Monday, April 25, 2011

Sawdust, Knacksot and Faspa…

Saturday was a day for cleaning and getting everything ready for Sunday. Fresh Soagespoohn (sawdust) strewn across the freshly cleaned floors signified the end of a productive day. The sawdust kept the floors clean from dust longer.

Sunday was visiting day. Families either sat at home waiting for another family to come onto the yard. Or they drove around to other people’s places until they found someone at home. Traditionally, they sat in their vehicle until the host noticed them and came out to invite them in.

If you happened to be staying at home this particular week, you would have your meddachschlop (mid-day sleep aka nap) right after lunch while slowly roasting the knacksot (sunflower seeds) in the oven in preparation for guests that could potentially arrive mid-afternoon.

My mom tells me that this did not happen in her family, but in many homes the men settled into one room while the women were in another. The men were heard to chat about community events and farming; the host may show the men around the farm. The women talked about homelife, children, and about who had been ill or had passed away.

Both the front room (living room) and kitchen held big bowls of the roasted knacksot. The men would put large amounts into the pockets of their pants, and the women would place them onto a handkerchief in their laps. Many a person would stuff their cheeks with the knacksot, and shell them one by one with their front teeth, gently pushing the shell to just below the lower lip letting them all gather on the chin until they fell down to the floor on their own. Others sent shells flying right onto the floor to mix with the sawdust. Children enjoyed the crunch crunch crunch of this Sunday ‘carpet’ as they ran in and out of the room while playing.

Around four o’clock the faspa (light Sunday afternoon meal) would begin. The men ate first while the women served. Everything sat ready in the kohma (pantry room off the kitchen): the buns, kringle, Zockastetja (sugar cubes), freshly churned butter, suppsel (plum jam mostly), brown and white cookies with coffee. The Zockastetja were dunked in coffee and eaten with the buns.

When it was their turn to eat, the women took the spot that their husband had vacated and ate off of the same dishes. And, of course, the women continued their visiting while cleaning off the tables and washing dishes.

Sweeping up the Soagespoohn mixed with knacksot shells after the events of the day scrubbed the floor clean. Another weekend done.

Monday was laundry day…

Check out the blog post that inspired this post:">"No Cheese or Baked Goods Have ever Been Baptized into a Mennonite Church" ...You might also enjoy Velafnis, Tjast and an Obsolete Kissing Song.


  1. Brings back good memories of days gone by. It's exactly the kind of stories I put together in low german for my listening audience. These are the times of Fritz and Franz. Very cool.
    My programs can be heard at

  2. Hey Carl, I notice that my Uncle Hein forwarded this to a few people. Thanks for stopping in. I just popped in to your website and listened to a little of one of your programs. Good stuff.

  3. Hellen, these are wonderful! Keep them coming...

  4. Na jo - daut haud mie uck seah goot jegone up de greene Tjast - wu habe dee dan Zweeback, suckaschtecke un uck noch Tjees too Faspa gehaaut? Mood wie daut uck Pultageschenke jejaeft.

  5. Hi Anonymous, Danke daut du dit gelessen hast. Dit es geschrewen aeva de Menoniten von Mexico. Von woah best du?