Archive | Life in Siouxland RSS feed for this section

Blooming in Siouxland, Sioux City

27 Jul

A blooming Iris in a backyard garden in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While I appreciate beautiful gardens and such when I come upon them in and around Siouxland, I myself do not possess the green thumb. In the spring I have a few flowers that bloom if the weather cooperates and that changes from year to year. Too cold and dry a spring, maybe tulips, maybe not. Other flowering species might follow but not always, or as much as I might like to think.

Flowers bloom along with a flowering Lilac bush in a backyard garden in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Gardening is a talent unto itself and the knowledge of choosing the correct plants and nurturing them to produce those blooms is a skill that takes practice. Personally, I like bushes as they take up more space in the yard which might mean less mowing and more places for my feathered friends to hide in as they flit to and from feeders. And then I always think there is always next year and maybe a better weather year for producing flowers.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A blooming Iris in a backyard garden in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Deer in “Headlights”, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

25 Jul

A deer and turkey spy a passer-by in a meadow area at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, July 05, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I do get out and walk about Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in Siouxland I sometimes get lucky and find deer, stopped in their tracks, and watching me, as I walk on a trail. Never having really hunted anything more than sparrows when a kid with a BB gun I could never sit still very long and would have been lousy waiting for animals to appear and then take advantage of and shoot them. My dad always told me that if I killed a deer, I was on my own skinning it. And I really had no desire to shoot one. Watching them traverse in a field or meadow or woods is enjoyment that I like. The bonus is being able to photograph them at a close enough range, most of the time, to actually see some detail.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A deer makes its way across a meadow area at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, July 05, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With its fawn not far away, a white-tailed deer watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A white-tailed deer watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A white-tailed deer watches a visitor using a walking trail while its fawn looks in another direction at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Food and Thought in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

23 Jul

A baby gorilla looks almost contemplative while eating a midmorning snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I try often as I can to visit the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE. While technically not in Siouxland, it’s a relatively easy and “short drive” (1.5 hour drive) compared to visiting other nearby communities. Des Moines is a three hour, 200 mile drive city edge to city edge. And visiting the zoo is enjoyable to watch the animals. Although it sometimes requires getting up early to get to the zoo when it first opens, arriving early one may happen to find zoo personnel feeding the animals which will then find them more animated and before they decide to take a nap on a hot and humid, muggy kind of day.

A lowland gorilla eats a leafy snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A lowland gorilla looks thoughtful as it eats a leafy snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The gorillas in particular are most times reflective, watching the humans watch them, it almost seems contemplative. But since they have only a small area in which to traverse, pondering life seems a better way of dealing with circumstances. Maybe food for thought for the human counterparts.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A lowland gorilla eats a leafy snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A lowland gorilla eats a leafy snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hanging Out with Friends in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

21 Jul

A female cowbird sits on the back of one of the burros at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 27, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are some days in Siouxland I like hanging out with friends, maybe going on a photo safari and seeing what types of images we can find. And I am certain that is true for animals as well. At the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, there are a couple of burros and sheep which pasture together at the preserve. They can generally be found in the same vicinity of one another of which I don’t particularly pay close attention. But recently, while photographing the group in the pasture I took note of another critter hanging out as well.

A birder friend informed me that cowbirds will often accompany larger animals and feed on flies and parasites that might normally afflict the four-footed beasts. And so it get a comfy cushioned seat while munching at the same time. Reminds me of some human couch potatoes I have known along life’s journey. It’s nice to have friends.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A female cowbird sits on the back of one of the burros at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 27, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A female cowbird sits on the back of one of the burros at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 27, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Storytelling in B&W and a Little Imagination, Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

19 Jul

A former Union Pacific railway station, a statue pf a departing passenger from days gone by seen at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when out and about wandering Siouxland and elsewhere, one can see something that sparks a little imagination and wondering on the part of the viewer. I think Black and White imagery helps tell a story a little better at times that color.

The Durham Museum was formerly a Union Pacific railway station and its heyday was before, during and after the 1930’s and 1940’s, especially during WWII. Information at the museum along with photographs show a great movement of people during the Second World War passing through the station. And so there are some statuary that depicts some of the history of the former railway station.

