Thanks to my meteorologically-informed friend Fred, I now know that this weird object by the pond
is a weather station
The metal arms around the outside seemed like they'd be functional somehow, but as Fred says:
The thing with all the metal things around it is a rain/snow gauge, and the metal things are a windshield that's supposed to block the wind but not block rain. The white cylinder thing presumably catches the rain/snow.
The little white thing to the bottom left I'm almost 100% sure is a temperature/humidity sensor inside a weather shield.
So, there you have it. Lazyweb still works outside of Twitter!