I purchased a digital transit to help insure all levels would be set exactly to plans. Plans? What plans? (smile) Well, yes, I had hundreds of thoughts floating around in my head as to how this project should proceed. However, never having done such a project on my own before, the thought of doing so was a tad overwhelming to say the least.
Every project needs a starting point from which to reference all dimensions that follow. Using the digital transit, I surveyed the property to understand how the ground laid. It was very apparent that the property was relatively low laying with respects to the surrounding farm grounds. This meant lots of water potential during deep winter snows and sudden thaws. A very large and deep creek borders the property all along the east boundry.
Thinking about what could realistically occur during a fast winter thaw, I decided to elevate the top surface of the concrete slab 9 inches above the centerline of the road which borders the east boundry of the property. I chose 9 inches because where we wished to place the house, the surrounding ground was the most elevated natually whereas when we dozed the sod off the ground, we ended up at almost the exact depth that disturbed the least amount of soil for the base of the concrete slab.
Using tools, Google Earth, Google Sketchup, my transit and a 100ft tape, placer boards were installed and string strung. I set about digging all the trenchs for sewer, water and electrical lines. Here are a few images of my progress up to 8/24.
I shared this revelation with Sharon's father. He informed me that I could use the post hole digger attachment for his International tractor and that he would help me move the pole. My original thought when the power company wanted the pole moved, I was planning to dig the hole by hand with a shovel. Needless to say that I was beyond "thrilled" when Sharon's father offered to help and lend his post hole digger!
With the use of the post hole digger and high lift loader, the pole move was short and sweet. The longest part of the whole process was digging the pole out of its original location. However, I had a lot of that completed with digging up and removing the old power conduit. The next concern was the condition of the power meter box. It hung on the pole for a good many years, totally neglected. It was very badly rusted inside. Sharon's father offered to clean it up so I removed it from the pole and took it to their shop.
Sharon's father did a wonderful job of cleaning and painting the meter box. However, I was fearful that it would not pass the The State of Oregon electrical inspection or the power company's requirements. I finally chickened out and ordered a new updated meter box/power panel. I really felt bad having to do this because Sharon's father invested a lot of time and effort cleaning up the old one. However, me being new to this construction business, I felt it best to stay on the positive side of the State inspectors.
Most of the digging around and near the pumphouse had to be done by hand. I needed to get an idea where the water lines exited the well casing. When this well was originally constructed, it was powered by a windmill and a cistern constructed a couple hundred feet from the well, and located behind the existing combine shed. The cistern was eventually abandoned then later pushed in, but the 1-1/4" steel line was left in the ground. The well is of bell shape design and is 35' deep. My rough calculations puts the capacity at around 1300gal. The well casing is in excellent condition and the flow capacity is quite dramatic. However, the pump house structure above the well will require extensive rebuilding.
Sharon and I were anxious to see our house finally making its way home. We parked across from the Arrow Head Truck Plaza, watching for the movers to pull off the freeway and toward the Plaza. It seemed like forever, waiting. I received a call from the movers letting us know that they were planning to pull into the Truck Plaza for a short stop. They revealed they had some tire problems along the way and was the reason they took a little longer getting to the Truck Plaza.
Thankfully, the Truck Plaza has a large parking area. I was a little concerned due to the size of the house. However, following them into the Plaza, I seen that they had no issue at all. Sharon and I pulled up beside the house after they parked. It was somewhat weird to see "our house" parked amoung the trucks at the Plaza. ( smile ) Walking around the unit, I noticed some of the black plastic was coming loose towards the rear of the unit. Other than that, every thing else appeared normal.
Continuing our trek, from the Truck Plaza, the first half of our house finally arrived on the 8acres site. The movers set the unit up an blocks and removed the tires and axles. The tires would be used to move the second half. I inquired about the axles being removed. How was the unit to be moved later without axles? The movers stated the axles were easy to put back on when it was time to move the unit into final position, besides they use the axles to move other units while we prep the site for the slab. I was satisfied with that response.
The second half was to be moved a few days later. However, a few days had passed and I was getting concerned that I had not received a call stating the second half was being moved. I assumed the movers would not move during the weekend. I called the land owner to see if he knew what was happening on his end. The land owner chuckled and stated that he was amazed the first half arrived ok. Shocked at his rely, I inquired why he felt that way. He informed me that when the movers hooked up to the first unit and headed out, they got about a 100 yards down the road when the hitch broke out from underneath the unit!! "Holy smokes", I replied! The movers mentioned "nothing" about that happening. The land owner stated that it was a good thing it happend so close and not on the main highway somewhere. The land owner watched their welder weld the hitches on originally and he thought to himself about the shoddy welding job he did. At this point, I was thinking to myself, "what type of moving outfit did you recommend me?" Holy Cow!!
