the barefoot budget

unconventional grit for a mindful life


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Homesteading in Small Spaces: The Homestead Mindset

One year ago we moved from our suburbany townhome into an 1800’s Victorian smack dab in the middle of town. As many of you know, we had originally wanted to purchase a house, but the stars wouldn’t align. So we made the financially right decision to delay home-buying and took action to at least get closer to the life we want. Andrew wanted to be closer to bars, restaurants, and shops. I wanted to be in walking or biking distance of my office. We broke our lease and moved into town.

Just because we didn’t buy a house doesn’t mean we gave up on homesteading. It’s just a different approach, one that I’ve been exploring and have found both exciting and frustrating. I got a lot of positive feedback on the last ‘Homesteading in Small Spaces’ post I did that talked about creative gardening solutions. Today I am continuing that series and discussing the value of the ‘homestead mindset’ – something that takes no space whatsoever.

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Apple Season


Last weekend, we were privileged enough to spend the weekend in an incredible fancy cabin in the North Carolina mountains. We hiked to waterfalls and peaks, and the fall colors were gorgeous! We also spent plenty of time around the blazing fire, playing games and watching a scary movie. I love family trips! As we drove home on Sunday, we winded through North Georgia and made a few pit stops. 

First, we stopped at Warwoman Dell, a WMA and trailhead for our beloved Bartram Trail. This place is very special to us, as it is somewhere we visited often when we were first falling in love. As we got out of our car, we breathed a collective sigh of comfort and agreed that it had been too long. We went for a short hike, then hopped back on the road to our next stop: Hillside Orchard. 

I love visiting orchards in the fall, even if it is a little kitchy. This particular orchard had lots of farm animals! We said hi to chickens, goats, cows, donkeys, and the biggest pig I have ever seen in my life! Of course, the best part was that we scored a couple pumpkins and half a bushel of apples. I see apple butter day on the horizon!


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More Autumn Crafts

Some of my fondest childhood memories are decorating our home for various holidays, mainly with decorations we made ourselves and stockpiled over the years. My mom kept everything in big rubbermaids, and I would get so excited when we brought them up from the basement. As an adult, I have wanted to recreate that feeling, mainly for autumn and Christmas times. 

The thing is, we didn’t have any decorations when we got together! Not eager to run out and buy a bunch of mass produced crap, we have turned to crafting our own! It has turned into somewhat of a tradition, especially for Christmas. I love it so much, I have extended it to autumn! The idea is that every year, we make a craft or two during the season to build our very own decoration stockpile. It’s a fun bonding activity and I love that all our decorations are personal and have memories attached to them.

This year we made God’s Eyes together in autumn colors. My other craft is leaf garland! I picked out leaves from our yard – oak, redbud, maple, and laurel – and used them as stencils to make felt leaf cut outs. I then strung the cutouts together on yard with some beads. It was super easy and inexpensive. The best part though is the experience I had laying in bed under the covers, listening to Ryan Adams or Fleetwood Mac or Guided By Voices (my autumnal music), stringing the leaves together. It felt so seasonal and cozy. 

I love the way this simple craft came out! I laid the garland over our mantle.


 


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Autumn is (Almost) Here


With temps still in the high 80s, I am hesitant to declare autumn’s arrival down here in Georgia, but something in the air has definitely changed. Last night we were sitting outside chatting and I declared June and October my two favorite months of the year, with December a close third. This October is already looking to be a good one.

It’s was a busy summer on all fronts. Our little homestead did a whole lot of brewing and fermenting – beer, mead, kombucha, ginger beer, and a few veggie ferments. Andrew is making turmeric soda tomorrow. He bought me lots of soy beans to try my hand at soy milk and tofu but I haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve been preoccupied with keeping the ship running – that is my gift. I make sure the kitchen knives stay sharp (sharpening them by hand with a whetstone), I make sure all the CSA food gets either cooked or preserved, I bake the bread, I clean the home, I mend the clothes, I make the toothpaste and soap and laundry detergent and an array of cleaning solutions. And of course we continue to eat delicious farm fresh meals like tonight’s eggplant, tomato, and pepper stew. Nightcapped with half a chocolate-y craft brew.

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Football Witch


This is a picture of my desk, and this picture is the epitome of me.

A few weeks back, I cut, washed, and hung big bundles of mint and nettle to dry. I like to hang them all over the house for fragrance. Seeing them all over evokes that nice witchy feeling and feels cozy in our small space – like herbs are stuffed into every corner.
After a few weeks of drying, the herbs turn brittle and are ready to be put up. I make a space on my messy desk to separate leaves and buds from tough stems, then to crumble all the medicinal plant parts into labeled mason jars that go onto my makeshift apothecary.


My apothecary is a shelf in the middle of our beautiful oak bookshelf, and it somehow feels right that the herbs are nestled between VHS tapes of the Matrix and The Blues Brothers, but also The Critique of Pure Reason and Harry Potter. It’s me. It’s us.

My fantasy football lineup serves as my altar for harnessing my herbs. Alongside sit everything from my heavily highlighted and dog eared copy of The Encyclopedia of Country Living to coloring books to black metal stickers to old issues of Audobon and National Geographic that I use for making collages. All the while I’m singing along to the supreme pop of Ruby the Rabbitfoot. There is nothing solemn about it but it fees sacred in my own special way.


I’ve spent a lot of energy in my life comparing myself to others, especially via the internet. Other people have always seemed to have it more together than me, and their lives have seemed more beautiful and happy in general. I am trying to stop thinking this way by celebrating the unique things that make me – me. My home doesn’t look like it’s out of a Tumblr blog and my garden doesn’t look like a magazine cover. My spaces aren’t perfect or Instagram-worthy. But they are mine. They feel like mine, and they reflect the unique person that I am. After all, there’s only one football witch.