Lens-Artists Challenge #167: Colors of Autumn

Boxed by size, pumpkins await bidding at Crab Orchard, Kentucky

Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron and rust, and the days were clear and crisp under harvest skies.

Sharon Kay Penman

This adventure just happened — as many of our adventures do. We were driving home from Lexington, Kentucky, and noted what looked to be a farm selling pumpkins and mums. You know, one of those places that make you want to wrap your arms around autumn colors . . . as if you could.

But when we pulled into the parking lot, we realized just what outsiders we really were. This was an auction. A Lincoln County Kentucky Produce auction of mums and pumpkins brought to the venue by farmers so that retail buyers could bid on them one lot at a time.

Mums in auction lot, Crab Orchard, Kentucky
Lincoln County Produce Auction in Crab Orchard, Kentucky

We tried to remain incognito. After all, we weren’t bidders or sellers. And those who were gathered might not have wanted onlookers anyway. I made the decision to carry only my iPhone so as not to be noticed, and when I saw some of the men and boys wearing straw hats (Were they Amish? Mennonite?), I also decided I wouldn’t take close-ups of individuals since I wasn’t sure how they felt about that.

Driving mums to market, Crab Orchard, Kentucky

If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.

Victoria Erickson

Here were autumn colors up close, in great quantities, ready to go home with buyers who would sell them to customers like us in our home towns . . . a last step, as it were, that would repay growers for months of planning, tending, watering, and harvesting.

Rows of mums waiting to be auctioned, Crab Orchard, Kentucky
Mums waiting for auction, Crab Orchard, Kentucky

Trucks lined up outside an open-air shed, ready for their loads to be auctioned off: mums on one side; pumpkins on the other.

Mums at auction, Crab Orchard, Kentucky
Mums lined up, ready for auction

And with the familiar sing-song lilt of the auctioneer’s voice, various lots and sizes were up for sale. When the auctioneer gaveled down the price, he turned to the buyer: “How many lots do you want”?

And then he offered the remainder for sale.

Bidding on pumpkins by size, Lincoln Count, Kentucky

Just like that, one truck would pull in for the bidding, wait for all to be sold, then move on to make room for another.

Trucks loaded with pumpkins await bidding, Crab Orchard, Kentucky
Pumpkins, sized by boxes, wait their turn.

A few kids roamed around, having a day of fun, probably not realizing what this sale could mean for their families: hoped-for good prices could help them make it through the winter.

Checkin’ out the mums!

But we knew we were watching Americana at its finest: growers, buyers, auctioneers, and families coming together as they always do at the start of fall.

We also knew (but just hadn’t given it that much thought) that autumn colors come from somewhere, some place of origin where people work to make them grow, then willingly part with them to support the people they love and bring a touch of fall to our front porches.

And to think . . . we just happened to stop!

Notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.

Friedrich Nietzsche
Amish big brother and two little brothers, Crab Orchard, KY
Another day at the Lincoln County Produce Auction

For more entries in this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge: Colors of Autumn, head to Amy’s site.

If you’re adding a little autumn color to your world, remember where it all begins!

Travel in autumn,

Rusha & Bert

18 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #167: Colors of Autumn

  1. WanderingCanadians

    Fall is my favourite time of the year. Great collection of pictures to showcase the beautiful colours of autumn. We’re hoping to pick up a few pumpkins today to decorate our front porch.

  2. Toonsarah

    What a fortunate stop that was! Isn’t that just the joy of road trips – spotting something that might be interesting, stopping to check it out and finding that it turns out to be one of the highlights of your day, possibly the whole trip?!!

  3. Amy

    Beautiful colors autumn, Rusha! Can’t imagine how much effort they put in to grow these many pumpkins and mums. I love the last image and your last paragraph, well said. Thank you for reminding us.

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