Some Days are for Clowning Around in Siouxland, Grand Meadow Heritage Days, Washta

26 Oct

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When visiting the Grand Meadow Heritage Days earlier this fall in Siouxland there were a few artists and others set up to entertain visitors to the museum and enjoying a look back in time at the displays. The clown Special K was creating balloon hats for kids and releasing bubbles into the air. Lots and lots of bubbles. Even though she probably entertained those attending, it would have been nice had more people shown up. Rest assured she went home “squeaky clean”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K with a tool of her trade to launch bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K creates a balloon hat at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Probably Gone from Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

24 Oct

A wood duck shepherds its ducklings away from the shaded shoreline as a walker passes by on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. The animals were resting in the morning shade until disturbed by the passer-by. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the temperatures in Siouxland cool down and begins feeling more like fall, I begin to wonder about the little ducklings and their parents and whether they have yet left the area for other climes or will be sticking around. While out walking at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve over the summer I came across this wood duck and noticed it becoming a bit animated. It wasn’t until I saw its ducklings gather and then heading out for the farther shore did I realize it was the early warning system in place to shepherd the little ones to safety.

It seems this year I have not come across as many young birds as the past couple of years. But then maybe I am just visiting too many other places now that life is somewhat normal again and vaccines are available. And although I have seen some birds migrating overhead, it doesn’t seem like I have seen many making their way. It’s been a odd here in Sioxland for weather and apparently it still is.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A wood duck begins moving on a log to alert its ducklings nearby as a walker passes by on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. The animals were resting in the morning shade until disturbed by the passer-by. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Wood duck ducklings leave a shaded area as a walker passes by on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. The animals were resting in the morning shade until disturbed by the passer-by. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Reliving the Old Wild West in Siouxland, Iowa Western Border Agents, Grand Heritage Center, Washta

22 Oct

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While attending the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival Days in Siouxland, in September, I ran into some folk who I previously met and photographed who belong to a black powder gun club, the Western Iowa Border Agents, and do staged Wild West Shootouts at various places they visit. Sometimes parades, sometimes other festivals. I talked with some of the club members a few years ago and asked about their interest in the Old West. Some of the kids then are now grown adults and according to one dad, living on their own as he smiled and looked at his sons.

Visitors to the festival watch as the Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The men’s portrayals and sharing of their interest is no different than those who attend Civil War re-enactments around the country, being involved in a kind of real-world experience of past events.

One of the gentlemen told me he does all of the loading for the rounds fired for the pistols and rifles. But that, like with everything else, costs have risen due to the pandemic and limited supplies, some items have gone from $12.00 per pound beyond $100.00 per pound for material. Which for an enthusiast is a steep cost for a hobby.

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Those that watch enjoy the staged event, a retelling of some of the harsher elements of the Old West where slights and disparaging remarks were settled by gunfire. Sadly those, it mirrors some of the current occurrences that happen today. Someone slights someone at a party and then you read about a person returning with a weapon and shooting someone.

One of the gentlemen told me that a parade event the group has been involved with for many, many years and in which they always did a staged shootout during the parade has been cancelled for a couple of years. Organizers cited the Parkland School shooting event which had happened that year and couldn’t in good conscience allow the stage shooting as people not aware of the staged event could panic believing an actual shooting is taking place. Modern society is not so modern sometimes.

But doing the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival in attendance enjoyed the “show” and everyone walked away and deciding who would hit the dirt the next time as we all like to come out as heroes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club talks to their cameraman prior to a staged Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A couple chat prior to the Western Iowa Border Agents’ stage shootout event at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Everything’s Ducky in Siouxland, Heron Haven, Omaha, NE

20 Oct

A young mallard stands on a floating log at the Heron Haven in Omaha, NE Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary, an oxbow wetland of Big Papillion Creek. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Wood Duck takes flight as two others continue sitting on a log at the Heron Haven in Omaha, NE Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary, an oxbow wetland of Big Papillion Creek. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Traveling a bit outside of Siouxland proper to other places like Omaha, NE and visiting various parks and preserves it has is kind of a plus as it’s not too terrible long a drive and while it takes some effort to get there, the rewards or hope for same can be a good motivator to get out the front door.

And while I can’t say I have the bird bug pushing me to photograph these “flighty” creatures I do enjoy the time spent watching them and hoping to make an unusual, or usual kind of exposure. I am always happy no matter what when photographing animals.

Two young mallards sit on a floating log at the Heron Haven in Omaha, NE Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary, an oxbow wetland of Big Papillion Creek. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A wood duck peers about as it feeds in a pond at the Heron Haven in Omaha, NE Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary, an oxbow wetland of Big Papillion Creek. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy the light play on the critters and their surroundings. And with less than ideal rain conditions this year as well as last year many places that were just water have begun to become more wetland, land, than water ponds. Another element that looks weird when photographing fowl. The mossy like substance is more of a green ooze. Cue the Halloween music.

