…. when you know how much rain you’ve had – exactly! AND you know everyone else’s rainfall as well.
It’s Friday so time for a “You Know You’re In The Country When…..” post. It’s been pouring this week so it seems appropriate to write about another piece of important equipment on the farm – the rain gauge!! I wrote about the water pump in another earlier “You Know You’re In The Country When….” post.
In the city I used to talk about rain like this:
- “Wet today isn’t it?”
- “Yes, we needed the rain”
- ” We’ve had a bit of rain today”
- “I’m so sick of the rain”
- “I wish it would stop raining”
- “Its raining again today. It rained yesterday. Haven’t we had enough. I’ve got loads of washing to do.”
I feel the rain is rarely quantified or acknowledge for the goodness it brings by many people in suburbia. In the city we are so disconnected from the cycles of nature that we don’t REALLY realise how critical the rain is for our existence ie the production of our food. Water comes out of the tap. An absent reference to rain i.e. “rain” is not mentioned – just water. (It’s similar to “meat” being the absent reference to living cows!).
Here in the country it secretly amuses me (in a very nice way) that EVERYONE knows how much rain everyone has had in the district – and they remember the measurements. I do not have this ability naturally. I have to consciously push the number into my brain “Remember we had 21 mils today. That totals 35 with the 12 we had on Sunday. No… that’s….ummmm……33 mils. Remember…. 33….. double 3……33……… Was that 35? Oh and how much was today’s??”.
I feel the water chromosome it still functioning in country folk – they still are connected to water. The rain falls on their heads. The rain falls on their Drizabone. The rain falls on their lands. The rain falls in their tanks. The rain falls on their tracks, making getting in and out sometimes impossible. The rain floods the causeways stopping the school bus and shopping. The rain falls on their land which surrounds the gullies and streams and creeks and rivers and dams….. and flows to the sea. The rain falls onto their crops and grasslands. The rain is the lifeblood of the country. Without the water cycling through the landscape, the country is like a person with serious coronary problems – with restricted arteries – life just doesn’t pump.
So….. out here the conversations about a good fall goes something like:
- “We’ve had a good drop of rain. It would be good if we had some more tomorrow. Another 5 mil would be great to get the crop I just sewed up. I had 15 mil yestdi. How much did you have?”
- “I had 20. Seems as if the front was to the west. Col got 28 and Bob over the ridge got 30 the bugger. He always seems to get it.”
- “Yer, lucky bastard. It’s being on that side of the ridge you know”.
- “The radar says we’re due for another lot tomorrow”.
- “Oh I thought it was suppose to be on Thursdi ’cause Johno’s racing to get his sorghum in before then.”
- “Yer and Lindsay’s suppose to be shearing then. He’s managed to get the shearers for Thursdi. Don’t know when he’ll get the shearers back if he can’t do them on Thursdi. Can never get them shearers. Not enough of them around these days.”
- “Who knows. Bloody radar is never right. I reckon its better just looking out the window and seeing if there’s rain clouds”
- “As long as we get it. It’s been dry long enough. We need every drop we can get”.
- “Too right. With this rain the roos seem to be breeding up”
- “Yer, reckon.”
Discussing rain is rarely a 2 second, casual, passing comment. All ramifications of a drop, or two or billions, are discussed. Rain is sooooo critical out here. Rain is given the respect it is due.
When it stops raining on The GO we dash out and read the rain gauge. The fence is leaning over – like everything here – nothing is straight. We fervently read the gauge, toss the rain out and then start the juggling act of trying to get the central tube back into position. Because of the slant the tube doesn’t want to sit neatly under the collecting funnel. It’s a real fiddle – One, two, three – quickly move my fingers and place the funnel….. or not. The rain gauge is so critical I persist until it is in place. Without this vital information I can’t even contemplate entering into the “How much rain did you have conversation?”.
As I said, I’m not endowed with the “Remember every rainfall number” chromosome so remembering these all so critical numbers is a conscious effort for me. I feel this chromosome gets selectively switched off when you live in the city and work in a concrete jungle. It can be switched back on at any time though. (I’m saying this with wishful thinking that maybe, one day, I can remember the passed months rainfall!! Go genetic expression!!).
I’ve never owned a rain gauge so have never really thought about recording rainfall. Here, rainfall records can sell a property – or not. When buying a property farmers check the available rainfall data. The more rain, the more likely money will fall into the bank (if the caring for the land decisions flow with the rain and the land).
Rain is prosperity. To the environment. To the people. To the economy.