Monday, July 14, 2008

You Haven't Lived...

until you have spent a whole day (and I mean 8+ hours) at a livestock auction. We did that on Saturday. I will admit I liked the atmosphere of country people. People who drive around with their dogs everywhere they go. And not since the last rodeo have I seen so many male Wrangler- covered behinds with skoal rings permanently in one of the back pockets. There were some interesting things, and I did see alot of families. That's another thing I liked, people had their children and their dogs with them.
I did not like the extreme heat, nor the flies and dust. I did not like to see thousands of animals in little pens without shade all day in the heat without water. I feel certain some of them died, and I know some of the day old calves there had to be put out of their misery by the end of that day. How hard would it be to provide water?!
I'll tell you what occurred to me, instead of complaining- because I realize this goes on all over all the time- BUY LOCAL! Support small businesses and farmers and they won't have to sell their animals for next to nothing at the auction yard. Hay prices are up. That doesn't help. People buy their food from big chain grocery stores. That is the thing that kills us. If you want to be responsible, don't point at another person. Go look into the mirror. Seriously, support local business. It makes a huge difference. There, another soap box. *U*
Doing my part, and supporting local, I braved the very dirty cafe that runs out of the livestock auction. Lunch time rolled around and passed by the time I worked up the courage. I took the kids into the cafe, stood in line, swatted flies, and unfortunately had lots of time to observe the cook:
Large, dirty man, with sweat running in his eyes back at the grill in a dirty, hot little room. No hair net. No gloves. Nope. I watched him with fainting heart as he swiped hot mayonaise on buns with the same grubby paws that he kept wiping on his stained pants leg. The same one that swatted the flies off the meat patty. One hand had a large bandage hanging loosely. I saw that it covered a scab and looked about ready to fall off any moment.
You have to understand- I may live on a dusty ranch, but I am a clean freak on some points. Seriously. I can't eat at someone's house if it's dirty. So, in order to not offend anyone at the auction yard, I bluffed. Pretended I hadn't been close to vomitting in my mouth while watching the cook. I'm sure I blanched visibly when the cook turned around to wipe the sweat off his brow and smiled at someone...and I saw his four top teeth in front were missing. I swayed a couple times I think at the counter, but a casual observer might have thought it was the heat.
Anyway, we survived. Nobody got poisoned, and despite some cold hard facts of life regarding animals coming to light, we had a very "cultural" day. I considered it a homeschool field trip.
I also decided to sell any extra animals right off the property and not at the auction yard.
I'm also recomitting to brown bag lunches for field trips.


  1. I just happened across your blog and had to laugh at your description of the dirty auction yard cafe...I too live on a farm with the dust and hay particles "trail" through the house...and the occasional manure wipes on the entry rugs...but I TRY to keep a clean house (you hear me muttering about having to vacuum almost every day during haying season) and my kitchen is always the cleanest place in the house. There's a little restaurant in Kittitas that sounded about the same...haven't been back to it since that first encounter...can't stomach the thought of it.

    I local or grow your own. I have 3 cull ewes that need to really go to the auction but they have served us so well over the years, would rather put a bullet in their head than put them through a long, hot trip to their end and glad my hubby feels the same.

    Jami in WA

  2. Just happened across your blog and know exactly what auction you went to (starts with a "T?" and all about the greasy spoon too. Had to really giggle at your description of the cook, the details, etc....there's a little restaurant in Kittitas that has a similar feel to it...ate there once and kept asking myself what the Health Dept inspector saw when he visited???

    Don't get me wrong, we have hay particles and dust all through the house this time of year...I am always muttering about having to vacuum and dust so often, but I have a clean kitchen!

    I too abhor taking animals to the auction...we only take culls there but it's hard to sell them like that when they have served us so well...we've been thinking a bullet is a much kinder way and with gas prices it almost doesn't pay much to go to auction anymore either.

    Jami in WA

  3. good heaven, you are a braver girl than I.

    And i feel your garden eating goat pain. deeply. dumb goats.


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