Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

12 Jul
A Lesser Yellowlegs poses as it hunts for a meal at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a jaunt to Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is always a nice way to start one’s day. Of course that is after having a couple cups of coffee to jump start the day. I am finding one needs to be an early riser to find nature’s creatures a bit more active as they hunt for their morning and mid-morning nourishment. For the shore birds, they sometimes do this just underneath a bird blind that the preserve has put in place in numerous places along Mud Lake for visitors to enjoy the residents and passers through.

A Canada goose informs a visitor that the bird blind is currently occupied at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A Redwing blackbird makes some noise on a perch at Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Two Lesser Yellowlegs look for food in Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I try to improve my photography of nature it’s nice, and convenient, to have willing subjects, as long as they are not too aware of one’s presence. Hence the bird blinds. I know I will not be traveling to far flung places on the earth like Africa, Peru or even the Rocky Mountains to photograph animals in the wild. But will be content with the “local wild creatures” I have nearby at preserves and parks and do the best I can to capture them in motion. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

American white pelicans slowly circle overhead at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A wood duck floats in Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A Lesser Yellowlegs hunts for a meal at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
An Eastern Kingfisher studies its surroundings from a tree branch overhanging Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Reflecting on Nature in Siouxland, Bacon Creek Park, Sioux City

10 Jul
A fisherman looks like he’s casting into the trees as they reflect in the water at Bacon Creek Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, June 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s nice to take a walk at a local park without bundling up for a winter’s chill and see nature in its summer’s regalia. An early morning walk has night light play that occurs around the park, especially when it comes to reflections.

Not an alpine lake but a body of water at Bacon Creek Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, June 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Water reflections give a French impressionistic look to a scene at Bacon Creek Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, June 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nature plays tricks wth what one sees. And a narrow point of view a person could have difficulty of telling up from down which can be fun. Mother Nature knows when to enjoy herself and let those who see it in on her optical allusions.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A man casts his line into the water as steam and the reflection of the opposite bank appear at at Bacon Creek Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, June 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Screaming in Siouxland, Ice Cream Days, Le Mars

8 Jul
Everyone enjoys ice cream during Ice Cream Days. After a 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people line the downtown street for the Le Mars, Iowa Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 19, 2021, a self acclaimed ice cream capitol of the world and home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream maker, Wells Dairy. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As summer arrives so does a little normalcy with events once again occurring in Siouxland, like Ice Cream Days in Le Mars. One of the largest companies in the small community, Wells Dairy is home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream. And every year the town celebrates and one generally gets some free ice cream to eat on a hot June day which is a pleasant way to start a weekend.

Adults and children spend some time creating bubbles along the Arts Avenue after the Ice Cream Days parade. After a 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people came out for the Le Mars, Iowa Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 19, 2021, a self acclaimed ice cream capitol of the world and home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream maker, Wells Dairy. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The Blue Bunny train winds its way through the Ice Cream Days parade route. After a 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people line the downtown street for the Le Mars, Iowa Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 19, 2021, a self acclaimed ice cream capitol of the world and home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream maker, Wells Dairy. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A woman tosses out candy to children along the Ice Cream Days parade route. After a 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people line the downtown street for the Le Mars, Iowa Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 19, 2021, a self acclaimed ice cream capitol of the world and home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream maker, Wells Dairy. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The morning starts with a parade and community residents and surrounding area line the street. Who doesn’t like a parade. It’s a perennial event with other scheduled activities and an arts avenue with a variety of vendors. Like many communities, people are enjoying what summer should be like. But the unknown involving the various virus spinoffs is still just that, unknown. And hopefully for a moment’s joy folk won’t pay a price for “returning to normal” too soon, without precautions. Fall seems like a long ways off, but the longest day of the year has already passed and the days are again shortening. Time is the only constant.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

