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Spring run off in Siouxland, SIoux Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD

12 Mar

A train crosses the tracks above the Big Sioux River at Sioux Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the warmer weather descends on Siouxland and other parts north, water run off from snow melt will fill all the rivers and streams again and begin flowing south.

Last year the Siouxland region was flooded with rain in late winter hitting still frozen ground and then the snow run off and yet more rain during the spring, summer and fall. Leaving many farmers unable to plant, or planted, harvest their crops. A recent visit to the Sioux Falls Park shows the water is running pretty quick again, and the snow melt has yet to begin.

U.S. Vice President MIKE PENCE (R) center, joins Iowa Gov. KIM REYNOLDS, left, and Iowa U.S. Sen. JONI ERNST, bottom left, to talk with media about recent flooding in southwestern Iowa Friday, April 12, 2019 near Pacific Junction, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Flood debris is seen washed up along a roadway Friday, April 12, 2019 near Pacific Junction, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Flooded fields and roadways can be seen Friday, April 12, 2019 near Pacific Junction, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Flooded fields and roadways is seen Friday, April 12, 2019 near Pacific Junction, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s still impressive though to see the water running down the rapids at the park. And it was warm enough without a stiff breeze or wind gusts that it was quite pleasant walking about the park. But time will tell if the water display will be more or less as April and May approaches with warmer temperatures. But for now it is nice to be able to get outside and enjoy the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Big Sioux River cascades down the falls at Sioux Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting the Great Plains Zoo in Siouxland, Sioux Falls, SD

23 Feb

A Siamang gibbon reacts while visitors look on at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking forward to visiting area zoos near the Siouxland area again this coming year as the warmer weather permits the animals to be outside, probably making a better experience for both them and visitors. While not a large zoo, this one in Sioux Falls, SD has a variety of animals on display, both exotic and domestic and is a nice way to spend a morning or afternoon.

An entrance to one section of the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019.

The zoo is set up to allow visitors to pace themselves as they wander cemented trails from exhibit to exhibit. Although sometimes I find it an interesting juxtaposition of seeing some exotic animals with very identifiable deciduous plants that would not be found in the various species original habitat. But the shade provided by the trees is a welcome relief some days and colorful in the fall.

And just a more pleasant experience for the visitor as one learns about the animals residing there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A water fountain near the entrance with playful monkeys at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019.

Nature’s Alarm Clock in Siouxland, Adams Homestead, North Sioux City, SD

17 Feb

Geese fly over Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

Ah, seeing geese aloft again in Siouxland and making their way in the opposite direction as spring gets nearer is always a relief. One actually believes that warmer weather might really, truly be on the way. A number of these birds had taken a rest stop near the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. And while I didn’t make images to write home about, I was pleased they cooperated a bit as the cagey birds wouldn’t let me get too close.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Geese fly over Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Geese fly over Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Geese fly over Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Geese fly over Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing the New in Siouxland, Murals in Yankton, SD

26 Jan

A new mural in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like revisiting places I have previously seen in Siouxland as well as checking out new places too. Sometimes one can be pleasantly surprised with new surroundings, like outdoor wall murals I came upon in Yankton, SD. The community adds small touches to help celebrate its community and the murals offer up a colorful display if nothing else. And it is so easy to not see them if one isn’t paying attention.

A new mural in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes the joy of not living somewhere is that these new, seemingly incremental changes are more apparent to a visitor. And I like photographing something different than before. Photographing them during midday may not create memorable images, but documenting the existence of something when I am visiting a place is all I can do.

A new mural in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The small community uses interesting signage to celebrate itself which lends a historical flare and uniqueness. Again, it could be something that has been there a while, and I never paid attention to it until the day I did. Being a photographer doesn’t always mean on is “observant”.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Signage in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The pedestrian Meridian Bridge seen from downtown Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sharing the Holiday Spirit in Song in Siouxland, Nora, SD

17 Dec

 

I always find it fun when venturing out in Siouxland to revisit places I have been too. Visited often enough, places become very familiar. Sometimes though a place feels at home as soon as you walk through the door. The Nora, SD country store is located at a crossroads in rural South Dakota and owned by Mike Pederson. Listed on the National Register of Historic places, the store was a true country store, closing in 1962. Some items from its previous life are still sitting on shelves.

Resident cats of Mike Pederson check out visitors’ vehicles while everyone is inside the Nora, SD store for 30th annual Christmas carol sing-a-long Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Pederson began the sing-a-longs in 1989 when he moved and set up the pipe organ in his store. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of a few remaining country stores, which closed in 1962. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A pet cat looks for some attention outside the Nora, SD, store Sunday Dec. 1, 2019 with remnants of a blizzard still remaining on the ground. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pederson has been hosting holiday sing-a-longs at the store since 1989, 30 years. He acquired an organ in the early days, learned to play it and began inviting folk to stop by during the weeks leading up to Christmas Day and to share in Christmas music, both secular and religious to just help folk get into the spirit.

