Hattie spots a wolf on the way to her house the first time. Just the sight of it scares her, even though it's something she'll have to get used to as she begins her homesteading.
Hattie isn't accustomed to life in a rural area; this becomes more obvious than ever when the sight of a wolf scares her. To people who live in rural areas already, wolves are just a part of the landscape. You need to exercise caution to make sure you stay safe, but they aren't a reason for real alarm. However, even a glimpse of a wolf near the left bank of the river makes her terrified.
Perilee tells her that it's okay; the wolves don't get near people and don't bother them. They go after the livestock and not "sweet young Iowa schoolgirls." Hattie just tucks herself deeper in her shawl. She thinks that she does this as if the shawl could protect her from wolves and other dangers that lie ahead of her.
Despite the dangers, she still continues the trip to see her property for the first time. When she arrives and realizes how small and dilapidated it is, she recognizes the difficult challenge the year ahead of her will bring.