DAY 2 OF GARDEN CLEAN-UP by Tri-R Services, otherwise known as Marcello and his crew. There’s been a lot of sawing, chipping, weed-whacking and leaf-blowing – in other words, noise. They seem to be doing a wonderful job of reducing my overgrown Eden to a pared-down version of itself, minus a few dead trees and the wisteria that had, in some cases, literally strangled trees and shrubs to death ($800 just for the wisteria).

My overgrown Eden

My overgrown Eden

Of course some of it will come back. They can’t have gotten it all. But I can deal with wisteria from the ground – I can’t reach 100 feet into the trees.

Tomorrow the shed goes. It’s actually kind of romantic, like Robinson Crusoe’s hut, sheltered by an old low-hanging cherry tree (not the flowering kind, apparently), which I’ve been agonizing over. First I asked Marcello to cut it down, since one of its three trunks is broken and with just two it will be hopelessly asymmetrical. Then I decided they should just prune it, because it’s graceful and dramatic and the well-established bed of ferns underneath — my favorite feature of the garden — won’t be happy suddenly exposed to full sun.

Last day

Last day

(Re the shed: I went to the Town of East Hampton Building Department and, on the advice of locals, looked up my property¬† records to make sure the shed was on the survey they had in their files, so that I can replace it in future with an equal size structure if I want to. It is. I hoped to find out when the house was built, but all I discovered was that it was erected “before adoption of zoning,” which happened in 1958, I was told. Also found out that the previous owners were here nearly 40 years. I hadn’t known that. Somehow, it makes the house feel more loved.)

Somebody loved this house

Somebody loved this house

Inside, I’m puttering around, making things looks homey on a budget of zero. I counted 15 existing pieces of furniture I’ve kept and am using. A surprising amount of the rest is things I found on the street in Brooklyn.

Zero-dollars decorating

Zero-dollars decorating

Table and chairs were here

Table and chairs were here

I ordered a stove and fridge from Sears. I was salivating over the blue Smeg for $1,700 but decided on a white Whirlpool for $400. It’s small — 9.2 cu. ft. — but I didn’t want a monster in the room. I’ll paint the lower cabinets blue instead. The stove is electric, a first for me. But there’s no gas in the house and I don’t want to bother with propane - where to put those bulky tanks? It’s a Kenmore with a radiant glass cooktop, black, no beauty and $1,100 by the time all is said and done.

IMG_0546

Randall Rosenthal, a well-known artist who lives across the road, painted my porch ceiling, I'm told

Randall Rosenthal, a well-known artist who lives across the road, painted my porch ceiling, I'm told

Note the rhododendrons, not the condition of the roof

Note the rhododendrons, not the condition of the roof