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Seeing Country in Siouxland, rural Clay County

11 Aug

A meadow situated along a country road in rural Clay County, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently on my way to an event to photograph I passed through some Siouxland countryside in rural Clay County. It had been a while since I was able to just drive about on backroads in this region, many of which I have not driven reminding me that I need to do more of that. Bucolic scenes, meadows, corn and soybean fields, grazing animals and dust with heat. While a fan of most of the former part of that string of words, that latter can be overcome with water and a vehicle’s AC system. It’s just nice to get out, enjoy a little peace and solitude and be, without any expectations.

Thinking of the words to a Simon and Garfunkel song: “Slow down, you move too fast, You got to make the morning last, Just kicking down the cobblestones, Looking for fun and feeling groovy.” My fun is taking pictures and listening to some jazz as I drive about the backroads. Just enjoying without a destination, as long as I can find my way back to a main road and then home.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A country road winds through rural scenes in Clay County, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Round hay bales dot a rural scene in Clay County, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summertime in Siouxland, Nature in rural Nebraska

7 Aug

Summertime can be a cornucopia of critters, both large and mostly small. Insects blossom during this time of warmer temperatures and humid days. But what can a person do? When driving about in Siouxland I do stop my car and get out and take a look around. Sometimes a closer look, which makes it all the better when one is pleasantly surprised in nature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A butterfly lands on a thistle in a field at Winnebago, NE August 3, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A butterfly finds a landing spot in a field at Winnebago, NE August 3, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Cruising the Countryside in Siouxland, Winnebago, NE

18 Jul

A country road and knee high corn near Winnebago, NE Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes a drive in the country can be a simple retreat from an otherwise hectic pace of the day to day. Some people might think a drive in the country is cruising on an interstate and occasionally looking over to see the “countryside”. Personally, living in a predominantly agricultural area and having grown up on a farm, I like driving those back roads and seeing what’s there. Summer time on the farm meant baling hay at some point. And when driving about I can smell the hay field before I see it, something I can’t share on a page but which brings back childhood memories of stacking bales, lunch in the field, sunshine, hot days and learning about hard work. So drives become a bit of a trip down memory lane as well as curiosity to see what is around the next bend.

A hay field drying in the sun near Winnebago, NE Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Also stopping anywhere along my slow cruise and sitting quiet, I can hear nature entertain those who take the time and spend a moment to listen and appreciate what lies in view because tomorrow will be a different day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer scenics of a sparrow sitting a wire fence in Winnebago, NE Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Community Parks in Siouxland, Bulow Park, Beresford, SD

26 Jun

When visiting various communities throughout Siouxland I always enjoy stopping by the parks. This one in Beresford, SD I would have missed except for a student calling me to see if I was coming by to check it out after a Photo Safari class had ended.

A stone wall greets visitors as they enter Bulow Park dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many of the parks built years or decades ago have a character to them that really isn’t seen these days. Maybe because the style of architecture or cost and available supplies have increased too much. Or possibly there isn'[t the community support to create such havens for its local residents that these green gems are a safe harbor to get away from the day to day and enjoy nature and quiet in such places as Bulow Park.

Stone steps lead to a small amphitheatre space in Bulow Park was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stonework in Bulow Park which was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoyed the architecture immensely and know when the trees and bushes are in full bloom during summer it must be an awfully nice place for picnics and quiets getaways, well, except for the kids playing at the ball diamond next door. But it’s summer, and that kind of activity is expected and adds to ambience of summer time in the park.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Stonework in Bulow Park was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Long Day in Siouxland, Stone State Park, Sioux City

24 Jun

Stone State Park manager Brianna Martens leads a solstice hike on the longest day of the year in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The longest day of the year recently passed here in Siouxland as it did in other places too. A group of friends and like-minded individuals assembled at a local state park, Stone State Park, to celebrate solstice and get in a hike with plenty of light still available to find one’s way through the forested area. At least with this hike one didn’t have to worry about slipping on ice or stepping off the trail in the darkness.

The Northwest Iowa Group, Sierra Club rented two campsites for people to camp out overnight and enjoy nature. However, nature wasn’t having any of it as it has been raining a few days and folk showed up to walk and enjoy a meal cooked outdoors, but no one was staying the night. So it was a hike they made to just enjoy nature and revisit some areas a few had previously hiked on their own.

Solstice hikers stop to check out certain foliage along a trail in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stone State Park manager Brianna Martens leads a solstice hike in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This group of avid explorers remarked about certain plants they found along the way, noting that young deer eat plants that older deer do not, as well as tiny moths glowing white (they are white) in the early evening light within the forest and standing out against a carpet of green.

Stone State park intern Emily shows a solstice hiker a confirmation of a moth species they found in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With all the recent rain beginning in early spring Stone State Park was carpeted in green as far as the eye could see during a solstice hike in in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Stone State Park manager Brianna Martens said it’s because of these core people that have an interest in their local parks that stopping by and spending some time with them, even taking them on a short hike is always delightful and a way to celebrate the longest day of the year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Stone State Park manager Brianna Martens, left, talks with Bill Zales during a solstice hike in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A View from the Top in Siouxland, Mulberry Bend Overlook

20 Jun

A view of the Missouri River separating Nebraska (this side) and South Dakota and the Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019. (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

I came across a roadway leaving Vermillion, SD that crosses into Nebraska in Siouxland recently that I wasn’t familiar with but was pleasantly surprised. The bridge crossing brings one to the Mulberry Bend Overlook that sits on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River and looks out over the river and back into South Dakota. It was easy to spend an hour looking over the landscape and hiking a couple of accessible trails that were short but nice.

Information tablets and a rest area at the top of Mulberry Bend Overlook above the Missiouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A family makes it way along a trail above the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

It’s these kinds of excursions that I enjoy coming across when out and about in the area. Something unexpected, although not for locals probably. It will be a great site to revisit during different times of the year as well as the scenery will change with seasons.

A trail leads down below the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019, and a different view of the Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge. (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A bench and an information tablet in a rest area off of a trail below the Mulberry Bend Overlook overlooking the Missouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The bridge was only recently constructed within the last decade or so but makes it so much nicer to travel back and forth between the two states without driving miles away to cross over the Missiouri in Yankton, SD. But some history lessons are also included for those so inclined.

The Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

An information tablet along with others gives background information about the area at a rest point at Mulberry Bend Overlook above the Missiouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The views and really pleasant and spending time just looking and enjoying and hearing nature without a lot of other “white noise”, at least there were only a few other individuals there when I visited the site.

Possibly another little adventure to add to one of my Photo Safari classes I teach at a local community college, thinking those who attend that particular class will enjoy the views as much as I.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A view from a trail above the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A look at the Missouri River from a trail below the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Blooming Beauties in Siouxland, Sioux City

18 Jun

It may be trite to say, but as said before, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In a Siouxland backyard area of a home one flower blooms while what some might consider a weed has also bloomed. Depending on a person’s perception of flower and weed, wanted and not wanted, beauty is there in simple form and contrast and personal perception. While I would like more of the flowers and less of the dandelions sprouting in a yard, the mosaic look of the dandelion before the seeds launch is fascinating and complex and a sight to behold.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Blooming flower in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A seeded dandelion in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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