Six months later, life on the farm has settled back into a routine. Fergie is home most of the week, away on weekends. A family friend helps look after Samantha, who's 23 months old now and starting to talk and who cries "Da-da!" whenever Fergie walks in the door and sometimes, still, "Ma-ma!" ("Daddy's here," Fergie always tells her then, "Daddy's here.") Eventually, Jenkins figures, he can handle maybe three dozen head of cattle, plus the Appaloosas. Nothing too serious, just a nice little operation, something he and Raymond can take care of by themselves. Meanwhile, there's a barn to finish and doors to hang and a garden to plant, and somewhere back there in the brush is a 500-pound Charolais bull calf who broke loose last week and was last seen by Raymond grazing in the neighbor's pasture and who'll have to be captured soon before he goes wild. Not to mention, oh, another three or four hundred feet of that fence to be put up.
"I'm trying to whip this place into shape," Jenkins is saying to a neighbor who happened by with a load of hay and stopped his pickup truck in the middle of the road. Jenkins is leaning on his post-hole digger, catching his breath.
"Slowly but surely," he goes on. "Slowly but surely. It'll take a little while, but I'm doing it slow. Patience. Patience, that's the whole thing."