Friday, May 23, 2014

Auction Emotions!

Our heritage is composed of all the voices
that can answer our questions.
               Andre’ Malraux

It was a beautiful holiday Monday and there was a huge crowd gathering at yet another farm auction that I attended where a close knit loving family grew up and now had to watch as things no longer needed would be going home with the highest bidder. There are always bittersweet emotions that go with these kinds of auctions.

On one hand you are happy to see the affairs getting settled and you do know it is something that has to be done and life will be easier when the stress of that day and the days leading up to it are over. Turning another page on the book of farming is a normal part of this life we choose and I am pretty sure we all know that. A good crowd hopefully means good prices and chances are things will be sold quickly, much like a band aid being ripped off that tender spot, the unknown is the thing that usually hurts the most.

On the other hand, and I do understand this one from experience about watching those little pieces of those things with all those stories and memories attached walk away in a strangers hand, it is very difficult for sure, even though you do know it has to be done. Oh yes auction emotions flip flopping back and forth before and for some after are part of life, like it or not.

This day I walked up to a lovely woman with a camera, a woman I suspected was part of the family trying to capture all those memories and stories before they left the farm, capturing them for her family so they would have something to remind them of this day, the day that had to happen. After a lovely conversation and my finding out more about the family I did get permission to take photos and write my own story. I am always grateful for the permission from the family as I do know the emotions that go with that day and I try to respect and am sensitive to what the family will be going through. I promised her she could read my story and any photos she wanted I would email them to her. I left her standing there in front of the best kept barn I have seen lately and went about capturing images with Leo the camera. I try to never show photos of the actual distinguishing elements of the farm itself at these auctions as to protect the family and their privacy. Even though they may not mind if I do, I choose not to.

I met the most interesting people at this auction and some friendly children that seemed to have a curiosity about why a black cat continued to follow me and wrap itself around my legs when I sat down with my pen and paper to write. I honestly did not understand that either but I suspect since I have been rather emotional myself lately remembering the auction of my own families things not so long ago, I suspected it knew I needed some comfort to get through my own still raw emotions, and yes it did make it easier. Animals have this keen sense of the emotional needs of the people around and they can comfort us when we need it, yes I do believe that.

The obviously well cared for and loved horses seemed to be oblivious to what was happening and frankly ignored the huge crowd of people, some of who actually had horse treats in their pockets and tried to coax them over to the fence. They would have no part of it, they grazed in a beautiful lush green field in front of a field of not yet harvested corn from last year drooping but still standing all brown and withered in the background.

I have always believed animals sense the emotions of the people around them and I could tell this family was going to be alright, life would go on knowing the farm will still be in the family, it may not be the same but they were not going anywhere and contented in knowing that. The horses and the family will continue to make new memories on this farm. The stuff that was leaving the farm in others hands is after all “Just stuff” no longer needed, and those memories and stories that were attached will remain with all of you to share and pass on to the next generation.

That next generation of children running around in that yard behind the well cared for farmhouse throwing a ball and laughing, and the next generation of children sitting high atop the crowd watching from the hay mow in the barn peering through that open door watching that “Just stuff” be sold to the highest bidder. They all, I am positive will make sure of that.



  1. Buttons, you are the gentlest, most considerate soul; your empathy and discretion touch so many people.
    It had to be difficult for you, but I'm sure your courage has helped create a gift this family will cherish for always.

  2. When the family reads this as I know they will, kinship and kindness and beauty they find will find in you. There will see all the beauty that they have, through your eyes, and your kindness, and they won't have to live through, what you have. You are really an extraordinary person. I am so happy to know you B. You don't know me, and you don't know this, but you are helping me letting go...oh what I've lost, and thank you for dropping by my place once, so that i could get to know you, and know how lucky I am. God Bless and have a wonderful day!

  3. I always feel a little sad for the families. We went through a couple of auctions after relatives passed away. It is difficult. Nice photo story, too.

  4. Beautiful!

    I like the flea bitten gray horse in the first picture. Glad to hear you are out auctioning again! :-)

  5. Lovely thoughts, Miss B. You are right there can be a lot of emotions and memories tide to "stuff" on the farm.

    When my Grandpa got sick and couldn't farm anymore, or take care of his cattle, he was going to get better so he could keep working. At 80+ Mom thought it was better that he retire. Grandpa didn't have anything to do with the farm auction and didn't attend it. I believe a piece of him died when he couldn't work dirt and handle livestock anymore.

  6. My favourite photos today are the horse peeking around the corner, and the horse collar on the fence post. I have some idea of the emotions that go along with all these changes. I still look at some of the stuff from the house I grew up in, and wonder what it is doing on my walls...
    My grandfather famed for a year and a half after his strokes, till he had to admit that he could no longer do it. I am not sure whether he completely accepted his forced retirement, even so...

  7. excellent thoughts, on the behind-the-scenes-facts, of an auction.

    you are sweet to respect the owner's feelings. but you know... what it's like... to be the selling one.

    gentle hugs...

