Chapter 19 Summary

September is dry and hot. Baxter kills a seven-foot rattler and hangs the hide next to the fireplace with great satisfaction. The deer and bears are feeding in low, wet places and are hard to hunt. Ora wants rain because her rain barrels are empty. Baxter senses the weather is going to turn bad.

That night a fierce wind comes but is gone by morning. No air is stirring and the skies turn black; then comes a “toad-strangler of a rain.” Jody, Flag, and the two dogs manage to get inside before the worst of it comes, and the household settles in for the night. In the morning, Baxter dresses for winter since he must go out and milk the cow. The storm continues all day and the Baxters go to bed early. The next day is the same, though the wind and rain have shifted directions. The rain is incessant and the yard is afloat. Two hens have drowned and the family drinks rainwater. So much is ruined and everything seems unfriendly now.

On the fifth day, Baxter and Jody venture out to gather a few supplies. The cow-peas will all rot if they are not picked, so the two Baxter men go out and try to save them. The seventh day is no different than the first. The corn stalks are beaten down but the ears are unharmed. Ora struggles to save all the food by drying it. The sweet potatoes are beginning to rot. Baxter says if the rain does not stop tomorrow, all will be lost.

On the morning of the eighth day, silence reigns. The air is cool and sweet, but the Baxters’ farm is devastated. Ora cries, but her husband reminds her this is all they have.