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Posts Tagged ‘students’

The birds are disappearing!

North America has lost a quarter of its bird population in the last 50 years! That’s a loss of nearly 3 Billion birds in just half a century, and according to the National Audubon study, it’s not the exotic types that are vanishing:

“…the most ubiquitous birds have been the hardest hit. “The common wisdom was that we’d see the rare and threatened species disappearing and the common, human-adapted ones taking over,” Rosenberg says. Instead, his team found that 90 percent of the missing birds came from just 12 families, and that they were all familiar, perchy, cheepy things such as sparrows, warblers, blackbirds, finches, larks, starlings, and swallows… It’s as if all birds are canaries, and the entire world their coal mine.”  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/09/america-has-lost-quarter-its-birds-fifty-years/598318/

Now most of you know that I love birds. I used to feed them all the time until we moved to the mountains of Virginia and decided they had enough food in the wild and I didn’t need to attract bears to my backyard.

I’ve recently hung a hummingbird feeder on the urban farmhouse porch without much success, but I’ve been told by a friend they are currently migrating and I might have better luck luring those tiny, iridescent, super fast babies in the Spring. For now, we listen to mourning doves coo to each other in our garden.

When we lived in the Berkshire Mountains, and the kids were little, I’d have wild guinea hens under my feeder, and whole families of cardinals would romp around our home on the edge of an actual bird sanctuary. While Grandma Ada was collecting blue birds in all shapes and sizes, I started collecting glass cardinals as my lucky, totem bird.

Grandpa Hudson carved a cardinal into the top of our family totem pole when we moved back to New Jersey. And though I could hear them foraging in the early morning hours, I became a fan of the abundant shore birds I saw migrating over our swamp wetlands. Herons and egrets sailed like ships across our low-slung Rumson ranch house out to the river at daybreak and dusk.

Woodpeckers performed like precision drillers across our Virginia valley when we built a small house with a view of the Blue Ridge. Their rat-a-tat noise would ricochet between the ridges as they searched for food. One day I sat in my car for an hour watching two pileated woodpeckers attack a log in the driveway. We knew them by the singular way they would fly, as if their substantial heft made them descend a little bit with every wing stroke. They skipped across the sky.

I would never keep a bird in the house, in a cage. Don’t judge me, I just couldn’t.

Today, if you are walking out of school or work to protest our climate crisis I salute you! Because it’s a world-wide problem that is calling for some extraordinary solutions.

It’s not just about carbon – though we must address that. We are living comfortably with just one car, walking more isn’t just healthy for us, it’s helping the environment. But deforestation causes 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions, equal to vehicular emissions. https://www.conservation.org/stories/11-climate-change-facts-you-need-to-know

It’s not just about the sea rising and glaciers melting – a significant reason for human migration. Where will Miami be in 10 years, or Sea Bright, NJ for that matter? In our Southern city, government has decided to pay property owners to move out of flood zones! Which is good, cause my grand dogs were swimming in their flooded basement when the Bride and Groom first moved here in 2010. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/06/climate/nashville-floods-buybacks.html

And it’s not just about the birds and the bees!

Thank you to Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish climate activist who saw what Parkland students did to mobilize gun reform after a massacre at their school. They started a revolution because gun violence in our country is an URGENT problem. And just look what they have started with AR-15 manufacturers, Colt suspended rifle production for civilians! : https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49766257

We also need to sign the Paris Agreement now. Greta asks us to listen to the scientists, because Climate Change should be a global, URGENT priority!

Republican tactics of denial, delay, and disinformation will no longer be tolerated. But don’t just walk out of school this morning – after your #ClimateStrike today students, register to vote if you will turn 18 by next November. Our birds and our fish and our future are depending on you.

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Here we go. A flip was switched somewhere and summer has arrived – triple H weather, hazy, hot and humid. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be scorchers, 90+ with crazy late afternoon thunderstorms. But July first also means the new interns and residents start at the hospital, and that means moving vans and cleaning crews.

When we moved South, we bought a hundred year old house in town. It was supposed to be our little nest egg, a small investment property, something to rent out to medical students, our own personal social experiment. But we bought at the height of the market, and the more we stripped away the years and “captured” space underground to make the basement rental beautiful, the more we realized this would be a non-profit adventure.

Our renovation to this grand little brick foursquare, three bedroom house proceeded with the vague thought that we may sometime in the future, when we can no longer drive, like to live in town and be able to walk everywhere. Presuming we could still walk!

My guilty TV pleasure is watching HGTV. I love International House Hunters, the Property Brothers, and Flea Market Flip.  But flipping tenants every three to four years is taking its toll. Most of the time I’ve lucked out, because word of mouth has meant that the house stayed in the general med school family. These students are rarely home, and when they are, they sleep. For a new landlord, this was a win win.

But as of today, the tenants are not med students, although one is a PhD student. They like to garden and take good care of the house. I feel bad for the new guy moving in today, on presumably one of the hottest days of the summer. And it was bittersweet saying goodbye to the emergency resident who packed up a van and left for Sloan Kettering. He got off a plane from Germany with two suitcases three years ago and is off to a fellowship in the Big Apple. That’s the best part of this whole thing, meeting new people.

We’ve even had two weddings that were linked to that brick house!

So maybe I could pitch a new show to HGTV called  “Investment in Medicine?”  About buying an investment property to rent to med students who only call you when they think the smoke alarm won’t go off and it turns out to be an abandoned beeper in the back of a closet. A Grey’s Anatomy meets House Hunters. I’ve got more stories, but I think I’ll keep them close to the hip.

I’ve turned over the key, and left a bottle of wine in the fridge. Here’s to you historic old house, we’ve had a good run. I hope your newest tenant loves you as much as I do. and I hope the AC holds out.

Bride and Groom near the brick house

Bride and Groom near the brick house

 

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