Thursday, January 31, 2008
Canary in the garbage
The garbage collector gave us a new garbage can. The previous one was too big, so we opted for the smaller and cheaper one.
"That's a dink can", scoffed the redhead on seeing the replacement.
"But small is beautiful", I replied wondering where she came up 'dink can'. "It's a cute little can, just look at it!"
Neighbor Richard suggested we arm our 'dink cans' with "screaming canaries" to keep the bears away. He is convinced the one dollar security alarms deterred the garbage-scrounging bear last year.
Maybe so. Our neighbors had garbage-bear problems, but we didn't. Our cans were armed with "screaming canaries". Presumably the shock effect of the siren is enough to scare the bear. It sure worked on me everytime I forgot it was on. I didn't do a backward roll and chop my jaws in retreat, but I cursed it somewhat affectionately.
The screaming canary is actually a cheapo security alarm with a piezoelectric oscillating siren. It's a low-power-consuming sound alarm like those used in smoke detectors. It sounds like a German roller canary on steroids and methamphetamines. The alarm goes off when you remove the magnet.
Here's how Richard armed the garbage cans.
He mounted the alarm on the lip of the can, and fixed the magnet on the lid. The alarm is fastened to the metal bracket with double-sided tape, and the bracket and magnet are bolted to the can.
Spacing is critical, so he used scrap plexiglass as a spacer to align alarm and magnet. The red color is fingernail polish. (Richard has an artistic streak.) It also locks the nut and bolt together.
The plastic material is a rain shield.
One of these days I'll get around to experimenting on the effects of the alarm on pestiferous wildlife. Meanwhile, we'll keep the faith that they actually work.