After a 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people line the downtown street for the Le Mars, Iowa Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 19, 2021, a self acclaimed ice cream capitol of the world and home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream maker, Wells Dairy. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Chidlren scramble for candy in the street during the Ice Cream Days parade. After a 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people line the downtown street for the Le Mars, Iowa Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 19, 2021, a self acclaimed ice cream capitol of the world and home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream maker, Wells Dairy. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Richard Bogenrief plays patriot songs as he walks the parade route during Ice Cream Days. After a 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people line the downtown street for the Le Mars, Iowa Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 19, 2021, a self acclaimed ice cream capitol of the world and home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream maker, Wells Dairy. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
People crowd the Arts Avenue after the Ice Cream Days Parade. After a 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people came out for the Le Mars, Iowa Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 19, 2021, a self acclaimed ice cream capitol of the world and home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream maker, Wells Dairy. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Adults and children spend some time creating bubbles along the Arts Avenue after the Ice Cream Days parade. After a 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people came out for the Le Mars, Iowa Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 19, 2021, a self acclaimed ice cream capitol of the world and home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream maker, Wells Dairy. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a Walk with Nature in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

6 Jul
A deer pauses to watch another early morning walker at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In recent months I have spent some early Siouxland mornings out walking at local nature preserves. Enjoying what I see and also the cooler temperatures that one finds as the sun barely peers over the horizon. A young self would never have guessed that I have become an early riser. Although naps later in the day are never a bad thing, either.

A deer feeds on corn leaves in a field near Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A deer enjoys a little corn leaf snack in a planted field that borders the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in South Sioux City, South Dakota, Thursday, June 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a couple of different occasions walking at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve I found a deer eating corn stalk leaves in a field that abuts the preserve. Someone said with lack of recent rain in late spring and early summer the deer probably find the corn leaves tastier than the dry grass they encounter. And I can’t swear to it, but on two different walks I spied a deer in the same location munching away, thinking he/she must have found a new breakfast spot to get the day started.

A deer stands still in a shaded area as it makes its way across a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in South Sioux City, South Dakota, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Weather forecasters predict a heat index of 100 with severe storms to move into the area overnight into Friday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s fun to see the creatures in their habitat, and fun as well to be able to photograph them without them being one or two miles in the distance. Standing and watching and not being in a hurry, the deer generally continued their browsing and eventually moved on into deeper shade areas to await the still rising sun and temperatures that were sure to follow. Other creatures were also enjoying the morning cool temps greeting the new day in song, and then some prefer their water element to stay cool on yet another steamy, summer’s days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An Eastern Kingbird sits on a barbed wire fence in the shade at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in South Sioux City, South Dakota, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Weather forecaster predict a heat index of 100 degrees Thursday with severe storms overnight into Friday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Two turtles sun themselves on a log sticking out of Mud Lake at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In Memoriam in Siouxland, Pender, NE

4 Jul
A veteran’s memorial park in Pender, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A I have driven about Siouxland over the last few years I come across many small communities with tributes to those who have served in the armed forces. The small parks vary in what is presented and the community, it’s size and prosperity. There is no getting around costs involved. Pender, NE has a very nice veteran’s park that pays tribute to those from the area who served.

A veteran’s memorial park in Pender, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A veteran’s memorial park in Pender, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the one thing all communities share is that their tributes are sincere, respect to those who have fallen or retired and the sacrifice made for the rest of the folk who enjoy the freedoms we all take for granted, everyone. We are all human and wrapped up in busy lives working to get by, to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor or, hopefully, working to make the world a better place.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A veteran’s memorial park in Pender, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A veteran’s memorial park in Pender, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A veteran’s memorial park in Pender, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A veteran’s memorial park in Pender, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Look, Seek and Scamper in Siouxland, Sioux City

2 Jul
Reaching his goal, the squirrel grabs a peanut in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, June 12, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy visits from my backyard friends. I leave little treats for them and watch their antics as they work to acquire a snack or future meal. Sometimes they sit and eat away, other times they scurry off to bury their find and then return again for more of the same. Each time being cautious, taking no chances and hoping for another reward for their effort.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A squirrel does a little reconnaissance in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, June 12, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A squirrel makes his way stealthily as he does a little reconnaissance in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, June 12, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Making a getaway the squirrel runs an obstacle course to deter anyone following in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, June 12, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lines and Shapes in Siouxland, Midland College, Wayne, NE

30 Jun
A building on the campus of Midland College in Wayne, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy visiting institutions of higher education. The idea of walking the same ground that so many have walked before pursuing dreams and hopefully a better way of life for themselves and their fellow citizens. The architecture is interesting and sometimes is a combination of a variety of styles depending on when the school was founded and when other buildings were later added to the campus to help with a growing student population.

