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Winter’s Beauty in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

10 Jan

On a foggy morning, hoar frost, a deposit of needle-like ice crystals formed on the ground or near the ground by direct condensation at temperatures below freezing point, coats trees and other vegetation at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nature has an amazing way of sharing its beauty even in winter in Siouxland. Recently the entire area was blanketed by fog and the below freezing temperature created an amazing vision of ice crystals coating everything in sight. Hoar frost is to me a wonderful sight to behold. Although the sun didn’t peek out much and the still cloud covered sky did not lend a dramatic blue sky background to the frost covered ground and plants, it was still fun to see an entire area covered by frost.

Hoar frost, a deposit of needle-like ice crystals formed on the ground or near the ground by direct condensation at temperatures below freezing point, coats trees and other vegetation near North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Hoar frost, a deposit of needle-like ice crystals formed on the ground or near the ground by direct condensation at temperatures below freezing point, coats trees and other vegetation at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s early January and one can only guess what Mother Nature has in-store for the rest of winter and weather or not it will display more of the same beauty or not. This I enjoyed much in that I really didn’t have much shoveling to do when awoken in the morning. But I’m sure there will still be some snowfall yet that will require some manual labor and a few cups of hot coffee to clear walks before this winter season is past.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

On a foggy morning, hoar frost, a deposit of needle-like ice crystals formed on the ground or near the ground by direct condensation at temperatures below freezing point, coats trees and other vegetation at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A First Day Hike in Siouxland, Stone State Park, Sioux City

6 Jan

A number of individuals showed up to participate in the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of people showed up this year at Stone State Park to hike on New Year’s Day in Siouxland to start their year enjoying nature and the outdoors, as well as a sunny, warmer winter’s day. Roughly a 2-3 mile hike over fairly good terrain the intrepid individuals make their way along a trail selected by a park manager.

Individuals hike down a trail participating in the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Footprints tell the story as a number of individuals participate in a First Day Hike outing at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With milder and warmer temperature than in recent days, the trails made easy walking except for a couple inclines that left a couple people rubbing their backsides dusting off snow after finding their feet touching air for a few moments because of slick surfaces. But it is a nice way to start the year and nice to find like minded folk. Talking to a couple others who hiked some said only 4-5 people participated  in last year’s hike because of minus zero temperatures that kept most folk indoors.

People begin making their way back to the start of the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Participants enjoy their walk during the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mid point for the hike was a small lake which I always enjoy. It changes its looks every season and it’s a place I have hiked to many times. Both by trail and by a road that ends near it.

Checking out Turtle Lake during the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Hitting the halfway point during the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Not one for making resolutions anymore, I do plan to get outdoors more often to local parks and walk. With shot knees my running days are over, but I still like to be outside hearing the birds or crickets or whatever creatures happen by and enjoy nature. And most times it’s not really getting time, but making time to enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

One last chat with the park manager after the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Making Friends at the Zoo in SIouxland, Great Plains Zoo Sioux Falls, SD

5 Dec

A couple of Zodiak bears stand at the entrance of their den at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have mentioned previously how fascinating I find it to watch the animals at zoos. Their interactions with one another and visitors enrich the experience for the visitor. One hopes it does that as well for the animal. We creatures of all stripes are curious beings, although we all have days when we like to keep folk at arms length.

Big horn horn sheep find different niches to use as a resting spot on their rock pile at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A big horn sheep lays quietly during a warm fall day at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sometimes they can be coaxed out of their shyness with a bit reward, like food nuggets. Who doesn’t like an afternoon snack and a head scratch.

A visitor makes a goat’s day by feeding it a snack at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A goat accepts a head scratch from a visitor at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And hopefully it leaves them and ourselves asking for a little more attention and time, plus snacks. Snacks are always good and there is no foul in asking for more.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A goat calls to a visitor that just fed it a snack, making asking for more, at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Onawa

1 Dec

Sometimes when out taking photographs in Siouxland I just enjoy watching the light and the effect it has on an area or subject. Time of day can play a part and whether it is a clear or cloudy day. Nice light is just nice light.

