Tag Archives: adams homestead and nature preserve

Taking a Closer Look in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

6 Sep

An insect clings to a dew covered grass stem at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will be the first to admit that sometimes while out traversing Siouxland I am too focused on a specific place or subject I want to photograph. Many times while visiting the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve I am looking for birds and deer or other “larger” creatures. But sometimes, slowing down and really taking a look can prove fruitful. One such encounter this summer on a kind of foggy, dewey morning had me a take a second look while walking in a meadow at the preserve.

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I do not own any macro lenses. Never have. When I worked for newspapers and needed to do closeup shots of certain subjects I used a “normal” lens and added a lens extension tube. This cheap man’s version of macro. And it worked effectively enough to give me images I needed without buying yet another lens I might use only occasionally. And I could use the extension tube on different lenses thus changing my focal length as needed.

An insect clings to a dew covered grass stem at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

If I remember I believe I spent maybe 30 or minutes trying to take these photos. I was using an extremely long telephoto lens on a monopod. I had slowed my walk to a standstill and enjoyed it immensely, not realizing so much time had passed as I tried capturing dew drops and other nature looks with the lens I had at the time.

It’s easy to overlook things sometimes. Just wish I had my cup of coffee with me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating 25 Years in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

9 Aug

Photographs of the book “Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, 25 Years” by photographer Jerry L Mennenga, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the North Sioux City, South Dakota park, taken Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This month a local park and preserve will be celebrating its 25th anniversary as a nature preserve, park and general nice place to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve has grown into a local place of peace and solitude and to help celebrate its milestone I have put together a small book to commemorate its existence and to showcase some of the residents that hang out there.

Photographs of the book “Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, 25 Years” by photographer Jerry L Mennenga, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the North Sioux City, South Dakota park, taken Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographs of the book “Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, 25 Years” by photographer Jerry L Mennenga, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the North Sioux City, South Dakota park, taken Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have taken many walks and hikes over the years and seen changes to the preserve and am always happier after a walk. Although these days I am looking forward to cooler temperatures as the heat and humidity even in early morning can be stifling.

Photographs of the book “Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, 25 Years” by photographer Jerry L Mennenga, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the North Sioux City, South Dakota park, taken Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographs of the book “Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, 25 Years” by photographer Jerry L Mennenga, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the North Sioux City, South Dakota park, taken Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The preserve will be hosting a celebration day in August with some events and a chance for people to explore and enjoy the place to recharge themselves. Maybe get to see some of the residents of whom a few appear below. Although the cast and crew may change in nature, the joy of seeing and photographing them always remains a high point on any day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bashful Red-headed woodpecker tries hiding sitting atop a dead tree stump at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 27, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker looks for a meal at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, December 24, 2021 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A mourning dove sits quietly in a tree at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve on a chilly Friday, December 24, 2021 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall color at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An Eastern Kingbird takes in its surroundings at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring Wishing in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, South Dakota

13 Feb
A female eastern blue bird sits perched in a tree at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even though February has barely begun in Siouxland and elsewhere, the current warm weather spell has increased that longing for spring to arrive, early even, for an opportunity for early morning walks and searching for song birds again at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve.

A photographer searches a wetland area for a specific species of songbird at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young robin puffs out its feathers sitting in a bush near a wetland area at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The fresh air that doesn’t freeze the air passage on the way in and sunlight early in the morning is a delight that some folk enjoy. Plus it makes getting exercise easier when one doesn’t think about frozen toes walking on one the preserves many trails. And if one happens to linger a bit to just enjoy the moment, hot coffee doesn’t pop into one’s mind giving incentive to hurry back to the car and a warmer space after a brisk walk.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A robin sits in the shade of a tree at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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

5 Feb
Morning at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I must admit it’s must easier getting up in Siouxland and going outdoors throughout most of the year, when it isn’t winter. Getting my personal engine turned over with a couple cups of coffee and maybe some hot oatmeal is helpful, but inertia and pleasant warmth inside the house are strong factors for being lazy.

But no matter when I go out, I am always looking at light and how it might or does interact with subjects, whether singular, minuscule or on a grand scale. Light makes the image. The more dramatic the light oft time means more impact. But a person can not always control that aspect of what might be encountered.

Early morning at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese fly over treetops at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve looking for a landing spot as the sun rises behind clouds in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But one is more guaranteed success earlier in the morning and late in the day when color gets added to the mix. During midday the sometimes harsh light can make some great black and white images can create drama that holds a viewer’s attention. And so wistfully I think about the coming spring and the possibility of getting out early again when the temperatures are above zero, and hopefully above freezing. Sometimes that north wind can stop a person in their tracks, but not for long. Frost bite is serious and pausing some days is not advised.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Early morning at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A weathered fence rail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Day out in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

30 Jan
A man ice skates on a frozen Mud Lake at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, December 24, 2021 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days when the weather is a bit warmer in Siouxland and more congenial without a north wind and windchills driving temperatures to the double digit minus degree area, it’s just nice to get out and enjoy the day and the moment. A little exercise doesn’t hurt as well as winter months can sometimes make one a bit sedentary.

