What *is* that thing, anyway?

Looking at this truck, what would you expect to be inside it? It’s not pigeons. It’s not rabbits. I’m not selling fish; yet all of those are guesses from people I’ve spoken to.

Most recently, I pulled into the gas station to refuel and when I went to pay the attendant asked me which pump I was at. I never know the number and I always answer with the amount of gas I pumped.

“What pump were you at?”

“I don’t know. I put in forty dollars.”

“pump five?”

“I don’t know. I’m the black truck.”

“Oh. That’ll be forty dollars, then.”

I pay and am about to leave and let the next person in line go through that delicate ballet of who owes what when I get:

“Oh. Hey, what is that thing?”

“What thing?” hoping that she isn’t referring to a huge spider crawling up my back or a horn that has started to grow out of my head.

“That thing on your truck. The blue box. Is it for selling fish?”

“It’s a dogbox. I have dogs; that’s how I carry them around.”

I can see the slow dawn of comprehension spread across her face. “Oh, so you’re the dogcatcher, then?”

*sigh* “No. They’re my dogs.”

“So you’re not selling fish, then?”


Thankfully, the guy behind me coughs at this point and the attendant’s attention is momentarily drawn to him. I take this opportunity to make good my escape so I turn to leave and as I do so, the guy looks at me and asks “You don’t have any fish today, then?”

Walking back to the truck, I think about the guy who we met in the parking lot of Hunter’s dance school. Since both Jenn and were in town that day, we had both vehicles almost side by side. As we stood talking about who was going to do groceries and who was going to go home and feed the animals after Hunter’s dance class, this man sort of sidles over to the truck. He belongs to one of the cars in the lot, but curiosity would seem to have taken over and he’s now trying to peer into one of the holes in the door. He’s a good ten feet away from the truck though and standing on his toes to get a better look, like his gaze will deflect downward once inside the box.

“Nobody’s in there.” Jenn offers.

“Do you know where they are?” the guy asks.

“At home.”

Now he’s really confused: he thinks Jenn is talking about the people who drive the truck and if they are at home, why is their truck here? Seemingly still processing, he wants to say something more, but he doesn’t know what.

“It’s our truck.” Jenn volunteers. “All the dogs are at home today.”

“Oh! Dogs. I thought maybe you had rabbits in there.”

I look at the man and then the holes in the doors and wonder just how big the rabbits would have to be to stay in there. Or how exceptionally trained, I guess.

“No. We don’t have rabbits. Just dogs.” follows Jenn. The conversation ends somewhat awkwardly from there, him leaving in what could only be disappointment and Jenn and I looking at each other, thinking: “Rabbits?”

“Well, at least it’s not pigeons.” says Jenn, referring to the first time our truck was mistaken for something other than a dogtruck.

I was at the loading dock of Leon’s picking up our new kitchen table and I had just backed up to the door. I had the trailer hooked up to the truck because I didn’t know how flat the table and chairs were going to be. I’m not too bad with a trailer – I’ve driven lots of them, so I can manoeuvre them alright – and I was backing in beside another person who was loading up some furniture. It was a tight corner, so it was not like I could do the turn in one shot given the angle of the other guy’s vehicle and I had to pull out and straighten the trailer out a bit before continuing. Seeing this, the other guy assumed that I must have been in some distress so he starts backing me in by waving his arms around like he’s been stranded on an island for years and I’m the first plane he’s seen. I figure I’ll humour him so when I’m done, I get out say “Thanks.”

This prompts the question “What’s that for?” as he points to the box on the truck. “Is it for carrying pigeons?”

I answer “No. It’s for dogs” while I think about what it might look like, if it were for carrying pigeons: a moveable bird house with pigeons able to come and go as they please as I drive down the road. I think it would look like one of those bubble machines in a way, with birds flying in and out of the holes. We talk a bit more about the dogs until his vehicle is loaded and I’m left to wonder “Is it really that difficult to figure out what goes in this thing?”

In the end, maybe it is difficult to imagine what goes in the thing on the back of my truck. Maybe, just because I know what it’s for, it seems silly to suggest that it carries rabbits or pigeons or stores my fish for sale, but I’m not so sure. I understand it may not be readily apparent that dogs go in there, but really, rabbits?

