Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chapter 59...I Love Big Cool Machines & Shipping Containers

Off Grid...Chapter 59

I think we are finally done with the freezing temperatures. Woo hoo. Now if we could just finish with the spring rain, lol.

Today is a beautiful and sunny day. Our closing on Jimmy's property is scheduled for this afternoon. This morning we drove onto town to take care of some business and then get a new tire for the jeep.

Later that day we meet Jimmy at the lawyers office and close on the property. While we are there we talk to Jimmy about moving our other shipping container to our property. He says he will be there first thing on Wednesday morning.

We go over to the other property to do another round of mowing and weed eating. We didn't expect to be there long but it took us another 4 hours. I feel like the weed eater is an extension to my arm.

This time I had to go out on the island and weed eat that and I almost got attacked by the two geese. The mother is sitting on her eggs and her mate stays close by in the pond to protect her. They have their babies here every year. Here is mama goose.

It's a big day today. Time to move the shipping container. Mike and I get to the property early and Randy is the first one to show up to operate the backhoe. Mike grabs him to pull a very large piece of pavement/concrete/wire combo "thing" out of the creek. The previous owner did some really strange things to this land and he had this mangled mess poured onto the sides of the creek. I guess it was to hold the banks but they are hideous. This one section fell into the creek and is now a catch all for any trash and debris that is in the creek.

Here is Randy pulling this mess up to the edge of the bank.

Jimmy and Randy II show up so we all head back to the building. The forks are attached to the backhoe and they are going to slide the forks into the slots on the bottom of the container. The forks are supposed to hold 5000 pounds so this should be easy, famous last words, lol.

The forks being slid under the building.

Rocking the building and trying to lift it.

It doesn't seem to be working. They keep trying to rock the building back and forth but it looks like the forks just aren't strong enough to lift the container. The bucket on the backhoe can hold the weight but not the forks.

OK, time for plan B. Once again a job that should have been easier turns out harder than expected. Time for me to take a walk and let the men figure out what to do next.

They decide to attach the chains to the building and to the backhoe in hopes of lifting up and onto the low boy.

Attaching the chains.

Finally after many attempts they get it started on the low boy. Now they just have to push it the rest of the way. Check out the backhoe off the ground to lift the building. I think that's cool.

Pushing it onto the low boy.

Yeah, the building is now strapped on and we head out to our property. Jimmy and Randy II are in the truck with our container and the other Randy has to go back to the shop. He has to get the trailer to pick up the backhoe.

Here we go. Now we just have to make it up our driveway. Mike and I go up to the top to open the gate and we nervously wait.

Here comes Jimmy. Woo hoo. He's trying to make it up by going really fast. Oh no this is not looking good. His tires start to spin. Seems like we've done this before, lol. This is where he got stuck.

Well now we have to wait about 1/2 and hour for the backhoe to get here.

Help has arrived and the backhoe helps the truck and the building up the driveway.

Next they start to dig out a level spot for both the shipping containers with 12 feet in between.

They use the transom and call it all level. Time to unload the container.

Pulling it off of the low boy.

Next we have to roll it into place. We end up using the tops for our fence posts that Mike cut off. This is why when you build you save everything until it is all done. You just never know what you might need to use.

Using our fence posts to roll the shipping container in spot.

Mike loads up two concrete piers at a time into our tractor bucket and brings them over.

Randy II picks them up and place s them under the corners of the building. This man is like an ox. Putting the building on the concrete piers and leveling the building.
Yeah. The first building is in spot. Now we have to prep this hideous looking building so we can paint it and make it look nice. FYI, to anyone interested in buying a used shipping container. Make sure you go to the place and pick it out. this was our fist container and the salesman told us not to worry that he would pick out a good one. Yeah right!!

Mike starts out by pressure washing the whole interior.
I help him by sweeping out the water form the inside. We keep doing this until the water is clear. The sky is changing and it looks like a bad storm is coming in. Mike is determined to get the pressure washing done.

Here he is on top of the roof.

That's all for today. We are out of "good weather".