A former Union Pacific railway station, a statue pf a departing passenger from days gone by while two lovers sit tight in the background seen at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I have looked at the above the statue I wonder if this gentleman is a traveling salesman or maybe a jilted lover whose dearest’s heart was won by a new suitor seated with her in the background. And so the young takes his belongings packed into a single suitcase and leaves.

A sculpted piece at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The sculpted piece I believe was something on display and with meaning of the times when the station was built. The directional light creates an interesting effect and definitely gives a viewer a chance to study the statue which I believe is of a railway worker, judging by the wrench in the hand.

I enjoy B&W photography and probably don’t utilize it enough when out shooting and exploring Siouxland. For me it depends on the light and how it encapsulates a subject and sets is apart from its surrounding. And I sometimes miss having a darkroom, and the ability to create an image first on film, then adding to it via the actual developing process to give and take away contrast depending on how one processed the film and with what developer was used, and finally through the printing process. Using a “hard” paper that really accentuates the light and shadows or a softer paper with more grey tones appearing. The one watched while the image appeared in the developing tray coming to life and fulfilling, hopefully, the vision one had in mind when creating the image on film.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Union Pacific railway sign hanging at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning About the “Turin Man” in Siouxland, rural Monona County

17 Jul

Ron Butler recounts the history of Turin Hill and the discovery of the Turin Man part of a group of people who lived in the area some 6,000 years earlier at the 45th Loess Hills Prairie Seminar at a Loess Hills Wildlife Area in rural Monona County near Turin, Iowa Saturday June 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently during the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar held early June in Siouxland I learned a little history involving the “Turin Man”, discovered in 1955 by a gravel pit operator in Turin, Iowa. The operator according to a brochure was a Asa Johnston who found a skull while removing wind blown silt known as loess, from which the Loess Hills received its name and which travels from the top of northwest Iowa down to the Missouri border in the south, mostly along the Missouri River.

A view from atop Turin Hill during an outing at the 45th Loess Hills Prairie Seminar at a Loess Hills Wildlife Area in rural Monona County near Turin, Iowa Saturday June 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ron Butler recounts the history of Turin Hill and the discovery of the Turin Man part of a group of people who lived in the area some 6,000 years earlier at the 45th Loess Hills Prairie Seminar at a Loess Hills Wildlife Area in rural Monona County near Turin, Iowa Saturday June 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Johnston discovered a skull and skeletal remains during his excavation for soil ,and later three more skulls and bodies were also discovered in near proximity. It was determined that there was a family of four buried here, probably a nomadic people, and charcoal, indicating fire usage, was found next to the body of a child. It is believed the four people were a family unit buried together, living some 6,000 years ago traversing this area before the United States was in anyone’s dreams as a New World waiting to be “discovered”.

According to the brochure about the information surrounding the find of skeletal remains, the four individuals, two adults, two children, one male and one female, were buried within proximity of one another in what is called a Flex Burial. The Turin skeletons were assigned to the Middle Archaic period based on radiocarbon dating that places them somewhere in the 2770-589 B.C. period.

Found with the skeletons was red ocher sprinkled over the bodies along with Anculosa shell beads. The discovered folk are believed to be from the Late Paleo-Indian period. Soil strata indicates Thea hunters roamed this region during the last glacial period according to the information in the “Turin Man Discovery” brochure. It states that the pattern of oral health indicated by the skeletal remains the people consumed a diet of hunting and gathering.

Also found at the site in the gravel pit were rib bones of either a mastodon or mammoth, prehistoric horse legs bones and a leg bone of an archaic camel. These bones were discovered in another area of the gravel pit and were probably from an earlier era that the human remains.