Early sculpture piece depicting a nostalgic campus scene at Midland College in Wayne, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Avant guard signage at Midland College in Wayne, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am by no means astute about architecture and the history of styles and such, but more appreciative in the lines, shapes, angles and other visual aspects which I enjoy. And photographing in B&W the shades of grey that occur within the frame of an image.

The school seemed closed between its spring and summer sessions, and I am not certain what protocols are in place at various institutions as each seems to dictate what is acceptable as pandemic restrictions are eased or altogether done away with. But one can always enjoy the grounds which are well tended and presentable in case a prospect might be passing through to take a peek and see what lies within.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A more classical building design at Midland College in Wayne, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Shapes and lines on the campus Midland College in Wayne, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
An architectural feature of a building on the campus of Midland College in Wayne, NE Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Living History in Siouxland, Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park, Ft. Calhoun, NE

28 Jun
The canon is fired during the living history day at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft Calhoun, NE Saturday, June 4, 2021. Built in 1819 and serving through 1827 this fort contained approximately 1,200 soldiers, almost half of what then was the extent of the standing army for the U.S. During the Lewis and Clark expedition it was noted that this location would be a perfect place to erect a fort.(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy the chance to see re-enactments of history, even a scaled down version as the state parks of Nebraska was still being cautious because of the pandemic, even though the state’s governor has pretty much declared the pandemic passed.

Because of ongoing concerns about the coronavirus visitors during the living history day at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park still have limited interaction with re-enactors seen in Ft Calhoun, NE Saturday, June 4, 2021. Built in 1819 and serving through 1827 this fort contained approximately 1,200 soldiers, almost half of what then was the extent of the standing army for the U.S. During the Lewis and Clark expedition it was noted that this location would be a perfect place to erect a fort. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A small company of men perfect their parade ground routine during the living history day at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft Calhoun, NE Saturday, June 4, 2021. Built in 1819 and serving through 1827 this fort contained approximately 1,200 soldiers, almost half of what then was the extent of the standing army for the U.S. During the Lewis and Clark expedition it was noted that this location would be a perfect place to erect a fort. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently the Nebraska state parks have again providing programs such as the living history day at Ft. Atkinson in Ft. Calhoun, NE. The people portraying folk from the early frontier period before much of the part of the country became a state helps one understand their lives better and gain an appreciation of what these people experienced and endured at was once the farthest western settlements during that time period.

