Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Auction Fever

Auction Fever

Some people love to shop. There are countless jokes and stories of women shopping. We shop because we need to make purchases, but for many of us it goes beyond need and becomes a hobby, a pleasant pastime, and sometimes to a point an obsession. Really, how many pairs of shoes does a person need? and you know who I am talking about. or books, although I could probably make a case for that one.

Some people shop for stress relief, to some it is only a stress. I had a friend who would shop and then a day or two later, return most of the stuff. I usually don’t get to the checkout before I put stuff from my cart back to its home.

My downfall is the auction. I love auctions! I can remember with pleasure specific auctions where I have made purchases that sit in my home like my grandmother’s estate auction where I bought my dining room table. It was her older table from her basement that she used for crafts. (I could not afford her oak one from upstairs). When she asked me what I had purchased that day, and I told her, she smiled and said that was the first table she and Pop-pop had purchased when they got married, at a sale in the early 1900’s, and that it was old then. What a treasure.

I think the draw of an auction for me is just that. What kind of treasure will I find? What kind of bargain can I make? Then of course is the adrenalin rush of bidding. How high should I go? Will the opposing bidder pay more? There is definitely an accelerated heartbeat, a flush of victory over a purchase that is not found in a department store.

The best type of auction for me is a livestock auction. Maybe my husband would say the worst. While at estate auctions I have seen people get carried away bidding on “mystery” boxes, accruing more junk than treasure, I can rarely go to an auction of animals without adding to my menagerie. In addition to the excitement of bidding, add the live animal aspect of the purchase. Even though your eyes can see what you are buying, there is always an element of surprise when you get the purchase.

This past Saturday is a perfect example. I traveled with my friend Amanda to a weekly livestock auction for the purpose of purchasing 2 bottle calves to raise for our freezer. ( I know, a whole other story, yes we eat what we raise, and love it.) Of course there are more than calves for sale, and we have to sit through hours of other stuff, like eggs, butter, cheese, veggies, baked goods, chickens and rabbits. I took advantage of the home made cheese and butter. I told my friend if I didn't get the calves,that it would be expensive cheese and butter, but I didn’t want to go home empty handed after the three hour trip to the auction. As if I needed an excuse. So when the rabbits came up, I watched. Didn't need another rabbit, I had three. Have you guessed it? Notice the past tense in the sentence about the rabbits. The young male angora, who was so matted he had pulled some of his hair out trying to groom himself, needed me. How could I pass up such a deal? They normally sell for forty to sixty dollars and nobody (nobunny) wanted this one, so he came home with me to the tune of six dollars. The chickens were just too cool. And our biracial family just had to have a black chicken, right? Amanda had taken a stroll through the barns to see the pigs. She returned to tell me there was a llama. A llama? I was excited and knew danger feelings when they popped up. We had lost our wonderful llama last winter to old age. I would love to have another. However, it wasn’t a llama, but its cousin an alpaca. Those sell for  a lot of money. Imagine my delight, mixed with dismay, when no one started bidding as the auctioneer dropped the price again and again. At thirty dollars, I couldn’t stand it anymore and made a bid. Amanda looked at me in amazement.I bought him for fifty dollars, money not in the budget to spend. Then it was my turn to look at her in dismay. “I just bought an alpaca!”

All I can say is that my husband is an understanding man. He still lets me go to auctions. Of course I make sure and tell him how good he has it, by comparing me to the two ladies that sat in front of us. They were buying chickens, and turkeys, and ducklings, again and again. I lost count of how many, but they had so many boxes that they had to take some to their car because there was no more room for them, stacked beside them and along the ring side in front of them. Amanda asked where they were going to put all those chickens because she overheard them remark they didn’t even have a chicken coop. The one lady said she guesses the peeps would have to come in the bedroom with her.

At least my husband does not have to share our bedroom with any of my purchases.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Farm Fashion

Just because we are farmers, does not mean we have no fashion sense. It just means that we have our own sense of fashion.

What is farm fashion then?

The most common denominator of farm fashion is boots. No matter what else is being worn, one should not be without their boots. Even in summer and shorts. I have tried going in flip flops but stuff oozing up between my toes on a misstep is not fun, and that's an understatement. And with boots goes socks, which is almost a fetish with me. Ask my grandchildren. The 4 year old often comes up to me and says, "Look Grrmamaw, I have socks on."

So picture the pretty teenage girl at the county fair in short shorts, T shirt with rolled sleeves and striped socks peeking out above her ankle high boots. The boots might even be pink or with blue and pink top stitching. And of course, everything is brand named: the boots, the jeans, the T shirt, maybe even the ball cap.We think it's cute. And she doesn't stick out because all the girls, except the fair queen, are dressed similarly. (The fair queen would be dressed that way too if she could. Instead she is doddering around in heels trying to hand out ribbons in the uneven footing of the show ring.)

But farm fashion does not stop with the people.

Many people are now dressing up their dogs. Outfits for dogs are a large part of pet industry. And if you attend horse shows you will find horses bedecked in matching blankets and bandages, with undergarments of loud colors. They have a purpose-to keep clean and hair laying flat, but a simple unobtrusive color would do the same; but no, that would not express the individuality of the rider.

Well, on our farm the lambs get fashionable. In the cold of winter, lambs wear wool sweaters. Not the ones God has given them, but cut down and redesigned old sweaters for additional warmth. For the fun of it, when I go shopping at recycled clothing stores, I try to find the wildest colors. I love the added color to the landscape when lambs are rollicking about the pasture. Everything is brown, drab and depressing, until I see these cute little splashes of color.

So even the lambs get into the fashion scene. The other day I saw a picture of a sweater on a chicken. Now I draw the line there. Next thing someone will want to dress up their pet mouse or fish!