Monthly Archives: December 2014

The post we’ve been waiting for

…One of them, anyway.

The operators showed up at 10 this morning. Patrick, the gentleman who came out Monday to survey the site, was one of them. We were quoted $115 an hour (total, for two forklifts), and given an estimate of four hours. Additional fees included $85 for transport either direction, and $350 to have the 4th container moved from our storage facility. Patrick found the trucking company for us and contracted them out–which means he made the scheduling arrangements and we’re paying (probably with a little extra on top) through the construction company instead of direct. Still, it was the best price we’d heard, and the driver was accurate in his trailer length. It was 43 feet long, exactly.

Having the containers placed, including the one the driver dropped this morning, only took 2.5 hours, so we’re ahead a bit on what we’d expected to spend, which always makes for good news.

I’d describe further, but pictures, in this case, really are worth a thousand words:


The driver picking up the fourth one at our storage facility.


Crane 1


Crane 2


Two in place


And they’re all in place!


Kinda looks homey, right?

After all the stress and general up-in-the-air uncertainty about how exactly this was going to go down, I can’t begin to express my relief.

So instead, I’ll just show you this composite video:


Cranes, trains, and automobiles bb

The crane guy was supposed to meet me at 9 this morning. At 8:15, he texted me saying he’d driven by early, and was sorry to say he didn’t have any equipment small enough for my job. His tone was very professional and genuinely apologetic–and I give him props for swinging by early on a Monday. He suggested we call a local construction company that he knew had smaller cranes.

Despite it being my first full day on vacation from the day job, I’m ready for this project to get going, so when I received that text, I looked up the number and gave it a ring. I left a message, but you know how that goes–on a Monday morning, I figured I might not hear back until tomorrow. Imagine my joy when Pat (that’s his name) called me within an hour and was able to meet me this afternoon (!!!).

The very pleasant and professional Pat came by and chatted with me while we walked around for him to assess the situation. He said he feels forklifts are really a last resort, and while we have room for one of his smaller ones, we’ve still got enough trees (even after all the unfortunate tree surgery that’s occurred) to be just a little problematic.


He has an all-terrain forklift that he said will do the job easily. AND they can do it sometime this week. He’s heading to another job site, then will go to the office and check the calendar and call me to schedule.

After all our setbacks with moving these things, I am so, so grateful to have some good news, and to have had a professional person come out at no cost and tell me with certainty his company could do it.

Oh, and his company can also move the 4th one we put at our storage facility–and at a much lower price than I’d gotten from anyone else.



I last left you with this: We now have two containers, and neither of them are where we want them. 

Which brings us to cranes. We need to have our containers placed where we actually want them. The easiest way to do that, believe it or not, is with a crane. They can tie on to our containers and “hop” them over to where we want them. With any luck, I’ll be able to take some video of that experience.

On a related note, my grandfather operated heavy equipment for all of his career–not little dozers, or sweet little dump trucks–but things like the biggest crane you’ve ever seen. And he had to move that equipment around a lot. I’m realizing what an asset it is to have someone whose job is to drive big things, and figure out how to move big stuff from point A to point B. Kudos, Papa. You’re amazing, and I appreciate your mad skills all the more, now.

You may be wondering, “Lacey, just exactly where do you rent a crane? How do you find that sort of service?” The answer, my friends, is the same as every other answer in 2014: Google. With the right search term, you can find anything. Information literacy at its finest.

So, I searched “crane rental <our town>” and up popped about five choices, all with nice websites and clear contact info. The two gentlemen I spoke with are willing to come check out the situation before we commit to a rental. One offered, and one agreed after I explained the issues to date with people saying they can do something, then getting here with a semi and realizing it’s not as easy as all that.

The cost varies very slightly, but it’s about $150 per hour, operator included (thankfully). Don’t get me wrong, $150 is a lot of money, but we’re ready to have these containers in place, and if that’s the cost, we’re ready to write that check.

I’m making appointments for them to come out Friday today. I’ll let you know what they say!

At storage unit

Just for fun, here’s a picture of the container at our storage facility. And yes, we also have the pleasure of moving this container one more time. Oh joy…

The school of country living: driveway maintenence.

In my previous post, I mentioned a few lessons learned. We’ve covered cranes and realizing office people are not a wealth of accurate information. Let’s talk about driveways.

