If moving a shop onto the farm is step two, you may be asking yourself what was step one? Well, any normal person would just assume step one would be a home, because of course you want to LIVE at your farm, right? Wrong. In some twisted turn of events, my husband convinced me not only to get a barn (step one) before our house, but he also got a shop! But don't worry, I have my fingers and toes crossed that step three will be our home...
Meet our newest addition to the Williams Family, Clay's Shop
Moving versus New
We hadn't really been looking for a shop, and most certainly weren't thinking about relocating an existing shop to our farm when we started the yard building process. We had actually been to a farm auction sale the summer before when we first set our eyes on our new bundle of building. The coal mine that operates nearby had bought out a farm in order to expand their excavation and in turn, the farmer was having a dispersal sale. While the shop was not for sale at that time, Clay had actually mentioned how much he would enjoy a shop just like it (of course because he only had a dumpy "shed"... you can see how it gets annoying, right?).
A few months later we found out the shop was for sale, so we ran some numbers. By purchasing and moving this shop, including a cement foundation, we would save approximately $28,500. We came to that number based on the cost of a 60 x 40ft pole framed, insulated building from the same company that built our barn- Goodon Industries. We also got the added bonus that the shop to move came with wiring, gas lines, the hot water heater and some additional shop supplies. (Wahoo!) So while the shop to move will need more sweat equity and is a bit older, the arch ribbed shop felt like the right choice for us.
Building the Foundation
Here is where we ran into some snags. The contractor we hired to complete the foundation didn't quite meet our expectations. While we booked the contractor before September long weekend, it wasn't until some very forceful/panicking phone calls the week before the move (mid- October) that they started the project. In fact, they only started 7 days prior to the scheduled move. This was a BIG issue for us. The rushed construction really took a toll on our project...
We were told by our basement builder (note that is most definitely a different contractor than we used on our shop foundation), that he doesn't recommend placing a building on an ICF Cement foundation for a minimum of 3 weeks after pouring. We were also told that at the very least, cement should receive 48 hours of curing before any placement on top. In fact, after 48 hours cement only has 75% of its strength total strength...
Well, on day 4 of the foundation build, there was still no cement. I mentioned the impending deadline to the contractors (and by mentioned, I mean full out panicked in their direction!) but because Day 5 and 6 were a Saturday and Sunday, they wouldn't pour the cement until Monday. We set the shop on the new foundation EXACTLY 24 hours after the cement was poured... This is still giving me anxiety as I type, because we won't know the strength of the cement for at least a week... AHHHH! This also meant we couldn't anchor our new building to our foundation... Yes, our new shop, AKA wind sail, is just exposed on the wide open prairie, waiting for the next wind storm to blow it to Brooks... Insert anxiety attack here!!!!
Keep your fingers crossed!
The day before the big move the guys from Wade's House Moving & Heavy Hauling in Taber met us at the shop. The day consisted of un-screwing the existing anchors from the cement foundation, tearing out the old benches, bracing the shop from the interior and loading it onto the trailer. We were very pleasantly surprised at how efficient the Wade's Crew was. They were in and out in a flash! We had no complaints and were very happy that Wade was able to brace the building with minimal damage (some is always to be expected). The only word of advice I would give others, is that you should go through the building thoroughly before the move and do any salvaging/removal yourself. Wade's crew said it themselves, they are excellent at demolition, they are not a salvage crew. They get things done fast & efficiently!
The location of the shop was only about 20 miles from our new farm yard, so the actual travel time was quite short. It took only about 45 minutes all in all. The video shows the shop moving onto Highway 36 and heading north before turning off onto gravel to it's new home!
The only snags we ran into on this part of the journey was that we have two sets of Texas Gates going down our driveway. We had to torch one gate, un-bolt the other and cut some barbed wire fence to get the access wide enough for the 40ft wide shop to fit through. We also had to keep our cows from mixing with the neighbors, and our bulls, but luckily that went smooth (yay for tame cows!).
