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Jack Frost Nipping Toes in Siouxland, Clay County, SD

16 Jan
Hoar frost creates a contrast with a tree’s darker bark seen along a county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter time in Siouxland can be a pretty time. Freshly fallen snow, hoar frost, snow drifts, within reason, can make for some compelling images. It’s just getting over the idea of getting outside when it’s cold and taking the photographs. On a recent trip to Clay County in South Dakota near Vermillion, hoar frost covered trees and roadsides. a virtual winter wonderland.

Hoar frost decorates a field seen in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Hoar frost seen along a snow covered county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What makes for a pretty scene may not always make for the best of driving conditions. And one always hope that other drivers share the same concerns and are not in such a hurry that a side trip through a ditch is part of the travel route. Especially when fog is also part of nature’s plan that visibility is limited. But it does make for a pretty site and instead of thoughts of sugar plums dancing in my head, it’s just another hot cup of coffee, and maybe a sweet roll to savor after a stint outdoors on a cold day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Hoar frost decorates a field seen in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Hoar frost seen along a snow covered county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Hoar frost covers trees along a county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, South Dakota

25 Dec
A holiday greeting inside a building at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve seen Sunday, Dec.5, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas comes but once a year, every year, reminding folk the “reason for the season” as the clever phrase or jingle is oft used. Even in Siouxland the Christmas spirit emanates everywhere. And depending on one’s bent, happy holidays, merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or other faith-based or not celebratory greetings are used.

And it’s not a bad thing to wish another person a joyous day or year. All people deserve kindness and respect although the world is filled with haters. Black and white, no shades of grey or reference to race, but just to good and evil. Life is filled with shades of grey but for one day it would be nice if folk were rise above the pettiness and loathing they may feel or desire to just let life be. And if people can, enjoy the day however and in whatever way it means to them. Some are more lucky than others in doing this, but a sense of peace is something everything should be entitled to.

Citing another oft used sentence: Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A holiday sign spreading the faith at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, Dec. 05, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Day out in Nature in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, South Dakota

11 Nov

Possibly a gnatcatcher sits with a insect in its mouth for a late morning snack at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, August 31, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have probably mentioned numerous times that I just enjoy being outdoors in nature in Siouxland, happier when I can make an interesting photograph of some species or scene, but nonetheless more enjoyable in agreeable weather before the prairie wind turns winter days frigid with temperatures marking below zero encounters. Not my idea of fun. And many times I end up with a hodgepodge of images of scenes or critters. I never really know what my encounters might entail and what I might find. And most times I can’t remember or even guess at the species until I check a book or two upon returning home. Birding is not second nature to me, but I still enjoy what I can and keep attempting to decipher what these creatures are.

But I could think of less pleasant ways to start or encounter a day and these days I try not to take these passing pleasures for granted.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An Eastern Kingbird sits among some wild sunflowers plants looking for insects at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, August 31, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A mourning dove flies across a meadow at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, August 31, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bee checks the progress of a small sunflower plant at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, August 31, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bee moves on to its next plant as it gathers pollen or nectar at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, August 31, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A group of small sun flower plants at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, August 31, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Getting a Grip in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

30 Oct

A Blue Jay takes its selected prize at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes we all need to take a short break and readjust ourselves before traveling on to another destination. Even nature in Siouxland might need to reconnoiter and make adjustments. I noticed this a while ago while at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve as a Blue Jay found something to its liking, but taking off was problematic until some minor adjustments occurred. Life is funny sometimes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Blue Jay finds a prize at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Blue Jay finds a prize at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Little Feathered Friends in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

18 Oct

A yellow-rumped warbler looks for insects at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, October 4, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when out waking in nature in Siouxland I find it a real challenge to photograph small song birds when visiting places. Unlike some friends were are “birders” I only recognize a few species and have to revisit A Sibley bird book I have, and then I am often corrected, thankfully, by friends more knowledgeable than I. Plus, I am not acquainted at all but should learn, bird song, to help identify these various species.

