Papilio rutulus). More particularly, it's the caterpillar just prior to pupation – about to hibernate while it transforms into the adult butterfly. Prior to this life-cycle stage, the caterpillar is green. The Western Tiger Swallowtail is a fairly common butterfly here, and we recognized its photos immediately – but we had no idea it's caterpillar looked like that!
Shortly after I finished that, a couple we didn't know drove into our front yard. I was up on our balcony, so we talked for a moment and I found out they lived nearby, loved our barn, and wanted to know who had built it. That led to a delightful four hours of conversation (after a tour of our place) during which we got to know Ben and Laura. They live about a quarter mile southwest of us, on the fields just above the east side of the Little Bear River. Ben is a firefighter, a civilian employee of Hill Air Force Base, near Ogden (about an hour's drive). Laura is an entomologist, working for the Utah State University in Logan, specializing in agricultural pests. They moved here the year after we did, and still don't really know very many of the local folks. We made a start on fixing that yesterday. :)
That lovely visit delayed our dinner by a few hours, and made me very glad I'd had that snack! Not long after Ben and Laura left, our kitchen was full of the enticing aroma of baking cod. Debbie had purchased two pounds of fresh cod from Macey's, and it needed to be eaten. She coated the fillets with egg and a spice mix, baked them until they practically fell apart, and then we feasted on that cod and some perfectly cooked white rice. Cod fixed that way is a favorite of both of us, and last night it was particularly good. But oh, man, were we ever stuffed!
Angie's for some breakfast. The special was a bone-in ham steak and eggs, so I ordered that. Debbie ordered the “Florentine Eggs Benedict”, a concoction that is meatless, but has hollandaise sauce and avocados. When our waitress delivered the meal, I was shocked into speechlessness by the sheer heft of that ham steak. I hope you can get a sense of the scale of that thing from the photo - it was about 3/8" thick and about a square foot in extent. I stuffed it in until I could stuff no more, and I didn't even eat half of it. I never even touched the homemade rye toast that I love. Debbie was even less successful in the consumption department than I was: she could only eat half of her relatively tiny little dish. We walked out with about two pounds of food in boxes, after we stuffed ourselves to the bursting point. Our dogs will be forever grateful to Angie's for doing that, as they got to eat all of the (lavishly) buttered toast and ham. Debbie's Florentine Eggs Benedict she's going to try reheating, but I won't be surprised if it ends up as a dog treat, too. :)