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Posts Tagged ‘figure it out’

I want you to build a goat house.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, molokai, halawa valley, urban aloha, goat, goat house, goat enclosure,

I want you to build a goat house.


I look at him, study his face.  Is he joking?

I ask him to repeat it, surely I’ve misunderstood.

I want you to build a goat house.

That’s my job for the day.

Not collecting eggs from the wild chickens.  Not walking the ʻauwai, clearing rocks and leaves.

A goat house.

But I don’t know how.

Use the materials from the old pig pen and he gestures down the hill

The pen is empty, no more pigs to feed.

I. don’t. know. how.

You’ll figure it out and he turns and walks away, already focused on his own work for the day.


I walk down the hill to study the pen.

I don’t know how to do this.  I don’t know any New Yorker that’s ever built a goat house.

I don’t know anyone that’s ever built a goat house.

But there are supplies to be found in the abandoned pig pen

And the goats need a house.


In the shade of the banana trees

I pull at the old fence posts and they refuse to budge.  This is not going to be easy.

With a shovel, I dig a pit around them until they come loose, dirt falling off in clumps.

With heavy shears, I cut away the rusty old fence wire, undoing the knots where I can.

Worms crawl everywhere, mosquitoes buzz around my face.

I don’t know how to do this.

It doesn’t matter.  He told me to do it.  It needs to be done.


The afternoon sun burns my face and sweat runs down the sides of my body

as I carry the lumber, the wire fence pieces

to the flat ground beside the green taro patches.


I can feel him looking at me,

watching but saying nothing.

When I look up, he looks away.  Back to work.


How do you build a goat house?  What kind of house do goats need?

Nothing fancy. No double-pane windows.  No shingled roof.  No white picket fences.

Something to keep them from running away.

Something to give them shelter.


I dig new holes for the fence posts and sink the wood deep.

I restring the wire fence walls, tight, no slack.

I cut my hand even though I’m wearing gloves. It bleeds red and strong.


I walk back to the house to wash and bandage

Maybe it’s a sign, maybe  I should stop for the day.

But the goats need a house.  Back to work.


He is waiting for me at the enclosure.  He’s looked at what I’ve created and only says

It needs a roof and points to sheets of corrugated steel

This time we work together, without words

We work as a team

fastening the metal to the structure, weighing it down with heavy rocks.


We bring in a trough for their food and buckets for the water

And lead the goats to their new home

He closes the last piece of fence and ties a wire lock.


We bring a housewarming gift: armfuls of fresh tī leaves for them to munch

and fill their buckets with cool water

And they chomp and splash

Happy goats.


He steps back and looks at it.

You did it.

You didn’t know how.

You figured it out

And now you do.


I wonder if anyone will need a goat house

back in New York.


© 2014 Jason Poole, all rights reserved