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The Old Kohler Place…Sold!

November 4, 2013

An abandoned property we called “The Old Kohler Place” went up for auction last weekend. The property was split into two tracts. The farmstead and five acres (old prairie house, shed and cement block barn) made up one tract and 155 acres of farm ground along the Ninnescah River made up the second tract. KohlerPlace auction

The house had been abandoned for as long as I can remember and it was in sorry shape — the roof was mostly gone, the porch was sagging and most of the windows were broken. I often thought that maybe a fresh coat of paint would spring it back into life, but that was wishful thinking.

From the road, the barn looked like it was holding strong. The property boasts mature trees, including beautiful cherry trees — and lots of wildlife passes through on the way to the river. The house was sold “as is,” with no inspections. The realty company and auctioneer (Farm and Home Realty and Hillman Auction Service) did a good job explaining that the house most likely didn’t meet current codes. It will be interesting to see if the buyer, a young man from the community, will fix it back up.

It was a fun auction to watch. I think there were three bidders, with the winning bid at $50,000. As the auctioneer said, “A kid’s dream came true today.” Watch the final moments to see for yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFdm0S1Ibys

Grill personalities

February 24, 2012

This Saturday, local auctioneer John Hillman is holding his annual farm equipment consignment auction. We love John’s auctions — whether he’s selling farm equipment, estate furniture or 4-H animals.  He and his team always run a good sale — fair, fast and fun. My favorite line of his: “I’ll let you know when the price is too high.”

We headed to the auction site in Cheney yesterday to check out trailers ahead of the sale. While V. was comparing, I was wandering. I love seeing vehicle grills from different decades. Some look menacing, some serious, others just plain goofy. Take a look:

2002 IHC 4300 Truck

1964 GMC Wheat Truck

1962 GMC Wheat Truck

1975 Chevy Wheat Truck

Case 830 (1960s)

Land for sale

November 12, 2010

Land auction KansasA quarter section of land (160 acres), right across from our home quarter, is up for auction. Land sales brings lots of discussion in a farm family, especially when you look out over it every day.

Do we want it? Definitely. It’s a perfect fit for our farming operation. Can we afford it? No one-word answer there.

Kansas State University lists average land values in this area at $1,160 per acre. However, land nearby has sold for $1,400 to $1,700 per acre. Rumors say this quarter could go close to $2,000 per acre. The auction component — and high wheat prices — will surely affect the perceived value. Also, many traditional wheat fields are now being planted to corn and soybeans, crops also experiencing good prices and tremendous yields.

Any decision affects our farm family for decades to come. One thing’s for sure, a decision will be made by us or for us at auction time on Dec. 2.

Going once, going twice

November 9, 2009

Egg scaleAuctions are my competitive sport. I have an auction game plan; scout out the seat closest to the action; and cozy up to comrade bidders (the ones that won’t be bidding on my stuff). I must be there for the opening item and long to stay until the last “sold.”

I went to my first auction when V. and I were newlyweds. On the “wanted” list: an antique school desk. Won it — and many items since then. My most impulsive buy: a one-horse open sled. That’s right, just like the holiday song. How could I pass it up? I didn’t think about where we would store it at the time. Lucky for me, we converted our old red barn into a photo studio years ago, so there’s lots of space. Also, lucky for me, I have an understanding husband, who doesn’t mind hauling home a one-horse open sled, on a trailer, in the dead of winter.

V is not quite the auction junkie that I am, but understands the pull. He comes by it genetically. His grandfather was known far and wide for his auction buying prowess. His vast, varied collection was the envy of many antique dealers. When he died, the estate had five, I repeat five, auctions. V. scored a large cider press a few years back, which was a family piece.

The estate’s final auction was several weeks ago. There were still some impressive items, but mostly odds and ends. I set my sights on an antique egg scale for V. (The man loves his chickens, so I thought he would get a kick out of it.) I forgot to mention earlier that I’m the auctioneer’s dream. More skilled buyers hold off bidding on the opening price. They let it play out, hoping the auctioneer will drop the price down a bit. Not me. I jump in at the first bid. Perhaps it’s my statement to the crowd that I’m there to win. More likely it’s that I can’t wait to start bidding. I won the egg scale — a bargain at $27, I say. We even use it and  can confirm that our lazy chickens barely lay medium-sized eggs. (V. doesn’t mind, though.)

I’m starting a new generation of Woolf auction junkies. I gave D. and E. each $5 for the last auction. E. had her sights on a music box, but it was going higher than her limit. Her brother came through, giving her a $1. She squealed when the music box was passed to her. Now, strains of “I’d like to teach the world to sing…” drift from her room. It’s all worth it.

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