Tag Archives: small towns

Seeing Details in Siouxland, Linn Grove

18 Sep

Driving about in Siouxland there are so many places to visit and revisit that sometimes I wonder what I might find this time after choosing one. These places are not the WOW of New York City or AWE of say LA, but quiet scenes in small towns that are but a spec in the scheme of things. The flash of an eye as one sails through. And sometimes it is the details of a place that I enjoy most, although somewhat out of context when seen by itself.

Downtown Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Linn Grove has a little over 150 people living in it. A couple store fronts and mostly residents off the beaten track. In the fall with its curving road running through its downtown and out into the rolling hills it gets an almost New England kind of feel to it. And so for me in small places like this I like small details, present but not overtly so.

Lichen growing on an abandoned railroad crossing bridge over a creek near Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small look of a much larger scene.

 

Shapes and designs in Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

All places have there charm, and blemishes. Bigger cities blemishes show more because there seems to be more of them. And they are bigger. Small communities have them too, but all are pretty in their own way. Even if viewed at a particular angle while screening out the surrounding sights, for that moment it’s just a lovely sight.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A flower following the sun in Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Driving through Nature in Siouxland, Rural Cherokee County

16 Sep

Some days driving about Siouxland I just enjoy the look of nature, even if it incorporates a bit of agriculture. It’s still bucolic and relaxing and away from any glitz and hubbub of life in any fast lane. Cows are only interested if you brought any feed with you as long as you are stopping by. They gaze, then go about grazing again, just enjoying the day and the quiet of the countryside.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bucolic scene in rural Cherokee County, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bucolic scene in rural Cherokee County, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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©)

 

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©)

 

Finding a quiet corner in Siouxland, Homer, NE

21 Jul

When out driving about Siouxland it’s always the little gems that stick out in my mind. One such place I recently came across was in Homer, NE, a small community of maybe 550 people. I had not been to Homer in a few years, but it was with interest and delight to find someone had created a small quiet zone in the downtown area.

The downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A path leads into a quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am never bashful in checking out places and I didn’t see anyone on the street as I drove up to park and walk about.  But it is nice that people take the time to create something that they and others can enjoy and give a person a break from a hectic world, no matter one’s occupation or place in the scheme of life. But finding a little solitude and a respite is always a good thing to contemplate and enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A path leads into a quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A small signpost gives options in a quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Near downtown Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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