I believe I may just have ended up with the section with the least going on, but I gave it my best shot!
It was a beautiful day, that twenty-fifth of August, 1886, when Manly and Laura moved to the homestead.
So the second year begins.
The start of this chapter has always felt like such a letdown to me. Just coming off of the hailstorm that ruined the wheat crop and moving from that lovely little gray house on the tree claim to the homestead just so that it could be mortgaged. It seems like this is the beginning of the hard times for Almanzo and Laura.
But wait! Laura was determined to make it cheerful for Manly. After all, the house wasn’t so bad. And Laura had the view of the wild grasses of the prairie. Plus, they were looking forward to a little bundle arriving later in the year.
Laura spent as much time as possible out in the fresh air feeling that she would be cooped up in the house after the baby came. The air did make her feel so much better (I would have to agree with her there!). So she helped Manly put up the hay. In my mind though, I do like to picture Laura sewing tiny baby gowns and diapers and all of those little things that baby would need.
The fall passed. The haying was finished with money made from that and the homestead was mortgaged. The coal was purchased, the taxes were paid, the interest was paid on the machinery. There would be money to pay for the seed in the spring and hopefully enough to live on till the next harvest.
I know people are always down on Almanzo for what happened, but he made some decisions that many farmers have made, are still making. I like to think that the partnership that Manly and Laura shared on Rocky Ridge began in the early days and that she really did have more of a say in some of those difficult decisions.
Laura felt well enough throughout the winter to enjoy sleigh rides with Manly and sledding with Shep (truly one of my favorite passages in this book).
But November ended and soon it was the fifth of December…