Tag Archives: rural Harrison County

Small Town Christmas Celebration in Siouxland, Little Sioux

13 Jan
A lit community Christmas Tree in a city park’s gazebo in Little Sioux, Iowa Monday, Dec. 121, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas has passed. Celebrations are done. But it was nice while driving around during the holiday season to find small communities celebrating the holiday. Most have Christmas ornaments hanging from light posts in the downtown area. But for some small communities, a long tree, decorated, in a central park allows all who visit a moment to enjoy the shared experience by themselves or with others. Until next year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Looking for the Christmas Star in Siouxland, Murray Hill Scenic Overlook

5 Jan
People patiently wait on a hilltop at the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa as the sun sets during the Winter Solstice Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This Christmas an astrological event took place that those in the know said had not occurred since 1200 AD, when the planets Saturn and Jupiter came within spitting distance of one another to create what folk called the Christmas Star. Some also postulate that this is the phenomena that took place when the Three Wise Men went searching for Jesus during his birth.

Like many others, I went in search of seeing the Christmas Star and also to enjoy the Winter Solstice which also occurred that same evening, Dec. 21.

The sun sets during the Winter Solstice seen from the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A jet trail lights the sky reflecting the setting sun as people wait on a hilltop at the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa during the Winter Solstice Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I believed I saw the glimmer of light reflecting off of the planets that evening along with some others, although I did not have the means to photograph the occurrence itself. Still it was exciting, and the sky also provided a nice light show as the sun set with just a few clouds. I had driven a ways to a place I knew which would have an unobstructed view but didn’t stay until after dark as the trail leading to this hilltop is difficult enough to traverse during daylight hours. A friend later that evening sent me a photo he had taken of the two planets, from his backyard after also being somewhat unsuccessful in photographing the planets earlier. One just never knows when one will get lucky.

But so many centuries ago everyone got lucky with the birth of Christ, I so wish though that people would think about that luck before they act and behave in a manner that on its face seems so heinous. And as many mothers would tell their sons and daughter, “You really know better!”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People patiently wait on a hilltop at the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa as the sun sets during the Winter Solstice Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The sun sets during the Winter Solstice seen from the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The Little Sioux River reflects the setting sun’s light during the Winter Solstice seen from the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Drive through rural Siouxland, Harrison County

30 Nov
Sometimes vehicle sunroofs can be beneficial when bird spotting like in rural Harrison County near Magnolia, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was nice to get out on a recent weekend to drive about rural Iowa in Siouxland without extreme cold or snowy conditions on the backroads and Loess Hills byways. I enjoy driving through the scenic areas skirting the footballs of what is known as the Loess Hills in Iowa that stretches down into the southwest portion of Iowa.

A gravel road traversing the byways in rural Harrison County near Magnolia, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular stretch of road and the general direction I was headed kept me driving through hilly areas most of which are wooded and will be necessary to check out come next fall. Coming across various rural scenes and sightings was rewarding and fun. I never drive very fast on the backroads allowing drivers with more “pressing matters” the opportunity to go around me as I look for subjects of interest to point my camera at.

Although at first hard to see, two deer find a lunch time meal in a newly harvested corn field in rural Harrison County near Magnolia, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A rural scene in Harrison County near Magnolia, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While the pace of being in the country really isn’t all that less frenetic as city dwellers, it does give one a chance to pause, look around, enjoy the beauty of the countryside if that appeals to a person. Some folk may find that really, really boring, but for others it is that slice of heaven. Time flies by fast enough until one realizes it has, and wonders how that happened. So slow drives on a weekend may not stop time or even slow it down, but I can personally can make an effort to enjoy it for what it is for myself and forgot about other crazy stuff happening in the world around me for a little while.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spotting an eagle sitting in a tree over a gravel road in rural Harrison County near Magnolia, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding new Places in Siouxland, Harrison County

26 Apr

As the weather finally gets warmer and the brown of winter turns into the green of spring and summer, I look forward to exploring more Siouxland places and finding what is just beyond the near hill. To me driving about and seeing what is there never gets old. Exploring small communities, the countryside and some of the larger cities give way to new adventures, repeat adventures and just a nice day and good excuse to get out and photograph.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The rolling Loess Hills of rural Harrison County, Iowa Friday, June 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Living History, or seeing it, in Siouxland, Wisecup Farm Museum

6 Aug

While visiting southern Siouxland this summer, I came upon another little slice of historical memorabilia. I find it surprising but also wonderful that there are so many museum’s of all stripes in western Iowa. Some in cities and small towns, but others created by people trying to preserve the past and help people understand what pioneers and early settlers lives were like prior to this 21st century. The Wisecup Farm Museum outside of Missouri Valley has a number of restored pieces of farming equipment as well as a one-room school house, a small chapel and homestead. A lot of stuff “stuffed” within the confines of a small space.

A variety of “antique” or former period farm machinery is found at the Wisecup Farm Museum in Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday, June 21, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Antique Minneapolis Moline tractors form a line at the Wisecup Farm Museum in Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday, June 21, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I appreciate the aged and no longer viable farm equipment I encounter because it was in use and the tech of the day while I was growing up on a farm. Farming today is as high tech as a number of other industries with satellite guided tractors and sensors to help farmers get the best yield from their tillable fields.

But it’s nice to know the what and how farmers got to this point. But it’s also nice that individuals find it important to share the past and help educate those of today. It’s been written that people are condemned to the past if they don’t know it. But that is another discussion for a better philosopher than myself.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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