May 25, 2009

[Mockingbird Acres] cattle auction

8:36 PM Another two-day stint at Mockingbird Acres. Tuesday is the day of the weekly livestock auction in Pulaski, so we went yesterday to find goats. We didn't know what time it all started (and it's not so easy to find these things out!) and while we missed out on the goat part, we arrived just in time for the cattle auction (which included a few pigs, too)

We parked in the lot among the many pickup trucks and trailers, and Kelly noted how conscientious everyone was about leaving room for everyone else.

I'm not exaggerating when say that i felt that I'd entered into a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting. Baseball caps outnumbered cowboy hats, but there were plenty of overalls. The men who arrived early got the "good" seats, squeaky old office chairs arranged in the first two rows, and they had the best view of the pen. Behind them, and to the sides, there was sturdy wooden stadium seating. There was a lot of visiting going on, and Kelly wondered how many of these guys had been coming to this place since they were teenagers. I was one of only three women in the seating area, but I'm not used to the feeling. I can accept that i may stick out a bit, and I'm fine with it, but I'm just not used to it yet.

The smell was strong, but not horrible. It smelled like going to the zoo, inasmuch as you could tell there were animals there, but it didn't have an intolerable strong stench of manure.

After a little bit, the auction started. The yeller (guy who calls the auction) kept up a steady chatter -- we could barely understand him -- and we marveled at how difficult it would be if we really wanted to bid on a cow! I didn't realize that a yeller's chatter was so much nonsense. What's the purpose of this? "herewehavetwoheifersandonesteer twoheifersandonesteer openingbidonehundreddoihearonehundred beedeebeedeebeededoihearoneten beedeebeedeebeedeeonetenoverhere onetwentybeedeebeedeebeedeeonethirty beedeebeedeebeedeeonethirty beedeebeedeebeedeeonethirty beedeebeedeebeedeeonethirty" I always thought that a yeller was actually SAYING something during that unintelligible part, but it's really just gibberish.

There was a well-orchestrated arrangement where the livestock would enter from stage right: a man pulled a rope to open the door from the pens. He and two other men wielded electrified plastic paddles, which they used to keep the critters moving in the pen while they were being auctioned. Each of the three guys had their own area sectioned off by a strong metal gate. They'd retreat behind these before any animal was let in the pen, and then come out to jostle the animals, or to guide them out the exit door, stage left.

Incredibly, there was an onsite restaurant: The Stockyard Cafe, serving up fried pork chops, greens, and other rib-sticking fare. I didn't go in, and i only saw one person eating food from a sectioned Styrofoam tray. I said before that the animal smell was bearable, but it certainly killed my appetite.

My Chicago family has told me that they have a hard time reading the blog when there are too many photographs uploaded here (they've got an old computer & (gasp!) dialup, so please click here to see the most recent batch of photos!

Posted By JoAnna to Mockingbird Acres at 5/13/2009 10:45:00 AM

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