Tag Archives: life in siouxland

Finding Passion in Siouxland, Ashton

22 Apr

A couple of years ago or so  I ran across a gentleman in the small Siouxland community of Ashton who was pursuing his love and passion of collecting and restoring older farm tractors. Maybe passion is a strong word to use, but Lloyd Baker, who previously worked for a local tractor dealer for a number of years, had a number of tractors sitting around his garage in the small community waiting for some individual attention.

Lloyd Baker laughs a little as he talks about collecting and refurbishing tractors, especially John Deere tractors, almost his entire life, and keeps an ongoing changing collection in Ashton, Iowa, March 29, 2015. (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

 

Lloyd Baker currently has a collection of 52 tractors he is planning on refurburshing sitting around his workplace in Ashton, Iowa, March 29, 2015. He works on different tractor models of different brands, but especially likes John Deere tractors. (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

He said he enjoys getting the older agricultural workhorses running again and doesn’t discriminate against make or model. I saw him recently participating in a tractor pull at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta. Pulling the sled with ease with his John Deere Tractor.

Lloyd Baker of Ashton, Iowa participates in a tractor pull for “antique” tractors at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always nice to meet people who enjoy a hobby and doesn’t mind spending time trying to get things right. Restoring older tractors can be a challenge to either find existing parts or making them yourself to get the machinery functioning again.

Part of Lloyd Baker’s collection of tractors he plans on refurbishing is an Economy, circa late 1930’s, made by Sears & Roebuck Co. that he acquired. Baker said the tractor was shipped to the buyer and then required assembly, seen at his work place in Ashton, Iowa, March 29, 2015. (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

And then to participate in friendly competitions with other collectors and restorers to see whose tractor performs best is just a throw back to those county fair competitions I remember as a child, hearing the grandstand roar as the favorite does well. With winter seemingly finally coming to an end with a recent late snow storm, I hope to drive some more back roads and find other people pursuing their passion or maybe just enjoying their “retirement” in a way that makes them happy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Finding Red in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

15 Feb

While looking through some files for a friend I came across an image I made during an outing for my Photo Safari class that I teach at a local community college. As a class we make trips to various places and photograph. The very last class everyone brings their favorite 25 images and we compare notes and talk about what everyone has done.

The image I came across is of a red flower. Not a grand image, but it was what I found that day. I reflected on the fact that it’s not a rose and so not appropriate for a Valentine’s Day remark, but it is blooming, still, among green grass and that made me think of spring.

I know it’s coming. It will be here soon. And this winter has not been bad. But I for one will be happy when spring arrives.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Blooming flowers at the University of South Dakota, in Vermillion, South Dakota, May 2, 2015. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Blooming flowers at the University of South Dakota, in Vermillion, South Dakota, May 2, 2015. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Thinking of Siouxland’s Greener Pastures

12 Feb

A few days ago the Siouxland region received a slight blizzard. Whiteout conditions for practically all of northwest Iowa and I and many others had the pleasure of clearing 14 inches of snow from our walks and driveways. Mother Nature’s way of ensuring people get a little exercise during the colder months. And now the temperatures are dropping again to below zero. All of this following the little rodent’s (Punxsutawney Phil) prediction of an early spring. And thinking of spring has me thinking of once again getting out and getting lost on some of Iowa’s back roads looking for scenics and other out of the way areas that I can photograph and share.

I really like to be shooting all the time, but that isn’t always possible, but then it doesn’t hurt to daydream a little in anticipation of hitting the road again.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Wistful thinking in Siouxland about next summer

17 Nov

The last couple of days have been rainy, as it was a bit last week. The temps are still decent though. This time of year in November, having a couple inches of rain is nice instead of some inches of snow. I like snow, and snowshoeing. I just don’t know if I am ready yet. For the shoveling, slick roads and yes, cooler temps. Snow is forecast in a few days, which is okay, but two nights of lows are predicted to be 10 and 12 degrees. That is just too cold. Although before next summer, it will get colder. Throw in some of the prairie wind gusts, and below zero is a real possibility.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating an anniversary, Arnolds Park Amusement Park

22 Sep

I kind of missed this particular event. Never a fan of amusement parks, the Arnolds Park Amusement Park though celebrated its 125th anniversary. It is home to one of the oldest wooden roller coaster rides in the U.S. I am not a lover of rides and so have never gotten excited about traveling to amusement parks. But it is something of a testament to the community spirit of Arnolds Park and those who love the history and tradition of this particular amusement park set in Siouxland’s northwest Iowa, nestled along the lakes in that area. Not everyone can celebrate a 125th birthday and still look good for their age.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Small communities in Siouxland, Cherokee

18 Sep

I like driving to the small communities in Siouxland. Each has its own charm and it;s nice to just hang out there, walking about and getting a chance to learn more about it. When I visited Cherokee, Iowa, a few months back to attend its annual rodeo, I also took some time to walk around its downtown and to explore it a bit more. And I found it a nice visit. Like all small towns in Iowa, its downtown is filled with early constructed buildings that is an anchor and lends charm to the community. But like a lot of small towns, it too struggles to keep itself vibrant and growing. The slower pace of life and possibly fewer offerings are not liked by all, but unless one wants to live in a megalopolis, smaller communities can offer their own way of life that many find attractive.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Outbuildings in Siouxland, Everly

2 Aug

Driving through other parts in the northern part of Siouxland I sometimes struggle to find something that catches my eye to photograph. And sometimes it is only one thing. I passed through the small town of Everly, Iowa, a while ago. When I saw the name, it reminded me of a singing duo, the Everly Brothers that some people might remember and others have never heard of them. But as I drove about town, there didn’t seem to be many other sites appealing to me photographically, for what I was looking for, and in no way imparts a judgement about the community.

And sometimes one just doesn’t know what is there until you happen upon it. And as I drive around these parts of Iowa, I am always up for a look see, because you never know what is beyond that next hill.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

%d bloggers like this: