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THE ROOF GUTTERS ARE CLEARED of leaves, the air conditioner is in its winter blanket, the grill and porch furniture are put away. I’ve spent the better part of this past week at my Long Island cottage raking thick layers of fallen oak leaves¬† — there are more to come, I’m sure, but this is the bulk of them — off the paths and lawn and into piles in spots where I’m still trying to smother invasive weeds and ground cover. (I can’t believe that in my naive-gardener days two or three years ago, I used to bag them up and take them to the dump.)

All that remains to be done for my garden’s winter prep is to wrap some of the deer-vulnerable shrubs in burlap or plastic mesh¬†(to see how I did that last year, go here), and give them one last anti-deer spray for good measure.

I came out here from the city last Sunday, after two weeks away and a superstorm named Sandy, to be greeted by leaves, leaves everywhere, and a goodly number of fallen branches. Sandy didn’t take down any trees, however — a testament, I like to think, to my good arborial management. I was also greeted, joyfully, by some good fall color, especially from a burning bush and Japanese maple that have been here a lot longer than my 3-1/2 years, and ornamental grasses in full plume.

I have not yet succeeded in renting my house year-round or for the winter season (click here for details), though my ad continues to run in the East Hampton Star. It’s a pretty soft rental market, and my efforts have been a bit soft too, as I still don’t have a closing date on the other, nearby house I’m in the process of buying. The good news there, though, is that I have a signed contract of sale with the seller, at long last :-) I expect it to happen before year’s end — perhaps not the most convenient time to buy an unheated, uninsulated house in the Northeast U.S., but so be it. The sooner the better.

My next post, I swear, will be the big reveal: interior photos of my new project, taken during an inspection a couple of months back, and some musings on what I might or might not do with it.

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