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Enjoying Fall in Siouxland, Fields of Fun in Sioux Center

12 Oct

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall arrived in Siouxland recently with cooler temperatures and rainy weather. The former is a nice change of pace from recent 80’s and 90’s and high humidity, but the rain could wait a while. For some folk though it hasn’t “dampened” there enthusiasm for fall celebrations of various harvests and Halloween. Fields of Fun is a destination stop near Sioux Center started recently after a former fall place, Pumpkinland, ceased to exist. And the people behind the new venture wanted to continue the spirit families experienced at the former.

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fields of Fun is located on a working farm. There are some animals for children to see and possibly engage with as well as the chance to pick one’s own pumpkin and “get lost” in a cornfield maze.

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visitors are encourage to pick up maps before entering the maze, but sometimes people can be obstinate, and eventually lost. A nice thing for people living locally is a bike trail that passes by the farm and many cold ride their bikes to enjoy a day of exercise and seeing what is there. Although carrying home pumpkins, gourds and other baked or canned goods could prove challenging.

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Halloween is approaching fast. And it’s nice to get out and enjoy a fun respite from the real world and see a little “country”, even if it’s only minutes outside of town and mostly viewing the tops of cornstalks. But it’s a good place to start.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing and Experiencing Art in Siouxland at the Clay County Fair, Spencer

8 Oct

Something to crow about seeing chicken art on display for visitors at the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

County fairs can be pretty universal in that they can provide a little something for everyone in Siouxland. Art not withstanding. Some things may seem a bit kitschy but still enjoyable and certainly on some level, educational. The Arts on Grand organization is a support group promoting local artists. And part of that support was putting an artist on the grounds of the fair where people could talk with and observe an artist creating their art.

A member of the arts organization Arts on Grand from Spencer, Iowa films artist Cathy Veiseth doing an acrylic painting during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Spencer, Iowa artist Cathy Veiseth talks with a passer-by as she does an acrylic painting during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some folk may not think much about art or the people to create it. Many visual artists create their visions through whatever medium they have an interest in whether it be some kind of painting, oil, watercolor or pastel, photography, sculpting or ceramics. All artists create. And it’s could for folk to see someone create a vision they may have in their head and understand how what a person sees is translated into a completed work. I didn’t see the finished product of Spencer artist Cathy Veiseth but did chat with her and was engaged in her enthusiasm for sharing her talent with fairgoers and her general want of expressing herself. Different artists have different driving factors for creating their finished pieces, but all seem genuinely interested in sharing what they see and their interpretation of the world around them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spencer, Iowa artist Cathy Veiseth talks with a passer-by as she does an acrylic painting during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Solitude in Siouxland, Dordt University Prairie, Sioux Center

28 Sep

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I recently found out about a small nature preserve in Siouxland just a few steps away from Dordt University, a Christian college that strives to help students realize faith in their lives is as important as well as preparing them to succeed in life through their academic endeavors. The Prairie is only steps away from the school’s campus and is a nice walk, although probably better on a cooler day than when I visited. I has the look of an earlier century prairies and is large enough that it affords a person some solitude and quiet within its confines, providing space for a person to sit, contemplate and unwind from daily activities and schedules.

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the interior part of the prairie is a prayer garden where there are rock formations allowing a person to sit and seek spiritual guidance if one wants, or just sit and listen to the immediate surroundings be it the wind, crickets, cicadas or flies. All God’s creatures. It was a weekday morning so there wasn’t anyone else around and I wandered the grounds a bit enjoying what I came across and following a path until I came to the garden.

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Students’ lives are busy enough and I remember my days in college and at times going into the school’s quadrangle at off peak hours to sit and listen to nature. With few people around the birds came alive and there were plenty of trees landscaping the area along with specie names and such to, of course, make it educational. And the small prairie is good for residents as well who also need that occasional down time away from the “white noise” that society and modern day living provides. A neighborhood abuts the prairie and a wide path makes it easy to traverse and enjoy a quick escape before “reentering” the world and again engaging life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People Watching in Siouxland, Clay County Fair, Spencer

20 Sep

Various modes of transportation can be seen during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Almost everyone I know admits at one time or another about the enjoyment of simply people watching. We humans are a fascinating subject and one that has kept psychologists, psychiatrists and other mind probing “experts” in business for a long time with no end in sight. Being a former photographer for newspapers I spent a great deal of time watching people, looking for those moments that visually helped tell a story. Love, joy, pain, emotional distress, I saw various moods during my press days in various settings and circumstances. Now though I just enjoy seeing people out and about and enjoying themselves in the moment.

