How to Move a Power Pole

Remember the charred power pole that was replaced last summer? It’s been lying at the back of my property for almost a year and impeding my and my neighbour’s mower. I wanted to move it to one side of my driveway as an edger of sorts to hold in the gravel and rocks.

Coming back from the post office today, I flagged down my neighbour with the Bobcat who leveled my driveway (I could have sworn I did a post about that, but perhaps it was on Facebook) and asked him if moving the pole would be doable for him. He said, “Sure!” and that he was free this afternoon! He promised to come by momentarily to have a look and work out a strategy passed on where I wanted it. He sounded like he knew what I was doing, so my only input was its final resting place. He promised to be back at 1:00 with his Bobcat.

At 12:58, look what was approaching my property? He was here bang on 1:00. I love punctual people!

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The first thing he did was use one of the Bobcat arms to lift the pole up.

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He then had me stick a block under it (I just happened to have the perfect thing handy for that!). He then wrapped a chain around the pole and took it out the back way. He’d decided he wanted the fat end up against Miranda, so he did a little jig with it to get it turned around. I was on standby for block duty as well as unhooking and rehooking the chain.

He then took the pole around the corner and up into my property by the driveway. He pulled it back as far as he could, then used the Bobcat arms to nudge it into place.

I would have liked it closer to the curb, but the pile of trash there doesn’t make that possible, so where it is is perfectly fine.

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It’s unbelievable what an easy job this was! I think we were done in under 20 minutes. It’s wonderful to have another neighbour who is so generous with this time and equipment!

And here’s a video for those like me who enjoy watching machinery at work. 🙂

Roofing the Cabin

Tuesday, Charles and I started work on roofing the cabin. SaskPower had promised to come move the neighbour’s power line out of the way Thursday and Friday so we wanted a head start and we did what we could away from the line, which was a lot more than expected. We got about 95% of the shingles off and about 80% of the strapping on.

Wednesday, I went to town for more lumber and hardware while Charles built a door for the shed. It then rained like the dickens all day. Everything inside the cabin is soaked in mud. 🙁

SaskPower came by late in the day to lift the wire using a telescoping insulated pole. The forecast for Thursday wasn’t great and the tech was worried we wouldn’t have enough time to do the roofing, so this gave us the weekend since he could leave the pole there till Monday. I would have preferred to have the wire completely out of the way, but this was a satisfactory solution. I continue to be impressed by the level of service I get from SaskPower.

Today, Thursday, Charles was at Haven bright and early. It was a very cold and windy start to the day, but we were able to finish strapping by late morning. We then got to work hanging the shed door.

I’d like to point out that I actually do work on the roof! I was right up there with Charles at the peak pounding in nails and I must have been up and down at least twenty times to fetch things. I also do all the measuring and cutting of the lumber using his chop saw.

We broke for lunch and then T came over to help us with installing the tin. We were able to put on a full eight sheets before Charles called it quits. He had the hardest position, right on the roof balancing on the pieces of strapping, so his legs were getting shaky.

Today was the first time I actually screwed in any tin. The way the chores have been divvied up, I never got a chance to try it. The tin comes with matching screws that you pay an arm and a leg for and which have a washer. The way to get them screwed in with the tools available to us is to first pound them into the tin with a hammer, just to get them started, and then we use a drill with a socket bit on them. It goes very quickly!

T won’t be available till after lunch tomorrow, so Charles will come over a little later in the morning to finish work on the shed door (adding interior stops). We should be able to finish putting on the tin tomorrow, but I expect that the ridge cap will eat up part of Saturday.

A New Roof For the Shed

I was in town at 8:00 this morning to get the missing closures for the roof. I got home around 9:00 and Charles showed up shortly after that, then Laura arrived around 10:00. I was surprised to see her! We got a few sheets of roofing on together and then T showed up, too! I couldn’t believe that he came to do actual work. We managed to get half the roof on in the morning. Caroline showed up at one point with coffee and banana bread.

