"You're lookin' a mite long in the mouth, Ed. What's ailin' you?"
Ed looked up from chopping weeds around a shock of corn, straightened his back and leaned on the hoe. He rubbed his upper lip with a knuckle, then dropped his hand and rubbed his thigh.
"It's the missus," he said, shaking his head. "She's bothered, so she shares with me."
"Humph," Rod commiserated. "Womenfolk." He doffed his hat and began to feel along the scab above his ear, then let his own hand descend as he reseated his hat. "What's she bothered about?"
"Lizzie don't like it much out here. She says it's too dusty. Then the wind comes up and blows the dust away, and she complains it's too windy."
"What are you doing about it?"
Ed humphed on his own accord. "Mostly staying out of her way! She'll hunt me down, though, time to time. I got cornered last week, and ended up promisin' to dig her a well." He flung his hand outward. "She's got a perfectly good river just yards away, and she wants a well!"
Rod's hand wandered toward his head again, but he tugged on his earlobe instead. "That does make a man weary. You've got your work ahead of you."
Ed nodded. "Your woman minding her manners?"
"Mostly," Rod said, nodding in concert with Ed. "She's worried some about the girl."
"The older. Marie. To tell you the truth, that's why I come a callin'." Rod drew himself to his full height. "That Tom of yours. Does he have plans?"