The wretched old farmhouse is getting moved across the field to a new home.
Surprisingly on schedule (our third year here), we’re getting the old building moved off of its very sketchy “foundation” (six cinder blocks) and off of the eroded wet hole that it stands over, in favour of level ground.
If we let it go any longer, it’s going to fall over or rot.
Let me just say at the outset: I know, I know, it would be cheaper and easier to knock this thing down and build a new one. (It’s the first thing everybody says).
It would. I know.
I think I’m saving the house for purely sentimental reasons. It’s over 100 years old, it’s the only remaining structure from the once flourishing and now completely non-existent turn-of-the-century gold mining community that once populated this corner of Nova Scotia, and I don’t want to be the one to tear it down, although that would make more sense in many ways.
We don’t even have a plan for it, just that we’re going to start with a basic rescue.
Before moving time, HW took out the central brick chimney, before the chimney fell through the floor and took some of the house with it. The chimney wasn’t salvageable, because it took a couple of jogs, so could never have a liner inserted.
A neighbour of ours is contracted to move it.
Initially he jacked it up, put two 8x8s under it, and under those, 4x10s, supported by cribbing set up in the muddy hole.
That gave enough support to roll the house off of the hole and onto the planks set in the solid ground.
Some problems arose at that point. One gable wall is in serious trouble, having had structural members cut out for windows (?) and not having been reframed properly, so the whole wall decided to “burst” outward, threatening the roof.
We more or less tied it back together with come-alongs and a winch and bracing, to hold the rafters from spreading, and take this broken wall along for the ride. It’s going to need to be completely reframed. There turned out to be no header over either window. This wall was never going to make it.
Since the house has now proved too fragile to move like “normal”, by dragging across the ground on skids, he’s continuing to roll it on 1.5″ pipe rollers, under the skids on heavy planks.
This is time consuming, as every few feet you have to collect the pipes that spit out the back and move them to the front, and also move the (v heavy) planks to the front. The house wants to drift sideways off of its planks, so he has to jack it up to adjust its heading periodically, plus the intended direction is not quite a straight line, so he’s slowly turning it.
Although it’s slow, the house just glides along when it rolls.