I just enjoy photographing them and their antiques, are the more so as they flit about tree branches and leaves trying to feed. Recently I came across a yellow-rumped warbler a friend currently identified while out walking at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. The little guy took no notice of me as it was chasing small insects flitting about the various branches. I knew I wasn’t shooting “fast” enough when taking these photos among the shaded leaves. And while I photograph with a M4/3 camera system, the equivalent lens length of a full frame camera would have been 600mm, plus I also had a tele converter attached making the lens even longer. But still, even with somewhat blurry photos, the intent of the little guy got my admiration and allowed me a chance to work on my photo skills. Hoping there will be more opportunities but one never knows as migration is underway.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A yellow-rumped warbler spies a flying insect at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, October 4, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A yellow-rumped warbler reaches for a flying insect at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, October 4, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A yellow-rumped warbler hunts for more insects at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, October 4, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hiking Spirit Mound in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

12 Oct

Hikers seen at the top of Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A view of part of the countryside seen from the top of Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Revisiting places in Siouxland is always fun for me. A little exercise at some destinations and the chance to reacquaint with a place that is as much educational as it is fun. Spirit Mound outside of Vermillion, SD is recognized as one of the stopovers for the Lewis and Clark Expedition that former President Thomas Jefferson commissioned for the expansion of territory during the 1800’s.

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The hike to the top of the mound is easy enough and gives a nice view or the surrounding area, which is mostly farmland. It was high ground for the Lewis and Clark expedition to scout the surrounding area. Sacred to local Native American tribes. As described on a national park website: “Spirit Mound was alternately described as a “mountain of evel spirits”, a “hill of little people”, and a “place of Deavels.” The Sioux, Omaha, and Otoe tribes told of 18-inch tall humans with “remarkable large heads” who inhabited the site. Armed with arrows, these spirits attacked anyone who approached the hill. What did Lewis and Clark expect to find there?”

The park includes a variety of signage that includes information about the journey as well as natural history of the place that might interest to others. It’s a pleasant way to spend part of a day exploring the area. Enough exercise to work up an appetite for lunch but not too much for the non outdoor adventurous type.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A holdover from a glacial period at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage about earlier geological aspects of the area seen at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Geologic information about Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Information about restoration of prairie explained along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A rest bench at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Wildflowers at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bunny greets a visitor before darting off into vegetation along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A grasshopper nestled into vegetation at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage about snakes along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An all-sided bench for folk who climb to the summit and can then enjoy a 360 view of the surrounding countryside at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Buzzing About on a Summer’s Eve in Siouxland, Spirit Mound, Vermillion, SD

14 Sep

A bee buzzes around a backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent trip to South Dakota and a visit to Spirit Mound, I liked the lighting that was occurring around some sunflower plants. Early enough in the morning for some directional light before the light turns flat when it reaches its zenith in the sky around noon. Plus the heat and humidity didn’t kick in until later as well.

Backlit plants at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy the light when it creates a better photographic image and gives a photo a bit more “personality”. And during summer months, early morning and late afternoon, early evening are generally the better times to be out photographing. But sometimes the ideal time might not be a good time depending on one’s schedule.

The bonus this time though was finding an apis mellifera flying about and securing a bit more substance before summer is gone. Although I must admit, I didn’t see the creature until editing images later when looking on a larger screen than the camera’s viewfinder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bee buzzes around a backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing History Re-enacted in Siouxland, Canton Civil War Days, Canton, SD

8 Sep

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently I attended a Civil War battle re-enactment in Siouxland of the Champion Hill battle that took place outside of Vicksburg, MS in 1863. Interestingly enough the family that hosted this event had a great grandfather or great, great grandfather who actually fought in this particular battle and was part of an Illinois regiment that fought for the North during the Civil War. Sometimes listening to speakers and commentators speaking through a loud system one does not always hear correctly. And this was the first year this event was held.

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

From news accounts I read, a local from the area of Canton had become interested in Civil War re-enactments and attended some in the past out of state. But with the last couple of years or so being skewed by the Covid pandemic and possibly not wanting to travel so far, this individual began investigating whether or not such a re-enactment of an actual event could take place in Canton. There were some accounts about this being possibly controversial, only because at the time of the Civil War, the Dakota Territory was still just that, a territory and not yet divided into two individual states.

