I'm talking about trees. They seem to be in some kind of death spiral right now. Let me count the trees: two apple trees in our yard. At least two in our neighbors' yard. One out by the pond — it's is still standing but is completely dead. And don't forget our pear tree, which died about a year ago. Also, two very tall trees in the plot of woods on the north side of our property have come crashing down over the past year or two, for no obvious reason.
Here's a January 2019 photo of the big apple tree we lost last month. It's demise wasn't sudden. We'd been watching it decline for a few years. As I've said, mistletoe may have contributed to the tree's demise, but the parasite may well have just been taking advantage of a tree that was already sickly. We'd been seeing a lot of mushrooms growing around the tree's trunk for a few years. That's a bad sign, I guess.
Compare the photo above of a skeletal tree full of clumps of mistletoe to the one on the right, taken in the spring of 2017. That might have been the last time we had a good crop of apples from this big old tree. It certainly had a lot of blossoms that year.
Here's what happened to the tree about a week ago. Weather too must have contributed to its death, but not wind. Just rain and rot. First the limb on the left crashed to the ground, and a few days later down came the one on the right.
So now we have this view out toward the garden shed from the back door and the greenhouse. I sort of like it this way. It's open and airy.
And here's the view from the back gate toward the house. You can see that the crew that helped us by removing the fallen apple tree also cut up the burnable wood and stacked it for us. Our plan is to burn it in the wood stove starting in 2020.
Finally, and this one is maybe the saddest loss for me, the pecan tree in my mother's back yard in Morehead City, N.C. — behind house I grew up in and where Ma lived for 54 years — suddenly gave up the ghost this year. I learned about it when I was there in October. There will be no more crops of those delicious paper-shell pecans. It was a tree my mother had grafted and planted back in the mid-1970s. Is all this just weather-related, or is it climate change?