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A quiet time in Siouxland, Quimby

9 Jul

Living in Siouxland affords one an opportunity to visit small communities and their festivals or celebrations. Although as with anything else, timing is everything.

A downtown street is closed for Quimby’s Watermelon Days’ activities Saturday June 23, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I visited Quimby, a small community of about 300 people, not too long ago when it was celebrating its Watermelon Days. A tasty treat on a hot day. Since Siouxland has been experiencing a lot of rain recently, I checked the forecast and it was possible there might be rain beginning early afternoon. So I visited in the morning. And before getting there had done some due diligence to see what kind of schedule of events there might be.

Residents play a bean bag game during the morning at Quimby’s Watermelon Days Saturday June 23, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Beyond finding some folk tossing bean bags and relaxing, there wasn’t a lot going on mid-morning, and a couple of girls told me that the rides set up downtown probably wouldn’t start until the latter part of the afternoon. Timing is everything and the thought of grabbing some homemade pie from a local booth or a burger soon disappeared from my lunch plans.

Two girls walks through the downtown streets before the Quimby Watermelon Days’ activities start Saturday June 23, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Downtown streets are quiet before the start of Quimby’s Watermelon Days’ activities Saturday June 23, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So it was a quiet morning in a small Iowa town as people enjoyed their weekend and celebrating their community, just a bit later in the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Carnival rides are quiet before the start of Quimby’s Watermelon Days’ activities Saturday June 23, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for Good Neighbors in Siouxland, Rural Monona County

5 Jul

Driving around Siouxland I am always looking for examples of photography to share with people who take my Lifelong Learning photography classes at Western Iowa Tech. I like to update what I share instead of living on “past glories”, plus in teaching I think I should continue practicing what I talk about. And what a better way to spend a day. Driving about Monona County a old saying struck me while I was looking at various “leading lines”. “Fences make for good neighbors.”

And I assume the neighbors in this area of the Loess Hills were fairly happy with one another. And so was I as I stopped to photograph another leading line.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A road grader smooths out a dirt road after a harsh winter and spring rains in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A fence line in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A fence line in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Honoring the Birth of a Nation in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

3 Jul

A lot of my driving around the backroads of Siouxland is done in anticipation that I will find something surprising and not previously seen by me. Although many of the places I visit I am certain are frequented by those living nearby.

I came across a small, well kept cemetery recently that I don’t recall visiting in the past. In the country it was quiet. Not even passing traffic disturbed the quiet. Seeing one grave in particular it made me think of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday that America celebrates, as do all countries when it comes to their birth and becoming the nation they are today.

A remembrance of a person who served his country in rural Plymouth County, Iowa Tuesday June 26, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fourth of July celebrations for most communities involve parades, backyard cookouts and fireworks. Two out of the three are noisy but fun and delightful. Children these days live for parades and the free candy generally tossed their way by those on participating floats.

So it was this quiet and solitude, a salute to a person who served their country that resonated. No distractions, no noise, just a thoughtful embrace of those who came before.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

A dove finds a quiet spot to rest in rural Plymouth County, Iowa Tuesday June 26, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remnants of History in Siouxland, Rural Monona County

25 Jun

While traversing some of the backroads in Siouxland I am sometimes struck with the thought of what life must have been in an earlier century, or two. Coming across an abandoned house, barn and small shed near a forested area in rural Monona County, the nostalgia part of me thinks life was probably simpler. Raising some stock and crops, maybe hunting in the woods for some food and no worry about the hustle and bustle of the modern world as we now know it.

An unoccupied farmhouse in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But then a more rational part of the brain kicks in with thoughts about living near a hospital in case of a serious emergency. Or hot, muggy nights near a forest without a breeze and surrounded by gnats and mosquitoes. Somehow the thought of need and want became intertwined along the way and people these days, myself included, could live without a number of items I have acquired over the years. The need of food, lodging and other basics are the more important aspects of life.

Unused barns from a former homestead in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The advent of marketing, which began centuries ago (think prostitutes and other necessary evils), helps feed the need of want. And maybe that is why life then may have seemed simpler, being away from the bombardment of all the glorious contraptions of man one never bothered to worry or think about those things, but just what was around you. The peace, solitude and loved ones living life a day at a time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing History in Siouxland, Preparation Cemetery in the Loess Hills

21 Jun

While driving about in the Loess Hills region of Siouxland recently I came upon a cemetery I was not aware of.

Preparation Cemetery sits on a hill in the Loess Hills region of northwest Iowa and is the lasting resting place for some Mormon settlers who homesteaded the area in 1852 creating a small town they named Preparation located in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Preparation Cemetery sits on a hill in the Loess Hills region of northwest Iowa and is the lasting resting place for some Mormon settlers who homesteaded the area in 1852 creating a small town they named Preparation located in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It is populated by people who settled in the area in the 1850’s. Part of a movement of Mormon settlers heading west and looking for their promised land. I thought I had driven most of the back roads in this area but apparently not. The cemetery sits on a quiet hill and is a nice resting place to those who were looking for a better life in an earlier century.

The Perrin family added land to the Preparation Cemetery which sits on a hill in the Loess Hills region of northwest Iowa and is the lasting resting place for some Mormon settlers who homesteaded the area in 1852 creating a small town they named Preparation located in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Preparation Cemetery sits on a hill in the Loess Hills region of northwest Iowa and is the lasting resting place for some Mormon settlers who homesteaded the area in 1852 creating a small town they named Preparation located in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Again, it’s hard to imagine walking some of the same ground that actual pioneering families traversed looking for a new opportunity and the months of travel it took to reach a destination seems daunting. But those eager souls were more willing to take a chance and trust in their faith for a better life and seek out a new place to start life again with all the inherent difficulties presented at that time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Preparation Cemetery sits on a hill in the Loess Hills region of northwest Iowa and is the lasting resting place for some Mormon settlers who homesteaded the area in 1852 creating a small town they named Preparation located in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Just Enjoying a Day in Siouxland, Rural Monona County

15 Jun

Sometimes I can drive miles and not see anything that catches my eye or interest. And I try to stay observant while listening to some jazz cd’s traversing some back roads in Siouxland. When driving the gravel roads I am not in a hurry. Dust is flying and I generally keep my windows open, so going fast just creates more dust in the car.

But it’s the slow driving that allowed me to see something in the distance. And while I was not fast enough, I was able to catch a late morning deer having breakfast, or maybe brunch, in a field. Until he spotted me and decided it was time to leave.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A lone deer runs through a newly planted field beginning to grow in the Loess Hills region of rural Monona County in northwest Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting Siouxland’s “gated” communities, rural Monona County

9 Jun

During a drive in the southern portion of Siouxland recently I was enjoying the greening of the countryside, both the grazing pastures as well as the newly planted agricultural fields. With a long cold wet spring, it looked like area farmers finally are seeing results of getting crops into their fields.

A newly planted field begins to grow in the Loess Hills region of rural Monona County in northwest Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I was looking at some grazing pastures it dawned on me about city gated communities and rural ones. I have done some reportage on such communities when I lived in the southern California area for a newspaper there. The places were generally always exclusive wanting to keep nefarious types out of the area. But normally in the rural areas, the gates are meant to keep livestock in as well as keeping nefarious types out too. Maybe the two are not so far apart at that.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A gated field in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A windy day in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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