I wonder what sort of creature I’ll get next?


We’ve moved!

Thank you for taking the time to read “Full Life, Empty Pockets.”  The blog has moved to a new site so please click link to be taken to the updated and improved blog.

Once again, thank you for spending some time with us.

Evan, Jenn, Hunter and the animals.

>Click here< for the new blog.

Soon. I swear.

Are you familiar with those lotteries that are set up like a grid? The ones where there is ‘time of day’ on one axis and ‘date’ on the other and contestants pick a spot on the grid in the hopes that whatever event is being bet on will occur on that spot thus winning them win a prize? Yeah, those contests. That’s what we were going to do. We were going to use that to predict the birth of the goats and it would have worked just as well as the goat-prognostications that were circulating around here.

Jenn had been out checking the ligaments of the goats for nearly three weeks and it’s been ‘any day now’ almost since the checking began. The ligaments are between the rump and the tail and they completely disappear 12 to 24 hours before the goat is going to give birth. The funny thing is that Jenn knows her goats so when she says things are going to happen, I expect things to happen; yet nothing did. I was secretly hoping that the kids would come on the weekend, when Jenn was not working, so that it would be her assisting with a difficult birth, not me because, although I could do it if necessary, I don’t ever wake up and expect to have the better part of my arm in a goat. It’s just not something I set aside time for. So when Lisa went off her feed – ever so imperceptibly – and Jenn noticed some discharge from her on Thursday night prompting Jenn to announce that ‘tonight is the night’, I was feeling pretty lucky: Jenn was home, it was late evening (the whole night was ahead of us) and Hunter was already asleep.

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Lisa, the mother, the next day.

Jenn made a phone call to her mother because, like me, she’d heard for the last few weeks that it was going to happen soon. Jenn was on the phone and I was in the kitchen at the table when I heard Ruby bark. We’ve had rabbits behind the dogyard lately, so I didn’t pay any attention because the dogs usually bark once or twice at them. Again, Ruby barked and I wondered if it was maybe the fox we had seen earlier that day. He lives on and around our property, feeding on many grouse and occasional chicken that he can scrounge. Ruby stops barking and I assume that the fox has passed on through. Five minutes later there is more barking. This time, I get up and go to tell the dogs to be quiet, after all, it isn’t the frenzied barking of a loose dog or the persistent single bark of the dogs barking at something they can’t see, it’s just: bark, a pause, bark, another pause and it’s annoying. As soon as I step outside to tell the dogs to be quiet, I hear the faint, feeble bleat of a goat. A really young goat.

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The female goat, which Hunter has already named Jasmine, less than an hour old.  We were going to get more pictures of the really young goats, but Lisa was getting pretty anxious and protective.

“Jenn, you’ve got one.” I said. She hangs up the phone and springs into action, gathering all she has set aside for the occasion. We go outside, headlamps illuminating the way to the goat barn. We can hear the baby baa-aa-ing and, as we get to the barn, we see Lisa licking dry the second of two babies. It’s over. Just like that, in less than an hour.

“That was fast.” remarks Jenn, disappointedly pulling off her shoulder-length rubber glove.

All that was left was to finish drying off the babies and to make sure they were able to feed, which they weren’t so the first night was spent feeding them with a 12cc syringe, filled directly from the udder. Lisa’s udder is mis-shapen and low to the ground – the babies keep looking for the nipples too high up and can’t find them. We had to hand-feed her babies last year, too. We do have a nipple for a bottle, but although it is made for goats, they hate it. If you are picturing a baby goat, just hours old, cradled in the arms of Jenn or I, suckling from a bottle, forget it. Picture instead a squirmy, gangly-legged kid with milk running out of the sides of its mouth because one of my hands is holding the goat, the other is opening the goat’s mouth and the third is squeezing the syringe and the kid isn’t swallowing. I got it figured out after the first two syringes, but it was still a gongshow.

I’m happy to say that the goats are feeding off their mother finally and that they are out and exploring their world now. We just have one goat left to kid and Jenn assures me it will be any day now.

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The babies, not quite a full day old, in their little babies-only area complete with heat lamp.

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The crusty-from-milk face of the male.

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Lox (short for Goldilocks – thanks Hunter) our yearling doe from last year.