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A July Day in Siouxland, Wildlife Management Area, Woodbury County

5 Dec
A bee makes the most of gathering nectar from flowering plants in a meadow at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Snyder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days in Siouxland are more productive than others for every being. I wonder looking back at this busy bee if he and his family are safely tucked away into their hive, counting the days until spring again arrives. And wild flowers are seen in meadows around the region and the sun is warm and fragrances fresh. Winter is slowly descending into the region which some of the last warm days currently happening. And this and other scenes will be a faded memory.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bee makes the most of gathering nectar from flowering plants in a meadow at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Snyder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A bee makes the most of gathering nectar from flowering plants in a meadow at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Snyder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing History in Ruins in Siouxland, Tekamah, NE

3 Dec
An old railroad passenger car far beyond beyond its expiration date is seen in Tekamah, NE Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I travel about Siouxland my imagination sometimes wanders and I wonder what life was life before my time in the area. On an outing with another photographer we happened upon an old passenger train rail car in Tekamah, NE. The rail car has seen better days and I wonder what rail line it covered and when and where did it transport people in an earlier era. Speculation as to its current location made us think that maybe someone had found the rail car, moved it to this location for possible later use say for a museum or some such thing. But time has taken its toll and now only the rail car knows what its former glory days were like and who traveled the rails in it possibly searching for a new beginning or visiting a past one. All I can speculate is that its history is now firmly in the past.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An old railroad passenger car far beyond beyond its expiration date is seen in Tekamah, NE Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fading Fall Colors in Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek

29 Nov

A hiking trail seen from a ridge at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular fall season in Siouxland seemed fleeting and unfulfilled. While there were pockets of color here and there, this fall was like a poem of unrequited love. It is always so nice to see brilliant colors and many hues when fall comes around. It is one of my favorite seasons as it is others as well. But this year that love of fall was not returned by Mother Nature. Mood swings in temperature in extreme seemed to have dampened expectations and the colors. So one must then hope and wish that next year’s fall will be better and somehow like memories past of a period of cooler temps and slowly changing colors that last a bit and not washed away with wind and rain.

Fading colors seen at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Railroad tracks seen from an overlook at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There were nice days though when the temperature seemed perfect for sweater, fleece or jacket wearing. Too cool for shorts but not cool or cold enough for a heavy jacket. The sun and its light rays caressing the path with direct yet diffused lighting. Adding another element to be cherished in photographing landscapes and such. Not the harsh, direct light of summer. And once the colors have faded, the brown landscape emerges and holds sway until spring and warmer temperatures prevail and green shoots reemerge. But now patience is key and the ability to embrace other styles of photography until winter has passed.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A trail takes a hiker to an overlook at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fading colors during a fall hike at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s All in the Technique in Siouxland, rural Thurston County, Winnebago, NE

27 Nov

A Great Blue Heron takes off from a pond in rural Thurston County, Nebraska near Winnebago, NE Thursday, July 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When out driving around in Siouxland I will at times come across wildlife and then feel fortunate that I could take some photos of them “au natural”. Just watching them and seeing how they behave and go about their daily lives always leaves me feeling amazed. Most of the birds I have photographed show such amazing grace, although it may not be true, it appears that way. Personally I am not “fleet of foot” or graceful, and so it’s a joy to watch and wonder and be amazed.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Great Blue Heron lands on a partially submerged tree branch in a pond in rural Thurston County, Nebraska near Winnebago, NE Thursday, July 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Great Blue Heron perches on a tree branch in a pond near Winnebago, NE Monday, August 29, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a “Rust”ic adventure in Siouxland, Tekamah, NE

17 Nov

Rusted roofs of sheds near a grain elevator in Tekamah, NE Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes simple is best. During a recent outing in Siouxland and driving a backroad on a return trip from Omaha, NE, I came across some buildings that had seen better days while on a photo safari with a fellow photographer. Sometimes when I see something, one aspect of a possible image just “speaks to me” and I then must work hard to slow down and photograph other possibilities. The other photographer had spotted a grain elevator off the beaten path as we drove through Tekamah and so ventured up toward that area. I was fascinated by another building at first and made number of images of it and some other objects but then drifted back to a couple of sheds. In humans, the “stains” and aged marks would give a person a worn, weathered look, maybe good or bad, depending on one’s point of view. But the buildings made me thing of similar places I had seen as a child growing up on a farm in a smaller community. Maybe not having that distinguished look of a stone structure in a big city of a courthouse or library, but the two sheds were humble in their appearance and the work they seen taken place under their eaves.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A detail image of a grain elevator in Tekamah, NE Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Vestiges of Spring in Siouxland, rural Monona County