A woman rides her bike on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, December 24, 2021 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hunters pack it in late morning along the Missouri River and across from the the river Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, December 24, 2021 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Humans and creatures try to enjoy a brief respite in the weather roller coaster as it careens from cold to warm back to cold again. The only difference is that people have a bit more of a refuge to shelter in than the critters as the winter continues and the temperatures begin to plummet to their normal seasonal range.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A young deer cautiously watches a figure up ahead on a trail at the Adams Homestead Nature Preserve Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young deer decides a detour is the right choice after spying another trail user at the Adams Homestead Nature Preserve Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese begin their descent to a field near the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, December 24, 2021 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese circle about a field as a landing area near Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, December 24, 2021 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Reaching for Heaven in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

22 Oct
A goose takes flight and aims for the heavens during the migratory season this fall seen at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes one wants to aim high and take a chance of achieving new heights, even in Siouxland. Not much needs to be said aside from admiring a person or creature who wants to try. It is always nice to achieve a goal or dream, but sometimes it is just as important to just make the attempt in getting there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (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©)

A Day in Siouxland, Adams Homestead, North Sioux City, SD

24 Feb
A cross country skier get some exercise on a brisk day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, February 3, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some winter days in Siouxland people just want to get out, especially on those days when the sun is shining and the temps are above zero. The last few days with temperatures reaching -40 overnight with windchill, the thought of leaving a warm house gives one chills before even feeling that cold gust on the face when the front door opens.

Some local gees wing their way to another destination flying over the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, February 3, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even the local animal population wants to get around a bit, maybe finding another feeding spot while trying to survive this particular winter. At Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve the place has nicely groomed trails year round, even in winter that hikers, skiers and snow shoe walkers enjoy. And sometimes just getting out to feel some fresh air without the thought of frostbite setting in within minutes can be motivational itself.

Even the heartiest of creatures learn to conserve their energy during these cold days and extremes in weather, all hoping for spring to arrive, sooner than later.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two bison in a feedlot situated next to the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, February 3, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lighting up the Holidays in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

18 Dec
A lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a chilly evening when I would prefer to be at home having coffee in a warm house, the lure and allure of seeing Christmas lights in Siouxland is always a strong pull for me to get outside, bundle up and enjoy.

This year because of the coronavirus pandemic the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve put up Christmas lights on walking paths instead of hosting its annual event where historical buildings on the property are opened up and children can visit Santa in its welcome center. And I always try my hand at capturing the lights. But sometimes it’s also fun to play with the light and just see shapes and designs.

Christmas lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday evening, Dec. 10, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Christmas lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday evening, Dec. 10, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I tried making a couple of exposures, one focused and the other slightly out handholding and guesstimating as best as I could my camera position. Basically making one exposure then racking the focus and making the second exposure. While maybe not totally successful, it was fun to see the results. Which I achieved through post processing by layering the two images and then blending them. Nothing ventured…..

Christmas lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday evening, Dec. 10, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Christmas lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday evening, Dec. 10, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will be going out again to Adams Homestead to “hang out” with some fellow camera club photographers and will look to see what else I might find to experiment with and what kind of twist I can make on photographing these lights. One constant is that I go out 30-40 minutes earlier than my last trip as the sun keeps setting earlier which in my mind makes it easier to “brave the cold” while still enjoying the Christmas holiday.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Christmas lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday evening, Dec. 10, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Holly, Jolly Christmas in Siouxland, Adams Homestead, North Sioux City, SD

6 Dec
A snowman greets visitors checking out the lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The sun has already set as a lighted Christmas display comes on at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas celebrations in Siouxland as elsewhere takes on a different atmosphere this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Normally the Homestead would open its buildings up and upwards of a few thousand folk would pass through to visit and see Santa in the welcome center.

But Ranger Jody Moats this year decided it might be too risky for some folk and so with the help of volunteers strung a lot lights around the grounds allowing people to visit, outdoors and enjoy a Christmas light show.

Park Ranger Jody Moats poses by an angel as she becomes turning on Christmas light displays at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Well, Ranger Moats and the volunteers put up a lot of lights and it makes for a festive walk through which will change once a little snow settles onto the ground casting back some reflective white surfaces for the lights to shine above. The walk will be a destination for people wanting to enjoy the Christmas spirit and a chance to forget about current affairs as they cautiously enjoy the lighted scenes at Adams Homestead.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


The schoolhouse is lit for a Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A lighted Christmas display will greet visitors to the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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