Posts Tagged With: Seasons

 
 

“When the SugarN’s in the Maples”

short url to this post: http://wp.me/p4jGvr-Bk

by Donnie Hayden

© 2015, all rights reserved

 

“Taps in the trees”

In another post dated October 20, 2014, “Frost on the Punkin,” http://wp.me/p4jGvr-x5, I shared a favorite poem of mine with a video of a feller’ reading it aloud. The poem is, “When the Frost is on the Punkin.”  It was written by, James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916.

Recently, after going near stir-crazy from the long winter here in New York, it was a beautiful day, the sky blue, the temperature 41º F. and it was time to get out of the house and take a drive!

The temperature and warm sun upon my ageing (or aging) face made it possible, for me to drive with the window slightly ajar and feel the wind through my thinning hair, but the drive along the shore of Lake Ontario and my expectations, for what was in store, made me feel, forever young! Soon, I would meet my cousin and his grandmother, our dear sweet Aunt Anne Magar (Bab’s) [pronounced: Bob’s], for a pancake breakfast.

It was not just any ordinary pancake breakfast. Oh, NO, this was the last weekend and the last day, of the New York Maple Syrup Festivals, held all over the state. The breakfast was held by and cooked by, the folks that work or own, this maple tree farm. The breakfast with freshly made maple syrup was, at the facility which taps the sugar maples and boils the sap and makes the syrup.

There was a walking tour among the maple trees, to see the pump house where the collected sap is pumped uphill to the process and boiling center.

The center served as working areas, museum, educational center and a store to buy 100% certified, pure NY maple syrup and sugar products. Books and CD’s; DVD’s and other items were available. They even had a maple sugar, cotton candy machine, for the ‘kids’ of all ages. 🙂

The owners and staff were on hand to help and answer any questions, people might pose. I had many and they were more than happy, to answer each and every one, to my satisfaction. I must confess that I was tapped, just like a maple tree and my juices and imagination were flowing. I was intrigued by the whole day and process of making maple syrup and sugar! It made me, briefly, forget about missing my wife, who is out of the country, for another two months. 😦

But this short reprieve from winter and from missing my sweet maple tree girl, made me feel not quite as lonely. I was happy to leave winter’s chill, still clinging here and like a little kid and these trees, I was tapped in! 🙂

SugarN2

Intravenous FeedN’ 🙂

Our cousin was previously given about 11 gallons of sap from this very farm and for days and for the first time, he made some maple syrup himself, boiling the sap in pots outside, on his Bar-B-Q grill. He made several jars of syrup and today, he bought a book from the center called, ‘Backyard Sugarin” I liked the word ‘Sugarin’ and I shortened it to just “sugarN” But I could not get this word out of my head. Thought about it the rest of the day and night. This morning, I woke up with it, still on my mind. It reminded me of Riley’s poem and oft’ quoted line from it, “when the frost is on the punkin.” So, just today, it inspired me to write, “When the SugarN’s in the Maples”

Now, I’m not trying to compete with Riley. I make no pretense that it even comes close to being, even a little bit as good as his! But for me, tired of the long cold winter and missing my wife and can’t wait for Spring, it made me sort of, ‘tap’ into spring and it certainly tapped into me. I think Fall and Spring are my favorites of the four seasons. These two seasons fall between, Winter and Summer or Summer and Winter. Winter can be pretty, but I think it’s mostly here to remind me that Spring is coming and Summer is, just the season to enjoy, while waiting on the Fall. So, I wrote and edited and read it aloud to myself, to hear its flow. Then I called Aunt Bab’s and read it to her. She loved it and asked for a copy and promised to commit it to memory, just as she had, ‘When the Frost in on the Punkin.’ I was honored by her asking and am encouraged here, to share this with you, Oh ye’ gatherers together, gathering at the Gathering Place. 🙂

Years ago, a dear friend’s father gave me a gift of his personally worn, loved, washed and a little over-bleached (kind of tie-dye looking cool) pair of what he called his “Over-hauls.”  These are not just anyO’ pair of overalls. They are the crem dela crem of overalls! Thays’ isN’ ‘Big Smith’ overalls, the finest makers of “over-hauls,” since 1916! Promised made and promise kept. The You Tube video of me reading this poem appears, following the the text below. By the way, my excess winter sap (or sugar) did not allow me to fit into my “over-hauls,” I crammed myself into them! :0

I hope you enjoy, “SugarN’s in the Maples.”  I hope it gets you ‘flowing!’ 🙂

Thank You, James Whitcomb Riley and Thank You, Aunt Bab’s!

 

Donnie

 

 

 

 

 

It’s SugarN’ Time

“When the SugarN’s in the Maples”

Donnie Hayden, 1953presently still alive 🙂

 

When the sugarN’s in the maples and
the taps is in the trees
And you hear the cooN morN doves
a crying in the breeze
And the peeping of the sparrows and the honkN of the geese
And the warmN’s in the morN’
in her rising in the east
O, it’s them’s the times a feller is a—
putN’ on a smile,
And leaves his hibernated cave
and gits outside a while,
And grabs his hat and forgets his achy knees,
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
There’s something kinda’ hearty-like
tho wintern hangs on here—
When the nights still chill, but morN’s warm, surely Spring will be so dear—
Of course the grass aint yet green, and no flowers in the bloom
And the gentle rains not yet revealN 
what underground’s concealN’
and the robins not yet expected,
but the worms don’t feel neglected
But still, there’s that sweet fragrance in the air,
when sap pots a’boilN’, here and there
Sets my forget of my achy knees
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
The whole scene sets my heart a jumpN’
like the sap a runN and the roots, for water pumpN
Not time for plantN or growN’, but tahday—
Spring’s got no better preacher
than what the maples have to say
 
