Posting second edition on Saturday since people have extra reading time.Image of couple in farm wagon taken from internet.
Joe was up by four every morning, making sure the goats were milked and the stock tended before he headed over to Fred’s place every morning. The two nannies competed for the first spot on the milking block, eager to get at their corn. Pesky as goats were, It might be a good idea to keep them from now on. Between these two, he got a more than a gallon of milk a day, plenty for drinking, cooking, butter-making and even enough for Anya to make cheese. He should have gotten goats a long time ago. These two ate far less than the cow.
He worried leaving all the garden-work to Anya in her condition. Though they hadn’t talked about her pregnancy yet, he knew from the quiet of her manner she was troubled. He’d seen evidence of rape in the early days as he cared for her, and felt resignation as he noted her nausea and swelling breasts. Their fragile union was born of need on both parts. There had been no feeling beyond pity for her upon arrival. In the first days, he’d just hoped she’d stay to help with the children, but came to take pleasure in her tender care of Sally, her growing love for Little Joe, and the way she made the life they all brought to his lonesome cabin. After her hearing returned they’d begun talking a bit, he began to hope she’d soon warm to him, despite assertions she would leave. As her thin body began to swell with pregnancy, she was lovely. He began to look forward to a life with her and a houseful of children. After all, a baby was just a baby. Little Joe and Sally had brought so much love into his lonely life. What was one more?
He was going to have to bring this up with Anya. It occurred to him she might have avoided mentioning her pregnancy thinking he’d hold it against her. It was time to set her mind at ease. Maybe with this out of the way, they could get on with their lives.