Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

The 53rd Annual Creston Auction

The 53rd Annual Creston Auction

We are halfway through Auction Weekend. Yesterday, several thousand people visited our sales grounds to bid on household merchandise, antiques, furniture, and other items in our Saturday sale. This was what it looked like when items were being consigned on Friday and placed onto the sales grounds:


And another view:


Saturday is my big day. I spent it in the “finance trailer,” where all of our cashiers are located. It’s my job to be supervise the cashiers and to sit at the customer service window to answer questions and resolve disputes. We had a great group of cashiers, and enough of them—thank you, Glacier Bank—that I was able to run two shorter shifts instead of one long one. I’ve been trying to do that for about 15 years. (When I was the association treasurer, I ran all of Finance, but that has been very capably taken over by a young woman on the department. I just step in now to manage the finance trailer during the Saturday sale.)

I thought the sale ran very smoothly yesterday. We only had a few problems to solve, and most people are generous and understanding about the fact that this is a fundraiser for our (all-volunteer) fire department. Still, there is the occasional person…one lady got her panties all twisted because she thought she had only paid $2 for an item and when the ticket came to the cashier, she was asked to pay $4 instead. She argued with the cashier and then ended up at my window. I asked her if she would consider the extra $2 as a donation to the fire department and she started to complain, but her husband—who clearly was a bit embarrassed—said to her, “Yes, honey, we’ll just make a donation to the fire department.” And then we get the people who throw in an extra $5 or $10, unasked, when they pay for their items. It takes all kinds.

I did see a few sewing machines. The husband’s fellow firefighters all know about my sewing machine collection, so for the past several years, they have made a point of telling me where all the machines are on the sale grounds—and even sometimes when they are about to go up for auction—so that I can bid on them. We only had three or four consigned to the sale this year. I passed on all of them, but I did think this one was interesting:


I’ve never seen this brand before. I am hoping that the base won’t get turned into a sink and the machine consigned to the landfill, but I also know that I can’t save them all.

Today is the husband’s big day; he is in charge of the equipment sale. This sale attracts a different type of buyer and the whole atmosphere is different, but this is also where our department makes a big chunk of money. Quite a few pieces of equipment and vehicles were consigned to this year’s sale, including some fire trucks, ambulances, and buses. I have to play at church this morning, but then I’ll head over to lend some support this afternoon.

And now, despite the fact that I try very hard to keep anything political off this blog, I have something to say. (It is my blog, after all.) For the past three days—and, in fact, the past several weeks, as we have prepared for this sale—I have watched an entire community come together to support raising money to build a new fire station. This is the 53rd year—let that sink in!—that this department and this community have pulled off this auction. One of the gentlemen in our church was a charter member of our fire department, and he commented this week that little did those charter members know, way back in the mid-1960s when they pulled the truck out of the station and sat in a circle to brainstorm how they could raise money to buy equipment to help protect the community, that this event would have taken on a life of its own and grown into something so big. Our chief estimates that the auction has raised over a million dollars for our department in the past five decades. A million dollars for an all-volunteer fire department in rural Montana. I think that’s probably a conservative estimate.

I know what kind of area I live in. I know the political leanings of most of my friends and neighbors. If you ride in here on your moral high horse and try to lecture me that anyone who votes a certain way is evil and sits at the right hand of Lucifer, you should expect to get some pushback. First of all, judging someone’s moral character that way is no less bigoted than dividing people up based on the color of their skin or their sexual preferences. Human beings are complicated creatures with complicated histories and complicated lives and complicated reasons for behaving the way they do. (I lost my health insurance and my job as a direct result of Obamacare, so you’re going to find it difficult to elicit any support for a government-run health care system from me.) Secondly, I am heartily sick and tired of all the hate and divisiveness, FROM ALL SIDES. I told the husband last night that I counted the number of MAGA hats at this event yesterday and there were more than a few. I didn’t hear a single comment from a single person about that. What I did see were friends and neighbors out visiting and talking to each other and pulling together for the common goal of helping their community. If that’s evil, then save me a place in hell with the rest of them, because I am proud to live in a community that knows how to pull together to take care of itself.


I finished the Ultimate Travel Bag on Wednesday, just before auction festivities commenced:


I still have to figure out an insertion for the base; I can order a base from Annie’s website or I can use some foamboard or a piece of acrylic. I’ll have to think on that a bit.

I’ll be back out in the garden this week now that most of the snow has melted. The pileated woodpecker has been hanging around the yard quite a bit, as have the stellar jays, a few robins, and the usual deer and turkeys. Lila likes to lie on the porch and watch all of the wildlife go by.

Swinging Into Spring

Swinging Into Spring

Putting the Ultimate Travel Bag Together

Putting the Ultimate Travel Bag Together