13 Nov

Spring green seen from a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa Monday, May 23, 2022.. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring is long gone and fall most recently here in Siouxland. The latest weather reports indicate that soon the area may experience overnight lows in the teens or single digits. Add in a little wind chill and thee area could be below zero. Too soon for my taste, and makes me begin thinking and dreaming about spring in the following year.

Wildflowers seen near a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa Monday, May 23, 2022.. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Loess Hills seen from a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa Monday, May 23, 2022.. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the Joni Mitchell song so well reminds folk, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” from her song Big Yellow Taxi. As I have gotten older I try to enjoy the moments and days that I experience, and am not in a hurry for the next. Winter time can be a bit bleak and one never knows if it will be only a brown landscape and no snow, or white for days. And the extreme cold doesn’t help.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A meadow seen from a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa Monday, May 23, 2022.. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A sign provides information about the local area and the Loess Hills in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa Monday, May 23, 2022.. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pausing in Siouxland and Enjoying the Moment, Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek

1 Nov

A couple watch a farmer harvest a crop in a field below a bluff that is part of the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. The couple said they met 40 some years ago on a grade school outing at this very site overlooking the area below which is approximately 30 miles north of Omaha, NE where they now live. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days it’s not a bad thing to take a pause, and slow down, ponder and just enjoy the moment in Siouxland. I found a couple doing just that recently at the Hitchcock Nature Center which overlooks farmland from a bluff region and part of the Loess Hills that is found in western Iowa.

The couple said they visit fairly often, and met while in school decades ago during a class trip to the preserve, and always enjoy coming out and enjoying the moment. Until a talkative photographer interrupts the reverie.

But pausing, watching and enjoying is always a good thing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing Red in Siouxland, Tekamah, NE

28 Oct

A doorway with red markings on a an older brick building fallen into disrepair in Tekamah, NE Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are some days while driving about Siouxland that something catches one’s eye. Traveling with a friend recently we passed through the small town Tekamah, NE and an old grain elevator caught his eye. And while walking about I saw an old brick building, and a doorway, or what was left of each. What the red markings might mean to someone is anybody’s guess. Maybe even the one who made them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Some Days are for Clowning Around in Siouxland, Grand Meadow Heritage Days, Washta

26 Oct

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When visiting the Grand Meadow Heritage Days earlier this fall in Siouxland there were a few artists and others set up to entertain visitors to the museum and enjoying a look back in time at the displays. The clown Special K was creating balloon hats for kids and releasing bubbles into the air. Lots and lots of bubbles. Even though she probably entertained those attending, it would have been nice had more people shown up. Rest assured she went home “squeaky clean”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K with a tool of her trade to launch bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K creates a balloon hat at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pockets of Color in Siouxland, Rural Thurston County, Winnebago, NE

16 Oct

Some plants haver begun their fall ritual of changing color seen in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some local areas in Siouxland have begun exhibiting a change of season as fall slowly makes its way into the area. Recently temperatures have been in the 60’s with forecasts of temps hitting the 80’s for a couple of days. And then with low overnight lows the leave change will accelerate ushering that fall look.

Leaves begin to slowly change in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Yellow leaves on a dirt in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I immensely enjoy the fall season as many folk do. And will do my best in getting out photographing scenes in rural Siouxland much to the chagrin of many friends and probably readers of this blog. But, therein lies the joy of not having an editor look over one’s shoulder.

Many backroads, many early mornings to catch those rays of sun diagonally lighting up the landscape. And maybe some daytime runs with full sun lighting treetops from above. On a beautiful fall day, with a little jazz playing and some coffee on tap, what a better way to spend it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Trees barely begin changing in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A corn field ready for harvest in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sumac leaves change colors in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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