What a whirlwind month August was! And next month is shaping up to be no less busy. Looking at my schedule, I have something going on every weekend in September, so in the blink of an eye, it will be October!

I can’t say everything I’ve been doing relates to the Civil War or writing historical fiction, but some of it has. September will take me to some beautiful parts of Virginia for book signings – and I always make it a point to visit Civil War sites when I have the chance.

When I was filing some photos the other day, I came across pictures I took in July of the Butterfly Bush right outside my door. I had started the day trying to get photos of hummingbirds. They will eat from a feeder two feet above my head – except when I have a camera in my hands, so I turned my attention to the Butterfly Bush.

On any given day, the bush is literally covered with butterflies, including Yellow Swallowtails, Monarchs, Red Spotted Purples and Zebra Swallowtails.

The Zebra was the hardest to capture since it flits from flower to flower instead of sitting around with its wings open like some of the others do. Since it is a little rarer, here is the photo. You can see its tails are not that long. They apparently grow longer as the summer goes on. I saw one on the bush the other day that was a perfect specimen.

Here is a picture of a Yellow Swallowtail for comparison. I still have these on the bush every day – sometimes four or five at a time. They are beautiful to watch. In addition to the Butterfly Bush, I have tons of wild flowers planted at different locations so I guess that helps draw them in as well.

My brothers used to catch butterflies and identify them, but I can’t really figure out the next two. I think the one here to the right is in the Admiral family, and the next one, below, is in the Fritillary family – maybe a Regal Fritillary?

I’ve found that butterfly watching is a bit like bird watching. It’s fun to look up and see something that is both beautiful and unusual.

One thing for sure, it is a relaxing way to let my mind wander and spark the creative juices for a day of writing!


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