Who knew or even thought about that Life in Siouxland extended so many eons ago. One can only imagine how different the area looked compared to farm fields one sees these days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A view from Turin Hill and Ron Butler’s recounting of the history of Turin Hill and the discovery of the Turin Man part of a group of people who lived in the area some 6,000 years earlier at the 45th Loess Hills Prairie Seminar at a Loess Hills Wildlife Area in rural Monona County near Turin, Iowa Saturday June 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Gene Persinger, who lives in Turin, Iowa, attends the hike where Ron Butler recounts the history of Turin Hill and the discovery of the Turin Man part of a group of people who lived in the area some 6,000 years earlier at the 45th Loess Hills Prairie Seminar at a Loess Hills Wildlife Area in rural Monona County near Turin, Iowa Saturday June 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hikers leave Turin Hill after hearing Ron Butler’s recounting of the history of Turin Hill and the discovery of the Turin Man part of a group of people who lived in the area some 6,000 years earlier at the 45th Loess Hills Prairie Seminar at a Loess Hills Wildlife Area in rural Monona County near Turin, Iowa Saturday June 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The 45th Loess Hills Prairie Seminar at a Loess Hills Wildlife Area in rural Monona County near Onawa, Iowa Saturday June 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Little “Mourning Dove” Pick Me Up in Siouxland, Sioux City

15 Jul

Mourning Dove perches in a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday May 14, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During a current hot spell in Siouxland I might poke my head out my door in the morning to see what the weather is like and sometimes sit outside enjoying the bird song as backyard visitors stop by for a snack or a meal. But these days the afternoons are insufferable with the heat and humidity so I don’t sit out there watching my “guests” come and go. I have to refill the feeders so I know they are still stopping by and am glad of it. Hoping for a cool weather interlude, if only for a day or so to start the morning with some fresh air before hibernating from the heat that surely will follow.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two Mourning Doves perch in a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday May 14, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Knock, Knock, Knocking on the Door in Siouxland, Sioux City

13 Jul

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many mornings when it’s pleasant enough to sit outside in the morning to enjoy that first “cup of Joe” in Siouxland I will hear a familiar reframe. Knock, knock, knock, knock in a staccato kind of fashion. And then see the visitor looking for a more reliable treat after checking the usual spots for insects. Nothing wrong with a little desert.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating One’s History in Siouxland, Tulip Festival, Orange City

11 Jul

A dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a few smaller communities in the Siouxland region that each celebrate their cultural heritage on a yearly basis. One of those being the Tulip Festival in Orange City. The entire community seems to get behind the celebration and most everyone seems to be involved, children through adults. The costumes, dances and other “cultural” activities depicted are a fun way to explore and see where a community hails from and their remembrance of those roots. And as is oft stated, pictures are worth a thousand words.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Dancers enjoy themselves performing at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The boy makes a speedy turn with the young lady as a dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A flag bearer waves during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looks like a challenge among the bicycle singers at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A parade participant heads to the starting point for the event at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One of the artisans hawking wares of the day typically found in early Dutch days in the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A character in costume at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Various flags of the Netherlands on display during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The MOC Floyd High School marching band performs during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers enjoy themselves while performing at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The MOC Floyd High School marching band performs during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A local junior high school band baton twirlers perform at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Local junior High school band members perform during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying “Light Play” in Siouxland, rural Monona County

9 Jul

The setting sun creates a dramatic look as it peers through western horizon clouds spotlighting various areas of a hillside off of a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa, Saturday, May 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days when I drive about Siouxland I have not particular destination in mind, or at least no particular subject matter. Sometimes when checking out an area to see what I can find and have as a resource for later use I will take a drive. One particular weekend day afternoon to got lucky as the sun was getting low in the sky for the end of the day, the sunlight broke through the cloud cover that had contained it and showered the countryside with light. Very directional and hard lighting that will give a landscape a bit of character or bring its own character out as it sculpts hillsides and other amenities.

A lone Canada goose sits quietly on a shaded pond off of a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa, Saturday, May 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The setting sun creates a dramatic look as it peers through western horizon clouds spotlighting various areas of a hillside off of a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa, Saturday, May 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like watching the light when it creates some amazing possibilities for images. Even if I am not shooting or in position for what I might think would be a good photograph. A pond nearby was in shade because of the low setting sun and the trees and provides a good contrast (pun intended since there is no contrast in light at the pond) to what an area looks like without the sunlight streaming across.

Life sometimes should be simple and a joy to just enjoy simple things, like sunlight and a landscape.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The setting sun creates a dramatic look as it peers through western horizon clouds spotlighting various areas of a hillside off of a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa, Saturday, May 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
%d bloggers like this: