I have been buying lots of things lately. Animals, feed, fencing, and a whole host of miscellaneous items I never knew I would need. Need, of course, is relative to the fact that we now have a farm. We have chosen this crazy adventure in sustainability so I know that these needs will be less as time goes on. In our short six weeks here we have discovered why old farms have so much “junk”. As you start to repair an old barn, tinker with an automatic waterer that isn’t working, or try to get the old tractor running, you quickly discover that having a barn full of junk would actually be a useful help to the project. In an effort to avoid any big box store as much as possible, I discovered a wonderful opportunity…the farm auction. When an old farmer passes away or moves away or simply cannot continue with his intended livelihood the farm auction becomes the most effective way of clearing out the old barns of their dusty, decaying treasures. Essentially everything that has been collecting for a lifetime is sold in a day to the highest bidder. It’s great for the newbie farmer who has so little, yet sad that a lifetime of stuff can often be sold in a few hours. My heart is nostalgic for what this day often means.
I went to my first auction a few weeks ago. After observing for more than an hour I thought maybe I could try my hand at this game of chance. I am naturally super cheap, and also not a gambler so as I identified items that i had interest in, I was firm in my top price in my mind. I didn’t realize though, how exhilarating bidding on an old chicken plucker could be. The auctioneer was kind to me as he could probably tell that I was new at this game. That, and I was the only woman interested in heavy machinery, so I stood out a bit I suppose. Alas, I lost on the chicken plucker, but I was able to score a giant water trough for the cows that could also double as a bathtub.
I’m sure that some of these auctions have lots of antiques or collectibles, but I’ve been frequenting the ones that have farm related equipment. These are our most pressing need so I am hopeful that I’ll be able to get a great buy some day on a small tractor or some other item that will add value to our budding homestead. This past weekends auction proved more successful. This one had lots of large woodworking tools, which I don’t have use for, but an old sander, a router, and an electric stapler will prove useful. Especially when I paid $15 for all of them. My final purchase of the day was a pile of old lumber. It was most likely an old building that had been torn down, but it was housed inside a barn and looked to be in very good shape. Slightly more savvy at this auction thing now, I felt like a pro bidding and winning my pile of lumber. Again, being the only woman there, apparently several gentlemen were wondering what I was doing there, and what on earth I needed a pile of old lumber for. Finally, one inquisitive man approached me and asked what this pile of junk would be useful for. See, most people, and possibly myself before this endeavor, would have viewed that lumber as junk. But we need a goat stand, and buying all that lumber brand new would have been costly. As I find to be more and more true, one man’s junk is another woman’s treasure.