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Bush goat meets bush hogPosted Wednesday, December 12, 2007, at 9:02 PM
Patsy, the house goat, checks out her owner's new King Kutter bush hog, as the other goats watch from behind the fence, unaware that their jobs are being eliminated by mechanization.
So, when the City of Advance announced they were having a surplus equipment sale, I had no idea what to expect - but I persuaded my son Matthew to venture out with me on a cold, windy Saturday morning to attend my first city auction, held in the fire department garage.
The maintenance superintendent sat at an old desk, which (I gather) constituted the "office," and he was in charge of holding up the smaller items to get the sale started. There was coffee for anyone who wanted it.
The sale had attracted about fifteen people, most of whom seemed to have no intentions of bidding on anything, so I can only conclude that they had nothing better to do. Idle curiosity seemed to be the order of the day.
The bidding started with two answering machines.
"Do they work?" I asked.
"This one don't. That one might," was the answer.
After some sort of knife was put on top of the pile, a bidder got the lot for fifty cents. He threw away the answering machines and kept the knife.
The auction was well on its way.
The next item was a box of laptop computers, conviscated property, which someone had stolen from the school a couple of years ago. They were retrieved from a ditch full of water. I sat in wonder that someone would go to the trouble to steal from the school and then dump the items in a ditch. Sounded like real winners...
No one was much interested in these items, and I don't know what happened to them.
No one bid on a broken umbrella, so we went outside to see if anyone wanted the outlandish plastic lion water fountain and the hippopotamus head trash can topper. I'm not kidding, folks. I saw them with my own eyes. No one wanted the water fountain, which we suspected didn't work, but the hippo went off in the back of a pickup for, I think, a dollar.
The city was really rakin' in the dough...
A 1985 van went for $500, after my son laughed at me for suggesting I get it as a shelter for my goats. I've been envious of my brother, who has an old school bus that he lets his goats sleep in, and I thought the van would look real good out in the goat pasture. True, it wouldn't be as classy as a bus, but just how often do we see those up for auction at a goathouse price??
Then came the part of the auction which, for reasons known only to them, everyone was interested in. There were only two bidders in this little game, and I was one of them, funneling my wishes through my super-logical son, who was undoubtedly sure that I would embarrass him before the morning was out.
Luckily, I had a figure in my head, which represented the maximum I could spend without totally depleting my bank account.
As it turned out, the other bidder had the same figure in his head - less $100, so I got the tractor and the bush hog.
After a 7-mile drive through an icy rain, my son and I and two wonderful friends got the tractor home to the remote hills of Tillman.
I learned that tractors work much better when they don't have water in the gasoline, and never underestimate the determination of men. It took about two hours to make the trip.
I am now the owner of a genuine vehicle for mowing the tarnation out of my pastures! Unfortunately for goatdom on the DeJournett farm, the purchase of this piece of equipment renders them largely UNNECESSARY!
Patsy, Tinker Bell, and Hot Shot (he of the fancy headdress) shall remain. All others shall depart.
Thus ends my first venture out into the world of the auction. Shall I ever go to one again? I suspect that this form of barter is addictive, and I think maybe I just missed getting hooked.
Better not press my luck!
From the newly-mown hills of Tillman, this is your rural goat farmer journalist, signing off on a cold, soggy December evening..
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.