Friday, August 16, 2013

The Nevada Sale Barn

Still in use, thanks to LMA

The sale barn in Nevada*, Missouri, sits on nine acres on the east side of town, just a block off Highway 54. I took this picture of it when I was traveling with my sister last month.

I was curious about this little sale barn, so I searched online and found photos and a description of the property in the archives of a real estate company. It appeared to be vacant at the time the photos were taken. The floor plan of the barn is exactly what I would have guessed it to be. Every sale barn I've ever visited in the American Midwest has a similar layout. 

There's a small sale arena enclosed by a high fence. The arena is surrounded on three sides by stadium-style seats for buyers and onlookers. On the opposite side of the arena, facing the seats, there are two gates: one to bring livestock into the arena, and the other to take livestock out. Between the two gates, the auctioneers face the audience from a raised box.

I don't think any auctions are held in the Nevada sale barn anymore, but the yards are still used for livestock marketing.  The property is now owned by Mo-Kan Livestock Market Inc. of Butler, Missouri (a town about 30 miles north of Nevada.)  It is a receiving station for Mo-Kan, and cattle are accepted on Wednesdays from 10 AM to 6 PM. I read on the Mo-Kan website that Mo-Kan transports cattle from the station to their Thursday auction in Butler for a fee of $3/head.

Mo-Kan streams their cattle auctions and accepts bids over the internet. Of course, they also take bids from buyers who attend the sale in person, but the internet helps them offer the livestock to a wider market. The internet auctions are facilitated by LMA Auctions, an arm of the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA).

LMA has about 800 members like Mo-Kan, across the United States and Canada. The mission of LMA is stated on the homepage of the website: "We are committed to the support and protection of the local livestock auction markets. Auctions are a vital part of the livestock industry, serving producers and assuring a fair, competitive price through the auction method of selling."

If it weren't for LMA and internet auctions, the Nevada sale barn might be just another abandoned building.
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* The people of Nevada, MO, pronounce their town's name with a "long a;" that is, the second syllable rhymes with "way."

Seen Around Christian County

A very green summer

Hand-lettered signs along the highway are a tried-and-true marketing strategy for our Mennonite neighbors. The lettering is unusually neat on this one along Highway 68/80.

I took this photo of a beautifully manicured tobacco field a few weeks ago. By now, the plants are probably much larger. We've had a generous amount of regular rain this year.

Tobacco plants are cared for by hand, not by machine, and they require regular attention. Weeds must be hoed out, and the plants must be sprayed if any sign of disease appears. Blossoms are removed by hand, and the plants are cut by hand at harvest time. Most large-scale tobacco farmers hire Mexican crews for the tobacco season.

This photo of the South Fork of Little River was taken from the bridge on Little River Church Road. The South Fork looks quiet and docile here, but whenever we get a period of heavy rain, it comes out of its banks and floods the roads and fields around it (and sometimes the yards and houses, too.)
As an example, here's a warning from the National Weather Service on July 22, 2013: "South Fork Little River at Hopkinsville - 68/80 affecting Christian and Trigg counties. Heavy rainfall has caused the South Fork of the Little River to rise above flood stage for a few hours. It should drop quickly with the end of heavy rain."

Obviously these cattle have escaped from their pasture. What to do while waiting for them to move out of the way? Take their picture as a reminder that you never know what's going to be on the road out in the country -- so slow down!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sunset after Rain

An artist friend, Pam Holnback, says that no matter what you paint, it's a process of putting shapes of light and color onto the canvas. I'm not a painter, but I do notice light. As I was driving to town the other night, I was so awed by the light of the sunset reflecting on the wet highway that I pulled off the road and tried to photograph it. I like this image, but I wish it showed the driving lanes of the highway reflecting the light, instead of the shoulder. I'm not going to stand in the middle of the highway to take a picture, though!
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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.