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I hadn’t seen Pepper for two days and that wasn’t good.

For me or her. At least that’s what I told myself.

Part of the daily feeding routine is doing a quick once-over to be sure everybody’s okay. With old horses you have to be alert.

Oh, except I forgot that these days, Miss P. doesn’t think of herself as an old horse. She’s a teenager in love.

So the three bachelor farmers, better known as Bud, Amigo and Red were by the gate waiting for lunch and snacks. I’ve named them after the Norwegian bachelor farmers in Garrison Keillor’s monologues about life in Lake Wobegon. These days it seems to fit.


I scanned the pasture for a glimpse of the lovebirds, but couldn’t find them. Once Bud finished eating and was safely tucked back in the pasture, I loaded up feed pans, snack buckets, and the rest of my horse supplies and drove to the far side. I found the rest of the herd, minus three.

Pepper, Chickadee and Beau weren’t there.

Back to the first location. They must be in the shed, I reasoned. Sure enough, that’s where I found them, cozied up in the shade. Pepper gave me a look that was one part greeting, and two parts “what are you doing here?”

Then she turned her back to me.

“You’re making a fool of yourself,” I said as I headed toward my car. Chickadee followed, which got Pepper moving.

And Beau trailed his women.


I’ve figured out how to bring Pepper and Chickadee into the feeding pasture, without Beau. I close the gate before he can walk through. He paces the fence line and calls to Pepper, but he can’t get past the gate.

I love gates.

Bud and his pals are safe, which makes me very happy.

And Pepper is left to concentrate on eating. Except that she isn’t hungry. She nibbles a bite or two, but mainly picks at her food, all the while watching Beau run up and down the fence line. She looks at me with those soulful brown eyes. “I’m not hungry.”

I try explaining the neuroscience of falling in love to her. About the dopamine spike and love being nothing more than her brain on drugs. She could care less. When those feel-good chemicals are released in her brain, the last thing she wants is talking.

You may be able to relate, based on your own romantic experiences. That crazy in love feeling is pretty heady stuff.

And seriously, couldn’t we all use a spike of dopamine for the weekend?