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The Value of Oxen


I worked that way and jobbed around and set rabbit snares and set a few traps and caught a few pieces of fur like weasels or mink or something. Well, them days you'd get maybe 25 cents out of a weasel and a mink, you might get four or five dollars out of a mink. When we were kids we had bow arrows and slingshots and we used to - when we came home from school - we'd go down in the field across the road from the house and we used to shoot partridges and rabbits and things like that to eat. And then we made these partridge traps and we used to set them down in the orchard under the trees and and used to catch these partridges in these traps alive and get enough to eat as it was.

My father was working away most of the time and we had to put the garden in by hand - there was two brothers older than I was - and we'd put the garden in by hand and we had to hoe the garden and weed it. When haying came we had a make the hay ourselves and mow it by hand and we'd carry it in the barn on two poles; we'd go to a copse of hay and we'd take two poles and we'd carry it in the barn and dump it until we got the barn floor full. Then we had to pitch it up on a scaffold then another fella would have to pitch it up on the base to another fella and he would stow it away. And we worked that way. Every night after school - we didn't have no team then - and we had to carry our wood from down in the pasture, oh, about a quarter a mile or better, and we'd have to every night after school go down in the woods and cut these grey birches and carry them on our back and up to the house and get enough wood to last Mother the next day while we was at school. We'd go to work and go down, my brother and I, and we'd chop for a while and then we'd start carrying up, and the other brother probably be doing the chores, and we'd make maybe 10-15 trips up there with one little gray birch tree on our back. And when it come snow it was the same thing, we'd have to carry it through the snow and break a path through the snow. After a year or two we had a little pair of steers they grew up and my brother put them in a neck yoke and broke the steers and made a little sled for them. When he made these bobsleds right for them, why we'd go down and cut some trees and he'd take the steers down and we'd put on five or six little grey birch trees and he'd haul them back to the house with the steers and make maybe five-six trips down there and we'd get enough wood to last till the next night after school. Well, when Saturday come well we had to go down there and cut wood after we got our chores done in the morning. We'd go down and cut wood. We had to cut enough to last till Monday night. We worked that way for a number of years until we got a pair of oxen but after we got a pair of oxen why we could go to work and haul our own wood and we had lots of wood after that..."