This dark butterfly is a Black Swallowtail. It seems to prefer the flowers in the vegetable/cutting garden, which is where these Zinnias are growing. It was quite 'friendly' flitting all around me and posing, but I never got a shot of the back of the wings, which are duller and have some pale greenish-blue areas to them. The frilly plant in the background are my Cosmos, which are more than five feet tall, bushy as all get out, and have yet to put a blossom out. I'm growing fabulous leaves and foliage though!
This is a Tiger Swallowtail, and is larger than the Spice Bush above. This example seems to be close to the end of its life. The coloring is fading, and it is missing parts of the lower wings, maybe due to birds or some other predators. It was VERY furtive and I had to shoot it with the telephoto zoom function, which always makes photos blurrier. Still, quite a spectacular butterfly. It only feeds on the thistles in the main yard. I darkened the sky in the top photo a bit to show the wingspread better. I was shooting up into the sun, which is never good for exposure, lol.
The new "Tranquility Bench." We made this from a couple of old cement footings from a long-gone shed, and a wonderful piece of granite we found nearby them. I think it might have been a step for the same shed. The 'end table' next to it is another great piece of granite from a different part of the yard. It's pretty much square and I think may have been a boundary marker at one point, or perhaps something left over from the building of the train tracks in the late 1800s. We needed a tractor to get it out of the ground, and used the tractor to carry both pieces of granite to the backyard and set up the bench and get the square piece set into the ground upright. You can see the vegetable garden in the background, or the Ponderosa, as I like to call it, hahaha.