Thursday, January 2, 2014

Farm Auctions are Fun

We recently discovered how much fun it is to go to a farm auction. Dangerous, right?   But, considering it's the shopping season, it seemed a very appropriate way to spend a Saturday morning.  Especially since the setting was so idyllic.  The farm belonged to my friends parents, who have earned their new house in town after years of running a smart little farm nestled in the hills right next to a lovely creek and forest.  The farm is at the end of a country road, and when we came around the final bend in the road we drove right up to the farm house with the expected barns and outbuildings, but also with the unexpected blue and white striped small circus tent.  Despite the cold and rain, it was a very festive atmosphere.  There were even folks set up in a barn selling chili dogs and cans of soda.  With my love of junk stores I can't believe it's taken me so long to discover auctions.  Combining used treasures with tents, vendors, announcers, and an entire group of like-minded folks to shop with -it's like a shopping sport!

We arrived a few minutes before the scheduled start time so we could wander around in the rain checking out all the goods.  We aren't quite ready to invest in tractors and cattle haulers, but it was fun to inspect these things, and educational when it came time to auction them.  I have a better understanding of how much people are willing to pay for used equipment now.  The tractor was a major attraction for most of the crowd.  

Despite the rain and the cold there was a really good turn out, and everything that went up for auction was sold.  Some folks got some really great deals.  Including me!

The auctioneer stepped in front of each item that was placed around the yard and barns and used a microphone.  When he got to the smaller items most were lumped together in bundles, so sometimes we would bid on a bundle when all we really wanted was one of the items.  The harder it rained the bigger the bundles got.  If no one was bidding on a bundle they would start adding stuff to it until it was all sold.  

Inside the tent were tables with piles of fun stuff.  Everything from butter churns to horse shoes, to old oil cans and glassware.  And when the bidding started it went fast!

And the auctioneer sounded just like I hoped he would.  I asked Brandon to do an impression of the auctioneer while I typed it up.  If you read this next sentence straight through, with a pleasant hillbilly accent, it surprisingly accurate!  "Hammity hammity hobbity hobbity tin tin tin can I get a five now ten now fifteen fifteen fifteen can I get a two now twenty now one now two now five now twenty five can I get a thirty thirty thirty SOLD number 60!"  We were number 60.  It was very exciting.  

I made this short video of our very fist bidding war for a ceramic crock I had on my list of must haves.  It's only half a minute, but I think it captures the thrill of the win quite well.  

Not only did I win the bid for the big crock, I also bought this giant cast iron kettle on a stand.  My friends parents used it for rendering lard over a camp fire when they would harvest a pig.  The long wooden paddle is so you can stir the melting fat without getting too close to the fire.  I am weirdly excited about this kettle.  I also got my friends mother's butter bowl, which is a shallow wooden bowl with a spatula that is used to press the churned butter from the whey.  Even though this is not a bowl from my own family, it seems special because I've heard stories about the folks who used it.  It come with a built in story, and it's fun to imaging making butter in the bowl someday and knowing a little history of someone who did the same thing before me.  

I was really excited to get a bundle of garden hoes, some post hole diggers, an ax, and even a frog gig, which is that trident shaped thing in the photo above.  I don't plan to ever gig a frog, but it was bundled with the other tools I wanted, so now I'm the proud owner.  Maybe I can use it to stab pears out of the pear tree?

I couldn't pass on this stainless steel sink either.  I'm not sure how I'll use it, but it was a great deal.  It was used in their dairy, and is in really good shape.  I've always wanted an outdoor sink for washing mud off of vegetables and I think this may be just what I need.  There were so many things I didn't know I needed!  Farm auctions are fun, but dangerous. 

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