Later in the week, I received a call that the movers were enroute with the second half. I shared with them what the landowner had told me and I asked if they were confident the second half would not experience the same fate. They assured me all was well with the second half. I had my doubts, but I did not state as much. They stated they would be a little longer with this run because their route would take them around through Wallula and not across the bridge as they did with the first half. I was relieved things were moving forward again, so I did not inquire why the alternate route was being taken.
The second half arrived, to the best of my knowledge, without incident. However, I did inquire as to why they went around through Wallula this trip. The lead man told me that the State of Oregon would not allow them to go across the bridge at Umatilla again as the State of Washington trip permit had instructed them do so. It was then revealed to me that as they went across the bridge at Umatilla, they encountered a situation where they "almost" got the first half "stuck" on the bridge!! Holy cow, again!! Apparently, they struck the superstructure of the bridge as they went across. The unit was apparently a tad too high! Holy cow!! This was the reason why the plastic sheeting was hanging loose when Sharon and I met them at the Truck PLaza. They had to keep moving forward once they started crossed the bridge. About 20ft along the rear roof peak contacted the bridge superstructure. Holy cow!! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. In these photos you can see where the plastic was rubbed off the last third of roof because of this incident.
Overly concerned that extensive damage may have occurred to the roof structure, I climbed up and inspected the area much closer. 20ft along the rear ridge where there used to be a nice sharp edge of the roof sheeting, was now ground down about 3/4 of an inch which of course released the black plastic which had been rolled and secured with 1x2 strips. I could see where the temporary support 2x6s had been shoved down bending the bolts which secured them. Deeper inside the roof structure, I found no visable damage that concerned me. Close inspection inside the unit, I seen no visable cracks in the sheetrock anywhere that suggested any major structural damage had occurred. Apparently, we lucked out. After the movers had set the second half on blocks, removed the tires and axles and left, I stepped back looking at the two halves of our house, now setting on the property. I thought about all the steps of the processes required just to get the house sitting where it was, I knew someone was thankfully watching over us.
The movers split the house and prepared it for transport. It was good to see this phase of the project moving along. The front, or the "heavy half", meaning the half with the kitchen, and both bath rooms, was scheduled to be transported first. This would be the last trip made with the wheat truck. We loaded up all the concrete blocking from the front half and the movers would bring what was left from under the rear half. I was "really" looking forward to NOT having to drive back and forth to the Tri-Cities! This phase was "thankfully" complete.
Sharon's father loaned us one of his wheat trucks to help with hauling home the decking and blocking materials. I hired an air conditioning company to come and evacuate the heat pump. They pulled down the system and stored the freon in the compressor unit. We loaded it up in the mini-van and hauled it home. So far so good.
The land owner was getting nervous with our time line getting the house ready to move. His wife had given us a phone number of a mobile home mover that they had used in the past moving other mobile homes off his development tract. I informed him that I had called the phone number several times with no response. He said that he would check into it and let me know. In the mean time, we prepared to start removing the concrete block skirting the next day. The land owner offered to remove the concrete front steps for us with his large backhoe. Needless to say, I was all for that!! I was worried how I was going to deal with those.
There are many things needing immediate attention on the property as the above photos indicated. This property has had three other homes on it in the past. Many, many years ago there was a stick built house that was bulldozed and burned. Then a single wide mobile home was put on the property and then later a double wide mobile home was added. The existing septic system was installed when the double wide mobile home was added. The septic system is a "pressure" system that pumps affluent 300ft up to the nearby hillside to the leach field. This was done because of ground water which is fed by a spring upstream of the property. The septic system was in pretty good shape as it was only used two years after which the double wide mobile home was removed from the property. The only issue was that the cows had rubbed against the risers and dislodged the upper ones. Not a big deal. When all the mobile homes were removed, the property has mainly been a cow pasture ever since. The cows, over the years, have done a fair amount of damage to the pump house with their rubbing as well.
I will be spending a fair amount of time measuring and planning location of water and sewer lines along with electrical lines. First, I have to discover where all the existing lines are buried. A job which will require a lot of backhoe work. But first, I needed get the house in West Richland ready to move. That will require the deck be disassembled, the block skirting removed and the heat pump evacuated and then hire someone to break down and move the home. Sounds simple enough, huh? Simple is was NOT! ( smile )
Sharon called the number listed in the ad and arranged an appointment to view the home. We drove to West Richland and met with the owner and he took us to the house. There was a young couple with three children who were still in the home, renting it. The reason the owner was wanting to sell this house was that this house was the only one left on a track of land the owner was developing and he needed it moved ASAP, thus the reason for incredibly low price.
