Tag Archives: nature

Enjoying the Fall Season in Siouxland, Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa

21 Oct
The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Smoke from the western states wildfires has begun to clear in the Siouxland area and fall color pops a bit more while taking photographs. I like others am getting out enjoying it while it lasts. One never knows when a heavy rain and wind storm will come through depositing shimmering gold leaves into a pile on the ground. Where all that glitters turns to a rust color of dried and decaying leaves.

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lewis and Clark State Park offers some nice color and with clearer skies the leaves fairly sparkled in the sunlight. Weather prognosticators are calling for colder temperatures coming to the area and some strong winds as the temps begin to drop. Not good sign for folk wanting to enjoy a few fall days of leaf peeping. Some have predicted a rain/snow shower forecast for the coming days. too soon for such a wacky year by my estimation.

So enjoying the days now is important as tomorrow brings something different.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Walk in Siouxland, Preparation Canyon State Forest, Rural Monona County

11 Oct
A couple takes a selfie along a trail in Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall in Siouxland, like elsewhere, is just a nice time to get out and enjoy nature and what’s available. Like many places this year, the colors are a bit muted with western wildfire smoke and haze and from a drought that still continues for western Iowa as rainfall is almost 10 inches shy of normal according to some meteorologists.

A couple finish their hike along a trail in Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A couple check out the history from an information display about Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Preparation Canyon State Forest is a nice place to visit and hike as trails through the woodlands/prairie area. The trails are fairly easy to navigate but become narrow in places so care should be taken. I always enjoy the view from an observation deck on those days I don’t feel like a taking a walk. I had been cruising about the Loess Hills area looking for what fall color I could find. Most of it in yellows and lighter shades of green. Without the extra moisture and no profound cold snap yet, although there have been some cool nights, colors may not be forthcoming this year.

A man walks his dog along a trail at Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Two men check out Preparation Canyon State Forest while enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With possibly some cooler days ahead, and maybe rain, the time for enjoying the changing leaves on trees could be short lived. With such a wacky year already, I guess fall could be just as wacky. I was kind of hoping though that it might be a long, slow one to give folk time to enjoy some more outdoor time before the blast of winter arrives and keeping folk indoors.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer Days in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

27 Sep

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With Fall officially begun in Siouxland and elsewhere recently, summer days are over, even as warm summer-like weather continues to envelope the area. Cooler temps are predicted in the next couple of weeks, but until then, people will relish these last few days of summer warmth and what they will have to wait and enjoy again next year.

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lauritzen Gardens was ablaze in colorful flowers late summer. Visitors could feast in the summer bouquets walking through the landscape. Light play made the the plants dazzle and come alive in a light breeze, dancing one final jig or waltz, knowing their blooms will fade. As will the light quality that a summer sun washes across the landscape, it’s brightness enhancing shapes and objects it touches and lingers into the final hours of a day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Walk in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

23 Sep

Shady trail lanes are a welcome respite on a hot day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always nice to get and enjoy the day with sunshine and fresh air in Siouxland. Although lately with western wildfire smoke and haze the air quality has suffered a bit even in Iowa. I can not begin to imagine what it is like on the west coast in those states. Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is always a nice place to take a walk, giving one a choice of trails, long or short, sunny, shady or a mixture of both. I walked a trail I haven’t been on for a number of years and noticed how it was built out a bit and gave some side trail choices to explore more of the park as well as seeing restoration underway at the Preserve.

Signage helps visitors understand the mission at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The side trail I ventured onto took one into a meadow area and with a little patience, more than I had that particular day, one could find numerous critters traversing the area early morning or late afternoon, early evening as they foraged and meandered themselves around the park.

Signage informs visitors at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A summer’s day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Prairie restoration in action at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So it was nice to find some added benches along the way for those of us who wanted a break from enjoying all that fresh air and walking. Too much of a good thing? Maybe.

Shady benches are always a welcome sight after a bit of walking on a hot day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular trail runs along the Missouri River at a couple of points and gives a visitor a chance to check it out as well. I found it nice that along the trail signs of wildlife were about, leaving hints. And also running into some other “hikers” who themselves were out enjoying the day and passing through the preserve.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Souvenirs await for visitors walking a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Deer wander across the trail at a distance at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

On a quiet and cooler summer’s day a young deer approaches a visitor in its neck of the woods along a walking path at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Place with a View in Siouxland, Le Mars

21 Sep

Turkey vultures roost on a grain elevator in Le Mars, Iowa, Tuesday August 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I guess it’s not only human nature to seek out a high spot to take in the surrounding view of an area in Siouxland as a recent trip to Le Mars allowed me to watch a gathering of turkey vultures roosting on a grain elevator next to the community’s fairgrounds. Of course for birds they always look for that high, vantage point as it also keeps them safe from predators. Although some human in the area must not have been pleases in that I heard loud noises that sent these creatures soaring up to be safer and also take a look at whatever was causing a ruckus.

