cumulus pint

Rain fell in inches and points. White River, by which I mean the area around the town of White River including the village of Plaston, a mile away from Luitingh’s Guest Farm, expected thirty two inches of rain a year. The rain came on summer afternoons from huge cumulus clouds that started off a white so dazzling as to make the eyes water and ascended and expanded like slow-motion popcorn, becoming darker and darker as the day drew on. If we were lucky, there would be lightning and its attendant thunder, and the rain would fall on us. There were times when it did not fall, and the dams and canals ran dry, though the farmers including Anton Luitingh continued to farm as though thirty two inches were a God-given right.

052 milk canMilk, another important fluid, came in cups, pints, quarts and gallons, depending on the scale of what one was doing with the milk. The milk-cans on the farm were galvanised and always felt slightly greasy to the touch. There was a separator and I can recall the gleam of metal as the many conical plates lay waiting to be washed in the stainless-steel basin of the kitchen sink.

Petrol was bought by the gallon, and was very cheap. Diesel and power-paraffin came in forty-four-gallon drums, or in big tanks. Each had its own aroma, and the reddish dust around the fuel tanks was darkened by spilled drops.

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