Tag Archives: fall

Enjoying a Fall Day in Siouxland, rural Monona County

7 Nov

A trace of fog highlights a rural scene of the Loess Hills area in rural Monona County, Iowa Saturday, October 8, 2022 near Onawa, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall is a favorite season of mine as it is for a lot of people. And even though again this year Siouxland has seen less rainfall than it should one could still find some color in places. Driving the backroads of the Loess Hills area in western Iowa is always a pleasure. I am only sad I didn’t get to enough places this year within the time period as the colors changed and the temperature yo-yo’ed between unusually warm to cold and near freezing.

Two hikers head off on a trail from the Loess Hills State Forest Overlook in rural Monona County, Iowa Saturday, October 8, 2022 near Pisgah, Iowa as fall colors are continuing to change from summer to fall. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A rural scene of the Loess Hills area in rural Monona County, Iowa Saturday, October 8, 2022 near Onawa, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Already most if not all trees have lost their leaves and their color. The only ones that still might have some leaves are burr oaks which sport a green and brown color scheme. Winter can sometimes be a long stretch as one only sees brown and sometimes white. But even that was sparse last year with less than normal snowfall as well. But patience will have to be the rule of the day as daylight savings time changes soon and winter slowly creeps closer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The hillside near a trail from the Loess Hills State Forest Overlook in rural Monona County, Iowa Saturday, October 8, 2022 near Pisgah, Iowa are ablaze in fall colors. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two hikers set out to hike a trail from the Loess Hills State Forest Overlook in rural Monona County, Iowa Saturday, October 8, 2022 near Pisgah, Iowa as fall colors are continuing to change from summer to fall. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting Blue Mounds State Park outside of Siouxland, Luverne, MN

13 Dec
Taking a stroll on one of the trails at Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like taking road trips to places I have not yet visited, even when the destination lands me outside of the Siouxland region. There is so much to see, and photograph, no matter where one travels.

Earlier this year I made a trip to the Blue Mounds State Park in southern Minnesota. Not a long drive and a very pleasant place to visit with enough trails and interesting rock formations because of the granite found within the park. I didn’t ask but assumed the granite was quarried in earlier centuries to use in construction of local buildings, but which is now part of and within the state park.

Granite used to be quarried for surrounding regional buildings in earlier days seen at Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Granite outcroppings are found throughout the Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The park is surrounded primarily by farmland, and is home to remnants of original Minnesota prairie. There is also a heard of bison that live within the park’s boundaries but evidently are shy when it comes to visitors.

Farmland surrounds Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Farmland surrounds is seen from a hilltop at the Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bison graze on land of the Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I tried to time my visit for fall colors at the park, but that type of venture anywhere is always hit and miss. There hadn’t really been much of a cold snap even though there had been some brisk, cold nights. But the park has the makings of some nice foliage if it ever cooperates and one gets lucky to visit on such a day. Walking the trails was just a nice way to spend part of a day and when at some of the higher points in the park, nice vistas. There is also a visitor’s center, but it was closed for the season. Another reason to go back sometime between Memorial Day and Labor Day when there might be more park activity. Time will tell.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Signage for hiking trails at the Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Frederick Manfred was an early proponent for the Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visitors center at the Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Groves of trees and prairie grass and granite is seen throughout the Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Farmland surrounding the Blue Mounds State Park is seen from atop a hill within the park, situated near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Farmland surrounds is seen from a hilltop at the Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Chipping in, in Siouxland, Fall Festival Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

18 Oct
A family poses with cow chips at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In recent weeks the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in Siouxland celebrated its 24th anniversary as a state preserve. And the park, as it does every year, hosted a fall festival. One of the activities that always draws a crowd is the cow pie chip throwing contest. Having grown up on a farm and done my fair share of “tossing” cow chips with a shovel while cleaning out a barn I am always amazed at folk wanting to participate.

One participant tries her luck at the cow ship throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People line up to participate and watch the cow chip throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Not to be outdone by the Olympics, volunteers with the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve measure the distance cow chips were thrown at the fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A cow chip “lady” retrieves previously thrown chips so more folk can participate during the cow chip throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I noticed throughout the contest that there was no personal hand sanitizer available for participants and those volunteers who were retrieving the chips for other throwers. The nice thing about chips though is that the odor normally associated with cow pies was not noticeable. Small blessings.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Giving it a fling, brings smiles to some folk watching the cow chip throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hanging out in Siouxland, Rural Monona County

16 Oct
A red-tailed hawk looks for a meal while perching on a wooden hi-line pole as the sun begins to set Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County looking about before flying off to possibly find a better hunting opportunity.

