Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You Never Know What You Don't Know....Until You Find Out

Note Swing Set & Lawn

Ready For Delivery
I like to cruise towns to see what there is to see. Springville, Utah had proven to be more than I could imagine, but I'd had my fill and was ready to amble on.

Enroute to the highway (sort of) I came around a turn and saw a huge building. The sign caught my eye and by the time I passed the gate I was down to walking speed. That's another nice thing about being off the main roads...not as much potential for rear-endings.

The Manufacturing Center
I made a u-ee, did a quick "visual" as I drove through the gate and pulled up in front of what I hoped was the office. Inside, I asked the man at the desk if they gave tours. He smiled, but the look in his eyes gave me the feeling he wasn't sure whether to humor me or throw me out. I launched into my schpeel: The building was obviously a major place in its day and I could see from the road that the pallet business was a going concern. I explained that my insatiable curtiosity (ala Rudyard Kipling's elephant) about things I know nothing about compels me...I just can't help it. I went on about how I'm traveling and this looked like it'd make a good blog article. He stood up and said, "Okay." We sallied forth.

I introduced myself to Mr. Dave Nielson who acknowledged ownership and said he'd bought the business twelve years ago. In that time he'd trebled the amount of pallets they sold. We entered a large metal building where they recycle old pallets, cut up wood for new ones and assemble large bundles for delivery to clients. 90% of their business is new pallets. The other 10% is in competition with people who specialize in reselling used. We soon touched on the subject of undocumented workers. Mr. Nielson requires a Social Security Card and/or a green card. Every now and then one slips through, but he said they eventually get caught and are terminated. "The cheaters know it's just a matter of time," he said, "so there's no resentment. It's just a fact of life."

The REAL grinder

Unusable pallets go through several steps on their way to becoming mulch. All nails are removed by hand. The wood is then processed by a grinder three times to prepare it for the REAL grinder. After the REAL grinder gets them, the resulting four colors of mulch add aesthetics to minimalist gardens, are great for keeping weeds down, and since they're  organic they add no harmful chemicals to the environment.

Originally a sugar beet factory, around the 1920s it was converted to coke processing to support a nearby steel mill. Coke is made by grinding coal to powder, heating the powder in a controlled-air environment and after a while it comes out as coke. Coke burns hotter than coal and was thus useful in making steel.

The building has deteriorated and it's too expensive to restore so will eventually be torn down.

In the meantime, it's sitting there.

1 comment:

jozien said...

what a lovely post