Tag Archives: rural iowa

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Onawa

1 Dec

Sometimes when out taking photographs in Siouxland I just enjoy watching the light and the effect it has on an area or subject. Time of day can play a part and whether it is a clear or cloudy day. Nice light is just nice light.

The moon rises above houses along the lake at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most times I find myself in the wrong place when this light happens. It is fleeting. maybe 10-15 minutes early morning and in the evening as the sun awakens the day and leaves for the night. Sometimes I get lucky and am near something that embraces the magical light which makes it a magical subject. But not often, so I enjoy the light. Whether I was lucky and was able to make a nice photograph, the jury is still out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sun sun sets and light reflects in a body of water near the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographing the Details during a Siouxland Outing

17 Nov

A dilapidated wagon sits in a field in the Loess Hills of northwest Iowa near Moorhead, Iowa Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. T(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When out and about driving around the Siouxland region, I enjoy the broad brushstrokes of landscapes and scenes. But sometimes one must look at the details of such a scene to also enjoy what is there and record. Seeing what is front of oneself is sometimes an acquired skill. To isolate visually in one’s mind then translate that into a visual image takes patience and practice. I have had lots of practice and am still practicing.

A detail image of wagon wheels during a Photo Safari outing in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But that’s the joy of wandering about and challenging oneself to really see what is in front of yourself. Sometimes one gets lucky. Other times, maybe not. But what’s a better way to spend a day that out taking photographs.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

looking for designs and details during a Photo Safari outing in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a Fall Day in Siouxland, Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa

11 Nov

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days in Siouxland are so nice one just wants to savor them as long as one can. Recently a fall day had temps finally getting back into the 50’s with sunshine. The weather has been a bit funky this year and what should have been a great year for fall color found many trees getting close, but continued cold nights and rainy days seemed to stopped the color change in progress.

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People were out though enjoying what they thought might be one of the truly nice days this year before the winter season begins bringing a constant chill to the air in the temperature range of the 20’s and 30’s. Indeed chilly and the cold spell helps the trees to drop their leaves before they can reach that peak of color display.

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I enjoy what I can and wandered through the park savoring the sunshine, the golden boughs and hoping for maybe one more day when I didn’t have to throw on a heavy coat to go outside and brave the chill.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland,Prairie Heritage Center, O’Brien County

25 Aug

The Prairie Heritage Center is off of state Hwy 10 outside of Peterson, Iowa seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I never tire of finding new places to visit in Siouxland. Places people tell me about, and which I then forget, only to “discover” it while driving about. I really need to write these suggestions down, someplace where I can remember I put my list.

The Prairie Heritage Center is located in O’Brien County, just outside of Peterson on a bit of a hill and stretches out toward a small river and grasslands. As one drives down the long lane you see an unusual sight, a pre-historic critter standing overlooking the valley below, giving the visitor an idea of what creatures may have roamed these hills millennia ago.

Art decorates and suggests a prehistoric past which may have roamed the area seen at the Prairie Heritage Center Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Benches are located near the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa for a chance to sit and enjoy nature and its surroundings seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The center contains information about the immediate area, history of what may have come before and helps one understand the natural habitat and why it is important. There are also tablets outside that contain relevant information about the area and what animals roamed prior to most of Iowa becoming a farming state.

A family looks over exhibits located inside the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Plaques give information about the area at the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Plaques give information about the area at the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Then there are a couple of easy walking trails that lead down into the valley area below the center although without some bushwhacking it’s not possible to reach the river stream that runs through the area. I thought that might have been nice to walk in the cool shade of the trees on a hot summer’s day, but the tall grass, fear of ticks and not wanting to trip on underlying tree limbs or logs under the grass, I stayed on the trail. But it’s a nice area to visit and return to, which I plan on in the fall. A worker at the welcome center said not all trees along the river are burr oak, whose leaves only turn brown in the fall after turning green in the spring. So depending on weather and conditions, there could be some nice fall shots waiting for a photographer traipsing out and about in October and November.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Trails lead away from the Prairie Heritage Center and allow visitors a closer look at the prairie and fauna seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa sits on a hilltop overlooking a valley seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors climb the view overlook to see the valley below the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History in Siouxland, Kirchner Park Museum, Peterson

23 Aug

The Christian Kirchner house seen on the grounds of the Kirchner Park Museum complex in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes timing is everything as one drives about Siouxland checking out what lies over the next hill. A few times I have driven through Peterson and each time I was never lucky enough to find the Kirchner Park Museum open. Only to learn later that it’s by an appointment situation and entails a little more planning on my part next time. The home is of a pioneer who settled the area and built one of the firsts, if not the first, wood frame house. A small museum next door houses various artifacts and farming implements as far as I know. There is even a one-room school house situated on the grounds, all of which most likely holds interesting history of the area, and someday, I hope to learn what some of that history is. And better plan my next trip there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A look inside one room of the Christian Kirchner house on the grounds of the Kirchner Park Museum complex in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The porch area of the Kirchner Farm Machinery Museum on the grounds of the Kirchner Park Museum complex in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Rock Forest Schoolhouse on the grounds of the Kirchner Park Museum complex in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Bit and Pieces of History in Siouxland, Little Sioux

3 May

A placard next to Murray Hall tells some of the history of Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A former jail cell now sits alongside a placard with some of the history of Little Sioux City, Iowa Tueday, April 9, 2019, sitting next to Murray Hall. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s surprising sometimes the little bits and pieces of historical knowledge one can find when visiting places in Siouxland. Little Sioux is a small community in southern Siouxland. But a couple of the buildings sport dates harkening back a couple of centuries, and it’s possible the community was settled in the mid to late 1800’s

A brick house which looks like it could date from the late 1800’s sits empty in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

What looks like a former general store or meeting place now houses a small museum about the area in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Inside of what looks like a former general store or meeting place now houses a small museum about the area in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Except for history buffs and those living in the immediate area, it’s sad to me that so much history is being lost everyday because it really has no currency for most people. And today it seems some folk are trying to “rewrite” history because they didn’t like the outcome in the first place an in a few hundred years, who will really know what the truth is. But those who are interested it’s around us in many shapes and forms and only takes a little looking to find it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A former barbershop for sale with a building date of 1891 sits looking for a new occupant in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Another former business in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An abandoned house in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

 

Honoring those who gave all in Siouxland, Little Sioux

27 Apr

Flags flapping at the American Legion Post 410 in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When passing through various small communities in the Siouxland region one can almost always find a memorial to community members who joined the military and paid the ultimate sacrifice during war. I recently came upon American Legion Post 141 in Little Siouxand it had created a tribute to those people from the immediate area who served their country.

The American Legion Post 410 has seen many years of service in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A figurine in the window of the American Legion Post 410 in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I found interesting at this particular memoriam that mention was made of people serving in Grenada and also the Spanish-American and the Mexican war. One doesn’t always find that tribute to soldiers who fought in those campaigns.

Not all war in memoriams contain names of those who fought in the Spanish American War seen in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Names from the community of those who fought in the Mexican War, as well as at Grenada area found in memoriam in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

These salutes to those braves souls find more attention in small towns I believe because there are fewer people there to actually serve as compared to a larger city. And the loss of someone that probably everyone knew while no greater than those from larger towns becomes more impactful in a smaller community. It will also be interesting to see these salutes thrive as the dynamics between the rural and city communities continues with more people leaving smaller ones to find jobs and opportunity in larger ones.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An in memoriam with names of those who served sits next to the American Legion Post 410 in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

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