Tag Archives: Farming

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©)

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©)

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©)

Enjoying History in Siouxland, Without Knowing it, rural South Dakota, Beresford

20 May

Older barns in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I traverse various parts of Siouxland while driving about I find that I see fewer and fewer older wooden barn. The rustic look, even in disrepair, hail to an era that has for the most part passed. Farmers or those farming ( industrial operations) no longer erect the wooden structures that at one time housed animals, harvested crops and machinery. As the bigger is better mantra continues to envelope America and it’s ideal of business the small farmer also has disappeared and the structures now that house equipment is metal or fiberglass. More cost effective, less maintenance and all of those things that attribute to the bottom line.

But I miss seeing the structures. And most times I happen upon them at the wrong time of day while out driving around. Maybe seeing them in passing. Sometimes stopping, sometimes not, depending on if I am time constrained to arrive someplace.

Two older barns seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The rustic nature appeals to my visual sense, but the use and disuse and decay speaks to another passing of an era where form and factor are no longer valued. That thought could be addressed to a lot of areas and state of affairs these days. When at a small time museum a few years ago a docent was showing school children and older wall phone which had the spin knob to wind it up and get a connection along with the ear piece held to one’s head and the extended speaker you had to lean into to speak with the operator, as well as the desk top model with the rotary dial.

The children had no idea what the two items were, and were quite astonished when they learned that what they carried in their pockets and took for granted was large, non moveable and didn’t have a screen. Advances in technology is marvelous with many wonderful inventions, but sometimes I wonder at what loss does this occur without the accompanying history that brought the state of humanity to this next level of achievement and the effort to get there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An older barn in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Thinking of Spring in Siouxland, Dakota Farm Show, Vermillion, SD

3 Feb
DAVID BERNDT, of White, South Dakota, looks over at another vendor’s booth during the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. Berndt said he “borrowed” his granddaughter’s carriage while she was eating lunch to carry items he picked up at the show. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Each year in January a regional farm show is held in Siouxland at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD. Various businesses and others associated with agriculture provide a look at new methods or tools that area farmers can check out and see if it’s a fit for their current method of farming or business.

Attendees at the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The floor was filled with vendors for the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A year ago when the cover virus was raging through regions of the U.S. and prior to vaccines being available, an attendee to this year’s event told me both vendors and attendees were scarce. And for good reason. At this event, I can only recall seeing a handful of people on the first day wearing a mask. But it’s South Dakota, open for business according to its governor who is very mindful of optics as she plots a course for higher visibility within particular groups of people.

Like in other parts of the U.S. COVID cases have recently spiked in South Dakota, bew people wore masks at the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A salesperson answers questions for attendees about DeWalt equipment at the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But important on most people’s mind this day was the coming spring and planting season and whether any new gizmos might be appropriate to purchase, and the at least check out. Because of supply chain issues and the ills that are affecting other businesses, the ag world in not immune. Used farm equipment is hitting all time highs and farmers, already under financial pressure because of tariff problems created by a former administration and loss of markets in which to sell corn and soybeans are understandably being tight-fisted.

Parts of Iowa last year were in a severe drought region and so far little snow this winter has helped alleviate what could be an ongoing issue. Last year a winter season that extended into spring and early summer pushed planting late and then the dry growing season caused more headaches. Timely rains helped out most farmers with a bountiful harvest, the threat is still there. It’s never too early to plan or worry about what’s coming.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

TYLER KOELE, left, and daughter SKYLAR, look at a new Ford pickup truck during the first day of the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One vendor flies an American Flag from the handle of a mop at the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Sunday Afternoon in Siouxland, rural Plymouth County

9 May
A local makes haste down a gravel road in rural Plymouth County Sunday, April 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are days I enjoy driving out into the countryside in Siouxland and just wandering backroads. There may not be anything special about a destination or photographically appealing as the sun in high overhead and the light reflecting the time of year. As spring moves toward summer one must continually awake earlier in the day, and go to bed later in the evening to catch “the beautiful light”. Much photographic sensors, my wake time dynamic range is only so large and I enjoy my sleep.

But it doesn’t mean that one doesn’t find subjects or situations that piques one’s interest. A person might need to look a little harder and parse what could be of interest. Even if only in a documentary sort of way.

