Dry Betty is a tough gal, a little yellowed from years spent in the sun, but stoic about her position in life—which is affixed to a tree stake waiting for rain. Dry Betty is the name I have given my rain gauge because where I live, dry is her most frequent condition. Although she is usually moisture free, she endures brown strata of rotted mesquite leaves in her apex that I have been unable to dislodge even with a pipe cleaner.
Yes, I am a little obsessed with rain. A casual observer watching my behavior during a rainstorm might conclude that Dry Betty and I have something going on. I lurk at the kitchen window, watching my big pulque agaves (Agave salmaniana) funnel water toward their roots. I look out past my mesquite trees to watch Dry Betty filling up. Although Betty has a face like a splitting wedge, she is beautiful to me in her own way. Because I cannot gauge her watery countenance from indoors, I slip into a pair of flip-flops and run out in the storm after her.
In three days last week, Dry Betty filled up to three-quarters full–3.25 inches–after three juicy Pacific storms rolled through like sloppy wet kisses. Be still my heart! To put this in perspective, we only average 9-14 inches of rain annually.
My daughter says that if I had a Native American name, it would be “Rainwatcher”. Can I help it if I get excited about the prospect of wildflowers, or if I thrill at the thought of rainwater soaking deep into tree root zones!?