There is an exotic pet auction that is held in Pierz, Minnesota in the spring. Day one of the auction is hooved animals. We had heard that you could get lambs at a good price which is why we (hubby and I, boy child and his friend) were driving into Pierz that Friday at 10:30am.
The lot was full and we were nervous. None of us had ever gone to an auction. We were not certain how to proceed. We looked around outside at the few pens we could see and then entered what appeared to be a small diner. A door through the diner led to a very crowded arena. There was clearly no space to sit, plus there was an $8 per person entry fee. We reconveened in the diner area. We did not have the cash I had wanted to bring, and now this fee on top of everything.
We had left home with a plan, and suddenly everything felt up in the air. Do we go in? Is the $32 worth it (4 people x 8)? We only needed sheep and I only wanted to spend $60 out of the farm account on them. Was this going to hinder the number of lambs we could buy?
We decided to pull extra cash, then we settled in to wait. We ate doughnuts and had coffee, and waited. A few people left, and twice as many went in, and still they were working through cattle. We played a few phone games, chatted with others, waiting. The boys were hungry again. Quite a few people came out and my hubby went in to find us seats. The boys finished their chili (we had been waiting long enough that they were hungry again). In we went. And sat. The room had cleared out because they had fencing sections to auction off. And when they finally came back in they were still auctioning off stuff – horse tack. Item by item. They boys were restless; we were restless. It was late and we hadn’t seen anything we wanted to even consider bidding on. When they finally brought out the minidonkeys and minihorses I was desperate to get something. But they all went for more than $60. It was nearly 3pm. We were debating the value of staying.
Then they brought out the pigs, mostly potbellies and most were going for $10-25. The hubby, perhaps jokingly said you couldn’t beat that price for bacon. I couldn’t help myself. It was such a small amount. I bid and won a potbelly male. Then we tried on a few feeder pigs for friends who want to raise them, but the price and bidding went so fast we couldn’t get them. But then they brought out this large and ugly potbelly boar. He was bigger than the rest. From where we sat I thought he might be around 100 pounds. I went for it. Cheap pork is great. Right?
Finally they brought out this beautiful bottle lamb. Tiny and black. His price went up so fast we didn’t stand a chance. The second lamb was much the same, plus I thought there would be more lambs coming out next, but then they switched to goat bottle babies.
Boy child desperately wanted one of the first ones out, but by the time hubby and I had discussed it, we had missed our chance. Boy child was so tired and overwhelmed he started sobbing. We bought the next baby boy without really thinking about it. A cute Nubian Alpine cross (my guess). We then proceeded to bid here and there on the ones we liked the colors of, forgetting about spending limits and why we really were there. It was exciting and overwhelming. Finally one came out that we really wanted. A pretty dark colored Alpine or Toggenburg cross. We won the bid. Last one. So we went to check out, uncertain how many goats we had purchased, and completely missing the sheep.
I was worried that I had overspent the cash we had withdrawn and that we had purchased more than we should have. I went to checkout and they had only 2 pigs and 1 goat for us so far. I thought I had purchased at least 2 more goats and I wasn’t sure what prices I had agreed to. I would raise my hand when it was at $5, but by the time the auctioneer had seen me the bid was up to $15 or more.
They were only able to find 1 other complete bid for us. Fortunately. We had purchased 2 pigs and 2 goats and the total only came to $67. Not what we had set out to do, but we felt content. But then I saw him. The boar pig we had purchased was a monster. We had planned to buy lambs. We had the truck and a large dog kennel to transport him. We brought the kennel in, we wrestled the boar until we had him mostly in the kennel, but he didn’t fit, he was too big, and he broke the kennel in the process and bruised the helper.
We had to leave him behind and make plans to return the following day. 10 minutes into the drive we pulled over and debated just forfeiting him. I was feeling a little buyers remorse. $12.50 for such a large pig was a great price, but this meant driving back to get him in the trailer, and was the time and energy and gas worth it. The day had lasted much longer than expected and the goat babies were so cute. Did we really need the pigs?
We have a butcher appointment for him in 2 weeks.
Our daughter Lily has a great artistic eye. She loves our character cards and wanted to do something similar for her birthday invitations this summer. Below is her slideshow of the animals she photographed.