We took a break after that and I went in to call SaskPower. The power line to my neighbour’s house cuts across my property and is very close to the roof of the cabin. It is not installed according to code and I put in a request to have the line moved. We absolutely cannot put the new roof on the cabin until that happens. I really hope we can get this done by the time C&C return from their holiday. Before the new pole went in  yesterday, the line was high enough up that we could have avoided it, but now it’s even lower and Charles said there is no way he’s getting up there the way it is now. We shall see what SaskPower says…

By the time we broke for a late lunch, all the full sheets were on the roof. T declined to eat with us. Lunch was a repeat of yesterday, minus the ham. Charles is coming tomorrow to sheet the shed if the rain holds off, so I’m going to make ham and cheese pinwheels to go with the rest of the bean salad. Laura threw all the offerings into a tortilla and made herself a burrito. It was nice to see everyone enjoy the spread I put out.

The afternoon’s challenge was to cut up the last sheet to fit the final foot-wide or so section of roof. Laura is good at that sort of thing and she and Charles got it all sorted out. They did a really nice job cutting up the sheet.

Laura left after that and then it was time to put on the ridge cap! Charles screwed 1x4s to the west side of the roof to give himself foot holds. Once the 1x4s were removed, he filled the holes with the screws that match the roof, so you can barely see that he did that. The west side is also the least visible side, so it’s okay that the screw pattern is off and that some of the ribs got a little smooshed. There’s just no other safe way to put on the ridge cap with the equipment available to us.

Brian and Laura did the bulk of the work on the roof today and I commend them. They did a gorgeous job and I am very happy with the result! It even started pouring rain as Charles and I were finishing up, so the roof has already been tested. 🙂

The goal for tomorrow, weather permitting, is to get the new cladding and trim up, plus a door, so I can paint next week. We’ve thus far accomplished our goals, so I’m optimistic!

The shed looked really bad and I thought that I perhaps made a mistake bringing it in. But now that we’ve started to remove old material, I can see that there is no rot and that the building is square and true. So it might have been cosmetically challenged, but it is structurally sound and definitely worth putting money into. I am proud to have saved this building and to be giving it another 20 + years of life.

Strapping the Shed and a New Power Pole

I can’t believe how fast this summer is winding down! I am so behind on my Haven projects, which are primarily to get the shed weather tight and to put new roofing on both buildings. I ordered the metal roofing the week before last and it came in this past Thursday. It comes in 3′-wide sheets and you order however many of them you need in whatever length. Charles and Caroline helped me do the math on all of that. You also need ridge cap pieces, which comes in 10′ sections, and ‘closures’, which we forgot and I will run into town for first thing in the morning. They fill in the gaps between the ridge cap and the sheeting as well as between the sheeting and the sub-roof.

Charles and I went to town on Saturday with his truck and flatbed trailer to pick everything up, metal sheeting for the two buildings, enough chip board to clad the shed (the rougher of the two buildings), and ‘strapping’ for both buildings, which are 1x4s that are screwed to the roof and then the metal is screwed to them. I helped him unload rocks before we went to town and I treated him to lunch!

This morning, he showed up bright and early as promised so we could get started on removing the old roofing from the shed (chip board over cedar shingles). My new neighbour, K, also came to help. K bought C&C’s last vacant lot and she is using it as an RV pad! She lives here three days and is in the city for four days.

Many hands make light work, so even with two coffee breaks in the morning, we had one side of the shed roof cleared and strapped by lunch. Caroline always feeds her crews well, so I made sure to have coffee and granola bars for the morning, which we enjoyed on our first break, then Caroline came by with more coffee and homemade muffins for our second break!

For lunch, we had a bell pepper and black bean salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, ham, cheese, cream cheese tortilla pinwheels, and more tortillas in case anyone didn’t like bean salad (I knew Charles would, but I didn’t know who else might show up to help). There was lots left over for lunch tomorrow, but no one went hungry. I also made sure to have a cooler full of cold water, ginger ale, and non-alcoholic beer.

We got the other side cleared and strapped by about 3:30. Another neighbour, T, who is our hermit and rarely seen, actually came and lent a hand and promised to return tomorrow and help lift the heavy sheets of metal up onto the roof! Wow! We all had a beverage of choice after all that work. K wasn’t shy and handed out granola bars.

While all this was going on, SaskPower showed up to replace my charred power pole! Talk about bad timing! Thankfully, by the time they arrived, we knew most of the dimensions we needed for the strapping, so I cut all the lumber before the power went out (using Charles’ chop/miter saw).

