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A Frosty Winter’s Day in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

26 Feb
Cattle graze in a corn field harvested in the fall of 2020 on a frosty winter’s day in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Tuesday, February 2, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A warmer day in Siouxland and a chance to take a short drive around the countryside, enjoying some of Nature’s winters work. A recent frosting of trees and buildings adds a little beauty to an otherwise normal winter’s day a chance to leave the house without freezing extremities and perchance to dream of “greener pastures”as the calendar marches ahead one day at a time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Unexpected pleasures in Siouxland, Finding Visitors in rural Plymouth County

20 Feb
An eagle feeds while another waits along the Big Sioux River in a winter scene off of Highway 12 near Broken Kettle Grasslands preserve Tuesday, February 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes while out and about driving in Siouxland I come across something I never planned. And then I sometimes find something I never knew I had photographed until I look at my images at home. While enjoying a day out in warmer temperatures of 12 degrees, I stopped along the Big Sioux River to photograph the meandering stream. When I had finished and was heading back to my vehicle I stopped and photographed the river in the other direction. There is a bridge there, and while it was not spectacular I made a few images. Then I photographed beyond the bridge, working with a newly acquired lens and putting it through some paces. It was not until I had returned home and looked at those images did I realize that there were two eagles down river that I did not see with the naked eye and wished I had.

An unexpected pleasure to be enjoyed later and maybe another trip to look for the birds.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A winter scene of the Big Sioux River meandering off of Highway 12 near Broken Kettle Grasslands preserve Tuesday, February 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enduring the Cold in Siouxland, rural Plymouth County

12 Feb
Frost on the muzzle of a horse grazing in a snow covered field at the Broken Kettle Grasslands preserve Tuesday, February 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

We humans are not the only ones needing to put up with recent cold temperatures recently. While out driving about Siouxland I came across three horses grazing outdoors. There was a barn nearby so one would assume they bed down onto some nice straw for the evening.

But it was a sunny day, and I can only guess like their human counterparts they were enjoying a brief respite in the sunshine during a balmy 12 degree high kind of day. Waiting for warmer temperatures to return and melt some of this white stuff and make it bearable again to be outdoors for more than a brief period of time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Horses, their muzzles frosted over, graze in a snow covered field at the Broken Kettle Grasslands preserve Tuesday, February 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter’s season in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

4 Feb
A winter’s sunset at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes the winter season in Siouxland can seem to last forever, or just feel that way like a lot of upper midwestern states. Dull, grey skies, chilly or downright cold temperatures just gives one the interminable “stay indoors fever”. But then some days there is a respite and a chance to enjoy a little break.

Winter season at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A little color in the sky, even at sunset, makes one hopeful the next day will be “nicer”, with another 30 plus days to go. It’ still January, February hasn’t even knocked at the door yet and already I am thinking about spring. Patience, the virtue. One can only hope.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Winter season at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Winter season at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Snow in Siouxland, Sioux City

4 Nov
A squirrel pauses while eating at a backyard feeder in a home in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday Oct. 25, 2020 as local weather prognosticators said could expect anywhere from 2 inches up to 7 inches depending on location. Early, even by Iowa standards. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter has arrived early in Siouxland. Even though officially it’s a couple months away. The 4-5 inches of snow that fell clearly refutes anyone’s attempt that it’s not here.

Farmers in Iowa and neighboring states are still harvesting their crops. Halloween for some will be cold in addition to the already stressful thought of safely Trick or Treating during a pandemic. The cold and snow is just a reminder or foreshadowing of what’s to come and if it will make this winter’s season feel longer than normal.

I’m always hopeful for maybe a few more fall days, with temperatures in the 50’s and overnight lows no colder than the 30’s.

Hope springs eternal. But at this point, spring seems a far, far distant point on the horizon.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two house sparrows eat a meal at a backyard feeder in a home in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday Oct. 25, 2020 as local weather prognosticators said people could expect anywhere from 2 inches up to 7 inches depending on location. Early, even by Iowa standards. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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©)

Siouxland Weather Forecast Might not be Pretty, Sioux City

17 Sep

Leaf on a backyard maple tree shows sign of changing Thursday, September 10, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With the past week cooler in Siouxland, temperatures ranging from low 40’s to upper 50’s, it was a nice respite from the hot weather a few days earlier. But some leaves started their color change during the week which indicates cool weather may not be too far away. I enjoy seasons, fall being one of my favorites, but I would like to enjoy a fall this year, a long fall if possible before winter settles in. The Farmers Almanac’s forecast doesn’t look pretty for the midsection of the country. A cold, snowier season which might be good for the less than received rain this year, but not if one likes to get out for a walk beyond shoveling the driveway and sidewalks and a workout even before morning coffee.

Ah, until then, I hope to enjoy a few, nice fall days with cooler temps, sunshine and earlier sunsets.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer Storms in Siouxland, Rural Sioux County

22 Jul

Summer storms are events in the Midwest in places like Siouxland that can sometimes be spectacular. When I previously worked or newspapers I would be out photographing storms or the aftermath. Not so much anymore. But the cloud formations created before, during and after can be rather spectacular. Just getting caught in hail or a downpour doesn’t quite have the allure of when I was younger.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

storms clouds along Highway 60 North near Orange City, Iowa Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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©)

 

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