Turkey vultures roost on a grain elevator in Le Mars, Iowa, Tuesday August 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was one of the few times I had seen so many vultures hanging out together. A little conflab of sorts I suppose maybe sharing places of interest to find a meal the next day, as evening was coming on and these birds would be settling in some place for the night. A routine many of us hope to once again pursue as life becomes a bit safer than the current virus episode makes it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Turkey vultures take flight after hearing a noise while roosting on a grain elevator in Le Mars, Iowa, Tuesday August 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeking Shelter in Siouxland, Snyder’s Bend Park, Salix

19 Sep

A woodchuck looks around hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When one senses danger or even that something is amiss, it’s only natural to seek shelter. Even creatures in Siouxland are wary of man’s attempt to intervene in nature. While on a recent outing at Snyder’s Bend Park a parks department crew showed up to do some work, and this poor little woodchuck seemed a little besides himself trying to figure out if he was in danger and why were on these people hanging out in his neighborhood this particular day.

A woodchuck takes off after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A woodchuck runs for cover after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A woodchuck runs for cover after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In most cases it is good to heed one’s instinct and behave cautiously rather than proceed as if nothing unusual is occurring. I believe that is the premise of many a teen horror movie that has been used numerous times all leading to the same conclusion. This little guy scampered away as fast as it could and appeared safe as far as I could tell. Until the next time it ventures probably hoping not to hear another backhoe for a while as it looks for a morning snack.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

A woodchuck heads off to a safer place after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland Weather Forecast Might not be Pretty, Sioux City

17 Sep

Leaf on a backyard maple tree shows sign of changing Thursday, September 10, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With the past week cooler in Siouxland, temperatures ranging from low 40’s to upper 50’s, it was a nice respite from the hot weather a few days earlier. But some leaves started their color change during the week which indicates cool weather may not be too far away. I enjoy seasons, fall being one of my favorites, but I would like to enjoy a fall this year, a long fall if possible before winter settles in. The Farmers Almanac’s forecast doesn’t look pretty for the midsection of the country. A cold, snowier season which might be good for the less than received rain this year, but not if one likes to get out for a walk beyond shoveling the driveway and sidewalks and a workout even before morning coffee.

Ah, until then, I hope to enjoy a few, nice fall days with cooler temps, sunshine and earlier sunsets.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a Summer’s Day in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

9 Sep

A summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As summer days dwindle here in Siouxland and elsewhere, people try to enjoy its last few days of sunshine and heat. I myself look forward to fall as I enjoy cooler temperatures the change in light as well as nature’s colors. Labor Day is a marker of the change to come as schools generally are back into full swing, all things considered this year.

A summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lauritzen Gardens is a nice place to spend the time. Seeing the changing blooms from spring into summer. Because of travel time I can never arrive early enough to see the gardens in morning light. Not a fan of rising before the sun and driving distances just to make it happen. So I content myself with what I am able to do and the time of day I can do it in.

Enjoying a summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And while we humans can relax and appreciate the bounty before us, other guests seem to like the place as well, although shy, they come popping around at times and stroll the gardens area too.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A turkey enjoys a summer’s day as well at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nature’s Calligraphers in Siouxland, Snyder’s Bend, Salix

7 Sep

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I often times am awed by nature’s shows that take place in Siouxland and I can witness such feats of aerobatics and and “sky writing” done by birds.

This summer while visiting with a friend at Snyder’s Bend park we saw a large flock of pelicans performing synchronized flying near the park and it struck me as a form of calligraphy being written in the sky by these airborne creatures.

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What on the ground look like large unbalanced creatures created imagery in the sky that was fun to watch. I had never witnessed pelicans behaving in this manner before, mostly just images of these birds on the ground feeding. And seeing them fly in formation was truly amazing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Perseverance in Siouxland, Orange City

30 Aug

A grasshopper gets nowhere fast as it flies in place for a while before setting down and trying it again within minutes, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 in Orange City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A motto created somewhere in time concerns perseverance and the continued attempts. I saw this little guy jumping into the air and then buzzing its wings until it fell to the earth again. Repeating the motion time and again, never really getting anywhere. I have no idea if it was something in its nature as an insect or not, but felt sad in that it didn’t appear to be succeeding in its endeavor. I know I will never know, which doesn’t diminish my thought of the grasshoppers continued trying and how life is that way sometimes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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