I get asked this a lot: “Where did you come up with the name for your site?” Or “What’s the difference between a Pioneer, and a Not-So-Pioneer?”
I appreciate things that grow; I love learning more and more classic skills, like knitting and canning. The main thing is, I don’t consider myself a ‘purist’ in anything. I believe in good starts, trying your best and that every little bit counts.
I do have some My-Not-So-Pioneer-Life Ideals that shape my day to day. They’re just my thoughts on best practices for a Not-So-Pioneer.
You’ll see what I mean.
The 7 Ideals are:
- Start where you’re at!
- Look for things you can make yourself!
- Failure IS an Option.
- It all Counts.
- Baby Steps
- It doesn’t have to be Pretty
- Appreciate Everything!
One – Start where you’re at!
I want you to know, I want everyone to believe that no matter where they are, they can try and do something new and exciting. You may live on the 18th floor and have no yard and see me growing potatoes and think, “I can’t.” – I say you can. Pick a window, and plant some potatoes in laundry baskets – see what happens! If you want to learn something, do it! If you want to grow plants, grow them! Start where you’re at, and keep moving forward!
Two – Look for things you can make yourself!
A great book that got me started is called The Homemade Pantry. It’s full of things that you can start making at home for a variety of benefits. From rolled-dried fruit snacks, to yogurt, these recipes can save you money and bonus, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating. No need to stop there, think about soaps, wet-wipes, dryer sheets I could go on. I feel great when I make my own stuff, plus I know what’s in it, and it saves my family money.
Three – Failure IS an option.
Oh my goodness, I fail all the time, and I’ve cried! So what!? Not only do I admit it, I’m happy to tell you about it! Why? Because maybe you won’t be so discouraged if things don’t go exactly to plan, maybe you’ll get up, dust off and try again. Experience is just a fancy word for “Failures I learned from.” Boy-oh-boy, do I have some experience! You should get some too! It’s okay to cry in the process, you’re in control.
Four – It all counts
The term, “All or nothing” has no place in My-Not-So-Pioneer-Life. A lot of folks out there choose to identify with lifestyles that are loaded with rules. Let’s be realistic, if the biggest perk of being 100% committed to your super-duper lifestyle is talking down to other people about it, maybe you should watch ‘Mean Girls’ again and take notes. I think all of that snootiness is hurtful and it stops people from thinking that any of their new choices and slight habit changes will ever amount to something good. They count, it all counts!
Five – Baby Steps!
Anyone who has had more than one child can relate to this, and if you haven’t, just trust me on this one. It’s amazing how quick we forget all the sucky parts about pregnancy, birth and so on. It has got to be human nature or else there would be no siblings. Move that over to the homestead, a gardener’s 10 year journey changes to: “Make a garden box, plant seeds, wait a bit… harvest!” – That’s not how it went, and that’s okay, you’re going to have baby steps. It won’t be easy… but you’ll only remember the best parts, and you’ll want to do it again, I promise!
Six – It doesn’t have to be Pretty!
Five minutes looking at chicken coops and runs on Pinterest and you’ll be sold on having some fowl of your own. Ten minutes later, the dream has tripled in size. Twenty minutes after that, you’ve clicked through to some of the most beautiful Chicken Habitats ever photographed and all of a sudden: “I can’t do that!” or maybe (hopefully) you’ll be inspired, but I was intimidated at first. A safe and dry coop is all that chickens need, a vegetable garden that grows food is all you need. Function first, don’t worry about pretty, if it happens, it happens.
Seven – Appreciate Everything!
Find every excuse to stop and smell the flowers. Reflect and appreciate every little thing you have gained, or will gain from a Not-So-Pioneer-Life. Find all the benefits you get from the good choices you make and the skills you choose to learn. Even small stuff like making your own dryer sheets, figure out what you save in a year doing that, then let that appreciation push you to pick another thing to try. It’ll make you feel good, and once your choices start making you actually feel good, they’re not work anymore and I have found that it snowballs into something amazing.
What Do I Hope For?
As I said in the beginning, these are just the ideals. They are things I try and keep in mind, but they aren’t rules that anyone has to stick to. Maybe you’re dreaming of being 100% off grid, prepped for when SHTF. Could be that you’re going to be the next ‘Old MacDonald’ a legendary farmer worthy of songs! Then again, you might just be here to laugh at my silly chickens. No matter what brought you here or what you’re trying to accomplish, I really think these 7 ideals can help anyone be legitimately happier with whatever it is they are trying to learn or do.