Dan and I love going to auctions. Lately, we haven't been to many as most farm auctions start at 9 AM on Saturdays, which is our mad rush to get the stand in order before opening. So I was very excited to find an "old farm moving auction" on a Wednesday afternoon only a few miles from the farm. The advertisements always list a portion of the items to be sold, and what really caught our eye was a corn sheller. This is a machine that seperates the kernels from the cob. It is used for field corn, which is hard and dry (think decorative indian corn, but usually all yellow.) Some have motors, but this one is powered by a hand crank that moves in a circle on the side. We have been looking to purchase one of these to shell the corn to be used in our animals' feed and also as the first step in grinding our own cornmeal. The last one we saw at auction was a John Deere model (with a motor) and it went for $750, so it didn't go home with us! This one had obviously been restored, but was in beautiful working condition, and we were very cautious about bidding on other items before the sheller came up, as we didn't want to overspend on small stuff and be short when it came time for what we really wanted. There were many crocks & other antiques, so there were a lot of antique buyers present. Luckily for us, the restoration which enhanced its usefulness to us also ruined its antique value for those who would buy it just to sit in a corner and look pretty. Dan and I discussed how much we were willing to spend on this piece of equipment, and agreed that I would bid on it. It's good to sort this out ahead of time so you don't overspend or accidentally bid against each other! When I first started going to auctions, I was far too nervous to bid, afraid I'd make a mistake or buy the wrong thing somehow. Now that I've been to plenty, I have a better understanding of how they run and can follow what the auctioneer is saying, which at first sounded like gibberish to me. So bidding can be great fun! When the sheller came up, I was the first to bid. It went slowly at first, then a couple other bidders jumped in, but when it was over, I had the winning bid, and for a good bit less than what I was willing to spend if necessary. My hands were shaking a bit because I was so excited. It's a standing model, which weighs a couple hundred pounds, and the location it sat in wasn't really accessible to the truck at the time, so we waited until the crowds thinned as the auction ended to try and load it. That way we could drive up. In the meantime, we bought a few other tools and other useful things for the farm. I had to laugh though, because much like the dump rake, the corn sheller was a big conversation piece for the older auction goers. We had a few gentlemen come up to us and ask if we really planned on using it, and most people seem surprised that we do plan on using the equipment we buy at auction. I imagine it's because we are a young couple doing things the old fashioned way, but we really love using things the way they were designed to be used. Older equipment is a part of America's farming heritage, and a part that slips away as bigger farms and better machines become the norm, so it's very cool to me to be a part of the preservation of how things were done years ago.
As for those of you wondering about the piglets, all 18 are healthy and doing well. They had their first round of iron shots last night. The sows don't understand about booster shots, so we locked them outside and when they came back it was over and everyone was doing just fine!