I am not sure why I thought moving the shop was the hard part, but it was definitely setting it down on its foundation that was the challenge. The shop arrived on location at 10am but the shop wasn't set on it's foundation until 3 pm. I must give kudos to the Wade's Crew. They did a phenomenal job! Here are a few photos of sliding the building onto the foundation...
At the end of the day we are very excited to have another check mark on our list of farm yard to-do's, even with the few bumps in the road. However, we do have a lot of work ahead of us to make this shop workable for the ranch- power, water, gas hook ups, floor poured, backfilling, landscaping and much more! So if you are interested in our adventures keep stopping by- we will have lots to report on!
By Jesse Williams
An average Thanksgiving for us involves a trip to Brooks, AB just an hour south of home, to my parents place. But this year we were lucky enough to pack up the Martin gang and head to Hodgeville, SK to my Aunty Carmen and Uncle Jeff's mixed farm operation.
The Martin Family
We had a blast with the family, visiting the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa, the Moose Jaw underground Tunnels where Al Capone bootlegged liquor and hanging out on the farm. We enjoyed one delicious, HUGE hutterite turkey with all of the fixings, two very friendly cats, one well-broke 4-H heifer and many, many laughs.
My mother and her family (the Martin's) grew up just 100km SW of Hodgeville, outside a town called Cadillac, SK. After 5 generations of Martin's on that homestead, my grandparents sold the farm in 2006. I was fortunate enough to be able visit the old homestead this past summer and share my most favorite childhood memories with my husband. Being in Saskatchewan for Thanksgiving brought back all sorts of memories for me. Here is a little flashback:
After a wonderful weekend in Saskatchewan, it reminded me how very thankful I am for all of the blessings in our lives. I am so grateful for all of the friends and family that make our lives so special, for all the little nieces and nephews that make our times together so enjoyable and for all of the amazing opportunities we've been given in this life. On this Thanksgiving I am especially thankful for my handsome husband that stayed home all weekend to work on his water well rig, so I could enjoy a long weekend away in Saskatchewan.
From our Family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted by Jesse Williams
Today we said GOODBYE to our Strathmore acreage and all signs of life in the big bad city of Calgary FOR GOOD!
As you may or may not know, Clay and I both worked downtown Calgary for THREE YEARS after graduating university. The only thing that kept us sane after a long day of city hustle & bustle was our acreage outside Strathmore (45 minutes from Calgary). While I quit my city job and moved back to Hanna last November, Clay stuck it out as an engineer for 10 more months before we FINALLY sold our acreage. While we still don't have our dream house on the farm (in fact we have a single wide in town, quaintly named the 'Dutch Villa') we are one step closer and are very excited to live in the same vicinity again!
In honor of our new beginning, we are reminiscing about our very first home...
It all started in February of 2012... Clay and I purchased our first acreage & then hopped on a plane with the Baron clan to Peurto Vallarta, Mexico. And so began 5 hours worth of flight time devoted entirely to bugging our family about our BIG plans with the new digs! Eventually April came and we moved into our new acreage on a gloomy, rainy day...
We spent all of our extra time to convert our open 3 acres to a mini-farm where we could pretend we were on the ranch
While we were only here for three years, we did make a lot of memories. Some of the most notable included 2 litters of puppies (one for Pickles & one for Ruger), a small herd of goats (including one goat's stay in the house!), watching our home raised colt grow up, and my very favorite, the arrival of our very first niece just 7 miles down the road.
We had a blast in our very first home and we learned A LOT! We now know that you should look at the baseboards of any new home (and stay clear if they are PAINTED & GLUED TO THE FLOOR!), that plaster ceilings are not fun to chip down, and that staining all of the wood planks on your fence is a terribly onerous job (even if Jesse 'promises' she'll get it done). But most of all, we learned that love is truly what makes a house a home <3
Stay tuned if you want to see what ridiculously crazy thing we did next... (and by next I mean less than 24 hours after we got the offer of purchase on this acreage...). Hint: It's coming in THREE pieces and will live at the end of this driveway...We'll be using the hashtag #buildingafarm on social media, so follow along! ;)
A Blog About Our Life, Love & Lessons Learned on the Ranch