“When the frost is on the punkin”: Pumpkin Ginger Muffins
When I was growing up, as soon as the fall leaves started swirling and the first cold-front hit Oklahoma, my father would go around saying: “When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!”. As a former English teacher, turned school superintendent, he was able to quote quite a bit of James Whitcomb Riley’s poem. As he worked at doing all the things you do when winter is coming, like bringing in the lawn furniture and closing up the garden shed, he would go on and on and on with this poem, so there was no chance that his kids would ever forget it, and I still haven’t.
Now, as the leaves have started to swirl here in the Berkshires, and the trees are in the process of turning those beautiful shades of orange, red, burgundy, and yellow, and all kinds of shades in between, it’s time once again to think about pumpkins. The town of Lenox is heaped with pumpkins. The “Apple Squeeze” street fair was last weekend and every store in town got ready for it by setting up a display of pumpkins in front of their store. These tableaus of autumn consist of hay bales piled with pumpkins in all hues of pumpkin-orange and white, ornamental cabbages in jade green and purple, ornamental squash in shades of green, and ubiquitous mums in every imaginable color, watching over everything.
“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.”
– James Whitcomb Riley