Chapter 28 Summary

It is a mild January, sometimes warm enough for Ora to sit on the porch and do her needlework in the sun. The Baxters are leading a quieter life now and still talk about how low the Forresters are for being willing to burn down a house assuming Oliver was in it. They do not pass by the Baxters’ anymore and have not come for their half of the bear meat in compensation for all the damage Old Slewfoot had done to their animals.

It is still warm at the end of January, a harbinger of spring. Baxter plows the fields where he will plant the early crops, fields which Buck cleared for him when Baxter was sick. He will plant extra corn this year, for there never seems to be enough of it for the needs of the farm and its inhabitants. It is the most important crop. The hunting is poor, as the bears are preparing to hibernate and the deer are scarce. One of the only things more plentiful since the flooding is wood.

Old Slewfoot’s meat is “tough eating,” and the Baxters are thankful to eat the last of it. One night Jody and Flag are up late alone and they hear a scuffling in the yard. Jody is stunned to see a lame grey wolf. He starts to call his father but is mesmerized by the wounded animal playing familiarly with Rip. Baxter appears behind Jody and now both of them watch the fascinating sight. Eventually the wolf senses their presence and walks alone into the trees. Jody hugs Flag, knowing the orphaned animal could have been a lonely creature like that wolf.