Sunday, April 08, 2007

Risch farm auction

Our farm community was deeply hurt when Harold Risch, 76, was trampled and killed by one of his bulls last fall. On Saturday at least 1,000 farmers gathered for the auction of his farm equipment and cattle.

That's Don in the burgundy jacket with grey hoody.

It was a frigid spring day, the snow and wind cut through the crowd like a cold blade. But the warmth of the people shone through for Harold and his well loved farm tools and animals.

Don wanted this hay wagon, but we left the auction to warm up our cold faces, toes and fingers, and when he went back later, it had been sold.

I don’t think he could have afforded it. Other hay wagons went for over $500. You have to build bottom and sides to carry the load. Our load would have been people on farm day for a hay ride. Hay rides are something I grew up with in my rural hometown. Load the wagon with hay, then load the hay with young people, and you have a riot of fun . . . and lots and lots of hay stuck down the necks of shirts!

When you want to bid at auction, of course, whether it’s Sotheby’s or Risch’s farm, you have to first register and get a number.

I wonder if this farmer was getting a phone bid?

What’s this?

Most of the farmers wore Carhartt coveralls, lined with quilted flannel. But the man in the second photo below wore a snowmobile suit. Whatever we wore, it had to be WARM.

Harold had a beautiful herd of British white cattle. Each cow went for $1,000-1,500. Our emotions were mixed looking silently at these sweet, powerful animals, which sometimes cause terrible accidents.


rachel said...

Happy Anniversary:) It's hard to imagine the cold- it's been in the 90s here. Cows cause accidents because they are in the road?

Ruth said...

Thank you, Rachel. :)

Mr. Risch was trampled by one of his bulls, which is what I was referring to.

Anonymous said...

Ruth, you should turn this into a photo essay and submit it to a lit mag, or even a local newspaper.

Rauf said...

Your page is permanantly registered in my head Ruth
i clicked on comments and i was waiting for this page to turn to comments page, but nothing happened. i gave up. Thought i would come back later. Perhaps Ruth is not well today, must be sleeping. Ok lets walk out quietly. Same thing happened on my second attempt, but this time i noticed a pop up window for comments.

Like FOUR DINNERS who misread the title of my post as streets of bananas, i misread your title as Rich farm auction. Raised my eyebrows.

I was wondering why Mr. Risch's farm is being auctioned. There must be some one in the family to take over. Perhaps he died young left behind a young wife and little children, who prefer a city life. We Indians get into personal details. Did you meet any of his family members ? Were they present ? Its sad when such unusual accident happens.

There is a song by Gordon Lightfoot singing in a farm auctioner's style. Forgot the title.

How was last year Ruth ? Winter seems to have over stayed this year.

Ginnie said...

I'm so glad to read more about the auction here, Ruth, after seeing today's Flying pic. I'm sure there were many ambivalent feelings in that experience!

Maybe you'll get your hay wagon some day!! That will be super!

Ruth said...

Heather, thanks for that.

Ruth said...

Rauf, I finally made it so the comments would come up in separate window. I think it's better, but sorry you were confused. :)

The farm will not be auctioned, apparently. Just the equipment and animals. When Don returned in the afternoon, he was in line to pay for some windows he got for $5, and one of Harold's nieces and one of his nephews were in line in front of him. They had a chance to talk, and Don found out the farm will probably be kept by the family and rented out. Harold never married, he was 76 when he died, and he left everything to his many nieces and nephews. The young people wanted to know if it was a good auction, and Don told them he thought it went very well.

You should have heard the auctioneer, Rauf. He was amazing! I've never heard a human make such sounds. I was most impressed.

What I've noticed about Michigan weather always is that you just have to wait a minute for it to change. But over the past 20 years, the extremes have been more extreme. Hotter summers and some very cold spells in the winter that are a bit off cycle. All our spring flowers are lying on their sides bereft.

Ruth said...

Ginnie, yeah, Don hoped to get a hay wagon for less than $100, but it wasn't meant to be. Maybe someday. And yes, that will be loads of fun for the family!

Anonymous said...

Farm day sounds like so much fun, and a very cherished family event by all the participants. Perhaps, the extended family would be willing to pitch in and purchase a nice used hay wagan.......?

Ruth said...

Anon., hmm, that's an interesting proposition! Farm Day has been a blast the two years we've had it. We'll have one again in August.

Don said...

I agree with Heather that you should put this together in some form or another and submit it to be published. I can't believe you get these great pictures with just an ok camera!

Anonymous said...

I love the "vanilla" cow.
He/she is absolutely

Ruth said...

Don, thank you for your support!

Anon.: I do too. I just want to stroker her!