Ask me what my favorite kind of day is and I will always reply ‘sunny and seventy’. And today in Bland, Virginia, that is just what I have. Humidity is low, a light breeze is blowing, and the mountains are green and vibrant.

One of the interesting things about Bland is that it lies mostly between the two tunnels – Big Walker Mountain coming from Wytheville into Bland, and The East River Mountain Tunnel that leads into West Virginia. The tall mountain ridges that surround Bland are part of the Jefferson National Forest and this nestling of Bland in its lap often offers its own micro-climate. The weather on one side of the tunnel looks entirely different than the weather on the other side.

Today was the perfect example of this. As we approached the tunnel, dark ominous clouds circled low. Fog and mist seemed to be blowing up out of the trees. It looked as though it would start storming any minute. But on the other side of the tunnel , the sun was bright and the sky filled with white puffy clouds, the kind you want to imagine as dolphins, bears, or dogs.

Crickets are chirping and my husband is fussing about the return of the prehistoric ferns. Growing straight up on a stalk that can reach several feet high, they had to be sent to Virginia Tech to determine what they were and how to get rid of them. A few spores must have survived and are taunting him with their feathery fronds.

We’ve got a bee’s nest and some daisies – the bad and the good. And we have a couple of deck chairs to just relax in. Unless the bees run us off, we are fixed here for the day.

Our lantern fixture on the side of the house that gets the most wind has survived the storms. The way it rattled in the fierce wind made me wonder if it would. And we haven’t been here since several other storms hit this area, so we are pleased with everything except our driveway which is getting ready to get a massive grading change to prevent water damage.

During one of the storms, a neighbor had several cows to panic and bust through the fence. They wandered for days but he finally found all but one. Seeing pie shaped evidence that one had been in our alfalfa, we assumed he was here somewhere and sure enough, he turned up. We called the neighbor to see if he wanted to come over and retrieve his cow. Apparently this is one crazy bovine and won’t let anyone near it. Sure enough, as soon as it saw us, it took off like a race horse back through the woods. They haven’t even been able to get close enough to use a tranquilizer dart on the thing. Oh well, he’s enjoying his freedom, and our alfalfa. If only he would eat the ferns, he could have a home here forever!

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