Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Turning the Ox Yoke

20/20 Hindsight

1. When walking backwards make sure you have a clear path so you don't stumble.
2. Avoid hitching to anything so high that the chains can pass easily over the ox's back.
3. Hitch oriented in the direction you want to pull so the ox doesn't need to step sideways to get lined up

It is also possible for a team of oxen to turn their yoke. If they both turn 180 degrees, but in opposite directions, the yoke has to flip. Said another way, if they swing their tails apart until their tails meet again, the yoke will be forced to turn.

Single or team, turning the yoke is obviously to be avoided; it could result in bruising the oxen's neck or throat.

Civil War Era Currycomb

A Currycomb Patented by Sarah Jane Wheeler, 1861

"Included in the New Britain Industrial Museum collection is a curry comb recovered from a Union army supply barge, the General Meade, which exploded and sank at City Point , Virginia on the James River . The comb was patented in 1861 by Sarah Jane Wheeler, who was the first woman in  New Britain  to receive a United States patent."

quoted from
Connecticut Explored

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Currying Favor with the Ox

Snow, ice, mud or manure in the coat of the ox robs the fur of its insulating value.  The currycomb is the ideal tool to keep the ox's coat clean and dry. While many a feedlot steer may survive without ever being touched by a currycomb, its frequent application certainly adds to the creature's comfort.

Grooming the Ox with a Currycomb
 As an added bonus currying replicates the grooming behavior seen amongst members of a herd of cattle. The use of the currycomb can be a bonding tool between teamsters and their oxen. If you've ever been licked by an ox you know the roughness of an ox's tongue has much the same feel as a currycomb.

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