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Enjoying the Fall Season in Siouxland, Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa

21 Oct
The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Smoke from the western states wildfires has begun to clear in the Siouxland area and fall color pops a bit more while taking photographs. I like others am getting out enjoying it while it lasts. One never knows when a heavy rain and wind storm will come through depositing shimmering gold leaves into a pile on the ground. Where all that glitters turns to a rust color of dried and decaying leaves.

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lewis and Clark State Park offers some nice color and with clearer skies the leaves fairly sparkled in the sunlight. Weather prognosticators are calling for colder temperatures coming to the area and some strong winds as the temps begin to drop. Not good sign for folk wanting to enjoy a few fall days of leaf peeping. Some have predicted a rain/snow shower forecast for the coming days. too soon for such a wacky year by my estimation.

So enjoying the days now is important as tomorrow brings something different.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Changes in Siouxland, Linn Grove

19 Oct
Water is no longer running over a dam in Linn Grove, Iowa Tuesday, September 22, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes in revisiting places one can find changes that are surprising. ON a recent trip to Linn Grove where a small dam was fairly active a couple years ago, the water has stopped running. Partially due to a drought for the area and also because of spring storms a year ago where the small river the dam was situated on cut itself a new channel because of the intense spring storms and rainfall. Feast and famine.

Spring storms cut a new channel diverting water running over a dam in Linn Grove, Iowa Tuesday, September 22, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Water is no longer running over a dam in Linn Grove, Iowa Tuesday, September 22, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

You can no longer even drive down to an area where people would fish along the dam and the drought has shrunken the small pond where I guess a variety of fish would hang out, unsuspectedly becoming someone’s meal at a later time.

Mother Nature can be awesome in her fury. It must have been a sight seeing the water rushing during the spring storms, but sad where you realized there would be extensive damage done. Talking to a local person while there they mentioned local officials were trying to determine how to finance the damage, which in this day and age the local person said could amount to millions of dollars.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Water is no longer running over a dam in Linn Grove, Iowa Tuesday, September 22, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Refuge in Siouxland, Scatter Joy Acres, Omaha, NE

17 Oct
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This fall I came across a small petting zoo located in a quiet neighborhood outside Siouxland in Omaha, NE. Scatter Joy Acres is a place where people can go and on a much smaller scale than the other local zoo in Omaha see animals and sometimes interact with them.

There are a variety of animals and it seems a very family friendly venue as families roamed the grounds waiting for an event to start just checking out the various animals on the grounds.

Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring and finding new places to check out is always fun and the joy of traveling even if that means driving an hour away. Hidden gems to a visitor not familiar with the area. Sometimes these are overlooked because one is a visitor, but then that just means more exploring closer to home and a chance to spend more time on the ground looking than driving or flying.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Play of Light in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

13 Oct
Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On matter where in Siouxland I find myself walking about, I enjoy the play of light on objects, scenes, or whatever. It’s the interconnectedness of lights and shadows that create images. Seen in only B&W it becomes more apparent, dramatic even. But that interplay creates images that draw attention. Beyond that though there needs to be something about the image that keeps a person’s viewing attention.

Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some images work better than others and one can only continue exploring and trying and creating and working to make images he/she believes have merit.

And then continue walking about and enjoying the moments and time spent exploring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Walk in Siouxland, Preparation Canyon State Forest, Rural Monona County

11 Oct
A couple takes a selfie along a trail in Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall in Siouxland, like elsewhere, is just a nice time to get out and enjoy nature and what’s available. Like many places this year, the colors are a bit muted with western wildfire smoke and haze and from a drought that still continues for western Iowa as rainfall is almost 10 inches shy of normal according to some meteorologists.

A couple finish their hike along a trail in Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A couple check out the history from an information display about Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Preparation Canyon State Forest is a nice place to visit and hike as trails through the woodlands/prairie area. The trails are fairly easy to navigate but become narrow in places so care should be taken. I always enjoy the view from an observation deck on those days I don’t feel like a taking a walk. I had been cruising about the Loess Hills area looking for what fall color I could find. Most of it in yellows and lighter shades of green. Without the extra moisture and no profound cold snap yet, although there have been some cool nights, colors may not be forthcoming this year.

A man walks his dog along a trail at Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Two men check out Preparation Canyon State Forest while enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With possibly some cooler days ahead, and maybe rain, the time for enjoying the changing leaves on trees could be short lived. With such a wacky year already, I guess fall could be just as wacky. I was kind of hoping though that it might be a long, slow one to give folk time to enjoy some more outdoor time before the blast of winter arrives and keeping folk indoors.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fall Slowly Makes it Way to Siouxland, Oak Grove Park, Hawarden

7 Oct

Even though officially by calendar that fall has arrived here in Siouxland and elsewhere, the colors of the season are slow in coming. Partially due to drought conditions with a lack of rain and a weird climate episode going on with a lot of smoke reaching the area from the western wildfires that are engulfing millions of acres of forest.

