Been tackling a lot of these things for the past year -- but need some work on t.v. consumption (just going through a phase, usually I'm a big reader)and driving less and buying only necessitites. Great idea and fabulous blog. -sandy