the barefoot budget

unconventional grit for a mindful life


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Midwestern Vacation

This past week, we trouped to northern Michigan for the annual Eriksen family reunion! Although it was A LOT (14 hours each way) of driving, we handled it like champs and made the trip up and back in four days.

In between the driving we found all sorts of fun to get into. On the way up, we stopped at Mammoth Cave National Park and took a cave tour + a wonderful hike along the Green River. We stayed at the campground and enjoyed our favorite camp dinner of roasted veggies and Field Roast sausages. The next day, we visited two breweries – Dark Horse Brewing Company in Marshall, MI on the way up, and then met my family at Perrin Brewing in Grand Rapids, MI. Saturday brought family hikes on greenways along rivers and another brewery – Rockford Brewing Company in Rockford, MI. After lunch + beers, Andrew and I laid in the grass at the riverfront park, him napping while I laid my head on his chest and watched the crowds. Saturday night of the reunion is always good food, good drinks (homemade wine and WHISKEY from my uncle!) and lots and lots of euchre. Southerners – love ’em, but they do not know how to play cards. Sunday we began the sojourn home, stopping at the Indiana Sand Dunes National Seashore where we saw the skyline of Chicago from across Lake Michigan. Afterwards, we picked up one of my best friends from college across the border and headed to Three Floyds Brewing Company for hoppy beer and lots of laughs. Then we drove the grueling 11 hours home.

Four breweries, two hikes, one cave, and lots of time with the people I love. I call that a win. Times like these make me miss my people so badly. I’ve never been able to connect with folks and make close friends in Athens (besides Andrew of course). Most of my family is hundreds of miles away, with my closest friends either hundreds or thousands of miles away. I’m trying to cherish the time we have together, but it often makes me sad, even depressed. I feel heavy this week. But I keep thinking of the past weekend and giggling at the good memories. Sometimes, that’s the best you can do.


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Leaving the Homestead 

What kind of person are you? Are you a homebody, perfectly content to cozy up in the living room with a great book and a cup of tea? Or do you like to adventure out, always on the go with contantly changing scenery?

Like most, we’re a blend between the two. We love adventures, especially in the great outdoors. We love to travel and take road trips. On the other hand, we love having a home base, a place that’s ours to return to after traveling. We love hanging out at home, and being surrounded by “our stuff” – our pets, our art, our music, out projects. Up until this past year, finding a balance between the two was easy – the hardest part was finding someone to feed our cats while we were away. But now we’re trying to run a homestead, and that requires our presence at home the majority of the time. There’s a lot more that needs tended to nowadays – our garden, our fermentations, our permaculture projects. Leaving for longer than a couple days is tricky.

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Our Summer To-Do List

Hey-yo! we are running pretty far behind on seasonal reports, if you couldn’t tell from last week’s post. Trust me though – even though July is coming to a close, we still have two solid months of summer left in Georgia. So it’s certainly not too late to put together our ultimate “Summer To-Do List”! The first year we were together, we made cutesy seasonal to-do lists and hung them up in our apartment. I don’t really have the energy for that these days, so I figured, let’s put it on the blog. Why not! Happy summer everyone! What’s on your to-do list?

Our Summer Bucket List

  1. Go caving again, this time on a more serious half day trip – already scheduled for 8/23!
  2. Make a blackberry pie with the wild berries we picked, and make everything from scratch – down to the butter. Heck, let’s make some home made ice cream on the side too for an ala mode extravaganza!
  3. Visit our town’s new brewery, Southern Brewing Company. One of the things we LOVE about our town is that there is no shortage of good beer, and moreover good locally produced consumer goods.
  4. Tour Mushroom Mountain in Easley, SC. We have been wanting to check out this farm FOREVER. Late summer/ early autumn seems to be peak mushroom season in our neck of the woods, so now is as good of time as any!
  5. Visit the ocean. I haven’t been in years, and we have no excuse – we’re only 4 hours away. So yesterday morning … we finally booked a long-desired trip to Cumberland Island! It’s a barrier island only accessible by ferry, with miles of primitive trails. We are staying at a backcountry site for two nights. The island has wild horses! And it’s so sparsely visited, especially in the backcountry, that you can swim in the ocean naked!
  6. Have our own little tubing adventure! Last summer we tubed guerilla style on the Chatooga River by hiking a couple miles upstream, blowing up our tubes, and floating down one of the most beautiful river corridors I have ever seen. No humans, no development, just a beautiful wild river. This year I want to try to beat it by exploring the Etowah.
  7. Drive out to the country to watch the Perseid meteor shower. This one was on our list last year, but the night we woke up at 4 AM to watch, it was overcast.
  8. Visit our secret waterfall. Andrew took his friends last weekend, but I haven’t gotten to go yet. We consider this waterfall the location of our very first date 😀
  9. Make some more stops on our Goodly Portion of Northeast Georgia map. This map is a veritable goldmine, and one of the coolest concepts ever. In the 70s, two women drew up this map to highlight off the beaten path stops off the beautiful scenic byways in Northeast Georgia. Their legacy is carried on through updated yearly editions. Literally every place we have been on the map has been unique and badass.
  10. Enjoy our back porch. Simple. Easy. And the best part of summer. We don’t spend enough time out back since I quit smoking. The back porch used to be our spot, and I miss it.