Saturday, November 9, 2013


We’ve already had a taste of snow and plenty of dreary overcast days to warn us to put on the winter tires and make sure the snow throwers are tuned up.  In fact summer was so short I didn’t even bother to have my snow tires changed out.  For once I’m ahead of the game.

Anyhow, when we get one of those unexpected sunny blue days that are so rare in November we almost don’t know how to act.

I took a little time to drive out east of town to see what the farms looked like.

 All the potato fields have been harvested.  Now the farmers are giving the dirt one more turn before letting it sit for the winter.  You can see in the background of this photo two big center pivot sprinklers that are used to keep the ground wet when there isn’t enough rain.

Water is pumped up from wells and the giant systems slowly lumber around to irrigate the crops.  That’s why if you look at the farms in southeast Idaho on Google Earth you’ll see large circle shaped fields.

The spud harvest has been put to bed in huge cellars.  The cellar here in the foreground is made of metal and is probably full to the top with Idaho Russets.  The one on the right has a dirt roof and is the kind originally used to store potatoes.  Often farmers now use the old dirt ones as sheds for trucks and combines.  Way in the background is another type of cellar with a rounded roof.

 The other major crop in this area is grain, mostly wheat and barley. Those fields have also been cleared.  The harvest is stored in tall granaries.

Way out in the middle of these fields will be a single rail line.

When the price looks good the grain will be loaded into train cars and sent to market.

The winter wheat has already been planted and new sprouts are glowing green in the low sun.

 A few trumpeter swans were out walking around with their big black feet in the fresh dirt.  Most of them migrate south but some spend the winters along rivers where warm springs keep the water free of ice.

Way in the background of the last photo you can see the peaks of the Grand Teton Mountains.  They are eighty miles away in Wyoming but stick up so high we can easily see them on clear days.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


“Your hair wants cutting,” said the Hatter.  He had been looking at Alice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.

“You should learn not to make personal remarks,” Alice said with some severity: “It’s very rude.”

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

And so goes the conversation at the Mad Tea Party.  Alice never does get the answer to the question.

“I give it up, “Alice replied. “What’s the answer?” 

“I haven’t the slightest idea, “said the Hatter.

After years of being asked continually about the riddle, Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland wrote in the preface of the 1869 edition of his book:

"Inquiries have been so often addressed to me, as to whether any answer to the Hatter's Riddle can be imagined, that I may as well put on record here what seems to me to be a fairly appropriate answer, viz: 'Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!' This, however, is merely an afterthought; the Riddle, as originally invented, had no answer at all."

(and yes, he did spell “nevar” like that which is raven spelled backwards)

I was thinking about backward ravens when I began this painting. 

I first painted him in rainbow colors so his feathers would have an iridescent appearance when I added layers of blue…

…and then more layers of darker blues and reds.

Then I finished off with more details and some long grasses.

Here’s another watercolor raven.  This one I call, “Neighborhood Watch.”

And this one is, “Arrangement in Grey and Black,” a winter scene.  For after all, Raven spelled backward is, “Nevar” which is a Spanish verb meaning, “to snow.”

These and more of my painting can be found for sale on my Etsy site, Watercolors by Leenie.