The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 26, 2004


Squirrel vs weather vane

A year ago at Christmas, my husband gave me a long-wished-for weather station. This little beauty has a small display which sits in the playroom and a mast that attaches to the unused chimney on our house. It was great, I could read wind direction, strength, record high gusts from the rooftop as well as rainfall amount, rate, temperature and barometric readings from outside my window. My husband and son mounted the roof in December, slid along the ridgepole, managed not to fall off, and I was in business. My job was to stand on the ground and pray.

Come fall, and the hurricane season, I was really looking forward to recording high wind amounts, wind direction, and all that kind of stuff. We all enjoyed checking the weather station. I could hear the electronic beeps that it gives off as different members of the family would check out the weather. Then one fateful morning, I could only read zeros when I tried to record the wind. What happened? Surely the instrument should last more than nine months. Believe it or not, a squirrel had bitten my weather cable in two. I was out of business. We know a squirrel came down the chimney because our cat cornered it in the playroom, but that's another story. We searched for a replacement cable with six wires but were told that the company doesn't sell them. Winter came with snow on the roof. Spring came with all that slippery rain. Summer came with a very hot roof, and our wish to be sailing.

Finally, just before Christmas, the roof was clear, and my husband climbed up on the roof, slid along the ridgepole and spliced the cable back together. My job was to stand on the ground and pray that he didn't fall off. He dropped the cable down the chimney to me only to discover that it was now about ten feet too short. Down to the cellar we went and found that our squirrel had bitten the cable in two different places. We retrieved the remaining cable much humbled by the fact that we didn't think to check the basement in the first place. Back up to the roof and along the ridgepole went my husband, the praying wife was still on the ground below, and two more splices were made with fingers now very cold in the December air. I was back in business.

It was great. We have really been enjoying this weather station. Last week I heard a squirrel in the barn and on the roof. Guess what? My wind meter is reading zero again. My poor husband, who should have retired from work several years ago, made another trip to the rooftop and along the ridgepole while I did my part on the ground. This time he retrieved the whole thing, mast and all.

The next time that mast and instruments go up, the cable is going to be protected by some BX or some other type of armor. That squirrel is going to find something else to chew on.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito