Frost, Pumpkins, Cornstalks and Related Things

There’s something about Autumn in November in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer has retreated. Halloween is passed, except for a sore tummy or a growing cavity from too many sweets.

Frosty nights are harbingers of what is to come. Late Fall snows are just around the seasonal corner before Winter embraces the land.

Leaves continue to fall from the aged wonders towering above us. Many trees are bare as their branches reach upward toward the azure sky and niveous clouds.

The harvest of apples, corn, beans and other delightful bounties are over. The farm markets are closed for the season. People sit aside the lawn and garden tools for a hearty rake to gather the multi-colored leaves for mulch or burning or for children and dogs to play.

The snow shovels and plows are still gathering dust in the corner with a cob web or two. However, their time of use will soon come.

Bonfires dot the bucolic landscapes. Life settles into a slower pace as Thanksgiving approaches.

James Whitcomb Riley wrote the following poem which sums up Fall very well from a country view. Enjoy—

When the Frost is on the Punkin

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;

O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;

The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too!

I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me—
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

G. D. Williams © 2015

POST 636

In The Days Gone By

Recently, I was at a primary school’s rummage sale. Besides helping the school, my primary interest in these types of sales is to explore for books, especially old ones.

For a few dollars I bought 17 books. One book was an old, faded blue-cloth volume of 407 pages.

Since being printed in 1934, over its 80-year history it must have passed from person to person. There is a notation on the first page: “Desk #6 Veleg School”.

The book is The Best Loved Poems and Ballads of James Whitcomb Riley with Illustrations by Ethel Franklin Betts—Blue Ribbon Books, Inc. New York City. For its age it is in excellent condition which shows the love and care of someone.

James Whitcomb Riley was a newspaper reporter, writer and poet who was born and lived in Indiana, USA until his death. He was hailed as the Children’s Poet of the 1890s and early 20th Century.