Good Neighbors Blog
From quirky extras that didn’t make it into the magazine to behind the scenes looks into the making of Country – we’ve curated photos and stories we think you’ll enjoy. Won’t you be our neighbor?
By Mary Dolan
Associate Digital Editor
The past is in the past, they say. But Georgia Pellegrini believes the past has a place right here in the present. That’s why this financier-turned-homesteader wrote Modern Pioneering, a guidebook for bringing back recipes and rituals of a simpler time.
Pellegrini, 33, grew up in upstate New York, enjoying the wide open spaces of a farm that’s been in her family several generations. Life changed course when she landed a career in finance at Lehman Brothers. Pellegrini ultimately decided the big-city, corporate lifestyle didn’t suit her, however. “I realized I wanted to get back to my roots … to using my hands and being outdoors,” she said.
Pellegrini, who now lives in Austin, TX, published Modern Pioneering earlier this year. It’s packed with 150 recipes, projects and tips for leading a more self-sufficient life in tune with nature. This is Pellegrini’s third book, and it’s part of her continued effort to show people – women in particular – that a simpler life, a life that embraces the outdoors and home-cooked meals is truly possible.
After she left the world of finance, Pellegrini attended cooking school and worked in restaurants in Paris and New York. But this still didn’t satiate her hunger for being more in touch with nature. She’s spent the last several years leading excursions she calls Adventure Getaways in rural parts of the country — where she teaches women skills like falconry, horseback riding and cooking — and penning books about her back-to-basics, back-to-the-land lifestyle.
“The thing that made me happiest was being in the outdoors and food and cooking,” Pellegrini said. Now, she’s using her hands to garden, to hunt, to concoct meals in the kitchen – instead of typing long strings of numbers.
After leaving the world of finance, did you find greater happiness?
“I think what was interesting (about the career change to restaurants) … it was the same crazy hours and not making as much money, but it didn’t feel like work in the same way,” Pellegrini said. “Going to work every day excited me.”
Now what is day-to-day life like for you?
“What’s so interesting about my life now is how varied it is,” Pellegrini said, noting how fun it is to plan her Adventure Getaways, update her website with posts like “How to Start Composting” or forage for the ingredients for a new recipe to share with her readers.
She updates her site regularly with new recipes and pioneering tips. “I chronicle these adventures that I go on,” she said. “I truly live the life that I talk about. …Gardening in my backyard or being in the wilds of Arkansas. Every day is literally an adventure.”
What was the inspiration for writing Modern Pioneering?
“For me it was the idea that I’ve been teaching women these unique skills for a while, but not everyone is going to have a Montana stream to fly-fish in,” she said. “But there are ways we can all (live this lifestyle).”
(Her ideas: Grow potatoes on the fire escape of your urban apartment. Grow herbs in a windowsill planter. Upcycle items and use them for new and exciting projects.)
“It brings you tremendous joy … the idea of self-sufficiency,” she said. “My goal was to create (a guide to help people) access the DIY, improvisational spirit of our grandparents. It’s truly a manual. It’s not meant to be a coffee table book.”
What’s your advice for others?
“We’re in a generation where children know how to use an iPhone, but they don’t know how to peel a carrot,” she said. “Live detached from the virtual information highway we all are surfing right now and get some dirt underneath your fingernails.”
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As always, we’re happy to offer our online readers a few of our favorite stories from the current issue. Let us know which ones you enjoy most!
Our best scenic road picks for 2014!
Our Country Friday Funny Photography snapshot for October 24, 2014 was sent to us by Ted Rose of North Manchester, Indiana. Keep an eye on that duck, pup!
Story and photo by Dan Blackburn
The White Mountains on California’s eastern edge are home to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, site of the world’s oldest living trees.
These trees, some of which are more than 4,000 years old, were growing when Ptolemy ruled Egypt. The oldest of them—aptly named Methuselah—has been here for over 4,700 years.
I have hiked and skied among these trees and camped beneath their branches. Their age-wrinkled bark and twisted limbs have sheltered me from the storms that sweep across these rarely visited mountains. In winter the temperature can drop below zero, and in summer the heat of the sun bakes like an oven. But the trees seem impervious.
As you walk among these oldest living trees, the sense of antiquity literally surrounds you. It seems as though ancient voices are whispering in your ears. Their words may be muffled, but the ages of time embrace you.