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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New Blog


Hey everyone – sorry I have been so absent as of late. I wanted to share with you that I have create a new blog – root lore! Here’s the link. I will likely be primarily posting over there, so if you want to keep up with me, please do follow me over there. I will be keeping this account active and continuing to follow everyone 🙂

The Barefoot Budget started as a content driven blog by which I wanted to share my ideas on minimalism, homesteading, and early retirement. I have noticed over the past few months though, that the content I am writing is increasingly personal and less idea-driven. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing at all! It’s just where I am right now. As much as I enjoy writing 2000 word posts, I simply don’t have the space for that in my life right now. I also look back (not so proudly) on some of my posts here and see how preach-y and judge-y they sound 😦 I definitely want to get away from that, but still be able to provide content for those interested in homesteading and early retirement. I will continue to post sporadically here when I have time – I want to make sure that what I’m posting is welcoming, useful, and relevant.

I have been going through a lot of change in my life (see below) that inspired me to find a new space to write and share, and that’s how root lore was born. This blog will be very personal! I have already made a number of posts so folks can see if it’s something they are interested in following. Please, come on over – everyone is welcome. Continue reading


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!



Yesterday was our 3rd Annual SiegelTraini Oktoberfest. We served tons of vegetarian German food as well as three batches of homebrew – a Helles Lager, a Dunkelweizen, and an Oktoberfest lager. It was our first shot at lagering beer and I think it came out really well, thanks to our awesome fermentation chamber! The menu was: Andrew’s famous soft pretzels, harvest salad with beets, pomegranates, radishes, and tomatos, warm mustardy potato salad, red cabbage casserole, garlicky green beans, beer cheese, and kaese spatzle. Andrew’s sister brought some amazing deserts – anise cookies, apple strudel, and a chocolate log. All our friends brought even more beer. 
It rained a bit but ended up being an autumnal celebration of friends, food, cooler days, and changing times. As the get togethers become rarer, it makes me a little sad that our lives are all changing and we are further apart. But now I think of it as a time to be together and celebrate and hear what everyone is up to. People are finishing degrees, starting new jobs, having babies, and in my case starting a new chapter of self care and mental health. How lucky we are to all be on different  paths and share that with each other. 

Oktoberfest really marks the beginning of autumn for us down here in GA. Yesterday the wind was blowing yellowing leaves around and folks were putting on sweatshirts at night. Our Oktoberfest party takes weeks even months to plan and prepare for. We starting brewing our beers back in July. My favorite part is the shopping and gathering of all the food. It feels very primal, making all the preparations for a big harvest celebration. Except at Kroger, haha. This year we were able to serve some farm fresh food which rules! I was still a little sick yesterday and didn’t imbibe much alcohol, but I still ate a great deal and had many great conversations. 

Ein Prosit!


My Herbs Arrived!

For Christmas last year, Andrew gave me a Rosemary Gladstar classic- Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. I read it cover to cover and then some! After studying it carefully, and learning more about herbalism from other sources, I finally decided I was ready to dive in. I made two big orders of organic herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and Starwest Botanicals. Both packages came in the mail this week, and I was jumping for joy telling Andrew how excited I was to start making *potions*.

I picked out a number of recipes from the book, and ordered the herbs I needed accordingly. I have an anxiety disorder as well as chronic headaches, so I focused on nerve tonics and immune system tonics. I also ordered plenty of herbs for homemade beauty products, including herbal shampoos and hair rinses, face washes, and salves.

I whipped up my first few batches of goodies! First, I made a ACV hair rinse with calendula, chamomile, and comfrey to encourage blonde highlights. Look how pretty the herbs look in the mason! They smelled amazing.

I also made Rosemary’s Miracle Grains, which are a facial cleanser made with ground almonds, white clay, and a variety of herbs. I used to use the ‘Herbalism’ face wash from Lush, which I loved, and I am hoping the Miracle Grains will be a fine replacement. So far so good! I mixed up a toner called ‘The Queen of Hungary’s Water’ which consists of a plethora of herbs left to sit for a few weeks in ACV, then mixed with witch hazel extract.

I was unfortunately and uncharacteristically sick this week, and made a couple teas from the book. Yesterday I was floored. I took one advil and drank a vitamin-C tonic made of rose hips, hibiscus, lemongrass, and cinnamon all day long and feel much better today.

Yay herbs!