Thursday, October 30, 2008

Frosty Punkins and Creepy Castles

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.

from When the Frost is on the Punkin,

James Whitcomb Riley (click for previous post)


Riley was a good friend of the writer Donn Piatt and was often
a house guest at the Piatt country home, Mac-O-Chee. It is
while on an inspiring autumn visit, that he penned the words
to his famous poem When the Frost is on the Punkin. The
Piatt Castles, built by brothers Donn and Abram S. Piatt are
two chateaux built in Gothic design, located one mile east of
the village of West Liberty in Logan County, Ohio. The brothers
built these wonderful homes after serving as Union officers in
the Civil War. Mac-A-Cheek, built by Abram, was completed in
1871, and Mac-O-Chee, built by Donn, was completed in 1879,
only about 3/4 of mile apart. The names Mac-O-Chee and
Mac-A-Cheek are both derivatives of the Shawnee village
Mackachack. This Shawnee village existed just east of West
Liberty until Chief Moluntha was murdered in November of 1789.
So, my bloggy friends, if you are ever in my little neck of the
woods, a day trip to visit the Piatt castles would be worth your
while. I wouldn't recommend visiting at night, however. I had a
case of the willies in broad daylight. Especially creepy was the
room at the end of the hall of the third story at Mac-O-Chee,
once the family chapel. Lots of strange energy there.


  1. I remember reading and memorizing that poem in the seventh grade. I've always loved it.

    Tukes calls macaroni and cheese "mac-o-cheese".

  2. Thank You Lady Willow fot this poem...

    Hey, Your pumpkin is very big ! Ouah !

  3. Wonderful poem. It's looking very spooky around here.


  4. Yaehhh! I'm feeling so festive after reading your posts!

  5. MG, and speaking of cheese, I'm making MORE of your cheesy grits tonight. Um. Um.

  6. And speaking of more cheese...I made the grits for the first time....Ooo la yummy, MG!

    And the poem...takes me straight back to my childhood!

    Your header looks like lightening just struck! Eeeeek!

  7. Love that poem. Brings back childhood and fun.

  8. Extremely cool! We will indeed look this place up if ever in Ohio. I *love* history like this. You really fleshed out the visit. Gave me goosebumps too. Thanks for posting this! ♥ ∞

  9. Woooo. Happy Halloween to ya, Willow!

  10. Fun peom. Happy Halloween lady of the Manor.

  11. What a GREAT Halloween post! Perfect!

  12. Isn't that a wonderful poem! I love that it begins and ends with the same line.

  13. Poems & pumpkins! Your photos make me smell burning leaves (or is that my toast?!)
    Aloha from Waikiki-

  14. No Halloween around here so I shall have to get my shivers from visiting your blog.

  15. Thanks for the history lesson on where Riley penned the poem.

    Love today's header!

  16. Super poem.
    Sadly the silly part of me would re-name the house Mac and Cheese.
    I'm sure that's a very old joke.
    Do you think many people will venture forth as Sarah Palin tonight?
    Or maybe Ghoolyani?
    Great banner.

  17. Yes, Palin is supposed to be one of the hottest Halloween characters. And easy, too! Black suit, bee hive do, rimless glasses, a flag pin, accent and you're good to go! :)

  18. What a GREAT PLACE! I love spooky old mansions!

  19. Frosty pumpkins only from the freezer here, temperatures in the high sixties, and no backyard turkey-cock, no wonder I somehow can't quite get into Halloween spirit (except for missing my old neighbors, and our Silent Dinner in the frontyard on All Hallows Eve), but your poem sure left me with a chuckle.

    Should I ever venture to Phio, Piatt castles in broad daylight would be on my list, you made them sound quite fascinating. ;-)

    Happy Halloween! :-)

  20. Willies is right! The looks of that place exude "chilly sensations." I would love to check it out sometime...Happy Halloween!

  21. What an interesting house...! I have been in houses where I have felt the energy of the people who lived there too. I lived for a few months in a house that was definitely haunted, and I had to move.

    You had a great blog!

    Happy Halloween!

  22. Cute poem. Happy Halloween! :)

  23. Until I became a fan of your blog, I had no idea that Ohio was the home of so many lovely and stately (and occasionally haunted!) castles and manors, including yours of course. Happy Halloween.
    (: )

  24. That is a very extraordinary house, what a wonderful name.

    I had such fun on the yearbookyourself site below, isn't it clever? Thanks for the link.

