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Summer’s Past in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

27 Nov
A rabbit sits quietly watching someone approach on a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Now as fall begins to wane and the prairie winds pushes temperatures into a more wintry feel in Siouxland, I just sigh and think about walking about the region in warmer temperatures and realize it will again be a few months. Even though recently air temp has stayed in the 40’s with a couple days even approaching high 50’s, that prairie wind creates a wind chill affect negating whatever warmth the sun appears to be sharing.

A male cardinal perches on a bird feeder near the welcome center at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A red-headed woodpecker searches for a meal on a tree at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So I try to adjust my thinking and pull out heavier coats to continue taking walks in nature, weather permitting, as well as driving conditions, and enjoy the moment at hand. Wishful thinking is that, until the reality of the day interrupts serene thoughts and life presents itself in the moment.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A rabbit looks about watching someone approach on a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Preparing for the holidays, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, Iowa

21 Nov
Holiday decoration begins appearing at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve as it prepares for the Homestead Holidays weekends beginning Thursday, Dec. 2 in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. The Homestead holidays will span every weekend in December, Thursday through Sunday except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Volunteers carry Christmas decorations as the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve prepares for the Homestead Holidays weekends beginning Thursday, Dec. 2 in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. The Homestead holidays will span every weekend in December, Thursday through Sunday except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Besides enjoying the cooler temperatures and colorful leaves that fall brings, I do enjoy the festive feel when homes and other places begin putting up lights for the holiday season in Siouxland. While not looking forward to cooler temperatures, I like just enjoying the moment, making thinking of childhood memories or other good times that Christmas helps me remember, besides the obvious, that a very special child was born on a very special night. Although I think the jury is still out, and will be, for when that night actually occurred.

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve began a tradition last year during the pandemic to entice people to at least come outside, where it is relatively safer from catching the virus and enjoying some holiday cheer. And again this year the park manager, Jody Moats, and her crew of staff and volunteers are once again decorating the Homestead in preparation for the Christmas season.

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve park manager Jody Moats attaches Christmas lights to a tree with the help of a volunteer for the Homestead Holidays weekends beginning Thursday, Dec. 2 in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. The Homestead holidays will span every weekend in December, Thursday through Sunday except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve volunteers are putting up lights for the Homestead Holidays weekends beginning Thursday, Dec. 2 in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. The Homestead holidays will span every weekend in December, Thursday through Sunday except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s fun to wander about the park and enjoy hearing the giggles and excited talk of little ones attending with their parents in anticipation of Old St. Nick visiting their home, hopefully, during the holiday season. At least for a short time period one might be able to put on hold all the other problems that seem to continually occur and maybe truly wish a happy and merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve volunteers are putting up lights for the Homestead Holidays weekends beginning Thursday, Dec. 2 in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. The Homestead holidays will span every weekend in December, Thursday through Sunday except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve park manager Jody Moats gives directions to a volunteer as they put up lights for the Homestead Holidays weekends beginning Thursday, Dec. 2 in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. The Homestead holidays will span every weekend in December, Thursday through Sunday except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve volunteers are putting up lights for the Homestead Holidays weekends beginning Thursday, Dec. 2 in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. The Homestead holidays will span every weekend in December, Thursday through Sunday except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hanging out in Siouxland, Hillview Recreation Area, Hinton

17 Nov
A turkey vulture makes some noise after noticing a someone on a trail as it sits perched in a tree at the Hillview Recreation Area near Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when I go out to walk about or travel to some place in Siouxland I never know what to expect or what I might find. And that to me is a joy in and of itself. There are days I might feel as though what I had anticipated didn’t happen and feel I missed out on something. But one can never know what might be around a bend or over a hilltop when exploring.

A turkey vulture sits perched in a tree at the Hillview Recreation Area near Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A turkey vulture prepares to leave its perch in a tree at the Hillview Recreation Area near Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Wile taking a short hike through the Hillview Recreation Area I came upon a few turkey vultures sitting in treetops and sadly disturbed a couple feeding on something in a field. As I appeared the ones on the ground lifted off. I felt bad disturbing their meal and was mad at myself for not being ready in photographing them as they lifted off the ground. They really are large birds as one get a bit closer to seeing them. I slowed down on the trail and tried to use some foliage to limit their view of me as I made my way to where I could take some photographs. But they are sharp-eyed creatures and I could only get so close before they left and found a higher perch to watch their surroundings, maybe also lamenting the fact that their lunch was still laying in a field.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A turkey vulture leaves its perch as another one flies by at the Hillview Recreation Area near Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Turkey vultures leave their tree perch to relocate onto a hi-line power pole at a walker passes by on a trail at the Hillview Recreation Area near Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Turkey vultures relocated to a hi-line power pole after seeing a walker on a trail at the Hillview Recreation Area near Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bidding “Friends” Goodbye in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

9 Nov
A deer checks out a walker on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the changing of seasons takes place in Siouxland and elsewhere, I am certain I may not see as many wildlife critters as I did during the spring and summer months, and early autumn. My own inclination to get up when it’s dark and to take a walk when it’s cold seems less appealing these coming months. But then again, I might get lucky. While out and about, I might come across some deer and other critters over the winter months as they look for food and survived the fall’s hunting season. As least I hope they do. It makes for a much pleasant walk when the creatures pause, stare and wonder about you as much as you might pause, stare and wonder about them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A deer checks out a walker on a trail from a safe distance at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A deer stops its grazing as a walker approaches on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A deer checks out a walker on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Last Ride in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