Cows still relyN on the farmer’s bales
and the tractor’s in the barn
and they’re dreaming over coffee
and they’re fitN another yarn
O, it sets spring’s clock—
to ease
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
Then you know the sap is gathered, 
and the syrup is all made
And the taste buds cry—  “keep it coming” 
and winter’s soon to fade
And your pancakes and sugarN delights 
and all the maple sweets
makes yor’ giddy face a familiar friend 
to all the strangers it meets
I know no betterN a way to tell it— 
but if such a thing could be
If anyone or spring or angels need boardin’, and if they were to call on me
I’d hand them all over my accommodations and my keys
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
 
Categories: Family & Friends, Inspiration, Life, Poetry, Seasons, Spring, The Gathering Place | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Frost on the Punkin”

short url to this post: https://wp.me/p4jGvr-x5

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

  Punkin2I grew up in the Midwest. We lived in town and had grandparents that lived in the country. City living gave us culture and the advantages which benefit, from higher education. We had the rural roots and common sense, fresh air and produce from the farm. We had the best of both worlds. I especially loved the fall, autumn, falling leaves and colors, crisp apple cider and crisp air, ripening, harvest, plenty and well, just that whole cornucopia idea of, abundance. A familiar phrase to me as a child growing up, just set the whole season into mind and motion. Just a few words gave me the visual promotion or concept of autumn – “when the frost is on the punkin.” Yes, I do know how to spell pumpkin, but “punkin,” is how the word was first pronounced to me. I am not sure where I first heard this. Perhaps it was our mother, from her mother or father, our grandparents? Both of our Mom’s parents were from large farming families so, you might expect the word “punkin” to be proper pronunciation for the farm, country, and the south. Pumpkin would be correct, for the formally educated, the city dwellers, the landlubbers or as a friend refers to me since I am a new transplant to the “country,” a “flatlander.” Well, I think it is pretty obvious as to what “frost on the punkin” means. Pumpkins turn their bright orange color in the fall and while still not winter, the nights and days can be quite cool. Elementary science taught us that something freezes at 32°F. Frost can occur on the ground, on leaves, and yes, even pumpkins at higher temperatures from 32-say-36 or 37°F. So, “frost on the punkin,” means, it’t chilly outside. It’s time for my favorite olympic sport of, raking leaves and jumping into the piles. Not to mention pumpkin eats and drinks, OMG it’s AUTUMN!!!   🙂 I’ve used this phrase for most of my life. Recently, I used it and some people had never heard of it. So, I thought, maybe it is a Midwest or a southern expression; not known to us northerners? Yes, I included myself as a northerner, since I live here in New York, even though I was born and raised in the Midwest. Well, again with the well, well, how deep is this well? Where did this expression come from? I consulted with the oldest trivia, where-did-that-come-from expression expert, our local home-spun-poetry committed to memory aficionado and my fellow poetry-lover kindred spirit, Aunt Anne Magar (Bab’s) [pronounced: Bob’s]. She’s 91 and sharp as a tack. So I put it to her, “Aunt Bab’s,” I said, “have you ever heard the expression, “frost on the punkin?” “Oh, sure,” she said grinning confidently, “It is from a poem. You should look it up!” So I did. It was written by James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916

“There is an interesting incident about how Riley’s job was once saved because he had written “When the Frost Is On the Punkin, and the Fodder’s In the Shock.”  It is in a book written by Riley’s friend John A. Howland entitled, “James Whitcomb Riley: Prose and Pictures.””

“Riley, as a young Greenfield man, had had a hard time finding a niche in the world since he did not care to follow his father in the practice of law.  He sold Bibles, painted signs, entertained in a medicine show, always coming to a dead end.  His mother died in 1870 and he felt he could not bear to stay in Greenfield so he went here and there seeking newspaper employment.  He ran into E.B. Martindale of “The Indianapolis Journal” whom he later called, “my first literary patron,” who added him to the staff of the paper to write poetry.  Some of these poems appeared on the first page of the Journal under the nom de plume “Benjamin F. Johnson of Boone,” supposedly an old farmer.  As they were well received, Riley emerged from under his disguise, writing poems such as “When the Frost is on the Punkin.””

 “In a short while after Riley joined the paper, a gentleman named Halford was appointed manager of the Journal.  One of his first ideas was to cut down on expenses of the paper, and he was considering Riley as his first victim to get the ax.  It so happened that a political convention was held in Indianapolis at this very time.  One of the candidates nominated for office was a big burly fellow who had never made a speech in his life.”

“When he got up to accept his nomination, his mind went blank and he could not utter a word.  The pounding and cheering went on until in desperation he blurted out, “The ticket you have nominated here is going to win “when the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.”  This Riley poem had just been published a few days before. in the newspaper.”

“The applause that greeted these words showed that most of these prominent men had read Riley’s work and approved of it.  Halford kept him on, and he became an established poet.” 

“Riley saved his job by a landscape!”

excerpts from: http://www.jameswhitcombriley.com/frost_on_punkin_saved_job.htm

  I share the lines with you below and a wonderful oral reading by a man from a You Tube video. I believe you will understand every word below, when you hear him recite it; understand why his father wanted him to share it with strangers each year and you, will understand, “frost on the punkin,” as I now do! Thank You Aunt Bab’s!   🙂   Donnie          

Punkin1

“When the Frost is on the Punkin”

James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916

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! 

If you like to read another poem I wrote for spring, see: “When the SugarN’s in the Maples”

Categories: Autumn, Fall, Inspiration, Poetry, Seasons, The Gathering Place, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.