A wood duck feeds in a pond at the Heron Haven in Omaha, NE Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary, an oxbow wetland of Big Papillion Creek. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A pond at the Heron Haven in Omaha, NE Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary, an oxbow wetland of Big Papillion Creek. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Heron Haven is a delightful place to watch water fowl and from what I learned, the one resident heron. I saw a shadow pass over but didn’t actually see the bird. Too focused on stationary ducks and reflections. But it’s all good. Outdoors, nature, pleasant enough weather and then lunch after having done an early start to reach Omaha in the morning while there is still some nice light. I have previously spent worse days when working for a newspaper. But now I can look forward to those excursions that I want to make. And only have myself to disappoint if all does not go well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Ducks are silhouetted on a pond at the Heron Haven in Omaha, NE Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary, an oxbow wetland of Big Papillion Creek. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bird blind at the Heron Haven in Omaha, NE Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary, an oxbow wetland of Big Papillion Creek. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographers are drawn to find resident herons and other birds at the Heron Haven in Omaha, NE Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary, an oxbow wetland of Big Papillion Creek. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A board walk takes a visitor out over a water pond at the Heron Haven in Omaha, NE Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary, an oxbow wetland of Big Papillion Creek. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Sibley bird identification chart of backyard birds on display for visitors at the Heron Haven in Omaha, NE Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary, an oxbow wetland of Big Papillion Creek. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Little Feathered Friends in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

18 Oct

A yellow-rumped warbler looks for insects at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, October 4, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when out waking in nature in Siouxland I find it a real challenge to photograph small song birds when visiting places. Unlike some friends were are “birders” I only recognize a few species and have to revisit A Sibley bird book I have, and then I am often corrected, thankfully, by friends more knowledgeable than I. Plus, I am not acquainted at all but should learn, bird song, to help identify these various species.

I just enjoy photographing them and their antiques, are the more so as they flit about tree branches and leaves trying to feed. Recently I came across a yellow-rumped warbler a friend currently identified while out walking at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. The little guy took no notice of me as it was chasing small insects flitting about the various branches. I knew I wasn’t shooting “fast” enough when taking these photos among the shaded leaves. And while I photograph with a M4/3 camera system, the equivalent lens length of a full frame camera would have been 600mm, plus I also had a tele converter attached making the lens even longer. But still, even with somewhat blurry photos, the intent of the little guy got my admiration and allowed me a chance to work on my photo skills. Hoping there will be more opportunities but one never knows as migration is underway.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A yellow-rumped warbler spies a flying insect at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, October 4, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A yellow-rumped warbler reaches for a flying insect at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, October 4, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A yellow-rumped warbler hunts for more insects at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, October 4, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pockets of Color in Siouxland, Rural Thurston County, Winnebago, NE

16 Oct

Some plants haver begun their fall ritual of changing color seen in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some local areas in Siouxland have begun exhibiting a change of season as fall slowly makes its way into the area. Recently temperatures have been in the 60’s with forecasts of temps hitting the 80’s for a couple of days. And then with low overnight lows the leave change will accelerate ushering that fall look.

Leaves begin to slowly change in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Yellow leaves on a dirt in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I immensely enjoy the fall season as many folk do. And will do my best in getting out photographing scenes in rural Siouxland much to the chagrin of many friends and probably readers of this blog. But, therein lies the joy of not having an editor look over one’s shoulder.

Many backroads, many early mornings to catch those rays of sun diagonally lighting up the landscape. And maybe some daytime runs with full sun lighting treetops from above. On a beautiful fall day, with a little jazz playing and some coffee on tap, what a better way to spend it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Trees barely begin changing in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A corn field ready for harvest in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sumac leaves change colors in a rural scene showing early signs of fall Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 near Winnebago, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Reminiscing About History in Siouxland, Grand Meadow Heritage Festival, Washta

14 Oct

A man pauses at a window while visiting the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always find it fascinating to learn about the history of a place and the people when visiting small town festivals or museums. And I have visited the annual heritage festival a few times over the years. Many local and not local folk visit and reminisce about attending school, now museum, which houses many artifacts from previous decades and even a century or two.

A former school now a museum of history at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Farm implements from a couple of centuries ago on display in the museum during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Farm implements from a couple of centuries ago on display in the museum during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Farm implements from a couple of centuries ago on display in the museum during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Children visiting with parents and grandparents seem especially taken with technology they have never seen or heard of let alone used. And probably after a half day’s use might be very thankful for today’s version. And while it may be eavesdropping, hearing people talk about life in the old days is fascinating and telling, as most never say they went without when they didn’t know what they didn’t have to begin with. Although, most would agree, with all sorts of improved technology, the most favored seems to be the invention of air conditioning.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A scene from a history book that some folk still remember and seen at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Early century technology on display at the museum seen during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The annual Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pioneer wagons on display at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hiking Spirit Mound in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

12 Oct

Hikers seen at the top of Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A view of part of the countryside seen from the top of Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Revisiting places in Siouxland is always fun for me. A little exercise at some destinations and the chance to reacquaint with a place that is as much educational as it is fun. Spirit Mound outside of Vermillion, SD is recognized as one of the stopovers for the Lewis and Clark Expedition that former President Thomas Jefferson commissioned for the expansion of territory during the 1800’s.

