Even a storm emotes beauty here in The Jefferson National Forest. The wind that tore through the valley of Bland, Virginia – which sits like a child snuggled up in the lap of the surrounding ridges – also blew the storm away. And now wisps of mist and fog rise up as if the mountain Trolls are smoking their pipes. An ever changing landscape.

Sometimes isolated pockets of storms will cross one area of our long range view. They appear somewhat like a swarm of bees and we can watch them run toward us surrounded by sun on either side. It can be raining on the southern side and brightly sunny on the northern, for example. It was odd and curious the first time we saw it and now we look forward to the phenomenon that is peculiar to this elevation and vantage point.

I hope to be able to photograph it for you in the upcoming weeks, as we visit this little refuge more often in the late spring through late autumn.

The black bears should be coming out of hibernation soon, if not already. Last year on the first Saturday in May, we had five in the bottom field in front of our cabin. They have never bothered anything here, although they are intensely curious beings. We have found their paw prints on window sills and nose prints on the glass where they pulled themselves up to look inside. They have been on the deck and front porch, but never when we were here. We don’t leave trash out and take ours with us when we go. We don’t leave out dog food or anything that would entice them to view this as a feeding station, but they have broken into my husband’s barrel feeders that he uses to feed the deer during the summer – his misguided effort to keep them out of our alfalfa. I keep asking him which he would rather eat – fresh green baby alfalfa or old dried tough corn. The hatchet job they have done on our hay crop has provided the answer. Only when the alfalfa is mown down to the ground will they start munching on the corn again. I think this year we will try a different theory.

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