We go to town first thing this morning to pick up paint, more razors and scrapers, and elastameric coating for the roof of the shipping container. On our way home we stop at the welders to pick up heavy duty metal brackets. Yes Mike is going to re do our solar panels and mount them on top of one of the shipping containers. I'm waiting for him to be able to do this so I can steal the wood for my gardens.

Once we get back home we start playing with our new toys. We have to scrape off all of the numbers and stickers that have been on the building for years and painted over. Then we have to grind and sand down the rough spots so it can be primed and painted.

Mike scraping

Mike grinding down to metal.

And me trying to get the darn stickers off.

This is going to be a long and tedious job. My knuckles are already raw and bleeding and my scraping tool broke. Now I have to buy a different kind. They just don't make anything good anymore. Who would put a "plastic" handle on a scraping tool?

After my scraper breaks I go down and mow the front yard and also behind the house. We don't want the cows thinking the grass is better on our side, lol.

It's a rainy day and Mike is like a caged animal. He can't stand being cooped up inside. We have so much to do and we only seem to get a few nice days in a row to do things.

Mike wants to go to the other property to do a final clean up unfortunately it's raining.

The cows are making a lot of noise outside. It turns out Howard showed up and gave the calves their shots and tagged them. Now they all have names, lol. If they would only let me get close to them.

Today turned out to be what Mike and I call a "piddle" day. We cleaned out our drawers and armoires and put our winter clothes away. Woo hoo. Now that is a good sign.

Later on we got a call from someone interested in buying our other property. He has already been there once and has walked it with his family. They want to meet us there because they have some questions. We set up a time to meet them.

Mike and I load up the trailer and head over early so we can pick up the fallen branches and rake and seed the bare building spot.

Mike is picking up debris so I can finish putting seed and straw down.

The young couple shows up with their kids. He is in construction and this property is their dream. They want to build their own "off grid" homestead. Very cool. We spent about an hour talking with them and they seem really nice and excited about the property. I hope it all works out for them.

It is really raining out. Yuk. On the plus side things are starting to get really green and some of the houses across our way are filling in.

Later this afternoon after being cooped up in the house Mike says "let's go down and cut up that old culvert." We asked Howard if he wanted it about a month ago and it is still on the side of the road. This is driving Mike crazy.

I drive the jeep down with our tools and Mike brings the tractor. The culvert is completely crushed close to the middle. We think we can salvage about 10feet on one side and 5 feet on the other end if we can cut through it.

First Mike uses the cut off wheel to cut through the metal. Than he inserts the saws all blade to cut the rest of the way.

We can't get underneath the culvert to finish cutting it so we have to move it. We dig out a hole underneath so we can get a chain through and hook it to the tractor bucket. We try to lift the culvert but we have to keep re adjusting and put rocks underneath the culvert to keep it in the air.

Finally we get the culvert positioned just right so Mike can cut through the rest of the way. You can see the cut.

Mike and I lift this 10 foot piece of culvert and put it on the road. Then we attach the chain so Mike can drop it into a ditch where we "might" use it. Her e is Mike taking it away,

While he does that I try to work on the end that is crushed. I try to shovel the rock and mud out of it.

This end is much heavier and we can't get all the debris out. We hook it up to the tractor and pull it to an easier spot to work on. We'll have to wait for another day to cut this end open. It's raining and we need to re charge the batteries.

Well it wasn't the best of weeks but we did manage to get some work done. I hope you all enjoyed our story in the Mike and Lisa world.



  1. A friend of mine purchase 3 containers. He has used two of the refrigerated units to create more living space in an old farmhouse. And the third for storage. I have to say that it was pretty cool the way they did it. Includes new windows, doors and everything to create that extra living space they wanted. Sitting inside you would never know it was a storage container. Looks like part of the livingroom. Who knew??

    1. They are really cool and can be used for so many things. We like them best for the security they offer.

    2. Nothing done by halves! The time you are spending with that shipping container!! But, it will blend in better and not start rusting as soon...

      Fascinating stuff!

    3. We love those containers for security. If you can get them to look good they are fantastic.