Colors are slowly appearing at Oak Grove Park in Sioux County near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A recent trip to a park north had some nice colors developing on the trees, but the smoky, hazy atmosphere somewhat downplayed that “fall look” which a blue sky might have enhanced. Like many folk, I enjoy fall for the cooler temps and seasonal color and other aspects of this time of year.

Colors are slowly appearing at Oak Grove Park in Sioux County near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Knowing full well what comes next which will be pleasant for a while, but not if winter drags on with temperatures constantly below 5 and 10 degrees with wind chills that makes it feel more like -0. No matter how much one enjoys getting out of doors, those days make me more likely to brew more coffee, grab a book and stay toasty as I count the days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Colors are slowly appearing at Oak Grove Park in Sioux County near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting a Museum near Siouxland and missing the Exhibits, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE

29 Sep

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s a silly thought but sometimes when visiting museums and other attractions in and around Siouxland I miss seeing the attraction. That happens when one becomes too focused on photographing something, anything and not taking a moment to enjoy what is in front of one.

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The architecture of the Joslyn Art Museum is fascinating and the light play inside and out is a feast for visual people as are the works hanging in the museum. I did walk through a current traveling exhibit exploring visuals in today’s society. How some of the visuals are contrived to reflect what may naturally be there but set up, indistinguishable from actuality. It was thought provoking and fascinating. Not the first time, and with today’s political scene, not the last where someone will take images, still or moving, and try to create a narrative, generally false, to make a point or to attack someone or some thing because they don’t agree or approve. Sad.

But once through viewing the exhibit I walked around various galleries I have seen previously still enjoying the permanent collection of art and trying to create my own imagery within the confines.

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will return again and try to be conscious the next time of stopping, maybe sitting, and looking and pondering those lovely works before me and the creativity these artists who have long since passed using paint, brushes or other means to share their vision with generations to follow and the foresight of someone to collect, display and share these works with others.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer Days in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

27 Sep

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With Fall officially begun in Siouxland and elsewhere recently, summer days are over, even as warm summer-like weather continues to envelope the area. Cooler temps are predicted in the next couple of weeks, but until then, people will relish these last few days of summer warmth and what they will have to wait and enjoy again next year.

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lauritzen Gardens was ablaze in colorful flowers late summer. Visitors could feast in the summer bouquets walking through the landscape. Light play made the the plants dazzle and come alive in a light breeze, dancing one final jig or waltz, knowing their blooms will fade. As will the light quality that a summer sun washes across the landscape, it’s brightness enhancing shapes and objects it touches and lingers into the final hours of a day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for Normalcy in Siouxland, Old Dominion Dance Company, Omaha, NE

25 Sep

 

During this long coronavirus pandemic people are looking for some kind of normalcy even in Siouxland to keep themselves from going bonkers. The Old Dominion Dance Company which promotes English country dancing held its first event in six months recently, giving members and others interested in dance a chance to enjoy a friendly activity and company of like-minded folk. Held at the Scatter Joy Acres it was just a nice fall evening with hints of a lingering summer where visitors could relax, see friends, and have a nice night out.

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There seems to always be an equal amount of people who know the country dances and those who are wanting to learn. A couple practice run throughs and soon folk are “flying” over the grass reaching for a hand and performing a “line dance” albeit 17th and 18th century style.

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And as night settled in and the band was reaching its stride the dancers persevered, although some took a break, dancing into the evening. No worries about tomorrow, or the fact that life is now a bit different than a year ago. Cares and thoughts were replaced remembering the left or right foot, first couple or second couple and enjoying the evening.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Joslyn Castle, Omaha, NE

15 Sep

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like revisiting places I have previously been to, in Siouxland and elsewhere. Different time of year gives a different look to the area or place itself, such as the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE. The grounds are very nice and the tour inside was again informative as a different docent volunteer led this tour. Because of the coronavirus fewer people gives those on the tour more of an opportunity to ask questions. And having visited previously ask questions with some knowledge about the history of the place.

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having been here before I looked differently at the former residence of a prominent family and because the season was more summer than winter as last time the lighting inside was also different. Lights and shadows are always fascinating, at least to me. Enjoying the play of light inside a room. Of course one has to be content with how the sun is when on a tour. Planning for optimal light is never going to happen without unfettered access, and that is not going to happen either.

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it’s always nice to spend a day out, hearing about an area and wondering how it looked in early pioneer days for those folk who lived there then. The castle at the time was on the western most edge of the community of Omaha with prairie beyond its borders, that is now occupied with homes, many homes. But as I listened I was looking, seeing those little things of interest to me, in my own reverie and speculating how many footsteps had passed these simple areas on how many years and if they appreciated where they were or were just busy with life around them to consider much else.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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