One of the things I look forward to every few months is attending local farm auctions.  When we moved to the country several years ago, I first attended these events as an outsider...a greenhorn who knew not a bushog from a disc harrow, a golf cart from a Gator or a band saw from a table saw.  Shoulda, woulda, coulda learned those things earlier in life, but didn't, and so the auction was a new and exciting kind of place for me, sort of like a yard sale of anything to do with farming, prepping or homesteading.

Our local auction is held about six times per year.  Four of those focus more on larger pieces of equipment such as tractors, hay equipment, trucks and trailers and RTV's such as John Deer Gators and Kubotas.  Several other times per year the auction is held "under the shed", as the picture to the right shows (click to enlarge), with the emphasis being on smaller items.  These smaller items span a wide, but consistent range each auction, and include everything from new socks to used hand tools to new ovens to old, used ovens. 

This past weekend I attended one such auction that focused on these smaller items.  In the early days of my auction adventures it seems that we needed everything for the farm so I was carefully pricing, bidding and buying. I didn't know anyone so I kept to myself.  Four years later I'm a "regular" at the auction right along with the other "Cliff Clavin's" and the event is as much about community and fellowship for me now as it was about fulfilling material needs then.  It's a time to catch up with neighbors who, like me, are often too busy with work to talk day to day, week to week.  We spend 6-8 hours together, which, coincidentally, is about the time I would spend in years past catching up with someone over a round of golf.  Not sure which of those activities actually costs me the most, golf or auctions, but I am sure that I can't take my birdies and pars home with me and I sure as heck never wanted to take a double bogey home! Money spent at auctions translates into tangible goods.

I don't go looking for farm equipment now as much as I do for homesteading/prepping items.  The antique stove at the left was a real beauty this past weekend, in great shape and sold for only $110.  Not bad for a circa 1920's Westinghouse oven but not what I'm in the market for since it's an early electrical model.  I'm more in the market for a wood burning oven that could be of help in a simple power outage or a full TEOTWAWKI situation.

I did manage to find a few items of interest. I'm always amazed at the number of tools, tool boxes and tool cabinets that are available at the auction. Often the items are brand new in box, right off the shelves from Lowes or Home Depot.  This time there was a new in box mitre saw, Ridgid nailer and table saws, among other things.  Scattered among the wrenches, tarps and chains on the floor was...oh...about a dozen tool boxes or so. Some were empty and sold for two to three bucks each. Others were loaded with various tools and all of us were picking through them to decide on which ones to bid. I scored the one to the right, loaded with sockets, a working power drill, hammers, a great hand drill and lots more.  Twenty bucks.

Another item I've looked at a lot at recent auctions, but hadn't purchased, was a simple black cauldron.  This time I scored the one to the left along with a corn sheller (located in the cauldron).  My darling wife would look right at home stirring her concoctions in this medieval homesteader's necessity, but we'll probably hang it over a fire pit in the back yard and wait for a large group to come by for some stew.  Again, if TSHTF, we'll be able to cook fine with it.

Farm auctions are a wonderful resource for anyone interested in buying "real" things that matter to homesteaders and preppers at very attractive prices.  Things like storage bins and containers, sturdy hand tools, cast iron skillets and wood stoves, work gloves and gardening tools.  Even items you wouldn't expect, like this basket of hand warmers I purchased for three bucks.  I don't need the hand warmers but they do have a 6 year shelf life and I got the basket along with them, so it's a good SHTF purchase, especially for those of you in warmer climates.

It can be a challenge to find a schedule of farm auctions, so perhaps we can all use the event scheduler here on Farm Dreams to list any we know of. I'll get the schedule for our local auction and list them for next year to start it off. 

I do recommend attending farm auctions for camaraderie and finding prepping, farming, gardening and homesteading values.  Have fun!

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Tags: SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, cauldron, farm auction, john deere, kubota, oven, tools

Comment by Happy on December 13, 2011 at 12:00pm

I would love it if the autions were posted.  I never hear about them until after the fact.

Comment by Karen Paro on December 13, 2011 at 3:29pm

The only auctions around here are at Antique Flea Markets for over priced "junk" there haven't been any good auctions for years where you can pick up reasonably priced useable stuff. My oldest is 34 and she was around 8 or 9 the last time there was a good auction nearby.

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