The Job Hunter’s Winter Harvest

Botanical illustration of yellow pumpkin with fruit leaf and flower

"When the frost is on the pumpkin..."

Daylight Savings Time ended with no protest tinged with a little sadness in my town. It must be that Election Day is Tuesday, among other things. Being just plain tired of a long job search is another.

Somehow, it becomes harder to keep up the wild energy job hunting requires at this time of year. People really tire of job hunting; of coming out into the cold to hear some waxy-faced interiewer ask endless questions. It becomes harder to pay attention. Spirit and body sag like the last of the brown leaves clinging to the trees. Quite frankly, I vote for spiced apple cider and clicking on the “Martha Stewart” icon on my tool bar as I make lists for holiday cooking, gift giving, and seasonal prep because this time of year calls strongly to me as a homekeeper.

James Whitcomb Riley at a Riley Day celebratio...

Image via Wikipedia

There is a “memorization project” poem often brought home after mid-terms on a dirty, illegible homework assignment page as the year shuffles grudgingly toward winter  called, “When the Frost is On The Pumpkin” by James Whitcomb Riley. I bring this up because of a remarkable story about how this very poem saved the author his job.

All the experts I have been reading on line are saying there should be no “vacation” taking from job hunting during the holidays. All those get-togethers, cookie bakings, and holiday parties are opportunities to not look for a job, but to network. This is a great time to meet new people especially if the search has “petered out” or the trail has “gone cold”. More about that next time. But, for now…

Take a look at a recitation of the poem by Kent Risley on You Tube in all of “the Hoosier poet” dialect beauty here:

Here is the text of the poem to help your kid out. I found it at

“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 the time 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 blossoms 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.

vintage engraving of pumpkin and leaf