A couple check out a fairly mobile rocking chair on display during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Friends enjoy the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for moments I find interesting or contradictory in and of themselves if that happens. Guess how I photograph now isn’t so different as before but these days I avoid the emotional distress events such as fires, auto accidents and other life altering accounts that people face and I covered as a photojournalist.

Sometimes minor repairs take place at the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Passers-by walk past a welcome sign at the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s nice to go someplace like the Clay County Fair and see folk having fun and taking a break from their daily routine. We all need breaks and a chance to unwind and put on hold other accounts or situations that always seem to find a way into our lives.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A full house for people attending a comedian early in the day during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Fair History Trip in Siouxland, Plymouth County Fair, Le Mars

6 Sep

The display about the farming milk industry is on display in the Round barn at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One aspect of county fairs I enjoy is a history component that some fairs offer to visitors through exhibits, celebrating Siouxland’s past and what may still be relevant in this day and age. With the Blue Bunny Ice Cream company located in Le Mars it is not a stretch when an exhibit about dairy farming is presented in the historical Round Barn at the fairgrounds. Dairy farming is not for the faint of heart. It’s a become a 24-hour operation with the larger scale “industrial” type of dairy farms. After all, it’s America, and to continue to thrive bigger is always better and these days necessary.

The Round Barn has been a fixture at the Plymouth County Fair grounds for years in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A display about the milk industry and farming on display at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Growing up on a dairy farm though I remember my dad milking in the early morning hours and then again early evening. Even with a small herd, it’s a twice-a-day operation 365 days of the year with no days off and seldom any vacations. But farming is that, a calling with a dedication and a willingness to always be on call as needed to get the necessary chores done and enjoy life, while certainly hard at times, had rewards many people seldom experience.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A display about milking and its role in farming is on display at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A small display about barns is seen inside the Round Barn at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Pioneer Village has food booths, a blacksmith shop and other places to browse as well as a small outdoor stage where performances occur at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A popular place in the Historical Village at the Plymouth County Fair is the Bakery Shop in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lines, Angles and Shapes in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

29 Aug

Lines, shapes and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Every time I visit Storm Lake and in turn Buena Vista University that is located there, I wonder to myself what else I can photograph. And this particular time after finishing a work assignment I walked about a bit around the school’s campus and the lines and angles and shapes just started appearing before me.

Lines and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lines, shapes and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I wished the sun had come out a bit earlier, but one does what one can with what is before you. Maybe the grey sky makes some objects seem more stark and thus stand out more. Maybe not too.

Lines, shapes and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

But I enjoy having options as I photograph so the sun gave way to shapes and light and shade and added one more aspect to photographing around the campus making my trip a good one, at least to me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Lines and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lines and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Small Siouxland Community, Woodbine

27 Aug

The downtown area in Woodbine, Iowa, still retains brick streets seen Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting small communities in Siouxland is a nice way to spend a day, or part of a day. Sometimes it’s a destination itself and other times an event is going on that seems interesting. Woodbine is a community in the southern portion of Siouxland and has brick streets downtown and art work displayed there as well.

Street art still adorns the downtown area in Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors waiting to see the Union Pacific Bi Boy Engine explore downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I visited there this summer I went because of an event, the Union Pacific’s Big Boy train engine was passing through on its way back west and would be making a s45-minute stop in the community.

Onlookers and train enthusiasts get a close up view and take photographs in Woodbine, Iowa of the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, as it heads back west on its rail system Friday, August 2, 2019.(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of people turned out. I noticed some downtown having lunch ahead of the train’s arrival and others milling about waiting to see the steel behemoth. I didn’t realize being a train enthusiast was such a large endeavor. I like the small community because it has a bit going on for it. And it seems to work at creating a place for people to come visit. My last visit included attending the Apple Fest, which seemed to have few apples and a lot more cars, muscle and other collectibles. But it’s just a nice small community that keeps up its appearance and seems to work at doing that.

A new art sculpture installation underway in downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Art pieces can be found at various places in downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

At one time when the Lincoln Highway, U.S. Rte. 30, was THE roadway west it was one those communities where motorists could stop and take a break from the long 2-lane driving that was prevalent as the super highways were just under construction. And so Woodbine became a bit of a destination in and of itself.

A little known fact about tiny Woodbine, Iowa, situated off of Highway Rte. 30 or Lincoln’s Highway is that George Wyman rode a motor-bicycle across America in about 50 days, seen Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tribute to a little known fact about tiny Woodbine, Iowa, situated off of Highway Rte. 30 or Lincoln’s Highway is that George Wyman rode a motor-bicycle across America in about 50 days, seen Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And so during a week day the community was once again hosting a former celeb, made of steel, and rolling out its welcome and allowing people to hang out, enjoy themselves, as they waited for the train.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People wait for the arrival of Union Pacific’s Big Boy Engine in Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Wall art on a store in downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

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