I have been involved with house moving before,.(see Foxfire 10, if anyone remembers the Foxfire Books), Today was the most fun I've had in a while. I came into a building that needed moving...to my place. It's a 12x16x10, huge by any standard, but not one of those lightweight storage buildings. This ' un was a hoss', it being built old school, with conventional building materials.
This morning, I procured a couple of 4x6 timbers at the hardware, and Tim and I ran them though the underside of the building , side to side, one in front one in back, to act as supporting outriggers from whence to jack the structure up high enough to get a heavy 21 foot trailer under it. Tim and I started jacking up the building with two small 12 ton bottle jacks from Harbor Freight, (that gave me pause). We sat the jacks on a pillar of concrete blocks from which we could jack each outrigger up 6 inches at a pop.. We jacked the back first, alternating sides, until we had about 38 inches under the back side, propped on a double stack of concrete block. I wasn't going anywhere, as we put my tractor's lifting forks under the back and drove it up against the back of the building to keep it from shifting.
We then used a bulldozer to lift the front. Everyone should have a "bull noser", as the are called around here...they're as handy as a pocket on a shirt. Lifting the front with the noser, and shoring up took about 1/4 of the time as the back. All in all, a successful and enjoyable morning. Time for a "poke" chop, literally.
After lunch, we backed a 21 foot goose neck trailer under it without knocking it off the piers, though we did have a close call when the tractor (hydrostatic drive) lurched forward a couple inches as we were "backing" it away from the now almost loaded building...Opps. Building still on piers. As the Irish say "Twas going as God and man had planned, yet the deevil was still in it",
We slowly let the building down onto the trailer, groaning and creaking, by reversing the jacking up process. I'm telling you this ain't no lightweight building. Loaded and ready to roll.
Thank God for Four Wheel Drive trucks and heavy duty trailers....my big Chebby would never have pulled it out of the hole, or up the gravel road.
We started up the state road with an escort in front and my truck and tractor following the parade. I don't know that we were legal in height or width, and we did meet a county mounty. It fails when you're doing something illegal, immoral, or fattening, does it? He didn't even glance our way. I breathed a sigh of relief when we got to the small county road. Piece of cake from there...came down the drive way to within in 20 feet of it's new home.. An old Sufi proverb states the journey is never finished until the last step is taken and the greeting are being said...
A masterful job of twisting and turning by Tim, in confining space put the building with in a foot of where I wanted it.We destroyed two Pampas Grass plants, but you can't kill those...they'll be back, with vengeance.
We unloaded the blocks, built back the piers, jacked her up and drove out from under it...and there it stands tonight, some 4 feet in the air, waiting to be let down to proper height.
Today was awesome, weather wise, and a perfect job of work to do. It involved physics, low tech materials to work with, a little suspense, a few tense moments...and a lot of fun. Don't get no better than that!
Jacob Carter and Michael Nix would have been better to stay home from school today. They would have learned more, I suspect...and had fun doing it. Schools don't give those experiences these days, more's the pity. Ah, for the old days at Foxfire, when a kid could learn to move a log house and get credit for it! Fond memories, indeed.