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Seeing a bit of Spring in Siouxland, Hinton and Sioux City

29 Apr

A house finch sits in a newly budded tree in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There have been snippets of spring popping up in Siouxland between recent snowfalls and temperatures in the 20’s. Patches of green and here and there, surviving those cold days that are becoming fewer, but nevertheless still here. While not yet widespread, the green is a nice reminder of warmer days approaching and sunny skies with light breezes and shirt sleeved weather.

Pathways are beginning to green up at the Hillview Recreation Area in Hinton, Iowa Thursday, April 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A maple tree begins to bud Sunday, March 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

At least with warmer temperatures the opportunity to take a walk these days will become more tempting as long as people continue to use common sense and share the space respectfully and give everyone a chance to enjoy the day as the long wait continues before we see an all clear somewhere down the road.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bush begins to bud at the Hillview Recreation Area in Hinton, Iowa Thursday, April 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying the Day in Siouxland, Sioux City

27 Apr

A neighbor’s cat catches some zzz’s on a roof in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days are just made to relax and feel lazy. The recent weather in Siouxland has vacillated from temps near 70 to again in the 20’s, and the region is a bit of a yo-yo. No on those now rare days when the weather cooperates, it seems like many “neighbors” are taking advantage of the fact.

A squirrel takes an afternoon siesta among some tree branches in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, March 30, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even to the point of sharing a little space, although not at the same time. Some spots are just a bit more popular than others. And if the weather eventually warms up and stays that way, any place in the sun will be a good place.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A squirrel checks to see if all is clear while visiting a feeder in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Taking his turn to sit atop a squirrel feeder and checking things out is a neighborhood cat visiting a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, March 30, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Snowy Easter in Siouxland, Sioux City

13 Apr

Like in many parts of the U.S., people will always say, “Just wait 5 minutes and the weather will change.” It’s also true in Siouxland. This area of Iowa as probably others in the state and beyond got a snowy, chilly Easter Sunday with which to celebrate. Just some visiting neighbors in a backyard didn’t seem to mind and actually enjoyed their “brunch” while the snow fell, and continued falling throughout much of the day.

An Easter snow doesn’t discourage birds from a morning brunch in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 12, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An Easter snow doesn’t discourage birds from a morning brunch in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 12, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was convenient to see them enjoying themselves, or at least getting a meal during this untimely weather event. I didn’t see many robins and am guessing they were trying to stay warm and decide what the heck happened to spring.

An Easter snow doesn’t discourage birds from a morning brunch in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 12, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An Easter snow doesn’t discourage birds from a morning brunch in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 12, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am kind of wondering that myself. And like most, am trying to be patient and looking forward to enjoying a cup of morning coffee outside, without a scarf, jacket or hat and boots. Hopefully sooner than later.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An Easter snow doesn’t discourage birds from a morning brunch in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 12, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Weather Change in Siouxland, Sioux City

3 Apr

A cardinal sits in a bush in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, April 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Besides everything else these days Mother Nature still hasn’t decided if spring is here to stay in Siouxland. Recently the temperature was at 70 degrees and it was a pleasant change to the blustery days previously with rain here and there. Now a very cold front is moving into the area and more snow, or at least freezing rain is predicted. It won’t last long, but it feels like it’s time for winter to retire for the season.

A cardinal sits in a bush in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, April 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A pair of cardinals were enjoying some treats in a nearby feeder then retreated to a bush as gusty winds blew through the area. I was surprised to see water crystals on each of their crowns so I am guessing these two are hoping for spring to actually stick around with this latest temperature change and at least sunny days in the foreseeable future.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Thinking of Warmer days in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

1 Apr

It’s always unseasonable warm in the butterfly house at the Henry Doorly Zoo even on an unseasonably warm day in Omaha, NE Friday, Feb. 22, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

Maybe because I like many others in Siouxland and elsewhere have been house bound a while and will continue to do so during this disruptive virus episode that I am looking forward to days ahead. Although I am never lucky enough to come across the multitude of butterflies that are in the Henry Doorly Zoo’s butterfly conservatory. At least during the day I was there it was a pleasantly warm day, 50’s thus not so terribly hot within the area the butterflies are kept as doing the summer months.