Out driving about some gravel backroads a week or so ago in Siouxland I enjoyed the sun dipping lower in a fall sky. I had decided to call it a day after driving a couple of hours looking for images when I saw this red-tailed hawk land on a hi-line pole. It was overlooking a corn field and I am certain the feathered creature was contemplating was delicious morsel might be available for a snack as it also watched the sun setting in the western sky. Eventually it decided to try another location, but it was enjoyable watching this bird look, preen and look some more, as though it wanted to be presentable for whatever occasion might arise.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A red-tailed hawk scratches its head as the sun begins to set while perching on a wooden hi-line pole looking for a meal Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County looking about before flying off to possibly find a better hunting opportunity. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Keeping an Eagle Eye out in Siouxland, rural Woodbury County

27 Jan
An eagle sits high atop a tree along a creek outside of Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it’s just nice to get lucky. These days when driving about in various rural places in Siouxland I scan tree tops, mostly looking for raptors like various hawks, but sometimes and somedays one gets lucky. Coming back from an excursion of such driving in late November last year, an eagle was sitting high atop a tree that sat in the corner of a harvested farm field. Minding his or her business, and probably just looking for the next meal. I was happy to again see such a magnificent bird, coming at the end of the day which makes an even better memory.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Ahh, Relish the Little Birdies in Siouxland, Winnebago, NE

26 Dec
A house sparrow is lost in the fall colors reflected in a small pool of water in Ho Chunk village in Winnebago, NE Friday Oct. 9 2020, and surrounding area. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As winter begins to settle in here in Siouxland I will miss seeing the opportunities for photographing certain possibilities until next year. The reflection of fall colors in a pool of water and how directional light in the morning makes trees come alive with their own “electric” light show.

Sometimes life gets busy and one doesn’t take a moment or two to just enjoy those small things or critters one may see on a daily basis. And especially not stopping to simply watch.

A robin seem to stop and take in the fall colors around Ho Chunk village in Winnebago, NE Friday Oct. 9 2020, and surrounding area. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

If I walk briskly or arrive early to a meeting, how will I be affected if I stop and look and watch for a few seconds, observing nature and finding myself milliseconds behind in my apparent schedule. I would guess I will not be that affected, and probably though, the better for pausing and enjoying what nature provides.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A house sparrow sits in a patch of grass near a small pool of water in Ho Chunk village in Winnebago, NE Friday Oct. 9 2020, and surrounding area. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Stepping Out in Siouxland, Ida Grove

8 Nov
A little used stairwell at a little used building downtown in Ida Grove, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking the first step or two for any adventure or any venture requires a forward motion. Looking for same in Siouxland requires effort and an open mind that one never knows what a person may see once something comes into view. Ever hopeful that something wonderful is just over the horizon and willing to take that step to see what it might be.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Changing Seasons in Siouxland, rural Monona County

30 Oct

Colors are appearing in Monona County, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall colors this year have been a bit spotty. Appearing here and there, just getting started and making one wonder if the colors will mature. Wet weather and heavy winds recently makes me think I am lucky if I find a nice patch of woods to share its beauty as I hunt around the Loess Hills in Monona County and other places.

Fall colors near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sadly, as the light appears later in the morning my personal engine doesn’t rev up as quickly until I down a couple cups of coffee and then bundle up against 35 degree temperature to look for the changing scenery and the fact that soon Christmas music will be heard over the radio airwaves and in stores. I can wait for the weather that comes with that change in season and hope to enjoy one or two, maybe three more weeks of fall and the spectacular display that Mother Nature can on occasion share.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fall colors near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Fall in Siouxland, Fields of Fun in Sioux Center

12 Oct

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall arrived in Siouxland recently with cooler temperatures and rainy weather. The former is a nice change of pace from recent 80’s and 90’s and high humidity, but the rain could wait a while. For some folk though it hasn’t “dampened” there enthusiasm for fall celebrations of various harvests and Halloween. Fields of Fun is a destination stop near Sioux Center started recently after a former fall place, Pumpkinland, ceased to exist. And the people behind the new venture wanted to continue the spirit families experienced at the former.

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fields of Fun is located on a working farm. There are some animals for children to see and possibly engage with as well as the chance to pick one’s own pumpkin and “get lost” in a cornfield maze.

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visitors are encourage to pick up maps before entering the maze, but sometimes people can be obstinate, and eventually lost. A nice thing for people living locally is a bike trail that passes by the farm and many cold ride their bikes to enjoy a day of exercise and seeing what is there. Although carrying home pumpkins, gourds and other baked or canned goods could prove challenging.

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Halloween is approaching fast. And it’s nice to get out and enjoy a fun respite from the real world and see a little “country”, even if it’s only minutes outside of town and mostly viewing the tops of cornstalks. But it’s a good place to start.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fields of Fun pumpkin and corn maze is located near Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Daydreaming in Siouxland, Le Mars

8 Feb

With the recent polar vortex hitting the Siouxland area and other parts of the Midwest and the U.S., I have been daydreaming of spring and summer. Warmer temps and the chance to wander about outside and not worry about freezing one’s arse or nose off. It just doesn’t apply to us poor humans. Area birds seek shelter out of the cold and blowing wind and snow and a perch that isn’t covered. And eventually the warmer temps and chance to wander will arrive, but until then, just some wistful thinking.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A fall scene in a neighborhood of Le Mars, Iowa, Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Birds sit on a deck railing out of the wind on a cold February day, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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