Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Black Swallowtail

I used to teach science in grades 7-12. My favorite age was always 10th grade biology. But this particular story is about my 7th graders. I love them all you know. I loved teaching and wish I could substitute but there is no need in our area. The economy has filled the teaching arena.

When we moved to our new town, I gave up teaching and worked full time at a garden center. I had worked part time for the same garden center while I was working full time teaching. So I just swapped the schedule 😉

I loved that sort of work but always missed the kids. Some people don’t like working with children or teens—but I’d rather be with them than adults any day. Kids are so funny. And of course they loved my quirky humor.


I consider myself a really good teacher because I have a lot of energy and I like to teach by hands-on learning. I’ve also taught consumer math, NC history, special education, PE, and Home Ec. I discovered if you are willing then God will provide you with the help to learn and stay a day ahead of the kids. And if you keep an open mind—God will teach you through the kids.

Black Swallowtail on Mexican Sunflowers

While the swallowtails were enjoying my Mexican Sunflowers today, my memory took me back about 3 years ago. I planned a trip to a butterfly farm with 60 of my students. I contacted a local butterfly farm and we were all set to go.

7th graders are still very excited about field trips. They talked about it all week and of course we had studied every stage of the butterfly development. We had studied flight patterns, made cocoons out of toile paper holders, and watched a butterfly hatch as part of our lessons leading up to the field trip.

No one was absent that day and the kids were in an especially good mood of course. I was excited too. Some kids had never seen one butterfly much less hundreds. 5 minutes before we were suppose to get on the bus, the farm owner called. She said there had been a water main burst and many of the butterflies had died. The farm was closing and she was very sorry.

Thank goodness MrD had volunteered to go with me that day cause I was in tears for my kids and my nerves. What was I going to do with 60 kids. MrD being the most gracious man that he is —-suggested we go to the science museum.

MrD paid for 60 kids to spend the whole day at the science museum. We had a blast and found some butterflies on exhibit there. It was a great day and I will forever be grateful to my dear sweet husband for bringing along his good wit and deep pockets.

I love you MrD. He had an especially hard week at work. It ended well with a project being set in motion that he has worked on for some 22 months. He puts in extremely long hours with tedius minutes at the computer. Most of the time he comes home in a good mood and then he goes to bed soon as his belly gets full—unless—Lonesome Dove is on. The man can not resist Lonesome Dove and it’s been on all week.

But I do think a good man is worth his weight in gold!

I’m not an English teacher so enough about that.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. Randy says:


    Nice butterfly photos. Just wanted to tell you that your swallowtail is not a Black Swallowtail, it is a dark form female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
    Thank you so much.


  2. linda says:

    Beautiful photos Anna. I’ll bet you were a wonderful substitute teacher with all that energy and enthusiasm. Very nice story, and kudos to Mr.D for being such a good sport and supportive husband.
    I was a full time teacher for many years but now that I’m older—I’d settle for subbing. There might be a few openings this winter.


  3. Phillip says:

    What a lovely story and great photographs. I spent a lot of my youth in science museums and know what an inspiration they can be.
    Our science museum is pretty cool There is a big old pendulum that is the main focus–the kids love watching it move.


  4. Mr D saved the day and that was awfully kind of him 🙂 Bet everyone remembers the story and will relate it sometime or other. Goodness spreads in so many ways!

    Happy gardening from one to another.
    I run in to my students quite often and when I see their eyes light up–I know we had good times together. Now I was real tough mind you—they had to learn!


  5. lynnsgarden says:

    Amazing how clear your pics are Anna! A beautiful subject, too! I was chasing butterflies this morning but no luck…today! Thanks for the Twitter follow!
    My pleasure to add you on Twitter. The butterflies are just arriving so I hope you can get a good shot soon. It’s hard for me not to spend all day out there just watching them go from flower to flower.


  6. WONDERFUL shots!!!
    Thank you so much!


  7. Catherine says:

    Science was always my favorite subject in high school! I bet you would’ve been a fun teacher to have, lucky kids.
    What a great thing your husband did for you and your students!
    We’ve always loved kids and did so much with our own children. My new house is all about family and get togethers. I love everyone to enjoy life.