A military officer re-enactor greets visitors and gives them background information about the fort and its role in history during a hot 92 degree living history day at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft Calhoun, NE Saturday, June 4, 2021. Built in 1819 and serving through 1827 this fort contained approximately 1,200 soldiers, almost half of what then was the extent of the standing army for the U.S. During the Lewis and Clark expedition it was noted that this location would be a perfect place to erect a fort. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Two young girls try to stay cool during a 92 degree day during the living history day at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft Calhoun, NE Saturday, June 4, 2021. Built in 1819 and serving through 1827 this fort contained approximately 1,200 soldiers, almost half of what then was the extent of the standing army for the U.S. During the Lewis and Clark expedition it was noted that this location would be a perfect place to erect a fort. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A young re-enactor portraying an early pioneer daughter of the fort’s shop keep exemplifies what many young people of any century might, boredom, during the living history day at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft Calhoun, NE Saturday, June 4, 2021. Built in 1819 and serving through 1827 this fort contained approximately 1,200 soldiers, almost half of what then was the extent of the standing army for the U.S. During the Lewis and Clark expedition it was noted that this location would be a perfect place to erect a fort. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Talking to the people at the historical park everyone seems to enjoy what is offered and those who take the time to share their love of history with others and spend some time not in the present and thinking about today’s problems, but what came before, the brave men and women who pursued some kind of dream coming west to a new place, making their way however uninhabitable or unfriendly it might have seemed. Pioneers who wrote their own stories, some of which we may never know.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Military re-enactors each lunch at a camp site during the living history day at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft Calhoun, NE Saturday, June 4, 2021. Built in 1819 and serving through 1827 this fort contained approximately 1,200 soldiers, almost half of what then was the extent of the standing army for the U.S. During the Lewis and Clark expedition it was noted that this location would be a perfect place to erect a fort. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A tin smith re-enactor talks about his trade to visitors during the living history day at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft Calhoun, NE Saturday, June 4, 2021. Built in 1819 and serving through 1827 this fort contained approximately 1,200 soldiers, almost half of what then was the extent of the standing army for the U.S. During the Lewis and Clark expedition it was noted that this location would be a perfect place to erect a fort. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
1st Lt. Gabriel Field served with the 6th U.S. Infantry at Dt. Atkinson when he died in 1823 and was buried at the post’s cemetery. A headstone of Field’s was first discovered by a farmer in 1954 and later in 1956 began a large excavation of the area of which the living history day at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park is based on, seen in Ft Calhoun, NE Saturday, June 4, 2021. Built in 1819 and serving through 1827 this fort contained approximately 1,200 soldiers, almost half of what then was the extent of the standing army for the U.S. During the Lewis and Clark expedition it was noted that this location would be a perfect place to erect a fort. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Fort Atkinson State Historical Park is a replica of the actual fort located in Ft Calhoun, NE Saturday, June 4, 2021. Built in 1819 and serving through 1827 this fort contained approximately 1,200 soldiers, almost half of what then was the extent of the standing army for the U.S. During the Lewis and Clark expedition it was noted that this location would be a perfect place to erect a fort. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting a Small Nebraska Town in Souxland, Winslow, NE

26 Jun
A train passes an entrance into the community of Winslow, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Driving about Siouxland the last number of years I come across many smaller communities whose heyday was maybe another century or two ago. When small towns are first founded, so many did so because of the railroad and the early frontier bringing people west. Winslow, NE might fit into this category.

But as time goes by demographics and situations change. Especially for the smaller communities as people leave the area, children move to larger cities looking for employment and the surround countryside changes in that many smaller farms in a farming community have fewer of them, for whatever reason. It was originally platted in 1906 and incorporated as a village in 1909. Trying to find historical information online about various places, especially small communities is not always easy, and in most cases, hard to find.

Downtwon Winslow, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A vacate building in Winslow, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A partially vacate, abandoned building in Winslow, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always have questions. But many times when I am passing through there are not all that many people out and about. And one really needs to find someone older who has a sense of history of the place. But many could probably not tell a visitor how the community began. What drew area residents there other than to work in small businesses that probably supported the local agricultural community, that is small farms. An article printed in a regional newspaper in 2019 tells the plight of this community and problems it has faced in the past. Which explains a lot to me about the state of affairs as I travel through, seeing it after an irksome flood destroyed or heavily damaged most parts of the community.

History exists for every place. But sometimes its known by only a few and those inquisitive about its existence.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Renovation is underway at a building in downtown Winslow, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Renovation is underway at a building in downtown Winslow, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Renovation is underway at a building in downtown Winslow, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Keeping up With Nature in Siouxland, Sioux City

24 Jun
A squirrel runs along a fence line in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, June 12, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While photographing nature in Siouxland I am not always the quickest to respond to the little critters as they make their way in nature. Zigging, zagging, while I sometimes do the opposite, my brain responds slowly and my shutter finger apparently even more slowly giving me at times, “interesting” photos. Many times I think, “If the little guy had just waited a second longer before moving and running off.” But alas, I find myself with “remnants” of an image and sometimes, just peanut shells to show where my subject has just been.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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