Riding & Writing

Monday Creek

Gina McKnight

Living in a rural area is fun. If you're lucky to live near a creek, you're lucky enough. Monday Creek flows through our valley; a creek where Indians congregated, settlers cooled off after a hard day's work, and, finally, a scenic spot in my world. The horse pasture is just east of Monday Creek. It brings in the seasonal will-o-the-wisp, a heavy curtain of fog that rolls through the valley.

In the morning, you can walk out the door and see billowing clouds, deep blue skies, and a beautiful horizon. There are no skyscrapers or tall buildings blocking the view. The morning creek smells of loam and dew. A passing deer may stop for a drink, or a swallow may swoop down for a sip. The willows sway and bounce on the water's edge, branches tipping to the ripples.

Fog, Monday Creek, Creek, Ohio

The afternoon brings shade from the water birch and other native flora that line Monday Creek. Water sparkles as the sun hits the surface. When the weather is right, you can take off your shoes and squish your toes into the cool mud. You may find a crawdad, or two, and mammoth fishworms. Sometimes you can see minnows swimming for a spot in the shallows while four-leaf clover and crown vetch grace the creekbank.

The evening creek sings to the rising moon as the night fauna becomes louder. Coyotes and deer begin their ritual of searching for food — always on the move. An owl and peregrine falcon wait patiently for the sun to disappear. It's time to bed down, revere the whisper of the creek and the night creatures.

Each day I breathe fresh air and say hello to Mother Nature. Monday Creek flows through our farm, to the Ohio River, to the great Mississippi River, then to the sea. Monday Creek isn't very wide — maybe 40 feet wide, in some places. It has memories of childhood swimming holes, bath time for horses, skipping stones, or just quiet time listening to the water stream. If you're lucky to live near a creek, you're lucky enough.

Gina McKnight is a freelance writer from Ohio, USA.

A Valentine Story

Gina McKnight 










A Valentine Story

There is a lot to be said about wintertime — it’s cold, driving can be a challenge, sledding is fun, ice skating is more fun, and snow angels are the best. But, when you have animals in below-freezing temperatures, the challenge is more real. To be responsible for an animal that is outside in the elements is a daily chore to provide adequate comfort and warmth.

Mac, my gray quarter horse gelding, is an amazing animal. He is kind, considerate, and always willing. Zubedia, my paint mare, is just as amazing. She is happy, content, and ready for anything. Mac and Zubedia are trail buddies, happy to have their stalls close together and upset if they can’t see one another.

I am picky about what I feed my horses. They get the best, high-quality grain, exceptional hay (part alfalfa and meadow grass), are free to come in and out of the barn at all times, with access to rolling pasture and fresh well water. They are loved and receive the very best care.

Several weeks ago, on the coldest day of winter so far, I was putting new bags of grain in the feed bin. The rattle of the feed bags was more than Mac could take. I made the error of not feeding the horses before taking the time unload the new feed. Mac went into a feeding frenzy. The horses were in the corral, waiting to come in.

If you are savvy with animals, you know that you don’t mess with animals and their supper — especially when the temperature is below freezing and it’s all you can do to keep moving to stay warm. In an instance, Mac attacked Zubebia, bitting her on the chest. He nipped her enough to remove the hide, but the skin did not break — no blood, just a raw 3-inch square of hairless hide.

Mac, who is normally collected and calm, was hungry. So hungry, he thought Zubedia would get her grain before he did, so he went to great lengths to make sure that I fed him first. And I did. He got my attention. After a “What did you do, Mac?” chastising, I placed grain in his stall and he enjoyed every mouthful. Then Zubedia came into her stall and I saw her wound, and thought Wow. It was so cold that I knew any ointment would freeze. After talking with my veterinarian, we decided to leave the wound open to the air for several days, and then apply medicinal ointment (Corona is my choice).

Now, several weeks later, Zubedia’s scab has fallen off and she is fine. Her feelings are a little hurt from the incident; she is shy of Mac now and doesn’t get in the way when it’s suppertime.

The picture above was taken before Mac bit Zubedia. I suppose she loved him then, and I suppose she loves him still. They are valentines.

View photos of Mac and Zubedia on instagram. Gina McKnight is an author, freelance writer, and publisher from Ohio USA. gmcknight.com mondaycreekpublishing.com