  8. Heather says:

    Anyone that enjoys children and teens is a saint in my book! Mine is 13.5 and although I truly enjoy her most of the time, some of her pals are missing the parenting chip that should be firmly installed on them all. What a nice story!
    Boy I like your use of missing the parenting chip—some kids just need a lot of love. They need someone to be a parent and they would turn out just grand.


  9. What a great story. Mr D sounds really special. When are you going to finish your love story–that was just warming up! Ha! I always enjoy what you write and your great sense of humor. Thanks for your encouragement to me. It always touches my heart.
    OH–my love story—it’s not finished yet :). Yes, only two chapters so far but I’m feeling motivated to get #3 going. It’s a juicy one full of having babies and fighting tornadoes on the the North Dakota plains—-it’s all about a water bed and snow up to the second story. So exciting I’m sure. Thanks for asking about it and stay tuned.

    Karen I’m there for you and please drop down to see me—maybe this fall when my sunflowers and pumpkins are going to be everywhere. That is good porch sitting weather.


  10. Janet says:

    I didn’t mention that I liked seeing the blog title pictures on your sidebar. Looks nice. I added the thumbnail of each post…not as cool as yours but a little extra color.
    When I first saw the thumbnails on ya’lls blogs, it made me want them but it took wordpress a long to offer something even this close. I still think what blogger has is better cause it updates in real time. It does get me distracted in a good way—and off I go investigating what someone is posting about just by seeing the link on the sidebar. I guess sidebars do work.


  11. Janet says:

    You have had an interesting life there young lady! Great butterfly pictures – – – and I love the Mexican Sunflower. High tides wiped mine out… 😦 The petals and the leaves are so fuzzy.
    I’ve done a gazallion things and then some. I like what I’m doing now–practically nothing except blogging all day. Perfectly waste of good time as I flit about the internet while MrD slaves away all day. I do appreciate him for it. Glad that he likes his job so much.


  12. Randy says:

    I saw the tiger of the season in our neighbors yard yesterday. He flew across the fence for just a second and back into her yard he went. I wonder why her flowers taste better?–Randy 🙂
    They don’t taste better but he was afraid ya’ll would put him to work! Your yard is fabulous!


  13. patientgardener says:

    Gorgeous photo – you must be very patient
    I’m not too patient but they are drunk on feeding so it made it easier.


  14. Betty says:

    A school teacher..you’re full of surprizes! I bet you were a good one too. What’s with the old photo of you again? How did Mr.D make out at the dentist yesterday? Hope it was nothing really serious or too costly. Tell him that this dental work isn’t going to get him out of working on the Copper Top Cottage. LOL! All of your fans are waiting for the final unveiling!
    Copper Top is all but finished. I think one more board, caulking, and paint. I still haven’t decided on the color but I’m leaning toward this green in my blog—or more close to a Robin’s Egg blue! I will tell him you said get to work! Oh yea, the patio has to go in but I’ve decided to wait until the Autumn to go get those brick from the old house I was given.

    I put a new avatar pic up today just for you. It was taken today.

    I’ve been a little bit of everything in my life except a streetwalker. No chance that is ever going to happen.


    1. Betty says:

      Yep, I noticed you had changed the picture since this morning. I wished I had your talents and computer skills. Is there anything that you can’t do? Streetwalker? Take a walk around your neighborhood and then you can call yourself one. LOL!
      If I can’t do it—give me a few hours. I’ll tackle it till I do.


      1. Betty says:

        Your photos are always so bright and clear; what kind of camera do you use?
        Thank you–it’s a Kodak Easyshare Z612. If it broke I’d go out and buy another exactly the same. Wonderful and I take most of the shots in the macro setting. I make sure the light is right and the bugs are smiling.


  15. Joy says:

    This was such a nice post Anna !
    The pictures were beautiful .. I wish more butterflies would visit my garden .. I think there is a shortage of them in my neighborhood and they don’t know about my garden ?
    Mr. D. is a lovely man ! wink wink
    Next time one comes by, I’ll tell them about your pretty gardens and send them on up. Shouldn’t take them too long or too many life cycles.


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