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The Holiday Spirit in Siouxland, Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars

3 Jan

Each year for as many as I can remember living in Siouxland the Plymouth County Museum puts together a Nativity display on the top floor of its facility. There are well north of a few hundred displays loaned to the museum by residents in the area as well as some that I believe have become acquired by the museum itself.

Various Nativity scenes filled the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The display fills the entire floor and it is amazing to see so many different Nativity sets collected from a variety of countries and made of a variety of material. Some a bit more avant guard than others but sticking to the theme of Joseph and Mary and their baby Jesus.

A variety of different Nativity scenes filled the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of Nativity scenes are found on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I find it fun to look at how the Wise Men are depicted.

Different Nativity scenes were placed about on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Different nativity scenes are found on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The museum also showcases Christmas village scenes as well and along with some more expected Christmas fare. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon and enjoy a little warmth inside before heading back into the winter’s deep freeze, and to have a reminder of the “reason” for the season as the saying states.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Some winter village scenes can be found celebrating the Christmas holiday at the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Nativity and other winter scenes were scattered about on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Village Christmas scenes are on display on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas decorations were scattered throughout the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Changing Weather in Siouxland, Watch out for crossing deer, Iowa

22 Dec

Within a course of a few days the weather in the Siouxland area has changed, but still remains coolish. A recent storm has partially melted away, at least on the roadways, so one day it was snowy looking with a touch of hoar frost.

Snow covered trees and grounds at a rest stop near Missiouri Valley, Iowa Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And then it was brown. And without the lack of snow I might have missed someone’s bit of humor retouching a deer crossing sign reflecting the Christmas season. As least in this stretch of Siouxland Rudolf and Santa’s team will be safe.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An anonymous person shares their Christmas cheer by afixing a deer crossing road sign with a red dot on the nose on Hwy 12 near Sioux City, Iowa where Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer may cross the road, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

(Click on image for a larger view.)

Enjoying a Community Christmas Celebration in Siouxland, Remsen

20 Dec

Most small communities in Siouxland enjoy a collective Christmas celebration before retreating into homes or churches to celebrate the holiday with family and friends. Visiting the small community of Remsen and seeing the fun people have just gives one a little more faith in humanity and people’s shared bonds.

The community of Remsen, Iowa celebrates Christmas a little early, Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The downtown area is decked out with decorations during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Community residents got together in the downtown area to revel in the upcoming holiday celebration with stores open and serving hot drinks and cookies while others stayed outside and snag carols and enjoyed the chill in the air along with a few well positioned watch fires.

Watch fires keep residents warm during a chilly evening as they have a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Local fire department members roast marshmallows for the kids during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Local school children sing carols during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some well-meaning firemen who kept the fires burning were a little too over-enthusiastic in providing roasted marshmallows, trying to mitigate the effect of the fires before handing them off to recipients.

One local fire fighter, center, was having a little too much success roasting marshmallows as he blows out the flaming pair during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And then the moment arrives when the Big Guy, Santa, arrives, the downtown Christmas tree is lit and admirers rush to see the jolly elf.

After santa’s arrival and with the watch fires lit, the community Christmas tree lights up the night during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Santa greets some admirers after being dropped off downtown by the local fire department during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

After that it’s a trip to the local museum where St. Nick sits and poses for photos with a never ending supply of fans waiting their turn to ask for special gifts and savor a moment that most every child in Siouxland has probably experienced once, if not more, in their lifetime.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Parents juggle jackets and phone cameras as Santa juggles kids for pictures during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Parents and grandparents and children crowd into the local museum to see Santa during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The local museum was full to capacity as parents and children waited their turn to see the Big Guy in Red during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seasonal Changes in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

14 Dec

Wishing patrons of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve a pleasant holiday season in North Sioux City, South Dakota November 1, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seasonal changes in Siouxland always brings the expectations of coming holidays and a change in weather. The last waning days of fall like weather makes me a bit wistful of the impending cold that is sure to envelope the area. But along with that comes holiday lights, Christmas music and tons and tons of holiday confection. But I think I will most miss the fall light.

The waning days of fall at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota November 1, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The last vestiges of fall laying on the ground at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota November 1, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Not so direct with a clear quality to it that can make subjects pop and imbue them with a special quality. Early morning and late afternoon in the fall are not so early or so late. A plus in my book when out photographing places. With the cold setting in I have to push myself to set my bare feet onto a wood floor in the morning before finding socks to help them a little warmer. And then to get dressed and go and out photograph when the temps can hover in the teens or single digits make me make a little bigger pot of coffee before venturing out.

The last of the leaves clinging to their branches at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota November 1, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The last remaining leaves at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota November 1, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Now I will find bare trees and the leaf covered forest floors are snow covered, with can be fun, especially when critter tracks are seen. But it won’t be until sometime in late March when I am hopeful temperatures return to a more modest clime and give me a better impetus to stick my nose out the door and once again explore Siouxland and see what new wonders I might find.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The last remaining days of fall at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota November 1, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Day out of Siouxland in Old Market, Omaha, NE

12 Dec

Santa waves at passers-by as he and Mrs. Claus travel about Old Market in Omaha, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are times I don’t go out with an agenda to photograph anything in particular, and then the most interesting, to me, items pop up and it’s hard to resist. Funny the things one can see some days while out and about in Siouxland and elsewhere, like Santa checking on all the boys and girls, even in Old Market in Omaha, NE, to make certain they straighten up their act with the Christmas Holiday now underway. And I saw an emergency vehicle while there that must make a lot of necessary runs bringing relief to many in need of a sugar fix.

