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Siouxland Farmers prepare for Spring Planting, Sioux County

17 Apr

While driving and checking out parts of Siouxland up by the Iowa Lakes Region and again returning home, I came across some farmers prepping for planting this spring. The two I saw appeared to be disking their fields, although these days I understand that farmers employ a no-till option and just plant directly without any prep work. It’s been a little wet with rain passing through Siouxland, but not all parts are getting rain. I must admit that when I smell newly turned soil in a field it brings back memories while growing up on a farm. Probably the same for people who grew up near a body of water like a lake or the ocean.

Although reminiscing now is easier than the part of growing up, I still have fond memories.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Exploring Siouxland, Plymouth County

17 Mar

I have made a few ventures out into the countryside in recent weeks. Attempting those days when the temperature is not hovering around the 20’s with the wind blowing 25-30 mph gusts which makes it even chillier. And even though some of the images look like a nice day, trying to stand up straight and take a photograph proved challenging. Thank goodness for not using a 4X5 view camera on a tripod. The more “artistic” attempt with camera shake would probably stand out as the wind buffered one outside of one’s vehicle.

But the sunny skies just remind me that warmer days are again on their way, even with the errant snowfalls that might still occur. This Siouxlander is not California Dreamin’ but Spring dreamin’.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grain bin in rural Plymouth County near Le Mars, Iowa Monday, March 6, 2017.

Standing sentry in a field in rural Plymouth County near Le Mars, Iowa Monday, March 6, 2017.

Standing Sentry in Siouxland, Rural Cherokee County

17 Feb

On a drive recently to Cherokee, Iowa I passed a field that contained a grain bin, a tractor and a hay rake. It struck as another winter storm system moves into the area that seeing these staples of a farm operation made me think they are standing sentry, waiting for temperature to climb, the sunshine warming the dirt in the fields as farmers to prepare another season of planting and harvesting. Ever cyclical anyone who lives in the Midwest knows that when farmers get closer to planting their fields that winter is over and spring is here.

But that won’t happen until after Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction has come and gone.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A tractor, hay rake and a grain bin stand as silent sentries until the next planting season in rural Cherokee County, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A tractor, hay rake and a grain bin stand as silent sentries until the next planting season in rural Cherokee County, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Changing Scenery in Siouxland, Alton

3 Jan

While shooting an assignment in Alton, Iowa recently I noticed a grain elevator being demolished. In all of the small towns in Siouxland I have visited one can always find grain elevators. It is part of the agricultural landscape of the area and usually an anchor to the downtown area. Farmers are dependent on the local grain elevators where they deliver their harvested crops which begins a food chain cycle. And a lot of beginnings start in Iowa, a mainstay of agriculture.

So to see a grain elevator come down seems out of place and gives me pause. Not knowing the history, or possibly the fact that another one may takes its place that is more modern I can not say. But because these instruments of business loom large over small towns local landscape, it is hard to miss.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The demolition of the Midwest Farmers Coop in Alton, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The demolition of the Midwest Farmers Coop in Alton, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland’s Summer Fairs, Woodbury County

24 Aug

Summer fairs continue with a celebration that is still somewhat grounded in honoring agriculture. Midways have been added with rides, talent show contests, but still the fairs are comprised in a large part by 4-H clubs exhibiting their animal and other projects. The Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa, is no different and it gives young people a chance to show skills and learned activities other than sports in school.

But mostly it is a time to celebrate another year and look forward to the next.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland County Fairs, South Sioux City, NE

11 Aug

Many local county fairs have come and gone in the Siouxland region, although there are still some that haven’t opened yet. I recently went to the Dakota-Thurston Counties fair in South Sioux City, Nebraska.

It was different from what I remembered having attended it maybe 4-5 years ago. This year there was no midway or rides. Very few vendor booths other than a couple food booths. The 4-H exhibits, animal and items is what the fair was mostly comprised of. And I believe historically, county fairs was chance for country folk to show off their livestock and grown items, although I could be mistaken. And 4-H is an organization that many country kids and now town kids join and learn from by having to be responsible for seeing a project through from inception to the end, which generally incorporates showing their endeavor at the local county fair.

I enjoyed myself, and am reminded of my past days being involved in 4-H projects.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Waiting for the Green in Siouxland, Cherokee County

15 Mar

St. Patrick’s Day is approaching here in Siouxland, like elsewhere. Come that day people will be sporting green attire and possibly drinking green beer. It like other holidays is a good reason to celebrate. But unlike others, I am waiting for the green to appear in the countryside as I start to get out and meander about Siouxland this spring. There are predictions for snow again in the coming days. Moisture is always welcome, but this time of year I would rather dodge the puddles that scoop the white stuff. Even though it doesn’t last long, I am looking for my exercise walking around looking for photographs rather than bending my arms and moving snow.

On a recent drive through Cherokee County coming back from a visit north, I spotted some cattle outside in a field enjoying themselves. It seemed to me a little coolish to wade in any water, but then, they may be tired of being inside during the winter too.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a spring-like day of their own, cows stand in a creek along Highway 10 in rural Cherokee County, Iowa, Sunday, March 6, 2016.  (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a spring-like day of their own, cows stand in a creek along Highway 10 in rural Cherokee County, Iowa, Sunday, March 6, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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