The auction was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. The only thing that kept me together was the sheer busy-ness and the demands of the process itself.
Once we had made up our minds that we would sell the farm, we realized we had to downsize. We had a way too much — too much equipment, too much in the line of supplies, too much personal stuff, and yes, too much livestock.
The last category was hard — the first three were easy. But I knew we had to trim our livestock. We had no idea who would eventually buy the farm. They might want a few animals, they might not want any. If they didn’t want any, we would be in a huge scramble to re-home 500 some animals and birds in a hurry!
The fairest course of action for our critters was to begin finding new good homes right away. That would avoid any last-minute crunch.
But, yes, it was hard. The birds and animals were why Noah’s Farm had come to be, at least in my mind. Noah’s Farm was a safe haven for them, a place where they could live and breed as naturally as possible. There were threats from predators and disease. But other than that, it was an agricultural paradise.
But they were my babies!
Ian and I had accumulated a lot of stuff in a short space of time. Farm auctions, yard sales, Goodwill! I loved a bargain even more than Ian did, even though a bargain is not a bargain if you don’t need the item and end up never using it. The older one gets, the more one realizes how little “stuff” a person really needs in order to survive. Each day I move closer to wanting to live as Jesus did, with only a tunic, cloak and sandals! Possessions can definitely tie a person down.
An auction was the perfect way to divest, to cut back, to trim in preparation for showings and the inevitable move.
Staging a farm auction is no easy task. Since I was still working my two full-time government jobs, I had to help get everything ready during my off time, of which there wasn’t much. We transformed our 3000-square-foot greenhouse into an auction barn. We also set up a few tables in front of the house along with pens for rabbits and poultry (mainly roosters). Parts of the barn would also be included. We hired Reynolds Vandervelde of Town & Country Auctions, as he seemed to have ample experience with rural auctions.
We advertised, and the auction itself was relatively well-attended, even though it was a cold spring day in mid-April. The stiff wind did not help the general mood. Lots of stuff sold, lots of stuff didn’t sell. There were complaints that there was too much stuff, and it was taking too long to get through it all, especially through the greenhouse, which was jam-packed. Overall, the attendees were fairly patient, even when small kid goats, who were used to sneaking into the greenhouse on the hunt for food, joined the crowd uninvited.
A few of our animals and birds were sold that day as well. Fortunately we had arranged for entire herd sales of our fibre goats and sheep so that they would stay together and weren’t included in the auction.
A few items (such as a couple of my good watches) “sold” but didn’t show up on the sold list. I guess it is par for the course that each auction will attract a few light-fingered folks. And someone else gave Rufus, the dog we’d inherited from Ian’s parents, hallucinogenic drugs, which nearly killed him. But overall, people were honest and responsible.
The obvious solution to the leftover stuff problem was to host a giant three-day yard sale in May, which we did do on Victoria Day weekend. More of it went, but we still had lots.
We placed Kijiji ads for most of the remaining items, especially the furniture.
After that I began running the last of the leftovers into Goodwill and Salvation Army in small loads, week after week, until they almost banned me from the delivery doors. It was obvious that my donations were becoming too frequent, or at least that was my perception.
But it all worked to pare down our belongings. Which was a very good thing, because as we discovered during moving time at the end of September 2011, we still had a way too much stuff!