There is something incredible about the end of summer on the Great Plains.

It’s that  moment in time when cool clouds roll in frequently and eclipse the sun while the humidity is clipped by a steady drop in temperature. You start to notice leaves, slightly turned in color, resting on the ground and it prompts you to look up (It’s always good when something makes you look up!). The cornfields you pass on your regular commute have started to dry up and all of the sudden you notice a void of green. Summer is slipping away as gradually as the long sunsets.

Living in this moment reminds me why I love being from Nebraska. 

I firmly believe that the passing of seasons need to be celebrated like the passing of a dear friend. A proper goodbye is in order when something has served you well. This particular summer offered up great adventures, wonderful stories and some much needed insight. How could I not give it a proper sendoff?

I headed to the South Park with a friend to offer up a toast to summer. In my picnic basket was a nosh of cookies and lemonade and you can’t get more summer-like than that.

In my opinion, there is truly nothing more decadent that sea salted butter…

County Seat Living salted butter

I have to admit that David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies have become my guilty pleasure. I find that I’m frequently making up a  batch and placing it in the refrigerator so I can bake a couple cookies when the mood strikes me. FYI: homemade cookie dough is SO much better after it has chilled out in the fridge.

Since placing the cookies in a Ziplock bag isn’t a very County Seat Living thing to do, I came up with a fun wrapper for presentation. I’ve always been one to scout out the potential in discarded items and when I ran across some maps of the City of Holdrege, I knew they deserved to be upcycled…

County Seat Living plat map1

County Seat Living plat map2

To the un-crafty eye, the blueprints were nothing more than old layouts of streets and plotted land. However, when they are re-purposed they can be transformed into “Culinary Cones”…

County Seat Living culinary cone5

County Seat Living culinary cone2

County Seat Living culinary cone

“Culinary Cones”! Can I trademark that?

It seemed like a wonderful way to pay tribute to our little neck of the woods. I nestled the cookies into the paper cones and sealed them with a red and white striped ribbon…

County Seat Living cookies3

County Seat Living cookies2

County Seat Living cookies7

Just a reminder, any symbol of summer can be made into a “Culinary Cone”. A map from a family vacation, a copy of child’s artistic masterpiece, a program from a memorable baseball game. The possibilities are endless.

Keeping with my hometown theme, I found a way to tote our lemonade and still celebrate our roots. At an estate sale months ago, I purchased an old glass jug from a water business that once thrived in our little community. After a proper sterilization, it was ready for an outing…

County Seat Living water jug3

County Seat Living water jug2

I also transported a few pieces of my barn wood to serve as a tray. It was a festive reprieve that also celebrated small town living…

County Seat Living lemonade1

County Seat Living lemonade2

Summer…you will be missed.


Scott Rager

Robert Scott Rager is a Nebraska native who returned home to start a boutique business called "County Seat Living". His personal goal for "County Seat" is to translate the lifestyle design he was creating in Los Angeles for the past twelve years and apply it to the sensibility of the Great Plains. Whether he's writing about decorating, homemade ice cream, floral creations, event planning or product design, he wants the personality and style of Nebraska to shine bright.