In the springtime when the cabbages

are heavy, fat, and round,

green globes that seem to litter up

the garden miles around,

Pa gets out the bushel baskets,

and he calls for me to come

and help fill up  all those baskets

and to rinse them all off some.

all day we’re out there loading up

heads of cabbage left and right,

I thought we’d still be  filling up

those baskets late at night.

Meanwhile mama has the crock

brought up from our fruit cellar,

I put it on a wheelbarrow

because I’m one strong feller,

and wheel it to the kitchen door,

where mama has a pot

filled to the top with boiling water,

that you know is really hot;

and she pours it all into the crock

and hands to me a brush,

You can start the scrubbing”

she says “but there’s no big rush” 

I’m getting out of lifting cabbages,

So I take my own sweet time,

Until pa come along and asks

where is that lazy  son of mine?”

So I’m back to hefting cabbages

until the day is done,

and we go back to the house

where the work has just begun,

mama shreds up all the cabbages,

and she packs it in the crock,

layered down with canning salt,

and then weighed down with a rock.

next morning, pa and I will take

the crock back to the cellar,

where the cabbages will ferment,

turning into kraut that’s crisp and yellow.

Whenever mama sends me down

to the cellar for a jar

of applesauce or jelly ,

I don’t have to reach out far,

I lift the rock and heavy lid

for a pinch of sauerkraut,

But I’m only doing my good deed–

someone needs to check it out!


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted June 12, 2010


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