Tag Archives: rural america

Driving about Siouxland, Rural Iowa

8 Sep

Some days I get into my car and just drive about Siouxland. No particular destination in mind, just some wandering about the area looking at what is there.

Impressions of a summer’s day and scenes in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was a dreary, overcast day the day I went out and so began photographing in B&W to match soft light and pale look I saw as I went about. I find shooting black and white images digitally more challenging that when I photographed with black and white film. Then at least I could count on how I processed the film and eventually what kind of photo paper to print on to achieve a print that I liked. Now it’s all about seeing tonality and understanding the conversion digitally via software. And there is some very excellent software around to help people. I pretty much stick to Adobe Photoshop and Elements when I do my work.

Impressions of a later summer’s day and scenes in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Impressions of a summer’s day and scenes in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I don’t always feel like I achieve the same affect, but I keep trying and the software keeps getting better. So eventually I might achieve what I am looking to capture.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Impressions of a summer’s day and scenes in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

29 Aug

A summer’s day in rural Plymouth County, IowaThursday, Aug.9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Driving around Siouxland it is hard not to see a bucolic scene along the highways and byways. Part of the charm of “flyover” country is that it appears peaceful and unhurried. That is not always the case as evidenced by news stories. And for those who are on a pell-mell journey to arrive at their next destination before they left their current place, forever is a word that pops up often on the trip.

But that is the allure of such a place. Quiet, slow, peaceful and calm. And enjoying the moment that is presented here and now.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying Nature and its Creatures in Siouxland, Winnebago, NE

19 Aug

Recently I did a little work for a friend that required me to photograph some bison near the community of Winnebago, NE. These graceful creatures move fairly swiftly if they want too and are very aware of their surroundings. Trying to get close-up photographs of them was challenging. But also fun to watch them move about within an enclosure near the outskirts of the community. And being patient as they come to realize you mean them no harm.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Bison graze in a field across from a Ho-Chunk housing development in Winnebago, NE Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Bison grazing in a field late afternoon near Winnebago, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Bison grazing in a field late afternoon near Winnebago, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Threshing Bee in Siouxland, Granite

15 Aug

I attended a threshing bee festival in the small community of Granite this summer. As a child I remembered going to one or two with my parents in the 1960’s. It brought back memories of looking at what I thought then was old equipment, which today is even older.

Visitors fill a grandstand to watch a tractor parade of various makes, models and vintages at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of older and antique tractors were on display at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The event was kind of an ode to tractors with various makes and models on display as well as participating in a parade. But the people attending enjoyed it, much like people attending a stock car race o other event.

Visitors mill about and visit small museum like homes plus lunch stands at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy the tractor parade that mostly featured antique and older working tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am certain the event brought memories to some older farmers attending who actually used these tractors and other implements in their own farming when they were younger and farms were then smaller and more diverse. In the 1960’s and ’70’s farms were generally 200-300 acres and the farmers also either raised beef cattle or milked dairy, had pigs and chickens and also varied their crops between corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa plus some grazing acres for their livestock, Today farms are really nothing more than large tracts of land which either produces corn or soybeans. That is a topic that could be discussed for years.

But I like the nostalgia of the event and was glad in seeing people enjoy this historical look back at an earlier era when times were tougher and more physical, but in which people derived a lot of self satisfaction.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visitors checked out a variety of antique and older working tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy seeing a variety of older working and antique tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Gene Anderson of Harrisburg, SD sits in his refurbished Model A at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking for the latest about the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tractor parade of various models and age was the highlight of the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy the shade as they watch a tractor parade of various makes, models and vintages at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Entire families show off their antique tractors during a parade at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Viewing History in Siouxland, Granite Threshing Bee

9 Aug

I recently visited the small community of Granite in Siouxland which has an annual threshing bee that celebrates an earlier century of American agriculture. While there I met a gentlman, Ed Monson, who collects old photographs that depict the railroad history throughout South Dakota and parts of Iowa.

Ed Monson of Sioux Falls, SD talks about his train and railroad photo collection in display at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Through his graciousness when visiting such historic get togethers he displays some of the photos he has collected over the years which paint an early picture of small towns in their beginnings, as most settlements grew when a railroad depot was created with the traffic it would generate, and then die as railroad companies moved their depot stops to other communities. I have traveled through many a small community in Siouxland and seen signs harkening back to a town’s beginnings, mostly based upon a railroad depot.

Ed Monson of Sioux Falls, SD displays his train and railroad photo collection at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s nice to be able to understand the history of a place and it helps when people provide an opportunity to showcase that history and share their knowledge of it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People browse throughEd Monson’s, of Sioux Falls, SD, train and railroad photo collection on display at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Standing Icons in Siouxland, Rural Iowa

5 Aug

Driving around Siouxland I have come a great number of barns still standing after decades of service, some in better repair than others. Having grown up on a farm I just enjoy their look, the purpose served and their iconic tradition for American history and agriculture. These days economically it’s all steel sheds and bins. I will miss these silent sentries that have witnessed a changing landscape over so many years and will lament when driving about the countryside not finding them standing tall, silent and reflecting an integral part of American history.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A barn sits idle in a wooded grassy area in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Part of the rural life sits within the city limits of the small community of Washta, Iowa, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating History, 150 years worth in Siouxland, Washta

25 Jul

Recently the small community of Washta celebrated its sesquicentennial or 150 years of being a community. It’s a small community of a little over 200 people who came together and had three days to commemorate its being in existence. I attended the day the small town had a parade and even though the temperatures were hitting high notes that day, people came out to enjoy the festivities and enjoy themselves.

Classic cars lined the downtown street prior to the parade for the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People line up for a box lunch of pulled pork and sides during the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have visited a number of small communities since starting this blog and some after 100 years are faring better than others. With changing times, demographics  and employment, small communities sometimes find it hard to continue. So it’s a blessing and a joy seeing people revel in their community’s existence and enjoy the day. Small town festivities are like no others that one will encounter. During the parade a man yelled out to someone in the parade asking if he still had seen corn to sell. With the current heavy rains, some farmers are having to replant some fields which were drowned out. It’s that kind of atmosphere and closeness that is nice to see. As well as people who probably have lived their entire life there remembering past times as they watched the parade.

An older farmer watches the parade and probably remembers years past during the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A small band plays during the parade at the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With a number of smaller communities losing young people to “big” cities it’s nice to see a slice of Americana that still exists in a small way and for people to still enjoy a slower and more quiet way of life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grain elevator can be seen in the background during the parade of the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Only in smaller farm communities will children wave at farm implements participating in a parade like the one for the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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