Oxen as draft animals are becoming scarce. Two generations ago ox-teams were common everywhere; now a yoke of oxen in the streets of cities or populous towns will attract almost as much attention as a pair of elephants or camels. The patient ox is too slow for this hurrying age and is being supplanted by the horse. But on many of our rocky New England farms the slow but sure ox is not to be despised. He has been an important factor in the past in reclaiming these farms from the wilderness and bringing them into their present state of cultivation, and he is still very useful in operations where speed is not a consideration. For clearing fields of rocks or braking up and plowing rocky land he cannot be equaled.
All the tackle required for a pair of cattle is a yoke, and chain. Compare this with the expensive harness needed for a pair of horses. Put two bow-pins in place, slip the ring on the cart tongue or hook on the chain, and your team is ready for business before one of your horses is half harnessed. The slowness of motion lessens the chances of accident to team or plow. When the latter strikes a fast rock, the oxen do not become nervous and jump forward, breaking some of the tackle, but wait with unbounded patience until the plowman has cleared the obstacle. See if your tools, planters, sprayers, etc., are in order. Patch up those that need repair and are worth it, and be sure that the new ones you buy are up to date and just the things for your purpose.
Farmer’s Calendar: February 1907
The following Farmer’s Calendar essay for February 1907 comes from “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” by Robert B. Thomas.