Sunday, May 17, 2015

A windy auction day.....

The wheel of change goes on,
and those who were down go up,
and those who were up go down.
          Jawaharlal Nehru

Hopping down off a stacked pile of sawn pine boards, I ran to chase my hat that raced across a pasture field filled with rocks and dry weeds. I grabbed it before it travelled too far. I went back to my perch to observe and enjoy the auction and the crowd.

That auction was in northern Ontario and there was a good crowd. The wind blew constantly and it was chilly even with the sun that warmed between gusts. The thing about auctions is that you are always at the mercy of the weather. Rain or shine, or freezing temperatures, that will not stop most dedicated auction goers. That was the first auction of the year for My Hero, Dios and I. This one was over a month ago now, and after that hibernation of winter we were excited to get out and to start the auction sale season. As usual I sat with pen and paper in hand.

The auctioneer’s voice, with a steady roll of numbers, pumps out of the speakers perched on aluminum stands behind him. SOLD SOLD SOLD….

The crowd appears to be a mix of hunters, farmers, neighbours, and friends. Of course the family is here too, it is a good crowd. A dog starts barking and the auctioneer throws out a joke about what it was bidding. A flock of Canada Geese flies and honks overhead. I sit perched on my pile of sawn boards and observe, listen and ponder.

The trees bend and sway in the wind. The buds on those trees are waiting for the warmth to invite them to burst forth, spring is almost here. Turning to the left I admire the old weathered barn sitting atop a hill in these fierce winds, it stands strong. It is in great shape. That is a testament to the farmer that took such pride of ownership in it, and the land that surrounds. He worked hard toiling through everything, all those years dealing with the changes in the weather, the politics, and the social parts of farming. He came through it all with the land and buildings still intact despite hardships that I am sure had come over the years.
He had kept going, concentrating on growing the food, that was needed for all of us and always hoping the rest would work out. Hoping does not always work.

An older gentleman walks up to me and like most farmers we started our conversation off about the weather. Then we talked about the price of grain and the big jump in the price of beef cattle, but then it turned to politics. Yes politics has always been a huge part of this farming business, even if I don’t write about it, it is still there. There is no escaping how laws will and do affect a farmers livelihood and his ability to keep producing and holding on to his land.

The wind blows my hat off once again and the farmer smiles picks it up and hands it to me. He then comments that this would be a great place for a Wind turbine. He says it is the perfect place, high atop this piece of rock surrounded by pasture fields of rock and weed, generating electricity and needed income for a farmer.

Farmers do understand that to survive we must be willing to listen and adapt to change, much like the rest of the world. 

Maybe he is right. What do you think?



  1. adapting is key to survival in any species. i do think his wind turbine idea is a good one. :)

  2. Adaptation is necessary, though sometimes very scary.
    My jury is out on the wind turbine question. Fossil fuel free power is always good, but too many birds die around wind turbines.

  3. Yes, adapting and changing to suit the climate and conditions is what we as farmers always should do.

  4. Farming is a way of life but it needs to constantly adapt to many changes in pretty well every aspect of the business.
    Have a great week.

  5. Wind Turbines are better than some alternatives. Yes farmers must always be on the cusp of change...what to plant and many cows/hogs/sheep to many to keep, will it rain enough to make hay two times...or possibly even three and what improvements in equipment can I make this year...being a farmer is challenging:)

  6. Farmers do have to change with the times otherwise they get left behind. It's very different these days than it was when we were first married 50 years ago living on a farm back then.

  7. Modern wind turbines disturb me...I lived in a area where they were cutting edge in South Western Alberta...However they do not help lower power costs locally and they require HUGE tech costs to make, then there is the cost in rare earth elements. China's farmers are being driven off their land in droves as it is mined and polluted in the search for these rare elements used to make the giant turbines in the new wind mills.
    The sad thing is farmers do have to change but it is not always good change and the loss to society and the earth around us is immeasurable. Okay I will stop my rant! I did love the feelings this post evoked though of the community of farms!

  8. Grace, you brought us there into the auction with you, shivering in the moments the sun didn't warm us up enough. I can hear the auctioneers voice calling out, and behind me a murmured conversation, a deliberation about pricing, and needs.

    I'm there, watching the weathered skin of the farmer's pass by, I'm there in the moments of your pencil scratching on the paper...beautiful evocative writing.

    Thank you.


  9. Farming is farming, and if a farmer can make a living farming the wind than I think it is a good thing. Many farmers in Eastern Washington are making good money harvesting the power of the wind. Still, it is a sad thing to know the farm-steads of so many who farmed for years , toiling in all weathers , shedding so much blood, sweat , and tears is auctioned off after they're gone.

    Auctions are truly bittersweet experiences, aren't they ?

  10. farming is changing that's for sure, we just at this conversation at the knitting club I go to. One member's husband just bought another combine harvester older than the one he has, as all the new ones are computerized and he refuses to learn how to use them. Such a shame, I guess he wants to only use things he knows about?

  11. Adapting to change is seldom easy but it's no fun to be left behind!

  12. Adapting is good but sometimes difficult.

  13. B,
    Adapting is something we all must do when times change.
    It's a bit harder for the farmer, with the expense because he/she has so many people and animals depending on them.

  14. Adapting, changing, and making do - the farmer's mantra.

  15. Listening and adopting are positive ingredients for almost anything and/or anyone.
    If only ALL of us could remember . . .
    Change is happening even when things appear constant . . .
    Our weather this week must be making fruit farmers here in Michigan have to be alert and ready to adapt. Highs in the 80's and then dropping to low 30's takes a bunch of adapting when it is blossoming time . . .

  16. It looks like things are greening up around there!
    Sounds like another intresting auction :)


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

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