Re-enactors portraying Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas discuss issues of the day during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An audience listens as re-enactors portraying Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas discuss issues of the day during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This re-enactor from Missouri talks about his interest in the Civil War history when in 2005 wasinvited to participate in a staged battle and has stayed involved participating in many staged events throughout the county, the latest at the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Confederate Army encampment seen during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During the re-enactment two “gentlemen” dressed in period attire spoke about the war and added many factoids and bits and pieces of the war between the states. I am not certain where these gents haled from or their background, but they were knowledgeable. Nor did they sugar coat or try “rewriting” history but said through all written declarations about the South and its secession it was all about the slavery. And the ability of the southern land owners to continue reaping benefits and profits from enforced slavery to plant and harvest crops. The men also talked about the toll of the war on communities and the men who fought. They recited facts and figures of desertions from men for the South and the North who became disenfranchised with the fighting that dragged on for years which was much different than what many were told at the outset. That the war would be over in a short time. Much like the bravado evidenced in the movie “Gone with the Wind”. But reality was much different and much crueler.

A Union Army encampment seen during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An audience takes a seat along a farm field road to watch the staged Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John (seen in blue tee shirt) and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A smoke ring created after firing a canon as Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I found the running commentary helpful in putting facts and fiction and other accounts into perspective. One can always take what is said with a grain of salt. And today, so many “learned” folk try to rewrite history to serve their own purpose. Many politicians of all stripes and parties. Shameless. It seems sometimes that ethics and honor doesn’t really matter anymore. But it was an interesting glimpse into the past of this country and in talking with a few of those participating in the battle, all have a genuine interest in the history and portraying it honestly, traveling from eight different states to attend. History never changes, it’s just the interpretation.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Documenting the Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Documenting the Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An audience takes a seat along a farm field road to watch the staged Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a Closer Look in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

6 Sep

An insect clings to a dew covered grass stem at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will be the first to admit that sometimes while out traversing Siouxland I am too focused on a specific place or subject I want to photograph. Many times while visiting the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve I am looking for birds and deer or other “larger” creatures. But sometimes, slowing down and really taking a look can prove fruitful. One such encounter this summer on a kind of foggy, dewey morning had me a take a second look while walking in a meadow at the preserve.

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I do not own any macro lenses. Never have. When I worked for newspapers and needed to do closeup shots of certain subjects I used a “normal” lens and added a lens extension tube. This cheap man’s version of macro. And it worked effectively enough to give me images I needed without buying yet another lens I might use only occasionally. And I could use the extension tube on different lenses thus changing my focal length as needed.

An insect clings to a dew covered grass stem at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

If I remember I believe I spent maybe 30 or minutes trying to take these photos. I was using an extremely long telephoto lens on a monopod. I had slowed my walk to a standstill and enjoyed it immensely, not realizing so much time had passed as I tried capturing dew drops and other nature looks with the lens I had at the time.

It’s easy to overlook things sometimes. Just wish I had my cup of coffee with me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting Nature in Siouxland, Frost Wilderness Wildlife Area, Vermillion, SD

2 Sep

A Cedar Waxwing sits on a branch at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like visiting new areas outdoors that I haven’t been to or seen yet. Although I have been to Frost Wilderness wildlife management area previously, I just didn’t know it. When previously visiting, there wasn’t any signage and this time I also found another entry that lets a visitor get a bit closer to the Missouri River that separates South Dakota and Nebraska. Plus I got to photograph a bird I have seen fleetingly but never long enough to make an image. Those Cedar Waxwings can be quick little birds, and prefer staying within the shelter of their surrounding trees. This time though one of them made me feel at home while other species also checked me out.

A Cedar Waxwing eyes a visitor from a branch at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A juvenile bald eagle takes another pass overhead looking at a visitor and if it would be of any interest to it at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An Orchard Oriole sits atop a tree at Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Orchard Orioles sit atop a tree at Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular wildlife area has mowed pathways which made walking much easier. And as one near the border between the two states another turnout with a pass through gate makes it easy to access the river and surrounding area. One thing though, the area appears managed more for the avid hunter than it does for the hiker and bird enthusiast. Signs are posted about the hunting availability and I would be shy to go walking early morning in the area looking for species as a visit a year or two ago I heard a very loud shot not more than 100-200 yards away. It wasn’t a shotgun, but a more robust type of rifle. Myself and some students with me made a quick beeline to our parked cars. Bullets have a way of traveling where not directed and sometimes folk don’t look beyond their target to see what lies beyond as the intent of bring down an animal occupies the senses.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An Eastern Kingbird looks about a meadow at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American White Pelicans sit on a sandbar across the Missouri River at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Informational signage about the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Trail markings signage at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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