The moon rises above houses along the lake at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most times I find myself in the wrong place when this light happens. It is fleeting. maybe 10-15 minutes early morning and in the evening as the sun awakens the day and leaves for the night. Sometimes I get lucky and am near something that embraces the magical light which makes it a magical subject. But not often, so I enjoy the light. Whether I was lucky and was able to make a nice photograph, the jury is still out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sun sun sets and light reflects in a body of water near the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Siouxland Fall in Preparation Canyon State Park, Moorhead

29 Nov

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A sign provides visitors with a history about the area of Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it’s just nice to get out of doors and enjoy a walk, even a short one, in nature. Preparation Canyon State Park is one area I had not done much hiking in. And it was still pleasant enough of a fall day one could enjoy a walk and not be cold and still see some color in the Loess Hills region of Siouxland. As the cold settles in and the precipitation turns to snow all the color in this and surrounding areas will disappear until next year.

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking out onto surrounding farm land near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And because this area along with others in Siouxland were settled in the 1850’s or so there is history to be found if one can find it and help you understand a bit more about the area. All of which must look a lot different than the prairie that the first settlers laid eyes on before the invention of the plow changed the landscape.

The vegetation and animal life has changed a great deal over the centuries around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Taking a look around the forrested area of Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am hoping for a few more days of pleasant fall weather and maybe a milder winter without days of cold and windchill with a minus 5 or more below zero temperatures for a little more exploration before any ideas of hibernation set in.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Historical Women in Siouxland, Ft. Atkinson State Park, Nebraska

25 Nov

Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park near  Ft. Calhoun, NE is a look at western frontier fort life as settlers and others were moving westward looking for a new or better life and the men who worked to safeguard that passage west. The fort, while not home to women in particular, was supported by women married to some of the soldiers or nearby settlers that acquired land to work and helped build communities. The park’s welcome center contains information that helps explain the times and the fort’s purpose.

The Welcome Center seen during Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

“Conquering” the western frontier wasn’t only a job done by men, even though most of history would have people believe that. Men could not have accomplished as much as they claim had in fact that women were not involved. The simple fact, without women, there would be no men.

So it was fascinating and interesting to talk with women re-enactors at the Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park near Ft. Calhoun, Ne. Women in those days played the supporting role for men going West. They maintained the families and home fronts and saw to it that many basic needs were met. And in doing that also found ways that enriched their lives in small ways as well.

Marilyn Jones, center right, gives step by step instructions to a park visitor curious about the lace weaving technique she is demonstrating during Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Marilyn Jones demonstrates a lace weaving technique during Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Marilyn Jones demonstrates a lace weaving technique during Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Women also provided a different skill set for practical means such as quilting, mending, weaving that applied to day to day life. They helped the new frontier much like the old frontier thrive. And made a rough existence a bit more palatable to men living there and raising their families. While women were not permitted on the fort grounds, they helped out in many ways that sustained fort life.

A view of the parade and mustering grounds during Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors even got the chance to learn about the mundane tasks of frontier living such as doing laundry during Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors even got the chance to learn about the mundane tasks of frontier living such as doing laundry during Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Life must have been difficult for both sexes during those frontier days, much like it is today, although for different reasons reflecting the time period. Yet one makes do and tries to find some joy in life even in the little things. Making the best of what must have been impossible situations now and again, but still finding some joy in it all.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Weaver Donna Jones, right, talks with visitors about the 100 plus years old looms she is using for her weaving projects such as the rugs seen next to the young boys and what life was like in early frontiers day during Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Park visitors take a break on benches outside of soldier quarters during Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors talk with a re-enactor at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park during July 4 festivities at Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Families and visitors explore the grounds and an “early frontier” garden plot during Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Part of the grounds area and a tribute seen during Living History festivities at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Making Friends in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

23 Nov

A giraffe takes a treat from a child at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When visiting the animals at the zoo, it is amazing to me to see these creatures interact with visitors. The more tame creatures that is that would not pose a threat under the proper conditions. Outside of Siouxland the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE does provide a chance to people to interact and get a close up encounter. I often wonder if some of the children that do interact later in life become veterinarians or wildlife advocates.

Visitors attract giraffes with treats from a high viewing platform at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A giraffe seems nonplussed about its photo being taken at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The encounter certainly makes a visit more memorable and most likely will entice visitors to return. Although sometimes the “wild” creatures may not only be walking around in the penned up areas. What looked like some of kind exercise building field trip for a group made me curious, but not enough to interrupt their process. Certainly memorable, I would think for the participants and the impersonating giraffe.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

During an outing at the Henry Doorly Zoo one of the participants dresses in a giraffe costume in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A giraffe takes a treat from a visitor at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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