From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Measuring the Rain

Talking about rainfall



When my children were both in school, but still young, I worked for several years at a little country store in our neighborhood. It was a very short commute (less than 5 minutes), and the kids could get on or off the bus at the store as necessary, so it worked well.

One day, a customer asked me how much rain had fallen at my house. I said that we'd received about 30 hundredths (meaning .30 inch). He looked at me oddly for a long moment. Then he said, "Where are you from?"

He asked that question because, in Kentucky, people talk about tenths of rain. When I spoke of hundredths of rain, I was using the language of Nebraska. In the Nebraska Sandhills where I grew up, rain is precious enough most years that every hundredth of an inch is measured and appreciated. In Kentucky, where we get twice as much annual rainfall, we carelessly round off the measurement to the nearest tenth of an inch.

A slow, quiet rain is falling now. Its scent is drifting through the open window. I won't have to water my garden for another few days, and the crops in the neighborhood will welcome the moisture.

We live near a divide. On one side, the creeks run into the Pond River, and on the other side, they run into the Little River. This little area is often dryer than the rest of the county, because the rains either go north or south of us. We've been fortunate this year, though. We received several little showers in June that other parts of the county didn't get.

At work tonight, a lady who lives in the western part of the county told me that they had received three tenths of rain last night. She was thankful because their corn needed the moisture. I hope her corn got some more rain tonight.

8 comments:

Mark said...

We're still in a fairly severe drought down here in NW Georgia, so I talk about rain in the hundredths, too. In fact, lately a few hundredths is all we have to talk about. I'm hoping for thunderstorms today.

Genevieve said...

I'm sorry to hear that it's still dry there. I hope the rain clouds are generous with you today.

KennethF said...

Hey G:
WE... live right smack on a divide! I look out the front window and the rain water runs away in both directions, at the same time? 38"/yr ave Pgh,PA.
Try Firefox 3, it's free, it's fast and I'll bet your load time is much less than you think? It will insthl easy & you can remove it with out any problems. It came out in mid-June and I think you should be runnin'it. :) if you already arn't :)...............
are you feelin' better? your fingers are flyin! ~(:-_))-kfh

KennethF said...

I forgot... that header photo is a "killer" and your other ones are super as well! Isaac must have spliced them for you?
Really nice! later, ~(:-_))-kfh

Genevieve said...

Hi, Kenneth. I do use Firefox, and I have the latest version for my XP operating system. I am just concerned, maybe overly so, about people who still use dial-up being able to view the page.

We still have dial-up as a backup to satellite, and we have to use it every now and then when we come close to exceeding our alloted bandwidth. So I am very aware of how slowly the page loads with dial-up.

Isaac didn't do any splicing for me, but he did give me a thumbs-up on putting the old template back. The photo of the bales was taken south of Greenville, Kentucky on Highway 171. I am not sure if it was in northern Todd County or in southern Muhlenberg County.

Collagemama said...

I didn't realize it was possible to measure rain in tenths! When my dad in Nebraska broke his hip while checking the rain gauge, he was mad that it happened when there were only three hundredths in the gauge.

ptg said...

I just bought a new rain gauge. A Nebraska rain gauge! I thought everyone measured rain in hundredths. Do you suppose the evil metric plotters have their eye on our rain gauges?

Genevieve said...

PTG, they use Nebraska rain gauges throughout the western US, except maybe Washington and Oregon. So if the evil metric plotters try to get your rain gauges, they'll have a bunch of you to fight.

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