Last weekend, I drove to Rachel McGough's farm in Waverly, Nebraska to attend Handmade U, a crafting event. I went for the crafting, but Rachel's (and her husband, Jim) have such an incredible property, and the food they served was so special, I'm going to devote a post to it, and I'll tell you about the crafting next time.
The picture at the top of the post is the view as you approach the farm- a perfect red Nebraska barn. The barn was built in 1900. The lower level has stalls for horses and Rachel's studio. The upper lever, the hay loft was where we had classes. The doors on the upper level open and you can still see the ropes and pulleys they used to move hay bales oh so many years ago. The cupola still has its original bell, so when it was time for class to start, Rachel rang the bell.
I didn't get any pictures of Rachel's farmhouse, but it's remarkable, too. It was built in 1895 in a Victorian "painted lady" style and even has a 3rd floor cupola with incredible views.
The grounds had plenty of picture taking opportunities. These carved animals caught my eye. The ornate door is the entrance to the summer kitchen. Back at the turn of the century, a lot of cooking was done in a separate building in the summer to keep the house cool, and cut down on the risk of fire.
Can you see the writing on the "tail" of the windmill? It says "The Aeromotor, Chicago". Amazing that the paint has held up.
This pump and pretty flower bed is at the base of the windmill.
Next to the barn is the apple orchard. Even though Rachel and Jim have picked lots of apple and made lots of cider, there are still apples on the trees.
The McGough orchard supplies apples to Prairie Plate Restaurant, a farm to table restaurant just down the road. We had lunch there- a deliciously fresh salad with chicken, apples, kale and nuts and the last fresh tomatoes of the season.
The food was great, but I think everyone was just as charmed by the table decor. Vases full of greens, rosemary, peppers and herbs.
If Prairie Plate was "New American Cuisine", dinner was old fashioned farm cooking. We had "cream can" dinner. I'd never heard of it. Creams cans are filled with beer, sausage, cabbage, corn, carrots and potatoes and cooked on top of the fire. Or in this case, a gas burner.
When the cream cans were open, dinner was served in galvanized tubs. It reminded me of a midwestern lobster bake. And ohh was it good on a nippy night. You can see the steam coming off the pots.
Lunch the next day was another treat. Rachel had told us we'd have a "box lunch"; and everyone did. All of our lunches were served in vintage lunchboxes.
We ate at picnic tables in the fall sunshine. Of course, every lunch box had a just picked apple from the orchard.
It already seems like a full weekend, but there was more. Antiquing, crafting, swaps, swag bags and lots of laughs were also part of the Nebraska weekend. But I'll save that for another post.