Monday, March 2, 2009

Gonna Move Up to the Country #6

Eberle & I moved into our wonderful new home 4 years ago this month. We’d actually spent the winter of 04-05 at a small cottage on the grounds of Marymount Hermitage—we’ll always be grateful to the Sisters of Marymount for taking us in that winter, as our old house had decided by fall that it really wasn’t up to human habitation any longer: among many other problems, the electrical systems (always sketchy at best) started doing some bizarre & inexplicable things that made us realize it was time to hit the road.

So four years ago, we were driving those few miles down the road from our cottage haven to the new house, doing a lot of dreaming about the beautiful new space, & painting cupboards & doors (uncharacteristically, we didn’t get to the walls—we just wanted in so badly!—odd, because the walls in our old house were all painted rather beautifully—a topic for a future post perhaps).

& then too there was the question of how to move all the stuff from one place to the next. Even tho our new & old houses are about a stone’s throw apart (well, maybe a stone’s throw when I was playing baseball—I doubt I could make that toss today) all the possessions still had to traverse that ground.

We were extremely fortunate to get a lot of great help in doing this; & possibly the most remarkable of the moving tales took place just about exactly four years ago, at least a couple of weeks before we actually moved in. That involved the piano.

Now there had been a delightful character out of Grangeville, ID (a couple of hours north) who tuned & moved pianos. He was an exuberant fellow who also played banjo, & who described himself as a piano circuit rider. He had wonderful tales of moving pianos into backcountry cabins & other out-of-the-way spots. But sadly, this fellow had moved to Oklahoma. So we were trying to figure out if there was a way to move the piano from the old house to the new house without incurring the expense of getting someone up from Boise.

This is where our friends came to rescue. Bill & Bobbi Shore hauled their John Deere tractor equipped with a front loader from their ranch north of Council, & our contractor Bob George also stopped by to help. Watching Bobbi Shore negotiate the rather tight spaces on the front lawn of the old house was really quite thrilling—Bill allowed as how Bobbi is actually a better driver than he is. The piano was wheeled from the back music room & rested on a pallet held on by the loader’s forks, & then strapped in place, partly protected with a comforter. Then the piano began the muddy trek down the old driveway & across the muddy expanse of a construction zone that would later become our current driveway. When Bobbi pulled up in front of the old porch, Bobbi lowered it, & Bill & Bob actually lifted the piano off the pallet & brought it down the last several inches by hand. That was also an impressive sight, tho I didn’t photograph it—both of those guys are strong.

After that, the piano was wheeled across the porch & into the music room, where it lives to this day. One of the joys of living, whether it’s in the country, town or city: friends who are willing to help in time of need.

In the pix, Bill Shore is the man wearing the ball cap, & Bob George is the guy who's bareheaded. Bobbi Shore's driving the tractor.


  1. Brilliant idea!
    When we moved my parents from Mississauga (where I grew up - about an hour from here) up to our city, we ended up with the movers from Hell! We had the upright grand Heintzman that I learned on moved by them and they managed to take a chunk out of the front panel that closes over the keys. (That is the least of the problems we had.) I wish we'd had someone with a John Deere (although, navigating the 401 highway might not have been possible)!
    I'm glad yours was moved without a scratch.


  2. There's nothing like a Deere! I love your spectacular view. Fun post, John.

  3. Hello, I found your blog because of the banjo link. I am just learning to play. I like the blog you have produced. I am also just now learning that (blogging). Also liked the tune below.

  4. yesterday f helped t, our (adopted) son pick up and move a piano from a house in the country to t's 2nd floor flat in the city.... oy hearing the tale makes me happy I had to be elsewhere, t told rae (his girl who he bought the piano for) that they aren't moving any more... rae said well, if they do have to move she promises that she'll make sure she hires movers to get it down and out .....

    love the photos of the deere carrying the piano...what a creative solution!

    nice to feel rooted...looks like paradise there....

  5. Blogger ate my clever comment. Short form:

    Cool tractor!
    Gorgeous landscape!

    And ... happy anniversary.

  6. Hi Kat, Willow, Randy, Kimy & Reya-- a long day-- to Boise & back, complete with various & sundry (routine but tiring, not to say, tiresome medical tests). Thanks to you all for stopping by.

    Kat: a lot of movers are from Hell.

    Willow: Nothing runs like one anyway

    Randy: Am looking forward to checking out your blog once my mind returns.

    Kimy: We do love it here, & we love our house.

    Reya: Would have loved to see the long form, but the short form's great, too. Thanks!

  7. How wonderful that you were able to stay with the Sisters. I'm envious.

    I also think this tractor is very cool. See. Even girls like to play with big trucks. Hahahahaaha.

    Seriously, these pictures display a charmed life.

  8. Hi Jen:

    Thanks! It was a memorable time we spent in that little cottage-- two rooms!-- from November thru mid March.

    I agree with your trucks observation too.

  9. I love piano moving stories. Once my parents sold a piano to the next door neighbors, and they (and a bunch of teenage boys) rolled it on planks across yards from one house to the next. I was pretty young, but that memory plunked itself down in my long-term storage area of the brain and plays itself from time to time....thanks for the trigger!

  10. Hi T: So glad you enjoyed this. There is something about moving this large musical instrument, isn't there?


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