Many a child would like to see this emergency vehicle pull up on their block to help out an injured party seen in Old Market in Omaha, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like visiting Old Market because it always seems so lively and a great place to people watch and enjoy the ambience with so many different stores to check out and just the general scene. Plus the area is a growth with many older buildings converted into loft apartments with so much nearby the area is its own little city.

A variety of colorful items await shoppers at a shop in Old Market in Omaha, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A fire escape stopping on the second floor in a building near the Old Market in Omaha, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I personally still like having a bit of green space about me and my living quarters, but for revitalization of older areas of a community, it’s nice to see places come alive and for a community to be aware enough to help make it happen.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Another Audrey II from the Shop of Horrors at a doorway in a building near the Old Market in Omaha, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sparrows nestle themselves in some ivy vines at a restaurant waiting for patrons’ food crumbs in Old Market in Omaha, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

‘Tis the Season in Siouxland, O’Connor House, Homer, NE

30 Nov

With Thanksgiving barely behind us, some local organizations and groups are already in the full swing of celebrating Christmas in Siouxland. But that’s understandable as people are less inclined to attend some celebrations the closer, and sometimes more hectic, it gets to the actual holiday.

The O’Connor House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and each year is decorated for a Christmas celebration in Homer, NE Saturday November 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Each individual bedroom in the O’Connor House is decorated for a Christmas celebration in Homer, NE Saturday November 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The O’Connor House in Homer, NE hosts two weekends where different groups or organizations each step up and decorate a room in the historical house with a Christmas effect. And the historical home of a first settler is staffed with volunteers to tell visitors about the family and life of the house and on the plains. One volunteer actually grew up in the house as a boy, after the O’Connor’s lived there in the late 1860’s, when his parents rented the place. Duane Harris tells some fascinating tales about the original owner, Cornelius O’Connor and life during the early settler days when the area was shared with the Native Americans who had lived there for generations.

Dakota County Historical County volunteer Duane Harris grew up in the O’Connor House and now tells visitors during a Christmas celebration about some of the home’s history and about the original occupants in Homer, NE Saturday November 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Each room of the home is staffed with people relating stories about that particular space, either something about the family, or related to those possibly in one of the many photographs that dot the home.

Visitors are greeted by Dakota County Historical Society volunteers in each room to share a bit of history about the O’Connor House and its first occupants during aChristmas celebration in Homer, NE Saturday November 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Photographs of one of the O’Connor children on display at the O’Connor House during a Christmas celebration in Homer, NE Saturday November 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Of course one important room is the kitchen where there are people baking cookies in a wood-fired stove with great success. Gingerbread cookies never tasted so good. And each room looks so homey one feels inclined to just sit, have some hot cider or chocolate and enjoy the ambiance.

Dakota County Historical Society volunteers busy in the kitchen baking cookies and gingerbread men cookies in a wood fired stove during the Christmas celebration at the O’Connor House in Homer, NE Saturday November 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Each of the bedrooms in the O’Connor House is decorated for a Christmas celebration in Homer, NE Saturday November 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The O’Connor House is decorated for a Christmas celebration in Homer, NE Saturday November 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Of course the one takeaway I enjoyed most was a small sign almost hidden in the pantry near the kitchen. Reassuring people to not feel guilty about the Christmas holiday or enjoying its bounty.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sentiment of many holiday patrons is seen on a shelf near the kitchen at the O’Connor House during a Christmas celebration in Homer, NE Saturday November 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fading Fall Remnants in Siouxland, Storm Lake

24 Nov

Winter is already bearing down on parts of the U.S. recently, even though some mountain regions in the western part of the country has already received snow fall earlier this year. Fall and its colorful display is becoming a distant memory in Siouxland as winds and now rain and some snow have removed most leaves from the trees. Visiting Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake I got a chance to take in some color, even though it was an overcast day with a bit of chill in the air.

A feel of fall in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I kept thinking how colors on the trees would just pop with a nice blue sky in the background. But wishful thinking didn’t make it so. So I enjoyed the color and visit and even made a new friend while visiting.

A feel of fall in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A feel of fall in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Meeting new friends in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy seeing places during different times of the year. Having previously visited this park the starkness of the trees made other objects standout more, including some new wood carvings.

One of many wood sculptures in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the lake itself I like to see. It’s calming sitting on a bench and enjoying the lapping of water against the shoreline. Although this particular day as the lake took on a glassy kind of scene the chill in the air made me a bit more circumspect about sitting on a bench and enjoying the view. Just standing and enjoying the lake and taking a few images made me think more of a couple of coffee shops where I could acquire a warm or hot cup of java and help me brave these changing elements and photograph a bit more before returning home.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A hazy, wet fall day in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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