Ash Trees

The weather is doing its roller coaster thing, which it does here at Mist Cottage in November and February. Some days the temperature rises above the freezing mark, some nights it falls below -10C. Some days are cloudy, often offering snow, and occasionally rain. Some days the sun comes out, for a little while, and from time to time for a long while.

I ventured out onto the back porch this morning, in my pajamas and parka. The sun was out, the temperature was -2C. It was just too tempting, I had to see what it was like out there! The visit to the great outdoors was short, a mere five minutes, but very sweet. The air was fresh and bracing, and with snow on the ground the sunshine bounced. Later in the day the sun came out in full force, the sky cleared to brilliant blue and it has been an oh so cheerful day!

When I arose this morning the sky was cloudy. Then suddenly the sunlight streamed into the living room. It was there only for a few minutes before the clouds pulled a curtain over the show. Being drawn to the window was a lucky chance. The tree in the neighbours front yard is an Ash Tree, and the Emerald Ash Borers are here and killing many of the local Ash trees. It has been suffering more each year, as have the two Ash trees in our back yard. So sad to see! But it was a lucky chance for a large Pileated Woodpecker, who was busily removing bark from the tree, to feed on those pesky little tree killers. This denudes the tree of its bark, hastening the imminent end of its life.

I found it interesting to follow a local online conversation about local Pileated Woodpeckers killing these trees in our municipality. Not one person realized the affected trees were Ash trees, and that those Ash trees were dying all over the area. The woodpeckers are not killing the trees, they are just moving in when all hope of recovery has passed, to remove the bark and enjoy a meal. One wonders, with information available at people’s fingertips on their cell phones, which always seem to be in front of their faces, why not one person understood what was going on. I remain distant from these conversations, as the people involved are often quite opinionated, rude, and seemingly uninterested in learning. Social media has some very sad “neighbourhoods”.

Ash tree with damaged bark.
Ash Tree with damaged bark where a Pileated Woodpecker has been feeding this morning.



Updated on Thu, Feb 25, 11:05 AM
Partly cloudy
Wind 24 NW km/h
Humidity 54 %
Visibility 26 km
Sunrise 6:52 AM
Wind gust 37 km/h
Pressure 102.1 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 5:50 PM


“natural simple people do not frighten one whether dead or alive. The thought of them is ever welcome; it is the artificial people who are sometimes one thing, sometimes another, and who form themselves on the weaknesses and fancies of those among whom they live, who are really terrifying.”

From an Introduction by Anne Thackeray Ritchie, to Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth, Macmillan and Co., 1895
Note: The Introduction is five chapters long, some kind of record I think.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Joan Lansberry

I’m so sad you’re losing your ash trees. We had a fine orange tree, which gave us such tasty fruit, but a fungi got after it, and it hasn’t much longer. The arborist tried to save it by removing the most fungi eaten parts, but….

We’ll have to replant with something that isn’t a fruit tree. Something less vulnerable to fungi.
I grieve…. I love trees so much.