A cat eyes a visitor from afar in rural Plymouth County Sunday, April 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Spotting something of more interest a cat leaps off its window ledge perch to explore in rural Plymouth County Sunday, April 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And so I wander country roads looking for those moments. Sometimes starting earlier in the day and sometimes on the spur of the moment. Wondering what I might find, listening to music and with luck driving in warmer weather so I can open my car windows and enjoy the day. No expectations, no need for something spectacular, just a day to wander, contemplate and enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A gravel road disappears around a bend and beyond some tree limbs in rural Plymouth County Sunday, April 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Making Friends in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

5 May
A horse looks toward a visitor in rural Plymouth County Sunday, April 18, 2021, possible hoping for a little snack. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always look forward to meeting new “folk” when driving about Siouxland. One particular day I felt bad that I didn’t pack a carrot lunch with me to snack on as a couple of locals would surely have enjoyed me sharing that I met while driving some backroads.

It was a nice day and they seemed to be enjoying themselves on a hillside on a pleasant, finally, spring day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two horses eye a visitor in rural Plymouth County Sunday, April 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hanging Out in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

29 Apr
An immature Red Tailed Hawk navigates a landing on a high perch in rural Plymouth County Sunday, April 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While cruising about Siouxland on a weekend with somewhat warmer temps and winds, I noticed I wasn’t alone in just enjoying a day in the country. Animals seem to do that as well sometimes. I noticed a young Red Tailed hawk riding some thermals over a gravel road in rural Plymouth County. Soaring, diving, soaring again and occasionally coming to a rest.

An immature Red Tailed hawk flies by a possible high perch in rural Plymouth County Sunday, April 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
An immature Red Tailed Hawk takes in its surroundings from a high perch in rural Plymouth County Sunday, April 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a break and watching for its next snack possibly or watching the ever so casual visitor drive by underneath its high perch. Some days should just be enjoyed for the moment, warmer weather, sunshine and a lazy day feeling. However, for this young bird and others I somehow think most days are not lazy. But it was fun watching it seemingly enjoy its time in the air.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An immature Red Tailed hawk enjoys some thermal winds in rural Plymouth County Sunday, April 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Cold January in Siouxland, rural Monona County

24 Jan

The month of January is only halfway though and winter has reminded Siouxland residents that it still has a lot to offer its residents. Cold, below freezing and zero cold. More snow. And the chance to daydream about those coming summer months with heat, humidity and warm summer nights.

Cruising in rural Monona County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always begin thinking about driving the backroads when winter in Siouxland gets its second wind and sends real chills down the back while one is out navigating snowy and slushy roadways and sidewalks. The days may be sunny, but at zero or below temperatures one knows winter is still here. Growing up on a farm I enjoy these days driving about the countryside and “smelling” the freshly tilled soil or crops once they have begun growing. Yes, there is definitely a particular smell emitted by the soil and plants. Much like someone city-born could identify certain aromas from a neighborhood they grew up in whether it is from a restaurant or seaside community. Childhood smells remain with us as we get older and maybe more discriminating in the aromas we want to partake in.

Planted crops on a summer’s day in rural Monona County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And I try to put out of mind the thought of too much humidity on a hot summer’s day. That thought will come eventually, but for now, looking out a a white landscape, it seems very enticing and comforting. It’s always nice to have something to look forward too.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Planted crops on a summer’s day in rural Monona County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Siouxland Man’s Passion, Lloyd Baker in Ashton

31 Aug

Resident Lloyd Baker drives three of his restored tractors in the parade at the Ashton, Iowa Town and Country Festival Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always interesting to find someone passionate about a hobby. And hobbies can encompass almost anything. Siouxland resident Lloyd Baker’s hobby is a little large, and not something that easily fits into a desk drawer, like say a stamp or coin collection. Mr. Baker likes to restore early era farm tractors. Formerly working at an farm implement dealer in Sheldon, after retiring Baker couldn’t stop. During the recent Ashton Town and Country Fair I came upon his wife and she said her husband loves his John Deere tractors and spends many hours getting them running and restoring some of them.

A local resident, Lloyd baker, finds and restores, for the most part, older tractors, especially John Deeres and has his “office” and repair shop in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A local resident, Lloyd Baker, finds and restores, for the most part, older tractors, especially John Deeres and has his “office” and repair shop in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And walking about his shop in Ashton Baker seems to have enough tractors to continue his fashion for many years to come. Enjoying something as he restores part of an American past which celebrates agriculture and farming and the changes that occurred in an industry that benefits so many.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A local resident , Lloyd Baker, finds and restores, for the most part, older tractors, especially John Deeres and has his “office” and repair shop in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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