Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Tale of Three Rain Gauges

For days now, the weather people have been warning us about torrential “tropical” downpours, which should start this evening and last through Friday morning. We are expecting as much as two to four inches of rain during this period. The prospect of all that rain got me thinking – not about my overflowing rain barrels or about wet basements or flooded streets – but about rain gauges. Maybe subconsciously I want to “see for myself” how much rain this slow moving system will bring our way.

I do have a rain gauge. It’s a cute little turtle with a test-tube like vessel for collecting the water. In the years between the St Paul house and this house, when I didn’t have a garden, I used it as a bud-vase! Turtle sits on the ground in the front walk garden and collects the rain. I’m not sure how accurate it is. I’ve never checked it after a rain! I just like the way it sits in the garden ready for whatever comes along.

Recently, however, I’ve been visiting friends (and fellow gardeners) and have noticed that they have much more serious rain gauges than I. One friend has a rain gauge that’s about two inches square and maybe a foot long, which is attached to her mailbox. It’s not collecting any water dripping from the trees there. And, it’s easy to read because it’s almost at eye level. (I need to either kneel on the ground or pick up my little turtle to see the water level.) Betsy has the most gigantic rain gauge I’ve ever seen in a residential setting. It is about 4 inches in diameter, with a funnel like opening at the top. Either of these might be much more suitable for my spot check on the Weather Service, but, Turtle will have to do. (I've just now realized how much like Goldilocks this story is! And, I'm sticking with the baby bear version of the rain gauge! Oh no!)

Do you have a rain gauge in your garden? If so, what type is it? Do you vary your plant watering based on what the gauge shows? Post a comment and let me know!


Anonymous said...

Really cute end to your story. 'Baby Bear' Turtle should work fine, but if he doesn't, you have a good excuse to visit your friends again. Possibly stay for tea and compare rain gauge notes. See if Papa Bear gauge did any better. Chances are, most likely not.

Mary S. said...

I've got a plain plastic rain gauge out in the front garden, hopefully not catching too much drip off of trees. BUT it had 5.5 inches in it this morning. I hope it's wrong, because the rain is still coming down here and that is a lot of liquid.

Auntie K said...

gardenwalk; Baby bear did work just fine! 3 inches plus at the end of the deluge.

Mary; I commented on your post about the storms. Did you end up with double the 5?! I saw news reports of 8 to 10 inches in your area.

Elephant's Eye said...

With roses to get thru a hot dry summer, yes we use a rain gauge. 15 to 20 mm in a week and we don't need to water. Otherwise our fourlegged grey watering system will be working this afternoon and tomorrow! Baby Bear is fine, I've seen bloggers using the dog's water bowl as an informal record ;>)

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