Miss Pepper and I share a weakness. It’s a flaw really in our otherwise sterling characters. You see there are certain foods that we love to eat.

Love to eat so much that we’re tempted to overeat them. They call to us in an oh-so-tempting whisper, like a voice you’d hear in a science fiction movie.

“Oh Jean,” they sing in their sultry, seductive voices.

“You have Mint Milano cookies in the cupboard.”

In the early stages, I’m usually able to resist. But they’re prepared for that. These sirens are patient and sneaky. They just keep calling.

“One little cookie won’t hurt anything. Will it? Aren’t you hungry?”

Eventually the voices win and I walk to the kitchen, open the cupboard and break into the package of cookies.

Big mistake.

Once they’re open it’s much easier to slip one or two out.


Oh, I don’t eat the entire package at once. That would be gluttony and I’d be sick.

No, the sirens are ever so much more subtle. Over the next few days, they cajole and I respond. Here a cookie, there a cookie, everywhere a cookie, and before I know it, the package is empty. Gone. No more Mint Milanos and the only thing to show for it is a slightly snugger fit to my jeans.

Pepper’s Version

Pepper has a little different story, though it’s still about hearing voices. She has a particular fondness for alfalfa cubes. And even though she loves her latest feed mix of grain and shredded beet pulp softened in water, she thinks about those delicious green cubes. They call to her, just as the cookies call to me.

I’ve had to remove the white bucket of cubes from her line of sight, or she won’t eat her grain. You may remember that this summer we had to set up what I called the “Dessert Bar,” where we put the hay cubes and horse candy out of Pepper’s view until she ate her grain.

We’re in a new pasture for the winter and there’s no good place for the dessert bar. I put them on the side of the car where Pep won’t see them. This worked for a day or so, until our smart girl figured it out. Somewhere in the middle of eating her grain, the hay cubes call to her.

“Oh Pepper, wouldn’t you like a yummy hay cube?”

They continue calling until she stops eating grain and saunters around the car in search of the cubes. She quickly learned where I was hiding them.

Then I resort to locking them in the back seat of the car and remind her she has grain to finish. In the photo above, Rick is the enforcer. “Eat your lunch,” he says in a stern voice.

On the day that particular photo was taken, Miss. P. ended up cleaning her plate, so to speak. We were ecstatic because it meant she got the full dose of Bute, which isn’t always the case.

Then she was allowed to indulge in a few hay cubes. Eat your meal first and then you can have dessert. Isn’t that the mantra of every good parent?

Just Don’t Buy them

I solve my Milano issue by simply not having them in the house. Most of the time that works – unless they start singing to me in the grocery store.

I have to be especially vigilant when I’m shopping in the late afternoon, because the song is strongest then.

What’s Your Weakness?

So what calls to you? Come on, I know there’s something. We’re human (or equine) and we have cravings. Is it sweet or salty? I know folks who can’t have a box of Wheat Thins on the premises. Or chips. So what’s your weakness? Pepper and I want/need some company.

P.S. Please don’t call the authorities about this whole “hearing voices” thing. Really we are both quite sane.