MIKE PEDERSON sits at his organ where he plays Christmas music beginning just after the Thanksgiving holiday up through December 15 at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 1, 2019. Marking his 30th year of his annual Nora Store Christmas Carol sing-a-long beginning in 1989 when he set up a pipe organ. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

MIKE PEDERSON, fifth from the left, sits at his German-made organ where he plays Christmas music at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019 and is joined by visitors sharing in the love of singing Christmas carols. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas decorations hang inside the Nora, SD, store Sunday Dec. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

From hosting so many years he tells some pretty interesting stories of people who have visited. Some by chance and others making a pilgrimage to come back, by themselves or bringing family and friends to enjoy a couple hours of singing and leaving cares at the front door and sharing space and time with strangers who are not really that strange. All enjoy singing, some of us more off key than others, but people don’t seem to care and with so many voices it’s hard to tell anyway.

MIKE PEDERSON puts out more cookies for visitors to his Nora, SD, store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019. Pederson is marking his 30th year for an annual Nora Store Christmas Carol sing-a-long beginning in 1989 when he set up a pipe organ. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

MIKE PEDERSON plays Christmas carols on his German-made organ at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019 and is joined by visitors sharing in the love of singing Christmas carols. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pederson told folk attending this year that he has been diagnosed with cancer, but so far, has been blessed with good health as he attends to treatment and the medication that goes along with that treatment. His main concern was in asking for some help in keep the store in repair as it needs some work and because of its historical significance to rural America and the fact that these stores are disappearing. Others in the area have been torn down or destroyed by fire. A slice of Americana that can’t be replicated. And I think he also wants to keep alive that spirit of togetherness, sharing with neighbors,  known and unknown, and taking time out to celebrate a time of year that many find special and a place to enjoy it in, bringing back memories for some and creating memories for others too young to have experience that past.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

MIKE PEDERSON, third from left, tells a story of visiting Norwegians who stopped by a couple years ago to sit Christmas carols at his Nora, SD store seen Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

MIKE PEDERSON, third from left, sits at his organ where he plays Christmas music at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019 and is joined by visitors sharing in the love of singing Christmas carols, marking 30 years for his annual Nora Store the sing-a-long which began in 1989. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Walking Piece of History in Siouxland, the Meridian Bridge, Yankton, SD

11 Dec

in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always find it nice when local communities help visitors learn a bit more history about itself and its residents. Various Siouxland communities do this and Yankton, SD recently installed signage at the Meridian Bridge, previously a double decker vehicle bridge, now a pedestrian walkway over the Missouri River.

A sculpted art piece at the foot of the pedestrian Meridian Bridge in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Meridian Bridge was formerly a double decker vehicle bridge but is now a pedestrian walkway over the Missouri River in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Of course not all “residents” appreciate the signage or the history, but just enjoy the structure itself.

Pidgeons take a short flight before returning to a resting spot on the Meridian Bridge in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pidgeons find a resting spot on the Meridian Bridge in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A short walk from the downtown area of Yankton and some eateries, a nice walk is always pleasant and doesn’t hurt the appetite either.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sign posting at the Meridan Bridge gives a visitor a little background about the area and the Missouri River seen in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A sign posted at the Meridian Bridge gives a little background about an earlier politician seen in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas Cheer in Siouxland Begins, Yankton, SD

3 Dec

Feeling the Yuletide spirit in downtown Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s well understood that the Christmas season has already started. Decorations are up and retailers are calling shoppers and customers to come take a look and possibly buy. That horse left the barn many decades ago. While I might have mixed feelings about hawking Christmas gifts so early I do enjoy seeing the decorations and other trappings of the season.

Christmas decorations popping up in downtown Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas cheer in downtown Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s cheery and nice to let the mind wander to happier thoughts that maybe news of the day or other intruding subjects create a different atmosphere. I must confess, while driving about I have already been listening to Christmas music, mostly instrumental with a New Age flair and jazz renditions of the holiday classics. It’s light, carefree and makes me smile.

Window displays with Christmas tidings in downtown Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Soon Siouxland communities will be having their annual lighted parades and other celebrations marking the holiday and working to get their residents and guests alike into the “mood”, wishing all good cheer and a Merry Christmas.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Christmas wreath decorates the Meridian Bridge, now a walking bridge, in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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