Charles and K screwed in all the strapping today. I did a lot of running around fetching things, preparing food, cutting lumber, and removing the old roofing.

The shed roof will be done tomorrow. C&C are heading out of town, so Charles said we’ll do the other roof when he gets back. He’s going to try to find time to at least cut the siding for me this week and tack it into place so that I can finish screwing it in on my own and paint it while they are gone. I’m in a hurry to get that done since I had to take my clothesline apart to make room to work today and I want it back up asap!

I was hoping to spend no more than $1,500 on this first phase of the exterior work on the graineries. I still have the closures and paint to buy and am at about $1,250, so I should come in right on budget! For the curious, the roofing is $0.98/square foot for coloured, so about $630 (including tax) for both buildings, plus $110 (including tax) for the ridge caps. I didn’t factor food for the crew into that part of the budget, but I’m at about $150 for that; much cheaper than a roofing crew! 🙂

I can’t wait to get the first roof on tomorrow. It is going to be so beautiful!

This Is Not a Drill!

Tonight, it was confirmed to me that everything happens for a reason. Last weekend, my friend L tried to get Miranda leveled and on blocks to stabilize her, but the ground was too soft and we had to give up on that project. I wasn’t in the mood to pack up and move Miranda to get her level…

Fast forward to this evening. We had a flash storm, not as bad as the one with hail last year, but still very strong. A big branch fell right where I normally park my truck, but, thankfully, I had it parked a little further ahead and it was fine.

I went out after work to start chopping up the big limbs that fell on my property. I was hacking away when I heard Caroline call, “Rae, your power pole is on fire!”

I thought she was joking. And then I saw the smoke and realised that, indeed, the top of the pole was charred and the insulator was hanging freely!

I called SaskPower, but they were so overwhelmed with calls that they weren’t even putting people on hold.

So I dialed 911 and was quickly transferred to the Willow Bunch volunteer fire department. I was impressed by how efficient the system was and that they didn’t waste time asking me my name and birthday. I was promised fire service within a half hour.

I went out to assess the situation and Caroline and I both came to the same conclusion: there was a veritable risk of the transformer blowing. My home was right under the pole and has wheels. TIME TO GO!

Caroline helped me get Miranda disconnected from everything, then she went home to put her dog in the house. I came in the rig and decided to make sure the office equipment was secure and leave the rest where it was.

The fire department pulled in at this point and I flagged them down and showed them how to access the back alley. They said that they couldn’t do anything until SaskPower showed up, which would be in twenty minutes or so.

I returned to Miranda, got in the driver’s seat, and pulled all the way forward until the nose was flush with the street.

It was then time to wait. We started with a small crowd, but it dwindled down to just Caroline, Laura, and myself.

The SaskPower guy showed up quicker than I would have expected and I thought he looked like a baby. But he got to work promptly and was very professional. He had to climb up another pole to cut power so that the fire could be put out.

That done, he came back to my property and got his gear together, all hanging from a belt. It was quite a sight and I regret not pulling out the camera! He climbed all the way to the top of my pole and then pulled up a big container of water. He doused the flames, then installed a new insulator.

It was impressive to watch. He was dealing with a lot of lines and things that could get tangled, plus the pole was swinging madly, but he worked with quick, efficient movements. It was really amazing. He then shimmied down my pole and back up the other one to put the power back on.

We thanked the guys for coming out and then Caroline and Laura went home. I moved my truck to my backyard so that I could use the headlights to see what I was doing as I backed up and got on levelers. Yes, Caroline offered to help, but I knew I could do this on my own very quickly.

Indeed, I backed up almost smoothly. I hit the pallets on the first try, nudged Miranda over just a tad, and then got right on the levelers. I was rather impressed with myself! Then, it was just a matter of plugging into power, switching the breaker on, and hooking up propane and internet.

PHEW.

Everything happens for a reason. Imagine if I had been on blocks tonight! An amusing social event would have had me wondering if I was going to be homeless by nightfall. Needless to say, I would have grabbed what I could before the fire department told me to move away!

Another thing I realised today is that one day in the not so distant future I am once again going to have a home without wheels and what a loss that will be. What a luxury it is to be able to pull up the stakes in an emergency, even if those same wheels make the home rock unpleasantly in violent storms.

What a night!