Tag Archives: animals

Summer Time Fairs in Siouxland, Sioux Center

14 Jul

With the middle of summer approaching and the temperatures heading north, it is county fair time in Siouxland. The Sioux County Youth Fair is underway this week with other area fairs beginning as well. The fairs generally run a week with a large emphasis on the 4-H kids and their livestock or smaller animal exhibits as well as crafts and other skills learned.

Young 4-H’ers show their animal projects competing for blue ribbons and best of show at the Sioux County Youth Fair at the fairgrounds in Sioux Center, Iowa, Wednesday July 12, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As a youngster who grew up on a farm, my brothers and I participated in 4-H projects. Those times have changed as there are now fewer small farms and in some respects less “farm kids” who participate. 4-H shifted its perspective a number of years ago and began to seek “city kids” more actively to participate. It is a good organization much like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts teaching youth to follow through on projects and participating in character building activities.

Those who exhibit animals have to keep substantial records of the care given as well as demonstrate knowledge about that particular animal breed. It can be time consuming but one learns so much from doing. I like to see the kids exhibits and watch them show their animals, which brings back memories of my own participation. Some of which I can laugh about today, but then, not so much. And it’s nice to see the continuation of 4-H and the kids enjoyment in participating.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Taking a look in Siouxland, Sioux Falls, SD

18 Sep

Some days I can drive about in Siouxland and enjoy the drive and enjoy the scenery, but nothing moves me enough to take a photo. And that’s okay, but I sometimes feel I need to do it. A recent trip again to Sioux Falls and another trip to Falls Park was a pleasant day. A chance to eat a picnic lunch at the park and then a few photos, this time enjoying the ducks that were enjoying the water. Some did a good job treading and one got so caught up in looking for food that it didn’t notice at first that it was headed toward the small falls there. Some days one should just enjoy what’s there, and if you get lucky and capture a nice photo, all the better.


Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature in Siouxland, Rural South Dakota

8 Aug

Some days just don’t turn out as you expect sometimes, but then again, one should just enjoy the moment for what it is as to what you would like. I took a trip up to Vermillion, South Dakota today to eat a small restaurant that serves Asian food. It has a buffet that while small is always good and affordable. But today is the day that this restaurant is closed. So I had lunch at another place which serves good food, but I believe is a bit over priced for its offering.

That said, the drive up was gorgeous. Blue sky, white puffy clouds. I got a late start. I decided to continue being healthy and went to my gym then showered, talked with a neighbor and took off. I didn’t reach Vermillion until after 1 p.m. But focused on the lunch I didn’t stop to photograph any of the scenes on my way up with the light playing off corn tassels in the fields and the white clouds accentuating the blue sky. I did have my polarizer with me and thought the afternoon was going to be great for shooting photos.

After lunch, I squeezed off a few frames in the downtown area, then went for a walk around the surrounding neighborhoods, looking for a vantage point overlooking the Missouri River. And as I was walking, the clouds began moving in. The weather was changing and the overcast grey clouds was pushing away the white clouds and covering the blue and my plans went awry. The day didn’t become picture perfect as I had expected, but on my way home I didn’t feel the day a complete loss. One just never knows how something may turn out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City

Horses grazing in rural South Dakota Monday, August 8, 2016.       (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Horses grazing in rural South Dakota Monday, August 8, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Friends come and go, in Siouxland

8 Feb

It’s true that as one journeys through life one makes friends, changes friends and loses friends. Life just works that way. And the same is true of our four-legged friends as well. I have a couple pet cats currently, and previously have had a number of pets that have called my place home. And then there are the visitors.

Recently a neighbor moved to another part of town and the family’s cat made the trip with them. When I first met Clyde, I thought he was a neighborhood stray. A little cautious but friendly always roaming about at night. The was during the winter months and some nights it was extremely cold.  Then  about 6 months later I learned he belonged to a family that had moved into the neighborhood. The family seemed to have a hard time getting Clyde to come home. He would always come visit my house, especially if he thought he could get a meal, which he always did. He would sit by the door and meow. When he wanted out, he would wander about the house, making certain I saw him and then head for a door. My cue to get my butt over their and act like the butler.

The family moved last December, and I must say I miss Clyde’s visits. Not the most affectionate cat, but he would let me pick him up and pet him and rub his tummy when he was laying about and napping.

But since that time, and somewhat overlapping, another cat has shown up and been getting a meal every now and again, Pumpkin the stray cat. I saw Pumpkin maybe a year or so ago during warmer weather. He came around a few months, I would feed him outside and then content with something in his tummy, he would find a spot nearby and take a nap. This fall and continuing into winter Pumpkin would show up around 6 a.m. and meow outside a back door. I would open it and he would stick his head in then slowly make certain all is right and then come in to find his bowl, much like Clyde did when visiting. Not quite a docile, Pumpkin allows me to pet him, scratch his head and ears and meow at me when he wants to exit.

It’s a tough life, but butlers are hard to come by and they have to be trained just right. I think I am learning. Meantime my own two feline friends watch from a safe distance as I befriend these freeloaders and the younger one sometimes hisses. But neither Clyde nor Pumpkin has shown any indication they really want to fight. They just want to eat and find a safe place to take a nap. When I hear the winding of a cat turbine engine, I get up, find the offending culprit and start saying no. And so far, detente has been very pleasant. But I am cautious. I don’t allow the stranger cats into my house until some time has passed and I feel they are safe and not going to cause mischief or other issues.

So to Clyde I bid adieu and to Pumpkin I say bonjour.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Youth Fair in Sioux County, Sioux Center

12 Jul

This week begins the start of the annual fair openings for various communities and counties around the Siouxland region. I visited the Sioux County Youth Fair this past weekend.

It officially starts Monday with 4-H kids and FFA (Future Farmers of America) members bringing in their items to be judged on Monday, and they will be showing their items for competition and these can range from photography, animal husbandry, arts, crafts, baking, engineering, etc.

The showing that took place this weekend was an open show for beef people and goats owners which allows people outside the immediate area to compete as well. During the regular fair competition it is generally just those people who live within a certain geographic area that competes in their county fairs.

The participation of possible 4-H members has grown since I was a 4-H member in the latter 1960’s and early ’70’s. In those days, 4-H mainly consisted of kids in the rural areas of their communities, basically farm kids. Today it’s very inclusive of children living in towns and cities.

And the projects available for competition has grown as well. The credo of 4-H has always been learn by doing. And like any worthwhile activity such as sports, there is work involved in participating and doing well. These youngsters have spent considerable time creating their projects or tending to their animals. Records have to be kept and information learned, especially with animals. Those raising animals may have to later recall that info when asked by a judge.

So it’s fun to reminisce and watch a younger generation, or two, or three, go through the growing pains I went through in completing a project. And by today’s standards, there is so much more competition for kids’ attention than when I was that age.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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