Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lifesaving Workshop Canaries

The other day an old friend visited the workshop whilst I was in the middle of mixing or melting something that was letting off a hint of noxious fumes.  I keep the shop well-ventilated and usually have a fan set up to extract fumes from where I'm working.  When I'm using things that are particularly likely to shuffle off my mortal coil, I have a variety of exotic and expensive respirators to choose from.  Still he posed the question: "Aren't you worried about what all of these fumes are doing to you?"

In answer, I explained that there's a pair of swallows that have a nest in the rafters and I use them like canaries in a coal mine.  As long as they continue to chirp, I figure I'm okay.  When they fall over dead, I need to relocate to fresh air on the way to seeking medical attention.  It was all chuckleworthy until he asked the next question with a hint of concern: "Where are they?"

A cursory search of the workshop revealed no bird carcasses and later I found a long-abandoned nest.  Initially I was worried, but after a bit more discussion, we figured the missing swallows were not a cause for concern.

Note to self: next time I'm picking sacrificial birds, I need to choose a non-migratory species.

1 comment:

  1. You might want to put your creativity to work on rigging up a point source ventilation system like a "fume extraction arm".
    Duct tape, flexible ventilation hose and a fan could help you in the long run. http://www.monkeyarms.com/