Friday, January 12, 2007

Cotton Peanuts

On Wednesday past, Jaso Stolzfus took us SOOPers to Seminole, Texas for some field education. We drove for an hour and a half before arriving at the Oasis Gin, and, no, this is not a brewery. Cotton is grown in large quantities in the region and this gin processes the raw cotton for 11 corporate farms. Most of it is shipped to China, made into shirts and trousers and sent back to North America for the retail clothing market. To imagine the quantity that can be ginned in this plant, think of a conveyor belt three feet wide, heaped with raw cotton, travelling by at about 15 kph for 24 hours a day. That sure ain't hay!

We stopped in Seminole and had lunch at a Mennonite restaurant. Some 35 years ago, many Mennonites from Mexico relocated to Seminole and established farms and businesses. They are of at least 7 - 8 theological persuasions including Kleingemeinde, Sommerfelder, etc. I had a wonderful Mennonite Quesidilla with refried beans and corn, salsa and sour cream. I asked for Vreneki and Schinkefleisch met Schmauntfat in Low German, and the waitress answered that that was only available on Fridays - in English. The cook wore a black head covering and a long dress, and chain-smoked cigarettes. The food was excellent.

In the afternoon we visited the Golden Peanut plant East of Seminole. Again, this was a massive operation that sorts, shells, and ships tonnes and tonnes of peanuts. they are the sole suppliers for Hersheys Payday bar as well as their Reese's peanut butter bar. Again to imagine the quantity processed here, imagine a 2 foot wide conveyer belt going by at the speed of a walk. They have the largest walk-in refrigerator I've ever seen, probably 200 feet by 100 feet in size.

Well, I'm sure I'm boring you nearly to death with this. When we get home we'll show pictures of all this and finish the job.

We've been getting news and pictures of snow storms back in Saskatchewan, and find it hard to believe. Wednesday, I golfed in s short-sleeved shirt and found it almost too hot at 22C or so. It's very dry here, and looking for your ball in among the mesquite and cactus - and the occasional rattlesnake, black widow spider or tarantula - is a new experience. Dusty at times, but oh, so balmy.

Agnes and I served in the Community Kitchen today and gathered pecans in a lady's backyard. We're continuing to get ready for our excursion into Chihuahua, Mexico next Thursday. We're really looking forward to that.

Take care everyone. If you want to comment at any time, go to the "comments" link at the bottom of this post. You will have to register in order to comment since anonymous comments are not permitted; I think you'll understand why.


  1. George,
    I am really appreciating your blog.I certainly was rather envious of your golfing excursion,except for the rattlesnakes!
    We had the worst blizzard here on Wed. since Dec.12th,1955 according to the media.Three people froze to death in Sask.
    Next Fri we leave for Mazatlan and so we will be experiencing some warmth as well.
    Take care,

  2. Thanks for your comments Walt. We've heard from Rita, our house-sitter, about the storm. Even got some photos from Rosthern - what a mess there. We wish you God's care as you travel to Mazatlan. Let us hear from you if that's possible from there.