After our first meeting in Southeast Asia, Tara and Tyler have made yearly trips to Tennessee to visit. When they bought their land, we were super excited for them, partly because it was the beginning of their homesteading dreams, but mostly because we were thinking "Heck yeah! Vermont's cool!! We can't wait to visit them every year!"
After a two-day road trip, Pete and I pulled into their windy, gravel drive. Hugs were followed by a tour of the property, and we were immediately enamored with the beauty and solitude of their land. We then got to meet our new truck camper, which we are planning to drive to South America in 2015!
With some luck we found a used one for sale in New York, and Tara and Tyler, being the awesome peeps that they are, agreed to deal with the money exchange and store it on their land until we could get it back to Tennessee. Tara and Ian (the seller) even took two hours of videos so we would know how stuff works, which was so incredibly considerate of both of them.
We were a little worried that our seven-day stay in Vermont would be too long. What would we do? Would T&T tire of us? Turns out, there was tons to do and we quickly fell into a routine. We would get up when we wanted (which is one of our favorite perks of any vacation), then mosey up to the homesite. There, T&T would teach us how to do all sorts of cool stuff.
We can now tie a bale with our eyes closed, make plasters stops, install windows (sort of—we'll have to work on that one), sculpt a bale with a chainsaw, and the finale… insert drum roll… BUILD A STRAWBALE WALL!!!
Easy as that.
Hah! Not easy at all.
Tara and Tyler don't complain much so we'll do it for them. Straw bale really sucks to work with. It scratches you, gets in your eyes, ears, nose and lungs. And that blood lathe stuff—well, its a bitch. Kudos for these two for doing this for days on end.
Nights were usually spent around a campfire, drinking local brews (it was on our Vermont bucket list), staring up at the millions of stars that are always hidden by our light polluted city, discussing homesteading and building dreams, reminiscing about our past travels together, and planning new ones. Some of our fondest memories in Southeast Asia are the times we spend with these two, so there was serious talk of them meeting up with us on our next big trip. We're holding you to it guys!!
On our last day we took a reprieve from laboring and drove to Manchester, another adorable little town. (T&T are surrounded by adorable towns; we're a tad bit jealous.) We drove on to Emerald lake and attempted to endure the water temperature. You crazy northerners swimming in your cold lakes, forget that.
We ended the day at a bug-free, air-conditioned movie theater. Two things that after only five days in our camper (so short compared to Tara and Tyler's nearly two years) we realized we really took for granted.
Thank you two for the wonderful hospitality and for introducing us to your kind, welcoming friends Charlie, Becky, Jenna and her bad-ass bird Italics—that was freakin' cool.
Thanks for being so easily conned by our ßcontrived naivety, which allowed us to win on our first try at The Resistance… Suckas! ;)
Thanks for all the insanely delicious Vermont ice cream and fried foods…
…except for that time at the drive-in when the frier was broken. So sad!
Thanks for the patient and excellent teaching of straw bale construction. We are wearing our blood lathe scars with pride. Thanks for letting us contribute in a small way to the building of your amazing home.
Mostly, thanks for making our lives richer and for being our dear friends. We love you both.
—Natasha and Pete.