My brother has a fair bit of property, much of it with gravel drives. We regularly comment that, “He must have just had a load of gravel dropped,” when the road is particularly good, but I’ve never stopped to analyze the basic underlying fact: unpaved driveways must, in fact, be maintained.

We have a gravel drive–two, if you’re counting. The second one has been basically unusable to this point, and it would have been a useful thing to have before now. Husband has been seeking a “gravel guy” to come spread some gravel for us, and we finally found one who came recommended by two separate friends of ours. (Side note: like everything else, there’s been some hiccups with finding a gravel guy, since there’s some construction going on near us and apparently they’ve all contracted out to finish that job. The guy we wound up hiring is driving thirty minutes to get to us.)

He (Gary is his name, BTW) showed up this morning (Wednesday), but not with gravel–with a bull dozer. I left to go to work while Scott stayed behind, took pictures, and helped. I wish we had taken more before photos, but here’s a before of the second (unused) drive:


Can you even tell it’s meant to be driven on? Geez. (However, note the lovely pasture across the street. We sure have a nice view.) Now…

Isn’t it beautiful? It may be hard to tell, but this drive would be way easier to back a ginormous trailer up…like we hope to do Thursday.

Our primary drive wasn’t that overgrown, but it had a lot of ruts in it from years of no maintenance and wash-out. But now, it’s a thing of beauty:


It’s smooth. Flat. Even. A sheer pleasure to drive. Frankly, I didn’t realize how bad it was until I came home and it was magically fixed. This pic was taken before the gravel was added, but you get the idea.

I thought Gary was just coming to drop gravel, but once he arrived, he wound up essentially building us a new drive. He dozed our primary drive down flat, and dozed the overgrowth down on the secondary–all before he ever brought gravel.

So, friends, my lesson from the school of country living is that driveways must be maintained. If you do not maintain them, they will become rutted, grown-over, and overall, bleh. But, with a (dirt cheap) layer of gravel added here and there, you can maintain a pleasant driveway experience for years.

And you can always call Gary if it gets too bad, or you buy a property that has to have a new drive built. (Except you can’t because he’s so good that he’s slammed with business and frankly, I’m selfish, so I probably won’t give you his number. Unless you’re family. Or you bring me chocolate. Or ask nicely.)

The second (and third) delivery

Lessons Learned

  • While they may be kind and helpful, it’s best to assume the office staff doesn’t actually know anything.
  • A crane can be rented with surprising ease.
  • Life in the country apparently includes driveway maintenance.

On the first note: The first delivery didn’t exactly go as planned, due to the trailer requiring significantly more manuevering room than then office workers told us. This despite several (slightly frazzled phone calls from myself to check on this. The second delivery (yesterday) was supposed to go so much easier, since the office manager told Scott their trailer was nearly twenty feet shorter than the one we dealt with originally. I quote, “If you got that first semi up there, you won’t have any problem with this one.” Shockingly, he was incorrect. Their trailer was, in fact, just as long as the first one we dealt with. This time, however, the driver was less experienced, resulting in him getting temporarily stuck by the oak, resulting in yet another limb being cut:

Getting unstuck

and then getting (also temporarily) stuck in some mud:

Stuck in mud

The driver spent the first two hours cussing and yelling about how he was going to get fired if he had to have a tow truck pull him out. Apparently he turned out to be a rather nice guy, but not what I would call laid back.

The second container got dropped just by the first one. We now have two containers, and neither of them are where we want them.

Today, the driver dropped the third container at some storage space we rent about twenty minutes from here. It’s not ideal, but it’s an easy in and out, and gave us the day to have our driveways improved.

Up next: Learning about cranes and driveways.

Container Homes in Little Rock

Hello all–

No real updates on our front. Instead, I bring you a link to an older (2011) article about a container home in downtown Little Rock. A friend of a friend posted this article in some Facebook comments several days ago. Little Rock isn’t too far from us, so it was neat to drive by these this weekend and check them out.

The people involved in this revitalization project have a great Google album of the photos from construction located HERE, which is where the below photo came from.

Cool Siding

The siding is, as far as I can tell, only for aesthetics–and it’s made from pallet wood! It’s hard to tell in the photo, but standing next to the home it’s pretty clear. We hadn’t planned to do anything beyond paint our containers to a uniform color, but now I’m thinking we might add some pallet siding in the spring. The builder also included a separate roof. While we may add a secondary roof later, our current plan is to keep the flat roof of the container.