Life for Ayah and her husband Chato has been endless hardship. The economic basis of their meager life has been Chato’s work, keeping the fences repaired on the property of a local rancher and caring for the cattle. As long as Chato can work, he and his family have had a place to live, but when he becomes old, injured, and enfeebled, the rancher orders him and Ayah out of the shack which had been their home. After that the two have only a hogan to use for their home, or part of a local barn, or else the outdoors. For many years they have planted gardens in the spring, not because they could get the gardens to produce, but rather because in the spring that is what people are supposed to do.