  8. Your kind and tender views of life are one of the things I so love about your posts. Thank you, my friend~

  9. a beautiful place. glad you had the cat to keep you company.

  10. It must be sad to watch your stuff being sold, but hopefully the money made will help them stay on the farm.

  11. While farm auctions are not something that we seem to do here very much in BC, it's common among my Alberta relatives.

    Having many of my family members devote their lives to farming,they are starting to happen more and more here.

    Your post is written in such a way that the families retain their dignity, while portraying the passing of the torch.


  12. I do agree about our animals knowing when you need their compassion- horses are exceptional at that. Dogs too.
    I work part time for the local auction company- my husband too, he is the relief auctioneer, and we know the feelings you write about; the last auction was particularly hard because the man suffered dementia but still didn't want to let go. It kinda broke my husband's heart when he was doing all the prep work for the auction and watching this fellow going through his belongings and clinging to certain things.

  13. I think in this post you "spoke" for so many such auctions and estate sales all over the world. Time moves on and everything changes , but really doesn't...just the next generation helping ease the older ones and ways along until the younger becomes the older..

    I have never been to a country auction before , I think it is time I do.

    Lovely and sensitive post .

  14. What a sweet story in the most harshest of times. Well done.

  15. The Mayor of our town who lives a few house down the road from us is an auctioneer! Glad to see you back in the spotlight too!...:)JP

  16. Fantastic post and photos ! I am glad to hear the farm will still be kept alive by children living and playing there , most of the farms auctions I have been to are sad as the farms are sold as is all the farming stuff . Yes animals do know our human emotions and will react to them . Thanks for sharing , Have a good weekend !

  17. Dear Buttons
    I am glad you feel well enough to be there and to be so thoughtful and kind while witnessing what was going on. I truly hope the family made good money and life will be less complicated for them some how.
    I love that the cat kept you company. I am a cat woman and I know they feel what we are going through.
    Take care dear heart !
    Joy : )

  18. Your photos of the horses are so awesome. Love!

    I can imagine how difficult is to let go of the things that made you productive in life. Must be terribly hard. You are such a generous and caring soul, Buttons. :)

  19. Beautifully said B.
    While its hard to let go of 'things', the photographs will fill a good purpose for the family.

    You're so right about animals picking up on emotions - and they instinctively know inner goodness too.

  20. .. oh, I forgot to add a smile to my comment
    :D) xx

  21. You have described the day and activity very well. There are deep emotions. My Dad sold. Things sold for good prices. Dad was upset because the reason things sold so well is that they were considered antique!

  22. a black cat is a good sign - when they keep you company even better :)

    Im looking for a sidesaddle - if you ever see one...


  23. There have been 2 auctions on my road in the past 30 years. I couldn't bring to talk about them because great sadness preceded them. But you have articulated a positive aspect and I thank you.

  24. I'm glad to hear that this family is able to keep their farm! It makes all the difference. Love that shot of the horse things draped over the fence! (Did your Hero find any ladders at this auction?!)

  25. Transitions are rarely easy and an auction usually marks a particularly difficult change for the owner. I'm glad the cat helped ease your sad memories.

  26. Animals do sense humans feelings, so hence the animals are of great comfort. Hugs M xox

  27. I am so pleased you were able to enjoy your day out and met with such interesting people. I love the grey horse and if he'd been for sake I'd have bid for him. Reminds me of the horse we had on the farm when I was a little girl. Her name was Bonnie.
    Perhaps these people were just downsizing as so many folk are doing these days so they can just keep doing the things they love to do.

  28. Very touching blog. Your a very loving person and the people who read what you wrote will get comfort.

    My sister many years as a widower on her and husband farm turned over everything to the last son living and wife . It was a dairy farm and still going strong.

    Some things you have no control of.

    Now she has passed on now five years ago. So Farms will either go from Generation or new owners and there children.

    Your pictures are memorial for all to look at. Being of same like Farmers.

  29. Very interesting things are for sale, I don't know if I could do it. I can't even stop at an estate sale. I get all choked up.
    I am glad you are out and about, and what a nice kitty.
    Life changes and that is what I think of when I see things like your photos.
    We are still going through my parents things and it isn't easy at all.

  30. I have been to one farm auction, my aunt and uncles farm, age determined the need. I could never attend another-like you say good that things are bought up but such a crushing way to enter a new phase of one's journey, my Uncle cried at the end of the day so did we. You've recounted this day brilliantly.

  31. I don't care for things, all my stuff could go and, with the exception of some books I love, I would not miss them. Animals being auctioned off though would really, really hurt.

  32. On, it is so sad. I am sorry for the family. I like your outlook on it though. I am glad that cat came over to help keep you cheerful xx

  33. oh b, i can never hold back my emotions. this was beautifully written as i too always have such a heavy heart about the loss of a families home and belongings.

    our families lost everything in super storm sandy, different but really the same. it's almost like loosing who you are!! and animals are family members....such a heartbreak!!

  34. Just getting caught up on your posts. Sorry to hear you've had such a time of it this spring.Stuff those broken pieces in your pocket, one day they'll fit and form the perfect you.


The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

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