Upon entering the home, both Sharon and I were completely amazed with its condition. It is a 1999 Palm Harbor doublewide with an attached 12'x40' cedar deck. The house was in immaculate condition! After walking through the home, Sharon asked me what I thought. I said... "I'm sold"! We bought the home that very evening not giving much thought as to what was ahead! ( smiling )
I continue work on my Zoneminder security camera server. I have the system running on Dell 2850 server platform running Ubuntu Linux Server 10.04LTS with a 16 port video capture card. It has been running since September of last year and seems to be doing a great job. It runs 24-7 and records any and all motion within a given scene using cheap $40 security cameras I picked up a Wal Mart. I currently have four camera running and recently had a total of eight going by incorporating camcorders on to the system. The camcorders worked quite well but not as useful as dedicated security cameras. Future plans are to include two PTZ(pan, tilt, zoom) cameras to the system, one mounted on either side of the house along with the smaller stationary cameras. The cool thing about this system is that I can access my cameras from anywhere on the internet. I will also be able to control the PTZ cameras via the web as well. The system is capable of "messaging" when a triggered event occurs. This means I will have a couple of cameras "inside" the house and if the system is triggered by movement inside the house while we are away for any length of time, it will actually "contact" me and make me aware some anomaly has occurred and can even transfer the video event to an off site web address in the event the server hardware is stolen. Another neat feature of the system is the X10 interface whereby electrical devices within the home can be controlled via the web. Lights, thermostats, watering systems can all be controlled remotely if one desires to set the system for that type of control. Pretty cool, huh? There are so many wonderful things to experience with the Linux operating system. (smile)
That is about it so far. Health wise, both Sharon and I are doing well. We will be even better now that our NordicTrack treadmill is functional again. Our anniversary is coming up next month. It is hard to believe we are going on two years married this April 25th. I am happy to say it has been a flawless two year experience. Sharon is so much fun to work side-by-side with and to "love". She is truly the "magic" in my life!
Sharon received information about changes destined to occur within the organization she transcribes for. For a good number of years, she had three clients she transcribed for without difficulty. However, things were about to change quite dramatically. First, she was approached with two more clients requesting her services to do their transcribing as well. Sharon at first turned them down stating that she simply could not handle additional clients without hiring additional help which she did not wish to do. Then, she received indicators that one of her regular clients were leaving her for a different system. This information prompted her to rethink and accept the offer previously presented to her. The new clients became quite a challenge and I began to help her as much as I could. I quickly realized an organizational deficit with the acquisition of her new clients. Then the clients who were to migrate to another system not only decided to stay, but increased their client load by a whopping 75%. Over the next several months, Sharon and I became pretty much chained to our computers. I am and I'm sure Sharon is as well, thankful for all my many years tinkering on computers and software. Over the months I devised a logging system which has aided tremendously in keeping her clients organized. Our system continues to evolve. There have been some extremely "trying" moments along the journey to say the least. The unfortunate outcome in all this is that I no longer get to enjoy helping on the farm as much as I once used to. However, Sharon and I must eek out a living the best we know how. It has been a wonderful blessing to work side by side conquering challenge after challenge with my extremely intelligent, sweet, cute, loving, lovely bride. (big smile) Things are under somewhat better control. We are realizing a little more time for ourselves and family. However, our daily lives continue to revolve around Sharon's business. Thankfully, with the advent of mobile computing it may be quite possible for us, in the very near future, to move about freely and still maintain our daily business activities. Fingers are crossed. (smile)This past event, I have struggled to arrive at the words to share here. I'm not completely sure I grasp the reality of it yet. The Bergman siblings have been a living unit for over seventy years. This photo taken not so very long ago, is one of the last with us all together. It is with saddened heart I must share that our brother Alan passed away November 7, 2010 in Rapid City, SD. Alan was a lot of things to a lot of people. I dare not try to identify who or what Alan became in his life time. He was a ham radio operator (W0PUF) for as long as I can recall and are my most "close" memories of him. Even though there were only a couple years difference in age, he and I did not develop a "close" family tie between us. Even so, the family "fabric" has been forever changed. I think back as far as my ability to... and see a family, through all that life has thrown at it, has been extraordinarily blessed to have been a continuum for so many years. I cannot speak for other family members, but I believe what I am feeling in my heart is very similar to "phantom limb" syndrome. He still feels "here". I share this link to the funeral home who handled Alan's services, his obituary along with a guest book you may sign and share with others. The guest book is a wonderful opportunity to share a few final words.