Hanging out on a Summer’s Evening in Siouxland, Latham Park, Sioux City

6 Oct
A common sparrow greets a visitor at an entrance to Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A quiet little park area in Sioux City attracts all sorts who on a quiet Sunday evening in Siouxland like to hang out and enjoy some of summer’s last or waning days. Meeting some friends for a bit of a picnic lunch before fall really revs up I got there early to find some other locals enjoying the park as well and a quiet summer’s eve.

A fountain area at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two common house sparrows looking for some water in the fountain at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There was plenty of bird song emanating from the surrounding bushes and trees that filled the air even as some of the little creatures had some problems finding a good spot from which to sing. But that happens to all of us at one time or another.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A house sparrow enjoys a quiet sunset at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Oops, some landings in the bush are more graceful than others and interrupts a quiet setting sun moment for another house sparrow at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Harvest Time in Siouxland, Rural Monona County, Whiting

4 Oct
A farmer continues to run his combine in a soybean filed while he unloads into a nearby wagon as the sun sets Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Woodbury County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Harvest time has arrived in Siouxland as elsewhere where agriculture plays a big part of a state’s economy. Farmers are working quickly and long hours to get their crops out after a year in the state of Iowa where drought has maintained a presence for quite a while. And recently rains are predicted for the area, which during harvest is not always welcomed even in drought situations as it adds unwanted water content to the soybeans delaying harvest and hurting farmer’s profits as the soybeans like corn must fall within a certain water content criteria for grain elevators to accept them without being “docked money per pounds. And these days, pennies count.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A farmer continues running his combine to harvest a soybean field as he unloads into a nearby wagon while the sun sets Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Woodbury County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Being a Contrarian in Siouxland, Rural Monona County

2 Oct
One starling looks back as a flock perch on a hi-line wire Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some would say there is always “one” in the crowd when a different point of view or opinion is expressed. Even in the country in Siouxland I happened upon a gathering where one individual was wondering what was going on. And why not be a little curious if there happens to be a disruption to the normal order of things, though not all disruptions should be considered improper or bad. But collectively, many don’t like it when the boats rocks, even a little.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

One starling looks back to see what the commotion is as a flock perch on a hi-line wire Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Up, Up and Away in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

30 Sep
A turkey vulture eyes movement on the ground at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have gotten a better appreciation for nature in the Siouxland area since the pandemic created the necessity to isolate or distance from others and enjoy the walks I have been taking at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. I must admit though it is a bit eery to be walking along a nature trail and then to find a few turkey vultures flying overhead, circling, and wondering if my movement might be an attraction. But watching the graceful birds soar on the thermals they ride is fascinating as they rise up, drop down and rise up again. So it was with interest to watch one of the creatures leave his perch high in a tree and again take a look around to see what might catch its eye.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

After eyeing movement on the ground a turkey vulture lifts off and soars over the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

After eyeing movement on the ground a turkey vulture lifts off and soars over the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

After eyeing movement on the ground a turkey vulture soars over the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

After eyeing movement on the ground a turkey vulture soars over the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

After eyeing movement on the ground a turkey vulture soars over the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Walk in Nature at the Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa

28 Sep
A meadow seen from a nature trail at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have visited the Lewis and Clark State Park in Onawa a few times over the years, one of the many places in Siouxland named for or associated with the excursion that Lewis and Clark made a couple centuries ago when exploring America for President Thomas Jefferson and before the Louisiana Purchase. But I had never really explored some of the hiking trails. Generally there were other activities taking place at the park that drew my attention, although those have dwindled the last few years and of course greatly because of the current pandemic the country still endures.

A monarch butterfly looks for nectar from a plant in a meadow near a nature trail at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are some extensive meadow areas located near a nature trail at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The trails loop around the park away from a lake area and some camping sites for those that either “rough it” or camp in style in the self-contained units. I can imagine going back as the fall temperatures cool down even more with the hope of finding some nice autumn leaf change happening as I found nearer the visitor’s center at the park.

A bird dashes away as a visitor approaches on a nature trail at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A cut nature trail to follow at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The paths were easy to navigate and depending on the time of day that is more appropriate to find critters out and about foraging, one could wait for deer or song birds to appear. There were a couple of small corn fields planted for deer. There is a sign though that clearly states hunting is available on some of the Iowa’s DNR (Dept. of Natural Resources) land which the park falls under. Although I have to admit, I was a bit confused when I came upon the site about hunting, posted right next to another sign not 10 feet away which made me wonder exactly what directions people should follow.

Signs within proximity to one another can leave a person confused at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Benches as placed on some of the various trails for a person to sit and enjoy the nature around them at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Evidence of “empty nesters” in some brush along a nature trail at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While not extended hiking it was pleasant enough to walk about the trails. Along a creek feeding into the lake at the park I saw a lone little duck and kind of wondered what its story is and whether he got left behind as it looked a bit forlorn by itself without seeing any other similar creatures nearby. Hoping during the migratory season it will make some new friends to join in safe adventures or just stick to the wildlife refuge.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A lone duck rests on a log in a creekl at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A lone duck at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A lone duck at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Swinging Time in Siouxland, Fontenlle Forest’s, Bellevue, NE

