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This is Natasha & Pete

by Guest

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!

Pete & Natasha Opening Their Truck Camper for the First Time Natasha & Pete Loading Truck Camper Truck Camper (by Natasha)

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.

Ian Delivering Pete & Natasha's Truck Camper

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.

Straw Bale Cottage in Progress Straw Bale Cottage (by Natasha) Natasha & Tara Installing Window Flashing (by Pete) Green Door (by Natasha) Natasha Chainsawing Bale (by Pete) Tara (by Natasha)

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.

Natasha Re-Tying Straw Bale Natasha & Pete Baling Loft Wall Pete Sitting on Upstairs Bale Stop Natasha Pete Chainsawing Bale (by Natasha)

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.

Tyler Chainsawing Bale (by Natasha) Bales in Truck (by Natasha) Natasha Chainsawing Bale (by Pete) Pete on Ladder (by Natasha)

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!!

Tara & Fitz (by Natasha) Tyler & Tara (by Natasha) Tara (by Natasha) Fire (by Natasha)

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.

Natasha @ Emerald Lake Picnic Tables @ Emerald Lake Natasha Taking Photos of Emerald Lake Emerald Lake Tara at Emerald Lake Pete at Emerald Lake Us & Pete at Emerald Lake (by Natasha) Pete & Natasha Taking Selfie at Emerald Lake

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.

Fitz & Malta in Truck Camper (by Natasha) Pete Sleeping (by Natasha)

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.

Jenna & Italics at Cold Antler Farm Lords of Waterdeep (Game Night at Cold Antler Farm)

Thanks for being so easily conned by our ├čcontrived naivety, which allowed us to win on our first try at The Resistance… Suckas! ;)

Sneaky Natasha at Cold Antler Farm Pete at Cold Antler Farm

Thanks for all the insanely delicious Vermont ice cream and fried foods…

Ice Cream Sundae from The Dairy Barn Arlington Dairy Bar (by Natasha) Fried Food (by Natasha) Pete Eating Sausage (by Natasha)

…except for that time at the drive-in when the frier was broken. So sad!

Us (by Natasha) Pete at the Drive-In Movie Theater Concession Stand Drive-In Movie Theater Concession Stand Us & Natasha & Pete at Drive-In Movie Theater Hathaway's Drive-In Theater Us & Natasha & Pete at Drive-In Movie Theater

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.

Pete & Natasha @ Emerald Lake
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Finished post looks great:)
Posted by Natasha and Pete on July 15th, 2014 at 7:54 PM
Wait...why is it called a blood lathe? I'm envisioning Texas Chainsaw Massacre here...
Posted by Joy on July 15th, 2014 at 8:52 PM
Thank you so much for being willing to write about your experience with us here. It's my hope that this journal will be around a hundred years from now... it makes me really happy that some part of our dearest friend's lives has been documented here along with ours.

Plaster lathe and expanded metal lathe are two other names for the meshy-metal that we put on top of many surfaces that we need plaster to adhere to. It's also called blood lath because it's sharp as heck once you cut it. When working in small spaces for days on end it's pretty much impossible not to get cut on it no matter how careful you try to be.
Posted by Tyler on July 15th, 2014 at 9:22 PM