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  • Writer's pictureMarc S. Tremblay

Head 'em up, move 'em out!

Updated: May 8

With just a little over two weeks to go before the "new used house" is delivered to the Grove, we're continuing to work on preparing the lot to make room for it.

The amount of work and planning to make this happen in such a short time frame is dizzying.

It feels like we're juggling hundreds of balls (or flaming torches?) at the same time, with all of them hovering over our heads, not knowing which one we'll catch, and which one we'll drop.

While trying to line up all the trades to do their work at a time when they're already mostly booked for the year, we needed to prepare the Bunkies to move them elsewhere on the lot. We also needed to move the deck and find a new home for the vintage trailer.

The Bunkies are old and fragile. The smaller one was built from scratch by the previous owner, Gary, and he somehow transported the bigger one from his aunt's lot, who owned a water-front cabin about 500 metres away. Even though they're old and require some repairs, we felt it was important to save them, but how the heck would we move them?

We talked to our excavator Matt Taylor about it. He had a simple plan: strap two 20-foot long pressure-treated 6x6 beams under each one, brace them with Hurricane Brackets, screw 2x6s between the beams, cross-brace the walls with 2x4s, and he'll skid them to their new location on the lot. Simple enough, but there was a little misunderstanding.

I didn't catch that I was responsible for the preparation work until the day he came to move them. Whoops!

Not only don't I have the skills for that, but I sure don't have the strength and stamina, being only three weeks post-chemo.

So obviously, the Bunkies didn't move that day, and Matt was a bit miffed that I didn't understand his "simple" instructions and carried out my duties. Or at least organized for someone to do it.

So he called-in a favour on the spot: he called Jesse, a well-respected local carpenter to come scope out the job. Jesse left the job he was working on and came to check it out. He could do possibly do it, but not until the following week.

Matt had already unloaded his big CAT excavator on our lot, "Bam-Bam", ready to skid the Bunkies to their new location, but it would have to sit idle for a week. He normally bills it out at $200+ per hour, and it's going to sit on our lot for 7 days... second whoops!

So, a week went by and Jesse came to prepare the Bunkies to skid them. You wouldn't know it by looking at him, but this guy is super-human. He single-handedly moved four, 20-feet long 6x6 pressure-treated beams under the Bunkies, lifted them up and braced them under each structure. He also screwed 2x4s to the outside walls to brace them to help minimize damage during skidding. It took a day. It would have taken me 2+ weeks!

The next day, Matt came to move them, but first, he had to clear some trees and prepare the spots where they were going to sit on the lot. So he got Bam-Bam going and in about 4 hours, the two Bunkies were sitting in their new location and the old trailer was turned around, ready for "Cadillac John" to hook it up and take it away...

Check out this sped-up video to see Bam-Bam in action:

The Bunkies made it to their new spots with little damage. Some of the cedar siding on one of them got damaged, which is relatively easy to fix, and we ripped off a portion of the roof overhand off the other, but we needed to replace it anyway because it was dry-rotted. And the hard work isn't done: we still need to apply for building permits, build proper footings and level them and secure the deck.

Next up, Matt Bolla from D.R. Daylight Tree Service, one of Mayne Island's expert tree fallers, will cut trees to make room for the house, and then Matt will bring Bam-Bam back for excavation.

Stay tuned!

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