26 Sep
A new service, Tree Rush, began operations in 2019 at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE seen Wednesday, July 7, 2021. People with various skill levels can climb, zip line and swing through the canopy of old-growth trees at the tree park. Suspended bridges, rope ladders and a variety of aerial challenges give visitors a chance to test their skill set. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I don’t always get back to places I previously visited in Siouxland, such as the Fontenell Forest in Bellevue, NE and am always surprised and pleased to see additions to a place that while personally I might not indulge in, others do. And it’s fun to just watch. Such is the case of above the treetop experience with Tree Rush at the nature preserve. It gives people a chance to enjoy new heights as it were and experience what it must have been like for some of the Tarzan actors. I enjoyed watching, but at this point in time, I like my feet solidly on the ground as I don’t bounce as well as I used too. But watching the staff and the people checking out the opportunity it all seems well done. I watched a short training course given to people who signed up to participate and the place was hopping on my way out from a hike than when I came into the forest. Ingenuity in appreciating nature takes many avenues.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A new service, Tree Rush, began operations in 2019 at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE seen Wednesday, July 7, 2021. People with various skill levels can climb, zip line and swing through the canopy of old-growth trees at the tree park. Suspended bridges, rope ladders and a variety of aerial challenges give visitors a chance to test their skill set. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A new service, Tree Rush, began operations in 2019 at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE seen Wednesday, July 7, 2021. People with various skill levels can climb, zip line and swing through the canopy of old-growth trees at the tree park. Suspended bridges, rope ladders and a variety of aerial challenges give visitors a chance to test their skill set. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Family Outing in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

24 Sep
A family of turkeys enjoy a morning out together at the playground at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes we humans take for granted some of the amenities available to us, even here in Siouxland. The amenities are certainly nice and I was pleasantly surprised to find a passel of turkeys enjoying a playground area early one morning before the humans showed up. Although not house trained, the turkeys can leave a trail behind and are not known for picking up after themselves.

A turkey preens itself on a bench at the playground area at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As “residents” of the park, I am sure the turkeys appreciate the area as much as their human counterparts. And early in the morning they have it all to themselves to wander and enjoy. Although wary of passing trail walkers also out early. It’s just a nice way to start the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting a Small Town in Siouxland, Uehling, NE

22 Sep
Crossroads in downtown Uehling, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy driving around Siouxland, not always knowing what I might find. And like many other states, there are numerous small towns one might run across that somewhat appear out of nowhere, but have been in existence for decades if not a century for some of them.

A country road heads off into the distance leaving Uehling, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A wall mount dedicated to the anniversary of the community’s founding on a downtown store in Uehling, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some communities are a mere crossroad for the surrounding area. In former glory days these small communities sprung up as railroad tracks and lines were laid through the area. In earlier centuries the small town was necessary because of the distance to travel and time spent by early modes of transportation, which now with automobiles is not the issue it might have once been with horses and buggies and wagons.

Each place has a story to tell, although sometimes finding that story can be challenging. These days there is a plethora of content online, though it may not be the content one is searching for to find answers.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A visitor might assume the community was named after Theodore Uehling see in in Uehling, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A wall mural heading into empty space seen in Uehling, NE Saturday, May 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hazy Days in Siouxland, Rural Nebraska

20 Sep
A turkey vulture flies over tree tops through a smokey haze created by western wildfires seen near Winnebago NE Saturday, July 31, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like many places throughout the U.S. this summer, there were a number of hazy days in Siouxland created by the wildfires raging out west in different states. The air quality was sometimes repressive as the haze lingered for days, and only recently with rains passing through the region has the quality begun to improve.

The native American wild turkey seems to ignore the old adage of crossing the road seen near Winnebago NE Saturday, July 31, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And it seems unlikely that this year will be an anomaly with what is to come. More likely more fires until everything is burnt and then years as regrowth takes place hopefully bringing to life what took hundreds of years to create, especially the old growth forests. Looking forward to fall in Siouxland it will be nice to go about and hopefully enjoy some cooler temps and whatever color the trees will share this year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A smokey haze created by western wildfires hangs in the atmosphere near Winnebago NE Saturday, July 31, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A raptor sits on the corner of a roof of a shed waiting seen near Winnebago NE Saturday, July 31, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

“Fawning” over Nature in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

18 Sep
A fawns rests in the shade of a thicket at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like pleasant unexpected surprises when out photographing in Siouxland. In the last year I have taken many walks at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve and I can’t say I have ever been disappointed with opportunities to photograph wildlife there. I am not a hardcore wildlife or nature photographer. Never rising before the sun does to get in position to take photos but happy when serendipity intervenes and gives me a chance to test my reflexes while walking about.

A fawn checks out a visitor at close quarters at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Attending an event at Adams recently I took a walk away from the activities down a short trail and was pleasantly surprised to find two young deer hanging out in the shade and munching a bit of grass in the immediate area. I generally can not get with a football field’s distance of these skittish creatures and these two didn’t seem to mind as I was not in a hurry to scurry down a trail, but stopped and watched and was able to take a few frames of them until they tired of my presence and left. I am looking forward to fall arriving at some point in anticipation of maybe photographing wildlife with fall color. But then that might be asking too much of a serendipitous encounter.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A fawn checks out a visitor while snacking in the shade of a thicket at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having a snack but also wary of a passer-by at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With its fawn not far away, a white-tailed deer watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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