Sunday, May 1, 2016

YTD In The Rain Gauge

I love our new rain gauge. The last one was cute but kept tipping over in a breeze and was the dickens to try to read even if it didn't. The new one mounts on the fence, and has the wide top where an inch of rain shows up as about a 4" column in the tube, well marked of course, and easy to see clearly from the bedroom window or the patio.

With showers being as spotty as they are down here, it's necessary to have an accurate one if you care what your rainfall was. Perhaps you were thinking of watering something. Or hoping not to. This way you know. The official Sun City rainfall can be wildly different from backyard rainfall, even though that backyard is actually in Sun City. The first two rains of the year - and the only ones until yesterday - each left behind a quarter inch of rain. The record for other spots in Sun City read higher. We were deprived. Even for here.

Somehow the older, established plants cope with that. I was, however, contemplating watering the Mexican Bird of Paradise, as it hadn't received a drop, not even a dog leg lift, since we cut it back in mid February. With enough water it is absolutely gorgeous in the early fall, full bright blossoms topping long feathery stems. It was coming back up from the ground nicely, but the stems did seem short for this time of year. The reason I delayed was pure laziness. One has to fill a bucket and haul it back to the bush, far removed from the reach of a hose that at any rate has been enlisted to connect to three soaker hoses which are nurturing last fall's plantings until they are fully established. As in, when we leave to go north.

Yesterday relieved me of that particular work load. We were just coming back from a trip to use coupons for sandwiches on their last day before expiration when we saw lightning to the south over the road we were traveling. We decided to sit out on the patio to eat as the temperature was as perfect as it gets, and noted more and frequent flashes of lightning. Ellie was busier hunting for a hiding space than she was eying us for possible dropped crumbs, and once finished, plus feeling a chilly breeze move in, we adjourned to the living room.

I caught a whiff of rain-washed air. Down here, that is indicative of nothing in terms of possible actual precipitation, but soon there followed a light sprinkle, and finally a lovely little downpour with rain streaming off the roofs front and back, streams running down both sides of the street, and the physical and emotional refreshing that a desert rain brings.

We're used to rain falling much harder on the outskirts of the valley, up in the high country. A modestly flooded street makes the news, and those are always elsewhere. As it was, the big news from this rain was the lightening. It killed a horse. Now that wouldn't necessarily have made the news by its lonesome, but it also severely burned its rider, who was transported to the hospital after CPR revived him. He's still critical, last they reported. The news cameras keep rolling on the carcass of the horse behind a very small bush while people try to figure out what to do with it. The close-ups just show its hooves. I guess that's supposed to be the least upsetting part of the picture.

Those same news reports give official rain totals for various parts of the valley. Sun City got .04 inches. Our gauge showed a whopping - for here - 3/8 inch.

By this morning that fresh desert after rain smell had vanished, along with all but fluffy clouds. The bigger ones had moved north and east to drop snow by Flagstaff and rain over the rest of the high country. Looking over the yard I was glad I had just pooper-scooped two days earlier. It would have been such a mess otherwise!

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