Saturday, June 1, 2013

Entertainment: Farm style

I admit I should be working on something. Well, I guess I really am, because I just put a bowl in the micro to dye. 'Flower' is the color; a mix of orange and reds. And I should start some supper soon, as we are both hungry after our adventurous day out.  Where?  A few may wonder, and appropriately so, since that this the subject and purpose of this post.

We went to a farm sale.

Yeah, for most, it doesn't sound like much for entertainment. But it did have a number of things going for it. Foremost that its predecessor of a few weeks ago was a positive experience. (We made a really good haul at that one.) Plus, its June 1. No heat for sure. In fact, both of us left feeling a little over dressed for the season, but certainly not the weather. The cold wind out of the northwest and occasional drizzle made the heavy jackets and hats welcome gear. Still, there was no snow on the ground either.

Scheduled to begin at 10:00, the sheep got sent to pasture early, and shorted for time a bit, and still the auctioneers cry was heard from down the road by the time we arrived. We trudged up the road toward the buildings and sound with a few other straggling late comers, and were a little surprised at the possibly sparse crowd huddled in the farm yard.

A side note here.  Farm sales have always been perceived as almost a right of passage to those growing up in farm country. Akin, and often connected to funerals, they long have served as a gathering place for family, friends and neighbors to share memories and memorabilia collected throughout the life of the residents. In keeping with the frugality of farmers, little is passed up form being offered to those in attendance. Actual value or usefulness is a judgment left to the buyer.

The neatly kept house was old and never considered more than modestly adequate. The sale bill had stated it clearly - the couple had both passed, and the family had decided it was time to disperse the belongings. I however, noticed a few details. The carefully placed benches outside the yard gate. (Of course the yard was fenced.) The scattered rose bushes, most in full bloom, waving greetings from beyond to whomever would take time to notice. I did. They were red, and pink, and one glorious yellow. Yes, they are lovely this year, Mrs. Divis.

Don was getting a number while I watched. We surveyed the lines of equipment. A couple tractors, including one shop-made tractor. They said it was made by one of the sons, and won first place at the 1966 State Fair.  Hay rakes, trailers, mowers (I counted 5), elevators, assorted field equipment, and piles of used tires and lumber circled the farmyard. We made our way to the primary objective of the day - the fencing. The panels were not exciting. The rolls of wire held a little more promise.

The long line of tables heaped with the expected not- so-goods from the household sparked my interest. A box of ladies hats. Unused quilt bats, and wool at that. A few interesting pictures and/or frames. Wool cards.  (That was unexpected). I claimed the buyers number, and joined the few standing close to the auctioneer. Don joined the group hovering around the hay rack where the hand tools were twice the age of their  new owners.

I was just in time. A box of trinkets and macrame hangers got no bids, so another box was added. Then another. Oh no - they added the glassware I had my eye on. I hate when they do that. I bid anyway, and for $2.00 the 5 boxes were mine. A lady swooped in behind me as I shoved them further down the table.

"What were you after?" she boldly asked. "All I really wanted was the glassware," I replied. "Is there something you'd like?"

"Give you $2.00 for one of those wind chimes."  "Sold."  Actually, I let her have 2. The macrrame plant hangers 'accidentally' got moved over into the growing pile of a fellow buyer.

Moveing on down the line, I passed on a few things I really didn't need. Then the picture. It was an old print of a farmstead. The color was still good, and the frame was nice. What! They were already making a pile, and it was on top. Oh well, I could use the two little shelves. But stop already!  I bid. I got it. I added the lot to my pile. Don was watching. I knew he was taking deep breaths.

I stopped the auctioneer short when he added the wool cards to an old radio. "I'll bid on the cards alone!"  But others did too. But I won. I carried them back proudly to show my fellow shepherd.

"Did you buy that last lot for the shelving?"  It was the rival bidder on the cards.  "No, I only wanted the picture."  She picked it up. "This one?" I nodded. "Would you sell me the little shelves?"  I gazed at them thoughtfully.  "I'll give you $25.00."  "Well.... ok," I replied, trying not to appear too eager. She only had $23.00 cash. Close enough I said, before she could back out. But there were two men close behind.

"I wanted the magazines," one exclaimed. "Me too" said the other. I looked expectantly at both in turn.  "I'll give you $5.00" the right one said, and I looked to the left. "Six".  He won the bid.

Don shook his head, and returned to the equipment line.

And the fun continued. Then there was a lull in the action while they sold items of now interest to us. The fence panels brought way too much for interest. Don did get some rolls of wire, one old but still in the roll. Toward the last, our concern turned to what items would still fit in the van. I ended the bidding with an $8.00 purchase of two metal cabinets. Problem. But, I knew the guy who had bid against me. Yup. I sold him one for $4.00. The better white one slipped in over the wire, and the van door closed.

At home, I helped unpack my goods. Don got over $200. worth of wire (new price), for less than $50.00. He did well.

I got:  several glass pans and bowls for dyeing: with that purchase was:  a nice old set of salt and pepper shakers - with the red lids, but the fancy kind; an old egg timer like my Mother had, that still works; 2 old candy thermometers; a nice little nick-nack cabinet; a very nice cake plate, and possibly more.  I got a large 'original oil painting'. - well the frame was worth the dollar. A nice framed mirror with etched glass; 7 oak frames from Olan Mills, still in the boxes; and a couple other large picture frames. The wool cards, AND two wool quilt batts. Plus, a small white metal cabinet, and $35.00 in cash.

Farm sales used to be work. With Don working, finding time just to go was a major chore. Suddenly, its different. Interesting that this sale so closely follows the last couple weeks of sorting off junk and cast offs, filling the dumpster that occupied the driveway. It was intended to clear room for the construction of the cool room, but we found ourselves saying "we'll do this now, to spare the kids later." No. I won't let it become an obsession. But it was fun.

Maybe this retirement job has a few unexpected rewards along the way.

But now its back to business. The Sheep and Wool Festival is next weekend. I have goods to package, fleeces to select. Classes to plan for, and materials to gather. The sheep (as yet unselected, but I voted for the smaller lambs this year. Enough with the rams.) are to pay their visit to the vet for health papers Tues. Much to be done.

But, the rain has been good. The grass keeps growing. The peas grow by inches each day. Summer begins. And out by my own yard gate, the roses are about to bloom. I think they will be lovely this year.