It’s always unseasonable warm in the butterfly house at the Henry Doorly Zoo even on an unseasonably warm day in Omaha, NE Friday, Feb. 22, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s fun to watch the graceful little creatures flit from one area to another feeding and just hanging out. I always find a challenge in photographing them without bumping into someone else as my eyes are glued to the camera’s viewfinder following the quick little creatures moving about.

It’s always unseasonable warm in the butterfly house at the Henry Doorly Zoo even on an unseasonably warm day in Omaha, NE Friday, Feb. 22, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

Just when it seems they come to rest and will stay in one place a moment or took for the autofocus to kick in, no, they are off again following their own muse that keeps them afloat and flittering here and there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

It’s always unseasonable warm in the butterfly house at the Henry Doorly Zoo even on an unseasonably warm day in Omaha, NE Friday, Feb. 22, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring’s Arrival in Siouxland, Sioux City

24 Mar

Snowfall greets residents on the second day of spring, Friday, March 20, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring “officially” arrived in Siouxland and other parts which hopefully may give way to April showers and May flowers. But not quite yet. With everything else that is going on that doesn’t really need mentioning, sunny skies and some warmer temperatures would surely boost morale.

Snowfall greets residents on the second day of spring, Friday, March 20, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sitting outside is not yet a possibility to enjoy that fresh spring air. And while the snow and cold temps will probably not last all that long, it is almost April, though here in Siouxland and elsewhere I have lived people use the same refrain, just wait 5 minutes and the weather will change. I did though get to look out a window and see a neighbor and his son built themselves one last snowman. And I knew the postman had arrived and left as well as tracks are easy to find between houses.

Spring on day 4 in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, March 22, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The mailman’s tracks on spring’s day 4 in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, March 22, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So am having a little wishful thinking and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. For spring to be more than officially here.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Snowfall greets residents on the second day of spring, Friday, March 20, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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©)

Finding an Image in Siouxland’s Winter Wonderland, Adams Homestead

25 Feb

Finding the right angle for photographing frost encrusted grass stems at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Wandering about in Siouxland looking for images one sometimes needs to slow down and check various angles. A few inches one direction or another can give a particular image a “different” look. Is the background appropriate to set apart the subject you are photographing. On especially cold days when the toes begin to go numb that can be challenging. Slowing down and looking for different angles.

I find photographing frost a sometimes tough proposition in that one needs a background to set the grass stems apart from the background and standout. And photographing ice particles is tough in and of itself. I do not own a macro lens and make do with a zoom lens that I have. Shooting too tight doesn’t give one sense of place and too loose the focus on the subject is somewhat lost.

Finding the right angle for photographing frost encrusted grass stems at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Finding the right angle for photographing frost encrusted grass stems at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But a person can’t photograph different subjects if the attempt is not made. But planning ahead is never a bad thing and the welcome center this particular day was open and a welcome break for feelings to return to toes and fingers and then a second round of looking for intriguing images on a sunny but particularly cold February day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Greener Pastures in Siouxland, Rural Buena Vista County

19 Feb

Cruising in rural Monona County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

in rural Buena Vista County, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes while out driving in Siouxland in nicer weather I never know who I might see off the beaten path. More likely a critter of some sort. And I am glad when driving backroads I am moving slowly enough to be able to brake and then get one or two photographs made before the elusive creatures vanish.

Planted crops on a summer’s day in rural Monona County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Cornfields and woods near corn and soybean fields can be an ideal spot to find nature hanging out and I feel lucky when I can both enjoy and photograph the scene at the same time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Robins, a Hopeful Spring Sign in Siouxland, Omaha, NE

9 Feb

Robins looking for food and staying warm on a cool day at historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

I am always happy to see robins flitting about and gathering this time of year around Siouxland. It makes me feel that spring is much closer than it seems. Weather folk predicting more snow and maybe a mixture in the coming days. And while I have not seen any of these gems in the Siouxland region proper, as Omaha is generally 10-15 degrees warmer, I just think they are taking a brief respite before continuing their journey north.

Robins looking for food and staying warm on a cool day at historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Robins looking for food and staying warm on a cool day at historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

These little guys didn’t want me coming anywhere near them as they scavenged among the leaves looking for morsels. They looked plump, but am guess they just had on their “down” jacket as the temperatures still hover below and just barely above freezing. But soon as the prognosticating rodent made his call about the spring and the weather recently, this year feels like it can’t come soon enough.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Robins looking for food and staying warm on a cool day at historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

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