29 Jan – 4 Feb ’11
Every January the Ashhurst Pohangina Lions Club holds its annual Small Holder’s Auction on Andrew McDonald’s farm. This is the Club’s major fund raiser for the year. Thousands of people make the drive from Palmerston North and surrounding areas to check out the livestock and chattels that are auctioned off in small lots. The turnout seems to get bigger every year – estimates run to about 3000 this year according to the Manawatu Standard..
The crowds gather, another paddock is opened up to park all the cars. The guy on the gate asks, “Is there any one left in Palmerston North?”. Townies and farmers alike meander through the rows of chattels, kids in tow. Antique wardrobes, almost-antique electrical appliances, fence posts, toys, records and record players. Screen doors, shovels, toilet pans, and a trailer load of coal ranges. A motor cycle, saddles, lamps, a radiogram, stationary engines, chairs, a trampoline frame and a stack of hay bales. I’m sure I saw some of this junk – erm – fine merchandise last year.
Kids and Toys
One item among rows of goods up for auction catches my eye. A lovely tin rocking horse, his paint a little thin and patches of rust showing through. Still, he’s in pretty good condition – no dents, he has all four legs and his rocker is in working order. How many small children have rocked and rode to far-away lands on his little red saddle? The elderly lady in the background (skirt and gumboots – has to be a farmer’s wife) somehow completes the picture.
Next we move on to the livestock sale. Here we can bid on a mama alpaca with
her eight week old baby, cages of young chickens, boxes of bunnies, calves, sheep or Larry the ram. A litter of puppies, trailers and pens filled with piglets. Those piggies sure do enjoy a nice scratch between the ears – I swear they are smiling.
And then there is a girl with a goat. I don’t know if this young girl was just visiting with the goats, or if the man selling them was her Dad. But I sure do love her hat and the intense look she’s giving the kid.
I was having trouble getting my exposure correct, the sun kept playing hide-and-seek with the clouds (probably should had gone Auto…). White goat, shade from that very stylish hat, crazy glare. In the end I had to settle for a somewhat over-exposed goat in order to get the girl and her hat just right.
Crowds and Critters, and some real Characters