Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Kincaid in Haven Kansas

Leadership today was in Haven, Kansas. It's a town of nearly 1,200 people about 15 minutes away from Hutchinson. Despite their size, they have a lot of manufacturing there, not the least of which is at Kincaid.

Brad Stephenson, the manufacturing manager, gave us a tour. They make equipment geared toward seed producers. A large part of what they make is sold to universities.

They have agreements with a company in Finland that provides a combine that they then modify to work for seed producers.

Because test plots are done in 20 feet rows, and the seed can't be mixed, special equipment is required to harvest that so it can all be tested.

Some of the folks in our tour group were really knowledgeable - namely Pam, Dan and Brad. They all have experience with manufacturing and/or farming.

Scott also seemed to know quite a bit about all of this. He was asking lots of great questions.

That's one of the things that's always interesting on these tours - the questions people bring up.

Our host was very patient with us and explained how they've built their business over the years.

Part of the way is by adding to their products. They now make these machines that spray a water mixed with wood or paper cellulose that makes a covering over exposed soil to cut down on erosion, such as at road construction sites. It's also used at landfills and such.

It was an interesting way to wrap up the day. The topic today was economic development, which I enjoyed.

Creative Sisterhood

Tonight was Creative Sisterhood. Only four of us came, but it was a really good evening. There has been a lot going on in the lives of a couple of us, especially Teresa.

So much has happened in my life since we last met that I neglected to mention a couple of really major things. It's just been a busy time.

I really value this group so very much. It has been a way to connect with my spirit in a different way than I do in going through daily life.

Tonight I made chocolate pie. It's the first time I've made pie for the Creative Sisterhood group. I was just in a pie baking mood. I'm happy to say the crust turned out really well - very flakey. I used the last of my European Cocoa in this pie.

I had to call Mary Ann for instructions. I hadn't made chocolate pie in ages. My mom has a recipe that you can make either coconut or chocolate. Coconut pie was the first thing I cooked - all that stirring. I remembered there was a particular way you were supposed to mix in the ingredients but I couldn't recall.

I have my mom's recipe box and pulled out her recipe card. But she didn't have any instructions listed - just the ingredients. She made them often enough she didn't need instructions. But, I had to get some input. I'm lucky I could call Mary Ann for help - she has always been a second mom to me. Today was the first time I've ever called her for cooking advice. I knew it was a bridge I was crossing, but it felt perfectly natural - for both of us.

Martha really enjoyed the pie, and even gave it a good Vanna White just for the blog.

The meringe was really good, too. I only like "southern style" meringe, which is another way of saying it has more sugar than the norm in it. Three egg whites, and two tablespoons of sugar per egg white - yes, six of them total. Of course, the usual cream of tartar rounds out the recipe. I'm not a big meringe person, but this was tasty. If I'm going to make it, I like it to be big and fluffy - you can use just two egg whites if you want a smaller pile. But, don't put more than 2 T of sugar per egg white - they won't fluff up if you do.

I'm including the crust recipe here - it's basic, but always good. The trick is keeping everything cold while you're making it, and putting it in the fridge if you're not going to bake it right away.

Pie Crust

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water

You can leave the salt out if you wish.