Tag Archives: rural america

Enjoying the Country in Siouxland, Plymouth County

13 Apr

With the return of sunshine and changing temperatures that don’t fluctuate wildly, as in from 25 degrees to 60 degrees and back again, it’s been nice to get outside and explore again. I grew up on a farm and so enjoy driving back roads around the Siouxland area. Western Iowa is mostly agricultural as per its main industry. I enjoy the scenics and places I find in rural Plymouth County and other similar places. I enjoy going to cities from time to time, but after living near San Francisco and in Los Angeles County, I prefer smaller venues. In those places it takes so long to reach a destination and it seems even longer to get outside the city limits to see a horizon line and no cement.

There is no one place is better than another. I may be just realizing that growing up on a farm was just a little more deeply embedded than I thought.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Siouxland Small Community and its famous author, Doon, Iowa

11 Apr

On a nice day I headed in the northern area of Siouxland with a specific destination in mind and to revisit and see what was new. But along the way I got sidetracked. Too many side and back roads, too little time? I came across a sign for Doon, Iowa. A small community with a population of roughly 590 residents. Like most small, rural communities, Doon’s downtown was anchored on side by a grain elevator. It had some nice features and a memorial to those who served there country. It was a pleasant place to hang out for a while as I was making my way further north in Lyon County.

The community of Doon, Iowa Friday March 31, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

It was a pleasant day to be out and about finding new places. I talked to a young lady as she was returning home after fetching her mail downtown from the post office. I asked her a few questions about the community and she told me there was an author who was born in Doon, now buried in the cemetery outside of town in the country. Frederick Manfred wrote an number of novels and according to his site, coined the term “Siouxland”. The New York Times also wrote an obituary about the author after his passing. Even famous people remembered by a national newspaper came from someplace. And it is fun to explore one’s region and find such nuggets of history. I searched a bit through Hillside Cemetery that day but was not able to find his headstone.

As the days get longer and warmer, I am looking forward to more exploration with the hopes of being surprised by other such gems. One never knows what one might find over the next horizon, but it is always to fun to find out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Exploring Siouxland, Sioux County

5 Apr

As the days become warmer, meaning above 32 degrees and not freezing, it is more pleasant to get out and cruise around Siouxland once again. Areas are beginning to green up slowly. And spring is starting to arrive.

I look forward to spending time getting re-acquainted with the countryside and seeing what this spring brings.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Changing Siouxland, Ingemann Danish Church, Moorehead

3 Apr

While visiting the Loess Hills area of Siouxland recently I came across the Ingemann Danish Church which is located near Moorehead, Iowa. I was somewhat saddened to see some additions to the church grounds which was founded in the late 1800’s. The past few years evidently people have been vandalizing the church which holds a service once a year on Memorial Day.

I always enjoyed the serenity while visiting the place. One could even walk into the church, say a prayer, feel the history around you. But some individual’s never seem satisfied with visiting someplace without doing damage. Now one can look, but not enjoy it the same way.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying Siouxland’s Early Spring, Loess Hills

29 Mar

As I mentioned in an earlier post getting out into Siouxland and driving about now isn’t an awe inspiring drive. The fields are still winter brown and after a while even I am tired of seeing them. But the light is changing though, and I came across a particular hillside with a lone tree in Monona County in the Loess Hills area that caught my attention. Like the field surrounding it, it too is awaiting for those spring rains that will green up the countryside and get it started with its own seasonal trip as buds start forming on its branches.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The setting sun casts a long shadow in rural Monona County, Iowa Saturday, March 18, 2017.

Leading Lines in Siouxland, Monona County

27 Mar

I tell students who take my photo classes to look for images in places they are familiar with, and if they don’t see them the first time, to look again. Even though there is the chance a person could take the same photograph time and again, if one really looks I believe it’s possible to see something new or different than the last time one visited a favorite place.

Recently I took a drive down into the Loess Hills in Monona County and all I saw was brown. Brown (gravel) roadways, brown grass, brown fields, etc. Then as I was making a curve on one of these roads it hit me. Yes the field is brown, but it has some nice lines. I could have tried killing time for a few hours to get a sunset for my leading lines photo, but I actually hate staying in the same place a long time unless the payoff is going to be dramatic. So I stopped, made the image, and then continued on my way through the hills to see what was on the other side.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Leading lines in a field in rural Monona County, Iowa Saturday, March 18, 2017.

Siouxland’s Brown Winter Coat, Loess Hills in Monona County

23 Mar

In taking a drive in Siouxland a few days ago I had hoped to maybe see some greening of hillsides and other areas around the Loess Hills down in Monona County. I know I am just a little impatient to see spring arrive and announce itself. In some small ways it has though, like now finding the robbins once again singing in my backyard. But still, once I see some green hillsides, I will definitely know winter has left until next year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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