Squirrels are back!

Have a happy new year 2017!


As you may read in the Lab Log, squirrels have been absent since July 17th 2016. I do still have no explanation why this had happened.

However out of the blue, at least one squirrel stopped by and grabbed 16 nuts from the squirrel feeder within 30 minutes. I hope that the squirrel will spread the word about the exquisite food being served at our cafe :-).


Today it is rather cold compared to previous weeks. We have temperatures below the freezing point right now. However we've had temperatures below 0°C for a couple of days in 2016 as well and no squirrel has been interested to grab a bite from the feeder.

Looking forward to see if the squirrel's reappearance is a one trick pony or if we are going to see this more often in the near future.


I'm happy to see that the software written to capture the squirrels activity works as designed even after having no guests at the cafe for over 5.5 months.


How cold has it been last month?

I'm not interested in short term temperature variations but would like to answer a question like "How cold has it been last month?". A histogram of temperature variation is one possibility to answer such a question.


What you will see on my updated temperature page are histograms displaying temperature variation over a month's time period. On Sep. 17th I've relocated the temperature sensor and used a special housing for the sensor itself therefore the first histogram covers a time period from Sep. 17th to Sep. 30th only.


September 2016

Sept./Oct. 2016

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Logging Weather Data

I've made some changes in my setup to log environmental weather data:


The sensor's location has been changed to the northern side of our house to keep the time the sensor might be exposed to the sun as short as possible. Additionally I've bought a special housing for the DHT22 sensor with louvers so that air can circulate whilst rain and direct wind is kept out. The white color of the sensor box reflects heat from the sun. 


In the future I would like to test some more sensors to log additional environmental data. Therefore I've switched from the WittyCloud board I've used so far to a ESP8266 based NodeMCU V3 board in conjunction with a prototyping base for easy and fast access to the GPIO pins using standard Dupont wires.

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Witty Cloud - Decoupling ThingSpeak data

I've thought it would be great to use standalone hardware to gather weather data continuously even if the Squirrel Café is closed for our guests due to remodelling necessary.


Quickly I've decided to use an ESP8266 to gather environmental data. The board I've chosen is an inexpensive Witty Cloud board for about 3.00 $ from China shipping included with an LDR onboard to measure light levels. To read temperature and humidity I've attached a commonly used DHT22 sensor.


Furthermore I've decided to decouple the fields of the ThingSpeak channel I'm using now to differentiate periodic tasks like reading environment data from events like opening the feeder lid. The weather data is read every 5 minutes which should be sufficient.


On GitHub you'll find the Witty Cloud Arduino Sketch for gathering and posting data to ThingSpeak.


[Update] Come in, we're open 24/7

Haven't checked soft- or hardware squirrel detection algorithm yet to solve the mystery of absence of squirrels. However, I thought it would be no harm to show that The Squirrel Cafe is open 24/7. Therefore I've attached a sign to show just this:

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