Tag Archives: photography

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, Rural Nebraska

31 May

A Turkey Vulture stretches its wings as it surveys its surrounding from a high tree top near Winnebago, NE, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am always delighted while driving about Siouxland when I get to watch nature in action, or inaction as the case may be. This particular turkey vulture seemed content to sit high in a tree and air out its feathers one morning this spring. Not in a hurry or any place in particular to go.

A turkey vulture stretches its wings sitting high in a tree as it surveys its surroundings near Winnebago, NE, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Maybe something to that attitude toward life as we humans are always rushing from one thing to another, hell bent for leather as the saying goes and with a purpose. Exactly what that purpose is seems important at the time, but over time it seems to fade and I sometimes scratch my head why I was in a hurry to “get there” in the first place.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A turkey vulture circles overhead near Winnebago, NE, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hanging out with Friends in Siouxland, Adams Homestead, North Sioux City, SD

29 May

Birds flock to a tree at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, April 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I find myself frequenting the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve often these days in Siouxland. It’s a nice place to go and forget about current events and issues and enjoy nature and the variety of animals that inhabit the park. All of whom are mostly hanging out with their friends every time I visit.

Turtles sunning themselves on a log at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

They live in the moment and enjoy what there is without projecting, as far as I can tell, and I remind myself that one never really knows what the future holds, except maybe The Shadow, and then only a select number of folk even realize what I am referring to. As friends would say, it’s a generational thing.

Geese sweep across the surface of Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The antics of the animals are fun to watch as well. Much like people watching, seeing them behave as they do and trying to determine whatever motives there may be, other than instinct. Probably a similar quest as to determining which came first, the chicken or the egg.

Two gadwall ducks paddle about Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday April 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Two wood ducks sun themselves on a log protruding from the water at Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday April 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And I find it’s a good thing to sit, watch and ponder, knowing there are answers to questions I will never know, and so don’t overly burden myself with asking pondering too long. Just enjoying the moment, being present, and looking forward to my next visit to this outdoor paradise.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A lone Redwing Blackbird sits in a tree at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, April 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Peeking Outside in Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center

27 May

The downtown area of the city of Omaha, NE can seen from an observation desk at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy visiting the Hitchcock Nature Center in southern Siouxland, especially its tower next to the nature center. The view allows one to see downtown Omaha, NE across the Missouri River and other areas as well. Normally during midweek there is not a lot of people. This particular day was in February of this year as the COVID-19 situation was beginning to ramp up and the weather was warmish for a February day.

People hike along a trail at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it is just nice to go outdoors and being there.  No agenda, no excessive hiking, just observing and enjoying the moment, photographically speaking anyway. As the weather finally begins to warm up even though it is already May, I look forward to some more outdoor forays and just spending time in the fresh air and sunlight, and hopefully sunshine.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Smoke rises from might be a controlled burn near the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remembering in Siouxland on Memorial Day, Sioux City

25 May

Flags flutter in the breeze at city owned Graceland Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Memorial Day is an annual event of remembrance in Siouxland and elsewhere in the U.S. A time to reflect and honor our loved ones and those who have served in the armed forces of this nation. This year’s day like other days going forward will be a new experience for many.

A wife watches her husband clean his parents’ grave site at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Helping her grandmother, a young woman looks for grave sites of those who served in the military to place a flag at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Her grandfather is a member of the American Legion. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The coronavirus pandemic has given all people a moment of pause. Creating a variety of stress for some and only adding to stress others already felt because of life’s circumstances. And going forward this year’s remembrance may cause people to reflect more deeply as the official start of summer. But maybe I am too optimistic in that respect  that people will actually take stock and be thankful for those who have come before and continue to protect this nation and give it a sense of honor where others who should do not.

Families decorate grave sites of loved ones at Graceland Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A grounds keeper trims grave sites at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And in a year’s time, will folk look back and be thankful for such a pause in routine, or still curse and not think of it at all but for being a disruption they should have done without. Human beings are a fickled lot. While many are thankful, I sometimes wonder if most are just expectant of what they deserve, some more than others. Life’s circumstances have benefited some more than others, sometimes unfairly. But that is for someone else to judge, and sometimes I kind of hope, harshly.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grounds keeper puts up a tent for a Honor Guard at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Backyard Neighbors in Siouxland, Sioux City

23 May

A cardinal eats a seed while visiting a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Life in Siouxland like in many places is running at a much slower pace these days. While I can’t say I am bored because I get the occasional visits from some animal neighbors who drop by, sound off a greeting, and then continue on their way. These days with sunrises earlier and sunsets later, I miss some of these friends as they tend to be earlier risers than I am.

A red-bellied woodpecker looks for a snack in a backyard Sunday, March 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A squirrel peeks out a feeder to see if the it’s safe to leave in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It has been and will continue to be fun watching these critters now that I am more fully aware that they come and visit. It’s funny the things one might see while traveling at a speed less than warp.

A starling sits on a line in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Hairy woodpecker sits in a tree in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, March 30, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And as the weather continues to warm and be nice with only the occasional rain showers I hope my neighbors continue to spend some time in the neighborhood.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sudden breeze ruffles feathers on a robin in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, April 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Longing for Trips in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

21 May

A coral reef Lego exhibit by Sean Kenney that took over 500 hours and 88,000 pieces to build seen at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday evening, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I imagine it will be sometime before the opportunity will allow certain places to reopen as the coronavirus is still prevalent in so many places. I enjoy visiting the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, as well as the Henry Doorly Zoo there. Spending part of a day wandering about and enjoying the moment. And I know those moments will come again, and try to remember such adages of patience being a virtue. When these places do reopen I am certain there will be many, many folk angling to get in. But it will still be nice to revisit places to relax and enjoy and think of other things.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sea coral reef Lego exhibit by Sean Kenney that took over 500 hours and 88,000 pieces to build rises above a wall to entice visitors to check out at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday evening, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

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

19 May

A Cooper’s Hawk around its nest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, April 9, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spending time outdoors in Siouxland that is devoid of people has been a bit of a blessing in that I am seeing, or rather, paying more attention to nature around me when I am out. Not in a hurry to be anywhere, I sit and watch and have been pleasantly surprised.

A Cooper’s Hawk sits atop its nest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, April 9, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I tend to go places early and generally during the week, avoiding crowds at nature preserves and parks for the most part, although sometimes it just doesn’t matter. When it’s all said and done, I hope people will appreciate what there is rather than what they no longer have or have missed. But knowing human nature, that’s unlikely. Animals use what they need and call it good. Humanity just isn’t built the same way.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Cooper’s Hawk around its nest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, April 9, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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