Back Yard in Motion
Narberth, PA

Twirl-A-Squirrel

Twirl a SquirrellThis machine is a rectangular tube connecting a cylindrical peanut chamber at the bottom and an eccentric entrance chamber at the top. In its at-rest position, the tube is almost vertical but tilted at a slight angle to the vertical. And the opening in the entrance chamber is offset in the direction of the tilt. The tube is almost balanced top to bottom with the bottom peanut chamber slightly heavier and then even more heavy when loaded with the day’s supply of peanuts. The degree of tilt is set by positioning of counterweights on weight carrying bars.

Adjustable rods extend perpendicular from the vertical center of the tube. Each is fitted with a striking hammer. When the squirrel enters the offset opening, rotation begins and the hammers strike a series of six bells and a cymbal. A thin stainless steel cable attaches to another rod with a ball on its end. With further rotation this ball strikes a 28” Chinese gong. On the squirrel’s travel down to the peanut chamber: six bells, clash, gong. On the way back up, counter-rotation and a replay.

Should the squirrel stay on board to work over the peanut at the offset opening, the tube stays in the horizontal position and the machine plays a Jane Fonda type exercise tape, the power for which is by battery or a solar cell.

Squirrels respond to the bells. At peak, the activity resembles the landing pattern at a busy airport with the squirrels circling to wait their turn. In peak season, the machine requires 400 ppd*. One squirrel, one peanut for all the bells, cymbal, gong and Jane Fonda. Fuel efficiency exceeded only by the atom.

*peanuts per day

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