Page 25 - Walter Dugas Revisited: Oxen & Wood
ISSUE : Issue 67
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1994/8/1
they stupid?) Some of them were stupid. I've seen some that you couldn't do too much with them. But I had two, they were real, real good. They were just like the dog I've got there now. (Did your father have an ox before you?) No. No, we only started that when I got old enough to help him work, on the farm. (Where did you get the idea to have an ox?) Well, I guess I could see every? body else around. That's all everybody had. That's all they ever did, every? body around. Tending gardens, and keep? ing a cow, keeping a pig, keeping a few sheep. (They didn't have horses?) No, not too much. There was a few, there was a few. Two or three. But very few. Mostly ox. I used to haul wood for myself all winter. And one winter I was hauling for a company, for lumber--logs. And they used to say that I had the ox--not that one, a smaller one than that, it was a Jersey. That fellow could pull--well, there's no horse or oxen that could beat him anywhere I went, to pull. They wanted me to go to--do you know where East Bay is? (Sure.) A company came for me. They wanted to put my ox and all the gear--bobsleighs and so on. And we'd go there, and they'd have a barn for the ox, and I'd stay in the camp, and all winter. I could have earned my winter there.... My father was getting old, and he didn't want to stay alone. He wanted me to stay with him, so I didn't go. (Did you use the ox for plowing?) Yes. They were plowing some good, too. Harrow? ing land, plowing land. I used to cut--I had two barns the size of that one there-- full of hay all the time. I had three cows, eight or nine sheep, calf or two sometimes, and hogs--I never had less than the hogs. (When you wanted an ox, would you go out and buy one?) Well, most of the ox I had, the last two I had, I brought them up from the cows, as calves, you know. I brought them up. And when they were a year-and-a- half old--a year or a year-and-a-half--I used to make little sleighs for them at first, you know. 'Cause oxen, or cattle, in those days, at a year old were not as big as they are now. Now you take a calf in the spring, he weighs 400 pounds in the fall. In those days. Depression time--I don't know why. A different kind of breed, I suppose. A calf from the spring would probably weigh, at the very most, 150 pounds at Christmas. (Would you make them into an ox yourself, then?) I used to just make the rig. I used to get the blacksmith to make little shoes about this big; nail them to his what-you- call (hooves) . And then we used" to go to (train)--put a little bit first. I remember one time making at least 10 loads of wood for a cord, you know, to train them, just to train them. About 5 or 10 pieces of wood at a time, just to train them. And every day you'd put a piece or two more. Not to hurt them; not to make them work too hard. But to train them to haul hard, you know. It was wonderful fun, too.... But the last one I had was the best ox I ever had. I You Are Here X (You should be here.) I NORTH SYDNEY 1V
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