    Happy Halloween Willow.

  25. Willow, I loved that castle - truly atmospheric and a perfect picture for Halloween (not to mention the pumpkin)

  26. Fascinating and lovely .. like you!


  27. What a beautiful creepy house photo, enough to give me the willies in the dusk toward evening.
    Happy Halloween, Willow!

  28. What a lovely header! So spookalicous and yet always tasteful in true Willow Manor style. Happy Halloween! Mwah-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgghhh!!!

  29. I had heard the poem but was not familiar with the poet. Hoosier info. ...great! Your October blog has been so wonderful, such a mix of willies, info, beautiful pictures and some spooky ones too! Bravo! Happy Halloween!!!
    You were drinking some exotic sounding decaf the other day...the name again?
    Mary Ann

  30. I'd like to stick around, Willow, honest I would, but that banner is giving me a class A case of the "willies".
    I've linked to your "willies" post on my Blasts From the Past blog.

    What do Don Knotts, organ music, chickens and Hallowe'en have in common? Come and see!


  31. Very imposing building and interesting poem.

    CJ xx

  32. Is the Piatt country home where they make Mac and Cheese dinners? :-)

  33. Blue Sky, it's Marques de Paiva, whole bean decaf and believe it or not, I buy it at Sam's Club. It's wonderful and the price is great, too.

  34. Wow. And all this in Ohio. I'll have to look up that county. I went to college in Alliance, Ohio and there was a caslte in town which had been brought over stone by stone from England on a boat and reassembled. Or so they told me, a gal from the East. Maybe they were pulling my leg. I'd also like to know what a shock is and did he make up these words like hallylooyer and kyouck. What a guy.

  35. PS I myself love your header photo. It looks a bit like a daguerreotype. You know how you can hold them up and at certain slants the faces change and blot out. On the vineyard, there is a woman who paints somewhat like this, figures in black and sepia in old fashioned swim wear at the beach. I love them.

  36. Wow--I'll have to try to see if I can figure out a way to end up in that neck of the woods on a weekend one year when I'm on the road--it looks beautiful, Willow--that's my kind of exploring--finding neat places like that to see. Thanks for sharing--the poem is perfect! Happy Halloween!!

  37. Oh--forgot to mention--love the treatment of that fabulous photo for this auspicious occasion as well! Nice and moody! ;))

  38. Most interesting. I was interested to learn this poet is from Indiana.

    My favorite author is also from the Hoosier state - Theodore Dreiser. I really like his Sister Carrie, Jennie Gearhart and An American Tragedy as well as his trilogy based on the life of Charles Yerkes (the Financier, the Titan and the Stoic).

    Take care and great post for Halloween!

  39. Happy Halloween, Willow! - loved the history bit on the two castles and your banner - showed my mom your blog tonight - she's 82 and really loved it!

    And a happy halloween to you, Willow!

  41. No Halloween here so I'll feast my eyes on that frosty pumpkin instead!

  42. Hey...
    A little snake safely arrived into my dusty mailbox today:)
    I@ThankYou so much Willow for the postcard, I loved it not, but your cute mailbox:)
    Having yours, my current account is 6/11. Have to wait till the rest comes in.
    *Spooktacular Halloween*

    N at CrossRoads

  43. I'll be. I never knew that there was a real poem written with that opening line!

  44. And if I am ever down your way I will remember this beautiful post. Thanks and happy Halloween (belatedly)!

    Greetings from London.

  45. Willow,
    Next to Frost, Riley is my favorite American Poet. Since my mother was from Indiana he was introduced (his writing) to me at a young age (mine not his.)
    I may have to make a special trip just to investigate those two castles.
    Another poem by Riley:

  46. Love the way you spookaholics squeeze the last chilling drop of Ghoulish delight from hauted hovels to heirloom houses in your Halloween homages.

  47. I have heard the chickens cluckin (mine), but never about this poet. So my dear Willow than you for sharing, should I ever be in your neck of the woods I will be sure to give it a visit. I won't go at night, because there you go using that word again "willies", and I don't want to experience them!!!!


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)