A forge mishap and a caterpillar

This morning was like any other. I got the forge helpers their breakfast and went about our normal start-up routine. Today I was working on some smaller candle sticks so I cranked up the two burner, propane forge.

I’m setting out stock and clearing workspace when I realized the forge did not sound right. The blast was giving a higher pitch than normal and there was a distinct lack of heat radiating from the forge. I noticed that one of the burners had not caught and was just streaming small blue gas trails. I quickly grabbed for the kill value on the propane feed line as I was having visions of flying through the air via a propane catapult.

After letting the firebox cool, I reached inside and felt the nozzle of the burner. I found a small leaf that was stuck inside and cleared that out. Knowing that my problem was solved and puzzling over how the leaf got in there, I applied spark to the forge and watched in dismay as the stubborn burner refused to come to life. Off again, this time we come armed with a wrench.

I pulled the forge apart, gas line and jets looked good, but I cleaned them out anyway. The main burner was working but I double-checked it anyway and cleaned the tube with a good cloth and water. Now I approached the secondary burner, the one who was not working. I peered in the business end and felt inside, all clear. I looked into the mixer end and found a small white and black, fuzzy caterpillar. [I believe it was a Laugher (Charadra deridens) caterpillar.]

I can not describe the shock I felt when I saw this furry little creature not only still pristinely white but also still alive. I am not sure who was more relieved, he or I when I managed to rescue him and send him back into the woods behind the Forge. The rest of the day was spent hammering metal and laughing about the incident, it had to be quite disturbing for the bug to be in the burner tube with all that propane rushing past at 12psi!

Researching ways to improve scientist’s access to data. Programming software to solve humanity’s problems. Disseminating emergency preparedness knowledge. Sharing knowledge about science. Practicing amateur radio. Serving humanity through volunteer efforts. Drives a robot to work.


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