It turns out that these black swallowtail butterflies may or may not have been the Spicebush Swallowtails I thought they were. I have identified them as the Pipevine Swallowtail, one of four species that can look incredibly similar. You can compare them at the link I provided. The butterflies are trying to take after the Asters in numbers and likeness.
The Pipevine Swallowtail's host plant is the Aristolochia vine which tries to mimic Kudzu in its behavior. We have that. The Spicebush butterfly's host is Spicebush of course, Lindera benzoin and Sassafras albidum. We have that. There is a black female form of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. It's host plants are Tulip Poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera and Black Cherry, Prunus serotina. We got tons of that. I very well could have been seeing at least these three species.
We are having long stretches between rains and the butterflies were liking the moisture from my heavy duty mortar mixing.
And then there is this gorgeous creature I spotted this morning while having coffee and cigarettes for breakfast. It was living under one of the chairs on the deck and had spun a web beneath it. I tried to coax it out with a free meal, but his web was lacking in good sticking abilities and I gave up flinging other bugs into the web for it to eat. So this evening I went hunting and flushed him out.
Into the Eyes of the Spider.
Passing through the meadow, I spotted this red leaf perfectly perched on top of this green leaf. This should help lower your heart rate from the previous pictures.