Posts Tagged ‘auctions’

Not enough credit has been given to our good friend Gary (and wife Kim) who have imparted much knowledge about the rural life to us newbie farmers.  In fact, it was Gary who suggested I attend the Carlisle Farm Equipment Auction also known as the Wickard Brothers Annual Consignment Sale held every spring at  1690 Waggoners Gap Road in Carlisle.

“You’ll be sure to get some nesting boxes,” said Gary, suggesting it would be a necessary investment for our 25 lady leghorns.

I showed up early and got a number.  I had been to many auctions in my life, but mostly indoors, and mostly for coins or antiques or estates.  This affair was sprawled out over several acres in a farmer’s field.  There was everything you could imagine from chain saws to tools to wheelbarrows and rakes to horse trailers and combines and tractors….and exactly two sets of galvanized nesting boxes — one a unit of 10 and the other 15 — exactly 25 nesting boxes in all.  Of course, according to Storey’s, I would not need quite this many, but I thought I would err on the side of caution.

While waiting to bid on the 15-unit of nesting boxes, I bid on a push mower and a small wagon containing a chainsaw and several empty plastic gasoline containers.  After winning that lot for $85, an older gentleman with some chew in his jaw inquired about my purchase.

“What’d you pay for that there wagon?” he asked.

“$85,” I proudly replied.  The contents had been acquired for an additional $15.

“Well, well,” he said proudly, “I paid $65 for mine — the blue one — just a while ago.”

“Yes,” I said, pointing to an appendage hanging from my yellow wagon full of junk, “but mine has a cupholder!”

“Indeed it does!” he said, nearly choking on his chew, “You definitely got me there!'”

The previous owner of my little yellow wagon had affixed a cupholder using plastic ties.  Somehow I could imagine him setting his can of Bud in the cupholder while filling his chainsaw with fuel…

Onto the nesting boxes!

The 15-unit sold first.  It was like-new.  A crowd of people were gathered around it.  I decided to take the “shut out” strategy – starting with a high bid no one else would top.  So, there I was, college boy in my Penn State sweatshirt and athletic shoes amid an anxious crowd of farmers in their overalls and flannels and boots with their John Deere and NASCAR hats.

“Got a nice set of nesting boxes heah,” began the auctioneer, “like new!  Do I have 100?  How about 100 to start!”

I immediately jumped in, much to the dismay of everyone present.  No one was willing to top $100 for a unit of nesting boxes that sells for over $250 plus delivery on the Internet.

The 10-unit was not so easy!  Thinking it was just a few items away, I was dismayed to find the auctioneer changing direction and going all the way back to the other end of the row, rather than just snaking through the field.  It would be three hours until he finally came back around.  In the meantime, I enjoyed a sausage sandwich and some pie — and even spent a little time in the truck.

By the time the auctioneer was approaching the nesting boxes, I realized they would be the last item sold that day — and it had started to rain.  I drove onto the field and loaded my items.  Wisely, I pulled up near the last nesting boxes and waited for the auctioneer to approach in the downpour.  As he was about to begin the item, I stepped out of the truck and into the rain. There were only a handful of people around me.  The auctioneer looked surprised to see me in his face again.

“Alright — last item of the day — a nice unit of nesting boxes,” he called out, “Do I have 100 to start? 100 dollars?”

No one bid.  I had decided to let this one drop. It went to 20 and then up to 70.  I jumped in at that point and got it for $85.  Thus, 25 nesting boxes — galvanized — were had for $185.

In the downpour, one of the farmers helped me lift it up onto the back of the truck.

“Now you need some chickens,” he cackled revealing some missing teeth, John Deere cap cocked back at an angle like some inner-city rapper in a Chicago Bulls hat.

“Oh don’t you worry about that,” I said, “We’ve got a coop full of chicks at home just waiting for these things…”

I drove home with a truck full of stuff purchased at bargain prices.  I was feeling pretty good!

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Where to buy our sheep?  We knew we needed a small flock to keep the grass down.  The previous owner had raised sheep over the years, and the property is well-suited for it — it is somewhat hilly, lots of grass and there are several rock outcroppings from the limestone escarpment on which the farm is built.

Our good friend Gary was kind enough to take us to the Carlisle Livestock Auction held on Tuesdays.  Tammi and I met Gary after work and the three of us dropped in on this peculiar institution.  I suppose I stood out like a sore thumb, dressed in my “business casual” amid livestock farmers in their typical soiled denim & flannel attire!  We toured the stalls in the back, taking in the delicious odors of stewing straw, manure and ammonia-laden urine while sizing up the goods.  There was everything from guinea pigs to chickens to sheep and goats — lots of pigs — and most especially — beef!

Of course, we were not prepared to purchase this evening, and did not obtain a number.  But, we did observe the commerce carrying out before our eyes and were impressed with the efficient operation.  We also learned what animals typically sell for at the market — laying hens fetched $10 — duly noted!  Our sheep seemed to be worth between $150 and $200.  We realized we would need to arrange for a livestock trailer should we make a purchase — or we would need to buy one, along with a truck to pull it.

While the guinea pigs were up for sale, Tammi whispered to Gary, asking why they sold them here. Gary did not have an answer, as dozens of the little things changed hands.  I happened to casually hear a couple gentlemen to my left discussing the same query.  “Make good jerky…” responded one of them.  So there you have it!  When I told Tammi later, she said “Don’t tell Brandon!” (Her 9-year-old son has a guinea pig named George who is destined for the farm — but not for the breast pocket as a strip of seasoned leathery chew!)

Later in the evening, Tammi happened upon Molly’s Ritner Boarding and Training Kennel on Craig’s List. Molly had livestock in addition to raising dogs.  She happened to have a flock of twenty or so mixed breed sheep — 5 of which were for sale.  Tammi made a trip to the place the next day and cut the deal — 5 healthy grass-grazing machines for $850 cash.  We would take delivery when we are moved in!

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