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The hike to the top of the mound is easy enough and gives a nice view or the surrounding area, which is mostly farmland. It was high ground for the Lewis and Clark expedition to scout the surrounding area. Sacred to local Native American tribes. As described on a national park website: “Spirit Mound was alternately described as a “mountain of evel spirits”, a “hill of little people”, and a “place of Deavels.” The Sioux, Omaha, and Otoe tribes told of 18-inch tall humans with “remarkable large heads” who inhabited the site. Armed with arrows, these spirits attacked anyone who approached the hill. What did Lewis and Clark expect to find there?”

The park includes a variety of signage that includes information about the journey as well as natural history of the place that might interest to others. It’s a pleasant way to spend part of a day exploring the area. Enough exercise to work up an appetite for lunch but not too much for the non outdoor adventurous type.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A holdover from a glacial period at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage about earlier geological aspects of the area seen at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Geologic information about Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Information about restoration of prairie explained along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A rest bench at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Wildflowers at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bunny greets a visitor before darting off into vegetation along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A grasshopper nestled into vegetation at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage about snakes along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An all-sided bench for folk who climb to the summit and can then enjoy a 360 view of the surrounding countryside at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Experiencing a Drought in Siouxland, Badger Lake Wildlife Management Area, rural Monona County

10 Oct

Birds flying “erratically” looking for insects gives thought of WWI air to air dog fights seen at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This region of Siouxland has and is currently is in a state of either severe or extreme drought according to state personnel tracking such phenomena and it doesn’t look likely that it will pass anytime soon. Recently I revisited a wildlife management area, Badger Lake, in rural Monona County and saw what wetlands had been there previously has disappeared. Climate change does have its ebbs and flows, but it seems the lack of rainfall and snowfall during the various months will begin to affect the region if water is not forthcoming is a more timely manner. And the former small lake is now completely filled in with plants.

An area filled with water one to two years ago is now a “sea” of green at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American White Pelicans rest late in the afternoon at Badger Lake Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An area filled with water one to two years ago is now a “sea” of green at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The sun rises over Badger Lake Wildlife Refuge in Monona County, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2021, near Whiting, IA. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While out looking for harvest photos for an agency I occasionally photograph for this year seems again hard on those crops being harvested, mainly soybeans and corn. It seems the last few years the crops harvested have been above average, already getting timely rain to sustain them and let them mature.

However, the amount of rainfall to sustain such agriculture is not forthcoming. The timely rains help the current crop(s) but does nothing to alleviate the drought threat. So going forward the ground water level becomes less where it is found further down, below where these kinds of crops can reach. The drought also affects migrating bird species as there is less places for them to stop and rest and find the kind of nourishment needed to sustain their long journey. Although locally, various birds were zipping about frantically catching gnats and other morsels they seemed to enjoy. However, my attempted at showing these small wonders was challenged as they moved so quickly and blended so well into the background.

So this winter, as predicted to be brutally cold and extreme in its own right, will say a lot whether there is large amounts of snowfall that will help alleviate the water problems going forward.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An area filled with water one to two years ago is now a “sea” of green at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Birds flying “erratically” looking for insects gives thought of WWI air to air dog fights seen at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Birds flying “erratically” looking for insects gives thought of WWI air to air dog fights seen at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Migrating American white Pelicans herd fish to feed while others rest in a body of water near Badger Lake Wildlife Management Area in rural Monona County near Sloan, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Some folk think migration periods might vary this year to changing climate temperatures in various regions where the birds winter and summer during the year. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Migrating American white Pelicans herd fish to feed while others rest in a body of water near Badger Lake Wildlife Management Area in rural Monona County near Sloan, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Some folk think migration periods might vary this year to changing climate temperatures in various regions where the birds winter and summer during the year. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Treasures in Siouxland, Rebecca Gather, Textile Artist

8 Oct

Textile artist Rebecca Gothier shows off and talks about her pine needle textile work at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always fun, and nice, to happen upon something unexpected when traversing around Siouxland, and so it was when I met textile artist Rebecca Gothier at the most recent Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s annual Heritage Days recently.

While photographing her working some macrame or crocheting ,she began telling me about working with long pine needles and other various natural items to create some interesting and unique textile items.

Textile artist Rebecca Gothier shows off and talks about her pine needle textile work at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Textile artist Rebecca Gothier shows off and talks about her pine needle textile work at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Textile artist Rebecca Gothier shows off and talks about her pine needle textile work at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Rebecca said she uses a mixture of natural items to actually dye some of her work and give it a hue that is more natural and “earthy”. Being a humble photographer and not much of a textile kind of guy, I listened and understood most of what she was talking about, but some aspects also was above my pay grade as the saying goes.

But nevertheless it was a wonderful chance encounter as a local festival and something that would not have happened if I had not seen her sitting and working in a pool of light, which is was drew my attention to her as the barn area she and other artists were located was rather dim. And this time the light highlighted something unique.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Textile artist Rebecca Gothier shows off and talks about her pine needle textile work at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Textile artist Rebecca Gothier shows off and talks about her pine needle textile work at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Textile artist Rebecca Gothier shows off and talks about her pine needle textile work at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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