Time to bring you up to date on Fly Creek’s happy clambering into Spring. First, the eatery scene. “Is Jerry’s open yet?” The answer is, “Oh, yes!” The porches are freshly stained; the lawns a uniform green, and the hop vines are already climbing the posts on the covered side deck. Blue and I went up there to lunch earlier this week, and I celebrated spring with my traditional bacon, onion and Swiss cheese hamburger. We two sat on the deck, enjoying the broad view and some spectacular clouds marching across, up toward Schuyler Lake.
And the Cider Mill is buzzing, and not just the bees around the apple blossoms. Bill Michaels introduced me to Gordon, the new snack bar manager; and Gordon told me of his enthusiasm for his joband for the snack bar menu, especially the barbecue sandwich and (new to me) the pot roast sandwich. And, as at Jerry’s, you can dine al fresco at the Cider Mill, sitting on the handsome promenade above the ducks, who provide constant comment and entertainment, no cover charge.
Fly Creek’s old favorite, Portabello’s, is now back to a seven-day week, opening every day at 4. Fine, leisured dining is the goal here, and the menu reflects it. Plus, the homey atmosphere invites you to sit back and enjoy, especially on nights when a pianist is at the keyboard of the baby grand. I always walk in there humming, “Everybody knows your name,” for that’s the ambiance. And who else, I wonder, would cater to myodd taste for anchovy-stuffed martini olives? Portabello’s keeps a jar for me, right under the bar.
I don’t have to tell you that the Fly Creek General Store is my second home. The deli is open from early morning to late afternoon, serving homemade soups and chili, salads, and an endless variety of sandwiches. My favorite time there is breakfast-muffinand- coffee time. That’s when the locals flock in to bust one another’s chops and try to counter Tom Bouton’s sardonic wit (e.g., “We’ve just cleaned the floors; please don’t walk on them.”) Oh, and don’t miss Fly Creek’s newest: The Stock Market. True to owners Joe and Rosanne Pesola’s promise, they’ve put together a menu that stresses great food at reasonable prices. Anne and I have had three meals there and have been pleased every time. A special hit, to my mind, is what Joe calls his version of “Utica Salad.” It a warm salad based on tart arugula tossed in a sauté including olive oil, bits of pepperoni, banana peppers, a reasonable amount of red peppers, diced potatoes, and lots of grated cheese. Joe and Rosanne are open from 4 to 9, Wednesday through Saturday, with plans to expand hours as of Memorial Day. And from four to six each day, seniors can ask for and get a 10 percent discount on their bill.
South of downtown Fly Creek by a scant mile, spring shifts have been under way at our house, too. Every spring and fall our three solar panels have to be moved from the steeper angle that catches the sun as it crosses the southern sky, to a flatter one to meet rays from almost overhead.
After four years, the shift has almost become a ritual, and a high priest and his acolyte come from north Fly Creek to preside. That would be Craig Lippitt and son, Wesley, both of a height to reach up and move the well-balanced panels. Because the seasonal shift recalls Druidic rites, I’ve suggested that the two Lippitts come in robes and laurel wreaths; but I guess that’s stretching their kindness a bit to far.
On Monday, the sunny day when we moved them, the three panels had jointly produced 35 kilowatts by early afternoon. They’d racked up 42 by sunset.
Now Anne, Blue, Simon, and I typically consume about 14 kilowatts a day, and so you can see that a great surplus gets banked with NYSEG to carry us across nighttimes and winter’s darker days. The bottom line is, friends, that in their four years of production, the three panels have produced 86 percent of our electricity. Not bad, huh? Changes inside our house, too, as we accommodate to my increasing wobbliness.
We’ve got sturdy new grab bars for inside the shower and have rolled up and stored some aptly named throw rugs. And our 40-year-old sagging couch, which lowered a seated body to about 10 inches off the floor, has been replaced by a handsome Drogen’s closeout item that makes my standing up twice as easy.
The energy of spring has possessed Fly Creek, as you can see. And do come see! Try out the wonderful eateries; and, if you pass our house, check out the new couch and watch me sit down and get right up again. Awesome, as they say.