Friday, May 30, 2014

Moving the old garage...

You know... Sometimes I wonder why I'm so tired and sometimes you all wonder why my bedroom isn't done. Some of these next blog posts are going to explain it.

In the 50's, when the Burkett's bought this old homestead that the cows were using for a barn, they lived in an army tent in the front yard for 2 summers while they refinished the old house to make it livable.

There actually was no garage on the property when the Burkett's purchased it. The last thing the Burkett's did when they were ready to move in was to go to their advocado farm in California and take down this garage they had built there. They moved it to Utah in 4 truck loads, one board at a time and reconstructed it in the front yard. If you notice down the right side of the bottom pic, there is no block wall yet, so this pic was taken in about 1958. The top pic is the side of the garage looking East, toward the road. 
We're suspecting these pics were taken right after they got the garage reconstructed.

We loved the little garage, but our plan was always to add a large garage and office onto the North side of the house and the little garage was in the way. So we moved it. For a year, it sad out front in the garden spot on a hay trailer waiting for its permanent home.

Truthfully, I'm always in awe of the 'Man-Child' and the things he can do. Another local contractor friend didn't think it could be moved. It's old. It's kind of dilapatated from just sitting uncared for, for so many years. The 'Man-Child' made it look easy though.

He pulled the hay trailer in front of the garage door and loaded all of the stuff from the garage onto the trailer. Then, he jacked the old garage up one corner at a time. Then, he put these large timbers sideways across the interior of the garage to stop the sides from caving in under the pressure and weight and those side braces were the bracing used to lower the garage back down, onto the trailer.

 Then, he just hooked the trailer to the backhoe bucket and drug it out of the way, to the front of the garden spot, while we finished another place for it to be reset.

Sounds easy right?

We decided the easiest / out of the way place to put this garage was through the block wall. Then, the whole body of the piece was out of our way, but it would still be fully accessible from the yard. Sounding easy and being easy to construct are sometimes simpler thoughts then they are realities.

When the 'Man-Child' first poured our new garage slab (with no garage yet...) He had to move the propane tank. It used to be on the inside of the block wall, behind the old garage we just moved. He got these jersey barriers for free from a highway job in the area and he used them to border the area in the hay field where everything from the interior was moving to. The hay field is a lower elevation by a few feet, so he had to set the jersey barriers (the concrete things) with his Cat dozer and then he brought in a bunch of backfill, to lift the level of the ground inside the jersey barriers up to the level of the ground inside the block wall / yard.

Even cutting a hole in the block wall was a project in the beginning. 
The 'Man-Child' is amazing. It's the advantage of having a general engineering contractor with a fleet of construction equipment and expensive tools... A project that wouldn't be possible without hiring someone, is totally possible when he is the 'someone' that would be hired. 

Once the backfill was done inside the jersey barrier frame, the 'Man-Child' poured a concrete footing for the old garage to rest on. We were initially going to just pour a concrete floor, but the price of concrete right now - Oh, My... The footings were $600, so we weighed our options and decided that we would just make a brick floor out of the pallets of bricks I drug home from the salvage / demo project we done last October.

The 'Man-Child' brought in a few buckets of sand and we started laying the bricks down like we done our patios last Spring. Remarkably, it only took us an afternoon to get the floor done. 

And, it looked awesome, like it had always been here. Neither of us regretted doing the floor this way.

After all, we are just going to use this old garage for storage for tillers and the lawnmower, garden tools and work tools. And, we figure we saved about $1100 using the brick instead of pouring concrete.

Once the footings were cured and the floor was ready, it was time to move the old garage. 

I had used the old garage last year to store all my patio furniture and cushions in (I just put them on the hay trailer with the rest of the stuff... And, also the 'Grand Littles' play toys. So, ignore the mess in the next few pics. It's sort of like a bomb went off as all of the stuff in the garage gets piled here and there during the move.

He put a set of forks on the loader, so he could lift the garage up and down without using track jacks to move it up and down and he grabbed hold of the back side and hooked the trailer to the forks from the inside. Then, he drug the garage over by the wall and positioned it so that he could back it into the hole in the wall and place it on the new floor. It sounds so easy, but getting that thing over there was a job.

Once he got it lined up with the hole in the wall, he repositioned to the other side, to just push it in place.

Getting it lined up evenly was a bugger with the row of lilacs in the way. Plus, they didn't build things so square and even back in those days, so the old garage was kind of off from spot to spot.

The 'Man-Child' had cut the hole in the block wall nearly exactly the width of the shed which gave no room for error. 
Can you just hear me screaming and jumping up and down as he tries to jimmy this big garage - a garage bigger than his loader - into an exact hole in an old block wall?
There was a lot of noise going on during this process, let me tell you ...

I had to run from one side, to the other, as he was backing the garage up, to make sure he didn't put pressure on the wall and knock it over and I was stressed. We tried & tried & tried to get it aligned to get it to fit in his 'near perfect' hole in the wall, but to no avail...

It wasn't working - we had to cut the hole in the wall bigger before we damaged the wall~!

Or, before I had a stoke from the fear of replacing the wall...

He used his concrete saw and cut about a foot more off each side. 

Probably mostly, to get me to stop panicking and yelling...

This 'Man-Child' is a pretty AWESOME man, let me tell you. 
He can do anything~!

When he got the wall hole opened up a bit more, the old garage just popped right into place.

He used a loader on the back end and a backhoe on the front end to position it carefully onto the footings. For an hour, he was jumping out of the loader and going through the gate, around to the backhoe in the field and back through the gate, back to the loader to jimmy this old garage into its perfect position. The man has talent - and a lot of energy for his age...

And, when he got it right were he wanted it, we had to jack it back up and put it back on bricks to get the trailer out.

And then, get it set perfectly on the footings.

And jacked back down to its permanent location...

It then, it got a new roof and it's a wonderful storage area, out of the way, but perfectly accessible from the interior of the yard. 
(And, so much stuff needed to be put away and liquidated, so ignore the mess. I'm still navigating through sheds and garages full of the Burkett's old things, plus the 'Man-Child's' things, plus some of my things. )

The garage was moved out of the garden spot on April 28 and we started the water system and landscaping in that area - - -

Boy, is this another project, so stay tuned...

There's another exhausting (picture intensive) blog post being planned of the garden spot soon~!

<<<Now do you know why my bedroom isn't completed?>>>



  1. I just enjoy your journey. I am living vicariously through you guys. I don't have near the same experiences. What a lot of work to move that garage. I like the old look of it, it fits in the landscape.

  2. The Burkett's sound like us... when we purchased this Old Homestead it was condemned and so we lived Gypsy Style in a Camper on the Acreage for some time while we prepared restorations to make the property habitable again. An Old Home is certainly a Labor of Love and an ongoing process of improving and maintaining the Charm and History of it all... but oh so worth it! I'm glad you are carrying the torch for your Lovely Old Property! What an incredible Journey you are on and I can relate on so many levels! *winks* Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  3. I love what you are doing with this blog. Using a creative process with the barn to kind of illustrate your journey of find yourself is awesome and very poetic. That garage is beautiful. I'm so glad you were able to move it successfully. I wish you all the best luck in the future. Please keep posting.

    Machelle Ledoux @ Total Garage Repair


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