A Threshing Bee in Siouxland, Granite

15 Aug

I attended a threshing bee festival in the small community of Granite this summer. As a child I remembered going to one or two with my parents in the 1960’s. It brought back memories of looking at what I thought then was old equipment, which today is even older.

Visitors fill a grandstand to watch a tractor parade of various makes, models and vintages at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of older and antique tractors were on display at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The event was kind of an ode to tractors with various makes and models on display as well as participating in a parade. But the people attending enjoyed it, much like people attending a stock car race o other event.

Visitors mill about and visit small museum like homes plus lunch stands at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy the tractor parade that mostly featured antique and older working tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am certain the event brought memories to some older farmers attending who actually used these tractors and other implements in their own farming when they were younger and farms were then smaller and more diverse. In the 1960’s and ’70’s farms were generally 200-300 acres and the farmers also either raised beef cattle or milked dairy, had pigs and chickens and also varied their crops between corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa plus some grazing acres for their livestock, Today farms are really nothing more than large tracts of land which either produces corn or soybeans. That is a topic that could be discussed for years.

But I like the nostalgia of the event and was glad in seeing people enjoy this historical look back at an earlier era when times were tougher and more physical, but in which people derived a lot of self satisfaction.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visitors checked out a variety of antique and older working tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy seeing a variety of older working and antique tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Gene Anderson of Harrisburg, SD sits in his refurbished Model A at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking for the latest about the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tractor parade of various models and age was the highlight of the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy the shade as they watch a tractor parade of various makes, models and vintages at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Entire families show off their antique tractors during a parade at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring Small Towns in Siouxland, Ashton

13 Aug

Downtown on a main street running through Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like nothing better than exploring the small towns that dot the landscape in Siouxland, a topic I have touched on many times. Some of these are still thriving while others not so much. The glory days behind them as they shift into another embrace of themselves as time passes.

The small community of Ashton recently had its summer fair which I will follow up with a post about that. Another community whose downtown is anchored by a grain elevator, once of the dominant businesses seen as you drive into the downtown area. And the agricultural touch is seen with a wagon parked off the street downtown as well.

A grain wagon parked just off a downtown street in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Getting into the place a little early, people were already selecting their spots along a parade route to watch friends and family participant and to enjoy a nice summer’s day celebrating the community.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Chairs mark a family’s spot prior to a parade for the community’s Town and Country fair in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Some hidden treasures await a lucky person who visits Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring Summer in Siouxland, Lakeside Lab in Milford

11 Aug

Clouds dot the sky on a perfect summer’s day at the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

One of the stone hut labs built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s at the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy stopping by the Lakeside Lab near Milford up by the lakes when I get the chance. Every season of course brings a different look to the place. Summer has its own bit of color, although in places one has to look closely.

Except for those extremely hot and humid days, hanging out near the water is a delight. As is exploring the area looking for various subjects and just seeing what is there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Boats sit stacked and waiting for use at the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of plants decorate the grounds of the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Flowering plants that maybe part of the study mission dot the area at the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Flowering plants follow the sun at the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Viewing History in Siouxland, Granite Threshing Bee

9 Aug

I recently visited the small community of Granite in Siouxland which has an annual threshing bee that celebrates an earlier century of American agriculture. While there I met a gentlman, Ed Monson, who collects old photographs that depict the railroad history throughout South Dakota and parts of Iowa.

Ed Monson of Sioux Falls, SD talks about his train and railroad photo collection in display at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Through his graciousness when visiting such historic get togethers he displays some of the photos he has collected over the years which paint an early picture of small towns in their beginnings, as most settlements grew when a railroad depot was created with the traffic it would generate, and then die as railroad companies moved their depot stops to other communities. I have traveled through many a small community in Siouxland and seen signs harkening back to a town’s beginnings, mostly based upon a railroad depot.

Ed Monson of Sioux Falls, SD displays his train and railroad photo collection at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s nice to be able to understand the history of a place and it helps when people provide an opportunity to showcase that history and share their knowledge of it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People browse throughEd Monson’s, of Sioux Falls, SD, train and railroad photo collection on display at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Remembering History in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

7 Aug

I am a bit of a junkie when it comes to learning about historical aspects of small towns and communities. The saying of “It’s good to know where you have been to understand where you are going” or something to that affect is good to keep in mind. I visited a new museum in Arnolds Park Amusement Park recently in Siouxland and learned a bit more about the past of the place.

A history of Arnolds Park Amusement Park in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The amusement park has been around for over 100 years. There used to also be a fun house and other rides that are no longer in use, except now, in this new museum.

Memorabilia from the an older Fun House now housed in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People reminisce while checking out memorabilia from the an older Fun House now housed in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Folk who remember the place and activities growing up in the area will wax nostalgic while younger families will make their memories will the current opportunities available at the amusement park and surrounding area. But I find it nice for people to have a chance to remember their good times growing up with their families as life just seems to get faster and busier and slips by all too fast for some of us.

Memories and a place to store them will help keep those thoughts alive and well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Memorabilia from the an older Fun House now housed in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Memorabilia from the an older Fun House now housed in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An overall look at memorabilia from the an older Fun House now housed in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Standing Icons in Siouxland, Rural Iowa

5 Aug

Driving around Siouxland I have come a great number of barns still standing after decades of service, some in better repair than others. Having grown up on a farm I just enjoy their look, the purpose served and their iconic tradition for American history and agriculture. These days economically it’s all steel sheds and bins. I will miss these silent sentries that have witnessed a changing landscape over so many years and will lament when driving about the countryside not finding them standing tall, silent and reflecting an integral part of American history.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A barn sits idle in a wooded grassy area in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Part of the rural life sits within the city limits of the small community of Washta, Iowa, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer in Siouxland, Rural Cherokee County

3 Aug

During most of the summer in Siouxland the weather like in other places is swinging widely between normal and extreme. Early spring was very cold, then wet, then extremely hot for June and cool again with temperatures pushing somewhat back to normal, which for later summer is normally hot and humid. But the weather extremes can make compelling images, or at least interesting. As I have gotten older my desire to get out into the extremes grows less intense and so during the winter, I will have my second cup of coffee and remark how cold it is out. During summer during a heat, I am glad for the technology of air conditioning. But after attending a Fourth of July Festival parade in Storm Lake, I saw some weather on my way back home and thought, why not.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Storm clouds overhead in rural Cherokee County, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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