Alas, I either
- hastened the inevitable demise of
I suspect the third one. Who in their right mind puts weedcloth all the way up around a tree's trunk then piles on the woodchips? Actually, the tree is old, fruit trees don't age well, and it's being shaded out by some conifers planted by the neighbors --- too much mulch too close to the trunk is probably moot. Last year, the spring weather pattern was terrible for pollinators. We got nothing. This year however, the weather was better and there's a new beekeeper a block away. I'm not optimistic about the long term survival of this tree, but for now it's time to retrieve the food dehydrator from the garage. For the next week or so, the dryer will provide ambient noise and the house will smell slightly sweet, slightly fermented.
I did the yardwork, pruning the plum tree, removing the weedcloth and rearranging the woodchips in anticipation of some guests who arrive later this week. These gals will be here for several months at least, perhaps longer. I hope they are a good addition to the family. While they retire early --- no late night parties to annoy us, they do like to awaken around dawn. I hope they will be able to amuse themselves til a more reasonable hour.
On the plus side, they'll help with the gardening and will reduce our grocery bill.