5 Nov
Enjoying a summer’s day on a hayrack ride during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Growing up on a farm when I did I was lucky enough to experience the “coming future” but still see some of the past as a youngster. In Siouxland various places celebrate the past and its history like the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. In agricultural communities where I grew up it was no big deal for there to be hayrack rides for various reasons connected to all sorts of events. Something for from the city enjoy as much without knowing the heat, humidity and sweat that went along with baling hay. But this is a different kind of hayrack ride and it celebrated the Homestead’s fall festival which also included a threshing demonstration partially showing what it was like to harvest an oat crop.

A volunteer explains a bit of the history of the hayrack ride to those heading out during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People enjoy a hayrack ride during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is nothing quite like riding a hayrack in early evening, with dusk coming on, the smell of a distant bonfire and hearing friends laughing and telling stories. A different childhood that most might encounter but as with anything, pluses and minuses, good or bad, depending on a point of view and whether one wants to embrace it or not.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Plenty of acreage for a hayrack ride during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Helping Feathered Friends in Siouxland, Fontenelle Forest, Bellevue, NE

1 Nov
An American Kestral makes its feelings known about being photographed at Fontenelle Forest aviary sanctuary in Bellevue, NE Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

At the Fontenelle Forest Preserve in Bellevue, NE there is also a space for the rehabilitation of raptors rescued and found injured from the surrounding area. Not a lot of information about the rescue seems to be posted on the organization’s website but information can be found.

Volunteers help with rehabilitating these creatures and a space at the front of the forest preserve allows visitors to see and get somewhat acquainted with these aviators of the sky.

Visitors check out injured birds being rehabilitated at the Fontenelle Forest aviary sanctuary in Bellevue, NE Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two great horned owls watch from their enclosure at the Fontenelle Forest aviary sanctuary in Bellevue, NE Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The rehab center is a way to get up close and really get the chance to see these magnificent birds without a pair of binoculars and see the fine detail of their feathers. As one who is trying to become a better “bird”photographer, and not really getting close to any of these in the wild, it was fun to see them, and maybe if lucky, see them in the wild after they get better and are released. Though I probably wouldn’t recognize them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A ferruginous hawk watches from its cage at the Fontenelle Forest aviary sanctuary in Bellevue, NE Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A peregrine falcon eyes a visitor at the Fontenelle Forest aviary sanctuary in Bellevue, NE Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An American Kestral makes its feeling know about being photographed at Fontenelle Forest aviary sanctuary in Bellevue, NE Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bugging Out in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

28 Oct
Sometimes seeing details of plant life can be a little creepy seen at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In another life, any life, I know I wold not have been an entomologist. Even in Siouxland life can get a little “buggy”. All creatures are on this earth for a reason, even if I don’t understand that reason. Some bugs and insects are fine, and don’t give me pause. Others, well, make my skin crawl.

A bumblebee search for pollen at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Monarch Butterfly rests on a grass stem at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like life in general, there are things we like, things we dislike and things we tolerate. I feel that way toward some bugs. And also like the adage: “out of sight, out of mind”. If I don’t see it, I won’t think about it. And maybe sometimes that is best.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Monarch Butterfly retrieves some nourishment from a flower at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Reaching for Heaven in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

22 Oct
A goose takes flight and aims for the heavens during the migratory season this fall seen at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes one wants to aim high and take a chance of achieving new heights, even in Siouxland. Not much needs to be said aside from admiring a person or creature who wants to try. It is always nice to achieve a goal or dream, but sometimes it is just as important to just make the attempt in getting there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Latham Park, Sioux City

20 Oct
Various plants decorate Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when out roaming about Siouxland I just enjoy seeing the light. How it interacts with various subjects and and the surrounding environ. No agenda in photographing anything specific, just “seeing the light”. Life should sometimes be so simple. And the fleeting months of fall I find the light bright, but not over powering because of the angle of the sun and its intense, but still muted. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to some people I talk with, but after a while, if one watches and looks and sees, it eventually becomes clearer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sunlight backlights a plant and details its vein structure seen at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Chipping in, in Siouxland, Fall Festival Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

18 Oct
A family poses with cow chips at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In recent weeks the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in Siouxland celebrated its 24th anniversary as a state preserve. And the park, as it does every year, hosted a fall festival. One of the activities that always draws a crowd is the cow pie chip throwing contest. Having grown up on a farm and done my fair share of “tossing” cow chips with a shovel while cleaning out a barn I am always amazed at folk wanting to participate.

One participant tries her luck at the cow ship throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People line up to participate and watch the cow chip throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Not to be outdone by the Olympics, volunteers with the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve measure the distance cow chips were thrown at the fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A cow chip “lady” retrieves previously thrown chips so more folk can participate during the cow chip throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I noticed throughout the contest that there was no personal hand sanitizer available for participants and those volunteers who were retrieving the chips for other throwers. The nice thing about chips though is that the odor normally associated with cow pies was not noticeable. Small blessings.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Giving it a fling, brings smiles to some folk watching the cow chip throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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